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It wasn’t far

A widow from Hastings panicked when she found Paul McCartney’s bass in her attic last week. It had been stolen in 1972, after the breakup, and was the subject of an intense search in recent years.

The article isn’t strong on specifics. At some point, it was sold to a landlord and somehow made its way into the collection of her late husband, a guitar collector. You have to think he must have suspected what it was.

She was in the process of cataloguing the collection with an eye to selling it to fund her kids’ college. It’s back with McCartney now and they don’t say if money changed hands but I doubt he’d stiff a poor widder-lady, even if it was stolen property.

I gather Hofners are not particularly good instruments, but he played it on their first two albums and a bunch of hits. He’s holding backwards in the picture because he’s a lefty, if you recall.

Funny thing is, he lives in Peasmarsh – about ten miles from Hastings.

February 26, 2024 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 2

Everyone knows it’s windy

Heavy weather in the pipeline for Weaselland tonight.

I would hate to admit how long I had to look for this video before I found it. Breaking Bad has muddied the Googly waters by using a version in the series.

But I succeeded. I give you Windy. The audio is a live recording from the 1967 Ravinia Festival, but the link above jumps to the live action reenactment halfway through, when the chick playing Windy arrives.

Everything about her is – *mwah* – perfection. Her false eyelashes. Her ruffly bikini. The stupid look on her face throughout. I particularly commend to your attention her stormy eyes that flash at the sound of lies, wherein she looks hilariously mental.

This is from that weird crossover period when the songs were hippie but the TV actors were still Lawrence Welk.

Or rewind to the beginning and listen. I always liked this song.

If I get swept away in the night, I love you guys…

August 1, 2023 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 8

Happy Hanukkah, y’awl

Here’s a first-day-of-Hanukkah treat: Tom Lehrer has released his entire catalogue into the public domain, no strings.

I, Tom Lehrer, and the Tom Lehrer Trust 2007, hereby grant the following permissions:

All copyrights to lyrics or music written or composed by me have been relinquished, and therefore such songs are now in the public domain. All of my songs that have never been copyrighted, having been available for free for so long, are now also in the public domain.

It’s a very Tom Lehrer sort of thing to do.

The site opened November 1st and a notice says it won’t be up for long, so download ’em if you want ’em. (Note: if you go to download the albums as .rar files, The Remains of Tom Lehrer (disc 1) is missing. I’ve tried writing to them about it, but I can’t find contact info).

If you don’t know him (and we’re all a bit young for it) he was a mathematician who had success in the Fifties writing and performing biting and seriously funny satirical songs. There he is above singing National Brotherhood Week.

By the Seventies, he decided he didn’t want to do it any more and vanished, stage left. Went back to teaching math, leaving (barely) a trace. He’s 94.

A Christmas Carol

Christmas time is here, by golly,
Disapproval would be folly,
Deck the halls with hunks of holly,
Fill the cup and don’t say “when.”
Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens,
Mix the punch, drag out the Dickens,
Even though the prospect sickens,
Brother, here we go again.

On Christmas Day you can’t get sore,
Your fellow man you must adore,
There’s time to rob him all the more
The other three hundred and sixty-four.

Relations, sparing no expense’ll
Send some useless old utensil,
Or a matching pen and pencil.
“Just the thing I need! how nice!”
It doesn’t matter how sincere it
Is, nor how heartfelt the spirit,
Sentiment will not endear it,
What’s important is the price.

Hark the Herald Tribune sings,
Advertising wondrous things.
God rest ye merry, merchants,
May you make the Yuletide pay.
Angels we have heard on high
Tell us to go out and buy!

So let the raucous sleigh bells jingle,
Hail our dear old friend Kris Kringle,
Driving his reindeer across the sky.
Don’t stand underneath when they fly by.

December 19, 2022 — 7:50 pm
Comments: 11

Behold, I have found it!

The ultimate redneck song title: Heart Like a Truck.

I got a heart like a truck
It’s been drug through the mud
Runs on dreams and gasoline
And that old highway holds the key
It’s got a lead foot down when it’s leavin’
Lord knows it’s taken a hell of a beatin’
A little bit of love is all that it’s needin’
But it’s good as it is tough
I got a heart like a truck

Though for the ultimate redneck song lyric, I’d go with Garth Brooks: “Papa loved Mama, Mama loved men/Mama’s in the graveyard, Papa’s in the pen.” (Heard that when I was driving across Nashville years ago and almost went off the road).

Yes, I’ve been listening to country music radio lately. Our kitchen radio is tuned to Classic FM, which is middle- to low-brow light classical. (“They play movie music,” sniffs Uncle B). Lately, though, they’ve been playing lots of mawkish tinkly piano music – the kind of thing they use as background music for mindfulness meditation apps. No thanks.

Radio 3 has got a more sophisticated playlist, but they’re also the station most likely to indulge itself in the occasional hour of atonal mood music on the Peruvian nose flute.

Thanks to the Internet, I have choices! There was a country station in Providence I really liked. I’ve been frustrated trying to find it again, but I have just found it at last: WCTK-FM Cat Country. The fun part of that is trying to remember all the places in the traffic reports and all the stores in the ads. It’s fading fast, y’all.

Oh, but I have even older braincells! Been streaming one of my favorite old stations from Nashville: 103.3 WKDF. Though I have a strong feeling it was a rock station in my youth. I wouldn’t have been caught dead as a 16 year old Nashvillian listening to a country station.

I can occasionally remember some of these places, though Nashville has changed enormously, especially in the last twenty years. The last time I tried to drive there it scared the poop out of me.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Going to be viciously cold in Old Blighty.

December 9, 2022 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 13

This is cool!

No, no…not VR this time. Well, kinda, but not *my* VR.

I was searching YouTube for a version of Hungarian Rhapsody (yes, I’m that bored. I must be getting better) and I found this guy’s channel. He plays piano, and the music unspools above him like a glowing player piano roll.

Seriously, go look. It explains itself. Start with a piece of music you know well and then try one you don’t. I almost feel like I could read the notes after a while.

I failed badly at piano lessons. People who can read music are witches, simple as that.

I tried to work out how he does this. He mentions at one point that his LEDs had failed him, but I think the stuff at the top is post-production voodoo. He linked to a friend’s channel who does the same thing, but on a much smaller scale.

I’m kind of hypnotized by it, to be honest.

Feeling much better today. I’m sure I’ll be back hard at it Monday. Have a good weekend, everyone!

March 25, 2022 — 6:40 pm
Comments: 15

Goodnight, Miss Kappelhoff

I know what you’re thinking — that doesn’t look like Doris Day! I nicked it from the Wikipedia article (which also says she’s 97, though most of the articles I read said 95).

She’s gone, anyway. And a very decent sort of lady she seemed, too.

Once upon a time, I collected 78 rpm records. One day, I picked up a few of Doris Day’s thinking, “ha ha — it’s Doris Day!” Ignorant little minx, me. In fact, she was a highly successful torch singer before she went to Hollywood and seriously debated with herself whether she’d rather sing than act.

I won’t opine on the debate, but I’d like to share my favorite Doris Day record: Say Something Nice About Me. A superficially sweet song with a deeply bitter aftertaste.

And, of course, Uncle Al won the dick. I expect to see you all back here Friday. 6pm WBT. DEAD POOL ROUND 121.

May 13, 2019 — 9:28 pm
Comments: 14

Presented without remark



This song came across my feed today. I present it without comment. Never heard it before, not going to favorite it, but I am — I admit this — an unironic, unapologetic fan of R Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders.

Yes, I have some inkling what a perv Crumb is. Please not to be telling me details. I like this music.

I have all his albums but the first one which, as far as I was aware, was never re-issued on CD.

But wait — I’m wrong! Looky here. It was reissued. In 2002. In…Japan?

Oh, Japan! I ain’t paying £250 for a Robert Crumb album.

January 15, 2018 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 13

…and then the band…


The Morris dancers were dancing to this snappy quartet. I have to assume the tuba is not generally a part of English folk music.

Is that a tuba? Or is it one of the odd ones, like a ‘baritone horn’ or something? My dad played a mystery horn of about that size toward the end of his life. He was very deaf. Said it helped him with his breath. Ye gods, was that fun to be around.

Short shrift again tonight. I’ve been cleaning closets. This is a bit of a lie, as they don’t have closets here.

They don’t have closets here. Let that sink in a moment.

But we have several funny little dead-end alcoves where shit gets stuffed haphazardly, waiting for the inevitable shit avalanche. It is now sorted into varieties of shit and stacked in neat boxes.

October 25, 2017 — 9:29 pm
Comments: 15

Physics. Huh.


Here’s an article about the physics of the banjo. Specifically, why it twangs.

It starts thusly: “Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of David Politzer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who in his spare time, is a Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist.” Call me crazy, but I’m guessing theoretical physicist is his day job and this banjo thing is something he does in his spare time, but that’s about the last thing I understood.

It’s fucking physics, man. Of course I didn’t understand it.

This I got. I think. If a sound vibration is matched with a vibration that is similar and several tens of hertz higher, it sounds plinky. You can (apparently) make this happen in Audacity by making a sound and screwing with it. It doesn’t apply to things like guitars and violins because wood tops aren’t as springy as a banjo head.

But I got all tangled up in the difference between the frequency of the sound and the frequency of the vibration. And that made me feel stupid. And that made me sad.

Don’t be sad, Weasel! It’s the weekend!

February 24, 2017 — 8:41 pm
Comments: 18

RIP Dr Stanley


Ralph Stanley died last week, and that’s an end to all the original men of Bluegrass, I suppose.

I know it doesn’t seem like it, but Bluegrass was strictly a Twentieth Century musical style. It borrowed heavily from traditional music, of course, but it was a highly formalized and particular form that started with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys (hence the name), particularly when Earl Scruggs joined them in 1945.

Stanley and his brother Carter had performed together since the late Forties, though Carter drank himself to death in the Sixties. Their sound was very heavily Appalachian. Ralph’s singing style was typical of the genre — a high-pitched, whining sort of sound called “high lonesome” and often compared to a ghost wailing through a forest. It’s eerie. And probably an acquired taste.

Listen to the chorus of The Fields Have Turned Brown to hear what I mean.

Stanley’s career had a sudden resurgence late in life when he did the soundtrack for the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother Where Art Thou. The album — particularly the song Man of Constant Sorrow — was a surprise hit.

As a personal aside, I hated that fucking film. It was the beginning of the end for me and the Coen Brothers. Films like Fargo poked fun of people but seemed to do it with affection, but O Brother was full of tone deafness and sneering contempt. But good on Ralph for ending his life on a high note (oh, pun, I suppose).

And thus a sad footnote to a strange week. Good weekend, everyone!

July 1, 2016 — 9:17 pm
Comments: 13