It wasn’t the greatest of summers, but I did manage to pot out some of the cacti.
Not really sure which cacti these are, most were grown from seed, except the tall ones which were bought at a local cacti show or various garden centres.
Well I think their cool, so I hope that doesn’t make it ‘dad music’ …
I was introduced to the music of Kraan by a good friend back in the 70s. The double live album, Kraan Live (74-ish) in Germany, is a favourite of mine, the rhythmic interplay between bass, drums and guitar just weaves itself around my musical soul.
The band are still playing, mostly in europe, I’m not sure if they’ve ever been over to the UK. Would be great if they did.
Helmut Hattler, bassist, has engaged in numerous solo projects from the 90s onwards. Here’s a sample of his solo work, with Torsten De Winkel on Guitar, Fola Dada: vocals, Oli Rubow:drums, and Helmut Hattler: Bass.
Blurt. The South-West based band from the early 80s. I saw Blurt play several times in the early 80s. I used to live on City Road, St. Paul’s, Bristol, a tiny grotty, damp one bedroomed basement hovel . The good thing with it was that it was almost opposite the Dockland Settlement, which was then hosting a rag-tag of art and community projects, and at least 2 or 3 nights a week a local band used to play in the basement. So up the steps, across the road, down the stairs and there I was at whatever the local music scene had to offer.
I’m not sure how many times I saw Blurt there, possibly twice, memories are a bit hazy due to the consumption of various mind-altering substances. I’m sure it was twice, once on their own and another time as part of an evening of local acts which included the very wonderful ‘Shoes For Industry’.
Blurt had this mesmeric rhythm section and the blurt of sax and ranting poetry of Ted Milton, just a three piece, Drums, guitar and Mr. Milton. They are fond memories even if they are hazy, perhaps the haze helps to embellish them.
So here’s Blurt from 1982. The Fish Needs A Bike
This is a hodge podge of bits and pieces. I bought the peavey generation triple single just before it became unavailable. It’s not bad, not great either. Has a few irritating buzzes, particularly the A-string, I can’t find any neck problems, well no lifting frets or frets too high, so I’m thinking it might be nut related, alhtough that’s a real puzzler. The A-string doesn’t have quite the same sharp angle over the nut like the other strings which are either tree’d or naturally so like the low E. I thought I might get a new set of trees, roller types, and a new bone, tusq or graphtech nut. I could use a string bar to pull the A down a bit.
I would like to find out what the pickups are, I’m guessing they are ceramic magnets, and probably not potted, so there’s a few things to play around with there.
The Epi valve junior head, is the first valve amp that I have owned. I’m in love!! So responsive and the tone is just …. yummy… words fail me… There are a few mods I’d like to try out, but on the whole I like it’s stripped down simplicity, not too much circuitry to get in the way of the guitars natural sound. When I get around to buying a new set of strings I’m going to let loose my 1984 Washburn Hawk on it… something to look forward to.
Part of the great sound has to be the 2×12 cab from the old HH IC100 combo. Those speakers are monsters, pretty sure they are 1972 custom celestion G12h-50s although they’re badged HH 12H. They have humungous magnets, and they sound so good in the closed back ported cab. I’ve still got the IC100 amp which just about works, but I can’t get over excited about it. It is quite a museum piece though, so funny to see a board full of 14 pin 741s, I guess the die was as small as it could be back then and needed a 14 pin sized package to fit into. Vintage 741s…. lol that cracks me up! The electroluminescent front is a bit scary though, with it’s 240v ac supply, that must be a right pain in the arse to service.
Tall columnar cacti
It was a good for growing cacti last year. Most of my collection has been fairly dormant for quite a number of years, a poor situation to blame. But last year and the previous year I moved them out to the garden shed for the summer, and they really seem to like the bright south facing windows. Being not too far from the water butt thaey also benefitted from good twicw weekly watering with fresh rain water.
I also potted up a few in a large terracotta planter and left them outside near our small pond.
Hopefully they have all survived the winter. I brought the majority into the house and they have wintered in the cooler back room, they all seem quite healthy. However, some of the larger cacti had to stay in the shed, and I’m a little worried that they may have been frost damaged in this very cold weather that we have had. I did try to protect them and kept quite dry during the later part of October and november. I also tried protecting them with many layers of bubble wrap interleaved with cardboard, so hopefully they will have made it throught this cold snap.
I’m not sure what these cacti are, I was told that the one in the little pot is a Trichocereus Peruvianus, also known as the peruvian torch cactus. If grown in ideal conditions, hardly possible in the UK, it should grow to several metres tall, and has large trumpet-like white flowers. I think this little one has quite a few years to go before it reaches that stage.
As for the other pot, well they look similar, but I don’t think they are quite the same type. They have one or less ribs are a little bit more spikey.
The Penny Black Remedy are a european band based in London, UK. They play a brand of ska, upbeat rock/skiffle/rockabilly, that is infectious and a joy to witness. They have been described as ‘gypsy punk’, and although there are some similarities to Gogol Bordello, that is probably only partially true.
I first saw them at the Larmer Tree festival last summer. The first opening chord grabbed my attention immediately, the luscious sound of a Gretsch guitar through a Fender reverb amp sounded just heavenly to my ear (the one that still partially works).
Great uplifting tunes with wry and witty lyrics, wonderful harmonies, backed up with a solid rhythm section and spats of saxophone, induce a desire to dance and jig the night away.
If you hear of them gigging in your area, take some time to check them out.
The Penny Black Remedy
On tonight between 7-9 pm will be one of the Bands that my son plays Bass guitar for. Sometime between 7-9pm, interviews and live music from Last Rights (LSTRTS).
Newport City Radio – The Local.
Here’s a sampler of their latest EP.