Archive | July, 2015

Weekly Vinyl – Sex Pistols

31 Jul

No Future UK?
Sex Pistols
This is an album of what can be best described as studio outtakes from the punk band Sex Pistols. This band’s output was quite small, just one studio album, but its impact was huge.
It is no doubt that many people wanted to exploit their notoriety and no doubt that the members of the band wanted to get paid for their music.
There are no liner notes on this album denoting the origin of these recordings except that the album was, “released with kind permission of Glen Matlock, Steve Jones and Paul Cook.” This was the original bassist of the band and the guitarist and drummer. No Johnny Rotten – the vocalist. Interesting. Especially since it is his face on the cover.
The music is what you would expect – Most of the songs are very familiar to anyone who has heard the band play. The songs are rougher and less polished than what appeared on Never Mind the Bollocks, their only studio LP.
It is an interesting album for fans and/or collectors.

Weekly Wine – Terrano

29 Jul


Spadafora Terrano Rosso Calabria IGT
12.5% ABV
$8.40 (LCBO)

The first thing that struck me about this wine was the top of the bottle. It is a very large screw cap – it seems rather odd.
The wine is exactly like I imagined it.
It is a bit acidic – this is a combination of the tannins and sulphites. The acidity is not bad and tolerant if you chase it down with some food. I’m having Appenzeller Extra cheese from Switzerland. This tangy, strong cheese is a perfect companion. It makes this wine go down well.
But even with this cheesy companion there is no mistaking that this wine is not a fine wine. It is rough around the edges. This is a wine I should take outside, with the cheese. I should light a fire in the chimenea and enjoy it in a more rustic setting, a more primitive atmosphere than sitting in my home office listening to music.
I wouldn’t buy this wine to take to someone’s house as a gift, but I would if I was going for picnic in the forest.

Quiet Lille

26 Jul

SONY DSCDowntown Lille on a sunny fall morning. It is Sunday so everything is closed and the streets are nearly deserted. A great time for photography

Weekly Vinyl – Live Gabriel

24 Jul

Plays Live
Peter Gabriel


This album is an example of why I love live albums.
This album is a chronical of Gabriel’s first solo tour. I happened tocatch this show whenit rolled into Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. It was a great show and the album does a credible job of capturing the atmosphere of the show. The liner notes mention that some parts of the live album were recorded in a studio later but that is par for the course for most life albums.
That being said – the band does sound great on this album. Although for the most part the soungs sound great, there are some disappointments – I found the song Solsbury Hill a bit flat, without passion, unlike the album version. But his is the only quibble. And this might be just because the previous song, San Jacinto, is so strong and powerful.
This is a fantastic snapshot of an artist at his prime –a very worthy album.

Weekly Wine – Montalto

22 Jul

Montalto Pinot Grigio
Year – N/A
12.8% ABV
$8.95 (LCBO)

Oh Lord.
Another Pinot Grigio.
This one is from Sicily. It is very pale, nearly transparent. The flavour is not that transparent…
It’s a bloody Pinot Grigio. It is fine. I have not had a bad one. And yet, I have not had an excellent one. They are OK.
They are all OK.
I’m trying not to repeat myself but it is difficult – I would have to remember what I wrote – I don’t. I could go back to read what I wrote but that would be cheating now – wouldn’t it?
This wine is light, refreshing and dry. It is a wonderful white wine. It has hints of various flavours that make it interesting and intriguing. It goes down well cold, cool and at room temperature. (My room is on the cool side though.) I was tempted to try what this wine would taste like warm, but alas – the bottle was empty.
Another Pinot Grigio… another good wine…

Big plane – small plane

19 Jul


I’ve seen the Airbus A380 a few times at the airport. It’s a big plane. I’m usually tucked into the economy section of a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320. Sometimes the plane is even smaller.
I’m not sure what I was in when I saw this roll by. It was evening and the ISO was on max – hence the graininess.

Weekly Vinyl – Speaking tongues

17 Jul

Speaking in Tongues
Talking Heads

There’s a few interesting things about this album.
The big hit of this album is “Burning Down the House.” It is the first song on Side A of the Album. Because of this song I stopped liking or listening to Talking heads for a brief bit in the 80s. It was such a monster hit that people who previously thought that the Talking Heads was a weird band were now messianic converts explaining to me how great the band was. (I was a fan since their first album – 1977.)
Another also concerns “Burning Down the House.” It has more or less the same chords and chord progression as the Talking Heads song “Psycho Killer.” If you play guitar try it – you can meld both songs pretty well.
The last thing is that this is truly a great album. Each song is interesting, unique but still funky, driven and fresh over 30 years later.

Weekly Wine – Barefoot

15 Jul

SONY DSCBarefoot Pinot Grigio
Year: N/A
12.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

This wine sneaks nicely under the $10 limit I set myself. The question is – is it worth more?
It is a nice wine. A little sharper, crispier, harsher, than some other Pinot Grigio’s in this price range. I spent a bit of time trying to decide whether this flavour, weather this wine was harsh or crisp.
It is a fine distinction and an interesting divide in a wine. To say a wine is harsh is not a positive aspect of a wine. A crisp wine, on the other hand is nothing but a positive.
One can think too much about wine. The wine is harsh-ish because there is a bit of sourness that creeps into the palate. It’s not a bad thing in this wine but it does not give it the crispness that one would like.
All-in-all a good wine. One that I enjoyed drinking and thinking about.

Kashubian Stork

12 Jul


I took this shot of a stork strolling through the fields last year. It was at my wife’s cousins house in the Kashubian Lakes area of Poland. There are a lot of storks in the northern part of Poland. They are a wonderful  creature to behold.

Weekly Vinyl – Steve Reich

10 Jul

Steve Reich: Different Trains/Electric Counterpoint
Kronos Quartet, Pat Metheny,
This meandering and pleasant album holds some horrors within.
Composer Steve Reich wrote Different Trains when thinking about his childhood. He spent much time on trains between New York and Los Angeles during World War Two shuttling between his separated parents. Thinking about this as an adult, he realised that had he been born in Europe, his train trips might not have been so exciting and adventurous. The music is mesmerising and fantastically executed by the Kronos Quartet. One can imagine the trip but not the horror.
The Electric Counterpoint is the other composition on this album. Equally eclectic and flowing, this piece is divided into three movements – fast, slow and fast. These movements are played without a pause and meld into each other in a harmonious flow of music. Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny plays all the parts in a tape looping show of virtuosity.
Exquisite stuff.