Friday, January 19, 2007

The recent revival of Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) has got me dusting off his greatest hits - and it's surprising just how many greatest hits there are for someone who decided to quit the music scene at such an early young age. Well done to his son for bringing a guitar into his house and helping him realise just how much the world was missing by his self-imposed exile. I don't claim to understand his religious reasons behind turning his back on music - to me, whichever God you might believe in, I find it hard to understand why music would not be an integral part of worship. Imagine life without U2, Cliff Richard, Larry Norman - a darker place indeed! I wonder if Yusuf had ever considered changing his style to one that might be seen as more acceptable to stricter Islamic beliefs that he might have continued to play - or did he feel that that as his own style was perhaps unacceptable, that he should cease to play. On his website he talks about the fear of music getting in the way of religion.

So the next question is, would Greenbelt be prepared to invite him to play the festival? I still remember the hypocrites who booed when Sal Solo introduced his band which contained a Muslim - I guess we've moved on a long way since then. There will still be the critics who seem to forget the phrase "love your brother as yourself" and instead go down a path that welcomes all and no one. I guess Greenbelt is OK with the idea - Muslims on panels is not unusual and I got the OK this year to invite a very well known Muslim as a speaker. And most of all, the main reason for inviting Yusuf Islam would be because he believes in many of the things Greenbelt believes in.

The first late night at the office of the year this week. Nice having a private club in the basement as I was able to have a quick drink with the over-nighters (probably 50% of bid team live elsewhere in the country so have to live in London for several months during the week. Also saw the end of the Newcastle defeat. Makes our hic-cup a week ago seem quite mild!

Despite being very busy I am having to deal with a load of emails from the States at the moment - it all sounds very promising but I will wait and see if ideas turn into reality.

Also caught up with Hey Gravity's manager today - sounds like the French are loving them, and the band loving France. Below is a picture from last Friday's TV show.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Well it's know almost official - the new Michael McDermott record is called Noise From Words and is scheduled for release 4th April. Would like to be in Chicago for release but mixture of work and need for a holiday in UK will make it difficult. Just hope he gets invited to Greenbelt instead! He's become a bit of an ambassador for Greenbelt in the States telling other artists about the festival. At least one band want to play and he's trying to persuade another well known artist to play Greenbelt. Just hope the festival has some money to spend.

Work continues to hot up. A group will be working through the night tonight to meet deadlines - not me though I'm glad to say. I reckon 2 more weeks and it will be weekends and midnight plus work hours. One plus with our new office is that being just off Great Portland Street we should do better for take-aways than when at Paddington. I just hope we book the cleaners for weekends so that the office doesn't turn into a health trap.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Last week we did something we haven't done for so long I cannot remember when we last did - possibly over 10 years - curious??? You'll have to wait and see if we do it again before telling the world!

Lunch last Friday with parents before they head back to Wales at the weekend. Took them to the trendy Ha Ha Bar & Kitchen on Great Portland Street - excellent food but 45 minute wait for food was not good when I was supposed to be just nipping out of the office. It got to the point where I said I would have to cancel the order - at which point they promptly apologised and offered free drinkson the house so could have been worse. It's a good, albeit a bit noisy as acoustics very poor, place to eat, and not too expensive. Just be prepared for a long wait if busy.

Although my life will be embedded in work until the end of February I will manage the odd night out. Bruce Cockburn at the Borderline is booked for 25th January (would like to go following night as well but that would be too much). I had planned to see Hey Gravity play support to The Slides on 11th January at the 100 Club but they've pulled out with a better offer - live gig on French TV aka Jools Holland. Shame for me as would have been be a good night as The Slides play some really good music (

Finally made it to the gym this week, the first time since before Christmas - I need to start losing some of that excessive eating I have enjoyed over the last few weeks. I've got a lot on work wise just now so finding time is hard. To relax at home we are watching Shawshank Redemption on DVD. We saw it at the cinema when it first came out and it immediately became a favourite film. This was the last time Helen and I were able to go to the cinema together. It's a long film so she went a few days earlier to see the start and check she could sit in the seat. We then went to see it together, missing the first half hour. It was a while before I got to see the missing bit.

Was buying sandwich as usual at lunchtime today when slightly loud voice could be heard behind me. Turned round to see well known person with back to me - but recognised by fading duffle coat and ginger hair. Seemed to be talking about football so declined from saying hello - football is a subject I managed to avoid at work today.

When at Junior school in Liverpool we used to have a class sing-song Friday afternoons - usually Liverpool themed songs. The classic is In My Liverpool Home with the lines "If you want a cathedral we've got one to spare". On Merseyside they're singing "if you want a goalkeeper we've got 2 to spare". I gather Evertonians may be singing something similar after Sunday.

Monday, January 01, 2007

So it's New Year's Day and I'm in the pub to watch Liverpool play. Happy NewYear to you all. It was a quiet night for us - nice meal, Helen ploughing through the chocolate liqueuers, followed by Nicholas Nickleby on TV and watching the fireworks at midnight.

Earlier in the day we spent time at The Bishop in East Dulwich which is fast becoming our regular drinking hole. I also spent the day decorating the bathroom. Helen had asked me to paint a wall but after seeing how good it looked decided we should do the whole room!

We had a big afternoon on Saturday when we went to see the David Hockney exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery - we're both fans of his work. It worked out really well as we only have a limited time Helen can be out - dropped Helen off and then got the last space in the NCP car park. Rest of last week seems to have been shopping trips including two to Bluewater - I now have a collection of Fat Face clothes.

Santa has been good to us. Helen got a very sleek silver Nano Ipod and I got a digital photo frame. I also got the U2 by U2 book and picked up a portable digital radio in the sales for £100 less than the shop price.

Before Christmas in the mad shopping spree I went to Bromley a few times looking for presents. On my final visit I spent most of my time in Starbucks watching the world past by.These were my observations:

Pregnant woman
Man with tattoo
Man and woman with tattoos
Excited children
Man on mobile
Woman on mobile
Everyone on mobile
Parents with well groomed children
Woman carrying lots of bags
Gay couple
Obese family
Children with grandparents
Excited children
Elderly mother and daughter
Single bloke
Two girls determined to have fun
Rough looking family
Elderly man all alone
Elderly woman all alone
All colours
Happy couple with newborn child in buggy
Unhappy family
Woman determined to shop till she drops

I could have stayed for hours watching people go by.....all beautiful human people

For reference we won 3-0 and climbed back to third in a well deserved victory.

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