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Posts posted by Jazzjet

  1. 6 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:


    You are right about Iceland. I do this all the time when mentioning it. Don't know why. Explains why I'm forever returning from the high street having failed to locate frozen goods.   

    Isn't Greenland a store where they sell stuff from Iceland that's gone off?

  2. 7 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    Just had a quick flip through the year on this thread (see, these threads do have a purpose!) to try and work out my favourites of the year. Not easy to do as you never know how much you really enjoyed something in January compared with something in November; and how far your sense of enjoyment is affected by subsequent wider discussion.

    Confining to TV from 2016, what I did notice was most of what stuck in my memory was from the first half of the year.

    My awards (purely based on what I saw from my tiny corner of the world through my particular prejudices and predilections) go to:

    • War and Peace
    • Happy Valley II
    • The A Word
    • The Night Manager
    • Line of Duty III
    • Marcella
    • Peaky Blinders III
    • Trapped (marvellous Greenland Scandi-noir)
    • Fleabag

    Overall top award goes to 'Fleabag' for its utter originality and combination of razor-edge comedy with emotional depth.   

    Though 'Question Time' deserves an award as the TV programme I shouted at most, especially in June. 

    What was really scary, leafing through, was how many programmes I watched which I have quite forgotten. Need to eat more oily fish. 


    Pretty much matches my favourite TV, although I haven't watched Happy Valley I yet and don't 'get' Peaky Blinders. I would only add River and the ITV crime series Unforgotten. I've spent quite a lot of time working through series on Netflix such as Homeland, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. 

    PS Isn't 'Trapped' set in Iceland rather than Greenland?

  3. 4 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    Heatwave as predicted ("Hottest day since...." "Margate hotter than Mars" etc). First time this year I recall it being hot without wind or clouds so you didn't get the usual British thing of enjoying the heat of the sun and then getting suddenly chilly as it disappears behind a cloud. 

    Well it's alright for some. Here in West Cornwall there was no sun all day, on and off drizzle and then, in the evening, a torrential downpour with thunder, lightning etc. This storm was repeated at 3am this morning, only worse. Good job I'm moving to the balmy paradise of Devon next week.

  4. 4 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    BBC2 to compete for Saturday night audience with season of culture

    Well, you've got to commend them for going out on a limb in these ratings obsessed times.

    Though the programmes highlighted all look a bit "Mwa! Mwa! Darrrrling.' 

    Think I might be sticking with my Swedish serial killers.  

    BBC4 effectively replaced BBC2 as home of art and culture some time ago so this is welcome news. My worry is that when ratings hit the floor, as they may well do, this will be seen as justification to revert to the lacklustre, repeat-heavy version of BBC2.

  5. 20 hours ago, BillF said:



    Look Back in Anger?

    Rock Around the Clock?

    Yes, all important events but how many of them had an impact on society as a whole. I remember my parents taking in a couple of Hungarian refugees and me learning to play table tennis (and enjoy goulash) but I'm not sure it changed the way society behaved. The same with Suez, although it might have hastened the process of public mistrust of politicians. The impact of 'Look Back In Anger' was probably limited to the liberal elite. There's more of an argument for 'Rock Around The Clock' which did have a real impact on popular culture, as did skiffle. It probably did a lot to raise the profile of the teenage, although not in a positive way.

  6. 13 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    It's a book where you enjoy the journey but I'm not sure what he thinks in the end. At times he seems enthusiastic for the changes, at other times fogeyish. I don't think he lived through the period. I find it really odd reading books about the 60s and 70s written by people like Sandbrook and Bray who came of age some time later. Not sure why. Most history books are written by people who weren't there. 

    Have my eye on this one next:

    Image result for 1966 the year the decade exploded

    Imagine we will be deluged in the next couple of years with 67 and 68 books (the two most mythologised years of the 60s for different reasons).

    (The 'year that changed Britain' seems to be in dispute. We also have:

    Image result for happened in 1956 uk )


    I've got the Jon Savage book but it's on my ever-growing 'to read' pile. I'm not sure that there's much of a case for 1956 being the 'year that changed Britain'. It certainly saw the early stages of the birth of the teenager (skiffle, Elvis, Lonnie Donegan etc) but it was all fairly self-contained. I'm surprised that more isn't made of the claims for 1963 with the explosion of Merseybeat, pirate radio, the Profumo scandal (and the breakdown of deference), the Lady Chatterley trial, the Great Train Robbery etc. But maybe there was a book and I missed it. Perhaps the truth is that every year changed Britain in some way.

  7. 11 hours ago, Jazzmoose said:

    Hah!  I just watched A Piece of the Action last night.

    Also finished up season two of Bosch.  I enjoyed it except for that pain-in-the-ass kid.  Hmmm.  I had the same complaint about a movie a bit ago.  Maybe I just can't stand teenagers anymore.  And here I am with no lawn...

    What else is worth watching on Amazon (of their original stuff, I mean)?  Man in the High Castle is on my list, of course.  Anything else recommended?

    I would strongly recommend 'Mr Robot'. Also, 'Halt and Catch Fire' is pretty good. The subject matter - the early 80s computer industry - may sound unpromising but it's hooked me so far. On the comedy front there's 'Transparent' if you're in the market for a modern transgender sitcom.

  8. On 6/20/2016 at 5:12 PM, A Lark Ascending said:

    Thanks, Jazzjet. Never thought of that. 

    I've not really used the streaming aspect of the machine apart from the internet radio and Spotify. It happily runs an iPod so I imagine a memory stick would work too.

    Trouble is I'm still wedded to the old album on its own disc concept (despite carrying lots on several iPods). Certainly a solution when CD-rs vanish from production.  

    It probably depends on the navigation capability of your streamer. My Oppo is connected to my home cinema setup so I can easily control and navigate my music via the screen. I have some memory sticks full of favourite tracks where I use the shuffle option. I have others where the integrity of individual albums is maintained and I can navigate and play in exactly the same way as a CD. For example, I have one memory stick dedicated to all my vinyl LPs which I have digitised losslessly and these are maintained in original album format. The approach does provide pretty good flexibility.

  9. 3 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    Does for me. 

    The Naim CD/streamer I bought last autumn is especially sensitive to some Cd-rs I've made - throws up 'check for dirt' or 'no disc'. With every one running a pen around the hole about twenty times (sometimes more) has done the trick. 

    As far as I can remember the only problems I've had with commercial discs are from Hyperion (they also had the leaking lacquer problem around 1990!). As they advised me, running the pen around has always done the trick. 

    Makes no sense to me but it works. 

    I don't know whether the Naim streamer has this facility but with my Oppo streamer I use USB memory sticks a lot of the time. They come in quite high capacities now - I have some 128 Gb ones - so you can easily store a lot of lossless music on them. The sound is great and navigation is easy.

  10. I would definitely support Bev's recommendation of John Wickes' book 'Innovations in British Jazz'. It's a little chaotic in organisation and poorly bound (maybe because it's been well thumbed) but full of great detail. It's been mentioned before but Pete Frame's 'The Restless Generation' is very good on the post war development of trad and modern jazz, although its main thrust is rock and pop.

  11. 10 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:


    Finished this. Very good (if that era of popular music interests you). Marketed from what is only really a passing, tongue-in-cheek assertion about 1971 being rock's greatest year, this is actually a fascinating account of music and the music industry in transition. He's hugely enthusiastic about the music, very down to earth about the 'celebrity' musicians. Instead of the usual portrayal of them as mighty stars and 'artistic' geniuses, you end with a more believable image of young men and women of talent catapulted by sudden stardom into a world they don't really know how to handle (the pretensions of the Stones [not their music] come in for a fair amount of flak, not just Jagger (the obvious target) but the cult-of-Keef too). One of his main ideas is how unformed the management/marketing side of rock was at this time and how the first steps towards the machine of today were being laid around this time. One of his more provocative assertions is that 1971 was the year of punk; 1976/7 was revivalism (he also sees 1971 as the year when rock started to look back nostalgically on its past, creating the heritage element that figures so largely in its current marketing (not just rock!)!   

    The other weird thing is how the book shows the imperfection of memory. There are records and bands pinpointed to a time here that I've always remembered in the following year. Probably an accident of when I heard them - I've always associated the T. Rex phenomena with 1972 but it actually kicked off the year before...probably the result of being subjected to endless T. Rex by a cousin I was staying with one summer!   


    And if you have Spotify you might want to listen to David Hepworth's 'Never A Dull Moment' playlist :


  12. 23 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:


    BBC may have to share licence fee with rivals

    Interesting sentence here:

    "Although Whittingdale has led the white paper process, the prime minister, David Cameron, and the chancellor,George Osborne, are understood to have played a key part in the decision-making process."

    They seem to omitted the names of an antipodean media zillionaire and editor of the Daily Mail. 

    Enjoy the BBC while you can - in a few years it'll have been asset-stripped with nothing left but Celebrity Dominatrix. 

    I've often wondered whether Tony Hall and the BBC chiefs would dare turning up at meetings with Whittingdale dangling a pair of handcuffs and a knowing wink.

    I wonder whether Cameron and co are seriously misjudging the public mood on the BBC (as with other matters). I imagine a large amount of the audience for things like The Archers, Strictly, Attenborough, Bake Off etc are old and conservative.

  13. 10 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    These things don't tend to be on the main channels (despite the huge increase in choice from satellite, online etc, BBC1 and ITV1 still have a strong presence as the main TV channels). There have always been foreign language programmes and films on UK TV but generally tucked away late at night. BBC4 (a channel that carries 'arts', history etc programmes) started showing Scandinavian and Italian thriller series at prime time about five years back and it really caught on with part of the audience - Saturday night has virtually become subtitle night on that channel. 'Walter Presents' has recently emerged as a platform for such dramas. 

    Watching subtitled drama gets mocked a bit as a middle class affectation (a bit like listening to jazz, classical or folk!). But I wonder if the success of things like 'The Killing', 'The Bridge' and 'Borgen' have made the BBC and ITV up their game in the drama department. There seems to have been a remarkable improvement in quality in the last few years and the BBC in particular are making a big thing about their commitment to drama (though that is also tied in with their fight with the Tory government who want to kneecap the BBC on behalf of their paymasters in the right wing media).   

    Not to mention that the writer of current ITV hit 'Marcella' is Hans Rosenfeldt, who also wrote Scandi hit series 'The Bridge'. A real indication of how top class Scandinavian drama has started to influence mainstream TV.

  14. 16 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    Continuing to enjoy several currently running series - 'The A Word', 'Marcella', 'Line of Duty'. Started 'Scott & Bailey' last night which I really enjoyed - Suranne Jones makes the poacher turns gamekeeper mistake of many entering middle management. 'Blue Eyes' I nearly gave up on after two episodes but it grabbed me in episode 3 and I'm with it to episode 5 now (5 to go) - crime drama set in the murky world of right-wing extremism in Sweden. 

    Also a couple of historical documentaries on Captain Cook and Anglo Saxon Art. There's also a light hearted series on BBC4 covering the pop music of Britain over the last 70 years or so using the memorabilia of enthusiasts...amazing what people collect. First one covered 1955-65 with Twiggy giving a down to earth wander through. 

    'Blue Eyes' is developing nicely, as is 'Follow The Money (on BBC 4). Both from Swedish TV I believe. There's also a promising looking French series on the Walter Presents strand called 'Mafiosa", set in Corsica. I think it's on demand via the All4 hub rather than on More4 as other Walter Presents offerings have been.

  15. 2 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    The end note in 'Life after Life' talks about her World War II interest. She's a bit older than me but I recognised the point she made about growing up in a world where World War II was everywhere. I don't recall anything like bomb damage but TV, film, comics were obsessed with it. I was an avid collector of little Airfix soldiers as a kid and those sets were dominated by different armies from the participants of World War II. Growing up on RAF bases I saw a Spitfire or Hurricane every time I went in or out of a camp. Until I was in my mid-teens WWII was more real to me than the current Cold War!  

    I enjoyed 'Trinity Six' and another of his set in China. Think it was 'Typhoon'. Explored internal terrorism in China from minorities in the Islamic areas of the far west, something we hear little about. 

    I grew up in docklands London, near Tower Bridge, and the landscape was mostly bombsites until well into the early 60s. Most of my childhood was spent playing on those bombsites, a wonderfully exciting place for a kid although I'm not sure we had much appreciation at the time of the devastation that had caused them. My Dad was a navigator on Lancaster bombers towards the end of the war. I remember him as a pretty awful map reader in the car so how we didn't end up bombing Coventry is a mystery to me.

  16. On 3/12/2016 at 3:47 PM, A Lark Ascending said:

    You'll love the Brodie's. Very quirky. Plots never go where you expect them. I picked up 'A God in Ruins' in one of those supermarket deals (I know, I know, another sale lost to the local bookshop...except the nearest one is 16 miles away!). Want to read one or two other things first. 

    According to the author's note at the end of 'A God In Ruins', which Kate Atkinson sees as a companion piece to 'Life After Life' rather than a sequel, she talks about wanting to examine the two most important episodes of WW2 (as she sees it) - the London Blitz (in the first book) and the strategic bombing campaign (in the second).

    Looking forward to the Brodie's after my next book, 'A Foreign Country' by Charles Cumming, a spy thriller. His 'Trinity Six' was very good so I have high hopes for this one.

  17. 2 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:


    Enjoyed this...intriguing historical counterfactual novel with alternative life directions explored. A bit overlong - the (admittedly evocative) Blitz section seemed to make much the same point in several scenarios. 


    I also enjoyed 'Life After Life' immensely. I'm currently nearing the end of the (sort of) sequel, 'A God In Ruins' which concentrates on Ursula's brother, Teddy. Very enjoyable and a bit more conventional than 'Life After Life'. Next up, I'm starting Kate Atkinson's 'Jackson Brodie' books.

  18. 10 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:


    I think he's being a bit harsh there...I've seen a fair few 'art' programmes in recent years done by down-to-earth chaps and chapesses. Just as long as its not bloody Portillo (I'm dreading Ian Duncan Smith's 'World of Art' in a few years, though perhaps 'Boris stands in front of Paintings' is more likely!). 



    I think 'Boris stands in front of Paintings' would be counter-productive as the size of his privileged, over-fed body would obscure the view. Even the bigger canvases.

  19. 7 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    I had a feeling you'd like that one.

    Have you heard this:


    Came out at the end of last year. Starts more from the Indian musical direction but the female vocalist is Welsh; some songs are Welsh but absorbed seamlessly into the more eastern feel. One of my favourites from last year.

    Sadly not on Spotify.  You can hear a few tracks here:

    The Guardian review is a bit imperious (there's a surprise! 'We don't do pretty! We eat nails for breakfast!') but most reaction I've come across has been instant love! 

    I enjoyed it, maybe not so much as the Yorkston/Thorne/Khan one but definitely worth a listen. I hadn't made the connection that Thorne was the Jon Thorne who made a nice album with Danny Thompson (Watching The Well) and one with his own Oedipus Complex (Manchester Road), both albums I bought a few years ago and enjoy a lot.

  20. 15 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

    Another interesting one just out:

    Everything Sacred

    Guitar/Nyckelharpa, Bass, Vocals and Sarangi

    Has the feel of Pentangle album with dippy ISB vocals overlain with Indian music (Very 60s!). The bass is particularly effective, heping to loosen everything up and provide a flexible rhythmic feel, a la Danny Thompson. Getting quite a bit of attention outside the folk world:


    Clearly a light day on the Adele/Taylor Swift/Amy Winehouse front at The Guardian. 



    Thanks Bev. I've just checked this album out on Spotify and the feel is exactly as you describe.