blogs are so 'last year', but then again Fruits de Mer is so last century it's as close to cutting-edge as we're ever likely to get (unless the mokey gland injections starts to kick in)...so this is the FdM blog and you're welcome to it.
(it's all supposed to be related to music but sometimes I lose the plot, with typically uninspiring results)
MANTLE'S PIECE DE RESISTANCE
Cardigan's Mantle Brewery is celebrating 10 years of brewing excellent, real beer with a very special brew - Mantle X; 10 years and 10 per cent proof.
The perfect Christmas gift - mainly for yourself!
Available now from the Mantle Brewery website
SMALL, BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
RichMix Records - discovered in Brixham, and a cracking little shop; some new releases, but primarily secondhand stock - and good stuff too.
COUGHLAN'S LAST STAND
Picked up in Richmix Records, a double LP of Caravan live in the Metropolis Studios back in 2010. Delighted to pick this up for a number of reasons - I didn't know a vinyl version had been released, I was there for the recording (along with a hundered or so other Caravan fans) and - I think - it was Richard couglan's last appearance on stage with the band
SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS RETURN TO THE CELLAR BAR
Nathan Hall and his merry men will be back at Cardigan's Cellar Bar early next year, promoting a special edition of their latest album that we can't tell you about quite yet. This is a SHS gig, not an FdM one, so there won't be an FdM stall - but Kev, Steve and I all plan to be there, cheering on our favourite Welsh psychedelic scientists
WHEN ARE THE BEATLES NOT THE BEATLES?
When someone digs out a demo recorded by one Beatle long after the group had disbanded and discarded as not being worthy of completing at the time, dusts it down, drowns it in newly recorded stuff and sticks it in a remarkably dull sleeve.
Just found this little-known cover of the Spirit album
Back from some time in Florida, sampled as much US beer as possible, although options were very limited and sadly the best of the draught beers were on a par with Doom Bar; but here were three bottles/tins that went down well...
A QUICK PLUG FOR COUNTRY MILE RECORDS
Ray Collins at Country Mile is about to release a lathe-cut 7" by the Soft Hearted Scientists featuring two tracks from their new album, with a bit of help on the publicity side from FdM; very pleased to be linking in with Ray on a project - if you don't know the label, check it out HERE
REMEMBER US THIS WAY
On one Saturday, in September 2023, for a few hours, we were third in the Premiership...
One more Hastings surprise - the Doc was playing in the pub 30 yards from our B&B; shades of Dr. John, but much more surreal - anyone who can move from 'All Along The Watchtower' to 'Gay Bar' without skipping a beat is well worth an evening of your time.
Go see a band called STOP STOP - born in Barcelona but based in the UK for the last few years and a surprise addition to the Hasting Festival line-up. Think Guns'n'Roses meets Kiss meets Bad News - 90% lycra rock, 10% genius.
I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE
...and it's called thebeerdispensary.co.uk - a Range Rover equipped with craft beer on tap. Who needs pizza vans, hog roasts and such like when you can get beer on wheels (as seen at the Hastings Festival)
HOW MANY GUITAR HEROES DOES IT TAKE...
...to fill the stage at The Pipers in St Leonards on the last night of the Bevis Frond tour?
How about Nick Saloman + Louis Wiggett + Paul Simmons + Bari Watts.
It was, of course, pretty spectacular stuff.
A HERO REMEMBERED
A fun afternoon's racing at Fontwell with kids and grandkids - a family day, there were more buggies than horses. I had to take a photo of the Comedy Of Errors bar, names after the dual Champion Hurdle winner, who I saw plough through the mud at Cheltenham for his second win in 1975 - nearly 50 years ago!!
WHO'S SMILING NOW?
The Royal Mail have announced another price increase - less than six months after the last one - and this time large letter prices are going up by over 30%...yes, 30-bloody-percent.
Am I allowed to say this is outrageous?
BRIGHTON PSYCH DU SOLEIL WEEKENDER
Sadly, I can only make the Friday night with my lad Chris, but we're looking forward to seeing Frank & Beans again in the Hope & Ruin, and a couple more bands we may not remember by the next morning
WATTS NOT TO LIKE?
Just read that The Bevis Fronds' special guest on the last night of their UK tour - in St. Leonards - will be Barri Watts! Barri used to play with the band and of course fronted The Outskirts Of Infinity - should be a bit special.
SO NEAR, AND YET...
Saw a sticker like this on a lamp post when we were in Tenerife, which I had assumed was a vinyl wasteland. Thinking I was in luck, I searched for 'local record shops' on Google, then tried 'Red Rum Record Store' and found it - in Poland. I've heard of scattergun marketing but this was pushing things.
THE BEVIS FROND/FRANK AND BEANS
Return visits to Hastings and Brighton, to see The Bevis Frond and Frank & Beans respectively, are scheduled for the next few weeks. Nick Saloman and friends played a stunning set at the Dr. Sardonicus festival, while Frank and Beans could have done, but they ignored our invitation to play...you win some...
THE SAND PEBBLES
I don't often recommend bands/tracks that aren't on a Fruits de Mer label/offshoot, especially when the focal point of the song is the lead singer, but this sounds a bit special to me...
more details HERE
COMING UP FOR AIR
Our annual festival tends to take up the first couple of weeks of August each year - getting everything together for the weekend, the festival itself and then unpacking and offering up any unsold 'specials' to club members.
FdM Towers is now looking unusually empty and tidy, but of course it won't last!
McAFEE TO THE RESCUE
I have no idea whether McAfee is any good as PC protection software but their customer service team is bloody brilliant, once you find a phone number to call! I had two subscriptions running in tandem, one with an email address I'd mistyped when I took it out; when I got a renewal reminder I managed to take out a THIRD sub; the McAfee support team managed to sort everything out for by taking over control of my PC, and didn't make me feel like a complete prat while doing it.
Hidden away inside an indoor market in Eastbourne and not very helpfully organised for a fleeting visit, Retro Remake turned out to be worth the short time I could spend there as I came out with a couple of live Curved Air albums, recorded in 1971, and a rather dodgy-looking Pink Floyd 10" bootleg!
Took it on holiday with me recently - didn't bring it back. Good for background on Drummond and Cauty, not so good on the music - and I have to admit some of the more 'conceptual' stuff went right over my head (then again, I can get lost in an episode of 'Vera')
THE DEVIL'S SWEETS
Saw this photo on Twitter and had to share it - I was reminded how, in my childhood, they bore no relation to anything that I'd consider to be sweets and I couldn't understand what they were doing on the sweets counter. no-one in their right minds bought or ate them - must have been a Southern (or Northern) thing
BERMONDSEY BEER MILE
Good day out with one of my lads - visited numerous drinking holes, although I lost interest in taking photos once the beer began to kick in. Nothing outstanding IMHO, the honey-infused beers were terrible, but good fun all the same; highlight for me were the chips in duck fat in Maltby market - not to be missed!
NO OS BUT ALL IS NOT LOST
Os Mutantes gig in Guildford is cancelled - it was all to good/bizarre to be true, I guess - but as one door closes another opens and quite a few will be opening on Saturday as one of my lads and I embark on Plan B - a trip down the Bermondsey Beer Mile - over 20 breweries and tap rooms in walking distance of each other. I'll be happy to do the main run of a dozen or so establishments, I think I'll need to get in training for the full monty.
LINDOS ROCK 2023!
To our surprise, our annual holiday in Rhodes coincided with a festival called 'Lindos Rock', in which a bunch of UK heavy rock covers bands, plus their friends, fans and family, turn up in the quaint little town of Lindos and take over the bars!
We had to go, of course, and while some of the music wasn't really my cup of tea, the spirit of the whole week was infectious - even though we managed to do our usual trick of bringing a downpour with us to the most barren of places and caused a few problems for one of the outdoor gigs! If we go back in 2024, we'll make sure we're there again for Twin Lizzy, The Doors Rising and more...
"...a weekend of 60's Surf, Beat, Rock 'n' Roll and Garage Frenzy by the Sea, plus dynamite discs of top notch Ska, Psyche, R&B and Soul..." is promised in mid-July in a Hastings pub over three days, with Graham Day and the Forefathers headlining. We might be feeling our collective ages by day 2, so it's a good job Nick Saloman is DJ'ing on the first evening!
IMAGINE MY SURPRISE...
...to find the legendary Os Mutantes are playing a gig at the Boiler Room in Guildford at the start of July. God only knows how or why this is happening, but tickets are booked!
HMV OR NOT HMV
a truly depressing wonder round an HMV store recently - the CD section was relegated to the back of the shops a while ago, but now vinyl has joined it - the front of the shop is given over to t-shirts and Japanese/anime merchandise. Good luck to the new owners if this is making the chain viable but music is taking a back-seat.
THE HOLY TRINITY
The Pond, Prince Albert, Evening Star - three Brighton pubs within about 75 yards of each other and Brighton BR...visit all three and you'll have a choice of at least 15 beers, 20+ including whatever they have in casks, plus Korean and Sri Lankan food and live music. Add another 75 yards and you can add the Hope & Ruin, with more beer and more live music.
I like Brighton.
ANY SHOP WITH A KRAUTROCK SECTION IS WORTH A VISIT
...and Music Mania in Worthing is no exception. I picked up a couple of nice items, including a double LP of Can's earliest live recordings.
I dragged Liz along to an evening in The Hope & Ruin in Brighton - didn't really know what was in-store but for a tenner or so we got to see five bands (where can you do that in London or south of the river these days?); all a bit shouty for me, to be honest, the exception being a duo called Holy Clang, who were rather good, especially when they focussed on the instrumental side of things
AN UNEXPECTED KOSMISCHE RELEASE
Recorded soon after "Sternenmädchen" Gille Lettmann's 1974 album 'Gilles Zeitschiff, Vol. 1', it has sat in someone's archives until now (makes you wonder what else might be found if there's a surge of interest in 70s German artists)
YOU CAN BUY A COPY HERE
TALKING OF BEER
A trip to the Kingston Beer Festival took up most of a day - 70 beers on sale, and most of them bore a close resemblance to what I have called 'beer' for the last 50 years, probably because the festival was run by CAMRA.
I read that they ran out of beer by mid-afternoon on Saturday, so it sounds like it was a success.
STEPPING BACK IN TIME
Meeting up with some (very) old university friends, we gathered at a pub in London I first visited over 45 years ago - The Angel, in St Giles Circus; it became our regular back in the day, a Sam Smiths pub that at the time served decent beer at Northern (rather than London) prices. I still occasionally call in and, although the prices have moved onwards and upwards, it's still a very decent pint and the pub itself looks EXACTLY the same as I remember it back in 1977 - definitely worth a visit.
CHATTING TO NODDY
found myself having a long conversation with Noddy Holder the other night - lovely bloke, I reminded him of him being caught snogging someone I used to work with, in Bloxwich in the early 70s...oh how we laughed. Then I woke up...yes, it was another example of, 'I Had Too Much Cheese Last Night'
REMEMBER US THIS WAY
OK, so the moment will pass but for a short period in spring 2023, Villa really were on a roll
...and not a penny spent - it's moved on from being a matter of principle (I don't count buying the odd record off eBay after the event, but then again I never was very good with principles) and I've moved onto being outraged at how expensive the 2023 releases are - £170 for the Nuggets 5LP set?? I'd love it but it would be a push to justify it at half that price, and I wonder how much of that £170 finds its way to the surviving band members
AS RECOMMENDED BY...
...Pete Bowman, from The Arthur Park! Many thanks to Pete for a bit of clever photoshopping.
DOING MUCH BETTER
My beloved Aston Villa are something of a roll these days, their latest victory being a 3-0 trouncing of Newcastle. I watched the game in a local pub with some mates and we were so good I couldn't talk about how good we were for fear of welling up...but I can tell you now that I haven't seen us play that well for over a decade (sorry, I must have something in my eye).
MUST DO BETTER
It's been a fairly quiet start to the month, so not a lot to talk about here - even my vinyl buying has been pretty limited, save for a test pressing of a Pete Namlook reissue, which is rather wonderful - but only if you're a Pete Namlook obsessive, like what I am
HOW DARE THEY?
The latest Gala Bingo TV ad uses Todd Rundgren's 'I Saw The Light' as the backing track - sacrilege!
IN NEED OF RETAIL THERAPY
Checking the usual online shops is all well and good, but sometimes you need a good thumb through stacks of records you've already got (possibly) or don't need (almost certainly); not a lot coming up locally in the way of fairs, but Guildford is always worth a brief look in - and there's one due in a couple of weeks' time.
A FLOOD OF FLOYD
There's seems to be a great outpouring of Pink Floyd live albums at the moment - none of them official, but are they legal? I still don't understand the copyright rules - I thought the pre-1963 rule applied, anything before that is fair game but from then on only live recordings that haven't been broadcast or released officially can be put out. Anyway, if you want to investigate the 'new releases' further, www.juno.co.uk is a good place to start.
YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP
Just got back from a quick break in Fuerteventura, including the opening of the annual carnival in Carraleyo - a slightly surreal experience as the only entertainment on the big stage was a very, very long speech by an elderly guy who seemed to be the town's answer to Sadiq Khan, dressed like one of the 'Three Amigos' and was accompanied round the stage by a remote controlled wooden cart, which moved occasionally to the theme tune to 'Knight Rider'.
A couple of days later, we had the Fee Waybill lookalike contest - drag artists in Spain have clearly all been brought up by fans of The Tubes.
SOD THE CATHEDRAL
We managed a flying visit to Winchester, and just had time to call in on The Record Man, who has had a stall on the High Street for years (Thursday to Saturday - mainly second hand, with the occasional new LP) and Elephant Records, which is hidden away down a side street and promotes itself with a very small silhouette of an elephant in a window and nothing else; it looked like it was closed, but wasn't, and any shop with sections headed 'krautrock' and a'ambient' has to be worth a vist.
THE LION KING
Bet you didn't expect that - neither did I, but tickets were a Christmas gift from one of my kids and we had a family outing to experience a musical that's been going longer than FdM. It was the first musical I'd seen since Spamalot about 15 years ago and a good time was had by all, especially by the prat sitting behind me to laughed louder than a foghorn at any line that didn't involve a lion being killed, maimed or expelled from the pack.
A total prat - but he was about 20 stone and wore a t-shirt that had a print of a bare torso on it, so i decided that he probably wouldn't appreciate me interrupting his fun.
FIRST GIG OF THE YEAR
Another visit to the Prince Albert in Brighton, with one of my kids. I think Sick Days did a good line in grunge, while Let's Swim, Get Swimming were even better - a math rock(?) instrumental duo! I say 'I think' as apparently the Prince Albert was the eighth pub we called in on during the evening so my memory is about as hazy as some of the craft IPA I had to drink
A TRIP TO BEN'S RECORDS, GUILDFORD
visiting Ben's Records in Guildford is always fun, but this week was particularly interesting as there's been quite a clear-out and restocking since I last called in. I came away with more records and less money than I'd planned, including a rather nice Amon Duul live in 1969 LP and a rather odd 'Eliminators' instrumental LP on Pye, consisting mainly of covers - from 'Wipeout' to 'Thunderbirds' to Eleanor Rigby'; a studio project that seems to have been the brainchild of Cyril Stapleton!
A SINKING SHIP?
somebody recently had a go at selling their collection of FdM singles on eBay for £600...
HAVE THE RULES CHANGED?
There seem to be an awful lot of (and probably a lot of awful) live recordings from the sixties and seventies surfacing at the moment, available through mainstream mail order services, such as Juno.
I've lost track as to what is and isn't permissable, but it's starting to look like a bit of a free-for-all.
YOU'VE GOT TO LAUGH...
...unless you're a Villa supporter. The only upside being that I wasn't there and the Man City vs Chelsea game was on TV, so I was spared having to sit through it.
...seen in through a bit of a blur in an Irish pub, fuelled by Guiness and Bushmills - there are worse ways to start a year