Archive for the ‘music’ Tag

New (old) CDs   Leave a comment


Friday, we didn’t have anything planned so we took a ride to Portobello Market.  Not the part that the tourists go to (or the Japanese that are obsessed with the movie Notting Hill) but up in the formerly crappy part* of Notting Hill near Ladbroke Grove.  (*By crappy, I mean an area that would probably make you lot a bit jumpy but in which I felt as if it were a home-from-home when I first set foot there a few years back).  There is another section of the market far from the London tourism themed tat on offer down by the start at Hyde Park; you can find it, but I’m not offering directions.



Along the way, Jackie’s librarian senses sparked to life and she nudged me to look at the schoolboy a few seats down.  Good lad.  Good lad.

Somewhere in the book in which he was immersed, track 2 of the Mad Mongols compilation I picked up would have been referenced:



The Mongols are worth a listen if you like the whole psychobilly genre (we’ve seen the Reverend far too many times and have a shelf of records crammed with Cramps, Shack Shakers, Flat Duo Jets, Southern Culture on the Skids, and the Red Elvises, so this was a nice addition to the slap-bass collection.

The best of the three records was similar but authentically from the rockabilly era.  These were all singles of folks I never heard of but they fucking rock.  And, best of all was this liner note about Howie Casey of Howie Casey and the Seniors:

“After falling on hard times in the ’70s, Howie was reduced to playing in Paul McCartney’s dire lounge rock combo Wings.”



Posted July 8, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in music

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The Old Nun’s Head, Nunhead, London   Leave a comment


About halfway to Peckham Rye from Nunhead Cemetery, we came over a bit thirsty and popped into the Old Nun’s Head for a short one.  Nice pub: they have the drunken octopus hooks I think all pubs should have and Jackie was quite happy with the funky music the barkeeper selected (it HAD to be him, judging from the appearance of everyone else backstage).



And, abandoned at 2pm on Thursday but the food offerings look really grand (especially the pop-up nights…Thursday was Indian street food which looked grand as I watched the prep through the kitchen window, and Wednesday is Greek food with the corny theme “I should be Souvlaki“).



Jackie got a Chardonnay (verdict: refreshing) and I got a pint split between 3 thirds of Hop Stuff Arsenal Pale Ale, Hop Stuff Renegade IPA (best of the bunch), and Signature American Pale Ale which, since the pump clip is only labeled once they measure ABV, I had the most hope for but, alas, it was a bit low-key.

Oh, there were Nun’s Head themed images all over.  This would have been annoying were it not for the fetishistic aspects of some of them.



Posted July 8, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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May Early Bank Holiday Charity Shop Finds (Martini recipe)   Leave a comment

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, no, no, no

We were dumping off some stuff at a charity shop the first day of the Bank Holiday weekend and found something, as usual, to take home with us: Martini glasses! Four for £2! This prompted us to buy some vermouth for the bar, some stuffed olives for the finished product, and to seek out suitable music.

In vinyl, we struck gold for the cocktail hour: in pristine condition, Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me and …Sings For Only The Lonely. However, we didn’t find these until the penultimate stop of our foraging trip and, in the meantime, racked up these CDs:

Amy Winehouse Back In Black
Iggy Pop Live at the Hippodrome Paris 1977
Slim Gaillard and Babs Gonzales Shuckin’ and Jivin’
Elmore James Canton Crusade (1951-56)
Strut That Thing: Essential Recordings of Piano Blues and Boogie
And, a four CD set of Classic Doo-Wop Vocal Groups
R.E.M. Automatic For The People

How bad can the rest of the weekend be when it starts this well?

Make it one for my baby, and one more
For the road

The martini is this one (makes 2):

3 shots of Greenall’s gin
3 shots of Cinzano dry vermouth
3 dashes of Angostura bitters (hence the colour)
6 olives with pimentos

Stir with ice, strain and decorate with the olives.

I know.  If you use bitters it should be orange bitters and a lighter hand.  And, the vermouth is a lot more than most would expect from me, but this really is a sublime mix.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, y’all.

Posted April 29, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, music

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Bruce Langhorne, RIP   Leave a comment

Bruce Langhorne died of kidney failure a couple of days ago at the age of 78.  In these pages, I refer to music he was, in part, responsible for all the time (like here, and here).  Also, he looks like my cousin, Chuck.  Godspeed, sir.

Posted April 17, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in music, Obits

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Queen’s Head, Hammersmith, London   3 comments



It was a fool’s errand to seek out a pub playing Dylan tunes, but I’m a fool and the man just won the Nobel Prize so out I wandered to find one.

At the Queen’s Head, I found the ‘fools’ part of the errand as three dimwits around the corner from my snug were engaged in the most boring conversation ever about lottery strategies and their history of near misses. “Then, there was this other time I had a 6, an 8, a 22, a 32, a 40, and a 51 and the numbers drawn were a 3, a 7, a 12, a 22, a 47, and a 49. If I just got two more numbers I would have won £25. That happened once when I had a 9, a….” This was going on when I arrived and showed no signs of ending as I left.





I had a Black Cab Stout which was viscous and bitter and the colour of burnt motor oil. I highly recommend it. Great wine selection there, too.

The house leaves the impression that it might have been an old post office. The sign has a postage stamp motif and there are shipping artefacts used as decorations all over the exposed beamed, flagstone floored warehouse of a pub. But, no, it has always been a pub dating back to at least the early 19th century.




Every table in the front 2/3 of the bar was reserved so the early drinkers were squidged up together toward the back. The music was the most banal kind of pop you could hope to avoid and the house seemed geared toward the sort of bland, professionally employed, thirty-something consumer of this autotuned nonsense. No Bob here…maybe at the next one.



Posted October 14, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Horseshoe, South Harrow, Middlesex ( #August2016PubPerDay number 4)   1 comment

Horseshoe South Harrow

Inside the Horseshoe reminds me a lot of the Golden Nugget and the Silver Room, both in Tucson.  Some of it is the spread of professional drinkers and some is just the atmosphere (the massive bar with the simple but ample spirits prominently highlighted — and surprisingly tidy — also add to this impression).  But, the flashback seemed almost more chemical than nostalgia.

I pulled up to the southernmost end of the bar and got a pint of Doom Bar.  About halfway into the house, the scene you see here:

Horseshoe South Harrow ceiling

extends at least as far in the opposite direction.  “Is it raining out?” the barmaid asked while I gawked at the mugs.

“Sprinkling…[gasp]…just started…[wheeze]…won’t last,” I said as I was still catching my breath.
“I was wondering if it was or if you had been out running.”
“I often wonder that, myself.  Obviously, you’ve seen me run.”


The music on my entrance seemed to be some Irish Republican hymn which was followed by the paedo-creepy, “Happy Birthday, Sweet 16” mad all the more surreal by me being the youngest bloke in the house.  I became obsessed when the next thing on was “Johnny Come Home” by Fine Young Cannibals (who is programming the jukebox here, I wondered).

I was nearly finished when what I reckoned to be some Emerson Lake and Palmer came up. No. Ha!  It’s Meat Loaf…and like a Bat Out of Hell I jogged on.

{August 2016 Pub Per Day Challenge pub #4, overall pub #1516}


Billy Bragg, Shappi Korsandi, Francesca Martinez et al at CWU Meeting, Bournemouth   2 comments



Tabloids making millions betting bullshit baffles brains
They cynically hold up their hands if anyone complains
And they say “All we’re doing is giving people what they want”
Well they’re crying out for justice, people crying out for justice.

—From ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun‘ by Billy Bragg

Jackie took a break from her meeting in Highworth and found me in the library reading the Twitter feeds which had suddenly exploded with the news that the Hillsborough Inquiry found that The 96 had been “unlawfully killed.” “What do you reckon this will do to the playlist, tonight?” I asked and she responded, correctly, with some of the lyrics, above.

We were leaving, when her business completed, for Bournemouth to see a review show in support of Corbyn for Prime Minister featuring Billy Bragg (who wrote ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun’ in response to the Sun’s reprehensible coverage of the disaster and just about everything else) and a large contingent of other acts and political speakers we were eager to see. These included comedians Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Grainne Maguire, and Joe Wells; ‘punk’ poet Attila the Stockbroker; singer-songwriter Grace Petrie; and guest speakers Dave Ward (General Secretary of the CWU, whose conference sponsored this event) and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.


CWU JC4PM lineup

Great show and I would have been happy to see full performances or talks by any one of the guests but everyone stuck more-or-less to their allotted 15 minutes. Along with the collusion of the Right Wing with what passes for the press and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (the Hillsborough Disaster and/or the Battle of Orgreave featured in 2/3 of the performances), resistance to austerity measures, changes to schools organisation, and attempts to break the doctors’ unions were made musical, lyrical, and — with great pathos — funny.

CWU wristband


I don’t know how it has come to pass that I never saw Billy Bragg perform in person, before, but these were free tickets in Bournemouth and we just couldn’t miss it. Here’s my one live encounter with him prior to this trip:

Right after I quit driving a taxi for a living in Atlanta, I paid for my first year of University driving a long service route for Kodak that included most of Northeast Georgia. One summer day I had a call a couple of doors up from the 40 Watt Club in Athens (when it was on Clayton Street). The heat was oppressive that day and I stopped to give a dog tied in front of Chick Music a scratch on the head and a lap of water from my bottle. Another guy came up and rubbed the pooch’s ears saying, “‘allo, doggie.”

I looked up and recognized the fellow; “hey, you’re Billy Bragg.”
“Yes, I know.”
“I really like your stuff. What are you doing …here?” I’m not sure, all these years later, if it came out that way or “What are …you doing here?” or “What are you …doing here?” or the much more colloquial “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve got some work down the street,” he said nodding in the direction of the 40 Watt. I assumed at the time he meant the 40 Watt, but he was probably using the rehearsal studio REM kept at the time…he was working on Don’t Try This At Home in John Keane’s recording hut ’round about then.

“Oh, right, work,” I said reaching back to grab the tools from the car. “Never ends, eh?”
“Too right,” he laughed and headed down the street, my brush with greatness at an end.

(By the way, here’s his spectacular performance on Mountain Stage the following spring, that we listened to in the car whilst awaiting a screening of Reservoir Dogs at the Tate Center…great show with REM and Robyn Hitchcock…we still have our original cassette recording which we put in just before leaving for the movie.)