Here are some facts about the Online Chameleon. I’ll let you decide if they’re interesting.
5 (Interesting?) Facts About Me
- I’m the co-owner of a football club.
- I’ve a high threshold for feeling cold. So much so, that my wife describes me as a human radiator.
- I miss LPs and CDs. As someone with a large music collection, not being able to see and hold an album makes it difficult to appreciate what you’ve got.
- I was a Board Member of Amnesty International UK Section for four years.
- I’ve visited 31 countries and principalities to date in six continents.
5 (Uninteresting?) Facts About Me
- I’m not human until I’ve had a glass of fresh orange juice in the morning. A habit I picked up in Florida many years ago.
- I used to be an Adobe Community Professional. Maybe I will again someday.
- My arms are slightly too short for my neck size, meaning I prefer wearing short sleeved shirts.
- I loathe strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and all other types of berries.
- My favourite joke is:
Q: What do you call a cat that’s eaten a duck?
A: A duck filled fatty puss.
My Desert Island Discs
BBC Radio Four has a programme a programme called Desert Island Disks where celebrities choose eight records, a book, and one other item that are washed up on a desert island. Here are mine, although they may change by the time you’ve got through the list!
- The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again: Occasionally a song perfectly captures a moment in time. This does just that. It is the song for a generation: my generation.
- Hall & Oates – Philadelphia Freedom: As a lifelong Elton John fan, I never thought anyone would better one of Reg and Bernie’s songs. The 1991 Two Rooms album changed all that, and this is the pinnacle of it. The Philadelphia sound at its best.
- Saint-Saëns – Symphony No. 3 in C Minor: Saint-Saëns was quoted that this would be the end of him. The orchestration isn’t subtle, but there is no denying its power to move.
- Elton John – Tonight: The 1986 Live in Sydney album was a masterclass in how to elevate a (quite frankly) ordinary song. Ray Cooper’s percussion, particularly his sublime tubular bells, raises this song to an entirely different level.
- The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Jazz, Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold: A perfect parody of jazz music from the masters of mayhem. Totally indescribable. Totally mad. Totally brilliant.
- Bagatelle: The Flight of Earls: Just listen to those lyrics and wallow in their meaning. Táim bródúil as a bheith Gaeilge.
- Someone to Love – Queen & George Michael: Music has the power to move, especially when live. What lifts this great song to another level is George’s ability to connect with the audience.
- Joan Armatrading – Love and Affection: I grew up with my elder sister playing this incessantly. I didn’t tire of it then, and I still don’t.
And these four songs could have made the cut on another day:
- David Bowie – Heros: A great song just meant to be heard live, and the version linked here is from the concert to end all concerts. Why Live Aid in 1985 of course.
- Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water: Paul Simon was right to insist Art Garfunkel’s sings this solo. Simple arrangement and a magical voice.
- Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne – Real Love: I love to dance, and Jess’s expressive voice gives this track the lift it needs.
- Roxy Music – Virginia Plain: I don’t associate myself with Brain Ferry’s political beliefs, but this was a classic rock song. Great production.
I’m not big on fiction, so I’m choosing Pictures on a Page by Harold Evans. I’ve a lifelong interest in photography. This book is a master class in photojournalism, and how picture editors use images to supplement a story. It’s a better read than any photography textbook.
As an online chameleon I’m not sure how I’d survive on a desert island with no internet. Maybe I’d have to regress to the days when we had to make our own entertainment. So I’d like a bumper supply of paper and pens. This would allow me to continue keeping a diary, so I’d have a bumper supply of material to post online once I’m rescued 🙂
My Desert Island Albums
This time it’s all about albums. In no particular order:
- Dire Straits – Dire Straits: Sometimes an album comes along that perfectly captures the moment. As someone who’s lived in London most of his life, the sounds and sights of the city resonate throughout all these glorious tracks.
- Parallel Lines – Blondie: A polished album that managed to maintain the balance between great production and the raw energy of Debbie Harry and chums.
- Rumours – Fleetwood Mac: It could be argued that Fleetwood Mac were never the same after this album. If so, what a way to be remembered.
- Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy – Elton John: This autobiographical album tells the story of Reg and Nigel’s life as jobbing songwriters before they made it big. It’s an interesting insight into the early 1970s music machine, full of catchy tunes and dynamite lyrics.
- Blue Moves – Elton John: Elton himself considers this among his favourite albums. Not overly successful in terms of record sales, but who cares. It’s quality throughout.
- Unplugged – Eric Clapton: Here Eric and his band demonstrate how to deliver an unplugged concert, and they seemed to really enjoy doing so.
- A Rush of Blood to the Head – Coldplay: In my opinion they’ve not delivered a better balanced or produced record since this tour de force. There may have been great songs, “Fix You” being a prime example, but not a complete album.
- Island Life – Grace Jones: A record to demonstrate that there are hidden talents in everyone. Great production and the stage presence of Ms.Jones.
- The Red Shoes – Kate Bush: I could have chosen any Kate Bush album, but this one demonstrates here quest for musical perfection. Whether it is the up tempo “Rubberband Girl” or soulful ballad “Moments of Pleasure”, she achieved it in spades.
- Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin: Full of stand out tracks, and Stairway to Heaven isn’t even the best track.
- Beautiful Noise – Neil Diamond: My sister played this to death. I secretly loved it, as I couldn’t be seen to enjoy my elder sister’s musical tastes
- Empty Glass – Pete Townsend: If you think this is just The Who without the others, think again. This demonstrates there’s a lot more to writing rock music than just shouting and smashing your instruments.
- So – Peter Gabriel: One of the reasons I like Peter Gabriel’s music is that he’s not afraid to experiment. Here he delivers some classic ballads as well as good solid bouncy rhythms. Genesis’s loss is our gain.
- Graceland – Paul Simon: Using the rhythms of South African groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, this demonstrates there’s great music out there we can all learn to love.
- Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd: The Floyd tore up the rule book of what an album should be. Experimental and brilliant, this album captures the best of progressive rock music.
- Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Metheral – The Bad Shepherds: Ade Edmondson and pals with a masterclass in fusing musical styles, with this homage to punk rock using Celtic folk instruments.
- Velveteen – Transvision Tramp: Unashamed rebellious rock and roll delivered by Wendy James, the ultimate rock chick. To a 20 year old, she came a close second to Steffi Graf as my idol.
- The Joshua Tree – U2: Just simply one of the best albums of all time. Rock and roll at it’s finest.