ForgetMeNot

With friends like that?

Friends like what?

Well it’s kinda hard to explain.

Have you ever had or do you currently have a friend that you love dearly,  that you’ve went through lots together,  marriage,  divorce,  in his case re-marriage ..  long term friends who have went through the good and bad together.

I was best man at his wedding,  the second one that is,   been there when the twins came along,  advised him to play more of an active part and stop using work as an excuse to avoid dealing with the kids as his wife needs the help.

Not that I’ve ever been a fan of his missus,   I never thought they were right for each other,   particularly as during the pre-marriage days he had a few misdemeanours,    one in particular where his future wife turned up at my door asking me if he’d stayed at mine the previous night.

Now what can you say in that situation?

Tell the truth and stick your bestie deep in the doo-do?

Or lie your ass off and swear to the big guy in the sky that you’d been out for curry and beers,  came back to mine for some more drinks and he’d fell asleep.

Nobody sticks their mate in the shit,  it just isn’t done.

The missus couldn’t prove I was lying and although I was deeply uncomfortable with it,  what else could I say?

He’d texted me that morning in a panic,   he’d met a girl a few weeks ago and unbeknown to me,  was out with her on the Friday night, telling his girlfriend that he was out with me for the night.

Boys will be boys and all that.

They go out for dinner and drinks,  he goes back to hers,   nature takes it’s due course and the fud then falls asleep, waking up at 7 in the morning in a panic and calling a cab.

He then texts me from the cab to ask me to cover for him if his missus gets in touch.

What can you say?

Errr .. Nah mate,  your on your own?

So he gets home,  the missus suspects he’s been up to no good and rightfully gives him the third degree.

He feigns innocence and has deleted the text to me from his mobile.

I wake up at 8am .. well it is a Saturday .. and see his text, I  can tell he’s panicking and on the way home and know that he’s in it deep as he has a bit of previous.

I swither on sending him a text,  but don’t want to say anything that drops him in it and don’t’ really want involved either.

Nothing happens the rest of the day,  she’s obviously watching him like a hawk and he’s on best behaviour.   But later that evening,  while eating a take-away with the kids, the doorbell rings.  It’s his girlfriend asking if she can come in for a chat.

“Of course you can,    I’m surprised to see you,  hope everything is okay?” .. and I was surprised to see her .. hoping that my genuine surprise is masking my discomfort.

So she comes into the kitchen and I put the kettle on,  any excuse to buy a bit of thinking time.

I turn to face her and although her blue eyes are red as she’s clearly been crying,   they’re intensely staring at mine and she wants a straight answer.

“Did Robert stay here last night?”

Short, sweet and straight to the point.

It’s the moment of truth .. or lie.   It’s the moment of choice.

To choose the path of the hard and hurtful truth or to tell a horrible but gentle lie?

What would you do?

Back your best mate up or tell the truth and drop him right in it?

Call me weak,  I chose the easier path and lied .. yep,  as brazen-faced as I could manage,  I put surprise on my face as if the question had came out of the blue and lied through my teeth.

“Yes,  he was here”  .. and I’m doing my best to look as if the question itself was a surprise  ..  “We went for a curry and a few beers,  then he came here and we put on a Bowie concert and that Depeche Mode one that we had been to,  he fell asleep on the sofa,  so I went to my bed and when I woke up this morning he was gone”

Bowie and Depeche mode an easy and convincing add-on .. my bad …  but she knows we are both fans and have been to see them and watched these concerts at his house after nights out when she’d been there and went up to her bed.

“Is that what really happened?”

“Not sure what you mean?   Yes that’s what happened,  did he say that we did something else?  Is everything okay?”

“He says that he stayed here last night,   but I don’t believe him.   He’s been too secretive lately and disappeared a few times without saying where he’s going or where he’s been,  making excuse to go shopping on his own,  anything to get out the house for a while”

And she stares at me,  almost pleading to hear the truth  “Are you sure that’s what happened?”

And she knows,  of course she knows,  she just can’t prove it.

And I lie again, shamefully,   brazenly,  I’m even embarrassed about it now 15 years later.

A lot has changed in that time,    their married,  got the twins,  I’ve never had to lie for him again.

Back then,  after the dust settled and we met for another beer and curry night .. I ripped him up for putting me in such a horrible position.

If his missus was to read this now,  how would she feel,  knowing that despite him being a good dad and husband,  he had lied to her back then,  would it change anything .. or does time heal and we move along and close off the past,  preferring not to look at its dark secrets?

Let me give you a wee bit of advice … if you’re ever in that situation where you know your partner has cheated but can’t prove it and he has his best friend backing him up.

Trust your instincts.

 

Treble Treble then 10 in a Row.

I’m a Celtic fan, It’s part of who I am. I can’t remember being anything else.

Even in those dark days of divorce, I’d find myself at Celtic Park surrounded by fellow fans and thinking no matter how bad things get, I’ll always have this and at least I’ll never be a hun. 🙂

Celtic has been not only part of my life but also my sons. In those dark days it was the glue that bonded us bhoys together. Him aged 5 sitting on my knee eating pizza, the seat beside us empty. The guys around us patting his head and giving him sweets.

20 odd years later, we’re still in the same seats in the Jock Stein Stand with the same guys sitting around us.

Part of my legacy with my Bhoy is that I’ll pay the season tickets until I’m not working then he’ll take the mantle and hopefully grandkids will fill that empty seat.

Today Celtic play Hibs at Easter road with a beam back to the Kerrydale suite at Celtic Park. A few of our fellow fans are meeting for a beer and to watch the game together.

It’ll be a bit different to talking to the backs of their heads.

If we win then that’s the league wrapped up for the seventh year in a row and a win against Motherwell at Hampden in May and that’s a historic second Treble in a row.

Would you bet against it?

I wouldn’t.

If you’ve read any of my nonsense, you’ll know I like an occasional flutter, but only really like to bet certainties and put enough on that the return is worthwhile.

Earlier in the week I contacted Ladbrokes for the odds of Celtic winning 10 league titles in a row.

As you can see from the response above it’s not a risk they are willing to take. I.e In their opinion Celtic will go on to win the 10 titles in a row.

Got to agree with them.

Enjoy your day, these are the good days. These are days to celebrate and remember.

Life On Mars? #DavidBowie

IMG_0742

Life on Mars?  ( don’t forget the question-mark!  )  by the inimitable Mr David Bowie has always been one of my favourite songs.    Although recorded in the early 70s its timeless,  ageless and some would say meaningless.

I’d say enigmatic, as what most people don’t get is that Bowie is painting a picture of a world gone mad, the girl with the mousy hair escaping her dull existence to see the same dull movie 10 times, people fighting for no reason, police beating up the wrong guy.

It really is the freakish show and he asks the question .. Is there life on Mars?

Is there any chance of escaping for this dull and chaotic existence?

Personally,  I like it because it just sounds and feels good.

Although Bowie wrote the song,  the piano was played by the classically trained Rick Wakeman,  two musical geniuses in my opinion who I could only ever dream to emulate.

On paper the song is written in the Key of F,   but thats only notional as it promptly forgets that and goes in and out of key at multiple locations.

Its probably the most complex song that I’ve learned and the below tab I’ve based it on doesn’t do the complexity of the song justice.   So I used this for guidance and filled the rest in from the Bowie songbook that I received for my birthday last week.

https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/david_bowie/life_on_mars_chords_570195

I’m off work for a week and catching up with bits and bobs,  including getting a chance to mess around with the recording features of the Roland FP-90 Digital Piano that I bought last year.

Finally had the change to record this and convert it to mp3,  a fairly painless process.

In my version,  its a quick round of an 8 bar intro in a more classical style and then the song in more accompaniment style so that my mate can sing along with it without guessing where the lyrics sync with the music.

Hope I’ve did it justice. 🙂

 

 

Who’ll love Aladdin Sane? .. #DavidBowie #MikeGarson

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Who’ll love Aladdin Sane?

Mike Garson does as did a few thousand souls including myself at last night’s homage to David Bowie’s finest album ( in my humble opinion ).

The reason that I think it is Bowie’s finest work and superior to the rest including Ziggy Stardust is largely down to the piano dexterity of one Mike Garson.

Garson is ( was ) Bowie’s longest serving band member, playing in over 1000 concerts together including Bowie’s first and last concerts in the states. See wiki for more details.

Personally, I just love the way he plays his avant-garde crazy piano music, both in and out of key over a rock rhythm. The cacophony of sounds happening in different layers stimulates something in my mind which I don’t really understand, but love all the more.

As a wannabe-piano-player, self-taught over 15 years and playing every day, this is a whole different level, something that I both aspire to but know that I’ll never achieve. My own poor-man’s version of Lady Grinning Soul hits all the right notes at all the right time, its recognisable but Garsons’ piano skills have so much depth, flawlessly rolling up to the higher octaves and back seamlessly.

His band were particularly tight compared with most bands I’ve seen ( and I see a lot), recently played on the Iggy Pop tour. Special mention to saxophonist and the lead guitarist who had the difficult job of covering the Mick Ronson’s part.

Last but not least, lead vocalist Gaby Moreno, dressed in an emerald green jump suit with her cork-screw hair, both prowled and commanded the stage.

I had been concerned before the gig that no-one would be able to carry Bowie’s vocal, particularly against such classic songs, but she did and is probably a better singer than Bowie. Most noticeably on the quieter bonus song Wild Is The Wind.

It was mesmerising.

It was a fantastic gig,  well worth seeing and with the additional benefit of an appearance by the legendary Steve Harley for a rendition of Space Oddity and his own song Sebastian.

This was a real Bowie fan gig, most of the audience around me were singing every word of music which obviously is a part of their life.

At one point during Wild Is The Wing,  I wished the guy beside me would just shut up, but an accidentally on purpose dig in the ribs seemed to do the trick!

If you get the chance to see Mike and the band .. don’t think,  go.

More info including a similar set-list from the recent Birmingham gig.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aladdin_Sane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Garson

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/mike-garson/2017/o2-institute-birmingham-england-73e02e25.html

 

 

Old Gold Dream? … #SimpleMinds


New Gold Dream
She is the one in front of me, 
the siren and the ecstasy
New Gold Dream
81 82 83 84

Simple Minds played the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall last night,  a relatively small venue for them as they are normally sssiciated with stadiums or arena venues. 

The gig was a stripped down acoustic set,  no synths,  three guitars, percussion,  Jim on lead vocal and the gorgeous foxy Sarah Brown on backing and occasional lead vocals. 

The band have just released an album Simple Minds Avoustic and the tour is obviously to generate sales. 

But what came first?   The music or the marketing?

The music obviously.  But it’s a business,  no one gets to keep producing new music unless it sells.   

Jim mentioned last night that the band had recently had a few tough years.   

I expect that their new material doesn’t sell as it’s just not as popular as it was except with those rare die-hard fans. 

Their tour a few years ago at Glasgow Barrowlands was pushing their 5 from 5 allbum with 5 tracks taken from each of their first 5 albums. 

Their last tour which took in the Glasgow Hydro was mainly a greatest hits tour with a few recent tracks thrown in for toilet breaks. 

But they were still better than U2 or New Ordervwjo were both touring within weeks of each other. 

https://dancingbhoy.wordpress.com/tag/simple-minds/

Last night,  they rocked the place. 

In all my times at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  which is quite a sedate venue for a rock band as it’s all seated.   This was the only time that everyone was on their feet from the start. 

The hits came one after an other at a blistering pace.   But what made this for me was Jim chatting and joking with the audience.    

As a guy he’s mellowed and I’m sure he appreciates what he has now more than ever.     His dad was in the audience and Jim played tribute to him and a few other family members of the band for giving them the money to get started 40 years ago. 

There were a few surprises along the way, a tribute to Bowie playing his song Andy Warhol from Hunky Dory was for me a bizarre choice when there are so many more well known Bowie songs to choose from which would be more accessible to the audience. 

The final encore was a nice touch were Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel joined the band for a rousing rendition of Come Up and See Me ( Make Me Smile)

You certainly did that. 

My brother and I went home .. or back to the pub as high as a kite and wishing we could do it all again today. 

The Minds are part of the soundtrack of our youth,   A time when we had our full life’s ahead of us and everything was possible. 

Now call me an Old Gold Dreamer,  but I like to think it still is. 

What a weekend I have ahead?

The Minds last night,  my bestie for a curry tonight, a Bowie tribute band at Oran Mor tomorrow night and going to see the Celtic finish the league unbeaten and pick up the title again. 

Life is good. 

Because we make it that way. 

Wild Is The Wind?

You touch me … with your kiss my life begins
You’re spring to me
All things to me ..
Don’t you know you’re life itself?

Undoubtedly one of my favourite Bowie songs,   originally recorded by Johnny Mathis but made popular by Nina Simone.

Bowie recorded it for his Station To Station album after he met her after one of her shows in Los Angeles in 1975.

Something about that song,  the minor key,  the lyrics,  the passion and desperation of Bowies voice just grabs me,  gives me chills and a longing deep in my chest.

Isn’t it wonderful that music can have that effect?

Tonight Joanne Shaw Taylor the British Blues/Rock Guitarist/ Vocalist  plays the ABC, Glasgow.

Can’t say I was aware of Joanne til fairly recently,  but her sixth album Wild is a winner and well worth a listen.

Guess my favourite track?

Can’t wait to see this later.