Is this the first time I have sent any kind of begging letter on my blog? Probably not. But here it is anyway. I will be running the great North Run from Newcastle to South Shields on Sunday September 16th this year, barely a week and a half away! Why am I doing this? Firstly because my boss and good friend, Mr Nick Cooper ‘press ganged’ me and three others (Stuart O’Hara, Simon Downs and David Carline) into taking part. So the St John’s Ambulance volunteers along the route could have a busy day! Secondly we will be raising money for the Save The Children charity which I’m sure you will agree is an excellent cause!
So onto the begging part now. we have a target of £1,500 to raise and so far we are at £969 or 64% of target. So any donation that you can make, whatever size, would be very much appreciated. As is usual for these things we do have a ‘Just Giving’ page to make it easier to support us. Click here to get access to it.
Of course this is a music blog so I can’t end with no music can I? So here are thirteen (one for each mile of the run) running related songs for you to listen to while you donate!
1 “Running Away” – Sly and the Family Stone
2 “Run Runaway” – Slade
3 “Keep On Runnin'” – Spencer Davis Group
4 “Run For Home” – Lindisfarne
5 “Runaway” – Del Shannon
6 “Run Run Run” – Jo Jo Gunne
7 “I’m Gonna Run Away From You” – Tami Lynn
8 “Running Away” – Roy Ayers
9 “Running Up That Hill” – Kate Bush
10 “Run To The Hills” – Iron Maiden
11 “If You See My Rooster (Please Run Him Home)” – Memphis Minnie and Black Bob
Regular readers will have noticed quite a few sports related posts on this blog recently, largely related to the London Olympics of course. However this is also a sports related post, but it doesn’t relate to the Olympics. I took part in the York 10 k Jane Tomlinson race this morning. Well I say race, but for me it was just a personal challenge. Many years ago I was doing two half marathons a year, many with my good friend Al Sloman. I also ran the 1986 London Marathon with Al, who is a blind runner. My last half marathon was in Wycombe in 1995 and I have now completed the York 10k three times. I did the Leeds 10k and Hull 10k last year too. Having done far less training than I had hoped and being somewhat porky at the moment I set myself a target of between 80 and 90 minutes. I was incredibly pleased to have finished with an official time of just over 68 minutes and I didn’t walk any of it! I also have a nice red t-shirt and a medal sponsored by the UK arm of Wal-Mart; Asda.
Howard Webb dresses for charity for the York 10K (or perhaps not!)
Clearly my performance wouldn’t have brought me even close to Mo Farah, but then I am considerably older than him! He probably had a better build up too. I arrived at the start at 8.20 (for a 9.00 start) with Catwoman, who was my chauffeur, coach and supporter for the day. I have a bladder that is smaller than a gnat’s eyeball so obviously I needed to empty it. The queue for the chemical portaloos was immense, but having joined it I wasn’t budging. So I was actually in full bladder emptying mode when the race started. But given I was always going to start with the less fast runners I still had plenty of time to join the slow pack. It took me 12 minutes from the starting whistle to cross the start line. Why was it a whistle and not a pistol? Well it was started by world-class football referee Howard Webb.
As is the norm the “Theme From Chariots Of Fire” was played before the race along with the British national anthem. Music can be inspirational so just how disappointed do you think I was when the PA was blasting out Cheryl Cole‘s “Fight For This Love” when I eventually crossed the start line. To make matters even worse that same slice of Cheryl’s special brand of crap pop was playing again! So as this is a music blog I will spare you anything by Cheryl and let you enjoy a few of running related songs and a song about Cheryl Cole née Tweedy.
Some months ago when Elton John announced a UK tour of some places that never seem to get big rock stars performing the list included the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. So as I live just down the road and as Sir Elton is now 65 I thought I had to get tickets for me and my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman to regular readers. I love Elton’s music, especially the early stuff, but until today I had never seen him live. It was well worth the wait and the ticket price.
The support act was the amazing 2Cellos, which does exactly what it says on the tin. The act consists of two cellists from Croatia; Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. If you had said to me before today that two guys playing cello could be really exciting and create an amazing rock sound I may well have laughed at you. But frankly these guys are outstanding. They played three covers; Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, U2’s “With Or Without You” and an electrifying version of “Purple Haze” the Jimi Hendrix classic.
Just as we all thought they were about to start another song Elton and his band took the stage and raced right into “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting“. 2Cellos remained with the band for that and many other songs during Elton’s incredible two and a half hour set. He seemed to show no sign whatsoever of his recent illness and really seemed to be enjoying himself. The band who included long time Elton stalwarts Nigel Olsson on drums and Davey Johnstone on guitar. These guys have played together for more than 40 years now and I think that trust and knowledge of each other really shows.
The backing vocalists could undoubtedly be an act in their own right including; Rose Stone a founding member of Sly and the Family Stone and the sister of Sly and Freddie Stone and also Tata Vega who produced some terrific albums for Motown in the 70s. Having started the set with a superb rocker the band followed up with “Bennie And The Jets” and “Levon”. I was really pleased with the eclectic set list Elton had chosen. It included many of his biggest hits along with some of those that are not heard as often. Those included two fantastic selections from the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘ album; “Funeral For A Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding” and “Grey Seal” and the gorgeous “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” from ‘Madman Across The Water‘. I was disappointed to see so many people head for the bar and the toilets when Elton played “Hey Ahab” from his recent collaboration with the supremely talented Leon Russell.
Most of the crowd were out to have a good time and the rain didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. Although it was quite ironic to be listening to “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” when the weather had created the effect that the sun had never really come up! There was an element in the crowd that seemed to fit with the stereotypical breed of Harrogate snob. They seemed to be there more for the social occasion, to drink Pimms and most importantly to be seen. One bloke and his wife/ partner asked us to swap seats with him so that he could sit near his friends. We refused largely because they had been getting up and going in and out of the grandstand during the whole show (well the part they stayed for anyway). But it was interesting that five minutes after our refusal all his ‘friends’ left without telling him! I named him Mr Yo Yo Bollocks.
There were two ladies who spent most of the show dancing around and trying to get everyone else up, including the security guards. They were draped in a ‘we love Elton’ Union Jack and seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, but I suspect that their hangovers may be huge. It took “I’m Still Standing” to get everyone up, most of whom stayed up for the rest of the show. When Elton and the band left the stage it was hard to figure out what the encore would be as they had played some many classics, but of course it was the beautiful “Your Song”. Preceded by Elton signing a whole bunch of autographs for those at the front.
Elton John is a talented musician, a gifted songwriter, a real showman and a consummate performer. There are not many people around that can match him I believe. It is nearly 39 years since I saw my first ever gig (Jackson 5 at the Wembley Empire Pool in 1973 if you’re interested!) and todays show is easily in my top 5 ever. If you are going to one of the shows on this tour I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. If you’re not then do whatever it takes to get a ticket; sell your grannie, send your kits out to clean chimneys or get your dog to wine ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ (OK probably too late on the last one). And finally thank you for a great gig Elton!
I have no film from tonights show (I was enjoying myself too much to get my phone out) so here is a clip of Elton playing “Your Song” from a couple of years back, followed by 2Cellos with their version of “Smooth Criminal”
I was reading an article in last weeks NME in which they listed their view of the 50 druggiest albums ever recorded. Most of the usual suspects are included with Primal Scream‘s ‘Screamadelica’ making it to the top of the pile (or the bottom of this reverse order listing of course). The article also included a number of great little pieces of trivia. The one that really amused me was Fleetwood Mac, included at number 29 with their 1979 album ‘Tusk’. Apparently they were so full of coke they agreed that the album title would be the nickname that drummer and founder Mick Fleetwood called his todger. Whilst most normal people use simple terms like willy or cock, Mr Fleetwood prefers to call his manhood Tusk. Is it made of ivory with a sharp point? You have to hope not for any of his girlfriends or wives. So, and I may well regret this, what do you call yours?
As for the list, I’d like to know why the Eagles aren’t included, notably ‘Hotel California’
50 The Libertines – The Libertines
49 Oasis – Be Here Now
48 MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
47 Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks
46 Dr Dre – The Chronic
45 Klaxons – Surfing The Void
44 The Doors – The Doors
43 Brian Jonestown Massacre – Methodrone
42 Missy Elliott – Miss E…So Addictive
41 Guns ‘N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction
40 Royal Trux – Twin Infinitives
39 Tricky – Maxinquaye
38 Jane’s Addiction – Ritual De Lo Habitual
37 The Birthday Party – Junk Yard
36 Pavement – Wowee Zowee
35 13th Floor Elevators – Easter Everywhere
34 Black Sabbath – Master of Reality
33 Neil Young – On the Beach
32 Babyshambles – Down In Albion
31 Bardo Pond – Bufo Alvarius
30 The Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust
29 Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
28 Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle
27 Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music
26 Butthole Surfers – Locust Abortion Technician
25 Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow
24 Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Nigga Please
23 Spacemen 3 – Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To
22 Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers – L.A.M.F
21 David Bowie – Station To Station
20 Factory Floor – Untitled
19 Happy Mondays – Yes Please!
18 My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
17 Elton John – Madman Across The Water
16 Suede – Dog Man Star
15 The Stooges – Raw Power
14 Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
13 The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
12 Cypress Hill – Black Sunday
11 Marilyn Manson – Antichrist Superstar
10 Pink Floyd – The Piper At The Gates of Dawn
09 The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
08 Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
07 Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
06 The Beatles – Revolver
05 Nirvana – In Utero
04 Sly and the Family Stone – There’s A Riot Goin’ On
03 The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat
02 The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St
01 Primal Scream – Screamadelica