Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Yoghurt on Tour

Ah, it's so nice to see a yoghurt enjoying itself!

Here's Dan One still obviously enjoying his bus tour - with included Thames river cruise - of London.

Big Ben, Tower Bridge... who knows where he may turn up next?

Somewhere close to you perhaps?

Meanwhile elsewhere, a librarian was heard to mutter "Thank God I didn't lose my underwear!" What a strange thing to say... Perhaps this merits further investigation...

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Sightseeing by Yoghurt

Aha! I knew it!

That ransom note was a diversionary tactic by some scheming get rich quick merchant!

The yoghurt has been spotted enjoying its time in London, doing the sights and sounds of the capital city. Clever of it to get a bus really - with no legs it would take ages to be casually kicked around London by passing feet...

I hope it manages to stay out of the way of any sweepers and road cleaners!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Lift Up Your Eyes!

They say that Londoners rarely lift their eyes above street level.

If that's true then they miss out on some wonderful artistic architecture. I am more at risk in London of bumping into bollards or small children through gawping gormlessly upwards, looking for those little and not-so-little details that London buildings seem to have in abundance.

Here we were in South Molton Street as Jeannie was looking for the Butler & Wilson store. I was pounced on as soon as I walked in as I had my camera around my neck.

"You can't take photos in here!" I was told sternly. I hadn't tried to. I'm not sure whether they were worried about someone stealing their designs or what, but I had a similar experience in Harrods once in 1995 when I had no intention of taking photos and I've never been back in there since. Get a life...

Birthday Gig

We had a bit of help from some enthusiastic singers last night as David and I performed at a 40th birthday party in Freckleton.

An interesting gig - the SatNav took us down some narrow country roads to get there and then once we were playing the keyboard decided not to let me use several keys - which meant we had to rely on the pre-recorded keyboard sounds whilst I played guitar almost exclusively during the night.

I now need to find a spot with at least a fortnight free to get it repaired and am wondering whether to make my Christmas present this year a somewhat emergency purchase! The Korg doesn't like the files from the Yamaha so will have to plump for another Yamaha.

Whichever way I go, it will mean learning a whole new set of procedures for recording and style setting.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Sorry To Miss You!

We saw them both last week at Ingrid's birthday party, but I'm still sorry not be going down to Birmingham this weekend to see Ingrid Pitt and Caroline Munro and a few other stars I've come to know.

The NEC Memorabila events are great fun and a chance to meet and natter to stars of film and television, comic writers and artists and lots of other interesting people.

We've been going for what seems like ages - we first met Caroline and Ingrid over ten years ago.

So I hope you have a great weekend down there girls, whilst the band are busy playing in Freckleton!

A Sinister Turn of Events

A missive has been received!

This ransom note came to me yesterday from an anonymous source.

It appears that a person or persons unknown - well that's what they think anyway - is attempting to cash in on the misfortune of others by threatening to "blow away" the missing yoghurt.

The fact that the weapon depicted looks suspiciously more like a hair dryer or drill than a gun and the fact that my photofit picture has been used rather than an actual photo of Dan One - who is an English yoghurt rather than the American version that I found for the photofit - leads me to think they haven't really got the yoghurt at all and he's probably still safe and well and enjoying his travels somewhere!

Anyway: 20p!!! Do they think I'm made of money???

Friday, 23 November 2007

Glimpse of the Past

This somewhat risque postcard was sent by Frank who was on holiday in Blackpool.

It was posted on the 5th August 1909 to his mother and sister in Bradford. Frank was staying in a guest house on Central Drive and seemed to be enjoying himself doing what young men have always gone to Blackpool to do. In fact you have to wonder what on earth he was getting up to... On the other hand would he tell his mother and sister everything or is there a more innocent meaning? Or is it simply my interpretation of dodgy handwriting?

"Dear Mother and Sister", he writes, "we are having a beautiful time, the weather is simply glorious the sun is shining and we are having high tides in the heat. Good grub. Good lodgings. Nice girls fine tarts & etc etc you know etc etc


What??? Frank, you little devil!!!

Eat Your Friends?

We might have gone in, but then Jeannie saw the sign and decided she didn't want to eat us.

We looked at David and Jeannie and decided we weren't hungry enough for that either...

Strange these Londoners...

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

A Yoghurt on the Edge

Rejected by love, bereft of even the briefest of brief encounters, our lonely yoghurt contemplates life without spooning.

As the murky waters pass by, he contemplates the meaning of his pro-biotic nature and his special relationship with the active bacteria of life.

But anyway, I've a train to catch so we'll leave him there and see where he gets to next time!

Monday, 19 November 2007

London Weekend

What a fabulous weekend!

David's surprise birthday trip included a trip on the London Eye - the weather was a bit dull but it is November so we couldn't expect brilliant sunshine!

Jeannie didn't fancy the height so she agreed to stay and keep a careful watch for any stray yoghurts that might be around to be spotted!

We spent Saturday wandering and sight-seeing and then hit the shops on Sunday. Well, to be more precise, the ladies hit more shops than David and myself, we just hit HMV big time...

Then driving home last night we found ourselves in the middle of a snow storm! Brrr! White stuff?!? We don't get that in Blackpool!

A (Yoghurty) Brief Encounter

Maybe it should have been in black and white, this photo...

To our amazement we spotted the yoghurt on Carnforth Station - the location for the famous film Brief Encounter, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard.

Very strange, I thought, but then I read the DVD cover more closely:

"Noel Coward's sensitive portrayal of what happens when two happily married strangers meet and their acquaintance deepens into affection and love. It is the story of two people, thrown together by a chance meeting over a yoghurt..."
Well, would you believe it!!!

And look, later we spotted the yoghurt, surprising unsuspecting women at random, desperately trying for one last romance before passing his sell-by date...

Silly old romantic Dan One. Not so much Dan One as Don Juan!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Ingrid Pitt's Birthday Bash

Have just got back from London (second time in a week!) where we went to Ingrid Pitt's annual Birthday Party and Fan Club Bash and a very good 'do' it was too!

For some reason Fran and I were elevated to the top table this year - very nice to be there too, I sat next to writer James Herbert's wife, Eileen and she was very friendly and was really interesting to talk to. Ingrid was next to her with James on her other side.

Kate O'Mara and Veronica Carlson came but had to leave early due to some busy schedules, but the ever-lovely Caroline Munro was there and looking radiant as she chatted with guests and posed for photos.

Ingrid herself looked well after all her health setbacks and I gather there's still some surgery to come so we wish her well with that.

"I was looking on my desk for something and all I could find were photos of me with you!" she said. It didn't even sound like a complaint...! In fact she didn't tell me off once - very strange...

The night flew by all too quickly and we left her happily chatting away and as usual went off to find a taxi cab with Caroline who lives on our route back to our usual hotel.

Once back at the hotel we had a nightcap with David and Jeannie who spent the weekend in London with us - a surprise pressy for David's birthday. They had been to see Les Miserables whilst we were at Ingrid's party. It was a superb weekend - more when I can keep my eyes open!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Frozen But Not Yog-Hurt...

I think some of our fears about the yoghurt going bad as it was out of the fridge may come to nothing.

This morning I spotted him stuck tight to the back window of my hired Volkswagen Golf!

I think he may have had enough wandering as when I got home tonight he hopped out of the boot where he had obviously stowed away and legged it down the road before I could apprehend him.

The librarian may be relieved to know that he is back in our neck of the woods and appears (from the speed of his getaway) as active as ever...

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Flight of Fancy

Dan One the runaway yoghurt is certainly evaluating all possibilities for making a clean getaway!

Here he is evaluating the possibilities for stowing away on a flight out of Heathrow. What a co-incidence that I am at a two-day symposium nearby and was on hand to spot him!

After several days from the fridge, he still shows no signs of any untoward fermentation - we had all been concerned he may have been hitting the bottle but obviously he has other plans. The recent cold weather will be doing him good anyway.

Meanwhile back in the library up in Lancashire, a librarian is due to make a dramatic appeal to the public...

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Changing Blackpool

Whilst in Hoyles Market in Olympia last weekend I found this postcard. It's a watercolour painting of the Gynn area, although it looks very different to today's Gynn Square. At the time there was a deep inlet into the land and the trams had to negotiate a sharp bend. I'd put the date of the postcard somewhere around 1910. The large Dreadnought trams had problems with the curve and it was decided to fill the inlet and build over it, giving the coast the shape that we know today and giving the trams a much straighter track.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Montage Making & Collage Creation

I'll hedge my bets as I'm not sure of the difference to be honest...

Anyway after making a series of montages about the last cruise we did I enjoyed it so much I've started doing some of our 2005 cruise around the Atlantic Islands - Canaries to you!

I've been uploading them to Flickr so you can have a look at the a bit bigger than this one! It shows the view from La Mirador del Rio on Lanzarote, designed by artist César Manrique.

From a large cafe window and from cliff edge balconies you can look over to the island of La Graciosa. The island is stunning with its volcanoes rising high above the coast.

According to some, Robert Louis Stevens based his book "Treasure Island" on an incident which occurred on La Graciosa.

More Music News

Talking of online music to download (see previous entry); as it's Remembrance Sunday, I've uploaded a track from our new CD for free download.

It's The Green Fields of France a beautiful song that sums up the day. Click on the song title to download it.

Yesterday I got out the keyboard and microphone and spent the afternoon recording a version of The Beatles' song "This Boy", one of their earlier tracks as it was the B side of the hit "I Want To Hold Your Hand. Thinking about it, it may even have been a double A side in fact - someone with a better memory give me a prompt!

I had great fun sneaking a guitar bit in from "Oh Darling" from their "Abbey Road" album! It'll turn up on the Billy Fury site some time next year - though it may be as far as March before I've a chance! There's a waiting list of songs.

Next month should be good as the artists are sending in two tracks for Christmas. Ours have been especially recorded and are the Greg Lake "I Believe In Father Christmas" and David Essex's "A Winter's Tale" both of which sound quite nice to my ears, but I'll let you be the true judges next month!

"Stormy Down" Track on Strawbs Website

Some exciting news!

I was contacted by long time fan and friend of The Strawbs, Les Cotton, a fellow Blackpudlian musician and we now have a mention on the Strawbs website along with a fully downloadable track, one of my solo efforts which is a cover of The Strawbs' track "Stormy Down" which appeared on their brilliant album "Bursting At The Seams".

I saw them on stage the year the album came out and the song bowled me over. It's a real privilege to be featured singing it on their website!

On the website click:

Downloads > Fan Downloads > Latest Additions
I'm not sure how long it will stay a "latest addition" though! You'll find tracks from Les Cotton also. His version of the Strawbs classic "Lay Down" is well worth a listen!

Les and I have never met, although we've swapped the occasional email for quite a while now. He even went trogging off down the North Pier that time when we were searching for Margot's telescope box!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Blackpool Belle (No.2)

Must be the day for it - this is my second follow-up post of the day! I have previously mentioned the Blackpool Belle illuminated tram that I remember well trundling up and down the Promenade during the famous Illuminations, but which got sent away to America during the later 1970s.

I had a wander around the Hoyles antiques market in the Olympia building in the Winter Gardens complex this morning and came across this postcard of the tram, taken by the John Hinde postcard firm. It was probably taken in or close by the tram sheds as:

  1. there looks to be a line at angles to the tram so it could have been near a set of points
  2. it had to be taken in daylight from the detail and colour of the tram's woodwork and the sea-effect on the skirting

John Hinde were extremely good at paint jobs though and the background has been painted out and the foreground darkened and perhaps coloured to look like night with the tram lights reflected in a puddle.

Mark Redfield - Cold Harbor

A while ago, you may remember I bumped into actor and director Mark Redfield in Manchester at the Festival of Fantastic Films.

Mark is currently involved in a film project The Tell Tale Heart, an Edgar Allan Poe tale.

Whilst we were chatting in Manchester he very kindly gave me a copy of a Tom Brandau film, Cold Harbor, which he not only starred in but also produced.

I watched this quite late one night and this turned out to be an excellent move as the film draws you in. It deals with four brothers who have just lost their father through suicide, as they journey to the quiet seaside community where he lived and set about emptying his house.

As they do so they must each come to terms with their relationships to each other and their different recollections and relationships to their father. This is most certainly a reflective drama not a gung-ho action blast and it just suited my mood as I watched.

The film has a realistic gritty feel to it too. There are some quite atmospheric moments where I thought I was being set up for a "horror moment", but then in real life things like that don't happen too often. Even in the scene where the brothers decide to symbolically burn their father's boat, the temptation to go over the top with pyrotechnics is resisted, leaving a far more realistic scene and probably my favourite moment in the film as each of the brothers reflects and you can't help but be there with them, sharing - even helping create - what is going through their minds.

There are moments of humour and tension particularly as the second brother determines to steal the suicide note from the police station and the others create a diversion.

Described as "intense and moody" this film won't have you on the edge of your seat throughout, but you will be involved!

Friday, 9 November 2007

The Librarian's Nightmare

A lost, lonely and pining yoghurt nestling under a newspaper for warmth, trying to get some sleep under a sheltering bush...

An innocent gardener, humbly going about his daily chores...

The tragic consequences...

Let's hope that this scenario remains merely a dream!

This blog entry uses clever make-up and simulation techniques - no bacteria were harmed during the making of this blog. From the yoghurt anyway... I might have trodden on a couple that were on the path... but I was keeping a careful eye open for them so it's not really my fault... honest.

Blackpool Trams Off Track

For the first time in 120 years Blackpool trams have ceased service totally whilst a major overhaul of the track is carried out.

Up until now any such work has been carried out whilst trams operated a single track service or a service on a limited stretch of track. This is the first time they are to remain in the sheds for any length of time.

There is talk of retiring the 1930s fleet, though it would need some major investment for a brand new fleet and then they wouldn't really be recogniseable as Blackpool trams either. Apart from transport enthusiasts, show most people a picture of a bus and they couldn't tell you where it was from unless it was a bright red London Routemaster. Show someone a picture of a Blackpool railcoach, balloon or boat tram and they can tell you immediately where it comes from.

Return to Blackpool Tram and Bus Index Page

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Dailey & Wayne

Quite a while ago, before I started the blog that you are reading, I put up a series of web pages about nostalgia.

They contain my own personal memories of the 1950s and 1960s rather than being another news archive but in one of them where I am recalling theatre and variety acts, I mentioned a comedy duo named Dailey & Wayne, who I remembered seeing in variety shows in Blackpool.

I'd searched the Internet and found nothing about them and so I suppose anyone else searching for them would have eventually found my page listed on Google.

And so I got an email from Claire, who's Dad's cousin was Billy Wayne. I replied asking her if she had a photo of the act as I'd found it impossible to find any and she promised to try to find one. She also mentioned the sad news that Billy had passed on some years ago.

Anyway she was as good as her word and the other day this autographed photo arrived and is now, as far as I know, at time of writing, the only photograph of Dailey & Wayne on the web!

ClOse EnCouNterS oF tHe YoGhuRt KinD

This is getting ridiculous...

I'm starting to see yoghurts everywhere now! In fact, yesterday when I switched my phone back on after running a workshop in London I had a voice message from someone claiming to have seen Dan One, the runaway yoghurt.

Look, this may just be a joke to you, but up there in Lancashire, a librarian is lying awake all night staring at the ceiling wondering what might have happened to him!

Someone else reports seeing a "family pack" as though that's a suggestion he may have found happiness.

Let's be realistic about this though - he's been out of the fridge for a week. By now he might not only be active, he may be getting reactive!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

November Online Sounds at Billy Fury Website

The monthly track for November on the Billy Fury website is one from the band's first album "Keeping On..."

It's the last track off the album in fact - a cover of The Moody Blues famous track "Nights in White Satin" and you can hear it by going to the website linked above and clicking the blue bar that says "Click to Play".

The website is a tribute site to Billy Fury, a fabulous singer who was one of Britain's early rock and roll stars. He had many hits in the early 1960s and still has a great following these days despite dying far too early in 1983 aged only 43 following long standing heart problems.

I found one of his early albums in a second hand record shop this weekend as I went looking for a few more records to stick in my jukebox.

It was priced up at £28 but I resisted the temptation although I did snap up one of his singles "I'd Never Find Another You" which I'll try out in the jukebox the next time I change the records!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Magnavox Dansette Deluxe!

I lost an Ebay auction for a Garrard record deck earlier today so thought to cheer myself up by crawling up into the attic and finding one of my record players out to play with.

The Magnavox is a deluxe type of Dansette, with a second speaker in the detachable lid and a stereo cartridge. Unfortunately it refused to play at either 33.3 or 45rpm but the 78rpm speed is working ok so at a guess either a belt has snapped or is slipping.

Anyway I dug out a few rock and roll 78s and spent a few minutes chasing the Ebay blues away!

Return to Record Players Index Page

Yoghurt Goes Thirsty In Windermere

It seems that Dan One the yoghurt has made it to Bowness on Lake Windermere.

No doubt thirsty after all that travelling - even for an active yoghurt, Myerscough to Windermere is a long way - imagine his distress to find the drinking fountain was dry...

If he sups from the lake we can only hope he doesn't get washed away or, even worse, punctured by a curious duck!

Members of the public are asked to be vigilant but before approaching him with bravado please remember... he's pro-biotic and could go off on one!

Weston-Super-Mare Postcard

Another postcard from the collection.

This is an early hand-coloured postcard from black and white photos of the resort Weston-Super-Mare. We used to go down there quite a bit when we were teenagers.

The postcard includes bits of the town that I have never seen though - so whether they don't exist any more or whether I just never went to find Grove Park, wherever it is in the town, I'm not so sure!

Can someone let me know whether it still exists and in what part of the town?

Friday, 2 November 2007

The Mating Call of a Yoghurt?

After a modest start by bus it seems Dan One - our favourite runaway yoghurt - has managed to hitch a lift.

We're not quite sure yet where he's heading, but I see there has been a suggestion on the last entry that he may be seeking a "pro active mate".

Well steady on... he's pro-biotic and active but he's been out of the fridge for a couple of days now and it can't be long before something has to happen...

I wonder... if a pro-biotic yoghurt went bad would it become antibiotic...?

Harry Potter 6 Filming

I see that filming for the 6th Harry Potter film has started in Laycock. I was close by in 2006 and went to have a look. The village in Wiltshire is wonderful. Although there were a few cars parked when I went, there are no yellow lines, street lamp posts, television aerials so it has the look and feel of an olde English village - which of course it is.

At Laycock Abbey, Fox Talbot was one of the pioneers inventing photographic processes - anyone who takes photos today does it because of the work of men like him. The National Trust own the place now.

There's plenty of action in the 6th book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, so much information came out in that book that we wonder whether the film will be about 5 hours long if it's going to have a chance of being understandable to people who haven't read the book.

But then again I thought that was one of the faults with the 5th film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. There was so much information to get across it ended up being full of dialogue and not enough action.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Yoghurt Still At Loose

Dan One, the six million dollar yoghurt - sorry - the pro-biotic yoghurt has still not surfaced in the library.

Security are worried it may start to ferment and then go off with a bang, setting off the alarms overnight. Once yoghurts go bad they can blow their top apparently. The police have been called but we have to wait for a special unit used to dealing with different cultures...

Meanwhile I have been at a meeting in Ambleside today. I could have sworn we saw it waiting at a bus stop on the road out of Garstang... The sighting remains unconfirmed, but whilst it may seem unlikely that more than one yoghurt might be at loose, a spokeswoman from Sainsburys said they were aware of several active yoghurts.