Sunday, 2 January 2011

Mountain Biking and Grease Cycling

Well, the Goodies were every bit as great as I remembered them. Of the 2 episodes we managed to record, the one featuring Grease Cycling was easily the best - random and chaotic but brilliant at the same time. Today finds me in a more chilled and reflective mood, probably brought on by the fact that I have to go back to work on Tuesday, so only one full day's leave left. I managed a short mountain bike ride today with one of the kids, along with a walk later in the day with just the wife. I know it's scarcely 2 weeks since the shortest day but I could swear it feels like the evenings are getting longer already - maybe it was the blue sky that helped.

Whilst moaning a bit about having to return to work, one of the benefits is that I'll be up in London at least once this week, and will therefore be able to indulge in several of my past times. In particular I shall be taking a trip to the handful of secondhand record shops still surviving (and thriving?). On my shopping list this week will be some of the artists featured in Rob Young's excellent Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. I've already been inspired enough by the book to track down some of the literary references, in particular Looking Back by Edward Bellamy, and News From Nowhere by William Morris (the latter also being the name of one of Alan Burnett's excellent blogs, which can be found here), but now it's time to start trying to find some of the records mentioned. I did start making copious notes whilst reading the book, only to discover later that there was a listing of records by year in the appendix. Having always had a bit of a soft spot for lists, I shall be spending some time ticking off those I already have and searching long and hard for those I don't. Part of me thinks that I should track these down in their original vinyl format, but something else tells me that will be very time consuming, not to mention expensive, so I'll have to make do with CD format, which these days typically has the added bonus of additional tracks even if not as aesthetically pleasing.

So what's on this list I hear you ask? Well, there's a fair bit of Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Nick Drake, Shirley Collins, Davy Graham, Bert Jensch, John Renbourn, along with 100's of others. I have pretty much everything Nick Drake ever recorded, and recently picked up 3 of the early Fairport Convention releases so will probably try and find some Incredible String Band or Pentangle this time. I've heard a few tracks by each artist on lastfm and have been impressed with what I've heard so far so hopefully will not be disappointed.

As for participating in my other past times, exploring parts of London, I think that will have to wait until the weather is a bit warmer and the evenings are a bit lighter. Greenwich, Hampstead and Highgate are on the list, as always, but also some new places like Wimbledon are out there waiting for my first visit. And, although I've been to Highgate several times I've never been to Highgate cemetery so, after seeing a BBC video clip about it on the bbc web page, that also gets added to the list.

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