The Compostual Existentialist

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Jobs #1

I suppose my first job was as a paper boy for D Browns in Woolton Village. Browns is still there. D Brown, is not.

D Browns, Woolton

D Browns, Woolton

Woolton Village Club

Woolton Village Club

Browns is a traditional newsagent. It’s still going purely because it is the first shop on the way to the bus stop from a girls secondary school. Indeed, when half past three comes and you’re lucky to get a penny dip or your copy of the Liverpool Echo as the swarm of teenage girls outside prevents access to any but the determined.

The other curious thing about Browns is, they did not sell cigarettes. They didn’t have to. In fact, if they only opened at 8am to 9am and 3.30pm to 4.30pm, the owners of Browns could quite easily carry on trading for many years to come.

When I was a paper boy there, Browns was run by Tommy. Tommy was one of those people who was well known throughout Woolton village. A semi-dignitary.

My round was an evening round. I would hurry home from school as fast as I could, jump on my bike and head into the village. I’d then collect my 39 copies of the Liverpool Echo; count them and head out into the evening to deliver across the village.

First port of call was the Coffee House. A rough drinking hole, so rough, the chairs had bouncers and the windows were so thickly coated in nicotine  the local tramps would lick the outside of them to get their fix.

This used to be Dewhursts.

This used to be Dewhursts.

Old peoples flats

Old peoples flats

Next would be Dewhursts the butchers (now a charity shop) where the butcher would joke and tease about how he used to keep an eye on me in my pram when my mum was out shopping.

A quick jaunt up to the village club before heading down to the village cinema and then out round the far end of the village estates.

It was quite a mixed bag of housing. From low income pensioners to upper class toffs in big manses complete with security systems and complex access to letter boxes. I maintain to this day that I had the best round of all 8 rounds at Browns. Why?

Well three things really.

1) Christmas tips were amazing (one year I took home over £100 in Christmas tips)

2) There were more conker trees on the route than anywhere else in Woolton

3) The last delivery was my mum and dad.

Three isn’t the limit. Other things that made the round enjoyable include:

– Bags of sweets bought before departure from the shop

– Only 2 dogs

– It was mostly down hill

– Magazines to read (Including Just 17, More and Cosmopolitan: all of which helped me, as a teenager, understand girls slightly better)

– £4.50 a week wage.

£4.50 a week. Not a lot is it? These days most paperboys wont even pick up a newspaper for less than £4.50 an hour. I didn’t care though. The wealth came from the “manly thighs” I have and the exercise I gained.

Oh and the sweets

Woolton Cinema

Woolton Cinema

and the free cinema entry…..

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Jobs #0

Since the news of possible redundancy, I’ve been thinking a lot about my career. Where I’ve come from. Where I am going to. The variety of jobs I’ve held down over the years.

I’ve also been thinking about how “music heavy” my blogs are appearing to be at the moment. I mean, I’m only just started on that, and I’ve still got several months of albums to listen to.

Furthermore, I’ve been looking through my old entries and thinking how different my entries are these days comparatively.

So, I thought why not do a few posts about something different. That way I don’t alienate my already existing audience. Therefore, over the next few entries, I thought I would write about my job history. Each and every job. The fun and disparity I had. The people I met.

Stay tuned.


Music Project–Album #42–A Secret History –The Divine Comedy

imageA Secret History by The Divine Comedy

 

There is a certain sound that conjures up memories of the 1990’s. Granted, I spent most of the 1990s in a haze of solitude and unemployment. Indeed, I did not really venture much further musically than the compilation album Shine 9. Instead I spent most of the 90s listening to Mike Oldfield, Yes, Triumvirat and whatever I happened upon on my cassette tapes. Those were the days. Days of sitting round, doing nothing. Wasting time.

 

I suspect that The Divine Comedy’s greatest hits, this album, appears in my music library due to Gay Jamie who no doubt put it on one of his many MP3 CDs he wrote for me back in the early noughties.

 

The Divine Comedy are that sound. The sound of the nineties. I’d not listened to this album before I began this project and, apart from a couple of tunes I’d heard on the radio or in other compilations, I’m not all that familiar nor enamoured with the band or their work. I was also surprised by the fact that they wrote the theme tune to Father Ted. So that was a surprise when it started playing midway through the listen.

 

Anyway, I think I’ll just keep the tracks I like off this album and bin the rest.


Music Project – Album #38 – A Rush of Blood to the Head- Coldplay

A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay

I never did the Coldplay thing. To me they were too mainstream, boring, bland, over exposed and overused. Listening to this album again did nothing to change that opinion.

While listening I kept expecting the soothing tones of Kirsty Wark or Prof Brian COCKs to pipe in over the top and tell me about the illusionary one armed orphan made of atoms that was in need of some respite or donations so they could buy a camel to dig a waterhole in their flooded landscape with their one eyed baby. Or someone like Lenny Henry to start telling me about Samanfa from Barnes who has over come her addiction to jam and has returned to the area where her abuse of jam started only to be reunited with Kelly her old friend who has now lost a leg. Or something.

If you’ve watched any documentaries or charity programmes since this album was released, there is no doubt you have already heard this album. I don’t know why. Perhaps it just brings to mind unbearable mental images of depression, deprivation and false hope.

Anyway, for you guys, I listened to the whole album. I didn’t want to. I wanted to gloss over it but I am loyal to you and so I tortured myself by listening to it. Please don’t make me do it again…..I can’t. I’ve recycle binned it…

Music Project – Album #31 – A La Carte – Triumvirat

A La Carte by Triumvirat

Triumvirat, for me, was one of those mystical bands that were impossible to find in conventional music shops. Whenever I went to HMV and browsed the “T” section I was always unsurprised to not find Triumvirat. Triumph, yes. Trivium, Yes. No Triumvirat. It was hardly surprising having “inherited” Illusions on a Double Dimple on vinyl from my brother who himself had “won” it in a competition.

So with the advent of the internet I was able to find out all about Triumvirat. How fantastic they were. How they were from Germany (not Finland as some sources say). How one of the original band members died in an accident. How the style changed following the death and how the line up changed constantly in true Prog Rock fashion. . I was also able to “obtain” their entire catalogue. Acesticks.

In A La Carte, the curious mix of Emmerson Lake & Palmeresque twiddly gets brushed into the musical recycle bin to give way for a more “ELO” tweeness. Which doesn’t work. There are two songs on this album that I like: Waterfall (sung by Barry Palmer) and For You. I will give a sample for you, of For You for you. For you, to fore ewe. Four eu?


Music Project – Album #30 – A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC – Hayseed Dixie

A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC by Hayseed Dixie

You’ll probably now see a lot of albums that start “A Tribute” or similar. On the back of the artist of the previously reviewed album, Beatallica, I was introduced, through a conversation, to Hayseed Dixie.

Hayseed, as discussed earlier, were one of the many “tribute scene” bands that “fused” styles with artists in the last decade. I’m still waiting for a Folk version of Rammstein or a Tweecore tribute to something like Fields of the Nephilim. I guess I’ll have to wait.

I went to see Hayseed when they toured the UK. They played, and played, and played. The Student Union staff at Liverpool turned on the lights. They continued to play. The security unplugged their equipment. They continued to play. We left. They continued to play.

One trick pony.

I’m not a fan of AC/DC. I am aware of their works. But I am not a fan. I guess a lot of this is wasted on me.


Music Project – Album #29 – A Garage Dayz Nite – Beatallica

A Garage Dayz Nite by Beatallica

A couple of years ago there was a craze where tribute acts would “fuse” music styles and create a unique sound for which to bang out other artists work. So for example – AC/DC was turned hill billy by Hayseed Dixie; Pink Floyd played by accordian players became Polka Floyd. The fusion that worked with the Beatles was the unlikely fusion of Metallica and Beatles to become – BEATALLICA.

Now, when I first heard of them I was blown away. I thought “How original!”.

Michael Jackson’s lawyers didn’t think so and slapped a DMCA notice on them preventing the use of the Beatles music. However, one US court battle later and it was deemed “Fair use and Parody” and Beatallica continued, prevented, however, from making a profit from their music by the court.

Garage Dayz Nite is an early collection of Beatallica’s work. It’s ok. It gets a bit too much towards the end and the joke does wear thin quickly.  But if you want a taster of Beatallica, there are plenty of examples of their work on the web, Uncle Google is your friend. But as we are all lazy here is a sample: