Goodbye, Basil…

He was a magnificent cat. As a kitten he climbed curtains and fetched rolled-up socks; later he liked nothing better than to climb onto my shoulders while I was cooking, or to prod me awake with a touch of claw. Like most Siamese he was people-focused rather than attached to a territory; he commuted happily between Bristol and Wales for a number of years, and the one thing guaranteed to annoy him was for one of us to go away for more than a day or so – on return, I would get roughly thirty seconds of relieved affection, followed by the cold shoulder for the next few hours, and on one occasion he even sprayed on my leg in fury…

He had his ups and downs in the last few years; a tendency to come down with pancreatitis, usually when we were just about to go on holiday, unless carefully nurtured with prawns and chicken, and the famous occasion when he got himself locked into the Methodist chapel down the road for the whole of Easter weekend. When he suddenly started losing weight in the autumn, despite retaining a healthy appetite, it was clear that something serious was wrong; we agreed that fourteen was a pretty good age for a cat to reach, and that he should be spared the sorts of tests and absences from home that would be involved in trying to diagnose and treat the problem. I didn’t think he’d make it to Christmas, but he soldiered on, as affectionate as ever, adored by the other cats, just older and tireder and with less inclination to be gentle when waking me up in the morning.

I was heading off to a conference for a couple of days before we left on holiday, so Anne was putting the cats into jail; on an impulse, I went back to kiss him goodbye, and that was the last I saw of him, as he took a sudden turn for the worse that afternoon and was put to sleep the next day. We hoped that having three weeks away might help both us and other other cats, and probably it did, but every so often in Budapest or Germany one of us would go very quiet for a bit, and the first thing the others did when they got home was rush round looking for him, wailing. They’re still very clingy. I don’t think it’s just that he was the eldest; he seems to have been as special to them as he was to us. Farewell, Basil.

Okay, this isn’t exactly the obvious place to publish this, but I’ve included some appropriate music – the second song isn’t about cats as such, but manages to encapsulate their attitude to life perfectly – and in any case I owe some sort of explanation of why I was in such a state at the beginning of the month…

30-day Musical Challenge: Day 29

The World-Famous Official ‘Spill 30-Day Musical Challenge


Day 29 topic: Kate & Will’s first song should be….?? ? scooped by Maki!

New Day 29 topic: A song for whoever posted before you (first post) yesterday (1st person – do the last to post)

Please include song name & artist in your post for Chris


Animal Collective (All Creatures Grunt & Smell)

Adrian Sherwood – Animal Magic
Suicidal Birds – Me Animal
Diagram Brothers – We Are All Animals
Grandaddy – The Animal World
The 6ths & Barbara Manning – San Diego Zoo

Lee “Scratch” Perry – Jungle
Rip, Rig & Panic – Beat The Beast
Raymen – Animal Instinct
Can – Animal Waves
Thee More Shallows – Monkey Vs. Shark

New k.d.!

So, kathryn dawn lang is back-back-back… and with a new band, The Siss Boom Bang. Not heard the album yet, but if the Roy Orbison-like opening single, “I Confess”, is anything to go by, it should be a lot of fun. Here she is performing said single on Jools Holland:

“I’ve had all the lonely I can take…” What a voice. And loving the glint in the eye. Elvis is back in the building. And she’s still beautiful.

careful with that axe, Eugene

1 Animals Bonobo
2 Poor Animal Zola Jesus
3 Animal lovers Pelle Carlberg
4 We Love Animals (feat. Soulwax & Mixhell) (Tom Staar Remix) Crookers
5 Man Gave Names To All The Animals Tim O’Brien

1 Animals On My Mind Departure Lounge
2 Animal (Peter Bjorn and John Remix) Miike Snow
3 Ancient Animals Celebration
4 Animal Man Télépopmusik Feat. Juice Aleem
5 Little Animals The Raveonettes

Topics needed. Apply within.

There has been a fair bit of angst about broad and duplicative topics like ‘Animals’ (we’ve already had Birds, Insects, Mammals, fer chrissake). Toffeeboy says “Sorry to sound grumpy but, seriously, this must be the most ill-judged topic of all time?” and suggests ‘songs about people’ for next week!

Not everyone agrees that this week’s topic is too broad and overlapping. Beltwaybandit comments:

“Jon Dennis, you must be a work-a-holic. I mean, in the past we’ve had mammals, birds, insects etc – you could have given yourself an easy week with reptiles or mollusks or something – but no, you’ve blown the whole thing open with a massive topic – good on you sire!”

While Tinnie thinks the fault is in the ear of the beholder:

” ‘A carelessly over broad topic has led to nearly 700 posts’ 
You sure about that fintan (and others)? Bet if you asked yourself if the subject or focus of each song was really an animal, you’d find it a fairly tight topic. He didn’t ask for songs with animals. Rubric stretching, not Jon, has taken this from 300 or so to 700. Some great songs, mind!”

**EDIT** And here’s what the Guru himself had to say:

I make no apology for “animals” being a broad brief. Some topics are broader than others. If there are lots of songs nominated, great. It gives me more chance of making a good playlist.

And it always amuses me that no matter how clear I think the rubrick is, some of you always try to stretch it in unpredictable directions!

But I wonder if Jon is struggling to find genuinely new topics? So we could help him out perhaps?

To get us started, Suzi, on RR a couple of weeks ago, said:

“Can I make a few suggestions for future themes?
29th April is very, very obvious for a Weddings theme. (We’ve had Marriage as a theme and a lot of songs about weddings were suggested, but Maddy decided to concentrate on the married state rather than the nuptials, so there are plenty of possibles for this one. And as most of the ones I can think of are cynical, sceptical, or downright hostile, thsi should please republicans and royalists alike. (Not telling you my personal favourites now!) So please, please let’s have this one1
Obsessive love Plenty of scope there
Gambling and Games of Chance We’ve had Luck, which occasioned mass nomming and quoting of a certain song, but again the final list was more about luck in general. 
Aquatic Animals There’s been lists for Mammals, Birds, and Insects, so this covers most of what’s left, except non-aquatic repiiles.. Or you could have a separate Repitles list perhaps.”

Shame JD didn’t read this before going for ‘Animals’ – tho’ I would hope next week’s topic would be ‘Republican songs’!

Rockin’ Mitch added

“Taking up what Suzi said, before I started taking part on a regular basis, there was a theme of “Fashion”. How about “Clothes” as a subject which could be broader than just fashion? I’m sure Hadley Freeman would be pleased if we did that!”

Chris 7572 chimed in

“@suzi, Mitch: it appears to be a complete waste of time suggesting new topics. I’ve tried on many an occasion, in ways both subtle and blatant, to no effect. I’d just be happy if we got a topic that wasn’t a gnat’s whisker away from several we’ve had before.”

However, in my experience, suggested topics do get picked up sometimes – e.g. handclaps. So lets use this thread to build up some ideas, and we can draw Jon’s attention to it.

A few suggestions of my own:
• Songs with whistling
• Songs with gaps (you know, those ones that end, then after a few seconds of silence start up again)
• Songs featuring particular instruments, e.g. sax, harmonica

Let’s have some more ideas…

Gene genius …

Well, perhaps genius is going a tad too far … but, nonetheless, fans of 80s Britpop contenders, Gene, will be excited to hear that erstwhile lead singer, Martin Rossiter, is recording and touring again, as a solo artist.

I’ll be one of the thosuands of fans witnessing Martin’s return to the stage at The Bloomsbury Theatre in London on Thursday, 5 May. I’m genuinely excited and even more so having heard a sneak preview of a couple of new tracks, including this beautiful piece which I heard for the first time, just a few minutes ago.

I have to admit to having a personal connection here – I used to play football with Martin back in the day, and as a result of a piece of trickery when up against me about 20 years ago, the disgustingly talented old bastard is responsible for my dodgy back. He was running towards me with the ball, droppped his shoulder and went past me with ease – half of my body went one way, the other half went the other way, and SNAP – my lower lumbar region has never been the same since …

Of course, I’m having my usual problems sorting out the supposedly simple task of embeding a video so we’ll have to make do with a link until someone intelligent comes along …

Seems to be working now.

It’s like a bloody Zoo around here ………

OK, so I am taking the whole “Animals” concept quite loosely here, but I decided to limit myself to songs that referred to an animal or animals in the title.

I could have chosen many more, but these will all do quite nicely, I think.

I’ve not been posting much recently, pressures of work and life in general, but hopefully I am back now.

Anyway, the tunes;

01 God’s Monkey – Fripp/Sylvian
02 Kangaroo – This Mortal Coil
03 Animal Zoo – Spirit
04 Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones
05 All The King’s Horses – Robert Plant
06 Groundhog – The Groundhogs
07 Tigermoth – Steve Hackett
08 Constipated Duck – Jeff Beck
09 Last Lonely Eagle – NRPS
10 Bird – Dead Can Dance
11 Boris The Spider – The Who
12 One Way Donkey Ride – Sandy Denny

Good News !

Wonderful news.
My computer has crashed. Taking out every file and having to be restarted from scratch (luckily there was a reboot facility on the hard disc). I’ve spent much of today trying to get at least some of the functions running again.
This means the planned post comprising of “originals of “well known” cover versions” has had to be postponed ( I’ve still got nearly everything on CD….somewhere …..)
Somehow I can’t help but thinking that this may actually be a good thing.

Here’s a taste of what might have been.

Nu Tunes

Cake – Long Time
Death Set – A Problem Is A Problem it Don’t Matter Where You From
Pete Yorn – Rock Crowd
Wye Oak – Plains
Nicolas Jaar – Too Many Kids Finding Rain In The Dust
African Head Charge – Badman Plan
White Lies – Bad Love
Mirrors – Searching In The Wilderness
Stateless – Matilda
Young Galaxy – Cover Your Tracks
John Foxx & The Maths – The Good Shadow
Kids & Explosions – Everything

Caption Competition – Royal Edition!

In anticipation of a right royal day off, let’s have a wee stab at some awesome captions, please!

As usual, ‘Spill points are on offer, which can be exchanged for a commemorative Wills n Kate c60 mixtape or teatowel.

On an unrelated note, here’s some grunge-nouveau that I’ve been very much enjoying of late, from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart: