Thursday, 31 December 2009


Now we’re here upon
That point in time that’s plucked
To signify the fulcrum,
Not by sound nor silence bucked;

All in solstice set,
Wallow in the syrup of the year
Where old days, spent,
Compost to dream, and disappear;

But then witness birth,
Minted, glints novation of the New!
Gleams blinking fish-head
Was this the dreaming boy we drew?

He stands fresh and strong!
He cavorts with every sense;
Catch ahold his coat-tail
Gather up what he’ll dispense.

Will you glance behind,
Taking pause and stop, stock and store?
Did you bid farewell
To all that ran and runs no more?

Will you be seduced
By that whirling piper, pied,
Who leaps off up ahead?
He’s never caught, though most have tried.

Or do you circulate,
Stepping steps you’ll step again?
Shall we meet to greet
The wondrous ways of twenty-ten?

Come, let the matter lie;
The King is dead, a curious thing;
John Barleycorn must die;
He’ll come again; long live the King!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Snowstorm Expectations

The prediction was for raging snowstorms centred on the lower park here at Turnup Towers. The view as I type would have been magnificent, engendering a complete alteration of perspective. Now and again, such a shift of emphasis, purpose, and appreciation is necessary for the maintenance of forward motion.

All media are agape with the date; the end of the ‘noughties’. Wow. Well, what do you remember? Was it a decade of liberation? Was great art created?

Many years ago I came across a piece from Alexander Solzhenitsyn, which I have always borne in mind as a good starting point when one feels the urge to indulge in self-satisfaction, as follows:

“There is a law that governs all artistic creation. This law said that no previous work of his carried any weight, that it could not be counted to the artist’s credit.”

Back to the snow; naturally, it has now started raining. Maybe the snow will materialise later, but I’m not holding my breath. We may have to put the Automated Snowball Distributor back in it’s safety cage, although I’m hopeful of deployment later.

Hang on, was that a nip in the air, or am I imagining things?

Monday, 21 December 2009

Bowled Over

I fear that Marcus has been somewhat less than entirely forthcoming concerning the actuality of his deepening relationship with the bowler hatted community that has sprung up locally. I had formed the impression that he was a disinterested observer, retaining the degree of independence in his sartorial proclivities necessary for the proper discharge of that responsibility.

Alas, no longer. It seems that he has burst the bubble of objectivity. He has been outed, as I was able to verify for myself when recently glancing at the Ledbury Portal. There, as large as life, is a photograph of the man himself manhandling his bass guitar onstage with the Fylthe. I thought at first that a trick of the light must have been involved, but, on closer inspection, there is no mistaking the bowler hat he is wearing with such cavalier abandon. Indeed, if anything, it swallows light, producing a sort of anti-halo effect. It seems to fit well, which unavoidably leads me to speculate that perhaps he has been indulging in this perversion of headgear for many months, to the extent that the contours of his cranium have adjusted themselves for its accommodation, it being well-known that the human head is not naturally so disposed.

You see, a bowler hat is not constructed of a ‘giving’ material. It is of a ‘take, take, take’ disposition, all the way. No wonder Stanley Kubrick turned in its direction when signifying the nihilistic conformity of his little droogies.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Imaginary Turn Up Album Awards

Generally, at Turn Up we are not producers of lists. You know the sort of thing; The Top 100 Greatest Guitarists Who Have Ever Lived or some such thing. They never include Mark Dawson and since Jimi is always number one (and rightly so) there seems little point in the exercise.

However, we thought you might be interested to contemplate a list of albums we have enjoyed this year. As we weren’t here last year, as a special festive bonus we’ll give you our rundown for 2008 as well. Let’s limit each list to 5 albums. We’ll ignore reissues, and concentrate mainly on studio albums, but not exclusively.

There are no specific categories, just a list. There's not really even a winner; they're all winners, or they wouldn't be mentioned. There is no awards ceremony, although that need not prevent you from indulging in one in your imaginary head. You are sat at a table at the far corner of the sumptuous ballroom between Lady Gaga and Florence Machine. I mean you’re hot, with the hottest people in your immediate vicinity. This means you must also be extremely cool. But it don’t mean you’re going to cut any ice round here, Sunshine. We’re not necessarily au courant.

A constant susurration of excited chatter floats across from neighbouring tables where the likes of Jimmy Page fend off Them Crooked Vultures as they circle the hors d’ouvres. An endless bottle of vintage St Emilion is available for your personal consumption as you contemplate the nominations. Knees are rubbed as if by accident. A drum roll.


Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea by Silver Jews. Wonderfully suggestive songwriting, bursting with strange wit and wide-open skies.

Flight of the Conchords. Fabbo and funny in one package.

Sun Giant EP by Fleet Foxes. If you like your harmony on the wholesome side, this is for you.

Emma Forever Ago by Bon Iver. Introspective, but in a good way. Getting a grip, effectively.

22 Dreams by Paul Weller. For some of us, our first Weller album. A torrent of ideas, cohesive, professional, magnificently jobbed.


The Liberty of Norton Folgate by Madness. Possibly their finest, a cavalcade of London character, pinpoint observation, serious intent, and a great knees-up. (Florence, behave yourself!)

Where I Come From by New Riders of the Purple Sage. Whoda thunk it? NRPS come up with one of their best ever albums of entirely new originals after regrouping a couple of years ago following many years out of the saddle. Some great jamming songs. Quality of the Nelson/ Hunter songs unimpeachable. A great album to drive to. Sadly, John Dawson was too ill to participate and died earlier this year.

Together Through Life by Bob Dylan. Robert Hunter made a significant lyrical contribution to this one as well. A good muscular album that grows on you. Song titles don’t come much better than ‘Hell Is My Wife’s Home Town’, although on checking, it’s actually called ‘My Wife’s Home Town.’

We Used To Think The Freeway Was A River by Richmond Fontaine. I have previously mentioned the extensive Turn Up library. It also houses a large canyon of musical recordings. However, Richmond Fontaine had previously avoided our notice. This is subtle, beautifully crafted music with some unexpectedly sharp twists to the tail.

Let It Rock: The Jerry Garcia Collection Volume 2 by The Jerry Garcia Band. A live recording from 1975, but released recently. Luminous quality and amazing rapport between Garcia and Nicky Hopkins, whose guitar and piano entwine endlessly throughout. One of the greatest ever Garcia releases.

You sit at your table in disbelief at the antics going on around you. Your disbelief is tweaked on two accounts; unaccountably, you have won nothing, and neither has Mark Dawson. Frankly, the bugger would stand a better chance if he got off his arse and recorded something.

We are now entering the festive season proper, something that has not escaped the notice of the powers that be at Turn Up Towers. Jollity is creeping like a miasma into all aspects of our operations. At this rate we’ll be like helium balloons ready for the bursting by Boxing Day.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Inflatable Guinea Pigs

“I would like to know how in all my 50 years, guinea pigs alone stand unravaged by inflation.”

Public houses are becoming increasingly strange places. I had just been approached by a seedy-looking cove who introduced himself as David Smith (likely story) and offered to pay me for my exhaled gas. I gave him a quizzical eyebrow while he elaborated; hugely complicated schemes of client-specific introductions, carbon sharing, gathering tubes and mobile storage facilities. I was still unclear where the money would be coming from, when he mentioned the word ‘investment’. He was reeling from the knuckle-tapping to his forehead I used to drive my repost home, when the above enquiry wafted through the fug from the deeper recesses of the squitter bar.

I diverted my attention to this knotty confluence of imponderables. Orville Quantock arrived, swiftly staking a claim to his customary length of bar top by the deft manoeuvrability of his right elbow at the unfortunate Mr Smith’s expense. Mr Smith was a man certainly unravaged by inflation.

Orville was immediately interested. “Is the period of 50 years significant? Is such a period only measured by reference to the questioner? Aren’t guinea pigs quite social creatures? By what criteria is a guinea pig ravaged? Are there any circumstances in which they become inflatable? Were there any other known instances amongst other creatures of unravagement by inflation?”

These were words of reason, I felt. Parameters had been left sadly askew by the originator of the query. We were on the cusp of abandonment of the search for meaning. Beside us, Mr Smith leant across the bar and asked for a vodka and tomato juice and wide-bore straw.

“Perhaps they deflate so rapidly that it is impossible to detect whether inflation has occurred, such effect being triggered by a sixth sense that reacts to observation, but in the millisecond before the observer is aware.”

“Not bad, I’ll allow, but I can’t help feeling suspicious (Mr Smith shifted uneasily) when milliseconds and undetectable effects are brought into play. You’ll instantly lose your scientific rigour if you follow that route.”

Orville studied his pint, then glanced at Mr Smith’s dull red concoction. “Straws! That’s it! Guinea pigs pathologically back away from straws. Well known, that is.”

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Mixing It With Mister Phones

Having just returned from the second mixing session with the deftly-fingered and bat-eared Mister Phones at Shabbey Road studio, I thought I’d bring you up to date. We have been working to massage the lumps and bumps out of the Santa’s Twin recording of Christmas Presence, soon to be winging its way to the four corners of the globe.

Mister Phones swivels many a lugubrious glance toward my end of the control room whenever I interject with yet another suggested layer of impracticality. I sense that he would prefer to work within the bounds of possibility and that my outbursts merely serve to highlight the gulf between initial aspiration and final destination.

Nevertheless, we persist. We bear down on those tricky little curlicues of notational waywardness and suck the volume from them. Sometimes, less truly is more.

The first mix on Thursday turned out to be less than perfect. How could it have happened? The quality control department put her foot down and vetoed the product. This was a major setback. Dejection, worthlessness; you know the score (particularly you three from the left in the purple shirt – yes, you!) and so on Friday the drawing board was whipped out again. Mister Phones applied his considerable patience to the problem, and we remixed it all. We lost the verse I cocked up in one song, in a seamless transition. That’s when I allowed the first glimmer of possibility to return. We attacked glutinous vocals and raised the profile of some good effect.

Finally, we emerged with as good a mix as we could manage. The Christmas EP is now ready and will be distributed to the select few in the run up to Christmas. Quality Control has given it a fervent thumbs up. Shona the guinea pig was overwhelmed with surprise, er, admiration. We will see what we will see. If anyone reading this would like a copy they may apply by email and obtain one for free.

Here at Turn Up we hope that you will all enjoy Christmas Presence from Santa’s Twin as our gift to you.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Well, the office blind is rattling away in the wind in counterpoint to the rhythm of my fingers as they bring you this report. The rattle is hardly surprising in this turret thrust up into the jet stream, combined with the cracked window that not only lets an icy blast through but emits a perfect B flat as it whistles. At first I thought it may have been an effect of the slipstream created by the speed with which I type, until I managed to divert an optic nerve and a brain cell to consider the matter properly.

Research is an important component of what we do here at Turn Up. I regard it as fuel. One suspends reality with the deepest of breaths and enters a twilit realm peopled by laughing, leering faces, clattering noise and unremitting ribaldry, as if the world was steam-driven and operated by half-human circus performers, tinkers and pickpockets. It is a world of wooden floors, leathery beer, and endless echo. Worlds of nether knowledge become apparent, freshly-minted truths briefly shine like the creation of micro-universes. Wits are necessary in a slippery environment in which they are liable to go clattering off on any one of the many tangents that slant across the view.

Sometimes, of course, it is the tangent that holds the revelation. Borough Market on a Friday, a bustling, hustling, barrage of humanity. The Victorian ironwork of the railway viaducts, riveted pillars, encloses the melange of stalls. Brickwork, reflecting hundreds of years of passing trade of every sort, stands solid. Far older dust blows about our feet, in the very air we breathe.

Suddenly, across the market, we catch sight of a possibility. We’re off! Pelting after shadows down cobbled alleyways, echoes fading behind us. Up East; the swaying carriages, all thrown into normality by the lights, but glimpses through to the next car as the train wends the bends. Plunging into an avalanche, I can only go with the indivertible currents of the day, until, exhausted, I make my only real mistake; a chicken tikka pastie. Sometimes we should be protected from ourselves. Low on Mr Rennie’s elixir of balm, it is an error I would come to regret.

Tirelessly we experienced the flavours of the day. I’m not certain at the end of it whether one could say that there is anything that can be catalogued, but there remains a layer of accumulated essence for the mulling.

Such is my report.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


Off to London...emergency research later...

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Bowler Hats and Abergavenny

I am asked by Marcus whether bowler hats are ever acceptable in Abergavenny. I immediately despatched a research team to the more recondite end of the dank corridor that runs the entire length of the east wing of the Turn Up library. There, behind a rusty doorknob, lies the expanse of archive room twelve, containing the as-yet uncatalogued delights of the Ramjollock Collection, which has been held in strict scuggery for decades. I have a notion that the team may be able to ferret out something useful from the piles of papers that gather dust there, and I anticipate their report as we speak. Until they reappear we may have time for speculation.

What sort these days wears a bowler hat? There was a time, of course, when the average High Street seen from above would be a river of jostling bowlers surging in from the gasworks end. Bank Managers and the like felt naked without them, which may have contributed to their demise in the nineteen sixties as laxer morals and more frequent displays of public nudity took hold in the more august of our financial institutions. I’m sure most of us well remember those heady days when bankers and chandeliers went inevitably hand in hand.

But what of Abergavenny? Did any of this social turmoil impinge upon the timeless splendour of the town that nestles innocently in its beautiful surroundings? Crispin St Peters found his way there of course and I once saw him perform in a pub in Sidcup, so Abergavenny’s innocence may only be a facade. If only we could find a peg on which to hang these theorems and suppositions.


Pegs may be the answer. Bowler hats sit beautifully upon a peg behind an old ornate wooden door because the entire rim can lie neatly against the grain, and there’s a good few suitable doors in Abergavenny. So perhaps the answer to Marcus’ enquiry is yes, but only when removed from the head and hung up out of harm’s way.

Ah! I hear the thunder of rapidly approaching footsteps. The footfall of a team of researchers is unmistakeable with their long coats flapping like runaway tongues through a light morning mist. They suddenly burst into view, rheumy-eyed and damp with exertion.

“Well, did you find anything useful?”

“That we did! A bowler hat is not a sausage!”

Monday, 23 November 2009

Strange Rumblings

Here at Turn Up we like to keep our eyes to the ground. No, eyes are all over the place; ears are to the ground. We have a number of shadow departments, in fact, all of which operate in the background to keep the bit you see running smoothly, rather like the below-water portion of an iceberg. One such department is Surveillance. No, we don’t waste our time in clandestine operations watching people, not unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Anyway, I was on duty last week when it came to my attention that unusual movements were due to occur on Saturday near Burford in Oxfordshire. I seconded my dearest into the subterfuge and she drove us out to a small hamlet where the swollen River Windrush swept beneath a Cotswold stone bridge. A swan bobbed beside a rustling reedbed. The sky was slate grey and bursts of rain raked our cheeks like shrapnel as we left the shelter of the car. As is often the case in these situations, a hostelry happened to occupy the nearest building so we went in to see what we could see. All was alarmingly normal, that is if the Daily Telegraph food writer signing copies of her latest book is to be regarded as normal. We approached the bar with assumed names and found that a table had been booked in those very names. The world waited for something to happen. We joined it, sure that we had picked up a trail of some sort.

It wasn’t long before our quarry showed themselves, darting for cover in out of the surrounding inclemency. Well, you can’t go anywhere these days without crossing paths with someone or other from the depths of time’s hinterland. Fragrant Mary was taken quite by surprise. Why that should have been so, accompanied as she was by that operator sine qua non, Mister Richardson, he himself a shadowy figure, is beyond the scope of our present abilities to answer. Things soon settled down, however, and she was to be observed cutting capers all afternoon, accompanied by an eager soundtrack of intense mastication.

We chewed the fat, we sucked the bones, we batted the breeze. We chased tails up hill and down dale, and round the houses. We had sorties, lunges, coughs and tea. Seeds for the future tumbled in profusion. We may have been no nearer to a conclusion, but the satisfaction is always to be had in the journey.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


I don’t know whether anyone else is having trouble signing on to comment on the blog. Judging by the lack of comments either you are or you are waiting for a relevant topic to emerge or there is no-one out there. I tried to mention to Sunny a couple of weeks ago that I appreciated her comments, and found that I could only approach from certain well-defined directions, definitions I was not immediately prepared to adopt. But don’t be afraid to email my fridge.

I also notice that the time indicated on my blogs is always incorrect, so there may be a conspiracy afoot. I’ll take the matter up with our crack team of experts, who will shortly swing into action.

I think the payment arrangements for sales will be up and running shortly. A Turn Up Recordings page will also be available. The Pig’s Eye View retrospective is compiled and has undergone some remastering. The artwork will be completed when the camera battery is recharged. It’s quite a package, I can tell you.

Fragrant Mary has suggested that web space could be made for unusual snacks (reference the idea I mentioned for the distribution of edible samples a few posts back). Food is clearly uppermost for some, and we are here to pander to the full range of your outlandish desires. Our modus operandi is to anticipate what you may require before you know it yourself, and have the blind faith to deliver on the basis that you will be too polite to reject something so well-intentioned. As a method it can be hit and miss, although, for some of our more discerning clientele, the experience remains exquisite.

Talking of Blind Faith, I just gave ‘I Had To Cry Today’ a quick spin. It’s still amazing after all these years.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Unexpected Knowledge

If life was predictable we could never experience discovery. If things remained constant and changeless, there would be nothing unusual. One of the important characteristics of knowledge is that before it is known it is unknown. I speak from the individual perspective rather than collectively, and after some personal confrontation with the subject.

Of course there are those for whom the capacity for surprise has been stifled or has completely atrophied through lack of use, usually self-inflicted. It is possible to so arrange one’s own environment that anything not already catalogued is excluded, so that only the already trodden path is trodden again. And again.

Fortunately, there are those who thirst for the odd, the strange, the quirky, who long to hear the mighty crack of the unexpected. Explorers of the long way home, such as Orville Quantock, have waged a campaign on behalf of the obtuse for many years. In order to facilitate his endeavours, he applied for charitable status. This has been refused him, however, on the spurious ground that his object is subject to a lack of definition. And this, despite his apoplectic attempt at quantum justification. His avowed intention to orchestrate a mass revelationary moment has thereby been undermined, at least for the time being. But, time being what it is, he regroups every evening with the assistance of the amber filter and three or four stout companions. Plans are always afoot.

It is a campaign with which Turn Up has a great deal of sympathy. Whilst we would never advocate wholesale absorption of the man and his peculiarities, even if such a thing were possible, we are prepared to extend an acknowledgment in his direction.

Indeed, Turn Up would itself be virtually pointless in the absence of the full panoply of the Laws of Uncertainty, Digression and Pop-Up, in all their majesty and extent.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Video Evidence

It is always a moment of quiet contemplation when a Turn Up artist such as Echo Road receives independent notice. If you would care to proceed to you will find a special few moments captured in a magic lantern show of rare dimension.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Doing It

Well, an Echo Road performance finally happened. We played six songs acoustically, with the help of the PA of course, and had a good reception. It appears we’re not just whistling in the wind. I felt that the two acoustic guitars worked well with each other and the vocals came across clearly. Possibly a bit too heavy on the reverb in one or two spots, but that can be trimmed next time. We did one cover (Dead Flowers) and the rest were originals.

The Angie Hughes Band also played. They sounded good. Marcus’ mandolin and Adrian’s percussion augment Angie very tastefully, achieving a good blend.

And the photo exhibition is well worth seeing. It’s all inspired by music, and there’s quite a variety of styles. As always, Ice Bytes is ready to welcome punters and the exhibition is certain to run for a while, so get on down there.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Echo Road

Friday the Thirteenth and Echo Road will be playing at the Snapzology exhibition at Ice Bytes, along with The Angie Hughes Band. Do come; you’ll have the opportunity to hear ‘White’, the lyrics to which I put up here yesterday, and which were exactly one year old. John Rose already had the tune and the two melded together the instant they were introduced.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Armistice Day


If my words took flight
They would find your ear
No distance too far
No whisper too near

You may not recall
You’ll never forget
Every step of the way
Will get you there yet

White on the water
On river on sea
Something that caught ya
Reminds you of me

A flash of a lens
A trick of the light
Signals in colours
Gradations of white

When nothing is the same
And happens despite
I climb from my knees
And try as I might

White on the water
On river on sea
Something that caught ya
Reminds you of me

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

An Introduction

Ready or not, ready or not, I am reminded by Mr Quantock that we live in times of flux. The balance of the spheres alters, levers spin, lines of communication are cut. Strange realignments ensue and in turn will become contemptible through familiarity.

You may not have been introduced to Orville Quantock. The man is an enigma, has the constitution of an ox and processes thought at light speed through a quicksilver mind. Yes, he has blind spots, a tendency towards the pedantic and unopened correspondence, but these are mere diversions. He is able to formulate theories on most subjects, sometimes even in areas in which he has not previously dabbled.

I am able to speak with authority about the man and his doings from two impeccable sources; my own observation, and, more thoroughly, his own explanatory utterances. I believe that I have been privileged in the latter arena probably through the application of my interpretive skills.

Nevertheless, he is not a man with whom one could be said to stand constantly eye to eye. For example, on hearing of this side gate into cyber-space, Orville immediately assumed that its sole purpose was for the dissemination of his peculiar views. “Don’t be foolish,” I was swift to respond, “opinions are like arseholes; everyone’s got one!”

Well, he’s a man of the last word, as you’ll have guessed by now, and was equally quick to point out the unoriginality of my observation.

“Notwithstanding,” said I, “it still resonates in the pith.”

Monday, 9 November 2009

A Visitation

The sun had withdrawn from its daily duty. The temperature dropped and a keen breeze picked up. I went out to shuffle the cars on the driveway. An old familiar voice sang out, “Oi, Knickers!” from down the road, causing me to look up. The unmistakeable outline of Nick Matthews (yes, the infamous sculptor himself) lurched into the circle of light beneath a streetlamp. Serena and he had arrived in a vehicle that could have quite comfortably encircled the Moon.

Well, we’re a little bit older and a little bit wiser now, but from a sense of unrestrained humanity we decided to put all that aside. Claire joined the party and the five of us embarked upon the business of the evening. What was this transaction, you enquire? Hah! The research would be pointless if I could tell you that. Hard-won nuggets of knowledge should not be so lightly relinquished, I can tell you.

One thing is for certain. Caroline’s curries were the stuff of legend. I’m not sufficiently equipped to divulge recipes hereabouts, but I recommend you keep a weather eye out for the chance of a taster. Unrealistic, you may think. However, I think there may be some mileage in the addition of a new culinary division to the Turn Up empire, specifically to deal with the demand for mail order samples of particular recipes. Or maybe for a short-lived promotion. Just a mouthful, reheated with care, popped in the gob for a truly succulent experience. Bob really could become your uncle. A slogan begins to form, something about Bob a Gob week.

Friday, 6 November 2009

A Package Arrives

A package arrives. I open it. Nestling amongst the swaddling bubblewrap is a compact disc. It is by and from my friend Stuart Mills. Blessed with the gift of a golden voice, Stuart has sung in bands ever since I first met him too long ago for human beings to be able to properly recall. Now he has finally recorded an album of well-chosen covers. It has a good warm feel to it, and I particularly like the original song on it, Time Goes By. I’m not sure whether it is generally available, but enquiries can be made if anyone wants to explore.

MPs demand answers over Nutt sacking screams the headline. You couldn’t make it up, could you?

I see Marcus has managed to channel the late Stanley Unwin on the home page. This ability must be encouraged, fostered, nurtured, teased out and displayed wherever possible. It is the duty of all who encounter Marcus to put a pint of cider in front of him and talk nonsense to him, since this seems to be the fuel on which he operates. I only have a few opportunities per week to do so and others must shoulder some of the responsibility. It is for the greater good. You know it makes ninsense.

And there’s a fine example of a typo, which has led to the dictionary, originally christened the Typorific Dictionary, now given a corporate makeover as the Turn Up Dictionary. You will hear (I mean read) more on this subject. Assume the position and brace yourselves.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Jessi's Birthday

It’s Jessie’s birthday today. Hoorah! I spoke to her in Australia on the dog ‘n’ mobile. She had to shout very loud and speak slowly. Ah, kids keep you young.

Sweet Caroline’s at botanical drawing after which we’ll meet at the Feathers. It’s a good arrangement I find. Frankly, I get a piece of peace and quiet and then some just desserts to soothe my loneliness. If anyone reads this quickly enough to join us we’d love to see you, and I’ll even forego my spot at the bar to allow you prior access.

I should mention, probably not for the last time, that Echo Road, or at least the bit containing John, Claire and I, will be having an outing to the Snapzology (is that right?) exhibition at Ice Bytes on Friday 13th November. We’ll be playing half a dozen tunes at the acoustical end of the spectrum. If you’re at loose ends, slide along for a gander. The Angie Hughes Band are also performing. Mind you, you’ll have to move a bit sharpish – it kicks off at 6.30.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

November Swoops In

November swoops in. Things to do, always things to do.

I said I would mention other projects as they arise. A while ago I suggested to my friend Ed that we should collaborate on a book of haiku and photographs. I have written (and revised) a sequence of haikus and he has been assembling the appropriate photos to accompany each one. Some we had to put on a back burner because they were seasonal in nature. One required a blustery autumnal day. The perfect conditions arrived on Sunday, so I persuaded him to accompany me down to the river. Hey, let’s not beat about the bush; this is the haiku in question;

Windswept, middle-aged,
And sitting by a river;
Current position.

So, we needed to get my dishevelled self in there with the suggestion of wind and the ripples in the river. I used myself from the opposite consideration to vanity – how could I ask someone else to take it on? It was wet down there as it had been raining hard overnight. Anyone watching may have wondered what was going on. Strangely, there weren’t many other people about.

Setting up a Turn Up Recordings page has me thinking about other possibilities. In particular, a collection of Pig’s Eye View material over the years seems to be in order. I’ve had a listen to some of the stuff in the vaults. I’m still standing – just. Having whittled down the selection on the criteria of at least listenable recording quality, songs I am happy with and performance, I have come up with a collection. I may tinker with it a bit, but Ed can help me in levelling out the volume levels.

I’ve included Happy Valley as part of the PEV story, as we were the same people under a different guise for a while. I regard Los Contrabandos as separate, as it was decidedly before with a substantially different line up. Over the years we had quite a number of members, quite apart from guests who helped out at one time or another. I was lucky enough to work with a succession of good singers; Pim, Darren, Ed, Claire and Natalie. Was there a reason they all moved on, one by one? Was it the same reason? We’ll get as many of them into the collection as possible.

Friday, 30 October 2009


Welcome to Nick’s Turn Up News interface/blog/dissemination of unexpected information. This is news of a different stripe. Make of it what you will.

From now on, I will continue in the first person. I have enough difficulty managing one personality without grappling with the plural. Not that I ‘manage’ very well. I just am, and that’s the way I intend to continue to be.

Having set up this site, what to do with it? What’s it for? Firstly, I wanted an outlet for my various projects. Over the years I’ve been involved in a number of bands, and there are a few recordings floating about. I’ve also published a few books of poetry. It seems daft to have these sitting around at home when there might be people who would like copies.

So it’s a bit of an experiment as well, to see what feedback I get. I also want to try and develop a bit of dialogue, to try and get some communication going. Who knows where that sort of thing might lead?

Then there are the future projects. More recordings are planned. Certainly, my current band, Echo Road, want to start recording soon. We have a pool of original songs, which we think are strong, and it would be good to get them down.

I’ll let you know about other ideas as they come closer to the surface. I may also want to comment on other things as I go along. I intend to make regular entries to this. I welcome any responses.

I want to thank Marcus Morris for his input into the website. His is all the technical skill, and I hope to persuade him to continue to be involved. I recommend you visit his blog pages – they are superb.

I also want to express my appreciation to Jeanette. Her artwork speaks for itself, but more than that, she has been a great person to collaborate with. I love collaborations, the heady atmosphere as ideas start to move. Of course, that is the nature of playing in a band and I have been fortunate to have played with a lot of people who have been selfless in the generosity of their help to me. I’m sure more reference to all of that will seep out as we go along.