one man and his clogs

The occasional ramblings of one man (and his clogs)


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Week Forty Five and a bit of a lull…

Another quiet week here.

The copyright claim against me on YouTube ended in a whimper. I no longer have a black mark against my account but to be on the safe side I have changed the info on the video to include info about my track and the film that I got the footage from including where to download it from. Me being me just couldn’t resist putting something sarcastic at the end (Please let’s not go through this again – especially if this video was uploaded before your band actually formed) well, I had to… It does make me mad though when you see all the videos on YouTube that blatantly do infringe copyright but the uploaders put the line “no copyright violation intended”. Well unfortunately you’ve just admitted it.

All this looking back at videos got me a little bit tingly. I’ve been looking at a Polaroid camcorder for a while now. I saw one ridiculously cheap on EBay, but by the end of the auction it had increased in price considerably. I knew this wasn’t the best camcorder in the world, but due to its compact size it would be handy to throw in a (man)bag and not worry about. I kept looking at them and most of the time they went above what I really wanted to pay for it. After all, if I wanted to pay more I would go for a better camcorder… Like a nice Kodak Zi8 which caught my eye. I did bid on one, but was out bid whilst I was at work. Luckily I found a cheap (used once) Polaroid on Amazon at an OK price so bought it. Its small enough to fit in a pocket so a lot easier to carry about than my MiniDV camcorder. Time will tell how useful it will be. Watch this space, as they say.

So next week I’ve booked the week off. I’m planning a couple of day trips, the first to The Museum of Film and Media in Bradford and the second to Crosby Beach to see Antony Gormley’s Another Place – 100 statues on the beach looking out to the sea. I intend to take lots of photos and some video footage. Lets hope the weather holds up… Actually, although some bright sunshine would be nice, I’m not too fussed – a nice dramatic sky would be most welcome though…

So, this week I have mainly been listening to New Fast Automatic Daffodils, Badly Drawn Boy and Pepe And The Bottle Blonds. Oh, and some rather nice Jazzanova remixes…


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Week Forty Four and some general rambling…

Jay Brannan ticket and not so life like doll…


This is a late post due to me trying to decide if I should actually carry on with this blog.

I’ve been having doubts about its worth and being the insecure person I am, I naturally think it’s rubbish.

So, what’s been happening this week? I became obsessed with Vlogs on YouTube. I hate them and love them in equal measures. There is a post in the making all about these (so OM&HC won’t be disappearing just yet) and what motivates people to do them. What makes a person suddenly decide that they are going to make a video series giving advice, hints and tips, or their OPINION cunningly dressed up as facts and post them online? Do you suddenly wake up one morning and say “Hey, let’s make a fake breakfast show were we talk about a subject as if we are the world’s foremost expert on the subject when in fact we have just read about it on Wikipedia…” As you can tell I’ve thought about this a lot. Maybe too much? Alas that is how my brain works these days…

Another future post is “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”. I think the title says it all really…

What else this week? My Jay Brannan ticket turned up for his show in Manchester in September. I’m really looking forward to that. I posted a photo on Twitter with a doll holding the ticket. I thought the doll looked a little bit like Mr Brannan, he didn’t… Oh well.

Saturday was a beer night with Our Kid. We met up in The Knott for a bite to eat but was a little disappointed with the menu. The beer selection was better than previous visits though, and as this is a bit of a beery bar (as opposed to bars where people will just drink whatever, be it generic lager or blue coloured stuff in a bottle) this is a good thing. I got the burger, and it was nice but nothing to write home about. I may however Vlog about it on my new YouTube channel “101 Burgers In and Around Manchester – The Definitive Burger Vlog”.

Next we went to Port Street Beer House, a bar I’ve been going to a bit this year. It’s at the other end of town from The Knott, but worth the walk. Surprisingly for a Saturday it wasn’t too busy. Maybe Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend (that was happening this weekend) lured a lot of people away… The beer went down really well and I can’t remember the name of my favourite. It was from the Lake District and was a “special pale ale” but that is all I can remember… Walking from Port Street Beer House into the city centre to get my bus I noticed how much the clientele of The Northern Quarter has changed. This used to be quite a cool area with quirky bars and shops, but it has now become the haunt for “Sharon & Tracy” which is a shame. I’ll have to be careful what I say here because I’m going to come across all Hipster-esque. I can’t complain really because this wasn’t really my scene to start with. However it is sad to see something quirky and interesting becoming diluted and “the norm”.

On Sunday I watched the film Tarnation by Jonathan Caouette. Made for $218 and edited using iMovies, the film uses old Super8 film, home movies, snapshots, video diaries to tell a dramatic story of Jonathan’s life and his mother who spent of her youth undergoing electro-shock therapy. It is sometimes quite uncomfortable watching but ultimately rewarding and incredibly inspiring – both the story and the film itself.

And here we are on a Bank Holiday Monday, about to set off and visit me folks…

This week I have mainly been listening to Gene, Airhead and Juliana Barwick.


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Week Forty Three and a week off…

The past few nights I’ve been waking up at 3am and not getting back to sleep for well over an hour. I’m knackered…

So very briefly, this week I had my monthly afternoon out with Colin from work, drank some beer, got my ear chewed off by a chappy who swore blind he wouldn’t chew my ear off nd saw a chap flee the scene of a crime chased by a police van and car then get arrested.

So this week I’m just going to post some videos that I actually stumbled on last weekend and totally fell in love with.

and

or maybe

That was Emily And The Woods. Below is Daughter who I found last year…

I found the video below a few days ago and it’s the saddest thing I’ve seen for ages…

It will be business as usual next week…


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Week Forty Two and a win on the lottery…

The Lottery Winners


OK, yeah, that was a very bad pun, but Saturday was a gig night and tonight it was The Lottery Winners (from Leigh in Lancashire) who you may remember from my post about the Dot To Dot Festival earlier this year.

My first sighting of The Lottery Winners wasn’t a good one. Whilst enjoying a quiet pint at Joshua Brooks pouring over the line-up of this year’s Dot To Dot festival, my quiet was interrupted by a gang of Hipsters in ironic glasses and ill fitting trousers. I ate my words when I went to see the band that was on only to discover that they were the band and they were the best band I saw that day.

So here we are in August and The Lottery Winners have a new single out so to celebrate they play a gig at Manchester Academy 3 with support from The Flores, The Marquettes and Brouhaha.

The night got off to a “typical me” start as I’d arranged to get a ticket before the show from the band. We’d arranged to meet behind the venue in the beer garden. I got there ridiculously early because I’d totally over estimated the time it takes to get to the venue. The meeting time came and went and I got stuck in paranoid mode. A desperate DM on twitter revealed the band were now at the front of the venue so I made my way round.

Ticket purchased I made my way in, picking up a CD of the new single “Learn To Sleep” on the way and caught the last song by The Flores.

Next up were The Marquettes who left me a bit cold. Don’t get me wrong, they were OK, but there was nothing you hadn’t heard before. The lead singer looked a bit like a young Davy Jones with a mod haircut and the obligatory top button fastened. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should… The lead guitarist could have been David Walliams younger brother. The songs were catchy in a brit-pop kinda way but just needed something to make them really stand out. “This is our cover” the singer proclaimed. “Does anyone remember Franz Ferdinand? Only joking, this is by The Beatles”. I think I would have respected them more for doing a Franz Ferdinand cover to be honest. A Beatles cover is just so obvious. I’m not going to write them off altogether and have got an MP3 from their Soundcloud page so I can give them another go.

At this point I experienced the longest group hug ever. A group of three young ladies stood in front of me and hugged for what felt like five minutes. The hugging was mainly between two of the ladies, with the third one looking rather out of place. I tried to make eye contact so we could joke about the hugathon we weren’t part of, but she was way too cool for things like that.
Next band up were Brouhaha, quite a large group with girly drummer, mandolin player, trumpet player, guitarist / singer, girly singer and a bass player who I swear had just been transported here from his 6th form band prog-rock band from the 80’s… Oh, and the girly singer was one third of the hugathon from earlier. Musically they were kinda folky-rocky-indie. They were an accordion and a huge moustache short of being The Tansads, but I would have preferred to see The Tansads – and that’s something I never thought I’d be sharing on t’interweb! The temperature was getting really hot now and I was feeling quite uncomfortable. My beer wasn’t settling and I feared the worst… I think I would have enjoyed Brouhaha better in different circumstances. They were energetic and fun and I imagine being great to see at a festival with the sun shining and everyone in high spirits.

Eventually The Lottery Winners came on to the sound of Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. Hearing the crowd sing along to the chorus really took me back to Wigan in the 90’s. I was in The Playhouse on King Street and very drunk and I knew Come On Eileen would be coming on really soon…

Opener Elizabeth got things off to a great start and the crowd were singing along from the off. Next up was Don’t Waste Your Time a great example of Housemartins-esque jangly indie pop. New single Learn To Sleep was next and I really liked the live version which was missing the sax bits that just don’t sit well in my ears. But this rendition was truly epic! The b-side to the single I Only Want To Be With You was up next, but the heat was really getting to me. I escaped to the gents to cool down a bit and feel a little less sick.
Just before I escaped, I saw the most bizarre sight. A young lady was trying to distract the sound man by shaking her breasts at him. He was totally professional and ignored her “charms” but this just egged her on even more. I didn’t see the outcome of ritual, so I don’t know if Mr Soundguy took his eyes off the mixing desk. By this time I was reminding myself what I’d had for my tea…

Back inside, I was cursing that I’d missed my fave song “Something To Leave The House For” with the fantastic line “I’d buy the moon, then shine it on you” and we were well into Heavy Heart then Artificial Flowers. Just as it looked like they were going off, Singer Thom said we were in for a treat and a Manchester legend was joining them on stage. It was none other than Tom Hingley from The Inspiral Carpets! They did a cover of This Is How It Feels. This was bloody brilliant! There was a guy next to me dancing like he dropped an E “back in the day” and hadn’t stopped dancing since… He went absolutely nuts at this point and I noticed a few more people getting flashbacks to a Manchester long gone.

Tom Hingley and The Lottery Winners

The last two songs were Emerald City and Pillows. I had a big grin on my face and really didn’t want this to end. I grabbed a t-shirt on the way out and headed off for the bus. I can’t wait
for the next gig…

So, apart from The Lottery Winners, this weekend I have mainly been listening to Emily And The Woods…

Week Forty One and a spot of time travelling….

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Crazy as it seems I found out this week that I have perfected the art of time travel! And what did I do with my new found skill? I made a pop video it would seem…

Monday night I was having a wee mooch on YouTube and for some reason felt compelled to look at one of my videos. I clicked on “Tibb Street Connection” a video I made way back in 2007 for a track I made of the same name. It’s not the best video in the world – it’s just an old (public domain) educational film about the perils of drugs edited down to show a square guy getting sucked into the world of drugs. It looks great though and there is some really cool sixties dancing which suited the song. Something looked different tonight though. There was a button informing me that if I’d like to buy the music, I could do so at iTunes and eMusic. Which is nice. Well it would be if any of my music was available there. This link took you to a track called Complètement Stone by a group called The Rebels of Tijuana. OK, this is interesting I thought. I looked at my YouTube account and the group had put in a copyright claim in against me. At this point I couldn’t work out if it was for music or the video. Who were this band anyhow? Where they an old 60’s band? I saw they had a track called “Johnny Marr” so I guessed not. A search of the internet revealed they formed in 2008 after meeting at a showing of “Vanishing Point”. OK, that’s quite interesting I thought. My track was made from royalty free samples, and the video was from a public domain film, so I knew something was wrong here. I disputed the copyright claim, but still wasn’t sure if it was about the video or the music.
Next day I searched for a video of their track and up popped a video on YouTube, uploaded in April 2013. And would you guess it – they had used some of the same footage as me. At least now I knew they were claiming I ripped off their video. But if I did, how did I do it? Here’s the time line!
November 2006 – I make a track called “Tibb Street Connection” under the name of Plastic Trash.

June 2007 – I make a video for this track using footage from the film “Narcotics – Pit of Despair” which is part of the Prelinger Archives and in the public domain.

* Using the concept of time travel I jump into the future and see a video by The Rebels Of Tijuana and like the footage. I steal their footage. I need some more footage so I track down the original film that they took the footage from and complete my video and upload it to YouTube.

June 2008 – The Rebels Of Tijuana form.

April 2013 – The Rebels of Tijuana put up their video for Complètement Stone.

July 2013 – I find out The Rebels Of Tijuana have accused me of copyright infringement on a video I made a full 12 months before the group formed and 6 years before their video was uploaded using footage from a film in the public domain that they can’t possibly own the rights to…

* Of course, as time travel isn’t real this section isn’t real…

So here we are. I’m still waiting to hear the outcome of my dispute. I notice that the link to iTunes and eMusic has gone. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t really be talking about this, but come on, this is beyond ridiculous!

The really sad thing is that The Rebels Of Tijuana sound quite cool and if I’d discovered them any other way I’d have downloaded their albums from eMusic…

If you’d like to see the original film, it is below. And quite good…

Rant over. On a lighter note, I was in Oxfam in Didsbury today trying to look at the DVDs but getting obstructed by a typical Didsbury couple. Think lots of money but no style and even less common sense. Husband to wife “Why does every Eminem CD have a parental advisory sticker on? You’d think he would make at least one album you can listen to with the whole family. Why doesn’t he make an album your Gran would listen to?”

So I will leave things here while we all wait for Eminem’s next album “Songs for a Didsbury Dinner Party”. I can’t wait, and I’m sure you can’t either…


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Week Forty and men having sex in clogs!

Yeah, yeah, I know. That was a totally sensationalist title designed to attract readers. There is a reason for the title, but more of that later…

As hinted at last week, I have started to re watch “The Secret Life Of Us” in preparation to getting series four on DVD. I have to admit I’m more than obsessed and managed to watch the entire first series (all 22 episodes) in a week. I think that this program, along with the film “Love And Other Catastrophes” really started my love affair with Australia. Prior to these our visions of Australia was made up of TV programs like Neighbours and Home and Away. Go back further and we had Prisoner Cell Block H, Sons and Daughters, The Young Doctors and The Flying Doctors. Oh yeah, and Skippy! On the film front I can remember the Mad Max trilogy, Picnic At Hanging Rock, The Cars That Ate Paris but not much else until the 90’s and things like Pricilla, Muriel’s Wedding etc. It had a certain look, and we all knew the stereotypes. But that all changed in my eyes when more interesting Australian films and TV started to be shown over here. In came a new cooler Australia that showed a completely different side of life than Neighbours.

I don’t know if it was the writing, the characters or the whole package, but something about this show about a group of 20 something’s living in an apartment block in Melbourne just grabbed me. People have compared The Secret Life Of Us to (the UK show) This Life and to Friends and Sex In The City. I’d say it close to This Life than the others, but without the really annoying characters… I really got sucked into their lives and I just hope that the final series does itself proud.

Now, about the title of this week’s blog… I have a wee obsession with the stats page on WordPress blogs. I’m not that interested in the number of visitors, but I have became curious as to what people search for to get here. In the past few months I’ve noticed a certain search term come up quite often and it is “men having sex in clogs” or some variant. The first time I saw it I really did laugh out loud and even updated my Facebook status to mention it. But week after week I see it show up in the search terms section. I must admit I was quite curious to see what exactly these people are looking for. Judging by the way they only say “Men in Clogs” I’m guessing this isn’t some heterosexual fetish that they are looking for. I’m also guessing (and this is me as a clog lover speaking) that they mean the Swiss slip on style clogs as opposed to my Lancashire clogs… I actually did a search on “clog porn” just to see what turned up. The results were eye opening to say the least and mainly involved a man with pierced genitalia pleasuring himself whilst holding his Swiss style slip on clog against said pierced genitalia and bringing himself to a “happy ending”. It’s moments like this when you say God Bless T’interweb, but then shake your head in disbelief. As much as I love my clogs, I don’t LURVE my clogs! I can’t decide if I was a little bit disappointed that the videos weren’t of some hot man on man action with both men wearing traditional clogs or if it’s a case of I don’t have a footwear fetish… I’d like to make a plea to the person / people who stumble here looking for clog sex videos – leave a comment!


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Week Thirty Nine and a meal out plus some good news…

This week was another bloomin’ hot one! I’m really not a sun person so was quite pleased to see some clouds this morning. We are due some thunder next week, which hopefully should cool things down a wee bit…

Wednesday was my monthly afternoon out with Colin From Work and it was my turn to choose where we go. We had been talking about going to Rusholm (or “The Curry Mile” as we call it here) for some time so that sounded like a perfect starting point. With hundreds of restaurants to chose from, the hard part was actually picking one! Something was festering at the back of my mind though. Something wasn’t right. Then I remembered a poster I’ seen at the local supermarket – Stock Up For Ramadan. Damn, we are right in the middle of it – none of the restaurants will be open during the day! On to plan B…

So, in keeping with the theme of doing things we’d talked about doing (if you can really call that a theme) I decided on our old favourite The Art Of Tea. We do go there a lot, but for coffee and cake. The food there looks really nice, so why not get lunch there.

We arrived battered from the heat and with high expectations. Alas things quickly went downhill rather fast after first the cider I like had gone, then one by one the specials on the board either sold out or couldn’t be made because “the avocados aren’t ripe” or “we’ve run out of one very significant ingredient”. A quick look at the main menu and I opted for the Ploughman’s Platter. It was probably a better choice than the Sausage and Red Wine Casserole anyhow what with the heat n all… When it came it was huge. big blocks of really nice cheese, great bread, butter and a homemade onion chutney. There was far too much so the very nice waiter bagged the rest up for me. That cheese was way too nice to throw away. For pudding we both went for some ice-cream as they had started selling ice-cream from “Ginger’s Comfort Emporium” and I’d been wanting to try some for ages. I went for a scoop of Salted Caramel & Peanut and Organic Chocolate. Colin was going to go for the Rhubarb & Somethingorother, but in keeping with the new theme of the day, it had sold out… The ice-cream did not disappoint and I would highly recommend it if ever you see the Ginger’s maroon van out and about in Manchester.

A quick look round the Charity Shops then we headed off to Chorlton for round two.

Funniest moment of the day must have been when Colin was looking at a fold up bike in one of the Charity Shops. I commented it wasn’t a Brompton (the fold up bike of choice round these parts) and the owner of the bike had to explain it wasn’t for sale, he’d just brought it in the shop while he had a look around.

Next stop was coffee an cake. I’d seen a place called “The Tea Hive” that looked quite interesting. A look on their website revealed that they sell home-made cakes and that was the killer for me. To be honest I was feeling a little too warm for a hot drink. Fear not. A sign outside said that all their teas and coffees are available “iced”. I’ve never tried iced coffee before so I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was more than a little bit surprised when my Iced Americano was actually just cold black coffee with ice cubes in… I guess I kinda thought it would be a bit slushy. Note to self – research more… My Apple & Caramel slice on the other hand was divine. Sticky and mmmm fabulous.

And so on to some great news. Way back in the year 2000, we had a program on TV here called “The Secret Life Of US”. It was an Australian show co-funded by Chanel 4. I seem to recall it started to air during the Olympics. Anyhow, after Chanel 4 showed the first series they decided to put series 2 on their new Satellite / Cable channel “E4” which I didn’t have. When eventually it went on “normal” telly, it was not publicised very well and I’d already missed half of the series. Luckily, by this time DVD Box sets were getting popular and when series one came out I bought it straight away. Then nothing. Fast forward to 2007 and a different company were going to put the remaining three series out on DVD. Hurrah! I got series two, and pre ordered series three. When I was out in Australia they had just got series four, but I didn’t buy it because it was due out in a few months time in UKland. Or so I thought. Series three did come out but everything seemed to grind to a halt. Searches on t’interweb revealed that the company who were due to release series four decided they wouldn’t bother as “there wasn’t enough demand”. But but but! Second hand copies of (the Australian issued) series four did occasionally appear on Ebay, but at ridiculous prices. Eventually there was a series 1 – 4 box set released in Australia but it was selling for around £120 (plus postage from Australia). For the one series I was missing, this was just too much. I kept on looking, to see if the price went down any, but it kept above the hundred pound mark and the copies of series four on Ebay were still going for crazy prices. Out of the blue on Saturday I had a search on Amazon. I wasn’t expecting to see anything as I’d by now given up on ever seeing series four. Again, there was nothing, just the usual UK releases. I went to Ebay and to my surprise I saw a brand new copy of series four, region 0, for a “buy it now price” of £23… Not believing my luck I clicked that “buy” button quicker than you can say “quick, click the buy button”. Finally, thirteen years after the first series came out I will get to watch the end. Of course, because it’s been six years since I watched series three I’m having to watch them all from the start. I got through four episodes today and have that warm feeling that you get from a favourite program… And it’s nothing to do with the heat wave… This is a good weekend!