Tag Archives: Blog

Daily Prompt – Dilemma

What a very appropriate daily prompt I see today.  A one word prompt that sums up my summer.  The fact is that I have been so crazy busy for the last four months that my blog has taken a back seat.  My dilemma has been that something has to give and sadly paid work has to take priority over writing for fun.

There is a great deal of irony because it was this WordPress blog that directly led me into the world I now inhabit.  I began writing here to give myself a creative outlet after being forced to take early retirement on the grounds of ill health (depression.)

I now find myself writing and photographing for two music magazines and an USA based news agency.  All of that, my drift into creating art and becoming a professional photographer began right here on WordPress.  As a consequence I feel that this little corner of the internet is a part of me, it is largely responsible for me being in a totally creative world and for my current happiness and sense of well-being.

As a bit of fun I present you with another Dilemma.  On Saturday I attended an all day photoshoot with four other photographers and six lovely models.  During the first part of the day I was shooting a beautiful model dressed as an autumnal Poison Ivy.  By coincidence the adjacent room also had a Poison Ivy so we all got together to shoot a slice of double trouble.  The Dilemma?  How do you choose your favourite Poison Ivy from these two beautiful lady’s?

So Now I’m Part Of The ‘Babygate’ Cover UP

Earlier today I made it clear that I was no longer going to write articles about the Louis Tomlinson babygate saga.  I have been humbled by the fact that most fans on twitter understand exactly where I am coming from but it seems that some think I am now part of the babygate cover-up.

I am both amused and flattered that people think I am important enough to have been paid off or silenced 🙂  I am simply a guy with a thirst for truth and honesty who has a few thousand readers of his articles each week.  If I ever get to the stage where I am actually important enough to be silenced I will be sure to let you know 🙂

Most of the accusations seem to have stemmed from this Tumblr account. http://allegedlymags.tumblr.com/post/139483049090/i-get-that-alan-was-probably-used-prior-to-the

Here is the post and below it my response in case they choose not to publish my response.

Anonymous asked: I get that Alan was probably used prior to the baby being born to add to the confusion and also spread good, and true, stories about Louis in the face of some bad press. So it really bothers me, now that he’s either been told to back off or is just going with a changing tide, that his reasoning is that speculation is hurting Louis and his family. It’s the same thing as Larries ruining their friendship. If they didn’t want or like speculation, they shouldn’t have added to it and encouraged it.

I agree with what you’re saying here. Really makes you wonder who’s been pulling the strings on Alan.

Hi,

Its Alan Ewart from Inquisitr here. A friend sent me a link to your tumblr when they saw the comments being made about me being some sort of plant or having been paid off.

Firstly I don’t want to disappoint you but no-one has ever used me to write anything about Louis or anyone else nor was I ever asked to help spread confusion.

I simply write what I believe to be newsworthy.  We all have our own views on the whole babygate drama and I still think it stinks.  Believe me if any firm news emerges I will be all over it in a flash.

At present I think I have made my views on babygate pretty clear but there is nothing new to report and as Inquisitr deals in trending news I have no intention of simply repeating myself ad-nauseum.

The attacks by some fans on Louis’ family yesterday were pretty sick so that why I am stepping back from babygate until something new emerges.

I will continue to look for information about stunts and misleading information and I will report it if and when I find it.

I have been totally open about why I report Louis the way I do.  The information is on my personal website for anyone who cares to read it.

I know that some of you think that there is a conspiracy behind every corner and I am kind of amused that you think I am important enough to be included as part of some cover up.

I’m simply a guy whose articles get read by a few thousand people each week.  I try to be honest in what I write and will continue to do so.  I’m sure that you will be able to dream up some reason or other as to why I have chosen to stop reporting babygate for the time being.  The truth is that I am simply tired of the whole thing, it has spilt over into personal abuse and bullying of Louis family and I want to distance myself from that for ethical reasons.

There it is.  You can choose to believe what you wish 🙂

Peace & Love

Alan

A Post A Day Photo Challenge

A Post a day photo challenge.  A 365 day challenge.

Boxing day dawn-2

From 01 January 2015 I am going to post one of my photographs each day.  I am keen to improve my photography so where possible I will look to explore things away from my usual subject – gig photography – so I will be looking for interesting subjects and hopefully interesting people.  It should be fun and I hope I will learn a lot along the way. 🙂

It would be great to take some photographers along for the journey.  It is a big task, a shot a day for a whole year, but think how much we could learn from each other.  We could exchange tips, talk about techniques and offer supportive critiques.  If you would like to join in then simply post your picture on your own blog from new years day and leave a pingback.  With a few participants it can be a lot of fun and a huge learning opportunity for those looking to improve their photography.

Van Morrison Into the music cover

75 Essential Albums – #5 Van Morrison – Into The Music

After over six weeks of providing a rundown of 65 albums that I believe everyone should own we come to the final 10.  In the days between now and Xmas I will give a run down of my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  Hopefully I have given you some thoughts as to new albums to check out and I hope that the final 10 will have you rewriting your christmas lists and picking up a few of these brilliant albums.

Van Morrison – Into The Music

Into the Music is the eleventh studio album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1979.  Typically for of Morrison the album draws on wide range of styles, from Celtic Folk, New Orleans Jazz,  R&B and Philly soul.  It might be said that this album marked the birth of celtic Soul.  Saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, horn player Mark Isham, violinist Toni Marcus and the prominent backing vocals of Katie Kissoon all feature prominently and all combine to a ‘big band’ sound which showcases Morrison’s Vocals perfectly.  Into the Music’s reputation has grown since release and it is often regarded as among Morrison’s greatest albums.  It is a truly incredible piece of work, almost, but not quite flawless.

Van the Man is truly a musical legend a veritable behemoth.  Up to 1998’s Philosophers Stone he released  album after album of superb content.  With the exception of a couple of weak albums his output was outstanding.  Easily the equal of Dylan, Young or anyone else you care to mention.  Sadly Morrison is a very difficult character, a flawed genius who is famously private and reclusive and who avoided the limelight  Unfortunately his early experiences in the music business scarred Morrison so badly that he has carried bitterness through his entire career.  His total failure to engage with the promotional side of the business in my view is the only thing that stopped Van being recognised as the best of the best.  Make no mistake when Van is on his game he is without peer and on Into the Music he is bang on it.

The album is in two clear parts.  What was side 1 of the LP is bright cheery and sing-a-long, opened by one of Morrison’s brightest ever songs, the appropriately named ‘Bright Side of The Road’.  The fact that Van was searching for something within himself when this record was cut is apparent, especially in Full Force Gale where Van shout out loud and proud that he was ‘lifted up again by the Lord’.  Three other songs on the first side all allude to Morrison’s spiritual journey.  ‘Stepping out Queen’, ‘Troubadours’ and ‘You Make Me Feel So Free’ are all superb positive anthems, full of joy the piano, flute, violin and brass, all adding texture and feel.  As always though it is Morrison’s vocal that pulls it all together, ensuring it makes sense.  He is famous for his phrasing and timing and even a casual listen of this album shows why.

The first side and indeed the album is only let down by the lamentable ‘Rolling Hills’.  As a dyed in the wool Morrison obsessive (I have seen him live well over 200 times) I have never and will never understand why this cut made the album.  It is a dreadful track, not fit to be on the worst of Morrison’s albums never mind on one of the best.  For most of the hardcore Van fans that I know it is side 2 that sets their pulses racing.  The second side sets a totally different mood, it is deep, introspective and totally absorbing, the musicians are given free rein to expand their parts and Van goes with it, directing them with oooh’s and aaaahhhh’s and the occasional whispered Yeeeeessssss.  Van watchers know that when Van is on his game he totally loses himself in this way,   when he begins to scat when playing live you know you are in for a treat, when he does it on a recording you know you are hearing something truly special.

The second side consists of just three songs, though the track listing says four.  ‘Angelou’ and ‘The Healing Has Begun’ are classic Morrison.  The stuff of legend when played live.  They clock in at 7 & 8 minutes respectively but it is the last track that is the albums true epic.  It starts out with a gorgeous version of ‘Dawes & Sigman’s’ ‘Its All In The Game’, Morrison then uses his box of vocal tricks to segue the song into ‘You Know What they Are Writing About’ combined the tracks come in at around 10:30 minutes, six minutes of which are Morrison doing vocal gymnastics, playing with the dynamics, taking the song up and down, vocals fading to a whisper before exploding into a crescendo at the finale.  It is epic, spine tingling, breathtaking brilliance and only Morrison can do.  Whilst the first side of the album is merely wonderful it is the second side that takes it above almost anything else that you are ever likely to hear.  It is the blend of life affirming joy, spirituality and artistic brilliance that makes this one of the best five records ever released.

Check out these videos for a feel of the brilliance of the live versions

As always thanks for dropping by my blog.  if you like what you read please hit the like button or leave a comment.  If you don’t like what you read then please leave a comment explaining why 🙂

Springsteen Born To Run

75 Essential Albums – #9 Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run

After over six weeks of providing a rundown of 65 albums that I believe everyone should own we come to the final 10.  In the days between now and Xmas I will give a run down of my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  Hopefully I have given you some thoughts as to new albums to check out and I hope that the final 10 will have you rewriting your christmas lists and picking up a few of these brilliant albums.

Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

Asking a Springsteen fan to choose their favourite Springsteen album is akin to asking a parent to select their favourite child.  Your favourites change over time, they vary according to mood and of course the boss has something in the order of 40 albums to choose from.  The truth is I own almost all of them (all except the post 2012 output.

Back in September I wrote about my love for the Rising and it was included as one of my top 75.  Much as I love the album it doesn’t make my top 10, there are at least 5 Springsteen albums that are good enough to make anyones top 10, Born To Run, Born in The USA, Nebraska, The River and The Ghost of Tom Joad are all absolutely outstanding albums.  In the end and after much souls searching I plumped for ‘Born to Run’ as an absolutely essential Springsteen album.

Released in 1975 Born to Run was Springsteen’s third studio album.  It had a huge budget and in his Autobiography Springsteen admitted that he became so fixated on producing a ‘perfect’ album that it almost never came out at all.  A total of 14 months went into recording Born To Run, and a well-known rock and roll trivia fact is that it took six months to record and produce the title track by itself. “Born To Run” has 12 layers of guitar recordings, a prime example of the amount of thought that went into the record.

When the album was released it received widespread critical acclaim, acclaim that has continued unabated in the near 40 years since the release.  Thomas Nassiff on Absolute Punk calls ‘Born to Run’ the best record ever made.  Rolling Stone’ said:

The song titles by themselves — “Thunder Road,” “Night,” “Backstreets,” “Born to Run,” “Jungleland” — suggest the extraordinary dramatic authority that is at the heart of Springsteen’s new music. It is the drama that counts; the stories Springsteen is telling are nothing new, though no one has ever told them better or made them matter more.

Reviewing for the BBC Lou Thomas said: “Born To Run’s eight songs run to less than 40 minutes in length, but comprise a whole as satisfying as a portion of exquisitely rich chocolate cake.”

From the opening lines of Thunder Road to the closing notes of Jungleland, from “The screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways” all the way to “they wind up wounded, Not even dead, Tonight in Jungleland” we are treated to 40 minutes of lyrical drama, heartfelt story telling and musical mastery. Of the eight tracks on the album 6 are Springsteen classics with only ‘Night’ and ‘Meeting across the River’, good as they are, not making it into the stellar category.

The opening and closing tracks are without doubt two of the best songs ever written by anyone.  Springsteen really comes of age on ‘Born To Run’, his vocal and songwriting had both matured and the E-Street band are on fire throughout.  I could go on all night doing a track by track breakdown extolling the virtues of each, but I shall spare you the indignity of being preached to because if you know the album you already love it.  If you don’t own it sneak off quietly and buy a copy of the 30th anniversary remaster and tell your friends you had to buy that version because you wore out the original.  When you listen to this album you are truly in the presence of greatness.

As always thanks for dropping by my blog.  if you like what you read please hit the like button or leave a comment.  If you don’t like what you read then please leave a comment explaining why 🙂

Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication

75 Essential Albums – #10 RedHot Chili Peppers – Californication

After over six weeks of providing a rundown of 65 albums that I believe everyone should own we come to the final 10.  In the days between now and Xmas I will give a run down of my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  Hopefully I have given you some thoughts as to new albums to check out and I hope that the final 10 will have you rewriting your christmas lists and picking up a few of these brilliant albums.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication

Everyone should own at least one album by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  My personal favourite is  Californication but there are a number of albums in their back catalogue that are worthy of inclusion. For a band that have been around for 30 years the Chili Peppers have not exactly been prolific averaging just one album every three years.

Released in 1999 Californication is the seventh studio album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was the album that marked the return of John Frusciante, to replace Dave Navarro as the band’s guitarist. Frusciante’s return marked a total change in the Chili Peppers sound.  The album is full of sexual innuendo and touches on lust, death, suicide, and drugs.  Selling over 15m copies worldwide Californication was the Chili Peppers most successful album.

Reviewing the album for the BBC in 2009 Dennis O’Dell said:

“On the surface filled with the usual punk funk, the band had now matured enough to make it sound more convincing. Keidis’ voice, ravaged by age and excess, now emerged as a mighty instrument, while Frusciante’s guitar held far more subtle nuance.

The funky rock feel and the top class musicianship of the album is balanced by some truly dreadful lyrics in places, Pitchfork’s Brent DiCrescenzo said:

“The sincere, hook- laden, mellow jams of “Scar Tissue,” “Otherside,” and “Road Trippin'” more than make up for whatever knuckle- dragging Kiedis executes. That the Chili Peppers even gave us a single you can actually tolerate on the radio should be heralded”.

For me the creativity of Californication is the way it fuses Rock with Funk and Rap to create a totally unique sound.  In many ways this album is what confirmed the Chili Peppers as a world class rock band.  It most certainly changed the bands direction and cemented their place in rock history.  the album contains at least 6 Chili Peppers classic tracks in Parallel Universe, Scar Tissue, Otherside, Californication, This Velvet Glove and Road Trippin.  Despite a few lyrical flaws it is a quite brilliant classic rock album.

As always thanks for dropping by my blog.  if you like what you read please hit the like button or leave a comment.  If you don’t like what you read then please leave a comment explaining why 🙂

Deep Purple Machine Head

75 Essential Albums – Day #65 – Deep Purple

Here goes with day 65 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Deep Purple – Machine Head

The past few days has seen me in mellow mood with my selections but today with my final selection before I go onto my top 10 albums let down your hair turn the stereo up loud and rock out to the sound of the mighty Deep Purple.

Released in 1972 Machine Head was the 6th Album by Deep Purple and the third by the line-up which must surely go down as the ultimate heavy guitar rock line-up in the history of rock music.  Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice a veritable collection of rock royalty.  For Machine Head the band went to Montreux Casino in Switzerland to record but as every rock fan knows the Casino was set on fire when an overly enthusiastic Frank Zappa fan shot off a flare.  The fire gave birth to deep purples most famous song ‘Smoke on The Water’.  As a result Claude Nobs, the owner of the casino (and organiser of the famous Montreux Jazz festival) moved them to an empty hotel and they laid down the tracks in a mobile recording unit.

The album was to prove the bands best seller ever and it would be an essential album if Smoke on TheWater’ was the only good track, but of of course that is far from the case.  The album hit No1 in the UK in its week of release, reached No7 in the USA and it stayed in the charts for over two years!

Machine Head set the standard for everything that followed.  Ian Gillan excels himself on “Highway Star,” and “Never Before”, the latter a single, released ahead of the album.  Of course it is Blackmore’s guitar that dominates the album.  His playing is superb throughout notably on  “When A Blind Man Cries” (not included on the original album but on the anniversary editions) and of course, “Smoke On The Water.”

The BBC’s review of the album says that “Its devastating simplicity is the foundation stone of the whole record and one of rock’s most archetypal riffs. Not only heavy as hell, it was insanely catchy and the long-haired denim-wearing world grasped it to their bosom without a moment’s hesitation”.

Sadly Gillan quit the band just a few months after the albums release and that was the end of what should have been the greatest rock band in history.   Machine Head however remains their finest hour.

As always thanks for dropping by my blog.  if you like what you read please hit the like button or leave a comment.  If you don’t like what you read then please leave a comment explaining why 🙂