Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Early bird

It's 5am and I'm up. No, I haven't got the day wrong. I do know it's Christmas Eve not Christmas Day and I'm not downstairs behind Mrs H's back checking if he's been. That's for tomorrow of course.

Nope. I'm up because today is Turkey Day. In half an hour or so I'm off to Holly Tree Farm to pick up a bird, as they say. It's open from 7am today and there'll be a queue before you know it, so there's no time for hanging about.

Unlike some other part time blogs, Ear I Am won't be closed for the Christmas break although, given a short attention span caused by the scandalous amount of booze that will be necked in this corner of Newton-le-willows over the next seven days or so, Twitter seems the more likely destination for my random thoughts.

I think I might play about with 12 Seconds TV as well, which is my latest 'I've seen the future' gimmick. I fully intend to post pictures of my Christmas Dinner tomorrow, complete with audio commentary.

Sad I know. Happy Christmas all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hallelujah, there's a new Kate Rusby LP

I'm sure you'll be amazed to hear that I'm no fan of the X-Factor. Never before has Modern Life is Rubbish seemed such a fair assessment.

You can't question the show's ability to motivate the public though. Never mind the stupid version of Hallelujah by Alexandra (quick fast forward to 2010: Alexandra? Who she?), some reactionaries have started buying the more famous Jeff Buckley version, many of whom would probably never have heard of him but for Simon Cowell.

There's even a Facebook group pushing for the Buckley version to be Christmas no. 1. Having plugged it on his work's blog, Rob Brown tweeted his fears that a Simon Cowell-led conspiracy may have caused the group to collapse under the weight of new members earlier in the week.

I've made my own contribution to the debate by downloading the Leonard Cohen version, which is surely the most civilised thing to do in the circumstances.

But enough already. If you really want to get something decent to no. 1 this Christmas, download any of the tracks from the peerless Kate Rusby's new LP. Sweet Bells is a collection of Christmas songs, some of which you've never heard before but all of which sound ace. To serve, simply add mulled wine and festive cheer.

Monday, December 15, 2008

£3.99 for a pic of my own kids? Ho ho ho

Took the boys to Dunham Massey yesterday to feed the ducks, see the deer, ride bikes and visit the Santa's grotto that has been set up in the stables there.

They loved it. So did I because it was free, unlike the grotto we visited at Trebaron Garden Centre in Newton-le-willows where I paid a fiver each for Sam and Adam to walk out with a 'gift' that would cost about 50p in different circumstances.

The thing that really got on my goat at Trebaron though was its 'No Photographs' policy. According to the in-store sign, this is due to child protection laws. Presumably the same laws don't apply to the store itself who are able to take a pic and flog it to you for £3.99 if you're stupid enough.

No such problem at Dunham Massey. You can't beat it if you want a break from the rampant consumerism of Christmas and you can even photograph your own kids having a good time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Steamboat Band back together

There's a bit of a musical tradition on Mrs H's side of the family. All the family parties in Padgate end up in some kind of singalong.

The leader is usually her cousin Sean who, in the early 90s, was the singer with a group called The Steamboat Band.

They were quite successful. They supported the likes of Whitesnake and Extreme on tour and had a record deal with Polydor. I remember him telling me once that Shaun Ryder's dad was their roadie on a trip to Amsterdam - but that's another story I'm sure.

They're all back together for a charity concert that takes place at WA1 tonight. It's in memory of Rob Woods, the original Steamboat Band drummer, who was tragically killed in a motorway accident earlier this year.

Anyway, if you've never heard of them, here's a video of the band back in the day. I can confirm that Sean has had his hair cut since this was shot:

The Steamboat Band

Monday, December 08, 2008

'Tis the season

A scan through the 'recently played' section of Ear I Am Radio reveals that Christmas arrived in the Hugreenie house this weekend. We had a selection box of Christmas classics playing on itunes while 'we' (aka Mrs H being hindered by me and the young 'uns) decked the halls with holly etc.

The Christmas theme continued this morning when I popped along to see Sam's first Nativity play. Among the highlights was Away in a Manger, the words to which Sam insists include "The cattle are blowing/The baby away."

Who am I to argue?

Still in the Christmas spirit, couldn't quite believe this paltry looking thing (below), presumably aimed at cheering up weary commuters heading onto the Wirral Line via the underground entrance at Liverpool Lime Street.

I can't make my mind up which made me laugh the most - the Merseytravel bunting being passed off as a Christmas decoration or the 1m long strip of health & safety ribbon, which seems to be there to prevent Wirral-bound office types climbing it, having had too much sherry at the work Christmas party.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

PRs enjoying the high life

What do you call a gathering of PRs? A pride? A push? A puff, maybe?

Whatever, a collective noun would have been handy to describe the crowd at last night's launch of The Business Desk North West. Without looking hard I spotted PR kids from MC2, RMS PR, Citypress, SKV and Souter RMC among those enjoying the free wine and canapes at the Hilton's 23rd Floor Cloud Bar.

I was there waving the Rattle PR flag with Anthony Mansfield, my client from Taylor Wimpey. In a huge leap of faith, I left him chatting to Sue Souter while I had a quick minesweep of the room, looking for more free drinks.

I'm sure she only said nice things about me while I was out of earshot. Not that I'm paranoid or anything.