Plans And Apologies- Torn Out Pages From The Middle Agez


(WARNING! This is a biased review. Apart from knowing the band personally, I’ve also contributed money towards them releasing this album. )

I know I’m biased but I’ve just listened to the P&A album all the way through and it’s a work of genius.

It did actually make me cry at one bit, I think it was halfway through ‘Ocean Schematic.’ I don’t know why, really, apart from it’s one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. Plus there’s some late sunshine slanting into my sitting room and it just went with the music in a strange way. Umm… and I’ve been feeling a bit old and emotional lately.

It’s an album that’s out of time, that doesn’t belong in now. And yet, it reminds me of many different times. It reminded me of being a kid in the late sixties, fifteen years before the people who made the album were even born. How is that possible? It also reminded me of the future. I remembered sorrowfully listening to this album 15 years from now when P&A are all rich and famous and I’ve gone off them cos they’ve gone jazz prog. So, the album spans at least 45 years even though it’s only 38 minutes.

One of my fave bits is the ‘numero deux’ just before ‘Secret By Design’ comes in. That bit is like when carpenters carve parts of bookcases no one will see but themselves and god. There’s nothing I can fault. The guitars are all spangly and chiming, reminding me of a more pastoral Felt. Dave’s vocals are just lovely. I hope he never changes the way he sings cos I can hear him so clearly in the vocals. There’s so many bands, big and small, where the singer is pretending, putting some ridiculous fake American accent on when they sing cos they haven’t managed to divorce themselves from their influences. Fave Dave moment – the Derbyness of ‘muster’ and ‘but.’ That accent will make American girls wet themselves…

At the moment, P&A are like a perfect army. There are no weak points, no lardy excesses. Everything just seems to click effortlessly (although I know there’s effort really).

I hate to sound like Terminator 2 but the future isn’t written. Perhaps in one future, Jamie will run off with Dave’s mrs, Dan will kill Mandy accidentally and the band will split up, leaving behind just this one great record. Even if that’s so, they’ve already done more than most bands do in twenty years of playing to their friends/workmates.

I’m hoping that in another future, this will be the album that millions of future fans seek out, the rare debut album recorded on a shoestring budget and released by a tiny indie label. It’ll be P&A’s ‘Tigermilk’ only lots, lots better.
Well done.

(For those still mystified by my review, this CD is guitar rock and to me it sounds like bits of Simon & Garfunkel or Leonard Cohen colliding with the jangly poppiness of )

Twenty Years Of Apple

From 6502/1MHz to dual G4s/1GHz

I realised tonight, in the middle of burning a DVD on my Powermac, that I first worked on an Apple computer two decades ago.

In 1983, my Dad bought an Apple IIe :

It had a 6502 processor that ran at a blistering 1MHz and could display 80 columns of text. 64K of ram, mofos’!


I’d experimented with 6502 assembler on the BBC B micro and I could carry that over to the Apple, my atrocious hex permitting. I wrote little Basic games for it, a rudimentary drum machine… I had so much fun!

Sadly, our house got struck by lightning and the poor old Apple went kerbang 🙁

My Dad didn’t replace it so I never got to properly play with a Lisa or the original Mac but I kept in touch with Apple Computer, fondling friends’ machines whenever I could (plus you could always find them in graphics departments).

I returned to the Apple fold in 1997, with a beige G3 :

and I realised what I’d been missing in the interim with Ataris and PCs: ease of use. The G3 just worked – I could finally make music and not spend all my time troubleshooting IRQs and DMAs and swapping PCI cards around.

Since then I’ve bought three iMacs, two more beige G3s, a graphite G4, a Ti powerbook and now my new dual 1GHz Powermac.

The old machines have been passed on to friends and family and are all still chugging away and keeping their owners smiling.

If there is a cult of Apple, I guess I’m a devout member 🙂
love and kisses,