Saturday 4 September 2021

Herd immunity will not come

Just to end the week on a rather bleak and gloomy note it now appears that herd immunity is never going to happen. According to Dr John Campbell's latest podcast on his You Tube channel anyway. Everyone, yes that includes you, is going to come into contact and get infected with Covid at some point in the future. It's endemic and isn't going away anytime soon.

Scientists and doctors agree that getting double jabbed offers you the best possible protection (around 90%) against getting seriously ill, hospitalised or departing this Earth earlier than planned due to Covid. Just think, if you're not vaccinated against it you may never get to see Brighton & Hove Albion win the Premier League and European Cup.

If you've not had the vaccine yet what on Earth are you waiting for? Just have the jabs. Don't say you haven't been warned.

Feel Flows straight out of stock

So, what is going on here? A surprisingly huge demand for the Beach Boys new box set Feel Flows: The Sunflower & Surfs Up Sessions 1969-1971 has resulted in Amazon, HMV and other outlets entirely running out of stock on the day of its release here in the UK. My Amazon pre-order was suddenly cancelled a week before it’s due delivery because they were out of stock even before its release date! Finding copies of this superb 5 CD box set is becoming increasingly difficult just one week after it was released.

HMV sent me an email at 1.20am this morning telling me they now had more copies back in stock, by 8.30am they had sold out again. It is now available on Amazon who are giving an unusually long 3 week delivery lead time. It would appear that this item is like gold dust. Why?

I'll tell you why. The Feel Flows box set contains two of the Beach Boys finest and most critically acclaimed albums, Sunflower and Surfs Up. There are stacks of demos, outtakes, unreleased tracks and live recordings as well as remastered versions of both albums and a 48 page book. It’s 135 tracks with 6 hours, 32 minutes and 55 seconds of pure listening pleasure for all Beach Boys fans.

Sunflower and Surfs Up were rather overlooked and undervalued at the time of their original release but they are now regarded as being essential Beach Boys listening material and are two of the best albums the group ever made. Many are now discovering for the very first time these long lost and forgotten Beach Boys songs from their late 60’s and early 70’s period. A surprisingly strange but welcome phenomenon. Of course these albums are something that us die hard Beach Boys fans have always known about; we have loved, treasured and appreciated them since the day of their release.

I would say give this boxed set a listen but you probably won’t be able to lay your hands on a copy.

More info on Feel Flows: The Sunflower & Surfs Up sessions 1969-1971 can be found here.

There's a comprehensive video review of this box set by Giggens on his You Tube channel here. It's well worth watching, what this guy doesn't know about the Beach Boys really isn't worth knowing. Lots of other BB album reviews can also be found on his channel. 


Tuesday 20 April 2021

ESL - A bad idea, a really bad idea

European Super League created to 'save football' - Real Madrid president Florentino Perez

So the ESL was created to save football. Well I never realised that so gee thanks for saving our national game Mr Perez, you utter knobhead!

This is what happens when you let super rich foreigners buy our top football clubs. Over 100 years of English football history and tradition being potentially wiped out so that the owners of a few money grabbing rich clubs can become even richer.

Interesting to note that there are no French or German clubs in this so called ‘European’ Super League. German football clubs actually have the right idea with fans having a controlling interest in how their clubs are managed and run. It’s a model that has been successful in Germany and could possibly work elsewhere.

Nobody who cares about football wants this European Super League cartel, apart from some heavily debt laden Spanish and Italian clubs and the obscenely rich owners of six English football clubs. The oligarchs, sheikhs and franchise obsessed Americans of this world care nothing about English football, its traditions or its fans. All they care about is lining their own pockets.
There’s way too much money in the upper echelons of English football and very little in the lower leagues, that imbalance needs to be addressed. This ESL proposal won’t fix it but it will certainly change things - by making the precarious situation of lower league clubs even worse!

I'm sure that most fans of 'The Greedy Six' are not in favour of their team joining an exclusive European super league with the possible risk of having to exit the Premier League. The proposal is to play ESL matches every Wednesday evening which is not the most attractive fixture day for those many fans who have to work for a living. Mid-week away trips to the continent are expensive and difficult in the midst of a pandemic. Most fans will be trying desperately to hold on to their jobs in the current Covid climate so how will they be able to take the time off work to follow their team abroad, or even at home for that matter? It's absolute madness but hey, do the club owners really care?

This proposed ESL is a bad idea and a shameful disgrace, don’t let this happen. It's time for fans to reclaim the game that belongs to them.

Rant over. 

See the news item on the BBC sport website here.

Friday 26 March 2021

On the turntable today...Jackson Browne

It's a 70's lockdown and on the turntable today we have Late For The Sky by Jackson Browne. Released in September 1974 it is easily one of my all time favourite top five albums. Yes, it really is that good.

Okay, I admit it, I hold my hands up. I had long hair and was a bit of a hippie in my younger days. The sixties and seventies were the decades when pop music evolved from the innocence of Please Please Me through to the angry punk of Anarchy In The UK. In fifteen short years we were given a pile of different musical styles and sitting comfortably right in the middle of that pile is the west coast singer songwriter genre and this is definitely my 'thing’. 

Laurel Canyon was the focal point for much of this creative songwriting energy of the early 70's with the likes of CSNY, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and the Eagles blossoming and going on to forge their own successful careers in the music industry.
There were some fantastic albums around at that time; James Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim, Carole King’s Tapestry, Neil Young’s After The Goldrush, CSNY's Deja Vu, Eagles Desperado, Carly Simon’s No Secrets and Joni Mitchell's Blue. Jackson Browne’s debut album and its follow up For Everyman were equally as good but his third album Late For The Sky is without doubt his best, most deeply personal and creative piece of work. It's a stellar album and I love it.

Every track on this album is delicious, if the singer songwriter music genre appeals to your taste then you'll just love this album. It's filled with acoustic guitars, piano, organ, fiddle, peddle steel guitar and these instruments are all blended with perfect backing vocal harmonies from the likes of Don Henley, Dan Fogelberg and J. D. Souther. There is no filler here, it's the quintessential southern California singer songwriter album rammed full of great songs oozing sheer class and quality.

There are just eight tracks on this album, all of them are exceptional. Stand outs are the title track, the stirring Before The Deluge, the delicate Fountain Of Sorrow, The Late Show with the infamous door slam at the end and the beautifully poignant For A Dancer. The songs have themes of love and loss that are deeply moving at times. 

It is music that encourages you to listen to every word that is sung, listen to every note that is played and most importantly it still stands the test of time. This album has it all; deeply moving lyrics, great melodies, superb vocals, excellent playing from a backing band of top musicians and good production. Even the cover sleeve is a work of art. It’s an album that I still play and listen to all the time. 
Late For The Sky is Jackson Browne's masterpiece, I urge you to give it a spin on your turntable. It’s songwriting, musicianship and production of the highest quality. I think it's a wonderful album but if you don’t like it, that’s cool, I’m okay with that. We all have different musical tastes, mine is clearly better than yours 😉

Wednesday 24 March 2021

On the turntable today...Yes

It's a 70's lockdown...on the turntable today we have a bit of prog rock. The Yes Album by Yes was released in February 1971, it was a critical success and a major commercial breakthrough making number 4 in the UK album charts.

The Yes Album was the bands third album release and the first to feature accomplished guitarist Steve Howe and keyboard player Tony Kaye. The album retained close harmony singing behind Jon Anderson's remarkable voice. Kaye's Hammond organ, Howe's acoustic and lead guitars along with Bill Bruford's drums and Chris Squire's melodic bass played progressive rock material that covered various musical styles including jazz piano, funk and acoustic music. All of the band members contributed ideas and tracks that were extended in length to allow music to develop.

Highlights from this album include opening track Yours Is No Disgrace, the three piece suite Starship Trooper at the end of side one and the closing cut Perpetual Change. The standout track for me though is the opener on side two, I've Seen All Good People.  

This early release is one of the bands more accessible albums and is a good introduction to the music of Yes. Please don't be tempted to write it off as boring old self indulgent prog rock until you've heard it. Their double LP set Tales From Topographic Oceans released some two years later was more of a self indulgent album, albeit a hugely successful one. 

Yes progressed through the seventies with varying line ups (keyboard player Rick Wakeman was in and out of the band) producing some very good and huge selling albums such as Fragile, Close To The Edge, Going For The One and Relayer. Their last album release, Heaven & Earth, was in 2014. It's perhaps true to say that different personnel changes to the band over the years did lead to some periods of varying degrees of quality and success in their musical output.

The advent of punk in the late seventies made music from bands like Yes and Genesis rather unfashionable. It became popular, and all too easy, to label prog rock bands as dinosaurs and irrelevant. However that shouldn't detract from the fact that Yes were a band of top notch musicians who progressed and changed their musical output throughout their career. They produced some highly rated and excellent albums over a forty five year lifespan. Not many bands last that long in the music business unless they have something about them; durability, quality and talent. Yes, enough said. 

Tuesday 23 March 2021

On the turntable today...Simon & Garfunkel

It's a 70's lockdown...on the turntable today we have the critically acclaimed Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel. Released in January 1970 this was their fifth and most successful long player, it's hard to believe that the duo actually only released five albums before they split later that same year.

The album opens with the magnificent tour de force title track with that sumptuous lead vocal from Art Garfunkel. It truly is the voice of an angel and it's heard here in all it's majesty in this gospel tinged beautiful ballad. Written by Paul Simon it was released as the lead single and went straight to the top of the charts worldwide, it's probably the duo's most well known and loved song. It may have been a mistake to open the album with this track as it was going to be an impossible act to follow, however they very nearly managed it with the opener on side two.

This album is heaving at the seams with great songs from Paul Simon. After the glorious magnum opus opening cut on side one we have the Spanish feel of El Condor Pasa (If I Could), then the jaunty Cecilia followed by a very up tempo Keep The Customer Satisfied (flip side of the Bridge single). The final cut on side one is the delicate So Long Frank Lloyd Wright, said to be the writers hidden final farewell to his partner prior to Simon leaving the duo to embark upon a successful solo career.

Side two starts with the epic The Boxer, a brilliant song that is almost as good as Bridge to my ears. The musical pace motors along with Baby Driver before falling back into a more gentle groove with The Only Living Boy In New York, a song written by Paul Simon and inspired by Garfunkel temporarily leaving the duo to act in the hit movie Catch 22. We continue into a more pop vein with Why Don't You Write Me and a live version of the Everly Brothers hit Bye Bye Love before the album is brought to a close with the quietly gentle Song For The Asking.

This album saw Simon & Garfunkel go out at the top of their game. With Simon's songwriting and Garfunkel's angelic voice the album hit a popular note with the record buying public who bought copies of Bridge Over Troubled Water in their droves. It proved to be a majestic swan song for the duo.

Monday 22 March 2021

On the turntable today...Neil Young

It’s a 70’s lockdown...on the turntable today we have Harvest by Neil Young.

This was the Canadian’s fourth album, released in February 1972 it was the biggest selling album in the USA that year. It had the likes of Graham Nash, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor on backing vocals.

The album featured the London Symphony Orchestra on A Man Needs A Maid and There’s A World while country rockers The Stray Gators backed Young on many of the other tracks. This was to be the breakthrough album for Neil Young and followed on from his previous release, the excellent (and some would say better) After The Goldrush.

Harvest was a massive smash album for Neil Young and is probably his most accessible and commercially aware piece of work. He has been prolific in his musical output since, more so than any other artist of his generation.

The success of Harvest caught Young off guard and he maintained it put him firmly in the middle of the road, a place he didn’t want to be. His natural inclination was to head towards the ditch for a tougher ride, as his follow up albums such as Time Fades Away and Tonight’s the Night would show.

Neil Young albums are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get when you dip into them. It could be the gentler acoustic, folksy country rock sound or the heavier electric, loud, noisy, garage sound when he works with bands like Crazy Horse, Pearl Jam and Promise of the Real. He’s a single minded awkward cuss with an unpredictable musical output, this is what makes the unwrapping of a new Neil Young album so exciting.

You never know what to expect from Neil Young but delve deep enough into his huge back catalogue and I guarantee that you will find some real gems. Harvest is a good starting point.

Sunday 21 March 2021

On the turntable today...Lennon

It’s a 70's Sunday lockdown...on the turntable today we have Imagine by John Lennon. Released in September 1971 it is considered one of Lennon’s finest albums.

The songs reflect peace, love, politics and bitterness. Gentle love songs such as Imagine, Jealous Guy and Oh My Love are mixed with heavier and more politically stronger tracks such as the angry Gimme Some Truth and I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier. The biting How Do You Sleep is an astonishing personal attack on his former writing partner Paul McCartney which doesn’t always sit comfortably with the listener despite being one the albums strongest songs.

The title track has since become John Lennon’s signature tune. Imagine, along with George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, is without doubt one of the best Beatle solo albums of all time. It set a musical quality benchmark that even Lennon himself found hard to improve upon.

Saturday 13 March 2021

On the turntable today...ELO

It’s a 70’s lockdown...Please turn me over as it’s back to October 1977 for a double vinyl album that’s jam packed full of great tunes. Boys and girls I present the magnificent Out Of The Blue by ELO.

Jeff Lynne’s songwriting was, and still is, heavily influenced by The Beatles. Lynne has an ear for a commercial tune that has a blend of orchestrated rock combined with a radio friendly sound, catchy memorable lyrics and terrific vocals. This was to be a perfect recipe for chart success and Out Of The Blue sold by the bucketload. This was the first double album in the history of the UK music charts to generate four top twenty hit singles. This LP was a natural progression from ELO’s previous outing A New World Record.
Side three, subtitled Concerto for a Rainy Day, was a four track musical suite based on the weather and how it affects mood, ending with the eventual sunshine and happiness of the wonderfully barnstorming Mr Blue Sky. I defy you not to sing along.
Created to be played loud and listened to in one sitting Out Of The Blue was beautifully crafted pop music laden with heavy strings and lots of overdubbed vocals coming out of every corner from your loudspeakers. 

It was, and still is, 70 minutes of pure joy.

Thursday 11 March 2021

On the turntable today...Eagles

It’s a 70’s lockdown...You can check out any time you like but you can never leave. It’s a real cracker on the turntable today folks. Released in February 1977, with punk music on the doorstep, we welcomed in The Eagles who gave us their stupendous multi million selling album Hotel California.

I love this record. It's title track contained one of the most memorable guitar breaks ever along with Don Hen Henley's superb lead vocal belting out above it and having a real poke at the excesses life in the sunshine state of California. Sitting alongside that magnificent opening cut we have the country tinged New Kid In town, the thoughtful ballad Wasted Time and the energetic Life In The Fast Lane. This album is jam packed with great songs, and then you add Victim of Love and Pretty Maids All In A Row which makes this album an even better listen.

The real nugget on this album though is the closing track, The Last Resort. It gives Hotel California the final piece of class and quality to make it stand out and shine as one of the best LP's of it's generation. The Last Resort is a simply stunning song and closes out a great album perfectly.
This has to be in my top five favourite albums of all time. Just a brilliant piece of work that you knew was going to be so tough to follow up for the band. You can’t make music much better than this and they never really did.

Wednesday 10 March 2021

On the turntable today...Marvin Gaye

It’s a 70’s lockdown...On the turntable today we have the best piece of vinyl Tamla Motown ever released. Celebrating its 50th birthday this year I bring you Marvin Gaye’s magnificent masterpiece What’s Going On.
Tackling serious themes such as the Vietnam war and ecology the album was way ahead of it’s time. The narrative established by the songs is told from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to his home country to witness hatred, suffering and injustice. Gaye’s introspective lyrics explore themes of drug abuse, poverty and the Vietnam war. He was also one of the first black artists to promote awareness of ecological issues.
Produced by Marvin Gaye this is a beautiful album full of rich vocal textures and great songs, there’s no filler at all on this disc. It was a real change in musical direction allowing himself and other fellow black artists such as Stevie Wonder to set the benchmark in writing and recording about political injustices and other issues of the day.

It’s rightly regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time and was a landmark recording in popular music. Every home should have a copy of this LP, it’s simply brilliant.

Tuesday 9 March 2021

On the turntable today...Bowie

It’s a 70’s lockdown. Today on the turntable we have an LP that was released in June 1972. It was going be this or Hunky Dory on the platter today but David Bowie’s fifth album release Ziggy Stardust was chosen because it was simply a game changer.
Bowie set music and fashion trends, constantly evolving his musical style and look over the years. Like Neil Young you never quite knew what the next album would sound like when it was released.

Loosely described as a concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mar to give it its full title, was a huge hit and within Five Years it made Bowie into a global Star. See what I did there?

Monday 8 March 2021

On the turntable today...Elton John

It’s a 70’s lockdown...Harmony on the turntable today as we get a double album of music from October 1973. Ladies and gentlemen Sir Elton John presents Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Sunday 7 March 2021

On the turntable today...Carly Simon

It's a 70's lockdown...Putting this on the turntable today just seemed the right thing to do. It’s Carly Simon’s No Secrets released in November 1972. This was to be Carly's breakthrough album having released the critically acclaimed Anticipation a year earlier. No Secrets topped the Billboard album charts for five weeks.

Produced by top producer Richard Perry and recorded in London, No Secrets yielded the massive hit single 'You're So Vain' which topped the Billboard charts in America for three weeks. In the years since it's release people have been trying to established who the song was written about. Carly herself has said it's not about James Taylor or Mick Jagger, the rumour is it's Warren Beatty who was the target Carly's song lyrics. 

You're So Vain set the tone for the No Secrets project which was one of the first albums from a female singer songwriter who was writing from a position of strength as an independent woman of the early seventies. Surrounded and assisted by world class musicians such as bassist Klaus Voormann, drummer Jim Keltner and trusted friend and guitarist Jimmy Ryan, she had backing vocals from the likes of Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and husband at the time James Taylor which ensured that the album would be of the highest quality.

Carly Simon herself wasn't overly happy with the album at the time of it's release, she was more of a folk based musician and was unsure if Perry's slightly heavier production would be good enough to sell the record. She needn't have worried as it sold in bucketloads and proved to be her biggest selling album ever so I'm guessing she grew to love it. As for me I have to say that I prefer her earlier Anticipation album as a complete piece of work and That's The Way I've Always  Heard It Should Be from her first album is also outstanding. However there's no denying that You're So Vain is a great song and there are some other tracks on the No Secrets album that also reach the same high levels.

Saturday 6 March 2021

On the turntable today...Stevie Wonder

It's a 70's lockdown...On the turntable today we have Stevie Wonder’s musical masterpiece Innervisions which was originally released in August 1973. 

Like Marvin Gaye's What's Going On before it Innervisions marked a significant change in musical direction for Tamla Motown and showed further progression for Stevie Wonder. His previous offerings Talking Book and Music of my Mind had both indicated a radical change in the musical path that he was going along and Innervisions was the culmination of that trio of albums. It would set the style for his later albums such as Fulfillingness' First Finale and Songs In The Key Of Life. 

With songs that encompassed themes of drug abuse (Too High), racism (Living In The City), love ballads (All In Love Is Fair, Golden Lady). The album highlights political and social issues of the day and the final track (He's Misstra Know It All) is a scathing attack on then US President Richard Nixon. This album fell at just the right time socially and politically and sat comfortably alongside his stable mate Marvin Gaye's output at that time.

Friday 26 February 2021

On the turntable today...Fleetwood Mac

It's a 70's lockdown...The multi million selling Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is on the turntable today. Released in February 1977 Rumours was the bands 11th album release and it was massive, selling shedloads of copies across the world. It turned the band into a hugely successful touring and recording act. 

The album was a diary of events for the band as it told the story of internal love affairs, relationship bust ups, fights, splits, parties and tensions within the band itself at that time. The subject matter proved to be the catalyst for a hugely successful and popular album. The lyrics cut straight through to the heart of the matter and musically the band were very strong with melodies to die for. Rumours garnered critical acclaim and was an instant commercial success selling over 40 million copies worldwide.    

What a nice nice way to welcome in the weekend. 

Monday 22 February 2021

On the turntable today...Joni Mitchell

It's a 70's lockdown...Today we have Joni Mitchell’s For The Roses on the turntable. Released in November 1972, this follow up to the hugely successful and startlingly honest Blue, took Joni away from her folk roots and into a new and different direction.
The often overlooked Roses is a fine piece of work and lyrically one of her very best. Her vocals and musicality are not to everyone’s taste but as an album it’s in a class of its own.

In 1974 this change in style would lead to a more jazzy feel that would reach its peak with her critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album, the magnificent Court and Spark.

Sunday 21 February 2021

On the turntable today...The Beatles

On the turntable today we have the lovable fab four with their groovy 1968 double LP offering The Beatles, better known as The White Album. This double LP was a revolution when it first came out but as soon as you hear it dontcha know it’s gonna be alright.

How a band of mop tops could go from Please Please Me to this in just five years is nothing short of astonishing musical progress. The mix of songs on this album is simply amazing. We have Ob La Di, Ob La Da sitting alongside other tracks such as Revolution 1, Revolution 9, Julia, Helter Skelter, Good Night, Birthday and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. A more diverse collection of songs on the same album you would be very hard pressed to find. 

It's the diversity of this bunch of songs that is its attraction. You will find stuff you love (Blackbird) and other stuff that's perhaps a tougher listen (Revolution 9). It's a must have album though, especially the 6 CD deluxe set with the Esher sessions. On this edition you can hear the germination of songs that would reappear later on Beatle solo albums. Lennon's Child of Nature would eventually evolve into Jealous Guy on Imagine and McCartney's Junk would return for his first solo outing.

Not as commercial as earlier Beatle albums but still an essential part of any Beatles music collection as it highlights the bands progression from Love Me Do in '63. The Beatles White Album is a part of the bands closing chapter and was to point the way forward for their musical future as it entered the 70's after the group split. Although on the pricey side the 6 CD box set with a Blue-ray disc and lavish hardbound book does represent good value purely for the high quality packaging and enclosed comprehensive collection of rare rehearsal tracks and the Esher demos. You can view the product on Amazon here

Friday 12 February 2021

Travel on a journey with Passenger

Album: Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted
Artist: Passenger

Release date: January 2021

What a stunning new album this is by Brighton based singer songwriter Passenger (Mike Rosenberg). Unbelievably it’s his 13th album release, all of them excellent but this one is truly a real gem. A genuinely brilliant piece of music that is sure to be my favourite album of the year even though it’s only February.

The wistful music is hauntingly beautiful and superbly arranged. It’s a strongly emotive piece of work and whilst the subject matter of heartbreak, loss and longing may seem desperately sad the beautifully crafted songs are in fact surprisingly uplifting in their openness and honesty. The subtle guitar playing and heartfelt vocals are on point throughout. It’s a truly magnificent album from a singer songwriter right at the very top of his game.

The deluxe edition is spread across two CD’s and the acoustic versions on disc 2 give an added dimension to the songs that makes you appreciate just how well written they are. Gentle music that is simply perfect for any lockdown. This comes highly recommended, please give it a listen.

Click the album image at the top of this page to follow the Spotify link.

Wednesday 3 February 2021

'Phenomenal' Brighton win at Liverpool

Liverpool 0, Albion 1
Wednesday 3rd February 2021

This is my team in a nutshell: Brighton play attractive, free flowing football with lots of possession but until recently the team lacked that killer instinct in the final third, they needed to be more ruthless. Sometimes you have to win ugly when you're near the bottom of the table. There have been too many draws and narrow one goal defeats for the fans liking, compounded with the managers tendency to frequently change team line ups causing even more frustration. However, it's also true to say that Brighton are a very hard team to beat and as a fan I would far rather be watching attractive attacking football than a boring defensive style of play. It's not often Brighton have been well beaten, Leicester away springs to mind, but fans can get notoriously fickle when things aren't going the way they would like or expect. 

Brighton manager Graham Potter tends to look at things as a long term project even though some fans are impatient for results and look worryingly at the league position. Relegation is not something the Albion board desire but they, and particularly chairman Tony Bloom, have every faith in their manager and getting rid is not an option in their eyes. They believe in what Potter is trying to do. The manager is not afraid to introduce younger players into the starting eleven, his brave decision to let first choice goalie Maty Ryan move on loan to Arsenal and bring in rookie Robert Sanchez as his replacement showed a remarkable amount of bravery and confidence in the 23 year old shot stopper.

So it was that Brighton travelled to Anfield on the back of some good results having recently taken seven points out of a possible nine in their last three games against Spurs, Fulham and Leeds. Perhaps more significantly Albion hadn't conceded any goals in those three matches. Having only lost one game since the turn of the year (a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Manchester City) Brighton fans were beginning to wonder if the tide was about to turn. And so it proved to be. 

In the pre-match press conference the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for Graham Potter and the style of football that he is trying to introduce on the Sussex coast. Indeed, Klopp was more complementary than many Albion fans of late about what the Brighton manager is trying to achieve. The possession based brand of football played out from the back is attractive but not always fruitful in terms of results in Brighton's case. 

Was this to be the match where some of those doubting Albion fans began to believe in the Potter project? The team took to the pitch to show what they were capable of and to a man they were strong, calm and magnificent. They passed the ball consistently well all game, they outplayed Liverpool for large spells and defended like lions when they had to with a solid wall of blue shirts between their goal and the Liverpool forwards. And for once Brighton took their chance when it presented itself after some beautiful intricate one touch passing movement which led to young midfielder Steven Alzate thumping the ball into the corner of the Liverpool net in the 56th minute. It was 1-0 to the Albion and Liverpool never really looked like they were going to score as their lackluster front line huffed and puffed but found no way through. The Brighton players worked their socks off, with Adam Webster looking particularly assured in the solid back line of three centre halves. Even Dan Burn had a wonderful game, foraging forward from his left wing back position to create several opportunities for himself and his team mates. It was a pleasure to watch this team at last realise the potential that they have.

Believe me, this was no lucky win, it was fully deserved for a Brighton team who showed courage, commitment and a sense of belief in the plan that their manager had given them. They were not overawed or intimidated by the Premier League champions. The team finally showed us what Graham Potter knew all along, that they can play attractive football and get the desired result. It was an outstanding performance that will live long in the memory and will surely raise the players confidence levels. They visit Burnley on Saturday and that will be a physically tough battle, Albion will need to work hard and be on their mettle if they are to gain all three points. The victory at Liverpool pushes Albion up to 15th in the Premier League with a comfortable 10 point cushion between them and third from bottom Fulham. The team now need to carry their recent good form into their upcoming matches, in particular the home match against Crystal Palace on 22nd February which all Albion fans will want to win.

Brighton have generally been playing well all season but just not taking their chances. The defence is now starting to look rock solid and the team appear to have learned how to grab their goal scoring opportunities when they come along. Onwards and upwards, hopefully. 

Click on the image below to watch BBC's Match Of The Day analysis of Brighton's performance. Look out for pundit Danny Murphy saying that Brighton were 'phenomenal'. Who am I to disagree. 

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Fulham hold Albion in yet another draw

Albion 0, Fulham 0
Amex Stadium
Wednesday 27th January 2021

A dogfight between the two teams in 17th and 18th place in the Premier League resulted in the inevitable and predictable draw. In this proverbial six pointer it was Albion who dominated play for most of the match, had more possession but missed a hat full of chances and almost threw it away in the final minute. Sound familiar? 

It was a match that Brighton should, and could, have won. Once again it was pretty football with fluid passing movement that lacked the killer punch in the final third. Having spent 90 minutes trying to find the back of the Fulham net Albion almost threw the point away in added time when Ruben Loftus-Cheek had his goal bound shot spectacularly cleared off the line by the ever dependable Lewis Dunk. It would have been a snatch and grab result that Fulham hardly deserved.

Fulham made so many poor passes and gifted Albion countless chances but the Seagulls failed to put them away. It has to be said that Areola in the Fulham goal was in outstanding form for the visitors but it was the same old story for Brighton, attractive to watch but with no end product. The home team probably deserved to win but why Graham Potter didn't make further substitutions towards the end of the game was a little baffling. 

With the team crying out for some more firepower up front Potter decided to bring on midfielder Davy Propper and take off MacAlister who was actually doing okay. It was a like for like change and hard to see how just that one change could make a significant difference or have any impact up front while the likes of Aaron Connolly, Percy Tau and Adam Lallana remained on the bench. What the team needed was a goal and although Trossard (who had a decent game) and Maupay came close it was clear that more firepower was needed. The boss decided to just make the one change when perhaps bringing on another striker might have proved the solution to winning this game, I guess we'll never know.

In the end Albion were left ruing their spurned chances yet again. Another good performance but this team are now the league's draw specialists with nine draws, no other team has drawn that many matches in the Premier League this season. Pretty football and the lion's share of possession doesn't necessarily win matches, if Albion are to progress and avoid relegation they need to be more ruthless and start turning those draws into wins...and quickly.   

Some tough questions to answer

Click on the image above to watch Sky News presenter Niall Paterson ask some tough questions to poor Robert Jenrick who is the unfortunate minister left holding the government to account.

I have to say that I’m not a great fan of the blame game, it’s more important to me that politicians recognise what lessons they have learned from this awful pandemic so that the same mistakes will never, ever be made again when the next one comes along.

You may not be surprised to read that I’m not a huge fan of this government but I do give credit to them for the furlough scheme and to the NHS in getting the vaccine program roll out moving so quickly. I would question some of the judgement calls made by our government during this pandemic and some ministers have been extremely poor in getting their messages across. 

I could mention the dreadfully belated response the government took in responding to the explosion of Covid that swamped our care homes early on, the shambolic world beating track and trace app that became a laughing stock, Dominic Cummings who broke all the rules and managed to come up with such a lame excuse that nobody (except his boss) thought was acceptable or 'Operation Moonshot' that disappeared into outer space never to be seen or heard of again. Nope, you won't hear me mention any of those moments of madness during the coronavirus crisis.

However to be fair and balanced it’s also probably true to say that no matter which political party was in power at the time of this pandemic it was inevitable that mistakes in dealing with it would have been made. 

It’s time for politicians to accept and acknowledge that mistakes were made in their decision making, albeit under extremely difficult circumstances in a worldwide pandemic. There’s no shame in admitting those mistakes, anyone with common sense can see it’s been an almost impossible job trying to manage the country in these unprecedented times.  

Over 100,000 lives lost in the UK due to Covid is such heartrendingly sad news. It is not the time for recrimination, for now it is more important that lessons have been learned from the way this pandemic has been managed so that we can prevent such a dreadful loss of life in the future.

It's Alright Now

It's alright now, we've got a little bit of Free on the turntable today. I had forgotten how nice it was to turn over a piece of vinyl halfway through the set 🎸

Friday 22 January 2021

SMiLE your way through lockdown

SMiLE, it’s vinyl day in the Seagull's nest. There’s nothing quite like a bit of Beach Boys music to help get you through a lockdown.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Today is a good day

Today is a good day. The deluded narcissist has finally left the building and the grown ups have moved in. I wonder if there’s room in that helicopter for his enormous ego?

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Priti please, just answer the questions

The Priti Patel coronavirus press briefing today was a lesson in how not to answer questions by repeatedly ignoring them and saying the same thing time after time after time. Every question was met with the same carefully worded, scripted response. Aimed at getting the message across the briefing was dull, boring and failed to engage her audience at all. Priti Patel’s stern personality and lack of warmth made her completely the wrong person to host this briefing to give out the governments most important message.

I get the crucial ‘stay at home’ message Priti and I understand why you have to get the point across to those who don’t but please, please answer the journalists questions. It’s a pointless exercise to have a press briefing if you don’t properly answer questions that the press throw at you. 

If our politicians want the great British public to get the important messages in these challenging times then they need to answer questions directly with clarity, transparency and honesty. Unfortunately these are not traits that come easily to most politicians, no matter which side of the house they are on. 

The great British public doesn’t want bluster or repetitious statements from politicians who fail to address the questions put to them. 

That’s the end of Tuesdays rant, time for a cuppa.

Thursday 7 January 2021

Is this really the way to make America great again?

The world saw disgraceful and shocking scenes of violence yesterday as mobs of Trump supporters stormed the White House, the citadel of American democracy. Their leader, the President of the United States, refused to condemn their actions telling them instead that he 'loved them' and calling them ‘special people’. Havoc and chaos reigned as these thugs showed such remarkable disrespect and disregard to the democratic process. Perhaps we should all be shocked but not surprised as these scenes were stoked by mad conspiracy theories, rants and lies from a deranged and outgoing president. 

Strategic and planning failures by White House security chiefs allowed these violent events to happen, perhaps a deliberate act by Trump to encourage the use of mob force to stand behind his false and unproven claims of a ‘stolen election’. Gun wielding and ignorant thugs (not the brightest tools in the box it has to be said) listened to Trump as he implored them to march on the US capital and ‘fight like hell’. And so these morons followed like sheep and did exactly what he told them to do. 

Trump supporters, anarchists and white supremacists took to the streets and blindly followed their leader’s instructions, taking their guns and pipe bombs with them resulting in four dead. It was mob rule.

Imagine what the reaction would be if it were a group of Black Lives Matter protesters who stormed the White House yesterday. Would the security arrangements have been the same? I suspect President Trump would have not hesitated to quickly use the national guard to forcibly protect US democracy resulting in many more dead, and he would have called the protest an insurrection and threat to democracy.

Donald Trump lost a legitimate election, there's no convincing or hard evidence that shows us otherwise. Not only did he lose but he actually lost by what he would define as a landslide. The president needs to be a big boy now, grow a pair, stop crying, accept defeat gracefully and move on. But we all know that isn't going to happen don't we? Trump has now left himself isolated, his behaviour in the days leading up to this event with his bullying phone call to an election official in Georgia probably led to the republican parties losing control of the senate as well.

Is this the way to make America great again? America needs a President who shows decency and will respect the office, who will respect the democratic process and who has the respect of those around him. Not a rude, ill mannered, ill informed narcissistic bully who has an ego the size of the White House.Too many of his aides were grovelling yes men, either through fear of him or because they chose to crawl up a ladder of ambition. 

In the words of President Elect Joe Biden, speaking as protesters stormed the capitol "The words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that President is. At their best the words of a President can inspire, at their worst they can incite". How true. 

Unbelievable scenes at the White House, Washington on 6th January, 2021