Archive for December, 2016

Thursday 22nd December 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on December 28, 2016 by bishshat


Fourth Plinth: David Shrigley’s giant thumbs up ‘Really Good’ unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square
The 11th Fourth Plinth artwork has been unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square by mayor Sadiq Khan.

Macclesfield-born artist David Shrigley’s “Really Good” is a 7m-high elongated thumbs-up, described as the “tallest and most positive yet” and made in bronze to match the historical sculptures in the square.

Mr Shrigley, 48, was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2013 and is acclaimed for his bold and opinionated drawings, animations and sculptures that explore the absurdity of 21st-century society. He currently lives and works in Brighton.

“I guess this is a work about making the world a better place or it purports to actually make the world a better place,” he said at the event on Thursday morning. “Obviously, this is a ridiculous proposition, but I think it’s a good proposition. Artworks on their own are inanimate objects so they can’t make the world a better place. It is us, so I guess we have to ask ourselves how we can do this.”

David Shrigley has shrugged off the disappointment of missing out on the Turner Prize, as his giant “thumbs up” sculpture was named as a winning entry for one of the prize art commissions in London. The comic artist’s 10 foot bronze sculpture of a thumb, called “Really Good”, was the second of two winning commissions for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Shrigley’s work, which will be put up in 2016, was the popular choice for the site among the more than 40,000 members of the public who visited the shortlist exhibition many of whom submitted their views to the selection committee.

This comes two months after he missed out on the Turner Prize to Laure Prouvost. “I wasn’t that disappointed not to win the Turner Prize as I didn’t expect to win,” he said. “But I did really want to win this. It definitely makes up for the Turner.”

The artist said he was “chuffed” that he won, adding: “It’s an opportunity to make something. Unlike winning a prize – or not – you’re not just given the money, you’re given the opportunity to make something on a scale that you couldn’t possibly imagine yourself.” The positive gesture made by the sculpture could be a “self-fulfilling prophesy” with the economy, weather and society all benefitting from a positive attitude, Shrigley said.

He continued: “As an artist you have to believe your art makes the world a better place. Having said that, I’ve made a statement with this work that is quite flip. It’s satirical and sincere at the same time.”


The Beano Annual is the current name of the book that has been published every year since 1939, to tie in with the children’s comic The Beano. As of 2016 there have been 78 editions. The annuals are traditionally published in July or August, in time for Christmas, and since 1965 they have had the date of the following year on the cover. Before then no date was given.

From 1942 to 1949 the annual was called “The Magic-Beano Book”, which referred to the short-lived Magic Comic that had ceased publication in 1941 due to the Second World War’s paper rationing. The name reverted to the original title of “The Beano Book” in 1950 and continued, the year changing for each subsequent annual, until the release of the 2003 book in 2002 when it was renamed “The Beano Annual”. The 2011 Beano Annual is taller and wider than previous annuals.

After paper rationing had ended, The Magic Comic was never revived, but some of the characters who had originally appeared in the pre-war Magic Comic remained as regular strips in the post-1950 Beano Comic (such as Koko the Pup).

Because of his popularity, Dennis the Menace has appeared on the front cover of every annual since the release of the 1979 book in 1978.

Beano office at 185 Fleet Street, London, United Kingdom, EC4A 2HS


Cornhill is a road in the heart of the City of London, known for its bustling offices and designer boutiques. Located a stone’s throw from the Bank of England, the name Cornhill comes from it being one of the city’s three hills Tower Hill and Ludgate Hill.

In a world before cars, travelling around on a horse and carriage was the way to get around. Just like today the city is dotted with petrol stations to refuel, in Georgian and Victorian times there were wells, troughs and water pumps to water the horses and refresh the people. With an extensive underground sewer network and piped water supply, thankfully these days we don’t need to grab a bucket and head to the nearest pump for some water.

While demand for public wells has ceased over the past 100 years, the staggering history and aesthetics of the City’s old street furniture means many of these pumps can still be seen today. Earlier this autumn, one such pump caught my eye. Located outside the Gucci store in the Royal Exchange, it looks very different to other stone and black ones I’ve seen on the streets. Painted in the City of London’s light blue colour, just like the Old Police Telephone posts, it stands out amongst the bins, post boxes and street lighting. While to some, it looks like a tired piece of old London, the pump actually has a significant tie to the history of London and distances from the old capital. A minute’s walk up to the junction of Cornhill and Leadenhall Street is the location of ‘The Standard’ – the first mechanically-pumped water supply in London. As well as being a source for water, the pump became a meeting place and also the mark from which distances from London were judged (until the marker later became Charing Cross – see Civil war, centre of London and a memorial to a queen: The story behind Charing Cross).

Although The Standard pump was discontinued in 1603, back down the hill outside Gucci (of course it wasn’t Gucci then!), the current pump was erected nearly 200 years later. Two of the City’s big players of the time, the East India Company and the Bank of England, together with the local fire stations and local bankers and traders who worked in the area, jointly funded the cast iron pump with an adjoining granite trough.

Designed by architect Nathaniel Wright (who built St Botolph Aldersgate in Postman’s Park), the inscription on the road-facing side, it reads: ‘On this spot a well was first made and a House of Correction built thereon by Henry Wallis Mayor of London in the year 1282.’ It continues on the Royal Exchange-facing side: ‘The well was discovered much enlarged and this pump erected in the year 1799 by the contributions of the Bank of England, the East India Company, the neighbouring fire offices, together with the bankers and traders of the Ward of Cornhill.’ As well as the inscriptions, the Grade II-listed pump has fire insurance emblems on each side – Royal Exchange, Sun, Phoenix and County.


The City of London is not renowned for its abundance of trees, but right in the heart of the City, just a stones throw from St Paul’s cathedral on the corner of Cheapside and Wood Street is a reasonably resplendent Plane tree, threatening to usurp the row of tiny shops beneath it.
It feels almost like the tiny little square was made specifically for the tree, but in fact, it was previously the site of a medieval church, St Peter Cheap, which was one of the 87 churches that burnt down during the Great Fire of London, 1666. However, it was also not one of the 51 rebuilt after the fire by Christopher Wren. Cheapside incidentally, is a medieval word for market, hence why a number of the streets leading off it, relate to produce that would have been bought and sold in the area; Bread Street, Milk Street and Poultry … for instance.

The area where the Plane tree stands, was instead preserved as a tiny grave yard and public space and that very same tree features in a poem by William Wordsworth, called ‘The Reverie of Poor Susan’, inspired (allegedly) after hearing a thrush singing in its branches. If you happen to pass by, the verse in question has been handily painted on to a board for your perusal.


The poem records the memories awakened in a country girl in London on hearing a thrush sing in the early morning.

Poor Susan

William Wordsworth 1797

At the corner of Wood-Street, when day-light appears,
There’s a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years.
Poor Susan has pass’d by the spot and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the bird.

‘Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripp’d with her pail,
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove’s,
The only one dwelling on earth that she loves.

She looks, and her heart is in Heaven, but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade;
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all pass’d away from her eyes.

Poor Outcast! return—to receive thee once more
The house of thy Father will open its door,
And thou once again, in thy plain russet gown,
Mayst hear the thrush sing from a tree of its own.



Wednesday 21st December 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on December 28, 2016 by bishshat


Tuesday 20th December 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on December 20, 2016 by bishshat


People Have The Power

Patti Smith

I was dreamin’ in my dreamin’
Of an aspect bright and fair
And my sleepin’ it was broken
But my dream it lingered near

In the form of shinin’ valleys
Where the pure air recognized
Oh, and my senses newly opened
And I awakened to the cry

And the people have the power
To redeem the work of fools
From the meek the graces shower
It’s decreed the people rule

People have the power

Vengeful aspects became suspect
And bending low as if to hear
Well, and the armies ceased advancin’
Because the people had their ear

And the shepherds [?] the soldiers
And they laid among the stars
Exchanging visions, layin’ arms
To waste in the dust

In the form of shinin’ valleys
Where the pure air recognized
And my senses newly opened
And I awakened to the cry

People have the power

Where there were deserts, I saw fountains
Like cream the waters rise
And we strolled there together
With none to laugh or criticize

There is no leopard and the lamb
And lay together truly bound
Well I was hopin’ in my hopin’
To recall what I had found

Well I was dreamin’ in my dreamin’
God knows a pure view
As I lay down into my sleepin’
And I commit my dream with you

People have the power

The power to dream, to rule
To wrestle the earth from fools
But it’s decreed the people rule
But it’s decreed the people rule

Listen, I believe everythin’ we dream
Can come to pass through our union
We can turn the world around
We can turn the earth’s revolution

We have the power
People have the power

The power to dream, to rule
To wrestle the earth from fools
But it’s decreed the people rule
But it’s decreed the people rule

We have the power
We have the power
People have the power
We have the power


Sunday 18th December 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on December 18, 2016 by bishshat


How (not) to begin a poem

Helena Nelson

The first three or four lines of a poem are make-or-break territory.
If you hook the reader firmly at the start, she’ll follow you willingly right through to the very last syllable.
The poem is one long fishing line (usually with line breaks). The reader is a rainbow trout. The poet’s art is to play that fish and reel it in.

But the first few lines may well be where the fishing line, at least in its early drafts, fails.
They’re where the poet is still unpacking her kit, getting ready for Real Poem action. They’re where the poet is most likely to include phrases like ‘I remember’ or ‘I think’. Or ‘As I see the dew on the hollyhocks, I…’ Don’t do it!
The old prose writer’s trick is to delete the first paragraph and start with the second, where things are getting interesting.
I find myself suggesting this often for poems too.
Delete the first stanza? Try starting with the second.
Maybe delete the first three lines? Consider starting with line four.
In fact I scribble this so frequently that it may be worth trying with all poems, just to see how far the opening lines, as they stand, matter.
Then there’s the tangled line. By this, I mean a poem that opens with a lengthy sentence, spreading over several breaks, and it’s just difficult. So it’s like getting stuck in the reeds with a distant view of clear water.
Or the poem that hurls in a really odd break at the end of the first or second line. Jumps and challenges are fun, but not too soon.
Or the opening lines set up a metrical pattern. Or they seem to. And then the pattern drops. So it wasn’t a pattern at all. The disappointed fish is off the hook and floundering.
I’m talking in the abstract. Much better to give examples from my creel.
But I don’t have time in this most pressurised month of the year – and besides, the poets wouldn’t like it.
I have more poems to go and read. Many many more. And other fish to fry.

Spurs 2 Burnley 1

Danny Rose scored a superb winner as we recovered from conceding an early opener to overcome Burnley and round off our home games in 2016 with a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon.The visitors went ahead somewhat against the run of play when Ashley Barnes benefitted from a fortunate rebound off Mousa Dembele in the area and slotted past Hugo Lloris on 21 minutes, but we were level six minutes later when Kyle Walker’s low cross was turned in by Dele Alli.


We were enjoying the majority of possession and Burnley needed their England goalkeeper Tom Heaton to keep them in the game as he made good saves from Harry Kane and two from Christian Eriksen in the second half, but he could do nothing about our winning goal.

With 19 minutes remaining, substitute Moussa Sissoko led the charge forward before finding Rose in the left channel of the area and our England left-back rifled his shot past Heaton – a deserved goal after a fine individual display from the 26-year-old.


There were one or two nervy moments towards the end as Burnley looked to get the ball forward quickly but overall we dealt with their threats without too many problems, although Lloris needed safe hands to gather Andre Gray’s cross as Sam Vokes almost got a touch. The final whistle blew shortly afterwards, though, and a second home win in four days was in the bag.


Friday 16th December 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on December 17, 2016 by bishshat


I again took the train from the NEC station parking the car there and the fact that the £12 parking charge would be no surprise this time I figured that what with the drive into the city on a Friday night and the Christmas traffic it would be worth the £12.
Birmingham to me is still no treat on the eyes. It’s not a wonderful spectacle and I always feel let down by its dullness as a city.
The new Grand Central for me is nothing but a mishmash of shiny awkward mirrors not pleasing to my eyes at all. The walk from New Street took me through the now traditional German market which has become a tradition of shoddy stalls selling all the same trinkets and fat full food as always only today’s market is hemmed in with car bomb proof concrete barriers. The city once again is being demolished which also appears to be a tradition. The old library is rubble and you have to skirt around the Town Hall through makeshift Paradise walk ways. Birmingham city planners are always trying to improve the city but the finished product always to me appears the opposite.
Alas it is my birth city and I do feel a sense of that it is my home and I hold it in some reverence for that. The bronze bull had his Christmas jumper on but The Iron man was still naked I bet he would have loved to have been equally adorned with maybe a Christmas hat on his iron head.

A boat load of revellers were going along the canal dressed as The Grinch and they looked like they were having a great time.
I had agreed to Meet Phil in The Flapper pub just by the arena, it was Dead’s-Ville.
I was the only person in there apart from the bar man. He then told me they did not do coffee so I went out across the street to The Prince of Wales which was packed and they did coffee. I informed Phil I would be in there.

I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at the merchandise stand at the NIA arena in Birmingham to see REO Speedwagon were supporting Status Quo on the so called last of the electrics tour. I really had no idea they were the support.
REO were great and they did a super set at one point doing the intro to Sabbath War Pigs. Quo without Rick Parfitt is almost a tribute band but this gig really rocked I thought they were great. Rossi still held it all together with his banter and he often mentioned Peaky Blinders but didn’t mention Rick at all which I felt was a little strange. All in all it was a super gig. High-lights for me included, In the Army Now, Hold You Back plus a superb medley of amazing hits. I don’t own one Quo album but I knew them all. It was really a professional rocking ride. Four quality guitarists and a hard drummer blasting it full on is a real treat.
A couple arrived next to me just before Status Quo came on. I asked them where they had been until now. It turned out they had travelled from Cornwall to see the gig as a 60th treat for her husband. She aid they had met ten years ago and Quo was playing at a disco and she could not get him off the dance floor. Obviously things had changed since then as they had missed Speedwagon and she said it was past his bedtime and he did nothing more than shove earplugs in and say back to relax.


REO Speedwagon

In the fall of 1966, Neal Doughty entered the electrical engineering program at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, coming in as a junior. On his first night, he met another student, Alan Gratzer. They soon started a rock band. Gratzer had been a drummer since high school, and was playing in a local group on the weekends, while Doughty had learned some Beatles songs on his parents’ piano.

Doughty started to follow around Gratzer’s band, eventually sitting in on a song or two. The keyboard player was the leader, but several other band members weren’t happy with the situation. On the last day of the university’s spring semester, guitarist Joe Matt called the band’s leader and told him that he, drummer Gratzer, and bassist Mike Blair had decided to leave the band and start a new one with Doughty.

They made a list of songs to learn over the summer break, and Doughty landed a summer job to buy his first keyboard. On his Farfisa organ, he learned “Light My Fire” by The Doors. The members returned to school in the fall of 1967, and had their first rehearsal before classes even started. They named the band REO Speedwagon, from the REO Speed Wagon, a flatbed truck Doughty had studied in transportation history, and the initials are those of its founder Ransom E. Olds. Rather than pronouncing REO as a single word as the motor company did, they chose to spell out the name with the individual letters each pronounced (“R-E-O”). An ad in the school newspaper produced their first job, a fraternity party that turned into a food fight. They continued to perform cover songs in campus bars, fraternity parties, and university events. The first lineup consisted of Doughty on keyboards, Gratzer on drums and vocals, Joe Matt on guitar and vocals, Mike Blair on bass and vocals.

In the spring of 1968, Terry Luttrell became lead singer, and Bob Crownover and Gregg Philbin replaced Matt and Blair, respectively. Marty Shepard played trumpet and Joe McCabe played sax until McCabe moved to Southern Illinois University. Crownover played guitar for the group until the summer of 1969 when Bill Fiorio replaced him. Fiorio then departed in late 1969, eventually assuming the name Duke Tumatoe, and went on to form the All Star Frogs. Steve Scorfina (who would go on to found progressive rock/album-oriented rock band Pavlov’s Dog) came aboard for over a year, composing with the band and performing live, before being replaced by Gary Richrath in late 1970.


Richrath was a Peoria, Illinois-based guitarist and prolific songwriter who brought original material to the band including REO’s signature song “Ridin’ the Storm Out”. With Richrath on board, the regional popularity of the band grew tremendously. The Midwestern United States was the original REO Speedwagon fan stronghold and is pivotal in this period of the band’s history.

The band signed to Epic Records in 1971. Paul Leka, an East Coast record producer, brought the band to his recording studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut where it recorded original material for its first album. The lineup on the first album consisted of Richrath, Gratzer, Doughty, Philbin, and Luttrell.


With their equipment being hauled to dates in a friend’s station wagon, REO played bars and clubs all over the Midwest. The band’s debut album, R.E.O. Speedwagon, was released on Epic Records in 1971. The most popular track on this record was “157 Riverside Avenue”. The title refers to the Westport, Connecticut address, where the band stayed while recording in Leka’s studio in Bridgeport and remains an in-concert favorite.

Although the rest of the band’s line-up remained stable, REO Speedwagon switched lead vocalists three times for their first three albums. Luttrell left the band in early 1972, eventually becoming the vocalist for Starcastle. He was replaced by Kevin Cronin. Cronin recorded one album with the band, 1972’s R.E.O./T.W.O. but left the band during the recording sessions for 1973’s Ridin’ the Storm Out because of internal conflicts. Ridin’ the Storm Out was completed with Michael Bryan Murphy on lead vocal. Murphy stayed on for two more albums, Lost in a Dream and This Time We Mean It, before Cronin returned to the fold in January 1976 and recorded R.E.O., which was released that same year.

Cronin’s return came after Greg X. Volz turned down the position for lead vocalist after becoming a born-again Christian. Volz would later accept an offer from Bob Hartman to join the Christian Rock band Petra as lead vocalist.

REO Speedwagon live at DTE on 7-15-2016. Photo credit: Ken Settlepromoted-media-optimized_543e963195543

In 1977 REO convinced Epic Records that their strength was in their live performances. Epic agreed to let them produce their first live album, Live: You Get What You Play For, which was eventually certified platinum. That same year, the band moved to Los Angeles, California, and Philbin was replaced with Bruce Hall to record You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish. The album was released in 1978 and received FM radio airplay. The album was REO’s first to make the Top 40, peaking at #29. The album went on to sell over 2 million copies in the US, ultimately achieving double platinum status.

In 1979 the band took a turn back to hard rock with the release of Nine Lives.

The stage was now set for the height of the band’s popularity. On November 21, 1980, REO Speedwagon released Hi Infidelity, which represented a change in sound, going from hard rock to more pop-oriented material.
Hi Infidelity spawned four hit singles written by Richrath and Cronin, including the chart-topping “Keep On Loving You” (Cronin), plus “Take It on the Run” (#5) (Richrath), “In Your Letter” (#20) (Richrath), and “Don’t Let Him Go” (#24) (Cronin), and remained on the charts for 65 weeks, 32 of which were spent in the top ten, including 15 weeks atop the Billboard 200. Hi Infidelity sold over 10 million copies and set the bar for rock bands across the country. The band’s follow-up album, Good Trouble, was released in 1982. Although it was not as successful as its predecessor, the album performed moderately well commercially, featuring the hit singles “Keep the Fire Burnin'” (U.S. #7), “Sweet Time” (U.S. #26) and the Album Rock chart hit “The Key.”

The band came storming back two years later with Wheels Are Turnin’, an album that included the #1 hit single “Can’t Fight This Feeling” plus three more hits: “I Do’ Wanna Know” (U.S. #29), “One Lonely Night” (U.S. #19), and “Live Every Moment” (U.S. #34).

On July 13, 1985, the band made a stop in Philadelphia (en route to a show in Milwaukee) to play at the US leg of Live Aid, which broke a record for a number of viewers. They performed “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and “Roll with the Changes,” which featured members of the Beach Boys, the band members’ families, and Paul Shaffer on stage for backing vocals. 1987’s Life as We Know It saw a decline in sales, but still managed to provide the band with the top-20 hits “That Ain’t Love” (U.S. #16) and “In My Dreams” (U.S. #19). The Hits (1988) is a compilation album from REO Speedwagon. It contains new tracks “Here With Me” and “I Don’t Want to Lose You.” “Here with Me” cracked the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top ten on the Adult Contemporary chart. They were the last songs recorded with Gary Richrath and Alan Gratzer

The band released a self-financed album entitled Find Your Own Way Home in April 2007. Though it did not chart as an album, it produced two singles which appeared on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary radio chart.

REO Speedwagon continues to tour regularly, performing mostly their classic hits.[8] They are popular on the fair and casino circuits, but still team with other acts to play large venues. They teamed up with Styx to record a new single entitled “Can’t Stop Rockin'”, released in March 2009, as well as for a full tour that included special guest .38 Special.

In November 2009, REO Speedwagon released a Christmas album, Not So Silent Night…Christmas with REO Speedwagon. In summer 2010, the band — then touring with Pat Benatar — announced that it would release a 30th anniversary deluxe edition reissue of Hi Infidelity. On December 2, 2009, REO Speedwagon released an online video game, Find Your Own Way Home, produced by digital design agency Curious Sense. The game was the first “downloadable casual game” produced with a rock band and was cited by numerous publications including the New York Times as an innovative marketing product for a music act. Main Street in Champaign, Illinois, named REO Speedwagon Way in honor of the band
REO Speedwagon headlined on the M&I Classic Rock Stage at the Milwaukee Summerfest on June 30, 2011. On March 11, 2012, Kevin Cronin appeared on the Canadian reality TV series Star Académie. He sang a sampling of REO’s hits with the show’s singing finalists.

On November 22, 2013, they announced a benefit concert with Styx titled “Rock to the Rescue” to raise money for the affected families of the tornadoes in central Illinois. The concert was held on December 4, 2013 in Bloomington, Illinois. Richard Marx joined REO on stage for a joint performance of two of his hit songs. Gary Richrath reunited with REO for a performance of “Ridin’ the Storm Out” to end REO’s set at the sold-out concert. Richrath stayed on stage to help with the encore of “With a Little Help From My Friends” along with REO, Styx, Richard Marx, and others. Richrath was originally from the town of East Peoria which was damaged during the storm. Families impacted by the storm and first responders sat near the stage for this special concert and REO reunion.

In early 2014, it was announced that REO Speedwagon and Chicago would be teaming up for 15 dates throughout 2014.

The band’s former guitarist and songwriter Gary Richrath died on September 13, 2015.

REO Speedwagon

Gary Richrath

Died aged 65, was the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group REO Speedwagon from 1970 to 1989.
With his mane of blonde curls and thumping guitar solos, Richrath was the epitome of the 1970s rock guitarist and he wrote several of the group’s more guitar-driven tracks, including Golden Country (1972) and Ridin’ the Storm Out (1973) . REO Speedwagon was to become best known internationally for its saccharine but commercially successful power ballads – the best known of which, Keep on Loving You (1980) and I Can’t Fight This Feeling (1984), both featured Richrath on guitar. When the 21-year-old Richrath had joined the band, however, it was as a guitarist inspired by blues-influenced players like Jeff Beck and he was always best known for his spectacular live performances.
In their heyday REO Speedwagon would play to thousands of fans in vast stadiums and Richrath’s guitar slashing was a highlight of every performance. He was less enthused, however, by REO Speedwagon’s leanings towards more piano-orientated soft rock in the mid-1980s. “Gary wasn’t so big on ballads,” recalled his fellow band member, Bruce Hall. “It wasn’t what he thought was the coolest idea in the world but he contributed to them a lot, honestly. Gary wanted to rock it up and I don’t blame him because we rocked as good as anybody .”

Music File Photos - The 1970s - by Chris Walter
In 1989 Richrath’s battle with alcoholism and his growing musical differences with other band members led to his departure from REO Speedwagon. He subsequently released one solo album, Only the Strong Survive (1992), although he briefly rejoined the group in 2013 for a concert in aid of the residents of central Illinois who had been displaced by heavy storms.
Gary Dean Richrath was born on October 18 1949 in Peoria, Illinois. He played the saxophone at high school, switching to the guitar at the age of 14 after he was given one by his uncle. He then proceeded to teach himself by listening to his idols, Jeff Beck and the Yardbirds, watching other bands and playing gigs at school dances with a group called Mach Four.

After leaving school in 1967, Richrath built up a local fan base with his next band, Suburban 9 to 5. He was still living with his parents and the group would rehearse in their basement. “Dad didn’t always take kindly to us shaking the walls, but Mom was very supportive,” he claimed.

In late 1970 Richrath was approached by REO Speedwagon (named after a flatbed truck studied in “transportation history” by Neal Doughty, a founder member of the band) to take over from the guitarist Steve Scorfina. He would later describe being driven to his audition by his mother, who burst into tears when she saw the lead singer’s long red ponytail. “Mom, don’t worry,” he told her. “I’ll never have long hair.”

Richrath’s songwriting skills and on-stage presence helped to raise the profile of the group, and by the late 1970s REO Speedwagon was heading towards mainstream success and touring extensively. Its popularity was sealed with the release of the album Hi Infidelity (1980) which marked a move towards a more “pop” sound and spawned four hit singles, co-written by Richrath. The album sold more than 10 million copies. For Richrath, however, it was a direction in which he did not wish to go, and after several difficult years he left the band. Throughout the 1990s, Richrath struggled with alcoholism, and although there were times when he seemed to have overcome it, his health was permanently affected.

In 2016, the band went on tour with Def Leppard and Tesla.

The band performed with Pitbull the song Messin’ Around live on the ABC TV show Greatest Hits in 2016, that version of the song was also released as a single on iTunes.

The band  played a great set tonight at The Barclay Card Arena supporting Status Quo 16th December 2016.

REO Speedwagon live at DTE on 7-15-2016. Photo credit: Ken Settle

Time For Me To Fly

REO Speedwagon

I’ve been around for you
I’ve been up and down for you
But I just can’t get any relief
I’ve swallowed my pride for you
I’ve lived and lied for you
But you still make me feel like a thief
You got me stealin’ your love away
‘Cause you never give it
Peeling the years away
And we can’t relive it
I make you laugh
And you make me cry
I believe it’s time for me to fly

You said we’d work it out
You said that you had no doubt
That deep down we were really in love
Oh, but I’m tired of holding on
To a feeling I know is gone
I do believe that I’ve had enough

I’ve had enough of the falseness
Of a worn out relation
Enough of the jealousy
And the intoleration
I make you laugh
And you make me cry
I believe it’s time for me to fly

Time for me to fly
Oh, I’ve got to set myself free
Time for me to fly
And that’s just how it’s got to be
I know it hurts to say goodbye
But it’s time for me to fly

Keep On Loving You

REO Speedwagon

You should’ve seen by the look in my eyes, baby
There was somethin missin
You should’ve known by the tone of my voice, maybe
But you didn’t listen
You played dead
But you never bled
Instead you lay still in the grass
All coiled up and hissin
And though I know all about those men
Still I don’t remember
Cause it was us baby, way before then
And we’re still together
And I meant, every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever

And I’m gonna keep on lovin you
Cause it’s the only thing I wanna do
I don’t wanna sleep
I just wanna keep on lovin you

And I meant every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever

And I’m gonna keep on lovin you
Cause it’s the only thing I wanna do
I don’t wanna sleep
I just wanna keep on lovin you


Hold You Back

Status Quo

How d’you know the music when you don’t know the score
Do you think that you can make it when you don’t need no more
Is it really the reason when it is not a need
Are you trying hard to write it before you can read

Hold you back, hold you back, and slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Slow you down, you’ve gotta try

Does the clock that you’re watching ever tell you ’bout the time
Does the song that you’re singing sound to you like a rhyme
Will there be an answer when you stop asking why
All because of the jigsaw that makes up a lie

Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Slow you down, you’ve gotta try

How d’you know the music when you don’t know the score
Do you think that you can make it when you don’t need no more
Is it really the reason when it is not a need
Are you trying hard to write it before you can read

Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Slow you down, you’ve gotta try

Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down, slow you down
Hold you back, hold you back, slow you down


Burning Bridges

Status Quo

Building dreams has always been my way
Making time and living for the day
Burning bridges never made me cry
I could walk away with no goodbye
Easy take or easy leave them all
‘Til you scratch the writing on the wall

It’s on and off and on again
Going on and then
Taking all I got again
Bleeding me, leaving me dry
You’re hanging on for what you can
Dragging out the pain
Taking all I give again
Faking it, making me cry

One day some day I may slide away
Turn around and call it all a day
Even though I’ve fooled myself for years
I can’t escape this ringing in my ears

It’s on and off and on again
Going on and then
Taking all I got again
Bleeding me, leaving me dry
You’re hanging on for what you can
Dragging out the pain
Taking all I give again
Faking it, making me cry


Thursday 15th December 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on December 15, 2016 by bishshat

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Bob Dylan

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin’
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singing
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.


Seahawks 24 Rams 3

For the fifth season in a row and sixth time in seven years, the Seattle Seahawks will be contestants in the NFL postseason.
Following a 24-3 defeat of the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football, the Seahawks (9-4-1) clinched the NFC West division, the fourth division title for Seattle since Pete Carroll took over as head coach in 2010. The Seahawks had two ways to clinch in Week 15: defeating or tying the Rams, or the Arizona Cardinals losing to the New Orleans Saints.
“I think it’s a huge significance in terms of consistency and it’s something that we really do take great pride in because of the implications for the playoffs,” Carroll said of the significance of winning a division championship. “That’s what it’s all about. The division allows you to have a home game in the playoffs, which why wouldn’t you want to play here? So we really focus on getting to the point where we have a chance to win this thing so that we can get at home and you just keep going and see how many times you can be able to play at home from this point. But it’s really about the consistency and that’s something that’s truly important I think as we look at our program. Do we continue to show that we’re up there and we can continue to keep coming back? I think that’s about as good as you can do in sports.”

Thursday night’s win also means that the Seahawks are the first team in the NFL to clinch a division title this season.
“It has been strange,” Carroll said of his team’s path to this year’s NFC West crown. “It’s been different than any of the years that we’ve had. Other teams in the division have struggled and so it made it available to us in a sense, even with the play that we’re not as happy about, having four losses at this time. Think about how many games have been so close and stuff like that as well — save the Packer thing — but we’ve just been out in front the whole time, so we knew that and we’re working with that.”
Against the Rams, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 19 of 26 passes for 229 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while Seattle’s defense held Los Angeles to a mere 183 net yards.

Although the Dallas Cowboys (11-2), currently sit atop the conference, the Seahawks are still in the hunt to claim a first-round bye in the playoffs with the No. 2 seed.
The Seahawks have two remaining games to conclude the 2016 regular season to improve those chances — both against divisional opponents Arizona and San Francisco. Regardless of how the remaining schedule plays out for Seattle, they’ll be competing to bring the Vince Lombardi trophy home.


Wednesday 14th December 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on December 15, 2016 by bishshat

Eyes of a Child

The Moody Blues

Listen, hear the sound
The child awakes
Wonder all around
The child awakes
Now in his life, he never must be lost
No thoughts must deceive him
In life he must trust
With the eyes of a child
You must come out and see
That your world’s spinning ’round
And through life you will be
A small part of a hope
Of a love that exists
In the eyes of a child you will see
Earth falls far away
New life awaits
Time it has no day
New life awaits
Here is your dream
And now how does it feel?
No words will go with you
And now what is real?
With the eyes of a child
You must come out and see
That your world’s spinning ’round
And through life you will be
A small part of a hope
Of a love that exists
In the eyes of a child you will see


Spurs 3 Hull City 0

Christian Eriksen scored twice as he inspired Tottenham to a comfortable 3-0 win over Hull in the Premier League. Spurs dictated play for large spells against Mike Phelan’s team and went ahead through the Dane early in the first half.

While they took time to build on their slender lead, Tottenham eventually went further in front through Eriksen after the break before Victor Wanyama poked in a third.

At White Hart Lane, however, they had won five of their last seven games and were heavy favourites to come out on top against a Hull side which had won only one away Premier League fixture. The hosts, however, began brighter and Moussa Sissoko looked sharp on his recall to the side but saw his shot saved by David Marshall with comfort. Spurs after 14 minutes took a merited lead through a simple yet well executed move. Jan Vertonghen played a delicately flighted ball down the left which Danny Rose scurried away to pick up and he cut into the penalty area. After getting past Ahmed Elmohamady, the England international’s neat flick teed up Eriksen and he didn’t have to break his stride as he passed high into the net to give Tottenham an advantage.


The trouble was they struggled to add to it, despite having plenty of possession. Alli’s low shot was tame and easily held while Eriksen’s second attempt, after a free kick was blocked, went wide. It took time for Hull to muster a response but they finally did, with Jake Livermore twice testing Hugo Lloris. The second occasion saw the Frenchman tip wide for a corner and when Robert Snodgrass sent it in, Elmohamady curled goalwards but a weak effort was held.
Tottenham finished the half with more pressure but still could not make it count. Kane’s connection with a Sissoko cutback was weak before the Frenchman’s own drive sailed high over the upright. Eriksen’s penalty claims were rightly waved away after Harry Maguire’s unintentional handball and Vertonghen’s unlikely run into the box saw his shot blocked before he fouled Michael Dawson. Hull were lively after the restart and Livermore had a third go at goal but Lloris denied him brilliantly once more as he thrust his left foot out to divert wide.


That proved to be a key moment as moments later Tottenham finally got the second goal they needed to pull away from their opponents.
Again it was Eriksen who scored but he benefitted from good work from his team-mates, with Eric Dier starting things off. He freed Kyle Walker and the full-back outmuscled Andy Robertson to play across the face of goal to the waiting Eriksen at the back post.

It was the post which stopped the Denmark international from claiming a hat-trick, with his bending free kick coming off the upright 10 minutes later. Wanyama profited instead, getting just ahead of Sissoko to poke in his second goal since a summer move from Southampton. Eriksen had one final try at completing his treble but while it wasn’t to be his night on that front, he was a driving force behind a very routine success.