Monday, 31 May 2010

Israel: Hague’s, UK Government’s Weasel Words

At last, we’ve had an official UK statement which is as weaselly as any produced by the previous administration.

Condemnation?   No!

Read this.

Foreign Secretary statement on Gaza Flotilla

31 May 2010

The Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the Government of Israel to open all crossings for aid to enter Gaza and deplored the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla.

In a statement this morning the Foreign Secretary said:
" I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla. Our Embassy is in urgent contact with the Israeli Government. We are asking for more information and urgent access to any UK nationals involved. 

We have consistently advised against attempting to access Gaza in this way, because of the risks involved. But at the same time, there is a clear need for Israel to act with restraint and in line with international obligations. It will be important to establish the facts about this incident, and especially whether enough was done to prevent deaths and injuries.

This news underlines the need to lift the restrictions on access to Gaza, in line with UNSCR 1860. The closure is unacceptable and counter-productive. There can be no better response from the international community to this tragedy than to achieve urgently a durable resolution to the Gaza crisis.

I call on the Government of Israel to open the crossings to allow unfettered access for aid to Gaza, and address the serious concerns about the deterioration in the humanitarian and economic situation and about the effect on a generation of young Palestinians ."


Good start, William!!!  Your other Conservative Friends of Israel will be pleased that you have been a weaselly wimp.

In the eyes of some you will have passed your first test but in the eyes of many you shame yourself, our government and our country.

Israel: No UK Government Reaction!

How long does it take to condemn the illegal boarding of a ship in international waters and the consequent killing of 19 people?

There is no excuse for Cameron et al sitting and waiting and ducking and diving and sitting and waiting.

A new politics indeed!

Same old, same old!


Watch the Fingers Move 5

A virtuoso at play!

Fred Morrison is an acknowledged virtuoso on pipes of all sorts.

Watch this and be amazed as he plays not the most tuneful of pieces.

Bloody hell!

Israel: Shame from Within

On the 27th of December last year this article, which I append fully, appeared in Haaretz.

This is an appropriate day to read it again  …. but then every day is appropriate.

Was Israel's Gaza offensive worth it?

On the anniversary of the IDF attack on Gaza, few people in Israel are doing any real soul-searching.

By Gideon Levy

Today offers us an ironic conjuncture of commemorations: the fast of the 10th of the Hebrew month of Tevet and the first anniversary of Operation Cast Lead. On the day of the fast, which commemorates the Babylonian siege on Jerusalem, few Israelis are thinking about Gaza, under Israeli blockade for twice the time ancient Jerusalem was besieged. On the anniversary of the attack on Gaza, few people are doing any real soul-searching.

One way or another, the year since December 27 was a year of shame for Israel, greater shame than any other time. It is shameful to be Israeli today, much more than it was a year ago. In the final tally of the war, which was not a war but a brutal assault, Israel's international status was dealt a severe blow, in addition to Israeli indifference and public blindness to what happened in Gaza.

Even those who still believe that the attack was justified and necessary, that the firing of Qassam rockets would not have been halted except by such a cruel attack, cannot ignore the political and moral price extracted from Israel because of its violence. Its image in the world, not in the eyes of its citizens, is much uglier than a year ago.

Today it is more shameful to be an Israeli because the world, as opposed to Israelis, saw the scenes. It saw thousands of dead and injured taken in the trunks of cars to something between a clinic and a primitive hospital in an imprisoned and weakened region one hour from flourishing Tel Aviv, a region where the helpless had nowhere to run from Israel's arsenal. The world saw schools, hospitals, flour mills and small factories mercilessly bombed and blown up. It saw clouds of white-sulphur bombs billowing over population centers, and it saw burned children.

The world refused to accept the excuses and lies of Israel's propaganda. It was not prepared to compare Sderot's suffering to Gaza's suffering; it did not agree that the sulphur mushroom clouds were for self-defense, that the killing of dozens of police on a parade ground was legitimate, that telephoned warnings for people to leave their homes cleared Israel of criminal responsibility for the bombing of those homes.

The world saw the Israeli Goliath strike mercilessly at the Palestinian David. It saw the balance of killing: one Israeli to every 100 Palestinians, and the Israel Defense Forces' new and terrifying doctrine by which almost everything goes if it prevents casualties on our side. The world knew that in this case a democracy was striking a region that does not enjoy self-determination, whose inhabitants lack basic human rights - refugees and the children of refugees living under siege. So the world responded with justifiable severity toward us; it refused to forgive and be silent.

The world also saw Israel wrap itself in sick apathy despite what was happening. It saw the town squares almost empty of protesters, the cafes in Tel Aviv full of people having a good time. It even saw Israeli families who went to visit the hills around Gaza to show their children the bomb strikes. Later, it also saw that Israel was not even prepared to investigate what it had done, but rather lashed out at all its detractors.

And the world also quickly forgot. A year later, with $4.5 billion collected to rehabilitate Gaza lying in banks' basement vaults because Israel refuses to open Gaza's gates to let in supplies, the world is silent, leaving Gaza to its fate, to its ruins. But Gaza has not forgotten its wounds - it cannot forget them. The 325,000 people whose homes were destroyed, 1,300 bereaved families and thousands of injured and disabled, debilitated by anxiety and terror, remain in Gaza. Their suffering has not dissipated.

On the first anniversary of the attack, in the face of such a negative political and moral balance, Israelis must at least ask themselves if all this was worth it. But on the first anniversary, Israel is much busier with the political future of MK Eli Aflalo than its political and moral future. Shame or no shame - what counts is that we feel so good about ourselves.

Gaza: Israel’s Shame

More shame deserves to be poured on Israel after its troops illegally stormed – in international waters -  a ship attempting to bring humanitarian aid to the Gazans who have suffered for far too long from the illegal Israeli blockade AND killed 16 innocents.

The BBC reports,

“The people on the boats were very, very violent toward the soldiers," Israeli military spokeswoman Lt Col Avital Leibovich was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.”

According to the Daily Telegraph,

“Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the trade and industry minister ….. added that the commandoes had been attacked with batons and activists had sought to take their weapons off them.”

So they gunned 16 down!


Trafigura: 15 Days for Evidence

“Amsterdam district court has set aside 15 days to hear evidence about the few days oil tanker Probo Koala spent in Amsterdam before heading to Ivory Coast with a cargo of toxic waste.

Amsterdam based oil trader Trafigura, which owns the Probo Koala, waste processing company APS and Amsterdam city council are charged with breaking environmental laws in July 2006.

The Probo Koala moored in Amsterdam for cleaning but left after waste disposal experts questioned the contents of its tanks, officially described as ‘ship’s slops’ and Trafigura decided to look for a cheaper clean-up elsewhere.”


How much will we – in the UK - hear or read about this case?

I’ll do what I can.

Music in the Morning - Monday

I didn’t intend to bring an artist back on for a second time so soon into the series but this tune and the performance moved me hugely.

Hector the Hero                        Jenna Reid with Aly Bain

Initially I thought, from its title, that this was a modern tune but it was written by the great Scott Skinner in 1903 following the death of his friend, Major-General Hector McDonald.  The background to Hector and his death can be found here and here.

Listen and be moved by this lament.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Bluebell at the Ball


Dandy Pic

but no credit is due to me.

Elder child caught this last week.


Sunday Morning Coffee with Joan Armatrading

I haven’t counted the posts but I have counted the weeks and this is show number 23 – I missed one week.  It’s very hard to believe that I have gone through this process so many times and you have listened so many times.

I think I’ll make a foolish target and aim not to miss any more weeks until the end of this year.  I’m now guaranteed not to post next week.

You know the process now.  Fill up your coffee, sit down and relax.



I was shocked to find that Joan was almost as old as I – born in December 1950 in St Kitts.  When she was seven her family moved to Birmingham.  I had a couple of her early albums and then as I lost touch with music generally I lost touch with Joan totally.

As my interest in music has blossomed in the last 6 months I have rediscovered my old music and, as with many who have featured in the show, there I found Joan.



Merchant of Love

I start with a song I hadn’t heard before but this was just the right one to open the show.

The bass voice which comes through at the very end of this line  - “Someone help me find the merchant of love” – [not it’s first use] transforms the song in a way I can’t describe.  Strange that such a small part can have such a huge effect on me.   I have spent a long time listening over and over to this but I can’t add to my description.


My two albums are “Me Myself I” and “Walk under Ladders” from 1980 and 1981 respectively and we continue with title track of the first of these.

Me Myself I

Power!  That’s what she has.


Joan is one of those artists who, despite the success she had, never made it up into the next league.  This must happen to so many but it does not reflect in any way on her abilities.

She lost her contracts with the majors and recorded no albums between 1995 and 2003 but since then she has issued four.



During this week, I was very pleasantly surprised to see this song and this video on Colin’s here.   He wrote very succinctly about Joan.

“One of the greatest live performers ever. Have seen her three times.”

And who am I to argue with another lad from Dunfermline.

I love this song. I don’t know why.


I just noticed – Wikipedia – that

“Her first job was working at Rabone Chesterman (makers of fine engineering tools), in Hockley, Birmingham. She was sacked from this job because she insisted on bringing her guitar to work and playing during tea breaks.”

That must have been at a time that workers got tea breaks!


The Weakness in Me

The lyrics are so  …..  I don’t know again  …… wonderful, touching, perfect.  Something like this.


Halfway through.  Top up your coffee if you need to.  Rewarm it if you’ve forgotten about it.  I’ll give you a minute or so.

Right.  Let’s get going again.


Save Me

I didn’t like this on my first hearing but its beauty shines through, the feelings and emotions captured to perfection.


Apparently Joan has been a big influence on others.  This extract from another online encyclopaedia has this.

Such artists as Tracy Chapman and Melissa Etheridge sold millions of recordings thanks to a stylistic blend that was rooted in folk music, with its emphasis on insightful lyrics, but also incorporated blues, jazz, rock, and dashes of various international styles. That stylistic blend was partly the creation of Joan Armatrading, an Afro-British songwriter and vocalist who was in many ways ahead of her time.

“I know I’ve been an incredible influence on many people and I’ve played a big part in all the stuff that happens now,” Armatrading told the Los Angeles Times. “…But it’s almost like people are in denial. If it’s something that has touched you and been a big influence, you should say so.”


In Your Eyes

The simplicity of this song belies the talent required to produce this work of beauty.

I am in love with this!


Every week I get a fright at this point: only two more and the show is over.  Every week I could run and run but I realise that all of you have more in your lives than my little show and so I’ll let you go in another 7 minutes or so.



Call Me Names

This video is from the Secret Policeman’s Third Ball in 1987.  One of the commenters left this,

“A real musician. Could you imagine many of today’s pop stars standing up on the stage with just a guitar and no back up singing a song. I think not!!”

Unfortunately I think he is right.

Do you see what my anonymous commenter was on about?  Solo and absolutely brilliant!


Initially when I was thinking about featuring Joan I wasn’t sure that I’d get  a show from her material far less really enjoy her music.  ha! I was so wrong. 

I wasn’t grabbed as Rod’s music did last week but her mastery of her craft is a joy to hear.  I hope you enjoyed yourselves.


I finish up with a song for all times and not just “these times”.  This was the only way to end this show.

In These Times

These lines

“In these times everyone needs love
In these times do you pray to God
In these times everyone needs comfort
And would welcome a hand to hold
Your passion is the fire
That burns the hurt
That pains the soul
And though my eyes are so polluted
By the sight of lost desires
Good to have you in these times”

say everything.


Week 23 completed and with another show to prepare for I need to leave you now.

Well, that’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed your coffee and the music.   Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Blogging Over for the Day

…. unless I find some energy from somewhere.

I’m absolutely wiped out.

I need sleep NOW!  I’ll be having a very low key evening

My “Sunday Morning Coffee” show is recorded already and will be available from midnight tonight.

Enjoy your Saturday night.

Music in the Morning - Saturday

A new artist and a new piece to me:

Chopin: Fantasie Impromptu              Valentina Igoshina

Wasn’t the music great?

Wasn’t she great?

Friday, 28 May 2010

Laura Ashley: A Late Night Snippet

I was doing a little bit of browsing to gather information for my assault on Laura Ashley – due next week – and I found this little snippet.

“Do not have time to go into much detail, as am still tussling with Laura Ashley customer service.

Earlier this year they lost a coffee table we had ordered in their warehouse - it took many, many calls to find this out. In the end we cancelled out of frustration.

This week they have delivered a sofa with a faulty leg - getting this sorted is proving a nightmare - it is currently propped up on a pile of books.

No one in customer service has any authority to sort the problem and we are being continually fobbed off. No one takes responsibility and it is impossible to speak to anyone in authority who can make a decision.

They have the worst customer service I have EVER encountered. This confirms what many others have said here. I will NEVER EVER go near this company again and recommend that others do the same. “

A bit late for Mrs C but grist to the mill of my campaign to

BOYCOTT LAURA ASHLEY until they change their appallingly bad way of treating their customers.

You can help by passing this message on to friends, relatives, by linking to this post, by tweeting.

This is just the start and I will remain calm at all times.

Trafigura: UK Libel Laws

Thank you to Richard at “Don’t Get Fooled Again” for reporting Caroline Lucas’ Early Day Motion which states:

Early Day Motion


Lucas, Caroline
That this House, concerned that due to the start of fresh legal proceedings in the Netherlands on 14 and 17 May 2010 concerning the multinational commodities trading group Trafigura, including allegations that UK nationals and UK firms may have been involved in illegal waste shipments and a subsequent cover-up and that payments were made to truck drivers in return for favourable witness statements and given that this is not being fully reported in the United Kingdom because of the chilling effect of the UK's libel laws, calls on the Government to launch a full inquiry into the allegations against Trafigura and to review the libel laws to ensure that this matter can be reported fully in the UK.

This is copied directly and exactly from the UK parliament website here.

Many, many thanks to Caroline Lucas who is so new in her  role as MP.


Further to my very short post yesterday in which I said this,

Beware of buying online with Laura Ashley.

You may be in for a nasty surprise regarding delivery costs.

Buried deep within their T&C is a £60 to £130 delivery charge under certain conditions.

They’re in the clear legally.

Morally they’re in the gutter

here is a very brief update.

Laura Ashley insist on imposing a delivery charge of £60 because Mrs Carr’s flat is up two flights of stairs.  Up one is free but up two is £60.  This is despite the relevant information not being made obvious to the consumer.

Over the weekend I’ll be writing a long and very serious post about this company hiding behind the letter of the law.

BOYCOTT LAURA ASHLEY until they change their appallingly bad way of treating their customers.


Much more to come later.

Aaaaah! Isn’t He Sweet?

The BBC reports that a baby Malaysian tapir was born in Edinburgh Zoo 1 month ago but he made his first public appearance yesterday.

Kamal, the tapir baby born at Edinburgh Zoo in April 2010


Kamal, the tapir baby born at Edinburgh Zoo in April 2010

They lose their spots after about 6 months to look like mummy (or daddy).

Malayan tapir

All photographs courtesy of Edinburgh Zoo

When our eldest was much younger Edinburgh Zoo was a daily visit: we entered by an unofficial gate very close to the tapirs’ house.  We were paid up members just in case readers think we were sneaking in.

Then too there was a baby tapir. 

Many an hour spent between tapirs and giraffes.

More info is available from Edinburgh Zoo.

Trafigura: Post Delayed

I’m sorry that the promised post did not arrive for you on Wednesday or Thursday as promised.

I’m very busy, very very tired and unable to get my brain in gear enough to write a coherent post.

The post will come.

Music in the Morning - Friday

I struggled to find a version of this which matched my feeling for the tune.  This non-commercial recording comes closest  … at the moment.

The Dark Island is Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.

Another moan is that I haven’t found English lyrics that I like.  I’ll have to write my own.

Thursday, 27 May 2010



Beware of buying online with Laura Ashley.

You may be in for a nasty surprise regarding delivery costs.

Buried deep within their T&C is a £60 to £130 delivery charge under certain conditions.

They’re in the clear legally.

Morally they’re in the gutter.

Tweet sent

A full post once I have had my way with them.

Music in the Morning - Thursday

Not an old man for you this morning but a very cold lady.

Frozen Charlotte                                       Natalie Merchant


UPDATE: I had intended keeping the words to a minimum in these posts but the lyrics are so good that I decided to put them in:

Frozen Charlotte

Blue like the winter snow in the full moon
Black like the silhouettes of the trees
Late blooming flowers lie frozen underneath the stars
I want you to remember me that way
Far away... I'll be gone will you wait for me here
How long... I don't know will you wait for me here
Still as the river grows in December
Silent and perfect blinding ice
Spring keeps her promises
No cold can keep her back
I want you to remember me that way
Far away... I'll be gone, will you wait for me here
How long... I don't know, but wait for me here
Follow... don't follow me
To where
To where I go
Far away... I'll be gone, will you wait for me here
How long... I don't know, will you wait for me here
Follow... don't follow me, to where I have gone
Follow... don't follow me, to where I have gone
Someday you'll take my place
And I'll wait
For you there

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Music in the Morning Playlist

My series “Music in the Morning” has been running for a week now and to help listeners I’ve gathered all the videos into this Table which will be updated daily and which will be accessible from the top sidebar.

Also I’ve created a playlist on YouTube through which you can play all the music.  This too will be updated daily.

The playlist address is: 

Artist Song Date Day
Chris Barber & His Jazz Band  Chimes Blues 8 July Thurs
Stuart Duncan Lee Highway Blues 7 July Wed
Daniel Barenboim Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 1  F Minor Mvt 4 Prestissimo 6 July Tues
John Mayer Heart of Life 5 July Mon
Mitsuko Uchida Mozart Piano Concerto 20 - Romanze 3 July Sat
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Killing the Blues 2 July Fri
Thea Gilmore Avalanche 1 July Thurs
Warren Zevon with Jackson Browne Desperados under the Eaves 30 June Wed
Maurice André Telemann: Concerto in D Major - Adagio 29 June Tues
Renato Martins Sam pra lá de bão 28 June Mon
Geoff West Stein Song & Dear Old Blighty 26 June Sat
Unknown Respighi: Ancient Dances and Airs Suite 2 Mov 4 25 June Fri
Allison Moorer Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground 24 June Thurs
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge Purcell: Hear my Prayer 23 June Wed
Thelonius Monk Solitude 22 June Tues
Amy Belle Slipping Under 21 June Mon
The Beautiful South Don’t Marry Her 19 June Sat
Unknown Handel: Sarabande 18 June Fri
Rodrigo y Gabriela Tamacun 17 June Thurs
Chris Duncan, Julian Thompson & Catherine Strutt The Cradle Song 16 June Wed
June Tabor Strange Affair 15 June Tues
R Capuçon (violin), G Capuçon (cello) & F Braley (piano) Schubert: Trio No2 op 100 Andante con moto 14 June Mon
Merle Haggard and Tammy Wynette Today I Started Lovin’ You Again 12 June Sat
Martha Wainwright Bleeding All Over You 11 June Fri
Oscar Peterson & Count Basie Slow Blues 10 June Thur
Seeli Toivio & Kalle Toivio Liszt: Liebestraum for cello & piano 9 June Wed
A Fine Frenzy Whisper 8 June Tues
Rufus Wainwright Somewhere over the Rainbow 7 June Mon
Anna Netrebko and Elina  Garanca Delibes: Flowers Duet – Lakme                     5 June Sat
Silly Wizard Land of the Leal 4 June Fri
Katie Keller Listen to the Mocking Bird 3 June Thurs
Marcel Ponseele JS Bach Oster-Oratorium Mvt 2 Adagio 2 June Wed
Paul Robeson Joe Hill 1 June Tues
Jenna Reid & Aly Bain Hector the Hero 31 May Mon
Valentina Igoshina Chopin: Fantasie Impromptu 29 May Sat
Dougie Gemmell The Dark Island 28 May Fri
Natalie Merchant Frozen Charlotte 27 May Thur
Willie Nelson You Were Always on My Mind 26 May Wed
Jenna Reid Bethany’s Waltz 25 May Tues
Joe Cocker You Are So Beautiful 24 May Mon
Guy Clark LA Freeway 23 May Sat
Nury Guarnaschelli Mozart Horn Concerto 4 Mov 2 22 May Fri
kd lang Love Is Everything 21 May Thur
Jacqueline du Pre Mendelssohn “Song Without Words” 20 May Wed

Iain Dale – GOB - in the Gutter

Iain Dale, that arch-propagandist for himself, has stretched his tabloid talents to virtual breaking point and has joined his colleagues in the gutter.

What has he done wrong?

Nothing, according to the great GOB – God of Blogging – himself.

I’m not going to link to his article but the background is this.

A visitor to his blog left a long but reasonable comment in which the visitor said that he was in Parliament Square, had set up a website for the protestors and that he was a public service employee.

For some reason GOB the smug seemed to take exception to the possibility that the visitor was at the protest and not at work.  Some might say that was a reasonable response. 

Smug GOB then checked out the WHOIS site to get ownership details of the website the visitor had set up.  This gave GOB the visitor’s name, home address, telephone number.  A simple Google search and GOB knew where the visitor worked.  GOB called the visitor’s number – got no reply -  and then managed to get the employers to investigate the person’s absence. Worse still GOB gave a link to the relevant WHOIS website but also effectively to the visitor’s details, as mentioned above.

To all intents and purposes, GOB published the man’s details online.

All of us can make mistakes and cross that acceptable boundary but, hopefully, we recognise that and apologise. GOB, it seems, doesn’t do apology.

GOB’s response to criticism of his actions,

“Let's get one thing straight. I posted a link to XXXXXXXXXX’s WHOIS entry for his website. He chose to put his personal details on that and thereby chose to make them publicly available. You have a choice to keep your address hidden. He chose not to.

To make out that I have somehow outed him from anonymity is a joke.”

My comment on his blog was


You've left yourself open to any Tom, Dick or Harry - but def not Calum - to trawl for publicly available info about you and then to make it known more widely.

Is it legal - yes!

Is it ethical - no!

Should it happen - definitely not!

But you have shown all of us your standards and others might to choose to work to these standards.

Don't complain if you're unhappy about what, if anything, is made public.

I do not agree with anyone doing this, I'm not encouraging anyone to do this, I would counsel against it but ... you've made your bed, Iain.

Let's hope it remains comfortable.”

Now we know GOB’s standards we can all be more careful but we are assured of one thing:

GOB is in the gutter where gob should always be

Strange Patterns in the Grass

I found these patterns on grass in a public park but what are they?

I took this photo, which is 100% “as-is”, with my phone.


Well, what do you think?

Trafigura: Newspaper Articles Available

Following last week’s flurry of activity in the Netherlands about Trafigura more information is now more freely available.  This post of mine and links within it will lead you to the summary information which was available online in English. 

By trawling Dutch websites I found two fuller articles for which I used Google Translate.  I won’t comment on these articles but they are available in Dutch here.

This is not the post I have been working on for some days and which I said would be published today or tomorrow.


Again I must state that Macfarlanes and Trafigura have denied the allegations made in very strong terms.  Their 16 page response can be read here.  Within this response is mentioned a newspaper interview with the waste truck drivers from 2006.  Macfarlanes made a translated copy available to me and that can be read here.


I make no judgment nor comment on the truth or otherwise of the information in any of these external sources.

Music in the Morning - Wednesday

An old man to waken up to …. but what an old man.

You Were Always on My Mind                        Willie Nelson

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Trafigura: Post Coming Wednesday or Thursday

A post has been coming for a few days now.

I am absolutely clear about the points I need to make but in the writing there is a real risk that I introduce confusion and, therefore, lessen the impact, if any, of the post.

Therefore, I need to be very careful.

Hopefully Wednesday but possibly Thursday.

Also have very important job to do for a dear friend and so less blogging than normal for a few days.

Music in the Morning - Tuesday

Jenna Reid featured in an early Sunday Morning Coffee show  - with Transatlantic Sessions – and this morning she’s with the same musicians but playing a lovely waltz.

Bethany’s Waltz

Monday, 24 May 2010

Music in the Morning - Monday

This man may not be the man you’d want to waken up to but …. he can sing for every day!

You Are So Beautiful                                        Joe Cocker

Henry – Drugs Scandal

I’m sure I’m one of the last to find out about his cocaine scandal.

Somehow video footage has made YouTube.

View and be shocked – utterly and totally.


Sunday, 23 May 2010


Earlier today we heard of the sudden death on Friday of Robert Chambers, the author of the brilliant blog Mutleythedogsdayout.



I never knew you as Rob only as Mutley -  or as Mut as I addressed you. 

We didn’t know each other at all well even as Mut and Calum.

We rarely commented on each other’s blog – a regret for me – but you ALWAYS appeared when I was struggling.  That meant a lot!  Thank you.

Your blog was a brilliant read:  your absolute silliness was immense and immensely funny.  An incredible amount of talent is needed to be as silly as Mut. 

Rob, you were incredibly talented.

Hopefully, you’ll be blogging in heaven, probably as MutleytheGODsdayout.

And now I will miss all this as will your many, many admirers but that is as nothing to the loss of Robert, Dad, Love to your partner and children.

Rob, I feel for, and am thinking of, all your loved ones!


Goodbye, Mut, and take care. 


Sunday Morning Coffee with Rod Stewart

Welcome again to the latest show and to a star I never thought would shine on these pages. 


Rod Stewart is a Scot, born in the wrong country, but one whose music has passed me by.  I have no albums, no CD’s, no downloads.  Of course, I knew his music but it was of no interest whatsoever.

Why then do I devote the show to him?

I “discovered” Rod less than two weeks ago when I was looking for a musical statement for the ToLi coalition.  I came across “First Cut is the Deepest” and posted.

I was hooked on the sheer joy at the concert.  I listened, I watched, I listened, I watched …. over and over again and he jumped to the top of my list.

Here he is   ……  Rod Stewart.   Enjoy.

No! Not quite ready.

Two more things before we get going.  Make your coffee BUT please put it somewhere safe.  There’s a great risk that your flailing arms will send it crashing to the floor.  All the videos are of live performances – most from his 2004 show in London.  There is a magical vibrancy to his live performances.

Here he is.

Reason to Believe

There is a bit of an edit jump at 52sec in – don’t worry.

Music should be like this.  You’ll find that my musical comments are much less this week because I’m struggling to describe the experience as anything other than joyous.


Rod was born in London in 1945 to an English mother and Scottish father.  Rod was the youngest and the only one born in England: the others were all Scots-born.

I had always thought that he started his musical career with the Faces but it was incredibly varied [see Wikipedia] but for me he will always be a solo artist.


We move on to an all-time great – perhaps a bit of exaggeration but great all the same.


Wow!   What incisive writing ….. by me!!


I read that when Rod was touring the States with the Jeff Beck band that Rod hid behind the amps for his solo.  A dose of brandy brought him out to the front of the house and he hasn’t moved from there since.  He is so relaxed and so involved with his “lovers” all around him.

We move on with another live performance but this time from many many moons ago – 1984 I think it is.

Tonight’s the Night

Update:  I’ve just noticed that embedding is disabled and you’ll need to view this on YouTube.  Sorry about that.  Please remember and come back after you listened.  I’ll try to find a good embeddable copy.


Quite a bit younger but the same performance and the same audience reaction.


Rather than knowing Rod through his music I seemed to see Rod at big football matches (on TV or in ‘papers) – Scotland internationals or Celtic matches – and I thought what a prick (sorry!). Still do in fact.  He’s Scottish for these big matches but then he disappears back to LA to enjoy his money.

I’m so sad amn’t I …. but there you go.  Not only music do you get here but me opening up my innermost thoughts !!


A complete change of tempo now.

The Way You Look Tonight

A “not bad” performance but not up with the real crooners but I liked this all the same.


Now I really love this.  Rod sings a duet with Amy Belle although I guess it’s not really a duet when you consider the role of the audience.

Rod found Amy busking in the streets of Glasgow and he brought her down for his London show at the Royal Albert Hall.

He chose well – she has a fabulous voice – but her career did not take off.  What a harsh cruel business is music when this voice is relegated to busking!

See what you think.

I Don’t Want to Talk about It

I can only repeat myself.  Joyous.  I can’t feel low when these are going.  Like the audience I’m carried along on a wave driven by the music and Rod’s togetherness with the audience.  Magic!

Am I going overboard … for an old man?


If you’ve any coffee left, how?  How have you managed not to knock it over. You’d better phone for an ambulance because there’s something very wrong with you.  Even I have been up and out my chair at these and I’ve listened countless times in the last week.  For the rest of us the show must go on.


You’re in My Heart

I’ve run out of words.


We’re almost finished and our second last song is the one responsible for getting me hooked.

First Cut is the Deepest

I posted this on “Toli Coalition: A Musical Concern but there never was any doubt.  This was always going back in here.

When I found this for the earlier post I had no choice: the music touched me, grabbed me, hurled me out of my chair, had me dancing around the dining room, arms pumping and singing loudly!



No! It can’t be!  Not the end already!  But it’s true.  Just one last chance …. although I guess I can play these all over again.

I remember away back in Dark Ages when I was doing my PhD my best pal came back after his summer holidays saying that he’d found the girl he was going to marry – an American girl with links to his home town here – and he did marry her.  Why do I tell this story here?  Their song was this one.

Maggie May

This is a difficult song for the audience but what a rousing way to finish this show.

Thirty-five or so years later, I wonder where you are now, Charlie!  Do you still love this song?  Do you still love your American girl?


Despite the varied music we’ve covered in this series, today’s show was the most surprising.  I had written off Rod and his music.  I didn’t listen to it because I didn’t need to.  Rod Stewart – ugh!

What a fool I’ve been!  Absolutely fabulous. What a time I’ve had putting this together for you.  If you got a fraction of the enjoyment from this that I had making it then you’ve had a bloody great time.

Well, that’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed your coffee and the music.   Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Music in the Morning - Saturday

You need to be quick.  “Pack up all your dishes” with Guy Clark and join him on the road.

LA Freeway                                                             Guy Clark

Pale Green Canopy

A slightly tweaked photo (not enough tweaking to qualify as Clumsy’s Art) that I took with my phone camera on Friday morning.


Sunday Morning Coffee is GO!

My dodgy modem has lasted long enough for me to finish the show and post it to Blogger which will publish it at midnight Saturday night / Sunday morning.


Friday, 21 May 2010

Calum: Dodgy Modem Decides to Work for Now

With any luck I’ll be able to squeeze my Sunday Morning Coffee post out before the bloody modem fails. 

Probably best that you check in on Sunday.

Sorry about the confusion but modem clearly is faulty.  It better fail again on Monday morning for the engineer calling.

Calum: Modem down 'til Monday

I have a modem is faulty and won't be replaced until Monday at the earliest.

Other than two post-dated music posts (one Saturday morning and one on Monday morning), I won't be able to post more.

There'll be no Sunday Morning Coffee Show this Sunday, but it'll be back next week as usual.

Sorry. Totally beyond even my control!

Trafigura: Waste Truck Drivers Interview - Context

I realised some time after posting the interview with three of the truck drivers who dumped the Probo Koala’s waste that the context of who said what when and under what conditions might have been hidden.  I apologise if that were the case and I try here to put that failure straight.

In so doing I need to mention the allegation made by Greenpeace / de Volkskrant, an act I have tried hard to avoid.  The story becomes incredibly hard to tell if the allegation, about which most of you will know anyway, remains hidden. 

I do not endorse these allegations.  I cannot know where the truth lies.

Greenpeace / de Volkskrant (GdeV)

GdeV allege that Trafigura / Macfarlanes paid the drivers to say none suffered ill-effects as a result of transporting and dumping the waste.  Clearly this is a very serious allegation.

GdV allege that drivers did suffer from burns and other skin injuries.

Trafigura / Macfarlanes (TM)

TM deny in the strongest possible terms any wrongdoing, any payment to change evidence.

They acknowledge that payment was made to drivers but that this was for the reason outlined below:

“Trafigura and its law firm Macfarlanes said in an emailed statement one of the drivers who had transported the toxic waste began to threaten Trafigura in early 2010, saying he had been injured by the waste. That was contrary to the man's earlier statement given to Trafigura, one of the world's leading oil and metals traders.

To prove the man was threatening to make false claims, Trafigura wanted to make public his statement, which was given confidentially, Trafigura and Macfarlanes said.

"The drivers agreed to the unrestricted use of their statements, but on condition that they were paid a sum of money," Trafigura and Macfarlanes said.

"Reluctantly, Macfarlanes and Trafigura agreed to make a payment of 1.5 million FCFA (2,287 Euros) to each of the drivers, for allowing free and unrestricted use of their witness statements."

[courtesy of Reuters at]

They also state that, before there was any contact between TM and the drivers, the drivers were interviewed by a local newspaper and they stated that no driver suffered ill-health as a result of handling the waste.

It is this interview to which I refer in my post and which I published online.


I imagine that GdeV have evidence for making the allegation but I have not seen this evidence nor has it been made public.  I will be contacting both organisations later today asking them to provide more information.

I shall keep you posted and I hope I have clarified the position.