Sunday Morning Coming Down

I had intended to post again before now; I’ve probably mentioned already that since a large part of what I do for work involves typing – something which I’ve been unable to do with any great speed and/or without experiencing pain in my hands/wrists/fingers – I’m using writing here as physical therapy for my hands.

To that end, I’ve spent much of my spare time recently building up the strength in my dominant right hand (no smutty jokes please!) by trying to use the mouse more frequently (I’ve never got on with the mouse pad on laptops, so insist on using an old school mouse, albeit a wireless one, check me out), and since the posts which (initially) demand more mouse-work than typing (until I come to actually writing the post itself) are my Friday Night Music Club series, that’s where my focus has been.

As background: my recent consultation with a rheumatologist was incredibly heartening: she thinks I either have psoriatic arthritis (that is, arthritis brought on by my recent psoriasis flare-up), or, more likely she thinks, given the symptoms I presented with, rheumatoid arthritis. I’m told that both are treated the same in the first instance: a steroid injection, and then, assuming they decide I’m unlikely to have a reaction to it, going on to a course of medication (methotrexate, if you’re interested). Before I can start on this course, I had to have a load of blood tests and a respiratory capacity check, which I’ve now done and keenly await the results of (again, if you’re interested, I’ll learn my fate at the start of March).

In the meantime, the steroid injections – plus the draining of 35ml of gunk from my left knee – has had quite remarkable results: I’m a lot more mobile and steady on my feet, am able to get up and down from my sofa/my bed and, for that matter, the stairs way better than I’ve been able to since I became unwell.

Unfortunately, the issues with my right foot (which feels kind of solid and dead), my arms (which both feel like somebody has punched me and given me a dead arm), and my loss of grip and movement in my hands/fingers, whilst marginally improved, remain a barrier I’ve not yet managed to get over. Hence the mouse-work.

So, there was very nearly a post on Friday, but having done the mix, I wasn’t able to write the post in time. Normal(ish) service on that series will be restored shortly, I’m sure you’ll be delighted to hear.

Because whilst I’m still finding typing difficult, or have pain during or afterwards, I have been able to knock up three or four mixes to post here, so it seems my self-physio plan may be working.

Which leads me to today’s post, because having pieced together one mix, I noticed the phrase “crocodile tears”, or some derivative thereof, cropped up a couple of times, and that led me to today’s tune.

Over at the consistently wonderful No Badger Required blog, mainman SWC invites his readers to contribute articles on “Someone Else’s Near Perfect Album”; were it not for the facts of a) my current condition, and b) I can’t decide which album to choose, then Martin Stephenson & The Daintees’ 1986 debut Boat to Bolivia would probably end up as my choice.

I mention this because the opening track is called Crocodile Cryer, which, from the album’s sleeve notes was written shortly after his grandmother’s funeral, and which “…describes the aftermath, the phoney relatives with their so-called ‘crocodile tears’ the fairy cakes, the rum, the whisky which helped relieve their pathetic grief.”

Which all sounds like perfect fodder for a country song but, alas, great though that tune is, it doesn’t sound particularly country. As we know from Kris Kristofferson’s spoken intro to Me & Bobby McGee: “If it sounds country, man, that’s what it is: a country song.” And so, conversely, if it doesn’t sound country, man, then it isn’t.

Track 5 on the album, Running Waters, however, very much sounds country (man) and the subject matter does too. This, also from the album’s sleeve notes (which make more sense once you’ve heard the song): “A true story – the gun was plastic and the old man at the garage died of heart failure. Expected prison release: 1989.”

Because I’m super-cool (or was, back in 1986), I own this not just on the aforementioned album, but also on a 7″ single, called Inferno! EP, and here it is and it’s a beauty:

Martin Stephenson & The Daintees – Running Waters

Ace, right?

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I’ve mentioned many times on these pages how, somewhere along the line as I moved flats over the years, a great big chunk of my vinyl went missing. The problem is that since I didn’t have a turntable that worked until recently, I’ve never been able to pinpoint exactly when it all went.

The other problem is that often I won’t realise that something has gone until I go to play it, and such is the case with today’s tune.

It features on an album which I bought back when I was at Sixth Form, which I know I would never have sold or given away, but still, when the other day I decided to listen to my vinyl copy of Martin Stephenson & The Daintees’ Boat to Bolivia album, there it was: gone.

It’s been added to the seemingly ever-growing list which now includes: all of the albums I had on vinyl by The Wedding Present, R.E.M., Blondie, Billy Bragg, The Housemartins and – and these are the ones that hurt the most – my entire collection of The Smiths’ albums, all original Rough Trade pressings.

Luckily, I also bought this one on 7″ single back in the day, and it remains in my little black box of singles to this day. And it’s a corker, a cautionary – and true, apparently  – tale of a man who tries to rob a garage with a toy gun.

This is not so much a Country record, it’s more of a glorious North East of England hillbilly stomp. It’s bloody great:


Martin Stephenson & The Daintees – Running Water

More soon.

No More Sleepless Nights

For the past few nights, I’ve found it very difficult to sleep because of the heat.

At around 4am this morning, having just nodded of after being kept awake by what sounded like a fox terrorising the occupants of a nearby bird’s nest, I was awoken by an entirely different sound. I lay in bed listening to the storm outside, and found myself counting the time between each clap of thunder and flash of lightning.

And just as it always does when I find myself in a storm, this song came to mind:


Martin Stephenson & The Daintees – Rain

Finally, the “I like it warm, but not this warm” conversations will end, doubtless to be replaced by conversations about how “that should clear the air” and how “that was just what the gardens needed”.

And tonight, hopefully, I will sleep.

More soon.