Sunday, 30 November 2014

How to listen to Steely Dan.

Since I’ve been ill we missed a surprising amount of good stuff; especially bands we’d been waiting for. Poor old Robyn missed a lot of the music she likes.

Given the different musical traditions we come from it’s surprising that we both love Steely Dan. Enigmatic, difficult, hard (well impossible) to classify. It’s music that irritates most people but doesn’t it sound great?

Of course we were waiting to see the fabulous Stanley Dee at The Horns, Watford; and afternoon of the music of the Dan’s played by 11 high quality musicians with good sound and an audience who appreciate them.

Life can be very unfair.

If I’d been well I would have written a little guide to Steely Dan, just to make it easier. I just can’t concentrate.

Luckily, I found this on ‘Wikihow’, some people have put up a guide to listening to Steely Dan.

How nice is that? I haven't altered it;

How to Listen to Steely Dan Music:

5 Steps - wikiHow


How to Listen to Steely Dan Music


  7 Editors


 Edited 1 hour ago


A whole lot of people like Steely Dan, but sometimes they don't have time to listen to him. If you want to learn how to listen to Steely Dan, with one of the greatest songs of him, here's how.





 You will first need to know that Steely Dan isn't a real singer, it's a band.

The two people, or leaders of Steely Dan, are Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.



Buy some of the Steely Dan albums that you think sound interesting to you.

There are seven of them: 1. Can't Buy A Thrill 2. Countdown To Ecstasy 3. Pretzel Logic 4. Katy Lied 5. The Royal Scam 6. Aja and 7. Gaucho. I recommend you getting one of the great ones, like Pretzel Logic, Aja or Can't Buy A Thrill.



Choose which songs you would like to hear. But what you should do is you listen to one of the great ones, like "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," "Do It  Again," "Only A Fool Would Say That," and "Bad Sneakers."




 Use headphones if the people in your environment don't want to listen.




 When you're listening to the music, try to listen to Donald Fagen as he sings the words.




  If you can't choose one song from one album, just wait!

  Choose your Steely Dan songs and albums as carefully as possible.





Don't pick a Steely Dan song, faster than the speed of light. It might not be the one you're interested in.



Things You'll Need



  CD, cassette or record player



 Headphones (if required from step 4)


 A good album and song of Steely Dan


Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,535 times.


Did this article help you?

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I think we all know what we are doing now; just choose your Steely Dan albums or songs as carefully as possible.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Everlasting sweetpeas.

These are everlasting 'Sweet peas' from last summer. They look a bit like annual sweet peas but that's it.
These are perennial (come back year after year) as well as spreading by seed. They are delightful and once established you have cut flowers for half the summer - if you don't cut and just let them flower they give up.
Anyway we saved seeds this summer and I'm giving them to you. It's a very limited amount - they are going quickly - if you want any just email me you're address and I'll get back to you.
No one else will get you're address; it's not a marketing scam. Equally. it's not a legal contract so, if for any reason, you don't get them.....
It's a tough life. It's just to say thank you in a non commercial sort of way.
Remember , I'm ill at the moment and can't get to the post office but if you mail me, they will come.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Friday, 28 November 2014

Weird Science.

Every so often I post a picture of some of the oddities at The Red Lion, Isleworth and I don't just mean the customers. Remember the Pterodactyls? There are two.

This is a 19th centyury 'Phrenology head', heads mapped out to show human characteristics as dictated by the bumps you find on peoples heads.

It was all nonsense, of course, and very bigoted. Usually, people have them to show that science can be wrong and dangerous too.

Anyway, The Red Lion has put an Elvis wig (or is it Alvin Stardust, I wonder) so you can't see the markings.

Maybe that's just as well.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

It's so unfair - Robyn was going to give us a full Thanksgiving Day feast with all the trimmings. It's an American thing - I have no idea what it's all about.

Heck, it's not even American, it was definitely going to be a West Philadelphia thing.

Anyway I got so ill I can't eat and it's all got put off.

Poor old Robyn; miles away from home having to put up with someone who eats toast, drinks tea and beer and doesn't celebrate American holidays.

But I made it through this week so far and I have never felt pain like this before. And no wuss me - remember I had a broken ankle for a week thanks to St. Peter's hospital


If you must know I got bronchitis and then coughed so badly I put my back out. Every cough was agony - didn't sleep at all for four straight nights. Now I can only sleep in a chair.

I've still got plenty to be thankful for - mainly Robyn actually.

So, have a happy Thanksgiving Day!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Another Banksy.

Still ill and I'd like to be using the time to write some serious stuff but I'm on some heavy duty painkillers and some pain which makes it difficult.

This is a 'Banksy' which appeared this summer around a phone box in Cheltenham, not far from GCHJQ who listen in on us all.

Nice one Banksy.

Neil Harris

(a don't stop till you drop production)


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Tuesday, 25 November 2014


I do a better celebration for something like this but I've been ill and can't get out.

In fact it's 130 am and I'm waiting for the out of hours Doctor to come and see me.

That's not good!

I do my celebrating when I'm better!

But thank you for making it all possible.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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Monday, 24 November 2014

More Solidarity to the Health Workers

Of course I ought to be on the Health Workers picket line but I'm too ill and can't drive. I can only give my best wishes to the Nurses, Ambulance Crew, Care Workers and midwives who are striking for their measly 1% pay rise. Awarded and then stolen away from them.

I can only put up pictures from last week when I was OK.

These swans are at Trusses island on the Thames eagerly awaiting some bread.

When someone like Robyn feeds tham, they go wild and get really close up.

They grab. They peck.


Close up it's like this;

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Imitation Game.



Last Tuesday before I got ill, we went to see ‘The Imitation Game’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightly and Rory Kinnear.

As a film about the brilliant mathematician and code breaker Alan Turing it had everything going for it; the story of the breaking of the Enigma Codes is one of the greatest tales ever told.

It maintained the excitement and used the fine cast well. There were problems, though.

One of the key scenes was the spiky interview Turing underwent to work at Bletchley Park. Except it didn’t happen like that – Turing was already working for GCHQ’s predecessor breaking Enigma in 1938 before the war started.

Even more dishonest is the portrayal of John Cairncross, the Soviet spy, as working with Turing and blackmailing him for his silence. Cairncross worked in a different area of Bletchley and didn’t have any role with Turing.

Unfairly, the contribution of Tommy Flowers from the Post office is never even mentioned yet he had a central role in building the revolutionary computer.

Turing’s hounding and suicide after the war is dealt with in detail and rightly so. This summer, we went to see the first performance of the Pet Shop Boys work celebrating Alan Turing’s life and royal pardon.

It’s an intelligent thriller but it could have done better. Then again, with a story where everybody knows the ending, you have to work hard to build the suspense.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Warning notice!

I didn't realise I could get any more ill......I could.

Yesterday morning I couldn't actually get out of bed for a couple of hours.

Robyn has been looking after me - if I play my cards right maybe I could make this last for a month.

I don't know; no music, trapped indoors, doing nothing. It's not good.

I took this picture a week or so ago; it's a bagel bag from the Euphoria bakery at Tesco's.

I like that and that they employ some special people to work there - it makes for a good atmosphere.
I hope to be back in action soon.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Friday, 21 November 2014

Getting steamy.

I've not been so well and it's cold. So Robyn made an amazing soup. That was a Butternut Squash (so that's what they are for - coulda' fooled me).

This is the Squash after Robyn killed it;

Then she roasted it and boiled it all up with vegetables, vegetable stock, herbs and seasoning and a little bit of magic;
What could I do? I made bread;

And as you can see, it was rather nice. Hopefully I'll get better soon and we can get up to some more adventures.

Mmmmmh, steamy soup.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Under fire.

Monday night was Jazz night....this is the great Stan Sulzman;


His playing seems so effortless (of course, that's what's so hard to do).

While this is Henry Lowther on trumpet;

with Steve Watts on double bass just behind him.

It was a funny night, we took our lives in our hands; the worlds worst pool players were in town again.

Through the night we could hear them in the other room, the white ball crashing regularly to the floor.

At the interval we sat out in the garden, and suddenly there it was; the white ball flying off the table, bouncing along the floor, through the open door and out into the garden.

Normally the main danger is an over excited Jazzer.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Stop press! Exclusive!

So yesterday, Robyn and me spent the afternoon stealing Wi-Fi from my favourite café. By the time we left it was far too late and dark.

We'd had to park a long way away (for free!) so it was a struggle dragging back; it was rainy and cold and a leedle bit miserable.


And then we turned into the side road where I'd parked and the road seemed to go on forever.

When I got to my car I found that it was parked by a house where the owner had put a cover up over his front drive....he had lights too. Meanwhile, he was in his garage working furiously; filing metal on a vice, grinding.

As we got nearer, we realised......he was making a sled for Santa Claus!

I asked him and he admitted it, no really!

Who knew that Santa's little helper lives in Egham, Surrey?

Obviously, there is a little problem here - we don't often get snow at Christmas, so it's got wheels instead.
Whatever, it's nice.
Christmas is coming.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Poppy heads.


I promise, this will be the last sad, wistful look at Autumn on my Blog.

I couldn't resist it because I just realised that I only bought my 'good' camera back in March. Before I was using a charity shop Nikon but in March I was in my local pawn shop and bought a better Nikon for £19-99p.

It's not that much better although ten years ago it would have been fairly cutting edge.

And I think the Poppy heads do it justice.

They flowered in summer - I planted the seeds years ago but they only come up when they want to.

An arrangement I am very happy with.

Remember June?

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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Monday, 17 November 2014

Another selfie shows up on the web.

If you’ve read this Blog for any length of time you’ll know that I don’t post pictures of myself - I may be ill but there’s a place in political campaigning for breaking the law and it would be stupid to advertise what I look like to the authorities.


But every now and again a picture of me gets out onto the internet….what can I do?

My partner Robyn has warned me that a short video of me has appeared on YouTube and it shows me dancing. I thought I’d covered my tracks fairly well but she’s sure it’s me.

What do you think?


She thinks I’m the one in the yellow/brown T-Shirt standing next to Snoopy.

Here’s the YouTube Link:

Pretty stylish, huh?

I hope the Police aren’t reading this!
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Black Park.

We wanted to catch a last sight of these but we were really too late; we went to Black Park, Slough. I think we used to call it 'Black Rock park' when I was young and it's just north of Slough.

Actually, even though it's only a couple of miles away from Slough, it's like another age - country lanes, woodland, and a lake all within reach of a bustling, busy, town of a 100,000 people.

This is almost Jurassic; the Scots Pines were dramatic in a weak afternoon sun.

There are trees all around the lake and on a day with no wind there were slight breezes that brought strange smells; of animals, of pine trees, of still waters;

We sat and watched a fisherman - every so often fish would surface just away from his float. He'd reel in his bait, cast it over where the fish had been and wait......shortly, the fish would surface just a little way away from the new place.
Lots of people walked their dogs, there's a café. 
And these;  
I have no idea what it is, I only know it's poisonous!
It felt like we'd stolen a day......
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Those Wicked Venetians down at The Cave, Addlestone.

Friday 13th? Who cares?

I did, I wasn't so good - got tired in Tesco's and never really recovered, then went out to The cave at The Holly tree in Addlestone to see The Wicked Venetians..

Except we nearly didn't - I kept getting lost, driving round and round. I nearly gave up until we realised that the road was I wasn't quite as stupid/ill/past it as I thought.

Still, we were late; missed the support act, missed the beginning of the Venetians - I think The Cave still has some noise issues with the neighbours, they shut down early.


Also, as you can see; lousy photos. I wasn't myself.

The venetians were in good form - headlining, confident, relaxed. It was a good performance; fine guitar work, really good drums, solid bass.

I was happy, it just ended far too quick.

 Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Friday, 14 November 2014


My friend Pippa Smith originally sent me a facebook version of this but I couldn't put it up here (technical problems), so I hunted around on the net and found a million versions. I've stolen this one, altered it a bit, made some deletions and for once, I won't credit the author because (he or she) stole it too.

It's a common work of the net and I don't necessarily agree with all of it but it made me chuckle.

A Lesson in Politics and Culture:




You have 2 cows.


The State takes one and gives it to your neighbour who doesn’t have a field to put it in.




You have 2 cows.


The State takes both and gives you some milk. Then the cows die due to neglect.




You have 2 cows.


The State takes both and sells you some milk. Then the cows die in the war.




You have 2 cows.


The State takes both and shoots you. Then the cows are killed in the war.



You have two cows.

You sell one and buy a bull.
You employ someone to look after them but pay them peanuts
Your herd multiplies even though you did no work and the economy grows.

You sell them and retire on the income.
The worker is unemployed


You have two cows.

You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.



You have two cows.


You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.


The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.


The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.


You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.

No balance sheet is provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.




You have two cows.


You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.



You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide. 

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.



You have two cows.

You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.




You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them in a vault.




You have two cows.


You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.




You have two cows.


You worship them.



You have two cows.

Both are mad.



Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the hell out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are called a Democracy.




You have two cows. Business seems pretty good.

You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.


You have two giraffes.


The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)