It’s been a filthy day here today – high winds, torrential rain and general horridness so I’ve been amusing myself in the kitchen and while working I’ve been listening to some old CDs.
I’ve made a big vat of carrot and coriander soup that’ll keep us in lunches for days. I’ve turned a 99p pack of pinto beans into 14 spicy beanburgers, also for lunches. They’ve been put into the freezer on waxed paper ready to be lifted out and cooked from frozen as and when we need them. Finally I cooked a caramelised onion and swiss chard tart for our dinner. I love dishes like that but because I’m a bit anal about spending half an hour caramelising the onions then another half an hour getting them cold enough not to melt pastry then cooking the pastry case blind then finally assembling the dish and cooking slowly in the oven, it means it’s not something to do on a weekday when I’ve been busy all day.
While I’ve been working, I have been listening to old albums on the kitchen-fi…I can’t tell you how much I love my little kitchen-fi set up. It may be small in size in proper hi-fi terms (although it’s huge compared to an ipod docking station but I’m MUCH too much of a music snob to ever buy or use an MP3 player) but the little thing packs a serious punch.
I think I ought to receive some kind of award for championing Scottish bands. I’m desolate to find that my Lloyd Cole and the Commotions album “Rattlesnakes” has decided to start jumping. I suppose given that it’s been played to death over nearly thirty years means “it owes me nothing” but I have to replace it soon because I am bereft without it. So, Hipsway’s “Hipsway” and Love and Money’s “Strange Kind of Love” got the nod and I danced up and down the kitchen belting out songs I’ve not heard for too-long-a-time. Both of these albums are utterly special. Grahame Skinner (Hipsway) could sing the phone book and it’d sound like every woman’s dream but the best bit is he didn’t need to sing the phonebook because the songs on that album are gorgeous pop songs. As for Love and Money – well, for anyone in the know, the title of this entry (the lyric is “money is the lowest form of wit”) comes from the song “up escalator” off this album. Now James Grant is a musician of the finest kind. Wonderful songs, a great musician and another gorgeous voice although sorry to James, I’d still rather hear Grahame sing the phone book in a straight fight between the two of you! (But be glad I’d rather have a Love and Money album on the kitchen-fi any day.)
I am thrilled to see that James Grant and Grahame Skinner have worked together over the years and I have an urge to move to Glasgow if it means I can pop out of a Saturday night and see one or both of these men play.
It has concerned me over the years that James Grant seems like a troubled soul. I see shades of depression in his songs (and it takes one to know one) – “Little Death” I found terribly bleak. I may be completely off the mark but can't help thinking I'm not. It makes me wonder whether my heroes realise the great joy they brought into my life, and the lives of many others - I know my best buddies, Colin and Shazbop would agree with this sentiment. Let me tell you that almost anything can be fixed by “Strange Kind of Love” and if there is any doubt, following it with “Rattlesnakes” can dispel fear, misery and any number of other unwanted emotions. Do they know how important that is? Do they realise that these albums changed lives? I really hope so. Do they realise that even now, hearing the opening bars of “Hallelujah Man”, “The Honey Thief” or “Forest Fire” makes my heart sing and my feet tap!