Random Bike Ride Playlist #4

Some interesting choices from Ipodicus, Greek god of digital music.  11.75 miles.

  1. Eminem – “Kill You”
  2. Gang Green – “I’m Still Young”
  3. Roni Size – “Share the Fall”
  4. Air – “Lucky and Unhappy”
  5. Tom Jones – “Kiss”
  6. Lil’ Kim – “Queen Bitch”
  7. John Lee Hooker – “I’m a Boogie Man”
  8. Beastie Boys – “Sneakin’ Out the Hospital”
  9. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Mean Heart”
  10. The Damned – “Disguise”
  11. Fu Manchu – “Time to Fly”
  12. Reverend Horton Heat – “Holy Roller”
  13. SNFU – “Spaceghost, the Twins & Blip”
  14. The Clash – “Brand New Cadillac”
  15. House of Pain – “Jump Around”
  16. Roxy Music – “Same Old Scene”
  17. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “When I First Came to Town”
  18. The Beach Boys – “Aren’t You Glad”
  19. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Punk Rock Classic”
  20. David Guetta ft Kelly Rowland – “When Love Takes Over”
  21. Black Flag – “Drinking and Driving”
  22. Hanna-Barbera – “Yakky Doodle (Syndicated Titles with Sub-Main Title)”
  23. Janis Joplin – “Move Over”

 

Skateboard Museum: Variflex Joker

After the red plastic skateboard, I “graduated” to what was commonly known as a Turbo Two. These were larger, wider boards in the contemporary style, but cheap Far East versions. It was another step up, but I soon learned that the board wasn’t going to last long.

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Variflex Joker. Camera strap in view AGAIN.

My next skateboard was a slight step up again – a Variflex Joker. This was a complete board sold with higher grade components. Aluminium trucks, polyurethane wheels and the deck itself had a much nicer shape and feel.

The graphics were also a really good job and very much in the style of the time. A skull wearing a jester’s hat, with a playing card design. Not exactly Powell Peralta but still very cool. It actually looked like someone at Variflex had taken a sneak peak at VCJ’s sketchbook and stolen the idea. Powell must have been mad.

However Variflex were not in the best shape in the late 80’s – they’d fallen to being a purveyor of intro level complete boards and were not in the same league as Powell, Santa Cruz or Vision. A nice board for a starter, the Joker would also be superseded by a higher quality deck.

I kept the trucks and wheels though for a while, and put them on my next set up. This was a Zorlac deck which I rode for a while with the Variflex under carriage, until I was able to afford Indy’s and Santa Cruz wheels.

I don’t remember what happened to my original Variflex Joker. Around 2006 I found a website selling new Variflex skateboards – apparently old stock rather than re-issues – and picked this sample up for a very reasonable price. It was in perfect condition and came complete with all the plastics, everything. I’ve only ever ridden it a couple of times as this skateboard is really just a memento. It’s a great item to have in my Skateboard Museum.

Technical Specifications:

  • Length: 30.5″
  • Width: 10.25″
  • Wheelbase: 15.75″
  • Wooden deck with concave and kicktail (complete with griptape)
  • Metal Variflex trucks
  • Variflex Street Rage II wheels (polyurethane, estimated 90a)
  • Plastic rails, nose saver, tail saver, copers and lapper

Purchased from Skate Pool

Soundtrack: Metallica, Anthrax, The Stupids

 

Pasta Sauce recipe

Here’s a recipe for pasta sauce. I would recommend this sauce to be served with meatballs (and pasta of your choice).

Now I’m not one for bragging, but my pasta sauce is gaining quite a reputation as a fine example of the art. And what’s the key ingredient?

AUDACITY.

Do not be afraid, be bold – and this sauce will create itself. The more daring you are the better the results will be.

Pasta Sauce 

  • Onion
  • Green or red pepper
  • Chopped tomatoes (tin of)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic paste
  • Tomato puree
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chilli powder
  • Olive oil
  • Mixed herbs (including Oregano)
  • Sugar
  • Optional: Salsa sauce

Heat some oil in a large pan. When the oil is hot, chop the onion and pepper and put in the pan. Stir and cook the onion and pepper, add some salt and pepper to season.

Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer. After a few minutes, add the tomato puree. Then add Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce – as much as you dare. You will need to add the garlic paste (about half a teaspoon) next, not forgetting to flow the salt and pepper too.

Now is the time to add the rest of the ingredients as you like. Be liberal with your chilli powder – if you dare – and add more Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. If you have some salsa sauce (try Lidl) or dip, throw a bit of that in. I also like to add a squirt of tomato sauce. Some folks like to add a teaspoon full of sugar, to counter act the acidity of the tomatoes – this is up to you. This is a very simple recipe, I’m sharing it as the message is to play around and see what works. You will notice that I’ve not stated any measurements above as this is the fun part – experiment and see what you can add.

Finally, don’t forget to add the mixed herbs. A generous amount of Oregano will develop an authentic Italian aroma.

Simmer the sauce for a good ten minutes. You will have cooked your meatballs in the oven by now, add them to the sauce when ready.

Prepare the pasta of your choice, and serve together with the meatballs and sauce when ready. Finally, finish with some parmesan cheese.

I hope you enjoy the pasta sauce. Do not be constrained by exact quantities with this recipe – fly free like the brave eagle over the plains, and the joys of exquisite pasta sauce shall be delivered to you.

Questions #3: Pizza Toppings

What three toppings would you pick for your favourite pizza?

A basic Margherita (base, with cheese and tomato) is all you get to start.  You choose three toppings only.  If you want Barbecue sauce base, for example, that counts as one of your choices.

Here’s what we came up with:

Q: What three toppings would you choose for a pizza?

Terry

  1. Ham
  2. Pepperoni
  3. BBQ Sauce

Ashley

  1. Spicy Beef
  2. Spicy Chicken
  3. Pepperoni

Ben

  1. Spicy Chicken
  2. Bacon
  3. Onion

Mark D

  1. Chocolate
  2. Marshmallow
  3. Space Dust

Wolfie

  1. Pepperroni
  2. Jalapenos
  3. Red Onion

Woody

  1. Chicken
  2. Pepperoni
  3. Ham

Jamie

  1. Pineapple
  2. Ham
  3. Mushroom

Joe

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Jalapeno
  3. Sweetcorn

Dan W

  1. King Prawn
  2. Chorizo
  3. Chicken

Me

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Anchovies
  3. Meatballs

It’s nice to see that mushrooms weren’t a popular choice.

What are your three choices for a great pizza?  Reply below and let me know.

Father’s Day

A great deal of my blog is related to music (as if you hadn’t guessed by now).  I’m obsessed with it.  Always looking for artists – and genres – that I’m not familiar with, always looking to expand my musical horizons.  As well, of course, as re-visiting favourites or establishing relationships with bands I’ve only dabbled with.

This particular article relates to Father’s Day (which is today).  I’ve decided to publish one of my iPod playlists, which is inspired by my Dad.

Many of you may have a pre-conceived idea of what my musical preferences are.  And I admit that there’s a lot of rock, metal and punk in the melting pot.  There’s other stuff too – a great deal of which, I think, comes from my Dad’s influence.  If rock’n’roll provides the foundation of my musical knowledge, these artists provide the light, shade and colour.

So this playlist is dedicated to David Owen Jones, with fond memories of Sunday night taping sessions and endless hours of driving listening to the results.

  1. The Beach Boys – “Sloop John B”
  2. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel – “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”
  3. Diana Ross & The Supremes – “You Keep Me Hanging On”
  4. The Isley Brothers – “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)”
  5. The Real Thing – “You to Me Are Everything”
  6. The Stylistics – “You Make Me Feel Brand New”
  7. Tavares – “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel”
  8. Chic – “Le Freak”
  9. Village People – “YMCA”
  10. Hot Chocolate – “You Sexy Thing”
  11. Elton John & Kiki Dee – “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
  12. The Gap Band – “Oops Upside Your Head”
  13. Roxy Music – “Same Old Scene”
  14. Madonna – “Holiday”
  15. Phil Collins – “Easy Lover”
  16. Rockwell – “Somebody’s Watching Me”
  17. The Pogues – “Dirty Old Town”
  18. Big Country – “Fields of Fire”

From classic pop, Motown, through to disco and beyond.

Dad, if I’ve missed any favourites out – please let me know.

I’m a Dad too now.  I hope my daughter finds as much to love in my music.

Happy Father’s Day.

 

My First Skateboard

Sometime in the early 80’s (1980 or ’81, I believe) my Gran informed me that she had picked up a present for me.  Gran sometimes did that, finding bargains at charity shops and jumble sales for me.  These items usually turned out be toys and games that were great fun.  This time, my present turned out be something different: a skateboard.

It was a small red plastic skateboard that she had found at some local kids garage sale, and bought for a few pence.  At that time my only concept of a skateboard was of a craze that had peaked a few years ago when I was younger.  Kids didn’t ride skateboards anymore and the thought of actually trying to ride it didn’t appeal to me.  So the skateboard was left in the garage for years and never used.

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Red plastic skateboard. Amateurish camera strap in view.

Fast forward a few years and I saw the film “Back to the Future”.  This is something of a cliche now, but suddenly my eyes were opened to the possibility of what I could do with that old plastic board.  Out of the blue skateboards had become “cool”.  The toy in the garage that bemused me previously now had serious potential.  That looked like fun.

Our driveway at the time was about twenty feet long and fairly steep.  I decided that I would dig the skateboard out of the garage junk and ride it down the drive.  Placing the board at the top of the drive, I held it in place with my front foot.  Then carefully lifted my back foot off the ground, placed it on the board and started rolling.  I rolled about three feet, lost my balance and fell.  Grazes to right hand and that was it.  No more skateboard.

The board went back in the garage junk pile, there to stay forever more.

But it played on my mind.  Over the next week or so, I could remember the few seconds of riding the board successfully.  And I could imagine what it would be like to ride it again.  I could see in my mind’s eye what it would be like, and what I would have to do to stay on.  I liked that feeling.  My imagination was sparked.  What if I made it to the bottom of the drive?  Wouldn’t that feel great?

So I tried again.  Skateboard at the top of the drive, facing downhill.  One foot on, then the other.  Rolling.  Keeping my balance this time, like I had in my mind’s eye.  And I made it.  I rode the board to the bottom of the drive.

When I reached the bottom I felt great.  I felt a feeling of accomplishment that I hadn’t felt before.  This was to be the beginning of an amazing relationship.

I then began to learn to ride the board, down the drive, along the street.  I learned to turn, left and right, and keep rolling.  Big sweeping turns and short, quick turns, leaning to each side.

At the time I was unaware of (then modern) skateboarding tricks so learnt from old 1970’s books.  I practised over and over, doing the same moves and fine tuning them.  Kick turns left and right, round corners – over and over again.  Hour after hour, learning and perfecting just very basic techniques.

That’s over twenty five years ago now.  I’ve had many skateboards since then, of different sizes, shapes and styles.  Learnt new tricks.  Travelled to new spots.  Met great people, some of whom I’m still friends with.  Some aren’t with us anymore.

I still have the small, red plastic skateboard that I learnt to ride.  It’s faded and looks a bit worse for wear now.  It only cost a few pence and was eventually superseded by larger, better quality boards.  But of all the skateboards I’ve ever owned, it’s probably the most important.

Thanks, Gran.

 

 

Technical Specifications:

  • Length: 22.5″
  • Width: 5.75″
  • Wheelbase: 12″
  • Plastic deck, flat with no concave.  Minimal kicktail.
  • Metal trucks.
  • Wheels: Unknown – hard – not polyurethane.

Soundtrack: Huey Lewis & the News.

 

Tat Trek Update #2

Time for some more tat from the archives.  Here’s a real gem for you.

IMG_0281Item: Mr T Piggy Bank

Description: Ceramic model of the A-Team misery guts, designed to save your coins.

Cost = can’t remember, but only about £1.

Bought at: Charity shop in Chester many years ago.

Reason for buying: It’s a fairly accurate rendition of B.A Baracus, well made and makes a nice ornament.  And I love The A-Team.

Mr T stands about 16cm tall, and is quite striking with the gold colouring.  This piece has often proved very desirable, with one of my friends making me promise to leave him this item in my will.  I think he was joking.

Sheer tat or 1980’s retro chic?  It’s bad, but it’s so cool too.  And no, I’ve never taken him on a plane.

Yet.