Bang out of order

10:55 pm : Thursday, 10 September 2020  |  ,


Today marks my 48th birthday, and a very pleasant day it has been. There has been the usual Bacardi and Lindor, and a wonderful samples box of Green and Blacks chocolate. She knows what I like! I have had chocolate with salted caramel before, but today I tried just milk chocolate with a touch of sea salt. It is a fascinating combination. Green and Blacks chocolate is proper chocolate, and is best enjoyed by breaking off a small piece and letting it melt slowly in the mouth, allowing the flavours to unfold and delight. That distant jolt of the added salt really does add to the experience.

Birthdays normally involve receiving an Amazon gift card, and what better way to spend it than on some vinyl? First up I chose Carole King's 1971 legend Tapestry. This is an album that truly belongs in every collection. You can honestly forget the likes of Nirvana and Radiohead - their albums are truly worthless when compared to this stripped-down and thoroughly empowering album. The songs of Ms King are veritable treasures.

My second vinyl choice is Good Times! by The Monkees. Released in 2016, this album marked their 50th anniversary, and features a posthumous appearance by Davy Jones. The three remaining members perform songs written by the likes of Andy Partridge (XTC), Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), and a track by Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher. It is a real bucket of joy, and while the CD version was a little lively in tone, the LP version should be a smoother listen - smooth as a boat on a sea of Mars bars!

The third choice is Keane and their 2004 debut Hopes and Fears. A rock band that used the piano as the lead instrument instead of the obligatory guitar. Songs like Everybody's Changing and Somewhere Only We Know hold such memories for me. Their sound was truly their own, and this album became the second biggest UK seller of 2004, beaten to first place by the Scissor Sisters.

The day has not been without drama though. Why else would I provide such a title and picture? While on the computer earlier today I heard an emergency siren. Expecting an ambulance to be coming, I witnessed a fire engine entering our close. Not a great surprise, as the fire service are routinely trained to offer assistance until an ambulance becomes available. Allowing curiosity to get the better of me, I wandered outdoors to see a column of black smoke emerging from a nearby property. The immediate response was: "Oh good Lord, no!" While others stood watching rather closely, I kept a greater distance from the building, horrified as flames were appearing over the roofline. A couple of minutes later there is a phenomenal explosion, and a fireball emerges with fury, which finally convinced the other people to STAND WELL BACK! Later we learned that this was due to an acetylene canister going off. A total of five fire engines turned up, which was necessary as the first one was emptied trying to control the fire. It was not an easy one to contain.

At about 5:30pm the local ice cream van passed by, and despite our close being cordoned off by the police, he was ushered in to provide much needed iced relief for the many fire and police personnel, as well as the residents. His presence was definitely appreciated at that very time, and there was no way the police were going to let the aftermath of a major incident get in the way of some sorely-needed pleasure!

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