We are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.

Well, as corny in Kansas in August & high as a flag on the 4th of July. Today, that very date, is the first birthday of the ¬†loosehandlebars blog-type thing. When I first started to press “Publish” I did not really know where it would lead & did not want to know . I did though get the feeling that here was my own little piece of the Internets & it was a feeling I liked. It looked good too, crisp, clean & clear. A collision of luck & innate good taste brought me to the right theme the first time around. A tip of the hat to WordPress here. A lot of people try to give you a lot of free stuff through the computer, WordPress has given me all this stuff & has never asked me for anything. If one of their representatives comes to my house & asks for money I would probably pay up.

Any road up, I do not intend to dissect the hows, whys & whassups of loosehandlebars, autopsies are rarely interesting & never fun. It’s a birthday, a celebration, so what we need today is a little positive vibrations, some irie ites !

Ho ! How great is clog dancing ? Now I don’t know a flatfoot from a drag-slide but this Blue Ridge bunny hop (Appalachian arabesque ?) ¬†just makes me smile. So does Danny & the Champions of the World & “These Days”. Danny is Danny Wilson who, with his brother Julian, was Grand Drive, the UK’s premier country rock band, which meant that as they gained popularity they got to play bigger pubs. G.D. were great live, the boys had obviously, like the Jayhawks, spent a long time listening to the Band. There were 5 LPs before they stopped & I enjoy hearing Danny’s distinctive voice & songs with his new unit. British Americana ? I know, I know. This lovely American folk dance tradition is, of course, a development of European step dances but there are only about 3 of us over here who still practice the buck & wing. We tell ourselves we have better things to do.

As the world goes to hell in a handbasket the politicians & bankers, who’s pursuit of their own self-interest really didn’t help, seem to still have us by the throat & by the balls. My own political viewpoint has been defined by a passionate (some would say obsessive) anti-consumerism. I live in the material world & I have stuff but I don’t have a mortgage, don’t own a car. I never quite caught that my own self-worth could be defined by the things I bought. I am a contrarian, too many people walked that line. “Every cheap hood strikes a bargain with the world, ends up making payments on a sofa or a girl.” You know it.

As I sneer from the sidelines the best pop record of 2004 often comes to mind. Johnny Boy, a Liverpudlian duo named after De Niro’s character in “Mean Streets” created this lovely collision of the Ronettes & New Order. A street symphony for the 21st century, a perfect pop platter with pertinent, perceptive lyrics, this surely could not miss. Was it a hit ? Was it f… ! “You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve”. People just don’t want to hear it.

The Low Anthem came around in 2008 with their 3rd LP “Oh My God, Charlie Darwin”. “To Ohio” placed them with bands like the Fleet Foxes & Bon Iver. Now I own records by Gene Clark, I know how atmospheric country rock goes. A little more heart, less alembicated & ostentatious facial hair. I discovered that there was more to the Low Anthem. The LP is a lovely thing, one of my favourite of this century. The instrumentation, the lyrics & the emotions are imaginative & intelligent…not everything is these days. “To The Ghosts Who Write History Books” is just one of the many highlights. We got to see them play live & they were just the highlight of a festival day. The next record made little impression & last month the rather lovely Jocie Adams left the band. Ah well, we will always have Tom Jones’ cover of “Charlie Darwin” !

I had no idea who would read my posts. I knew my friends would want to see them but had no plans to canvass any more attention than that. The “look at me ! look at me !” aspect of that has a whiff of desperate ego that I do try to avoid. When people did come it was surprising & pleasing. F-book pages shared my posts & there was a queue at the door…strange. When a veteran musician, a man who’s work I had respected for many years, e-mailed me to share his offence at a reference I had made to his past I was bloody shocked at the reach of this thing. I now realise he has a gadget which notifies him whenever he is mentioned anywhere on the Internets. Get over yourself G… !

Loosehandlebars is a hobby now. I still hang with family & friends but I do watch less TV (that’s good) & perhaps read less (that’s not so good). I love finding the best music I can in this impressive machine & do put some effort into the accompanying text (Really !). Before I start another year of this I want to appreciate the injection of creativity that the blog has brought. There has been encouragement, support & even hype from old friends in London & in Derry, from new friends in Glasgow. They know who they are & I hope they know how much they are appreciated. Finally a shout across the Atlantic to Dave’sStrangeWorld, a fellow blogger & human being who I met through doing this. Dave, thanks for your interest & I will get to that e-mail I owe you a.s.a.p. Peace.