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Archive for March, 2015

At number 54 in BBC Radio 2’s 100 best guitar riffs is Don’t Believe A Word” by Irish rock band Thin Lizzy. This song was released in 1976 and got to number 12 in the Disunited Kingdom singles charts, and to number to in their native Ireland.



At number 54 in BBC Radio 2's list of the 100 greatest guitar riffs is "Don't Believe A Word" by Thin Lizzy.

At number 54 in BBC Radio 2’s list of the 100 greatest guitar riffs is “Don’t Believe A Word” by Thin Lizzy.




Don’t believe me if I tell you
Not a word of this is true
Don’t believe me if I tell you
Especially if I tell you that I’m in love with you

Don’t believe me if I tell you
That I wrote this song for you
There might be some other silly pretty girl
I’m singing it to

Don’t believe a word
For words are only spoken
Your heart is like a promise
Made to be broken

Don’t believe a word
Words can tell lies
And lies are no comfort
When there’s tear in your eyes

Don’t believe me if I tell you
Not a word of this is true
Don’t believe me if I tell you
Especially if I tell you that I’m in love with you

Don’t believe a word


Here is a video of this song. Enjoy!





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At number 11 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time is “My Generation” by The Who. This song was written by Pete Townsend of the band, and is one of their most recognisable hits. It was released in October 1965, and got to number 2 in the Disunited Kingdom singles charts. Surprisingly it only got to number 74 in the USA, but as it was one of their earliest singles the band had not really made a name for themselves in the USA at the time.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 11 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “My Generation” by The Who.



I may have mentioned this before, but when I was 12 our family went to holiday in Menorca, one of the Balearic islands. One evening, we were eating in a local restaurant and the owner said that the man sitting by the bar was Pete Townsend. I was too young for it to register with me, but had she said it a year or two later I would have been over asking him for an autograph! Ah well, he was probably glad to be unmolested – he apparently had a villa nearby and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere on the island.

This song, described by Rolling Stone Magazine as a “fuck-off” to the older generation, is a powerful anthem with a driving rhythm. I do find it a bit strange when the surviving Who members now sing it, being well into their dotage, but I am sure Pete Townsend sees the irony too!


People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don’t you all f-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don’t you all f-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
And don’t try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-generation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby


Here is a video of this amazing song. Enjoy!





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On Friday the 20th of March there was a Solar eclipse. In Cardiff it was partial, reaching a maximum of 87% at 09:28 GMT.

The details of the 20th March 2015 eclipse from the NASA eclipse website

The details of the 20th March 2015 eclipse from the NASA eclipse website

This image is taken from the NASA eclipse website, which can be found here. On this amazing website, you can look up eclipses going back thousands of years and going thousands of years into the future.

An alternative graphic of the eclipse is this.

An alternative graphic of the 20th of March 2015 eclipse

An alternative graphic of the 20th of March 2015 eclipse

These are some of the pictures I took. I started taking photographs as 08:33 using a 300mm lens on my Nikon DSLR, with Baader paper taped over a spare lens shield which I have. The pictures below are about every 10 minutes (I was taking them more frequently so these are just a sub-set). The last picture shown below was taken at 10:33.

The eclipse at its maximum from Cardiff, 87% at 09:28.

The eclipse at its maximum from Cardiff, 87% at 09:28.

It didn’t actually get dark (anyone who has witnessed a total eclipse will know that even when the eclipse is 99.95% it is not dark, it requires totality for it to go dark). But, the light did take on a strange ethereal quality, a little like dusk but not quite the same either.

 

safariscreensnapz009

safariscreensnapz010

If you managed to get any photographs of this eclipse, feel free to share them below in the comments box.

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What an absolutely incredible final weekend we had to the 2015 6 Nations. It went right down to beyond 80 minutes in the last game of the “super Saturday” to see who was going to win this year’s 6 Nations crown.

Italy v Wales

The first game of the weekend was Italy v Wales. With Wales going into the match with the worst points difference compared to England and Ireland, we needed to pile on the points to stand any chance of lifting the 6 Nations Championship this year.

After a disappointing first half, in which Italy were a match for Wales, the half time score was 14-13 to Wales. But, within the first ten minutes of the second half Wales moved up another gear, and ended up piling the points on to eventually win 61-20, meaning that England would have to win by at least 16 points in their match against France, and Ireland would have to win theirs by at least 20 points. Apart from letting in a last minute try, which is because Wales were trying to run it from everywhere, it was a nearly flawless second half display by us.



Wales beat Italy 61-20 in a fantastic second  half display, to put themselves right back in contention of winning the 2015 6 Nations.

Wales beat Italy 61-20 in a fantastic second half display, to put themselves right back in contention of winning the 2015 6 Nations.



Scotland v Ireland

The second match of the day was Scotland v Ireland, with Ireland not only having to beat Scotland to retain their 6 Nations crown, but to win by at least 20 points. I didn’t see this game as I had to drive somewhere, and unfortunately it was not on Radio 5 but only on Radio 5 Sports Extra, which my car radio cannot get. So I only got a few updates of the score, but much to my disappointment Ireland not only won, but won 40-10, so putting themselves above Wales in the final table on points difference.



Ireland beat Scotland 40 to 10 and so put themselves above Wales in the final table. Now, all eyes turned to Twickenham to see what England could do.

Ireland beat Scotland 40 to 10, and so put themselves above Wales in the final table. Now, all eyes turned to Twickenham to see what England could do.



Now, all eyes turned to Twickenham, to see if England could beat France by 26 points, in order to overhaul Ireland’s points difference.

England v France

As it typical of the French, they shocked everyone by putting in a pretty decent display, much better than their woeful exhibitions in pretty much all of their other games this Championships. But, England were just too strong for them, and with 5 minutes to go the scoreline was 55 to 35. One converted try and England would win the Championships. With just some two minutes to go they had a penalty, kicked for the corner and from the line-out used a driving maul to try to score.

They then got penalised in the tackle, and so France had a penalty. By this time the clock was passing 80 minutes, so all France had to do was kick to touch and the game would be over. But France decided to run the ball from their try line, and came within a hair’s breadth of losing the ball back to England. It was nail biting stuff, but finally sense prevailed and France kicked the ball out of play and the game was over. England had come close, but had just fallen short of getting the 26-point margin they needed.



England beat France by 55 to 35, coming within 6 points of the margin they needed. Close, but not close enough.

England beat France by 55 to 35, coming within 6 points of the margin they needed. Close, but not close enough.



And so, after an incredibly exciting final day, Ireland retained their 6 Nations crown, with England coming second and Wales third, with only points difference separating the three countries.



Ireland retained their 6 Nations crown after a nail-biting end to the match between England and France at Twickenham.

Ireland retained their 6 Nations crown after a nail-biting end to the match between England and France at Twickenham.



Super Saturday

There had been some discussion in the week as to whether it was fair on Wales and Ireland that England would play after them and therefore know what winning margin they would need. When it is the final day of the English Premiership in football all the matches start at the same time. So, some people have suggested that this is the way the final weekend should be in the 6 Nations.

Personally, I think it rather adds to the excitement when you have games like today played one after the other. Yes it is true that both Ireland and England knew what margin of victory they needed, but the tension in the last 5 minutes of the England v France game when they were within a converted try of getting the margin they needed was incredible. There have been three 6 Nations in a row now (or maybe 4?) when who would win the title has come down to the last weekend, and even the last game. I would leave it the way it is.

Reflections on the 2015 6 Nations

Scotland, despite showing promising signs of improvement, finish with the wooden spoon, not a single victory in the whole tournament. But, I think they are on the right path and I expect them to do better in next year’s tournament.

Italy beat Scotland, but that was their only victory. They seem to play well for the first half, and then run out of steam and get well beaten in the second half of most of their matches.

England are, for me, the most impressive team in Europe at the moment. It pains me to say this, but I think Stuart Lancaster has put together a really good squad, and they are playing with inventiveness and flair, not something usually associated with English rugby. They scored the most tries in this year’s competition, and with home advantage in the World Cup, Wales are going to find them tough to beat in the group match we have against them.

Ireland are a well coached side. They are not spectacular in their play, but what they do they do very well. Apart from their loss to Wales, they deserved to win each of their matches in this year’s 6 Nations, and did so comfortably.

And so to finish with my own country. Apart from a poor second half performance against England, Wales would have not only won the Championships, but would have won the Grand Slam. So, that is a positive. But, in that second half performance against England, they were completely overpowered. That is worrying. But, again on the plus side, Wales improved as the tournament went on (as we always seem to do, we are slow starters), and if we had been playing England in Cardiff in our last match and not our first I wouldn’t mind betting that we would have beaten them.

And, beat them of course we need to in our World Cup group game, otherwise we will not get out of the group. Most Welsh rugby fans are optimists (or delusional 😛 ), and I think with the several months that Warren Gatland will have with the side from June through to October, that Wales can give both England and Australia a good fight in the group stages. We have two warm-up games against Ireland (home and away), and with the fitness and strength work that I know Gatland has been doing with the Welsh players during this 6 Nations, I think we can build on our improving performances in this tournament. We shall see!

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At number 74 in BBC Radio 2’s 100 best guitar riffs is “Block Buster!” by The Sweet. This song was recorded in 1972 and released in January 1973, and spent five weeks at the top of the singles charts in the Disunited Kingdom. It was also a hit in many other countries, but only got to number 73 in the US singles charts.

The song was written by songwriting pair Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who wrote a number of hits for several artists in the early 1970s including Suzi Quatro, Mud, Smokie and Racey; all “glam-rock” acts from this period.



At number 74 in BBC Radio 2's 100 best guitar riffs is "Block Buster! by The Sweet.

At number 74 in BBC Radio 2’s 100 best guitar riffs is “Block Buster! by The Sweet.



I remember this song very well, Top of the Pops was required weekly viewing in our house, and with this song topping the charts for five weeks it certainly got a lot of exposure on the show. The driving guitar rhythm was felt by some to be similar to David Bowie’s “Jean Genie”, who also recorded for the same record label RCA.


You better beware, you better take care
You better watch out if you’ve got long black hair
He’ll come from behind, you go out of your mind
You’d better not go, you’d never know what you’ll find

You look in his eyes, don’t be surprised
If you don’t know what’s going on behind his disguise
Nobody knows where Buster goes
He’ll steal your woman out from under your nose

Does anyone know the way, did we hear someone say
We just haven’t got a clue what to do
Does anyone know the way, there’s got to be a way
To Block Buster

The cops are out, they’re running about
Don’t know if they’ll ever be able to Block Buster out
He’s gotta be caught, he’s gotta be taught
‘Cause he’s more evil than anyone here ever thought

Does anyone know the way, did we hear someone say
We just haven’t got a
Does anyone know the way, there’s got to be a way
To Block Buster

Does anyone know the way, did we hear someone say
We just haven’t got a clue what to do
Does anyone know the way, there’s got to be a way
To Block Buster

Buster, Buster, Block Buster
Buster, Buster, Block Buster
Buster, Buster, Block Buster


Here is a video of this blast from the past of glam-rock. Enjoy!




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At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time is “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. This song was written by Cooke himself, and was released in December 1964. It wasn’t really much of a commercial success, getting to a fairly modest 31 in the US singles charts, and wasn’t a hit anywhere else. But its lyrics, which deal with black Americans’ struggle to gain equal status, has made it a significant song in the civil rights struggle and in the history of popular music. The third verse reflects an incident which happened to Cooke and his band, when they were not allowed to stay at a motel in Louisiana whilst on the road during a tour because they were black.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.



Cooke’s soulful delivery is full of passion and soul, and the song builds beautifully in each verse before the refrain “But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will”.


I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ev’r since
It’s been a long time, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there, beyond the sky
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin’ me don’t hang around
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say brother help me please
But he winds up knockin’ me
Back down on my knees, oh

There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will


Here is a video of this great song. Enjoy!





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The 4th weekend of this year’s 6 Nations saw Wales take on Ireland, followed by England playing Scotland; and finally on Sunday Italy took on France.

Wales v Ireland

What an exciting 4th weekend of the 2015 6 Nations it was for Welsh fans. Much to most people’s surprise, including mine; Wales beat Ireland in what, by all accounts, was a thrilling game in Cardiff. Unfortunately I was on a bus from Valparaiso to Santiago in Chile at the end of my two week cruise in South America; so it was only due to texts from my wife and my sister that I was able to keep abreast of what was going on! I am yet to see the game, except for 2-minute highlights; but from everything I have read it seems that it was one of the best defensive performances by Wales in recent years. Ireland threw everything at Wales, but the Welsh defence stood firm to keep them out.

Ireland went into the game on a 10-match winning streak, and were the bookies’ favourites to beat Wales, despite Wales playing at home. But Wales raced into a 12-0 lead which, from what I have read, rattled Ireland. However, I have also read that at half time, with the score at 15-6 to Wales, many felt that Ireland would take hold of the game in the second half. But, despite the Irish being camped in the Welsh half for long periods, the Welsh defence was apparently supreme and held out to onslaught after onslaught from the men in green. Many pundits are calling it one of the best-fought Welsh wins in many many years.



Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny celebrate a remarkable victory over Ireland to keep Wales' hopes of a 3rd 6 Nations Championship in 4 years alive.

Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny celebrate a remarkable victory over Ireland to keep Wales’ hopes of a 3rd 6 Nations Championship in 4 years alive.



England v Scotland

Although I was in a hotel in Santiago by the time this game came on ESPN2, I did not really watch it as I was shattered from being woken up early as the ship came into port in Valparaiso and the anchors being dropped from what seemed like 1 metre from our cabin at 4am! So, all I really know about this game is the score, and that in the first half Scotland gave England a bit of a scare before being overpowered by a very strong England side. It means England retain the Calcutta Cup, and are probably favourites to win this year’s Championships (but more on that below).



England beat Scotland to retain the Calcutta Cup and to keep their hopes of finally lifting a 6 Nations Championships alive. They have not won one since 2003!!

England beat Scotland to retain the Calcutta Cup and to keep their hopes of finally lifting a 6 Nations Championships alive. They have not won one since 2003!!



Italy v France

I have seen nothing nor read anything about this game, but the scoreline suggests it was a comfortable win for France.



France went to Rome and beat Italy comfortably, if the scoreline is anything to go by.

France went to Rome and beat Italy comfortably, if the scoreline is anything to go by.



Summary and next weekend

With Wales beating Ireland, the Irish’s hope of a Grand Slam is over, but they can still win the Championships next weekend.



A summary of the results from the 4th weekend of the 2015 6 Nations

A summary of the results from the 4th weekend of the 2015 6 Nations



I haven’t had time to read up about all the possible permutations for next weekend; but from what I can gather Wales, Ireland and England all have a chance of winning the 2015 6 Nations. Wales are the first to play on “super Saturday”, with an away game against Italy. As Gatland said in his post-match interview, if we go to Rome thinking we can rack up a big score we may well come unstuck. Italy are not the push-over that they were ten years ago, and Wales will need to tire them out before we can think of opening up the game. I expect the Welsh forwards to grind down the Italian pack in the first 50-odd minutes, and then in the last 30 or so minutes for us to try and score some points. If we can score enough, we can win the Championships, but it is a big “if”.

England have the best points difference, so if they beat France they should, in theory, also with the Championships. But, who knows with France? I assume they put in a good display against Italy if they won 29-0, so maybe they will turn up in Twickenham and do a number on England. I sincerely hope so! Ireland should beat Scotland, but Scotland are a much better team this year and so I do not see Ireland getting a big win.

I know I may be getting my hopes up, but I really think Wales can do it and get a high-scoring win in Rome. If we do, we have a very good chance to win the 6 Nations for the 3rd time in 4 years, a remarkable achievement and one which will give us huge confidence going into the World Cup. I will have my fingers and toes very firmly crossed next Saturday!

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