The Sailing and Beach Bum Years

Most people probably only know me with very short hair, the haircut I’ve now had for over a decade, probably closer to 15 years. But my hair hasn’t always been this short. In my younger years my hair for several years (mainly at school and at university) was quite long. When someone else shared a picture of him with long hair in younger years I had a look through some older prints I still have and ‘scanned’ two of them with Google’s PhotoScan. Here’s how I looked in 1989 (I think at least the picture with my Oma (Grandma) is from 1989) and 1993 (I know that’s from 1993, as it was taken when my parents and sister visited me while I was living in California):

(as usual, click on the pictures for the larger versions)

The Birds and the Berries

No, not the birds and the bees, the birds and the berries. Stop being naughty. For the last almost three months I haven’t been able to fully use my camera due to my heart surgery. Almost all the pictures I’ve taken were with the phone, except for the ones of the roses, but for that used the lighter ‘normal’ zoom. As I was limited in the weight I was allowed to lift I was unable to use my big (and unfortunately rather heavy) telephoto zoom lens. Only recently I’ve been allowed to start lifting more and on the 3rd Christmas Day (i.e. the 27th of December, the bank holiday in lieu of Christmas Day falling on Sunday) I decided to give the big lens a first go. I had spotted a number of birds going into a tree with red berries to feed. Not being used to lifting the heavy lens any more I wasn’t particularly successful, these three pictures I thought just about presentable:

(Click on the pictures for the larger versions)

I only lasted for about 10 minutes, then I really started to notice the weight of the heavy lens. Still a long way to go until that part of my body will have fully recovered, but I’m happy that I at least had a start now and have something to build on.

Some of my musical favourites of 2016

Some of the mostly new (but also some slightly older) music I enjoyed in 2016:

Obviously have to start with Teenage Fanclub. While I haven’t got a fixed ranking they will always be in my top 3 favourite bands. Here’s their offering from this year’s album Here:

The Pixies have been among my favourites for a long time as well, from this year’s Head Carrier I’ve picked the Tenement Song:

Slightly older (released in 2014 to be precise) but I only discovered it this year. Some great noise and energy in this Scottish/Australian/American collaboration:

Another slightly older one from 2015, but I mainly listened to it in 2016. The Welsh contingent with the Stereophonics:

Didn’t really have them on my radar before, but Teleman’s song named after a town in Germany caught my ears this year:

I prefer his work with The Gaslight Anthem, but Brian Fallon’s solo album is also very good:

Another older one but on very heavy rotation this year, from the aforementioned Gaslight Anthem:

By quite some distance the oldest song in this collection, but I keep returning to it. I just love the simplicity of it.

He’s been around forever, his new album with Joshua Homme is rather good:

I thought their last couple of albums were slightly weaker than their early ones, until 2016s Walls, which I think is a fantastic return to form:

What will 2017 bring musically?

Nothing but the truth…