Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ruddy Sons Indulging in Ridiculous Repulsive Games,

The main problem with the 6 day working week is that people can ruin your only day off; however, I recognise that my grumbles will always be dwarfed by those of others. I attended a 2-day training course, titled “Introduction to Tutoring and Assessment”. At the end of it, I’m neither a better tutor nor a better assessor; such is the way of GRADskills. GRADskills is a scheme of training courses available to us for free; we’re supposed to fulfil a quota of them each year. They are poor, I think they cover themselves by naming each course “Introduction to….” ergo when the complaints arrive, they can claim that only an introduction to a topic was on offer. At least, they filled us with tea, coffee and biscuits.

Someone thought that I was French. I don’t know how I do this. I’ve been mistaken for being Scandinavian, which is understandable given my name, German, which is just about understandable for the same reason, and Welsh, which is just completely leftfield. Generally, I’m one of the few Scottish people cuttin aboot the Scottish yoonis. However, it was similarly weird when I was ranting in Embra one day, someone shouted from the other side of the room, “Aaahhh, we have a Fifer in the lab.”

I’m not really the kind of kid who goes down chutes too narrow. If 2006, was about My Latest Novel, 2005 was the year of The Arcade Fire and for me, the best of 2004 were Elliot Smith and The Shins. Having fallen out of love with The 4 Counts (they’ve sold out, man) and being in need of a 60s-style beat group, I’ve listened to Chutes too Narrow by The Shins quite a bit over these last few days, it’s a fantastic album, marvellous lyrically and rhythmically. I’m always in quite close touch with shins, I nurture mine through bout after bout of shin splints, so their new one, Wincing the Night Away, was eagerly anticipated.

It’s quite good, they’ve turned wistful. I should’ve have guessed from the title. The single, Phantom Limb, is the best song by far. I’ve loved it more and more with every hearing, I think the same could happen for the others. In many ways, Phantom Limb sums up the style of Wincing the Night Away, there are smatterings of the beat group who characterised the previous album; however, these have been toned down with wistfulness. Wistfulness is good (the video for this song is a corker and it epitomises the wistfulness and places it in dramatic context). For The Bellyaches massive who have decided to have the same record collection as myself, Girl Soldier is annoying because it sounds like something else, perhaps Life in the D by Brendan Benson from the underrated Lapalco album.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Leeches of the Automatic Metropolis,

I’d find it difficult to say that I’ve been disappointed with any of the albums that I’ve bought. I understand that this could make my CD reviews terribly repetitive; ergo I’ve invented a new format for this edition of The Bellyaches.

The lad calls himself “Robert Gomez” and he has released an album named Brand New Towns on the marvellous Bella Union label (it sounds like they've done it again with The Kissaway Trail). I saw Robert Gomez and a cast of musicians support Midlake a while back and I was rather impressed so I was looking forward to the release of this album. This album does utilize the electronic, but it’s mostly about the acoustic, with emphasis on the instrumental layering. Robert is credited in the sleeve notes with playing 7 different instruments, 12 other musicians are also credited for increasing the array of instruments used, that’s how I like my music - lots of instruments. The album opens with a song called Closer Still of which the beginning is a few quick, loud riffs on the electric guitar; this is soon replaced by quieter instruments, most notably the horn and the Space Invader synths. It’s as if the instruments are luring the listener into the album in the nature a spider might trap a fly in its spiralling web or matter might be dragged spinning into a black hole, it gets a bit dizzy. All We Got reminds me of Elliot Smith, but perhaps Robert Gomez hides himself amongst the strings and that flamin’ vibraphone a bit more than Elliot would have on this song, but vocally, Robert Gomez does resemble him quite closely at numerous points in the album. The Same Sad Song sounds irritatingly familiar to something else, it’s great, but is it the same sad song that Grandaddy, Sufjan Stevens or Gomez's Denton chums, Midlake, have already released? Lyrically, it’s all about loves past, present and future, Robert Gomez keeps the words simple and the verses aren’t long-winded. The lyric from You Need Somebody, “We’re selfish creatures, hell-bent on happiness. This can’t end pretty. We do it nonetheless.” is highlighted, it’s an appropriate example of what to expect but the lyrics aren’t this album’s main feature. I really like this album; it has exquisite instrumental arrangements and layering that convey atmosphere, mood and sentiment.

I borrowed a copy of The Good, The Bad and The Queen. The first three tracks just seemed to pass me by, I’ve listening to them again but repetition doesn’t help them lose that over-repetitive insipidness. The single, Kingdom of Doom is nearly alright, if only for The Kinks-like nature of the chorus. The other single, Herculean, is made to appear rather eponymous by the rest of the filler on this bland, bland album. Damon Albarn and his cohorts have tried to attain a haunting ambience throughout this album, but somehow, the sparse nature of the vocals, which aim to be chilling, only serve to expose the unimaginative and ineffective backing music. I did like the whistling at the end of Nature Springs but that was the only time the song attempted to take on any character. A Soldier’s Tale seemed to me to trivialise the rigours of being a soldier. However, the worst thing about this album, for me, was the song called Green Fields; this was a song written by Damon Albarn and sung by Marianne Faithfull on her album, Before the Poison, where it is called Last Song. It’s a particular favourite of mine and although the song so obviously belongs to Damon Albarn, Marianne Faithfull seemed to give it so much more feeling and the sense of time that a tale about a parent possibly being reunited with a dissident son after many years (time for green fields to turn to stone) demands. I had to listen to Last Song several times to recover from The Good, The Bad and The Queen.

I also loaned Hats Off to The Buskers by The View. I have to say that The View have been marketed brilliantly, the three best songs from this album have all been released as singles to create a sense of anticipation and clamour for this album. I’ve enjoyed Wasted Little DJs, Supeehhhhrrrrsteehhhrrrr Treehhhddsmeeehhhhnnnnn and Same Jeans much more than I’d have liked to. Those are the only assets this album has; the rest is needlessly brash, horribly unrefined (not in a charming way) and neither here nor there. The whimsical key and tempo changes are just irritating. Face for the Radio is a quiet acoustic number that fails to be touching or earn the sympathy it asks for, it's also amateurishly segued before Wasted Little DJs. They might squeeze another single out of this album in the shape of Dance Into the Night but they might be pushing it. I liked The Libertines and for me, The View fall well short of matching their forerunners with this effort.

The new format was a bit painful, it involved criticism and by the time it was swallowed, The Bellyaches massive have forgotten all about how good Robert Gomez might be. Maybe it is the year of the 7” single.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Obsessed Miscreants Willing to Garner Realities,

I have bought another two pieces of vinyl, which means I now have a collection of five. I don’t know what the role of the vinyl 7” is. To me, it’s just a gimmick and something to collect, I certainly don’t intend on playing the records, the record player is at the back of a cupboard and I don’t have any space to keep it out – in any case, I want to keep my vinyl in mint condition. I don’t know why.

I suppose I have to buy something in its vinyl format if that’s the only format it’s available in.

My first piece of vinyl was Local Man Ruins Everything by William Campbell & Kevin MacNeil. It was only available on limited edition, etched vinyl. It’s a poignant, poignant record. Steve Lamacq made it his 6music Record of the Week, it’s the only time that he’s ever been in the right. I had to have one of the 500. I transferred the song from vinyl to mp3. Fortunately, for the rest of The Bellyaches massive, it’s currently available on MyArse, and it seems that version has been ripped from vinyl too.

The second 7” which I purchased was Funny Little Frog by Belle & Sebastian. It cost 99p and I bought it to commemorate my attendance at my first proper gig. It was a pointless gesture; I was going to buy the album on CD anyway. I think I wanted them to get a good chart position too.

I then bought the double A side, Nazi Girls/Painting New York on Our Shoes by Poppy & The Jezebels. I had to, it was only available in limited edition red vinyl and the song was stuck in my head. The fact that the record came with a minidisc CD incorporating the two songs perhaps underlines the superfluous role of vinyl in the industry.

Finally, I’ve taken to buying all the My Latest Novel singles, it just so happens that some of them are all available in the vinyl format. I love My Latest Novel and I really want to hear the B-sides and the bits and bobs that weren’t included in the amazing Wolves album. I’ve sourced Sister Sneaker Sister Soul on limited edition brown vinyl and The Reputation of Ross Francis on limited edition grey and red vinyl.

From this short summary, it is possible to glean that only completists need vinyl. If institutions such as 6music’s MINT and Artrocker magazine are trying to promote the role of the 7” single, why aren’t electric retailers trying to promote sales of record players?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Unenlightened Opinionists Testing Oddballs,

In my indefinite boredom, which occurs whilst I wait for those little atoms to do their thing, I was inspired to think about songs which use words which aren’t used in songs often. The best I could come up with was The Elements, which, as I found out, is by Tom Lehrer – that song that was on videos shown to us in chemistry class. I looked it up on YouTube, for old time’s sake. It’s a corker.

I also looked it up on EvilBay, I would not have been surprised if Tom’s records were worth loads but I was probably being over sentimental. However, they’re just worth normal amounts.

Those two paragraphs alone do not constitute an article worthy of The Bellyaches. I’ve not paid much attention to what CDs are lying around in the car of late and as a result, they’re either unsuitable for the journeys that I’m making or they’ve just been a bit overplayed, hence I had Radio McScotty on. I remember criticising Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour recently, that show is bettered if only slightly by Get it on, which is hosted by Bryan Burnett. Lisheners are invited to suggest songs for that evening’s theme, it’s an old person’s programme and they suggest cheesy classics. Tonight’s theme was “Elements of the Periodic Table”. There was Radio Ga Ga by Queen featuring Freddie MERCURY, GOLD by Spandau Ballet, Band of GOLD by Freda Payne, Fool’s GOLD by Stone Roses and some other stuff. The listeners weren’t terribly inventive and Bryan, himself, had forgotten to bring Silver Machine by Hawkwind. Al Istener, the legendary Radio McScotty contributor from Lumphinnans, got a shoutout. However, they played The Elements and it made me laugh. Something had to; the ignorance of science displayed by the lisheners was infuriating – steel, catalyst and metal are not elements.

I hate ignorance of science, it's my pet hate. I overheard someone who was extolling the virtues of Global Warming and suggesting that it would benefit Scotland, I put my headphones in and shut him out.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Magnificent Sojourners From the Preferable Orbit,

I realised that The Bellyaches has received its first link. That’s international recognition – something shared with Medicins sans Frontieres, the Nepalese Maoists, avian flu, the Hubble telescope and The Edge from U2. All I had to do to earn such billing was commend a terrific rundown of new bands and artists, although, I had heard of a sizeable proportion of them, I did have to make a comment because anyone highlighting the talents The Bellyaches’ favourites, The Royal We, deserves some praise (I hope they release something soon). I may also have to reconsider my position as the number 1 Voxtrot fan on this island if other people are going to write about them, but I’m surely still the number 1 Keith John Adams fan. I suppose being linked to means that I might have to write something better.

I feel like such a numpty because I was sleeping whilst The Arcade Fire tickets were selling out. As The Bellyaches massive will know, I love KEXP and they’ve been playing songs from their new album, The Neon Bible, the songs are of much the same style and quality as those of Funeral – that’s what I want. KEXP were playing the songs before they were allowed to, they covered this up writing “Sweet song” from “A Pretty Sweet Album” by “Videogame Flame” in their online tracklistings. I love KEXP. Other things getting airplay on KEXP at the moment that I really love are songs from The Twilight Sad and Tokyo Police Club.

Finally, I’ve been able to order some CDs, indeed, proper CDs are back on sale as of next week. I look forward to receiving the albums of The Shins (Chutes Too Narrow was my joint-favourite of 2004, alongside From a Basement on a Hill by Elliot Smith), Benjy Ferree (In the Countryside has the most adorable intro and Domino send badges) and another Bellyaches favourite, Robert Gomez. I have also ordered the single/EP, Such Great Heights by Iron and Wine, because it has some version of Trapeze Swinger on the B-side, Mother wants that song, its from some rubbish Hallmark TV show, my Iron and Wine expert informs me that it’s not his best work but I have to show that I have a sense of duty to the family now and again. Incidentally, I can’t understand why anyone would touch Such Great Heights, it was perfect beforehand. These will all be reviewed in good time.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Modellers of Smashing Prescription Ears,

I never like being put off by things like snow, it seems that when Scotland receives one day of snow, the public panic and hysteria ensues. I set off when for work when it was quite rainy, when I reached higher ground, it was treacherous. I had to trundle along in third gear, then second gear. It reminded me of KEXP Seattle, John in the Morning seems to be telling us about snowy weather all the time.

I ended up in a dilemma where I wondered if it was safer to continue onwards or return home. I stuck with my belief that we should learn to soldier on. I decided I would try to make it to Cupar or Ceres and have a break there. Despite being halfway marks on my journey, they were distant targets.

It was slippy; I had minor skids and slides. However, the car in front went skidding off the road into a ditch; it ended up nose down with its hind wheels in the air. It was quite surreal to watch as we were all trundling. The driver was okay; he got out and tried to push his car back onto to the road! The car behind also ended up skidding - spinning around 450 degrees. I survived. I made it to work; the roads were clear past Cupar.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pretentious Haberdashers Peddling Gloss,

I have returned from my international business trip. I was required to be present at a meeting at Oxford Yooni; the meeting was to discuss the progress of the different groups that also are part of the project which funds my livelihood. It’s collaboration between 4 different yoonis.

We flow down to Heathrow and travelled onwards by bus. It was my first flight ever. I thought it was a bit dull and the feeling of having my head mashed created by the pressure changes is not particularly nice. Aeroplanes are at an altitude too great to see anything really interesting. I set off at 0845hrs on Tuesday, I thought my supposed catchphrase, “We’ve gone too high.”, was apt because the aeroplane has to keep climbing on past the height where I could see perfectly. All there is up high is the possibility of seeing a foo fighter. The flight back was at dusk, it was reasonably interesting to see the lights of the settlements and roads, but it was impossible to know where they were. I love maps thus I felt quite disappointed; it was like having a big map laid out in front of me, only, it was a map absent of information. Night time Embra from the sky is quite lovely, the darkened Arthur’s Seat creates a unique signature.

The meeting was alright. I can’t contribute much knowledge or results yet. The project has many aims but I feel that I have my own agenda, which I will press on with. If the results I generate turn out to be useful, so be it. That appears selfish. I just feel the meeting concentrated so much on an aspect which has the least applications in the real world.

I don’t want to be swallowed by the academic world; many of them have lost a sense of reality. I’m a man of the people. London. I don’t trust it. I found another reason why over these last two days.

The hotel was in an area of super houses, in fact, there are no ordinary houses in Oxford. I got the duffer room. The shower didn’t work. I couldn't get it to spray water to wash with but it did supply me with a constant drip of water. I didn’t think the hotel lived up to the billing, my room could have been cleaner. It was Linton Lodge Hotel. I would have liked a radio. I missed radio most. I had to watch TV. I missed Scotland Today news.

I think I found compensation for all my gripes on the bus back to Heathrow, it was in the sky. They were red kites. There were loads of them. I was amazed. They’re still very rare but apparently, they are resident in the area. They are beautiful birds. We can’t even have magpies in the Kingdom of Fife; it’ll probably be a long time before I see a red kite here.

People will ask me how Oxford was, I’ll tell them that I saw some red kites. They won’t find that right.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mergers in the Futuristic Sandwich,

The last episode of The Bellyaches ruffled the feathers of one Unquestioned Commander of the Sinking Vessel. I must apologise to the rest of The Bellyaches massive because the episode in question was designed as a honeypot and as such, the standard of journalism might have been lower.

It’s the eve of my ill-fated trip abroad. I don’t believe I’ll die.

At long last, Methil will become a target for international terrorism. Plans are being unveiled to unveil a “Hydrogen Office” at the Fife Energy Park. It sounds great. It’s an office built of hydrogen, it will float along the roof of the town until the teacher pokes it with a lit match tethered to a pointed stick and then it will go bang. I used to hate being in chemistry class when the teacher ignited hydrogen balloons – I didn’t like the horrible sense of anticipation before a bang that I knew would freak me out, it didn’t matter that I knew it was going to happen.

Hydrogen will be generated from electrolysis of seawater; I hope the electricity needed for such a process is from renewable sources. The hydrogen will be stored in some big tank until it is required to be burned at times of high demand for electricity. Fife Energy Park rocks! They’re even going to construct a cool, non-descript building.

Some Maoists have entered the Nepalese Parliament for the first time in many years. Just like them, The Bellyaches Massive will have their day.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Unquestioned Commanders of the Sinking Vessel,

Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour isn’t worth the hype. I discussed radio a little yesterday. The once great BBC 6music bosses have decided to curtail Marc Riley’s Brain Surgery to two hours to fit in Bob’s show. Chopping a bit from Marc Riley’s show might not be a bad idea, but to replace it with the Theme Time Radio Hour is a bad decision. Firstly, I’m not stupid, I realised that it lasted 60 minutes and I was also aware that I received it using my radio. Secondly, I’m not stupid but not even I could understand what he was saying. He played some records (but it was difficult to make out what they were called), they weren’t spectacularly good, they were all linked together by his gimmick – the theme. Is radio in Britain really that bad that the BBC have to put on a show by Bob Dylan, who in terms of being a DJ and having the ability to pick some records is on par with anybody? I don’t particularly bear any grudge towards Bob Dylan, I didn’t used to like his records, but of late, I’ve really enjoyed his songs on the radio (I suppose it's part of my continual rebellion against silly guitar bands and lame electronic noodlers).

I listen to KEXP quite a lot, their DJs seem far more knowledgeable than our lot and they seem far more selfless. As for new music, the KEXP DJs seem to have a better handle on the best upcoming acts from Britain than the BBC DJs. It could be argued that DJs from these isles are restricted by playlist clerk but if they really cared, they’d stand up to the beaks. Where have all the renegade DJs gone? Also, there are no silly features on KEXP, all they ask for is requests. Quality items are few and far between on the BBC, some of their music shows might be better without making up silly features. I suppose the public only ever get what they deserve, I’ve never been one of them but I have to put up with the punishment they’ve brought upon themselves (This last sentence was inspired by the song You are the Generation who Bought More Shoes and you get What you Deserve by Johnny Boy, I’m listening to it now).

I couldn’t see the comet this evening either. It has rained for hours. East Fife played and were humiliated by East Stirling in said rain. It should be snowing and not raining. Climate change is rubbish, the only upside might be the loss of some parts of England, including London (where all the rubbish decisions are made), to the sea. Rising sea levels will only undo the work of the isostatic effects of the Ice Age here. Parliament will sit in my house, at what used to be the top of the brae down to the sea but is now the new beach, and we’ll decide which of the ships full of displaced Englanders to turn our missiles on and we’ll laugh at how they used to complain about inefficient reservoirs.

There was this man who wandering around at the match, he didn’t seem to watch the football or sit down. He kept staring at people. He might have been Woodcock of Elie.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Giddy Smatterers Gazing West,

Newsround used to give fair warning of astronomical phenomena. I’m the type of fellow who used to try to see the meteor shower, comet, eclipse or whatever they flagged up. I never have much luck and I’ve still to achieve my ambition of seeing the Northern Lights (this might be considered an atmospheric phenomenon).

On very clear nights, it’s quite possible to see the odd shooting star, meteors the size of double-decker buses burn up in the atmosphere all the time. It was nice to see the Hale-Bopp comet outside my window every night when it visited for weeks, but that was so spectacular that everyone probably saw it. Then there’s all that junk that humans have put up into space, artificial satellites are seen easily enough.

I’m quite excited about the Comet McNaught, I heard about it on Radio Scotland this morning and I decided to look for it on the way home from work. I did try to take a route home that incorporated some decent vantage points but I still couldn’t see it. I resigned myself to trying to see it better at the weekend but just as I drove up my cul-de-sac, I saw it. It’s just a bright light like a normal star with a hazy tail, it’s only a lump of ice but I think it’s great.

Someone nearly ruined it for me by asking, “What’s a comet? Is it a falling star?”

Comet McNaught, or C/2006 P1 as it's catalogued, can be seen quite low in the sky by looking towards the Sun either as it rises or as it sets (when it's more visible). It’s around for the next few days; its brightness is expected to be most intense on Sunday as it comes closest to the Sun.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Rural Wastrels Deliberating Gears,

The DVLA should adopt the classic honeypot system to improve the roads. The honeypot would be a Nissan garage and anyone seen interested in Nissan Micras would be stripped of their license.

I went home for lunch – just to escape the frustration of not being at fault for any of the failures that I’m supervising. This meant two trips back and forth to St Andrews, I know I made this choice. It seems that come midday the roads leading to St Andrews become clogged with Nissan Micras full of senior citizens, they must be making some sort of pilgrimage to buy jam or tartan scarves there. I suppose they’re best doing it now before the all the stewdents arrive for the second semester. It’s not just the old people that have the Micras trundling into town, there are other genres of people. It’s probably just the midday mentality, people not in work can afford to waste their time and mine.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pathetic Amateur Linguists,

It’s been Scottish Cup day. Football managers try their best to sound polite and speak proper English in interviews. It’s always interesting to see the Scottish managers in interviews; they usually manage to speak in proper English - except Falkirk’s John Hughes – instead of the usual Scottish language they use all the time. That’s not a criticism of John Hughes. I don’t see why people should speak any differently in their TV interviews, as long as they’re not swearing repeatedly.

They’ll usually give good interviews full of all the football clichés using words for the English dictionary but the one word of the usual Scottish tongue that they never rectify is “wir” which sometimes sounds like “wur” and means “our”. It annoys me. I hate the word “wir”.

When I speak, usually economically, I use words that are in the dictionary but obviously I understand what other Scottish people are saying. Some Scottish words are good, “yon” is better than “that”. Most of the insulting names to call people aren’t in the English dictionary anyway so it doesn’t really matter where they come from but the Scottish word “nyaff”, meaning a small, irritating person, is quite good. I liked calling people “flumps” but that doesn’t have the meaning I give it in the dictionary.

All I’m calling for is an end to the use of “wir” whilst trying to speak the English that’s in the English dictionary. Gruff Rhys is in the picture, I could easily make a tenuous link between his recent sessions on BBC Radio Double One and BBC 6music to this post.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wearers of Dainty Brogues,

I received a phone call yesterday that was quite odd. I hate answering the phone. It’s usually somebody wanting something for nothing. I only answer the phone to stop it ringing.

I had just returned from depositing some rubbish at the recycling point.

“Hello. Is that 309?”
Not even enough numbers to be Victor Meldrew’s house (4291). Was the man talking about some sort of new Peugeot?
“I received a call from this number at 1120hours.”
“I haven’t made any phone calls, maybe one of the others did. They’re out. I don’t know anything about it. Who is this?”
”This is Woodcock.”
Sounding rather distinguished.
“Woodcock of Elie.”
Woodcock of Elie? Definitely sporting a white moustache that’s curled at the tips and a tweed suit, I thought.
“Who are you, for future information?”
Future information? Am I being watched by experts?

Nonetheless, I gave my name, and after mishearing and misunderstanding it several times, and then requesting a spelling, we agreed upon my name.

“Perhaps I have made a mistake. Sorry to bother you.”

I can only report what happens.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Abstainers on the Neutral Day,

Davis Twinnie was taking a colleague who is interested in photography to Rosslyn Chapel. He asked if I would like to go, I thought about it. There's meant to be excellent sculptures and carvings. I suppose it would have been something to do and I could have brought back some pretty photographs to post. However, the communist instincts kicked in.

I can't tolerate religion, it doesn't expound tolerance itself. Scientists can carry out research and publish results then have their work questioned, discredited and disproved. Religion seems immune from any kind of scrupulous examination.

Davis said it was alright, he's not a religious fellow either; apparently, visitors get to climb some scaffolding and see a good view from up high - the £7 entry has to go somewhere. It would have been nice to write something in the guestbook: "Where do they keep the horses now?"

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Yearists of an Untoward Disposition,

It won’t surprise the regular readers if I told them that I didn’t like New Year’s Eve. It’s another one of those events where people are expected to conform to some protocol. And there’s alcohol.

People end up reviewing what happened in the year just ending or ended. It never makes me feel better.

I tried to think about 2006. I saw Belle & Sebastian twice. I locked myself away for weeks to create a monster report. I locked myself away for weeks to study for exams. I grudguated. There was a summer. I began researching socialism in a dilletantish manner. I started studying in St Andrews. My dog died. The Canadian. A Christmas that wasn’t a patch on the Christmas when I discovered Jean Michel Jarre on Christmas Eve.

I’d like to welcome Romania and Bulgaria to the EU and wish them better success than I.

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