Sunday, January 29, 2006

Know Your Enema

I was looking for a book as a present for someone today. One possibility was one called ‘The Intimate Enemy: Winning the War with Yourself’. OK, let’s not dwell on why and for whom and all that. The point is that I searched in Amazon (support your local bookshop and all that). They didn’t have the book but gave the closest matches.

First up was ‘Intimate Invasions – The Erotic Ins and Outs of Enema Play’. Do you reckon this would do?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Shower Gel and American Teeth

JP says – Don’t buy shower gel! – it’s just soap with water added. Water is cheap (here in the UK that is for US listeners and that man from the Seychelles). Buy soap and add your own water.

It would appear that Americans have white teeth and the Brits don’t. The Americans think the Brits don’t clean their teeth. Fact is that American toothpaste just has more bleach in. This destroys teeth. Luckily, many Americans can afford to buy new teeth. My teeth have never been fantastic - except as a miracle of 'intelligent design' obviously. Might do a new Blog(or a book?) entitled 'Musings On Teeth'. It's my idea but you can have it if you like. Bye.

Muppets and Chemist Girl - In an Office!

I’d like to pretend that I make loads of money from music. Well, obviously I do, but like a lottery winner who can’t give up work I keep my feet on the ground by working in almost a ‘proper’ job once in a while….OK, that was the background.

So, I was on my way to an otherwise uneventful day at work today (see, you know all about it now, thanks to rigorous explanating) and I had to walk over a broken Muppet mug in the middle of the footpath. So who strolls along a city centre street drinking coffee from a Muppet mug and not one of those sinister cardboard baby cup things Starbucks et al sell? No sign of any spillage mind, just the mug - most of it anyway, sufficient to retrieve, glue and prove a point - the point being that this was (or until quite recently had been) a Muppet mug. But I bet you can’t buy a Muppet mug just anywhere these days can you? And why not kick it into the gutter or something after you’ve dropped it. It was an apport I reckon. You know, falls of fish, vaginal cheescloth, Victorian Houdini trumpets, lifting the veil (hence the V word possibly). All that stuff.

On arriving at work there’s a pink heart shaped post-it note on the entryphone. It says to ring Sara (she’s so much posher than Sarah you know – or should that be ‘more posh?) and adds a list of items to buy from a chemist, ‘drug store’ or other purveyor of face cleaner, razors etc. I though of an acronym or whatever the word is for 'the thing to help remember a list' – SWALK or something. I forgot it. It was a good one, rest assured.

Obviously I called Sara and there was the expected casual relationship and bottom photocopying in the office (careful, that glass isn’t made for that you know). Clearly the post-it was meant for me. Unfortunately, being based on the purchase of miscellaneous personal care items our relationship was doomed to fail when I forgot to resupply the shower gel and didn’t stock rotate the boxes of tooth whitening paste. Que Sara Sara.

This is the first Blog where not every tiny bit is necessarily completely true by the way.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Dr Marten I presume? - Not forgetting Time Travel

Today I did something I rarely do – went into a shop. Not only that, I did something far rarer – I went to buys shoes! Obviously I have a cupboard full of pink kitten heels, sling backs, sturdy matronly brogues and so on but today I went for DMs. As it happens, shoe fetishists everywhere, in real life I have my newish DMs that I wear everyday, my split DMs that I don’t really wear any more but haven’t thrown out yet and the old DMs in the garage (do I have a garage? – ooh yes!) I also own a pair of slippers (where I keep my pipe) and some ‘classic’ Adidas trainers covered in paint (where I keep my paint, obviously - do try to keep up Portia, the squirrels went hours ago). Someone somewhere would pay a fortune for them (classic trainers, not inconvenient squirrels), but then there were no takers on my Wedding Present memorabilia…so perhaps not.

I paid extra for the time travel. I’m miffed that DMs are not made in Northampton anymore but they still sell them in Bradford. Years ago Bradford was were you went to buy DMs – from working men’s boot shops rather than shoe shops before they realised they were fashionable and doubled the price.

Anyway, Mister Boot is a shop on the Leeds Road Bradford. There’s hardly room to get in, there’s a single wooden chair (which takes up most of the standing room) and a calor gas fire (sorry, I guess that’s Calor Gas “TM” or something with a royalty cheque in the post – One Queen Mum, dead but visited East End in Blitz, 10 guineas, no pence). A man in a blue sweatshirt and thick glasses works there. There’s a back room full of clocks. Obviously some kind of portal to the 70’s, stuff hanging from the ceilings, ladders, stuff to stand on, you know.

The idea here is that these DMs were going to be so damned cheap that I’d be laughing all the way to the betting shop to put 50 pee on the day the soles should split on two pairs. Thereby no need to shop for 2 years (did Matalan a few months ago for £3 trousers, underpants, socks – going up! Ba, ba ba ba ba etc.)

Unfortunately they were £55 which is a biggie for a budget shopper – and more expensive that t’internet. So, what do I do? Say “that’s far too much old fashioned man in old fashioned shop that smells of old fashioned hardware shop (with some stress on leather goods and shoes in particular, if not shoes and boots exclusively)”, “I will not pay that much”, “why they’re not even made in Northampton and you are not, repeat not in a fashionable town, nor even the more fashionable part of a non-fashionable town, I’m leaving, good day rapscallion won’t-be-here-for-long retailer man”?

So anyway, I bought these DMs. Bit steep.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Folk Rocks!

Folk Roots (known as Froots these days) magazine told me in a rather snooty way they wouldn’t review the JP album as it was ‘rock’ and I sneered ‘hey nonny nonny yer b*stads’ into my bodrom.

However, Genevieve Tudor played Hippy Dad from the album on her ‘Folk on Sunday’ prog (Jimmy Young!) on BBC Shropshire – goes out in Stoke, Hereford and Worcester too. This is the first ever play I’ve had on a folk show.

If you want to check it out here’s the link: BBC - Shropshire - Music, Gigs and Clubs - Folk Playlist

However, I can’t help noticing the other songs on the show included these titles:

The Arran Boat
The Busker’s Song
The Blacksmith
Hurdy Gurdy Man
Flop Eared Mule
La Belle Jig
Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy

Have I infiltrated? Is this like the Pistols on Radio One? I’ve always said I must write songs about canal tunnel disasters – or maybe I should just drop my prejudices? Wasn’t sure if I would incur the wrath of folk types – seems not.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Just like my Auntie Mavis - and Jewellery as Guitar

Reviews for the album have been 'pouring in' or 'dripping in through a small hole in the toilet tent' or whatever in the form of Google Alerts and e-mails with web links from the writers. I thought about not replying in a 'me, an artiste, reply?' kind of way but I'm just too well brung up. So, I'm writing them thank you letters (via e-mail of course). I really want to say things like 'hope you're both well, must arrange a visit soon' and 'well, must close now...' but I guess they wouldn't all get the joke. If only I could write my own name like a five year old. I also want to tell them how well they write and how damn perceptive they all are (apart from a reference to a smelly dog from Manchester and a John Shuttleworth mention) since they've all pretty much been the equivalent of at least 8 out of 10 and often even better - and how I'd love to put them in a matchbox with cotton wool and , well, and so on. Frustratingly these reviews don't matter to the distributors who can only sell CDs if the review is in a printed monthly mag. Understandable I guess but frustrating nonetheless.

And on the jewellery front, I took a leap in understanding today by (as usual) trying to link the completely incomprehensible to my own experience. I do find this an effort. Along with personalised number plates (and oooh, hundreds of other things that people do) I have no grasp of jewellery. You know, why you would want it, what it's for, why it exists at all - bit clearer on 'grave goods' but not much cleverer even on that one really. Well, today I understood that people who buy it are getting something of the slightly self delusional (but still real) feeling that comes with buying a guitar. Except that a guitar is useful - oh damn, spoiled it all.

I saw someone being given a free polishing cloth and 'a case' for whatever it was they were buying. These things are 'in common' and make the item worth the stupid expense in a weird irrational way. I was waiting for the shops to open (more on the word shop soon, so keep a look out) outside a jewellers (which was near another shop, anyway it's not really worth explaining). I admit to not getting out much and not doing 'shopping' so this is all a big deal to me, you know. I'll still ban it when I'm King of the World though.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Buses, Hotdogs and Dickie Davis

I really must get something together about buses, been promising for ages. My favourite bus driver has a beard and looks and acts like you would imagine a vicar would – were he a bus driver obviously. Point is he seems really pleased to help and seems to enjoy bus driving. Bet he even looks in his mirror and waits for people running for his bus too.

Does anyone have a graph showing the retail price index on one axis and Leeds bus fares on the other? What do you reckon? - Inflation over last 4 years 8%, bus fare increase 300%? Perhaps if I advocate violence someone will read this stuff? So, kill Firstbus and their families! You know it makes sense. It does mean that in five years we’ll all be able to go by taxi though. I complained recently and the man simply advised me to keep complaining. Once also wrestled a fare dodger to the ground on Eastgate. He pushed me out of the way to get out of the emergency door and I reacted, you know, just reacted man! Bus man said I’d get a letter from the company. Never did, they must have had me down as a complaining wrong 'un.

Was it wrestlers who made tinned hot dogs? Or Westlers perhaps? Would you want to eat them? No one would want to eat Giant Haystacks I guess, no matter how skilfully he was introduced by Dickie Davis. Could check that spelling but I won’t, someone would have to e-mail.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


It’s a little early to change my name to Elvis Prescience but this is the man who wrote ‘I could say free the paedophiles, and give them free school meals’ – and now it’s all over the news. Didn’t think evil paedophiles were meant to marry their victims and have three children with them but there you go, that’s not being prejudiced enough for you.

Then there’s Gail Porter. The song was written some time ago. Then suddenly she wasn’t Gail Porter anymore – My song! My song! Then she was. Then she re-appeared again like a pre-advert for the album having attempted suicide – and then again with no hair!

Stop going to extremes to advertise my album you idiot! (nearly said bitch but not only is that a bit strong and unnatural for me but someone was explaining how much stronger and more offensive the bitch word is in the USA – as if anyone from there will be visiting here – far too far to travel…) Anyway, have to say I have nothing against her personally and I hope she finds hair and happiness.

Hey Kids, Puppets! - Reviews anyway

OK, the first reviews of the 'Faithlessnessless' album are in: Have a butchers...(sorry, it's the anonymity of t'internet that makes me speak like this)...

‘intense as hell. The sort of thing that would have you spellbound at a quiet gig and demanding all your friends listen to him after….these lyrics shout out and pin the soul to the wall. Very very personal, they are backed by gentle picking and some good tunes…’

‘An acoustic delight….Step forward, the Bard of Barking´s true heir’.

‘the presence of a perfect song writer, everything just comes together so well and makes for an effortless listen…it starts off great, remains great and ends great’.

‘…a mature and convincing performance, as he mounts his acoustic high horse and uses soaring vocals to lash out at the world’s wrongs and provide compelling insight…striding up alongside the earnest old guard of Bragg, Dylan and Leonard Cohen to make a convincing front line in music’s battle against ignorance’.

‘Once you get into it you'll struggle to switch it back off…. Parkes' voice is infectious, and dominates the songs. There's not much else going on other than him, his voice and his guitar. And it sounds perfect for it’.

A fistful of strong, acerbic, fearless tracks that tear at the saggy folds of the soul…. Almost Billy Braggish in the clarity and forcefulness of the lyrics…Could be a bubbler that explodes later on in 2006.

‘The Faithlessnessless LP is twelve witty, humourous and clever little folk pop songs covering everything from teenagers on northern council estates to protesting against nuclear weapons’.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CD Packaging

Is it just me or does the world stay silent about how rubbish CD packaging is. Anyone got a CD cover that isn't chipped or splintered or well, just plain broken. Neil F the producer man claims never to have broken a CD case - not even on a double CD? Aw come on! They're shiiite! And I can't read the lyrics and the little books won't come out. Bring back British Rail I say.

Fantastic album covers

The Whole Sky Monitor boys are usually wrong - or just ignorant twonks of course. They've been telling me about all sorts of fantastically bad (or great) album covers. Leaving aside that one of the world's greatest conspiracies is the apparent acceptance of CD packaging....more in a minute on that...the best album cover of all time is the first Juicy Lucy album. Now I'm no sexist (no, really, I 'm not) but everyone knows that humour beats political correctness in any competition, and if I remember correctly they (that's Juicy Lucy) have a trussed up upside down woman on a hook in an abattoir as the album cover artwork. Have searched the net for a picture but no luck yet. A free copy of the JP album and a jar or pickle to anyone who can let me have a copy of the sleeve. This is clearly the funniest and best album sleeve of all time - at least for us post modern irony Spinal Tap fan types - oh yes it is!

The Daft Apeth and the Polish Dentist - a very short tale

I booked a session (or 'appointment') today with a person who appears to be called Miss Varmushka the Polish dentist. Perhaps she'll 'polish' my teeth - ha ha. I told the person on the phone I'd 'look forward to it'. How daft can a person by on the telephone to a stranger. Had to book 3 months in advance. Got holes in my teeth which are letting in water - or air? or gas and air? more likely bits of food. Had the emergency number by mistake which is a machine.

Once saw a family feeding Twixes (Twix's? - two times two Twix?) to their kids on the way in to the dentist. Mr Allen gave it up to play golf you know.

Anyone got the proper spelling of 'apeth'? - some sort of ape I assumed (not unreasonably in my view) when I was a kid.

Bit of a cock-up in the distribution front

There's been a bit of a cock-up on the distribution front which means that the JP album may not be in shops on the release date (which is 30th January 2006). Anyone who's ever been involved in this sort of thing will know that distribution for the 'smaller artiste' is a bit patchy anyway - so, just send me a cheque or shout at someone in February. Sorry - as if you care, really!

Have also decided to use this blogging thing to mention all kinds of stuff and treat it as an update to the website without having to cry to Mike the website man. I've already forgotten 'more than you'll ever know about her' (or something). I was going to say some really terrific stuff about buses or something. I will treat this as my memory from now on. By the way, do you remember that we were all going to be able to avoid death by downloading ourselves onto the web or something? Bit like virtual reality. Here I am using fab web tech thing but can only sourly note that we were all going to be having sex with Elvis by the turn of the century - anyone know what happened to virtual reality?

Oh Well

This is the latest JP e-mail mail out mail out out out mail...

There's been an explosion of activity in the world of Parkes (or Alan Parkestridge as those crazy WSM boys keep calling me). Maybe I could set up a chain of theme Parkes (etc.)

First up, the 'Faithlessnessless' (don't miss off the extra 'less' at the end) album is out on Monday 30th January. In theory it'll be 'in all good record shops' but this being a fallen world it won't. However it will be in some and any shop should be able to order it if you say 'its distributed by Cargo and the catalogue number is AAZCD11' in a loud, impatient and slightly patronising tone (see Mr Uppity for more details).
The album will be 'launched' (down the slipway while gents throw toppers in the air shouting 'huzzar' and clouds of rust rise from enormous chains etc.) at the New Roscoe in Leeds on Monday 30th and will be available at the gig at a 'special price' I haven't thought of yet. The Roscoe will be opening from midnight on 29th to cope with the queues and soup and camp beds will be available inside. The second part of this is a lie. The bit about the slipway is also a lie of course....but then removing IKBs cigar from the schoolbooks was a lie too. is now 'on line', 'up and running', 'mad for it' and 'very pleased indeed to see you, kindly leave your galoshes on the elephant's foot umbrella stand and Jenkins will provide you with a beverage in the study'. Please visit the site and have a look around. If you do it moves up the rankings. Otherwise I have to kill a maths professor in Glasgow followed by the medic from the New Zealand army and many many more John Parkeses before I make it to the top of the Google rankings ('Made it Ma, top of the Google list - though unfortunately I'm about to be engulfed in flames') Please put a link on your site to my site if you have one. A very clever man called Mike Savage did the site for a small bag of peanuts and the last of the gherkins.
I'm on tour! Obviously the Parkes Barmy Army will be following 'the tour' across the country but I may be going on the train so can't give you a lift. Here are the tour dates:
Monday 30th Jan 2006 - New Roscoe, Roseville Road, Leeds, LS7 1DH
Thursday 2nd Feb 2006 - The Primrose, Meanwood Road, Leeds, LS7 2HZ
Wednesday 8th Feb 2006 - The Vaults, 11 Irongate, Derby, DE1 3FJ
Thursday 9th Feb 2006 - Raffles Art Café, Angel Row, Old Market Square, Nottingham, NG1 6HL
Wednesday 15th Feb 2006 - The Green Room, Devonshire Green, Sheffield, S3 7SG
Thursday 16th Feb 2006 - The Wellington Inn, 55 Russell Street, Hull, HU2 9AB
Tuesday 7th March 2006 – The Three Horseshoes, Wickersley, Rotherham
There's already been some reviews of the album (thanks to Ian Cheek). Sure one was a 3 out of 10 but the rest were great - mentioned in the same breath as Billy Bragg, Leonard Cohen and some guy called Dylan no less. So there. A couple come up on a Google search but some are in magazines you've not hear of.
OK, I can't think of any more for now. Please come to one of the gigs or they won't have me back

Must rush, thank you for listening / reading anyone who got this far. If you're impatient with all this stuff just e-mail to say you're not interested and I'll take you off the list - or nominate someone else I could send to. David Bowie has an 'on-line communidy' so I don't see why I shouldn't send the odd e-mail...



Sunday, January 01, 2006

John Parkes and 'friend' Posted by Picasa

More 'information' coming soon

Here we are on New Year's Day 2006 and among a million other things to do, John has to work out how to 'blog' or be a 'blogger'. The day to day life of John Parkes 'singer / songwriter' will be detailed here - at least some of it