1971 – Don’t You Just Wish you Were There

Monday 2nd March

At a carboot sale recently I bought for £2 a whole pile of mid-nineties ‘Record Collector’ magazines.  One features 7” singles that were released in October 1971.  This was just one month remember…

Rod Stewart – Maggie Mae.   John Lennon – Imagine.  Argent – Hold Your Head Up.  Barclay James Harvest – Mockingbird.  Colin Blunstone – Caroline Goodbye.  The Byrds – Glory Glory.  Ray Charles – The Long and Winding Road.  Tony Christie – Is this the Way to Amarillo.  Philip Goodhand-Tait – Every Day.  Jimi Hendrix – Gypsy Eyes (posthumously – he had died earlier that year).  Benny Hill – Ernie.  Carole King – So Far Away.  Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her was Easier Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again.  Bob Marley – Trench Town.  Olivia Newton John – Banks of the Ohio.  Jim Reeves – Distant Drums.  Diana Ross – Surrender.  Buffy Sainte Marie – She Used To Wanna Be A Ballerina.  Slade – Coz I Luv You.  Thunderclap Newman – Something in the Air.  The Who – Let’s See Action.

(And I have only picked out the artists that I like, or that you might have heard of).  The article doesn’t list all the Album releases but lists Rod’s ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ and John’s ‘Imagine’ as No. 1 albums in that month.  Music headlines included Gene Vincent dying, Pink Floyd playing ‘Echoes’ live at Pompei, Dylan recording again, CSN and Y recording a live album, Manfred Mann forming his Earth Band among others.  Remember this was just one month in 1971.  McCartney had released Ram earlier in that year and George Harrison ‘All Things Must Pass, the Stones ‘Exile on Main Street’ and Carole King ‘Tapestry’.   The early Seventies – what an amazing time.   Stupidly we imagined the great music would carry on at this pace forever…..

At one time I had an ambition to own a copy of all recorded music.  Ahem…Maybe I should just concentrate on the early seventies…

Why Are We Surprised

Sunday 1st march

We are living in an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world – where if we are told up is up but it is really down we believe it, and then are surprised when the obvious is revealed.  The latest ‘news’ – that comparison websites, a recent phenomenon and a huge growth industry, are nothing of the kind.  They only promote suppliers of Energy say, or insurance, when those suppliers actually pay them.  How else can they afford those glossy adverts on telly, where the aim is to get you to remember their name and use that as a short-cut in our busy lives.   And, to be fair, among those companies that pay them, they will probably give you the best prices; conveniently forgetting to include other, smaller usually, companies who do not pay them ‘commission’ for quoting their prices.   Competition is lauded by all big companies, but actually they do everything to avoid it.  Supermarkets are very careful not to open too close to a rival, and even buy up land so that their competitors cannot open near them.  One of the myths is that they compete for our business, when more often than not they are happy to simply maintain market share.  And in any case as these large energy and insurance and high street companies are largely owned by the very same shareholders there is little real appetite for competition.  Maintaining a veneer is more important than the substance.   And the Supermarkets and Energy Companies and Insurance firms and most high street chains make huge profits despite their so-called competition.

There have been scandals following scandals in the Financial sector, fixing Libor rates, miss-selling PPI and so on.  Does anyone really imagine that these rich traders give a hoot for the people who are eventually paying their wages.  That’s us, by the way.  There is no ‘free market’.  It is all rigged so that the rich will stay rich and the poor will pay high prices.  The worldwide price of tea is decided by six men who meet once a week in a room in the City.  And we pay the price in the Supermarkets, and the growers get squeezed – guess who gets the profit, the men in the middle of course.  And so it goes.  But unless and until people wake up and realize who the whole system is designed to enrich nothing will change.  So keep on watching the glossy ads, keep on believing the mantra that they are all working for our benefit – and nothing will change.