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3,405: Eleven years of sleep

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Eleven years now that I’ve doing this. Not sure I could stop if I wanted to now. Bigger if you right click.

Previously:
A decade of sleep
Nine years of sleep
Eight years of sleep
Seven years of sleep
Six years of sleep
Five years of sleep
Four years of sleep
Three years of sleep
Two years of sleep
A year of sleep

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Mine by Phoebe Ryan

On this day
Wilco, 11 September 2005

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Mennonite

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September 11th, 2017 at 4:34 am

3,401: Billy and Cyndi

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I’ve been playing with Adobe Illustrator for about a month now. Things feel a lot better than they did when I did those early drawings. Learning new little things now is nice. Those new things slide into the workflow easier because I’ve got the basics down. And I’m at a point where learning more stuff feels like something I want to do, rather than the initial process of learning feeling like something I should do.

And over the last few days a shift happened in a process I’ve been thinking about, playing with, for a few months: making pixelly work with a few extra elements, a few more curves, not as strict a view of how things should look. I did some stuff like that mostly in Photoshop, but also with Procreate. But over the last few days, my instinct was to open Illustrator to do those things. This is something I’ve been looking forward to: Illustrator being a tool that is the first one I reach for in a project.

I could have done these drawings in Photoshop. I might’ve been a bit quicker at them in Photoshop, but the whole process was easier in Illustrator. Especially when changing things in and out. Not having to deal with layers is such a joy in the trying-things-out process.

Here’s a dog and a cat.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Lucky Girl by Fazerdaze

On this day
Going to California, 18 July 2008

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Oaxacan cuisine

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July 18th, 2017 at 12:05 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,400: Hickatee Cottages

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As I’ve probably mentioned many times over the past decade, Hickatee Cottages in Punta Gorda, Belize is one of my favourite places. I’ve been thinking about Belize a lot recent. Not really sure why. Maybe it’s the time of year that brings it to mind again, as I was there in the summer last year.

Belize is a strange place. I’m not really sure why I like it so much. But I do, and I kinda miss it after not being there for a while.

But, yesterday I was looking through my folder of unfinished drawings and found a drawing from 2012 of the main building at Hickatee that I’d done with the C64 Paint app (a pixel art app that had just 16 colours). I’d added some background trees in Photoshop now and then over the past five years, but my brain was in the right place to sit down and finish the drawing.

This was the drawing that I did while I was there in 2012:

Here are some other drawings I did while I was there in 2012. And this is the drawing I finished yesterday. I’m very happy with it. I like drawing trees and plants specifically because it’s such a daunting task. It’s easy to do stylised flora, but a real challenge to try and create an element of realism with pixels. It’s fun to do, and my mind stops babbling with other noise and I tend to be able to knuckle down, clicky click, one pixel at a time.

My friends Kate and Ian no longer run Hickatee. It’s had new owners for nearly a year now. I hope they are doing well, but I’m in two minds as to whether I should ever return. In one way, Hickatee’s joy is tied closely to the friendship that grew out of meeting them there for the first time in 2008, and what’s the point of going back there and it not being the same? If it’s worse, it would feel like a wasted trip, and on the other hand, well, I don’t really want it to be better. I guess the reality is I can’t imagine never visiting Punta Gorda again, and if I do, there’s really only one place I’d want to stay. So I suppose it’s inevitable. In this last paragraph I’ve managed to convince myself to do it one day. One thing I do know: if I ever won the lottery, I’d buy Hickatee and close it and keep it for myself, spend my whole day painting there, like Monet in his garden.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Paradise by Coldplay

On this day
Robot giraffe (stuck in the cobblestones), 17 July 2007

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Oaxaca City

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July 17th, 2017 at 3:53 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,398: Fun fact

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Bad Liar by Selena Gomez

On this day
Hopkins seascapes, 15 July 2012

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
World Heritage Site

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July 14th, 2017 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Blah blah,Music

3,397: Buffering boy

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Other business
I just read that Colette is closing down soon. Seventeen years ago, Sarah at Colette contacted me and asked if I wanted to make a mini site for them called I Love Colette. I had a day trip from London to Paris to meet Sarah, see the store, take some photos. It was a nice day. And the site I made for them is something I still really like. It’s very of its time, in terms of Web design and my drawing, but it’s still pretty cool, I think. Clicking on “style,” “design,” “art,” or “food” is how to navigate, which I’ve just noticed, isn’t overly clear.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Misread by Fazerdaze

On this day
One of those hot dog sculpture thingies, 14 July 2015

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Shark Bay

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July 14th, 2017 at 2:05 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,394: Regenbogen

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Other business
D & D Glass Co. is still there:

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Municipality by Real Estate

On this day
In the neighbourhood, 11 July 2005

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Phylogenetic tree

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July 11th, 2017 at 2:10 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,393: Kraftwerk again

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
International Space Station by British Sea Power

On this day
One pixel Beatles album sleeves, 10 July 2014

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Phylogenetics

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July 10th, 2017 at 12:15 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

3,392: Embedding the week

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A wee bit of artwork
Pixelly drawing (well, kinda a Ministeck-y drawing, really) of Templo de Kukulkán at Chichén Itzá.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Take it Slow by Fazerdaze

On this day
From there to here, 9 July 2009

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Canada lynx

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July 9th, 2017 at 12:01 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,390: You’ve Got Mail

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It’s not a new observation to note that technology dates a film fairly quickly. I watched You’ve Got Mail (1998) again the other night. Entirely marvellous film. Meg there with her Apple Powerbook 3400, Tom with his IBM Thinkpad 300. Both of them typing with the flourish of concert pianists so that we know what they are doing, which I guess must’ve felt entirely necessary to do, especially cos up until the Internet being a normal part of daily life, computers in films were just things that nerds used.

The computery intro still looks great, though. Yes it’s dated, but it has dated quite well, I think.

And this is what they onscreen stuff looked:

Aaah, I love that film. When I visited New York in 2008, I went to the place where they met at the end of the film to do this.

Mostly though, when I watch You’ve Got Mail, I am reminded of how nice it was to visit New York. Something I did quite a lot in the last decade. It’s eight years today since I left the States for the last time. And I’ve mourned the loss of the U.S. from my life in the traditional ways. The last couple of years, though, it feels so abstract. That country might as well be a blank space on a map. I’ve blocked its possibilities out. It’s like China. I’d like to go one day, but that’s about as far as I will let the thought go. That’s a bad comparison. I have no burning desire to go to China, but the desire to visit the U.S. again has just been suppressed so much that it doesn’t even feel possible anymore. Mostly the U.S. is Mexico’s neighbour for me now. It’s easy to suppress it when you see bad things about it, (the current president, etc.) but it doesn’t take a huge amount to bring the feelings back. You’ve Got Mail does that.

A wee bit of artwork

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Starálfur by Sigur Rós

On this day
Rocky, 7 July 2014

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Air-supported structure

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July 7th, 2017 at 1:10 am

Posted in Blah blah

3,388: [Name of insurance company] Field

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Fun fact: two-thirds of all Major League Baseball stadiums have corporate naming rights. I wonder if my generation will be the last one where this feels wrong. Like, we grew up with stadiums have real names like Highbury or Maine Road not the Emirates or Etihad. A few weeks ago, I was with a friend and I asked his teenage son if he knew what the mime I was doing meant. I was doing the circling fist gesture for winding down a car window. He had no idea. And why would he. He’s grown up in a time where you press a button to lower a car window. Maybe it’ll be the same with stadium names.

To me, though, it still jars. Especially when stadiums change names because of a contract ending. The Chicago White Sox’s stadium, for example, opened in 1991 as Comiskey Park, named after the team’s original stadium just across the street. In 2003, it became U.S. Cellular Field. And since 2016, it’s been called Guaranteed Rate Field. A truly ridiculous name for a stadium. But at least some White Sox fans still have the memory of an original name, can still call it Comiskey Park if they want to.

Not so for Seattle Mariners fans. Their park has been called Safeco Field ever since it opened in 1999. That will change after the 2018 season, though. That company won’t be renewing its contract with the Mariners.

Sports teams don’t want this to happen, but I think fans should collectively decide on a non-corporate name for stadiums like Safeco Field or the Emirates Stadium. Something for them to fall back on after naming rights contracts end. All of this is an entirely meandering way of saying, “I did a drawing of a section of the Mariners’s stadium the other day.” And here it is:

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Little Uneasy by Fazerdaze

On this day
The 4th, 5 July 2009

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Yomiuri Giants

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July 5th, 2017 at 12:29 am

3,387: Dennis Bergkamp

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Nineteen years ago today, my favourite ever goal happened: Dennis Bergkamp‘s winner vs. Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final. And the best commentary of a goal, too.

Happy birthday, United States of America

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Take it Slow by Fazerdaze

On this day
Feliz cumpleaños, EE. UU., 4 July 2016

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
List of Game Boy colors and styles

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July 4th, 2017 at 12:44 am

3,386: Palm trees

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I was doodling in bed the other night, drawing with my weaker right hand. It’s something I do now and again just in case my left arm is chopped off. It’s also helpful if I’m not really into what I am drawing properly: to still do some drawing, but to be limited by what my non-dominant hand can actually do. I did some palm trees, a common subject for my brain and fingers.

The above was done with the Paper app. I imported it into Procreate and played around with it because I wanted to add smoke. It’s a theme I’ve dealt with before. An image burnt, for want of a better word, in my head ever since I saw some crop burning in Belize last summer.

It's that time of year in Belize.

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This was a drawing I did last summer, soon after being in Belize.

And this is the Procreate-y version of the Paper drawing from last night.

Clearly, that build up to this drawing was a bit long and winding, too long for the actually middling quality of the work at hand, but a blog post seems like a decent place to talk about process. I guess what is happening here in my head is the desire to properly do a drawing of what I saw in Belize. I’m nowhere close yet, but I’ll get there one day.

Another bit of artwork
Continuing getting my head around using Adobe Illustrator, here’s a baseball team.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Misread by Fazerdaze

On this day
Yesterday’s events, 3 July 2005

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Game Boy

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July 3rd, 2017 at 4:07 am

3,385: Embedding the week

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Take It Slow by Fazerdaze

On this day
O, 2 July 2009

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Gunpei Yokoi

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July 2nd, 2017 at 1:13 am

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3,384: 1 July 1987

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U2 at Elland Road stadium in Leeds. 30 years ago today. My first concert.

£14. Which in today’s money (according to thisismoney.co.uk’s inflation calculator), would be £37.72. I just checked Ticketmaster to look at the price of a general admission standing ticket for U2’s concert at Twickenham Stadium next weekend, and it’s £78.25.

Support bands that day thirty years ago: the Fall, the Mission, the Pretenders. So, technically, the first band I saw was the Fall, which is probably cooler, huh?

Although, actually, I’d been to concerts before that my parents had taken us to: the Spinners, the Nolans, and Showaddywaddy. This, though, was the first one I’d been to by choice, buying a ticket with my own money, queuing up early on a Saturday morning a few months earlier to buy a ticket for the concert and the bus trip from Lincoln to Leeds.

It was the first and last time I’ve ever been to Leeds United’s ground, too. I look forward to keeping it that way.

A wee bit of artwork
It’s been quite rainy in Berlin.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Half-Figured by Fazerdaze

On this day
AT&T Park, San Francisco: a pie chart, 1 July 2014

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Game & Watch

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July 1st, 2017 at 1:54 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

3,380: It’s a Sin

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It’s a Sin by Pet Shop Boys was number one in the UK thirty years ago. Magnificent song. I like the Pet Shop Boys a lot. They’ve been solidly great for a really long time. The most recent album, 2016’s Super was excellent. Just looking at their singles discography on Wikipedia, to check where It’s a Sin was in a run of great singles, and it’s a really long run of top notch singles. From West End Girls in 1985 through to DJ Culture in 1991 there’s nothing that dips below an 8 out of 10 in my opinion.

While we talk about DJ Culture, I’m always interested in the quality of the new, previously unreleased tracks on Best Of compilations. More often than not, they wouldn’t appear on Best Ofs out of merit, but twice in the Pet Shop Boys’s career, new tracks on compilations have been amongst my favourite of their songs: DJ Culture on their first one, Discography, and Flamboyant on 2003’s PopArt.

Previous posts about number ones from thirty years ago:
18/1/2017: Jack Your Body
1/2/2017: I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
15/2/2017: Stand By Me
8/3/2017: Everything I Own
22/3/2017: Respectable
29/3/2017: Let It Be
19/4/2017: La Isla Bonita
3/5/2017: Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
31/5/2017: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)
14/6/2017: Star Trekkin’

A wee bit of artwork
No title for this, but on my iPad it’s called Faceface, so let’s just go with that, eh?

Other business
What about, right, a fidget spanner?

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet by Gavin Bryars

On this day
The two best words are the first two words, 28 June 2007

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Super Mario 64

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June 28th, 2017 at 1:50 am

3,379: Ten unconnected thoughts

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1. Funny how we have, as a (western) society, somehow all ended up having blue jeans. You walk around your town and there’s never a moment when you can’t see people wearing blue jeans.

2. Whenever I walk by people in malls and airports with their little stands offering credit cards, they never ever ask me. Never have done. Not never, but it’s rare enough for it to be a shock if it does happen.

3. When we go to the cinema or watch a DVD or Netflix, if it’s an animated movie, they should give you a sheet or an on-screen subtitle option, to quickly let you know who the voice actor is so you don’t spend the whole film distracted, wondering where you recognise that voice from.

4. I once heard someone in a pub in London say the words “agent provocateur” as “agent prov-occur.” I like that.

5. Fish tacos: the grown-up alternative to fish finger sandwiches.

6. I will never ever get sick of John and Yoko’s Christmas song. It’s beautiful. And I will never be not annoyed when people make tedious, possibly-sexist, possibly-racist jokes about Yoko.

7. The smell of a delivered or take out pizza, that combination of the pizza itself and warm, slightly steamy cardboard. Mmmm.

8. Pancho Tocino, the Mexican Francis Bacon.

9. I would like to see a big sad book full of photographs of the unread awards speeches/notes written by nominated actors who didn’t win.

10. I have this Pavlovian need to wee when I brush my teeth before bed. Most days, I don’t think I need a wee when I go to brush my teeth, but as soon as I start a-brushin’, there it is, my bladder yelling at me: while we’re here, dude.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Mas Que Nada by Sergio Mendes feat. Black Eyed Peas.

On this day
The horse tests, 27 June 2012

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Mario

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June 27th, 2017 at 3:57 am

Posted in Blah blah

3,377: Embedding the week

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Take It Slow by Fazerdaze

On this day
Blue square with four legs, 25 June 2007

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Lucha libre

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June 25th, 2017 at 12:08 am

Posted in Blah blah,Politics

3,376: Self-promotion Saturday

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Here’s three pixelly drawings that are now available as prints on my Society6 shop page thingy.

First, something that I gave a stupid name originally—CLWNMNTNJNNJNJN—but have edited down to CLWNMNTN on society6. Both of those should be pronounced “clown mountain.”

I really had no idea what to call this one; ended up calling it Silver Xs.

And here’s a drawing of parts of the Oaxaca city centre. I really quite like this drawing.

Those are the new things. There’s already quite a lot of other stuff up there, but if there’s anything of mine you would like as a print, lemme know in the comments, and I’ll endeavour to make it available.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Ship of Fools by Erasure

On this day
How to trim your beard, 24 June 2011

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Arena México

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June 24th, 2017 at 12:59 am

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3,375: Meatwood flack

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Following on from a recent post regarding Fleetwood Mac’s name, one thing I didn’t realise was that when the band started, John McVie wasn’t a member of the band. He was a bandmate of Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, but Fleetwood Mac’s first bass player was Bob Brunning. From Wikipedia:

When Peter Green left the Bluesbreakers in 1967, he decided to form his own group, naming it Fleetwood Mac after the rhythm section he wanted for the band – Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. Fleetwood joined up straight away, and slide guitar player Jeremy Spencer was recruited, but McVie preferred to stay with the Bluesbreakers, where he was earning a regular wage. In the meantime, Green hired Brunning on a temporary basis, hoping that McVie would change his mind. During this period, Brunning played with Fleetwood Mac at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival.

After a few weeks McVie did change his mind, claiming that Bluesbreakers leader John Mayall was turning too far in the direction of jazz for his liking. So McVie joined, and Brunning stood down. Brunning did contribute bass guitar to one track on Fleetwood Mac’s debut album Fleetwood Mac, “Long Grey Mare”.

I would assume, seeing as though John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers had about a million members over the years, he wasn’t that arsed about people coming and going, but it’s a pretty clear intention of taking another band member to name a new band after McVie. Maybe Peter Green should’ve full on flipped everyone out by calling the band Fleetwood Mayall, enticing John to leave his own band. Then Peter Green could’ve left Fleetwood Mac, and took over the Bluesbreakers. Peter Green’s Bluebreakers. I assume something like that happens in The Art of War, that book that dudes seem to enjoy (having on their shelves).

When you see a list of former members of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, it’s a pretty impressive bunch of people. The above mentioned Fleetwood Mac bunch, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor, Andy Fraser, three members of Canned Heat.

There can’t be too many bands that had greater success after a founding pivotal member left. When we talk about Fleetwood Mac nowadays, we aren’t usually thinking of the Peter Green-lead era. Depeche Mode is another. And, at least in terms of sales, Suede after Bernard Butler left. Any others? Can’t think of any right now, but there must be more.

Looking at chart success of the post-Peter Green era and pre-Nicks and Buckingham era Fleetwood Mac, they released six albums, only one of which entered the UK top forty. So seeing how successful they were with Nicks and Buckingham in the band, and the fact that they’d released a (great) album together before joining, could we view it as a merger? Maybe this happens a lot, but off the top of my head I can only think of one other example: Showaddywaddy. But that was a merger of two local bands, before any success. I guess that must happen a fair bit on local music scenes. Indeed, when I was living in Lincoln in the 1990s, every band seemed to have the exact same drummer, and every band member of every band seemed to also be in another band or two.

Anyway, here’s Minipop No. 1,343: Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood, a pairing that may not be obvious if you’ve never seen the 1989 Brit Awards.

A wee bit of artwork
I drew a curve. Copied it, pasted it. Again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and carried on until there are about 700 curves.

Other business
And here we are. The first shitiversary of the referendum.
Going well, innit? All going swimmingly.
The future looks absolutely peachy.
Rule Britannia, gallons of nice cups of tea, and as much Arctic Roll as you can eat.
What misguided fools us Remainers were, eh?

Here’s a couple of drawings from around this time last year. First, an angry drawing done in the hours immediately following the result:

Second, a drawing I’m actually quite proud of. The water could’ve done with a bit more attention, but on the whole it would’ve made a good editorial illustration, I think:

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Ship of Fools by Erasure

On this day
Drawings in a bar, 23 June 2010

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
1985 Mexico City earthquake

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June 23rd, 2017 at 12:01 am

3,372: [Name of drummer] + [First syllable of name of bass player]

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Listening to Fleetwood Mac the other day, I got to wondering what other rock bands would be called if they had named themselves in a similar fashion: surname of drummer + first syllable of surname of bass player.

Similar to McVie’s name being used as Mac not Mc for, I assume, phonetic clarity, I’ve done the same below. And I’ve also gone with the earliest classic line-up members, ignoring drummers or bass players that we wouldn’t automatically associate with the acts in question.

For “fun” I’ve not included the real band names here, I’ve put them in the comments so you it can be a game, should you desire to play it.

1 Starr Mac
2 Adler Mac
3 Bonham Jo
4 Mason War
5 Mullen Clay
6 Wilson Wil
7 Champion Berry
8 Berry Mills
9 Rudd Will
10 Taylor Dee
11 Watts Why
12 Ulrich Burr
13 Copeland Sum
14 Cook Vish
15 Tucker Cay
16 Selway Green
17 Taylor Tay
18 Headon Sim
19 Jones Lane
20 Schock Val
21 Grohl Nov
22 Lovering Deal
23 Ward But
24 Chamberlin Wret
25 Goffey Quinn
26 Van Halen Anth
27 Peterson Stee
28 Weinberg Tal
29 Burke Harr
30 Brzezicki But
31 Porcaro Por
32 Robinson Orr
33 Frantz Wey
34 Kreutzmann Lesh
35 Ramone Ram
36 Ficca Smith
37 Henley Meis
38 Asheton Alex
39 Kramer Ham
40 Peart Lee
41 Paice Glover
42 Wren Moun
43 Hart Nor
44 Gilbert Oz
45 Moon Ent
46 Beard Hill
47 Rowntree James
48 Jansen Karn
49 Withers Ills
50 Keeble Kemp
51 Joyce Roar
52 McCarroll Mac
53 Liebezeit Czu
54 Buckler Fox
55 Welch Holl
56 Baker Bru
57 Cann Cross
58 Whitaker Cook
59 Smith Flea
60 Strode Beggs

I think that’s enough, right?

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Take It Slow by Fazerdaze

On this day
Fuck the rainbow, 20 June 2013

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Space Needle

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June 20th, 2017 at 1:24 am

Posted in Blah blah,Music