Wednesday, 28 May 2014


by Tjango!

Another pleasant discovery. I knew Otto Tolonen as a classical guitarist, and quite liked his album of Finnish modern guitar music, Toccata. I certainly did not expect this. Of course, “Tjango” refers to Django Reinhardt, just like Minor by Pasi is a homage to Minor Swing. But I wouldn’t label Tjango! as a “Gypsy jazz” band. Not even as a jazz band. What they play is very original, beautifully nostalgic and at times humorous music. Yes, it comes from Finland, and no, there are no polkas nor tango. Intrigued? So you should be.


  1. Minor by Pasi (Eerikäinen)
  2. Late Autumn Bossa (Leinonen)
  3. Mili (Tolonen)
  4. I’ve Met My Lady (Leinonen)
  5. This Ain’t My Day (Eerikäinen)
  6. Don’t Go (Eerikäinen)
  7. Farewell Song (Leinonen)
  8. When You Are Gone (Leinonen)
  9. It’ll Be Great to See You Again (Leinonen)
    Pasi Eerikäinen: violin
    Antti Leinonen: accordion
    Otto Tolonen: guitar
    Eero Ignatius: double bass

    Laura Airola: mandolin (3, 4, 7) and ukulele (6, 9)
    Markku Veijonsuo: recording, mixing and mastering
    Lina Galrito: graphic design

    Recorded in June 2013 at Varistoteles Studios Helsinki
    Produced by Antti Leinonen, Pasi Eerikäinen and Otto Tolonen

Friday, 23 May 2014

Fortant de France Merlot Rosé 2013

Summer is here at last — according to Weather Underground, we have “extreme high temperature” today (26 °C, feels like 26 °C). Beats Las Palmas (21.5 °C, feels like 24 °C). I don’t quite understand this “feels like” business, but I know that it is the proper weather for a glass of chilled rosé. I feel like one. Unfortunately, we just finished this bottle of Merlot Rosé and there’s no more in the fridge.

I never heard about Fortant de France before, and, indeed, it was the unbearable cuteness of the bottle (butterflies, flowers and a lady in a hat picking the said flowers) that prompted the purchase of this outrageously priced beverage. Which turned out to be rather nice.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Masterpieces: The Powerhouse Sound of the 70s

by Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination & Brass

I thought this name rang a bell. It turns out, I first heard RC & B on the very The Jazz Rock Album which introduced me to the music of Return To Forever. It’s funny that I went to become a fan of the band that was opening the album and completely forgot the guys who were closing it. However, I did remember the song names, Jive Samba and The Mixolydian Highlander; luckily, both of them are featured here on Masterpieces.

Even though I just started to (re)discover this amazing musician and bandleader, it’s clear that this 1995 compilation is far from presenting a balanced overview of Herbolzheimer’s music of the 70s. Nor is it “the best of” album: for example, five tracks (out of 11) are taken from 1976 album Hip Walk. Deservedly so, I should add, but still. Can one call this collection Masterpieces? Absolutely.

My favourite track is My Kind Of Sunshine, from the album of the same name, with groovy solos by “the fat man with the trombone” himself, Ack van Rooyen on trumpet, Dieter Reith on organ (ye fans of Deep Purple, listen up!) and Tony Inzalaco on drums. My kind of music.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel

a film by Gareth Carrivick

Who could have thought that visiting a loo in your local could be that dangerous?

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (shown here as Aikamatkustus FAQ) is a proof that you don’t need a Hollywood-size budget to make a good sci-fi movie. It has a clever script; a bunch of familiar and semi-familiar faces: Chris O’Dowd (Simon “I believe the technical term is a fuckload of boats” from The Boat That Rocked), Anna Faris (Friends), Marc Wootton and Meredith MacNeill (both Confetti — I think I saw it) and Dean Lennox Kelly (I think I saw something with him, but don’t quote me on that); and it is funny. Needless to say, I won’t be able to hear the most popular song to sing in the shower with the same ears ever again.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

East City Blues Band In Session

by East City Blues Band

I thought Zel Quartet was obscure. I could find even less info on ECBB. I only learned about them thanks, once again, to the Porvoo city library, and only because the album’s beautiful cardboard sleeve caught my attention in the “uutuus” (“new”) section. I don’t even know where one can buy this album, physical or MP3. I guess you can enquire via their Facebook page.

So why do I write here about them? Because they are great and really deserve a bit of publicity.

East City Blues Band In Session

  1. Pride and Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
  2. I Ain’t Superstitious (Willie Dixon)
  3. Sittin’ on Top of the World (traditional)
  4. Mary Had a Little Lamb (Buddy Guy / S.R. Vaughan)
  5. Black Magic Woman (Peter Green)
  6. Out of Reach (Peter Green)
  7. Red House (Jimi Hendrix)
  8. Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Reverend Gary Davis / Tina E. Andrus)
  9. Sweet Home Chicago (Robert Johnson)
  10. Sweet Home Alabama (Ed King / Gary Rossington / Ronnie Van Zant)
  11. Worried About my Baby (Howlin’ Wolf)
  12. Malted Milk (Robert Johnson)
    Tapsa Suonperä, guitars
    Hemppa Lehtimäki, vocals
    Eero Martin, bass
    Tuomo Saloheimo, keyboards
    Sauli Lahtinen, drums & percussion
    Vexi Kirsimaa, harmonica

    Recorded at Mooseblues, Helsinki and Ksar Musique, Porvoo
    Mixed and Produced at Ksar Musique
    Ksar Musique & East City Blues Society 2013

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Hickory Dickory Dock

a film by Andrew Grieve

I first saw this episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot back in mid-1990s. Until I watched it again a few days ago, I couldn’t remember anything at all apart from its glorious finale. The rest of the movie, as I discover now, is not bad either, although the mouse (that ran up the clock) is really annoying.

Hercule Poirot. It is most kind of you to invite me here, Chief Inspector.
Chief Inspector Japp. After staying with you for a whole week, Poirot, the least I could do is offer you a spot of lunch, wean you away from that... well, let you taste some proper English cooking.
Poirot. And the good Madam Japp, it is today that she returns?
Japp. Yes, about three o’clock. There. Now that is what I call food. That’s your mashed potato. This is your peas.
Poirot. Oui.
Japp. Mushy peas, we call ’em. You’ll love ’em. And this, the pièce de résistance... faggots.
Poirot. Faggots?
Japp. Faggots. And there’s spotted dick for afters.
Poirot. Dick?
Japp. Yes, it’s called that because...
Poirot. This is tragic, Chief Inspector.
Japp. No, no, it’s fine.
Poirot. I can eat none of this wonderful food.
Japp. What? Why?
Poirot. Because... I have an allergy of the faggot.
Japp. An allergy?
Poirot. Oui. I do not know how you say it in English but in Belgian it is known as... le phobie de faggot.
Japp. I’ve never heard of that.
Poirot. I am so sorry, Chief Inspector, I should have warned you.
Japp. Well, this is a blessed upset, I must say. Still, you can have some spotted dick. You don’t have a phobie de dick, have you?
Poirot. Non... Some cheese?
Japp. I’ll have a look.
Poirot. Some brie perhaps? Bon.
Japp. Nothing like a nice bit of mouse trap.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Waving at the Gardener

edited by Kate Pullinger

This book presents the twelve stories shortlisted for the Asham Short-Story Award 2009, plus four stories (all excellent) by Margaret Atwood, Esther Freud, Yiyun Li and Alison MacLeod. All different, each touching a different nerve. My favourites are Because it is Running By by Jo Lloyd, a beautifully understated love story (deservedly, first prize); Rape Fantasies by Margaret Atwood; and The Stripper and the Dead Man by Janna Connerton.

❀ ❀ ❀
She would slice some bread and cut some cheese and wash some lettuce in the tiny kitchen that was next to the couch that was also the bed that was next to the shower. She liked the smallness of the caravan, the few steps it took to go from beginning to end, the little space there was to accumulate things. Just what you needed and no more. Every morning she turned the bed into a couch, made it ready for the day, and every evening she turned it back into a bed. In the night she could hear creatures moving around outside, as if she wasn’t there.
Jo Lloyd, Because it is Running By
❁ ❁ ❁
The old woman returns to the flat, walking faster than she should, and finds Electra at her husband’s side reading to him from the paper. They have solved that day’s crossword, working out the clues together. The old woman is sad that they have performed this most intimate of acts together, more intimate than that for which Electra’s services were obtained.
Janna Connerton, The Stripper and the Dead Man
✾ ✾ ✾
She and I are the ones that’ve been here the longest and she never will forget the time I got drunk at the office party and insisted I was going to dance under the table instead of on top of it, I did a sort of Cossack number but then I hit my head on the bottom of the table — actually it was a desk — when I went to get up, and I knocked myself out cold. She’s decided that’s the mark of an original mind and she tells everyone new about it and I’m not sure that’s fair. Though I did do it.
Margaret Atwood, Rape Fantasies


  • Alison MacLeod: The Thaw
  • Alexandra Fox: Whalebone Stays
  • Nora Morrison: All for the Best
  • Jo Lloyd: Because it is Running By
  • Janna Connerton: The Stripper and the Dead Man
  • Esther Freud: The Crossroads
  • Erica Rocca: Something Small and Understood
  • Hilary Plews: Lily’s Army
  • Cherise Saywell: The Candle Garden
  • Vicky Grut: Visitors
  • Alison Dunn: Omi’s Ghosts
  • Yiyun Li: Number 3, Garden Road
  • Juno McKittrick: Bella
  • Liz Day: Waving at the Gardener
  • Margaret Atwood: Rape Fantasies
  • Catherine Chanter: A Summary of Findings