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 1   Pete Atkin / News / Moule and Wallace at the Pheasantry in July  06.05.18 at 01:02 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by S J Birkill
I note that Pete's occasional piano accompanist (and MV member) Simon Wallace will be appearing at the Chelsea venue on July 29th, accompanying his missus, Sarah Moule, and featuring some songs on the theme of matrimony.

Booking for Pete's own gig there with Simon (on August 23rd) should begin in a few days.
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 2   Pete Atkin / Gigs / Re: April 26th 2018 - St Leonards  28.04.18 at 17:55 
Started by Pete Atkin | Newest post by S J Birkill
Hi Gang
Seems none of our regulars attended this one, yet Pete's gig attracted a quite respectable crowd, about 60 people, and not all from the Hastings/St Leonards area: one, at least, came from as far away as Dublin. If any MV members were there, we'd love to know. What did you think of Kino-Teatr, the performance, the selection of songs? Pete was quite impressed by the venue, including the people, the café, the atmosphere and the sound.
Tenderfoot, a rarity in performance, was requested in advance as a surprise for a birthday, and there were a few half-time requests which Pete incorporated into his second set:
Ice Cream Man (guitar)
Thief in the Night (g, a different rhythmic groove)
Screen-Freak (keyboard)
Dancing Master (k)
Have You Got A Biro I Can Borrow? (g)
Colours of the Night (g)
Sessionman's Blues (k)
Tenderfoot (k)
You Can't Expect To Be Remembered (k; previously almost always on guitar)
I See The Joker (k)
Time to Burn (k)
Touch Has A Memory (k)
Beware of the Beautiful Stranger (g)
The Way You Are With Me (g)
Canoe (k)
Perfect Moments (k)
Girl on the Train (g)
Tonight Your Love Is Over (g; an early favourite but not played for a while)
Thirty Year Man (k)
Next gig on the calendar isn't till August, with a return to The Pheasantry, but there's still space in Pete's schedule for other bookings before then.
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 3   Pete Atkin / News / Website features and browser compatibility  16.04.18 at 23:37 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by S J Birkill
For 22 years Smash Flops has stood right here as the go-to Internet location for news and information on Pete Atkin and his music. In that time I've tried to maintain the Website as a rich but easy-to-access resource. In the early days this meant avoiding many of the dynamic features which many designers latched onto to make sites eyecatching and 'trendy', so that I didn't exclude visitors who might be using computers or Web browsers without the latest functionality, or indeed might not have a high bandwidth connection -- in the 1990s most of our users were on dial-up connections, some at data rates as low as 64kbit/s. So my Web pages were all coded as straight HTML (someone described the layout as 'old-fashioned' -- a compliment indeed!), and the MV emails as plain ASCII text.
But in recent years there has been a new kind of standardisation of Web browser features, with Flash becoming obsolete and almost all installations now supporting (for example) scripting, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and HTML5 audio and video -- the differences between major browsers are mostly in the fine detail of rendering page styles and fonts. I've been making use of some of these features as I've added new pages and edited old ones, though some of the original designs remain unchanged -- compare these page clips, from 1996 and 2018:


I know, this is all cosmetic, but with the wrong browser you might not realise when you're missing certain features, such as the pop-ups that save you clicking through to other pages for more content or additional images. You might expect Internet Explorer to set the standard, but Microsoft's product has long diverged from the evolving browser mainstream -- their script and CSS features are idiosyncratic in their handling of dynamic features and rendering of pages. Early versions added lots of gratuitous white space to a page layout, and even the latest IE doesn't support such basic style functions as the drop shadow visible in the second image above. The unaccountably popular Firefox has many peculiarities, notably in its handling of tabs and its rendering of font sizes. Some Web designers go to great lengths (in terms of code) in attempt to ensure their pages look the same across all browsers. I pretend no such skill; instead I simply recommend you try one of my preferred 'modern' browsers: Opera, or Chrome. Here's the way our home page layout should appear using these:

Similarly, my concessions to mobile users go only so far as to present each page in a manner that looks as close as possible to what you'd see on a PC -- I don't compose a separate 'mobile' version of the site. This means you may need to zoom in on some pages to read the content, but at least it's all where it should be.
Of more interest is the content enhancement afforded us, not only by the developing standards and improved client software, but also by the near-universal availability of high-speed broadband Internet access. This is most apparent in the Discography, which began with just the lyrics of each song, then expanded to include chord symbols, annotations and even comic parody lyrics. Most recently, thanks to Pete's generosity, I've been able to add a pair of music players, which allow visitors to listen to almost every song Pete has ever recorded.

Each album or collection represented has a brown 'Playlist' in the page's right-hand column, and selecting any title there causes the song's audio to be streamed to the player using the HTML5 delivery method. Some songs are present in more than one version, with a different image to accompany the playout. Additionally, most song listings in the Discography now sport a 'play' button alongside the other options, which opens a new audio player window containing a relevant (or otherwise) image, plus the song's lyric. This alternative player is optimised for mobile devices, but should work on any platform.
Another new button is the clef. This opens (with the option to download) Pete's 'lead sheet' -- melody line, lyric and chordage -- of the song in question.

Some browser plug-in PDF viewers don't always render the music notation fonts correctly -- if you're seeing some odd characters in there (apart from any that Clive put into the lyric!), try downloading the PDF file and opening it in Acrobat Reader.
I've also added some enhancements to the Midnight Voices layout. By now, most of you will be using the 'Short' version, which prioritises the 'Recent Posts' lists without cluttering up the interface with the traditional Boards/Threads tabulation of a Web Forum. Hovering the mouse over each post's title now pops up the first few lines of the message content. Also, the 'Users Online' feature (lower left) now shows further detail when the mouse is hovered over the 'Guests' and 'Members' listings.
One other small change: the 'Instant Message' feature remains, but I've renamed it 'Personal Message' in line with social media terminology, and to avoid the inference someone once made that a message sent via this system will reach the addressee immediately: this will of course only happen if the addressee has selected e-mail notification for PMs; otherwise he (or she) will be alerted to the presence of a message only when next logging in to the Forum.
That'll be enough for now.
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 4   Pete Atkin / Newsletter / Newsletter Archive  16.04.18 at 19:37 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by S J Birkill
Just a reminder for anyone not already signed up to Pete's e-mail newsletter: we maintain an archive of the newsletter at  


Alternatively, if you'd like to read each newsletter by e-mail as soon as it's released, you can sign up for that here.
There's also a Facebook group, The Pete Atkin and Clive James Appreciation Society, which you can find at this address.
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 5   Pete Atkin / Gigs / More Pheasantry: August & November  16.04.18 at 19:07 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by S J Birkill
Too soon to call it a residency, but...
Pete has announced (via his newsletter)  two new dates at the King's Road Pizza Express venue -

Thursday 23rd August and Thursday 15th November

- no doubt accompanied twice again by the magnificent Simon Wallace on piano.
Watch out for booking details -- we'll keep you informed via Smash Flops, soon.
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 6   Pete Atkin / Chums / Re: Wizz Jones at kino-teatr  28.02.18 at 21:07 
Started by Simon Reap | Newest post by Cary
Wizz is also on at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Birmingham on 8th April. As Pete has said this is a lovely little venue.
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 7   Pete Atkin / Gigs / Re: The Pheasantry - Wed 31st January 2018  27.02.18 at 18:22 
Started by Pete Atkin | Newest post by S J Birkill
on 27.02.18 at 11:19, Simon Reap wrote:
That was the one I had to search hardest for (couple of others needed checking to make sure I'd got the title right, but that was a complete mystery!)

Lead sheet here, and new one (just come through -- note subtle change of title) here; or try this if you're logged in.
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 8   Pete Atkin / Gigs / St Leonards gig -- new date  27.02.18 at 17:07 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by S J Birkill
on 27.02.18 at 10:43, Pete Atkin wrote:
  I hope to have news of a replacement date fairly soon.

Kino-Teatr have rescheduled the event for Thursday, 26th April. Original tickets will be valid for the new date, which is already up on the venue's website. Alternatively, refunds or vouchers are available from the Kino-Teatr Box Office.
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 9   Pete Atkin / Gigs / Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath - 19th Feb 2018  21.02.18 at 10:05 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by Pete Atkin
The Kitchen Garden Café in Kings Heath (I'm following what seems to be universal local usage in using no apostrophe) turned out to be a terrific venue.  It's a haphazardy linked collection of congenial brickwalled spaces, full of pine tables in the daytime, full of chairs aimed towards a performance corner in the evening.  It seemed to me to work exceptionally well.   So it's a big thank to Julia Parsons for contacting me and setting it all up, and another big thank to everyone who filled it up on a winter's Monday evening and who constituted a wonderfully attentive and generous audience.
The list for the first set is accurate, I think, and I'm fairly sure the second set includes everything I did, but maybe not in the right order.   I'm sorry about the requests I didn't manage to fit in, but, hey, next time, eh?
Practical Man – g
Ice Cream Man – p
Frangipanni was her Flower – p
Have you got a Biro? – g
Apparition in Las Vegas – g
Sessionman's Blues – p
Canoe – p
Thief in the Night – g
The Colours of the Night – g
I see the Joker – p
Time to Burn – p
Rain-wheels – p
Hill of Little Shoes – p
Beware of the Beautiful Stranger – g
Touch has a Memory – p
Thirty Year Man – p
Girl on the Train – g
OOHonkTonkNTBlues – g
The Way you are with me – g
Several people had come a fair old distance, it seems, so a special thank to them – and an extra-special thank to John from Manchester who brought me the gift of a cigar-box guitar which he has made. (I'll report further on how I get on with it;  it's in a fine old tradition which I was shamefully unaware of.)
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 10   Not Pete Atkin / Off-topic / The Crown  20.01.18 at 16:35 
Started by Kevin Cryan | Newest post by Kevin Cryan

Sat 20 Jan 2018

'She is the Queen, whereas you are Joe Shmuck': Clive James on The Crown
How to recover from my latest hospital stay? Watch The Crown – twice, and remember a royal meeting of my own

As my latest stay in hospital came to an end, the second series of The Crown was just starting on Netflix. Since my prescribed formula for rehabilitation consisted mainly of the instruction just to lie there and shut up, I had nothing to do except maintain the horizontal position and watch the delightful Claire Foy plough onward in her role of Queen. I thought she coped nobly.
So nobly, in fact, that when the second series was all used up, I reverted to the first episode of the first series and watched the whole thing again. It would be worth it just for the cars. As piloted by the suave Matt Smith, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Lagonda is an impeccable example of one of the most beautiful objects ever manufactured in Britain. You could say the same of the Queen herself, still looking imperturbably shiny even as the duke drives off to yet another raucous lunch with his ghastly pals.
The great triumph of the first series is that the duke is shown to be more noble....  
read on
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