Week from Tuesday 1st June 2004

Another bank holiday weekend was mostly taken up with the annual Bike Ride COLLATE-O-THON, interspersed with TOP TELLY MOMENTS such as the documentary about JOHN MARTYN and the final episodes of both "DAS BOOT" and "VINCENT: THE FULL STORY"... The 21ST CENTURY SCHIZOID BAND DVD arrived and was studied at length, a fine souvenir of a great event...

Spring Bank Holiday Monday (but isn't it summer now?) brought the inevitable jaunt to a car boot sale. A bag of goodies was gleaned: a LED ZEPPELIN single (not, alas, a valuable rarity, but a reissue), the "ENCOMIUM" Zep-tribute album (patchy, but I do like the HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH contribution and the Mexican version of "FOOL IN THE RAIN"), some classical seedies, some more VANGELIS cassettes (how many do you need?), other cassettes by LITTLE FEAT, THE CURE, PRINCE and VARIOUS ZTT ARTISTES (Very clever!) and some TANGERINE DREAM seedies, one of which was utter shite, having nasty, eighties-sounding, plasticky-digital synth and drum machine sounds and ...shudder! ...warbly female vocals. Imagine, if you will, VONDA SHEPPARD with a DX7, doing a new age William Blake concept album, it's THAT unlistenable! (NOTE TO SELF/NEW RULE OF THUMB: Never again buy a Tangerine Dream album dated later than 1979!)

Back to work and I have to "GO AND BE A PRINTER" again, finishing off the last of the Bike Ride stuff to add to the collated heaps at home.

Week from Monday 7th June 2004

I managed to finish off the last of the collating over the weekend, so it's all over now bar the delivery! Our annual DELIVER-O-THON has been scheduled for Wednesday, just as soon as Shelfy gets out of the dentist's.

There was a MINI-CARBOOT SALE down at the end of the road, on Saturday morning (that is NOT a carboot sale restricted to small sixties Leyland marques), so I had a shufti, of course. I picked up a pocketful of old coverdisks for 80p, as well as a FrontPage "How To..." book (for 50p, it's a goodish ready reference tome) and a DILBERT comic book (also 50p), which killed an afternoon nicely. I learned from this that there is a Dilbert website, so now I have added a brand new "WEASEL DANCE" screensaver to this here peecee. In this current SIMPSONS-FREE AGE, the Dilbert shows on Ftn are a vital part of my weekday evenings.

Thought for the day: As all the old veterans gathered on the beaches of France to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the D-Day landings (some seen wearing knotted hankies on their heads, in the traditional style of old Albion), why did no one think of organising a "NORMANDY KNEES CONTEST"?

On Tuesday, everyone who is anyone is seen sporting "ECLIPSE GOGS" or, failing that, are seen squinting at the sun through bits of smoked glass, to see little old Venus pass in front of it. This was your last chance until the middle of the twenty second century to see such a phenomenon... waddya mean, you missed it?!?

I listen repeatedly to the "JAZZ ON 3" broadcast by the LOUIS SCLAVIS QUARTET... ze bass clarinet, she is, 'ow you say, une instrument magnifique, non? What with that and the bottomless pit of GONG-related MP3s supplied by our Merv, LES JAZZBOS FRANÇAISES are the current flavour du jour, definitement!

The DELIVER-O-THON went off without much of a hitch - AWAAH! to the thirteen corners of Hampshire! - a total of 250 miles, all on twenty quids-worth of petrol and a selection of Krautrock cassettes! This newfangled e-mail lark proved invaluable for obtaining directions in advance, although we did end up in some sub-B lanes we probably needn't. The major achievement of the day was to traverse a route to the Basingstoke Area Organiser, without having to go anywhere near Basingstoke itself. Which Was Nice... I will next be planning a day out on the Isle of Wight to deliver a package over there (but not THIS weekend - I don't want to get caught up with boatloads of Stereophonics fans going to the Festival!).

I had to go over the water to Portsmouth on Thursday to collect some vinyl jobs from MARK THE EX-PRINTER, so I bought a TICKET TO RYDE for next Tuesday. I also bought the DVD of "BABY SNAKES", by FRANK ZAPPA and other folks who aren't exactly normal (The demented claymation stuff by BRUCE BICKFORD is still astonishing)!

On Friday, I spent half a morning removing some vinyls from next door's window... I then went with Shelfy to deliver a package to Eastleigh and to seek out a second hand record shop that wasn't there anymore!

Week from Monday 14th June 2004

I spent much of Saturday, and some of Sunday, putting together some "ROAD TAPES" for a forthcoming outing... BBC4 showed a superb documentary on VIVIAN STANSHALL (which I found very sad), the first two episodes of "THE PRISONER" (which made me laugh) and some other great stuff in their "I HATE THE SIXTIES" theme weekend. Seeing as the CONSTITUTIONAL XENOPHOBES have had their way in the European elections, and little england is awash with VULGAR JINGOIDERY at the moment (on account of some ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT or other), I was simultaneously filled with feelings of nostalgia, of shame and of wonderment at WHAT WENT WRONG?

...None of the multitude of television channels had anything to offer on Sunday (apart from SPORT, of course), so I did some old MONTY PYTHON shows instead...

Tuesday was the day I went to the Isle of Wight for some SERIOUS YOMPAGE - oh, and to deliver a parcel to the IOW Area Co-ordinator in St Helens. There are some SEVERE hills on the Island, which is presumably why Shelfy likes to come here to do his KING OF THE MOUNTAINS bit on a pushbike. Even negotiating the treacherous North East Passage, the so called "coastal" path from Bembridge back to Ryde takes in some cliff climbing and hacking through brambly woods, as the scratches on my knees will testify. Even if you are planning a day trip to Ryde, be sure to pack some crampons, as the High Street is a hundred feet above sea level, at the top of a thirty degree slope. That sure was some WORKOUT! In Ryde I found a second hand bookshop, of the kind that is so full of BOOKPILES, that there is hardly room to fit the customers through the door; a business founded on ANAL RETENTION rather than commerce. Here I found a nice little collection of the "POMES PENYEACH" of JAMES JOYCE... Which brings us neatly to Wednesday...

Today is BLOOMSDAY, a landmark day in the ART OF SILLY WORD ABSORPTION. This marks the hundredth anniversary of the 16th of June 1904, the day that everything in Joyce's "ULYSSES" is alleged to have taken place, a perfectly ORDINARY day in the lives of some inhabitants of beautiful downtown Dublin.... hmm, ordinary, eh?

"A pigmy woman swings on a rope slung between the railings, counting. A form sprawled against a dustbin and muffled by its arm and hat moves, groans, grinding growling teeth, and mores again. On a step a gnome totting among a rubbishtip crouches to shoulder a sack of rags and bones. A crone standing by with a smoky oil lamp rams the last bottle in the maw of his sack. He heaves his booty, tugs askew his peaked cap and hobbles off mutely. The crone makes back for her lair swaying her lamp. A bandy child, asquat on the doorstep with a papershuttlecock, crawls sidling after her in spurts, clutches her skirt, scrambles up. A drunken navvy grips with both hands the railings of an area, lurching heavily. At a corner two night watch in shoulder capes, their hands upon their staffholsters, loom tall. A plate crashes; a woman screams; a child wails. Oaths of a man roar, mutter, cease. Figures wander, lurk, peer from warrens."

Some more succulent CHOICEJOYCEWORDS which I find particularly apt at the moment (also from "Ulysses" though I may be paraphrasing slightly): "NO MORE PATRIOTISM OF BARSPONGERS AND DROPSICAL IMPOSTERS... YOU CAN'T CHANGE THE COUNTRY, SO LET'S CHANGE THE SUBJECT..."

The new SONGLINES magazine arrived on my doorstep, with a coverdisk of their "TOP OF THE WORLD" selections for this month - Hey! I never DID get my free binder for having my RANT published (and severely edited) on the "TALKING DRUM" page...

Week from Monday 21st June 2004

SECRET SPACE TEEVEE highlight of the weekend was the BRIAN WILSON "Pet Sounds" concert, recorded at the Royal Festival Hall a couple of years ago and shown as part of the BBC4 "sixties" theme month. I taped it and watched it several times AND did an audio posterity-cassette of it - SERRR-BLIME! I also had to listen to the "other" "LIVE VERSIONS OF THE GREATEST POP ALBUMS OF ALL TIME", the Glastonbury version of "Forever Changes" by LOVE WITH ARTHUR LEE (perfect) and the Earls Court version of PINK FLOYD's "Dark Side Of The Moon" (the jury's still out on that one).

There were two lots of CARBOOT FRENZYING to be had: Saturday morning's mini-affair was somewhat pitiful, HOWEVERRRRRRRRRR.... On Sunday at the BIG BRIDGEMARY BASH, I got the bargain of a lifetime - a full-size Yamaha home keyboard with MIDI facilities for a mere FIVER! (Of course, at that price you feel you are taking a gamble - "Will it work when I get it home? Is it really a BARGAIN, or five pounds-worth of WHITE ELEPHANT?". As it happens, all appears to be functional!) I also got a caseful of dodgy RECYCLING cassettes (£1 the lot including the case!) and a camping bum-bag/bottle holder thingy for 20p!

I've just spent all day doing the shop front window graphics for THE CATERER NEXT DOOR. I dare say there will be UN PARFUM DU PORQUE seeping in under the connecting door, once they get the newly-relocated business going.

I packed my PAINTING TROUSERS ready to do the BIG BARN DOORS in a fresh shade of blue, only to find, this morning, that there is much precipitation and galeforce windiness ...then I remembered that it is nearly GLASTONBURY weekend, so that explains the weather! That'll teach the Oasis-worshipping little buggers, ha ha ha! That task is postponed till next week however, as Friday is now pegged for a good old-fashioned "COSMIC RAMBLE" (as in "DAYS OF YORE" - when was that exactly? Was that some mythical time like "IN MY DAY"?). In this case, it's an outing down to the West Country, so that Shelfy can ogle at an interestingly ancient and significant vehicle of some kind. As I mentioned before, I'd compiled a number of suitable ROAD TAPES especially for the occasion: some THINK OF ONE and OJOS DE BRUJO to see us through the New Forest, some PRINCE FAR-I for those difficult hills around Lyme Regis (where they filmed "The French Lieutenent's Wombat"), the heavy-heavy monster sound of KING CRIMSON for the moors (passing several TORS, HUBS OF ALBION, NUNATAKS and IMPERIAL THUMBS along the way), plus lots of KRAUTROCK for all points in between. At a cunningly hidden farm near Bude, overlooking the SECRET GUB'NINT LAB'MA'TORIES, Shelfy looks at the ancient and significant vehicle in question (with the view to it becoming his new shed), while I look at housemartins and break my sunglasses. IT'S A LARF THO' INNIT?

Week from Monday 28th June 2004

I think I did a lot of sleeping again this weekend... I went into town on Saturday to get la disque nouvelle du LO'JO (Top stuff - a fairly representative live showcase album - recommended to ALL lovers of French poetry, melodicas, Serge Gainsbourg and West African brass band music) ...and some new sunglasses!
The last weekend in BBC4's "THE JURY IS STILL OUT ABOUT THE SIXTIES" MONTH brought an unmissable documentary about the avant-garde music of that decade called, not surprisingly, "HERE'S A PIANO I PREPARED EARLIER", a repeat of the documentary about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, more from "THE PRISONER" and some rather dreadful old black and white telly programs which hadn't dated at all well (Wooden sets and even more wooden acting - "Adam Adamant Lives"? Oh puhlease!! And have you ever SEEN "Compact"??? It makes the production values of "Crossroads" look like "Barry Lyndon"!). There was some rather splendid "STRANGE CHORAL MUSIC" from the pen of Mr JOHN TAVENER on the wireless on Sunday evening, which followed on surprisingly well from the MAGMA I had been listening to earlier. GLASTONBURY was on, of course, but I didn't take a blind bit of notice...

On Wednesday, I found myself replacing the floppy drive on this here peecee. A FLOPPY DRIVE is a bit like PUBLIC TRANSPORT - nobody really uses it any more, but you miss it when it's not there.

This week, oi a'bin moostly lis'nin' to FRENCH MUSIC:- LO'JO of course, but I also overdid it on the MAGMA, an occasional burst of GONG, that beautiful session by DIDIER MALHERBE & PIERRE BENSUSAN and the cheerful clarinet stylings of LOUIS SCLAVIS, C'EST FORMIDABLEURRR!