Week from Monday 2nd August 2004

Blimey! August? Already? So I've uploaded the Festival Diary for the world to enjoy (and be annoyed by, I sincerely hope) and I've started to go through the tapes of Radio 3's version of events, which as usual, bears scant resemblance to mine. I don't remember there being THAT many singer-songwriters going "strummity strum" on acoustic guitars, plus I managed mercifully to avoid any accordion players called Sharon. I am, at this moment, listening to the TINARIWEN set for the umpteenth time and will probably continue to do so for the rest of the day... So there...

Meanwhile, AUX CHEZ MONIOUX... Shelfy has sent me a jaypeg of ROSALIE the 1952 Austin k9 Wireless Repair Truck, his new motorised caravan and mobile bike-shed. She is very pretty in a militaristic, Korean War-vibe sort of way... Binky the HUMAN NAIL is holding one of, or possibly a series of, his strange FILTH-O-BOP "events", in which he is persuading people to contribute music by (or inspired by) GILBERT & SULLIVAN, as a "tribute" to his late mother. I find it extremely difficult to be "inspired by" the loathsome Gilbert & Sullivan - I would rate their tiresome music right up there with "HEY JUDE" and "BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY" - but I have cobbled something together from my "WORKS IN PROGRESS" tapes.

Week from Monday 9th August 2004

...Thus ends "THE PRISONER", seventeen rollercoasting hours of brain warpage, a veritable odyssey of odd. McGoohan IS the Anti-Kafka, the decadent decreationist Laird of Llareggub, the Nabob of.... Ah! sod it, it's all bollocks really, isn't it?

This weekend, I decided I would go on one of my CULTURAL VISITS to that Southampton. There I drank copious amounts of free TANGO everytime I passed the Bargate, signed a petition for the ever-present SWP lobbyists, visited 'Ye Seconde Hande Gramophone Record Emporia Of Olde Southhamptonshire' (finding seedydisk upgrades for JOHN[NY] McLAUGHLIN and BRIAN ENO & DAVID BYRNE essentials) and met my former colleagues in the MARKET RESEARCH TRADE, helping with their (CAPI) enquiries on the subject of snack foods. I also, of course, 'DID' the City Art Gallery. There were two shows of slight interest: BEN HARTLEY (1933-1996) was definitely of the "NAIVE" school, in that he couldn't draw for toffees (the catalogue said "a rare gift for draughtsmanship"!?), but his gouache colours were certainly vivid. He claimed to be influenced by Bonnard. I liked a couple of his early scratchy pen drawings (almost sub-Ronald Searle-like), but some of his stuff veered dangerously close to the dreaded Lowry, with its daft stick men and balloon animals. One was also reminded of a certain fictitious Belgian artist (I recommend that Shelfy takes a look at this show NOW!). Winchester artist ALICE KETTLE (b. 1961) produces shimmering, texturally-rich tapestries, mainly 'inspired' by Greek mythology, although we only have the artist's word for it, that any particular reclining nude is, in fact, Circe or Penelope. I rather liked her Chagal window-inspired triptych and the horizontal piece with the footprints (oh yeah!).

Week from Monday 16th August 2004

I've been spending some time creating DIGITAL ART out of some of my WOMAD images from this year... It's a great way of making sericultural hand baggage out of porcine aural appendages - what were once bland, out-of-focus photos are now, by any definition, NICE PAINTINGS. I might publish some of them on the website, but only if I can find a (free) way of "watermarking" them to protect my copyright... I also experimented with applying various "painting" techniques to a photo of Shelfy's new vehicle, with some success. Blimey! I may never need to do illustrations the old fashioned way (ie: with pens and brushes on paper) ever again!

On the subject of that WOMAD... BBC4 aired its version of the event over the weekend. The first hour seemed to be excerpts from a completely different festival to the one I attended, featuring acts that I either DELIBERATELY AVOIDED or I missed because I was watching someone else, somewhere else. The excellent Malian chanteuse ROKIA TRAORE was a prime example - I was gettin' bloozy with HOT TUNA at the time of her performance! That's another argument in favour of SMALLER EVENTS, methinks. As for the acts that I RAN AWAY FROM at Rivermead, well, my instincts proved to be correct. Step forward please, the pointless DAARA J, SHARON SHANNON and DABY TOURÉ, all of whom had me diving for the remote control with cries of "PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!".

"I DON'T REALLY DO THIS. IT JUST LOOKS LIKE IT"... Rummaging through the bargain buckets the other day, I came across, and immediately HAD TO HAVE, a rather good biography of the TOO-MUCH-FOR-THIS-WORLD 'comedian' ANDY KAUFMAN. It is one of those books which I found myself almost reading in one sitting, it has that "CAN'T PUT IT DOWN" factor (which, I'm sure you'll agree, is much better than the "CAN'T PICK IT UP" factor). EVERYONE should (a) see "MAN ON THE MOON" (given the non-existence of any footage of the REAL Andy), then (b) read this book to aid in your understanding. You owe it to your mental health. Freaks make the best heroes.

Week from Monday 23rd August 2004

Hmm... Why do I like OZOMATLI? It doesn't make sense. Their music must be so much more than its CONSTITUENT PARTS, as it incorporates much which I wouldn't give the time of day, or even find positively tiresome if taken in isolation (ESPECIALLY Gangsta Rap and Hip-Hop or so-called Salsa!).

Shelfy still hasn't visited so that I can apply the vinyl names to his new AUSTIN "TACIOUS", although he has already paid for the service. I'm also in the middle of re-doing some menu signs for the SPUD WIMMIN.

BBC 6Music's "DREAM TICKET" programme has changed beyond recognition, nevermore the vital listen that it used to be, no longer capable of providing pleasant surprises under its 'new' format. HOWEVERRRRR... Sunday night's "FREAK ZONE", on the aforementioned digital space channel, has now gone from strength to strength... THREE (count 'em, three) hours of MY KINDA MAD STUFF. For example, this week's featured album was "HOT RATS", there was an overview of the career of THE ELECTRIC PRUNES, a lengthy piece by BRAND X and a live 'total wigout' by THE TEARDROP EXPLODES. Even Mauritania's DABY TOURÉ who, at WOMAD, could bore for his country at Olympic level, sounded not half bad in this context. There is 'prog' old and new. There are strange bleepings of German origin. There are many CRAZED NINNIES from the late sixties and early seventies. Never was a programme more aptly named and more aware of its target audience, ie: ME! It could almost have been broadcast from a PIRATE SHIP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SOLENT! It now alternates with my "NUGGETS"/Winamp 'jukebox' as office listening of choice.

Week from Monday 30th August 2004

I suffered the CULTURAL PURGATORY HOUR that was the Beeb's coverage of the SIDMOUTH FOLK FESTIVAL. There was much talk of "people coming together and enjoying themselves", but all I saw was the usual bunch of WATERSONS with aurally-inserted digits, countless FIDDLERS being OH SO VERY SERIOUS, po-faced over their tumblers of real ale and - AAARRRGGGHHH! RUN AWAY! - MORRIS DANCERS! When the most thrilling bit of music on the entire programme was by STEELEYE SPAN (unlike the Fairports, they're still driven by electricity), then you know you're in trouble!

I'm currently listening to this week's FREAK ZONE, which included an interesting, if at times inaccurate, feature on BRAZILIAN PSYCHEDELIA. Being HABITUALLY ANAL, I'm driven to e-mail the 6Music people with an erratum or two, as well as some suggestions of my own. Which reminds me... this week I have a visit to the opticians scheduled, thus completing the SPECCY TRAINSPOTTER image to which I aspire(?!?). It seems I'm now grown up enough to need READING GLASSES (no, that's not a kind of tankard from Berkshire)...

Hoorah! There's new KING CRIMSON product in the post: the two 1980s VHS concert films ("The Noise" and "Live In Japan") are now combined on one exciting silver DVD thing. It should have have winged its way from Beverly Hills by the weekend... (It hasn't...)