Week from Monday 6th September 2004
The Beeb's film of the BRECON JAZZ FESTIVAL made what was probably a very enjoyable event appear very dull indeed.
I got stung by a WASP in my own bed. I immediately caught it and SQUISHED ITS ASS! BASTARD! Any quasi-Buddhist 'sanctity of life' issues do not apply HERE, oh stripy, spiteful yet strangely useless creature!
WE, THE GRIDLER got a namecheck on this week's FREAK ZONE, after I'd taken issue with the guest who spoke on Brazilian psychededia with such apparent authority (and his mangled pronunciation). I've initiated a series of (mischievous and probably increasingly annoying) e-mail missives to the programme, under the title "NOTES FROM A PEDANTIC PEDESTRIAN".
Week from Monday 13th September 2004
I rented the 'latest' RUSH album from the library ('Latest'? Yes, I know it's two years old now!), as I had read a magazine which said it was a 'return to form' after the keyboard-swamped white-reggae leanings of the 'eighties and 'nineties. It's okay, but it still sounds like what that Stuart Maconie (writing in Q Magazine) once called "workmanlike but unenticing Zeppelinesque thrash" (having spoken of their "closet stuffed with skeletons such as 'By-Tor & The Snow Dog' and the very silly '2112'" in the same review). Me, I'll stick with "A Farewell To Kings" and "Hemispheres", both prog classics which, I think, have stood the test of time better than most.
I have watched the KING CRIMSON deeveedee at length - The Japanese concert has been subjected to some very dated looking video FX (well it WAS 1984!) but the musicianship shines through regardless (it's nice to actually SEE the "Perfect Pair"-era improvisational bits at last and see who's doing what!). I also found myself going back and watching Tony Levin's "ROAD MOVIES" from the "DejaVROOOM" DVD and reading some of Robert's essays. Incidentally, a clue about KING CRIMSON came up in the 'Mail On Sunday' trivia crossword this week ("An album by the rock group King Crimson that features the song 'Formentera Lady'..." ...now... um... let me see...).
Take off! I'm happy to report that, having lived with it for a few days now, the aforementioned RUSH album (eh?), "Vapor Trails" (eh?) is a grower (eh?). Beauty! There's some real strong vocal melodies, that creep up on you and get lodged in your cranium - Geddy is actually SINGING these days, instead of screeching in an amusing manner ('Decent singing eh?'). Way to goo eh? Beauty! (Um, that's enough 'Canadian' ...Ed.)
Week from Monday 20th September 2004
I had been given a free ticket to use on Wessex Trains at anytime throughout September, so this was the weekend I thought I'd use it! I decided to go for an afternoon of mooching around the myriad lanes and charity shops of ye olde SALISBURY. I found the (rare-as-rocking-horse-shit) cassette of the first album by New Jersey's eccentric family folk group THE ROCHES, the one that ROBERT FRIPP 'produced in audio-verité' - it cost me a whole fifty pee! I also got a couple of TODD cassettes for a similar sum, JUSTIN ADAMS' solo album "Desert Roads" on seedydisk for £2 in a library sale and, from the Virgin MeagreStore, I found the BE-BOP DELUXE anthology I had been seeking. I also took part in a market research interview for the council's tourism department, as I was singled out as an OBVIOUS tourist, heading in the general direction of the Cathedral (...what with the rucksack, shorts, walking boots, perched-on-head sunglasses and that). It was raining, by the way.
This week sees a red letter day for GREAT COMEDIC RADIO, as there is an 'all new' HITCH-HIKERS' GUIDE TO THE GALAXY series on the wireless... I say 'all new', but in fact it's a serialisation of the third book (sorry! "Tertiary Phase") in the five volume trilogy. That's the "Robots of Krikkit" one which, amongst many other things, explained the new scientific principles of "Bistromathics" and "S.E.P. Fields" (Someone Else's Problem).
HOBBY CORNER: I had to dismantle my VHS recorder for a bit of a servicing - It had got full of dust and/or talcum powder, which was causing mechanical slippage and stickage. I went up into the attic, looking for my old video machine as a temporary replacement, and I found the box of Amiga computer spares I thought I'd lost (including an A1200 memory/accelerator card - now all I need is a working A1200!). I still lack a functioning serial/MIDI interface though, so that I can make full use of that Yamaha keyboard I got for a fiver. I'll be keeping my eyes open for one at the next carboot sale. 1980s-vintage APPARATUS - dontcha just love it?! I can feel an ART OF NOISE album coming on!
Week from Monday 27th September 2004
Uh oh! Here comes the Autumn - on with the long trouser! ...I had to do a changeover of cassette decks (and all the spaghetti-untanglage that THAT entails), as my trusty and much favoured Technics has got stuck in reverse gear all of a sudden! This will be another in the ongoing series of "THINGS THAT NEED SERVICING". I have now plumbed in my 'Number Two' TEAC deck instead.
We Freeview'ers get a new TV channel this week called ABC1. It's only on during the daytime (six till six) and much of its output looks dreadful, but I'll be setting the video so that I can watch the amusing "MOONLIGHTING" and recall the days when Bruce Willis had hair...
Meanwhile back in HOBBY CORNER: I assembled together my old surplus PC bits into a tower case, thus making a near-complete base unit missing only its hard disk. As it happens, 'the buyer' is only interested in the motherboard and case after all. So I take it all apart again, polishing up the case good'n'proper...