Week from Monday 7th March 2005

One of the reasons I regret NOT gleaning tickets to see the ANTHONY BRAXTON and CECIL TAYLOR gig[s] at last autumn's LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL ("all I got was this lousy t-shirt"), was that, at teatime on that particular day, I would have also got a chance to see CLEARFRAME. They are a sort of Canterbury/free-jazz/post-rock/100%-improv 'supergroup', consisting of LOL COXHILL, HUGH HOPPER, CHARLES HAYWARD and ORPHY ROBINSON. Well, on this weekend's "JAZZ ON 3", I finally got to hear them - and what a TOP HOLE RACKET they make too!! More than once, the spirit of the Crimson King was invoked, especially when Hopper hops on the fuzz pedal and Hayward (or is it Robinson?) starts beating bits of metal inna-Jamie-Muir-stylee. Our Lol is on majestic form as usual. They are today on FREQUENT PLAY MODE, along with THE MUFFIN MEN and last night's KERSHAW SHINDIG.

I received from THE HUMAN NAIL a report on THE MIGHTY SPRINGBOKS TIN PIGLET PORKESTRA appearance at Brighton's suspiciously named Free Butt venue, along with a couple of piccies of same. You might have seen one of the pictures on the HAHT GASSUP page 'on the way in' (the one that looks like it's taken inside a submarine). The words have been added to the GUEST REVIEWS page on the "Gridler Does The Festivals" 'site-within-a-site' which has just had a major facelift ready for the summer, incidentally.

Week from Monday 14th March 2005

This week, I'a'bin moostly listnin' to the 3 MUSTAPHAS 3 and CAPTAIN BEEFHEART - Yes! I've been cured of my VAN VLIET AVERSION SYNDROME after all these years (possibly thanks to THE MUFFIN MEN).

We've just had another RED NOSE DAY but, although I wholeheartedly support COMIC RELIEF's work for deserving causes, I just couldn't be arsed to sit through any of the so-called "entertainment" on offer - Fame Academy? Chris Evans?? Elton John??? McFly???? Um, no thanks all the same... I watched the RADIO 3 WORLD MUSIC AWARDS instead, which was mostly rather dull and had the expected whiff of "WOMEX-WORTHY/BEEB-CLIQUE SMUGNESS" about it. "The Oldest Cheb In Town" KHALED (also the subject of a SOUTH BANK SHOW this week) and a solo IVO PAPASOV managed to shine through regardless.

It's about time we made a decision about what festival WE'RE going to attend this summer. Given that we're definitely giving WOMAD a miss (I refer the right honorable gentlemen to the statement I made earlier), Bracknell is not having a "OUT THERE" festival this year (making way for a 'community' event of some kind) and the CANTERBURY FAYRE is sadly no more, it looks like it might be the LARMER TREE FESTIVAL in deepest Dorset. I await communication from Shelfy on the subject, having forwarded him details via the magic of e-mail.

I was in Portsmouth, delivering and collecting of jobs various, when I espied a junk shop that had a couple of boxes of what we used to call "LPs" or "albums" for the browsing of (Note to younger readers: these are "long playing" records made of black plastic, that produce "music" by being played by a needle, or "stylus", on an apparatus called a "gramophone", at a speed of thirty three and a third revolutions per minute ...Ed). There amongst the usual array of Mantovani, Des O'Connor and Elton John records, I found DAVID BYRNE's "Songs from The Catherine Wheel", in not-quite-mint-but-excellent condition, for one of your english pounds. It is, to all intents and purposes, THE GREAT LOST TALKING HEADS ALBUM, has got Brian Eno and Adrian Belew on it and is totally fab.

Week from Monday 21st March 2005

I've been 'practicing my code' by working my way through some of the interesting bits in the book "DYNAMIC HTML FOR DUMMIES" (acquired for a bargain price from a charity shop). If you are looking at this with Internet Explorer, you might have noticed the futile little message in the bottom left-hand status bar. In addition, the "FUTURE OF ROCK & ROLL" title page now contains some 'help' messages that pop up when you point at a hotspot. If, on the other hand, you are NOT using Internet Explorer, I cannot guarantee whether they will work or not! I've also given the ZIMPOON website a facelift and sent the results to The Human Nail for his consideration.

Week from Monday 28th March 2005

e-STIR BANG COLLAR DAY, so I went for one of my cultural visits to Southampton. You know the drill by now - a walk through the picturesque Bevois Valley, a visit to the Art Gallery and a trip to the RECORD FAIR. There I found a disk containing the CompleteJimmyWebBonkersBallads of RICHARD HARRIS (AKA 'More Songs About Soggy Cakes & Ironing Boards'), a two disk set of the THIRD EAR BAND (good chill-out travelmusic), three-disks-for-a-tenner of the Samizdat boy band, THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE and a questionable-quality, 'One For The Completist' disk by CARAVAN.

In addition, I have been thrilling to the JAZZ ON 3 session by fusioneers [the] PARTISANS and working my way (in bite-sized installments) through the newly televised RING CYCLE. I love to watch WAGNER's MUSIC DRAMAS, but I couldn't eat a whole one.