Week from Monday 4th April 2005

I admit that entries for this here journal have been a little thin on the ground of late, as things have been getting kinda busy on the 'PROPER WORK' front... people wanting things done before the end of the current financial year.

If you ARE thinking of going to that WOMAD FESTIVAL at Rivermead this summer, then be very aware that you will see very little change out of a hundred quid for your weekend ticket ... PLUS, should your travel arrangements entail that you arrive on the campsite on the evening before the Fest' gets under way, you will be required to pay an ADDITIONAL 10 for the extra night's camping ... DOUBLE PLUS, if you arrive in any kind of motor caravan or live-in vehicle, intending to sleep in it, you will be charged a FURTHER 20 for the privilege ... "A bit steep? Why it's approaching the perpendicular!" ... Meanwhile, the SUBSIDISED MEDIA CIRCUS trundles on ...

BECAUSE IT IS THERE, I went for an aimless wander around Winchester this weekend. I must have either the face of a YOKEL or of a GROCKLE, because whenever I'm walking to or from a railway station anywhere, folks stop me to ask the way to places! In this case, it was the County Hospital (which I did sort of know) and the Prison (which I didn't). Of course, I DID THE CHARITY SHOPS in search of INTERESTING THINGS, finding a DVD of "Monty Python's Life Of Brian" for under six quid. I also bought a [long-sought-after] collection of the complete BELA BARTOK String Quartets, good fidgety music and a major influence on ROBERT FRIPP.

I have a 'new' musical project of my own on the go, but it's still in the 'cranial' stage at the moment (that is to say 'Shelflike', existing only inside my head). I intend to gather together many of the REMIX pieces that I have done [for various F.G.A.C./ZIMPOON acts] over the years, onto one seedydisk. I also plan to include some "ALL NEW, PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED MIXES". I've been trying out a 'new' version of the esteemed MAGIX Music Maker software on HAPPI SHIT PUMPKIN tracks, producing some very spacy and deviant results. So no surprises there then.

Week from Monday 11th April 2005

Having explained at length why I'm NOT going to spend a weekend at WOMAD this summer, there's still a possibility that I AM going after all, but just for one day - ROBERT PLANT & THE [strange and sensational] STRANGE SENSATION BAND are making an appearance and I'd like to be there when they do (and also catch reggae veterans CULTURE on the same day!). I still have to sit down with THE ELUSIVE SHELF to see what his plans/thoughts are. He doesn't seem that interested in the LARMER TREE bash (now I've seen the bill, I'm not THAT interested either), so we're giving that a miss... STOP PRESS>>> I've just heard that THE MUFFIN MEN & JIMMY CARL BLACK will be at Cropredy [of all places], as will COUNTRY JOE McDONALD and JAH WOBBLE with 'one of his bands'!?! What a curious bill! Shame about all the 'FOLK' music though...

It is a fine weekend, the shorts are back on and I 'did' the CARBOOT SALE, more out of the need for a walking experience than for any desire for cheap commerce. I tried to yomp while listening to the latest synapse-shredding opus by THE MARS VOLTA but, as the batteries on my walkperson were running low, the non-functioning anti-jog buffer made them sound EVEN MORE offbeat than they should have...

I found a bargain compilation seedy of THE DOOBIE BROTHERS Greatest Hits, thus replacing my semi-treasured [thirty-year-old, Been-With-Me-Everywhere, Muddied-By-Too-Many-Times-Through-The-Airport-Scanners, Sound-Of-The-Summer] cassette copy. This is the very same tape that was once played [very loudly thru' distorted speakers] by an enthusiastic hippy barman in a village square on Samos and, on a domestic cassette machine that frequently played almost Pinky'n'Perky fast, in an apartment in Ipanema.

I also got a seedydisk of MISTY IN ROOTS' seminal "Live At The Counter-Eurovision" album and an assortment of tapes which have still to be 'filtered'...

Week from Monday 18th April 2005

I finished the F.G.A.C. REMIX ALBUM (subtitled, in a Japanese stylee, "GROUP OF FGAC CRAZY GO TWELVE-INCH YEAH!") over the weekend. I listened to the master copy on the bus last night and it's rather groovy, tho' I do say so myself. A copy wings its way to THE HUMAN NAIL for final approval. He seems fairly chuffed. I realise my aim is true when he says he doesn't recognise or remember at least one of the songs.

Thirty years ago to the week, I saw GENESIS play "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" live at [what was then] the Southampton Gaumont. At the time, I hadn't heard the album, so I didn't know any of the music (YET!), but I was, needless to say, gobsmacked by the stage presentation. Well now Messrs GENESIS & GABRIEL have licenced the Canadian "PROGS IN THEIR EYES" winners, THE MUSICAL BOX - previous successes include "ONE OYED HOOND", WHOYTE MOONTAIN", "COONTING OOT TOYME", "ALL IN A MOOSE'S NOYT", "DOON & OOT", "GET 'EM OOT BOY FREUD, EH?" (um, that's enough Genesis-related Canadianisms ...Ed.) - to recreate the entire show, note for note, lighting cue for lighting cue and back projection slide for back projection slide. Even members of the 'proper' Genesis have said that they look and sound "better than the real thing". An exciting direction in MUSICAL THEATRE or a pointless exercise in "nostalgia-for-the-ol'-folks"? We shall see, at the Southampton Guildhall on Thursday.

Spooky! It was 1975 again! Only the ticket prices were different (by an increase of 1285%). THE MUSICAL BOX sound EXACTLY like vintage Genesis, even the crap bits ("Gabriel"'s interminable between-songs storytelling, "Bongo Phil"'s backing-vocalisms). The stage presentation was also spot on, even the crap bits (Some of the theatricals are decidedly naff, but then they probably were in the seventies, we just didn't realise it at the time).

I made up the bit about "PROGS IN THEIR EYES", but that wasn't too far from reality. There's something slightly creepy about the "Tribute Band" genre, musicians who totally suppress their own musical self-expression (ergo ego), so that they can [look and] sound EXACTLY like the heroes of their choice.

As a musical trainspotter, I couldn't help drooling over the amount of genuine, or at least replica, vintage instrumentation on display. When did you last see an ARP Pro-Soloist synthesiser? Or an RMI piano? Or a Rickenbacker double-neck, let alone a left-handed one (The bassist looked just like Mike Rutherford, but back-to-front!)? This must be one high-maintenance show - I was reminded of the Robert Fripp aphorism "TUNING A MELLOTRON DOESN'T". A very strange experience indeed.

Week from Monday 25th April 2005

Over the last few days it's been "SPEND SPEND SPEND". The sporadic mechanical fault in my video machine finally became a terminal one, so I had to dash out and buy a new machine (Nowadays, it's cheaper to buy a new piece of apparatus every couple of years, than it is to pay the labour charges to fix 'em!)... Having missed the opportunity to see the reformed VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, I just HAD to buy the new album on its day of release. To be honest, I haven't given much of a listen to the album proper, so smitten am I with the 'bonus' disc of MadJamRacketImprov that comes with it, but it doesn't sound too shabby at all! A few bus journeys-worth of WalkPerson activity should garner familiarity.