Week from Monday 2nd May 2005

Ah well! Another Bank Holiday! Needless to say, the VAN DER GRAAF boys are now a permanent fixture as my teatime LISTENER'S CHOICE. I also caught up with some top movies: Guiseppe Tornatore's "L'UOMO DELLE STELLE" (aka "The Starmaker", from the team that brought us "CINEMA PARADISO" - sur-blime!), Terry Gilliam's "JABBERWOCKY", Scorcese's "CASINO" (didn't like it!) and some MARX BROTHERS, recently acquired on DVD. Because it was there.

A "new" KING CRIMSON offering should be arriving any minute from the DGM concern, the chaps making a right ol' din in Germany in 1974.

I've been doing another animated graphic item for MERVYN PURVISS' [and ASSOCIATES'] "serious business website", and he has sent me an updated edition of his music collection database. Another "wants" list is in the pipeline, methinks!

Suddenly, twenty-odd years after SNILTWEASEL (DIRECTOR) introduced me to the massive literary undertaking that is STEPHEN DONALDSON's "Thomas Covenant" Chronicles, there is a THIRD trilogy in the series. And you thought that Covenant's death would be an end to the matter? I've borrowed the first volume, "The Runes Of The Earth", from the library, so that will be MY breakfast and teatime reading sorted for the next month! The jacket blurb describes it as "Like Tolkien at his best"... as if THAT'S any kind of recommendation - I can't stand Tolkien!

Week from Monday 9th May 2005

...and while we're on the subject of RINGS... Saturday afternoon was spent "at the opera", as the Beeb continued its broadcasting of the Royal Opera House's new production of WAGNER's "RINSE CYCLE" with "THE VALKYRIE" (or "DAI WALKER" as it is in Welsh/German). I'm not that keen on the rather peculiar staging of this version - all post-apocalyptic costumery, steel girders and broken Habitat furniture - but it's still an amazing bit of theatre.

Sunday brought a gorgeous morning for a CARBOOT YOMP. I finally found another copy of the out-of-print "Reader's Digest Universal Dictionary", as covetted and requested by m'colleague, but failed to find a Haynes Manual for a Peugeot 106. I got a fresh seedydisk copy of the soundtrack to the jazz movie "ROUND MIDNIGHT", with HERBIE HANCOCK, DEXTER GORDON et al, and a vinyl copy of the first album by early-eighties electropoppers NEW MUSIK, who were a sort of POOR-MAN'S BUGGLES, with their infuriatingly catchy brand of beat.

Week from Monday 16th May 2005

According to a conversation I had, last night in one of my "WAITING FOR A TRAIN" DREAMS, "If functionality can be defined as the ratio of size to usefulness, then the very definition of practical functionality would be a pocket banjo".

It has been International ROBERT PLANT Week in the media, with a big "Live & Exclusive" beano on BBC RADIO 2, an appearance on Jools Holland's "LATER" (Thank goodness for videotape and remote controls: The Fall are on the same programme!) and spreads in several periodicals, what with the new album coming out an'all. All of which prompted me to revisit some of my old radio and telly recordings of the man and his various bands. If the Radio 2 concert is anything to go by, then THE STRANGE SENSATION's gig at WOMAD should be a cracker (but probably not RADIO 3 or BBC 4 fodder!).

AND THE MEDIA CIRCUS ROLLS ON (CONT.): If one reads the [not-terribly-] small-print on this year's tickets, one will find that, as a paying customer to WOMAD, one has hereby given one's "consent to be filmed, photographed [or] recorded..."

Now almost an annual event, "Jazz On 3" broadcast a concert by the wonderful ESBJRN SVENSSON TRIO... Needless to say it was very nice too, especially of a Sunday morning.

I finished reading the latest THOMAS COVENANT tome (a lot quicker than I'd expected too), so now I'll have to wait a couple of years to find out what happens next! After that little mindpummelling, I'm now reading something a little lighter, another TOM HOLT comedy/fantasy romp.

Week from Monday 23rd May 2005

The weather was horrendous, but I came down to the workshop on Saturday, to finish off my "PERCY" MP3 project and to do my monthly viruschecker update on This Here Peecee. I also bought the new ROBERT PLANT seedydisk (while it is still available at a "WOOLIES CHART CD" price).

On Saturday night's Radio 3 avantgarde slot "HEAR & NOW", there was a complete performance, by JAAP BLONK, of the succulent soundpoem "UR-SONATE" (Sonata In Urlauten), a major composition by my ArtHero KURT SCHWITTERS. I've just dug into my archives for the printed "score" so that I can try to follow it... altogether now - "FMMS B W T??? Oooooooooo BEE BEE Ooooooooooo ZEE Zee..."

The 50th EUROVISION SONG CONTEST occured in Kiev. AS USUAL, most of the 'songs' were instantly forgettable (and the broken-english lyrical content was BEST forgotten - EVERY song rhymed "meeeee" with "my fantaseeeeee", because you DO!). AS USUAL, everyone voted for their closest mates and political allies, regardless of any musical/performance merits, and hardly anyone voted for the United Kingdom - because nobody in Europe likes us. AS USUAL, I thought the Turkish entry was the only one I would want to hear again. This year, nearly ALL of the entries featured dancers pretending to bang big drums, presumably because someone did that last year and everybody 'coincidentally' thought that was a pretty neat idea. The ultimate champions were GREECE, but I probably wouldn't be able to recognise the winning 'tune' in a line-up...

This week I celebrate the seventeenth annual COLLATE-A-DIRTY-GREAT-PILE-OF-PRINTED-MATTER-FOR-THE-HISTORIC-CHURCHES-TRUST WEEK... Whoops, here comes another BANK HOLIDAY...

Week from Monday 30th May 2005

On Saturday, I did one of my "MAJOR" walks - the kind I can ONLY do when I've got the rest of the weekend to recover from it! I meandered my way to PORTSMOUTH ITSELF, where I visited MERVYN PURVISS of that parish. There I found him at the cockpit of his peecee, as is his wont of a Saturday afternoon. Over cups of tea we discussed musical matters BOTH 'NORMAL' AND THE KIND WE LIKE. Just imagine his little face when I introduced him to the unique musical stylings of SHOOBY TAYLOR. I came away with a pocketful of musical goodies to study and enjoy - in fact I'm enjoying some of them as I write this!

And yes! I DID suffer from the walking strenuosities, twenty-four hours later...

Much as I enjoy picking apart the entertainingly elaborate kind of unsolicited mail that is the stock-in-trade of THE READER'S DIGEST, I draw the line at receiving actual goods that I haven't ordered and being expected to return them at my expense. They have obviously MADE A MISTAKE and I look forward to the charmingly grovelsome letter I will undoubtedly receive.