Week from Monday 7th November 2005
I spent a couple of days laid up with a stomach ailment, or A LOOD'V AWLD SQUIT as the SINGING POSTMAN might well have said. I stayed in bed and watched a lot of COUNTDOWN, because that's what sick people do. I dipped into "ULYSSES" and a detective story or two. I started reading the official biography of JOHNNY CASH. I watched a couple of Hollywood blockbusters, "JURASSIC PARK III: THIS TIME IT'S PTERODACTYL" and "STAR WARS EPISODE II: SEND IN THE CLONES", the latter of which took three attempts to get through, as I fell asleep the first two.
This week, "THE FREAK ZONE" played a (the?) record by the legendary JANICE NICHOLLS, the Midlands lass who, circa 1963, advanced the art of musical criticism into the next millennium with her all-encompassing catchphrase "OI'LL GIVE IT FOIVE!". I was thus reminded that it was she who once inspired OUR FOUNDING FATHERS to pen reams of tributary sonnets in her name. She is also mentioned in "I AM YOUR UNCLE". She is therefore, albeit tangentially, RELEVANT TO ALL THINGS GRIDLESOME. She currently runs (or rather her husband runs on her behalf) a website - http://members.lycos.co.uk/foive/ - but if yer a search engine fiend, then "THANK=YOUR=LUCKY=STARS+JANICE" will bring to light all manner of juicy nuggets, including the disturbing fact that "Thank Your Lucky Stars" STILL has some kind of fan club.
Week from Monday 14th November 2005
You can always tell when things are getting busy, when it's Wednesday or Thursday before I get around to posting this diary! I've been desperately trying to bank some money this week, so that I'll have something in my pocket when I go to Brighton on Monday.
Last Saturday, I went for one of my train-stroke-walk sojourns to Portsmouth, calling in at CHEZ WILLY on the way, as he still owed me for my last session of HTMLing. I also called 'round to the MERVYN PURVISS residence, but he was not in.
Naturally, as I was in the area, I visited the ROSS RECORD EMPORIUM, where I spied, in the second-hand racks, the Festival Hall version of LOVE's "Forever Changes" (complete with bonus tunes and a free ARTHUR LEE screensaver!).
I also found a seedydisk copy of PINK FLOYD's highly UNDERRATED - not, I hasten to add, by me! - "MORE" soundtrack, which, it was recently rumoured, at least one member of the band was trying to delete from the EMI catalogue, for reasons best known to him or them. I have always considered this to be a VITAL part of the Floydian canon. For many years, I have held on to my original Columbia label 'musicassette' copy, anticipating the day when I would finally stumble over this item in a durable(?) format, at a sensible price.
Week from Monday 21st November 2005
'tis Monday the Twenty-First-Oh, and my anticipated trip to Brighton rolls around... Fun And Games With Southern Trains... Walking down through HOVE-ACTUALLY on an Autumn afternoon and the sun is already low in the sky... Charity Shop Central (I didn't actually buy anything but ah! the hunt!)... Churchill Square ISN'T anymore, it's just another roofed-in MALL (so where do the buskers go?)... The Art Gallery & Museum closes on a Monday, chiz, chiz... A big hand for BORDERLINE RECORDS, a real live "Freak Emporium" full of DELICIOUS THINGS... where I found, for SENSIBLE MONEY, many sort-after items (more gaps filled in the PINK FLOYD collection) and some that I didn't know I wanted, but just had to have anyway (for example, a HERMETO PASCOAL-produced Brazilian disc) ... I found the (now possibly deleted?) RON GEESIN & ROGER WATERS "Music From The Body" soundtrack, but very nearly DIDN'T have it because the disc had been filed away in the wrong place (I received a further discount for my patience)... ANOTHER big hand for CAFF… NERO, purveyors of awesome Double Espressos that hit you like a shot of Amyl Nitrate, and scrumptious Mediterranean Vegetable Soup, with little bread rolls that taste homemade and probably aren't, but who cares?
Tonight's gig, by THE KATIA LAB»QUE BAND WITH FRED FRITH & VIKTORIA MULLOVA, to give them their full title, has been moved from the Corn Exchange, 'round the corner to the Pavilion Theatre. This is because of a lacklustre demand for tickets - It's the Ashcroft Syndrome! - but in the event, this is a better arrangement all round: better sound, better visibility, probably nicer for the musicians as well. The last minute change means that the piano-tuner is still busy at ten to eight and there are "Technical Problems": a MIDI keyboard needs a hasty replacement... None of this matters when the music starts...
REFERENCE POINTS: Steve Martland Band, Stockhausen, Henry Cow (of course), Henry Cowell, some King Crimson (especially when the violin and guitar combine to provide those HAIRS-ON-THE-BACK-OF-THE-NECK moments), Stravinsky-esque time-signatures, elements of certain "world music", moments of Satie-like tranquillity suddenly shattered by out-and-out jazz THRASH! A thrilling, involving musical journey... with an unexpected bonus: a deconstructed Mahavishnu tune as an encore! I thought I'd died and gone to AVANT-GARDE HEAVEN!
The only downside to going to Brighton of an evening is the sheer tedium of the journey back - you don't realise just how many stations there are on that line, until you've stopped at EVERY SINGLE ONE! Why does Worthing need THREE stations?
SHELFY is searching for a ukelele, "THE ONLY TRUE INSTRUMENT", says he. As a next-best-thing option, I've dug out our Unitroba-vintage, more-filler-than-wood (but mostly Neopolitan), bowl-backed MANDOLIN, which, in the heady old days, used to double as a uke, as it only had four [recycled guitar] strings. At the moment it has none whatsoever.
Week from Monday 28th November 2005
You cannot fail to have noticed, on the screen before you, the results of several hours' worth of furtive toil... Hours spent slaving over the virtual retort stands and Java-Bunsens of my trade, clad in the grubby lab coat and hastily gaffer-taped spectacles that are de rigueur for the modern AITCH-TEE-EM-ELL BOFFIN, so that I can bring to YOU THE READER a brand spanking new-look GRIDLER SECRET SPACEWEB THINGY, in time for the New Year. I crave your further patience, as some of YOUR FAVOURITE BITS will be offline for a while. They are still undergoing reconstructive tweakage - I mainly speak of the "Funny Things From The Archives" sub-species of website. So bear with me. Once I started on this section, I realised just how much stuff there is in there - it could take months to re-format it all!
Actually, it didn't THAT long, once I got down to it... although uploading it JUST SEEMED to take months, as my dial-up connection is even more shocking than usual at the moment. SHELFY was recently saying that he's going to forgo BROADBAND once his subscription runs out at the end of the year. Believe me, old bean, you'll miss it when it's not there! There's many an hour - nay! whole days - when I've been unable to connect to my own FTP site (to upload THIS for example!) or even send a simple e-mail, so shoddy are the phone-lines!
You will see that I have now compiled my "PICK 'O' THE YEAR" list for 2005. One last-minute entry for the incredible expanding "Reissues & Back Catalogue" list was the ROBERT WYATT & FRIENDS set from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane 1974, which has been my BUS-LISTENING OF CHOICE for the last few days, since I bought it in Brighton. You'll also notice that last week's happening at the Dome has zoomed sterrrrraight in at number two, with or without any sort of bullet.
I've just started reading MOON UNIT ZAPPA's first novel "America The Beautiful". On first perusal, it looks like being a sort of hip, Angelino-Bohemian take on "Sex And The City" or "Bridget Jones' Diary", with a cunningly-disguised autobiographical aspect to it, but we shall see...