Week from Monday 2nd January 2006

XMAS 2005: AN ATONAL MONTAGE... Monty Python on DVD, crabsticks and STAR WARS... So Farewell Then, Birdy The Cockatiel... Reading one of ALEXEI SAYLE's collections of short stories and NICK MASON's memoirs... STEVE HACKETT TRIO at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (on CD)... "NEWS QUIZ OF THE YEAR"... Enough with the the FUNNY EARS already... An evening of PETER COOK & DUDLEY MOORE "rarities"... Biggest Movie Disappointment Of The Holidays: "MINORITY REPORT" - total piffle, didn't get all the way through it... Movies Worth The Effort: "THE QUIET AMERICAN", "SIGNS", "THE STRAIGHT STORY"... So Farewell Then, MVC (I eagerly await the final day of "EVERYTHING MUST GO")... Coming down to the orifice on a Bank Holiday just to use the POOTER... Clearing out a cupboard full of old WIRE magazines and Argos'ing for toasters and kettles... NEW YEAR'S DAY is no longer WORLD MUSIC DAY, but that's okay, because there was the LONG LONGED-FOR Kershaw session from ROBERT PLANT & THE STRANGE SENSATION to look forward to instead - WORLD MUSIC EH?! ...Coming back to 'work' only to find that my clients aren't ready to do the same...

Week from Monday 9th January 2006

On Saturday morning, I was SICK AS A PARROT, BRIAN... No, I don't think I've got bird flu, just the usual SINUS PROBLEMS, causing the winning formula of "HEADACHE ÷ NAUSEA = BARFING UP ME BREAKFAST". By the afternoon, having consumed some painkillers and slept a bit, everything was just dandy and I enjoyed a "director's commentary" viewing of "THE RUTLES: ALL YOU NEED IS CASH".

NORWEGIAN BLUES STUN EASILY: I got around to listening to the LATE JUNCTION special which was broadcastified during the middle of last week, featuring top stuff from the Barbican's recent "NORWEGIAN VOICES" concert (which I NEARLY went to, only I don't like the Barbican very much). The highlight for me was SUPERSILENT's collaboration with the maestro of glacial guitar, TERJE RYPDAL. Incidentally, after all these years of pronouncing his name "TUR-YEAH", I learn from our host, Fiona Talkington (who KNOWS about all things Scandinavian), that it sounds more like "TERRIER". There's a joke in there somewhere.

When Oh When can we expect BBC Radio 3 to broadcast something from the KATIA LABÈQUE BAND WITH FRED FRITH & VIKTORIA MULLOVA bash? After all, they helped commission it.

'Proper Work' is starting to trickle back in, but it'll be a while before I see any dosh from it. It doesn't help that the f***ed up telecommunications make it extremely difficult MOVIN' DE PROJEC' FO'WARDS...

It has come to my attention that this Friday (the 13th!) will be SYD BARRETT's sixtieth birthday, and that the ADVANCED NON-JAZZ/ANTI-TECHNIQUE GUITAR STYLIST, DEREK BAILEY died over Christmas...

Week from Monday 16th January 2006

...while yesterday (Sunday) was CAPTAIN BEEFHEART's sixty-fifth birthday.  I see that former Beefheart guitarist ALEX ST CLAIR SNOUFFER also died recently.

A new seedydisk, the first visible project from SHELFY's FIVE THIMBLES concern, has landed on my desk since last I sat at it. It is called "GROWING A TRUNK".

I haven't listened to it yet, as I have been too busy listening to THE BEES, especially the second album by THE BEES, called "FREE THE BEES". Despite having listened mainly to songs by THE BEES, it is the chirpy chunes of BJORK that have somehow elbowed everything else aside in the canyons of my mind, having harkened unto to an old promo CD that came free with The Times (heralding the release of "Vespertine"). Still, I'd rather have a head full of THE BEES. In fact, it is to THE BEES that I am listening as I write this. No, now it's THE GROUNDHOGS.

Another side effect of the ONGOING F***ED-UP TELECOMMUNICATIONS SITUATION is that, sometimes, when I upload this here diary page to the FTP site, overwriting the old one in the process, what comes out the other end of the stuttering phonelines is... well, even more nonsensical than intended. I believe this happened again on Thursday, so apo-logies to anyone who didn't get what I was going on about last week - ALL MISUNDERSTANDING IS DUE TO BAD COMMUNICATION, as no one once said.

Rather than the 'Incredible String Band Meets West Coast Meets Kraut Rock Experience' that I'd been expecting, SHELFY's 'album' sounds more like a rather crude (in every sense) take on THE RESIDENTS brand of electronica, albeit more 'West Country' than 'West Coast'. The verbal vulgarity in question allows one to EASILY identify its INTENDED TARGET AUDIENCE OF ONE, namely BINKY RENEGADES, Esteemed Human Nail Of This Parish and King Of The Hornets. The audio quality is mostly very good and there is some rather fine MUSIC in there, if you can listen past the potty-mouth stuff. TOP EFFORT. Now do an instrumental dub version.

I, meanwhile, have been continuing in the tradition of IMPROV-BASED COLLAGE that started with the "PALE DEFINITIVE MUT[IL]ATION" and "TEA-SET BODY REVUE" projects of many moons ago... a piece with the working title of "SNEEZING GUITARS", incorporating junkyard percussion and sounds derived from the mangled Fostex tape of guitar noises that I did a month or so back.

Week from Monday 23rd January 2006

I had to take a parcel of leaflets to Bitterne in Southampton, so ME BEING ME, I naturally made an ADVENTUREDAY of it. Bitterne's shopping precinct, the so-called 'Village', is but a couple of inches away from the Railway Station on the A-to-Z, but that map failed to convey the fact that the station is deep down in the valley and the Village is perched at the top of a goodly-grade hill. So That Was Nice. Having disposed of the 'real' task of the day, I made my way back down the hill, across Northam Bridge, past the OLD ABANDONED MERIDIAN TV MINES and through some of the questionably salubrious bits of Southampton real estate, wherein lurk all manner of seedy little junkshops, many of which haven't been boarded up yet. One of these seemed to be having a run on second-hand LITTLE FEAT albums for under four quid, so I had some of those. I eventually made my way into the City Centre for an afternoon's customary window shopping and a trip to the Art Gallery which is 'between exhibitions' at the moment, so nothing to see there. However the S-L-O-W train journey home was some kind of a treat, as it provided ample opportunity for NATURE SPOTTING - the assorted geese of the Itchen, the Rabbit Colonies of Hamble, the herons on the roofs of Segensworth...

...AND SO IT WAS, the "Sneezing Guitars" piece ended up as part of another STRUMPFEN artefact, a cunningly-forged "Lost Krautrock Classic From The Early Seventies Prized By Collectors For Its Rarity Value". In other words, I've only burned two copies! It comes complete with FAUST-style see-through cover and [questionable] German sleevenotes  - Damn! I've just noticed a typo! Anyway, it sounded pretty convincing when I listened to it on the bus last night. IT'S A FREAKY TRIP ON 'PHONES.

Week from Monday 30th January 2006

This week, I had a FURTHER tromp across the foothills of Mount Southampton to undertake (details of journey as above, except that, this time, none of the bun-buns of Hamble had come out to play) and, being the last Saturday of the month, there was a RECORD FAIR at the Guildhall thrown in for good measure! I spent a nice afternoon 'window-shopping' rather than indulging in my customary DISC-SPLURGE. In other words, nothing tempted me to part with my readies on this occasion, with the exception of [for a mere three of your English pounds] a CD-upgrade for one of my fave LAURIE ANDERSON albums. But it was an enjoyable day anyway. The Mystic Art Of Yom-Ping: THE PURPOSE OF THE JOURNEY IS THE JOURNEY ITSELF... "SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO 'OM', I'M TIRED AND I WANT TO GO TIBET..."

"Let's have a HEATED DEBATE!"

I had a mixed reaction to my comments about the swearing on Shelfy's disk. Shelfy admits that the profanity was there mainly to entertain Binky, but nevertheless enjoyed the opportunity to "swear like a trooper". Binky thought that I implied by the phrase 'INTENDED TARGET AUDIENCE OF ONE' that ONLY he finds that sort of thing amusing. He described the disc as 'a refreshing listen'. I only know that the 'INTENDED TARGET AUDIENCE OF ONE' was not me.

As Laurie Anderson (or was it William Burroughs?) said, "LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS..."

I must admit that I am the least qualified person to host a website about 'musical comedy'. To me, 'jokes' are OF THE MOMENT and hardly ever bear repeated hearing. I also have definite shortcomings when it comes to appreciating WORD-BASED AUDIO STIMULATION of any kind. I like MUSIC. "MUSIC IS THE BEST." (© FZ) You have to realise that, as an AGEING JAZZER-cum-PROGHEAD, I hear music in 'instrumental' terms. Vocal embellishments, if present at all, are treated merely as another part of the musical palette, a construction on which to hang the tune. I rarely put ANY VALUE AT ALL on the words, they are hardly ever worth the effort. I should know, I've written lyrics for rock bands, it's a doddle. Listen to vocal music and the words have a tendency to become the centre of one's attention, thus DISTRACTING from any MUSICAL merits the piece might have. Sometimes, because of their banality or lack of worth, words are an IRRITATION.

But that's just me. There has always been an enormous chasm between "THE MUSIC I WANT TO DO" and "THE MUSIC I WANT TO LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE DOING"... This just in from the Shelf, which opens up a whole new receptacle of vermicular beasties:

"With reference to the spoken word. What I find boring about the spoken word is the fact that it has to mean something. Alright, we need a few words to get by but I think that sensible verbal communication is vastly overrated. I like the sound of a word, the noise of the word. The nonsense of the word. For instance, CRANE!"

Ergo I particularly like to listen to that 'funny foreign stuff', because one can enjoy the SOUND of the human voice without having to focus on any textual 'MEANING' (Blimey, this page is turning into a playschool version of "Elephant Talk"!)