Week from Monday 8th January 2007

While at the SALES in Southampton, I had gleaned double-seedies from XTC (the "Singles" anthology) and TALKING HEADS (The un-abridged "The Name Of This Band Is...") at a mere fiver each, another GENTLE GIANT live album of questionable origin (but for £1, who cares?) and the 'latest' TODD RUNDGREN album, also for £1. This has subsequently led to a fresh TODD 'CRAZE'. I also stocked up on C90 cassettes for radio 'TAPE-IT-FERLATER' purposes, because they are getting harder and harder to buy ANYWHERE these days.

Having 'tweaked' one of the new album tracks according to Shelfy's specifications, I found that two other tracks could do with the same treatment. Meanwhile The Shelf is tinkering with the new cover artwork and I look forward to seeing it when it's done (No, it doesn't have a picture of some MONKEYS on it this time, just some picturesque Victorian puppies). He has hidden behind various NOMS-de-LOON during the time spent on this project (He was "COLIN GREATOREX" for the longest time). Now I notice he's changed his name again... me, I'm just SKY LARKIN!

He left me the 'new' GOTAN PROJECT album. He doesn't like it, but AH SURE DO! I do wish they didn't favour those cardboard mini-sleeves though. For a start, it's far too tight a fit for slipping the disk out without over-handling it. No doubt the corners will get scuffed as soon as I try to shove it in the CD rack. And if I put the sleeve in a plastic outer to protect it, it won't fit in the rack at all... it's all a bit like the 'good' old days of vinyl, really. Which reminds me, I got an e-missive from MERVYN PURVISS, listing some of his latest VINYL>MP3 'conversions' (He's just got a new turntable for the purpose). I'll be interested in hearing what sort of job he's done cleaning up the delightfully awful "Hard Rock" by THE EQUINOX, an album which was so badly pressed, it contained more surface noise than actual music! And the less said about the 'actual music', the better! I shall be going over to see him just as soon as I can take copies of our NEW PRODUCT with me.

During the festive hiatus, the Third Programme broadcastified the very last of its WOMAD 2006 'highlights', so now I can 'collate' all that I have collected since last July. Today, I have been thrilling to TOUMANI DIABATÉ & THE SYMMETRIC ORCHESTRA's so-called acoustic set (If that's what these boys sound like in LATE NIGHT CHILL-OUT mode, then what happens when they REALLY plug in and crank it up?) and IVO PAPASOV's Bulgarian Wedding Band, a long time favourite. "World Routes" will next have highlights from some of the 'world' artists who appeared at 2006's LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL... bringing us neatly to "JAZZ ON 3", featuring the magnificent LJF set by WAYNE SHORTER and his Quartet - "It's IMPROVISATION, cap'n, but not as we know it!" - which has been on my 'jukebox' for the last week.

Week from Monday 15th January 2007

Some new shiny items arrived from the DGM concern: Firstly, we have them zany KING CRIMSON boys, recorded live in 1982 for a Munich telly show curiously named "Rock Aus Dem Alabama". It's one of the best SOUNDING ClubDiscs from this period of Crim, with drums and 'Stick' nicely to the fore. Secondly, there is a scrunchtastic double-disc featuring 1998's PROJEKCT TWO taking off into the skies over Chicago. The "SUS-TAYN-Z" piece that opens the second set is particularly stunning.

To paraphrase William Burroughs, "WE'VE WORKED REAL HARD TO MAKE OURSELVES OBSCURE". All of the 'packaging' has now been printed for both "TALES FROM THE WINGED EYEBALL" and "NO WINGS, NO EYES, NO BALLS..." and very nice it all looks too! Much DISK DUPLICATIN' has occurred, and copies of both seedies are being distributed to THOSE THAT MATTER, as I write. MERVYN PURVISS (who considers us his 'GURUS') has received his copy through the post and says he will even be adding "Tales..." to his MP3 player. 

...or was it 'GNUS'?

I spent most of this weekend making a start on TOTALLY GUTTING my 'habitation unit', as [at least] one of the walls has become home to several fascinating species of  damp-related fungoid lifeforms. The once cream-coloured wallpaper is now an interesting shade of Brunswick green in places (mainly behind the wardrobe). I have been RESCUING my CD collection, by systematically transferring them into a new ring-binder type storage system. This means I have been throwing away an enormous quantity of plastic rackage and jewelcasing, far more than any charity shop might welcome... Plastic storage boxes have been purchased to replace some decidedly (wh)iffy cardboard ones.

The weather is less than delightful at the moment, which means that OILCLORTH LEGGINS are the clothing item of choice for the hardened pedestrian. Some NORMALS have deluded themselves that umbrellas are a functional alternative. How silly they look! The water company is begrudgingly lifting the hosepipe ban, the Severn Bridge has taken a beating, parts of the Midlands have blown away entirely and a couple of trains have been toppled. The Met Office continues to insist that it's NOT A HURRICANE however.

Week from Monday 22nd January 2007

OH WELL, I WON'T CALL MYSELF THAT THEN... it seems I've been "JUMP"ed! Binky has just e-mailed me with a link to a website featuring various Leeds bands. There is ALREADY a rockin' teenage beat combo called SKY LARKIN. Ho Hum... serves me right for not being a 'googler of the net' as I believe you young'ns call 'em. On the subject of all things HUMAN NAIL-shaped, I should mention that there are now some VIDEO ITEMS by the large buffoon and his chums to be caught on that newfangled YOU TUBE malarkey, which I understand to be all the rage at the moment:- "LEE (ON THE SOLENT) TIGER" (by the band once known as KITTY GLITTER, but who are now called THE ODEEGATRONS because the name 'Kitty Glitter' has been taken by some erotic dance troupe or other - are you following this?), "DADDY DON'T BUY A GUN FOR CHRISTMAS" (by the band called COSTA DEL BLOWFLY or is it TROMBONIST?) and a karaoke version of "CHEETOS & CUSTARD" by THE MIGHTY SPRINGBOKS. Links will be added to this site soonish. Meanwhile, our Washington correspondent KEN DEAD e-informs me that he recently saw an all-female Zep tribute band called LEZ ZEPPELIN who are "really good, honestly" and are coming over to play Europe shortly.

"The best sound I've ever heard coming from a banjo was the sound it made when an accordion landed on top of it in a skip" (quoted in the Reader's Digest).

On Wednesday, I ventured out into the SNOW to visit the DENTIST, a cavity to be filled-oh. 'ALL THE FUN OF THE FACE' - Oh how we laughed when I attempted to drink a cup of tea afterwards! - and a dose of mercury poisoning to boot...

Week from Monday 29th January 2007

As part of my current (and unfortunately rather necessary) 'HONING OF THE MUSIC COLLECTION' project, I have once again been reappraising donkeys'-years'-worth of radio tapes (on this occasion, those featuring young DJANGO BATES and associated jazz reproBates: Human Chain, Delightful Precipice, Bill Bruford's Earthworks, Loose Tubes etc etc) with the view to turning them into MP3s. Though understandably of  varying quality, they will all go on a CD-R or two, thus replacing SKIP-LOADS of old C90s.

However, SOD'S LAW dictates that should my activities involve any sort of 'musical appraisal', I will go down with a dose of "FUNNY EARS", thus making said activities rather difficult. Such is the case at the moment. As I can't hear ANYTHING clearly, who KNOWS if the tapes are any good or not?! I rely instead on my ability to 'read' visually the waveform patterns in my audio editor programme and hope for the best.

One of the charity shops (the one for 'pets in need of vets') has just received a nice big box of my old CD and cassette SINGLES (box included!) which have also previously been 'turned into' MP3s.

Meanwhile, the 'SCRAPING OF THE WALLPAPER' progressed a little further this week, finally reaching bare plaster. A chlorine-based fungicidal fluid was applied to affected (infected?) areas, so now my room smells like a public baths. Now to demolish the wardrobe...