Week from Monday 2nd July 2007

On Saturday, the weather was ghastly and miserable. But, rather than sit around indoors all day, I went out to enjoy the craec of the train journey and to select somewhere I haven't already strolled around previously. So where better to spend a few hours than the quaint little market town of BASINGSTOKE (twinned with AIX SAINT PEINS)! Actually, before I went, I wasn't sure if Basingstoke even HAD a town centre, all you ever see from 'the outside' is a dirty great trading estate and a bypass. But, as it happens, there is one of sorts - one huge covered mall (same ol' same ol') and an 'Old Town' which has virtually died as a consequence of 'progress'. A bit like Havant on a larger scale. There are a couple of charity shops worth seeing though. Also, should I ever wish to attend a gig at the Anvil, I know how easy it is to get to now. The money for all my recent efforts is starting to arrive, so more days out are still on the cards, weather permitting.

Meanwhile back at DGM Live!: I bought and downloaded the legendary KING CRIMSON gig from Glasgow Apollo in 1973 (partially on "The Great Deceiver" and "Starless & Bible Black", but we CRIMHEADS must of course have the WHOLE hog!). It's well worth $9.95 of ANYBODY'S hard-earned. There is some truly astonishing music hidden in [whatever's the MP3 equivalent of] them grooves! Also there's a 'Hot Tickle' (R*A*B*A*B*T*A*L audience recording) from a FRIPP performance in Chicago in 1979 - a wonderfully savage racket!

I'm making steady progress through "FINNEGANS WAKE" and in a forward direction too! One just has to learn a whole NEW way of reading (in my case, involving the use of a pencil to mark the quotable bits and to add margin notes).

Shelfy has just added my 'zero gravity zebra' "NANTUCKET FLEA RIDE" video to HisSpace and is begging for more of same. Jes' gimme the tools to do it and we'll have a go! Apparently, he's been watching it every night on his DVD player before retiring.

After a couple of false starts, I have launched my own PEDANTIC PEDESTRIAN MySpace. It takes a couple of days for everything to start working(?) but everything is now in place, touch wood (or perhaps silicon).

Week from Monday 9th July 2007

Shelfy and I ended our week with one of our DAZE-OUT. We went into the heart of Buckinghamshire (the home of HOVERCRAFT RACING and world centre of the GAZEBO INDUSTRY) in his overheated and un-besilencered VAN BLANC, to collect half a ton of cast-iron doobries from the middle of Milton Keynes (Land of My Father's) for delivery to the Vehicle Turntable people. The van is so loud, even The Jefferson Airplane and 1973-vintage King Crimson were inaudible.

On Saturday, my ears were still ringing. I had scheduled a day of TELE-VEGETATION, watching the London 'Prologue' of the TOUR DE FRANCE, occasionally channel-flipping over to the LIVE EARTH concert, where only SPINAL TAP held any appeal for the likes of me. "Stonehenge" had me in tears of mirth! I was furious that the Beeb found it necessary to cut away to the concert in Japan, to show us some more anonymous bimbopop lipsyncing, while the Mighty Tap were still playing "Big Bottoms" with more bass guitarists than it was possible to count. As a bill of fare, the Wembley concert was a odd one, just asking for APATHY; How many METALLICA fans would have enjoyed JAMES ruddy BLUNT, and vice versa? The concert happened TOO SOON after Glastongrad and the treaclesome LadyDiFest and, by trying to appeal to a broad church, they probably severely dented their potential TV audience figures. It also happened on the same day as two major sporting events in London (the Tour and the tennis). Let's not pretend that too many people watching the gig (either at Wembley or at home) were in it for 'the issues'. When did stadium pop concerts ever have any lasting effect on the state of the planet?

On Sunday, I felt I should have some exercise before resuming my all-day veg-out activities, the first stage of the TOUR DE FRANCE proper. I went for a morning walk to the CARBOOT SALE. I bought a portastudio for fifteen quid, but I don't think it works properly - another FUTUREPROJECT mayhap?

After a couple of false starts, "MySpace/pedanticpedestrian" is now operational, with a couple of DUB versions [of tunes also featured on RABBIT SHOW REJECT] and "Vestigial Ratoons", the magnum opus from "No Wings... No Eyes... No Balls". Now to 'MAKE SOME FRIENDS'!

It looks like, after much e-mail badgering, StuporNet have removed my old and unreachable diary pages from their server. So THIS DIARY is currently no longer PUBLIC, existing only in my own head and hard drive. The TRUE FACE OF INTERACTIVE GRIDLEDOM will henceforth be the blogs on MySpace.

I purchased and downloaded a couple of acoustic HOT TUNA sets from the chaps' website, something that I've been waiting to [be able to] do since I saw them at a WOMAD a couple of years ago. Top summer sounds!

This Wednesday is DENTIST DAY. And I bought some summer shoes.

METEOROLOGY (Why do they call it that? Do weathermen predict meteor showers? I don't think so!): Just when I decide that today would be [or would have been] a good day for my trip to the Isle of Wight, the weather has taken a turn for the worse again. I did fit in a trip across the water to Pyortsmuff, for some Meagrestore browsing. I bought seedydisks of the JEFFERSON AIRPLANE ("Last Flight", their last gig at the Winterland in 1972, by which time they'd ALMOST mutated into Jefferson Starship anyway), the long awaited "TRIO OF DOOM" recordings by JOHN McLAUGHLIN, JACO PASTORIUS and TONY WILLIAMS and, because it was only a fiver, the first WEATHER REPORT album.

I'm listening to my fave net-radio channel (wall-to-wall PROG all the way!) at the moment and I've just heard a Californian(?) band called NIACIN (I think Billy Sheehan has got something to do with them) doing a organ-driven cover of the Crim's "Red". Crikey!

Week from Monday 16th July 2007

At the end of the week I fitted in a trip to the ISLE OF WIGHT. I purchased one of Southern Vectis' ONE DAY ROVER tickets for a day's combined BUSSING & SERIOUS YOMPAGE:

10.30am RYDE >>No.2 bus>> SHANKLIN >>major 'mountain' walk>> VENTNOR >>No.3 bus>> NEWPORT >>No.1 bus>> WEST COWES >>chain ferry>> EAST COWES >>up-hill walk>> OSBORN HOUSE GATE COTTAGE >>No.4 bus>> RYDE 5.00pm

So I 'did' one or two places that I've never been to before, but I STILL didn't get any further west than Newport.

The 'mountain' walk between Shanklin and Ventnor is chestclutchingly awesome, with a VERY welcome fresh water stream at the bottom of the hill climb! Like several of the so-called 'Coastal' Paths on the island, you don't see very much of the coast as such, but you do see a lot of 'jungle'! On the other hand, the walk from East Cowes up the hill to the gate of Osborn House is basically just a stroll through a housing estate, so it's not what you'd call picturesque!

I went to Cowes so that I can say 'I've been there', but I have to say it IS rather dull, a town with a one-tracked mind. There is NOTHING there that isn't connected with the MARINE INDUSTRY. ALL of the shops in the High Street are either chandlers, trophy shops or clothiers for sailors. And the usual array of tourist tat-merchants. The old CHAIN FERRY that links West and East Cowes is a quaint piece of technology however.

Radio Two broadcast highlights of the GENESIS gig at Twickenham and I was surprised how much of it I actually ENJOYED, considering it was basically the same stuff they played in 1992, the last time the Collins/Banks/Rutherford/Stuermer/Thompson line-up convened in stadiums across the world.

On Sunday, the "MUSIC INDUSTRY" made loud complaining noises about how it's all going pear-shaped, as The Artist Formally Known As Squiggly Thing, PRINCE, GAVE AWAY FREE his new album "Planet Earth" with copies of The Mail On Sunday. I've only listened to it once all the way through - it's now poised on my walkperson for bustime listening - but I'd have to say that (with the possible exception of a couple of generic NPG funk-outs) it IS the strongest material he's released since "Sign 'O' The Times".

This week, by trial and error, I managed to tweak the appearance of my MySpace with some judicious HTML inserting. I also managed to make a pigsty of Shelfy's blog page when I tried to 'SHOW OFF' my newly discovered skills! Oh hum!

Several new people have offered or agreed to be my 'friends', including some much admired TOP NAMES. The member of RENALDO & THE LOAF (Portsmouth's very own RESIDENTS) who also trades under the nom-de-loon of THE DARKENING SCALE is definitely a LIKE-MINDED INDIVIDUAL. as is GEOFF LEIGH, formally of the lefty prog-boffins HENRY COW.

Week from Monday 23rd July 2007

Saturday was a VERY GOOD DAY (apart from the weather, which still sucks). I bought a new Sony Walkperson, 'my' team Astana got three out of the top four places in the TOUR DE FRANCE individual time trial, and no less a strange person than DJANGO BATES commented on MicePace that WE are insane. That's when you KNOW you're doing something right!

This MySpace whassame is VERY addictive. I even find myself going into the library to check my messages when I'm away from my OWN computer. How sad is that!? I'm itching to go back to the Isle of Wight for further leg-adventures (I'm addicted to that too!), but the weather simply will not stabilise long enough to plan more than a day ahead. 

At least we haven't had any floods down this end of the country. Yet. We should resign ourselves to the fact that THIS PLANET IS F**KED and organising pop concerts at Wembley won't fix it. Human beings are selfish greedy bastards who would rather drive the latest 4x4 urbantank and find further and further exotic locations to jet off to and exploit. Telling people not to overfill their kettles is too little too late.

As it reaches its last few days, all the fun has been sucked out of the TOUR DE FRANCE by further 'doping' scandals. The comeback king Alexander Vinoukourov's last blood test revealed evidence of a transfusion (hardly surprising, considering the patching up he received after his tumble earlier in the race!) which has led to the ENTIRE Astana team being pulled. Chiz chiz! Michael Rasmussen has been pulled out of the race by HIS team. Had he been allowed to finish the race and retain the maillot-jaune outright (and he surely would have), there would always have been doubt about the validity of his win or, indeed, whether he should have been allowed in the race in the first place. A Cofidis rider's test results looked iffy and so that entire team was pulled as well: result one severely PO'ed Bradley Wiggins... Despite the brave efforts of Cadel Evans to prevent it, the adjusted Overall Classification tables meant another win (by default) for that horrid American team Discovery Channel (albeit with a Spanish rider). Yah Boo Sucks!

Week from Monday 30th July 2007

Schadenfreude... That WOMAD Festival came and went this weekend and, what with mortgage-warranting ticket prices and corporate VIP-friendly camping arrangements, the festival resembled GLASTONGRAD in one more unwelcome way - the entire site was awash with the oozing, wellygrabbing mud that is a regular feature of the West Country tribal gathering. Ha ha ha, that'll teach 'em to move the site! I have not heard the Radio 3 broadcasts as yet, having taped them for later enjoyment[?] Experience tells me that the Beeb's festival bares scant resemblance to that experienced by the [over]paying punter. In fact R3's coverage has been very downplayed this year, with little of the usual hoohah being made about it on the website or in the Radio Times. If you didn't know it was there you'd have missed it.

I did a CARBOOT yesterday, simply for the experience of GETTIN' OUT THE HOUSE. I came back with a new keyboard stand, functional despite some missing bits, and a seedydisk of "CARMINA BURANA". Although it's not 'technically' as good as the digital recording I already have and is by an orchestra of possible third-world origin, it's a more LISTENABLE performance (especially on a bus), because the quiet bits aren't TOO quiet like the posh one.

Tuesday, the weather took a turn for the better, so I ran away to sea! I walked the "NORTHWEST PASSAGE" of the Isle of Wight, from Ryde to Cowes before bus-hopping around the SWEEPING VISTAS of the western end of the island. Quite spectacular, if you discount all the hours spent waiting around bus stops in dull little Totland and Freshwater, waiting for the next bus to come along. And then, after all that PEDESTRIANISM, I crippled myself by falling over the pavement, twisting my ankle in the process, a mere fifty yards from home.