Week from Monday 1st October 2007  

Another weekend, another dispatch from FRIPP central... with a nice HOT TICKLE download featuring a CHURCHSCAPE piece from the man's trip to Estonia of last year (a taster for the "At The End Of Time" album). There is also exciting news on the RABBIT front (well, exciting for people who like rabbits anyway), with an in-depth diary entry describing Mr and Mrs Willcox's visit to a pet shop in Worcester to purchase said beast. I'd really like to believe that the Frippses decision to buy a new BUNBUN was prompted by a missive sent to the Toyah MySpace. I mentioned how Shelfy and I still chortle at the memory of an old TV clip of Uncle Robert running scales on the trusty Ovation (or was it a Fernandes?), while a fluffy creature scurries about his feet. Robert now has a picture of wife and rabbit as the 'wallpaper' on his Powerbook.

In addition[?] to the regular Hot Tickles that usually appear on a Saturday, we now have Mondays to look forward to as well! Alex "Stormy" Mundy, DGM's resident spool-jockey, has started to pick out further archive oddities for our listening and downloading pleasure. The first is a trio of radio adverts from 1973. The American one for "Starless & Bible Black", with its "HMM! COSMIC MAAAN!" overtones, is particularly hilarious. Also hilarious (intentionally or otherwise) are some of the comments that have been posted on the 'PICS' page of the K'Crim's MySpace.

The [first] STEEL BAND website is now finished, up and running. The all-important invoice has been posted and all is well with the world. There are one or two minor tweaks I'd like to carry out, just for my own satisfaction, but that can wait until I have my own internet connection back.

All this crazed creativity has prompted me to switch on the old Amiga for some HEAVY HEAVY SYNTHESIS and I've already produced two whole NEW tracks (accompanying 'missing episodes' from Shelfy's "T.F.T.W.E." monologues) for MySpacery. One has been posted, another is in the "SAVE IT FOR 'RON" folder. There are still a number of Shelfy's macNIPULATED voiceovers left 'IN THE CAN', as it were. If I'm not careful, I might end up with ANOTHER album's-worth of material!

Well, here we are at the beginning of October and STILL I'm wearing shorts! I have now purchased my YOMPING BOOTS for the 'autumn', but long trousers are beyond consideration at the moment. Knees could easily become overheated. And yet here am I doing the first "SNOW-ON-THE-LETTERING" jobs for CHRISTMAS, which (as a number of shops take pleasure in reminding us) is a mere twelve weeks away... Panic-buy your puddings and mince pies NOW!

Our friends AFOUS AFOUS sent us free copies of their 5-track mini album "Moment By Moment". It is quite splendid... a little bit Manu Chão, a little bit Justin Adams, a little bit U-Cef... for sure, but at times I also hear shades of KILLING JOKE! The 'proper' album will be out in the new year, at which point the Charlie Gilletts and Lucy Durans and all the other members of the Metrocentric World Music Mafia will receive THEIR freebies, and argue over who 'discovered' them first. 

I suppose we SHOULD send them something in return...

This week's mobile listening has been the complete[?] works of Vectis' finest THE BEES, some ALICE COLTRANE and (oh, what a surprise!) ROBERT FRIPP's "At The End Of Time" in ALL its glory.

Week from Monday 8th October 2007

At the end of last week we stopped off at Bitterne to deliver boxes of "SNOW ON THE LETTERING" leaflets, whilst on our way to SEE THE PONIES... and piggies (for 'tis pannage time!)... not to mention Land Rovers and motorcycles. 

So on Saturday, I went for one of my MOUNTAIN WALKS around Southampton (from the city centre, past the old abandoned television mines, up the hill into Bitterne's so-called Village, then up and down a few more hills, before crossing the bridge to St Denys), thus collecting my cheque along the way. A good way to break in a new pair of yomping boots... When I try to explain to 'normal' people why I do these things, they just stare agog.

My long-anticipated new internet connection has been promised for Tuesday or Wednesday of this week but, what with the postal strikes and all, my modem hasn't arrived beforehand. I understand that The Human Nail is in a similar predicament.

A bit of RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT is required, because folks have been saying that the video content on the steel band webbo is "too slow". WELL, THAT'S VIDEO FOR YOU. The method I have used was the only one I found that would be universally BROWSER-FRIENDLY. Believe me, I tried a LOT of methods before arriving at the simplest. Anything else is either M****soft [Internet Explorer and/or Windoze Media Player]-specific, needs additional plug-ins that not everyone has (Quicktime, Real Player etc etc), or requires some heavy HTML coding that you eventually find will work on one flavour of browser and not on another. The only way to make download times quicker is to make the files smaller and thusly of a poorer quality...

...not that QUALITY is an issue anymore, as the client has decided that having YOU-TUBE host the vids would be the preferable option (therefore 'streaming' the clips rather than downloading them). It'll certainly be quicker but, in my experience, anything 'broadcast' via YouTube looks like it's made of LEGGO! I'm also not convinced that YouTube has any value as a marketing tool - it's been hijacked by stoners and Jackass wannabes... but hey! 'the customer is always right'. Friday lunchtime was spent uploading the vids to YouTube via the ShelfMac, then I went home with the HTML code to create a new Gallery page for the links to go on. I shan't know if it'll work though, until I can FTP the new pages...

Gosh! Haven't I got a lot of Japanese friends...?

By pretending to be interested in the Intel-sponsored MySpace Supergroup competition, one is now able to post not four but FIVE pieces of music on one's page. This weekend, I shall add two more NEW tracks featuring 'missing episodes' from "THE WINGED EYEBALL".

Week from Monday 15th October 2007

...or maybe I won't. The librreerrary computer was COMPLETELY unresponsive this Saturday. It would not allow me to upload my toons without freezing up (mind you, that COULD be because MySpace Tom is still ironing out the wrinkles in the "FIVE TRACKS FOR THE PRICE OF FOUR" technology). I'll have to go back another day to clean up the mess left behind in my "Manage Songs" space. Nor was I able to e-mail Shelfy with this week's pictures of rabbit life. I did however download my Saturday DGM Hot Tickle, a rather nice version of the KCrim's "EleKtriK" from Nashville 2001.

On Monday, the connection is more stable and the new toons are up and running... Stormy's Monday download is an eight-minute interview (by some Hull Technical College students and a rather eager young Japanese fellow) with JOHN WETTON, conducted as the roadies go about their noisome tasks, following the 'new' KC's debut British appearance.

AND WE'RE BACK... My modem finally arrived from StuporNet (just as well really, 'cos you can't buy one in the shops for lovermoney!), no doubt having spent a few days' holiday at a strike-bound post office somewhere. Much gnashing of teeth followed as I tried to get a connection - I was eventually able to activate the service with the help of a friendly call-centre type person, possibly based somewhere in the Indian subcontinent. Then I found that the connection wouldn't STAY connected. Plumbing in a better grade of telephone cable seems to have done the trick. However, in the finest tradition of StuporNet, there are still times of the day when getting a stable connection is more likely than others.

I was able to complete my scheduled tasks in record time (early in the morning seems a good time!). The STEEL BAND WEBBO is now fully functional and YouTubified, in time for the client's return from Seeuth Iffricah. Phew! Now I'm going for a legstretch...

The best time for doing ONLINE things IS definitely in the early hours (between 1 and 2 am, when I normally get restless anyway!). The so-called SUPERHIGHWAY is much better when it's free of traffic. I can do all sorts of up-and-downloading tasks without a glitch and, I can't help noticing, a lot of mySpaceFriends have come out to play (and not just the ones in the Eastern Hemisphere). Very productive indeed...

I treated myself to a full download from the DGM concern; the lads in full 'Double Trio' mode, tearing up the Shepherds Bush Empire in 1996 (the second-to-last time that proper KING CRIMSON played in England!?).

Week from Monday 22nd October 2007

Monday morning is when I traditionally do my 'pooter's security updates (manually: I refuse to rely on 'automatic' updates), but it looks like I'm not the only one. The servers were busy and it took several goes at getting a connection before I was able to do my tasks. I also keep finding instances where I haven't QUITE got my firewall configured for the new internet service (I couldn't get my outgoing mail to outgo at first), but I'm getting there. Now that Mozilla Thunderbird or Outlook Express can handle my outgoing mail as well, I don't have to use that wretchedly erratic webmail service anymore. Hoo-ruddy-ray! 

Shelfy has now got a ridiculous backlog of rabbit pictures waiting in his inbox! Tee hee hee! Now I have to go and pretend to be a printer...

Radio Three has oodles of streamin' stuff from this year's WOMAD on its website, including what seem to be COMPLETE sets by several favourite artistes (and more than a few non-favourite ones!). I've just been luxuriating in the late night set by Norway's very own MARI BOINE. Meanwhile, TONY LEVIN has some spectacular FROM-THE-STAGE photographs of the festival on his 'Road Diaries' pages... All The Fun Of The Fair, only without the Glastongrad-style MUD.

Uh oh! Shelfy's just accidentally bought another motorbike...

The Autumn is definitely upon us... Bang on schedule, the BRENT GEESE have arrived in the harbour. This signals the time to don long trousers. They're still in paddling mode at the moment (the geese not the trousers). I haven't seen any coming ashore to graze as yet. But just as soon as the rugby field has been cleared up after the Bonfire Bonanza, they will move in... Ooh look! I've just passed the FOUR-HUNDRED FRIENDS mark!

Week from Monday 29th October 2007

I installed one of those hi-fallutin' Flash MP3 players on MyMySpace, so that all four of the "Winged Eyeball" 'missing episodes' are now gathered together in one place, with the resident media player given over to the instrumental stuff as before (a new selection of tracks). The 'Eyeball' MP3s have been compressed to half the usual bit-rate with no noticeable loss of quality - this way I can put them on my online webspace for storage, with plenty of room left over for THIS HERE DIARY. I've also tweaked the background colours on the profile page (or rather, removed them altogether for a clinical, all-white look), added new links and applied some graphics to the blogpage. But, for a Sunday evening, the connection was shockingly half-baked and it took forever!

It's probably just one of these scare stories that get spread around now and again, but somebody told me that there is a virussy thingy going about that hijacks your internet connection and diverts it via a premium rate phone line in Manila or somesuch. This has naturally got me afraid of my own shadow and running full and thorough security checks on a near-daily basis (which has to be a good thing really). Most 'malware' I know how to cope with, but not the kind that hits you where it hurts, i.e. the wallet! You don't generally know about these things until it's too late and you get the phone bill... Hopefully, should it indeed exist, it only affects people who still use M****soft Internet Explorer (Eine Kleine Cyberschadenfreude?!)

Hey! The EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND want to be friends with me! 

Our graphics for the STEEL BAND PROJECT are a big hit in South Africa (pronounced 'Seeuth Iffricah')... "Very sexy", apparently... This [Tuesday] evening we meet up to discuss what's happening next... There's a whole messa new photographs to look at, new t-shirts to be worn, posters to be printed, webbos to be updated. It is suggested that we add a feedback form to one of the webpages - Well! I don't mind admitting that I am somewhat out of my depth with this one. Despite staying up all night downloading technical manuals and fiddling with endless bits of code (most of which I neither understand or ever expect to work), I'm no nearer to finding a solution. The HTML stuff I feel comfortable with. The server-side programming has me baffled. A simple 'mail-to' button will have to suffice for now. By Friday morning, I'm sick of the sight of it all and am desperately in need of some skiving off. I hopped on a train to Chichester for one of ME DAZE OUT and some therapeutic traipsing.