Week from Monday 7th January 2008

I've spent an AWFUL lot of the 'holiday' period doing e-flurrying for the STEEL BAND PROJECT, above and beyond the call of duty... 'Duty' for which I REALLY should invoice them pretty soon now! I've now gleaned some audio content for streaming purposes (subject to approval), while the video 'montage' footage has now gone through three different permutations.

Shelfy now has not one but TWO new MySpaces on the go (Three, if you include STEAK WRIST... Ed). The new "BLOW MINNOWS" page will probably concentrate on the 'stories-with-music' side of things. I always wanted to use the name 'Blow Minnows' for SOMETHING - it came from an EXTREMELY LONG list of potential band names we came up with in one weekend (sometime in the late eighties?), when one of  MERVYN PURVISS' rockin' teenage combos had to change its name [again] suddenly... so, if ANYONE needs their band naming..?

I went to Southampton to mooch around the Art Gallery, as is my wont of a Saturday... nothing new to report here! Off to the January Sales then... Deep in the HMV basement, I stumbled over Sir Simon Rattle's complete boxed MAHLER symphonic cycle at a MAJOR reduction! That's nearly EVERY note that OL' GUSTAV ever wrote, for a mere twenty-five quid! How could I not? I also got the 'new' TARAF DE HAIDOUKS album, which I'd failed to buy when I saw them in Basingstoke.

Right, well, I suppose it's back to normal this week... Whatever 'NORMAL' is...

The new MySpace pages are coming thick and fast! Now Shelfy has launched a JOHNSON'S GRIDLING BAND page - "The Gibbering Toad Years" - in time for the fortieth anniversary. I came across a nice Flash MP3 player in the style of a tape cassette, which adds a nice period touch. 

Meanwhile, I've been tinkering about with a 'scratch video' made up of STEEL BAND-related footage. But I didn't like the results very much, so I've dumped a 'souvenir' copy off onto a disk and trashed the rest. The trouble with doing  this new fangled digital video lark on a budget, is that you muck about for ages and come up with some lovely, highly-textured imagery - then you have to convert the results to ANOTHER format, so that it can be of practical use. And the picture quality LOSES so much in translation, it looks a complete sh*tty mess. Still, I was fairly chuffed with the soundtrack, a three-minute 'dance' mix, completely made up of samples taken from the original video clips and DVDs I had to work with. So I'm keeping that.

At about 13.30 on Friday 11th January, the Pedantic Pedestrian MySpace 'Friends' total reached the SIX HUNDRED mark. Which Is Nice.

For a while, I'd been considering getting yet another MP3 player to transfer all the "WORLD MUSIC" collection onto, clearing up some space on the "ODD-POD". In the Eastleigh branch of a well known electrical chain (named after an Indian meal), I came across just the sort of kiddie I'd been thinking about - a petite 4Gb Phillips USB doobry, being sold at half price (with the additional cover, a tad under sixty quid). Which Is Also Nice.

KEN DEAD appeared to enjoy his Christmas gift of an exclusive Pedantic Pedestrian remix... quoth he, "To say that I was surprised to hear this is like saying Newton was only slightly perplexed by attack fruit..."

Week from Monday 14th January 2008

Eek! it's Thursday already! ...I've been stricken with a bout of the FUNNY EARS so, at the moment, what with the headaches and nausea and what-have-you, I consider SLEEPING a more constructive use of my time than sitting behind a computer all day...

But anyway, here I am again, EARLY-HOURS e-FLURRYING with the best of 'em. It's amazing what some LemSip, an appropriate choice of joss-sticks and the occasional, otherwise pointless, walk in the (very) fresh air will do for the sinuses.

My listening choices for this week include various KCrim-related "Hot Tickles 'N' Stormy Downloads" (I've gleaned nearly enough to make another CD volume), some podcasts of Sheffield radio's world music programmes, oodles of Mahler for that post-Countdown relaxation period and [my pick of] the audio content from the STEEL BAND PROJECT deeveedees. Having just finished yet another JOHN McCABE, I'm now reading a collection of ELMORE LEONARD short stories.

...Walked (in the rain, shrouded in oilcloth) to Gosport, listening to SheffieldLive's choice of Ghanaian High-Life and the finest that Guinea has to offer, via the miracle of podcast. A Peculiar Kind Of Heaven.

Week from Monday 21st January 2008

Well, Ah Woke Up This Mownin'... and, after a bit of e-SCURRYING, I watched last night's "South Bank Show" on the visionary filmmaker - nay! artist! - TIM BURTON, a man who, if he directed the traffic, I would want to watch! Before settling down to some so-called 'graphic' 'design', I downloaded the latest must-haves from the DGM concern:- the ROBERT FRIPP STRING QUINTET recorded in Tokyo in 1992; Bill Rieflin's SLOW MUSIC PROJECT (with Fripp, Peter Buck, Hector Zazou et al) playing music very slowly in Portland Oregon in 2006; and this week's "STORMY'S MONDAY DOWNLOAD", in which our Robert tells the story of how he was caught without his trousers in Philadelphia.

Yes, I KNOW that I haven't given the diary much attention recently, what with all the other e-HURRYING I have on the go. It is a FACT 'ER LOIF that the busier one actually gets, the less time one has to muse about it over a word processor.

If any of you JOHNSON'S GRIDLING BAND ALUMNI have any PHOTOGRAPHS they'd care to contribute to the ever-expanding (but still less than comprehensive) picture archive section of the JGB MySpace - well, send 'em to SHELFY! Any other reminiscences would be gratefully received, through the usual channels.

Week from Monday 28th January 2008

This week's edition of "THE FREAK ZONE" was one of those shows where I just couldn't connect with ANYTHING (now I know how those people feel who write in to complain about shows full of freeform jazz!) The programme contained harsh drum 'n' bass techno with vocal samples that REALLY get on your nerves, a lot of children's music featuring real children, something punkily banal that wasn't The Fall, but sounded like them, and more than its fair share of 'folk' music (including the dead alcoholic submariner Cyril Tawney). Any ONE of the above will send me screaming from the room!

Sniltweasel sent me a YouTube link:- a most amusing clip featuring RUSH's current show opener of "Tom Sawyer", complete with a "South Park" animated intro. This has subsequently prompted one of ME CRAZES! 

In between exhausting bouts of STEEL BAND PROJECT e-flurrying, I've helped Shelfy 'install' the old Gridler website's "TIMELINE" onto the ever expanding JOHNSON'S GRIDLING BAND MySpace. If only all HTML-related tasks were as simple! Meanwhile, "Go Sportpanda Etc Etc" has undergone two name changes in as many days and has lost its logo. I daren't ask what it is he's up to!

...so "GoSportPandaFastFast" is now known by the [frankly more memorable] moniker of "ROY FROM VORTEX CONTROL", another name dating back to "THE GREAT LIST", which we originally used when we did a spoof "GOMAD Festival" around 1987... and a name guaranteed to crack up our Snilt.

I get so caught up in the minutiae of day-to-day webbing for the STEEL BAND PROJECT, that I sometimes lose track of the bigger picture - I completely forgot about the BIG POSH LAUNCH DO! By all accounts, it went swimmingly, with the South African High Commissioner praising all involved. I'll just have to wait for the video!

I find myself at a bit of a loss today, as I'm waiting for OTHER people to pull THEIR fingers out, before I can continue MY tasks. The horrid weather makes any SKIVE-OUTINGS beyond the realms of possibility, so I suppose I'll just have to stay in and listen to RUSH and read my seventy year old, facsimile engraved copy of "THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE"... Saturday 2nd February: Happy Birthday Dear Mr James Joyce...

"Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo..." 
(opening lines of "Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man")