Week from Monday 3rd March 2008

I didn't give "THE FREAK ZONE" the time of day this week - it contained far too much of a 'post punk' nature and AARRGH! folk music! So I thought my time would be better spent resuming work on the "CHTHONIC BOOM" piece. It's still under four minutes long, but contains everything but the kitchen sink, what with all the chamber music cut-ups, backwards Gridling vocals, stuttering drum breaks and wholetone piano. It's BONKERS-IN-THE-NUT KERRAZY stuff! I think I'll put it away for ANOTHER few weeks, before I see if it needs anything else doing to it, but I think its almost there! Gee, it's so MODERN...

The strange 'folk songs' from 1987 of which I spoke, now seem destined for the "BLOW MINNOWS" page. Instead of being purely for the SPOKEN WORD end of all things, as was originally intended, this page will now be our "FREAK SHOW EXHIBITION" (according to Shelfy, "Ideal for strange films and that..."). I think that "Chthonic Boom" would indeed suit a VERY strange short film, but that 'tune' (Ha!) will almost certainly be 'released' as a PEDANTIC PRODUCTION. His nibs is working on a couple of "hard-hitting heavy remixes" which will also go public under the Minnows flag.

I returned to "CHTHONIC BOOM" this afternoon, tweaked it just a little and then decided that, yes, instead of locking it away, I will post it on the player as a "WORK IN PROGRESS"... 

"Chthonic Boom" went down a storm with our chum and resident electro-pundit THE EMERGENCY LIBRARIAN - but the piece he is REALLY raving about is "ALGEBRA", what with its '80s vintage analogue synthery and all. "More of this sort of thing!" cries he. So the four minute clip that originally got his toes tapping[!] is now "Edit One" and I've added another similarly-lengthed "Edit Two" BY SPECIAL REQUEST. I must admit, it IS rather good in a TANGERINE sort of way... I gather that Shelfy has now 'inherited' The Human Nail's old video camera, so a short film to accompany "Chthonic Boom" seems a definite possibility.

Week from Monday 10th March 2008

Dosed much of Sunday away: I'm tranked up on anti-histamines on account of my itching from every orifice. I rather overdid it on the CHEESE, to which I have an intolerance. But I LIKE cheese! A couple of hours spent blogflurrying (on behalf of the STEEL BAND PROJECT and oneself), then I noticed my favourite episode of "JEEVES & WOOSTER" is on ITV3. You know the one.

STORMY MONDAY... The weather is absolutely disgusting, with things having blown over all over the place during the night. But still I had to venture down to the EMPORIUM OF HAIR on business. On Tuesday, I was able to stay indoors and work on the artwork for said project, as well as finish off Vol.11 of my ongoing "HOT TICKLES" series of compilation disks (DGM-related downloads, lovingly gathered together). 

Then Shelfy turned up with a problem. He is charged with the task of producing artworks for the STEEL BAND PROJECT and he can't strike a compromise between PRINTER-ACCEPTABLE quality and E-MAIL-ABLE-TO-SOUTH-AFRICA size. As is usual with these things, everything has been left until the last minute, but I suggest he goes for 'quality' rather than 'speed' and we'll see about FTPing them across the hemispheres. Where there's a wassame there's a way... "Why am I wasting time doing this when I could be working?" quoth the hairy one, tellingly.

I would like to go and see the brassily Balkan FANFARE CIOCARLIA when they play at the Brighton Festival in May. I have passed on the information to Shelfy, with the hope that he will enjoy their groovy sound via MicePace and want to go too.

Wednesday morning, and I'm off to pretend to be a printer and churn out some cards for the EMPORIUM OF HAIR. The cheque for the BIKE-RIDE-COLLATE-&-MAILSHOT-A-THON was waiting for me when I returned. Which was nice.

On Saturday morning, I listened to RETURN TO FOREVER whilst bathing, then watched the first couple of episodes of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's "LONG WAY ROUND" motorcycle epic, lent to me by Shelfy. Then I went for my customary walk. When I returned, I had intended to resume my round the world bike journey. But my beloved Cambridge Audio A1 amplifier had stopped working. Changing the fuse in the plug did not make it work. I took the lid off, hoovered out the dust and discovered that an internal "SLO-BLO" fuse had blown. But it is not a component I have 'in stock', so now the amplifier is lying on the floor until Monday, when I'll be able to get one, with any luck... and with any luck, that is ALL that needs replacing and it is not a symptom of something worse going wrong. Meanwhile I've re-routed the video cables and the digibox audio is going straight into the tape deck so that I can still catch "THE FREAK ZONE" this avvy...

Week from Monday 17th March 2008

Replacing the fuse did NOT fix the problem (the new one immediately went "PPHHFFTTT!" upon power-up as well). So it's the corporation tip for you, m'lad! For me, it looks like a trip to that Southampton is in the offing. Not that I EVER need to be dragged screaming to 'that' Southampton in any case.

So once I'd got my little bits of "bizniz" out of the way on Tuesday, I went for one of me "DAZE OUT" in 'that' Southampton. As well as a new amplifier (from the Acoustic Solutions concern, as recommended by THE HUMAN NAIL), I treated myself to a 2GB flash stick for the POOTER, the new album by THE ORB (more out of curiosity than anything!) and the KNEBWORTH 1978 documentary that I'd been looking for ever since I'd seen it mentioned in the late lamented FREAK EMPORIUM. There were rail delays due to a 'road vehicle' 'colliding' with a rail bridge at Mottisfont. This is of no concern to me, except I like the word MOTTISFONT.

What is more, when I got home, my new T-GARMENT from the Discipline Global Mobile concern had arrived. I will enjoy all of my new purchases just as soon as I've finished my 'virtual bike journey' and caught up with a backlog of American television.

The new amplifier is delightful. Now I WANT the matching digital radio and seedy player to go with it! Waah! A nice feature (apart from the back-of-casing labels which you can read either way up!) is the three-in-one remote control which'll control all three devices from the one place (hence the name 'three-in-one' ...duh!). I spent an afternoon spring cleaning, removing the accumulated dust from every crook and nanny of my little digital empire. Is it my imagination, or does this here peecee sound quieter now that it's had a hoovering out? Or is just that I can't hear the fan noise because I'm listening to FRANK ZAPPA's "Them Or Us" while I'm typing this?

THUMBS DOWN OF THE WEEK: The KNEBWORTH documentary is a tad frustrating, it could have been SO MUCH MORE. Disappointingly, there is no footage of any of the bands that aren't GENESIS. Unless you count the DVD's rather poor 'photo gallery' - long shots of the whole stage taken with a telephoto lens from somewhere behind the tree line. I recall that the Knebworth stage was notoriously photograph-unfriendly, as it was rather high. You HAD to be at a considerable distance to SEE any musicians; down in the 'bowl' you were staring into a black wall and the bands were about thirty feet above you!

THUMBS UP OF THE WEEK: On the other hand, THE ORB's latest offering, "The Future Academy of Noise, Rhythm and Gardening Presents... The Dream" is far better than I'd ever expected, in fact it's a return to form after the disappointing couple of albums that preceded it. I'd been slightly apprehensive about it when I spotted the number of 'vocal' credits in the sleevenotes, but they've steered clear of the ill-advised 'songs' of the previous album. Think DREADZONE or DUB SYNDICATE-style choruses instead. But with Messrs Youth and Hillage all present and correct, and Dr LX's own peculiar brand of noises-off, it's business as usual.

AitcH-Tee-eM-eL or
Hot TaMaL้? 'Remoulade'
Is French for 'Remould'.

KEN "Blockhead" DEAD is hosting a "SONGWRITING CHALLENGE" on his blog[head]. But I think it's more like an online version of one of those CREATIVE CHAIN-WRITING sessions we used to do in our "Pathetic Entries"/"Club Night" days. MicePace Friends are invited to add lines to the 'song' that he has started, which may or may not be performed on Ken's 'fifth' album. Of course, Shelfy and I have already started the ball rolling. Of course, we all know that the underlying pretext for posting all this ineffable twaddle on Ken's blog is that it will MESS WITH HIS MIND!

Week from Monday 24th March 2008

e-STIR BANG COLLAR DAY, so naturally the weather here was rather english. News is trickling in from South Africa where the UK party, having been delayed for twelve hours at Heathrow, were greeted by the sound of massed marimbas. The 'boss' arrived there only to spend the night in hospital with gastroenteritis. 

The weather on Monday morn was good enough for a trip to the CAR BOOT SALE. There was nought to be had, in fact there was a rather feeble turnout, but I got a jolly good walk out of it, having been shut indoors for a couple of days. For is it not written by the Canadian guru, "THE POINT OF THE JOURNEY IS NOT TO ARRIVE"?

I still find myself scanning the end titles of films and TV dramas (especially American ones) for COLLECTIBLE NAMES: cast members or production staff with delightfully tonguesome appellations. I just spotted a fresh example, MALACHI THRONE.

I ordered my ticket to see BILL BRUFORD & MICHIEL BORSTLAP at the Turner Sims at the beginning of May. I decided that, as the weather was rather nice (but due to change back again), I would walk from Southampton Central railway station to the Uni to see how long it takes, so that I can plan my journey before the event. And giving me the chance to look at the seating plan, so that I could be near enough to the stage to catch the most subtle of paradiddles.

I just bought the latest edition of THE WIRE, because the Human Nail alerted me to the fact that there is a big article about lefty progboffins HENRY COW.

Week from Monday 31st March 2008

The weather is currently on a two-hour cycle of sunny-then-torrential (sorry to be so ENGLISH, going on about the weather all the time!). So I stayed in and watched the Bollywood blockbuster "DHOOM 2", which is even more ludicrously OTT than the first. That film was a heist movie along the lines of "Ocean's Eleven", or "The Italian Job" with added motorbikes. For good measure, this sequel throws in touches of "Mission Impossible" (and any Bond film of your choice). With dance numbers.

I've a new graphics task for the EMPORIUM OF HAIR, but as usual, the most difficult part of 'solving the brief' (now there's a phrase I haven't used since art college!) is finding a photographic image that I can actually use without treading on any copyright toes. My printer pointed me in the direction of a Canadian-based online photo library that seems to have come up trumps.

I had a flurry of video activity this weekend, tossing off a couple of minimally experimental 'films'; my own little VIDEO INSTALLATION for MySpace. And all BEFORE I get my hands on Shelfy's 'new' camera!

I've also added some more material to "CHTHONIC BOOM" (my own ongoing 'working' version, not the 'work in progress' that's still posted on MySpace). It's now ten minutes long and probably going to get even longer, my life's work in audio-verit้, my very own "LUMPY GRAVY"! All of those tape collages that I used to throw together out of the outtakes, back in the FOUR-TRACK 'eighties and 'nineties, are now coming in useful! Like "Lumpy Gravy", it's ARTY to the point of "up-it's-own-backside", but also very very funny.

I didn't spot too many APRIL FOOLS in the media yesterday, although a news item on DGMLive.COM, about Robert Fripp taking part in a Channel Four documentary about modern dance, does look rather suspicious.

It's beginning to look as if Wednesday, being my quietest day of the week, is becoming my regular "BREAK-AWAY-A-SKIVE-AWAY-DAY". This week, I ventured as far as Brighton, where I legged it around a few old haunts, bought my tickets for FANFARE CIOCARLIA's festival date at the Dome, mooched around the Art Gallery for a bit (mostly harmless) and visited BORDERLINE RECORDS, the ONLY 'proper' 'record' shop still in business on the south coast, to the best of my knowledge. That is to say, they don't sell electronic games, movies, magazines, coffee'n'buns, iPod or Gameboy accessories or indeed any other passing teenage fancy. Just back-catalogue CDs, neatly racked under such categories as 'Jazz', '70s Prog', '60s Psych', 'World' and so forth. I found a couple of seedydisks by WEATHER REPORT and TRAFFIC that I didn't have already.

KEN "BLOCKHEAD" DEAD will be flying over this weekend. Whether he will have time in his busy schedule to meet up to discuss the 'music business' remains to be seen. I understand that there is a particular Association Football match, at Wembley Stadium in London, that he is rather keen to attend. The Portsmouth Football Club squad (or "The Pompeii" as I believe they are called) will be playing, against another team...

...um, if you haven't already guessed, whatever GENE it is that makes grown men get EMOTIONAL about spectator sports, I lack. I've never got it. It is beyond my comprehension. I just don't see what all the fuss is about. Sorry.