Week from Monday 1st September 2008

It was the last Saturday of the month, so a trip to Southampton was long overdue. Haven't been to one of they there RECORD FAIRS for a while. I plugged a couple of holes in my GENESIS collection, found some desirable jazz (HERBIE HANCOCK, MICHAEL BRECKER et al), SLAPP HAPPY's "Ça Va" album (surprisingly commercial) and GEOFF LEIGH's "Mirage" album with Cathy Williams (absolutely gorgeous of a Sunday morning, but should I mention to MySpaceFriend Geoff that I only paid a quid for it?).

Obviously, one must pay a visit to the Art Gallery while I'm there... An Open Exhibition called "THE ART OF WATER" was mostly harmless. Only a handful of pieces could be called 'ART' as opposed to 'art'. Being 'open' to local 'artists' of all persuasions, the show had its fair share of dreadfulness - twee chocolate-box watercolours and derivative dollops of naiveté abound... Slightly more interesting was the 3D video installation by LIZ AGGISS and BILLY COWIE called, unsurprisingly, "Men In The Wall". Don a pair of 3D spectacles and you can sit and watch a continuous (25 minutes-ish) loop of people standing, sitting, larking about or generally existing within four window frames. "They talk, sing, play music and move in a fashion stamped with the Aggis/Cowie signature of quirky-humoured poetry and askew beauty", claimed "Dance Europe" magazine. As with so much conceptual art, one is struck by the PROCESS involved (the "Wow! that's interesting!" factor), but there's no real SUBSTANCE. If there is any intended 'message', it doesn't really communicate itself that well.

I'm trying to think of a way to describe SLAPP HAPPY's "Ça Va" album to anyone who's never heard it. The best I can come up with is: "imagine PORTISHEAD, without all the heavy beats and scratching, crossed with RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON if they were the house band at the TWIN PEAKS roadhouse...". But that barely covers it, they don't sound like ANYTHING ELSE at all!

Shelfy is semi-housebound, stricken with BACK, so I fought my way through the rain to visit him with HOT STUFF:- the "Chthonic Boom" package; a ravemix based on his "MICROTRIBE" riff and some BYRNE & ENO samples; his belated birthday TANGERINE DREAM carcassette; one side of the "STRUMPFEN FUNF" 'album'; plus a sneak preview of a HIGHLY TOP SECRET PROJECT which I can't talk about (and nor can he, for fear of having red hot porcupines inserted in him). Due to his usual wanton behaviour regarding passwords, we are now locked out of the JOHNSON'S GRIDLING BAND MySpace... only temporarily, I hope!

Week from Monday 8th September 2008

The STORMY WEATHER is no fun at the best of times, but certainly not for us HUMAN BAROMETERS. High pressure, equals sinus pain, equals FUNNY EARS, equals nauseous dizzy spells. Nothing for it but to take some happy pills and sleep the day away, emerging occasionally to drink tea, watch an episode or two of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (a.k.a. "WHEN ALIENS WORE MULLETS") or listen to some BRAINTICKET, before drifting off again.

It's been a quiet week so far. The Human Nail has gone OOP DZAT LOONDIN to see WIRE. Shelfy is under the chiropractor. The weather continues to suck. I'm reading JULIAN COPE's autobiography. The STRUMPFEN project is coming together (Is it a NEW 'album' or is it a compilation? We just can't tell!)

The highly regarded, highly experimental French musician HECTOR ZAZOU has died. As a producer, he had a long association with REAL WORLD Records and his "Songs From The Cold Seas" album has been a COSMIC RAMBLE favourite of ours. He was also a member of Bill Reiflin's improvisational SLOW MUSIC PROJECT, along with PETER BUCK and ROBERT FRIPP.

As I'm not a fan of 'automatic' updates, I thought I'd better dutifully download and install the SERVICE PACK 3 for Windoze XP, so that I can 'catch up with all of M****soft's patches and "issues". Given that I'm NOT connected to a network and DON'T use either Internet Explorer or Windoze Media Player (being the applications MOST in need of patching up), the updates probably won't make a blind bit of difference to my particular (peculiar?) Windoze installation. But there we go...

Down at GOZZYWOOD this week, we have churned out yet another couple of ditties for the STEVIE CHUNDER project. An amusing London travelogue piece has been assembled from Western guitar samples (some played backwards), Coral sitar, fat ol' bass, fake HOT XYLOPHONE LICKS and our usual brand of off-kilter drumboxing, all laced with choice cuts from an elpee of  COCKNEY street sounds. Some magnificent 'freakout' sections have also come in handy for finishing "STRUMPFEN FUNF". As sure as my name's not BOB L'ÉPONGE...

Week from Monday 15th September 2008

 I appear to have run out of work... I'm giving SERIF WEBPLUS a good thrashing, to see what it's capable of. I'm jumping the gun a bit and doing mock-ups for a 'new' website for our WILLY, the TELLYTUBBY OF TOP TELLY BOFFINS. That should keep me amused for a few days. Meanwhile, Shelfy wants to know how he can transfer old VHS home movies onto a DVD, for some other secret project he's got going with ZEPHYRFRIENDLY. I sent him an explanation of how one might achieve this, but I don't think it will help much. If he's really serious about MAKING MOVIES, he will need the apparatus to cope! Creating and manipulating moving pictures with a Windoze peecee makes unreasonable demands on the hardware. That's why I've never really given it a go. My old crate JUST ABOUT copes with the demands of making MUSIC without crashing (well, not much anyway - I just found that ninety minutes of streamed Grateful Dead in one go, is way too much for its bufferage. Or perhaps it just doesn't like the Dead!). 

I've just heard that MAN ABOUT LINDOS, RICHARD WRIGHT has passed on. The PINK FLOYD's distinctive keyboard stylist, he was also a really nice bloke and a demon at backgammon.

Week from Monday 22nd September 2008

Towards the end of the week, another couple of STEVIE CHUNDER numbers "had the magic f***in' fairy dust sprinkled on them" and are "IN THE CAN" (as we in the packaging industry say). The project might now be called STEVIE CHUNDER & THE MAGIK COW. I'll have to come up with some appropriate Magik Cow graphics (unless it's changed again since last week).

Another evening's entertainment (this from the Largo in Los Angeles) by the improv-tastic SLOW MUSIC PROJECT has become available via DGM download. I think it's probably my favourite of the four nights so far. Lots of synthoid sounds from the recently departed HECTOR ZAZOU and there are some nice laser-beam FRIPP-moments as well... at least I think there are - it is sometimes very difficult with this bunch to work out who is playing what!

Apologies if you can't connect to this Diary page this morning. Neither can I.

This afternoon, I'm meeting with Shelfy to discuss OOR WULLY's webbo and, I dare say, ART projects will be on the agenda as well. The website just needs a little bit of tweaking so that it looks reasonable on Internet Explorer as well as on PROPER SENSIBLE BROWSERS. And of course it needs some content to fill it up with. I treated Shelfy to a showing of "THE SIMPSONS MOVIE", but his telly doesn't do it justice.

That SNILTWEASEL has been on the e-mail - it seems he's only JUST got around to giving our MicePaces the look over! - and he asks if there is a MicePace for "The Winky Elves" or "The Future Of Rock & Roll". I suggest that we do a "JOHNSON'S GRIDLING BAND PRESENTS THE FUTURE OF ROCK & ROLL" site (Catchy title, Bob!). If he can't do it for himself (and he IS the man most qualified for the job), I might have to do one just to shut him up (only joshing)! But I MUST demand that there be no "C.L.T. RAP" on this or any other site!

I've just started reading JOE BOYD's memoirs "White Bicycles" (meaning a copy has now turned up in the public library at last). It's a light read, but an entertaining one.

Week from Monday 29th September 2008

I watched DAVID GILMOUR's Gdansk concert with the inevitable lump in the throat. Floydmusic is minor-key-wistful, WAVES-AND-SEAGULLS-y melancholic at the best of times... but there was an additional downer in the fact that this was probably Rick's last gig.

The "FUTURE OF ROCK & ROLL?" MySpace has now been set up on Snilt's behalf... and the 'friends' are starting to flood in! However, a major hindrance to getting it up and running has been the fact that Tom and the crew have changed the Flash music player on all MySpace pages and they haven't yet ironed out the bugs (as the message boards and blog-discussions will testify). Large chunks of MySpace just don't function properly at the moment...

Okay, now I AM confused... so last week, I set up this new profile. I uploaded six songs. The 'cool new' music player only displayed and played one of them. This morning, I thought I'd start again from scratch. I DELETED all the old songs still listed in the song editor page. I uploaded six songs, some the same as last week's, plus a couple of new ones. Now the player is displaying five songs, some of which I had DELETED, but not the one song that DID play last week. Um... it's not ready yet, is it!?

Right, NOW it's got the missing song back... In fact, it's showing SEVEN slots now ("The Future Of Rock & Roll Part One" is displayed TWICE!)... But the ones that I uploaded this morning are still lost in hyperspace... no, hold on... now there are TEN slots, with the new songs added, two of the songs duplicated and a couple of 'ghost' tracks...

I wonder what'll happen next?

This afternoon, I've got my biennial trip to the opticians... in the event, I don't need new glasses. But I do need to have my blood pressure looked at some time.

We now have MORE than enough material for the STEVIE CHUNDER album. I've taken copies of all the mastered-down WAVs, and I shall spend a couple of days playing around with the running order until I get a satisfying hoursworth on seedydisk. As usual, we will probably have two (maybe three) different opinions about what makes the cut... but that's all part of the fun.

Snilt has been highly pleased with the FoR&R MicePace (all things considered). This morning (Wednesday), I couldn't connect to any MySpace AT ALL, so I don't yet know what comments he has posted...

The MySpace player has now settled on the six 'new' tracks I uploaded on Monday. 'Tom' hasn't yet fixed the 'Lyrics' button yet, so there's no point in uploading those at the moment... and it still doesn't appear to be possible to put the tracks in the order that you want 'em. But they're slowly getting there.

I've finished MY version of THE STEVIE CHUNDER ALBUM AS I WOULD HAVE IT and I'm now working on the front cover (The Nail can do all the stuff to go on the back!). I'm using one of my 3D modelling apps to do some surreal, photorealistic images of musical instruments growing out of the sides of mountains or hiding behind trees, utilising some of the many "readymades" I have available. It's probably not FUNNY as such, but it is impressive. If it doesn't suit the Chunders, then I'll save it for a project of my own.