Week from Monday 2nd March 2009

MINTY'S FIRST LAW OF PERSONAL GRATIFICATION
The purpose of work is REWARD.
REWARD may be
(a) Financial gain
(b) Job satisfaction.
(a) and (b) are not mutually exclusive
but
Either (a) or (b) must be present for work to have meaning.
If (a) is present, then (b) is desirable but not crucial.
If (b) is present, then (a) is desirable but not crucial.
If (a) is not present, then (b) is ESSENTIAL.
If neither (a) nor (b) are present
THEN DO SOMETHING ELSE.

And that also applies to keeping diaries when you've got nothing to write about! As usual, my little DARKENING TAPEWORM remix project snowballed out of control and I find, with all the stuff I'd done previously, that I've got an entire CD's-worth! Dutifully, I've sent it off to darkest Wales and we'll see if it goes anywhere. With that in the out-tray, I shall return to my other task of typing out the entire "THE PEDESTAL" for posterity and fun.

This week, my peecee passed its fifth birthday (according to the BIOS date) and LO! one of the cooling fans has started to run down, making the machine sound even more like something being tested in a Gatwick hangar. I hope it survives just a little while longer before it reaches retirement, like the black guy in "Lethal Weapon".

I was saddened to learn that the Dutch-based online concert video streamer FABCHANNEL is closing down on Friday 13th. From a purely selfish point of view, it means I will no longer be able to have those wonderful VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, MARCUS MILLER and BEBEL GILBERTO concerts embedded on my blog pages.

Week from Monday 9th March 2009

...of course, there is just one problem if you follow my Law Of Personal Gratification, and that is it can lead to PROCRASTINATION. Thankless tasks which are nonetheless "IMPORTANT" get put off because you'd rather not be doing them - THEY'RE TOO BORING. I will have to factor DISCIPLINE into the equation somehow! 

I keep meaning to make a restart on the laborious process of typing out "THE PEDESTAL", but I take one look at the thick wad of blue paper and I just can't face it! Instead, I decided to delve into the bottomless DVD-full of strange things that MERVYN PURVISS supplied a good few months ago now. I doubt I have listened to even half of it yet! I also finished reading "JAPROCKSAMPLER" and watched the delightful 2006 Garrison Keillor/Robert Altman movie "A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION", about the dying days of a mid-western radio show.

THE HUMAN NAIL has proposed the idea of doing one of those "COVER A CLASSIC ALBUM IN ITS ENTIRETY" projects - and the platter he has selected as being ripe for the picking is the first ROXY MUSIC album. I suggested that the opening track "Remake/Remodel" would suit a minimal treatment along the lines of FAUST's "It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl". On Monday afternoon, whilst waiting to volunteer my services at THE EMPORIUM OF HAIR, we started to lay down tracks to that effect, with the Roland SH101 churning out the steamhammer percussion part, and a couple of scratchy guitar parts of my own devising. Then I had to go to my appointment. We have vowed not to listen to the originals before doing our versions of any of the songs (but I confess I HAVE snuck a listen to the first track so that I can check the lyrics - I don't always trust some of these online sources).

I have now ordered the bits for my new computer. Now I must make all the necessary steps for 'decommissioning' the existing one - backing up all me VITALS and whatnot! I had intended to order the kit online and then go and collect it from the factory (it's only over in Cosham)... but it appears I have inadvertently paid to have it delivered! So I must sit tight on Wednesday to wait for the VANMAN to come. Eeeeeh, in't it exciting? ...Ah! it's arrived... so, work permitting, I'll probably be SIGNING OFF for a couple of days while I put it all together!

Normal service will be resumed eventually...

A "couple of days" eh? ...anyway we're back! Well, almost... I still have many of my favourite applications on a stack of disks that threatens to topple to the floor if I swivel my chair the wrong way. But it took TWO lengthy attempts to get this far. First installation was going smoothly, then suddenly my (old) optical drive gave up the ghost mid-install, causing widespread corruptage. So, on Sunday, I went for one my ADVENTURES ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT, via the 'scenic route' to Southampton, to buy a new DVD drive, so that I could START ALL OVER AGAIN on Monday morning. Lesson learnt, all of the old IDE devices have now gone, leaving just SATA drives throughout. I've been re-adding my software as and when it's required, meanwhile using the public access computers (care of Hampshire Library Service) to check my messages. The onboard graphics drivers needed some tweaking, before I could stare at the monitor for any length of time without getting neuralgia. I haven't quite sorted out the machine's AUDIO capability - the bundled software that makes the onboard sound chips do their thing seems to be be buggy. I downloaded the latest update installer and that file turned out to be corrupted as well. So I must create a workaround for the time being... I haven't taught the firewall which ins and outs are trustable yet... The new machine is configured for multiple boot capability, so I have to get used to logging on via a menu screen that lets me select the right drive to boot from (even though there is no longer a floppy drive to bother about). This allows for the possibility of a second operating system at some point.
And I need to prioritise my Local Asda Bus... but I could be making that last bit up.
Hmm, all this COM-P'TER SPEAK is probably driving our Shelfy barmy. Tee hee hee!

Week from Monday 23rd March 2009

We shall NOW try to resume normal service... As expected from previous experience, The Shelf showed his frustration at this diary's recent COM-P'TER-BASED content ("About as interesting a diary entry as when Samual Pepys wrote three pages on the shelf storage of haemorrhoid ointments..."). Well, sorry, but that's what I've BEEN DOING for the last couple of weeks. DAT'S DE TROOD! My life really IS that boring. If you want a MADE-UP diary, then page down the menu and go and read about the MODEL TOWN stuff.

The weather has also been a factor:- Spring is finally here, it's gorgeous out, so spending time indoors behind a computer has much less appeal!

Meanwhile, I finished my own TAPEWORM VESSEL remix project in CD form, sent David a copy... and he's been strangely quiet ever since. Have I frightened him away?

Work progresses with The Nail on the ROXY MUSIC re-imaginings:- "Remake/Remodel", "Ladytron" and "Virginia Plain" have been finished to frankly hilarious effect, and there's a few ideas floating around for some of the other tunes. Over the weekend, I've been experimenting with various VST instruments, but I haven't produced anything particularly useful. 

I've also done a VERY ROUGH track for Shelfy's "BLIT STREET" project, using Bunny's recitations. My original music is far too complex for Bunny (or anyone?) to read over, so I started afresh with something simpler. Something tells me this project will not necessarily excite me MUSICALLY - too many compromises. 

I've typed out another couple of pages of "THE PEDESTAL", making slight adjustments as I go (because, like the Shelf, when I re-encounter PROJECTS OF YORE, I just 'won't let it lie'!).

MINTY'S SECOND LAW OF PERSONAL GRATIFICATION
USEFUL
  TASKS
    REQUIRE
      FORESEEABLE
        ACHIEVABLE
          GOALS.
If none are present
THEN DO SOMETHING ELSE.

Also... For a body of work to have any true value, it must be SEEN to exist. Tangibly. NOT just conceptually. Producing "The Pedestal" is a chore, but a valid one, because it will result in the piece being in a distributable format. People other than myself and Shelfy will be able to read it. If I didn't do it, it might as well not exist at all. That would be a pity. The remix project[s] are worth doing because of THE SATISFACTION OF A JOB WELL DONE, resulting in something that I can actually listen to, with the added POSSIBLE bonus of it receiving wider exposure. But the work - nay! PLAY - with Binky is cathartic and liberating and joyous and that is satisfying in itself.

Week from Monday 30th March 2009

I took a visit to Southampton City Art Gallery to visit the exhibition "A CENTURY OF OLYMPIC POSTERS". Needless to say, I care not one fig for the subject matter of sporting excellence, but as an overview of graphic design trends over the last hundred years, it's a fascinating show. It's also revealing to see how many "PROPER" artists have been commissioned to do a poster or two. For the 1972 Munich games, a whole bunch of 'em submitted work - David Hockney, Victor Vaserely, Josef Albers, even that rude bloke Allen Jones; Hockney also did one for the Los Angeles games, as did Roy Lichtenstein; Andy Warhol did one of his signature pictures for the Sarajevo Winter Olympics. All highly collectable, of course. What was also interesting was seeing some of the stuff that DIDN'T get used:- before they settled on the famous op-art design, the 1968 Mexico Olympics nearly had a beautiful poster based on Aztec/Toltec Indian designs. The various posters for the Tokyo and Nagano games are, of course, classics of oriental understatement (but then when did you ever see a BAD example of Japanese graphic design?). They certainly put that RETARDED SCRIBBLE we've got for the 2012 games to shame!

My current read is Carol Clerk's "THE SAGA OF HAWKWIND", which I've borrowed from Binky. We've/I've got a couple more tunes on the go for the SKULL PAGODA project, including a chunk of 'music concrete' madness that MIGHT become "The Bob (Medley)", as well as a sitar 'raga' that might lend itself to "Sea Breezes" or, then again, might become a 'serious' piece of my own. All I know is I managed to CRASH Binky's peecee in the doing of it.

There is an aspiring 'ambient/electronic' musician in Argentina, trading under the name SOLAR BREEZE, who has actually listed LITTLE OL' ME among his "INFLUENCES". I'm flattered, of course, but I haven't yet heard what his music sounds like!

"SEA BREEZES" has been finished, its raga stylings contrasted with an effective "madchester" arrangement of "FOG ON THE TYNE" (so many cultural references, so little time). "BITTER'S END" has also been recorded, but I still need to mix it properly - it falls a bit flat in places, due to the fact that we based it (at first) around one of Gregson's 'treatment' drones. I need to mix it WITHOUT his parts, so that everything sounds nice and crisp, and then reintroduce them into the picture having done that. But let us just say that the line "AND AS THE CRIMSON CHORDS CASCADE..." is now VERY appropriate. "THE BOB (MEDLEY)" is more or less finished, just waiting for Bunny's vocal samples to be added. I've really been enjoying myself with this project, as there is no pressure to make something that 'THE PUBLIC' will hear. Admittedly, NONE of the songs sound ANYTHING like the original Roxy tracks, but I'm sure there would still be copyright issues if we were to release them, even if they WERE given away free.