Week from Monday 1st February 2010

I watched the big screen version of "THE HITCH HIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY" for the third time this weekend. This time around was I able to enjoy it for ITSELF and catch some of the in-joky references. Previous viewings had me distracted by the game of COMPARING IT WITH THE ORIGINAL [the books and/or the radio shows]. By that criterion, of course, it still fails miserably; the best you can say about it is "WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!". But, I now realise, it DOES have certain charms of its own. On the other hand, the Hollywoodized version of "THE WICKER MAN", which I also caught this weekend, was a COMPLETE waste of time and effort - it missed THE POINT of the original story by several leagues. The central character is no longer a sanctimonious Presbyterianism Bible-basher, a necessary fact which puts his repulsion about the Pagan WAY-O-LIFE into some kind of context. In this one, he is just a clueless schmo cop (Nicolas Cage playing his Nicolas Cage character). There is no tension leading towards the 'shock' ending... let's face it, that doesn't leave us with very much! There's certainly no eerie folk music soundtrack, no Christopher Lee in drag, or any naked Britt Ekland-types banging on the furniture with this one! That's two hours of my life I'd like back, please.

Meanwhile, I've been up to my neck drawing charts and diagrams and learning far more than anyone (who isn't a TV engineer or maybe an optometrist) REALLY needs to know about the "HUMAN VISUAL SYSTEM" - things like persistence of vision, optic flow axes, temporal frequencies and their relationship to all things HIGH DEFINITION. Or summat.

As I was in Southampton, I treated myself to the award-winning 'DEFINITIVE - NO, REALLY THIS TIME!' '40th Anniversary Edition' of "In The Court Of The Crimson King: An Observation By KING CRIMSON" (to give it its full title), mainly because I still had some gift tokens left over from the hollerdy season. "ITCOTCK:AOBKC" is frequently listed in those "ALBUMS THAT EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE"-type polls. But, let me see now, this'll be the FOURTH time that I've bought this album, in as many different formats... As I mentioned before when I bought the new "RED", I don't have a 5.1 system or the right number of ears to hear for myself what the 'Surround' mixes sound like, but the stereo sure sounds fab. And, I hope, 'DEFINITIVE'!

I also trawled through the CHARITY SHOP DISTRICT and found some sub-£2 secondhand silver items by the likes of THE MARS VOLTA (perhaps a bit too INTENSE at this moment in time) and STEVE ARG‹ELLES (any jazzdisk featuring members of the LOOSE TUBES extended family is usually alright by me!).

I find myself returning to the "PPvXT2" project now and again, adding 'little bits' as they come to me and CONCATENATING some of the 'little bits' where I think they belong together. But it still doesn't feel like an "ALBUM" yet, just those 'little bits'... Best not to force it. The muse chooses NOT to pay a visit at this moment in time.

Week from Monday 8th February 2010

I finished the first batch of slides for Uncle Willy (at least to MY satisfaction), including a crack at doing a flash animation to illustrate something called "BACKGROUND STROBING". Don't ask. Now I'll have to wait for him to return from another foreign adventure before I can discuss the job with him and, most importantly, get paid.

The population of New Orleans (and thereabouts) are going apeshit because they've won some kind of bowl or something. Don't ask.

My printer chums have taken delivery of their new bells 'n' whistles colour printing Xerox apparatus. But no one can figure out how it works yet. And the manual comes on a disk. Which means they'll have to use a DIFFERENT machine to print out a hard copy of the manual, so that they can read the instructions on how to use THIS one!

I downloaded David Janssen's latest adventures in sound as THE DARKENING SCALE. He too has been experimenting with constructing music from guitar samples, but whereas my recent efforts have taken on a more "ROCKIST" slant (albeit with not a 4:4 rhythm in earshot), his have ended up more minimal than ever! It seems he's hit on a completely new direction, which somehow blurs the demarcation line between his work as The Darkening Scale and his more ambient guise as LIGHTNESS ASCENDING and as part of THE TAPEWORM VESSEL.

"Office Ambience" this last couple of days has mainly consisted of continuous TOM Z… music... largely due to the fact that I've just learned that my hero will be performing in London this summer, as part of the South Bank's "FESTIVAL BRAZIL" season! And in a double header with OS MUTANTES, to boot!

Week from Monday 15th February 2010

I felt like crap when I woke up this morning (ONCE I woke up this morning, that is!)... one of those headaches that goes ALL THE WAY DOWN! But never mind, I have LITTLE FEAT on the jukebox and my ticket for TOM Z… and OS MUTANTES has just popped through the letterbox. So all's well, really. Roll on summer, that's what I say...

Early Wednesday morning, I make that return visit to the DENTIST for a wee filling... Now I'm just waiting for my FACE TO GROW BACK, so that I can have my breakfast without drooling too much.

Continuing work on OOR WULLY's presentation slides, and I've now moved on to the fascinatin' world of 3D CINEMA TECHNOLOGY. I think I've got the gist of what the various scrawls are meant to represent... but how does one come up with ways of conveying THREE DIMENSIONAL CONCEPTS with only a TWO DIMENSIONAL MEDIUM at one's disposal? Ho hum... it's a quandary and no mistake. I've also been a bit baffled by some of the [broken English?] terminology used by the gentleman originating the material. For example, how can something be measured as "TWICE INFINITY"? How can something happen "BEYOND MAXIMUM"? It all sounds a bit Star Trek to me! I'm sure it'll all make sense eventually.

Week from Monday 22nd February 2010

Bizzy, beezy, busy... All of a sudden, it's time to kick off the annual SPONSORED BIKE RIDE PRINT & COLLATE-A-THON. I've been doing this now for twenty years ("...man and boy"), so I am available for giving tips to the new team of organisers on "HOW IT'S DONE"! Or at least, how it has BEEN done.

Tuesday brings another visit to the Health Centre for a repeat prescription of Gentleman's Nerve Capsules. Followed by a goodly dose of "Le Show" tonic, of course.

This week's top download in the "IT'S FREE? WELL, WHY NOT, THEN...?" category is "Things From The Past", a fabulous compilation which gathers together all the seven-inch singles that GEOFF LEIGH put out (as RED BALUNE, BLACK SHEEP, KONTAKT MIKROFOON ORKEST) on the MCCB label between 1978 and '81. It's definitely 'OF ITS DAY' - Some of it, like much of the 'post-punk' era, hasn't dated at all well! But some songs have the spooky timelessness of the best RESIDENTS tracks, while the more Brecht/Weill-esque RED BALUNE material recalls Geoff's old chums HENRY COW. Others sound EXACTLY like some of the things that I'VE been attempting with the "PPvXT2" material (Dammit!).

I'd been sitting and twiddling my thumbs waiting for Unca'Wully to call, with some sort of verdict about his presentations - It now appears that he hadn't yet RECEIVED them, because of a misunderstanding about which e-mail address they get sent to! I've now sent everything AGAIN, but he's just rung to say his computer has suffered a BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH... so he STILL hasn't seen them! The marvels of doing business "THE MODERN WAY". I shall therefore pop over and see him IN PERSON this afternoon.