Week from Monday 3rd May 2010

The "PPvXT2" project has finally reached the point where I've done a 'test pressing' to hear what it sounds like on a proper hi-fi... Or to put it another way, TO SEE IF IT'S FINISHED OR NOT. I will also devote some time this week to writing some sleevenotes (bit of a 'ROUND TUIT' kind of task).

BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY, of course, equals CAR-BOOT SUNDAY! Excuse me if I've mentioned this before... but ever since I said goodbye to my much-loved, twice-bought Technics cassette deck, I have found myself the owner of a VERY LARGE and historic tape collection, yet with NOTHING to play it on (save the small portable that I have connected to the Line 6 for turning old cassettes into the new-fangled digital formats). Definitely lacking in the hi-fi department! But no longer! At one of the two (yes! TWO!) carbooties I visited yesterday, I picked up a rather nice SONY TC-WE635 (a top of the range bit of kit, retail price approx $200, ten or so years ago) for the tasty sum of TEN of your Earth Pounds! One previous owner, hardly used, etc etc. Of course, you always take a gamble buying these things at public sales. If it works as it should, well then it's a bargain, Result: One Happy Little Camper. But you could just as likely have spent your tenner on a large paperweight. But I'm happy to report, in this case, A BARGAIN IT BE! My old collection has a new lease of life.

I also picked up an original Spanish edition of OJOS DE BRUJO's second album for fifty pee (it was covered in gunk, but I saw to that); a small digital alarm clock (no longer need I leave the VHS recorder plugged in, just so that I can see the clock at night); a 3-volt mains adaptor (which I'd hoped might work with various Walkman-type gadgets, but which currently has the wrong-sized jack connection); and a three-disc SIBELIUS collection with one of the discs missing. All standard car-boot fair fare really. Oh what fun!

DREAM DIARY... a full-blown sci-fi epic, this one! The human race is divided into two sub-species; one lot possess 'animal' cunning, and the others favour 'higher intelligence' - So far, so HG Wells! In this scenario, however, they both look the same and they all live together in one place (a derelict-looking seaside town). Somehow though, both species seem to be able to tell themselves apart instinctively... so the 'animal' side hunt the 'higher' side for sport, using, as their weapon of choice, a sort of wire brooch thingy that is openly sold on market stalls. The 'higher' bunch form a resistance movement. Much chasing about and climbing of concrete buildings ensues...

BIG THURSDAY rolls around... I suppose that, before I once again plunge into the wonderful world of DIGITAL CINEMA MASTERING, I'd better go and VOTE for someone...

Week from Monday 10th May 2010

...and it comes as NO SURPRISE WHATSOEVER that here we are, several days later, and we STILL don't have an ELECTED Prime Minister. Well, that 'democratic' system works well then... Was it not the Bonzos who said "No Matter Who You Vote For, The Government Always Gets In"?

I too have been undertaking a task somewhat akin to 'vote counting' - the numbers for this year's BIKE-AND/OR-WALK-A-COLLATE-&-DELIVER-O-THON are dribbling in one town at a time. At this rate, it'll be ages before I know how many of everything I will need to order from the printers!

THE OFFICE AMBIENCE today consists of yet more TRAFFIC from the archives, plus last night's "Jazz On 3" session, featuring BILLY JENKINS and his red hot team of improvising bloozy-jazzers (including that young DYLAN BATES fellow).

Well... it's out there... I have now finished the Pedantic Pedestrian vs The Christmas Trees 'album' "PPvXT2: BYTE SIGHS", to my satisfaction, and posted it on the Bandcamp site, for all the world to hear in UNFEASIBLY HIGH FIDELITY (and even to download it, if they are so inclined). Today, I also belatedly finished Bunny's birthday disk and sent it off (I trust the Air Mail service is back up and running and not scared of volcanic dust this week?)

DREAM DIARY... Along with a couple of colleagues, I had to spend forty-eight hours in a freezing-cold nissen hut, as part of some sort of endurance test. I was clad in nought but a bright yellow Gosport & Fareham Vikings t-shirt. At some time during the night we acquired a three-bar electric heater called Roy Harper. Don't ask me how we managed to plug it in...

Week from Monday 17th May 2010

THE BIKE-AND/OR-WALK-A-COLLATE-&-DELIVER-O-DRIBBLE-A-THON is taking shape and I finally have a real idea of how many documents I have to get printed. Only for the printers to take a day off to go to an Expo in Birmingham...

Well then, I can do that too, after a fashion (omitting the bit about going to Birmingham)... My usual solution, when I'm having a week when the phone just won't stop ringing and the e-mail won't stop POPing, is to run away somewhere where there are no phones or computers. I didn't exactly do THAT today. I went to Basingstoke instead. But the point of the journey is the journey itself: A nice railway trip, past lots of green stuff, spotting the bunnies and buzzards and phezzies along the way, with a headset full of some suitable soundtrack material or other... preferably with a town packed with charity shops at the other end. Bliss. What is more, the weather was delightful, so once again I didn't get an opportunity to use my "The Rain In Basingstoke Falls Mainly On The Crazy Bloke..." line.

The unfeasibly gorgeous thing you can now hear coming out of my speakers (whadya mean, you can't hear it from there?) is the ANDY SHEPPARD disc that I picked up for a quid in the Basingstoke branch of the Sue Ryder Trust shop. Another charity shop, whose name escapes me right now, for a similar sum provided  a silvery copy of the first album by LES NEGRESSES VERTES, a long-time favourite of mine (Note to Shelfy: Yes, you CAN have my old cassette copy to listen to in the car. Although you'd better first take back all the rude things you've said about accordions!).

...and NOW it's the turn of the CD player to meet its maker! No, wrong choice of phrase - its maker was the JVC CONCERN in Japan. Rather, it has gone to meet its municipal rubbish tip. It refused to open its tray when summoned to do so, and produced nought but a sickening low-frequency hum through its outputs. When integrated circuits 'go', boy they sure do 'GO'! Or stop going, anyway... Never mind, it's had a good innings, it was rather old etc etc etc. Perhaps it just didn't like LES NEGRESSES VERTES...

Week from Monday 24th May 2010

Whoops! We're halfway through the week again before I find time to do this here posting... 

I found myself having to 'explain' THE SINGING POSTMAN to our American chum - now that's culture shock! 

The room is, um... rocking? to the easy-listening fusion sounds of mid-period FOCUS, as I sit here folding a huge heap of yellow posters to form an even bigger heap of yellow posters... 

Not too many takers yet for the free "BYTE SIGHS" download, although there has been a steady stream (Ha!) of people listening to it online, now that I've embedded a little player doobry on M'MySpace... I bumped into Shelfy at the printers, gave him the full gen on BANDCAMP - so now he has agreed to allow "TALES FROM THE WINGED EYEBALL" to be available as a free download as well! And why not!? I must say, the whole thing sounds rather splendid via the Bandcamp player, and I found myself listening again to tracks that I don't think I've heard since 2007 when we finished it! [By the way, I have GEOFF LEIGH to thank, for originally alerting me to the existence of Bandcamp. He too has been releasing a steady flow of 'back catalogue' through that portal.]

Week from Monday 31st May 2010

It's that EUROVISION SONG CONTEST time again, but I really didn't have the patience or the stamina to sit through the whole sorry spectacle in REAL TIME. I recorded it and whizzed through the entire thing in little over an hour! Only TWO songs made me want to listen to them all the way through:- France's kwassa-kwassa-beat football chant and Armenia's song about apricots (with accompaniment by the doudouk legend DJIVAN GASPARYAN). Most of the others were, as usual, forgettable and interchangeable (with a high quota of dancers pretending to play electric violins, because that's what won it for Norway last year). This year, Germany won with a song that is already a big hit on the continent, so everyone over there knew it and voted for it. The United Kingdom came last again, 'our' song being so identikit-bland, I'd forgotten it BEFORE it had finished. I don't know who is the biggest glutton for punishment; the British music industry for even bothering to enter any more, or me for still bothering to watch it.

...Bank Holiday weekend, so here we go to a CAR-BOOT SALE! And after the ten-pound Sony tape deck comes... the Technics CD player for a quid! Yep, that's right! At that price, it's not so much of a gamble - if it turns out that it doesn't work, then SO WHAT! I just had to find my own mains cable. I haven't yet had time to play a disc on it all the way through, but on first testings, it sounds pretty good to me... I've just found a third-generation copy of the instruction manual on that there internet.

...And so back to work, where I shall help further the digital cinema industry, promote quality hair products and protect historical church architecture...