Week from Monday 2nd August 2010

DREAM DIARY... Journeying home from somewhere with Rabbithole, Coconut and BH. I think we'd been to see Billy Bragg in Bracknell. Lots of rushing around the corridors of a weirdly laid-out station, in order to catch a train with only seconds to spare. On the train there were some psychic, shapeshifting aliens who allowed us to 'swap brains' with our fellow passengers...

On Sunday morning I just HAD to get out of the house and go for a WALKIES. I went out west to the Titchfield CAR-BOOTY, but I came back home with my tenner still intact. Nothing tempted me to part with it. But the walk was the thing...

One of my JUDY DYBLE remixes has been selected - HOORAH! - but I'm not yet sure WHICH one...

...after all my expressed concerns about WHAT IS AND ISN'T COMMERCIAL in this business we call 'show', it turns out that the remix favoured by the team is BY FAR THE WEIRDEST one I came up with. Just goes to show how little I know!

So just what HAVE I enjoyed at  the PROMS so far, then?  SIMON HOLT's percussion 'concerto', "a table of noises" (note the lower case!) was quite interesting... an orchestral piece by STOCKHAUSEN, written for the 150th Anniversary of the Hanover Opera... BERND-ALOIS ZIMMERMANN's typically zany take on Rheinische folk dances... WAYNE MARSHALL's Sunday teatime organ recital, offering a whole new angle on WAGNER's tunes... the mezzo EKATERINA GUBANOVA performing MAHLER songs with the Australian Youth Orchestra, who put the BBC 'professionals' to shame... 

I'm HOPING that tonight's performance of  MAHLER's big old No.3, by the Scottish BBC mob under Donald Runnicles, will be an improvement on their London-based cousins' demolition job on the 8th... but I've come to expect the worst! I DO, however, look forward to VALERY GERGIEV conducting the 4th and 5th with the 'World Orchestra for Peace'. His track record for GETTING MAHLER RIGHT is exemplary. And I would expect the Berlin Symphony to do a good job on No.7.

Having 'blasted' a few friends for the BLIT STREET space, I'm next going to turn my attention to "THE FUTURE OF ROCK & ROLL?", which is starting to look sadly neglected and has a mere NINETY adherents. Hmm, it might be nearly time for the annual SNILT REPLY - he hasn't responded to an email since last September and I've no idea if he has logged onto 'his' site lately. There's a bit of a nostalgic whiff in the air at the moment, what with Shelfy's ongoing "WINKY ELVES" revival on his Rabbit Show page, and my serialising of "ANARCHAEOLOGY" (the collectiveprosecollageproject from "The Gridler") over on my LiveJournal blog. At least one person appreciates it. Quoth the Bunny, possibly singling out Snilt's true-life account of his Iberian trek:-

"When I was first introduced to stream of consciousness, I thought it was little more than noir drekk (sic). I'm so pleased to see it raised its consciousness... It was rather as if Bukowski were a light hearted Englishman on a tramping holiday who'd found himself inexplicably surrounded by smelly Frenchmen. Ah, bliss..."

Week from Monday 9th August 2010

...so our Bun thought 'STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS'' writing was a load of old squit, until THEM ZANY GRIDLERS came along and did it properly? Well, that's how I choose to read it anyway...

I was, I'm almost relieved to say, PLEASANTLY SURPRISED by the BBC Scottish Symphony doing MAHLER THREE. Just goes to show what a difference a decent conductor and a proper rehearsal can make! Maybe the fact that the broadcast was recorded rather than 'live' was also a factor in GETTING THE SOUND RIGHT!? Hats off to DONALD RUNNICLES, as the orchestra's rendering was marvellously dynamic and clearly detailed. Having the muted post-horn soloist in the third movement stand out in the corridor like a naughty schoolboy was a nice touch! Karen Cargill (a 'mezzo' rather than a 'contralto'? Merely a necessary technicality!) hit all the right buttons with her "O Mensch"... and the massed bim-bams were appropriately joyful. And so to the Fourth and Fifth. I think I've said this before somewhere, but whatever the mysterious logic behind VALERY GERGIEV's eccentric conducting style (no baton, but lots of funny little finger wiggles), he certainly brings out the best in an orchestra, even a stellar ensemble like the World Orchestra For Peace. The last movement of No.4 positively sparkled out of my speakers!

I finally got myself one of those 'drop-box'-type ONLINE STORAGE facilities, just so's I could transmit the enormous WAV files needed for the JUDY DYBLE remix. WAV files are far too big to send by little old e-mail, as the automated letters of complaint from GoogleMail will testify. I'm sure all those free gigabytes will come in useful for other things as well.

DREAM DIARY... Went for a yomp along the weirdly-landscaped SCENIC WALK that runs, in a PERFECTLY straight line, from the thousand-foot high Tor overlooking Winchester to "somewhere on the coast" that doesn't really exist either... "Blue skies painted over?"... "But they remind me of Brazil!"... "Garage, please! Garage, garage! Garage! Garage! Garage!"...

Week from Monday 16th August 2010

This weekend, I've been 'friendblasting' on behalf of "THE FUTURE OF ROCK & ROLL?": Having sent out friend requests to EXACTLY the same people (i.e. the RSR friendspace - about 1500 people) on behalf of  "BLUE WAILS ON BLIT STREET" and "TEASET BODY REVIEW", I find there are fewer 'takers' for FoR&R than for the weirder stuff. Read into that what you may. Apparently, "This is what WE were doing in the early '80s..." is not that appealing a concept amongst the goths and shoegazers who make up much of Shelfy's 'friends' (!!! Insert laughing smiley here, throw in the odd LOL or two...)

Monday, off to Portsmouth again today. I'm also paying a visit to PC World to purchase some seriously needed RAM boostage for the peecee. All this simultaneous running of CorelDraw and Powerpoint is giving the poor wee beasty a headache. And is it just me, or does the newest Firefox runs a bit slower than earlier versions too? Normally I would go to the Southampton branch of PC World to make my purchases, as it's easier to get to. But a glimpse at the website reveals that they don't have what I want in that particular branch, only in the Portsmouth one (or in Newport on the Isle of Wight. But that would just be silly.) I've set aside a day to install everything later in the week (and to suck some of the dust out of the case while I'm at it).

Tuesday, and I have a midday appointment with the DENTIST, which is a bit of a disruption to the day... 

Hullo? What's happened to "LE SHOW" this week? I took my usual Tuesday afternoon visit to HarryShearer.com, only to find that this week's show was not up yet. Later, the website itself stopped working altogether. I eventually listened to the show on Thursday afternoon via the KCRW site instead.

Must be some kind of 'KHARMA' thing. Whenever things are going swimmingly, something unpleasant will happen to me to balance things out. I woke up this morning and my right knee was swollen and on fire, possibly a delayed reaction to an insect bite of about a week ago, exacerbated, no doubt by perambulatory activity. So I limped off to the doc's, got some antibiotics to add to my ever-growing personal pharmacy - and I've been instructed to draw an outline around the inflamed area to keep a check on whether it spreads or not! A major setback for a PEDESTRIAN...

Week from Monday 23rd August 2010

The knee, with the help of Fleming's famous little discovery, is now down to a slightly more deflated, but rather itchy, balloon shape. At least I can go about my ambulatory bizniz without discomfort.

Shelfy informs me that the 60th Birthday of our glorious founder SPOT THE GIBBERING TOAD is shortly upon us. He's giving over his site as a 'tribute' page and I've been trawling the archives for some scratchy old rarities to mark the occasion, cleaning them up for digital reproduction, as best as is humanly and technically possible. I also did a very strange remix of the Johnson's Gridling Band classic "SP", (Don't ask me why I did that - IT WAS THERE!). It's probably FAR too disturbing for MySpace, but I sent it to Shelfy anyway...

My internet connection seems disgustingly slow this week. I wondered if it was just the internet browser I choose to use, but they're all nearly as bad, especially on MicePace. I even have to wait for pictures to download, like you used to do on an old dial-up connection! My modem reports that it is running at it's usual [fairly average but steady] baud-rate - so the crawl must be at the other end of the line somewhere... Now I come to think about it, it might just be MySpace... I've been trying out the beta version of Firefox 4, which fair whizzes around on nearly everything else, but MicePace is still running at a SnailSpace. 

A brief CONSUMER TEST reveals that, at the moment, the fastest browser for MicePacing is Apple's SAFARI (surprise surprise!). The worst one was the IE-replacement AVANT BROWSER, which wouldn't even display the page properly when it DID load. 

You may be asking "Why has he got so many different browsers installed on his computer?". Well, when I design a web page, I DO NOT PRESUME that all browsers work the same, like some's I could mention. I like to preview the new page in all the different flavours to see if anything is incompatible. You'd be surprised at how different things can look in different browsers. Java menus, for example, have a habit of disappearing from the page altogether when you open it up in Internet Explorer. But as I've got all those flavours of browser at my disposal anyway, I can pick the best one for the job. Firefox has usually been my default for general webflurrying, but I prefer to use Opera for downloading, because it's so damn fast. But I'm well impressed with the latest version of SAFARI for Windows®.

In fact, I'm going to make Safari my default browser for a while, at least until someone 'moves the goalposts' again! I cannot recommend highly enough the Safari plug-in that completely eliminates nearly all annoying ADVERTS from webpages. It's worth getting Safari for that alone, especially if, like me, you've sat there like a lemon waiting for some huge production number to load on the MicePace homepage BEFORE you're able to log in [I'm sure there are similar plug-ins available for Firefox, but my Firefox is bloated with extras enough. That's probably why it's got so slow in the first place]. And if it turns out that Safari can compete with Opera for its unfeasibly fast download times - I've yet to try it with DGMLive, but iTunes downloads look promisingly fast - then I may never to need to use Firefox or Opera at all. We shall see. It's not as skinably pretty as Firefox, but you can't have everything. 

[That's four paragraphs about computer problems - Shelfy will have tuned out by now, so we can say anything about him we want!]

DREAM DIARY... I was taking part in some strange game show, in which I had to race against the clock, placing empty buckets on the numbered seats in a stadium, according to instructions received via headphones. But the game was loaded against me, as the seats were not numbered in any sort of logical sequence and the headphones didn't work properly...

Week from Monday 30th August 2010

DREAM DIARY... Last night I slept in a yellow Porsche in Asda's car park. There was a large box of doughnuts under one of the seats. A number of other people were also "sleeping rough" in their high-end cars, including a beautiful Asian lady living in her black Ferrari. She helped me move the car to another spot before the traffic warden came along... Later, I had to go to the Submarine Museum with an Indian boy to collect a motor bike...

BANG COLLAR DAEMON DAY: Losing myself in a volume of RAY BRADBURYs; Went for a short walk to top up the mobile; Writing some advertising copy for the hairdressers; Listening to GEOFF LEIGH's various free Bandcamp downloads, now lovingly compiled onto a CD-R; Lamenting the complete lack of anything to watch on't telly, apart from "CSI" re-runs (always good value) and a couple of James Bond films (which are only entertaining if you can switch off your brain. They do not stand up to deep analysis. Then again, if spotting continuity errors is your thing...)

I did a walk down to Gosport without causing the knee to relapse, so I think I'm alright there now. A mad flurry of work for the EMPORIUM OF HAIR, before resuming my tasks for UNCLE WILLY'S ALL-NEW KINEMATOGRAPH CONCERN.

IT'S OFFICIAL - I'm a convert to SAFARI! I've grown to like its minimalistic Appley good looks, I LOVE the 'Top Sites' screen and that iTunes-style flicky thing it does... and what can I say about the Ad-Block plug-in? But most of all, I like its SPEED. It seems to have solved the inherent problem of SnailSpace [for now, anyway]. One's favourite pages are there almost instantly and, as it turns out, it easily competes with "the world's fastest browser" Opera for downloading King Crimson concerts. It doesn't seem to automatically memorise passwords as well as some other browsers, but that might just be my unfamiliarity with the controls.

DREAM DIARY... a 1960s action figure box which emphasises Captain America's commitment to political correctness, his policy on harassment in the workplace and his choice of sidekicks regardless of sex, creed or colour (you will not be surprised to learn that I have absolutely NO prior knowledge of the works of Captain America in 'real' life)... EARWORMS du JOUR: Todd Rundgren's "The Seven Rays" (no surprise there), "Man On The Silver Mountain" by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (don't know how THAT one got in there!) and that annoying Bryan Adams thing that was in an episode of "Family Guy" last week...