Week from Monday 6th September 2010

Ooh, the latest Club release from DGM has just come through the letter box (It's them crazy KCrim lads making a right old double-trio hullabaloo in Chicago 1995)! See you in a couple of hours then!

THE PROMS enter their final week for this year... Recent hits have been a funky new work by MARK-ANTHONY TURNAGE, a very nice rendition of MAHLER's "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" (or "Songs of the Wayfarer", if you will) by the baritone Christian Gerhaher with yet another precocious 'youth' orchestra, and a delightfully complex and highly textured new piece by the Argentinean francophile MARTIN MATALON. 

On the same bill as the Matalon, there was an unusual 'lost' arrangement of MUSSORGSKY's "Pictures at an Exhibition" by SIR HENRY WOOD. Although I'm a great fan of this work in all its incarnations (yep! even THAT one!), this proved rather disappointing. Whereas RAVEL's famous orchestration of "PaaE" is a masterpiece of contrasting COLOUR, Wood's turned out to be rather obvious and monochromatic. I don't think he attended the same Exhibition as everyone else. If you've never heard it, you're not missing much. 

This year's 'big ticket' was SIR SIMON RATTLE conducting the Berlin Philharmonic for two nights in a row. Sir Si's Mahlerian credentials are well proven. The decision to play the numerically various Orchestral Pieces by the so-called "Second Viennese School" (ARNOLD SCHOENBERG's 'Five', ANTON WEBERN's 'Six' and ALBAN BERG's 'Three') as one big continuous symphonic suite was an inspired one, and it made for an engrossing finale to the second night.

It's been a right old to-do this week and no mistake guv. Uncle Willy is off to talk about THINGS IN THREE DIMENSIONS in Holland; he hadn't even finished his Powerpoint the day before; there were leaflets still to be printed on the eve of departure; there are now two websites to attend to... I've been running on adrenalin and 'rover' bus tickets for a couple of days. Anyway, now he's safely out of the country, I can do things at MY pace for a bit (only kidding, Wirusan!): Back to the "works in progress" folders, catch up with some pre-saved telly and radio, appraise the KCrimson purchases, leave reminders about the place to attend the BRIDGET RILEY exhibition in Southampton next week, write something in this diary...

Week from Monday 13th September 2010

HOW TO FILL THE BEST PART OF A WEEKEND WITH LITTLE OR NO EFFORT... Watch a couple of V-E-R-Y  L-O-N-G movies! On Saturday, I spent the afternoon watching Milos Forman's "Director's Cut" of "AMADEUS", a delightful three-and-a-bit hours, even for a non-Mozart fan such as I. It's twenty-odd years since I saw the 'original', so I couldn't be sure exactly what was put back into and/or taken out of this version, but I found myself swept along by the narrative and didn't bother about such things. On Sunday morning, I escaped with "JAANE TU YA JAANE NA" (which, admittedly, at two-and-a-half hours, is quite SHORT for a Mumbai production!). The director, I believe I'm right in saying, is better known for his kick-ass action movies, but this was a sweet twenty-first century take on the standard Bollywood romantic comedy (that is to say, there was a semblance of 'realism' rather than the usual overt melodrama). Great songs too, of course!

Today, I'm off to the DENTIST for another disruptive middle-of-the-day appointment...

I spent a day doing a bit of spring-cleaning (for Autumn?) of the ol' peecee, as it's getting a bit slow and clogged up. I'm not entirely sure it was a success, so I might have to try a more radical re-installation when I have more time. On Wednesday evening, I noticed that the internet was not available to me, only a screen advertising something called BT WHOLESALE, informing me that "the service to which [you] are trying to connect..." is not available. Anyway, it's back to normal today - In fact, if I'm not mistaken, it's a little faster, so I would guess that the phone company has been improving the state of the cables. Let's hope so.

Down to Gozzy for a couple of oddjobs and a spot of TLC of the tonsorial kind.

It turns out that the peecee's SYSTEMIC SLOWDOWN might be a result of my external hard-drive starting to fail (or, indeed, failing to start!). This in turn MIGHT have something to do with my 'playing' with a Linux distro that came on a magazine disk recently, thus damaging the drive's boot sector somehow. "DANGER! WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!". Luckily I'd already backed up its contents, so I can rebuild...

So, desperate to get out of the house and enjoy the nice weather, I went over to Southampton to see the BRIDGET RILEY retrospective... One gets used to thinking of her work as very 'graphical' or, indeed, mechanical - that is the impression you get when you [only] see the pictures in books (or on the cover of "The Faust Tapes"!)

"...a language of colours and abstract shapes, developed into patterns, formations and relationships between colours, providing strong and extraordinary visual experiences..."

It's not everyone's cup of tea. For some it's been known to induce migraines. But to see these images in 'real life' and look closely at - gosh! - ACTUAL BRUSH STROKES and pencil lines and even - crikey! - ROUGH EDGES! And of course, nothing prepares you for the SIZE of some of the pieces. One particularly gorgeous 'wave' composition (the 'big finish' before you leave the gallery) was about eight feet square - you want to dive in and swim around in it!

Week from Monday 20th September 2010

Shelfy has just informed me that it was BRIDGET RILEY who "designed the zebra and certain bees". 
("...smiley face, smiley face, LOL, ROFL..." as the clone-agers would have it.)

This here peecee now bears some resemblance to a WORKING pooter again. Things can now resume as normal, following the SLOW DEATH BY LINUX incident. Today, I've been doing some more tweaks for Unca'Wully's website. With that out of the way, I put the finishing touches to this year's PROMS "best of " disc. 

Close call - I thought I'd lost [access to] all THAT in the 'incident' as well! The trouble is, I like the IDEA of Linux (they named one in my honour, after all!)... it's just that it doesn't seem to agree with ME. I SHOULD learn my lesson and leave well alone, especially given that [all the forums agree that] you can't get a BT Voyager modem like mine to work with ANY flavour of Linux anyway. Which makes it of no real PRACTICAL USE whatsoever. But still I chose to dabble in the dangerous waters of trying to configure multiple operating systems to work in harmony. Ah well... no ACTUAL damage appears to have been done, merely inconvenience. LESSONS LEARNT...

But enough about me... Today I shall be going with Shelfy to the New Forest ("I wanna see the ponies!"), to help out some chums who have LOST ALL THEIR DATA, after what is understatedly called a "FATAL ERROR". Sounds to me, judging by the symptoms described over the 'phone, that their motherboard just died... so the chances are that the contents of the hard-drive should be relatively unscathed. They - shudder! - DIDN'T BACK ANYTHING UP! I'm going to try and 'rescue' their website for them. But lost data also equals lost passwords. Catches one-through-twenty-two inclusive. A possible solution came to me in the middle of the night, as these things tend to...

"Don't you just hate it when that happens?" The Radio Times and the BBC website informed me that this week's "Jazz Line-Up" would 'feature a concert by TRILOK GURTU'. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't consider a single nine-minute track from an EBU recording to be a 'featured concert'. Imagine my disappointment, etc etc... Mind you, it WAS a ruddy good nine minutes!

DREAM DIARY... a camping 'n' hostelling expedition on a volcanic island somewhere (could have been Santorini, I suppose?) with a motley crew of strangers. We did seem to pick the most inhospitable outcrops to sleep on...

I finally succumbed to the urge to give the 'new' MicePace PROFILE EDITOR a serious go, having failed to produce any satisfactory results with it previously. It's still full of BETAflaws, but I'm starting to get the hang of it, as I have just explained in a lengthy blog on the subject. 

Meanwhile, I sought advice from a FORUM on those pesky BADGES and how to keep one's activity stream from filling up with messages about the silly things. But, being in the nature of all things spacemonkey, within a few postings, the level of discussion had descended to the "OMG?LOLZZZZ~~~~ROFL!!!" level, and nothing sensible was established. It requires little or no effort of one's own to accumulate these badges - I've got four without trying - but some people are starting to treat it like a Pokemon game ("COLLECT 'EM ALL!"). What I object to is having to hear about it whether I want to or not. 

I also had a muckabout with the new PLAYLIST EDITOR. I created a couple of new test playlists (a "Canterbury" theme, plus a top ten of the WeIrDeR things that have been INFLUENTIAL on my own humble offerings). Then I found that the built-in player wasn't working, so no one couldn't actually listen to 'my' 'creations' anyway. Just another week in SPACEMONKEYLAND then.

Week from Monday 27th September 2010

I went CARBOOTIN' yesterday morning, but I came home empty-handed (yet glad of the WALK). I was specifically looking to plug a couple of holes in my TALKING HEADS collection - I had a much-loved tape of "True Stories" but it became unplayable. Upgrade urgently required. I'm also looking for old XD data cards for an obsolete digital camera. But no joy on either account...

Back on the digital cinema trail today: I shall shortly be hopping on a train to UNCLE WILLY's, to upload the latest website changes and, no doubt, to discuss other matters of HIGHLY-DEFINED MULTI-DIMENSIONAL importance...