Week from Monday 7th February 2011

Work, work, work... wet, wet, wet... I'm listening to some jolly Brazilian music trying to raise the spirits a bit, but it's a HORRID week and really not worth writing about... hence it's taken me till now (Thursday Afternoon, as depicted in the piece of the same name by BRIAN ENO) to write anything at all.

AOL have bought HUFFINGTON POST. It'll be interesting to see if it changes as a result. I hope not. Now we wait with bated breath to see who's going to buy my[______]... and we can then, hopefully, put all this terrible, misguided NewsCorp mess behind us. Those of us who've stuck it out anyway...

Still waiting to do the finishing touches to THE CHINESE JOB, so I'm tinkering with some more STYLISH scripts (turning bits of the my[______] homepage from that unimaginative black, back to the nice shades of blue we once loved), soundtracked by some 1970s WEST AFRICAN FUNK. Hmm! them marimbas. Ooh! that sparkling psychedelic geetaw. Aah! them screeching James Brown wannabees.

As you will have no doubt noticed, I've worked out a way of putting this diary back in a frame where it belongs  - Some time ago the Stupornet server stopped supporting frame-based sites, which is what prompted the change to a simpler layout (I'd received distraught messages from my 'fan' to say that the site had stopped working!). But now, thanks to Serif's Finest, we have a new SOPHISTICATED way of doing things. The older pages (circa December 2009 and earlier) need reformatting before they are readable again (you may only see them in raw coded gibberish format at first), but bear with me! Some of the REALLY old stuff, which was imported from all sorts of strange word processors in its day, has lost the odd symbol or foreign accent, replaced by a big black question-mark icon. We'll say that it's some sort of game and you have to guess what the missing characters are supposed to be! Please let your Websmith know of anything else that you think is WRONG.

This isn't my[______], you know. I DO test things to make sure they work properly!

Week from Monday 14th February 2011

The MUSIC BUSINESS, eh? Who needs it? If there's one thing my life SHOULD have taught me - whether it's heavy metal band 'personality' clashes, the fear and loathing of 'dodgy geezer' management, impossible to meet riders, a charitable 'good cause', jobsworth environmental health officers, over-ambitious ideas for concept albums, a steel band with delusions of grandeur or even a Chinese choir - as soon as the business of BUSINESS becomes involved, all the FUN gets sucked out of it! 'Twas ever thus. But do I ever learn?

DREAM DIARY (this week brought to you in cahoots with Stream Of Consciousness Poetry Corner)... "A batful of tiny little caves, Some of them in trainers, Purchased from the Giants of Soap Company..."

So once again, I find myself wasting a day away while there is URGENT WORK to be done (but I can't do my job until other people do theirs). I therefore take this opportunity to finally listen to some recently accumulated musical items, many featuring various my[______] acquaintances:- I'm gradually working my way through the three volumes of the JOXFIELD PROJEX' "Numbers & Letters" from last year, but it's a lot to take in! I've recently been alerted to the existence of SYNTONY, a 'spontaneous composition' outfit featuring MARKUS REUTER, YOSHI HAMPL and various (Austrian?) jazzers... and I'd 'saved' the "Jazz On 3"-featured set by DJANGO BATES and THE BAD PLUS from last year's LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL. In addition to all this, the all-star live double album from EDDIE JOBSON's "Ultimate Zero Tour" has just landed on the doormat... more on that later, I shouldn't wonder...

Finally, after pulling several all-nighters, I'm able to curl up with a thumping great volume of BLANDINGSes, burn the latest collection of HOT TICKLES to seedydisk, maybe catch up on some "DAILY SHOW" and "LE SHOW" - and relax for a wee bit!

Spectacularly surreal mis-read, spotted on the BBC News real-time subtitles:- 
"...There will be a chilli stuck to the day..."

Having finished what I was doing down in Gozzy, I hopped on a bus for the round-the-houses journey to Southampton, where I took in the City Gallery (strange organic charcoal drawings by sculptor PETER RANDALL-PAGE; big shiny [and highly-Photoshopped] photographs from this year's student show), followed by a book shop or five, several charity shops and the LAST DECENT BRANCH OF HMV IN THE SOUTH. A long journey in which to switch off, followed by an aimless amble-about - THE GREAT[EST] ESCAPE!

Is this these SOLAR FLARES we've been hearing about? Or is it just British Telecom faffing about with the cables yet again? I only ask, as my internet connection speed just hit an all-time low, stopping dead in the middle of a "DAILY SHOW" and now measurable in mere Kilobits per second rather than Megabits. Just as well I chose to go off and do something else instead, then. Because any meaningful interaction with the doubleyou-doubleyou-doubleyou is out of the question today. I shall read a book and listen to some SANTANA instead (that's Carlos Santana back in his 'Devadip' spiritual jazz-rock years, when Santana was also the name of the BAND... not the "Santana" of today who puts out duff pop albums sounding like 'various artists' compilations).

If I'm not mistaken, yet another in my long line of secondhand bargain seedydisk players is ON IT'S WAY OUT. Either the motor is running down, which makes the laser misread, or the laser itself is dying. I've moved the leads about again and made my cheapo but reliable DVD player the default machine - it doesn't sound as nice, but it is at least STABLE. As my ears continue to deteriorate, I'm becoming less concerned with achieving the best 'hi-fi' sound quality and more with having something that is reliably universal and universally reliable. I'm considering buying a new DVD player with HDMI capability that will do 'everything'. But, having moved things about yet again, I realise I really need to disentangle the spaghetti that lurks behind the boxes...

Week from Monday 21st February 2011

Now THIS is the bit of the job I DON'T mind doing - sending out the bills! 

I didn't actually make it to the Chinese do itself. Given the choice between catching a train to Fratton and traipsing all the way down the Roads Fawcett and Albert, to see the Chinese Gang Show, or catching up on some sleep, I opted for the latter.

Latest estimate for the DEATH OF my[______] is sometime in June of this year. Word is that Google have said they're not interested in buying. People are leaving even quicker now that they've had their 'HTML IN COMMENTS' taken away. That doesn't really bother me, because I'd disallowed 'em anyway - I never did want my page filled with other people's auto-loading music and huge pictures - but I can see that a lot of folks like to exchange funny pictures and animated doobries in this way, so it would have been nice to [still] have a choice.

Meanwhile, I have been forced to un-tick the 'music' option in my stream settings. Once upon a time, this was just a way of being notified that your friends (musical collaborators and favourite bands) have posted new music of their own, but now the stream is filled with "MIKE JONES IS LISTENING TO..."-type postings. More useless trivial clutter. my[______] now encourages the passive AUDIENT, rather than any active participation in the CREATIVE. All this 'following' and 'liking' nonsense is one more step too far down the SLEB-STALKING path and away from what it was that drew us all to my[______] in the first place. 

But I still don't see any of the 'alternatives' offering anything long term, even the ones that seek to recapture the SpaceDays of old (all those PROFILE 1.0 and 2.0 CLONES):-
- AQUALOUNGE has peaked at only 67 members. More often than not, when I log in, I'm the only one online! I really don't see it lasting long, to be honest.
- REVERBNATION is definitely a place for folks who are SERIOUS about 'making it' in the music business. Not for us then (I closed down the JOHNSON'S GRIDLING BAND profile I'd set up, it wasn't doing a thing). ReverbNation is also rather reliant on one having a Facebook account to make it work. Not for us then.
- SOUNDCLOUD is a good place to host your tunes, but it works best when you embed the content on other sites. A few chums of the 'electronic persuasion' have hooked up over there (ZEPHYR, DARKENING DAVE, DJ BEN).
- BANDCAMP is great, but without a working my[______]-full of interested parties, I can't direct anyone's attention towards it. It has flatlined. Nobody has downloaded any of our [FREE!!!] stuff since last November. 

Upside, my[______] have now fixed the Mail Centre they broke a couple of weeks ago...

Today, I've been playing with the spiffing new version of SERIF PHOTOPLUS I've purchased as a download, which now sits along with my trusty WEBPLUS and the rather old version[s] of PAGEPLUS that I'm still using (maybe if they do a deal on the new version, I'll update that too!). I also had a go at setting up the GRAPHICS TABLET to work with Photoplus. It's SUPPOSED to be a more 'natural' way of drawing than using a mouse. But at the moment I can't get the hang of it - IT FEELS WEIRD after using a mouse for so MANY years, counterintuitive, in fact... Oh my god, it's true - I've forgotten how to use a pen! 

I just logged into AQUALOUNGE so that I could delete the link to the no-longer-there Reverbnation site (Yes, I WAS the only one online again!). But I was unable to do what I wanted - the 'publish profile' button didn't work... hmmm... mind you, the connection to my STUPORnet FTP site keeps timing out as well, so it might not be 'them' at all (it all worked when I tried later). Dear SUPANET - I PAY you to be my internet service provider, so kindly provide an internet service when I need it! It's been shockingly slow of late... Solar activity? Or the kids on half-term?

I bought my COMIC RELIEF t-shirt for this year. The 'guest designer' is Vivienne Westwood. She's taken a series of well-known black and white pictures (engravings by Hogarth, characters from Blackadder, the punk Catwoman and - my choice - the famous bookplate portrait of Shakespeare) and, in the style of the notorious "DISTRACTIONIST" art movement, modified them with the addition of the obligatory RED NOSE.

DREAM DIARY... In the 'secret squat' in the roof of The Vicarage; the floors sloping at strange angles and very little functionable furniture; a maze of interlinking rooms, each populated by a broad selection of creepy crawlies... It is vital that we clean the place up in time for the Royal visit... But how to rid the place of wee beasties? "Better bring the vacuum up here, let them fight it out in the hoover bag!"

So now if I try to post a link in my activity stream to an article in THE HUFFINGTON POST, it gets blocked by the spiteful NewsKorps SpaceMonkeys...? Twice I tried to flag SANDY ROSENTHAL's latest piece - and twice the posting disappeared from my activity stream mere seconds later. I found a 'backdoor' method of linking to the site, but it doesn't work within the stream itself. Ah well, it's there in the blog anyway.

Week from Monday 28th February 2011

I'm playing the waiting game again today, so here I am a-bloggin' and a-diarisin' while I can. My office hi-fi is oscillating to the latest project by THE DARKENING SCALE. On this album, "Aerobic Dallying", our David has returned to his original remit of constructing new musical anagrams out of old RENALDO & THE LOAF recordings, in this case, the eerie classic "Arabic Yodelling". When I listen to this stuff, I wish I were a proper filmmaker...

On the subject of fillums... I couldn't find my signature 'walking' video piece that I did to go with one of my RILEYesque minimalist tunes a few summers ago. So, I thought, what the hey! I'll do another one. I walked to the end of the road and back, pointing my trusty Samsung at the ground and my feet thereon, and then processed the results with the old version of Adobe Premiere I happened to have sitting around. I laid the FOOTage over an excerpt from my 1995 tune "THE USE OF STRIPES". It's now on YouTube for all to see, but I might refine it yet further, in order to give Serif MoviePlus a workout...

my[______] is now out of BETA - it's official! By and large, things have taken a turn for the better, but the 'new' threads homepage still takes forever to load. The new nav-bars on the homepage are a big improvement, the stream has been tidied up a bit and they're promising to take a look at the blogs next. If they can address the subject of bringing back HTML comments, then it might not be too late. The threads (mainly the 'official' feedback pages) are still full of spam and self-promotional dross. 

I've now upgraded my browsing experience to FIREFOX 4.0, which is still in beta, but does speed things up a treat on my[______] and elsewhere (not that I've personally had any cause to complain about speed, apart from them ruddy threads). I've just spent an idle hour browsing the Fox's 'PERSONAS' pages, and found some spiffing new skins for it. I suspect that the one I've chosen will not exist for long, if a certain Robert finds out about it...

...and there's a live webcast of some baby red pandas...