Week from Monday 4th April 2011

I wasn't aware of very much APRIL FOOLS SPOOFERY going on at all this year. Perhaps no one is in the mood. Apparently, the BBC's "Today" programme did a piece on 'the next big technological breakthrough', 3D RADIO. 

Of course, some might suggest that my[_____]'s latest changes to the homepage qualify as some kind of a JOKE. Compatibility issues have forced me to abandon 'beta'-testing Firefox 4 and roll back to its 'older' brother v3.6. THERE WILL BE A 'BLOG IN THIS, MARK MY WORDS!

Actually, I really feel that I am engaging with the my[_____] community in, um... an ENGAGING sort of way at the moment. I only wish my close friends had the staying power to do the same. It's lonely out here amongst all the DIEHARD 'SPACEFREAKS!

On Saturday morning, I watched "QUANTUM OF SOLACE", a relentlessly dull film with a teeth-gratingly shrieky sig tune and a really stupid name (one which is never fully explained). I also managed to listen to the whole of "THE FREAKIER ZONE" without getting too annoyed at any of the choice of tunes. And yes! I did write lengthy diatribes, in my blog and elsewhere, about the latest SPACEMESS. I also received cheques in the post for services rendered. So, on balance...

DREAM DIARY... Another "DESIRABLE SHOPPING PLACE IN AN ABANDONED BUILDING" scenario. Remember the branch of HMV at 150 Oxford Street, back when HMV was still a proper record shop? It was the size of that, only more shambolic... a huge and spacious old theatre building - apparently in Winchester somewhere, although I didn't recognise it - housing the biggest stock of '70s CDs one could ever desire! I was also delighted to learn that all those festivals of my formative years are available in full on DVD. Hmm, I think my subconscious is REALLY looking forward to the big record fair coming up. Am I obsessed or what?

I'm also ENGAGING in a TOP SECRET WEBSITE PROJECT, one which can never be discussed in public, upon pain of death, schtum schtum... ooh look, there goes ANOTHER financial year, just as I was getting warmed up...

Week from Monday 11th April 2011

Has anyone else noticed that my[_____] is showing, on its message boards, forums and threads, a marked rise in the level of LITERACY? There seem to be fewer 'monosyllabic TXTgrunters' about. Maybe they are all giving up and going to Facebook and Friendburst, leaving an altogether higher standard of Plain English discourse amongst those who remain on my[_____]? Or maybe they are just somewhere else, on different parts of the my[_____] site, ones which I don't myself frequent?   NEway, gd thg 2 IMO - LOLz :-D

This week, I gave "THE FREAK ZONE" and its "FREAKIER..." sister programme a miss altogether. Some weeks, the shows can be riveting; others, like this weekend's, are liable to drive one screaming from the room! Any show that kicks off its playlist with THE FALL, followed by some stubbornly distorted techno, is guaranteed to make me dive for the off-switch before very long. Sunday teatime's session promised a 'LADY FOLK SINGERS' theme. The prospect of all those Violet-Elizabeth Bott-isms was too much to take. I decided that my two hours would be better spent watching the extraordinary "DONNIE DARKO" instead. And I'm glad I did.

I've spent nearly all of this weekend reading "AND ANOTHER THING..." (subtitled "DOUGLAS ADAMS'S HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY: PART SIX OF THREE") by Eoin Colfer. Highly Can't-Put-Downable. Or just plain FROODY!

Back on the TOP SECRET WEBSITE PROJECT. I can't say at this stage if it'll lead to anything, but it's a LEARNING CURVE kinda thing. But SOD'S LAW decrees that, by the end of the week, my internet connection is once again RETARDED. Any serious online activity is out of the question, probably 'cos the kiddywinks are home from school, hogging the cables with their online gaming and OMG!ROFLing or whatever it is that they do. Yes, even my[_____] is a no-no today! At this rate, I'm going to have to go back to working in the weewee hours of the morning, like I used to before. So I did a bit of SPRING CLEANING instead - tidying up disk-boxes and sorting out the REALLY archaic stuff to go to a charity shop. I'd been searching my freeware collection for a decent PORTABLE HTML EDITOR to go on a flashstick. I've found one called 'KompoZer' which looks like it might do the job.

Talking about flashdrives - The one that I thought I'd lost a couple of months back suddenly turned up again at the printers' in Gozzy. I'd imagined that it might have fallen out of my 'satchel', which could have been anywhere between Southampton and Brighton, but it had merely been kicked under the desk and had revealed itself when someone was making adjustments to some cables!

Week from Monday 18th April 2011

On Saturday, I went over to Southampton to see the ANDY WARHOL travelling exhibition. Here's what I wrote in the visitors' book:-

"...I stand by my opinion that Warhol is highly overrated as a real ARTist (Capital 'A', capital 'R', capital 'T'), but as a GRAPHIC DESIGN stylist he is unsurpassed..."

In other words, his large-scale, repetitive, screenprint works mostly left me cold (although I was surprised how 'lumpy' some of them were!). The exception being the huge 'camouflage' series of prints, which fill a whole wall Monet-fashion and work as abstracts in their own right. In my humble opinion, what Warhol was ACTUALLY VERY GOOD AT was as an illustrator and poster artist. There was a whole room jam-packed with some great examples of this [commercial] aspect of his work, as well as a silver-clad mock-up of THE FACTORY, where the kiddies can dress up as Billy Name and do colouring-in with Marilyn posters.

Saturday was also "NATIONAL INDEPENDENT RECORD SHOP DAY" (catchy title, Bob!). All power to 'em, because the big chains (HMV and... er... that's it, basically) aren't actually MUSIC stores anymore. The monthly RECORD FAIR is no longer able to visit the Guildhall, for reasons best known to the City Council... but, this month, some of the traders have stalls on the open-air market Above Bar. So I completed my day out with a perusal of their wares. I'm saving my pennies for the BIG ONE next weekend, so I didn't splash out much. JUST LOOKIN'. But I got me a[nother] replacement copy of TRAFFIC's 'reunion' "Far From Home" album.

"Capital letters were always the best way of dealing with 
things you didn't have a good answer to..." Douglas Adams

As LiveJournal has just reminded me to send myself greetings, it must be my birthday today. I shall spend it relaxing with a copy of "DIRK GENTLY'S..." and some fresh nuggets from the JazzFusion b***leg archive. I'm having "A Bit Of A Thing" for WEATHER REPORT at the moment, especially the c1975 [transitional] line-up with the rhythm team of Alphonso Johnson and Chester Thompson.

Week from Monday 25th April 2011

THAT BIRTHDAY WEEKEND TREAT IN FULL... The vagaries of the Bank Holiday Weekend railway timetable proved to be no obstacle to a satisfying outjourney. It is a hot and sticky day. However, there was no functioning air-conditioner on the train carriage, so the conductor came round with his key, asking folks if they would like the windows opened. Which was nice of him. By the time I'd got to Reading Central, I had itchy eyes from the dust and countryside. Serves me right for not taking an antihistamine BEFORE I left the house! Bought a pack of same at the on-station branch of Boots. I walked the familiar route to Rivermead (familiar, that is, except for the construction work being done all around the station, which means you have to walk 'around the houses' to avoid fenced-off pavements). 

This was the first time I'd ever glimpsed the Rivermead site when it was not festooned in bunting and flaggery for some festive event or other [Now the bunting is all ELSEWHERE, ready for next week's royal jing-o-ist-o-thon extravaganza]. The "Mammoth" Record Fair was roughly on the scale of the ones they USED to have at the Pyramids in Portsmouth a few years back; about 200 stalls was one number I heard quoted. 

Even if, like me, you customarily walk past the ones that ONLY sold vinyl, there was a good day's browsing to be had - and possibly the risk of a thrombosis, if you found yourself lingering over one rack for too long! Three hours later, I had only managed to cross a mere two items off my "WANTED LIST" (one of the 'missing' WEATHER REPORTs and the JAN DUKES DE GREY twofer), but I still came away a bagload of precious precious shiny shiny things, many of which will no doubt get listed here as I get around to listening to them! 

Back out into the scorchin' for the journey home. I called in at the corner shop for fresh liquids. Even the Asian lady therein commented on how hot it was. By the time I got to the station, I noticed that the HOLIDAY SCHEDULE had kicked in. Trains in-and-out of Southampton were now being replaced with buses, and they are diverting more trains via the line through Eastleigh. Which of course DOES affect me. But as I never tire of telling people, that's all part of the adventure of railway DAZE OUT - getting to-and-from somewhere DESPITE British Rail!

EASTER MONDAY... Time to catch up with some my[_____] friends old and new, and also to catch up with last week's telly, including my current 'thing', "THE WALKING DEAD" (that's right, all those TV vampires have taken a break for a while, leaving the field open for the zombies!). 

There is something of an "ENGLISH PSYCHEDELIC ROOTS MUSICK" theme to the 'office ambience' today, with some 'unsung greats' of this small, but perfectly formed, sub-genre having been gleaned over the weekend:- That extraordinary pair of albums by JAN DUKES DE GREY, and the gorgeous first outing by TREES, "The Garden Of Jane Delawney". I feel that THIS is the direction the Fairports COULD have gone in, if they had decided NOT to recruit a fiddle player and a rather regimented drummer, but had instead CRANKED UP THE GEETAWS and got even more FREE and OUT THERE than that first album of theirs promised. [I'm saying all this with the benefit of hindsight, of course, as I was twelve at the time and couldn't possibly have known of the very existence of anything 'psychedelic', besides maybe the Beach Boys or The Monkees!] 

Of course, it is the nature of the record fair WAY O' LIFE that, for every item you cross off your 'wants' list, a new one will probably get added as a result of your browsings. I will now have to seek out the OTHER Trees album, "On The Shore"... d'oh!

On closer examination, the one item I'd bought which I KNEW to be 'second hand' (the "SUN RA SINGLES" collection) turned out to be formerly the property of Winchester Public Library (notice the catalogue numbers hastily scribbled out with a marker)! That would certainly account for its VERY USED appearance:- discs scratched; booklet a bit tatty; crunched jewel-case. After a clean-up routine involving two different liquid processes, both discs are now perfectly playable, despite their condition. And jolly good fun they are too.

THE KNOCK-ON EFFECT... It's sad but true. Not one person has downloaded ANYTHING from our BANDCAMP site since the SECOND WEEK OF NOVEMBER last year. This date EXACTLY corresponds with THE EVENT that was "THE GREAT my[_____] TURN-OFF". By that, I don't mean it was my[_____] that got 'turned off', but its members! I'm more than happy to continue making all this weird and wonderful music available for FREE. Because I want people to HEAR it. In fact, I've just been listening to some of it myself, just to confirm that it's any good - it stands up well against much of the experimental music I've come across and is a LOT BETTER than some. But without a steady flow of traffic through my[_____] (which SHOULD act as a 'central hub' for all of our activities), there's no one left out there to know about it! So, it's official then - WE CAN'T EVEN GIVE THIS STUFF AWAY!

BACK TO WORK: Let's see what we can do in the next three days, juggle a few appointments before the country CLOSES again on Friday... The 'OPKs' are back to school, so there is no laggy internet causing problems during the day, at least not for the moment.

Friday is "ROYALGUSH2011". The sheer OSTENTATION of weddings makes me borderline diabetic at the best of times - but mix with that a goodly dose of JINGOISTIC NATIONAL FERVOUR and SYCOPHANCY and it's time to... RUN AWAY!!! You know how you DISTRACT a cat by dangling something brightly coloured and fluffy in front of it? Well, that's what Royal Weddings do for people.