Week from Monday 6th June 2011

Another flurry of STYLISHIZING over the weekend... At the behest of 'Chromehead' Seb, I've broadened the scope of my published "MySpaceHomePage2011" script to include modifications to the BLOGS pages as well. Perhaps the project will need renaming before very long! I also had another crack at the new pages being road tested in the Antipodes. I still haven't arrived at anything 'definitive', but it's a definite improvement on on what I came up with before.

This ongoing activity has prompted none other than my[_____]'s own SEAN PERCIVAL to refer to our little firm of HOME(page) DECORATORS as "total hackers", which I take as some kind of compliment (recognition too, for that matter).

Hi Sean,
Hackers? oooh, I wouldn't condone THAT sort of thing! But a bit of harmless springcleaning of our own browsers, that's a different matter.
As Seb has pointed out elsewhere, there is now a generational divide amongst MySpace users.
Most of the recent changes at MySpace have been about making this an 'entertainment site' aimed at a younger target 'audience' (MS's word not mine). It is clear than these users will also be MS's main source of advertising revenue from now on.
On the 'Old v New MySpace' threads, the praise for the new has come from this new generation of users, while the complaints mainly come from seasoned MySpaceTravellers.
There are those of us 'oldies' who stuck with MySpace through thick and thin. We have tried the alternatives, but have found that MS, despite it's obvious shortcomings, still offers that certain 'something' that we want from a SOCIAL NETWORK site. Yes, we still call it that, even if MySpace have other ideas. We have been here a long time, have made a lot of REAL friends and contacts and we're not just fickle fly-by-nighters.
Millions HAVE thrown their toys out of the pram and stormed off to Facebook in a hissy fit.
But we, the creatives, the writers, the activists, the independent musicians, the artists, have always sought ways of working WITH this broken system, rather than against it.
We still consider "MySpace - A Place For Friends" and love it for that reason alone.
So as long as they fling this unwanted corporate crap at us, we'll try to find ways of making OURspace a pleasant place for US... and leave the shallow, curator-led celebrity stalking to those who want that sort of thing. They're welcome to it. After all, these are the folks who will BUY BUY BUY in order to keep the money flowing.

Back to the business of listing 'places of worship' in Hampshire, and waiting for the parcel van to deliver some more boxes of stuff. OFFICE AMBIENCE this morning is that contemplative ZAKIR HUSSAIN album, featuring JOHN McLAUGHLIN, HARIPRASAD CHAURASIA and JAN GARBAREK.

DAZE OUT... Midweek, I went for a train ride to Andover via Basingstoke. I had some printed matter to deliver and some to bring back. I stayed in Andover long enough to enjoy a coffee with my 'client' at the station and to go indulge in MY FAVOURITE WASTE OF TIME, which is to wander aimlessly around the charity shops and flea markets of a town. Then I came back the 'alternative route' via Salisbury.

Week from Monday 13th June 2011

Folding and counting... counting and folding...

I suddenly became inspired to find out what my friend "CC"'s poetry would sound like if it wallowed in a bath of my own music. She has recorded many of her poems as 'vidiblogs', so it is a simple matter of recording the voice tracks, treating them with a little electronic ambience and EQ and then searching the "WORKS IN PROGRESS" archive for musical settings or, at least, soundscapes that might compliment them. Yes, folks, I think there might be a whole album on the way...

Week from Monday 20th June 2011

CC's poem "CRASH & BURN" was submitted first to a rather 'abstract' treatment; all scratchy guitar noises and funny bleeps; something TYPICALLY MINTY, in other words! But then she 'challenged' me to do something with a "PERCUSSIVE TRANCE VIBE". So now folks, meet "CRASH & BURN (PP's BASH & TURN DANCE MIX)". Too easy! It'll be all over the San Francisco club scene before you know it! 

Straight away, we've been 'promoting' the tune on our respective my[_____]streams. Except that now, the stream has developed interesting NEW quirks of a my[_____]nature, so that messages and comments are disappearing five minutes after you post them. Ah, fun and games! There WAS a particularly nice discussion going, in which CC and others were reading all sorts of hidden messages in the accompanying artwork, none of which I had intended. I used the famous library picture of Yuri Gagarin, texturized it and flipped it, then altered the "CCCP" on his helmet to read "CC:PP". Here's me thinking I was merely riffing on the Cyrillic alphabet, but apparently not! It was pointed out that Gagarin himself "crashed & burned" when test piloting a MIG, while a number of other early space flight casualties were also mentioned... Anyway, DON'T LOOK FOR IT, IT'S NOT THERE ANYMORE... along with several other failed attempts at "Sharing" information, lost to the cybervoid.

As I pointed out in one (or maybe two or three) of my deleted comments, this wouldn't happen to us, if this were some commoDITTY submitted on behalf of the latest my[_____]-'HIJACKING' celebutante. The truly "INDEPENDENT" artist is obliged to step aside and let the corporations do their revenue-yielding thing. YOU don't matter, because YOU don't pay us anything. This is Society As She Is Defined By Murdoch.

I finished off the charity COLLATE-O-THON over the weekend. The next stage is to recruit Shelfy for the DELIVER-O-THON, which is now pencilled in for Thursday. With all this flurry of activity, I left it a bit late to make my next appointment to see the doctor, so I'm on half-rations of medication until I can get some more. No biggy, as I am coasting on adrenalin and vitamin D at the moment instead! As I found out before,10mg of  is not QUITE enough UPPITYNESS to make it 'round the clock, so I'm getting tired earlier and feel a wee bit shaky in the morning... A LEGSTRETCHING beckons...

Having another package to deliver to Eastleigh, I took that as an excuse to go mooch around the CHARITY SHOPS for a couple of hours. As I came away with a untouched 5-CD box set of MILES DAVIS' 1950s Prestige recordings, for a little under three of Your Earth Pounds, it was a trip well worth making.

Week from Monday 27th June 2011

Oh good grief, I just saw the first Christmas-themed commercial of the year!

Last Thursday, Shelfy and I did our twenty-somethingth GRAND TOUR DE HAMPSHIRE, fuelled by diesel, Lucozade and lashings of Krautrock. Yes, we managed to get lost around the Basingstoke Sucky Roundabouty Thing yet again. No, we didn't completely lose Andover this time... 

Having promised myself that the subsequent Friday would be a day of rest, SOD'S LAW decrees that the day would turn out to be even MORE stressful. My cellphone ran out of 'credit' mid-call; the landline stopped working; I had to rush deliver a parcel to the post office; I made a nice cuppa, but the bag split, leaving me with a mugful of green floating crumbs instead... Kharma? Gimme some of that INSTANT CALMER! Not a good time to be on 'half-rations'...

Another three tracks for the CC:PP album are "IN THE CAN" over the weekend (if WAVs and MP4s can come in cans, that is...) CC herself seems, so far, delighted with the results and, there being a couple of TEASERS 'out there' now, a small but loyal following are baying for more! I 'road tested' a handful of tracks on our Shelfy and managed to get the occasional "Wow!" out of him, so we might be on to something!

"We intend to make MySpace what it was supposed to be. We want to fulfil the original promise of MySpace - be a true home for content creators and artists..." - Tim Vanderhook, CEO Specific Media

So, suddenly on Thursday, my[_____] finally has a new owner - Californian webvertising specialists SPECIFIC MEDIA in cahoots with... er... JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE?!? If the above quote is to be believed (from an interview for CRAIN'S NEW YORK BUSINESS MONTHLY), the future looks rosy, providing that the phrase "content creators and artists" is intended to mean that they will once again include and involve bloggers and poets, artists and independent musicians - in short, anyone who is NOT in the pocket of a Hollywood conglomerate. Already, they have laid off all those useless my[_____] "CURATORS", so I'm warming to these guys already! They promise to keep the my[_____] brand name, but I have to say, Specific Media's orange and black corporate identity would be a vast improvement on the current dark grey and light grey! By the way, all reports say that the boy Timberlake is a canny businessman, with some bright ideas up his sleeve. There is, of course, a deluge of healthy speculation on the message boards. This is certainly not the time for yet another PANIC exodus to F***bok. Wait and see. Business as usual. No more politics. We've got an album to do!

Ah yes, the album... I've now assembled enough material for an hour-long CD (or rather more likely, a BANDCAMP download). CC has heard all the tracks and is thrilled with the results so far. I have reached that point where I will burn a 'test pressing' on a CD-R, listen to it once or twice, making notes as I go. I will then ignore it for a couple of weeks, before coming back to it with FRESH EARS and attacking it with the graphic equaliser. It is a routine that has always worked for me in the past.

CC has taken on board my comments about background noise on some of the video originals. In the mean time, she has suggested re-records on some of  the 'vocals', particularly one troublesome track where the only accompaniment is some piano noodling in Bb. The background hums and hisses REALLY shine through on that one! (The piece is called "Sitting On The Side Of The Road", so I suppose I could always add some traffic noises to cover it up!) I will meanwhile work on the artwork. My YURI GAGARIN imagery went down well, so I shall develop that idea. 

Friday morning, I have a short appointment with the doctor, followed by a longer wait at the pharmacist.