Week from Monday 5th September 2011

Again... it's already Wednesday already. I'm getting really LAX at this (and I don't mean the Los Angeles airport!). I've had a snivelling cold since the weekend, we've had gales blowing all across the southern counties and beyond... so I don't have an awful lot to write about anyway! Same comments apply as last Wednesday RE: the reading and musicking bit. I'm in the middle of yet another SOOKIE STACKHOUSE novel and I've been having a craze for the JEFFERSONS, both AIRPLANE and STARSHIP (but definitely not 'Starship'!).

I've also spent a couple of days creating SPACE SUIT images for the Cries of Calliope/CC:PP my[_____] page, a project which has been jolly good fun, but is getting out of hand now! They're just getting crazier and crazier! I've dressed CC up as BARBARELLA, tried out all sorts of space helmets from various films and portrayed us both as Mercury astronauts, all with the aid of a little bit of CorelDraw and an awful lot of PhotoPlus. We at least have a new my[_____] profile 'avatar' and, as it is not entirely beyond the realms of possibility that there will be a second CC:PP album at some time, we have a few potential covers as well!

Based on my ZEN approach to the 'DAZE OUT'... On Saturday, I just took off for the station to see where the journey takes me. I bought a ticket to CHICHESTER. As I sit on the platform, a fully preserved and operational Britannia-class steam locomotive, hauling a trainload of enthusiasts, passes by on its way to Portsmouth. The end of the platform is naturally populated by anoraks. The journey to Chichester takes less than the duration of one extended MILES DAVIS piece. 

I intended to spend my afternoon perusing the city's many fine charity shops [and I still did], but I discover shortly after my arrival that there is a FRIDA KAHLO exhibition nearby (I really should pay more attention to the arts review pages, then I would have known that!). A rare opportunity to see some of these strange but beautiful works 'in the flesh', so to speak. As well as some fine examples (from the collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman) of La Kahlo's less-than-flattering self-portraits and figurative, near-surreal arrangements, there was also a roomful of her hubby DIEGO RIVERA's paintings and drawings, some of photographer NICKOLAS MURAY's portraits of the artist in all her native finery, and her father GUILLERMO KAHLO's photographs of turn-of-the-century Mexico City. The PALLANT HOUSE GALLERY (for that is where it was) also houses a fine permanent collection of 'modern' British art (Blake, Caulfield, Hamilton, Sickert... all the usual suspects!), the Dannatt Gift collection, featuring many of the St Ives bunch... 

...and some brightly lit and garishly colourful, yet still strangely dreary photographs by ANNA FOX, depicting 'everyday life' at the Bognor Regis BUTLINS holiday resort. She has somehow succeeded, aided by a production team of assistants, to make the modern 'everyday' look like something created in an advertising studio in the nineteen-fifties. All that's missing are the be-finned automobiles. It is only the people in the pictures that look contemporary. Come to think of it, "brightly lit and garishly colourful, yet still strangely dreary" is a very good description of the subject matter, as well as the pictures themselves... "Bugger Bognor!", as George V almost certainly didn't say.

Week from Monday 12th September 2001

Sunday brought a double bill of TIM BURTON movies to while away the afternoon ("Big Fish" and "Beetlejuice"), which is just peachy by me. There is much in the media to mark the tenth anniversary of "9/11". 6MUSIC broadcast a reading by LAURIE ANDERSON (and boy can she read!) followed by a typically and suitably solemn piece by ARVO PART, which struck the right chord. It is also Arvo Part's birthday, by the way.

After I've taken care of a couple of bizzythings this morning, I'm off to the EMPORIUM O'HAIR for a little overdue tonsorial attention. I'd even taken to wearing a hat because "I CAN'T DO A THING WITH IT".

Week from Monday 19th September 2011

I've been doing some "FriendBlasting" on behalf of the CC:PP/CRIES OF CALLIOPE page (an ongoing process, as I can only 'add' and 'message' 40 'friends' a day) and I've helped Mlle Kitty LaMieux get her messed up page layout back in shape. It felt strange to be back in PROFILE 1.0 Land again... 

A big old "TOLD YOU SO!" to all those folks on F***BOOK who are now complaining about new changes to the site and the fact that their privacy has become EVEN MORE compromised as a result.

All I ever knew about RALPH VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS was that he was 'that bloke who went about collecting old folk songs' (In fact, I knew SO little about him, that I misspelled his name on the first draft of this entry!). I'd never really given his music the time of day, because I had him down as one of those pompous and circumstantial OH SO TERRIBLY ENGLISH composers like Elgar, Walton, Bliss or Holst... Not really my cup of Twinings at all . Until one day this week, when I was sat in a Gosport car park waiting to meet my mother... and a piece of music appeared on the radio. I missed the introduction, so I didn't know what it was. A 'blind listening' test - "Ooh, I like this, what is it?". I guessed twentieth century, maybe American? - it seemed to me to have the folksy, wide-open-prairie sweep of an Aaron Copland about it. A film composer? Definitely what you'd call "LANDSCAPE" music anyway... mmm lovely... I will be ever so embarrassed, if this turns out to be a piece by a composer I should 'KNOW'! It turned out to be Vaughan-Williams' FIFTH SYMPHONY. I've now listened to more of the maestro's work via one of those suspect but useful music streaming sites. I can certainly recognise that all those years he spent wandering the countryside and listening to old duffers with their fingers in their ears rubbed off in a positive way. Like BELA BARTOK did in his own country, he took the local folk music as a jumping off point and then "WRIT IT LARGE!" - I am suddenly smitten! I'm off to the library shortly to see what I can find... Of course, with the state of the public library system nowadays, I didn't have any luck. Thank the beeb then for the 'LISTEN AGAIN' facility...

Week from Monday 26th September 2011

I spent most of Saturday "AFK", as I believe you young'ns call it... My peecee was running an incredibly thorough 'malware' scan using a Linux-based program, (one of those Burn-a-Linux-Disk-from-an-ISO-File doobries). For over ten hours my monitor was filled with naught but white text, a-flickerin' and a-scrollin' across a black background, as each and every file on the beast was scrutinised for nastinesses. I'm happy to report a clean bill of health. Any anomalies I might have encountered, re: --E--X--T--R--E--M--E--L--Y   S--L--O--W-- page-loading times, are therefore ENTIRELY the fault of SOMEONE ELSE's computer! It is clear that I'm not the only one on my[_____] suffering from what we doctors call the old "PAGE LAG" at the moment! It is comforting, in a funny kind of way, to learn that IT'S NOT JUST ME THEN, but pretty darned annoying that, once again, someone's not doing THEIR job properly...

This morning's OFFICE AMBIENCE takes the form of the perfectly honed satirical pop of WAS (NOT WAS). I just found a CD copy of "What Up Dog?" for one of your Earth Pounds in a charity shop, replacing my aging cassette copy. Which Was Nice.

I've been down to Gosport on business a couple of times this week. Hmm, Walpole Park smells lovely this time of year... There is a delightfully sulphuric MARSH GAS STENCH hanging over the Stoke Road area. Cast your olfactory memory back to the STINK BOMBS of your youth. Then double it. Someone told me that there is a particular type of algae that thrives in the Creek at this time of year. It's our old friend GLOBAL WARMING. If Autumn is cold and damp, then the smell is negligible... but when it's hot and muggy, as it is at the moment, you can almost TASTE it! Peeee-eeew!

The new STEVEN WILSON double CD "Grace For Drowning" has arrived. It might be too premature to nominate this as an ALBUM OF THE YEAR, based on just one day of listening, but it should certainly be in the TOP THREE!

The MySpace Exodus Explained
"...Those ordinary folks, like the happy little consumers that they are, saw something which was broken and which was missing its instruction manual, and so decided to get a new one instead..."

It was my intention to post that and a whole lot more in a my[_____] bloggyRANT, but "AN UNEXPECTED ERROR HAS OCCURRED"... It's another of those Fridays when my INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER has decided not to provide any internet service. I'm just getting  "The Remote Computer Has Not Responded..." messages instead. One Catch 22 situation is that my anti-virus software needs rejuvenating for another year, but I can't do that without the ability to register and update it. I also wanted to Google for info about SHIELD BUGS, an plant-eating species of creepy-crawly recently spotted locally. Not to mention all the other online tasks I should be doing. Might just as well settle back and watch a "CSI" re-run instead...