Week from Monday 5th December 2011

Went for a jaunt around that Southampton they have now. It is completely SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER, what with the market stalls, all along Bargate and Above Bar, taking up the room normally used by people. Quite a nice atmosphere though, for an Autumnal late Saturday afternoon. I perused all the charity shops, as is my wont, and did an awful lot of "JUST LOOKING REALLY". 

I bought the DVD of YES "Live at Montreaux 2003". It looks good (all shot in Sony High Definition), but musically it's not that great. It does have its moments. But when the SOLO SPOTS are the highlights of a Yes concert rather than the lowpoints, it was clear that Yes was by now a band that needed some fresh blood, not to mention a good Anderson transplant. Give me "FLY FROM HERE" any day!

But the good news... I finally found a PROPER-ROUND-SILVER-THING-IN-A-JEWEL-CASE copy of my ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Matt Berry's "WITCHAZEL". Hoorah! After all that haranguing of HMV in my blog too! The young fellow behind the till was intrigued. "I didn't know he'd made an album, I'd like to hear that", said he. I pointed out that I'd bought this from iTUNES as long ago as March, and it had been a favourite ever since, but this was the first time I'd ever seen a REAL copy in any of their shops. He told me that Matt Berry had previously written all the music for the TV show "SNUFF BOX". I'll have to look it up. Still, it's nice to finally have this beauty with a real cover with all the stuffed animals and sleeve notes and everything. The disc itself has a picture of a badger in headphones playing an ARP Odyssey. Which is nice.

Just checked out a few "SNUFF BOX" clips on the YouTubes. WOW! WHY HAVE I NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE???

A huge sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT: The ecommerce website that has been occupying me over the recent months is now up and running within all the parameters currently possible, plus I have solved the problem of the my[_____] HOMEPAGE THAT WOULDN'T CHANGE BACK! The 'change it back' button on the 'new' homepage remains (deliberately?) disabled, but if you examine the HTML source of the page, there is a route back that way! So now my homepage has been restored to its MINTY BLUE MINIMALISM and I've learned my lesson NEVER to press anything on my[_____] that says "New! Try It Out!" ever again... I'm chilling out with a good book (a DOUGLAS ADAMS) and something 'meditational' in the background (some live TERRY RILEY). After yesterday's squally wind and rain, it's a sunny autumn afternoon.

DREAM DIARY... the usual current obsessions: I generally wake up after a busy night in some grotty Portsmouth pub, involved in a percussion-heavy jam session with THE LADS. More often than not, I obsess over the LOGISTICS of putting the thing together, rather than any MUSIC that may or may not get performed... Hours spent trying to work out how to mount a KORG drum box on a sturdy enough mike stand, or whether my stuff is louder than everyone else's... This was my REAL LIFE of about twenty-five years ago - ONE LONG SOUNDCHECK! I probably wouldn't be seen dead in such an establishment nowadays, but clearly, I WOULD be seen 'unconscious'... Very often too, my night's journey will find me at a RECORD FAIR, usually in an abandoned industrial building or run-down shopping mall, where I spend ages examining the previously unseen goodies (in frightening detail, even down to the sleevenotes!) but come away dissatisfied...

Week from Monday 12th December 2011

MONDAY MORNING... I had to go for my bi-monthly appointment with the daktari... A nice brisk walk into town, a couple of months' fresh supply of happy pills and a referral to the shrink for me! Which I'm happy to do, as long as it doesn't cost me anything.

TUESDAY brought a break in the weather (following another night of storms and squalls)... I went down to GOZZY to run a few errands and to have my hair teased by a couple of pretty blondes (that's 'TEASING' in the TLC sense, not as in BEING POINTED AT IN RIDICULE/"YA BOO SUCKS!").

Week from Monday 19th December 2011

Where's SHELFY when you need him? He should be here to berate me for getting lax with this diary lark... 

Tied up some loose ends, so PROPER WORK is over for this year... A couple of visits to the DENTIST for a bit of a scrape and a fresh tarmaccing... 

Some DAZE OUT to trawl the charity shops... Got the recent Esoteric reissue of ISOTOPE's second album "Illusion", an old favourite from 'back in the day' and an unsung classic of jazz/prog/fusion, notable for the stentorian fuzz-bass work of one HUGH HOPPER, as well as some cracking tunes... Plus a Spanish CD issue of MILES DAVIS' "Ascenseur Pour L'Eschafaud" soundtrack... and a CD of the first release on REAL WORLD records that wasn't actually by Peter Gabriel, the "PASSION SOURCES" compilation... and a well thumbed paperback anthology of SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE...

ANNOUNCING "MBM 3.0"!!! It had become clear that the MINTY BLUE MINIMALISM Stylish script just WOULDN'T DO for all these new versions of the my[_____] HOMEPAGE that had been foisted on the general populace. My American friend KITTY allowed me to peep inside her profile so that I could examine the new 'civilians' homepage first hand. I was thus able to do some screengrabs and take a few 'measurements', enabling me to adapt and adopt my existing scripts to suit the latest changes. It has had a mixed reception so far. Folks are either delighted with it beyond their wildest dreams or they tell me it "DOESN'T WORK", despite photographic evidence that it clearly DOES! Well, if people can't follow a simple set of onscreen instructions, then that's THEIR problem, not mine. A lot more about this on the ongoing series of "MINTY BLUE MINIMALISM" blogs. 

A quick glimpse at the USERSTYLES.ORG pages tells me that version 1 of the script received 84 installs, version 2 has had 46 (and counting) and the new one has had 16 already. I'm obviously having more success at offering stuff like this for 'FREE DOWNLOAD' than I am with the music!

Now to go and catch up with a couple of weeks of "LE SHOW" podcasts...

XMAS EVE... I watched the wonderful production of "TOSCA" from the Royal Opera House. I missed the beginning of the third act (the one with all the cracking tunes in), because I had to dash across the road to photograph the sunset (I'd missed capturing the REALLY spectacular one earlier in the week).... I finished one CHARLAINE HARRIS book, started another and watched ridiculous amounts of "FATHER TED" and "THE BIG BANG THEORY" yet again... Holidays, eh?

XMAS DAY... I'm installing the latest version of SERIF PHOTO-PLUS that I got myself for Xmas. I haven't spotted anything radically different from the version I've been using on a daily basis anyway, but time will tell. I've put the old download version onto a disk for my nephew to play with.

Week from Monday 26th December 2011

DREAM DIARY... A "fifty-two mile" cross-country CYCLE RACE around the borough... on a tandem! I can't remember who my partner was on the tandem, probably someone from my dim and distant past... The race was actually no more than twelve miles in the end, but we spent an awful lot of it climbing in and out of ditches for no apparent reason, despite there being perfectly good tarmac roads nearby. Somewhere just the other side of HMS Collingwood, we were struggling with a particularly difficult ditch (right alongside the road), when a disembodied voice suddenly announced that the race was finishing anyway "just over there...", so we walked across the road to the finish and that was that.

It's that strange holiday hinterland between Xmas and New Year. In some ways, it's the longest week of the year: Nobody has ever been able to make their mind up whether it IS a 'holiday' or not; some shops open, some don't bother; nothing really happens and you're in a constant state of looking for something to do with all those free hours they've landed you with. I've managed to read two CHARLAINE HARRISes in a week, squeezed in a couple of walks and watched some films (some good, some... er... not so good!). I dare say I will make a trip to delve through the January Sales (that nowadays start on Boxing Day), when I can get out to a place that actually has some shops that are worth delving...

DREAM DIARY... Another long-time recurring DREAMTHEME is that I am attending some sort of further education establishment... On this occasion, the college announces that it is bankrupt, there is no longer any material for materials and equipment, but we are "welcome to stay on if we are able to manage...". I am unable to complete my art coursework, so I opt to solve some mathematical problems instead. And with no clay available for making pots or sculptures, I attempt (unsuccessfully) to make something out of an oatmeal-based concoction of my own recipe...

I have had a veritable jamboree of TIM BURTON movies to watch on the box this week - "Edward Scissorhands", "Sweeney Todd" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (of course!) have all been popping up with increasing regularity on the telly, while the deeveedee of "Ed Wood" has also had an airing. Which Is Nice... I'm also having a bit of a "CRAZE" for that JETHRO TULL at the moment. I find myself digging out the old cassettes for an airing, plus I'll be seeing them live again next May! It's the 40th anniversary of "THICK AS A BRICK" - now that DOES make me feel old!