Week from Monday 2nd April 2012

I perpetrated my APRIL FOOLS DAY ruse by publishing a definitive biography of STRUMPFEN on my blog, complete with fake album covers and an embedded Bandcamp player... So far, only one reader has thanked me for the 'history lesson'.

I'm looking into whether it's practical for me to go and see the STICKMEN and the GAVIN HARRISON/02ric Band at the Bristol Academy in June. Simple answer... No, it doesn't look like it.

DREAM DIARY... I was flicking cobwebs off the bedroom ceiling with a duster. A large chunk of plaster fell away, revealing a six-inch hole through which I could see daylight (and a few more spiders). 'That would explain the damp' says I. I tried in vain to patch it up with chunks of expanded polystyrene...

A quietish pre-Easter week... just a couple of routine website updates. I'm catching up with some reading, tucking into another of CHARLAINE HARRIS' Harper Connelly stories. The weather has taken a turn for the worst just before the 'holidays'.

Last Sunday, THE FREAK ZONE played Can's "TURTLES HAVE SHORT LEGS" (or "Tuhtuhs arva shordregs" as Damo would have us believe...). This has prompted me to (at least) list all the other CAN 'rarities' that have passed me by, with the aim of keeping an eye out at record fairs. Top of the list would be the now deleted "CANNIBALISM 2", which contains three otherwise unavailable tracks (including the above). I'd dismissed that as just another anthology of stuff that I already had, and now it's too late! There was also a tune on the soundtrack to Wim Wenders' "UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD" and that "AGILOK & BLUBBO" soundtrack that they recorded pre-Can as INNER SPACE (Actually, I heard some of this - the title track is really the only thing of substance thereon).

BURN AFTER READING... Self-indulgent I know, but... Talking of RECORD FAIRS, on the spur of the moment I decided to go the "mammoth" Good Friday one in Reading. The railway service is dire and Bank Holidayish. For my £21, I spend an eternity standing on Eastleigh and Basingstoke stations, travelling in both directions. Once the sun goes in, it gets very chilly very quickly. Once again, it feels funny to see the Rivermead Centre when it's NOT covered in flags and bunting and "folk art".

Happy happy joy joy! I got the shiny new copy of TREES' "On The Shore" that I'd been looking for. I also patched some more holes in my RUSH collection (reasonably cheap CDs of "Grace Under Pressure" and "Presto") and bought a couple of Real World WOMADdy things because they were very cheap (RIZWAN-MUAZZAM QAWWALI and PAPE & CHEIKH).

Here comes the weekend...

Week from Monday 9th April 2012

DANK HOLIDAY MONDAY... The weather is dire, all moisture and galeforce. I did some more collating for my CAN PROJECT (trawled through THAT YOU-TUBE THEY HAVE NOW for the 1968 soundtracks to "AGILOK & BLUBBO" and "KAMASUTRA"); cut-up, stretched and manipulated some "ENDLESS UNIVERSES OF STARS & MOUNTAINS" outtakes, with a view to using them to accompany CC's imminent recording of her "In The Shadow Of The Sun"; cranked up the DVD and watched "FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION" again (including the extras) and a couple more TWIN PEAKSes.

It's the start of a new financial year, so I went to the bank to bring up to date the contents of my ISAs and check on my standing orders. The weather has changed yet again, just 'cause I was getting used to wearing long trousers this week!

I have an exciting new project planned for the weekend...

Week from Monday 16th April 2012

Well, I'm back online again... with a shiny new WINDOZE 7 installation, (access to) some extra RAM, another hard drive and, in progress, a second partition on which to install all the old XP programs as well. That means my "music studio" will be on a separate partition to the BIZZY stuff. A project for later in the week. I'm now writing this thing with COFFEE CUP HTML EDITOR, as my ancient copy of MICROSOFT FRONTPAGE has now been retired due to a compatibility impossibility re: that new-fangled WINDOZE 7...

A couple of days on, and we now have both OPERATING SYSTEMS up and running. The only small nigglette is the fact that one has to use the monitor's 'self-adjust' button every time I switch from the SEVENTH WAVE OF WINDOWS back to the XP one. No biggy, but I am trying to keep the XP partition as un-fancy as possible, clearing up as much memory as possible for audio editing purposes.

Midweek, the weather outside is grotty. I'm doing some BIKE-RIDE-A-THON stuff and then catching up with the latest episodes of "THE DAILY SHOW" and "LE SHOW".

Thursday 19th - It's my birthday, apparently! Is it a sign of senility (or just geekiness) that I generally don't know what day it is until I check Calendar in the morning?

I went down to the HOUSE OF HAIR for some tonsorial TLC and ferried over to Gunwharf to avail myself of "THICK AS A BRICK 2".

I figured I should familiarise myself with at least SOME of the music before I go and hear it live next month. It certainly SOUNDS like Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson and that STEVEN WILSON (yes, him again!) have done a bang-up job of making it sound suitably "vintage" despite all the digitalia on hand (iMac, Sibelius, Logic, Tascam X-48, Yamaha Digital Mixer...)

Week from Monday 23rd April 2012

GLOOMY SUNDAY and STORMY MONDAY... at least outside it is. I've some tasks to do before settling down with a copy of one of RICK WAKEMAN's amusing volumes of memoirs...

This weekend the Beeb started showing yet another of those glum yet strangely compelling Scandinavian crime dramas that I get so easily sucked into. This one's called "THE BRIDGE" and it takes place where Sweden meets Denmark... This is how I summed it up in a message to a chum:
"...The Øresundsbroen is the bridge that crosses the watery straight between those two countries. In this story, there is a sudden power cut which plunges the bridge into darkness. When the lights come back on, the body of a woman is found lying across the border, halfway across the bridge.
The Malmo (Swedish) and Kobenhavn (Danish) Police can't agree between themselves who should handle the case, so they reluctantly team up. We meet a Swedish female detective with a number of dark personal "issues" and a Danish cop who, at first, seems like a relatively ordinary 'family guy'.
Then when they finally move the body, they discover it is in two halves... only it eventually transpires, once they start the autopsy, that it is the top and bottom halves of two DIFFERENT bodies which have been arranged - the top is identified as Swedish and the bottom half is from a Danish woman who went missing a year or more ago (the legs had been preserved in a freezer).
There is another 'thread' to the story involving a snooty woman in a hospital whose hubby is waiting for a heart transplant and yet another about a sleazy-looking social worker who's involved in helping homeless people (but might well be killing them, we don't know yet). We have to wait for the next few episodes, for the threads to untangle and/or come together... Fun, eh?"
I picked up another wee disk by the PORCUPINE TREE lads. This one, the "VOYAGE 34" mini-album, dates from the time before they WERE a 'proper' band, merely one of many aliases of that STEVEN WILSON, working pretty much solo with occasional help from his celebrity friends. It's WELL COSMIC in a PINK FLOYD-meets-THE ORB kind of way - in fact the Floyd 'influence' was still rather blatant at this point in his career. However, maybe I'm getting prudish in my old age, but the 'druggy' references make repeated listening troublesome - there are a lot of speaking voices from LSD lab-test scientists and volunteers, which, after a while, distract from the actual music, I'm sorry to say. I'll probably end up attacking it with the WAV editor before very long, to produce a 'listenable' version!

Yes, I have a troubled relationship with "THE SPOKEN WORD"...

I've spent all my spare time this week trying to CRACK THE CODE of how to style the GOOGLE PLUS pages. Just when I thought that my previous efforts were DEFINITIVE, they went and moved the goalposts and completely changed everything, making my 'published' scripts obsolete overnight. Anyway, I produced a variation on my earlier "swimming pool" theme which I think I can live with...

Friday sees a change in the weather for the better (albeit briefly) so I went for a train ride to that BRIGHTON... Good value! It costs less to get to Brighton than it does to say Basingstoke or Salisbury, but there's so much to see when you get there... all those secondhand record emporia within yards of each other, not to mention no end of fleamarketry and charity shoppage! I found another item for the ever-growing CAN collection, a CASSANDRA WILSON album that I didn't already have and the long-sought soundtrack to "THE BIG LEBOWSKI". I so VERY nearly bought a guitar that was missing its strings for £30, but I thought better of it.

The nice weather has brought out the wildlife. On the journey home I saw no end of bunny-rabbits, several deer, not to mention pheasants and birds of prey of various kinds.

Week from Monday 30th April 2012

A stressful week. I'll be glad when it's over.