Week from Monday 7th January 2013

Happy 2013 then... Who should turn up at my gaff today, just as I was typing up this week's episode of "ANARCHAEOLOGY"... but MONSEWER SHELFY LE BEAR himself! He was off cycling somewhere, but he popped in to say that he is 'on the case' re: the CHURCH ORGAN project. I showed him the under-construction JGB NewMySpace and suggested that he compile a "SHELFY'S CHOICE" playlist. He wants to watch "CELEBRATION DAY" some time (I played him its version of "Kashmir" via that YouTube they have now). We drank tea, ate a biscuit or several and generally 'caught up' (His xmas prezzy was, of course, my 'old' copy of "LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC")... ah well, back to work...

This week, I've gathered together all my thoughts (and some of the correspondence) about NEW MYSPACE into one big blogspot. I hope that the link will provoke some reaction from the sleeping OLD MYSPACE.

I've been reading an article about GODLEY & CREME's legendary "CONSEQUENCES" album. I'd often seen it either lauded as a pioneering work or dismissed as a self-indulgent piece of crap, but I'd never actually heard what it SOUNDED like. It was a rather 'expensive' (£11 or thereabouts!) triple-album box-set released in 1978 (just at the 'WRONG' time, as the seventies got all dinosaur-dismissive) and it was deleted soon after. But I was not TOO surprised that the whole thing is there on that YouTube now, so I've been working my way through it through the miracle o'streamin'... Some of it does come across like a BBC sound-effects library record (as the Floyd often did pre-"Meddle"/"Dark Side"), but there's some really interesting and genuinely experimental music (some of it like their still wonderful "Freeze Frame" album)... and the PETER COOK spoken-word stuff is not as bad as some people have suggested. I don't think I would repeatedly listen to the WHOLE thing, but it's definitely one for reappraisal in the pages of "PROG" magazine or some such. (It did have a CD release for a while in the States, but it's changing hands for silly money now.)

Week from Monday 14th January 2013

Up bright and early... a bit of exercise BEFORE breakfast! I have to walk into town for a DENTAL APPOINTMENT, and I make it a habit of doing that before I soil my teeth with food! Do I really have to do the "He said my teeth are alright, but my gums will have to come out..." line AGAIN!?

I had a look at Shelfy's notes about the ORGAN PROJECT and sent him some thoughts of my own. I'm still not convinced that I can actually bring anything PRACTICAL to the project - I really think it's a job for proper restorers and large men with scaffolding - but I'm happy to bounce a few ideas around and see if anything sticks.

Whoopee and yarroooo! We have a new PG WODEHOUSE adaptation on the telly! The BBC is turning the "BLANDINGS" stories into half-hour Sunday teatime tidbits. I often think that Wodehouse works best on the radio, because I have spent a lifetime forming pictures in my head of what the various characters look like and they never quite 'get it right' on the TV. TIMOTHY SPALL is really the wrong shape to be a proper LORD EMSWORTH - he is far too short, round and hirsute. Our Clarence is supposed to be long, gangly and bald and habitually wearing a pince-nez. The pig 'playing' THE EMPRESS in the TV show is a handsome beast indeed, but she is the wrong breed! She is NOT the shiny black Berkshire that the books describe in some detail. MARK WILLIAMS portrays BEACH the butler as slightly TOO inebriated. On the other hand, JENNIFER SAUNDERS does a great turn as LADY CONSTANCE and the fellow playing FREDDIE THREEPWOOD is the very epitome of a Wodehousean chinless young oik. In adapting the stories for TV, they've boiled the plots down to their comedic essentials, but largely ignored Plum's floridly descriptive prose. It's all ripping good fun, of course, and I will be dutifully tuning in every Sunday from now on... but it will have to go a long way to match the TV version of "JEEVES & WOOSTER" for sheer quality.

Week from Monday 21st January 2013

Busy busy busy... It must have caught up with me a bit, because I overslept till past nine this morning! Last week, my mum was rushed to hospital (she's fine now, thank you for asking), so I was a couple of days behind on work. I pulled a few early mornings and later evenings to catch up (a frenzy of Powerpointing, some ongoing HTML 'research' and rather a lot of blogging on the side). But not much time for so-called DIARIES...

The SNOW has now reached the south coast (VERY quickly, all in the space of a couple of early hours on Friday morning), so the meeting I WAS supposed to attend in Winchester on Saturday was postponed. Probably for the best, if the BBC pictures of correspondents shivering outside the emptied railways stations of Winchester and Guildford were anything to go by. But I did seal myself in several layers of winterwear and trudge into town EGRET-STYLE, so that I could top up the phone and sort out a few other sundries.

The feeling of loss hasn't quite sunk in yet, what with everything going on... but HMV, the last surviving "record" shop in the majority of Britain's towns, is finally going the way of Woolworths, Virgin Megastores, Our Price Records, Tower Records, MVC, Fopp and every other High Street chain outlet. It's official, the UK music retail industry is dead, killed by their pursuing a policy of misguided, fad-driven diversification, instead of sticking to what they are best at.
"Hey! Let's sell games! Let's sell ugly clothing! Let's sell overpriced 'designer' headphones! Let's sell iPhone accessories! Oh, hang on a minute, where are we going to put the CDs now? Just tuck 'em away over there in that far corner of the shop, no one will mind..."
They're not even going to honour anyone's gift tokens from now on... No more HMV? That's a substantial part of MY leisure activity down the toilet. Gahd! I might have to get a life!

Week from Monday 28th January 2013

DREAM DIARY... In the middle of a dreary 'holiday resort' that was basically one huge, empty, multi-storey car park complex, with a hotel at one end, and the 'beach' (a LONG walk away) at the other... endless traipsing through concrete buildings, up and down several hills, under grey skies, before one arrived at a door in the back of a shop... a 'welcoming' committee cheered everyone who walked through the door, as if they'd passed some sort of test. At the other side of the shop was a brightly sunlit beach. This 'resort' was called Solent City, although I understood it to be in Spain ("three-hundred miles from the nearest town")... We consoled ourselves by saying "Hey! at least we're here for free!"

I appear to have my JAZZ HEAD on this week... I caught up with last week's "JAZZ ON 3", featuring DJANGO BATES and his piano trio BELOVÈD. Most refreshing to hear the lad REALLY GO FOR IT on a proper piano after all this time!

Meanwhile, I paid a visit to Southampton. HMV is still open for the time being - I WILL miss the friendly, helpful 'music'-specialist staff they have at the Southampton branch (but, seemingly, nowhere else). I 'hit' the jazz racks to take advantage of the 'blue cross' discount offers. They're not doing gift vouchers or PureHMV points anymore, but there ARE 25% discounts across the board. I got both of the LOOSE TUBES CDs that are available, the Esoteric reissue of TONY WILLIAMS' LIFETIME's "Turn It Over" album and (because it was only £3) BILLY COBHAM's fabulous "Spectrum" album - that's another one for the 1973 list!

Another week of rushing-off-the-feet and hectic last-minuteness...