Week from Monday 3rd November 2014

Shelfy has finally got around to starting a YouTube channel, a place for all his funny little video projects to go, under the name of "THE PSEUDART CINEMA CLUB". I enjoyed watching them all over Sunday teatime, once my computer had finished with its weekend ROUTINES. But he appears to have disallowed comments on the page (either that or my browser settings are themselves disallowing it), so I couldn't "BE FUNNY TOO" in situ, as it were (or "ON LOCATION" as we say in the film industry)... Time for a walk into town to check the funds and to top up the blasted phone...

DREAM DIARY... A visit to a print shop (not one with which I am familiar in 'real' life)... I have to get some leaflets printed which explain the pros and cons of making kids wear school uniform (I'm not sure if they are supposed to be 'for' or 'against' it)... I'm told the bosses aren't in yet, so I sit and chat to a lady who works in the darkroom... It turns out that the print shop is on a bus or trailer (one of those 'bigger on the inside than the outside' dream situations)... At some point, the bus is picked up and dumped in the middle of a frozen 'San Francisco Harbour'... I then have to find a way to plug in my laptop to make contact with the outside world, hopefully before the bus sinks altogether... It appears that there is some sort of political motive for the bus-napping...

On last night's "6 Music Live Hour" (which actually goes out at two-thirty in the morning - thank you BBC iPlayer!) they broadcast about thirty minutes of THE ENID live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1979.

DEAR FRIENDS, I WAS THERE AT THAT GIG!

A unique and eccentric band: in fact they were as mad as a box of frogs, defiant of fashion and category, deserved of ridicule. Especially when you consider that they were doing all that mock-orchestral "Last Night Of The Proms" stuff (complete with all the dubious flag-waving) at a time when "God Save The Queen" meant something QUITE DIFFERENT in the rock world. But did they ever care? Did their audience?

I finished another CC:PP track. But this one took me a little while longer before I had something with which I was satisfied. On the one hand, I had a poem, CC's "IN VINO VERITAS". On the other, I had a piece of instrumental music with the working title of "BALAFONICS" ('cos it sounds a little bit African). But what should come first? Should the poem form an intro which then segues into the music? Should the music come first and then have the poem over a sort of coda? Is the music too long anyway? Do they even go together? What should go behind the poem? Does that string part go with that marimba? Decisions decisions... but several 'montages' later, I had something that I could email to San Francisco for an opinion... It was described by m'colleague as "Cool". But I'm not going to put this one on the Soundcloud straight away. It'll be saved in a folder for eventual 'release' on the next album "CC:PP Episode IV - THE UNDECIDED TITLE" (Yes, that's right, folks - a fourth album is now inevitable!). By the way, I've always been rather keen on descriptive 'working titles' that become the REAL title of a piece, regardless of what the song eventually turns out to be 'about'. R.E.M. and the TALKING HEADS used to do that all the time. Usually, in this day and age, it's simply because you have to call the computer file SOMETHING. Having said that, it's quite possible that "BALAFONICS" may adopt the name "JUNGLE WARFARE HAIR" from a line in the poem. Early days. We shall see.

It's certainly a lot catchier a name than "freeform_drums-bass-koto_concrete-wall.wav" which is another piece I've had lurking in the "works in progress" files for a while now. Now that one IS abstract and abstruse. I can't see it being suitable for Lori to talk over. I'm thinking it might lend itself to one of Shelfy's strange videos, if he'll let me.

I just HAD to get out in the fresh air for a good solid LEG-STRETCH this morning. It's a bit AUTUMNAL and windy, but I won't be cold for long once I get going! I did the "TRIANGLE" walk:- down Peak Lane to Stubbington; back along the 'valley' into Titchfield village; from there the hill climb up to the main road and back to Peak Lane again. About ninety minutes all told.

DREAM DIARY... at a sort of "Comic-Con" for King Crimson nerds (this is getting all too real!)... a tribute band recreating old 'improvs' note-for-note on an outdoor stage... There was also a general knowledge contest: my specialist subject was 'Improvisational Transitions into "The Talking Drum" 1972-74' (I said this was getting too real, didn't I!?! I think my subconscious brain has finally exhausted its supply of other 'stuff' with which to fill the dark hours)... Everyone is carrying around their 'topics of study' in yellow shoe-boxes...

Week from Monday 10th November 2014

Still on a 'nostalgia' trip (sorry!)... THE POP GROUP have got back together and they recently recorded a session for 6MUSIC. The guitars don't sound QUITE as savage and angular as they did thirty-odd years ago. The tempos are maybe a little more anchored than they were in their youth. I guess that, after all the intervening years, their unique brand of noise-funk no longer has quite the same SHOCK value. But MARK STEWART's voice can still peel paint and frighten small animals. "ANGST!!!", as we would once cry upon hearing it.

The weather's proper GROTTY today. It's far from cold, at least by November standards, but we're experiencing a feeble but persistent DRIZZLE. It is rain that is not deserved of the name. It is ENGLISH rain. It's not enough to deter going outdoors, but still folks complain about it when they do.

I've been giving the new FIREFOX DEVELOPER EDITION a go on Windoze. I wouldn't want to jinx it by saying it out aloud, but if you ask me, it's MORE stable than the regular version. Now that Firefox Proper has got to version 33 or thereabouts, my own installation was starting to get a bit BLOATED. It can't do any harm to start from scratch with a whole new browser, but I wasn't about to switch to something COMPLETELY different. So it's "MEET THE NEW FOX, SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT TO THE OTHER NEW FOX". Foxy still has the edge over Chrome or Opera for me (not to mention M!¢r0$oFt Internet Exploder... I told you NOT to... etc.). I know a lot of folks disagree, saying that Firefox is 'slower' than the others (that DOES appear to be increasingly true on Linux), but to me it just 'FEELS' right. Each to their own. Apart from a change of colour scheme and a couple of new buttons, I haven't really noticed VERY much that is different about FDE. The kind of 'developer tools' that I personally use (element inspector; scratchpad; less so the 'heavy' stuff) were already present on my existing Foxy. But it 'feels' a lot smoother in use. Again, it's early days, so I don't want to speak too soon! I've yet to find out what it's like at streaming telly and radio...

On top of all that, there's been a particularly big torrent of Windoze Updates, a "2015" version of AVG Antivirus to install and implement, new firmware for the TalkTalk Router... and then, when I've put all that in place, I shall have to repeat my "Sunday Routine" of check-ups all over again in the middle of the week. I'm being a full-time SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR!

Oh dear. I think they've broken the "DAILY SHOW with JON STEWART" website. And the BBC website crashed this morning due to the extra traffic generated by their "Children In Need" charity-o-thon day.
On this day (13th November) in 1976, We Happy Band Of Art Students went to see the PAT TRAVERS BAND at the Portsmouth Polytechnic Students' Union. They were a heavy blues-rock power trio, led by the eponymous Canadian guitarist, which included Nicko McBrain on drums (several years before he signed up with Iron Maiden) and former Gnidrolog man Peter "Mars" Cowling on bass. Their music probably wouldn't appeal to me nowadays, but I must have half-enjoyed it at the time, because I gave the gig three stars in my journal! I vaguely recall that we went from there to an all-night party somewhere and I took with me a cardboard cut-out Telecaster I'd somehow acquired from the merchandise stand.
I'd been meaning to go to the cinema this week to see "MISTER TURNER", Mike Leigh's biopic about the painter Joseph Mallord William of that ilk. But I'm not sure if I'll get around to it after all. Not to worry, it's a FILM FOUR co-production, so it'll be on the telly in a matter of months!

Week from Monday 17th November 2014

BUSY BUSY BUSY... Spent all of Monday over at Uncle Willy's, thrashing out the stuff for his latest training courses... I also installed LINUX MINT on one of his laptops, replacing a rather aged version of UBUNTU... Lots of drawings to do over the next few days... It's a fairly stress-free sort of work (as long as it isn't left until the last minute, that is!), so I find I can actually listen to music while I do it. Currently 'on the jukebox' is "SHY ANGELS", in which BILL LASWELL remixes some of SUSSAN DEYHIM's ethereal tunes in a heavy heavy dub stylee. Sure makes a day go swimmingly!

Week from Monday 24th November 2014

I had an appointment with the quack for a 'six-month check-up', then I wound down from my busy week by taking a train ride and an afternoon out in Chichester (aka "TAKING A SLOW COACH TO CHI'"). It's a murky sort of day, but ne'mind eh? I saw the brent geese gathering on the Farlington sports fields... In Chichester town centre there is a gentleman doing sand sculptures (apparently he normally plies his trade on Bognor beach, but today he must have brought the sand with him). There's a scarily realistic one of a pair of sleeping dogs... I 'did' all of the many charity shops and paid a visit to Helter Skelter Records for much blissful browsery.

I'm doing some 'security' stuff this morning, including having some fun with the SHREDDER...

BREAKFAST MUSIC... the BBC "Red Button" channel is streaming a recent Asian Network performance by RAHAT FATEH ALI KHAN (the current keeper of 'THAT' particular flame) and his expanded qawwali party.
On this day (25th November) in 1976, I saw the STEVE HILLAGE band play the Portsmouth Mecca/Locarno, a venue which Hillage himself described as a "very surreal setting" - its tinselly curtains and mirrorballs were more suited to naff college discos and the occasional bingo night! At the time, Hillage would have been promoting the "L" album, which they played in its entirety(?), quite loudly as I recall. We enjoyed the proceedings from a vantage point in one of the side balconies. I still have a rather good b***leg recording of this gig, subsequently gleaned from The Famous Gold Lamé Tapes. The support band was NOVA, a rather splendid Italian jazz/prog outfit, one of those bands who, at the time, appealed mainly to OTHER musos (their album was produced by Robin Lumley and they featured various BRAND X alumni and NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN amongst their augmented personnel). Despite a few prestigious support gigs, the 'crossover' never QUITE happened for them.
Off to Gosport to 'do the rounds'... I've been so preoccupied with 'cinematic matters' (pulling one or two 'night shifts' along the way) that I didn't go at all LAST week. While I'm there, I'll probably pop to the supermarket to buy the new PINK FLOYD album...

In the early hours of this morning (Wednesday), my escalating problem with my internet slowing down and cutting out reached rock bottom. First it slowed to sub-dialup speeds while I was trying to upload a massive Powerpoint presentation, then it stopped altogether, telephones and all. CATCH 22 situation - How do you report a fault or get a service status report when you haven't got a telephone or internet connection? I plugged the laptop in and did a line check myself. It was non-functioning. Then I noticed the white vans parked on the corner and the men tinkering about with THE BIG GREEN BOXES... then there's the fact that the road is being closed today while they set up a new roundabout traffic light system... That would probably go some way to explaining it! Anyway, we appear to be back to normal now, TOUCH SILICON.

I did this morning's batch of POWERPOINTIN', then watched Shelfy's latest YouTube collage (set to the delightful strains of "DANDIES & FOPS")...

...and now, for reasons best explained as SERENDIPITOUS, I'm listening to selected recordings from the READING FESTIVAL of 1975. I wasn't there, so I'm not sure why I would pick THAT particular August Bank Holiday weekend... but I discovered sets by CARAVAN, HAWKWIND, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, ROBIN TROWER and YES which were all part of that summer's fun-packed bill (disappointingly, I couldn't find WISHBONE ASH's Sunday headlining set, which would have been nice, but there you go...). You certainly got plenty for your £5.95 weekend ticket in those days! All of the recordings fall pretty squarely in the R.A.A.B.A.B.T.A.L. category (long-time readers will recall that this Goldlamé-contrived acronym stands for "ROUGH AS A BEAR'S ARSE, BUT TWICE AS LIVELY"). With some of these outdoor festival recordings, I sometimes find myself paying attention to the conversations in the crowd rather than the music on the stage... and then there's always those golden 1970s moments when Concorde would fly over the Thames Valley during the quiet bits... I think "ATMOSPHERIC" would best describe the listening experience!

This Friday, BBC 6 MUSIC is promoting its "WEAR YOUR OLD BAND T-SHIRTS TO WORK" Day. But, but, but... EVERY day is "WEAR YOUR OLD BAND T-SHIRTS TO WORK" day as far as I'm concerned...?!? (Just for the record, I'm currently sporting one from CARAVAN's "Unauthorised Breakfast Item" tour of ten years ago.)

Shelfy appears to have changed the name of his PSUEDART CINEMA CLUB YouTube channel to the SKITTISH FILM INSTITUTE. A much better name though... at least this one is spelled correctly! Dammit! Now I have to change all my shortcuts! Today's offering is another 'PICTURES OF GRIDLERS VARIOUS' montage, to accompany "The Winky Elves Are Coming" from the popular cassette of the same name.