Week from Monday 3rd August 2015

SPHYGMOMANOMETRIC NEWS: The nice lady doctor doubled the dosage of my meds, in a last ditch attempt to get that blood pressure down to a manageable level... but over the weekend I FELT LIKE CRAP. The tablets made me queasy, so now I've decided to split the dose, half at breakfast, half at teatime. That seems to have done the trick as far as the queasiness is concerned. But meter-readings over the last couple of days show that the BP has gone UP instead of DOWN! "HI-YANGGG-ZZZIETEEEEE!" It probably didn't help that I ran out of the vitally important GRAPEFRUIT JUICE, so I had to settle for (tea and) OOOORRRRNJEZZ instead, for the duration of the weekend. This morning's walk took me to the market TO BUY SOME FRUIT. Surprise surprise, bingeing on grapefruit this morning has forced the numbers back down again. I'm currently of the opinion that the grapefruit (which contains a natural form of amlodipine) does more good than the drugs do, and is probably less likely to f**k up my kidneys, but I'll have to wait until the end of the month before I can discuss it with the quackette.

Also part of the NEW REGIME is the insistence that I should go for a walk every single day, instead of just when I NEED to. So far this week, I've made several yomps into town and back (including the one to buy fruit), one extended trudge to Gosport and a leisurely circuit of the field, taking in Stubbington along the way.

I'm having a bit of a RADIOHEAD afternoon - today's 'MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK' is from an archive radio(head) broadcast, complete with some mad Italian DJ banter. Top notch racket. I expect that I will eventually get around to compiling the best bits onto a seedydisk... but I'm afraid that now, as I become more familiar with their oeuvre, EVERY SINGLE TIME I get to that bit of "CREEP" that goes "I don't belong here...", I find myself loudly adding the inevitable "I'm a POND!" by way of a coda.
1985/08/07... To think it is THIRTY YEARS(!) to the day since TV BY TEARS (last?) played at the Salutation in Portsmouth. By this time, they'd been instructed by the landlord to put a sock in the 'theatricals' bit and "stick to the music" - This was, you may recall, the venue for the legendary JUMP "DIRTYSODRAPHENIA" show, earlier in February of that same year. But this show wasn't entirely free of theatrics, because it may well have been on this occasion that I, dressed in a cast-off Gieves & Hawkes dress tunic, first performed my "EUROVISION SONG" in public... or maybe it was one of the "MILES DEVIANT" skits? I'm sure there's a tape somewhere... On the same day but three years later, we witnessed a band called PIGGY ZOINK play at the same venue. I can't remember a thing about them, but just like TV BY TEARS, they failed to get anywhere in Barry Hedges' South of England "Battle Of The Bands" around that time. They probably have no connection with the Cambridge-based Piggyzoink on Soundcloud either...
Today's DAZE OUT involved a walk into town and then a 'leisurely' bus ride to Winchester and back. I went past the CHEGFEST site, getting ready to kick off tonight. I find it slightly strange that the Arch-Liberal of Hampshire keeps booking all these lefty folkies at his festivals. It is a surefire certainty that BILLY BRAGG will be bigging-up Labour's potential saviour JEREMY CORBYN at some point in his allotted timeslot, if his proselytising on the Social[ist] Media is anything to go by. Not the sort of thing likely to go down well in the predominantly blue, yellow and purple Meon Valley, I'd have thought? Ah! LIBRE OFFICE 5 is here! 'NOL MEWN MUNUD'!!

Week from Monday 10th August 2015

Another Monday, another 'armful' of blood, another trip to the market TO BUY SOME FRUIT! All in a day's walk... I'm creating another 'PHOTO ARRAY' for Uncle Willy's website, only (you may not be too surprised to know) I don't have all of the photos yet. It's another of those speculative "works in progress"... I've been toing'n'froing with Shelfy about the car parking situation in Brighton, for when we visit next month for the historic KING CRIMSON shindig. Long story short, if you're driving to Brighton's theatreland of an evening, it's prudent to book your parking in advance. Otherwise the nearest car park is in Lewes or Worthing!

This teatime, I've been tuning in to the live NASA TV feed, as today the ISS astronauts are doing spacewalks (the highest window-cleaners there ever was!) and eating their homegrown lettuce for the first time. It doesn't look that appetising, to be honest... Then, on that TWITTER:-
pedantic pedestrian • I'm listening to some 'tapes' of the 1975 Reading Festival (40 years ago this month!), it cost £5.49 for the weekend #IMustBeGettingOld
pedantic pedestrian • You know you're listening to a Reading Festival in the '70s when you can hear a Concorde fly overhead at least once in every set! #IMustBeGettingOld
pedantic pedestrian • In no particular order: Yes, Caravan, Hawkwind, Mahavishnu, Robin Trower, Wishbone Ash etc etc (Did I mention it was £5.49 for the whole weekend?) #IMustBeGettingOld
Of course, yesterday (11th August) was also the anniversary of my seeing LED ZEPPELIN at Knebworth in 1979 (along with TODD RUNDGREN's UTOPIA, THE NEW BARBARIANS, SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY & THE ASBURY JUKES, THE NEW COMMANDER CODY BAND and um... CHAS & DAVE). A ticket for that particular one-day extravaganza was £7.50, which was considered quite a lot in those days. The programme cost 90p. The train from King's Cross to Stevenage was £2.20 return. Fish and chips cost 80p, scrambled egg on toast was 40p. "TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT" was bloody awesome.

I went for my early morning walk around the block (So THAT'S where the 28A bus route goes!?), back home for bath, breakfast, shave and cyberflurrying (not necessarily in that order). After I'd sent him links to the latest BFI archive films of 'ERRRR LOYYYYDOOOO' (Seems they're going loyyyyyyyddooooooooo crazy oop dzat Loondin at the moment), SHELFY emails me to tell me that a Lido enthusiast is a 'LIDOLOGIST', but you can be burnt at the stake for acts of 'LIDOLATRY'. See the quaint pre-war footage of Chiswick's bathing lovelies dipping their toes in the pool and smoking a fag at the same time!
pedantic pedestrian • Et maintenent, je suis listening to some rather délicieux Boulez and Ravel sur les Proms @bbcproms @BBCRadio3
The Crystal Carrot • J'aime Ravel aussi. Il est un de my favourite composers.
pedantic pedestrian • Et now "L'Oiseau de Fire" par Igor Stravinsky (qui wasn't Français, but il habite-la) @bbcproms @BBCRadio3
The Crystal Carrot • Y a-t-il beaucoups d'autres composers dans le programme?
pedantic pedestrian • Boulez et Ravel dans le first half, Stravinsky pour la big finish! @bbcproms @BBCRadio3
...a surprisingly respectable (and respectful) performance of the complete "Firebird", considering it was given by the BBC Symphony Orks, who have, over the years, murdered Stravinsky (for me) with many a piss-poor rendition! The PIERRE BOULEZ piece "Figures-Doubles-Prismes" absolutely sparkled out of the speakers, as did the BOULEZ arrangement of RAVEL's miniature "Frontispiece". RAVEL's "Piano Concerto For The Left Hand" was also a revelation. It surely helped that the baton was being wielded by a FRENCH conductor on this occasion. Today, I will hopefully be enjoying(?) some works by MARK-ANTHONY TURNAGE and GUNTHER SCHULLER (conducted by OLIVER KNUSSEN), as well as MESSIAEN's enormous "Turangalila Symphony" with its spooky electronic flourishes...

It is ruddy CHUCKING IT DOWN! Right now they're having flash floods in Brighton. The café furniture in Preston Park is floating away. Even the railway station (which is sort of on top of a hill) is awash! Needless to say, as a result of all this precipitation, we didn't get a peep of the PERSEID METEORS scheduled for last night. I couldn't see any regular stars, let alone the shooting sort! But life goes on ("Life? Don't talk to me about life!") and I still have to go for my morning walk... It's quite refreshing actually. I quite LIKE walking in the rain. That's what plastic jackets are for. As long as there's not too much wind. The rolling thunder is an added bonus. It's CROPREDY this weekend, let's hope they have better weather than this!

Week from Monday 17th August 2015

Oh, let's see... they've announced the TREK FACTORY RACING team for LA VUELTA, which starts this coming Saturday. I won't be able to watch the race live though. We only get the 7 o'clock 'HIGHLIGHTS' HOUR here. If previous ITV coverage is anything to go by, that will pretty much be "THE CHRIS FROOME SHOW" sponsored by SKY. Other teams will be lucky if they get a mention at all. So I will be relying on my TWITTER feeds to keep me informed about what is REALLY going on in the rest of the field.

I'd been long familiar with the first record (1979) by THE ROCHES, the quirky Noo Yoik-based sisters of close-harmony. It was produced ("in audio verité") by none other than MR ROBERT FRIPP HIMSELF and I still have my treasured Warner Brothers cassette of same. The guitar solo on "THE HAMMOND SONG" is alone worth the price of admission if you can find a copy, and there's also some fine basso-profundo from TONY LEVIN scattered throughout. Anywaaaaayyyy... this morning I found out that there was a second collaboration by this dream team (actually the ladies' third album from 1982) called "KEEP ON DOING". A cursory listen on 'That YouTube They Have Now' reveals that it's even better than the first (with the possible exception of the daft "HALLELUJAH CHORUS" than opens the album)! So... that's THAT added to the ever-expanding "WANTED" list then!

Lots of TWITCHING to be had on this week's walkies:- Wednesday, I watched a pair of KESTRELS going about their business over nearby farmland... Thursday morning, it was the turn of the ROBINS of The Gillies (I also bumped into THE HUMAN NAIL at the bus station)... Friday's spectacular air display was given by the massed squadrons of the Royal CANADA GOOSE Force...

I so enjoyed HARRY SHEARER's interview with VAN DYKE PARKS this week, that "ORANGE CRATE ART" has been pressed into service as this morning's OFFICE AMBIENCE.

Week from Monday 24th August 2015

DREAM DIARY... I was working as a cleaner in a shopping mall... At some point, I got shot in the leg for some reason... I receive a hero's welcome but, unable to work, I end up presenting the weather forecast... All of this happens with me dressed in a Zulu War-vintage military uniform, complete with white pith helmet...

LA VUELTA is not going too well for the TREK FACTORY RACING team so far. Cancellara has resigned, feeling poorly. The team managed to come in sixth in the opening time trial, but the highest placed Trek rider in the general classification is Heimar Zubeldia, down at number thirty-something. Still, early days yet - Markel Irizar is having a go in the breakaway today (For all I know, there might be Trek riders contesting the final sprint EVERY day, but because they're not bloody Sky, they don't get mentioned on the telly). With Nibali and his team boss sent home for cheating, that's one less contender for red out of the picture... Looks like a good year if you're a Columbian though.

"IT'S LIKE BEING BACK AT COLLEGE..." - I'm basically treating the latest UNCLE WILLY project as a training programme. I'm learning the ins-and-outs of E-BOOK publishing, finding out about the anatomy of XML files and EPUB and MOBI formats, digging deeper into [X]HTML and CSS and how it applies to the task in hand... But if I've learnt one thing, it's that YOU CAN'T "DESIGN" AN E-BOOK! What comes out of the other end bears no resemblance to whatever you might compose on the page, whether it be in MSWord, LibreOffice or good old HTML (My own choice, as at least it gives me SOME degree of control over the output). Eventually, I will have to also learn how to tweak the "intermediate" EPUB files so that the "delivery" MOBI looks like something that has been designed instead of just generated. But, of course, NONE OF THIS IS EARNING ME ANY MONEY for the foreseeable future!

I know I made a pledge to go for A BRISK WALK EVERYDAY... but have you SEEN this weather we're having!?! Even I won't go outside in THAT!

By Sunday morning, the weather has cheered up enough to take in a CAR-BOOT SALE (It's anuvver Bank 'Oliday, don'tcha know!?) Nothing to report. In the afternoon, I settled down with another Sicilian adventure in the company of "IL GIOVANE MONTALBANO"... After a while, I was hearing the sing-song Italian dialogue drift in and out, but I came to realise that I didn't understand any of it... because I had my eyes shut! It was all in a dream, sort of. I'll start again in the morning. Night night.