Week from Monday 6th June 2016

The PRO CYCLING TOUR season gets underway in earnest this week, with the start of the CriTéRiuM du DAuphiNé, the 'dress rehearsal' for the TOUR DE FRANCE (yes, I know that we've had the GIRO D'ITALIA already, but I can't count that, because I don't get to watch it on the telly, which is the whole point!). Looks like it could be a fun week - even the 'Prologue' individual time trial was up a mountain! The TV coverage is not it all it could be - as usual, the French cameras only want to point at French riders and the Brit commentators only want to talk about the bloody Sky team.

I'm currently tranked out of my tiny gourd on antihistamines, what with the HAY FEVER ('allergic rhinitis') and PRICKLY HEAT ('miliaria rubra') and FUNNY EARS ('funnus lugholeae') and all.

I went to the Elf Centre to collect my repeat prescription, and I've been give two months supply of happy pills instead of just one. Apparently, the quackery will be undergoing some administrative 'DOWNTIME' on account of having their computer network updated, so they won't be issuing 'scripts during that time. I sincerely hope that the purpose of the update is to drag the NHS screaming into the current decade and away from a continued reliance on the unsupported and insecure WINDOWS XP. Now, if only the banks would do likewise, we might sleep safer in our beds.

In some ways, it's lucky that I haven't had too much time for TWITTERing this week, as I'm trying to avoid it lest I catch spoilers of what's going on in the CriTéRiuM du DAuphiNé, before I get to watch the highlights at seven o'clock. Now I know how all those keen followers of KICK-THE-BALL feel!

...and much like those followers of ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL, disappointment inevitably follows if you are 'supporting' a particular team. The TREK-SEGAFREDO boys have been pretty much a no-show in this CriTéRiuM du DAuphiNé. Funny, how they always seem to do well in races which I DON'T get to watch on TV (they've had a lot of success in a few minor tours this season, including the Tour of Switzerland lately). So at this end of a race, I find myself rooting for other riders on the "PABS" ticket (which stands for "Please, Anybody But Sky"), such as ALBERTO CONTADOR or ROMAIN BARDET.

In between UNCLE WILLY and HAIR PEOPLE and GOD-ON-A-PUSHBIKE™ work, I finished assembling a 'test pressing' of the CLOUDLAND PEDESTRIAN project... and now I've posted off a "Mark Two" version to MISTER QUARTET. The first version, you will recall, contained the unedited versions of our 'jams', but this one has undergone a lot more POST-PRODUCTION. It sounds more like an 'ALBUM' now.

Week from Monday 13th June 2016

I'm now suffering from "COLLATOR'S NECK" and I haven't yet finished. Although it is the simultaneous dealing with the ins and outs of HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE TV that are really making my head spin.

I'm slipping behind with m'PODCASTS again. In the case of the "CLOUDLAND BLUE ECLECTIC SELECTION", I'm a week behind, while I'm still waiting for at least three episodes of "PODCASTS FROM THE YELLOW ROOM" to land in my browserwidget. I didn't even get to hear "LE SHOW" on Monday morning. But that type of listening requires my full attention and I've been busy. I'm not one of those people who can absorb such things while doing other tasks, or even when going for a walk or sitting on a bus. I CAN however have music on in the background while doing the sort of tasks I'm doing now. I tried again to listen to PROGZILLA RADIO, but couldn't handle more than half an hour of the new-fangled 'RETROG' rock. As I said (and tweeted) before:
"If I feel like listening to YES, then I'll put on some YES. But why would I choose instead to listen to 'SOMEONE WHO SOUNDS A BIT LIKE YES'...?"
The COLLATIN' and BOXIN' is all done. The next task is to organise DELIVERY and/or COLLECTION. But how does one organise that which refuses to be organised? I've given up caring.

I believe I'm on the "RADIO" again this Thursday, but I don't yet know which track is being played. MISTER QUARTET promises "a cheeky wee five minutes" of our collab. He seems most taken with one of my suggested titles "SCHNEEWITCHEN, SCHWARZMISCHUNG", so I guess that will be the one we settle on. I wasn't even sure if that is grammatically-correct Deutscher, but he does seem to know about these things. (I was attempting to translate "SNOW WHITE, BLACK MIX".) I've also posted my own favourite track, "CLOUDLAND PEDESTRIAN #15" on my Soundcloud. This is a piece based on his track "The Glass Coffin", whereupon I added my own secret 'PSALTYGURDERY' virtual instrument. This was achieved by submitting a duplicate of his guitar part to a series of treatments - 'Octave Split' > an LFO 'chopper' effect > Ring Modulating the whole thing, then some final EQ and level tweaking in Audacity. The resulting entity sounds like a medieval bowed instrument (or maybe something played by Tony Conrad and/or John Cale) which follows his changes. All rather 'viol' really!
SENSIBLE THOUGHT OF THE DAY - "The juvenile humor that crept into Frank Zappa's work from the early '70s onward is difficult for me to defend. Even as an admitted Zappa freak, I tend to steer clear of anything not mostly instrumental after a certain point. It was an obvious decision that Frank Zappa made, not only as an artist, but as a businessman and a touring bandleader operating his own record label, to go there with the silly, goofy, sexual and scatological subject matter that would endear him to pimply-faced teenage boys and sell more records and concert tickets... but most of it just makes me wince." - Richard Metzger (Dangerous Minds) 2016/06/16
My 'office' LASER PRINTER has finally run dry after all these years. As is so often the case with 'old' technology, I find that the cost of getting a replacement toner drum for the existing machine will be considerably more than the price of a whole brand new printer! Time to shop around.

I've continued to post a series of occasional "ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY" tweets. Amongst other things, this week marked the anniversary of the Morning Star's 50th Birthday "BEAT THE BLUES" festival, which took place in Alexandra Park on Sunday 15th June 1980. These were the heady RED-dy days of the ANTI-NAZI LEAGUE, "ROCK AGAINST RACISM" and "SEND THATCHER ON A CRUISE" (Boy, do we need more of that sort of thing now!?!). I accompanied my tweet with a collage of press cuttings of the time (not having a ticket to show for it, which is how I normally would memorialize gigs of yore). It was a cracking day out (Grommit), when we heard lots of radical post-punk bands (THE POP GROUP, THE SLITS, THE RAINCOATS, THE AU-PAIRS, THE JOHN COOPER-CLARKE, ESSENTIAL LOGIC) playing in the open air, some jazz bands playing in the Palace hall itself, and strolled amongst the fire-eaters around a global village full of tents promoting the world's socialist parties and Various Good Causes. I collected a few badges that day, I can tell you!

Imagine my surprise etc., when my Twittering gets 'followed' by THE POP GROUP, who contacted me to ask where I'd got the pictures from! 'I kept the cuttings', says I. 'Would I mind sharing them?' say the Poppies. 'No problem', says I, so this morning I've got the scanner out and put together a folderful to send to them via an e-missive.

You choose your music to suit the prevailing mood. There are some days when only an Indian raag will do.

Robert Harris • How foul this referendum is. The most depressing, divisive, duplicitous political event of my lifetime. May there never be another.

Week from Monday 20th June 2016

Ah! there's a fresh row of bollards, representing a monthsworth of SIDCASTS, lined up on my desktop... Today (Tuesday), Shelfy and I are delivering the GOD-ON-A-PUSHBIKE™ packages to Stockbridge. We've decided NOT to do the full TOUR DE HANTS this year (it's becoming less and less necessary for us to do so), so just a simple one-off drop-off and let THEM sort it! But the weather has improved since yesterday's SOLSTICE SQUALLING, so it should be a nice 'cosmic ramble' in the countryside ne'ertheless.

Shelfy mentioned that he was having a 'craze' for the ZEP (these things don't usually last very long, tho'but!)... so I burned him a copy of the ROBERT PLANT & THE SENSATIONAL SPACE SHIFTERS' set at Glasto of a couple of years ago.

I just heard BRAND X are reforming! (Don't hold your breath, it's only an American tour at the moment.)

I went over to Havant to deliver the last of the parcels. There really isn't much to see in Havant, is there? There is a few CHARITY SHOPS dotted about the largely-boarded-up town centre, so I didn't come home empty handed:- a MICHAEL NYMAN/Peter Greenaway soundtrack; an ANGELIQUE KIDJO album (only a couple of really good tracks and it's a bit scratched, but yer pays yer 99p and take a gamble); a CD upgrade for my favourite YELLO album, "Stella"; JEAN-MICHEL JARRE's "Magnetic Fields" album (I never used to be too bothered with his stuff, but after rediscovering "Zoolook", I'm curious!).

Thursday morning, A WALK WITH A PURPOSE... I went to the post office to get an invoice off to a client the old fashioned way... I went up the road to vote in the EURO-REFERENDUM...
I'll be glad when this horrible thing is all over! Just for the record, I'm voting 'REMAIN'. We belong IN the European Union. Personally, I had always hoped for a MORE integrated Europe by now. The sooner this shitty little island gets over its delusions of imperial grandeur and recognises its true place in the modern world, the better! We've only established one thing with this whole sorry mess of a referendum, that it is a VERY BAD IDEA to consult the under-educated commonfolk about anything important - 'VOTEY McVOTEFACE' - it just brings out the worst in people.
... I continued my walk into town, where I dropped off a dead toner drum for recycling at the local branch of CARTRIDGE WORLD... then it's time I started issuing some invoices for services rendered.
"You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
I've changed my weekend routine... Instead of spending half of Sunday doing my computer's various SECURITY CHECKS and CLEAN-UPS, I've started doing that on Saturday afternoon instead. That leaves Sunday morning free to just lie in bed and catch up with some of my various chums' PODCASTS... There's never much at GLASTONBURY these days that I would want to see, but those that I do... BAABA MAAL (He's still got 'it'!), MBONGWANA STAR (what an astonishing performance!), PHILIP GLASS' "Heroes Symphony" ("Lookit all der priddy lasers!"), maybe a little EARTH WIND & FIRE (albeit without the recently departed Maurice White)... oh! and NEW ORDER (who still sound exactly like New Order, I'm happy to say!)

Week from Monday 27th June 2016

So here's the thing... Having 'finished' the 'GOD ON A PUSHBIKE™' stuff for another year (printed it, collated it, delivered it), I find we have to do the sponsor forms again because of a new legal requirement involving the reclamation of tax bla bla bla. Luckily, it won't be me that has to undo all the collated boxes and count 'em out all over again - I just have to print 'em and post 'em and charge 'em for it!

I always thought that the opening music from Wagner's "DAS RHEINGOLD" would make a good 'intro tape' for a rock band. Now NEW ORDER have gone and done it...

This afternoon, following yet more deliverin' and postin', I'm looking into ways of kicking this here BLOGGYDIARYTHINGY into the twenty-first century, by making the HTML 'responsive' (more mobile-friendly). It's a 'work in progress', but having done a couple of these for other people, I can cannibalize the code from other places and tweak it to work for this one. Luckily, it's only a single page with an 'iframe' in the middle of it. But while I'm borrowing some (layout) ideas from 'MODERN' sites (with their flat Legoland colours and same-as-everyone-else big fonts), I'm determined to retain the grungy textured (mERz!) look of my own existing page. The 'responsive' features (mainly involving the navigation) are a "RETRO-FIT" onto the old site, as I don't want to have to start from scratch with the content. What I end up doing is try out a few demo templates, then cut'n'paste the existing homepage content into a new responsive bare-bones page of my choosing. I can tweak the CSS to make the new page take on my own unique style (instead of it having the ubiquitous, flat, Windoze/Google 'kitchen utensil' look), something I learned from years of applying 'STYLISH' scripts to certain social media sites. I do realise, of course, that this is a purely academic exercise for my OWN satisfaction and education. After all, who ELSE is going to be bothered about whether my webbypage is 'responsive' or 'mobile friendly' or not?

I rediscovered the old JOHNSON'S GRIDLING BAND 'timeline' chart from ye ancient GRIDLER website. As this would have been created using a version of the archaic M!¢r0$ØfT FRONT PAGE (or even FRONT PAGE EXPRESS, for goodness sake!?!) before subsequently being re-pasted into a COFFEECUP page, it's unlikely to be 'responsive' or 'mobile friendly', but I've added a link to it on the 'LIST' page, should anyone be curious - just click on the "LINKS" button that has magically appeared at the top of THIS all-new spiffy webpage! Of course, it only goes up to the end of the previous millennium. As indeed did we.