Week from Monday 7th November 2016

It is probably here on record somewhere that "BEAT" is my least favourite KING CRIMSON album. I've never been able to muster much enthusiasm for '80s KcRIM in general and that one in particular. The Belew-fronted KCrim have never pushed my buttons... technically 'INTERESTING' it might be, but I don't find the music all that EXCITING in the long run. Maybe it's suffered in hindsight from the 'radio-friendly' production and my experience of it via less-than-optimal audio media (questionable '80s vinyl > cassette > a tinny first-generation CD). Then there's the band's reliance on contemporary electronic instrumentation which places the music in a time capsule. To these jaded ears, the music that King Crimson made in the 1980s has not dated as well as the '70s records. We each have our 'own' version of King Crimson and this one is not mine. An enormous box set of '80s KCrimso paraphernalia has just been released, but it's not with the likes of me in mind!
But now...
I reckon by the end of the day, I might even be a BORN AGAIN convert to eighties kCrimso! The (so-called) '40th ANNIVERSARY' definitive editions of "BEAT" and "THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR" have arrived from the Burning Shed concern and, on first listening, they SOUND incredible! All Hail The Mighty Wilson! As with the previously released "THRAK" reissue, my ears have been awakened to the hitherto hidden pleasures of these neglected KcRIMdisKcS. This is surely what they should have sounded like all along!

DREAM DIARY... Spending an inordinate amount of time buying toothpaste... Sorting through a huge box of jam-jar lids and trying to match them to the right jars (living the dream!)...

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN (finally!)... Predictably, they've 'spoken' the same sort of foul, divisive, bigoted, ill-informed white trash STUPIDITY that we've had foisted upon us on this shitty little archipelago of ours for the last few months (Oh! for crying out loud, people! What part of "'made-up word' MEANS 'made-up word'" don't you understand?). On a morning like this, only "WHAT'S GOING ON" by Marvin Gaye seems a suitable soundtrack for the blues... RACHEL MADDOW's deep sigh and resigned shrug at the end of the MSNBC news coverage, and this following tweet (ironically by someone who has previously written for the Daily Mail), are the only things that can really say it for me...
Dear 47% of America,
Hang in there.
We know what you're going through.
Stay strong.
Yours,
48% of the UK
Week from Monday 14th November 2016

The weather has got pretty grotty all of a sudden. After this morning's WALKIES, I had to hose off my yomping boots, which had got becrusted with leaves and mud and, possibly, fox poo. Today's #ViewFromTheWalkies pictures reflect this sudden switch. The 'INTERESTING STUFF TO POINT AT' is no longer the trees (which have very rapidly turned from autumn colours to skeletal winter mode), but the ominous cloud formations and the puddles. There's supposed to be a SUPERMOON tonight, but it remains to be seen whether it will be visible through the fog that has been forecast...

This morning, I think I finally persuaded the TALK TALK concern that I don't wish to pay for extra TV channels that nobody in the house is willing (or indeed able) to watch. I may also have persuaded the HEALTH CENTRE to leave me alone for a few more months, and stop raising my blood pressure by hassling me about it all the time.

Before I venture out this morning, I'm listening to some of this weekend's LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL appearance by the JAN GARBAREK GROUP (featuring TRILOK GURTU), recorded via that new-fangled (but still curiously FLASH-based) BBC JAZZ 'pop-up' radio doobry. And rather delicious it is too!

Week from Monday 21st November 2016

The soundtrack to my weekend has been a new Bandcamp download from MARKUS REUTER... "LIVE IN POMONA 2016" is a L--O--N--G soundscape session that he recorded for a radio station in Noo Joyzey, and he has released it - warts and all, name your price - for those of us who like that sort of thing. Meanwhile, his old mucker IAN BODDY has also put out a new (and highly acclaimed) album of ambient electronica, "AS ABOVE SO BELOW". That too is rather beautiful. I've ordered a 'proper' CD of that from the BURNING SHED concern. For these troubled times, lovely music that does NOTHING except wash over you...

There was another of those quizzes on the PROG MAGAZINE website, this one centred around the early Fishy years of MARILLION. I got ten out of ten. I'm often pleasantly surprised and baffled when that happens. Perhaps, in this case, it's because 'I WAS THERE'. But I certainly wouldn't have got anything like that score if the subject was later Marillion. I've sort of lost track of them since the single-driven commercial success of "HOLIDAYS IN EDEN" (probably considered the band's "Invisible Touch"?). This started up a DISCUSSION WITH TWITS about the relative merits of the Steve Hogarth-fronted band. I adored the first post-Fish album "SEASONS END", but their subsequent output has left me cold. They appear to me to have settled into a formula ('RETROG'!) and become a little bit 'singer-songwriter' for my tastes. I don't usually take that much notice of the lyrics, so MUSICALLY I find them a bit samey and predictable. I appreciate that they are still very good at doing what they do, but for me, none of their later stuff has that 'HAIRS-ON-THE-BACK-OF-THE-NECK' factor of the formative years. Following the discourse, I tried to listen to the live version of "BRAVE" (still quite an 'old' album in the overall timeline o'things) and, frankly, I got bored. But I'm open to persuasion, and several chums have recommended tracks that I might like...

The DGM LIVE website has finally been dragged screaming into the twenty-first century, with a spiffy new 'responsive' design. A lot of the content is still 'UNDER CONSTRUCTION', but the structure seems sound enough. Once you get used to the different navigation, it's rather nice. Good job guys! At least (at last) I can throw away that STYLISH script that I wrote which centred the old website on the screen properly!

#### I'M WRITING THIS FOLLOWING BIT WITHOUT HAVING ANY IDEA WHEN I'LL BE ABLE TO POST IT ONLINE - THE LANDLINE PHONES (AND, THEREFORE, THE INTERNET) HAVE BEEN DOWN SINCE MID-AFTERNOON ON THURSDAY ####

I've been doing a lot of geek-work for the HAIR EMPORIUM this week, mainly necessary on account of OTHER people moving the goalposts for no apparent rhyme or reason. A lot of this sort of thing has to be done 'on site', as it were. I find myself a quiet corner of the shop in which to work, hopefully one with a good wi-fi connection, and try not to get in anyone's way! At least the regular offer of cups of tea is welcome!

First of all, the company who are hosting their website decided to change their 'PASSWORD POLICY' (basically, they're copying M!¢r0$ofT's ideas about 'SECURITY' all of a sudden). This meant that the password that I previously used to access their dashboard had been rendered 'invalid' without warning. I had to create a new one to meet their rather strict criteria...

Then I find I have to create a new widget for the shop's ONLINE BOOKING, because the people who host the e-commerce software have decided to change THEIR 'way of doing things'. But at this stage of the game, it looks like they've replaced a system that works adequately with one that doesn't appear to work at all! I've "designed" the widget, but I can't get it to do whatever it's supposed to do because the Javascript doesn't go! I'm trying a number of alternative 'ways of doing things' and I am confident that a working solution may be reached... but, of course, BROWSER TESTING of pages, or accessing online resources, is absolutely impossible at the moment, what with having no internet connection and all.

Ho hum. I'm at a loss. Should be plenty of time for a L--O--N--G WALKIES today then... I had to go into town to collect my prescription, so I found myself sitting in the shopping centre, checking my messages, emails and twittery via the public wi-fi. A bit iffy from a security point of view, but I'll risk it! Then I decided to jump on a bus to Portsmouth to wander about a bit...
#### AH! WE'RE BACK AGAIN! PHEW! ####

Week from Monday 28th November 2016

IT'S NOT OVER UNTIL TALKTALK SAY IT'S OVER... To all intents and purposes, BT had fixed the problem by about eleven o'clock the next morning. We now have a working telephone line and, more importantly, a stable internet connection again. HOORAH! However, TalkTalk were still diverting the landline calls to my mobile, so it seemed a good idea, from my point of view, to inform them that it was no longer necessary to do this. BUT YOU CANNOT JUST PHONE TALKTALK TO 'TELL' THEM ANYTHING. First of all, you have to endure several minutes of recorded messages, suggesting ways in which they are improving their service for you the customer (they are not) or how you might further expedite the service by memorizing a lot of different numbers (you can't possibly jot this stuff down when using a mobile phone). Eventually, the robot asks you if you would like to talk to a Real Person. Yes please, that is what I wanted to do. You then wait for a further, prolonged period of musak-enhanced time before you can talk to the Real Person. The Real Person sounds like they are in a Mumbai call centre. The Real Person is reading from a script and is not trained to answer questions beyond those of a simple 'yes/no' nature. I simply want to inform them that it is no longer necessary to forward landline calls to my phone, because the problem has been solved and we now have a functioning telephone line. Worded in that manner, this information did not register with Real Person. Once I had again given him the details of the phoneline in question, he tells me that the problem has NOT been resolved and they will let me know in the form of a text when it has been 'closed'. My reference number is such-and-such. Can I just confirm the mobile number? I do all this and ask him what he means by 'closed'. He repeats the previous speech all over again. I tell him that it's REALLY no longer necessary to do this because BT have fixed it. He swears blind again that they HAVE NOT because the matter has not been 'closed' and they will let me know when it has. It is now Monday (four days on), and TalkTalk still haven't acknowledged that our phoneline is working, even though it quite clearly IS, because I'm doing THIS on it!

Apparently, along with the rest of the internet, I'm not qualified to express an opinion on the present day KING CRIMSON because I haven't witnessed them live three times or more. Sorry, Mr Fripp, but I find THAT opinion to be rather smug and elitist. I simply can't afford to attend every "HOT DATE" that comes along. I no longer possess the wherewithall or determination to overcome the shittier aspects of MODERN CONCERT ATTENDANCE. At this time of my life, I'm strictly a collector of "LOVE LETTERS" and I'm satisfied to remain one... Speaking of which, I'm putting the final touches to the latest volume of "HOT TICKLES", as well as a further, standalone CD-R compiled from the current batch of kCrim European Tour official downloads...