Week from Monday 7th August 2017

My parcel from the BURNING SHED concern arrived at the letterbox on Saturday morning, but the postie only left a "You Weren't In" postcard... I trudged down to the depot yesterday only to find "Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will not be open this Sunday. We apologise for the inconvenience..." crudely attached to the gate. So further trudging ensued this morning, and I finally have another consignment of BRAND X seedies in my sweaty grasp.

I've decided to bite the bullet and renew my PASSPORT, now that it seems highly unlikely that we'll ever get those EUROPEAN CITIZEN all-purpose biometric identity cards that were mooted a few years back (along with the flying cars, moon shuttles and hoverboards). Not that I'm expecting a FOR'N TRIP anytime soon, but I need something for "PHOTO ID" purposes. No driver's licence, see? I applied online, but it still involves a lot of tedious (and costly) snailmail, in order to convey the declaration form, the photos and the expired passport to the dingy offices of a Civil Service department in Peterborough. This morning, I had some faffing-about to do in the local Photo-Me booth. No one wants to see THAT!

DREAM DIARY... "Dealing with horses is a bit of a grey area. We need to move into fish. Tarbrush! Tarbrush!"

I love MY LITTLE ANDROID, although it hardly ever gets used as a PHONE, given my hatred of using same. There was a running gag on the soshal meejer the other day about "How Do I Remove That Useless Green Phone App From My Twitter Machine?", so I'm clearly not the only one! But something that REALLY pisses me off about it is the fact that one's favourite applications are often festooned in adverts in their Android incarnations, plus they have an increasing tendency to update, install or even replace the aforementioned applications without your prior knowledge. Sounds all very WINDOWS 10 in a way, doesn't it? I woke up to find that the default LAUNCHER had been replaced by one called JOY LAUNCHER, which totally screwed everything up:- It suddenly started bombarding me with UNREQUITED ADVERTISING and "SUGGESTIONS" and, worst of all, dangled an irritating cartoon octopus on a string over the home screen, rather at odds with my chosen wallpaper of Rembrandt's "THE NIGHT WATCH". It's tasteless, intrusive and just plain awful. My first thought was that it was some sort of MALWARE hack. But a quick googlesearch on the interwebs revealed that this nonsense was put on my phone by les frêres ALCATEL themselves. Merçi ruddy bien, guys! A lot of folks on the forums were tearing their hair out because they too hated it and couldn't remove it.
THE TRICK SEEMS TO BE... find "LAUNCHER" in the "APPS" section of your phone's "SETTINGS" and click "UNINSTALL". You then get asked if you want to restore the factory default. This will bring back the OneTouch Launcher that came on the phone in the first place. But you will probably find that your screen icon layout has been reset as well, so you will have to reorganise them the way you want them. Five minutes later, you might find that Alcatel/GooglePlay will nag you to update the LAUNCHER app (probably to offer you the silly new one). DISMISS IT! Whether that will stop the JOY LAUNCHER coming back yet again at some point remains to be seen, but if possible, keep an eye on your updates BEFORE they download. Quite honestly, at this stage in the phone's life, I see no harm in turning off AUTOMATIC updates altogether and just applying the ones I know I need. If in doubt, leave it alone.
Suddenly... just when I think I've got 'everything' by the 1972-74 KING CRIMSON, a 'new' 1973 concert has turned up on the DGMLive archive. It's the 12th November show at Turin's Palazzo dello Sport (PALAZZO DELLO SPORT DI PARCO RUFFINI, to give it its full title, or PALA'RUFFINI as it's known by the locals, or Palatza delo Sport as it's mis-spelt on DGM). This show has been 'out there' in dodgy 'UNDER THE RECORD FAIR TRESTLE TABLE' form for many a year, going by such names as "Avant Garde", "Nightmare" and "Time Machine". Given the highly listenable quality of this audience recording, one wonders why DGM have never given it an 'official' release before. It's MUCH better than some of the b***leg recordings in the box sets. Maybe my own ears have become attuned to LISTENING THROUGH THE MURK OF THE BOOT over the years, but apart from a clunky bit in the middle of "The Night Watch", it's pretty good quality and would seem to be well worth anyone's eight quid or so. I've decided I'll need to do my own cover for it, because the DGM pdf literally looks thrown together at the last minute! The venue's PIER LUIGI NERVI architecture could be a rich vein of imagery to tap...

My tried and trusted method, of not listening to my own music once it's "DONE" and then coming back to it afresh sometime later, has proved to be effective once again. Last night I listened to some of the NET PROPHET 'works in progress' and I found that bits of it were in dire need of TRIMMING. The piece with the working title of "THE LOTUS RISING SUITE" had far too much needless repetition, so I edited it down to a more manageable fourteen minutes, with no apparent loss of musical 'data'. It still seems like something is missing though, another 'voice' perhaps? Maybe I should come back to it in ANOTHER couple of months!?! "NAMRAJ" is now a separate track again (although there is still a 'reprise' of the theme at the end of "Lotus Rising") and I've also fixed the rather clumsy jumpcut 'glitch' that is a feature of the version shared on SoundCloud.

Week from Monday 14th August 2017

It's that PERSEID time of year again, so I've spent a couple of late evenings staring at a fixed point in the sky waiting for shooting stars to sparkle into view. Of course, there's far too much 'GLARE DOWN HERE' to see any but the very brightest celestial goings-on, even when the sky has been clear (which it has, I'm happy to report). I suppose if I were REALLY keen, I'd go over to the open fields for a better view. But by that time of the night, I'm already comfortably jimjammed and listening to the radio, generally something of a PROMMY nature...

I only got to watch brief clips of it, of course, but the TREK-SEGAFREDO lads did rather well in the BINCKBANK race, a one-week tour of the Dutch and Belgian lowlands. For the most part, it was a race that favoured and suited the 'locals'. JASPER STUYVENS came third overall, having won the final sprint stage - and, let's face it, they were ALL sprint stages really! - EDWARD THEUNS won a stage earlier in the week and the Trekkies won the overall Team competition. But it was TOM DUMOULIN who finally won the GC whatever-colour-it-is jersey, just when it looked like PETER SAGAN would yet again win anything that was up for grabs! Meanwhile, the starting line-ups are being announced for LA VUELTA sometime today...

Listening to the CLOUDLAND BLUE ECLECTIC poddy this morning. The big box PC is pumping it out while I busy myself with LAPTOP SHIT. It features the usual mixture of stuff that I really like, stuff that I'm hearing for the first time and wouldn't mind hearing again, as well as stuff that I can comfortably listen to, but don't care if this is the only time I ever hear it. ECLECTIC then... Jackson Browne followed by Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft followed by Gentle Giant followed by the Supremes followed by Peter Maxwell-Davies, you get the picture? (There will inevitably be an occasional track that I find so HARD ON THE EAR that it will send me scurrying for the skip button. Bear in mind, though, that what I find 'hard on the ear', others would call 'commercial' and vice versa. I can't help it.)

I'm loving the XFCE experience on my laptop now! I can't believe how easy it is to keep the LINUX KERNEL up to scratch, directly via the terminal with a sudo apt-get dist-upgrade instead of all that tedious downloading and installing of DEB packages and wotnot. While using LINUX MINT, I was inclined to use the 'recommended' one that came with the latest upgrade and then stick with it, but this method means that they are keeping tabs on the latest updates for you. You COULD even forego the command line altogether and just click the "UPDATES" button on the welcome screen, but I've moved beyond that now! The autoremove command even sweeps out the redundant kernels for you. What's not to like? This morning's task is to try to change all the panel icons into a style that appeals and which fits my overall theme (the SARDI 'Ghost' family looks favourite at this stage).

Week from Monday 21st August 2017

LA VUELTA is off and running... Mind you, it isn't actually in ESPAÑA yet! I was thoroughly peed off at ITV4 when I set my digibox to record the highlights of Saturday's TEAM TIME TRIAL and instead got thirty-odd minutes of frigging DARTS! And consequently no stage result. If they can't broadcast the race without having some sort of respect for the sport (and their viewers), they should give the job to someone else! Habitually, I would record the 'highlights' show for next-morning viewing... but if I can't guarantee that the DVR's EPG will give me the entire programme, then I'm going to have to watch it as it goes out (seven o'clock) and record "STAR TREK VOYAGER" for breakfast instead! I also have to be careful about any spoilers I might catch while flicking through TWITTER during the day.

I'd all but banished my incessant EARWORMS lately, because I'd been mostly listening to CLASSICAL music. Much of my limited ear time has been taken up with the PROMS, plus a box set of SIBELIUS I found recently. So pretty much no 'pop' or 'rock' or 'prog' or even 'jazz' has found its way into the seedy platter of late. Until Friday, that is...

I rushed over to HMV to buy the new STEVEN WILSON album "To The Bone" on its day of release. Not something I would normally do, but, well, you know...

The album is an EARWORM MONSTER! Curse you Wilson and your catchy 'PERFECT POP' tunes! I listened to the CD two-and-a-half times on Friday afternoon and evening. I haven't had time to listen to it since. But the tunes are lodged in there already, proving once again that my earworms have a forty-eight hour gestation period. Two tracks in particular, "Permanating" and "Pariah", are catchy enough to have staked their territory. I've been known to have earworms so LUCID that I could pretty much listen to an entire album without the aid of electronic apparatus! I'm not quite there yet with this one, but I can see it joining the likes of the BEACH BOYS, STEELY DAN, TODD RUNDGREN, SUFJAN STEVENS and TEARS FOR FEARS as part of the neurological furniture.

I wasn't entirely surprised to see that the album has gone straight to NUMBER ONE in the album charts in its first week. I'm not really sure what the charts actually represent in terms of ACHIEVEMENT in this day and age, as they somehow take into consideration those folks who don't BUY albums at all, but 'RENT' their music from streaming services. But still... Nice one!

I didn't get to see the PARTIAL ECLIPSE that was due to pass this way (the full 'show' was over the Americas). Mainly because we've seen very little of the sun AT ALL! There's been a bit of a CLOUDS theme to this week's #ViewFromTheWalkies...

I finished a fourth volume of my highly secret "KcOLLISIONS" series of [re]mix-ups... For the most part, it just involves playing two tracks at the same time to see what happens. A lot of the time it fails miserably, but occasionally MAGIC happens. Chance! Synchronicity! Xenochrony! This one strays away from the "Various KCrims" remit a little bit, as it features a lot more music by MARKUS REUTER, some samples from Brian Eno's OBSCURE MUSIC catalogue, as well as vocal appearances by STEVEN WILSON and ROBERT WYATT. I've even included the piece I did when someone on the SOSHUL MEJER posited what it would sound like if ROBERT FRIPP and KEITH JARRETT ever played together. But I don't know why I'm mentioning this, because no one will ever hear any of it... Unless, of course, anyone with their own radio show ever wants to include a "GUEST DJ MIX"?

I was looking forward to the CHARLES MINGUS 'tribute' PROM, but I really ought to have learnt from experience by now. Like the previous so-called tributes to DAVID BOWIE, SCOTT WALKER, QUINCY JONES, DIZZY GILLESPIE etc etc, the concert was tedious SHOWBIZ in the extreme, having no redeeming MUSICAL value at all. I was bored after about thirty minutes. Mingus' music was full of FIRE and was deliciously rough around the edges. This lukewarm concert had all the rough edges polished to a glossy sheen. I think I shall happily give any Prom with JULES BUCKLEY's name attached to it a wide berth from now on. Disappointment, only disappointment. As for the soloists, SHABAKA HUTCHINGS is okay, I guess, but he ain't no ERIC DOLPHY! And don't get me started on the tap-dancing baritone player! What was THAT about?

For an appreciation of Charles Mingus' musical legacy, you will never better the posthumous MINGUS DYNASTY orchestra, or GUNTHER SCHULLER's enormous "MINGUS EPITAPH" project.

But as I said before, I don't get the point of 'TRIBUTE BAND' culture. I'd just as soon listen to the 'REAL THING'. I don't understand why the Beeb are trying so hard to shoehorn 'MASS ENTERTAINMENT APPEAL' into every Proms season these days. The results are invariably naff!

Week from Monday 28th August 2017

Hmm... but then again, I suppose, if they DIDN'T try to shoehorn mass entertainment appeal into every Proms season, they'd instead face accusations of 'ELITISM' from the delightfully impartial media we have in this country. In which case, call me a MUSICAL SNOB. Sir Henry Wood must be turning in his gravy.

Howeverrrrrrrr... the "CLASSICAL MUSIC OF INDIA & PAKISTAN" PROM was exactly the sort of thing of which they SHOULD be doing more! Now THIS was what I'd call a 'THRILLING' Prom - intense, deeply involving music that had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Meanwhile, I still have a couple of concerts on my "OUGHT TO HEAR" list that I haven't iPLAYERed yet (the STRAVINSKY Violin Concerto, RESPIGHI's various bits of Rome), so today should be a good opportunity to catch up.

It's a sticky, prickly BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY. There wasn't a CAR BOOT SALE to go to today, for some reason, but I did go a LITTLE bit further afield with the WALKIES this morning.

Back to "work" and a haircut...

My office laser-printer has been nagging me for MONTHS that it's running low on toner, but still kept going... Today, however, it finally admitted that it was empty and would go no further. The purpose of today's #walkies was, unsurprisingly, a trip to CARTRIDGE WORLD.

Week from Monday 4th September 2017

Suddenly, there's a lot of STEELY DAN coming out of the radio, because WALTER BECKER has gone and died. I'm not expecting mass hysterical outpourings of grief from the general public on this one, at least not on the BOWIE SCALE. I was more than a little bit miffed to hear someone - presumably one equipped with a pair of cloth ears - dismiss the Dan's music as 'YACHT ROCK'. (Even further down the celebrity ladder, some bloke from MOLLY HATCHETT has also just died. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I had to G**gle to find out who they were. I'm still not sure if I'm any the wiser. Did I see them at the Marquee or Reading once?) But it would be true to say that STEELY DAN's perfect jazz-pop DOES mean rather a lot to me, so I shall be a little bit sad today.

DREAM DIARY... Down by the seaside... There is a concrete 'swimming channel' running along the prom, possibly the remains of what used to be a 'log flume' ride, in which guys swim-race while pushing their family in a rubber raft... There are various red lines marking where people of different heights might get 'out of their depth'... a DOUBLE 'panic-dream' then! The anxiety of social interaction AND the fear of drowning!

...and JOHN ABERCROMBIE... Oh no! and HOLGER CZUKAY! There can be only a tiny handful of artists who have not only REINVENTED how music is made, but how we hear it as well. HOLGER CZUKAY was definitely one of those. If it wasn't for them zany krautrockers like Can showing me what was POSSIBLE outside the norm, I doubt that I, as a 'non-musician', would ever have found ways to make my own noise...

Week from Monday 11th September 2017

The end of the PROMS season... The end of the PRO-CYCLING season... The start of the silly season... I don't usually bother with "THE LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS", because all that pomp and flagwaving in the second half makes me sick to my stomach. And the music is normally a bit shit. But it pleased me no end to learn that prommers were waving flags of OTHER nations (including the European stars) besides the usual Union Jacks. This has naturally sent the Daily Express and the likes of Nigel Farage into full-on APOPLECTIC BLUSTER mode, which is always worth a snigger from the sidelines (Didn't anyone notice the blatant display of FINNISH nationalism in the first half?)

LA VUELTA also ended this weekend, and what a thrilling ride it's been this year! Sadly, ALBERTO CONTADOR didn't get an official podium position in the end. Although he only missed it by a few seconds, a remarkable achievement considering how far behind in GC he was three weeks ago! But nobody really cared, because it seemed he was out to win hearts rather than stages and determined to end his professional career with a flourish. If anyone else had dared to contest and win Saturday's final mountain stage instead of him, I doubt that the organisers would have been able to guarantee their safety during the walk back to the bus! CHRIS FROOME achieved his goal of winning both LE TOUR and LA VUELTA in the same year, but I think we can all agree that it was Alberto's race in all but name (Lovely to see the entire TREK-SEGAFREDO team lined up on the stage after the presentations).

DREAM DIARY... All the people I ever knew (including the dead ones) are throwing a party, but I would rather not be there... I am walking around a seaside town. As usual, it is not a town I've ever been to in real life, yet I do recognise many of its features and know my way around it intimately... I find all of my chums gathered in the car park, standing around socialising as if they were in a pub. I nod acknowledgement at one or two of them, but I am determined to walk on... The party becomes a sort of cat and mouse game as I try to 'lose' them... I speed up my walking pace and duck into a subway... I believe I am 'safe' when I find myself in a hotel room with horrible flock wallpaper...

When you log into TWITTER using any 'private' browser, specifically one set to "DO NOT TRACK", you automatically trigger the twitbots to send an email notification telling you of an 'unknown' login to your site. They don't have a clue who you are, which I see as a good sign that things are working properly and my browsing experience really IS private. I'm used to it now with my own page - in fact I get at least half-a-dozen notifications everyday! They get forwarded straight to the bin. But I started a small panic the other day when I logged into a CLIENT's twitterverse and THEY got a notification informing them of inexplicable activity. Not only did the 'bots not recognise the 'intruder', they thought the log-in happened in Edinburgh! I had to gently explain all the above to the client and told them not to worry.

Their page had sat dormant for a goodly sixmonth, so I thought it about time SOMETHING happened on the timeline. I posted a few retweets, so it looked like SOMEONE was paying attention. I have a couple of clients who have been keen to sign up to Twitter "for business purposes", only to find that they don't have much use for it after all, and don't know what to do with it once they've got it. In the case of the "EMPORIUM O'HAIR", that's mainly because they're comfortable as BookFace People. Just think, if I hadn't found myself setting up accounts for OTHER people, I probably wouldn't have taken the plunge myself and the twitworld would have been spared MY nonsense!

I have been carefully shuffling money about and trying to get my bills out of the way, so that I can pre-order this year's XMAS PREZZY! There will be a new BIG BOX SET of nineteen-seventies KING CRIMSON arriving sometime in November! Pricey but vital! And before that, another COLLECTORS' CLUB 'official bootleg', a complete show from the most recent tour! What is a po'boy to do!?!

It's DÉJÀ-VU all over again, as I go with my mum to shop for a new MICROWAVE... I might sneak a look at some BLU-RAY players while I'm there!

Yer Cancellaras and yer Contadors may have retired, but the next generation of TREK FACTORY boys are doing very nicely, thank you! MADS PEDERSEN has just won the TOUR OF DENMARK (not only GC, but also the points competition AND the "Best Young Rider" jersey!), ably assisted by JASPER STUYVENS and MATTHIAS BRÄNDLE. I managed to watch the final stage on Danish TV (only in Danish, mind you, and only possible via an internet browser that still has FLASH capability!)

Week from Monday 18th September 2017

Whoops! it's WEDNESDAY already! That 'WEDNESDAY FEELING' when you realise that it's Wednesday already... clearly there's nothing much to say in the WEBBYDIARYBLOGGYTHINGY so far this week, so Wednesday comes and goes and I haven't written anything yet. Did I mention it's Wednesday already?

I'm looking at ways to add an INSTAGRAM widget to 'LA WEBSITE DE L'EMPORIUM DES HAIRS'. I already succeeded in embedding ones for F***BOOK and TWITTER (the latter of which got pretty much abandoned almost immediately!). But the Instagram options I've looked at so far either involve giving ones account log-in details to a third party (ARR! ARR! ARRROOOGAH! ringringringringring!!!) or they aren't particularly 'RESPONSIVE' designwise. Having laid out the page and positioned the widget so that it looks nice on a PROPER PC browser, it looks broken on those tiny little screens that all the kids use these days... But I have a cunning plan...

Anyway, I'm doing THAT for a while this morning, so there you go. Naturally, there will be #walkies afoot at some stage... but then I'm shutting down at midday, to watch the gentlemen's INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIALS at the UCI World Championships in Bergen. I haven't been paying too much attention to all of the other events, but it seems most of the medals are being swept up by the DUTCH nation, the SUNWEB team or people who are in both. (TOM DUMOULIN won today's race, proving my point. He's on fire this season, is that lad!)

I paid a visit to that SOUTHAMPTON on Thursday lunchtime, mainly to stock up on blank CD-Rs from the MAPLIN concern. Needless to say, I also stuck my head in the door of the OXFAM MUSIC SHOP for a while... There is an enormous FERRIS WHEEL plonked right next to the Bargate. I presume that it's there for the duration of the BOAT SHOW, but no one seems to know for sure. Nor can anyone explain why it is in THAT particular location, as it doesn't exactly afford the best panoramas of the city (unless you really DO want to get a bird's eye view of the roofs of various POUND SHOPS?). The surreal juxtaposition of the metal girderwork next to the stones of the ancient city fortifications did make for some nice #ViewFromTheWalkies action, but other than that, I would probably agree it's a bit of an eyesore. It didn't appear to be attracting any customers either...

POLICY DECISION: I'm no longer buying ANY new 'ROCK'/'POP'/'PROG' music without having HEARD it first. Or at least enough of it to decide whether it'll be worth the price of admission. I've been bitten a few times too often now, listening to other people telling me how special something is SUPPOSED to be, only to be disappointed when I hear it for myself. I suppose what it boils down to is this... 'ROCK' is not my brain's default setting. There's an awful lot of rock and pop music out there already and I probably only care for a tiny fraction of it.

A good example: I very NEARLY bought the new album by GIZMODROME when I spied it in the racks. They are a 'supergroup' featuring ADRIAN BELEW, MARK KING, STEWART COPELAND and an Italian keyboardist (his name escapes me right now) who used to play with PFM. Sounds pretty amazing, right? But now I've listened to some of it (online and on the radio), I'm rather glad I didn't hand over my tenner straightaway. It's an album on which some extraordinarily good musicians play some extraordinarily naff music. With a band that includes Adrian Belew and Mark King amongst its ranks, who on earth agreed to let Stewart Copeland handle all the 'lead vocals'? His 'funny' rapping is far too up-front in the mix, and it totally distracts from some rather fine instrumental work going on behind it. I wish he'd just shut up and stick to playing the drums. They sound like THEY are having a lot of fun together in the studio, but the enjoyment is not contagious. Zappa it is not. I also detect that air of smugness that I find in a lot of Belew's own music...