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 I woke up to find that the default LAUNCHER had been replaced by one called JOY LAUNCHER, which totally screwed everything up:- It suddenly started bombarding me with UNREQUITED ADVERTISING and "SUGGESTIONS" and, worst of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.