Week from Monday 1st January 2018

Finally, an ordinary Tuesday, so I shall endeavour to get back to some sort of a 'NORMAL' routine. Whatever 'NORMAL' is these days... First thing is to deal with all the e-mail and phone messages that accumulate when one opts to STAY OFFLINE for any length of time. Then I have to familiarise myself with a couple of online book shops for my Oxfam work. I have that appointment with the DAKTARI (and another one NEXT week). I have to negotiate prices on some pavement 'a-board' signs, so that means TWO visits to Old Gozzy this week instead of my regular ONE. On top of which, the optical drive (CD/DVD burner) on my desktop computer has developed a mechanical fault, so I'm shopping around for a new one of those. My planned ONLINE TRAINING COURSE in Javascript will have to wait until I can set aside a WHOLE day in the week to give it my fullest attention. Back to Winchester on Friday...

All of this equals 'BUSY BUSY BUSY' in my book and it has been a most PRODUCTIVE few days, but I then have to convince the lady at the dee-doubleyou-pee that what I'm doing falls within the government's definition of 'LOOKING FOR WORK' (which almost certainly boils down to an all-encompassing policy of "Either you apply for this job pushing trolleys around Asda's carpark, or we stop your 'benefits'!"). Still, BLUE PASSPORTS, eh?

I succeeded at replacing the disk drive in my peecee without too much angst. It reads (tick!) and writes (tick!) and the tray doesn't get stuck (tick! tick!) and it still works with the NERO software that came with the old drive (tick!), so I'm happy with it. Of course, one look at the internet forums will tell you that, although M!©r0$ofT WINDOZZZZZZ is perfectly CAPABLE of playing Blu-Ray discs, it doesn't have any native software for it, due to SONY having a proprietary stranglehold on various video codices and what-have-yous. You have to buy the full version of CYBERLINK POWER-DVD or some such. I stumbled over some online instructions to get VLC PLAYER to play Blu-Ray, but they didn't work for me. Another option is to extract the disc's content in a format that VLC DOES understand and then play that from your hard-drive. (I used something called 'MakeMKV' which, sadly, is only free for a thirty-day trial period.) It was thus that I was able to get my hands and ears on the various 'rarities' that live on the KCRIM's "SAILORS TALES" Blu-Rays (i.e. those few bits that aren't ALSO on the CDs or DVDs. Don'tcha just love these multiple-format pick'n'mix boxset thingies?). From these I've compiled a handy single-CD volume I've called "THE MYSTERY DISC: BEST OF THE BLU-RAYS". There's already more versions of "GROON" than any sane person really needs, but...

Week from Monday 8th January 2018

Of course, I just KNEW that, if I persisted in my search, there would be a FREEWARE alternative out there SOMEWHERE! In this case, the 'somewhere' appears to be CHINA... a free BLU-RAY PLAYER from the LEAWO concern, plus a BLU-RAY RIPPER (which even extracts straight to WAV!?! Yay!) from 'THE BLU-RAY MASTER'. Both have been declared "100% CLEAN & SAFE" by the leading review sites and both WORK! That's good enough for me...

Several visits to OLDE GOZZ this week. I helped the EMPORIUM O'HAIR set up their inkjet printer, ordered some new pavement signs for them and got a NEW BARNET for my trouble. Then on Wednesday I had a pre-breakfast, pre-dawn appointment at the Health Centre to leave a pipette of BLOOD for the testin' of. I tried out their new public-access BLOOD PRESSURE machine in the waiting room. Much better results than I was getting on my own SPHYGMO' this time last week!

I haven't really re-established any sort of ROUTINE yet for the New Year. Still settling in. F'rinstance, we're already in the middle of the week and I haven't even done my usual Monday morning PODCAST listening! The daily #Walkies have tended to be purely functional. This here BLOGGYDIARYWOTSIT has also tended to fall by the wayside.

I've also tried to help CC with a problem she is having with her POETRY MAGAZINE blog. The comments have been loading on some pages and not others. Say it with me, "IT'S A GOOGLE THING!". I found myself digging about at the business end of one of my own BLOGSPOTS, something I haven't done for a couple of years, so that I could reacquaint myself with HOW THINGS WORK...

On Friday, I'll be happily going along to my new 'job' at the Winchester OXFAM SHOP, which I've been finding really fulfilling and a lovely way to end the week. Except that, on this particular Friday, there is a RAIL STRIKE threatened, so I will find myself doing that __L__O__N__G__ 'scenic route' on the SIXTY-NINE BUS instead. That's all well and good in the summer - it's a THING that I regularly do just for 'FUN'! - but it probably offers less in the way of 'SWEEPING VISTAS' on a bleak midwinter morning. At least it's CHEAPER than the train.

The morning journey was quite pleasant and leisurely... but, after a fruitful day of PONDERING POOH, BROWSING BRONTË and MMMMMM-ing MORONI, the trip home again is less than thrilling, especially in the dark. I had a nap.
THE HUNGER GAMES? Two months ago I was effectively unemployed. Freelance work had dried up completely and I found myself at a loose end. That was when I decided that I would 'make myself useful' in the voluntary sector. Then someone explained to me that I might be entitled to UNIVERSAL CREDIT. I had a look at the ugly government website and thought I'd give it a go. I rather wish I hadn't. Let me make it clear from the get-go, UC is not a 'FREE HAND-OUT' by any stretch of the imagination. By streamlining all social security benefits into one Universal system, it is another way for this disgusting government to tar 'EVERYBODY ELSE', those outside of their well-to-do metrobubble, with the same sorry brush. Whether you are merely short-term unemployed (in need of some temporary assistance, as I was) or you have a chronic debilitating disease or lifelong disability, you're going to JUMP THROUGH HOOPS for your money, YOU SCUM! You must wait a full six weeks before you receive your first payment. You have to declare that you are available for work forty-eight hours a week (work that "pays £7.50 an hour or more" and is "within 90 minutes travel from home") and you must devote thirty-six of those hours every week looking for it. You will apply for vacancies that you are TOLD to apply for by you advisor and attend "and take part fully in" interviews. You WILL be available to do things IMMEDIATELY and ON TIME, even though those people running the show seem to do everything at sloth-like speed. Your payments will be cut if you don't comply with ALL of the above (by £10.40 a day, which is pretty much all of it). All of your 'jobseeking' activities have to be recorded in writing on a broken government website that is clearly unfinished and full of holes. We've all seen how the government gets out of its depth in matters of information technology. They set up a website, in a half-assed attempt to look all MODERN and paperless, but they haven't thought it through, so they still have to send you stuff by snailmail and expect you to use the telephone if you want to ask or tell them something (a telephone service which doesn't work at the weekends and which, until VERY recently, they CHARGED YOU FOR!). It is, in short, a FULL TIME JOB being unemployed. I find that I am unable and unwilling to COMMIT to all this, so having finally received my first and only payment, I am going to SIGN OFF (Do they still call it that?). For me it was a failed experiment. It involved a great deal of ANXIETY which I don't wish to repeat. I can only imagine what folks would have to go through if it really was a matter of life or death. You hear urban legends about blind people with no legs being declared 'FIT FOR WORK', so their benefits were cut because they were unwilling to crawl though the snow to the Job Centre once a week. In the days of the UB-40 and the Giro, the long-term unemployed made the best of their lot, used their time CREATIVELY. They came together and formed bands, started arts labs and community theatre projects, painted posters and poured their plight into poetry. But we can't have that sort of thing going on nowadays. KEEP THOSE OIKS IN THEIR PLACE, I SAY!
Week from Monday 15th January 2018

I am on the 'SPECTRUM' and I suffer from ANXIETY. Communication by telephone, interviews with rooms full of probing inquisitors, having to repeatedly explain myself, the very idea of 'team' work with people I don't know... These things are all FRIGHTENING and OVERWHELMING to me. This morning, with one more phone call, the Great Universal Credit Experiment will, hopefully, be done with. Not too stressful a phone call either; only five minutes and no distorted Vivaldi 'call waiting' music! But I cannot deny, it feels like a massive load has been laid aside at last...

But first, another doctor's appointment with another doctor... I got the 'all clear' on my blood tests, with just an 'advisory' on my cholesterol ratio. But I got absolutely drenched during the course of the #Walkies there and back. Oh dear! THIS WEATHER! Our internet connection really can't cope with all the WET'N'WINDY that's buffeting the telegraph pole this morning - RED LIGHTS ON THE D-LINK! I suppose I might as well manufacture a 2CD set of that "MILES AT THE RAINBOW" b***leg while I'm waiting.

This morning, I'm running a few ROUTINES on my Linux laptop, as I hear there are dodgy dealings afoot in the shape of some malware called 'SPECTRE' and 'MELTDOWN'. There have been several LINUX KERNEL updates in the last week or so, so it's likely they've already nipped those in the bud, but it doesn't do any harm to double-check. Meanwhile, while the pooter is busy doing that, I am using a hairdryer to dry out my waterlogged walking shoes!

I drew a line under MORONI, then became baffled by 'BYGONE BISHOPSTOKE', lollygagged over LONGFELLOW... napped on the bus.

Week from Monday 22nd January 2018

The STICK MEN have launched yet another Bandcamp channel, this one specifically for 'B***LEGS' taken from various shows over the years. So far, these are mainly liberated naughty audience recordings... variable in quality, but for fans an essential listen. A couple of the earlier South American shows I'd already gleaned back in the day when they were on 'LIMITED OFFER', but some of the more recent ones look tempting. I've been dipping into the STREAM'ED TASTERS this afternoon, comparing them for quality (both musical AND recording!). They've also promised that there are some 'SOUNDBOARDS' yet to come. Sigh! Which to get first!?! What is a po'boy to do? (Of course, I'll probably end up cherrypicking the most satisfying tracks for my "HOT TICKLES" comps)

The shitty weather has got even shittier, as if that were possible, and they've given this little outburst the delightful name of GEORGINA.

This week we lost HUGH MASEKELA, a great motivating force in the struggle against Apartheid... and not too shabby a jazz trumpeter either! Then one of the planet's most inexplicably lauded lack-o-talents MARK E SMITH also died. And this, I promise, is the ONLY time you will see The Fall mentioned in THESE hallowed pages...

I was excited to learn that there was a new free version of MAGIX MUSIC MAKER out there... but after about five minutes of trying it out, I decided that it wasn't for me! I quite liked the MIDI instruments that come with it, but all in all, it's far too reliant on 'PRE-SETS' (ready-made loops and beats) to offer any kind of 'CREATIVE' as I see it. One listen to the demo tunes (the worst kind of modern pop dross) will tell you who this software is aimed at. You'd be hardpushed to produce anything with it that ISN'T four-four pop music. Far too inflexible and locked to a grid! Added to which, it is laid out in such a way that doesn't fit on my monitor very well. There are far too many open windows that can't, as far as I can tell, be resized. It's impossible to see all you NEED to see on the screen (particularly the transport controls), because it's being pushed aside by less useful stuff. Thanks, but I'll stick with the earlier version of MAGIX SAMPLITUDE that has served me well for many a year.

This week I finally got to #GiveAShift in two different places and over two days. On Friday, I continued with my task of examining ancient tomes for various degrees of BUMPING, COCKING, FOXING and DAMPSTAINING, then on Saturday afternoon, I made a start on sorting out other people's #piles, trying to organise a heaving backlog of uncategorised, unpriced CD donations. Which is kind of fun for me, ain't it? ...but oh gawd! why is there so much FOSTER & ALLEN in the world...???

Week from Monday 29th January 2018

I've been whizzing about doing a few wee tasks, like renewing for another year the domain/hosting account for the HAIR PEOPLE... but then things went A BIT STRANGE in the pee-cee department, particularly with FIREFOX. I had to resort to 'REFRESHING' the Fox back to its default settings. That meant losing all of my plug-ins and extensions and 'personal settings' and wotnots. I think I managed to put things BACK THE WAY I LIKES 'EM... but, it has to be said, that took a big chunk out of the afternoon! Still, ne'mind eh, no harm done??? I'm still not sure why it crashed in the first place. Just to be sure, let the TROUBLESHOOTING for MALWARE begin! I think I'd better catch up with an episode of "ENGRENAGES" while the peecee does another self-check or two...

The First Of February, and the 'stable' release of LINUX LITE 3.8 has arrived. To be honest, I haven't noticed THAT much different to 3.6... They've added a built-in FONT VIEWER, but it crashed when I tried to use it. Did someone say 'stable'? (I've probably got too many fonts stashed away for it to cope with! I'll just hold onto my old FONT MANAGER!) There is a new Linux-dedicated G**gle homepage for FIREFOX, but I prefer 'Fox's own now. Apparently, there is also support for some new LIBRE-OFFICE features, 'regional' support for VLC to play DVDs, as well as a new TLP POWER MANAGER thingy, but I haven't had cause to try any of that out yet. There are, inevitably, some new WALLPAPERS lurking in the usr/share/ folder, but there's nothing that suits my 'DARK' SARDI theme (nice though some of 'em are!) On the plus side, the UPGRADE path for LINUX LITE is an absolute doddle compared with that of LINUX MINT.

There's also a new version of G**GLE SEARCH CONSOLE out there. That's the 'dashboard' for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATIONIFYING your website[s]. But it's still in BETA and missing some vital features, and I found myself switching back to the old version after about five minutes of exploring it. A bit like when they changed YOUTUBE, really...

Week from Monday 5th February 2018

Having become intimate with the 'soundtrack' album by TANGERINE DREAM for nearly forty years, this weekend I finally got to see William Friedkin's movie "SORCERER". It's a remake of a (far superior) French film based on the book "THE WAGES OF FEAR". It was given a different (misleading) title for reasons best known to Hollywood. Someone said the film was '"FITZCARRALDO" WITH TRUCKS'. I think that MIGHT have been the director's original intention, but...

Friedkin had a huge box office success with "THE EXORCIST". The studio probably thought he deserved to do THE BIG PROJECT of his dreams. But the picture went wildly over-budget and it definitely looks from what you see on the screen as though there had been some INTERVENTION along the way. I was not too surprised to learn that at least thirty minutes were cut from the final film (which, incidentally, BOMBED horribly at the box office). The editing throughout the movie is JAGGED at best. A lot of the plot 'set-up' in the first reel is meandering - They cut all the WRONG bits in my view! The original French film (early '50s) may have lacked all the big-budget Hollywood action of this version, but at least the pacing was better and the story 'flowed'. But I s'pose the biggest elephant in the room was... How come so little of TANGERINE DREAM's music made it into the movie? The most noticeable 'BIG DRAMATIC ORGAN CHORDS' motif that appears thoroughout the film isn't even theirs at all, it's from a piece by KEITH JARRETT. For the most part, the film relies on 'natural' sound with no additional musical padding at all. Short fragments of the TANGS' music can be heard over certain establishing shots (and the end credits). Come to think of it, a greater use of 'leitmotif' musical cues might have made some of the jumpcut editing a little easier to follow! Again, I suspect that a studio 'DECISION' was made in this regard... But I quite enjoyed the movie, in spite of its MANY flaws.

The CYCLING season has kicked off in earnest (at least the televised bit of it), with the five-day DUBAI TOUR. Because of the time difference, the live coverage has been nice and early in the morning here. I find I am able to receive FREE live pictures via AWAAN DUBAI SPORTS 2 (which, handily, comes with the EuroSport English commentary). Meanwhile the CYCLING FANS website has all the up-to-date statistics. There's a couple of temporary bookmarks for the purpose sitting on my FIREFOX. Most of the race is as flat as a pancake, meaning it's one for the sprinters. The seven-man TREK SEGAFREDO team for this'n will be riding in support of JOHN DEGENKOLB. It makes an interesting change for the helicopter shots to be showing elaborate mosques and money-no-object OSTENTATIOUS FUN PALACES (and camels, ah! the camels), instead of French chateaux and mountain goats.

I love that the racing is happening at a 'CONVENIENT' time of the morning. For the most part anyway. It means that I won't get to see FRIDAY's stage in real time, because I'll be OFF UP THAT WINCHESTER to #GiveAShift. It'll be just my luck that it will turn out to be the most exciting and important stage of the race!

Week from Monday 12th February 2018

That weekly bus ride to Winchester is starting to get rather tedious, especially when it runs late, as it did on Friday. There's absolutely no LEEWAY and no available 'ME TIME' between the travelling and that #GivingAShift lark. Straight there and straight back again afterwards. It feels like I spend more time on the bus than I do making myself useful once I get there. Is this what COMMUTERS go through EVERY day? The journey home, being mostly in the dark at this time of year, is doubly boring. I'm going back to catching the train next week... more expensive, but potentially less tiresome and more time to enjoy what YE ANCIENT CITY has to offer when I'm not sorting out 'THE PILES' (which this week was mostly books about telescopes).

'THE PILES' at the Fareham shop (in this case, the growing backlog of secondhand CDs) are STARTING to assume a more organised shape after my completing Saturday Afternoon Number Three of the task. But there is definitely a larger QUANTITY of discs than there are shelves to arrange 'em on. As for the QUALITY of many of them, I'll reserve judgement!

Another major kerfuffle this weekend was to be had when I learned that I'd been charged twice for updating a WEB HOSTING package on behalf of the 'Hair Jockeys'. I'd ALREADY paid for it the old-fashioned way a week or so ago, but then an 'AUTO-RENEW' cyberbot kicked in and billed me a SECOND time! I had to demand a refund and ask them to purge a few things so that it can't happen again. The funds are now back in my PAYPAL bin, but I then have to wait the requisite number of days before I can transfer the money from there to my bank account. Ho hum!

"THIS WEEK OI A'BIN MOOSTLY LIS'NIN' TO THE STICK MEN..." There's been a fresh batch of soundboard recordings from the 2014 tour added to their B***LEGS BANDCAMP. But my 'NEW FAVOURITE BAND' on the Bandcamps looks certain to be Leeds' very own SHATNER'S BASSOON. Of which more later.

AUTODIDACTICISM... I once again find myself being asked to help L'EMPORIUM DES HAIRS set up something on their computer, in this case, to reinstall a mischievous printer. Except of course, they have an APPLE MAC. Macs are so completely 'OTHER' to me in their way of GOING ABOUT THINGS. Even the windows are stubbornly back to front. And don't get me started on those buttonless mice! So even the 'simplest' tasks usually require a great deal of GOOG-ABOUT on my part, to remind me where exotic things like the 'APPLE MENU' and 'SYSTEM PREFS' and 'APP STORE UPDATES' are located and how they operate. Of course, none of this new-found knowledge will help me install new software on a computer that is WORKING all the time running a hair salon, because one has to be able to restart the machine to make the updates stick. It's really a job that I will have to do in DOWNTIME (if they have any!). I also learn that there is a proprietary Applething called AIRPRINT which is supposed to make installing a network printer idiotproof. But, this being APPLE, none but the MOST EXPENSIVE third-party printers seem to be compatible with it.

SHATNER'S BASSOON sound to me like "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" crossed with Henry Cow (and/or ~~~insert other 'Rock In Opposition' band of your choice here~~~), crossed again with John Zorn's Naked City and some kind of mad circus music. COMPLICATED AS F*** WITH OODLES OF SKRONK. What's not to love? Where have they been all my life? Those Hip Bands That Insist On Calling Themselves 'PROG'? Pah! prog schmog! They WISH they were all THIS progressive!

Week from Monday 19th February 2018

Another week, another opportunity to throw money at the KING CRIMSON concern! A much-loved b***leg recording from the RAINBOW in 1973 has finally been given the legitimate Stormy treatment. There is another isolated guitar part (from a PROJEkcT TWO version of "The Deception Of The Thrush") available for 66p. But the big news is the announcement that "LIVE IN VIENNA" will be coming at last this April. With bonus SOUNDSCAPES!! And the long-awaited world premiere for this KCrim's version of "FRACTURE"!!!
...when someone on Twitter asks "Is it a must-have for King Crimson fans?", in reference to "THE PROJEkcTs" CD box-set from nineteen years ago...?
OLD PERSON BEHAVIOUR... I appear to have left a pair of my reading glasses at one of the Oxfam Emporia while I was there #GivingAShift (I hope they don't sell them!). Luckily, I (usually) have two pairs - one in the office and one in my rucky for out-of-house use. It is the latter that I'm missing. I only noticed they were gone when I found myself squinting at a computer screen at the printer's yesterday. This morning's #Walkies mission will be to retrieve them.

DREAM DIARY... "Put a window in an ice-cream and it marries a stateswoman..."

In preparation for next month's STICK MEN outing, I've been faffing about with the online ROUTE PLANNERS, in an attempt to find out in advance where the feck TRADING BOUNDARIES is and how we get there!?! I had once tried an earlier version of the AA's website and found it rather wanting, settling instead on the RAC's as the ONE TO BOOKMARK on m'browser. But the AA have improved their site no end. I actually prefer it over the RAC one now. Where it scores over the RAC is that it shows you the road signs to look out for, rather than just a listed, text-only route description. Speaking as PASSENGER SEAT NAVIGATOR, this makes things a lot easier to follow. The route information is exactly the same thereafter. Both sites appear to give occasional road names that disagree with the ones on G**gle Maps. Or, as we have found time and time again, there are roads mentioned that, it turns out, don't actually HAVE any names in real life. I tend to view the map in SATELLITE mode, as you get a better sense of scale. But it's still a good idea to 'walk' the route using STREETVIEW, so you can see roughly what things look like at ground level.

Week from Monday 26th February 2018

MID-SUSSEX MIDORI! In the early hours of Sunday morning, I learned that (ahead of their joint tour of AMÉRICA DO SUL) fiddlemeister DAVID CROSS will be guesting with the STICKY BOYS 'for one night only'... Fletching probably being the nearest gig to LAHNDUN and all. Now that's a bonus and no mistake!

'S'NO SNOW... The entire (rest of the) country has ground to a halt and is banging on about the SNOW. Danger! Danger! Emergency! Emergency! Convenient Distraction! #snowmageddon? Oh puhleeze!! It's mainly about DZAT LOONDIN, of course, because that's all that 'counts' as far as the MEEJUR is concerned.

But here? I grant you it is damn COLD, but we remain pretty much unwhitened here on the SOLENT DELTA. Just occasionally, the so-called 'BEAST FROM THE EAST' will send a big black one our way and there will be a feeble ten-minute flurry of the fluttery stuff. But it doesn't settle. The default setting has, so far, been clear blue skies and a sprinkling of early morning frost that disappears once the sun gets up.

I am now convinced that we are "UNDER THE DOME". Go a few kilometres in any direction: evidence of snow. Other parts of Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex, the Isle of Wight: reportedly CHAOS. But here... NAH! Yesterday, you could stand on the seafront and see the snowstorm a-brewin' over the Isle of Wight, while above and behind us there remained a clear blue sky. A bit weird. Talk about 'MICRO-CLIMATE'!

Mind you, it only took the very THREAT of ice for Gosport Council to turn the High Street into the world's biggest cat-litter tray, such has been the zeal of their precautionary gritting... Thursday morning's peep through the blinds reveals that things HAVE taken on a SLIGHTLY whiter aspect. There's just a light sprinkling on the rooftops, but nothing has settled on the open fields. No more than an exaggeration of yesterday's frost, really... but it'll be cleared away again come daylight. I wonder what it'll be like to venture INLAND tomorrow (Outside The Dome!?!)

"FRIDAY TRAVEL: SWRailways warn of 199 cancellations in the next 6 hours, caused by ice and broken down trains..." Well, that settles it then. I'm going back to bed! (Frustratingly, once the National Rail Enquiries website was up and running again, I discovered that my morning train was just about the only one that HAD been running on time! But hearing the stories about folks being stuck on trains outside of Christchurch for fifteen hours, I think I made the right decision NOT to travel today.)

I'm not able to #GiveAShift on Saturday either, as they've made the decision not to open the shop today. (Cue the music of PRINCE FAR-I: "Da roooad is soo faageh faageeeeh! Da roooad is soo hiceh hiceeeeh...!")

Week from Monday 5th March 2018

"...a robin is sitting on a snow-covered stump in the garden, as if posing for a Christmas card. He's also baffled as to why on earth he would be doing this in MARCH!?!"

Then... BACK TO NORMAL. Over the weekend, every last trace of the snow disappeared. I can't say what it's still like elsewhere in the country ('cos suddenly that's LAST WEEK'S NEWS), but here it is as if it never happened. We have clear blues skies again, it's cold and sunny and we're back "Under The Dome".

Let's talk about something other than the weather, shall we...? Because I didn't have to #GiveAShift over the weekend, I found myself with more time to play. Suddenly, I'm BORN TO SYNTHESIZE! I have a couple of new "WORKS IN PROGRESS" which I have posted on the YouTubes, one involving fake Stravinsky-esque jazz/brass/circus music, and another more reflective piece, featuring some "F****ertronic" drony looping and an arpeggiating guitar. Someone commented that the guitar part sounded like Nick Drake. I'll take that as a compliment, given that I can't actually PLAY guitar! In a further exploration into the depths of ambient 'TREATMENT', I found myself ACCIDENTALLY SOUNDING LIKE BASS COMMUNION (which makes a change from ACCIDENTALLY SOUNDING LIKE TANGERINE DREAM).

My APPLEMAC AUTODIDACTICISM continues this morning. Now that the HAIR PEOPLE have availed themselves of yet another different printer (one that is supposed to be AIRPRINT-compatible), I have to teach myself some more about Mac Lore, so that I can attempt to set it up for them. APPLE's own blurbage seems to suggest that AirPrint is all very easy-peasy and idiot-proof, but WE SHALL SEE ABOUT THAT...

In the end, the decision was made to go BACK TO BASICS and forego all the wireless network nonsense and the high cost of inkjetting. The fancy new EPSON inkjet thingy is even MORE complicated (and potentially expensive) for them to use than the old one was and I can easily see that there would be tears before bedtime! Instead, I plugged in a simple USB-connect BROTHER laser printer from Argos (same model as I have at home). "Simples" as a meerkat inexplicably from the Urals might say (though the installation process does involve downloading a virtual image of the Brother disk, because Apple, in their wisdom, have done away with physical disk-drives). I also saw to it that the Mac got a proper SOFTWARE UPDATE for the first time in months and, I'm pleased to say, the whole process went very smoothly, without too much disruption of the salon's normal operating parameters!

I have received the first artwork instructions for this year's "GOD-ON-A-PUSHBIKE" sponsored doodah, along with further instructions NOT to do any of the work until I hear from them. OH! HERE WE GO AGAIN...

Ooh look! There's a new BRAND X live album coming in May!

Week from Monday 12th March 2018

I was back in normal #GiveAShift mode this last weekend, but I'll be off again the coming weekend, because THE STICK MEN ARE COMING! THE STICK MEN ARE COMING!! THE STICK MEN ARE COMING!!!

The new HEXAGONAL PHASE of "THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY" has started on Radio 4. I've already listened to the first episode three times! GREAT RADIO!! But now that we have, very sadly, lost PROFESSOR STEPHEN HAWKING to the cosmos, it's taken on an extra air of poignancy. (Last night, the telly also rolled out some old episodes of "THE BIG BANG THEORY" with the Professor guesting. I couldn't enjoy those in quite the same way either...)


Of course, first we have to get to deepest Sussex, and aye! there's the rub! Shelfy is a bit concerned about the weather forecast. There is more SNOW coming from the East today - in fact, it's already passing over the Downs as we speak. There are no problems reported on the A27 apart from the 'normal' ones, Chichester bypass being a big favourite(!) But at this stage, I'm a little worried. We have allowed ourselves LOADS of time to travel, but if he decided he doesn't want to drive, then that's me buggered. Far too late to make other arrangements...

Okay, we're GOING FOR IT! It doesn't look as the snow has been CONTINUOUS anywhere, but I'm taking an extra jacket and sweater to stash in the car for later. Shelfy has suggested a Thermos...
{{{I'd already made my mind up some time ago that I am officially retiring from CONCERT-GOING* after this one. I don't really feel that the whole experience of attending live music is worth the hassle anymore. Ticket agency extortion, unsociable audience behaviour and unsuitable choice of venues have all increasingly sucked the fun out of it in recent years. Besides, after tonight, I feel confident in saying I HAVE NOW SEEN EVERY BAND I EVER WANT TO, well before we all get embarrassingly old... [*apart from KING CRIMSON in the Autumn, of course!]}}}