Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The lure of chocolate...

First orders have started arriving for the new CDs - hurrah!

And I was feeling a bit more confident re moving around today, to the extent that I actually used my crutches to go up and down the stairs. A bit of a risk I know when I'm alone in the house - but it wasn't the stairs which ended up being my downfall...

Mid afternoon, after I'd already been downstairs, moved a chair to the kitchen sink and done the washing up to help Anne out a bit, I was back up stairs at the computer when the doorbell rang...

I hobbled to the window fully expecting to have to tell another double glazing salesman to eff off (as I had to do yesterday) when I saw the balloon with "Get Well Soon" written on it and I thought, "hmm there might be some chocolate down there"...

So I had to try and get downstairs to open the front door....

Unfortunately, as I turned round from the window, in trying to dodge through various clothes horses and stuff sharing the room with the computer, I lost my balance and fell over against a wardrobe and then down onto the floor with a loud crash and much shouting and swearing.....

The delivery guy sounded a bit startled as he called through the letter box to see if I was ok....

I lied, saying I was fine but couldn't quite get to the door and to just leave the stuff on the doorstep...

Eventually, after around ten minutes of lying on the floor saying "owya ma leg" and other less savoury utterances, I managed to get back up....

After a suitable rest period, I finally made it down to the front door and somehow managed to drag the basket into the house with one of my crutches....

So while it's a big thank you to everyone who got together to send me the biggest basket of fruit (much of it exotic stuff) I've ever seen (plus a very small box of Belgian chocolates - but there's a limit to how many of those you can eat before being sick, so it's a case of "small is beautiful"), ironically, this very basket might have indirectly added to my recouperation time...

Spent the evening dozing on the settee with my leg up whilst listening to Spock's Beard on the jukebox...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blackfoot...

I have to say that Anne is a star.

Although there's nothing really wrong with me - i.e. I'm not "ill", I am immobile - ok I can hobble around on crutches and slide down the stairs and crawl back up them - I can't carry anything around. So I need Anne to do most things for me....

I should be wearing a T Shirt with "Thanks Anne!!" emblazoned on it as those two words are the ones I say most at the moment...

Of course, come January, when I can walk again, I believe Anne will be spending a lot of time lying on the settee while I will be at her beck and call - which is only fair...

...and Christmas is cancelled too now as I can't get out to do any shopping - I might be able to find a few things on the internet though...

Today I went through around thirty CDs which have been lying in a pile for a while.....

They were unlabeled but now I have labeled them and they now form a pile of labeled CDs...

I did more work on the Sclater project and produced a mix which I hope will be acceptable...still needs some tweaking though...

In the evening when Anne came home, we had dinner and were settling in to the usual evening of TV watching (her) and jukebox listening (me) when I pointed out that my toes seemed to have become dirty.....

On closer inspection they were, in fact, turning black....

Consulting the notes from the fracture clinic, we found that they stated that if toes become discoloured or swell up we should "go immediately to A&E" - so we did...

Arrived at 7:35.

By 10 pm I was yet to be looked at by anyone...

As my foot was going black, pins and needles were taking hold on my leg and the cast seemed to be too tight, I was a bit concerned....

Finally a nurse looked at my foot - but only because I was annoying the staff by hobbling around next to their work station...

She asked a passing doctor if he had "10 seconds" to spare to look at the situation...

Five minutes later we were heading home having been told this was just a natural reaction but I need to spend less time sitting at the computer and more with my foot raised above the level of my heart apparently....

Once again the staffing levels at A&E were alarmingly sparse - people were having to wait up to five hours to be seen. I was pretty sure what was happening to me re my black foot was probably ok but I didn't want to wait 5 hours to find out - so I made a nuisance of myself and was seen and dealt with in less than three minutes...

So, what they probably need, is someone with a bit more medical knowledge meeting the people coming in to A&R and prioritising them according to

(a) the time taken to get rid of malingerers like me and
(b) the need to be seen right away - e.g. blood pouring from a head wound...

Otherwise they might as well just issue everyone with a numbered ticket as if we were in a queue at a chinese takeaway...because, basically, that's what they're doing anyway...

Home to a "live" episode of "Law & Order" and then to bed...

Monday, November 28, 2005

A day spent sitting in a room...

Spent almost the entire day in the computer room apart from an early morning foray to the kitchen for breakfast....

It took rather a long time to get there and even longer to get back. And, while I was there, I had to stand on the one good leg. So Anne has very kindly agreed to leave everything for me upstairs from now until I can put any weight on the bad leg...

Great piece on Jim Park's blog re the "accident" which had me laughing out loud (not the accident that is, Jim's piece I mean...)

Did a lot of cutting, pasting and fine tuning of the Sclater Project today ready to do the final mixes tomorrow. I say "final" of course on the understanding that Ian will have the last say and there may well be things in there he doesn't like....

In the evening, I shaved off six days' worth of beard, listened to the jukebox while Anne watched Corrie x 2 and Eastie. Then we watched a Law & Order and a Desperate Housewives on video, some of the weekend's football highlights and then off to bed...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday session...

Discovered that I can sleep on my side after three nights on my back (snoring my head off by all accounts from a sleepy Anne - but how can that be when I've had no sleep??)...

Anyway, a good night's sleep last night - didn't wake until well after nine...

Breakfast at home, for obvious reasons, and then Anne helps me set up the studio for Mr Ian Sclater's 12 o'clock appointment....

He's held up and arrives at 1:30 but we get another good four hour's work in today after which my leg is very sore....

This should be the final recording session as we now have all instruments and voices for 14 songs...

Now on to the mix...

In the evening a chinese takeaway, Enterprise, 2 x Desperate Housewives and Match of the Day 2 then off to bed...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sleepless statistics...

For the third night in a row, little or no sleep. For some reason, our neighbours' TV seemed to be on all night and so, to block out the sound, I listened to my jukebox on shuffleplay mode...some great stuff on there...but no sleep for me...

I'd gone to bed just after midnight last night and got up at 5 am and struggled to get some clothes on what with the stookie, crutches etc....

Mucked about on the computer doing nothing - I'm very tired and my leg is sore...

Went back to bed just after 8 and slept till 11:30...

Slid down the stairs on my backside and watched Football Focus followed by two episodes of Desperate Housewives on video....

Then crawled (literally) back upstairs and did some work on the computer - excel spreadsheets and stuff then updated my history of live gigs I've been keeping since I started playing again at the beginning of 2003....listening to the new CDs of me and Jamie live at the Roxy and CBQ's Deeperdown...

I hadn't updated the "livelist" since 24 November 2004 and so trawled through the Crispycat website and blog looking for dates and tracklistings...

Here are some stats

Total Performances
2003 - 29; 2004 - 27; 2005 - 8; Total - 64

Total Songs Played
2003 - 151; 2004 - 164; 2005 - 45; Total - 360

Total Different Songs Played
2003 to 2005 - 82

10 Most Played Songs

I Re-Arranged The House (23)
Very Small (16)
Another Happy Day (15)
Skylines Full Of Cranes (15)
The Crocodile Song (14)
Half A Lifetime Away (13)
Everything You've Ever Wanted (13)
Twenty Twenty Vision (13)
Still We Doubt You (12)
A Nice Job In A Small Town (12)

So that's four from "Deeperdown" (2005), four from "Anotherhappyday" (2003), one from "Ampersand" (2002) and one from "Doveloveshawk" (1999) my last four albums...

Tonight we'll have home made pasta for tea and watch Match of the Day.

Hopefully I'll get some sleep....

Friday, November 25, 2005

Snowfall...

Up early today to prepare to go back to hospital to attend the "fractures clinic". Everything takes an awful lot longer when you're on crutches and can only put one foot on the ground...

Then, just as we are leaving, it starts to pour with snow making the journey a bit precarious...

It takes almost an hour to get to the infirmary - I wouldn't want to have to do this for a real emergency! Anne is a star behind the wheel in these treacherous conditions...

Once there I am seen almost immediately - the consultant doesn't even speak to me or indeed look at me as I lie on a table with Wednesday night's cast having been removed. He mumbles something to the "plaster technician" and, next thing I'm having a new cast applied...

It turns out I must return next week to have an X Ray taken through this new cast to determine whether my bones will grow back together naturally or whether I will need an operation to have a pin inserted into my leg...

Judging by today's performance re the short walk to exit the house and get to the car, I won't be leaving again until next week's proposed hospital visit..

Back home I set up a webchat with Webmeister Craig...Today we have microphones so it's like a free videocall - here we are...you can see the top of one of my crutches in the background...



Later I post to Out of the Bedroom re the forthcoming release of the three new CDs....

I won't have much else to do apart from burn these and send them out so I'm hoping for a few orders...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

New life....

Well - it's welcome to my new life for the next six weeks or so....

I am stuck in the house unable to go up/down stairs very well and so am spending a lot of time on the computer. Many e-mails of "condolence" today re my broken ankle for which, thanks...

Today I provided my Webmeister with all the info and new updates for the Crispycat site to release "Deeperdown", "Through The Day" and "Cloudland Blue Quartet and James Jamieson Live at the Roxy" on Monday 28 November...

Any ideas I had of playing live to support them are now out the window of course, so I thought I might as well just let them go out into the world unaided...

All orders gratefully received as I'll have little else to keep me occupied....

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ooowwwyyyyaaaaa!!!!!!!!

Well, if yesterday was a bit of a "nothing" day, today was a bit of a "something" day...

I could've gone to an old friend's 40th but the times were such that I would have missed the surprise...

I'd already dropped myself from the 5-a-side squad in preparation...

Then, before I could announce revamped teams, someone else dropped out and I re-joined the squad knowing that I'd have missed out on the party anyway due to logistics - so even if I couldn't party down, I could still enjoy a game of footie...

The teams were once again well matched using the CBQ weighting method and my team, black, were in the lead by a goal or two for most of the first 45 minutes. Then white went ahead..

At around 7:50, I was going for a 50/50 ball against me old mucker Jim Park. He managed to reach it fractionally before me (all this was happening at the frightening pace which two overweight 46 year olds can produce after 50 minutes of 5-a-sides)...

I ended up going over petty badly (well, very badly really) on my left ankle, which emitted a very loud crack as I sailed through the air like a catapulted elephant...

One hour later (8:55) I was in A&E at the very stupidly positioned new Royal Infirmary - miles from anywhere...

30 minutes later I was seen by a nurse and around 30 minutes after that had had a few X-Rays down...

It was now 10:10...

At 1:45, after sitting shivering in my T-shirt and shorts with one bare foot for FIVE hours, I was seen by a doctor - one of only two on duty...

No doubt the government which spends so much on bureaucrats in the National Health Service to measure stupid targets instead of actually employing DOCTORS would say "Aaah. But you were seen after just 30 minutes". Incompetent arses! (the government not the NHS staff)

Anyway - transpires I've broken my ankle...

So a plaster cast was applied and then I was given an appointment at the fracture clinic on Friday at 10.15 to decide if I need an operation on my leg to insert a pin...

Rather ironically, this is exactly the same time as my just arranged doctor's appointment to see about my extremely sore left arm - the pain in which is now almost sickening when it arrives with ever more increasing often-ness (ok I know that's not a word but I can't be bothered thinking of the one I mean)...

And now the arm pain will no doubt be be exacerbated by being on crutches...

Not great....

Can't drive/walk/go up or down stairs without a huge palaver/luckily can sit at my computer for short periods before having to lie down - which is what I'm going to do now...

Certainly can't promote the new CD...

I must thank Jim for driving to get Anne from our house so she could collect our car from the Sports Centre car park and take me to hospital..

And he was not to blame for the big break - just one of those things - and I wouldn't have wanted it to have been anyone else....

Hmmm, unless of course it turns out he was trying to get me back for saying Richard Herring liked me better than him - when in fact despite Richard having spoken three words to me and only one to Jim, unbeknown to me until later, Jim went on to the casino with Richard and "hung out" with him...

Well I guess we'll never know...

And of course I must thank Anne for putting up with grumpiest man in the world (obviously due to having the sorest leg anyone has ever had in the history of the planet - according to him that is...)

Ooowwwyyyyaaaaa!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I love Grand Funk Railroad...

A bit of a nothing day today really...

Watched a bit of TV then spent some time on the computer, listening back again to Ian Sclater. I also tried some mock ups of inner sleeves for "Deeperdown" but achieved nothing...

Still listening to the jukebox on full shuffle mode. Two stand out tracks today turned out to be by Grand Funk Railroad...

I didn't know this until I looked at the display screen - this is very often the case, I now have 11,200 tracks and can't surely be expected to recognise everything which comes on??

The pieces in question are "Genevieve" an instrumental from "Born to Die" and "The End" an out-take which was added to the remastered edition of the classic "We're An American Band"...

I love Grand Funk Railroad...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Norman makes my day...

In HMV today I'm looking at all the lovely classical box sets. I like classical box sets. However, I refrain from buying any...

Instead, back home, I look at all the classical box sets I already have...

I don't play any, I just look at them...

And this is just one of the ways in which I waste my time...

On the Out of the Bedroom message board, Norman Lamont has posted a review of "Deeperdown" and it's actually rather good....

Despite the many CDs I've sold at OOTB, this is the first time anyone's bothered to post up a review (I can't complain really though because, while I have many CDs by OOTB performers which I've bought over the last 2.5 years, I've never actually bothered to post a review of any of them)...

Anyway, here's the review - suffice to say it made my day...

"This is very good.

Fifteen songs, catchy and poppy with a superb production. CBQ's been working on this for, well, ages but it's well worth the effort.

The opener 'Love and War' surges in on surging, shiny guitars, and the other tracks follow breathlessly (he's left a much shorter space than usual between the tracks, which is a nice touch), and don't let up till the slower numbers in the middle.

For something that's a one-man production, there's a fine band feel to it and the best feature, to my mind, is lots and lots of backing vocals, both harmonies and oooh-la-la-las, all beautifully executed.

I've always known CBQ could turn out a good tune, but live there often seemed to be a lack of variety in the guitar strums and they didn't come alive to the extent they do here.

Take 'Crocodile Song' for example - if you've ever liked it live, it's worth the (cheap) price of this album for the track alone.

Melody, energy, a sense of fun and great playing.

Highly recommended."


Thanks Norman!

Now hurry up with those reviews of "Through The Day" and "CBQ and JJ at the Roxy" (just joking...)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

It's weird in here...

Up early again (6 am) and once again I'm wasting my time surfing the net for nothing in particular. I decide to increase the number of links from the journal, adding many of my favourites..

Ian Sclater is due at 12 for a five hour session concentrating on vocals as we near the end of the project. At 10 I am doing four days worth of dishes and at 11 I am out in the car heading for Patisserie Florentin to pick up a couple of croissants...

After a quick breakfast back home, I set up for the session and Ian arrives around 12:45. For the next four hours we work hard, mainly on vocals, but also record a new backing track for one of the songs...

By 4:45 I am working on quick mixes to burn a disc for Ian to take away and analyse the vocal performances to pick out lines to be redone next week...

The track list is looking like this (*featuring CBQ on guitar):-

Always More*
Back On The Good Earth
Black Silk*
Candle to St Valentine
I Am The Light
Isabella
It's Weird In Here
Reveille*
Seasons Song*
She Paints Landscapes
The End Of Another Day*
This Time Around
When Blue Skies Turn To Grey*

Then it was round to Anne's mum's for the fortnightly family tea. Anne's mum is very pleased that I have renounced vegetarianism and turned again to the ways of the dark side - it means she no longer has to cook two separate dishes....

The Switch tournament recovenes tonight though we only have time for four rather than eight hands as Ollie, our nephew, phones to say he's left his, ahem "laptop" (toy computer) behind and can Uncle David bring it to his house. How can I resist the wee man's request? Before leaving I am crowned Champion of Switch (Anne is second this week and, in two tournaments, Craig is yet to win a hand...)

After also taking "Switch Loser" Craig (drunk on drinking whiskey and Coke all afternoon for some reason - may have contributed to his Switch Performance?) home to his flat, Anne watches TV while I do some more thought out mixes of the Sclater tracks, including trying out a few tricks and burn it to a CD which I listen to before heading to bed...

A choc-ful weekend is over...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Another busy Saturday...

Up at 6:30 and I spend a couple of hours updating this journal then prepare breakfast. My mum is due round at 10:45 as we’re taking her to Paisley today to see her old friend Pat whose husband Charlie, the gadget man, died around six weeks ago…

As usual the journey is a bit fraught as I tend to get overly annoyed at my mum’s propensity for commenting on anything at all that she sees – and for suggesting how I might drive better. I shouldn’t get so annoyed at her of course but, somehow, I can’t help it. The highlight of the journey is when we are stuck in a traffic jam near Livingston for over 20 minutes and mum complains about the exhaust fumes of the bus in front asking “can’t you get away from behind it?” Hmm, let’s see, it’s a TRAFFIC JAM!!

On the upside, we do have a good discussion about last week’s Alice Cooper gig. Mum’s horrified re all the blood being spurted from a severed head over the first few rows of the audience. But, as Alice himself says, if you’re not laughing at an Alice Cooper show, there’s something wrong with you….

Despite the jam we make good time and arrive at 12:30 at Pat’s. She’s looking not too bad considering but seems to have lost a bit of weight (which isn’t great considering she was pretty thin prior to Charlie dying)….

She provides a slap up lunch – with a special veggie dish for me not knowing of course that I have once again turned to the dark side…

At 2, Anne and I head off into Glasgow and park up on the East Side and walk into town. We split up as usual and I head for, surprise surprise, the record stores while Anne goes around the clothes shops…

My shopping habits are pathetic…

I end up buying two CDs from FOPP which I could easily have bought at home – the new Soft Machine 2CD Retrospective “Out-Bloody-Rageous 1967-1973” and a two disc set of Uriah Heep which contains re-recordings by the current, and longest lasting, line up of the band…





Anne buys a new jacket from GAP and is chuffed with it. I am a bit depressed with my stupidity by the time we meet up again at 5 but Anne cheers me up and we go to a small Starbucks for a coffee to fend off the chill air….

Unfortunately, (1) there are no seats until we’re half way through the coffee and (2) the floor is filthy and I manage to drag my coat along it while trying to take it off without initiating any pain in my very sore left arm (I fail)…

Fortunately, we do eventually get a seat and the coffee is good. And, a young lady in far too high heeled boots manages to fall on her backside down the stairs – so that at least provides some entertainment – Starbucks thanks its lucky stars this is Glasgow and not New York – otherwise instead of saying “no no I’m sorry, I’m fine, sorry about that”, the stair-faller would have been intoning the mantra “I’m going to sue your ass!”….

We’re back at Pat’s by six and leave for home around 6:30, avoiding the roadworks on the return journey by taking the “slow” road from around half way along the motorway and getting back to Crispycat Towers to a delighted Meg the Black Cat in just over an hour…

A coffee with mum and then she’s away home…

A couple of days ago I remarked that religion was a load of tosh – and I stand by this remark despite comments and analysis by Norman Lamont on his blog (www.normanlamont.com) - but both my mum and Pat do draw a lot of strength from their religion to help cope with their respective losses and so, despite centuries of torture, violence, persecution and war in the name of religion, it has its benefits…

I drive to the Taj Express for our usual weekend takeaway – veggie madras again for me - then Match of the Day (whilst listening to Soft Machine on the phones) and then bed…

Another busy Saturday…

Friday, November 18, 2005

Music and comedy - no change there then...

Back to FOPP today to feed my CD illness. I pick up a copy of Bobby Hutcherson’s set “Oblique” featuring Herbie Hancock, Joe Chambers and bassist Albert Stinson who died from an overdose a couple of years after the session....

By all accounts Mr S was a virtuoso bassist whose tragically early death robbed the jazz world of a potentially great force...

Drugs eh?

The set wasn’t released at the time of recording, only making it briefly on to the Japanese market in 1980 – so this re-release in 2005 is more than welcome – it contains a great version of Hancock’s “Theme from Blow Up” and a couple of excellent pieces written by drummer Chambers. Nice...



And from e-bay a purchase which brings back memories...

In late July 1973, a 14 year old CBQ wanders into Woolworths at Tollcross and looks through the bargain bin of LPs for 49p each. He buys two discs with interesting covers – Velvett Fogg and Haystacks Balboa...

Twenty years later, at Reptile Records CBQ finds said albums in a Record Rarities Price Book, each is valued at around £50 - £75. Of course they are long gone from his collection...

But today, over 32 years on from that summer’s day in ’73, Velvett Fogg once again makes its way back into CBQ’s collection – albeit in £3 CD form..

It’s just as I remember it – not the greatest album ever but, you know, OK...



The sleeve notes are by the recently deified John Peel. I saw him being inducted (posthumously) into the UK Rock Hall of Fame on TV late last night....

Earlier this week there was a programme on TV called “John Peel’s Record Box” or something, in which various people whose records were found in what seemed to be a “special” box of 7” singles – perhaps John’s all time favourites. Status Quo and Sheena Easton sat alongside far too many White Stripes singles – and everyone clambered over each other to say what a music god Mr Peel was...

He seemed a good man. He played some great music on his show. He brought some of today’s major stars to people’s attention for the first time...

I used to listen to his show off and on from around 1974 to 1983 – heard my first Eno solo tracks there – heard the whole of Genesis’ “The Lamb Lies Down o Broadway” there – the whole of Pink Floyd’s “Animals” in February 1977 the day before its release..

And of course a whole load of other stuff from 5 second long death metal tracks to obscure reggae and the Sex Pistols – in fact he even mentioned me once on a show (when I was known as Sombre Reptiles)...

It was a shame he died...

OK don’t really know where this is going..

I’ll sum it up. He was a DJ who played weirder records than most people and didn’t care a jot what anyone thought about what he played. In a way, I suppose that’s quite selfish. But, in a way, that’s been a good thing. One man’s selfishness has helped so many people find new music...

So good on him...but let’s just let him rest in peace now and move on...

We had a brilliant night of entertainment tonight at the Stand comedy club where Anne and I met up with Jim Park (http://www.toecurler.com/) comedian of this parish. Jim wasn’t playing tonight but one of our heroes, Richard Herring was. ..

He was preceeded by three other comedians, Teddy, Andy Ansis(?) [who was the best of the night – superb timing and a good line in rude Barron Knights type takes on songs by people like Simon & Garfunkel and The Police] and Patrick from County Mayo, the Irishman who appeared in Jim’s Fringe Show earlier this year....

I thought Patrick was really funny tonight. Which is strange because, when I saw him do the same material word for word during the Fringe, although it was funy, it wasn’t as funny as it was tonight....

Jim and I agreed that the chemistry between performer and audience and within the audience itself can have a huge effect on how funny things are...

Unfortunately, the chemistry tonight didn’t seem right for Richard Herring – much as I love his comedy and much as I personally was laughing out loud and enjoying it, I think most in the audience were finding it a bit difficult to just get it and he left the stage looking a bit defeated...instead of laughing at one of his jokes, a girl in the crowd said “good point”...it was that kind of audience...

We left Jim to try and schmooze with his comedy chums – he’d been the night before and been in the back room with the performers and, unable to think of anything to say (being rather starstruck in the presence of a hero) complemented RH on his blog (http://www.richardherring.com/) to which he received the reply “thanks”.

For my own part I managed a “cheers” to RH as I left the club – to which he replied “yeah, cheers mate”...

So he obviously likes me better than Jim...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Preconceptions changed by experience...

A cold and, for the first time this year I think, frosty morning...



Today I made an impulse buy at FOPP. Lou Reed’s 2004 double live CD ”Animal Serenade”...



I had severe post purchase depression syndrome however upon reading a review on Amazon which revealed “no drums” “horrendous backing vocals” “gargantuan conceit by Mr Reed” etc etc...

This is a great album, probably one of his best live recordings. Some tracks do have drums (played electronically by the bassist Fernando Saunders) and there’s use of a guitar synth which turns it into a piano...

The songs stand up well in their stripped down state and I really enjoyed listening to this...panic over.

The backing vocals in question are by Anthony of recent Mercury Music Prize winners Anthony and the Johnsons. I remember seeing this band on Later with Jools Holland a couple of years ago and thinking to myself – what on earth possessed Lou to engage that FREAK on BVs (and what’s with the ninja guy “dancing” at the side of the stage?)...

Funny how time changes your perceptions. In the intervening period, despite not being conscious of ever having heard Anthony and the Johnsons, the voice now sounds brilliant to my ears and I doff my cap once again to Mr Reed for going out on a limb...

Highlight of the day was Anne's homemade Red Thai Chicken Curry which I helped with, in my own bumbling way, mostly by getting in the road, making unwanted suggestions and pouring out the glasses of red wine which we consumed while "we" cooked dinner...

Over the last couple of days I have reset the Jukebox to “Shuffle” having spent quite a bit of time recently listening to playlists I’ve compiled or to the new CBQ albums. This change is a refreshing one – and with over 11,000 tracks now saved onto the drive, there’s no end to the surprising juxtapositions the little machine throws up...

I love it...

Hey – while I’m writing this “Dirty Blvd” from the Reed CD comes on...spooky

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wasting time...

Another bright but cold day today. Here’s a pic of the tower which was added to the National Museum around ten years ago. I like the cut of its gib.



Behind the door today is a disc by San Franciscan art rock band The Tubes. Or rather, of The Tubes, as this is a collection of tracks recorded prior to their first album - demos recorded in December 1973 and live tracks from March and June 1974.

It’s interesting to note that the version of “White Punks On Dope” (probably their most famous song) included here is “fully formed” and almost exactly the same as the version they played when I saw them last December in Glasgow. No wonder they can play it with their eyes closed.

The disc is called “Dawn of the Tubes – Demo Daze and Radio Waves” and I recommend it to any Tubes fan, whilst , if you’ve never heard of The Tubes, I’d direct you initially to their first two albums, “The Tubes” and “Young and Rich” from 1975 and 76 respectively which you can now get together on one disc called “White Punks On Dope”.



One of my favourite bands of all time. More info here http://www.thetubes.com/. They’re set to play Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix Arizona on 17 December.

If I win the lottery between now and then, I’ll be there!!

During the day I visit the library (where I took the photo at the top of this entry) to return the discs I borrowed three weks ago when uptown with Jorg – man, time flies when you get older...

For my listening delight over the next three weeks I now have a 3CD Box “The Time Machine”, a compilation of tracks from the famous Vertigo label – 41 tracks including Colosseum, Black Sabbath, Nucleus, Rod Stewart, Gentle Giant, Uriah Heep, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Mick Ronson, Status Quo and Vangelis...



Tonight it’s 5-a-Sides time once again and this time my scientific method of weighting the team selection works. I am in whites this evening and we end up winners by two goals. We are always in front but mostly only ever by one or two goals and blacks are desperately unlucky, hitting the bar a few times, with one shot managing to hit both posts before rolling harmlessly into the arms of the keeper...

Hey, that’s football....

While I played 5’s, Anne was out on the lash with old friend Lynn. After the footie I came home and, out of nothing more than morbid fascination, I watched the Take That documentary for 90 minutes. What an interesting waste of time...

Then drove to pick up the girls and bring them home....

It's taken 62 minutes to write this entry, including surfing the web for Tubes stuff and album cover pics...

Perhaps THAT'S a waste of time...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The unknown guitarist...


A bright but cold day

Hurrah - The Bruford Tapes arrive. I'm sure I used to have an LP of this 1979 recording of Bill Bruford's Jazz Fusion band playing live in NY...

The incomparable Allan Holdsworth, who'd played on the previous two studio albums by the band, had departed for a solo career....

His place was taken by "The Unknown John Clark"....

To my knowledge, other than the next Bruford album, "Gradually Going Tornado", I don't think TUJC ever played on another record - if you know of his attendance on another session do let me know - because he shreds the guitar and is almost (almost) as good as the mighty AH himself...

Astonishing...

The evening is taken up copying various CDs to the hard drive..

I think I now have around 50-60 albums there waiting to be burned and filed away - and dumped in a skip when I'm gone...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Godless...

A quiet night. I watch a good programme, the third of three (I missed the first two) presented by Jonathan Miller...

JONATHAN MILLER'S BRIEF HISTORY OF DISBELIEF
"In this first ever television history of disbelief, Jonathan Miller goes on a journey exploring the origins of his own lack of belief and uncovering the hidden story of atheism"...

It is, frankly, superb and I rue my nonchalance towards the TV schedules for having missed the preceeding episodes....

Surfing the net later on re this programme and its subject matter leads me to sites re Secularism and many professing the non-existence of Jesus and generally rubbishing the bible, the q'ran and religion...

Religion....it really is a load of old tosh...

We live we die...

That's it....

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Any given Sunday...

I hold my hands up...

This is a journal of very few insights...

I'd love to be able to home in on one particular happening on any given day and write about it at length, either in a comedic style or with some passion and/or incisive wit...

Unfortunately I don't have it in me - or maybe I do - but really, this is a diary of the "what I did today" variety - so here's what I did today:-

Up at 7:30 surfing the net re Alice Cooper after last night's gig. The best site I've ever found is at www.alicecoopertrivia.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk - it's called Sick Things, after the song on Billion Dollar Babies. It also has set lists for every show Alice has ever done since the early 80's and tour setlists for the 70's...

So of course I had to collate the setlists for all the shows I've attended since the Glasgow Apollo in February 1982 onto an Excel spreadsheet and carry out some analysis re most featured album ("Welcome to my Nightmare") etc. All in all I've seen 80 different Cooper songs played live (four have been played every time I've seen him)...

OK so that took me till 10:30 by which time Anne was up, as was Meg the Black Cat, and both were looking for their breakfast...

At 11am, when I should have been silent and thoughtful, I was driving to the local supermarket for a loaf of bread...

After a late, late breakfast, I made plenty of suggestions to Anne as to what we might do but all were turned down. I took the car to the carwash and then, in the end, after an episode of "Enterprise" on the video, Anne spent some time on the internet researching Thai cooking and possible holidays for us for 2006....

In the meantime I spent around 3 hours sorting the CDs in the back room. I had around 150 to integrate into the alpha order and, as each section of discs in the "wall of sound" holds only 12, there was much shuffling to and fro with handfuls of CDs...

In the evening we mainly watched TV although I also took some time out to transfer the new discs by Brad Mehldau, Enchant and the Addison Project onto the Jukebox...

Truly it is a glamourous and glitzy lifestyle...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Billion dollar baby....

A busy day today...

Couldn't sleep - got up at 4:30 am and listened to Brad Mehldau's "Day Is Done" which arrived yesterday from e-bay while I was out karaoking and a-drinkin'...

Back to bed at 5:30 and didn't waken again till 8:30am...

Breakfast at Patisserie Florentin...

Back home to copy a CD for Dr Prog...

By this time the postie had arrived and delivered:-
The anti-pop device for the microphone
The Enchant CD "Tug of War"
The Addison Project CD "Mood Swings"

Back into town to the Record Fair to meet with Dr Prog...

Bought David Bowie's 2003 CD "Reality" which I already have with extra tracks - but this version contains a bonus DVD of the concert DB beamed to various cinemas around the world back on the day of the album's release. Anne and I attended and coincidentally ended up sitting right alongside Mr & Mrs Norman Lamont that night - Dr Prog was also in attendance...

Another DVD to watch with sister Pam. She, Anne and I are all big Bowie fans...

Back home and listening to Enchant and David Bowie...

Tonight I'm off to see Alice Cooper at the Glasgow SECC with my old chum Grant and his wife Heather. Anne's decided she's seen the Coop enough - this will be my twelfth Coopergig. I waited ten years from 1972 to 1982 to see him first...

It's always a great show...

I visit Grant and Heather's new house for the first time - we work out that this is actually the first time I've seen Grant since the last Coopergig we were at, coincidentally also at the SECC, and almost exactly three years ago, in November 2002 - hard to believe but we have been in touch via e-mail though...

They have three gorgeous husky dogs, Neo, Meadow and Logan- they are like big cats or silent wolves. They make no sounds at all...

We arrive at the concert at seven and at 7:30 Twisted Sister take to the stage. I wasn't that interested at first but their showmanship eventually won me over and I ended up enjoying it. Their singer, Dee Snyder, certainly knows how to work a huge hall...

Then it was time for the Coop...

He rattled through a variety of hits and tracks from his last couple of albums before any real theatrics were introduced. Of course he had to be killed (by guillotine) and resurrected to sing "School's Out"...

Then three encores later and he was gone...

The band, two guitars, bass and drums rocked and it was incredibly LOUD....

(I realise this is a rubbish review but you had to be there - snakes, money, blood, diamonds, huge balloons bouncing out over the audience, stabbings, throat ripping, straight jackets, swords, knives, evil, illusions, death and resurrection - and great, great songs!!)

Here's the set list:-

Department Of Youth
No More Mr Nice Guy
Dirty Diamonds
Billion Dollar Babies
Be My Lover
Lost In America
I Never Cry
Woman Of Mass Distraction
Eighteen
Between High School and Old School
Sunset Babies
Is It My Body
Go To Hell
Black Widow
Gimme
Feed My Frankenstein
Welcome To My Nightmare
The Awakening
Steven
Only Women Bleed
Ballad Of Dwight Fry
Killer
I Love The Dead
School's Out

Encores
Poison
Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills
Under My Wheels

Brilliant!! There's no one to touch him for spectacle and catchy rockin' tunes...

Back home just after midnight and stayed up with Anne watching Cameron Crowe's film "Almost Famous" which we saw in the cinema on its release....

A busy day today...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Proclaiming the red...

A Karaoke evening tonight. Finally ended up drunk but got home by 11 and full drunkeness didn't probably kick in until after I'd fallen asleep....

Amongst others, I remember singing Chris de Burgh's "Lady in Red" in the style of The Proclaimers...

That sort of says it all really...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The end...


A nice photo today - a plane crossing the sky - or rather the trail left by a plane crossing the sky...

Tonight I completed the final mastering of "Deeperdown", burnt a copy, added to copies of "CBQ and James Jamieson Live at the Roxy" and the new CBQ Soundscapes CD, "Through the Day" and delivered them to Norman Lamont along with the disc of "Norman Lamont Live at the Roxy". Norman had pre-ordered the three CDs - though I suspect he may have done that to ensure I finally delivered his disc - which I've had since July!!

I was back home in time to catch the last episode of this series of "Spooks" with its cliff hanger ending. Can't wait till next autumn for the new series. That's how I stupidly wish my life a way...

The Steve Harley DVD arrived today. Watched a couple of tracks but may keep this back for when my sister Pam visits at Christmas...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Failure of science...


Another CD leaves Crispycat Towers....

...and two arrive as my Byron and Three CDs arrive from e-bay - the former is just like Uriah Heep (but not quite), the latter just like ELP (but not quite)...

I return to 5-a-sides tonight. I didn't think I'd get my place back but two of the regulars, Nigel and Mick, are off to Glasgow to see Celtic v Rangers...

My scientific method of team selection lets me down again and, after 10 minues or so, the blacks are 5-0 down...

No goals from me tonight but I did save a few. Not enough though as we (blacks) eventually lost by two goals, 10-8 or so I think...

Same ten players next week so I need to mix things up a bit...

Back home and Anne's watching the big game. Celtic win 2-0. Means they'll have to play one and probably two more games than Hearts so that's not so bad....

Now we hope that when they meet again in the league soon, the Gers are fired up (possibly with a new manager) and will beat the 'Tic...

I spend some time on e-bay and buy an anti-pop screen for my microphone and CDs by prog rock band Enchant and jazz pianist Brad Mehldau...

Then a couple of hours finalising the cover for the new Soundscapes CD and mastering the music to make it louder - need to do this with "Deeperdown" too but only succeeded tonight in making it too loud...

Updated the journal then off to bed at 1:30, jukebox on shuffle again...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Alma mater...

A visit to my mum in Loanhead tonight and she is looking well and is on fine form...

Unlike recent visits we've decided to arrive later, having had our tea at home and spent some quality time with Meg the black cat before setting out for the wilds of Midlothian....

This means we can stay later...

Topics of conversation include:-
What various family members are up to...
What we think of what they're up to...
The new Hearts manager - we manage to steer clear of any controversy, although I can sense my mum itching to give us her two cents worth re Mr Rix' extra-footie record - she recently accused Hearts supremo Vladimir Romanov of making his millions from "probably gun-running"
Current TV favourites - "Spooks" is a hit with us all...
Mum reminiscing about cruises she was on with my dad....
Anne and I would prefer a European railway holiday to a cruise - we feel rail travel, unlike cruising where you only travel at night, gives a sense of actually travelling, if you see what we mean....

Back home late, I copy a couple of CDs then off to bed just after midnight. I'm listening to the jukebox on shuffle play to the total of 354 tracks included on all the albums I acquired in October...

I hear around 3 before falling asleep...

Monday, November 07, 2005

The man who sold the world...

Tonight our good friend Mr James Jamieson pops by and we talk about the latest situation at Hearts. Both Jamie and Anne are season ticket holders while I am inevitably au fait with all things Hearts as they are one of Anne's greatest passions....

After deciding the media (other than a few people on the radio) are stupid fools who are always seeing the negative side of everything, Jamie and I go upstairs to inspect the acoustic bass. As I suspect, the action is a bit high. Jamie will take it to his house and I've given him carte blanche to do with it what he will to get it into a satisfactory state. He's a better bassist than I and, since I've just finished my album, I have no use for it at present...

Jamie's brought a small USB Media Carrier thing which plugs into the computer and is recognised as "Drive F". From this we listen to three new James Jamieson recordings - "Ribbons of Pride", "The First Line" and his version of Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World"..

The first has a full production including Jamie playing violin. It's a good song (as most of JJ's are). The second is his latest and features just voice and guitar. It's a first bash down onto tape type recording but the song shines through. His cover of "The Man Who.." is top stuff and features some weird drumming...

As to whether these will ever see the light of day we'll need to wait and see - but I copied them to my hard drive for future listening in any case...

We had promised to go back down for a coffee later but miss the opportunity as we listen back to some Ian Sclater tracks and a couple of CBQ/Alice Cooper cover versions, by which time Jamie has to go to be back home in time to see the Hearts game on Scotsport SPL and hear what the pundits are saying now about the new Hearts first team coach, Graham Rix...

After JJ leaves, Anne and I watch Scotsport SPL but I fall asleep after the Hearts game and it's off to bed by 12...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Ready to roll...

Up at 6:30 this morning and spent three hours finalising the new CBQ Soundscapes CD. It sounds good. Lasts for 60 minutes. Here's the new cover...



0511
Cloudland Blue Quartet
Through The Day : Soundscapes 2005

In The Morning
The Art Breeze
Slow, Pleasant
Through The Day (Pt 1)
A New Piece
Time Alone Here
Self Fading (Pt 1)
Self Fading (Pt 2)
Pastoral
Through The Day (Pt 2)
Very Simple

The cover is an inverted version of a painting by Barnett Newman from 1950 called "The Voice"...

Here it is...



It's apparently egg tempera and enamel on canvas, 8' 1/8" x 8' 9 1/2" (244.1 x 268 cm). It is held in the Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection but currently hangs in the MoMA in New York.

So Crispycat is now ready to release three CDs, "Through The Day" and the two below:-



0510
Cloudland Blue Quartet & James Jamieson
Live at the Roxy 14 July 2005

The Gardener
Why Billy Why
The Crocodile Song
Welcome To My World
Snowfall
The King's Country
The Beauty of a Foreign Land
The Eco Song
Skylines Full of Cranes
The End of Everything
Fairytales
I Re-Arranged The House
Trash Can Secrets
Very Small
Half a Lifetime Away

and, at long last...



0512
Cloudland Blue Quartet
Deeperdown (Recorded February 2003 - October 2005)

love and war
the crocodile song
half a lifetime away
very small pt 1
still we doubt you
deeper down
the gardener
the beauty of a foreign land
snowfall
the day you went away
keep living
anything but ill
one last show
where are you
very small pt 2

£5 each or 3 for £10 - in line with the current pricing policy...they're not up on the site quite yet http://www.crispycat.co.uk/inside/music/ but you can e-mail me if you want pre-order copies... david@crispycat.co.uk

..later on, Ian Sclater came by for an afternoon sesson from 12-5 to record some vocals for his CD, which we now hope to have ready by Christmas...

We managed to get some vocals done for seven tracks and so progressed the project substantially. We didn't work on any of the four songs I put backing tracks down for yesterday though, but I gave Ian a CD away with him of those pieces - and the disc also contains versions with me trying to sing them, which, if nothing else ought to bring a smile to his face...

In the evening to Anne's mum's and, after "Coronation St", we resurrect what used to be a fortnightly game of switch, until her nephew Craig took a strop because we let Anne's mum not have to pick up five cards for not saying "last card"...this will mean nothing to most of you of course...

Anne won five of the eight rounds and came out overall winner. Craig didn't win a game but took it in a more mature fashion than of old and, perhaps, this will become a bi-Sunday fixture once again. It's certainly a good laugh anyway...

Back home I give a listen through a couple of the tracks we did this afternoon. There's still a lot of work for me to do on my own with what's been recorded, and I spend a couple of hours cutting and pasting vocals and choosing best performances on just a couple of the songs...

On e-bay I win the new Steve Harley "Live at the Isle of Wight Festival" DVD, David Byron (from the mighty Uriah Heep)'s first solo album, "Take No Prisoners" (recorded around a year or so before he was sacked) and Three's "Three to the Power of Three" which is Emerson, Lake and Palmer, without Greg Lake but with US AoR stalwart, Robert Berry, taking his place for this one album. I used to have this CD and it's been acquired merely to complete the collection - I think I sold my previous copy in our record shop...

Tasty...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Short and sweet...

Made a couple of copy CDs for my sister...

Transferred some other CDs to the hard drive to copy for a friend of Anne's...

Recorded basic guitar tracks for four Ian Sclater songs for tomorrow's session...

Anne went to see Hearts v Dundee Utd. Hearts won 3-0...

QoS beaten again - this time at home to Clyde - of whom my mum's uncle was once a director...

Drove across town to the New Happy Palace to buy a chinese takeaway. I used to love their Kung Po Chicken before I was vegetarian and wanted to taste it again. It was good. Anne chose Chicken Satay - bad night for chickens...

We drank a bottle of fine Chianti...

We watched two episodes of "Spooks" on video...

We watched "Match of the Day"...

Very many loud fireworks exploded in the area around our house for most of the evening. When I was a boy I loved Guy Fawkes' Night - now it means nothing to me - maybe if we had children it might...

Friday, November 04, 2005

A quiet night...

By three this afternoon I still felt drunk....

Hardly surprising when it only usually takes a pint of lager to get me inebriated and last night I drank:-

4 glasses of champagne
4 very large glasses of white wine
4 very large glasses of red wine
Two pints of San Miguel Lager
Three pints of a.n. other lager

In the evening we had the ritual indian takeaway - veggie madras for me...

"Rock School" was good tonight - the band played support to Motorhead at Hammersmith Odeon and sounded great...

"Have I Got News For You" with Jeremy Clarkson was very funny - good to see Blunkett taking a hammering - he may well be a blind man, but he's a conniving, lying toad of a blind man and I'm glad to see him go...

Updated the blog with details of the Greg Lake and Steve Harley shows...

Created a few playlists on the Jukebox...

A quiet night...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Stupidity squared...

Oh dear...

Went to a wine tasting tonight. If only I'd just tasted the wine rather than quaffing what I've now worked out must have been at least eight large glasses of wine (preceeded by about four glasses of champagne)....

What did I do then?

Did I leave quietly and make my way home to Anne?

No

I had to have some pints of lager...

Then I had to take a taxi with two other drunks (John and Nick) to the Waverley and Out of the Bedroom...

I did manage to phone Anne from the wine tasting before it went pear-shaped and again from the Waverley after it had quite obviously gone pear-shaped...

Then my mobile ran out of power...

Taxi home - ran out of cash in Corstorphine. I think my immortal line to the cabbie may have been "just drop me here, this is as far as what I have in my pocket will take me"...

Staggered to the cashpoint and got another tenner to get another cab up the hill to Crispycat Towers...

Oh dear...

At the time : A Good Night Out
In Hindsight : Stupidity Squared

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel


Anne would have liked a night off after Greg Lake but it's not to be for tonight we are off to the Usher Hall to see Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel as they tour the new album, "The Quality of Mercy" (which I purchase in the foyer). Six of it's nine songs are aired tonight in a two and a half hour show...

We've seen Steve Harley, either solo or with his band, around ten times since, I think, 1993 and he is a great performer despite his disability - polio suffered as a child has left him with one leg shorter than the other...

After the sound, initially muddy in this cavernous hall, is sorted, the gig just gets better and better as it unfolds. Roughly every second song is a hit single and these are interspersed with new songs and lesser known album tracks which diehards like me know and love...

Of course "Make Me Smile" has the audience out of their seats and down to the front for a dance - it looks like your aunties and uncles at your wedding - you know that way they start dancing as they're walking to the dance-floor?

Notwithstanding these age-ist comments about the majority of the audience (I'm no spring chicken myself), it was a great night and I urge you to catch the tour if comes close to your home...

The following songs were played but not in this order which is chronological according to original release date:-
Sebastian
Mirror Freak
Judy Teen
The Psychomodo
Mr Soft
Sling It!
Tumbling Down
Mr Raffles (Including Mr Tambourine Man)
Make Me Smile
The Best Years Of Our Lives
Love Compared With You
Here Comes The Sun
Riding the Waves (Incl Heartbeat)
Waiting For An Audience With the Man
The Last Goodbye
Journey's End
The Coast of Amalfi
The Last Feast
Save Me
A Friend For Life

Thanks Mr Harley and band for a superb performance...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Greg Lake

First day of November and first CD of the month arrives from e-bay....

I've been trying to get this for a while. It's the American version of "The Ultimate Yes", the band's 35th anniversary collection. Of course I have everything on the compilation itself (other than a couple of special single edit versions of tracks - but we can all do those now with our wave editing software). I'm after the third disc which has new versions of three old pieces, a new song and a new adaptation of Dvorak's 9th Symphony...

The packaging is tattier than I expected (Jorg would find it unacceptable) but I knew it was 2nd hand. The discs are a bit scuffed but play perfectly - ah the wonders of 1980's technology...

Tonight we're off to the Festival Theatre, where we saw "The Merry Widow" a couple of weeks back. Greg Lake is performing with his new band. It's his first tour for many years and the production values are pretty high - excellent light show, crystal clear sound and jaw-droppingly adept musicians..



We meet with Dr Prog for this one and are in the 2nd front row...

The two sets were a delight for Dr Prog and me and at the interval, Anne expressed her surprise that she knew every song played in the first half...

After the show, including two encores, we hang around for the "meet and greet". Mr Lake is an affable gent and is happy to pose for photos with the collection of, frankly, freaks and geeks who have queued for the chance to shake his hand...

I puzzle everyone in the band by asking them not only to autograph my programme, but to add next to it, the last CD they bought..

Here are the results:-
David Arch (Keyboards) - The new Stevie Wonder CD
Florian Ophale (Guitar) - Didn't understand the concept and wrote "Die letzte CD" - he's German
Trevor Barry (Bass Guitar) - The new John Mayer CD
Brett Morgan (Drums) - Jeff Buckley's "Grace"
Jai Ramage (Backing Vocals) - Jack Johnson's CD
Bekki Carpenter (Backing Vocals) - Coldplay's "X&Y"
Greg Lake (Guitar) - Respighi's "Church Windows"

and for you ELP and King Crimson fans out there the approximate setlists were:-
Set One
The Court of the Crimson King
Paper Blood
From the Beginning
Take a Pebble
Touch and Go
I Believe in Father Christmas
Farewell to Arms
Set Two
Fanfare For The Common Man
Footprints in the Snow
Love You Too Much
Hang On To A Dream
Lucky Man
21st Century Schizoid Man

Encores
Pictures at an Exhibition
Karn Evil 9 1st Impression pt 2

Brilliant!!

Thanks Mr Lake and your quite excellent musical troupe...