Saturday, December 31, 2005

End of the year...

The last day of 2005 begins with a late (for me) rise at 8 am...

I continue working on the Bruckner piece from yesterday but decide to abandon it. There's just too much happening in the music for it to work the way I want it so the search continues for other pieces to use...

Anne drives us to Stockbridge and, for the first time in a few weeks, we breakfast at Patisserie Florentin. I take a few photos as I hobble from the car round to the cafe (later I find the digi-cam has wiped these - very annoying)...

Then over to the computer supply shop, as I need more printable surface discs but the shop is closed and so we head home...

I waste the rest of the day looking at stuff on the net, including Virgin Radio's Top 500 Songs which is being played over the holiday period finishing today - you can find it here http://www.virginradio.co.uk/music/top500/vote.html

I also compile a 2CD set featuring one track each from my 40 CDs of the year as listed yesterday - but don't have time to burn it as we're off to pick up Anne's mum just after 4 and then heading to Anne's brother's for Hogmanay...

At first it's just families there and we enjoy a buffet dinner at which young nephew Oliver excels himself by falling off a seat, landing his head on a plate of chicken and doing a forward roll into a plate of prawn risotto. I am chastised for laughing...

Later on, some people leave but even more people arrive and, by midnight, there's a full house being entertained by Keith's eclectic choice of music from his MP3 player.....

Of course Anne's not drinking as she as to drive and we plan to leave just after 12 but get caught up in a discussion about just how shit the X Factor and programmes like that really are and what relevance they have to music...

Finally, we are home just after 1 am and ready to start a New Year...

So Happy New Year to everyone...

Albums of the Year 2005...

After much deliberation I've finalised a list of 100 CDs which I enjoyed in 2005, with my favourite in each category in bold. My overall favourite CD of the year was Brian Eno's "Another Day on Earth".


100 CDs I Enjoyed in 2005

New



Fiona Apple-Extraordinary Machine
Adrian Belew-Side One
Adrian Belew-Side Two
Coldplay-X&Y
Alice Cooper-Dirty Diamonds
Brian Eno-Another Day on Earth
Four Tet-Everything Ecstatic
Robert Fripp-Love Cannot Bear
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel-The Quality of Mercy
Madredeus-Faluas de Tejo
Paul McCartney-Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard
Brad Mehldau-Day Is Done
Porcupine Tree-Deadwing
Spock's Beard-Octane
Herman Van Veen-Hut Ab
Laura Viers-Year of Meteors
Dar Williams-My Better Self


Recent (But Pre 2005)


California Guitar Trio-CG3+2
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft-15 Neue DAF Lieder
Enchant-Tug of War
Fennesz-Venice
Girls Aloud-What Will The Neighbours Say
Francoise Hardy-Tant des belles Choses
Alice Martineau-Daydreams
Moby-Hotel/Motel
Neal Morse-One
Neal Morse-Testimony
Rheostatics-Night of the Shooting Stars
Shivaree-I Oughta Give You A Shot In The Head
Stars of the Lid-Gravitational Pull Vs The Desire for an Aquatic Life


Reissues


David Byron-Take No Prisoners
ELO-On The Third Day
Emerson Lake & Palmer-Brain Salad Surgery
Jethro Tull-Thick As A Brick
M-Official Secrets
Mahavishnu Orchestra-Visions of the Emerald Beyond
Mick Ronson-Play Don't Worry
Mick Ronson-Slaughter on 10th Avenue
Michael Rother-Esperanza
Sparks-Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat
Uriah Heep-Demons and Wizards
Uriah Heep-Return to Fantasy
Uriah Heep-Sweet Freedom
Uriah Heep-The Magician's Birthday
Uriah Heep-Wonderworld
Herman Van Veen-Die Anziehungskraft der Erde
Velvett Fogg-Velvett Fogg
Yes-Fragile
Yes-Relayer


Live


Bruford-The Bruford Tapes
Earthworks-Footloose and Fancy Free
Falco-Donauinsel Live
Grand Funk Railroad-Bosnia
Kraftwerk-Minimum Maximum
Lou Reed-Animal Serenade
Tangerine Dream-Royal Albert Hall 2/4/75
Uriah Heep-Live


Jazz


Art Blakey-Buhaina's Delight
Grant Green-The Complete Quartets
Andrew Hill-Black Fire
Andrew Hill-Judgement
Freddie Hubbard-A Soul Experiment
Bobby Hutcherson-ObliqueJackie McLean-Action
Medeski Martin & Wood-End of the World Party
Hank Mobley-Poppin'
Moraz/Bruford-Music For Piano & Drums
Lee Morgan-Charisma
Tony Williams-Lifetime


Classical


J S Bach-Complete Oboe Concertos
Beethoven/Wranitsky-Oboe Trios
Anner Bijlsma-70th Birthday Box Set
Dvorak-Complete String Quartets
Philip Glass-The Civil Wars
Janacek-Piano Sonata 1.x.1905
Marini-Curiose & Moderne Inventione
Mozart-Complete String QuartetsSaint Georges-Violin Concertos 1, 2, 10
Vivaldi-Bassoon Concertos
Vivaldi-Complete Oboe Concertos


Single Artist Compilation


Jason Falkner-Necessity
Isaac Hayes-The Man
Allan Holdsworth-Against the Clock - Best of
King Crimson-21st Century Guide Vol 1
King Crimson-21st Century Guide Vol 2
Procul Harum-The First Four
Rheostatics-Best of*
Hans-Joachim Roedelius-Auf Leisen Sohlen
Shangris Las-Best of
Jane Siberry-Summer in the Yukon
Soft Machine-Out Bloody Rageous
T-Rex-Singles A's and B's 1972-1977
The Tubes-Dawn of the Tubes
Roy Wood-Singles 1971-1976*
Yes-The Ultimate Yes : 35 Years
*Compiled by me


Various Artists Compilations


Blue Note - A Blue Conception
Blue Note - Out of the Blue
Constellation Music Until Now
Harvest Showdown
Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal : Island Anthology 1967-1972

Friday, December 30, 2005

A day in the life...

Couldn't sleep so up at 4:30 am....

Watched "Minority Report" - excellent SF fayre and a well made film - a couple of nit-picks though but I'll let those go...

Then the latest two episodes of "Rome". All set up for a fine finale...

Then, on to the computer and, carrying on from yesterday's art theme, created this...



I prefer the black to yesterday's white...

Once Anne woke up, we had breakfast and watched an old CSI episode, clearing yet another videotape...

Then I compiled a King Crimson compilation containing around 10 minutes from each of the 8 CDs in the two "21st Century Guides to King Crimson" I acquired this year and, whilst listening back to that I compiled my list of albums of the year in various categories - five albums in each (in alpha order)...

New Albums
Adrian Belew - Side Two
Alice Cooper - Dirty Diamonds
Brian Eno - Another Day On Earth
Coldplay - X&Y
Robert Fripp - Love Cannot Bear

Recent Albums I Missed When Released
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft - 15 Neue DAF Lieder
Fennesz - Venice
Francoise Hardy - Tant de Belles Choses
Neal Morse - Testimony (2CD)
Rheostatics - Night Of The Shooting Stars

ReIssues
Bruford/Moraz - Music For Piano and Drums
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery
Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday
Yes - Fragile
Yes - Relayer

Live Albums
Bruford - The Bruford Tapes
Dream Theater - Live at Budokan (3CD)
Kiss - Kiss Symphony : Kiss Alive IV (2CD)
Lou Reed - Animal Serenade (2CD)
Tangerine Dream - Royal Albert Hall 2/4/75 (2CD)

Jazz
Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers - The Big Beat
Bobby Hutcherson - Oblique
Jackie McLean - Action
John Abercrombie - Timeless
Medeski, Martin & Wood - End Of The World Party

Classical
Beethoven/Warintsky - Oboe Trios
J S Bach - Complete Oboe Concertos
Janacek - Piano Sonatas
Mozart - Complete String Quartets (8CD)
Vivaldi - Complete Oboe Concertos (3CD)

Collections/Anthologies
Isaac Hayes - The Man (2CD)
Allan Holdsworth - The Best Of : Against The Clock (2CD)
King Crimson - The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson Vol 1 (4CD)
King Crimson - The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson Vol 2 (4CD)
Soft Machine - Out-Bloody-Rageous : Anthology 1967-73 (2CD)

Various Artist Compilations
A Deep Blue Conception
Chilled Out Euphoria (2CD)
Lennon & McCartney Jazz Collection
Out Of The Blue
Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal:An Island Anthology 67-72 (3CD)

I like a list...

For lunch I make toasties with the Toastie Bags. Despite raving about them when I first bought them all those months ago, I think this may well only be the third time I've used them....

Back to the video box and we clear even more tapes by watching the "Only Fools and Horses" Christmas special from two years ago - never got round to it before - the second episode of "The Worst Week of My Life" (we watched the concluding episode of the series last night) - and "Open Wide" a one off semi-comedy starring Alexander Armstrong - who used to be one half of Armstrong & Miller along with Ben Miller from "The Worst Week of My Life" - what a coincidence...

In the evening I started work on a new orchestral collage, this time using the slow movement from Bruckner's 3rd symphony. It's not as succesful as the Elgar based pieces though...

Watched "The Return of the Goodies". Interesting to see where they came from and also to note the vast number of ideas they had which were used by subsequent comedians and shows - for example, I can see a direct influence on "The Young Ones" which I hadn't noted before...

Phil Collins was on Room 101 and managed to get everything he suggested consigned to the pit of oblivion, including TV Evangelists, the Gallagher brothers, skimpy swimming trunks and "list" TV shows, of which there has been a particular glut this year and especially over the Xmas period....

I too hate these pointless shows - despite actually liking lists themselves - I think it's the myriad non-entity talking heads spouting off about stuff upon which they really are not qualified to have an opinion that makes my blod boil...

In bed by 11 tonight, which is unusual...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Untitled...

In the morning, watched "Toy Story 2". What an enjoyable film this was. And a lovely song from Sarah McLachlan, written by Randy Newman. Quite brought a tear to my eye...

In the afternoon, watched the last two episodes of "Desperate Housewives" but, unfortunately, in the wrong order...

Not to worry...

Yesterday we booked flights to the South of France in the spring and so much time has been wasted both yesterday and today looking for suitable accomodation....

In the evening, as a treat, we went to the Raj indian restaurant down by the shore at Leith. We both had dishes we'd not had before and it was most pleasant...

We were back home by 8:30 and cleared another video tape by watching the last two episodes of "Mike Bassett: Manager" which was funnier than the Comic Strip yesterday...

....as was the final episode of "The Worst Week of My Life" which we saw "live" so to speak...

Before going out to dinner, I created this, which I hope you enjoy...


Forgot to mention yesterday that we both had a good laugh watching the "Still Game" Christmas Special...

Despite what many nay-sayers would have us believe, I think the Christmas period is rather enjoyable...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Treatment and design...

"Treatment and Design" is the title of an album I recorded in 1981 using only synthesisers - today I spent much of my time on treatment and design...

I was up at six and to the computer where, whilst listening over and over to the new pieces created yesterday, I set about creating the cover for what might be the next CBQ CD....

For cover art, while I will usually treat one of my own photographs in a variety of ways to produce a new piece of art (e.g. the cover of "Deeperdown")....



...I will also sometimes treat another artist's work (e.g. the cover of "Through The Day")...



My first attempt today was using a painting by Jack Tworkov, "L.Pa. No.1" (1961, gouache, graphite, and watercolor) - I was attracted to him by his rather quirky name - here is the original painting....



...and my rather boring treatment, which I subsequently rejected...



For new inspiration, I turned to a photo blog you can access via my links under "New York Commute"...

It's by a guy called Travis Ruse. He works in NYC and takes photos everyday during his commute to the city...

When Creek was going to release the recordings made on 6 June this year (subsequently vetoed by Stu Cobley) I worked on Travis' photo from that day to treat it up into a cover artwork for the CD...

Here is the original (which is copyright Travis Ruse 2005)...



...and my treatment for that project...



So, for a possible cover for the proposed new CBQ CD "Sospiri", I returned to Mr Ruse' site and treated Travis' picture from 27 December, the day on which the music was created....

Here's the photo (which is copyright Travis Ruse 2005)....



...and the mock up of the CD cover...



Of course, now that I've shown the original photo, the illusion in the treatment, of a small figure holding something aloft, is broken...

Away from "creation", today, Anne very kindly took back the Vertigo Box Set I borrowed from the library a week before the ankle break. It makes a fine companion to the Island Box I've just acquired...

While Anne was out, I was going to watch "Minority Report" but she came home sooner than expected so that's back on the back burner for now - although I did see the first 15 minutes or so and it's looking good....

Unlike me, Anne is not a big fan of SF films...

I also took some time today to peruse two (or rather three) of the new books I received on Christmas Day..

I am a fan of Architecture...



..and of Modern Art...



Some of the buildings created in the very early part of the 20th Century are astounding - or were, as many of them were in Germany's major cities and so were destroyed in the Second World War...

In the evening, I worked on a fifth draft of the fourth in the series of free "Calling Card" sampler CDs from Crispycat and then, after creating this piece of Modern Art...



...I watched The Comic Strip's "Sex Actually". It was pointless rubbish....

Match of the Day was good though as we'd avoided the scores beforehand...

Colourful post today...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Adapting and collaging sound...

This morning we watched Dr Who from Christmas Day. It was not bad, but the adversary was pretty lame to be honest. I need another Dalek story but I think we'll wait a while for that seeing as the big enemy this year is going to be the Cybermen...

Aftre lunch I set about creating a new album...

I had recently happened upon a piece of classical music whilst on shuffle play on the old Jukebox. It's Edward Elgar's Opus 70, Sospiri, an adagio for string orchestra, harp and organ....

My original intention was to take just the first chord and use that with other chords taken from elsewhere to build up a kind of "string machine" for future projects. But I ended up taking various different phrases from the five minute long piece and building three new fifteen minute collages of sound based around the themes....

I really enjoyed this....

It's now almost five weeks since I broke my ankle and, in that time, I haven't picked up a musical instrument....

And now here I am, creating a new CBQ album without playing a single note myself. But it's definitely a new creation and , although it contains many elements of the original Elgar piece, it's quite different...

I also added a couple of drum loops and some sound effects here and there to spice things up a bit...

And so, by 7:45 and the arrival of sister Pam and my mum for a visit, I was finishing off and burning the first copy of the new CD...

Pam was round to see the Steve Harley DVD I bought a few weeks back along with the David Bowie live performance of the entire "Reality" album - while my mum brought a book to read...

As we settled and got the drinks and nibbles out, I played the new recordings. My mum pronounced the first piece to be "a bit morose". However, later on, after Messrs Harley and Bowie, the third piece was declared to be "much better and more uplifting"...

This is weird, as both pieces consist of the same elements...

The Harley performance was a wee bit dodgy in places - he's better sampled in the flesh rather than on DVD - whilst the Bowie show was excellent - many of these songs he'll probably never play live again, in fact only five made it into the setlist for the subsequent tour - which I also have on DVD...

Much wine and beer was consumed (except by driving mother) and we also listened to four early tracks by the Tubes followed by Ohio Players' Greatest Hits whilst discussing continuity errors on Corrie, Eastie and Holby...

A good night after a productive day...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy families...

Both cats were a bit poorly today - won't go into details but, suffice to say it was a "both ends burning" scenario...

In the morning I received a telephone call from our Godson, Ansem (aged 4 and a bit) from Germany and also spoke to his sister, Xenia (aged 6) which was a great surprise....

Also spoke to their dad, Jorg, of course. For Christmas, Jorg's wife, Yvonne, had had the lovely black and white pictures of Edinburgh he'd bought when he was here in October framed. Jorg was pointing out to Ansem where his "Godfather" lived and Ansem asked if he could phone me...

For the record, his main present was a Viking Island. Apparently it doesn't have real Vikings on it, just plastic ones....

Despite the ill cats, we were off to my mum's for Boxing Day with my family. I took copies of "Deeperdown" for Pam and for nephew Andy, who of course co-wrote the music on two songs and played piano on the last track...

As it played in the background, positive comments were made and the new eight page booklet with lyrics and pictures was much admired...

I now have a modern mobile phone (thanks Anne!) to replace the very, very big and old one I've had for several years. However, I use my new phone mainly to take pictures rather than phone anyone and, yesterday and today, I have taken quite a few....

Of course, at present, I don't know how to upload them because my name is Mr Technology...

The meal went down well, despite Pam setting off the smoke alarm due to lack of familiarity with mum's rubbish cooker...

Andy's son, Kerr, was in attendance - this is only the second time since he was born last January that Anne and I have seen him...

He's a nice wee man and everyone was delighted as he took his first ever unaided steps (2) in the living room - before looking somewhat perplexed as the family clapped and cheered his efforts....

He then fell over, hitting his face on some kind of child vehicle/toy thing - but was ok after a minute or so...

Later, as sister Sheila (Andy's mum), her husband Andrew, and Andy's brother Alastair were leaving, Andy's girlfriend, Adele (not Kerr's mum of course, because that is Lisa - keep up please) arrived....

We got to know Adele in the summer when I was rehearsing and gigging with Andy and Jamie. And so, Pam, Mum, Anne, Adele and I had a laugh (material mainly provided by "auntie" Pam) before Anne and I set off for home to the cats at 9:30...

Happy families...

Cats seemed to have recovered and Match of the Day took us to bedtime at 1 am..

Another good day...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Its' Chriiiiiiistmaaaaassssss!!!!!

First wake at four but decided that it's just too early to get up, even for me. So I wait till six and spend a couple of hours on the computer waiting for Anne to waken up....

Present opening follows with both of us receiving unexpected surprises from each other and then a civilised breakfast as we listen to Anne's CD of the year which I'd compiled for her...

Then we watch the the new Rush DVD...



...and before we know it, it's time to get ready for Christmas "proper" round at Jane and Bobby's...

Much drinking and carousing and eating follows, to the accompaniment of the 150 track "party" MP3 CD - many tracks take a slagging from fellow guests and I have to defend myself by advising that, whilst songs may have been chosen for their general happy-go-lucky atmosphere, they are not necessarily my own favourites - case in point being that song about everything being Blue by some Belgian bunch...

The quiz is a success and becomes more and more enjoyable as time goes on and people's faculties, particularly Bobby's, are blurred by, ahem, "Christmas Cheer"...

And so, on this Christmas Day we learned the following strange facts (amongst many others):-

Liechtenstein is the only landlocked European country which is bordered only by other landlocked countries...

The Munsters live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Mockingbird Heights...

Midnight Cowboy was the first, and so far only, X-rated film to have won the Best Film Oscar...

Brazil is the only South American country which has had a Monarchy...

The literal meaning of the word 'Islam' is submission...

The proper name for a common mouse is Mus Musculus...

It is Ringo Starr who holds a trumpet on the cover of Sgt. Pepper...

The 100 Years War lasted either 116 years: 1337 - 1453 or 114 years: 1339 - 1453...

Members of the Nazi SS had their blood group tattooed on their armpits...

Salvador Dali wore a diving suit to the opening of the International Surrealist Exhibition at London's New Burlington Gallery in 1936...

With over 7,000, India has, by far, the most universities (the USA comes second with over 4,000)...

The three wise monkeys' names are Mizaru (See no evil), Mikazaru (Hear no evil), and Mazaru (Speak no evil)...

The first man-made object to move faster than the speed of sound was a whip...


On the presents front, the new Fiona Apple album "Extraordinary Machine"....



.... and the 3CD retrospective compilation "Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal : An Island Anthology 1967-1972"...



...make their way into my collection...

I am also now reading more books on Architecture and Modern Art...

A good day...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

In the court of the Christmas King....

Christmas Eve..

But, somehow, yesterday felt more like Christmas Eve...

This morning, Meg the Black Cat's ex-mum, Julia, arrives with Pandy the Fluffy Cat. Pandy's staying at Crispycat Towers for the Festive Season as Julia's off to Italy and Holland for a couple of hard earned holidays...

Meg the Black Cat does not much like this encroachment on to her territory but Pandy needs a roof over her head and so the girls will just need to get along. This time last year they were both Julia's cats but were both living with us while Julia's house underwent some repairs. I think Meg's forgotten this though...

Pandy's first act upon entering the house is to eat all the food in Meg's bowl...

I love cats!

Today the post brings King Crimson's "The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson Vol 2" - an excellent 4CD box highlighting the music of this wonderful band from the periods 1981-84 and 1994-2003 (I already have Vol 1, 1969-1974). With the exception of a few minutes, I have all this music here already on other discs. Am I mad? Well, yes - mad for King Crimson!!



At Christmas 1976 whilst out Christmas Shopping, I came a cross a brand new copy of the then recent "A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson", the first 2LP compilation of the band covering 1969-1974, complete with massive booklet containing hundreds of reviews, photos, Fripp diary entries and a list of every gig the band ever played...



Prior to this I only had an old 2nd hand copy of their first, ground-breaking LP "In The Court of the Crimson King" and the 7" single of "Epitaph/21st Century Schizoid Man" having been brought to the band via Fripp & Eno's "No Pussyfooting"...

I bought the double LP, wrapped it, put a tag on it saying "To David From Santa" and acted surprised when I opened it up on Christmas morning. One of my best presents ever...

In the afternoon we drove to Morningside to visit Mr Alan Brodie's ex, Julie who now has a lovely new young handsome, ex-chef boyfriend. We drank mulled wine and ate shortbread. Julie is Mrs Christmas and her flat is festooned with decorations, cards and general Christmas-ness...

Back home Anne watched the special Christmas Strictly Come Dancing while I had a sleep upstairs to try and make up for all the lack of same recently, due to "the leg"...

Then, we had a lovely tea and settled down to watch "It's A Wonderful Life"...

We taped this off the TV around three years ago and have never watched it (although, like most everyone these days, we have seen the film before)....

It must surely be the best Christmas film ever and, of course, the eyes moistened at quite a few points....

However, due to the vagaries of video timers, we watched for nearly two hours only to find the last few minutes were not on the tape. Saved us a big bill for tissues though...



Merry Christmas Bedford Falls!!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

New York New York....

The "Party MP3 CD" is burned - now down to 150 tracks without so much as a hint of Xmas, Jane's Bobby having declared himself tired of Slade and Wizzard. Like many though, he likes the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" and, for some unfathomable reason, the band itself...

There is no way in a million years that The Pogues will ever make it onto anything I compile....

Aqua's "Barbie"? Yup. Kylie? Yup. Hanson, Will Young and Hear'say? Yup, yup and, indeed, yup. Hell, even Steps and S Club 7 are on there. But the Pogues are just shite (in my opinon - and I am "The Compiler")...

Through the door today pops "Master of the Moon", last year's heavy metal offering from Dio. On first listening it's not great but after two more (loud) listens, it is indeed superb. Funny that...

Mr Dio has to be up there amongst the greatest ever rock vocalists and, surprisingly, he's not lost his touch after over 30 years...

The other night, Pam loaned me her copy of Madonna's new CD "Confessions on a Dance Floor". I've copied it to the hard drive for burning at some point but not yet listened properly - although it was playing in the background on Wednesday night at my mum's and sounded like a Trance Mix CD with Madonna's vocals dubbed over the top of it - but we'll see...

Today the Christmas holidays officially started...

I enjoyed Glenn Gould's reading of J S Bach's "Goldberg Variations" (the 1981 recording)...



...whilst browsing through my big "New York Museum of Modern Art" book...



... which I received last Xmas as a present. I was sitting surrounded by tree, fairylights and a roaring fire with Meg the Black Cat beside me while Anne pottered around upstairs on the computer....

Life's actually pretty good...

Merry Xmas Everybody, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dear diary...

Just so as to avoid any confusion, it should be understood that this is a diary...

To emphasise that, I've just changed the name from "Cloudland Blue" to "Cloudland Blue - A Diary"...



One reason for it's existence is so that I can go back and say "aah, that's what I did that day" or "Is it really X days/weeks/months/years since I did that/that happened?" etc etc...

A second reason for its existence is to show how run of the mill everyday life can be for a reasonably unknown musician and artist...

For example...

Today I trawled through "Now That's What I Call Music Voumes 1 - 62" copying tracks which I deemed to be "of a party nature" and ended up with a selection which will last for over 10 hours - including several tunes which I find to be not to my liking but there you go...

The intention is to burn an MP3 CD and set on shuffle play..

This is the thirtieth day since I broke my ankle - the previous twenty nine are set out below....

Of course if it's really just my diary, why does it need to be online?

PS Bought a new DVD Player today and watched "Rush in Rio"...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's a gay old life...

We are rushing towards Christmas now and, by the same token, to the end of our days but let's not dwell on that...

"2112" - a great album by Rush....(it's 21st December - 2112 - geddit??)

One thing I did today was to go through all the questions I copied from the net recently re the Big Xmas Quiz I've been roped into organising at Anne's sister's on Xmas day....

I deleted all those deemed to be "too hard" or irrelevant (I stole them from a Spanish Pub Quiz website so quite a few would only be relevant if you lived or were brought up in Spain)...

I then graded them in difficulty from 4 down to 1. Still don't know how this'll work on the day - I'm thinking of something like either University Challenge (with starter questions and then themed questions) or that old Football Quiz from the late 60's early 70's whose name has just this very minute popped into my head, "Quizball"....over to Google and, Bob's your uncle...



The aim is to score a goal but you can take route 1,2,3 or 4. Each route involves answering the number of questions alluded to in its name. I believe that this is where the well worn football cliche "Route 1" came from...

Here's what the Quizball fansite says:-

"A quiz programme screened on BBC1 in it's evening schedule featured a team of four representing a football team from either the English or Scottish League and were allowed a guest supporter.

There were four routes to goal: 4 easy questions, 3 medium questions, 2 difficult questions and 1 hard question.

After winning the opening kick off question the player chose a route to goal and answered the questions.

The opposing team had one chance to tackle the player going to goal by pressing a buzzer prior to the player answering their last question. If they got it right they won possession but if it was wrong the challenge was unsuccessful and a goal was scored.

The route 1 question was not subject to tackle"

More info - including all teams and results can be found here:-
http://www.btinternet.com/~m.d.pratesi/mp/quizballindex.html

Yup, Quizball it shall be...

I did this whilst listening to the very, very excellent 2CD set "Against The Clock", a personally selected best of from my second favourite guitarist, Allan Holdsworth...



This is a man who is held in awe by the likes of John McLaughlin, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and, really, any of the world's "great" guitarists....

He is virtually unknown outside his own fanbase and the world of guitarists but was a member of such bands as Tony Williams' Lifetime, Soft Machine, Gong, UK, Bruford and erm, Level 42....

I have all the tracks bar eight of the 26 contained in this collection but they've all been personally remastered by Mr Holdsworth himself with much attention to detail. If you want to know what it sounds like you can listen to some extracts here:-
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0007S680Q/qid=1135327401/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-0556966-5583819?v=glance&s=music&n=507846

In the evening Anne and I drove out to Loanhead to visit my mum and sister Pam who has just arrived from recently-made-famous-by-large-explosion Hemel Hempstead...

Upon arrival I was immediately subjected to a tirade from "Dr Mrs Mum" as I had decided to try and walk without my crutches this evening (I say walk - this involved going from the house to the car, from the car to my mum's house, from my mum's house back to the car, from the car into a restaurant, from the restaurant back to the car, from the car to my mum's house, from my mum's house back to the car, from the car back to our house - a total of probably fewer than 50 metres)....

I also enjoyed using my mum's Stena Stairlift to go up and down the stairs to the bathroom!!

Anyway, Pam kept us entertained with tales of bing hit on by lesbians at parties - she insists she's not gay and is, au contraire, happily married. However she's just been teamed up with a lesbian at her work who was previously happily married and has three kids to show for it...

Even if Pam was a lesbian I wouldn't mind. I have nothing but admiration for people who are openly gay and nothing but sympathy for those yet to come out due to society's seemingly ingrained homophobia...

The topic came up as we discussed Elton John, and many other less well known people choosing to cement their relationships today in what have been dubbed "gay marriages". Good on them I say...

The meal was fun - at one of my mum's favourite haunts. We always refer to it as the-place-that's-shut-down-after-Health-and-Safety-raided-the kitchen-and-which-will-never-open-again since that's how my mum described the proprietor's predicament some years ago - just before it re-opened for business...

On the way home, we listened to Bach on Radio 3 - they're playing every single J.S. Bach work ever written all the way up to Xmas - this is no bad thing....

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Not keeping promises...

First thing, I take it upon myself to re-edit a recording I downloaded a long time ago - King Crimson Live in Mexico City in 1996 which was briefly made available as a one track download back in 1998...

It's always remained in my Crimso collection as a one track CD and so, hardly ever gets played - if at all. So today I decided I'd split the tracks and burn a new CD. It's a great concert, showing the double trio KC at it's live height, just a year or so before it all went tits up for the six man line-up...

Today sees the delivery of Jason Falkner's "Necessity", an album of 4-Track demos recorded at home prior to his first solo album. Mr Falkner, ex of Jellyfish, is an expert tunesmith and this album is choc a bloc full of catchy melodies and toe tapping tunes - recommended...

Second disc today is ex-Neu and original Kraftwerk member (although he left before they made a record) Michael Rother's 1996 album "Esperanza". Unlike his early solo work, which provided him with big hit albums throughout Europe in the late 70's, this has hardly any guitars on it, relying instead on keyboard and samples. Like the Jason Falkner CD though, it's full of great tunes....

I'm sure me old mucker James Jamieson would like these two CDs. I called him last night to see what he was up to and, during our conversation, he once again criticised me (in a friendly way of course) for having too much jazz in my collection....

So I said I'd burn him a kind of "Introduction to Jazz" CD. However, upon researching this today, I came to the conclusion that it'd be a waste of time. Jamie just loves great melodies too much to be able to be lured into the type of jazz which enthralls me. So I e-mailed him to say I was going to renege on my promise...

The last of Anne's presents arrived today and so I was at last able to wrap all her presents up. I am now officially ready for Christmas...

Monday, December 19, 2005

The bridge of inconvenience...

Another CD arrives today - Pete Locket's Network of Sparks, featuring Bill Bruford. This is an album consisting almost entirely of percussion. It's good, but probably not one I'll listen to very often...

Elsewhere, I attempt a fourth version of the proposed new Calling Card CD. I'm still not happy with it and think I'll postpone this till the New Year...

In the evening Anne's stranded for a while in Fife as a woman has climbed one of the towers of the Forth Road Bridge threatening to throw herself off. Eventually she comes down but only after the police have closed the bridge and inconvenienced thousands...

Surely there must be easier ways to kill yourself than to throw yourself from the highest part of Scotland's busiest bridge at Rush Hour. What was she thinking??

Sunday, December 18, 2005

One man band...

Up at 8 today and left Anne to sleep till 11....

Surfed the net and set up a page on Myspace but won't activate it till it's ready - so that'll probably be summer of 2006!

Meanwhile Anne was watching all of the Strictly Come Dancing Final which she'd taped last night. Once the telly was free'd up, I watched Paul McCartney's Unplugged Tutorial "Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road" which was a fascinating insight into how he worked with The Beatles and works on his solo material...

This included a performance on voice and mellotron which demonstrated that this oft used prog rock behemoth of an instrument was actually designed to be used as a cheaper option than a band in working mens' clubs in the mid 1960s...

Norman Lamont talks about the same programme here, with a little more insight than me it has to be said...

http://blog.normanlamont.com/2005/12/17_december_200_1.html

A couple of hours on the computer followed during which I made a first draft compilation of a Best of 2005 CD for Anne as an extra Christmas Present...

Then round to Anne' mum's for fortnightly family tea..

Back home, snooker drew us in, followed by Match of the Day...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

No mercy re lights and noise...

Up at 7 with a roaring headache. Painkillers than back to bed...

However, Anne was up and about and (quite rightly after last night's stupid performance from Mr CBQ) was showing no mercy re lights and noise...

So I got up and had breakfast with Anne before she went out. I surfed the net and watched telly in a daze and, before I knew it, it was well past midday and I'd done nothing. Drinking is bad...

The postie brought two new CDs....

Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz's "Music For Piano & Drums" a quite excellent jazz CD from around 20 years ago. The instrumentation, as you might imagine from the title, is purely grand piano and acoustic drumkit. Superb...

And Jane Sibbery's 1992 compilation "Summer in the Yukon". I confess I have many of these tracks already but the few I don't have are worth the price of just over £3 from e-bay...

Anne came home and we lunched together before she went out again to do some final Christmas shopping, leaving Mr Hobbler to sit around the house...

Around 5:30 I got a taxi uptown to meet Anne, her mum, her brother Keith and his girlfriend Maureen for a meal - arranged before the accident - as, today was to have been the day for Christmas shopping - all of which I've ended up doing on the internet...

The meal was good and the five of us sat and chatted, eventually spending around four and half hours in the restaurant. the intention had been to go upstairs to a jazz gig but it turned out the venue had been hired out for some kind of private ceilidh...

Home in time for Match of the Day and then bed...

I was on Diet Coke tonight, funnily enough...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Drinking is bad...oh yes

Two more CDs arrived today - Adrian Belew's "Side One" which I discussed yesterday and which is quite excellent, and a great compilation of the best of Hans Joachim Roedelius from 1978 to 1982, "Auf leisen Sohlen"...



The music on this second CD evoked one of the best times of my life when Anne and I were living in Germany in 1980 - I remember buying three LPs by Roedelius, his first three "Self Portrait" albums, all recorded in his home studio..just the sound of this music took me right back to our little flat...

In the evening I went out for the first time since breakingmy ankle...

Nowadays, I don't get drunk very often but, when i do, it's usually to excess...

It seems that, if I have one drink, I need to have another. Then it's too late. I will end up drunk as a skunk. This is what happened tonight. I attended a Christmas Party at Murrayfield Rugby Stadium - complete with crutches...

I had promised Anne I wouldn't drink more than two alcoholic drinks and that I'd be home shortly after the end of the night which was due to be 1am - having arranged a lift there and back. Turned out I got too drunk and must have turned down the kindly offer of a lift home for some reason (probably because I was drunk)...

This meant I had to walk from the stadium to the main road. Normally this might take 5-10 minutes. Being drunk and on crutches, the journey time stretched to around 30 minutes. Luckily I got a taxi straight away and was in the house at 2am - however I dropped one of my crutches outside the back door and was locking it leaving the crutch outside when Anne appeared to save the day...

Drinking is bad.

Post Script - I have since spoken to Anne (not my Anne, another Anne) who had taken me to the party and offered to give me a lift home. It turns out she had said to me around 12:45 that she was taking another couple home and would be back for me. I have no recollection of this whatsoever of course! To make matters worse, the other couple didn't seem to know how to get to their flat and Anne also picked up Lorna (the girl at whose BBQ I got so drunk at in the summer that I had to be taken home early) who she'd found wandering in the street outside the stadium. This meant that by the time Anne got back to Murrayfield I'd already left to walk across a filed with my crutches...

Let me just say again - Drinking is bad.

Merry Christmas!! Ho Ho Ho!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A day without crutches...pay the price, boy...

A bit of a breakthrough today as I managed around the house without my crutches for the first time...

I burned and printed 20 copies of Ian Sclater's CD for him - he came round and picked them up. That particular project is now over. Very enjoyable work and I think the result is a fine little guitar and vocal CD showcasing Ian's best songs. These copies are going out to the States and to his family as presents...

Jim Park phoned - first time I've spoken to him I think since I broke my ankle in a football tackle between us. No hard feelings of course. This weekend he's off down to London for Robert Hind's 40th birthday. Robert's the younger brother of Nicky Hind. Jim, Nicky and I all played together in a band called Capital Models around 25 years ago...

Jim wanted me to write a spoof telegram for him to read out at the meal...so I did and e-mailed it to Jim - hope he likes it (and I hope Robert remembers me). The telegram was based around the first words RH ever spoke to me. He was about 13 and I was 19 and very proud of my rock star hair at the time. He came up to me and said "You're going bald"...

In a fine example of karma, Robert is now bald as a coot. Of course I choose to be bald by shaving my fine head of hair every so often...

Another CD arrived today. Adrian Belew's "Side Two" (I'm waiting on "Side One"). Rather disconcertingly a couple of tracks on the CD use rhythm tracks from the Korg Electribe drum machine and, like me on an electronic remix CD I did a couple of years ago for CBQ, he hasn't bothered to adapt the factory presets. So it sounds like one of my tracks is about to start....

This is kind of a home-recorded solo album. "Side One" is recorded as a power trio with a Les Claypool and Danny Carey. Should arrive soon...

You can read about the creative process behind these albums here http://www.adrianbelew.net/adrianupdates.html - reading through this, I am taken aback by just how much Adrian's feelings about recording, mixing, rearranging running orders etc etc and his excitement about his project are similar to how I felt in the final push to get "Deeperdown" finished...

I tidied up the house a bit, as best I could in my hobbling state. This mostly involved removing old editions of The Wire magazine, a couple of architucture and design books, two large books of Blue Note albums covers and various pieces of paper from the coffee table....

In the evening, a call to my sister, Pam, in Hemel Hempstead. She regaled me with stories of the recent huge explosion and fire there. Turns out she works on the Industrial Estate which was partially destroyed by the explosion. Scary stuff. She's coming up next week to stay with my mum for Christmas...

Then, Anne and I enjoyed a couple of glasses of Chianti and a Sainsbury Curry (v tasty indeed - recommended) whilst listening to Bach's Oboe Concertos and a couple of arias from Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" before settling down to a night of TV..

Third Rock From the Sun
Spin City
Bleak House
The Tonight Show with John Stewart
Doc Martin
Sensitive Skin - a poignant end to what turned out to be a great little bitter sweet comedic six part series - enhanced by the touching use of Glenn Gould's performance of Bach's piano music...

..and, finally...Alien Resurrection - not scary but a reasonable story. Now I have seen all the Alien films except for last year's Alien v Predator - no doubt I'll hire it sometime once we've got round to buying a new DVD player..

Went to bed at 12:45 but couldn't get to sleep because of the pain in my leg. I think I may have overdone the walking without crutches over the last two days and will need to take it easier tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A day out...

Got out of the house today...

Chum Spike gave me a lift into town where ten chums went out for a Christmas Lunch....

Margaret, Wendy, David B, Bernardette, Julie H, Spike, JY Johnny, Colin K, Big Alan and Mr CBQ spent almost four hours at Est Est Est in George St and a fine old time was had by all. I had a few glasses of wine but remained sober. Just as well as my walking with (or without) crutches is pretty lame (sorry for the pun) at present. It takes me around a minute just to walk 10 metres. Luckily Spike offered me a lift back home...

Tonight Anne was off out with sister Jane and her mum and brother Keith's girlfriend Maureen to see "My Fair Lady"....

Bill Bruford's double live CD "Footloose and Fancy Free" had arrived in my absence as had Sparks' 1984 album "Pulling Rabbits Out of A Hat" so, as Anne left, I headed upstairs in order to listen to the new CDs and transfer them to the Jukebox...

I also designed a new 8 page booklet for the "Deeperdown" CD, including all the lyrics and some photos. This is much better than the two pager I've been sending out. Trouble is I'll now have to send the new booklet to all the people who've already got the CD...need to proof read and fine tune over the next couple of days...

Then it was back downstairs to watch "Rome" 'live' for the first time. Cleopatra's now on the scene.

Then back to the computer to surf and listen to more music. I received rather a fright by the sudden arrival at my side of Anne at 10:15 - she was home early as her mum had been taken ill at the theatre. Nothing serious we hope...

I continued at the computer as Anne watched what she'd recorded while out, then off to bed.

Much pain in my leg....

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My own personal radio station...


Whilst every track on my 60Gb Creative Jukebox (12,000 tracks and counting) comes from my own collection of CDs, I'm amazed by the number of tracks which come up on shuffleplay which i've never heard before...

It's like my own wee radio station - without the annoyance of a DJ, news, weather or sports bulletins (I can get those on the net any time I like)...

The first of my recently purchased CDs arrived today - Porcupine Tree's "Deadwing". My considered opinion is that this record rocks....

Still waiting for a couple of things for Anne though...

Decided to shave off the beard...

Third Rock From The Sun, Spin City, Harry Hill, Law & Order all entertained me tonight...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Victor grows a beard...

It is the intention on Christmas Day at Jane and Bobby's (Anne's sister and husband) to have a quiz. I am to be quizmaster. Today I copied a few hundred pub quiz questions from the internet in preparation for this...

Another of Anne's presents arrived today in good shape. Just 1.5 to come now and I'll be all set...

No CDs for me as yet...

Watched the latest episode of "Rome" and an accidentally recorded episode of "One Foot In The Grave" - I don't believe it - I am Victor Meldrew - especially when complaining about the banging and drilling going on next door at 11:30 at night - what the f*ck are they doing in there???

In the afternoon, a young polish man comes to the door with a card saying "I don't speak English, please buy one of my sister's paintings". I hobble to the dining room to try and find some cash and give him £1 for his troubles...

I think this could be a good way to make some cash - pretend not to be able to speak English and go round a reasonably affluent section of a major city knocking on doors asking for money...

There are bound to be quite a few gullble/vulnerable people who'll buy a painting/give you cash just to get you away from their homes...

In the evening we watch "What Not To Wear" - this week it features men having mid life crises...

The two chosen resemble me in many ways....

Apparently, I must now buy a two button suit, a stripy shirt, a flowery shirt, a high necked T shirt, which should be worn under a V Neck jersey, stylish jeans, nice shoes, Birkenstock sandals, grow a wee beard - and, hey presto - I'll be fine...

Once my ankle's better I will be shopping for clothes - I'm already working on the beard...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I wish it could be Christmas everyday....

The day starts with a phone call from my mum to say there's been a huge explosion in Hemel Hempstead but that my sister, Pam, has called to say she and husband Richard are ok...

I check www.bbc.co.uk/news and, right enough, there it is - a massive explosion and fire raging at an oil depot just outside the town...

An industrial estate appears to have been destroyed. Just as well it was 6am on a Sunday and not during the day on a weekday that this accident has happened...

There is a huge influx of messages on the "Have your say" section of the BBC site - mostly along the lines of "I was awoken at 6 by a loud bang - and I live in (name of place quite far from Hemel)"

So I submitted a comment "I was awake at 6 am but I didn't hear anything. Granted I live in Edinburgh, but my sister lives in Hemel if that's any good..."

The BBC declined to publish...

Later in the morning, Anne goes off Christmas shopping - but to save her some trouble, we order a copy of the new Rush 2DVD/2CD set, "R-30" from e-bay as a present from her for me...

Looking forward to that because, when we went to see Rush at the SECC on this particular tour, we didn't see too much due to the number of giants standing in front of us...

Just after Midday, I am once again moving around without my crutches, albeit, very, very slowly indeed...

Ian Sclater arrives and we have a playback of the mix I created of his album. He makes various suggestions and I note these to carry out what will be the very final mix...

Then it's on to the Xmas song....

Ian's written loads of lyrics and needs me to change around the backing track I took so long to create yesterday and sent to him as an MP3 (rather annoyingly, he's not even listened to this so he's written lyrics for a completely different construction of the song)...

After a couple of hours of mucking about with the backing track, I finally get his agreement that what we've got is too long and we need to be more succinct. Then he wants some sleighbells on the track so I sample two appropriate shakes of said instrument from "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by Wizzard (one of the greatest Xmas songs ever of course)....

After much more mucking about with this, I point out that it's unlikely our recording will be used and if it's to be released it would need to be re-recorded so we're probably wasting time trying to get the bells in exactly the right tempo etc etc...

Ian says it's not being released, they're just looking for Xmas songs - frustrated at this, I ask where I can find details of the competition and log in to the Richard & Judy website only to find that the closing date was Friday 9 December...

I e-mail them the version of the song with my lyric and vocal which I'd recorded quickly yesterday morning anyway and we call it a day...

Meanwhile Anne's been listening to Rangers beat Kilmarnock 3-2 while putting up our Xmas decorations - and lovely they are too...



In the evening I carry out the final mix of the album - Ian's suggestions have enhanced the disc and I am very pleased with the final outcome. It's been a lot of work but it's been worth it...

And the I buy a few CDs from my watch list on e-bay...

Discs by Michael Rother, Procupine Tree, Bill Bruford & Patrick Moraz, Sparks, Adrian Belew, Jane Siberry, Roedelius and Earthworks will soon be popping through the door...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Let the idiocy begin....

Despite not going to bed until almost 1:00 am, I am awake at 4:10 and unable to get back to sleep...

Rather than getting up and causing a commotion on my crutches, I fire up the Jukebox and listen to, in turn:

Robert Fripp - Love Cannot Bear
Fripp & Eno - The Equatorial Stars
Brian Eno - Another Day on Earth

Thereafter, it's a reasonable hour to rise, and rise I do...

I surf the net and then, in preparation for a hastily convened Ian Sclater session tomorrow, proceed to edit together what will be the backing track for his proposed Christmas Song...

Apparently there's a competion on the Richard & Judy Show to write a Christmas Single. The prize is £1,000 and Ian thinks he has just the song....

I have to edit together a track based on an old (very polished) demo he has. This involves using what were previously intros as the basis for verses. I fire off some suitably Santa based lyrics to add a quick vocal and Bob's your uncle...

Hey my second song of 2005...(ok half a song)

By the time I'm finishing this off, Anne is up and away to the shops - on her return, I am downstairs checking last night's draw for the World Cup finals next year in Germany...

England look to have a reasonably easy group from which to qualify. They are pitted against Sweden (who they've not beaten for 37 years apparently), Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago (whose team will include many players from the English and Scottish Leagues)...

Looking forward to a feast of footie next summer...(must try and get a Paraguay top...)

Towards lunchtime I make a breakthrough by at last putting a little weight on the broken ankle. Then, rather impetuously, I try a few steps without crutches. This may have been a bit rash as the pain in the leg is severe after merely walking (very slowly indeed) from the living room to the front door and back, picking up Anne's latest present on the way...

A breakthrough nonetheless..

In the afternoon Anne goes to Tynecastle to see Hearts v Inverness - a very disappointing 0-0 draw. Meanwhile QoS' fall from grace continues with a 2-1 defeat in Perth to St Johnstone. This is, however, considerably better than the 4-0 drubbing Anne and I witnessed on the first day of the season...

I spend the afternoon - sorry, I totally waste the afternoon - reading pish on the internet - before I know it Anne's back home...(ok not totally wasted as I manage to order another present for Anne's - Christmas is no longer cancelled)

In the evening I avoid Strictly Come Dancing this week but watch the lottery show - no numbers....

Match of the Day is entertaining as neither of us knows any of the scores beforehand....

On e-bay, I have rather rashly drawn up a watch list of over 30 CDs I'm interested in...

Let the idiocy begin....

Friday, December 09, 2005

Soundscape heaven...

Back to the hospital this morning to have my plaster changed and to see a doctor. My mum was taking me. She wasn’t very confident about driving thru Edinburgh but we did ok with me giving her directions – although she did complain about me saying “this lane, this lane!” rather than actually specifying the lane in question...

I’m sure my mum and I looked like a comedy turn trying to get in and out of her car – me on crutches and her hobbling with a stick – at the hospital however, we didn’t look out of place and, luckily, she managed to get the disabled space closest to the entrance...

Of the five visits to the Infirmary since the accident, this was the most efficient by far. My appointment was 10:35 and we were back in the car by 11. The stookie change was a little disconcerting when the “plaster technician” approached my leg with a whirring, hand held circular saw...

My new plaster keeps my foot at more of a 90 degree angle to my leg and so it should be easier to put some weight on it...eventually...another four weeks in plaster...

Back home and the first of Anne’s Christmas presents was delivered. It was fine apart from one small thing I’d not noticed in the item description on e-bay and so I had to go back on and buy the item which made the thing “whole”...

A call from my old chum Alan Brodie in the afternoon cheered me up and he reckoned he’ll be out one night next week for a visit...

In the evening we were heading to Glasgow to see Robert Fripp and Porcupine Tree. Anne had very kindly agreed to drive me through – her intention was that she would wait in the car while I watched Fripp and then I’d leave and we’d perhaps go for an Indian...

At seven, as the queue started to move, we approached the front door and I was let in by security. I explained how I’d called last night and been told I could be provided with a wheelchair. Much to my surprise this turned out to be true. Not only that, when asked for tickets and I explained we only had one, they let Anne come in for free as my “carer”. Result...and huge brownie points for the Carling Academy as a venue!!

It seemed smaller than the last time I was here, for Kraftwerk. We were given a great position with a superb clear, unobstructed view of the stage. We saw Mr Fripp arrive and walk unnoticed from the back of the gathering crowd to the door at the side of the stage...

Also bumped into (not literally) old friend and science fiction/fantasy author Michael Cobley – he’s waiting on the mass market release of the third book in his Shadow trilogy, “Shadowmasque” – you can find out about him here http://www.michaelcobley.com/index2.htm



At 7:45 Robert Fripp commenced his set of Soundscapes, accompanied by a slideshow of personal photographs of family, friends and colleagues and images from his musical past...

The music started with some of the oblique tuned percussion xylophone type sounds which I don’t care for much but soon progressed into some magnificent long smooth notes, the lower ones shaking the foundations of the building.

It was quite brilliant to have the chance to see Robert Fripp performing the kind of music which inspired me to become a musician 30 years ago when I first heard Fripp & Eno’s “No Pussyfooting”...

Generally the crowd was attentive, the slideshow helped in this - had it not been for that, the stage would have been almost in darkness – of course, many people continued to chat and I longed for the attentiveness afforded to classical music in live situation.

As Anne rightly pointed out though, nowadays, attention spans are pretty small.

It seems to be, that if two or more people are attending a show together, for some reason, even when the musicians are performing the music for which the audience has paid good money, they feel the need to make incessant smalltalk (often unrelated to the event) or comment on what’s happening. It’s like watching a film on TV with a particularly clueless companion who needs to have everything explained to them as the plot progresses.

Fripp played for thirty five minutes, thirty five minutes of beauty from my own point of view and I was determined it would not be ruined by the actions of others in the crowd. At the end of his set, he received a resounding ovation from the audience, many of whom, I’m sure had chatted throughout his time on stage...

Fripp himself seemed pleased with the performance and reaction, coming to the front of the stage and taking three bows. He had a beaming smile on his face...

[for a more articulate description of Mr Fripp's current Soundscape set, I urge you to visit this entry on Sid Smith's blog http://sidsmith.blogspot.com/2005/12/robert-fripp-porcupine-tree-at.html - it's re the London show two days before the one we saw]

This was so much better than the last time I saw Fripp, when I was held up in a Bob Dylan induced traffic jam on the way to see him play with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as G3 – I missed all but 5 minutes of his solo set and had to endure over two hours of turgid run of the mill heavy metal before he came back for the encore – part of which was a rendition of King Crimson’s “Red”..

I was reminded of this experience when I caught sight of fellow musician and soundscaper, Norman Lamont, coming into the hall a good fifteen minutes after the start of Fripp’s set...

After a break of around thirty minutes, Porcupine Tree took to the stage. They performed a superb set, although occasionally the extended jams (at least that what they seemed like to me, having very little knowledge of their back catalogue) went on a wee bit.

As they got closer to the end of the set, it seemed the music became more focussed. Special mentions for the drummer, who was excellent, one of the best I’ve seen, and of course for Richard Barbieri on keyboards, whom Anne and I saw over twenty years ago on several occasions when he was with Japan.

The more recent material impressed me most and I will be looking to purchase their latest CD, “Deadwing” over the next few days...

With me being on crutches, we left at the end of the main set, missing the encore, in order to also avoid the rush to the exits at the very end of the night....

By this time it was 11 and a bit late for a meal before the drive back to Edinburgh, so we stopped off at the Hot Pepper takeaway near the Cathedral and partook of some of their very fine vegetable pakoras...

A good day.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Everyone needs parameters...


25 years today since John Lennon was murdered. I remember I was working at a small school in Germany and didn't know anything about it until I entered a classroom and someone had written "John Lennon ist tot" on the blackboard...

He wasn't my favourite Beatle but the manner of his passing was dreadful and I well remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth which followed...

If people were truthful though they'd acknowledge he was well past his sell-by date re relevant music, his then just released album was MOR pap - which of course sold by the bucketload following his death...

For me Lennon was never as good as when he was having his parameters set by McCartney, whereas McCartney was perfectly capable of writing classics on his own...

Anyway, what did I do today? well I re-compiled and burned Calling Card #4 and gave it a couple of listens - will probably go with this second draft...

Loaded 5 Cds of Vivaldi Concertos onto the Jukebox..

Dr Prog called to very kindly offer me the use of a portable stool for the Porcupine Tree/Robert Fripp concert I'll be attending in Glasgow tomorrow. In fact I won't need this as, upon phoning the venue, they advised they'd supply me with a wheelchair...

This sounds good - but I won't really believe it until it actually happens...

A three way MSN Messenger conversation with Stu and Craig of Creek leads us nowhere other than to keep us in touch. Craig is going to provide me with more Edward Spark music for me to remix in a CBQ stylee. Not even started on the stuf ES gave me last time yet...

Bought more stuff on the net today for Anne's Christmas..

Off to the hospital tomorrow to get my stookie changed and to try and find out for how much longer I can expect to be out of action....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Numbum...

I spent much of today compiling the fourth in the series of Calling Card CDs which I give away free from the Crispycat website...

It will soon replace the current "Calling Card #3"...

The first two were three track EPs, the third is a 22 track album culled from all the available releases on Crispycat back in July 2004....

The new one contains 24 tracks, one each from the current catalogue items, including tracks from Creek, James Jamieson and Edward Spark...

Not sure about the current choice of tracks and will probably revisit tomorrow before finalising...

Spent much of the evening searching for and buying Xmas presents for Anne on the internet, so, all in all, other than a video episode of "Enterprise", the entire day was spent at the computer...

My bum's numb...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Eclectic tastes...

I found myself in the strange position today of uploading the complete Beethoven String Quartets to the Jukebox whilst listening to a DJ set by trance music supremo Ferry Corsten recorded earlier this year....eclectic tastes...

Congratulations to Rangers on making the last 16 of the Champions League competition - a vey well fought draw with Inter Milan...

An episode of Law and Order rounded off the day...

Monday, December 05, 2005

It's Art Jim, but not as we know it...

Mostly burning and mailing CD orders today...

Also posted a mock-up of Ian Sclater's CD to him with comments on what I'd done in the mixdown stage...

Found myself watching "Des and Mel" at lunch time. Dreadful...

In the evening caught episodes of "Third Rock From the Sun" and "Spin City" on freeview then a bit of kultcher with the 2005 Turner Prize (http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/turnerprize/2005/)....

The Turner Prize, which was first presented in 1984, is awarded to a British artist under 50, for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the 12 months to May each year....

Here are works by the winners from 1984 to 2005 (no prize in 1990 for some reason). Whilst gong through the Turner website to pilfer these images, I noticed that many of the previous nominees and indeed some of the winners were either over 50 or not British, so perhaps the rules have changed in recent times...



It's currently sponsored by Gordon's Gin, which neatly answered Anne's question of "where does the money come from?"...

It's easy to see why this competition attracts so much derision. The winner is a shed which was deconstructed, transformed into a boat, sailed down the Rhine for a bit, broken up and re-constructed into a shed...

Other nominations were:-

A guy from Glasgow who lays out tape stripes on the floor and places large versions of found kitsch ornaments on it with occcasional dribbles of paint here and there...

A guy from Wigan who makes films of his mum and dad - split screen - his dad reeling off every injury he's ever had while his mum cries at the memories...

A woman who paints....

Sorry, surely some mistake, a woman who paints??

Yeah, she didn't win though and the stripey floor guy was the favourite...



Having delved more deeply into the Turner website and looked through previously nominated and winning artists' work to create the first collage above, I've realised what riles me so....

It's not the art itself - it's the so-called explanations of the art....

If you allow the work to stand or fall on its own intrinsic merits then all well and good, but if it has to be justified by a load of tosh then, to my mind it's failed. I prefer to look at art and say "yes I like that" or "No that's not good". Hey, call me a reactionary why don't you...in which case, my choice for a winner this year would have been the painter, Gillian Carnegie...

Anyway, the nominations are supposed to be thee most contemporary art and no doubt will eventually be assimilated into the mainstream, much like previous winners - e.g. a concrete cast of the inside of a house and art made from elephant dung...

Great!

Also taped the German film "Downfall" for future viewing and., maintaining the German theme, first CD of December popped through the door - Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft's "Funfzehn Neue DAF Lieder" ("15 New DAF Songs"). Excellent - just like the old days....

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Busy, busy, busy...

Up at 7:30 today and updated the journal, then started on compiling my "best of" CDs for October and November...

Was planning on shaving my head, having a damn good scrub and heading out to Patisserie Florentin for breakfast but, by the time we were both ready to go, it was 11:25 and Anne reckoned it might be a bit busy for us to get a place, and me with my crutches etc etc so she went off instead to bring back some croissants...

I listened to Ian Sclater's album and hobbled around the kitchen making the coffee for Anne's return...

Watched the second half of the Harry Potter film from last night with the sound down - turned it up when Anne came back as it takes 40 mins to get to and from Patisserie Florentin - almost exactly the timing of the IS CD...

Harry Potter - it's for kids guys - adults - stop reading the books - you are truly acting and looking foolish...

The film was ok, though the story-line, or what there was of it, was very weak - which is how I remember the first movie being...

JK is laughing all the way to the bank...

Watched the highlights of the 1st Division games from yesterday including QoS being soundly thrashed by Airdrie. We need a whole new defence..

Then back upstairs for half an hour till Anne gave me the heads up that Girls Aloud Live in London was about to come on so went back down for that and video'd it too with a view to transferring the soundtrack to CD. I like Girls Aloud....

Then Stargate SG1 - not seen this for ages so another treat - thank you Channel 4...

Then off to Anne's mum's for family tea - Ollie and Kitty getting excited about Christmas - Nephew Craig wins this fortnight's Switch Rubber

Back home, update journal, compile and burn "Best of November" CD, Match of the Day 2...

More CD orders have arrived so need to get those out tomorrow...

Busy, busy, busy...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Spin in my shoes...

Got up at 6:30 and hobbled on crutches to the computer...

Surfed, answered e-mails, checked out my blog-links...

Read an interesting article from Rolling Stone which I came across courtesy of a link from The Cunning Realist. It was about how the US government and secret service convinced the world Saddam Hussein was stockpiling WMDs - using information proven at the very outset by lie-detector test to be false - a story concocted by an individual fleeing Iraq who was looking to secure a US Visa...

More digging had found a PR Company (The Rendon Group) which has been in the employ of the US Govt and CIA since the first Iraq War, finding ways of spinning news around the world and planting misconceptions and falsehoods to sway public opinion. Very interesting. Here's the (long) link:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/8798997?pageid=rs.Home&pageregion=single7&rnd=1132253345109&has-player=false

For the rest of the morning I worked on a final mix of Ian Sclater's album which I was finally happy with. I'll be listening to it over the weekend and mailing it to him on Monday for his views...

In the afternoon, Anne went to Tyncastle to see Hearts beat Livingston 2-1 while I stayed in watching the latest two episodes of "Rome" - occasionally checking teletext to find Queen of the South were being trounced by Airdrie Utd - final score 4-0...

In the evening, a chinese, Strictly Come Dancing, The Lottery, Carrie and Barrie, Match of the Day and bed...

My leg was particularly sore today but then I do have a broken ankle I suppose...

I am finding things more and more frustrating....

Before the ankle break, if I thought of something I needed from upstairs, I'd just run up, get it and bring it back down. Now it's a major exercise to get either up or down the stairs and of course I can't actually carry anything anyway so I always need to ensure I have a bag with me or that what I'm looking to fetch will fit in the pockets of the over-sized jogging bottoms I'm having to wear now...

Great...

The upside is that there's light at the end of the tunnel for me and I can project myself forward to January/February next year when I hope I'll be back to "normal". But for my dad before he died and for my mum now with their stairlift chair thing and inability to walk any distance at all, it must have been/be hugely frustrating and depressing...

Walking in another's shoes is the only way to really know what they're going through...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Borrowing From the Germans...

In the morning it's back to the Royal Infirmary for more X-Rays to determine whether I need an operation to insert a pin in my ankle...unbeknown to me Anne is concerned re this as she's just read a story of a patient who died from MRSA after just such a "pin into the ankle" op...

My appointment is 10:35, we leave the house at 9:45 and arrive at around 10:20...

I am directed a way from the main waiting area, leaving Anne behind to read her newspaper but having the foresight to take the ever trusty jukebox with me, and find myself sitting outside the "Plaster Room" with around 40 others, waiting to be called. I remove one earphone to ensure I don't miss my name...

Finally, at 11:05, I am called. In the doctor's room they have last week's X-Rays and are puzzled as to the absence of any from today. It turns out they forgot to send me for X-Rays, which I could easily have been attending to over the last 40 minutes...

I go to X-Ray and have the pics of my ankle area taken, than I am sent back to the waiting area again...

By the time I enter the doctor's office for a second time it's an hour beyond my appointment time...

Despite this, I am buoyed to hear that my fall the other day has not caused any setback and that, at present, no op is needed...

However, there is no change in the leg from last week. There is a 2mm gap in the bone which, I assume, will need to grow back together and fuse over the next five weeks if I am to be able to walk normally again and be back to my previous "unfit but at least able to walk" status...

An appointment is made for next Friday to have my plaster removed, a consultant to take a look, and a new plaster to be applied...

Back at home, Anne delivers me to the computer chair and heads back out for some shopping and something for lunch. I attend to e-mails and CD orders which Anne will very kindly post for me...

I end up spending too much time at the computer again - a call from fellow Alice fan, Grant - he may pop round tomorrow while Anne's at the Hearts v Livingston match - before I know it, it's dark and evening is rolling in...

I go downstairs (I can now use crutches both ways though every step is a potential arse over elbow situation) and sit by the fire watching The Simpsons and then Emmerdale (but listening to the Jukebox for this one) and then Corrie...

Back upstairs for 90 minutes while Anne watches Gardener's World or something and Bleak House...

I work on new mixes for Ian Sclater...

Back downstairs to watch Have I Got News For You and Jonathon Ross - Coldplay are excellent - singing their latest single, Talk, which Anne immediately quite rightly recognises as being based on a Kraftwerk song -I reassure her that Schneider and Hutter have a co-credit...

Then bed

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rome wasn't built in a day..

Today I mostly watched episodes of "Rome" on video, listened to the mixes I did for Ian Scleter's CD I did the other day and burned and printed to meet CD orders received over the last couple of days...

In the evening, watched "Doc Martin" and a Madonna documentary....forgot to watch Never Mind the Buzzcocks - Alice Cooper was on apparently...

Stu Cobley and James Jamieson both called today to see what I was up to - to which the reply had to be "Nothing much"...

Jamie wanted to know if I was up for Out of the Bedroom tonight. He must have forgotten I've broken my ankle and am confined to quarters for the next few weeks...

Didn't fall over today so that was a bonus...

December 1 already!

Bought two CDs on E-Bay - Jason Falkner (ex Jellyfish) and DAF (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft). Await their arrival from USA and Germany respectively...

Next door STILL playing their TV all night...