Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Thick as a brick...

A typically bitterly cold but bright and beautiful winter's day today in sunny Edinburgh...



Physio again and a good workout which has left my ankle and foot feeling particularly painful...

On the positive front, I'm being referred to a nearby gym and will start exercising there of an evening, in the very near future...

Ian Sclater mailed me yesterday to ask for one final amendment to his album - and that I press up one copy of the finalised CD to give to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. The band is playing Edinburgh tomorrow night...

So Ian called me today to say he has a spare ticket and backstage passes and would I like to go. Apparently he knows Mr Anderson...

"OK" I said, as nonchalantly as possible....

And so, tonight I have twisted and tweaked one last track for Ian's album and am listening to the final mix of the album as I type...

Tonight I also made up a second copy of the T Rex compilation I burned last week for Spike - his wife, Debbie, wants her own personal copy. Apparently Spike's rubbish at getting his computer to do anything...

On TV, we watched last week's "IT Crowd" on video followed by "CSI" - a particularly good story tonight - but pointless to go into detail - you should just start watching the series - Tuesday nights at 9 on Five....

Anne made a quite excellent pasta bake tonight, including the secret ingredient of very thinly sliced chorizo...

Tasty...

Highlight of the Day : Anne's Pasta - oh, ok, and the invite to see Jethro Tull

Monday, February 27, 2006

You're not telling me you don't like "Crazy Horses"....

Nothing much of any import transpired today...

I added around 200 new (old) songs to the jukebox by the following artistes - the 70's theme continues (early 70's that is - i.e. up until 1975 or so):-

Deep Purple
Elton John
Lindisfarne
Mike Oldfield
Procol Harum
Queen
Supertramp
Slade
Sweet
Suzi Quatro
The Osmonds

You're not telling me you don't like "Crazy Horses"....

...and of course I didn't upload anything by Donny, Donny & Marie or "little" Jimmy - just The Osmonds - do you think I have no taste??

Other than a few stray tracks from compilations, I think that about does it for the early 70's...

And now I will return to the alphabetical uploading - I believe I was approaching the letter "I"...

Highlight of the Day : Early 70's Music...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A walk in the park...

Woke around 7 and listened to the Jukebox for an hour before getting up....

Updated the diary, then heard Pam moving about. I made sure she knew we weren’t to waken Anne up, so we sat at the computer whispering....

Of course Anne could hear every word....

Then Meg the Black Cat started running around like a maddo, so we had to open the cat flap for her...

We decided to go downstairs to watch a Sparks DVD using two pairs of headphones – and to have a cup of coffee whilst doing this....

Of course while we were in the kitchen making the coffee, the DVD started playing on its own at top volume....

I ran through as quietly as possible, to turn it down as quickly as possible but the damage was done and, a few minutes later, Anne appeared, bleary-eyed, in the kitchen...

She was in a surprisingly good mood though, for someone who’d been woken up by such stupid antics...

I’d wanted to go to Patisserie Florentin but we decided to breakfast at home instead, whilst watching Sparks Live in London in 2000....

Then we set out to Holyrood Park, where Ian Sclater’s flat is situated, to deliver a copy of his remixed CD....

Ian wasn’t in so I just put it through his letter-box and hoped his dog wasn’t in either – it does seem the type that might just eat stuff that comes through the letter-box....

We took a walk around what we think was St Margaret’s Loch, it’s the one at the foot of Arthur’s Seat where all the Swans and Geese congregate for regular loaves of bread. It’s popular now too with seagulls, pigeons and the odd small crow...

We all took some photos...



Then we drove out to Loanhead to deliver Pam back to our mum’s house, stopping off for a coffee. I borrowed three CDs from my Dad’s collection, which now sits unplayed in my old bedroom...

Two by Jacques Loussier and one by, would you believe, James Last – all three remind of my dad and so I’ll enjoy playing them...

Anne and I said farewell to my mum and to the noisiest sister you can imagine and headed up to Ikea...

We were looking for curtains. We bought some glasses and plates...

Back home, I watched Stargate while Anne read the Hearts website....

Stargate was the first of a two parter. The main characters seemed to have gone back in time 5,000 years and changed the timeline so that their now present day selves were no longer cutting edge, planet-hopping scientists but, instead, ordinary geeks....

A huge problem here for me to suspend my disbelief - “come on Dave, you’re watching Stargate” I hear you cry – but I’m afraid that, if the timeline was altered 5,000 years in the past, they can’t have altered it too much if the same people still exist and live in the same area, albeit with slightly different jobs...

This may well be..... “a Stargate too far”...gulp!

We taped Enterprise then drove round to Anne’s mum’s for tea but made sure we were back in time for Anne to see the Steven Poliakof drama, while I continued to refill the jukebox....

Tonight I added Lou Reed, Bad Company, Black Widow and, erm...the Bay City Rollers...

Highlight of the Day : A walk in the park...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ice, ice, baby...

Up early today and created a full “early 70’s” playlist on the jukebox via the PC, trying, as far as possible to include only tracks which I was actually listening to at the time...

I reached 500...

Then out to Tesco for some essential shopping (Milk, Bread, Bacon, Brillo Pads and a lottery ticket - no numbers again I must report)...

After a lovely weekend breakfast...



..for which Meg the Black Cat did her best to get herself on the menu...



...I took Anne round to her mum’s in preparation for their visit to Tynecastle for the early-kicking-off Hearts v Partick Thistle Cup Quarter Final...

While Anne was away, I worked on changes to Ian Sclater’s album – he mailed me a list of “tweaks” which I didn’t think I’d be able to work on this weekend but I managed to make a window in my schedule by postponing a visit to my nephew till later today - it's his 20th birthday today....



Anyway, I spent a goodly four hours carrying out all the changes Ian asked for, creating new wav files, increasing the volume (not as much as last time though - that's what was causing the distortion) burning a test disc, listening through, making notes, tweaking, doing it all again and burning a new "possibly" final disc which I hope he'll like...

Then I changed round the back room and reinstated the fabled “wall of sound” – all 4,000 odd CDs along one wall rather than being spread around the room in different locations – much tidier...



Then a call from Anne asking me to pick her up again from her mum’s as it was pouring with rain - Hearts had won 2-1 but even their manager said Thistle ought to have won...oh dear...

So off I went again and brought Anne back home - once again the game was a disappointment but the result was just fine and dandy....

Then I drove out to Penicuik to see my nephew, Andrew and his family and friends including his cute little son Kerr and his lovely girlfriend Adele...



and friend Lisa, a very different Lisa to the Lisa who is is Kerr's mum..



Then to Loanhead to pick up Pam and bring her back to Crispycat Towers for a night of curries, drinking and ice skating (on the telly of course – come on, the house doesn’t have an ice rink)...

While Anne and Pam got all excited about the upcoming “semi-final” of “Celebrity Ice Dancing and Skating on Ice” or something, I drove to the excellent Taj express for tonight’s culinary delights...

As we ate we heard on the TV that Scotland had beaten England at Murrayfield...

Anne and Pam watched ice skating for almost the rest of the evening whilst downing several bottles of red wine while I went up and down the stairs to the computer where I was trying to transfer 40 odd albums on to one DVD for Pam to take home with her, all the time listening to the 70’s playlist on the jukebox to drown out the screaming from the skating fans...the ones in the house, not on the TV!

They'd calmed down a bit by the time I took this...



Then we watched the football highlights before retiring...

Highlight of the Day : Reinstating “The Wall of Sound”

Friday, February 24, 2006

Never put drinking and carousing above music...

The cat calendar continues to extract daily "awwwws" from us as we see every day's new lovely wee cat...



Today my first e-bay acquisition in a while arrived – “Forget Yourself” by Australian band, The Church...



I have all their albums having first “got into them, man” in 1981 via their single and video (yes, there were videos then) of a track called “Unguarded Moment”...

They have seldom toured the UK, usually choosing to play the odd one-off date in London as part of a European Tour...

However, in, I think, around 1983 or 84 they came to Edinburgh and played in a Student Union venue. Anne and I were turned away because we weren’t students...

However, this ranks well below the disappointment of failing to get to see my fave Canadian band, Rheostatics in 1994. They came over for a very rare visit to the UK and played a residency at the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe – in fact, that’s how I got to know their music. To drum up support, Guitarist Dave Bidini came into our shop, Reptile Records and gave me a promo copy of their then new album “Introducing Happiness”...

I was planning on going to see them on their last night. However, Anne was taken ill and I decided to stay at home with her...

But that incident ranks in turn below the time in May 1978 when I had a ticket to see UK (John Wetton, Bill Bruford, Allan Holdsworth and Eddie Jobson) at Edinburgh Odeon but decided instead to go to a party at local vicar’s son, Rory MacRae’s house – it promised to be an all-nighter due to the out-of-townness of Rory’s ma and pa – and indeed an all-nighter it turned out to be and very enjoyable at that...

However, I have always regretted not attending the UK gig. I gave my tickets to sister Pam and her friend Janice – along with my very basic bootlegging equipment. Pam and Janice were so small they had to sit on the seats without folding them down...

To her credit, Pam did a great job with the recording – but the 15 year old girls’ seats kept making creaking noises during the gig due to their not being put to proper use...

Oh well – I still listen to it occasionally...

And so tonight, with Anne out on the town, I pulled out all the jazz CDs...



...and gave them their own section – it took less time than expected....

My soundtrack was the new Church album and a home made compilation of UK and Bill Bruford tracks which mirrored the set list that night back in 1978 when I put drinking and carousing above music...

Highlight of the Day : The Best of UK

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Amusements, memories and pain...

At physio today I managed to get through all the prescribed exercises (unlike Tuesday when I, once again, ran out of time)...

Before the session I asked the very helpful physio if it was normal for me still to be experiencing so much pain on this, the three monthiversary of the big break...

Her response echoed that of my other physio, to whom I was referred re my shoulder pains...

It seems I have developed "Pain Hypersensitivity" aka "Central Sensitisation"which is succinctly described in this paragraph by Clifford J Woolf on "The Wellcome Trust"'s website under the lovely heading, er..."Pain"...

"Pain systems need to be sensitive enough to detect potentially harmful stimuli. But often they become too sensitive, causing us pain that provides no benefit. This hypersensitivity arises because our pain pathways actually increase in sensitivity when they relay pain messages"

You can read the whole article here:-

http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/pain/microsite/science4.html

Apparently, Clifford J Woolf is Director of the Neural Plasticity Research Group and Professor of Anesthesia Research, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts USA. He has a website here:-

http://www.mgh.harvard.edu/nprg/

On his website, Dr Woolf cheerily celebrates "Central Sensitization is 20 years old!"

Great...

"Central sensitization, an activity-dependent increase in the excitability of neurons in the spinal cord that contributes to post-injury pain hypersensitivity was first discovered in 1983.

We now know that it involves transcriptional changes, and contributes to many forms of pain including that from the gastrointestinal tract.

In addition to increases in excitability generated by central sensitization, we now have evidence that a reduction in inhibition contributes to neuropathic pain."

Lovely...

There is no cure for this, say both the physio ladies, and sufferers must just learn to live with the chronic pain...

However sufferers must not become depressed about this condition as their mood can contribute. They must strive to stay happy and occupied. In other words - keep your mind off the pain and it won't hurt so much...

Great...

I may join a gym now in order to "exercise through the pain"...

And thus we notice that the workings of the mind are strange indeed....

For example, this morning, as I sat on a bus at the West End of Princes Street, my eyes rested upon the old American Express shop which has been converted into, despite its brand new bright blue facade, a quite tawdry looking "amusements" shop...

The word "amusements" however, threw me thirty years back in time to a quite pleasant memory - that of being on holiday with my mum and dad and sisters at any number of similar seaside resorts in the North of England...

One of the highlights (along with the guilty pleasures of Fish & Chips and a "99" ice cream) was to visit the "Amusement Arcade", where we would convert a £1 note into a bag of 1p and 2p pieces and spend an enjoyable hour or so losing it all on the machines where you tried to get one strategically dropped 2p piece to knock many other 2p pieces off a shelf into the pay-out tray, or betting on six mechanical horses as they juddered across a badly decorated box from left to right...

Ah, happy days indeed...

Funny what one word can do to your brain....

On the bus home tonight I created a new playlist on the jukebox entitled "Early 70s" - 40 odd tracks of, for me, pure nostalgia, each one of which evokes just the sort of memories of a somehow "nicer" time that seeing the word "Amusements" did too - a perfect demonstration of how music is a time machine...

Alice Cooper
Argent
Barclay James Harvest
Be Bop Deluxe
Bob Dylan
Brian Eno
Bryan Ferry
Cockney Rebel
David Bowie
David Essex
Deep Purple
Deodato
Electric Light Orchestra
Emerson Lake & Palmer
Family
Focus
Free
Gary Glitter
Genesis
Golden Earring
Hawkwind
Isaac Hayes
Jeff Beck
Jethro Tull
John Cale
Led Zeppelin
Lou Reed
Mick Ronson
Mott the Hoople
Nazareth
Neil Young
Pink Floyd
Roxy Music
Roy Wood
Simon & Garfunkel
Sparks
T Rex
The Move
Strawbs
Uriah Heep
Wings
Wizzard
Yes

Great stuff...

Highlight of the Day : Fond Memories of the Early 70's
(no doubt, rose tinted)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Children of the revolution...

Out to Loanhead tonight for a visit to the maternal home of Mr CBQ. Sister Pam is up from London and does not appear to need to breathe whilst she regales us of every iota of activity undertaken since her arrival yesterday lunchtime…

Considering the content of this website, the above remark brings to mind the words kettle, pot and black…

On the drive over I have an idea for a new open mic night. One of the great things about Out of the Bedroom, is its policy of no cover versions. However, some of its most popular nights are those on which a “themed” covers night takes place…

And so my big idea is a new themed open mic night. So it wouldn’t be people just turning up and playing their favourite cover versions – no, each night would be themed…

We could have, just off the top of my head, the following nights:-

T Rex night
Bob Dylan night
David Bowie night
Beatles night
Rolling Stones night
Elvis Presley night
Glam Rock night
Cheesy Pop night
Grunge Rock night
Heavy Metal night
Uriah Heep night
Grand Funk Railroad night

OK perhaps I’ve taken that too far…

Of course they must all be totally acoustic and I think that would be entertaining…

However, Anne utters the word “No” in response to my question as to whether she thinks it’d be a good idea – she reckons it might be a bit Karaoke-ey but I don’t because I believe people would put their own interpretation on the songs rather than true Karaoke where they’d be singing along to a backing track designed to sound as much like the original as possible…

And so, I believe it may prove popular because (a) people would know the songs and (b) they would be interested to hear how they were being interpreted…

It could also help budding singer-songwriters who, by learning covers, would be able to see how successful writers have written their songs…

The idea flashed into my head because I’d made up a T Rex : The Singles 1968-1977 24 song CD for chum Spike and we were listening to it as we drove. I asked Anne what her fave T Rex single was – she doesn’t have one – mine is, at the moment “Children of the Revolution”…

…just a thought…

Anyway, other highlights from the evening were Pam saying she was going to Belgium on business for one day and that the town she was going to was closer to Holland than Belgium???

Pam constantly referring to “Strictly Come Dancing “ as “Strictly BALL Dancing “…

Me and sister Sheila trying to fix a noise coming from my mum’s rubbish electric fire - we thought we’d succeeded but ultimately we were defeated by the rubbishy workings inside the fire – despite the placing of a cut down candle and an ornament of some sort inside the fire in a cunning attempt to silence the offending sound…

The entire family discussing the fact that my nephew, Andrew jnr, who contributed such lovely piano to the last track on “Deeperdown” and co-wrote two of the songs with me, has a RUBBISH job delivering wigs from some kind of sweat-shop running exploitational employer – and that he ought to call in tomorrow morning and say he’s not going back…

An entertaining time was had by all….

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Driving me backwards...



Here are two apples I didn't eat today. Truth be known, there's one of them here which I also didn't eat yesterday. Today, however, I did eat a banana and a reasonably sized bunch of seedless grapes...

While Anne watched Arsenal v Real Madrid, I continued to upload CDs to the jukebox, having had a hiatus for a few days. I'm now on "H" and much Herbie Hancock, Roy Harper and Hawkwind is involved...

Whilst doing this, I also downloaded a few tracks from The Wire's website...

The artists involved are Tape, Keith Berry, Bardo Pond, Edan, Volcano the Bear and Wolf Eyes - of these I can heartily recommend Tape and Keith Berry with the latter being my favourite - the remainder will no doubt be deleted off the hard-drive shortly - go here to hear for yourself...
http://www.thewire.co.uk/web/mp3specials.php

Earlier in the evening I arranged with sister Pam for her to come round on Saturday evening for a curry, a few glasses of vino and a stop-over with breakfast on Sunday morning thrown in...

She's up from London visiting my mum again. I live around 6 miles from my mum's home but I think Pam sees her more often...

It seems I'm not a big "family" type person...

Slightly earlier than that, I booked a table at top Edinburgh Restaurant No 3 owned by Mr Nigel Cameron-Hogg - a very nice chap. So that's something for us to look forward to in the near future...

And going further back in time, I was back at physio today. The Tuesday lady was a lot nicer today than last week..

That's me half way through it now and I can't say there's really any less pain in the leg. I'm finding it hard to walk - still stuck at half speed...

Oh how the Gods of Football mock me....

...now for tonight's CSI...

Highlight of the Day : Tape & Keith Berry Downloads from The Wire

Monday, February 20, 2006

One chicken goes a long way...

One chicken continues to feed us – following yesterday’s salad, another today, along with some soup made by boiling the bones and adding stuff – tastes better than it sounds – and sandwiches tomorrow for Anne’s lunch…

I had intended going along to the Queen’s Hall to listen to some String Quartets but, in the end, passed on the opportunity....

Instead, I met up with Jamie at OOTB’s February Acoustica, the main reason being to check out what will be the new venue for OOTB from 20 April…

It looks like being a good move…

On display tonight were Spamboorskie, who we missed, The Angel Conversations, a four piece band, the guitarist and singer of whom usually perform acoustically at OOTB, Rob Sproul-Cran and the Jones Brothers - Graeme Mearns and Nobody Jones...

Of the three acts we saw, the Jones Brothers were the best – they are both seasoned performers and excellent guitarists – and a couple of well chosen covers added to their set…

The mix for Angel Conversations was a wee bit dodgy but, in the end, their songs made it through – they overcame a recent arm injury to their bass player by providing her with a keyboard. To be honest though, I preferred them as an acoustic two piece…

Mr Sproul-Cran is a bit of an aquired taste, with his very quiet guitar playing (mostly) and his very high falsetto vocals (mostly). His best song was a piece entitled “Japan”. His second best was a cover of Free’s “All Right Now”….

I gave Jamie copies of the Ian Sclater CD and the Skylines disc. I think we’ve made the IS CD too loud as it distorts in places but this is easily sorted. I’ll be interested in hearing JJ’s opinion…

Back home by 11:30 and Anne was watching the SPL highlights – back to old form here as the programme spent the first 50 minutes on the Rangers and Celtic games while giving 3 minutes of highlights of the Hearts match with a couple of minutes chat thereafter…

By watching this, I accidentally missed Alice Cooper appearing on the Graham Norton show “The Bigger Picture”…

Oh well..

To bed with an Albinoni Oboe Concerto on the headphones….having spent the day with the great UK (John Wetton, Allan Holdsworth, Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson and, on their 2nd and final LP Terry Bozzio) providing my soundtrack…

Highlight of the Day : Albinoni Oboe Concerto

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mainly musicking again...

Up at 7:30 and uploaded yesterday's entry - adding the photos to the text I'd written as I moved through the day...

I searched the net for a solution to the printer problem and, lo and behold, I found one. I am loathe to spend another couple of hundred pounds just because the print heads are clogged. All I needed to do was remove the cartridges and jet compressed air onto the heads....

I now need to try and remember to print something at least once a day to keep things from going tits up again...

I designed a cover and label for the one-off CBQ "Skylines/Do As Others Do" CD and printed both off...

Then I tried to waken Anne up around 9 but to no avail - maybe she would've woken if she'd remembered Ian Sclater was due round at 12...

So I watched the 1st Division highlights with Meg the Black Cat. Looks like Queens were desperately unlucky not to get all three points yesterday against Brechin...

Anne finally rose around 10:30 and we had a fine breakfast of toast, made with the remains of yesterday's lovely loaf, and lashings of coffee - Douwe Egberts if you're interested...

At 12 I started work on Ian's mixing instructions and he arrived at 12:30. It was possibly one of our most enjoyable sessions and we worked hard and quickly to get through the changes on ten of the thirteen tracks...

By five he was leaving Crispycat Towers with a shiny new White Label of the 2006 mix of his album...

He will live with this mix for a couple of weeks and then advise me of any final tweaking required. Listening back to it myself, I think it's excellent with perhaps just one track being slightly too loud in comparison with the rest - but this is easily sorted...

Ian's revised running order flows much better than the previous one - he'll now have to revamp the cover text to reflect this and the slightly amended track timings...

We watch "Enterprise" on video from earlier this afternoon whilst partaking of a succulent chicken salad with balsamic vinegar - mmm...



The day isn't over yet as I write, but I suspect the rest of it will consist of a well earned rest in front of the telly...

Highlight of the Day : Finishing Ian Sclater's CD "It's Weird In Here"

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Oh to be cosmopolitan and/or bohemian...

Stayed up till 3:30 writing up the diary and surfing round the net whilst listening to Aimee Mann, Andrew Hill, Anthony Moore, Lee Morgan and the Various Artists disc “Untinted”....

Got up around 9 and listened to some music by Arvo Part followed by the waltz from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” (it was in Anne's head for some reason so we played it - he did write some good music of course) and then Colosseum’s “Valentyne Suite” (which was definitely not in Anne's head) and a track from Elbow's last album, which I bought when it came out but have never actually listened to.....

It’s a bright cold and frosty but beautiful morning...



..and so, listening to Sparks as we drive, it's off into Stockbridge for breakfast at Patisserie Florentin followed by a browse around the small shops in this village within Edinburgh....

We live in another such village, Corstorphine, sadly, our village is not as cosmopolitan or bohemian as Stockbridge, probably due to the older population and the propensity of larger houses rather than older flats, the latter perhaps giving rise to younger and more varied inhabitants...



OK so that photo collage doesn't really purvey a "village" as such but....

Anyway, yes we have all the charity shops, but we don’t have the deli, the fishmonger, the butcher, the baker and the other small specialist shops that make a wander round Stockbridge such a rewarding experience...

Anne buys a present for Mr Brodie’s ex, Julie’s upcoming birthday, as well as a couple of trinkets for herself, while I pick up Lou Reed’s 2CD anthology “NYC Man” for £3.99 at Oxfam..

I was a little hesitant on this since I have almost every track already, but it turns out Lou worked with the original master tapes and remixed many of the tracks to improve the sound quality. It’s a great collection...

In Shelter I bought a couple of latin jazz compilations (at £2 each you surely can’t go wrong)....

“Blue Bossa” is on Blue Note and features the likes of Duke Pearson, Ike Quebec, Cannonball Adderley, Kenny Dorham, Grant Green, Horace Silver, Andrew Hill, Hank Mobley and Donald Byrd.

I was drawn to “Focus on Fusion” by the word “fusion”....

Whilst the Blue Note disc is mostly 60’s stuff, this disc is rooted in the 1970’s and features less well known names...

Finally, for £4, I bought a 2CD set of “The Very Best of Classical Chill Out” which, amongst the usual suspects includes tracks by Wiliam Orbit, Brian Eno, Michael Nyman and Craig Armstrong...



At Herbie’s delicatessen we bought a lovely French farm loaf for lunch. I enjoyed a couple of pieces with Brussels Pate and sliced apple...very tasty indeed...



Then Anne went off to Tynecastle for today’s match – Hearts v Motherwell – hoping for a win and insisting Meg the Black Cat cross her paws for good luck...

Also today, second bottom in the 1st Division, Queen of the South, play bottom of the table Brechin City – it’s a must win situation for Queens and, with 3rd bottom Stranraer away to leaders St Mirren (who I also kind of support since I spent my formative years living in Paisley) , it’s a great opportunity for QoS to leave Brechin behind and move to withing 3 points of Stranraer...

So stop running around chasing a toy fish on a stick so fast that you're merely a blur in a photo and cross those paws Meg the Black Cat!



I fire up the computer to try and record a final version of “Do As Others Do” and put it on a one-off CD for Lindsay West, along with a new recording of “Skylines Full of Cranes”...

Three hours later and I have reasonable versions of the two songs..

Re the footie – Hearts have done well and beaten Motherwell 3-0, St Mirren have also done well and beaten Stranraer 3-1 but the mighty Queen of the South have only managed a disappointing goaless draw with lowly Brechin City....

An opportunity lost....

I take a break from the tracks to get some perspective and record Harry Hill for later. Anne returns home and is in a jubilant mood, though still not 100% happy with the way Hearts are playing – hah – try being 2nd bottom of the 1st Division instead of 2nd top of the SPL....

As Anne settles down to watch “Celebrity Ice Dancing on Ice” or something, I go back to the two tracks and need to record three words – which I do quickly – and then it’s some judicious editing of the various guitar lines and vocal performances to try and squeeze something satisfactory out of the afternoon’s work...

By 8pm I think I have succeeded – I have an approximation of what Thursday night would have sounded like had I, in reality, been a Quartet rather than one man and a guitar. The recording features four vocal and three guitar performances...all melding together nicely into an eight minute medley of the two songs...

So that should be that – I’ll burn a one-off disc for Lindsay and add the recording to my ever-growing collection of “rare” CBQ discs...

And so I now have three projects on the horizon...

Project one is more work on Ian Sclater's music...

Ian has been back in touch, having lived with the “final” mix of his album for a couple of months. He now wants to do some more recordings and some remixing. He has sent me an itemised list of changes and additions he wants us to work on. I think it’s going to entail a lot more work than he suspects...

Work on this starts tomorrow...

Project two is Out of the Bedroom’s fourth compilation CD....

This will involve recording sixteen different acts, with each getting 30 minutes time to lay down their wares. The idea of the discs is to give the listener a taste of what a really good night at OOTB would be like – so all the performances are recorded without overdubbing and I then have to listen back to eight hours of music and select one track by each artist and master the CD...

I produced volume 2, which includes “Skylines Full of Cranes” and volume 3, on which Jamie’s “Why Billy Why” appears – so I have some experience of what it’ll be like. It’s hard work but worth the effort as the CDs are one of the main fund raising assets the club has....

However there’s a question mark over where we’ll do the recording as OOTB is shortly to move from its spiritual home of The Waverley Bar in St Mary’s St – and both the previous sets of recording sessions I undertook took place in the room where OOTB happens – albeit without an audience...

Work on this will start in the next couple of weeks or so, with sessions probably taking plce in early to mid March - but the committee hasn't approached the bar owner yet re recording there - he may well be prejudiced by the fact OOTB is moving home...

Project Three involves the burning and printing of rather a large order of “Deeperdown” CDs for a charity golf match organised to raise money for a cancer relief centre....

A copy of the CD will be given to each participant in the competition. I am in the fortunate position of having the organiser of the event as one of my “fans”. He thinks the album is brilliant and that it ought to be getting more exposure...

Who am I to argue?

Of course in order to be able to do this, I’ll need to get a new printer. I think the event is in May though, so I have a bit of time to get things organised...

The evening is rounded off with “CSI:NY”, “Law & Order : Criminal Intent” and “Match of the Day”

Highlight of the Day : Leisurely breakfast and browse in Stockbridge

Friday, February 17, 2006

Mr Eno agrees with me...

Hmm - significant leg/ankle/foot pain today...

Drank a couple of pints of Kronenberg tonight and then had an indian takeaway...

Watched "The IT Crowd" and "My Name Is Earl"...

Updated the diary and uploaded the CDs I bought on Sunday into the Jukebox...

Listened to said CDs as I also updated the Photo Blog...

Discovered that on Saturday 28th January 2006 a letter from Brian Eno appeared in The Independent....

He was responding to an article by columnist Howard Jacobson, who was responding to the 2-part television series Richard Dawkins' "Root Of All Evil?" in which Dawkins responded to the existence of religion (you may recall my own remarks on religion following those programmes caused a bit of a stramash)....

I am fortified to find that Mr Eno agrees with me...

Here's his letter...



Highlight of the Day : Vegetable Madras

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Almost like the old days....

The printer finally gave up the ghost this morning and has left me having to send out white-label discs with no covers with the promise of the real thing to follow....

This is extremely annoying as it's not exactly old, probably just over a year or so and was ideal for printing directly onto CDs....

It's a Canon i865...

Don't buy one...

Marty the IT man reckons the print heads have clogged up and they can't be fixed....

He recommends a Hewlett Packard machine, as their ink cartridges come with built in heads so, every time you replace the ink, you replace the heads...

So there you are, some free advice re printers...

Back to physio today and much more satisfactory - I was in the gym for around an hour and had plenty of time to get through all the various exercises which my physio had prescribed for me....

I managed to change all my future appointments too to ensure I'd always have at least 55 minutes...

The girl taking the session today was a breath of fresh air - explaining things (e.g. don't exercise into pain because at the point where pain kicks in, the muscles you're exercising switch off) and generally actually taking an interest - my own physio is very dry with no discernable sense of humour...

She's still much better than the girl who took the Tuesday class - she is not only a torn-faced humourless automoton (and that's a slur on robots, believe me) but I found out today she must have closed the class fifteen minutes early on Tuesday...

Anyway, after the workout, I got home around 5:30 and practised for tonight's performance, finally choosing "The Crocodile Song" (in a different key from the original) and "Skylines Full of Cranes" to accompany the cover version...

Anne was off out tonight to meet up with Lynn and so I drove into town on my own, listening to Sparks at full volume. "Perfume" is my favourite track of all tracks right now - my No 1 you might say...don't tell me you don't make up your own charts...

I arrived at 7:30 and was 4th onto the board booking my first slot at OOTB since October - my first for 17 weeks, which in turn was my first in 10 weeks. So after tonight I would have played there only three times in six months, whereas I used to play there every fortnight...I ensured Jamie got a slot too by illegally chalking his name up when no-one was looking (except Jim Igoe...)

The theme of the night was CC (the Roman numeral for 200) - standing for Covers and Collaborations - and what a great night it was too...

Amongst the highlights were...

Impossible Songs taking the big chocolate cake onstage and leading everyone in singing Happy Birthday to the club and to regular soundman Dave O'Hara not to mention their cover of Norman Lamont's "Call Back"...

Tommy Mackay's incisive wit in melding a Ramones track with Beethoven's 9th Symphony - yes, really...

Norman Lamont's lovely cover of Jill Hepburn's "Moon on my Mind" - played using Fripp's New Standard Tuning which Norman's been working with since attending a Guitar Craft course in Germany recently...

Hannah O'Reilly's cover of Chris Brown's "Redemption"....

The fantastic (ha ha) Cloudland Blue Quartet who had people singing along to "Skylines Full of Cranes" followed by a "beautiful" (c 2006 J Jamieson) version of Lindsay West's "Do As Others Do" - which Lindsay unfortunately arrived just a few minutes too late to hear...

Callum Haddow's cover of Big Jim's song about Love and Chocolate...

Lindsay Sugden & Karen of the Decibels fragile cover of Norman's "(Only) the Sea" including some great glockenspiel...

James Jamieson surprising me by covering "You Taught Me How To Love You (Now Teach Me To Forget)" and giving a great debut public performance of his Johhny Cash inspired new song "The Morning After"...

David Ferrard & Jim Igoe covering each other's songs as a duo - "Braveheart Beggar" and "Rescue Me" - the latter including a few lines from the Velvets' "Run Run Run"...

Big Jim returning Callum Haddow's compliment by covering Calum's animal killing song..

And, finishing off the night, Scott Renton with his violin wiedling sidekick Bruce Thomson, leading everyone in a closing rousing singalong to Chris Brown's "Alive"...

A great night...

I took pics of all the players, except me of course. However, from the stage I captured the audience on camera (click the pics to enlarge)...




Yes a good time was had by all - it was almost like the old days....

Highlight of the Day : OOTB 200

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The best things in life will kill you....

The jazz CDs remain half in, half out, taunting me to take the step which will bring about a shit-load of pointless moving around of CDs...

But, along with the making of pointless lists, the pointless moving of my possessions from one position to another has taken up a stupid amount of my time on the planet and, no doubt, will continue to do so until I die...

I often wonder if there will come a time when I start selling off my possessions having reached the point where I feel I should commence the “wind-down” to death – after all it’s either sell the stuff or it’ll end up in a skip...

And on that cheery note....

I rehearsed an impromptu set of songs for tomorrow night’s 200th Out of the Bedroom, including of course Lindsay West’s “Do As Others Do”. I tried out a good number of songs trying to find one or two which would sit well alongside the cover but failed – I will decide tomorrow at the last moment no doubt...

To the Queen’s Hall again tonight for a concert by the Orchestra of the Scottish Opera....

Anne’s cousin plays for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (bassoon) and, at a concert of their’s a couple of weeks ago, we met Anne’s aunt, who coincidentally lives in the town in which I spent the majority of my childhood – I knew Anne’s aunt long before I knew Anne...

Anyway, Anne’s aunt was there and offered to give us free tickets for tonight’s show as the bassoonist’s husband, Anne’s cousin-in-law, plays clarinet for the Opera Orchestra (although tonight he turns out to be absent due to illness)...

Of course Anne’s aunt could’ve taken the free tickets but she likes to buy a ticket to support her daughter’s husband’s career...

She wasn’t here tonight though, presumably because she’d heard in advance her son-in-law wouldn’t be playing...

It was very much a concert of two halves – half one consisted of arrangements for a wind ensemble of pieces by Arensky and Elgar....

The Arensky started life as part of a string quartet dedicated to Tchaikovsky by his pupil, Arensky. The second movement of that quartet was a set of variations based on Tchaikovsky’s song, “Legend,” from Songs for Children....

Arensky later arranged this movement for string orchestra and, tonight, we heard that piece arranged for winds....

Unfortunately, all that convoluted history didn’t make the piece sound any better to these ears...

The Elgar piece was an arrangement for winds of his organ sonata. While I enjoy his Enigma Variations and indeed ”Land of Hope and Glory”, I was not overly impressed with this piece....

In fact, I have to say that the Romantic period is probably the lowlight for me in the history of classical music. That coupled with the fact it was being played almost solely by wind instruments added to the general boredom...

I was beginning to feel glad I hadn’t actually shelled out for a ticket!

But then came the second half and the winds were relegated to their rightful place in the midst of the forty odd piece orchestra as they performed Bach’s 4th Brandenburg Concerto with solos for violin and flutes. This was exquisite with the solo violin being particularly impressive...

The evening was capped off by Mozart’s 29th Symphony which was another fine piece - again eclipsing the, for me, mediocre first half...

Prior to the concert and during the interval, I partook of a couple of Bundaberg Ginger Beers. However, this may be the end of an era as, on reading the label on the bottle, I discovered that each 275ml of cloudy nectar contains around 400 calories...

And so it was that, once again it proved to be so that the best things in life will kill you....

Highlight of the Day : Bach & Mozart showing Arensky & Elgar how it should be done....

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Twenty minutes is not long enough...

To the gym for physio today – or rather the gym at the physio. This weird sky was before me as I walked along Princes Street...



Physio was frankly disappointing as my appointment turned out to be for just 20 minutes and there was no way I’d be able to do all the exercises my physio had set out for me in my programme...

And so I was kicked out at 5 and made my way home. I was going to cross a busy road to a card shop to get a valentine for Anne but the Airport Bus (the quickest for me) pulled into view so I had to skip it...

At home Anne had made me a card and I ended up making her one too, just before we enjoyed the special valentine’s tea of Spaghetti Bolognese and Chianti...

We watched “The IT Crowd” and “My Name is Earl” from Friday, then “Harry Hill’s TV Burp” from Saturday...

Then I went upstairs for twenty minutes and recorded a second version of Lindsay West’s “Do As Others Do”. Lindsay has e-mailed me to say she’d be honoured to have me sing her song – and she confirmed a couple of lines for me too...

I called Jamie and we’re both going to try and make it along, though, as ever, it’ll be a tight squeeze for him to get their in time for a slot and, unfortunately, it’s not possible to book a slot for anyone not actually present – even if you know they’re coming later..

Then back downstairs for tonight’s episode of “CSI” before mailing to Nicky Hind a couple of pics from the night out after Jim Park snr’s funeral. Nicky sent us a very nice card from San Francisco asking that I forward the souvenirs of a great night. Coincidentally, the picture on his card was taken when he was out sailing in San Francisco Bay on November 23 last year – the day I broke my ankle...

Last night, while Anne was on the net re Hearts, I pulled all my jazz CDs halfway out of the CD storage shelves with the intention of separating them from the main body – I already keep my classical discs separately..

If I take the plunge and pull them right out it’ll be a long laborious task to get everything tidied up again – so one to ponder perhaps...

Got word today that the OOTB committee has agreed terms for me to produce the fourth OOTB compilation. This will keep me occupied for a while...

Highlight of the Day : It’s got to be Anne’s spaghetti again...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Do as others do...

It's the 200th Out of the Bedroom on Thursday and they're asking people to perform cover versions of other OOTBers' songs...

I'd like to play a Lindsay West song, so I listened to her album and chose "Do As Others Do"...

One spookily pertinent line from the song is "learn to sing the phrase of someone else"...

I e-mailed her for permission and await a response but, in the meantime, I worked out the chords and wrote out the lyrics and then spent the evening (other than an hour out to watch "Life on Mars") learning the piece and recording a rough two guitar and four vocal demo of it on the computer - my first full recording session of 2006...

Of course whether I actually play it will depend upon (a) getting Lindsay's permission and (b) getting along early enough on Thursday to get a slot...

Stayed up till 1 am updating the diary quickly and posting a pic of the Fives Awards Night, which Guy le Comte kindly e-mailed to me, on to last Friday's entry ..

Highlight of the Day : Working out and recording Lindsay's Song

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sparks fly...

Up reasonably late for a Sunday...

To Patisserie Florentin for breakfast. I broke new ground again by ordering the Toast Breakfast - two slices of toast, a glass of orange, some butter, jam and a cup of latte - £3.80. Very tasty...

Back home to discover I'd missed the chance to see the highlights of QoS thrashing Dundee 3-2 yesterday...

Because ITV is repeating pish like American Idol at lunchtime on a Sunday, the football's been brought forward to 9:25 am, when any self respecting musician is updating his blog re the previous night's exploits..

At 12:15 I set off on my own for Glasgow for the Sparks gig...

I've been listening to their new album every chance I can since it's arrival on Friday. It's so weird but so good...

In Glasgow I parked at the West End and visited FOPP, buying a mainly 70's Blue Note compilation "Untinted" and a just re-released album "Smokestack" by one of my Blue Note favourites, the pianist Andrew Hill from 1963...

Amazing to think that when this music was being recorded, the world was going ape for Dylan and The Beatles....

Took in the 2nd hand shop in DeCourcey arcade but nothing for me today...

Back to the car and into the town centre - where I visited FOPP's main shop, buying Lee Morgan's "The Gigolo" forom 1965 and Aimee Mann's album from last year, "The Forgotten Arm"...

Then to another 2nd hand shop, Missing, where I found a rare beast indeed, Anthony Moore's 1978 album "Flying Doesn't Help"....

I bought this on vinyl on it's release and it was one of my favourites back then - he ended up making a fortune due to being lyricist of a couple of songs on Pink Floyd's "Momentary Lapse of Reason" in 1987 - I had never seen this album on CD till today....

So then I drove around for a while and listened to Anthony Moore and Aimee Mann. By the time I got to Lee Morgan I was parked outside the venue for the gig...

At 18:15 I joined the cue and fired up Sparks on the jukebox...

There was a delay..

When they finally opened the doors at 7:35 (instead of 7:00) we were told to go upstairs to the bar, negating any advantage of having stood in the queue for almost an hour and a half with a broken ankle..

However, I managed to wangle my way to the front and got exactly the spot I wanted - on the barrier on the first raised section - near where I'd been for Fripp and The Porcupine Tree back in December..

Sparks finally took the stage around 8:30 and played the new album in its entirety with a screen backdrop showing a synchronised film for each song...

It was quite amazing - and it's the first time for a long time I've seen a "rock" audience standing in silence during the performance and going into raptures at the end of each song..

The amount of work which went into the production must have been enormous...

Then a 20 minute or so interval while the stage was rebuilt and back they came with selections from their previous 19 albums and totally rocked the hall...



By 11:15 it was all over and I waited for the crowd to dissipate before heading back out to the car...

The drive home was through fog, so I kept at a steady 60mph in fifth gear, allowing me to rest my leg as I drove along listening, firstly, to Lee Morgan and then to Sparks' new album one more time - this time with added input from the visual extravaganza I'd just witnessed..

Home at 12:30 without incident and into bed a very happy boy indeed...

Highlight of the Day : Sparks Live in Glasgow

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Is music dead? Very probably...

Spent quite a lot of time today doing nothing but reading stuff on the internet while I added artists beginning with “G” to the jukebox...

However, late morning, while Anne was checking the latest news on Heart of Midlothian FC, I took the opportunity to play through a few songs...

Chance Meeting (Roxy Music cover)
The Time of Our Lives
Where Are You
The End of Everything
Skylines Full of Cranes
I Thought You'd Stay
The Crocodile Song
Baby Please
A Place For You
Down to the Beach
Forgive and Forget

...which made for an interesting wee set of songs...

Then, back to the computer and, after writing yesterday’s entry, I Googled “Wizzard Edinburgh 1974” and stumbled across a brilliant site for historical album reviews. Take a look at this http://starling.rinet.ru/music/index.htm....

Though he writes like an American, he is Russian and lives in Moscow – and he does have an encyclopaedic knowledge of music..

I especially like this article, http://starling.rinet.ru/music/essay1.htm “Music: Where the hell is it heading to today?” in which he very succinctly argues that, like its forebears, classical and jazz, rock is dead...

I find it hard to disagree his points, especially his argument that, rather than being a revolutionary movement, punk rock was in fact a backward, though logical, step for popular music following the death of Prog Rock. While Prog, far from having been killed off by punk, actually just died out naturally because it had nowhere left to go...

[for the record I was an afficionado of both Prog and Punk at the time - as witnessed a few posts ago by my purchases of both the Sex Pistols' "Never Mind the Bollocks" and Yes' "Going For the One" back in 1977, in which year both reached the No 1 spot in the UK album charts]

Reading the reviews led me to listen to Prog Rock for most of the afternoon while I monitored the scores at Tynecastle (Hearts v Aberdeen) and Dens Park (Dundee v Queen of the South)...

Aaargh Hearts beaten by an own goal and a cruelly deflected winner with four minutes left...suffice to say, Anne is not pleased, although, by her own account, it appears the JT's played like a pub team throughout the second half - albeit a very expensive pub team...

But Hurrah!! QoS win away from home at Dundee, who, last season were in the SPL. QoS went ahead in the first minute then behind 2-1 early in the second half but, amazingly, scored twice to win. The first away win of the season...

Perhaps this is the turning point. The team above QoS, Stranraer (coincidentally local rivals) were thumped 5-0 at home to Clyde so a real six pointer for the mighty Doonhamers today!!!

Next week it’s a home game against bottom of the table Brechin City...

In the evening we set the video correctly (after last week’s debacle) and drove over to Fairmilehead at the foot of the Pentland Hills for a meal with my sister, Sheila, and her husband Andrew – in celebration of yesterday having been Sheila’s 50th birthday...

A good time was had by all as we shared a bottle of fizzy wine and partook of the fine fayre of the establishment, which I must say was delivered up in quite massive portions...

Here are the protagonists....

The birthday girl...


The man in her life...


The author of this on-line diary....


The lovely Anne...


The mother of invention, without whom...


A very enjoyable evening..

Highlight of the Day : Dundee 2 Queen of the South 3

Friday, February 10, 2006

I'll never be younger than I am today...

Today is my sister's 50th Birthday...

That makes me feel old...

Still, I'll never be younger than I am today...

Back to physio first thing today and received a new set of exercise to carry out in the “crocks” gym there. I’ll be attending every Tuesday and Thursday for the next three weeks before returning to the Infirmary in early March for, hopefully, final X Rays...

Took these photos...



The Sparks CD arrived and I gave it an initial listen while I finalised the awards scripts. It’s absolutely different from anything else out there – a cross between Opera and Pop and Rock...totally weird but a continuation of their last album from 2002, “Lil’ Beethoven” – the style is almost identical...

At 7:15 I left the house and headed to the venue by car – no drinking for me this time. Last time I had to take 4 super strength painkillers the next morning and still wasn’t feeling well on the Sunday...

We had an even better turn out than last year tonight but I was sorry to see that Jim Park hadn’t made it, despite both me and Nigel calling to try and find out where he was...

When I’m formatting the nominations and funny comments, the comments sometimes don’t seem that funny but, on the night, as the sheets are passed around and read out to the assembled players, it really is very entertaining indeed...

I managed to hold onto the award for Most Static Player for the fourth time running (although I should point out that, in 2001, the first year of this run, I also won Deadliest Finisher...) and also took Most Memorable Moment of the Year for the ankle breaking incident, though I thought the main contender for that, one player blootering the ball into the face of another during the warm up, was more entertaining...

Jim was joint winner of Player of the Year, winning the categories for Worst Goalkeeper, Worst Defender, Player Most Likely to Put You In Hospital and, for the fourth time running, Worst dressed Player...

I should point out that Player of the Year is based on number of Categories won rather than any actual playing prowess...

Although, having said that, Jim’s joint holder (young Gary Kane at least half our age!) won Best Goalkeeper, Fastest Player, Best Dressed Player and, ok, Player Least Likely to Pass...

So who is really Player of the Year?

I think it’s definitely Jim!

Here're the attendees on the night (thanks to Guy for the pic mailed to me on 13/2)


Back Row : Jose, Matt, Euan, Gary, Colin, Blair, Guy
Front Row : Nigel, Mick, Me, Dom, Paul, Jonathon

I made it home at 11:59 and crawled into bed....

Highlight of the Day : MBFives Awards Night

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Out and about...

After doing more work on the fives’ awards for tomorrow night, I watched the latest episode of “Hyperdrive”. It’s really not very good. Apart from “the actor Kevin Eldon”...

Then, as previously arranged and leaving Anne to enjoy “Judge John Deed”, I headed out into the night with James Jamieson, stopping by his place to pick him up...



I had fully intended to play at out of the Bedroom tonight but I hadn’t had enough time to rehearse any songs and time was against me in any case...

Jamie and I finally arrived around 9:30 – I’d have needed to be there around two hours earlier to be sure of a slot..

We stayed for around an hour which included the first break of the night which allowed us the chance for a chat. Strangely there were only three people in the whole room whom we actually knew – David O’Hara the sound man, Chris Brown the compere and “Big Jim” who was manning the CD desk. There was good crowd in though, around 40 or so...

Two acts stood out for me of the few we saw, David Maxwell, an electric guitaring singer songwriter with a nice line in melancholia and a very young duo, Callel, whose guitar work, melodies and harmonies were just the thing Jamie and I like in an act at OOTB...

Here’s a collaged pic of the room tonight...



Then back into the car and along to the art college to see Lindsay West....

The venue is quite busy and we spot a number of OOTB stalwarts around the room. Unfortunately we’ve not only missed Lindsay West but also Lindsay Sugden and Andy Thompson and are left with the less than entertaining sound of Eagle Owl, an electric guitar/vocals and violin/mandolin/melodica duo who are occasionally joined by a young lady on double bass...

They’re like a not very good version of Sigur Ros without the imagination...but fair play to them, they are doing what they believe in and that’s not to be criticised – it’s just that what they’re doing isn’t to my tastes (although Sigur Ros are...)

Here’s the scene...



Our third venue of the evening is The Left Bank, where Jamie and I were supposed to have played a couple of sets last summer but I had a fall out with the manager of the club and ended up declining their offer to us to perform....

I caught a couple of songs from Ross Galloway before heading home. Jamie stayed behind to watch William Douglas and his band...

Here’s an “atmospheric” shot of Ross on stage....



I made it home at 11:59 and crawled into bed....

Highlight of the Day : A night out with Mr Frain

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The morning sun shining on the clouds...

This morning I took this photo of the strange sky. The low-down sun was shining on the overhanging clouds, giving them a nice glowing effect...



All free time today was used in the preparations for Friday night’s 5-a Sides Awards. This year there are around 25 different awards and the nominations and funny stories have been coming in by e-mail. As organiser, it’s up to me to collate them all into a format which will allow the night to run smoothly...

It’s a long and arduous task – but it’ll be worth it I’m sure...

By way of relaxation, we watched the latest episode of “Desperate Housewives”, which, this series, seems to be a bit of a meandering piece of fluff, with no discernible underlying plotline, but we’ll stick with it...

Earlier in the evening whilst outside, I came across the notorious Black and White Cat with the Bell, who used to annoy Meg the Black Cat so often but not so much these days...



Today is the 32nd anniversary of the first concert I ever attended - it was Roy Wood's Wizzard at the Edinburgh Odeon, 8th February 1974....

Just thought I'd throw that in...

Highlight of the Day : The morning sun shining on the clouds

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Death walks amongst us...

Back to the physio today but my appointment was diverted away from my ankle and on to my arm as, following my visit on Friday to the doctor, he had, as promised, referred me re the shoulder pains...

After taking copious notes regarding the pain levels (9/10 but only because 10/10 was the pain of having your leg cut off without anaesthetic) and bending my arm into various painful positions, the physio declared there was nothing she could do really as there’s nothing wrong with the arm in itself...

She gave an explanation which I have great trouble in understanding. Apparently it’s all to do with my nervous system – it has got to the stage where the pain identifying nerves are not switching off and are relaying pain to my brain based on movements being made – even though those pains should not actually cause pain based on the condition of my arm..

I must now get into the way of pain management because I have chronic pain in my arm which may never go away, or which may well disappear over time....

I did ask for some exercises I might do and I received some, plus a few therabands to help me out. So now I must work on the mobility of the arm – although all of the above diagnosis would seem to suggest that it won’t matter what I do...

A weird situation indeed...

And so my future guitar playing is in doubt...

To cheer myself up (not of course that this is the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being) I went to FOPP and bought two jazz CDs...

The classic John Coltrane album “My Favourite Things” wherein he and his combo wig out over forty minutes on tunes such as George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and that song from “The Sound of Music”, “My Favourite Things” – you know the one I mean? “brown paper packages, tied up with string..” etc etc – which was parodied in Alice Cooper’s excellent song from 1971’s “Killer”, “Halo of Flies”...



...and Jacques Loussier’s classic from the late 50’s, “Play Bach No 1” in which his trio reinterpret the works of JS Bach for jazz piano, bass and drums. This reminds me of my dad – the last concert we attended together (not that there were many) was one at the Queen’s Hall by the aforementioned Mr Loussier, whose jazz interpretations of the classics, he loved...



Home to find Anne in a bit of tizzy at the latest “crisis” to befall Hearts. Andy Webster, their Scotland international centre back, who has ambitions to play for Rangers for £20,000 a week (it is rumoured) has been dropped to the subs bench. It is suspected that club owner and generally all out mental case (but astute businessman) Vlad Romanov has ordered this due to the stalling of contract talks...

Webster has demanded to know why he’s been dropped. Coach Rix has foolishly uttered the immortal line “it’s not my decision” instead of telling him to “put up or shut up I am the boss”, Webster has gone blubbing to his agent and his agent has gone blabbing to the press saying Romanov’s picking the team...

And all this just before an important away match at Dundee Utd – from which the Jam Tarts are lucky to come away with a draw...

Telly tonight consists of “CSI” and a tape of the last episode in the hilarious political spoof series “The Thick of It”...

Sad news received that my old mucker, Alan Brodie’s mum has died. She’d been in hospital since last August following a stroke and, to be fair, it wasn’t expected she’d be coming back out. But that does not lessen the loss. Of course Alan’s not been the most easily obtainable person over the last year or so and I just have to leave a message of condolence with his lodger...and hope that he’ll get back I touch...

Highlight of the Day : The purchase of two classic jazz albums

Monday, February 06, 2006

Modern music...

I forgot to mention that, yesterday, Dr Prog called and offered a free ticket to a concert tonight by Ensemble Acrobat of the University Mozarteum in Salzburg so tonight Phil (Dr Prog) and I were headed into town for that...

Before that though, Anne had been uptown shopping for niece Kitty’s birthday present and seemed to have found the biggest Disney Cinderella Castle in the world...which I’m sure Kitty will adore...

Meanwhile I had procured tickets for me, Anne and Phil to see the John Wetton/Geoff Downes Band live in Glasgow next month and a single ticket for me to witness Sparks live next Sunday – their new album is out today and I bought it mail order from CD-Wow for a mere £8.75 including postage – how do they do that??


For more info, interviews pics, downloads etc on this BRILLIANT duo go here...
http://www.noblepr.co.uk/Press_Releases/gut/sparks.htm

Just as Phil arrived, the windscreen wiper on our car appeared to have broken – at least it came off in my hand as I was trying to fix it...

There was much consternation and many suggestions as to the resolution for this crisis which may well have seen us carless (disaster) but, eventually, I managed to work out how the wiper went back together again (the initial fault seemed just to have been a slight looseness, now fixed) and large quantity of wailing and gnashing of teeth was avoided...

Anne treated the trio of windscreenwiper engineers (me, her and Phil) to a superb plateful of her world reknowned Spaghetti Bolognese and then Dr Prog and I took off into the night to listen to some weird modern classical (oxymoron?) music...

We had intended using Phil’s car but he was short on petrol and, what with the wiper emergency, we were a little short of time to fill up, so I drove – my second time since breaking the ankle....

I twisted it a bit on entry but, all in all, the trip went ok and we arrived with a few minutes to spare, both of us realising we didn’t even have enough cash for a drink – indeed we only just managed to scrape together enough change for the £1 for the programme...



The music comprised a programme of nine pieces by composers from Hungary, Germany, Holland, Austria, Poland, Egypt, Spain and South Korea, each of whom was born in the years between 1974 and 1981 – a fact which certainly made us feel our age...

The instrumental line up was voice, flute, clarinet (and bass clarinet), violin, cello and piano and various combinations of these were used through out the very entertaining evening....

Truth be told, there wasn’t a “tune” within earshot but the music was so interesting that, for the first time in a while, I managed to get through the entire performance without falling asleep at any point - and it made me keen to dig out all my CDs of tuneless modern classical music and give them a spin - you know the ones I mean...John Cage, Xenakis, Berio, Stockhausen etc etc...

During the interval we walked to a nearby cash machine to allow us to buy a couple of drinks which we didn't have time to finish. The bar staff very kindly kept them in the fridge for us to collect after the second half...

After the show, we sat in the bar and the young flautist, Nicole Pressler walked by. Phil complimented her on the performance and, in particular, her own solo piece from the first half ...
She sat with us and we chatted for a while....

Turns out she’s just 22 and has played flute since the age of 8, from choice – it’s what she always wanted to do...

Although originally from the former East Germany, she now lives in Salzburg and is a member of several orchestras and ensembles. She gets through a huge amount of performances of all types of music all year round and can recite pieces from Telemann right up to the present, like those tonight...she prefers to play pieces which haven't yet been recorded though as they are more open to interpretation...

I was pleasantly surprised to see Lindsay West, a local singer songwriter whose music I particularly enjoy, in the bar and she came over for a chat. She’s playing on Thursday night at the Wee Red Bar at the Art College if you want to check her out – free entry apparently. I might go along although I was hoping to return to Out of the Bedroom...

It turned out Lindsay was there in her capacity as a steward at the venue, something I’ve often had a hankering to look into becoming. It seems an enjoyable job and you get paid to see all sorts of music...

Back in the late 70’s, I was a steward at the Usher Hall and got to see all sorts of luminaries for free...

And so, after a couple of delicious Ginger Beers it was time for home. Lindsay had already left and we bade farewell to Nicole and the rest of the ensemble, congratulating them on an excellent evening’s music...

Back home I discovered my leg had swollen up rather badly but a quick run through the exercise regime reduced this before I retired to bed...

A good night...

Highlight of the Day : Ensemble Acrobat at the Queen’s Hall

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Very late breakfast...

Started the day with a gorgeous piece on the Jukebox. The third movement from Beethoven's String Quartet in A Minor Opus 132, "Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit in der Lydischen Tonart" Molto adagio - Andante (Holy Song of Thanks to the Godhead from a Convalescent, in the Lydian Mode)...

18 minutes of bliss...religion has its upside after all....

Up at 9, updated the diary, backed up all the MP3 albums sitting on the hard drive (around 90!!) on to two DVDs...

After last night's late drinking, Anne didn't wake till 12:30...

I went for a walk to try and help the leg - the weather was cold and overcast...

Then I drove the car to the local shop for bread and bacon – this was the first time I'd been behind the wheel since I drove to the 5-a-sides 75 days ago...

Driving was pronounced as being "not too sore" - perhaps I will be able to go and see Sparks next week in Glasgow? Bacon, eggs, toast, juice and coffee for a very late breakfast at 2pm (see Anne's watch - 1:45)...



Then I wrote up yesterday's entry while Anne watched Scotland beat France at rugby - amazing - of course if I'd been watching it goes without saying we would have lost...

I think Jamie and I may make a return to Out of the Bedroom this Thursday so I played a few songs on the old Geetar this afternoon - "Where Are You", "The End of Everything", "Skylines Full of Cranes", "I Thought You'd Stay", "The Dream Has Gone", "The Counting House" and "The Time of Our Lives"...

Not bad...

In the evening an interesting 1st part of a two part "Enterprise" alternate universe story and, later on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"...

Highlight of the Day : Driving the car again

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A good day despite the circumstances...

First things first - today is Alice Cooper's 58th birthday - so Happy Birthday, Alice! Here he is late last year - still rocking...



Up late today, around 9 or so and breakfast was taken “in house” and comprised coffee, toast and marmalade....

The postman arrived and, just as I uttered the immortal line (whilst gazing on the paltry two letters which had been delivered) “so much for the replacement CD”, a further two packages came flying through the letter box, almost catching Meg the Black Cat right on the nose (but she was too quick of course)...

The replacement Uriah Heep solo albums CD is perfect this time, not a hint of Freddie Mercury to be heard – and Ken Hensley’s voice on his first solo album is uncannily like Dave Byron’s so it’s almost like a long lost Heep album – great stuff...



The other package was the Fran├žoise Hardy 3CD box set, arriving from China. You may recall I paid around £6 for the CDs and £9 for postage...



Unfortunately the book/box is in pretty bad condition – partly due to the world’s postal services I think – it’s covered in bashes, is torn in places and the booklet itself has become unattached from the hard cover....

Oh well at least the music’ll be good....

I called Jamie around 9:45 to firm up our arrangements for attending Jim Park’s dad’s funeral today and he said he’d pick me up at 10:30. Meanwhile, as the mighty Heep blasted out through Crispycat Towers, Anne headed off into town....

At 10:30 Jamie arrived. It was a beautiful bright early Spring morning as we made the 20 minute trip down to South Queensferry although, as we arrived at the church, a bit of a mist had rolled in off the Firth of Forth and turned conditions slightly chilly....

I recognised many of the faces in the church including of course Jim, his brother Gavin, his sisters Ann and Janie, Janie’s husband Max, Jim’s step-sister Margaret and Jamie’s mum and dad and our old chum Donald Mitchell...

It was an excellent send off in which Ann and Jim both played significant parts, Ann playing a lament on violin to open the service, then joining Jim in the recital of one of their dad’s favourite poems, “The Blue Doo”, which had the whole congregation laughing...

Jim’s dad’s best friend also recited a few poignant and pertinent lines by Robert Burns...

There were some interesting stories about Jim Snr – for example the fact that, like the Queen, he had two birthdays due to his dad having gotten so drunk to celebrate his birth that, if he wanted the date registered correctly as 25 January, he’d have to pay a fine – so he registered it as close as possible without being punished (31 January).

Having never seen his birth certificate, Jim Snr always celebrated his birthday on 25 January as his dad had always said he shared his birthday with Robert Burns. Later in life though, he needed a copy of the certificate and was very surprised to discover he appeared to have been celebrating the wrong day all along, for the certificate said he was born on 31 January - but of course 25 January was in fact the righ day...

In the end, he just ended up celebrating both...

The service was a true celebration of Jim Snr’s life and not maudlin in the least....

Afterwards the congregation followed his coffin from the church and lined the street outside as the hearse and cortege drove slowly off, led by a lone piper...

On the street, Jamie and I met up with a few old friends – Donald Mitchell, Nicky and Robert Hind, David Bann and Ralph Masterton...

Jamie gave Mitch, me and a former neighbour of Jim’s, Elspeth, a lift to the Warriston Crematorium back in Edinburgh, for the short committal service. There we met more familiar faces in brothers Greg and Dom, both past regulars in our five-a-sides squad...

By 1:15 we were back at South Queensferry for the post funeral buffet and drinks and we had a chance to catch up on old times....

The food was good - particlarly the Haggis Balls - and the drinks were just the ticket...

At 3:45pm the hotel staff were trying to get rid of us so we all made our way up to Jim’s dad’s house for “a cup of tea”...

As I walked in, memories from over 25 years ago came back to me. While at college with Jim’s sister Ann in 1979, I formed a trio with her on electric violin, her brother Jim on drums and me on bass....

Ann went off to University and the band ended up with me, Jim and Jamie Frain (James Jamieson) along with two guitarists from Bonnyrigg, Gus Bolton and Eric Merrill – who had been in punk band The Noise with Donald Mitchell on drums...

Over the next year, I spent many a happy time hanging out at this house and in the pubs of South Queensferry...

When Eric left we recruited Jim’s best mate Nicky Hind on guitar and the Midlothian/Queensferry axis continued...

Over that first year or so the two sets of friends from Midlothian and Queensferry formed a strong relationship – with the epicentre being the flat I shared with Gus and Jamie in St Mary’s St in Edinburgh....

When I went to live on Germany for a year the “gang” continued and Mitch ended up going out with Janie - Ann and Jim’s younger sister...

By 1984 the group had widened considerably, with Mitch’s various flats becoming the focuspoint. Eventually this group metamorphosed into the five-a-sides squad, starting off as the Old Codgers (including me and Jim) against the Young Pretenders (including Mitch even though he was only a year younger than us)...

And over 20 years later, Jim and I are still playing football – though I think I’ll be retiring now after the ankle break – and Jamie and I are once again musicking together....

But nowhere near as well as one of Jim’s late mother’s friends who was playing the piano this afternoon, with the highlight being a rendition of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, which brought the room to a hush and elicited rapturous applause from the assembled masses at its conclusion....

Just before 5 we drove back to town with the promise of a call from Jim if anyone was meeting up for a drink later on since Nicky had flown over specially from his home in California, while Robert had made the trip up from London...

In the Scottish Cup, Hearts had thrashed Aberdeen 3-0 and city rivals, Hibs, had managed to beat Rangers on their home turf by the same margin. So, for the first time since Hearts in 1998, there will be a winner of the cup from outwith Rangers and Celtic this year...

Anne had enjoyed the Hearts match and, as a kind of celebration, we ordered a Chinese Takeaway for tea. Then, while Anne watched “Dancing on Ice” I listened to the first two CDs of the Fran├žoise Hardy Box Set...

Unfortunately the second disc has a big mark on it, rendering the last 8 tracks unplayable. Fortunately I have seven of the eight tracks already and can burn a replacement, missing just one track – it’s still disappointing though and doubly so when combined with the sorry state of the cover....

At 8:45 we got a call from Jim to say he, Nicky, Robert and a couple of others would be in the Hotel over the road from his flat if we were up for a drink. We were – and we called Jamie to let him know what was happening...

It took us 25 minutes to walk down to the bus stop (normal time is 10 minutes but my leg was playing up) and we arrived at the Hotel bar just before nine to join Jim, Robert, Nicky and Jim’s artist friend Pete Swanston...

A couple of drinks later Jamie arrived and, shortly after that Mitch joined us too, which was a pleasant surprise...

Despite the sad circumstances which had brought us all together today, we had a good time recalling the old days and discussing, amongst other things:--

Youngsters nowadays
Jim and Nick’s fanzine “Unlimited Edition” from 1978/9

The merits or otherwise of the music of Abba and the Bee Gees
Capital Models – the band me, Jamie, Jim and Nick were all members of at one point
The various serious injuries people had had over the years

The merits or otherwise of various films including Brokeback Mountain and Crash
My career as an artist

And so, much drinking was done, with only Pete tea-totalling...

The owner appeared to be allowing a lock in as, before we knew it, it was 1:30 in the morning and so Anne and I left for a taxi home...

....where we discovered we’d programmed the wrong channel on the video and so missed CSI and Law & Order: Criminal Intent not to mention the highlights from the Hearts match...

But we had had a good day despite the sad circumstances which brought old friends together once again...

Bed at 2:10

Highlight of the Day : Meeting old friends again

Friday, February 03, 2006

12 Gigs of Pain....

First thing I was at the doctor's for an injection of steroids directly into my shoulder - he said it should take effect in around a week but if nothing happens in a fortnight I should go back...

On the way back it only took 10 minutes to walk down from the bus - last week it was 20....

Back home, I watched the fifth episode of “Invasion” – I think I’ll stick with it..

Upstairs to the computer and I'm now up to "F" in the refilling of the Jukebox - there was much Robert Fripp music making its way onto it today...

At lunchtime I had a three way MSN Messenger conversation with Craig and Stu of Creek - my electronic improvisational quartet (Alan Brodie is the fourth member)...

Topics covered included:-
My ankle – an update
The merits of Noel Edmonds’ “Deal or No deal”
A stag weekend to Brussels
The importance of having eyes and fingers if you work from home
A small grey cat who lives near Craig
Stuart’s upcoming photo shoot at Hearts tomorrow
The ability to name any of Hearts’ new players
Imagining how much time is wasted around the world by people on MSN Messenger
The programme “Who Do You Think You Are?”
The tragedy of the Challenger Space Shuttle
How funny “My Name is Earl” is
The best way to make toasties
What next for Creek
Creek’s tenth anniversary
A 10 year Creek anthology with a new 2006 track
A numbered limited edition MP3 Triple DVD Set containing everything Creek’s ever done – The 12 Gigs of Pain
Listening to T Rex, William Orbit and the voices in Stu’s head


In the evening we watched “Coronation St”, “My Name is Earl” and the first two episodes of “The IT Crowd”, a new sitcom on Channel 4 by the writer of “Father Ted” and “Black Books”. It was excellent and will become required Friday Night viewing over the next few weeks – along with “My Name is Earl”...

Highlight of the Day : The IT Crowd

Thursday, February 02, 2006

We do have the right to ridicule God...

WARNING :
IF YOU ARE MUSLIM, DO NOT LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING CARTOONS - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED FAIRLY AND SQUARELY - IF YOU DO LOOK, IT'S NOT MY FAULT - I TOLD YOU NOT TO...

Thanks

Anyone else, feel free to read on....

(man, if only the Danes had thought of that...)



Started the day by more spring cleaning on the jukebox....

Adding in loads of CDs I thought should have been on there but weren't has started to fill it back up rather quickly, so I resolved to delete all various artist albums and all live albums...

Freed up space is now around 9.5 GB which should allow me to upload all the albums I feel I need to...

I also looked for a chronology of classical composers and found one on this rather interesting site:- http://www.classicalarchives.com/

I wanted to see who my favourites were...

On perusing their timeline from the 14 th to the 20th Centuries, I'd have to say my favourite period stretches from the 15th to the early 18th Century, spanning the Renaisance, Baroque and Classical periods, with my favourite composers being the usual suspects - Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven...

This seems conservative but, from a listening perspective, these are the composers whose work (and whose contemporaries' works) give me the most pleasure....

I'm not overly fond of the 19th Century Romantic periods, though I do like much by Schumann, Brahms, Janacek, Elgar and Debussy but probably prefer the more challenging works of the Modern and Contemporary periods...

I enjoy composers such as Bartok, Part, Berg, Schoenberg, Webern, Satie, Shostakovich, Barber, Rautavaara, Schnittke, Stockhasen, Takemitsu, Gorecki and Xenakis...even if much of it is, to all intents and purposes, tuneless - but then so is much of the recorded output of my favourite band, King Crimson...

I also enjoy the music of pop composers such as John Adams, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Michael Nyman....

OK that's enough about classical music...

This evening's viewing comprised "Hyperdrive" on video followed by "Judge John Deed", "My Name Is Earl" "Rock School" and "This Week"...

A bit of a stramash going on around the world at the moment (to put it mildly) due to some cartoons of Mohammed. Religion eh?

Apparently it's not right to create a picture of the "prophet" but - it's been being done for centuries - why the big moan now?

See here : http://www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/

I think any paper should be allowed to print these cartoons, as long as, for muslim readers' sakes, it is stated clearly that any muslims should not gaze upon whichever pages contain the cartoons..

Problem solved - after all, how can it possibly be bad for people who don't believe in something, to look at cartoons of it?

Yes, we do have the right to ridicule God.

Highlight of the Day : My Name is Earl (again)

P.S. In the interests of Freedom of Speech, the cartoons are at the top of this entry - to see each one in full go here :-
http://face-of-muhammed.blogspot.com/

Religion eh?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Handel is considerably better than Belle & Sebastian...

Uptown again today as I had another physio appointment...

I now have a total of 17 different exercises to work on the ankle - it's still very "tight" and stiff though....

On the physio's instructions I left the moonboot there and walked about town with my normal shoes on...

Visited FOPP and HMV, buying Tom McRae's last album, "All Maps Welcome" at the former for an amazingly low £3....



.... and a 6CD box set of Handel's complete chamber music at the latter for a very reasonable £9.99...



Two very good purchases indeed...

Back home two CDs I bought the other day on e-bay have arrived. I am completing my Uriah Heep collection with two solo albums each by vocalist David Byron and keyboard/guitar player and main songwriter Ken Hensley..

The discs are Russian ones, with one album by each Heep member on each disc (if you follow that). Unfortunately though, one disc contains two Queen albums (and not good Queen albums at that..) but, on contacting him, the vendor has offered to send me a replacement free of charge. Which is nice...

So I have these two albums, with another two to look forward to...




In the evening we watch a 30 minute concert by Belle and Sebastian. My verdict, as submitted to fellow Creekster, Stu Cobley by e-mail, is as follows:-

"Thought B&S were dreadful - they are just so twee it's unbelievable - especially the girl 'playing' the xylophone (whose Backing Vox were dreadful too) and the guy with the black hair who could sing even less well than the main guy (if that's possible). The drummer was good."

I'm afraid I just don't understand the attraction of such shambling amateurish twee pish music....

Although this comes from a man who likes Uriah Heep - a much reviled band....

Whatever...

Highlight of the Day : Obtaining Handel's complete chamber music