Friday, June 30, 2006

21st Century Schizoid Man...

Playlist
Various – Music from the Motion Picture “Heat”
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Nine New Songs
Steve Arguelles – Circuit
King Crimson – The Dream and the Illusion (Instrumental Disc)

Rediscovered a great film soundtrack in the music from Michael Mann’s “Heat”, which, if I recall correctly, is also a great film...

Absolute atmospherics from the main composer Elliot Goldenthal, most of whose tracks feature the Kronos Quartet. The album also features The Passengers (Eno & U2), Terje Rypdal, Michael Brook, Einsturzende Neubauten, Lisa Gerrard and Moby...

Watched the extra time between Germany and Argentina, probably my two favourite teams in the World Cup, the former since I started supporting them in the 1974 World Cup mainly due to the length of one of their player’s hair. His name was Ayala. His hair reminded me of Alice Cooper’s...

Here he is with Johan Cruyff...



This year they have a player of the same name, who ended up scoring against Germany today...

But the Germans won in the penalty shoot out 4-2 after a 1-1 draw...

Later we watched the first half of Italy v Ukraine. Apart from England, Ukraine must be the worst side in the last eight. Unlike England though, they don’t seem to have any players able to raise their game and play any better. If the England team played as a team whilst truly harnessing their individual talents they would surely be up there with Germany, Brazil, Italy and France...

Of those four, probably only Germany have performed at maximum strength thus far, the other three doing merely what had to be done to get through, though France have struggled at times...

Such a shame that Argentina and Germany had to meet so soon and so another excellent side bowed out...

At half time, with Italy one up we switched to watch “Law and Order” (catching the Italy – 3-0 – highlights later on....

After “Law and Order” Anne settled down to watch an hour long “Corrie” while I ran through my set for next Friday. From listening recently to my “Nine New Songs” disc, I’ve decided to play these nine songs, some for the first time in public – and I’ve also decided not to try and speed them up but to sing them as they were written...

The set hangs together well...

I ended the day listening to King Crimson from a compilation 2CD set I burned in 1998 – one disc is all instrumental and the other is all songs and one track is featured from each KC release available at the time, including compilations and official live CDs (of which at that time there were only a few rather than the seemingly hundreds available now) – and for the Crimso aficionados out there, here’s the track list:-

Instrumental Disc
Entry of the Crims
The Law Of Maximum Distress pt 2
The Sailor’s Tale
When I Say Stop, Continue
Trio
The Dream and the Illusion (from Moonchild)
The Fright Watch
Thrakatak pt 1
Industry
B’Boom
Asbury Park
Groon
Requiem

Song Disc
Epitaph
Cadence and Cascade
Cat Food
Cirkus
Book of Saturday
Frame by Frame
Dinosaur
Indiscipline
21st Century Schizoid Man
Starless
In The Court of the Crimson King

Highlight of the Day : Rehearsing my set of nine new songs Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The king of song (in my head)...

Playlist
Various - Now That’s What I Call Music Oct 73 - March 74
Trevor Rabin - Live in LA
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Nine New Songs
Cloudland Blue Quartet - The Acoustic Deeperdown

Had a nice lunch today in the rooftop restaurant at Oloroso with chums Gary and Colin and a couple of others including a fervent England football supporter who took a bit of a ribbing re the quality of his side’s performances thus far in the World Cup. However, we all had to reluctantly agree that there was a reasonable chance England could end up winning the tournament by default….

Back home and some lovely pasta and salad for tea before heading out to Out of the Bedroom having chosen a “sqaud” of five songs from which to choose when I got there and taking along the full session CDs for all participants in the OOTB Vol IV CD…

I met Jill Hepburn, a singer who’ve I’ve not seen for ages and who is the proud owner of quite a few CBQ CDs. She’s had a terrible time of it recently - she told me her brother was killed two months ago in a motorcycle accident…

It will take her a long time to come to terms with that, if ever….

She struggled for a while re whether she wanted to continue writing and singing her songs but, in the end, decided there’d be no point in giving up…

I told her it was the third anniversary of my Dad’s death today and about my entry here yesterday when I got a wee bit maudlin but perked up when I realized my dad would’ve wanted me to remember the good times and have a laugh and a joke in his memory…

So here she was tonight to sing three lovely songs and she gave a sterling performance - my favourite being “A Life On Land”…

For my own part, on a night when the standard was particularly high, I feel I managed to keep up with the pace and played “Half a Lifetime Away”, “The End of Everything” and “Starting to Worry”....

Of course I had all these funny stories in my head as introductions and was going to let people know I’m playing in Lasswade next Friday and mention the website etc and how they could get my CDs but, despite playing in front of audiences for nearly thirty years I still get so nervous my mind just goes blank, so I probably looked like a fat twat with an angelic voice that wasn’t very good at playing the guitar...

In my head though, I was the king of song!!

I was buoyed by listening to my nine new songs whilst driving to and from the club...

I left at 10 and was home by 10:15 and watched “Question Time” with Anne. It was from Perth today, yet they seemed to have been unable to locate any Scots to represent Labour, Conservatives or the fifth member of the panel who is usually some media type or comedian....

And they spent far too long discussing whether Sots ought to be supporting England in the World Cup. Now they’re out, are Holland supporting Germany? If England go out will they support France?

Who cares – it’s only a game....

Surfed till late whilst listening to the Acoustic Deeperdown and was conscious I hadn’t phoned my mum..

Can I also just say that Myspace is officially a shit piece of software. Thank you...

Highlight of the Day : I am the King of Song

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The sun goes down too soon...

Playlist
Tool - 10,000 Days

Huzzah!

The Jukebox micro soldering has worked and the box is fixed. Of course I didn't do it myself as my sausage like fingers are too large for such intricate work...

That may also be a reason why I am such a no-hoper guitarist - along with my lazy non-practising ways of course...

I'm told the volume control switch on the box is very "tender" and so I will need to maintain volume at the same level from now methinks...

Notwithstanding my assertion above re rehearsing, I ran through a few older songs tonight which I might play tomorrow at Out of the Bedroom..

One of them was "The Sun Goes Down Too Soon" from my album "Anotherhappyday" - a song I wrote relating what happened the day my dad died - three years ago tomorrow...

The final lyrics changed quite a bit from the first draft and the song ended up being about me and Anne and all the good times we've had together but reflecting on how quickly time passes...

When I was going through all my stuff while tidying out the back room last week, I came across the hand written drafts of the original lyrics and it brought the day back to me - a Sunday morning, up early as usual, sitting at the computer, then listening to some music on the headphones...

I didn't hear the phone ring so Anne got out of bed to answer and came running to tell me my mum was on the phone and that my dad had collapsed and she'd called an ambulance..

I sped along the ring road as fast as I could but, by the time I got there, my dad was already unconcious and the medics were doing their best to revive him with drugs...

They tried for quite a while but, as I sat there on the settee with my mum, I knew it was all over..

Not a good day..

But my dad was such a funny man, he wouldn't want me to sit here all maudlin, typing away about how sad I was that day - he'd want me to be remembering all "the good times, the laughing and the joking" as the song goes...

Ah yes, we had some good times along the way me and my dad and I should remember them above the day I failed to get home quickly enough to say goodbye...

Highlight of the Day : Jukebox fixed again

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Return of the goose...

Playlist
Jackie McLean – Destination Out
Ben Christophers – Spoonface
Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited
Dream Theater – Octavarium
Lou Reed – NYC Man
Soft Machine – Out-Bloody-Rageous
Terje Rypdal – If Mountains Could Sing

Aaarrrggghhh!!!

The jukebox is broken. Volume control will only go down the way. So volume is consequently now stuck at zero…

It will take some “micro-soldering” to fix this otherwise it’s down the tubes. The very small upside is that I’ll still be able to get back the 12,000 odd tracks off the hard-drive before it goes in the bin…

One CD that won’t be going on to the Jukebox for now is Dream Theater’s “Octavarium” which arrived today from e-bay – I have no further items outstanding now…

I’ve noticed that e-bay is becoming my sole source for new music – I’ve not been to FOPP for a few weeks now although I did visit both HMV and Virgin over the last two days but could not be enticed to buy – even by their Summer Sale offers…

Another night of “should be and could be” but instead I watched “Rogue Traders” – about con-men going round and knocking on little old ladies’ doors telling them their roofs needed fixing and doing very little indeed (and almost nothing that was actually required) in return for said little old ladies nest-eggs…

Then France v Spain (1st half only – getting a bit footballed out now) and “CSI”…

Stuck some things up into the attic, watched the highlights of Brazil v Ghana and of France v Spain, listened to some CDs while Anne booked tickets for Richard Herring at The Fringe, and then off to bed…

Lowlight of the Day : Jukebox goosed again

Monday, June 26, 2006

Goggle boxing...

Playlist
Reid Anderson – The Vastness of Space
Neal Morse – One
The Bad Plus - Motel
Reid Anderson – Abolish Bad Architecture

Finally sent out an update re the change of date for my gig in Lasswade from this Friday to next Friday...

Offered free copies of The Acoustic Deeperdown to the first ten respondents...

Mailed off the demo and biog for a possible Fringe Gig...

The World Cup continues to dominate my viewing – in a day dominated by telly....

The game between Italy and Australia contained two quite unbelievable decisions - a straight red for an Italian defender and, in the 93rd minute, one of the most ridiculous penalty awards I’ve ever seen...

Italy 1-0...

“Coronation St” was followed by Ukraine v Switzerland – I was rooting for the Swiss. The commentators were moaning about how negative the game was – this from people who think England are playing not too badly so far....

Mind you, for the first 30 minutes of the second half, we watched episode two of the current series of “Still Game”. Top stuff with a few Laurel and Hardy moments included...

Back to the footie and some more excellent defending led to 0-0 at Full Time, 0-0 after Extra Time and then, penalties....

Shevchenko missed the first one, and Switzerland missed three...

Ukraine 3-0 on penalties...

Italy should make the semis...

Today I could have:-

Worked on bass lines for James Jamieson
Sorted out more stuff for the back room
Sorted out my now thoroughly mixed up CD collection
Rehearsed my set for my gig a week on Friday

..and no doubt many other things...

Instead – I watched telly...

Highlight of the Day : Still Game

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Kings of jam...

Playlist
Reid Anderson – The Vastness of Space
Glenn Gould – Bach : Partitas, Preludes and Fugues
Porcupine Tree – Deadwing
Yes – The Ultimate Yes (Disc 1)
Magellan – Symphony For A Misanthrope
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Five Acoustic Songs (V2)
Neal Morse –“?”

Up early as (almost) ever and decided to change the track list for the demo that’s been requested...

At 9:30 we headed again to Ikea and had breakfast there before buying shelves and more storage than you could shake a stick at..

Back home, I spent some considerable time putting the shelving unit together and making up the flat packed storage boxes...

Sister Sheila & her husband, Andrew, popped round for a nice cup of tea – we were able to use the lovely new Ikea mugs...

Watched the first half of England v Ecuador – they just do not look very good but haven’t played against any really challenging teams so far. In the end they won 1-0 from a Beckham free kick, though Ecuador did hit the bar in the first half - had that gone in...

But it didn't, so next the Kings of Jam will play either Holland or Portugal – which should test them at last. England certainly have the players but somehow, their performances thus far have been decidedly dodgy and they have certainly ridden their luck (and their seeding) to get this far...

Finally finished sorting out the room around 7:30 and we went out for a meal to celebrate – Howie’s in Victoria Street. Excellent food, the highlight for me being the very tasty banoffie pie for pudding...

Back home – I still didn’t know the result of Holland v Portugal so I packaged up the demo to send off tomorrow and settled down to watch the highlights...

Portugal, 1-0 but they had two players sent off (as did Holland) and another with a serious injury so it seems England’s luck knows no bounds...

Highlight of the Day : Finishing the room at last

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Carpets and jazz...

Playlist
Van Der Graaf Generator – The Box (Disc 1)
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Deeperdown
Magellan – Symphony For A Misanthrope
The Bad Plus – Motel
Reid Anderson – Dirty Show Tunes
Reid Anderson –Abolish Bad Architecture
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Five Acoustic Songs

Started the day listening to more Van der Graaf Generator whilst surfing the net and catching up on blogs. On e-bay, I bought Dream Theater’s last album, inspired by a review I read on a site I found (http://www.studiomlive.com/) whilst searching for info on VDGG...

I re-listened to the CBQ “Acoustic Deeperdown” with fresh ears this morning and it actually sounds quite good – could be a release? Compiled a five song “demo” from this, to send off re a possible Fringe gig...

We had breakfast as we waited for the arrival of the carpet – anytime between 9 and 1 they said....

Anne watched the Hearts DVD, “Glorious”, while I listened to some new CDs which the postie delivered from e-bay:-

Magellan – Symphony For A Misanthrope
The Bad Plus – Motel
Reid Anderson – Dirty Show Tunes
Reid Anderson –Abolish Bad Architecture
Reid Anderson – The Vastness of Space

The carpet men arrived around 10:30 or so and, within an hour they had done their job and left....

And so the huge task of putting everything back into the room started – initially with the building of the sofa bed, which we placed in the middle of the floor and added things around it. We decided to leave around a third of my CDs downstairs, which frees up some space and left two walls entirely free...

But there’s still loads of stuff to be accommodated and we agreed to go back to Ikea tomorrow to get some “nice” shelves and more, “nicer” storage boxes for all my nonsense – my problem is I hardly ever throw anything away – our attic is full to overflowing of old pieces of equipment and tons of pieces of paper with scribblings on them....

Maybe what I need is a super fast scanner so I can scan all my old stuff and take it all to the dump?

At 4pm we watched Germany’s destruction of Sweden in the first of the knock out games at the World Cup – I bet England were mighty relieved on the evidence of this game that they managed to scrape to the top of their group and avoid the Germans....

Then Doctor Who – probably the worst episode of the two new series so far – but it looks like the Cybermen will return next week for the first of an end of series two parter...

At 8, we started watching Argentina v Mexico – 1-1 after just 10 minutes and looked to be shaping up for a cracking match – but I had said to my “step-second-cousins”, John and Billy Fleming two weeks ago, that I’d be along to see them tonight playing with Tommy Smith’s Youth Jazz Orchestra at The Lot in the Grassmarket...

“A band of the most talented young Scottish players of today, handpicked and directed by Tommy Smith. With a repertoire that ranges from Basie and Ellington to Mingus and Gil Evans, this is a band that revels in precision ensemble playing and bristles with good young soloists.”



The band of just over twenty kids aged around 15-22 were quite brilliant – what a refreshing change to see young people using their talents instead of being sullen wee bastards who just annoy everyone with their chav/ned-like ways....

Stand out players for me were the rhythm section of drums, bass, guitar and piano, with the drummer and bassist playing almost continuously. The rest of the band featured both at the start and end of each piece and while taking extended or sometimes short solos mid number...

There was also a young vocalist who’s off to Berklee soon for a music scholarship – he was good – but, as I’ve said before – there is NO place in jazz for vocals....

Over two and a quarter hours, I think they only played about eight numbers with sometimes up to a dozen solos in each one...

A great night’s entertainment....

Back home, Anne did not reveal the Argentina v Mexico score and so I watched the highlights on ITV (I think their advert breaks are actually longer than their match highlights!!) – 2-1 to Argentina after extra time with a superb goal from Maxi being the difference between the teams...

And so my two favourites, Germany and Argentina will meet in the Quarter Finals...

Highlight of the Day : The superb skills of the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006

Yellow matter custard...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Deeperdown
Yellow Matter Custard – One Night in New York City
Ferde Grofe - Grand Canyon Suite
Shostakovich – Romance (The Gadfly)
Van Der Graaf Generator – The Box (Disc 4)

Spent most of the morning re working the acoustic version of “Deeperdown”, this time keeping the backing vocals – I’m still not sure if this works or not....

Also had to prepare a CBQ biography for a proposed gig – demo and biog to go to the promoter..

The postie brought Yellow Matter Custard’s 2CD + 1 DVD triple set, “One Night In New York City”. It’s a Beatles tribute by Neal Morse (ex Spock’s Beard), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Greg Bissonette (master bassist) and Paul Gilbert (ex Mr Big and Racer X – and one shredder of a guitarist)...

I sat watching the DVD with a big smile on my face as the four musicians are so obviously enjoying themselves. Most of the songs are “obscure” (if anything by the Beatles can be obscure) album tracks – 31 in all and over two hours of fun, fun, fun...

Great stuff!

Once Anne came back from Edinburgh, we started wall papering the back porch and finished this fairly quickly...

Then I finally removed everything from the back room in preparation for the carpet laying tomorrow...

One of the things I decided to dump was my first mic stand, bought in 1979 to use with the group Capital Models....

Watched France finally beat Togo after a long hard struggle then decided to wipe a lot of wav files from the hard disc to clear up some space. I burned Van Der Graaf generator’s “The Box” 4CD set to disc and listened to disc four, eventually falling asleep in the living room while Anne watched Jonathon Ross...

Highlight of the Day : Yellow Matter Custard DVD

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stripping down...

Playlist
Robert Fripp – Orchestral Soundscapes
Neal Morse - ?
Dohn├ínyi – Cello Works

After sending out my newsletter yesterday, it was bound to happen that the gig in Lasswade would be postponed for a week – and so it did happen – so an update is required...

Procrastinator that I am, I will do it tomorrow...

Croissants and coffee again for breakfast and then out to Ikea for opening a 10am. We just couldn’t agree re storage for the “new” room and so agreed to disagree and to revisit matters once the carpet’s down and I have an idea of how much new storage I’ll need...

More, because shelves have been dumped - but less, due to the amount of stuff placed in black bags and removed from the premises...

We did however buy a sofa bed and managed to get it into the car to bring it home. It now sits in the dining room on its end in its box, providing an exciting new perch for Meg the Black Cat...

After lunch I tidied up the back room and put some more stuff, this time from the large plastic boxes which used to be under the bed but now have nowhere to go, into a black bag...

Whilst doing so I listened to the latest Neal Morse CD, the enigmatically entitled “?” which arrived this morning from e-bay. It is excellent stuff, totally proggy – I can’t believe how prolific this man is at writing and recording huge epics of prog rock – but he is and I’m just thankful for that...



Although a non-believer, I still think this album’s great, even though the lyrics are based on, and in places actual quotes from, the Bible (Neal found God in a big way a couple of years back – this is his third solo album since then and all three have had a big “God factor” to them)...

Watched some World Cup then checked my e-mails. Another possible gig offer but they need a demo, so I set about creating an acoustic version of “Deeperdown” by omitting all the instruments leaving just voices and adding an acoustic guitar – mostly first takes...

Finished the recordings by around 8pm and settled down to watch Brazil v Japan – Brazil seem finally to have started firing on all cylinders. Although they went behind, they came back to win 4-1 – just as they did back in 1982 against Scotland in Spain...

At half time drove to the New Happy Palace on the other side of town for the best Chinese dish in the world, the New Happy palace's Kung Po Chicken...

Watched Question Time – Germaine Greer particularly impressed – including some absolutely scathing comments about Labour’s inept attempts to govern by jerking their knees...

Stayed up till 2 am finalising the acoustic CD, leaving out all the backing vocals – but it now sounds a bit bare, so I’ll probably spend a couple of hours tomorrow adding them back in...

Highlight of the Day : Arrival of an excellent Neal Morse CD Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Making Busted sound like Joy Division...

Playlist
CBQ – Nine New Songs
Wetton/Downes – Glasgow Set List
The Bad Plus – Give
Hank Mobley - Poppin'
Tina Brooks - True Blue
Johnny Griffin - The Congregation
Bartok - Solo Piano Works
Yes - Fragile
Various - Out Of The Blue
Isaac Hayes - The Man
Various - Chilled Out Euphoria
Brad Mehldau - Largo
John Gorka - Old Futures Gone
Various - Lennon & McCartney Jazz Collection
Various - Block Rockin' Breaks
Pink Floyd - Pulse

Up and out to Arnold Clark. Car fixed and back home. Only another 90 minutes of my life gone...

On the way back, I stopped off at Patisserie Florentin and bought some of their croissants, surely the best in Edinburgh, and at home made some lovely coffee to go with them...

Anne went out to buy more paint – the stuff we got yesterday wasn’t quite neutral enough and luckily we found a tin of the paint we used on the living room a few years ago, which is exactly the colour we want...

I sorted out all the CDs we have in the car – 60 odd...

Anne returned and started painting while I bought some CDs on e-bay from a chap in Barcelona – the last studio CD by The Bad Plus which I don’t have and three CDs by their bassist, Reid Anderson...

Tasty (I hope)...

Listened again to the proposed live sets by CBQ and Jamie’s– still need to get some bass lines down on the latter...

Spoke with nephew Andy last night – he can’t make the gig on 30 June...

Wrote and sent a June Newsletter re upcoming gigs for CBQ and James Jamieson and recordings by CBQ, JJ and Ian Sclater...

Ran through the CBQ proposed set for next Friday, speeding up “I Rearranged the House” and “The End of Everything” to try and give some pace to the set – which is difficult with such miserabilistic songs – although I guess that is the sound of CBQ. My old chum Mitch Mitchell once commented at a CBQ gig, “Dave Reilly makes Busted sound like Joy Division”...

A good line, which I’ve since used myself to good effect...

Portugal v Mexico – quite an exciting game...but I am a bit footballed out and gave up watching at half time...

Drove Anne into town to meet up with her friend Debbie. They were going to a dinner at Harvey Nichols during which the feature of each course was chocolate....

Popped into the French Institute on the way back home to catch a little of Fete de la Musique – every year the French at home and around the world celebrate the longest day with a festival of music...

Today was a pretty miserable longest day – wind and rain in Edinburgh...

Back home in time for Holland v Argentina – billed as the game of the group stages – again I ended up only watching the first half. Skill levels were very high and I can see both teams going far. It ended in a goalless draw. “No goals but plenty of action” as the old saying goes...

Ran through an extended set of sixteen songs, adding the remainder of my nine new songs to the set – tried to record it for analysis but the computer stopped after 28 seconds....

Maybe it was trying to tell me something...

Back into town around midnight to take Debbie home and bring Anne back to Crispycat Towers. They were both a bit tipsy and provided tales of much chocolate related food and of very expensive wine...

The decorating is now finished and the new carpet will be laid on Saturday – then the fun of trying to fit all my stuff back in, in a tidy and pleasing on the eye fashion, will begin. And so it’s off to Ikea tomorrow with sofa beds and storage on our minds...

Highlight of the Day : Croissants

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jammy...

Playlist
Black Widow – Black Widow III
California Guitar Trio w/ Levin & Mastelloto– CG3+2
The Bad Plus – Give
Various – Shades of Blue Untinted
Marillion – Marbles
David Gilmour – On An Island

The last Bad Plus CD (“Give”) I had on order arrived this morning and we listened to it as we drove into town. It’s probably not the best music to listen to in a car with someone who’s not that keen on jazz – but it’s a hell of a lot better than Radio bloody Scotland, that’s for sure...

I was returning to the dentist re the tooth, half of which I had removed a couple of weeks ago...

To B&Q first though to buy some paint...

The dentist visit only lasted about five minutes as he drilled the remains of the tooth down a bit to take all pressure off it. I’ve to return in October to get the final work done....

Then to the lair of Satan himself, Arnold Clark...

Longer term followers of the everyday life of Mr CBQ may recall my problems with them just over a year ago re trying to get them to fix our car properly...

A week and a half ago, on returning from a trip to Glasgow, I noticed water leaking from the engine and that the underside of the car was very hot...

Next day, I took the car to Arnold Crap and they looked at it and said it needed a new hose. They said they’d need to order the part and it should be in in a couple of days, and so today, we went back, as the part was apparently “in”...

They said we could leave the car for “a couple of hours” and come back and take it away...

We left the car at 11:40 and walked to nearby Portobello, surely one of the most depressing places on earth, and found somewhere reasonable for lunch...



...and walked back along the promenade...



(doesn't look too bad in the picture - in reality though, it wasn't this nice)...

We even entered the “Amusement” arcade....

Anyway, at 1:40, the requisite two hours later we returned to Arnold Crap, only to find they were just about to start work on the car...

We were forced to sit in their waiting room for a further hour and ten minutes while they “carried out the work”...

Here we are reflected in one of their cars...



Back home, Anne jokingly suggested we open the bonnet just to make sure the work had been done - we’d made a couple of stops on the way back (looking for a sofa bed) and thought we’d seen evidence of a small leak under the car...

The overflow reservoir for the cooling system was practically empty...

Needless to say, I called them immediately and was less than complimentary about their abilities to spot anything wrong under a bonnet...

This is what they need to do...

When they've finished a job, the mechanic needs to explain to the customer what they've done, showing the customer the work that's been carried out....

That's all it would take to turn them from crap to not crap. If they'd done this, I could've pointed out the reservoir was almost empty and that another hose in the engine appeared to be damaged....

But no....

The receptionist hands you the key and says, "that's your car for you now sir" and you have to trust that what's been done is correct without knowing what's been done...

And so, it’s back to Arnold Crap again tomorrow morning at 8am for me....

I calmed down long enough to fire up the computer and read my latest e-mails. An offer of another acoustic set, this time during the Fringe Festival...

So three gigs in the offing – not bad for someone who doesn’t play very many full live sets...

In the evening, while Anne painted (I am not allowed to paint as I tend to arse it up), I watched England v Sweden whilst listening to Marillion and David Gilmour. Much better with the sound down...

England started well, though Sweden were well up on the corner count when an ineffectual clearance allowed Joe Cole to score with a hopeful lob which just beat the keeper. I turned the volume up at the half time analysis just long enough to hear this being referred to as the goal of the tournament...

What tournament have these people been watching?

Second half, England were just not really very good, same as against Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago....

At last, Sweden scored with a header from the front post from a corner...

Then they should have had a penalty when Carragher handled in the box, the deflection being touched onto the bar by the goalie...

Then Sweden hit the bar again...

And Gerrard had to clear off the line too...

Inevitably though, he popped up at the other end to score another excellent goal following on from his long-range shot against Trinidad & Tobago, running round the back of the Swedish defence to convert a good cross from Joe Cole, who’d waited and waited on Gerrard getting to exactly the right spot. ...

Now that was a good goal (ok Cole’s first half shot was not bad I suppose)...

Justice was done however when Sweden equalised again right at the death with a deflection from a long throw in, which the entire English defence missed completely...



It really would have been a travesty had England gotten away with winning all three games with such dreadful performances...

So now it’s “Come on Ecuador”. They rested five players today and were thrashed three nil by the Germans...

Highlight of the Day : Another gig offer

Monday, June 19, 2006

Papering...

Playlist
Neu! – Neu! 75
Hampton String Quartet – If Mozart wrote “Roll Over Beethoven”
Various – Sunday Times Music Collection
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet – LAGQ
Various Composers & Artists – Classic Ads
Yes – Around The World In 80 Dates (Live 1991)
Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel 1
Genesis – Selling England By The Pound
Yes – The Yes Album
Emerson Lake & Palmer – Tarkus
David Bowie – Aladdin Sane
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
King Crimson - In The Court of the Crimson King
Gentle Giant - Interview

Up early – made breakfast before Anne went off to Lothian Cat Rescue for the morning....

Normally we’d be away on some European trip or other around this time, but this year we’ve decided to do some decorating instead. So I spent some time measuring and cutting all the lining paper we’d be hanging in the back room later today...

The latest edition of The Wire magazine arrived (no free CD this month) and I took a break to leaf through...

Sister in law Jane called with some sofa bed recommendations...

I ran through the proposed 10 song set for a gig at the end of the month....

Anne arrived back home just after 12 and, after lunch we set about the decorating...

We made a good team, with me cutting the paper as necessary (mostly I’d cut it already but we needed one more roll which Anne had brought home with her), pasting and doing the initial hanging, then Anne doing all the tricky work of ensuring everything was fitting together, round corners, window ledges, plugs, light switches etc...

By 6:30 we’d finished the whole room apart from one last strip in the corner by the window. But we’d run out of paper...

We watched the end of Ukraine v Saudi Arabia and then I went to Sainsbury’s for something for tea and to Homebase for more wallpaper...

Back home, we watched Spain v Tunisia...



...“Still Game” (a new series of this great show – no doubt a Monday night highlight for the next few weeks) and the new Steve Coogan vehicle “Saxondale” which was promising...

Then back to finish the last piece of decorating...

Ended the day tired but feeling as if we’d achieved something...

Highlight of the Day : Believe it or not, wallpapering – what a team!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

DIY & BBQ...

Music of the Day
Neal Morse – Testimony
Spock’s Beard - Octane
James Jamieson – Live Set Run Through
Marin Marais – Suites pour Viole de Gambe
The Fall – Rough Trade Anthology
Scrumfrog – Extended Engagement
Pet Shop Boys – Fundamental
Pet Shop Boys - Fundamentalism
The Bad Plus – Suspicious Activity

Up early – and listened to James Jamieson and CBQ set run throughs on the computer while catching up on the blogs I like to read (see Links)...

Then, after breakfast, I drove to the municipal dump to off load some stuff removed from the back room and the garage....

Back home, I fixed one the feet on one of the sofas. It went a bit wonky during my time in plaster when I sat down on it a bit too heavily for comfort...

Watched the recent Pet Shop Boys documentary, “A Life in Pop”, which was very good and induced me into listening again to their new album and the second disc of remixes and bonus tracks...

In the afternoon we went round to Jane and Bobby’s for a barbecue (despite the rather inclement weather) for Bobby’s birthday. As usual, the food was plentiful and tasty and nephew Craig and I spent some time in the garden playing with Oliver and Kitty, while the adults stayed inside chatting...



Watched most of three World Cup games today (two at Jane and Bobby’s) then, back home, “Italy Top to Toe” with Count Francesco from Venice once again driving through the countryside, this week taking in Umbria and Tuscany. What a beautiful country...

We discussed the possibility of getting a new “set top box” for Freeview as the one we have, which is only around 18 months old, seems to be playing up a bit these days. Planned obsolescence...

Did some buying on e-bay, securing Prog Rock CDs by ex Spock’s Beard frontman, Neal Morse and Magellan...

Today was Father’s Day - or is it Fathers’ Day - anyway, I think I may write a song called Father’s Day...

Finished off the day looking back at the 18th of each month since I started this diary 16 months ago...

Highlight of the Day : BBQ in the rain...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Back to bass-ics...

Music of the Day
The Tubes – Now
Frank Zappa – Strictly Commercial
The Bad Plus – Suspicious Activity
The Album Leaf – A Lifetime or More
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Live Set Run Through
Neal Morse – Testimony

A text yesterday from Alan Brodie alerts me to the death of erstwhile keyboard player for The Tubes and, latterly, The Grateful Dead, Mr Vince Welnick – suicide at just 55 brought on by depression and cancer...



In honour of the man, I listen to The Tubes' 1977 album “Now” this morning...

An e-mail offers the possibility of an acoustic gig on 30 June, with the caveat that it may need to be postponed if England are kicking off at 9pm that night....

We go out for breakfast to Patisserie Florentine and then to Home Base for wallpaper and paste and various decorating accoutrements before heading round to Anne’s friend Lynn’s to borrow her rickety pasting table...

Lynn’s son is a dab hand at making tablet and, after a lovely coffee and a tour of Lynn (and Ross)’s new house, we leave with bag of tablet in hand...

If I play this proposed end of June gig, my set is to be around 35-40 minutes so I tailor my recently collated live setlist to this and end up with one song each from “Doveloveshawk” (1999), “Ampersand” (2002), “Anotherhappyday” (2003), three from “Deeperdown” (2005) and four of my new songs...

I do a quick recording of vocals and guitar of these onto the computer and then add bass guitar, first time I’ve played it since Jamie and I bought it last year, and then listen back - not bad...

I may ask Jamie and nephew Andy to accompany me..

In the evening we watch “Dr Who”, USA v Italy in the World Cup, “CSI NY”, “Law & Order : Criminal Intent” and “World Cup Match of the Day”...

Highlight of the Day : Playing the bass again

Friday, June 16, 2006

A good day out...

Music of the Day
Beethoven/Warintsky - Oboe Trios
Coldplay - X&Y
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery

Today I went on an adventure with some friends. Following a buffet lunch at The Retreat out near Cockpen, where Anne goes to help the cats, we were bussed to Melville Castle...



...for an afternoon of activities including...


Hovercraft...



Quadbikes...

...and some Highland Games and “It’s A Knockout” style jousting

Then we were taken over to Ratho and on to a barge for a trip up the Union Canal during which we enjoyed an evening meal, drinks and, what was supposed to be a disco but turned into a karaoke – yours truly helped out on “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight”, “Sweet Caroline” and “Shang a Lang”...



Back into Edinburgh and we ended up at one of the guy’s flats – his flatmate is the son of a race horse owner or something and so the walls were festooned with autographed sports memorabilia including Pele and George Best...

Night bus home and in bed by 1 am – not too smashed...

A good day...

Highlight of the Day : Hovercrafting & Quadbiking

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fame and fortune...

Music of the Day
The Bad Plus – Suspicious Activity
Neal Morse – Testimony

Nothing of much import happened today, other than the latest e-bay purchase arriving – The Bad Plus’ album “Suspicious Activity” their latest and the one which I forewent paying £15 for at their gig a couple of weeks ago. What an excellent album it is – the only downside being my cheap e-bay purchase is one of the original pressings which has now loaded the infamous Sony virus on to the PC...

And so, with nothing of much import happening, I thought I’d just quote you a very insightful piece of writing by fellow Edinburgh musician and Robert Fripp fan, Norman Lamont who, incidentally, shares my birthday and my love of Mr Fripp’s soundscapes....

I recently instigated a debate on the Out of the Bedroom website as to what really is the most important thing in music, citing the recent cases (Sandi Thom, Arctic Monkeys, Nizlopi) where an artist has been, seemingly, catapulted from obscurity to UK-wide fame and success, purely by using the internet, apparently completely on their own with, no outside help...

Of course such a story appearing in the mainstream media is an obvious PR ploy by the people working for the artist, be it management, record label or indeed, PR company and the conventional media stories are what then takes people to the internet to have a look at what’s supposedly happening....

The debate raged around what people ought to do to be “successful” in the “music industry” and so, the most important thing in music ranged from “lyrics and tunes” to “moving to London” to “using PR and marketing”...

After much heated discussion, Norman gave a very considered response, possibly influenced by his understanding of Mr Fripp’s career as musician and all the frustrations such a career can throw up when a situation of “conventional music business success” occurs...

(1) To have a career as a famous musician: master the business side, master PR or get linked to someone who can, and be prepared to spend three years in London. You will still occasionally play music, when you are recording or on tour. The rest of the time it's business. You will find yourself financially tied in ways you hadn't thought possible. If the idea of a mortgage scares you this isn't the place for you. The odds against success - well you know.

(2) To have a career as a musician: play folk or jazz, become technically proficient and be a session musician, play standards on cruise ships, or teach music. Don't expect to get rich, but be glad you can play music unsupported by another job. It is 100% certain you will play, compose and collaborate in far more music than person (1). Define success in these terms and we all know people who have achieved it.

(3) To have a pure relationship with music, to play the music you love, and to explore it: find another way to support yourself, so that when you are playing music you are doing it on your own terms. Try to build an audience using whatever PR methods are available to you, but do not form binding financial ties to anyone. You will be playing 100% more of your own music than (1) or (2).

Nail, head.

Highlight of the Day : The arrival of more Bad Plus music

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Five guitars..

Music of the Day
The Bad Plus – These Are The Vistas
Brad Mehldau Trio – Day Is Done
Esbjorn Svenssen Trio – From Gagarin’s Point Of View
Medeski Martin & Wood – End Of The World Party
Neal Morse – One

Listened mostly to the best of new jazz today – I have a couple more Bad Plus CDs in the pipeline now...

In the evening, after Saudi Arabia v Tunisia and the first half of Germany v Poland, James Jamieson came round to “lay down some tracks at Crispycat, man...”

He has the prospect of a gig at The Listening Room next month and wants Mr CBQ to play bass, so he brought round the acoustic bass we bought between us last October and which he’s had in his house ever since...

So I now have five guitars in the house...



I set up the equipment to record him and then retreated downstairs to watch the rest of the Germany game (whilst listening to the sound of James Jamieson coming through the ceiling!!)

Jamie played for around an hour and a half, recording some songs twice. The plan is for me to now record bass parts along with his guitar and vocals, press up a CD and pass this on to Mr Chris Brown who Jamie hopes will accompany us on Djembe on the as yet to be firmed up big night...

Germany won with a last gasp goal (but deservedly so)...

Once Jamie had finished, I played through a couple of songs and then we joined Anne downstairs to watch Question Time, with a quite scary and mental Derek Dougan (ex Wolves and N Ireland footballer) who seemed to mention his relationship with George Best in every answer he gave. He’s in the UK Independence Party these days...

Whilst watching, we drank some lovely coffee and ate some delightful Cadbury’s Fudge Fingers, which were apparently just enough to give Jaymee a treat – or so he sang...

Highlight of the Day : James Jamieson pops round to lay down some tracks...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Eating cars...

Music of the Day
Dido – Life For Rent
Dream Theater – Train of Thought
Pet Shop Boys – Fundamental
Pet Shop Boys – Fundamentalism

Today is my sister Pam’s birthday so happy birthday to Pam....

She was always aware of the fact that she was born on the same day as my dad’s mum, though there were sixty-four years between them...

Pam has some funny stories about sharing a chalet with "old Mother Reilly"at Butlins in the mid seventies – but this is neither the time nor the place to reveal them to the worldwide web...

At that time, our Gran must have been around my mum’s current age..

Of course she seemed a lot older then than my mum does now but that's because we were a lot younger then....

Isn't that a Bob Dylan lyric?

Another day of football watching today – damn you World Cup for sucking all creativity from me with your South Korea and your France and your Brazil...

At Tesco yesterday (where I forgot to mention I bumped into James Jamieson’s lovely wife, Susie) I bought some raisin and cinnamon bagels and some Blackcurrant Jam to try and recreate Saturday’s lovely Beanscene breakfast...

I tried it out today and must pronounce the results to be “not bad, not bad at all”...

Meanwhile, Meg the Black Cat helped Anne out in the back room. Here she is issuing instructions...

She’s probably saying, “Can I get some food now please?? – or I’ll eat that Mini...”



Highlight of the Day : Music Lifts My Mood

Monday, June 12, 2006

Footie, shopping, TV and music...

Medeski, Martin & Wood – Notes From the Underground
St George - Violin Concertos 1, 2 & 10
Jason Falkner – Bliss Descending (EP)
Halloween Alaska – Too Tall To Hide

Watched three football matches and did some shopping....



....watched “Have I Got News For You” then updated the diary for the weekend....

My new Jason Falkner CD arrived from e-bay and it is good....

Highlight of the Day : Shopping with Anne

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A house full of Marions...

Music of the Day
Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies
Emerson Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery
Roxy Music – Country Life
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
David Bowie – Diamond Dogs
Electric Light Orchestra – Eldorado
Electric Light Orchestra – ELO 1
Electric Light Orchestra – ELO 2
Emerson Lake & Palmer – Emerson Lake & Palmer
Hawkwind – Epoch-Eclipse
Fripp & Eno – Evening Star
Soft Machine - Fourth
Chopin - Nocturnes
Various Composers – The World of Your 100 Best Tunes: Top 20
Tina Brooks – True Blue

A day of two halves today...

The morning was spent moving CDs and other belongings out of the back room and finding other places around the house for them to be stored until the “makeover” of the room is complete in a couple of weeks...



We also tidied out the garage and installed one of the sets of shelves from the back room there to hold Anne’s “gardening stuff”...

At 1pm my mum arrived. I was taking her to East Kilbride for the 80th Birthday party of her cousin Marion...

It’s not her real cousin though. My mum’s mum died when my mum was about eight or nine and her dad remarried (her dad died when she was about fifteen and her step mother then remarried leaving her with two parents, neither of which were her “real” parents..)

I have no aunts, uncles or cousins of my own as neither my mum nor my dad had any siblings...

Birthday Marion is the niece of my mum’s step-mother (also called Marion) and there’s another Marion ("Wee" Marion) at the party who’s birthday Marion’s cousin and also my mum’s step cousin....

Here's my mum with "Wee" Marion...



So these two Marions are my first step cousins once removed. I am in a house full of people who are my long lost relations but who aren’t really related to me...

I have an unexpectedly great time though, chatting to my second cousin once removed, John and his girlfriend, Fiona....

Both are seventeen year old musicians – John plays jazz on a bewildering array of saxophones while Fiona is a classical clarinetist about to start at the RSAMD in Glasgow...

John’s older brother, Billy, plays jazz piano (and occasionally toots a sax for fun)...

They entertained a few of the guests in their purpose built music room by playing a few John Coltrane and Charlie Parker numbers...



It turns out John knows the young Sax player Anne and I saw a couple of weeks back at The Jazz Bar and, in fact John’s coming to Edinburgh towards the end of this month to play The Lot with Tommy Smith. He even knows Roger Spence of Jazz Promotions Company, Assembly Direct. I played five a side football with Roger for nearly 15 years before we both retired from the game (so to speak)...

Small world etc...

Birthday Marion is a real character and she’s up dancing and singing at four in the afternoon, wearing the feather boa and ostentatious jewellery, including a tiara, which her friends have bought her...



What an enjoyable day. I even ended up playing drums in a jazz trio with John and Billy (they were really good, while I really only played the Hi-Hat and the ride cymbal)...



You can just see the kit in the corner...

We got back to Crispycat Towers around eight and I printed off some photos of the day for my mum before she made her way home to Loanhead...

Anne had been working like a Trojan on the back room and every scrap of wall paper was now removed and all holes in the wall filled in..

We relaxed for the rest of the night watching footie and the programme about Italy presented by a Venetian Count – made us think about visiting that country again soon...

Highlight of the Day : Being the weak link in a jazz trio...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What more could I do?

Music of the Day
Emerson Lake & Palmer – Trilogy
Family – Fearless
Transatlantic – Bridge Across Forever
Cloudland Blue Quartet - 25 Years in 63 Minutes
Michael Rother – Chronicles
Be Bop Deluxe - Axe Victim
Family - Bandstand

I was up early and, from the back bedroom window, in next door’s garden, I could see an adult bird fluttering about collecting food and taking it to a baby which seemed just to be sitting in a flowerbed...

Meg the Black Cat was watching with me...

I went downstairs and listened to ELP’s classic album from 1971, “Trilogy” whilst leafing through Q’s collector’s edition on Prog Rock...

Eventually, Anne got up too and by around 9:30 we drove into town and parked up on the south side. Then we walked to Holyrood near the Parliament and the Scotsman building and popped into Beanscene for breakfast, breaking with our Patisserie Florentin tradition...



A very tasty apple and cinnamon bagel did the trick for me while Anne had a tasty Blueberry Muffin. The coffees were hot and lovely. The sun was shining and it was a lovely summer’s day after yesterday’s disappointing mistiness....



We were in this part of town to visit the end of year exhibition by Stevenson College photographers, including our good friend and Creek and sometime CBQ synthist, Stuart Cobley....

The quality of work was superb and you can still go along and see it until the end of this week. It’s on the fifth floor of the Tun Building, opposite the Scotsman Building....



I was especially taken by a picture of a group of bald cats....


(this is cropped and blown up from the previous pic)

We walked back to the car and drove to Homebase, stopping off briefly at the Music Library to hand back my uncopied Cara Dillon CDs (just not good enough) from 3 weeks ago....

Over the next couple of weeks there is some decorating to be done and things of a decorating nature had to be bought...

And a new carpet – aah, the only way to spend a Saturday – Homebase and Carpet shops..

We took some samples back home (after I’d visited Ladbrokes to put a tenner on England – if they win, I need something to sweeten the disappointment - and Guitar Guitar for some new strings for my blue guitar), and I started moving all the CDs out of the back room while Anne continued stripping the wallpaper...



We broke for lunch and then sat down to watch England v Paraguay...

A goal after four minutes. An own goal no less. Two minutes later, Paraguay’s goalie had to be substituted – so, 1-0 up and a sub goalie facing them – surely we were in for a rout by England?

But no, absolutely nothing of any consequence from England for the rest of the game. They were very poor and, if they are to have any hope of beating Brazil, Argentina, Italy, France or even Germany, they’ll need to buck up their ideas...

Second half was mostly Paraguay and so, as ever, the jammy buggers got away with the three points. Good to see the pundits slagging them after the game though. You’d have thought they’d lost by the way they were talking. Three points in the bag though and no doubt they’ll qualify for the last sixteen...

Back to work and I’m interrupted by shout from Anne. Meg the Black Cat has brought a wee bird into the house. By the time Anne has gotten Meg away from the scene, the bird has disappeared...

We search the house but can’t find it...

So I go back to work and Meg is set free again....

A little later, another call from Anne - Meg is looking at something under one of the settees...

We put her out of the room, lift the settee, and there is the wee bird I’d seen this morning sitting in next door’s garden being fed by its parent..

It seems to be ok and so I lift it gently and, in the hope its parents will find it, I take it back and put it where I’d seen it this morning...

Back to the carpet shop to make the order, collect my winnings from Ladbrokes (which pay for the guitar strings) and home again...

We are keeping Meg away from the back garden to give the wee bird a chance...

I go back upstairs while Anne watches the first half of Sweden v Trinidad & Tobago, the other game in England’s group....

I am surfing the net trying to find out about Blue Tits and what to do about abandoned babies when Anne comes to say she can see the bird lying at our neighbours back gate...

I go out and it’s dead. Looks like another cat from the neighbourhood must have gotten it. I feel so guilty now for taking it back to the garden but Anne says there was nothing else I could have done. Turns out this wee bird had been found last night by our neighbour on his back step. Anne hadn’t told me this earlier. So, after two days of hell, the wee thing has now been mauled to death....

Blue Tits can live for 21 years apparently...

On the upside, last night I saved a Blue Tit (probably one of the parents of the dead baby). Our next door neighbour came through in a panic to say she thought there was a bird in her house....

I went through and right enough, there it was flying around and perching on her curtain poles...

I finally managed to let it escape through the skylight....

After the drama of the bird, we watched the rest of Sweden v Trinidad & Tobago. Unbelievably, despite T&T having to use their sub goalie (first choice was injured in the warm up) and them having a man sent off in the 46th minute, the game ended 0-0. Shaka Hislop of West Ham, the sub goalie, made around eight saves to keep the Swedes out...

Which benefits the jammy England team...

Dr Who was next, with the conclusion of last week’s story about Satan in a pit on a planet near a black hole – probably the best story so far this series, just shading the Cybermen...

Then, last game of the day, Argentina v Ivory Coast. Played at a breakneck pace throughout, Ivory Coast are obviously a good team but Argentina were better in front of goal and ran out 2-1 winners...

Of the teams I’ve seen so far I’d rank Argentina as the best...and England as the luckiest!!!

Finished off the day with “CSI New York” and “Law and Order Criminal Intent”, the latter being the best show on the telly at the moment....

It's goodbye to the old room...



...by tomorrow all this will be gone...

Lowlight of the Day : A small bird...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Unable to burn...

Music of the Day
King Crimson – A Young Person’s Guide to Crimson King
Be Bop Deluxe – Air Age Anthology
David Bowie – Aladdin Sane
Mott The Hoople – All the Young Dudes
Brian Eno – Another Green World

In 1997 I wrote and recorded an album of strange ambient weirdness called “Gold Leaf Deep Red”. The track titles were phrases taken from the entries for the dates in Brian Eno’s 1995 Diary “A Life With Swollen Appendices” on which the pieces were recorded. One piece was called “Strange, Overcast Day”....

Today was a Strange Overcast Day...

Like the past three days it promised to be hot and sunny. But the sun was never able to burn off the mist...

Today I watched more “Coronation Street”, an episode of “Law & Order” and, of course, The World Cup....



...with Germany getting off to a good start with 4-2 win over Costa Rica and Equador surprising the pundits by beating Poland 2-0. Of course, the pundits seem always to use the distant past to judge who should win a game. Equador beat both Brazil and Argentina in the South American qualifying group, while Poland qualified a pint behind England, which, as we all know, doesn’t really count for much....

A month of football ahead...

Late on I put together the backing tracks for my proposed live set for the summer and had a quick run through singing along with them...

It sounded “ok”...

Highlight of the Day : Start of the World Cup

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The not so beautiful game...

Music of the Day
The Bad Plus – These Are The Vistas
Laurie Anderson – Life On A String
Hans Joachim Roedelius – Lustwandel
Halloween Alaska – Too Tall To Hide

For the first time in a long time, we had a third consecutive hot and sunny day in Edinburgh today…

I had two plans for tonight…

(i) to go along to the outdoors seven a side game at the scene of the great ankle breaking of 2005 to see how the guys are getting on and to watch the game

(ii) to deliver the first eight of the fifteen CDs containing the full 30 minute sessions of each of the artists on the OOTB IV CD to Out of the Bedroom

But first, I watched three episodes of “Coronation Street” which Anne has been videoing recently. It’s so easy to sucked in to these things….

Then to the footie, with my just arrived from e-bay CD by Halloween Alaska on the CD player. It’s even better than their eponymous debut disc which I received from e-bay last week…



It was good to see the footballing chaps again - obviously, I’d rather have been playing, but the advantage of standing on the touchline was that I could enjoy the game without getting knackered from running about…

The game was good but would have been better if someone had told them to stop after the allotted 60 minutes but they chose to play on for another 30…

Had a chat with Jim Park after they eventually finished. He’s doing another two week show at the Fringe this year – as part of the “Free Fringe” which he reckons is the way to go…

I’ll be along to support him…

By the time I left the sports field, it was 9:30 and so I decided just to go home – I’ll finish off the rest of the OOTB CDs before next Thursday and hand them in then…

Back home I fell asleep on the settee and then woke up in time to watch Question Time. George Galloway shone brightly while Labour Minister for Culture, David Lammy, was made to look an idiot…

Highlight of the Day : Seeing my old footie buddies again

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It could almost be true...

Music of the Day
John Gorka - Old Future's Gone
Tangerine Dream – Dream Sequence (Disc 1)
Barclay James Harvest – Another Arable Parable
The Bad Plus – These Are The Vistas
Various Composers – For A Quiet Evening
Various Composers – Your Hundred Best Tunes : The Top 20

My 500th Post...

Yesterday I walked to The Playhouse and procured two tickets for tonight’s performance of the totally politically incorrect Rik Mayall comedy “The New Statesman”, in which the loathsome righter than right wing Tory, Alan B’stard has defected to “New” Labour and ended up running it. It could almost be true...



Excellent stuff

During the day, I paid a visit to HMV and bought three classical discs, some acoustic guitar pieces on an album rather cheesily entitled “For a Quiet Evening”; a 2CD set of the top twenty classical pieces as voted for in 1994 by the listeners of Radio 2’s “Your Hundred Best Tunes” – around 1970 my dad bought me an LP of the top ten at that time. Seven of those ten were still in the top twenty in 1994 and are no doubt still there today...

Finally another two disc set, this time of Medieval Gregorian Chant by the Coro Gregoriano de Lisboa (which I’ve not heard yet)...

Back home before setting out for the Mayall play, my first The Bad Plus disc has arrived. And it’s every bit as good as the concert I attended two weeks ago...

Amazing covers of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Ten Spirit” and Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” sit alongside bewilderingly good original compositions by all three members of the band...

Finished off the night listening to weird jazz and updating this diary including, finally, adding pics for the last four days...
Highlight of the Day : The New Statesman

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hot, hot, hotter than Hell...

Music of the Day
Tuner – Totem
Halloween Alaska - Halloween Alaska
Bryan ferry – Another Time Another Place
Carla Bruni – Quelqu’un m’a dit
Jason Mraz – Waiting For My Rocket To Come

It was a beautiful warm sunny summer’s day today but I didn’t have the camera out with me so you’ll just need to take my word on it...

It would’ve been nice to take a drive down to North Berwick this evening, as my family often used to do back in the early 70s...

My dad’s ashes are under a stone there...

But unfortunately Anne wasn’t feeling too great so we stayed in...

Watched two episodes of “Life on Mars” (which we’d taped back in February) whilst sipping a very lovely Gin & Tonic – I’d forgotten just how good this programme was and look forward to a new series at some point...



Then a documentary on Hearts supremo Vladimir Romanov, showing just what an exceptional talent he is and how he promises great things for Scottish Football over the coming years – if he can just get a manager in place for more than a few months....

Highlight of the Day : the lovely weather

Monday, June 05, 2006

Back on track...

Music of the Day
Roxy Music - Country Life
Jason Falkner – Necessity
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Greatest Palace Music
James Jamieson – 2006 Demos

Spent much of today updating the blog for the last few days – I must admit it’s a bit of a chore when I’ve left it for a few days due to doing other things (especially as was the case today when Blogger is playing silly buggers re posting photos and uploading entries), but with around 500 consecutive entries I can’t give up – much the same as being locked in to doing the lottery every week as we always choose the same numbers – the week we stop will be the week our numbers come up...

Of course I’m unlikely to win millions just from writing a diary...

Watched “New Tricks” and the very funny “Have I Got News For You”..

Jamie had said he might come round tonight to work on some songs but he was a no show..

Oh well...

Bought a Jason Falkner EP from e-bay and went to bed...



Highlight of the Day : Getting back up to date

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Debussy and the birds...

Music of the Day
Mick Ronson – Slaughter on 10th Avenue
Robert Fripp – exposure
Debussy – Piano Works
Rautavarra - Piano Works
Satie - Piano Works
Tallis – Spem in Alium
Ken Hensley – Eager to Please

Up early, around 6 am, and surfed the net whilst listening to Mick Ronson and Robert Fripp, wasting my time as usual...

Then I went downstairs as Anne remained sleeping, and I listened to some piano works by Debussy, while the sound of birdsong came in the window I’d opened to allow Meg the Black Cat to pop in and out of the garden...



Whilst listening to Mr Debussy (this 4CD set of his complete piano works is one of my favourite classical discs, it’s a recording from 1964 by Peter Frankl) I read some of the architecture book I got back at Christmas – it’s been on the coffee table since then...

So, a nice restful start to the day, even though it was very early...

I made breakfast once Anne woke and then we decided to give some of our books away to Lothian Cat Rescue (http://www.lothiancatrescue.org.uk/), where Anne volunteers one day a week, looking after all the wee cats (around fifty at present)...

It took us about two hours just to go through one bookshelf deciding which books could go and then tidying and throwing out loads of other rubbish cluttering up the shelves...

I then spent some considerable time shredding old docs we found which couldn’t go straight into the bin...

Then, as Anne started stripping wallpaper from the walls of the back room, I started the final piece of work I need to do on OOTB CD IV, which is burning all 15 entire sessions to individual discs to be given to each of the acts...

Rather a long and laborious task, which I took a break from after eight discs and went to sing through an impromptu set of around 15 songs, picked almost at random from a large pile of music lying I the back room....

This then prompted me to choose a 15 song set list for a few proposed gigs I may have coming up in and around Edinburgh over the summer...

Half way through that set, the call came for me to go with Anne round to her mum’s for tea with sister in law Jane, her husband Bobby and my nephew Ollie and Niece Kitty....

Ollie was most amused when I told him it was a year ago tomorrow since I put his head in the washing machine....

Back home, I finished playing through the setlist then watched some telly (a programme about Germany’s record in the World Cup) before going to bed...

Highlight of the Day : Debussy and the birds...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Poor wee horse...

Music of the Day
Hayley Hutchinson – Independently Blue
Haftor Medboe Group – In Perpetuity
Mathilde Santing – Under Your Charms
Various – The Sunday Times Music Collection
Billy Cobham – Many Years BC (Disc 2)
Depeche Mode – Ultra
Pink Floyd – The Wall

Up early today – I must have taken it a bit easy last night as I was no doubt subconsciously remembering that this morning I was to have my eyes tested at 9:30...

All went well. I can have glasses if I wish – but I would only need them for close reading (like CD booklets!) and, the earlier I give in to old age, the quicker my eye muscles will give up. So I’ll wait till things get a bit worse...

Looking forward to looking a bit more intelligent though...

One thing I did see without any difficulty however, was that there was a Record Fair going on next to the opticians so, as Anne underwent her tests, I went in to the Fair....

...and emerged around 30 minutes later having spent the princely sum of £8 on four 4CD sets comprising “The Sunday Times Music Collection“, which contains almost 200 tracks from the vaults of Sony and EMI and a good few (at least £8 worth) which I don’t already have (which is good)...

Then to M&S and I purchase a nice black suit – with two pairs of trousers of course, since my big manly thighs are quite obviously too big and manly to be contained in puny suit trousers for any more than a couple of months before bursting out...

We bought lunch there too and returned home to eat our sandwiches in the back garden...

Then it was time to demolish the bed in the spare room – by actually demolishing it I mean...

And to the dump with everything but the mattress, which will be collected by the council in a week or two...

I slump in front of the telly and end up watching “The Derby” purely because it’s on as Anne suns herself in the garden whilst reading a book...



I wish I hadn’t watched. It was a very, very close race, with the winner just a nose ahead of second who, in turn was a head ahead of third...

However, one horse, Horatio Nelson, was pulled up injured and I discovered later, had broken one of its legs...

Early news reports said vets were working to save the horse, so, even though I don’t believe in God, I said a silent prayer for Horatio Nelson...

In the evening, I was cheered up by a scary episode of Dr Who, first of a two-parter about “Hell” being a planet next to a black hole, and at the centre of the planet was the pit into which Satan had been cast...

We enjoyed an Indian Takeaway, then “CSI:New York” and “Law & Order : Criminal Intent”, our Saturday night staples, along with Dr Who...

However, the day ended on a very sad note as I went to the computer to check the news, only to find the report on the Derby had been amended to say Horatio Nelson had had to be destroyed – full details here - (http://www.bloodhorse.com/articleindex/article.asp?id=33842)....

He was only two and a half years old....



Lowlight of the Day : Horatio Nelson RIP

Friday, June 02, 2006

No pace no more...

Music of the Day
CBQ – Nine New Songs
Pink Floyd – The Wall
Billy Cobham – Many Years BC (Disc 1)
Hayley Hutchinson – Independently Blue

Went out drinking tonight with a few friends but I don’t seem able to take the pace the way I used to and found myself back home on the settee watching TV with my headphones on by a very respectable 9pm...

Three more CDs arrived today, Billy Cobham’s 2CD retrospective of his 80’s material “Many Years BC”, the debut album, “Independently Blue” from Paul Buchanan’s support act, Hayley Hutchinson and Hafter Medboe’s jazz disc from this year, “In Perpetuity”...

Managed to listen to one disc of Billy Cobham and Ms Hutchinson’s disc. Turns out she’s signed to Gut Records, for whom I was once an A&R person in Edinburgh – I sent them music from all types of great Edinburgh acts – but they were only interested in The Beta Band....

The last in the series of “My Name is Earl” rounded off the day...



Highlight of the Day : for the last time this series, “My Name is Earl”

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sneaking a chum onto the board...

Music of the Day
CBQ – Nine New Songs
Halloween Alaska - Halloween Alaska

The first of my CDs from e-bay arrived today, the self titled debut album from Halloween Alaska (http://www.halloweenalaska.com/) – kind of experimental laid back electronic pop you might call it. Reviews mention David Sylvian and The Blue Nile but it doesn’t remind me of either. They have their own sound and of course feature the drummer from jazz trio, The Bad Plus (though this music is definitely NOT jazz)...



I listened to the CD as I drove along to Out of the Bedroom, arriving just after seven and getting my name into fourth spot on the board (I also smuggled James Jamieson’s name onto it as he couldn’t make it along until nearer ten)...

I booked Jamie to play around 10:20 with me following on at 10:35. I’d been listening to my new songs today and wanted to try and play three of the four new ones just written at the weekend...

Jamie played as expected, around 10:20, and gave a very fine performance of “The Morning After” – his Johnny Cash like piece, followed by “Ribbons of Pride”, another of his new songs for 2006, which reminds me of a kind of Motown ballad – no bad thing - and rounded off his set with the ever popular “Why Billy Why”...(I’m listening to “Morning” and “Ribbons” again as I type – great stuff JJ!)

After a slight rejig of slots, I ended up playing the last full set of the night and managed to fit all four new songs in by combining “I Fell For Your Blue Eyes Across The Room” (I love a snappy title) with “Starting to Worry” into a medley and followed them with “Chocolate on Your Bread” and “Rabbits on the Verge” all of which went down very well and all of which I enjoyed giving their debut performance...

Highlight of the Day : Singing some brand new songs