Monday, July 31, 2006

Silent laptopping...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Best of CBQ 1990-1995
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Best of CBQ 1996-2006
Rachel Portman - The Little Prince
Various - The House That Trane Built

Did something today I've not done for a while - I went to FOPP and bought some CDs...

Yello's "Flag", Miles Davis' "The Best of Seven Steps", a compilation of The Best of Impulse Records, "The House That Trane Built" and a double CD of the children's opera, "The Little Prince" based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, which I first read back around 1975 or 1976, in the original french, and one which remains a favorite of mine today...

In the evening, I met up with Jim Igoe, Nelson Wright and Andy Thomson, the original Out of the Bedroom Committee, round at Jim's place. He's thinking of opening a music cafe in Edinburgh and wanted our opinions on his ideas so far and to have a kind of brain storming session re what might work and what might not...

We had a good time and some good laughs too (Silent laptop concerts in the venue, with a comedy show on the pavement for those looking on) and all in all I hope it was a productive session for Jim...

On the way home in the car, my throat, which hadn't been too bad during the discussion, started to become very sore indeed. I must have left it too long since my last dose of painkillers...

By the time I got home I could hardly swallow...

Took some more pills and watched Scotsport with Anne. Five games at the weekend and, in a 90 minute show, ater 45 minutes they were still talking about Celtic, having shown only their game. Still, they've gotten rid of the audience and the two presenters who didn't know anything about football...

Luckily the Hearts game was next up (2-1 away to Dunfermline - Dr Prog's team) and we watched this before retiring...

Highlight of the Day : Round at Jim's with Nelson and Andy

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Funny face, fox, sore throat...

Playlist
Philip Glass – The Hours OST
Various – Out of the Bedroom IV
Ian Sclater – It’s Weird In Here
Various - The Greatest Hits of 1972
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Best of CBQ 1996-2006
Albinoni Oboe Concertos
Sibelius Symphony No 5

Up at 5:00 today and went downstairs to the living room with Meg the Black Cat – we watched a small fox running around the gardens while I listened to Philip Glass’s soundtrack music for “The Hours” - a very good CD...

Then, finding myself at a loose end at around 6am I looked through some recent CD acquisitions and my gaze fell upon "Out of the Bedroom IV" – a copy of which the team very kindly gave me a few weeks ago. Sufficient time having past since the production of this lovely CD, for me to hear it objectively again, I decided to give it a spin. I regret to report there are glitches on my copy which I have checked are not on the master. I e-mailed the committee to make them aware...

I took the opportunity to listen to Ian Sclater’s CD too with fresh ears and it sounds good...

Another glorious morning....



And so, with Anne still asleep, I drove to Patisserie Florentin for croissants and also bought some milk...



... before returning home to find Anne still asleep...

I worked on a second CBQ compilation, from 1986 to 1995, until Anne finally surfaced around 11:30 and we had breakfast...

After breakfast Anne went off shopping while I continued to work on the compilation, stopping to have a quick run through the live set...

I finally finished off a version of the compilation just in time for us departing for Anne’s mum’s for the fortnightly family tea. As usual, Mary’s culinary skills were to the fore, and a good time was had by all. I took some nice pics of nephew Ollie and niece Kitty along the way...





Back home, I decided to amend the catchment for the compilation to 1990-1995 and so reworked the entire disc, going to bed shortly before midnight...

My throat is agony as the cold lingers on...

Highlight of the Day : Kitty’s Funny Faces and a fox in the garden Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 29, 2006

1972, what a good year...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Best of CBQ 1996-2006
Various - The Greatest Hits of 1972
Klaus Schulze – The Essential Klaus Schulze
Klaus Schulze – Mirage

Having listened over the last couple of days to the newly proposed Best of CBQ, I spent some time early this morning making minor adjustments to the running order and the track changeovers...

Designed a sleeve and wrote up initial credits and printed a prototype...

We went to Patisserie Florentin for breakfast then down into Stockbridge for a look around....

In the Oxfam shop I bought a compilation, “The Greatest Hits of 1972, with hardly a duff track on it. 1972 was the year I discovered music. This is therefore a fine album...

Went on a bit of a spending spree later on, buying some nice new shirts, including a pink one(!) and a couple of pairs of kind of pointy shoes...

They fit perfectly and so I may return for duplicates to keep under the bed until the first lot wear out...

Back home, I ran through the set as best I could considering I’m still under the weather with this cold....

My colds always seem to last a lot longer than normal but that may be because, while I complain about having them, I don’t really change my routines to help get rid of them, continuing to get very little sleep and going out as normal...

Pizza for tea tonight, as we watched Scotland v Spain in the Under 19 European Championship Final. The Scots did pretty well, considering Spain had thrashed them 4-0 earlier in the tournament. 2-1 Spain at the end with the Spaniards nervously holding on for the final whistle – a surprisingly entertaining game...

Watched last night’s “Law & Order” on video, then designed a wee programme for the four upcoming Beanscene gigs, at each of which I will play the same ten song set...

Highlight of the Day : The Greatest Hits of 1972

Friday, July 28, 2006

Lost in translation...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Fringe Set
Neal Morse - ?
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Best of CBQ 1996-2006
Yes - Fragile
Ferry Corsten – Live at Aria Montreal (Disc 1)

A quiet night in tonight with a curry....

“Coronation Street”, then surfing while listening to some classic Yes - “Fragile” – I had a hankering to hear “South Side of the Sky)....

Then, on the new free version of Film Four, we watched “Lost in Translation”...

What a charming little film. Virtually nothing happens at all other than two people (played by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson) who are bored and depressed find each other and let each other know then go their separate ways....

The feel of it took me back to all those art house films Anne and I used to go to see in the early 80’s at The Filmhouse and The Calton Studios....

A sense of “what might be and what might have been” pervaded the film...

I liked it...

Highlight of the Day : Lost in Translation

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Once more into the void...

Playlist
Yes – Anthology (Disc 2) CD-R
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Fringe Set

If anything, the cold is getting worse as we head to the weekend...

Anne was off uptown drinking with her chum Lynn...

I watched the famous “feeding the alien” scene from “Dark Star” – not quite as funny as I recall it having been when I first saw this movie at the Calton Studios (when it was an Arthouse Cinema) back in 1980 – but still funny nonetheless.....

I was going to watch the whole thing but the sound quality left something to be desired...

Staving off the effects of the cold, I once again foolishly ran through the Fringe Set – well not really “again” as this time I was singing and playing the latest and perhaps last version of the set....

The good news is I managed it with hardly a glance at the lyrics and chord sequences sitting on the music stand – although I will of course continue to use these as a crutch...

Just a reminder these gigs are:-

Saturday 5 August (7:30) : Beanscene, Haymarket
Friday 11 August (9:30) : Beanscene, Nicolson St
Thursday 17 August (7:30) : Beanscene, Haymarket
Wednesday 23 August (9:30) : Beanscene, Nicolson St

The set will be ten of CBQ's best songs, so do come along...

I thought about burning some copies of the albums which will be featured in the set - “Callingstill”, “Doveloveshawk”,” Ampersand”, “Anotherhappyday”, “Deeperdown” and “Ersatzreal” – but finally decided against this – instead compiling an 18 track compilation (3 songs from each album) which I will burn especially for this year’s Fringe and which will contain the ten songs I’ll be singing...

My webmeister came back his holidays at the weekend having had an excellent time and, good man that he is, immediately updated the site with all the stuff I sent him last week..

And so my two acoustic albums, “The Acoustic Deeperdown”....



...and “The Acoustic Ersatzreal”....



...will be officially released on Monday...

Full details here:- Crispycat CDs

You can order them already...

Despite my illness, I drove into town to pick up a drunken Anne and Lynn and bring them home...

What a guy!

Highlight of the Day : Yet another CBQ compilation...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The predictor...

Playlist
Various – Euphoria Chillout (Disc 1)
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Fringe Set
Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen

Couldn’t sleep due to the cold I have at present and so I got up around 4:30, having gone to bed barely four hours earlier...

Listened to the twelve songs I’d chosen as a squad for the Fringe sets and finally finalised my set of ten...

Then I listened to that – slightly different from the set I practised last night – I can’t sing now for a few days due to my sore throat and breathing difficulties but hope to be well again for the gigs which start a week on Friday (5th August)...

It really was just too hot today here in Edinburgh...

In the evening we returned to Murrayfield for the first game in Hearts’ Champions’ League campaign. Of course it’s not a league quite yet as they first have to defeat two teams over two games of two legs...

Hearts were the better team throughout the game and had several chances in the first half but, at half time it was still 0-0. During the break, I predicted to Anne and her mum, a final 3-0 result for Hearts...

I felt if they got the first goal, which was surely coming, then they’d get more – and this is exactly how it turned out...

Of course if I'd had a bet that the result would be 3-0, Hearts would probably have lost...

And so, final score 3-0 to Hearts and they must surely progress now – though they still need to play the 2nd leg next Wednesday in Bosnia...

Highlight of the Day : Hearts 3-0 win over Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Razorblade throat...

Playlist
Haftor Medboe – In Perpetuity
Various – Introducing The Front Line
Supertramp – Slow Motion
Richard Shindell – Sparrows Point

Very early this morning/late last night, I finally got all my CDs back into the shelving and these CD singles off the floor...



However, I still need to get almost 2/3rds of the CDs into order again following the big shuffle around when redecorating the room...

Not been feeling well since Friday afternoon – now it’s the full blown summer cold, complete with mad coughing fits, dreadful sore throat, inability to swallow without pain or, in fact, just to breath properly – all of which adds to my normal general sleeplessness...

Tonight some TV – a couple of non-descript property shows and the end of some programme where Esther Rantzen, Big Ron Atkinson and Marcus Brigstock try to speak French...

In between all that, a run through my 30 minute set for the Beanscene – probably a mistake re my throat/voice – but, no real errors in the playing tonight, which was an improvement – I’d not played for a few days...

Here a re a couple of songs which will feature...



...and here’s my generally held to be rubbish (Cloudland) blue guitar, currently my favourite over my Fender...



And a relaxing seat on the new sofa bed in the “Music Room”, listening to some classic reggae on “The Front Line” compilation...

Highlight of the Day : Hmm, not making any big mistakes in tonight’s run through... Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 24, 2006

Striving for tidy...and cats...

Playlist
Yes – Lugano Jazz Festival
Various – Blue Note Trip (Sunday Morning)
Various – California Cool
Yes – The Ultimate Yes
Philip Glass – The Hours OST
The Eagles – Hotel California
Tony Williams – The Joy of Flying
David Sylvian – The Scent of Magnolia (3CD Set of Rarities)

First thing I did today was to updated my records of songs played live since 2003. I then compiled the top tens for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 (so far)....

Most Played 2003
1 I Re-Arranged The House
2 Another Happy Day
3 Everything You've Ever Wanted
4 Twenty Twenty Vision
5 A Nice Job In A Small Town
6 Skylines Full Of Cranes
7 This Is All There Is pt 1
8 Lovedrunk
9 The Time Of Our Lives
10 You Taught Me How To Love You

Most Played 2004 (2003 in Brackets)
1 Very Small (*)
2 Half A Lifetime Away (*)
3 Still We Doubt You (*)
4 The Crocodile Song (*)
5 I Re-Arranged The House (1)
6 Skylines Full Of Cranes (6)
7 Another Happy Day (2)
8 The Sun Goes Down Too Soon (*)
9 A Nice Job In A Small Town (5)
10 The Beauty Of A Foreign Land (*)

Most Played 2005 (2004 in Brackets)
1 Half A Lifetime Away (2)
2 The Crocodile Song (4)
3 The Gardener (*)
4 Very Small (1)
5 The End Of Everything (*)
6 I Re-Arranged The House (5)
7 Skylines Full Of Cranes (6)
8 Snowfall (*)
9 Still We Doubt You (3)
10 The Beauty of a Foreign Land (10)

Most Played 2006 (so far) (2005 in Brackets)
1 Starting To Worry (*)
2 The End Of Everything (5)
3 I Still Write You Letters (*)
4 Skylines Full of Cranes (7)
5 Blue Eyes Across The Room (*)
6 Chocolate On Your Bread (*)
7 Rabbits On The Verge (*)
8 The Happy Song (*)
9 The Luckiest Man Alive (*)
10 A Nice Job In A Small Town (RE)

Whilst doing this, in another window on the PC, I watched the rest of the Yes DVD Dr Prog gave me on Friday...

Then I drove to Patisserie Florentin and bought a couple of croissants for breakfast and a couple of rolls for lunch...

We breakfasted at home this morning, whilst listening to a couple of jazz CDs. I had to put the first one off after a couple of tracks due to there being vocals – for which of course there is NO PLACE in jazz....

As Anne surfed the various Hearts websites she frequents, I fell asleep briefly on the settee – a symptom of stupid, up far too early every day antics – but managed to shake myself awake and resolved to start sorting out my CDs, which have been in disarray since we redecorated the back room...

I moved a lot of stuff around, and took the one third of my collection which had been in the dining room, back upstairs. I put a lot of stuff into the attic, including a 12 string acoustic I never use, synth stands I won’t need till I get down to some programming for the new songs and all my paintings, for which there’s no place at present in the new scheme of things...

And so I was ready to start sorting the CDs into the correct order...

I stopped for lunch and then we drove out to Cockpen to Lothian Cat Rescue, where Anne does some volunteer work, for their July open day...



It was very busy indeed and the cats were gorgeous – they have 60 at present – they keep every single one until its homed....

This was my favourite, she looks a bit like Crispy the Cat - she was complaining about being picked up...


They were selling CDs, DVDs and videos at one stall, 50p each, 3 for £1. I found a Philip Glass CD, “The Hours OST” and added Alanis Morrissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” and a CD-R of The Eagles “Hotel California” to make up a trio of discs. I gave them £5....

We also spent some cash on Raffle Tickets, 1st prize, £750. There were around 20 prizes. We won nothing...

But it was all for the wee cats...



On the way back to Crispycat Towers we dropped in on my mum for some juice and a chat and also changed a light-bulb for her and unpacked, checked and fitted a new headboard to her bed...

She was in good form....

Back home, and back to resorting the CDs and tidying. I got the room to such a state of tidiness, that Anne agreed I could keep the entire CD collection back in the room...

I reburned the Eagles CD as there were a couple of glitches on it, which removed with Digital editing...

After a Chinese Takeaway and watching “Coronation St”, it was back to work on the CDs – this is a mammoth task...

Finished off the day watching Channel 4’s “50 Greatest Ever Comedy Sketches”. Not one was shown in its entirety. My two favourites were Morecambe & Wise’s attempt at Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Andre Preview and Monty Python’s “No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition”...



Highlight of the Day : A visit to Lothian Cat Rescue Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ironing and tidying - rock'n'roll, eh?

Playlist
David Sylvian - The Scent of Magnolia
Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill

This morning I uploaded into the jukebox, the 3CD set of David Sylvian rarities I compiled a few years ago...

On listening back during the day, I was disappointed to hear a few skips - I hope the CDs themselves are ok...

Norwegian Jazz Guitarist, Haftor Medboe read my entry for the gig I went to see him play at The Jam House and left a message..

He promises will be more "jazz" at his upcoming gig at The Lot in the Grassmarket on 31 July. I urge you to attend...

Other than that piece of excitement, Ian Sclater called and asked if I might accompany him on his upcoming Fringe gigs and he would return the favour for CBQ...

One to mull over...

Tonight, two episodes of "Coronation Street", wrapped around a quite pathetic attempt by "Tonight with Trevor McDonald" to report on the property bubble in Dubai (very hard to feel any sympathy at all for anyone who's been stung out there in what must surely be the Blackpool of Arabia)...

Then "Still Game", the last in the series. I will miss my Monday night fix...

What else?

Ironing some shirts and tidying away some CDs...

Rock'n'roll, eh?

Highlight of the Day : Haftor Medboe read the diary

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not sleeping, updating...

Playlist
Tangerine Dream 1974-1977
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Acoustic Deeperdown
Sonny Rollins – The Bridge
Fripp & Eno – The Equatorial Stars

Up initially at 4:30 am....

Meg the Black Cat was looking out the Living Room window at something on the path – it was a toad (or a very, very far from home frog – so I guess it was a toad)...

I had to go back to bed – I was up because, as ever, I just couldn’t sleep...

I chose a Tangerine Dream compilation to listen to and retired...

I recall the first three pieces or so (around 40 minutes) but then must have drifted off...

Back up at 7 and made a concentrated effort to bring the “news” on http://www.crispycat.co.uk/ up to date – it’s stuck at February 2006. I also sent j-pegs of the acoustic “Deeperdown” and “Ersatzreal” along with track and recording details and an MP3 from each album to my Webmeister...

Unfortunately it seems my Webmeister’s away on holiday....

Went back to listening to albums today rather than shuffleplay...

While collecting everything together to update the site, I loaded up Dr Prog’s mystery DVD – Yes live in 2004 at the Lugano Jazz Festival....

Tasty!

Anne got up around 9:30 and expressed disappointment that I hadn’t been out to get breakfast. She says I behave like a teenager....

We decided to go and see “Superman Returns” down at Ocean Terminal, breakfasting there beforehand. The show was quite early (11:50) and, consequently, there were probably fewer han ten people in the auditorium – superb! I HATE going to the cinema because of other people (chatting, munching, and generally doing stuff other than watching the film)...



The film was good, excellent special effects, and managed the occasional tug at the old heart strings...

It entertained – and that’s presumably all it set out to do...

Back home, Anne sat out in the garden enjoying the sun, while I ran through the proposed Fringe Set then sat down and listened to Sonny Rollin’s album, “The Bridge”, whilst leafing through the Edinburgh Film Festival Programme...

In an ideal world, Anne and I would go and see many of these films, I would also attend many concerts during the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and we would also see many good shows during the Fringe...

In reality, we’ll probably just see Richard Herring and possibly take in one of Jim Park’s free shows....

It’s up to us though....

We finally got round to watching “Narnia” a pirate DVD copy of which has been lying on our coffee table for months....

An ok film, but very much for children – not unlike Harry Potter in that respect – I still can’t understand adults who read the Potter books....

They are for children – stop it now!!

After “Narnia” the rest of the evening was spent watching TV, so a whole day almost of watching stuff. “Law & Order”, the first part of the BBC’s “History of Light Entertainment” which, this week, was on double acts (no mention though of Lee & Herring) and, finally “QI”, which was “not bad”...

And then to bed...

Highlight of the Day : Superman Returns

Friday, July 21, 2006

Prog dealings...

Playlist
Francoise Hardy – The Vogue Years (Disc 1)
Brian Eno – The Drop
Dar Williams – Green World
Neal Morse – One
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Timeless Flight
Deodato – 2
Bob Dylan – Masterpieces (Disc 2)
Golden Earring – Switch
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Fire (single)
Lambchop – No You c’mon
King Crimson – ProjeKct 3 – Masque
Jonatha Brooke – Back in the Circus
Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – Earthworks
Hawkwind – Epocheclipse (Disc 2)
Rush – Caress of Steel

I owed Dr Prog rather a lot of cash – because he’s very cleverly roped me in to going to see, would you believe (yes you probably would) Barclay James Harvest, Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman (of Yes fame) and Asia (coincidentally including Steve Howe of Yes fame) this autumn...

Accordingly, tonight, I drove to pick up our Friday Indian Takeaway from Taj Express and, on the way, picked up some cash to take to Castle Prog...

Along with the cash, I gave the good Doctor a copy of the 3CD Dub Box Set I bought a couple of weeks ago – like me, he’s a big dub reggae fan – and finally returned the Markus Stockhausen CD he bought when we went to see him many weeks ago and still hasn’t heard...

Dr Prog very kindly gave me a mystery DVD, promising I’d enjoy it...

Back home – two episodes of “Law and Order”, one “live”, one on video...

Highlight of the Day : Remembering I’m going to some good concerts soon

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A lack of potatoes...

Playlist
Dido – No Angel
Grand Funk Railroad – Survival
Muse – Absolution
Thin Lizzy – Don’t Believe a Word (single)
Simple Minds – Sons and Fascination
Golden Earring – Moontan
Sparks – Sparks
Bonnie Prince Billy – Greatest Palace Music
Sparks – Gratuitous Sax and Violins
Lucy Kaplansky – Ten Year Night
Uriah Heep – The Magician’s Birthday
Yello – You Gotta Say Yes to Another excess
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Delilah
King Crimson – Discipline
Alex Harvey – Considering the Situation (Disc 1)
Joe Henderson – In’n’Out
The Nits – Alankomaat
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Acoustic Ersatzreal
King Crimson – Deception of the Thrush

On Sunday, Jamie and I had agreed to go along to Out of the Bedroom tonight. Anne decided she’d come along too...

As ever Jamie was not going to be able to get on the board – if it was left up to him, with his family commitments etc, he’d never play again. So when we arrived around 7, Anne added Jamie’s name to the board....

Our plan had been to dine at the Mexican Restaurant next door but we couldn’t get a table so we went up to the Baked Potato Shop in Cockburn St - they’d run out of potatoes – we went back down towards Holyrood to Bene’s Chip Shop – which we used to frequent 25 years ago when I had a flat in St Mary’s St – Anne had read recently that Benny (probably bot his real name) had retired – none of that mattered though as we were thwarted once again – the new owners were away on holiday and the place was closed...

We ended up down at The Tun (on the top floor of which we’d visited Stuart Cobley’s photographic exhibition a few weeks ago)...

While the service left a little to be desired, and the music was rather loud, the food was tasty and hit the spot...

And so we finally returned to OOTB just as the first act of the evening was starting. We discovered CBQ was to play at 10:20 with James Jamieson in the slot directly after that...

A long night ensued – some acts were good – notably Jill Hepburn again - some weren’t so good, but that’s the nature of OOTB...

I played the three songs from “Ersatzreal” which I intend to play in the Fringe sets, “I Still Write You Letters”, “Starting to Worry” and “The End of Everything” – three slow songs of course – next time at OOTB, I’ll surprise people by playing three fast ones...

Ian Sclater was in the room tonight and was very interested in the chorus chord sequence for “End of Everything” – I showed him the chords but couldn’t name them – other than they were something to do with “D”...

Jamie, who had finally arrived around 9:15, played “The Morning After”, “Welcome to the World” and “Trash Can Secrets”, to which Anne and I bopped along – putting Jamie off his stride a little when we caught his eye...

No matter – it was a good set – as was “Big” Jim Whyte’s – who rounded the night off after one song from Andy Thomson – also excellent...

After chatting with Jamie for a while outside the venue we drove home – a long night, but probably just about worth it in the end...

Highlight of the Day : Jamie’s set at OOTB

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fear and shuffling...

Playlist
CBQ - Acoustic Fringe setlist
The Ramones - Ramones Mania
The Beatles - White Album
Jackie McLean - Jackie's Bag
Supertramp - Crime of the Century
Isaac Hayes - The Ultimate Isaac Hayes 1969-1977 (Disc 2)
Brad Mehldau - Largo
Joel Harrison – Free Country
Dar Williams – The Green World
Elton John – Greatest Hits 1970-2002 (Disc 1)
Mansun – The Attack of the Grey Lantern
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) – l’album di PFM (Disc 1)
The Blue Nile - Hats
King Crimson – Thrak
The Blue Nile – Rarities
M – New York London Paris Munich
Shivaree – Rough Dreams
Various - Eco e Narciso. Cultura Materiale/Musica
Esbjorn Svenson Trio – Strange Place For Snow
Kansas – Anthology (Disc 2)
Asia – Then & Now
Alex Lloyd – Watching Angels Mend
Rush – Permanent Waves
Ultravox! – Systems of Romance
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (Disc 2)

Firstly, here are some pics from last night’s visit to S Queensferry (the third is my favourite) – Blogger’s not letting me post pics so I’ve used Picasa to upload these on today’s entry rather than going back and redoing yesterday’s...









Loads of music today because I switched back to “shuffleplay” on the jukebox after a couple of months of choosing albums myself...

So the playlist today is (apart from starting the day with the CBQ Fringe setlist and the Wire CD – see below) is one track each from the albums shown...

This evening, went along to Murrayfield with Anne and her mum to see Hearts play Spanish side Osasuna. A 2-0 win for Hearts but not much can be taken from the game as nine of the eleven starting players were substituted during the 90 minutes....

Back home, I listened to this month’s free CD from The Wire, which came in the post today. It’s tracks from sound installations currently taking place in Turin – “Eco e Narciso. Cultura Materiale/Musica” - (I just discovered how to make this a link rather than actually posting the web address - cool)...

Track 2 made Meg the Black Cat jump off my lap and run to one of the speakers – something she’s never done before – and then she ran off in either fear or loathing....

While Anne watched tonight’s “Coronation St” on video, I updated this...

Highlight of the Day : Seeing Hearts’ first two goals of the season Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The cloud of destiny...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Fringe Set List
James Jamieson – 13 Songs
Various – Jazz Club Dubrovnik
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Fringe Set List

In an attempt to be less boring, I eschewed musical strumming, singing and recording today and, this evening, instigated a trip to the banks of the Forth …

We were originally off to Cramond but whilst driving there, a rather large cloud appeared over that part of the sky…

If I were a religious person, I might feel it was a sign from God that our destiny this evening lay in South Queensferry…

But I’m not, so I didn’t…

That's where we went though, and our destiny lay in a rather nice ice-cream, followed by a stroll along the front from beneath the Railway Bridge to the, for want of a better term, “main street” of this lovely picturesque little place…

Had we been here on holiday, we no doubt have ventured into the Indian Restaurant at the far end of the town…

But we weren’t and so we didn’t…

Very enjoyable evening out nonetheless and we were back home in time for some lovely coffee and to catch the first in a new series of “CSI:Miami” followed by Rob Brydon’s BBC 3 comedy “Annually Retentive” which has a bit of a Larry Sanders feel to it and may be worth visiting again…

I prefer “Still Game” though, last night’s episode being one of the better ones in this series which, overall, I feel has not been up to the high standards previously set…

Highlight of the Day : A trip to South Queensferry (photos to follow)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Being boring...

Playlist
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come
Dexter Gordon - Go!
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Fringe Set List
New Order – Movement

Having decided on the Fringe Set List, this morning, I added each of these songs to the Jukebox so that I could listen to them when out and about on another SCORCHER of a day…

It’s like the Summer of ’76 all over again…

This evening I recorded acoustic versions of the twelve songs, recording the guitar first and then the vocal – this will be my listening over the next few weeks as I try to get to know the songs as well as possible…

Anne reckons I am obsessed and harks back to the good old days when I’d decided not to play live for a while – she wants those days to return as it seems I spend all my time either playing or listening to my songs…

I am boring…

And I am becoming increasingly bored with everything…

Lowlight of the Day : Being Boring - and I don’t mean the great Pet Shop Boys’ song…

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Over extended...

Playlist
Alice Peacock - Who I Am
OK Go –Oh No
Mogwai – Mr Beast
Muse – Hullabaloo
Bryan Ferry – Goddess of Love (CD Single)

Another scorcher today…

Up at 6 and started the day by noting down the lyrics of eight songs of the thirty two I’ve chosen to play over the four Fringe gigs – these are songs I’ve never played live before…

A couple of hours later, once Anne was up and after some breakfast, I drove to patisserie Florentin for some of their lovely croissants – only to find they had not one single croissant of any type left – either there had been a run on them or their baker had had a breakdown of some sort…

To the supposedly posh new Waitrose nearby (just looked the same as the Safeway and Morrison’s it’s been in its past life) and bought a couple of croissants and two French rustic rolls for lunch…

We breakfasted in the back garden, in the shade – the sun comes round in the afternoon….

As Anne took to the garden to do some stuff there, I went back to “work”, working out the chord structures for the eight “new” songs, then typed up the lyrics and chords and added these to my bulging folder of songs what I have writ….

Lunchtime and we had the rolls with a selection of salad and cheese – again we ate al fresco, this time I had to sit in the shade of the garage to avoid the direct, hot and baking sunshine which I really do not appreciate…

Then back inside again and I set up the computer and ran through the first two of the four eight song sets – and of course the crisis of confidence set in about singing songs I’d never sung before – even though there will probably be no-one there when I actually come to do the gigs…

Each set contains one song from each of the eight albums listed yesterday and , over the piece the – plan is to sing each of the thirty two songs from the 2CD set compiled on yesterday morning…

After over an hour singing and playing, I was a bit bored by it all….

Anyway, I’d called James Jamieson and he was set to come round around 3pm for a quick practise before tonight’s gig at the Listening Room…

He did indeed arrive and promptly advised he’d completely changed one of the songs – so the majority of the time was spent learning that one…

Then we ran through most of his 10 song set and arranged to meet up at the venue later on…

To Anne’s mum’s for tea – the usual everyone around the table shouting their stories ensued and as usual, I took little part as it’s pointless because (1) you cannot make yourself heard and (2) no-one’s interested anyway…

I did have a good game of Paper, Scissors, Stone with nephew Ollie though, in which he started to invent things which his hand represented e.g. a volcano, a recycling machine, air etc etc and I then of course had to invent something which might beat that…

Ollie won in the end, as children often do – mainly by wearing me down….

And so to the gig…

I arrived early and chatted with Dave O’Hara, Out of the Bedroom’s soundman extraordinaire…

Someone else arrived and said they were looking forward to Nobody Jones’ set tonight – I advised I was under the impression James Jamieson was playing. Once organiser Chris Brown arrived we cleared matters up and he texted Mr Jones to advise him JJ was to play – apparently Chris had been trying to e-mail Jamie and had been getting no response – the gig was postponed from last week which would have clashed with the World Cup Final…

Unaware of all this, Jamie arrived with a bag containing two garish Hawaiian shirts which we were going to wear – I was up for it, but Jamie decided against and so he’s taking them back to Asda..

The evening kicked off late and there were around eight or so people set to play a couple of songs each, including me. I was first name out of the hat following Chris’ opening two songs and I played “Skylines Full of Cranes” and “Twenty Twenty Vision” to which Jamie added some adept harmonies…

By the time Jamie was to play, our combined pulling power had produced just one member of the audience, Jamie’s oldest and bestest friend, Joe…

The set went down well with Jamie on top form, Chris driving things along on his djembe (jamming really, as he had no idea what the songs were until he was playing them) and me playing the bass as best I could….

I think I did a decent job given the amount of rehearsal time we’d had. The only dodgy point was where Jamie sang a song in a completely different key from that which we’d rehearsed – consequently, every note I played in the first verse was wrong but I managed to work it out in the end…

An enjoyable night all the more so for having none of the pressure which usually goers with performing, since it was Jamie’s set – I was more nervous about the two songs I played earlier on…

I told Jamie about the upcoming Beanscene gigs and my plan to play four different sets….

He immediately became my executive producer for the gigs by advising I just ought to play my ten or so best songs – which is exactly what my usual executive producer, Anne, would say.

Executive producers exist to tell you how stupid your ideas are…

Home just after eleven on a hot muggy night…

Instead of going to bed, I sat up compiling my “squad” of songs for the gigs. I’ve chosen twelve songs to rehearse, of which I will play a selection of nine each night…

Highlight of the Day : James Jamieson at the Listening Room

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Resisting the urge...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Best of 1994-2006 (2CD)
OK Go - Oh No
Mogwai – Mr Beast
Bryan Ferry – Goddess of Love (CD Single)

After yesterday’s adventures I decided to have a bit of a long lie this morning – but couldn’t sleep and so was up early as normal, around 7 am…

With a view to considering songs for the four Fringe gigs just confirmed, I decided to compile a two disc set featuring four songs each from my last eight song based albums, from 1994 to 2006 :

Kernelcrux (1994)
Starcrossfix (1995)
Callingstill (1997)
Doveloveshawk (1999)
Ampersand (2002)
Anotherhappyday (2003)
Deeperdown (2005)
Ersatzreal (due 2006)

Did that and designed a quick cover and labels, burned and printed the discs and printed the cover and, Bob’s your uncle….

Breakfast at home today as my mum was coming round for another trip through to the West, this time to see her old friend Pat in Paisley, who’s husband, Charlie (the Gadget Man), died last year…

The big downside to this was that I wouldn’t be able to go and see one of my heroes from the 70’s and 80’s, German guitarist and founder member of both Neu! And Kraftwerk, Michael Rother who was playing in Edinburgh tonight…

Leaving the house at 11:30, we made it to Paislay in just over an hour, which was quite good going… We listened to “The Best of CBQ 1994-2006” disc one on the way…

My mum finally asked “Is that you, son?” to which I responded in the affirmative and she said “I thought I recognised it”…

The weather was roasting hot and, to make matters worse, we lunched in Pat’s glass conservatory…

A good and tasty lunch it was though and, around 2, Anne and I headed off into Glasgow…

I dropped Anne off in the town centre to have a look round boring clothes shops while I went to park the car and then looked round very exciting CD shops….

Parking turned out to be free as, as I went to the machine to pay, a young lady gave me her ticket which still had two and half hours to run…

Very kind indeed…

I bought “Mr Beast” by Mogwai in FOPP, resisting the urge to splurge – then went round to Missing Records and bought the latest from OK Go “Oh No” and a CD single by Bryan Ferry…

Very controlled I thought…

Met up with Anne again and compared purchases and prices, each of us reckoning that our own acquisitions were more exciting…

We drove back to Paisley and decided to go to Barshaw Park for an ice-cream. This park was the scene of my great head-splitting incident at the age of about four when I fell under the roundabout – the roundabout is long gone, but the swings remain…

It also contains a pond where, over 40 years ago, I used to fish with a small net and collect tiny creatures in jar which stood on my mum’s clothes wringer until the poor beasts inevitably died over the next couple of days…



Even today, there are boys with nets doing exactly the same thing – the ice cream van in the park was selling nets…

I resisted the urge…

We returned to Pat’s and chatted for a while about things, during which I was rather cruel to my mum re what might happen if she had to go into care…

I managed to stay awake on the drive home, during which we listened to “The Best of CBQ 1994-2006” disc two – to which my mum’s reaction was “Is that you, son?” to which I responded in the affirmative and she said “I thought I recognised it”…

We were probably home soon enough for me to turn up slightly late for the Michael Rother gig but I was still a wee bit tired after Thursday night’s escapades, my late night last night, and all the driving today…

So I had an early night instead…

Phew – what a scorcher…

Highlight of the Day : Ice Cream at Barshaw Park Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ersatzreal...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Acoustic Ersatzreal
Brian Eno – Apollo
Craig Armstrong – Piano Works
Bang On A Can – Music For Airports

Hmm....

One of the most beautifully hot sunny days there’s been in Edinburgh for a long time....

But we were so hung over, we couldn’t do anything...

Anne spent the entire day being sick when she wasn’t lying on the settee...

For my own part, I did get up at the normal time and made it into town but by 10 am, I had to give up and come back home having achieved nothing other than banking a cheque...

I was just soooo drunk still....

After an almost unbearable bus journey home, I stumbled into bed and slept from 11 till 3 then got up feeling a wee bit better but not much....

Once again the words “I’m never drinking again” came from our lips – with Anne adding the word “champagne” to her utterance...

I ran through my set for tonight and wrote up some programme notes on the songs which doubled as my introductions...

I arrived at POL’s house around 7:30 and was immediately introduced to Dave the Dog - a delightfully friendly greyhound cross. Then I soundchecked and met Stephen Carey, the evening’s third performer...

The guests started to arrive around 8:30 and the house filled up – it was indeed a party and people had the option of staying in the kitchen, drinking and chatting, lurking around the hall, going out into the garden or listening to the music in the living room...

Prior to the evening’s entertainment, POL, Stephen and I discussed various things music with a couple of audience members, OOTB regular poet, Bill Philip and none other than Mr Ian Sclater....

Stephen went on first and was as good if not better than I’d remembered from seeing him at OOTB. Great songs, technically proficient guitar playing and a beguiling vocal delivery, including a nice line in falsetto – which put me in mind of the last two great bands to emerge in the UK, Radiohead and Coldplay...



A tough act to follow...

POL had originally wanted me to go on last but I was so nervous I wasn’t able to enjoy the night and so I asked to go on next...

Just before I went on, an old schoolfriend of Alan Brodie’s and mine arrived. Mr John Sobik – and so we chatted a bit about the old days and our class reunion back in 1999 before I went on to sing the ten songs from what will be the next CBQ album, “Ersatzreal” – ersatz meaning artificial and real meaning, well, real – though in the context of the title it’s pronounced as in German, rayal....

Which reminds me, we even had two guys in from Germany for the night...

And, midway through my set, Mr Kevin Hill arrived - I used to sit next to Kevin in Maths when we went to school in Lasswade....

The set went better than I could have expected given how nervous I was about playing all these new songs....



Songs about car-crash victims believing they've survived; people who trample on everyone around them; last laments for love gone completely wrong; blurring failed relationships out of all recognition; sleepwalking through life; suffering from memory loss; realising too late how simple it might have been for everything to have been very different; finally being able to love, be loved and live a normal life; angels who are devils in disguise; and the song-writing process...

After I finished, sold some CDs of “The Acoustic Ersatzreal” and chatted about the music and generally was able to relax at last. I really enjoyed playing and am now looking forward to the Beanscene Fringe gigs...

POL ended the night with a storming set in his (literally) inimitable style – hammering his guitar at around 350 bpm – which takes a lot of muscle development to keep up...



At the end of the night I took Ian S and Stephen home, arriving back at Crispycat around 12:45 to find a still ill Anne had been trying to phone me for the last hour wondering where I was – somehow, the ringtone on my mobile was set to silent...

Ooops...

All’s well that ends well though...

Highlight of the Day : Performing “Ersatzreal” for the first time... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Smashed...

Playlist
I did not listen to any music today....

I purposely left my jukebox in the house today as Anne and I were off to a Summer Party this evening in the Botanical Gardens...

And so I enjoyed the sounds of nature and of man, as I made my way around...



The weather was beautiful and the squirrels were out as we arrived at the Caledonian Hall around 6:15 and immediately started drinking champagne. Anne later moved on to red wine while I drank champagne all night (wavering a little by partaking of three bottles of Stella Artois...

There was roulette – we ended up putting our entire £250 we’d made over the evening on “even” and number 29 came up – c’est la vie – it was pretend money anyway...

There was a juggler...

There was a magician...

There was a caricaturist – who made me look like a rather overweight ballet dancer with a hooked nose – not for public consumption!!

There were quite delicious canap├ęs but unfortunately not enough to stave off the effects of constant drinking for three and a half hours....

And so at 9:30 we really ought to have called it a night and gone home when the Gardens closed....

But no, not us – we took the opportunity of a taxi with the hosts and some other up for it guests to Le Monde in George St where we continued our champagne and red wine frenzy until 2 am, whereupon we took a taxi home, absolutely and completely SMASHED!!!

This day must go down as one of the most drunken we have EVER been – and believe me, over the years, I’ve had my moments – this must surely be a top five moment....

And so so thanks indeed to the very nice people at Bedlam Asset Management plc (http://www.bedlamplc.com/) for an excellent night out....

Albeit with a distinct lack of judgement from the Crispycat people....

Highlight of the Day : Drinking to excess – and the roulette – we won a bottle of ...champagne

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The piper's lament...

Playlist
The Emerson String Quartet - J S Bach's The Art of the Fugue
Cloudland Blue Quartet - The Acoustic Ersatzreal
Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

I've not mentioned for a while what a great cook Anne is. Night after night she produces wonderful meals which I merely scoff down before retiring upstairs to write, compute, sing, play or listen...

Top stuff from the Anne-ster....

Or maybe Anne-Star!!

And so tonight, another episode of "Coronation Street" comes and goes and is my only taste of the gogglebox - straight after, I'm upstairs again....

I've now been offered (and accepted) four sets at the Beanscene Coffee Houses during the Festival Fringe and will be playing at their Haymarket outlet on Saturday 5 August and Thursday 17 August at 7:30 each night and at their Nicolson Street Cafe on Friday 11 and Wednesday 23 August at 9:30 each night - so that's

Saturday 5 August (7:30) : Beanscene, Haymarket
Friday 11 August (9:30) : Beanscene, Nicolson St
Thursday 17 August (7:30) : Beanscene, Haymarket
Wednesday 23 August (9:30) : Beanscene, Nicolson St

In addition to this I am still to receive confirmation of a gig at The Ross Theatre in Princes St gardens...

And so, also tonight I had my last rehearsal for Friday's House Gig at POL's (1 High St Lasswade - No 31 bus from centre of Edinburgh in the direction of Polton Mill stops right outside - it's a couple of doors down from the Laird and Dog Hotel)..

It went marginally better than last night, fewer errors but there were still errors...

Then I picked around 30 songs to start rehearsing for the Fringe gigs (in 2004, I played 55 different songs over five nights at the Fringe and rather stretched myself, although it was an enjoyable experience)...

This time I think I'll choose a "squad" of songs from which I'll pick and choose on each night - the sets are to be 30 minutes, so that's between 6 and 8 songs a night depending on their length...

I phoned James Jamieson today to say I'd seen he's playing the Listening Room on Sunday night at 9pm (an hour of open mic from 8) - he didn't even know he was supposed to be playing.!!

And we can't rehearse until Sunday so it will be another flying by the seats of our pants experience, though judging from our playing last week, I'm sure it'll be fine...

Today the papers were full of eulogies for Pink Floyd's erstwhile leader Syd Barrett who died "a few days ago"....

Some people insist the first Floyd album is the best and that they went downhill after Syd was booted out for being constantly out of his face on drugs, but not me....

That's like people saying the Alice Cooper group went downhill after Bob Ezrin moulded them into the planet straddling behemoths they became in 1973 and that their first two albums, "Pretties For You" and "Easy Action", are better than "Love It To Death", "Killer", "School's Out" and "Billion Dollar Babies"....

The Coopers' first album was heavily influenced by early Pink Floys and the Piper album, since the two bands lived together in LA when the Floyd visited the USA in 1967/8..

Good as I think Alice Cooper's two early albums are, and the Floyd's "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is, surely it's wishful thinking on the part of cloth-eared idiots to declare they are better than there respective descendants, "Killer", "Billion Dollar Babies", "Dark Side of the Moon" or the sublime, and Syd-based, "Wish You Were Here"?

Still, wish you were still here Syd....

RIP



Highlight of the Day : Four Fringe Gigs confirmed

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rationed...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ten New Songs
Haftor Medboe - In Perpetuity
The Downer Trio - Customs
Brad Mehldau Trio - Anything Goes

Saw in the paper today that Norwegian jazz guitarist, Haftor Medboe was playing tonight at The Jam House, so I decided to go along - free entry...

When I arrived at around 7:45, there were five people in the audience as Hafter played acoustic guitar and loop-machine while a talented young lady sang along...

I heard covers of "Jolene", Bryan Adams' "Heaven" and "Hey You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" and left just as they started "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"...

Since it wasn't the jazz experience I was expecting, I decided I'd be better off at home practising for Friday...

Good run through tonight, averaging probably just one mistake per song...

The promotor, POL, called me today to say he's fallen out with the owner of the venue and so the gig was moving a couple of doors along the road to his house - a house gig - very popular in the USA apparently and it should be an experience if nothing else. Anne of course thinks it's a mad idea...

Other than that, I heard back from another promoter, the one who insisted on a demo and biog a couple of weeks ago, and I am to play three gigs during the Fringe - three half hour sets - more details soon and, after Friday when I will be playing ten brand new songs, for the Fringe gigs I will probably reintroduce some older songs...

Last night I was updating my "songs played live" matrix which I've been keeping since my return to live playing in January 2003. Since than, I've played a total of 85 different self-penned songs from 26 different albums. Having so many songs is hard when I play so few gigs - just 17 full sets in three and a half years (although, counting short sets at open mics, Friday will be my 72nd outing since January '03...)

Truly, I am rationed...

Highlight of the Day : Securing three gigs at The Fringe

Monday, July 10, 2006

Listening is better than playing...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ten New Songs
Reid Anderson - Abolish Bad Architecture
Various - Trojan Dub Rarities (Disc 2)

Ran through the set for Friday- including rather a lot of "unforced errors" which is frustrating, but typical me...

Washed the dishes then watched an hour long episode of "Coronation Street"....

Another run through half the set before Anne closed me down for the night (more rubbish playing, damn it!!)...

Highlight of the Day : Listening to my songs as opposed to trying to play them...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fast work...

Playlist
Brad Mehldau – Anything Goes
Various – Trojan Dub Rarities Box Set (Disc 1)
Spring Rolls Quartet – Prague Jazz
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Ten New Songs

Started the day with the one album from yesterday’s spending spree which I’d not sampled yet. Great stuff from Mr Mehldau and his cohorts. I must get round to getting my tickets for the jazz festival...

Made breakfast at home while listening to a disc I bought when we were in Prague in 2001 featuring a bassist (Robert Balzar) whose concert we attended in the smokiest room in Europe...

After breakfast Anne surfed the net and I ran through my set again and decided to record it again, now that I’m more familiar with the songs...

Recorded the guitar parts, including a brand new, just written tune by around 1 and stopped for lunch, after which Anne settled down to watch the Wimbledon Men’s Final and I headed back to the studio to “lay down (man)” the vocals....

By three I had started on some backing vocals and by four, with the nine songs finished, I started to write the new song’s lyrics – it’s ended up being called “The Secret of My Success” and is another fast song – giving the ten I have now a 50/50 split between fast and slow...

By 6:30 I’d finished an acoustic album of one guitar and two voices, around 35 minutes, designed a cover and label and burned and printed...

Fast work...

The World Cup Final followed – France v Italy – and the first half was one of the best of the tournament – I think the Italians just shaded it – I wasn’t worried who won but didn’t really want to see either team lose...

The second half belonged to France but, like so many of the knock out games, no real pressur eon either goalkeeper – the defences were both excellent....

1-1 at full time..

First period of extra time saw a superb save by Buffon from Zidane and France stayed on top, though in the 2nd period, Italy had the ball in the net but it was offside..

Then Zidane was sent off for headbutting Materazzi in the chest in a most unbelievably stupid incident which marked the end of Zidane’s illustrious career ...

To penalties then, which have so often I the past been Italy’s undoing – but tonight they scored all five, while France’s David Trezuguet was unlucky to hit the bar – and so Italy are World Champions...

The pundits bemoaned the fact that there was no really great team on display and that the big names didn’t really take the stage by storm, but there were some great games and I think many of the top teams kind of cancelled each other out....

What now of an evening?

Highlight of the Day : Recording my ten new songs

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Glass cases...

Playlist
Fennesz – Venice
The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour
Suzanne Vega – Retrospective
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Nine New Songs
Joel R L Phelps & The Downer Trio – Customs
Various – Nuggets
Various – Trojan Dub Rarities Box Set (Disc 1)
The Ramones – Ramones Mania

Up at 5:40 today, though when I got up I thought it might be around 8...

I updated the blog and surfed the sites I read – and it’s congratulation’s to Jim Park’s sister Janie (and her husband Max) on the birth of their daughter yesterday....

Once Anne got up we headed to Patisserie Florentin for breakfast – superb latte for me and their plain croissants just cannot be beaten...

After breakfast, I took Anne round to her sister Jane’s as they were off out together, and, after dropping them at their destination, I set off for “the Saturday place” which is where it’s possible to park the car all day without getting a ticket. I’ve been parking there on a Saturday since we had our original shop back in 1991...

In Avalanche, I picked up a copy of The Downer Trio’s album “Customs” the sound of which I had no idea but it is rather good....

A lottery ticket next (aargh! One number again)...

And then to Fopp where I went a wee bit mad, buying “Nuggets”, recently re-released on Rhino Records – the Lenny Kaye (subsequently of the Patti Smith Group) compilation of the best of the USA Psychedelic Era of 1965-68, a 3CD Box Set of Trojan Dub Rarities (my absolute favourite type of Reggae music), a disc by The Brad Mehldau Trio, “Anything Goes” including covers of Radiohead, Paul Simon, Cole Porter, Thelonius Monk, Lerner & Lowe and Charlie Chaplin, and, finally, a 30 track compilation of a band by whom I had until today, nothing – “Ramones Mania”...

Met up again with Anne at the Music Library, but I wasn’t there to borrow any CDs, rather to meet with Dr Prog and his lovely wife Jacqui. We were off to the Mosque for a curry based lunch...

The Mosque kitchen has been catering to the nearby University’s students and staff for years and the general public are gradually becoming aware of the very tasty food available – and of the frankly ludicrously low prices being charged...

Tasty!

Phil Prog is upset at recent press reports that one of our favourite music venues, The Queen’s Hall, is to be closed down and a new venue to be built miles away in Leith and so we walked along to said venue to find out where Phil could write to in order to complain...

Turns out it’s just an idea being floated by the council which the local press has picked up on but the people at the Venue referred to it as “just journalism”...

It would be a shocker though if the Council closed a perfectly good venue and spent millions of tax payers cash on an unnecessary new one...

Then to the Royal Scottish Museum for coffee and cakes and a look round the exhibits and exhibitions. I’d not been here for a while but, back in the 70’s I used to come here almost every Saturday and look in wonder at all the species of animals they have in glass cases...

We left P&J as they set off towards Fopp and we headed back to the car and home...

I listened to the “Nuggets” compilation as I restrung my blue guitar and then, once it was ready, I ran through my set for Friday – the new strings make the guitar sound really good...

Then I found my old Beatles book, the one I used back in 1977 to learn chords and tried a few of their songs, murdering quite a few along the way...

Then it was time for Dr Who – Cybermen Vs Daleks and the demise of his sidekick Rose Tyler. A fitting finale to the series which has probably been not quite as good as last year's. The Daleks are much better and scarier than the Cybermen of course and Rose didn’t die, just (just??) ended up stranded for the rest of her life in a parallel universe, along with her mum and her old boyfriend Mickey and where her dad didn’t die 20 years ago...

Germany v Portugal was up next – an OK first half was followed by an excellent second, and Germany ran out winners 3-1 – just the final to go now....

Finished off an enjoyable day listening to some more of my new CDs....

Highlight of the Day : Mosque Lunch and the Museum

Friday, July 07, 2006

Media overload...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Nine New Songs
Pink Floyd – The Final Cut
Yes – Fragile
The Beatles – Revolver

Awoke this morning to the sound of Radio 4 replaying its reports from 7/7 (as it’s called) last year...

Unbelievable...

Total media overload today (and indeed over the last week or so) re this anniversary of a terrible event and I have nothing but sympathy for the victims (more so for the injured survivors whose lives have been ruined) but really, media, show some restraint and some respect before you turn everyone off...

And let’s have some perspective please re this so called “war on terror” or rather “War On Terror”...( http://www.jimpix.co.uk/words/terror.asp#conc)...

In the evening, “Coronation St”, “Law & Order” and another “Law & Order” on video then listened to The Beatles’ “Revolver” while reading the notes on each song in the superb book “Revolution in the Head” by the late Ian McDonald (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_MacDonald) with Meg the Black Cat lying beside me and purring...



A nice end to the day...

And for the second night running, I went to sleep without listening to any music...

Highlight of the Day : Meg the Black Cat’s purring

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mutual appreciation society...

Playlist
Rypdal, Vitous, DeJohnette - Rypdal, Vitous, DeJohnette
Alice Peacock – Who I Am
Brian Eno – Music For Airports
Brian Eno – Another Day On Earth
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Nine New Songs

Spent the evening round at Conrad Towers with James Jamieson, rehearsing his songs for any upcoming gigs he may secure (nothing definite at present)...

We played till our fingers hurt and I did my best to replicate the bass lines I’d recorded on Sunday, many of which were for songs I was learning as I played...

We each then played to each other some new songs we've been working on, in a blatent display of mutual appreciation...

A most enjoyable evening...

Back home, “Question Time” and then surfing the TV instead of just going to bed as I should have...

Highlight of the Day : The James Jamieson Duo

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Snail fascination...

Playlist
Yes – Magnification
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Nine New Songs
Alice Cooper – Dirty Diamonds
Reid Anderson – The Vastness of Space
Emerson Lake & Palmer – Trilogy
Dream Theater - Octavarium

To the Infimary today and I am at last discharged re the ankle with the caveat that it could take “one or two years” for my leg to return to “normal” – whatever that is...

As regards my left shoulder and arm, the effects of the injection of six weeks ago are starting to wear off and the pain is returning but I can’t be injected again as that could have a detrimental effect on my muscles and tendons. So I am now on the waiting list for an operation and should be under the knife in around three months...

At teatime we had an unexpected visit from Anne’s sister Jane with her kids, Oliver and Kitty – they were funny – wanting to see Meg the Black Cat and then running to their mum when Meg appeared...

They were fascinated too by the snails and slugs crawling along the path in the front garden...



In the evening I drove round to a postal depot to collect the recently ordered 200 blank CDs which arrived today while I was out...

When I arrived back, our friend Michelle had ust arrived. Anne and Michelle were off out to the Cinema to see “The Lake House”, leaving Meg the Black Cat and I to watch France v Portugal in the second semi-final of the World Cup...

After the first 30 minutes I gave up watching. John Motson and his sidekick, Mark Lawrenson, succeeded in providing the most biased commentary I have ever heard (barring any match involving England)...

The post match stats (on the BBC’s own website) didn’t bear out what they were saying (basically Portugal were rubbish because they cheated in getting Rooney sent off against England)...

Portugal had more possession, more shots (both on and off target) and more than twice as many corners than France. Of course France had a penalty (which Ricardo nearly saved)...

Don’t get me wrong, I thought France deserved to win (I returned to the game midway through the second half) as Portugal were ineffectual in the “last third” (i.e. they never looked likely to score) but the commentary from Motson was a disgrace...

I’m old enough to remember the days when commentators had to be impartial, even when England were playing. Kenneth “they think it’s all over” Wolstenholme was the only biased one amongst them...

Not to worry – it’s only a game...

During my break from the footie, I attempted a run through my set for 14 July. The first half was dreadful and I hope that’s that out of my system....

Anne arrived home having enjoyed the film but making a note not to rush to see Keanu Reeves in anything again...

A nice cup of tea, the highlights and then the end of another day....

Highlight of the Day : A visit from the kids.. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Battle of the old axis...

Playlist
Adrian Belew – Side Two
Reeves Gabrels – Rockonica
Yes – Magnification
Alice Peacock – Who I Am

The new Alice Peacock album arrived today – a signed copy which I ordered back in May. I first saw her around six or so years ago at the Renfrew Ferry in Glasgow where she impressed whilst supporting Lucy Kaplansky – Google them both for some good music....



Watched the first World Cup Semi-Final – Germany v Italy. An excellent game, amongst the best of the tournament so far even though after 118 and a half minutes it was nil-nil and heading for penalties...

Italy finally broke the deadlock with an excellent goal (having already hit both a post and the bar in the first half of extra time) and then burst through again to score their second with the last kick of the ball...

I felt for the Germans, whom I was supporting, but, overall, I think the Italians just deserved to win and no more. I hope they play as well as this in the final...

And Germany can still come third...

Highlight of the Day : Germany v Italy Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 03, 2006

Affirmative action...

Playlist
James Jamieson – 13 Songs
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Nine New Songs
Adrian Belew – Side Two
Jill Hepburn – Groovy Enough For Two (EP)
George Benson – It’s Uptown
The Necks – Hanging Gardens

Spent the evening burning CDs for recent orders and replying to various e-mails recently received. Watched an episode of “Coronation St” and then “Still Game” and, on video, the last in the present series of “Law & Order : Criminal Intent”...



Late on, Dr Prog called to advise of two upcoming gigs which may be of interest – Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman of Yes on an acoustic tour and the original line up of Asia - John Wetton, Geoff Downes, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer - in Glasgow. Affirmative to both...

That’s about it for today..

Highlight of the Day : Law & Order : Criminal Intent Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 02, 2006

What a surprise...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Acoustic Deeperdown
Vladimir Horowitz – In The Hands of the Master (Disc 1)
Various Composers - Music for a Quiet Evening
James Jamieson - 13 Songs
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Nine New Songs
Shawn Colvin - Whole New You

Up and surfing - reading much commentary on England's World Cup demise...

It's only in the immediate aftermath of elimination that reality kicks in and then only for a very short period until the stupidity starts to build again for the next tournament...

Oh well...

After breakfast we watch last night's Dr Who...

First of a two parter and the Cybermen return coming from a parallel univers into our own (or the one in which the Doctor exists so probably one parallel to our own...



Started slowly and built up to an amazing climax...

The BBC have done brilliantly to keep the climax of this episode under wraps as far as I can tell, but they played the masterstroke of bringing the Daleks in for the cliffhanger...



Superb stuff and now I can't wait for next week's episode - even though it does look like Rose will be killed off...

After this Anne went uptown to shop for an "outfit" for a wedding we'll be attending in September, while I at last set to work on recording the bass lines for Jamie's songs...

It took from around 10:30 till 4:30 but, when we left for Anne's mum's for tea, I had the finished CD in my hands...

There was a massive thunderstorm this afternoon and Anne called me to go and collect her from the bus terminal to stop her from getting soaked. The sky was black...

In contrast, Lex and Moira (from yesterday's visit to Glasgow)'s daughter Lindsay e-mailed from France and advised it was 43 degrees Celsius there - that's just too hot...

Also received an e-mail to confirm the Lasswade gig is now on 14 July...

Jamie didn't call me re the CD till late on and I went round to his from Anne's mum's around 8pm to give him the disc. We agreed to meet on Wednesday for a live run through (so I'll need to rehearse before then as I still don't actually "know" the bass lines)...

Back home I ordered up another batch of blank discs re some recent orders as stocks are running low, and updated the diary...

Highlight of the Day : Dr Who - I love the Daleks!! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Justice in the world (cup)...

Playlist
King Crimson – The Dream and the Illusion (Song Disc)
David Bowie – All Saints
Various - Holiday Hits Vol 4
Various - Holiday Hits Vol 10
Dream Theater – Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

After already sending out two missives to my “mighty CBQ fanbase” re my upcoming gig this Friday (which I now realise will be my first full set since last July), a phone call this morning advises that the gig is once again postponed, this time to an as yet to be confirmed date...

It seems the room has been double-booked by a less than well informed member of staff. The occasion is Funeral Wake....

With my reputation for funereal music, perhaps they could have combined the two...

And so I must bother my “followers” yet again to advise the thousands who were due to attend on Friday, not to bother, or at least, if they do go along, to wear black...

Today we were visiting Lex and Moira, friends of my mum and dad since meeting on holiday in 1964. Due to roadworks, my mum took over an hour to make the normally 20 minute journey to our house..

In the meantime, Anne was out at Tynecastle spend, spend, spending on tickets for the Jam Tarts upcoming “Champions’ League Adventure” (© the Scottish Meedja)....

We finally left Crispycat Towers around 12:30 and made it to Bearsden (a posh part of Glasgow), about an hour later – an act by which my Mum was most impressed...

Lex and Moira are around 70 going on 30 and we have an excellent time chatting away and setting the world to rights...

After lunch, Lex, Anne and I retire to the TV room to watch England v Portugal...

Whilst I felt sorry for England going out on penalties and that they perhaps performed better today than in previous matches (but only because they had to defend continuously for almost an hour including extra time due to half man, half potato Wayne Rooney being sent off for stamping on an opponents nether regions)....



...I was more than happy to see them go. Frankly, they were crap in every game they played...

Paraguay : reasonable first half, more than lucky to hang on in the second

Trinidad & Tobago : showed nothing of any import for 80 minutes until Crouch scored an illegal goal, holding the defender down by the hair. Gerrard’s second was a stormer though.

Sweden : Woeful defending and clinging on to a 2-2 draw to avoid the Germans. Scene of Dancing Joe Cole’s “lucky lob” (ok it was quite a good goal but a bit hit and hope)

Ecuador : Oh dear – if Ecuador’s shot which Ashley Cole valiantly deflected on to the bar, had gone in, a third rate side would have put England out of their misery. Very poor. Beckham’s free kick was the only highlight for England

Portugal : England were flattered by Portugal’s lack of killer instinct, pussyfooting around the box for almost the entire last hour of the game. Dreadful misses from Rooney, Cole and co were compounded by a quite astonishingly amateurish attempt at a penalty shoot out. Lampard’s miss summed up England. Much promised, nothing delivered.

And so they were found out immediately they came up against tough opposition – which they should have known having struggled so badly against Sweden...

Frankly, for the press and management and even (hang your heads in shame) the players to opine that England could win the tournament was a joke...

Surely getting to the Quarter Finals was a major achievement considering how the team was playing. Scholari admitted that Portugal's last eight appearance was all he could have hoped for and from here on in it will be a bonus. But why do England believe they ought to have won the cup?

And as for Sven’s frankly laughable assertion that they are amongst the top eight teams in the world, does he honestly believe England’s performances rank them higher than the Ivory Coast, Holland, Mexico, Ghana, Australia, Spain or even Sweden, the Ukraine or Switzerland?

On that logic, Scotland were indeed World Champions in 1967 when they beat England 3-2 at Wembley...

So let’s make that top twenty will we? And even that’s stretching it...

Anyway, thank goodness the illusion’s over for another two years. They will, of course, continue to enjoy preferential seeding as they go forward to the finals of the European Championships in 2008. C'est la vie...

After the England shoot out, we watched Andy Murray knock out the third seed at Wimbledon in straight sets. Unbelievable, but more power to the boy’s elbow...

We sat down to a relaxed evening meal around 8:30 and spent the rest of the night chatting around the table. Moira’s cooking was a delight to be savoured....

We left for home just before eleven and arrived just in time to catch the highlights of Brazil v France - and of course France shocked Brazil but, frankly, outplayed them. A wonder goal from Thiery Henry and a fiery display from Zidane being the difference....

Despite the post midnight scenario, Anne logged on to the net and confirmed a visit to Italy in the early Autumn which is something for us to look forward to....

An excellent day..

Highlight of the Day : England – justice done at last Posted by Picasa