Monday, June 30, 2008

Win ugly...

Playlist
David Bowie - iSelect
Various - Blue Note Playlist on Jazz & Classical Jukebox

Out into the world today went the fifth volume of my 10 CD 30 year Anthology...

Off you go...



Full details here - if you don't want the lovely artwork and a shiny CD and all the track notes and stuff (honestly, I won't mind!), then you can download the whole album from here for free - scroll down, it's near the bottom, inside the Anthology 1977-2007 folder...

To FOPP at lunchtime (just for a change) and didn't buy any CDs to round off the month - no, I bought a Yes DVD ("Live in Philadelphia 1979") and the 7th Edition of "The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD"...



..which of course I need my glasses to read properly...

Back home, tasty trout and salad and Andy Murray was being gubbed two sets to love by some French chap - watched the game to the end (ok, in between tonight's two episodes of "Coronation St") and, amazingly, he won three sets to two...

Well done...

A very ugly man though...

Finished off the night with new Monday staple, "Numb3rs"...

To bed with Blue Note in my head...

Highlight of the Day : Grudgingly - the tennis

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mindslip...

Playlist
David Bowie - iSelect
Carzy Wisdom - The Reptile Tapes
Various - CDs Acquired in June

Five years on today from the Sunday my dad died...

However, I must confess that, until my mum called me and reminded me what day it was, I wasn't concious of the date...

It wasn't that I had forgotten, just that I hadn't put two and two together...

A slight frisson of guilt and then I knew my dad wouldn't have given a hoot...

Anyway, in honour of the old man's memory, here's me impersonating him yesterday in a snazzy short sleeved shirt...



Prior to my mum's call, I'd cycled to the grocery store for a couple of rolls for breakfast along with a newspaper with a free David Bowie CD - 12 personally selected tracks with his own notes on each...

That was after watching last night's "Dr Who" again and the "Bad Wolf" episode from 2005 and reading up on all sorts of nonsense about the Daleks on the internet and generally wasting my time...

Retrieved the mic and stand and a few leads from the loft to start the recording process for my next album - tomorrow sees the release of volume five of the anothology - half way through...

No lunch but a lovely piece of Impossible Daughter Emma's birthday cake from the party last night with some tasty coffee - mmm mmm...

Listened for the first time in years to Crazy Wisdom - some great stuff there by Malcolm Logan and Charlie Dootson whom I've not see for ages - with excellent keyboards from the one and only Count Brodski...

To Anne's mum's for tea where we watched the first half of the Euro final between our faves, Germany and everyone else's faves, Spain - back home for the goalless second half and to see Spain deservedly take the title 1-0...

I lost £2 on my bet re number of goalless halves - in the end there were 19 and I needed twenty just to break even - it did give me an interest in every game though...

I'm sure we finished off the day watching something on the telly - oh yes, the new Kelsey Grammar vehicle - before heading to the land of nod...

Here's to you dad...

Highlight of the Day : Call from my mum...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Possible...

Playlist
Sombre Reptiles – Crispycat Downloads
The Violet Archers – Sunshine at night
Fran├žoise Hardy – All Over the World
Impossible Songs – Best of (Project)
Various – Holiday Hits Vol 3

Up at 7 and to the PC to write this up and to check some of the tracks I uploaded recently to the Crispycat Library – some pretty old songs there, some I’ve not listened to in a very long time...

Breakfast around 10 at home, cereal, fruit juice and coffee, then out for some clothes purchase for a trip later this year...

Back home and picked up the guitar and played a few songs without the aid of any props:-

Twenty Twenty Vision (Ampersand)
The End of Everything (Ersatzreal)
I Rearranged the House (Anotherhappyday)
Very Small (Deeperdown)
The Crocodile Song (Deeperdown)
The Angels’ Kiss (Ersatzreal)

...and did some more work on the new song, “Blend”...

Because the studio’s dismantled and in the loft, I have no way of recording my musings and so, each time I go back to the song it’s different – it’s kind of coming together now though...

Who’s this in the laundry basket?



Post lunch – lovely salad with another home-grown courgette – it was time to wash the dishes and I was accompanied by the sounds of Mr Scott Walker – whom I am warming to by the minute I must say – and the sleeve notes from The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon are enlightening too...

Tonight we were off to Impossible Songs for a bit of a party down in South Queensferry and, last time we saw John and Ali, I’d advised I’d work on a “best of“ compilation based on the six albums I have of their music – so I spent a couple of hours getting reacquainted with their material – there’s some excellent stuff spread throughout these discs...

We drove down to Queensferry around six to find the party in full swing with John on BBQ duty...

I had the honour of lighting the bonfire around ten and, once the fire got going a few of us “entertained” the attendees with some impromptu guitaring and singing as flakes of hot ash landed on us...



A good time was had by all and Anne and I headed home around 11:30 and ended up staying up till 00:45 watching the first of the two parter season finale of Dr Who – the Daleks are back yet again but much better than last season’s damp squib Dalek story...

And has the doc really regenerated and the BBC has managed to keep David Tennant’s leaving under wraps?

We’ll see next week...

Highlight of the Day : Party at SQF

Friday, June 27, 2008

Give it a try...

Playlist
The Bad Plus - Full Discography on Shuffleplay
The Bad Plus - Blunt Object Live in Tokyo
New York Dolls - Rock’n’Roll
Scott Walker - Boy Child 67-70
Scott Walker - Sings Jacques Brel
Scott Walker - Tilt
Free - At Last
Free - Free
Ron Sexsmith - Cobblestone Runway
The Clash - The Clash
Nico - The End
War Tapes - Dreaming of You (Download)

Well now, how could I have forgotten that, yesterday at lunchtime I had a FOPP frenzy and bought all of the albums above (with the exception of the Bad Plus stuff and the War Tapes)...

Just £3 each...

The Scott Walker was inspired by the recent Jacques Brel disc - I've never liked Scott Walker but, as you can see, I'm willing to give him a try...

I must say it's a lot better than I expected...

So these all made their way home today while Anne was out with best chum Lynn fruit-picking and we enjoyed the tastiest strawberries ever tonight with some Paris reminding Chantilly cream as a wee treat, following on from Anne's warmed fillet steak and zingy salad - what a girl!!



Following a tip from new link, record label intern Katy Harrison, I downloaded a track by the band War Tapes and was most impressed with their anthemic pop styles - check it out here...

In the evening, I wrote up the last two entries for the Paris trip whilst listening to my new purchases and we enjoyed a re-run of an old "Law and Order" before retiring...

Highlight of the Day : Anne's culinary delight's

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stop your clicking please...

Playlist
The Violet Archers - Sunshine at Night
Loane - Jamais Seule
Uriah Heep - Wake the Sleeper
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Sparks - Exotic Creatures of the Deep
Udo Lindenberg - Stark wie Zwei
Neal Morse - Sola Scriptura
James - Hey Ma
Asia - Phoenix
The Killers - Sawdust

Today, after some frenzied uploading by your correspondent, the tally of tracks available for free download at The Crispycat Library passed the 300 mark...



There are now tracks available from over 36 albums, including a few which were never actually released - but what the hell....

Tonight I was off to Glasgow to see one of my favourite bands, The Bad Plus as they performed as part of the Glasgow International Jazz Festival...



Anne was in Fife with friends bowling and watching Spain v Russia and had the Cloudland Blue Mobile so it was the bus for me and, frankly, it was fine - a comfortable, uneventful trip, soundtracked by ten of my favourite recent albums on shuffleplay mode...

It took 100 minutes from St Andrew Square Bus Station to Buchanan St Station in Glasgow and I arrived around 7pm and headed to the venue, The Old Fruitmarket...

The hall wasn't particularly full and I was able to walk right up and take a seat in the front row...

The trio took the stage right on cue at 7:30 and launched into "Apollo" by Stravinsky - a piece I'd not heard them play before...

However, I soon became aware of a fellow audient a couple of seats away with a large camera with a very long lens, taking photo after photo after photo, each one sending the whirring and clicking noise of his machine into my head and ruining the music...

After three, or possibly four, ruined pieces, I finally leaned over to him and said "Excuse me, would you mind stopping taking photos as the clicking of your camera is driving me MENTAL!!!"

He got the message and the clicking stopped but the gig was ruined for me by this and by the unconcerned idiot backstage person, who kept popping out and exiting the hall and coming back in, for no apparent reason than to open and shut the door, distract my field of vision and generally drive me nuts...

This is why I hate going to concerts...

Why can't everyone just sit and listen and enjoy the music being played and experience the performance?

OK, the gig wasn't entirely ruined, as I eventually destressed and started to enjoy the music, including an absolutely apocalyptic rendition of David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" which closed their set...

Then, a brief encore and it was all over...

It was only 9pm as I wandered into the foyer to find the three musicians at a table, meeting and greeting and signing copies of their live album "Blunt Object" which, of course, I bought and took to the table like a total fanboy...

Ironically, the guy in front of me in the queue was the photographer I'd verbally abused earlier in the evening - I'm sure I heard him tell the band he had some great pics and he'd send them to them...

I didn't tell the band how their previous fan had ruined the start of their set with his nonsense...

In fact, I couldn't think what to say as they signed my disc and just rolled off a list of all the times I'd seen them - Ethan Iverson asked if I was a musician and I managed a stupid "yes, I play keyboards and guitar" instead of "yes, here's my card and my website address I've been writing and performing for 30 years and sell my CDs over the net and have over 300 tracks available for free download"...

Oh no, not your tongue tied correspondent...

So then it was off out into the bright evening sun...

Preparation is everything...

Caught the bus home at 10pm and alighted at the bottom of the hill 50 minutes later and home in time to catch the end of "Question Time" and all of "This Week" before watching the highlights of Spain drubbing Russia 3-0...

A good day with occasional downsides....

Highlight of the Day : The Bad Plus - brilliant band!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lost and found...

Playlist
Phish – The Story of the Ghost
Uriah Heep – Wake the Sleeper
The Violet Archers – Sunshine at Night

Today I was all set to apply for my new passport...

The Executive Producer had completed all the paperwork, leaving me to add just my signature and make a visit to the Post Office to finalise matters...

Of course when I arrived uptown, I found my passport and my two new shiny photos of Mr CBQ had gone missing...

I received a message that “an old lady” had called for me and could I call back – it was urgent...

It was Anne’s mum – the Police had called her to say my Passport had been handed in by some anonymous good Samaritan...

Then, of course, my own mum phoned me, as the Police had also called her...

And so, tonight, I went along and picked it up – the two photos were in it as well – this important document and the pics must have fallen out of the envelope as I strolled down to the bus completely oblivious due to Jukebox listening...

Uploaded the last of the Paris photos, with commentary to follow, then off out to play football – the quality tonight was pretty poor to be honest and your correspondent did nothing to counter that, although I did manage one goal at the very end of the game to ensure the “lights” only lost 7-6...

Back home and Anne announced the successful production of our first courgette from her garden and we enjoyed it (along with some other tasty delights) for dinner...



On TV Germany v Turkey, with the Germans scraping through 3-2 with a delightfully executed last minute winner from full-back Lahm...

It was hilarious to watch the gnashing of teeth and pouring of scorn upon the Germans by the Anglo-centric BBC commentary and post match reporting teams...

Not only are England not there, but Germany are in the final yet again – the words “cannae take it” spring to mind...

Of course, Turkey were the better side but hey, that’s football...

Ended the night listening to some good new music from the Violet Archers whilst reading a very interesting essay by Eric Hobsbawm on European History and the significance and indeed very definition of “Europe” and how that has changed over the centuries...

Highlight of the Day : Germany through; Passport found

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bald head in a lift pts 1 & 2...

Playlist
Francoise Hardy – All Over the world
Francoise Hardy – If You Listen
Jacques Brel – J’arrive
Loane – Jamais Seule
Torsten Rasch – Mein Herz Brennt

Other than watching Saturday’s “Dr Who” – rather a laboured set up for the welcome return of the Daleks – I spent the evening updating the diary whilst listening to my Paris purchases...

It might seem from my commentary that we spent much of our time eating and drinking but we did an awful lot of walking around and took hundreds of pictures too...

Here’s a 144 picture collage...



Highlight of the Day : Seeing the word “done” eventually appear on the screen each time I uploaded a batch of pictures...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Trundling again...

Playlist
King Crimson - A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson
David Reilly - Anthology 1977-2007

Up and packed and checked out...

Leaving our bags behind at the hotel, we headed back down the Rue Moufftard but, today, all the shops appeared to be shut...

We did find a cafe at the very foot of the street and sat outside for breakfast...



..where we were joined by this adventurous little sparrow...



We decided to walk back a different route and ended up walking through the Botanical Gardens and out to the river once again...



We walked along the banks for the last time, making our way back to Notre Dame...



...which is having a bit of a spruce up in time for the visit of the Pope in September...



We crossed the river again for the last time...



...and headed back to the hotel, where we collected our bags and said "Au Revoir"...

Then we trundled the case to St Michel and caught the train to Charles de Gaulle, via Paris Nord...



Another beautiful day...



...but our flight was delayed and every EasyJet passenger had to check in at the same desk, resulting in a very lengthy, annoyed queue...



This is where I can't believe Anne doesn't like personal stereos. I could stand in the queue and ignore entirely all the turmoil around me, immersed in a world of music...

We arrived in Edinburgh around 90 minutes late and caught the Airport Bus back to the bottom of the hill, before trundling back up to Crispycat Towers...



Then it was off for a quick visit to Castle Brodski to collect Meg the Black Cat from her own wee holiday...

Good to be home...

Highlight of the Day : Back home to Meg

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Byron...

Playlist
The Lindsays - The Art of the Lindsays
Yes - The Ultimate Yes : 35 years

Up and out and up past the Pantheon to Rue Moufftard for breakfast outside a little Boulangerie...



Then we walked down past all the enticing food shops....





..and on through the square at the end of this long, interesting street...



...and on to the Metro at Gobelins....

From here we took the train to L'Arc de Triomphe - which is huge - much bigger in reality than I'd imagined from photos - I don't think we were this close to it in 1982...



...then our walking continued as we headed down the Champs Elysee....



...and on to the Grand Palais, where we took a seat in the gardens and listened to the clarinet player who was serenading the queues waiting to gain entrance to the museum...



We walked on past the Petit Palais opposite, looking over the Seine to Les Invalides, built by Napoleon...

You can just see it in the distance with its guilded dome...



Then we bought a day ticket for a river boat and awaited its arrival...



It took over an hour for the trip from here up to the Eiffel Tower and then back down to Notre Dame...

It was unbearably hot and crowded. The boat was aptly named "Bastille"...

Alighting at Notre Dame, we made our way over the river to the area we'd been in yesterday and enjoyed a tasty wee ice cream each...



...and then headed into a museum close to the Place des Vosges, where we'd been on Friday...



...before making the long walk back to the Hotel again for a bit of a rest...

Then back out, with the intention of rejoining the boat and taking the second part of the cruise around the Seine...

But the queue was so long we didn't make it on and so, instead, we went for a drink, once again enjoying the warm weather and watching the world go by...



After our refreshment break, we headed back to the boat station and, this time, managed to get onboard...

We stood out at the back of the boat and watched the scenery go by...





...eventually disembarking at the Louvre and, once again, set out on a long walk home, via the Blvd St Germain...

Arriving back at our hotel, we walked on past and back up to where we'd enjoyed breakfast what seemed like an age ago...

We found a little restaurant for dinner, where we appear to have been served by the long-dead ex-frontman of Uriah Heep, Mr David Byron...

Here he is taking a well earned break, sitting by the motorbikes opposite the restaurant...



After an "excellent and tasty" meal, we walked back down the hill...



...with the intention of ending the day at the little bar we'd found last night but, unfortunately, it was closed on Sundays...

...so we contented ourselves with a couple of cans of beer from the grocery store opposite the hotel and watched tonight's football...



Spain ran out winners on penalties over the Italians after a hard fought 0-0 draw...

Last day tomorrow...

Highlight of the Day : Discovering the Moufftard Area

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Musique...

Playlist
Allan Holdsworth – Against the Clock

Sky blue sky...

Out to the nearby market and bought a couple of croissants for breakfast...



...then the Metro to Sacre Couer where we enjoyed a coffee in a bar at the bottom of the steps before ascending for the spectacular views of the city...



...and of the church in question...



A walk through the artists’ square...



...and then back down the steps to the Pigalle – it was on this street, now seemingly comprising nothing but Sex Shops, where we stayed when we were here in 1982 –these days only the Moulin Rouge is worthy of a second look...



Back onto the Metro and down to the Pompidou Centre...



....then on to the Hotel du Ville...



...where we bought a couple of tasty sandwiches for lunch in the 28 degrees heat – too hot for me...

We crossed back over the river to the bookshop Shakespeare and Co...



...where I found an edition of Jacques Prevert’s “Paroles”, a book I studied for my 6th Year Studies French exam....



...amazing to think of all the years Anne and I have spent studying French and we didn’t even know how to ask for a knife yesterday at breakfast...

For some much needed refreshment, we revisited the first bar we’d found upon our arrival, then back to the hotel where we slept for a couple of hours before heading out in search of Fete de la Musique...

Our first stop was the nearby Museum of the Middle Ages, where we’d just missed a performance...



So we headed down to the river bank...



...where we saw a troupe of drummers and a saxophone quartet before heading back to Shakespeare and Co where two bands played simultaneously on different corners of the square while more performers struggled to be heard further up the street...



Then back over the river to find the National Archive...



...where we enjoyed some beautiful classical piano music in the equally beautiful courtyard of this palace (the themes being improvised based on suggestions from the crowd), followed by a soprano recital...




We found a small restaurant in the same area for dinner...



...then headed back towards St Germain, stopping on the way to listen to an excellent jazz trio who were captivating a small crowd – along with the piano improv, best of the day...



As we walked back to the hotel, we passed more bands, all fully amplified with PA systems, on almost every street corner...

Opposite the hotel we watched a death metal band with a charismatic female singer and drummer who were playing for what turned out to be the first of several times tonight...



In our room we caught some of the football and the third surprise in a row as Russia beat Holland after extra time, Turkey having beaten Croatia last night...

We ventured out one last time for some promised jazz at the end of the street – which never materialised...

The scenes were mad, the streets were packed with people drinking and carousing – like Hogmanay in the middle of the year – and rock bands in every feasible performance space...



We eventually found ourselves a place for a quiet drink, just round the corner from the hotel...



Then, as we made our way home, I stopped in at the grocery store opposite the hotel for some juice and witnessed a young man collapse forwards helplessly due to his excess alcohol intake tonight and clatter off the refrigerator workings, slicing his forehead open and spilling blood everywhere...

He'll probably have a lifelong reminder of this year’s Fete de la Musique......

Highlight of the Day : Fete de la Musique en France