Monday, January 31, 2011

Let's just not do the song right here...

Playlist
Allan Holdsworth – Blues for Tony
Allan Holdsworth – Against the Clock
Wishbone Ash – There’s the Rub
The Bad Plus/Django Bates – The Bad Plus Meets Django Bates

Another month slips by...


Soundtracked today by Allan Holdsworth...


A call from sister Pam and an update..

She sounded much better than either Thursday (every word a cough) or Saturday (frequent coughing) when I spoke with her....

Our conversation lasted around 10 minutes and she only coughed once...

She advised the docs are happy with her progress...

She says the “episodes” of temperature spiking seem to happen for around an hour maybe once a day and then she's fine...

Of course she’s now on three different anti-biotics, each of which will have its own side effects...

Those, plus the length of her stay in hospital now, are contributing to her, understandably, perhaps not being quite as happy-go-lucky as we have been used to....

She was looking forward to getting home but there was still no definitive word on this...

In the evening, downloaded a Bad Plus date recently broadcast on Radio 3 – an hour’s worth of completely improvised music when they played with Django Bates in London late last year...

“Glee” annoyed more than entertained truth be told – all this “hey let’s do the song right here cos everyone’s bound to know the song and the choreography” is starting to grate – the only saving grace really are the dark quips of Sue Sylvester...

Highlight of the Day : Pam sounding a bit better...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inside looking out...

Playlist
Herman Van Veen – 100
Madredeus – Castelos Na Areia
Robert Fripp – New York December 2010
Various – Motown Chartbusters Vol 5
Amy Millan – Master of the Burial
Michael Dow – Brian Eno’s “Ascent” Trance Mix
Grand Funk Railroad – Live in Tokyo 1982

Hmmm, not feeling too great this morning when I finally rose around 8:15, after a fairly sleepless night...

Post breakfast and updating of this for the last two days, I was pointed in the direction of the second of two Robert Fripp recordings made in December in New York, this second joining the first on the hard drive, from where it mightily entertained...

At 1, a visit from chum, Queensferry Michelle, to deliver her present to Annie...

What a nice young lady she is...

Around 2:30 we headed to Loanhead to visit my mum, where we joined an already arrived sister Sheila...

The latest thoughts and info re sister Pam’s situation were exchanged...

Sheila heads down there in two weeks’ time for a few days’ visit – hopefully, by then, Pam will be out of hospital...

Back home and a call from Hemel chum of Pam’s, Michelle, with news re the sale of Pam’s car – no need for one now for a couple of years...

Some good news for a change...

A nice trance mix of an Eno track from "Apollo" was stumbled upon and downloaded...

Post “Countryfile”, which I watched without really knowing why, as Anne settled in to watch “Lark Rise to Candleford”, I partook of some live recordings on the cans – in particular a rocking set by the mighty Grand Funk Railroad from almost twenty years ago...


Rock’n’Roll...

Forgot to take my camera out and about today...

Highlight of the Day : More Fripp Soundscapes...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Exec Producer...

Playlist
Golden Earring - The Naked Truth
The Beatles - The Beatles in Mono
Allan Holdsworth - Blues for Tony
Madredeus - Castelos Na Areia
Herman Van Veen - Nu en Dan : 30 Jaar
Herman Van Veen - 100

A tasty breakfast started the day, the first in the Exec Producer's 51st year on the planet, she has executively produced your correspondent for 31 of those years...

A good breakfast at home and some housekeeping on the PC along with calls to sister Pam, mum and chums down South, before heading into town for a quick meet up with Dr Prog...

"The Beatles in Mono" box set was returned to the library and the Roxy Music book was re-borrowed due to the rubbish amount of time spent reading it over the past three weeks...

Back home in time to let the birthday girl away to Tynecastle to see Hearts beat St Johnstone 1-0, while I listened to some recently acquired acquisitions...

Out around 6:20, we headed into town to meet up with family and chums to celebrate...

Drinks first at All Bar One on Lothian Road...


...before walking a couple of hundred yards to Club India for tonight's meal...

In attendance were Anne and me, Anne's mum, brother Keith and wife Maureen, sister Jane and husband Bobby, nephew Craig, Anne's bestest chum Lynn and parner Ross, Count Brodski and Lady Penny, Dr Prog and Mrs Prog, arch-Munro'ers Sid and Debbie and, over from the very Kingdom no-less of Fife, Mr Chris-with-a-ch and the Ferret (from this evening aka "Derek" due to a mishearing)...

Here are Dr Prog and Count Brodski, no doubt discussing some not very well known prog or krautrock act...


here are Ross, Ferret and Chris getting psyched up for the meal...


Here are some not quite reservoir dogs...


A great time was had by al,l with much curry and related grub being scoffed and much beer and wine being quaffed...


Anne was please her two bestest work chums were in attendance...


Of course Chris-with-a-ch had to make a speech...


..and then try to arm wrestle anyone who would let him...


Post the meal and with our Fife chums off, hopefully, to catch the last train, we retired to the bar at the Traverse Theatre...

Nephew Craig showed how much he enjoyed me documenting the evening, while his dad studied the ceiling...


Such a handsome young man - easy to see he is not related to me by blood...


Much more drinking ensued, before we were eventually asked to leave at closing time...

Lynn, Ross, Anne and I made our way home through the mist on a nicely timed night bus...


A worse for wear scenario ensued at Crispycat Towers around 2 am...


Quite a good birthday all round, I think I can safely say...

Highlight of the day : A celebration...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dambusters...

Playlist
Mathilde Santing - Mathilde Santing
Herman Van Veen - My Cat and I
Focus - Hamburger Concerto
Golden Earring - Switch

Up at 4:45 and out into the dark at 5:20, making our way down to the bus stop for a day trip as a surprise to Anne for her birthday tomorrow...


To the airport, where a coffee and croissant/apple and cinnamon cake gave early sustenace before boarding our plane for Holland - leaving right on time and arriving slightly early...


A walk on, walk off scenario and straight to the platform to purchase return train tickets to Centraal Station - by 10:30 am (9:30 UK time) we were emerging into the bright Amsterdam sunshine - and below freezing temperatures...


We took a stroll down to Spui and stopped off in a little bakery to enjoy our second coffee and cake of the day...


A quick split to shop for (a) music and (b) stuff Anne likes...

Your correspondent was to be found at "Fame Music" just off Dam Square, with a goodly amount of stuff in his arms, however, the Exec Producer, with her own arms empty, arrived and Executively Produced a few items back on to the shelves...

Nevertheless, rather more expensive CDs than usual for Mr CBQ by Madredeus, Allan Holdsworth and Herman Van Veen, made their way into the collection, before we walked on to the Jordaan district...

The Blethering Fish (rough translation) provided shelter from the cold and the opportunity to partake of some tasty Dutch beer...


...followed by more walking as we sought out one of our fave spots in the city, Het Molenpad on the Prinsengracht...

We were on the opposite side of the canal from our target and, as luck would have it, also situated there was a rather fine second hand music store called "Second Life" - Golden Earring and a second Herman Van Veen collection were acquired at very low prices - just as well too, as all 40 tracks on the HVV set were already contained on the previous set bought at "Fame Music"...

I am an idiot...

On over to Het Molenpad and a tasty lunch and beer ensued, Mr Quartet enjoying some raw steak mince on a roll with mustard and salad...

Mmm, mmm...


The walking continued as the sun got lower and the chill got chillier...

In the main shopping street, new watches were acquired - we already both have several watches...

Towards the rembrantsplein, a wee present for sister Pam was also acquired...

Not far along from the Rembrantsplein, heading back into town, we passed another record shop, called "Record Friend" - a vinyl specialist, with a giant working model of a turntable in the window, complete with hand painted, equally giant version of the mighty King Crimson's first LP...

Further coffees were required by now and we stopped into a wee place near the Nieuwmarkt with a resident Black Cat in the window...


It was around 5:20 or so by now and the wind was beginning to bite - but we were still enjoying our flying visit...

We sought out a restaurant for dinner - one of the many around the Leidseplain, purpusefully choosing one which offered Dutch cuisine...


Called "Kop van Jut", it offered it's very own beer, of which, of course, I had to partake to accompany my delicious Steak Frites...

As we approached 7pm, we walked through the city back to Centraal and caught our train back out to Schiphol...


..where a seemingly interminable wait awaited us...

The flight was around 30 minutes late in departing including a good 15 minutes of taxi'ing before finally taking off and heading back through the night to Edinburgh...

Once through a huge queue at customs and onto an Airport bus, we walked back up the hill to Crispycat Towers, arriving around 10:30 to a rather vocal Meg the Black Cat...


A packed, enjoyable day...
 
Highlight of the Day : Day trip to Amsterdam and back...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

No clots please...

Playlist
Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Splinterheart
Various - Recent Purchases on Shuffleplay

A sense of dread this morning after last night's news from London...

Bright weather did not lift the spirits...


However, a call from a much-coughing Pam advised the X-Ray they took was ok but they were going to do a CT scan of her chest today...

Later on she advised this was to happen at 3:30...

At 5:30, a text came through advising CT scan was clear, no blood clot and she "merely" has a chest infection which will take a few days to clear and which is already under treatment from new antibiotics being administered since Tuesday evening...

So, for the second day running, a weight lifted...

Anne met me uptown and I finally revealed that, to celebrate her upcoming birthday, we are off to Amsterdam for the day tomorrow - leaving Edinburgh at 7am and returning at 10pm...

We made our way to Club India to make the final arrangments for her birthday dinner there on Saturday night, then we drove home to Meg the Black Cat...

Spent the evening e-mailing and texting re Pam's news before "Not Going Out" and off to bed early for tomorrow's 4:45 am rise...

Owya...

Highlight of the day : No blood clot for Pam...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hardly incredible, terrible more like...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Juxtaposition
Bob Dylan - Biograph
The Beatnuts - A Musical Massacre
Madredeus - Ainda
J S Bach - English Suites
Amy Millan - Masters of the Burial
Various - Motown Chartbusters Vols 1-6
Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home
Incredible String Band - Incredible String Band
Incredible String Band - 5,000 Spirirts or The Layers of the Onion
Bright Eyes - Letting Off the Happiness
Bright Eyes - Fevers and Mirrors

Well, the day started out promising with a call at 9am from Pam to say the CT Scan of her brain, taken last night, was all clear...

A weight was lifted...

So much so that CDs were purchased - in HMV what purports to be Bob Dylan's best album, "Bringing It All Back Home" and a companion to yesterday's forced Motown purchase in Asda Hemel (to use their car park, they charge you £2 but give it back to you if you buy something) - so, yesterday, I bought Motown Chartbusters Vols1-3...

Today I got Vols 4-6...

Then, in FOPP, almost finished off my Xmas token with a 2CD of Incredible String Band's first two albums and two discs by Macclesfield Craig introduced, Bright Eyes...

Of course, I have always believed the ISB to be absolute pish...

On listening to their two albums, unlike that re Mr Dylan, my opinion has not been amended...

Dreadful stuff...

A relaxing evening...


...took a turn for the worse when I finally read my e-mails...

Chums Michelle and Suzanne had visited Pam tonight to find her in a pretty grim way, looking dreadful and hardly able to breathe...

Blood tests done and Pam was put on oxygen to help her breathe and given linctus for her ongoing and worsening cough...

As a precaution, she was also given Tinzaparin, an anti coagulant, against a suspected blood clot in her
chest...

At 11:30 she was taken for a chest x-ray...

I left it with the hospital to call me through the night if her condition worsened...

Highlight of the day : Clear brain scan for Pam...tempered by an evening downturn...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scanning not reporting...

Playlist
Various - Motown Chartbusters Vol 1
Various - Motown Chartbusters Vol 2
Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg
Couperin - Lecons des Tenebres
Mastodon - Crack the Skye
Grinderman - Grinderman
Crimson Jazz Trio - King Crimson Songbook Vol 2

A morning of stuff - things to be done for Pam...

Despite this mad dash, still ended up leaving Hemel at the usual time of 11:20 to be at the hospital at 12...

Pam's chest x-ray from late last night, carried out due to an increase in her inflamation levels detected in her blood, turned out to be clear so, this morning the docs ordered a new CT scan of her brain...

When I arrived she was away having it done so I popped out again to get us some lunch...

Back inside, Pam was back on the ward and smiling as almost ever...


So we sat and we chatted and we hoped we'd get the results of the CT scan pretty quickly - I'd advised the ward desk that I was flying back to Scotchland tonight and could only stay till around 3:30...

I'd brought in Pam's laptop again and a few DVDs for her to watch - she's going stir crazy but realises this is the best place for her to be right now...

Outside, it rained...


By 4:30, still no word and I really had to go - I said my farewells to Pam and left her sleeping...


Through the rush hour and back to Pam's house and some last minute tidying...


...before Michelle arrived to take me to the airport, once again through horrendous traffic - the trip took double the usual time but we got there ok and I got through security and into departures with 30 minutes to spare...


A short time waiting to board...


..then I was away, leaving on time...


...flying through the night to Edinburgh...


...and landing on time...

 
 
 
 
...to be picked up by Anne...


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Back home and Pam advised still no word on the CT scan, so an anxious night ahead...
 
Highlight of the Day : Time spent with Pam...and coming home to Annie and Meg...

Monday, January 24, 2011

A pair of bugs...

Playlist
Amy Millan - Masters of the Burial
Madredeus - Ainda
JS Bach - English Suites

Didn't go to bed till 2:15am last night - mucking about on t'interweb and listening to the CDs I've bought recently...

So was awoken at 9 this morning by a call from Pam - just as well, as I had a couple of tasks to do...

With those achieved, I headed back to London...

Despite her arms looking worse than ever following the protracted attempts to find a vein the other night...



Pam could still be found laughing...


..but there is no denying the long stay in hospital and the ongoing uncertainty as to when she might be allowed home are beginning to tell on her...

So we cheered ourselves up by going to a nearby Indian Restaurant for lunch (so no dinner tonight)...

First though, we had to wait to be given her medication to take along, so we could come back when we chose...


The Indian was deemed "very tasty"...


Then, we were soon striding purposefully around the neighbourhood, Pam's sore leg having much improved overnight...



All in all though, we probably didn't walk as far as we ought to have, so, back at the hospital, we took the stairs from the Ground to the Sixth Floor...


After some more chat, I left Pam around 3:30 and took a walk up Hampstead High Street, past St Stephen's Church, which overlooks the hospital...



Unfortunately, there was little of interest in the glamourous shops of Hampstead for a tube from Scotchland who is only interested in buying cheap CDs...


Some of the houses were impressive though...

I soon found myself heading back via the opposite end of Downshire Hill than that where we sometimes park...

I especially liked the cut of St John's Church's jib...


Then there was Keats' House...


..and this rather modern looking home also caught my eye...


Back at the hospital again, Pam had had the first results back re the infection discovered during her second brain op...

It managed to rule out a particular strain of bacterium but left us no closer to an answer...

But the antibiotics she's on are working and she was pleased about that...


..as was I...


What a pair of bugs...

The only downside today was her ongoing cough which hopefully is the guity party re a slight rise in the infection count in her blood - but we shall hopefully see tomorrow...

I headed home at 6:30 as is now the usual and, later on was visited by chum Michelle re various ongoing scenarios on the Pam front...

As is also now the usual scenario, the rest of the evening was taken up with calls and updates to family and friends...

It did afford me time to partake of the soothing music of Mr JS Bach though...

Which is no bad thing...

Highlight of the Day : Tasty Indian with sister Pam...