A flurrying sort of day, dealing with minor things like picking stuff up (the last of the debris from Saturday’s recording), ironing and vacuuming.
For lunch I start on the part of The Lake of Soup that I put in the fridge, rather than freezing it. Eat My Lake of Soup has the ring of the title of a good but brow-furrowingly obscure record. By some eastern european postrockers, perhaps.
I try to send Rich Barnard an e-mail with the details of the Bread and Roses gig in April. I get it all written and set up with maps included and everything and, just before I am about to send it, the computer crashes. Hum. Decide that at the moment this is the Game of Soldiers for which That should be Buggered. For dinner I finish the lake of soup (so it wasn’t that big a lake, after all. Serpentine, rather than Windermere) with some bread. Very nice, but I worry that perhaps I’ll fill myself up to much to do any good at the VAC.
Drag myself out of the house and onto the Northern Line to get there before 7:30. Just about make it. I’ve got here often enough now that it begins to feel like home – it’s a nice thing, something that only Bunjies has afforded me in the past, somewhere like home that I can venture out from to more dangerous situations and then retreat to. There’s always an interesting mix of people – sometimes, perhaps, too interesting, but that’s not their fault.
I play Obvious and State of the Art in its new finger-picking incarnation. Obvious goes down very well – because it is so long (actually I timed it and its five and a half minutes, which isn’t that long, really) and such a torch song, I often worry whether I’ll get away with it, and playing it first is an extra risk. It certainly feels like the audience are paying attention, and it gets a huge applause thing. State of the Art seems low energy by comparison, but I’m doing these songs to find out which ones work and which do not, so that’s alright. With tonight and Saturday, I feeling more and more confident about the new material. I just have to finish it, that’s all.
It’s a very good night, actually, even though I have an annoying habit of deconstructing people’s lyrics. I don’t tell anybody, because that would be hugely cruel, but nonetheless. Before I go on, there’s a chap whose song has the refrain “Freedom Flies”, which I’m hearing as “Free Dem Flies” (I will not rest until those flies are free). Someone else uses the line “When I’m looking through your eyes, babe” to which I can’t help but append “I can see your brain”. It isn’t fair, and I’d hate for someone else to do it to my lyrics. So it’s bad karma, too.
But much fine playing, and one or two moments of real intensity – Tessa’s second song, for example, Article Dan. Some other people whose names I forget. There is a flamenco (or flamenco style – I spot some Tarrega and possible Baden Powell in there, too) guitar playing. A spot of a capella singing. Someone who introduces his little sister who will “help him out”, who turns out to have a big enough voice for both of them, thank you very much.
Someone reports that it is snowing outside. Snowing! No wonder it’s cold. Out into the snow (not settling, obviously, so actually a lot nicer than rain to deal with) and home, cocoa, bed. The usual stuff.

I find that some ill-thought out sarcasm I wrote about Columbo on a message-board has engendered a spout of vitriolic abuse. I read the vitriolic abuse: the vitriolic abuser is quite right. I deserve every bit of it. I spend too long writing a retraction of what I said earlier and a lengthy meditation on Columbo which is a much more interesting programme than I thought it was. I have believed since I was eight or so that it was a failed whodunnit, and haven’t thought to reassess my opinion. It is, rather, an anti-whodunnit. So far there has been no reply to this post, but at least it’s merely pretentious and not pointlessly abusive.
I call a Denise on her mobile for some advice. It turns out that she is in a bar in Spain. Leave the advice until she returns.
In the face of Looming Penury, I make an Extravagant Sacrificial Purchase.
I find the telephone numbers for possible cheap flights for Dave H. to go to Jerez.
Some (rather fruitful) metronome practise – I’m trying to apply the principles of the Primary exercises to my classical playing. Whether this is a good idea or not, I’m not sure but it is interesting. Trying to get my fingers used to an i-m-a-m-i-(etc) roll, rather than just i-m-i-m or i-m-a-i-m-a. Not sure why, but it seems right.
Make vast quantity of spicy bean soup. Very nice soup, but why can’t one just make soup in small quantities? Have two bowls of it. Freeze the rest. At some point I’ll have to defrost it and then I’ll have a lake of soup on my hands. Perhaps I should invite people over for an Eat My Lake of Soup Evening.
Eat My Lake of Soup sounds like some inept translation of an Eastern European euphemism for… well, I’ll leave that up to your imagination.
To the 12 Bar to see Yuka playing her second and last UK gig. They’ve finally almost finished the refurbishment. Now the bar is twice the size of the venue. The venue iself is untouched. This is not a problem.
Joe Quillin turns up (he knows one of the two percussing Steves in the band), which is nice.
She is described on the flyer as “Japanese Torch-Song Minimalism”, which is the most perfect description I have ever seen on a flyer for anybody. The whole Yuka Yakamoto band barely fit on the stage, and use more microphones and stools than they bargained for.
The band are fine – I’m trying to lap up my last opportunity to see Yuka play for a while. I think they are distracted by the fact that the people upstairs – two feet from their faces – are carrying on conversations at above PA volumes. One of the drawbacks of the 12 Bar, I’m afraid.
I love her song Arcadian and am planning what I’m going to do with the version I recorded on Saturday. They went as a band into the Praying for the Rain studio and recorded six tracks, which I’m glad of.
Play The Draughtsman’s Contract while I’m drinking my cocoa and writing this. For some odd reason they’ve switched what was the first tracks on sides one and two. I still think it’s remarkable stuff, Nyman’s best. Strange behaviour – warping or stretching or something – on what must be the master tape on the last track. Never noticed it before. I must CDify the eponymous first album, which includes The Masterwork and In Re Don Giovanni, see how that measures up. Presumably, as soon as I do, they’ll remaster and rerelease i as they’ve been threatening to do for over fifteen years. It is extraordinary that it’s not been rereleased, though, since it’s packed with goodies. Assuming one likes Nyman.
Very late to bed again.

I get to the gym. Since I have forgotten to bring a book, I choose to eschew the cycling machine and go on the treadmill for a little run. I haven’t managed this since before I went to Italy – I had flu for a long time, and then a gout attack, and you don’t want to go to the gym just to hobble. It’s bad for the image. Anyway, this means I have to confront the horror that is MTV.
Why do they imagine that everybody who wants a little exercise in their lives wants to gape at MTV? I have taken to trying to analyse the videos – they have the version of the channel that is thankfully free of presenters. The only music I actually enjoy is Brian Eno’s glorious Ascent: An Ending, which is being used in an advert for the NSPCC.
I know that this makes me sound narrow-minded and fogeyish, but the thing that I dislike most about the channel is its conservatism. And the formation dancing. The formation dancing is really beginning to grate. I while away the hour by assessing production values.
For example, the Atomic Kitten record that is currently at number one has a video that is essentially the same as the first Sugarbabes single (aforementioned “babes” drifting about against a white background), but obviously on a budget. How do I know this (how expensive can a white background be)? Mainly because the Sugarbabes video contains many more shots – the Atomic Kitten one is pieced together out of a handful of takes, whereas the Sugarbabes one obviously involved a number of different setups. There’s also one for a single called Airhead – “I’ve got the brains/ He’s got the looks / He watches TV / I read my books” (except that he could be watching a Tarkovsky season, and she/they could be reading “Bridget Jones”) – which looks more expensive than it is (field-removed video; big shiny curtain and a couple of wind machines; handful of set-ups). And more formation dancing.
I really do think this stuff. There really isn’t anything else to think about.
And to add insult to injury, halfway through, some idiot asks for the volume to be turned up “to give me motivation… I need motivation”. So it is also, now at a deafening volume. How much motivation can you get from an A1 video, anyway? Motivation to do what? Apart from strangle A1 with your bare hands, anyway.
After I have worshipped at the temple that is my own body, I find myself sucked helplessly into the remainder bookshop on the opposite corner from the Old Vic, where I find some interesting cookbooks. And then I go the the health food shop on Lower Marsh.
(Only a few years ago all I wanted from life was a device that would allow me to light my cigarette without having to put either my kebab or my pint down: this is quite a radical change of direction for me.)
I get… oh, you know … health food stuff, and go home and cook some of it.
I get distracted by some musical/recording possibilities that crossed my mind this morning, but frustratingly they don’t really work out as planned.
I’m ploughing through Iron John at mealtimes, so it’s going quite slowly. I could do without the poetry, I suppose. His poetry anyway. But he’s a reputable poet – it must be my lack of taste.
I need to do a bit of a tidy. Again.
Maybe tomorrow.

Manage to prise myself out of bed with the sneaky promise that I can have a kip after breakfast. This is a half-lie, but my body believes it.
Write out the diary entry for yesterday and the gig diary entry for the Soundwave. Go through obsessively and pointlessly adding hyperlinks to everything. Can’t find one for Arthur Guirdam, by the way, or nothing useful anyway. When I link to the Nat King Cole site, there is a message advising me to set the volume at a comfortable level for the MIDI file that is about to begin. I turn the sound off altogether. All links work at time of writing.
After lunch (and a bit of a lie down – my body won after all), I overdub bass (x2!) and (hopefully) ethereal slide guitar onto another of Yuka’s songs (Dolphin).
The Esquivel! turns up on the CD player. He is every bit as bonkers as everyone (well, mainly David Toop and The Wire) says.
I’ve realised that I’ll have to add pointless hyperlinks to everything from now on. This is a worrying prospect…

Spent a couple of hours tidying the living room to make a space to record in. Yuka arrived at about 11:00. I was still copying files from the Powerbook’s hard disk, so we had tea and discussed strategy. The options open to us were to record the vocal and the ukelele separately in completely different takes, to try to record the vocal on one mike and the uke on another one or to set the microphones up to catch a stereo picture of the whole thing at one time, each of which appeal to different parts of my brain. Yuka plumps for the latter option which is the simplest, but with the least latitude for control-freakery (probably a good thing in itself), but has attendant problems of lo-fi-ness and the fact that it will be very difficult to separate out the voice and the uke later.
I assemble all the leads and bits and pieces that I will need to record with. She does three songs in one take each. So that was easy. Playing back one of the songs, I demonstrate various wacky plug-ins – Pluggo things, North Pole, some even more deranged things that normally only Nine Inch Nails impersonators mess with. I warn her that when I’ve finished, the songs might be most suitable for John Peel. I then explain who John Peel is. Hope that this is not too worrying for her. She certainly doesn’t seem too concerned.
We repair for lunch to the noodle house on Newington Causeway (or is it Butts, I’m never sure) on the south side of the shopping centre next door to Pizzeria Castello. Very nice, can’t imagine why I’ve not been in there before. It’s the first time I’ve been in a restaurant since coming back from Italy, and so is the first time I’ve had to search a menu for the vegetarian option. I have vegetable noodle soup. If you can restrain yourself from telling me that it was probably made with chicken stock, I can restrain myself from thinking about it.
I end up trying to explain Guitar Craft Level I at great length, since it appears that no one here was very sure what I was doing – some people thought I was learning to make guitars – and Yuka’s a bit confused. I describe the performance with a certain amount of relish. After lunch, Yuka shows me the small South American community that has sprung up under the viaduct next door – South American shops and cafes and so forth, lots of different people, too – Peruvians, Colombians and so forth (although this is based on my being able to judge where they come from by looking at facial and physical characteristics, which isn’t likely). I feel out of place and insecure in a way which Yuka doesn’t, obviously.
Yuka says that she may be playing at the 12 Bar on Tuesday evening. That would be nice.
On the way home, I walk through the shopping centre on the upper level in order to avoid the Tlön Books and consequent penury. Here too, there is a strong Latin American prescence, something which commentators seem not to have noticed. This is one of the nice things about living in London, and particularly living in a slightly dowdy part of it, since it makes a natural magnet for any incoming communities, and life is more interesting and varied for it. If only it were possible to convince the people who want to “improve” the area again of this. Their efforts will probably be as successful as the last time they tried to do it. The whole locality was demolished and this shopping centre was built, which, even if it does offer a haven for newcomers, has ever since been a byword for all the things the urban planners were trying to avoid.
Sadly, I pass the CD shop and am sucked in by a tractor beam. I decide to see if they have the new Tortoise album (not even sure that it’s actually out yet), and in browsing discover a number of others that I’d like. So instead of buying one new album, albeit at full price, I get seven old ones: News From Babel‘s Work Resumed/Letters Home; Here Come the Warm Jets and On Land by Brian Eno; a Golden Palominos compilation featuring tracks from Blast of Silence (and thus a number of Peter Blegvad songs, including Jack Bruce‘s take on Something Else (is Working Harder); Esquivel! Space Age Bachelor Pad Music, Dick’s Picks Vol 2 (an official release of a 1971 Grateful Dead bootleg) and The Draughtsman’s Contract, my favourite Michael Nyman album. A few of these I already had on vinyl, but want to add to the CD gumbo. Some of them are cheap enough to make the average cost very reasonable indeed. However the aggregate cost is still more than I ought to be spending on CDs at the moment. I’m happy that I now have all of them, though, so there.
I managed to stop myself from buying some doubtless inlistenably scratched and played-to-death Vinicius de Moraes and Maria Bethania vinyl, so there’s hope.
Getting home, I overdub double bass, banjo, classical guitar and slide guitar parts onto one of Yuka’s songs – Your Place. This is fun, and an awful lot easier than doing it for myself. Let’s see how it sounds tomorrow. I leave the mics set up for future work on these tracks – my aim is to have something mixed, at least roughly, for Yuka to hear before she leaves for Japan.
All I can muster for dinner is a cheese sandwich. No salad or anything. Are my standards slipping? Watch this space. At 8:00 I leave to go to the Human Soundwave, where I’m supposed to be playing a set tonight.
I get home at midnight, have my cocoa and check my e-mail. Someone in Australia has found this site via the Scott Walker mailing list. Deeply touched, I am. Isn’t the internet wonderful! Bed at twelve-thirty. I’ll be a dead man tomorrow, mark my words.

Very tired – for various reasons I didn’t get to bed until half-eleven last night.
(Half-past eleven! Way past my bed-time! Until a month ago I was a 2am person! 4am at weekends! How did I get old so quickly? I even bought slippers! Take me to my rest home!)
Sitting not particularly inspiring, since it was partly sleep-by-other-means. Also, I was troubled, somewhat. A situation beyond the scope of this journal that I am incapable of improving. I want to be helpful, but am reminded of Robert’s Aphorism on Helpful People.
Perhaps, if a Heinous Jerk is intent on polluting a Spiritual Neighbour’s Metaphorical Water Supply, one’s first duty is to keep one’s own MWS clean, not merely out of selfishness, but to be available with clean (metaphorical) water.
Maybe a better Sitting than I thought.
An invoice has been returned by the Return to Sender service (“Delivered to you by Royal Mail” – well, duh! But I didn’t want them to deliver it to me). It appears that I sent it to a wildly out of date address. Doh! Reprint and re-address the envelope.
Now I have to go … gulp … outside! Where the scary people are.
Oh well, I need more fruit, anyway.
One thing about this non-meat lark – you end up going to the supermarket a lot more often.
Moderate excitement! A package arrives from Alapage.com (a sort of French Amazon.com) with videos of Les Shadoks (an animated cartoon of my childhood and that of one other person of my acquaintance and nobody else, as far as I can tell) and Jacques Brel live at l’Olympia in 1966. No sign of the Anna Domino CD that I ordered. Not charged for on the invoice, so presumably they had none in stock, or perhaps it’s out of print. Chiz. I wish I spoke French.
Interestingly, although the Brel video is called Quand on n’a que l’amour, it doesn’t actually have that song on it. Many other fine tunes, though, including a Ne me quitte pas from another concert.
Of course, this means I have to turn the television on.
Spend far too long fixing the link at the top of this page that says 20/2/01. Now it works. Is that self-referential enough for you, PoMo-Boy?
Supermarket. Another half-destroyed pizza for lunch (maybe my strategy is wrong. Maybe having a pizza strategy in the first place is asking for trouble…).
Feedback on the radio – essentially, a collection of minor complaints about Radio 4 are converted to publicity puffs for the network. Any reference at all to a programme is used as an excuse to replay large chunks of it. Even the minor complaints are never satisfactorily answered. Gah!
Although I am a lot calmer since I haven’t been paying attention to the media.
The magnificent Shorty’s Lament by the Residents has come on the CD player. This is a fact worth sharing. The Residents (featured in the February issue of The Wire, which I was just reading, so there’s synchronicity there) created some of the most extraordinary music I have ever heard – a lot of it seems to set out to be offensive, not by using obscenity but by such a wilful employment of ring modulators and quarter-tones and out-of-tuneness that only the maddest and hardiest can stand it. They know exactly what they are doing – that is where it is offecsive.
“Is anybody driving at all?” quoth The Resident on vocals. Precisely.
Shorty’s Lament is one of my favourite Residents tracks, built around an early Synclavier loop, with a generally apocalyptic tone and ethereal girl chorus. I have tried unsuccessfully for nearly twenty years to pin down exactly what it is about (it’s probably very simple – I am notoriously obtuse on these matters. I used to think ELO‘s Mr Blue Sky was about drugs).
Followed by Nat King Cole. Make of that what you will. And then VROOOM VROOOM by King Crimson.
Then I upload this.
(“Mum! ‘Es going all self-referential again!”)
And then nothing, particularly. To sleep early, because I’d like to be quite fresh tomorrow.
Early to bed and early to rise make a man miss Friday night after-pub TV.
Which is a worthwhile end in itself.

Breakfast record: Something with Liz Fraser from Mezzanine by Massive Attack. Bit ominous that. Is it a Massive Attack sort of a day?
After Breakfast I practise that right hand some more – definitely more fluid this morning – and then move on to something like the first and second primaries except for the fact that instead of cross-picking an NST guitar, I’m finger-picking a completely different instrument. It does help, though.
Then I go and get my hair cut.
I quite like my local barber (it’s a shame I only visit him once a year). Quite lugubrious. No inessential chat. When I went from hair-below-my-shoulders to a No. 1 shave in the early 90s his only comment was “Much better, yah?”, which I thought was entirely appropriate. Scared the dung out of myself with the haircut though; I used to catch sight of myself in shop windows and flinch – “Who is that dangerous young man?” There is an upside to it: you can stick fuzzy felt characters to your head. We had to make our own entertainment in those days. I think my barber believes in the moral superiority of short hair, that he’s improving my soul with every snip. This time it’s a generic Short Haircut. I feel relatively normal.
It can’t last.
He spends ages getting the hair to sit just right, in a way which (between you and me) I hate. But never mind – I go to the gym straight after and ruin it all. My book for this session is The Mind’s I but I don’t get much reading done. For a start it’s a stonking great hardback, difficult to hold and pedal at the same time. I have to resort to watching MTV.
Westlife have done a cover of Billy Joel‘s Uptown Girl that finally erases whatever difference there was between Pop and Karaoke. It is like those muzak versions of pop tunes they used to have (or the tracks on the infamous Top of the Pops albums of the Seventies) – it sounds a bit like (but not in any signficant way different from) the original record until you pay attention and realise it is a cheap copy. Still it means a few extra pennies for Mr Joel, not that he needs them, but all the same…
What is the point of Westlife?
Wreck the pizza I was intending to have for lunch. Exactly what happened is too complicated to explain, but I had to clean a vast quantity of congealed cheese of the base plate of the oven. Eat what’s left – essentially a piece of quite cheesy bread – and make extra salad to compensate.
Drift a bit after lunch. Don’t achieve anything concrete. I’d have been pin-sharp if I’d had a properly cooked pizza to eat.
The lovely and talented Rachel Pantechnicon (actually a nice chap called Russell) calls me back over a Kamel Klub booking – I put them down for the 13th of May.
After dinner Yuka calls about recording on Saturday. This will be interesting and, I hope, fun. One woman and her ukelele. Hopefully, I will be able to overdub things onto it. She’s going back to Japan on Wednesday and will be recording with her band on Tuesday, so let’s see if we can get some tracks down. I saw her do her first (and last for a while) public appearance at the RedEye in Islington last Thursday. It’s a bit of a dive, and it was nice to see something so different happening there. For example, the band that followed Yuka on the same night were pretty good, but a straightforward Modern Rock Trio. How flat that all seems, no light or shade or anything to engage the spirit – I much preferred Yuka’s stuff. I experienced a similar feeling after half an hour or so of Wayne Kramer last year. That said, I’d dearly like to play Unpleasant Rawk Guitar, if only for one gig.
Maybe I should do something about that.

The CD player (my current oracle of choice) decided that the day should start with 36 Hours by John Cooper Clarke and I Often Dream of Trains by Robyn Hitchcock. So it’s one of those Johnny Clarke/Robyn Hitchcock days, eh?
(Incidentally, Snap, Crackle & Bop the album from which 36 Hours comes is excellent, and really worth seeking out – it includes the magnificent Beasley Street and is one of the late Martin Hannett’s masterpieces. The original vinyl edition (which I have) had a cover that was JCC’c jacket with a (real) book of his poetry poking out of his top pocket.)
Cheque in post.
Aha! Payday! Let’s go and spend it all on exotic cheeses!
Do some ironing – ironing is a deeply spiritual experience, symbolising one little way that we can put the Universe in order. Of course, a pile of ironing the size of a child is hard labour, but ironing a bunch of shirts can be spiritual.
And of course, Hard Labour can be spiritual, too. But when it is, it ceases to be hard. Go figure.
During the ironing, I meditated on how we set our own standards, and how the standards that other people expect us to meet are actually a reflection of those we set for ourself. Which anybody who knows me will know is pretty rich coming from a slob like me. Or perhaps not.
I don’t actually get out of the house at all. I do a bit of practise – particularly the right-hand for an as-yet-unnamed instrumental, which I was tripping over, but have realised I should be using the “a” finger as well as the p-i-m fingers. If I do that, it works really well. When I play up to speed, though, it’s a pile-up.
Try working on some logos for The Kamel Klub and a potential web-site design. I haven’t finished booking it yet. I’ve got my priorities straight, oh yes.
David H. calls about helping a friend of his with her Mac – a Performa 630,a model I know only too well – and getting it online. This should, technically, be possible. I said I’d have a look in the next few days.
Des calls at about 10:00pm to say that the spot he asked me to do on Friday is, in fact, for the following Friday. No problem.
Eventually I venture outside to get cocoa and yoghurt (the former for pre-bed, the latter for breakfast tomorrow, if you were wondering. Not together.)
Bedtime record: Cry No More by the Poison Girls.

I really enjoyed breakfast this morning – I was just about to sit down to my glass of juice, my bowl of muesli and my colossal cup of coffee (my only cup of the day, these days), and I thought “this is good. Breakfast is good”. A positive start to the day. I just thought you might like to know. I even had a small visitation of Silence during my Sitting, but I am still too addled at that time to appreciate such things properly.
I did a lot of pootling about during the morning, and in the afternoon set off to do some post-office business and try to pick up some veg on the way back.
I really ought not to even try to walk past second-hand bookshops.
Having giving up cigarettes and alcohol over the years and meat and (apparantly, although I haven’t put it to the test) television more recently, and having got my coffee/chocolate addictions under control, second-hand books appear to be the only real vice I have left. After all I lack enough shelves for even the books I have, so adding to them can only lead to tears. Or at least piles of books clogging up the already sclerotic arteries of my Bijou Pad.
That said, I’m interested in finding out what I am buying – it’s something I’m only really conscious of when I get them home and take them out of the bag. Last week when I thought I was just going to pop up the Tate Modern for a couple of hours (as you do), in fact I went out and bought Creative Thinking and The Sevenfold Path by J.G. Bennett, The Great Heresy by Arthur Guirdham and Iron John by Robert Bly. The latter two titles because they were on sale, but they are interesting anyway (Guirdam decided he was an authority on the Cathars largely because he believed he was one in a previous life: his books are occasionally fascinating and intermittently bonkers – bonkersness is something I admire in a book. Iron John is much better than is generally made out, although I’m only, at the time of writing, about half way through). Today I went into Tlön Books (a Borgesian reference, which I heartily approve of) in the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and found Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching; Hofstadter and Dennett’s The Mind’s I (which is about the self and the soul, although I really should finish Gödel, Escher, Bach); Campbell‘s The Hero With a Thousand Faces; a rather imposing book called W.B. Yeats: The Poems and Villa Stellar, a book of poetry by George Barker. Apart from the Barker (and the Wilhelm, which I already had, but have lent), I’ve been looking for these second-hand for a while.
I read Creative Thinking last week, partly on a cycling machine at the gym, probably not the most conducive place for the Great Work, but Bennett’s an awful lot more interesting than MTV. That would be a good quote for the back of the book:

J.G. Bennett is an awful lot more interesting than MTV – John Peacock

Furthermore, while I noticed a connection between the Cathars and what Bennett was saying (which I ought perhaps go into another time), and possibly what Bly was saying, lining up these recent acquisitions suggests that I am (not wholly consciously) pursuing some theme.
The only drawback being that I have to read them all to find out what the theme is. Or maybe that’s not a drawback.
This evening, I managed to contact someone who was also on Guitar Craft Level I in Italy via the wonders of Instant Messaging. I’ve never tried this before (except a stint in LambdaMOO) and it was very interesting, if a little disorienting – very much like very long distance phone calls, where you’re not sure what the other person is saying (whether they are replying to you or launching out on their own or something else), nor (because of the immense delay) what you are. But it was fun, and I’ll try again. And I’m coming to terms with emoticons. I may even have discovered one:

“-) <------- Picasso face. I mentioned the books, saying I thought I understood all this stuff in the arrogance of my callow youth, but now, coming back to it, I realise that I didn't understand a thing. Interestingly, there's a reference in each of the Bennett, Bly and Guirdham about the mid-thirties being the time a chap should put away childish things and get spiritual, so we'll see. I'm very attached to my Childish Things, though...