Personally I’m still holding out for a conflagration

Still ill. And it’s still quite difficult to tell on account of the heat.

I finally email Nick the pages of his last biook and set to the current one again. During a break I stumble across the H2G2 site at the BBC. This was originally started by the late Doug,as Adams as an expression of the Guide in his books. However, after coming to rest at the Beeb, it has run into perhaps too much regulation and the danger that it merely becomes a nexus of special interests (so it has entries on Ayn Rand and a drinking game called revolver, but not, as far as I can tell, about George Eliot. But that may be because I’m spelling it wrong). That doesn’t prevent me from adding my own obsessions. And a lot of the entries seem a bit partial and unevenly written, but I suppose that’s the charm of the thing. I’m not sure that I will do any better.

Let’s see, which of my badly-thought-out opinions shall I dump on them first?

On the Archers, Ed Gurndy’s joyriding gets further out of control and he’s rejected by Fallon (so I was wrong there), even though she egged him on to begin with. There were several scenes with Simon Gerrard being wise and kind so I suppose that means he’s the one who’ll be it the wrong place at the wrong time. Current projection: he’ll be knocked downa dn fatally injured by Ed and Jazzer in a stolen car, and the question will be whether Fallon and Ed’s brother William are prepared to turn him in to the police.

Personally I’m still holding out for a conflagration, but that seems less and less likely. Not very Archers really (Grace Archer notwithstanding).

So it’s Friday for the Tragic Joyriding Accident.

Unless I’m wrong, which I usually am.

morally irredeemable

Wake up with a sore throat.
To Walker. By the time it gets to lunchtime I’ve realised I’m properly ill – I’m dizzy and finding it hard to concentrate. Some people might find it difficult to believe that that isn’t the way I am all the time, though. It feels fluey, although most of the usual symptoms of flu are less than detectable in the heat. I manage to blag a lift home with my father, and we stop at the supermarket on the way home so I can get high vitamin C stuff, mainly fruit. Perhaps it will help me now. It’s an important factor in one’s life only to live healthily when it’s far too late to do any good.

I finally watch the now infamous Brass Eye Special and laugh a lot, which, I suppose, makes me morally irredeemable. I rummage around in boxes to try to find the Late Show Frank Zappa special from 1994, but it does not present itself. I do find a tape with Jam on it, so I watch that for a bit. I still find it quite impressive, indeed more impressive than funny. It’s the episode with the plumber "fixing" the dead baby in it.

I also stumble across a tape with some Simpsons episodes I haven’t seen yet on it, so I watch a couple of those. And then go to bed.

Some of them are pretty groovy.

Essentially I need to find a huge task that I really need to do but that has no deadline, so I can spend the rest of my life doing a lot of other more useful things. This is the power of Displacement Activity. I ought to have prepared my accounts (which are due on Tuesday) and done some Nick tuf, but in fact…

I managed to get this diary up to date. That’s not a bad start.

I change the water filter. Finally.

I did some more work on that riff, which now lasts for four bars.

Leaving the house to go to the gym, I find that all that banging that kept waking me up last night involved someone kicking the front door in, since it’s on the deadlock. Someone evidently went drinking and forgot theur key. Or forgot how to use it.

And when I get to the gym I find that they are repairing the showers. Not wanting to get all sweaty and then walk home to bathe, I just go home without exerting myself. They must have put the signs "apologising for the inconvenience" on Thursday or Friday, because they weren’t there on Wednesday, or I wouldn’t have come.

So as I get home I realise that I should listen to some more Jack Kornfield before I collapse into a heap of despair.

I start the accounts after lunch and listen to Karma Redux in which Mr Kornfield outlines The First Noble Truth. And scarily, begins with someone playing Brazil on a cheesy piano (I have been using Gnutella to collect versions of Brazil).

There Is Suffering In The World.

Well, yes. Although the front door and gym probably don’t score very high on anyone’s sufferometer.

There seems to ba a lot of stuff missing. I have a horrible feeling that I have stashed a lot of Important Documents in a Safe Place. Why is it that Safe Places are only safe enough to protect things from ever being found again (or at least until they are rendered useless by time). They’re never safe from damage.

Today’s Joe Frank is another repeat – Dreamland, which includes the renegade spoof preacher David Franks. I suppose the Larry Block story (involving his wife trying to throw him out of the apartment and his son drifting further and further off the rails) and the Debi Mae West story (involving her relationship with her relatively new paramour Malcolm) are unravelling slowly in the background. Hopefully we’ll hear more about them next week.

Somehow doing the accounts turns into doing the vacuuming. So there is the potential threat of a large fine in January, but I have nice clean carpets.

I try playing through the songs that need to be finished to go on the next CD. I ought to do myself a favour and finish them. Some of them are pretty groovy.

(which translates. sadly, as "I’ll have forgotten it tomorrow")

Very hot. I spend the day feeling sluggish.

I write a new riff, originally based on a guitar lick in a Fela Kuti track, although I add so many curlicues that it gets a bit out of hand. Thing is I have enough one bar riff songs. I really nead to extend it, and I don’t know whether I can. Still if it works out it will be one of my most impressive yet (which translates. sadly, as "I’ll have forgotten it tomorrow").

I go into download frenzy, including several Joe Frank episodes, among them Eye in the Sky, which is one of my favourites, and A Tour of the City, which seems to be a very early, 90 minute play for NPR which I haven’t heard. I don’t think it’s in the KCRW archive, anyway. Many other things. It has reached overkill, since I’ll just have to archive them and not listen to them again. Anything I really like, I’ll go out and buy. There are exceptions – I wasn’t likely to buy a copy of You’re So Vain by Carly Simon, although I might now.

It’s very useful to sort out Brazilian and South American musicians, After all, if I go to the World sections of Virgin or Tower, it’s very difficult to tell what’s good and what isn’t – particularly with Brazil, where it’s quite difficult to tell Gold from Cheese just by looking at the label. So it’s a bit like having a friend with a huge and chaotic record collection, taping what sounds interesting to see if you like it enough to want to buy it. That said, if this becomes the primary means of distribution we’re in trouble for a lot of reasons, not least of which will be the lack of access of smaller labels to the best digitising or encryption software. There is a sense that the majors would rather drag the whole industry into the mud rather than create an opportunity for independents to steal a lead on them.

Mind you, we said something very similar about CD. So.

I also download Dido’s Lament. a piece of music I ought to have heard twenty years ago, when I was going through my first burst of enthusiasm for Purcell, brought on by Michael Nyman’s soundtrack for The Draughtsman’s Contract. In fact, I suspect that the Lament was the basis for the piece in the last reel of that film – Bravura in the Face of Grief. The original plan for the film, which was four hours long before Peter Sainsbury of the BFI cut it to make it more commercial (yes, really), has gone all to pot. Each drawing had a piece of music to go with it, and I suspect that this piece was a singular one-off separate from the others. Much as the drawing it represents is. I wonder if anyone’s ever looked into it… they must have. Draughtsman is one of the most over-studied films of all time. Greenaway joked that they did a weekend conference on it in France and at the end of it had just about covered the title. But then that’s France. In my recent spate of Purcellophilia I have found several of the pieces that Nyman used. I wonder if their original meaning relates to the drawings in any way. Hmm.

New Rose by The Damned and Public Image by PIL are undiminished by age.

I find no ingenious strategies

Spend the morning searching for ingenious strategies for avoiding just getting down to work. I find no ingenious strategies, so I have to settle for the stupid but modern one of just bouncing between The VAC Messageboard, Metafilter and the Corpses Forum over and over again. But nobody is posting, so I take that as a hint that perhaps I should get on with the Nick book after all..

First I need to rush to the Building society to pay in this month’s cheque. One month I’ll just forget (although I have done this or something like it, every month for over eleven years. Each time in a dreadful rush). And that will be a tragedy of sorts.

Graduation week is over. The Marquee is coming down.

Hint taken, I spend the afternoon and evening working, but at quite a slow pace compared with the last Nick Book. I had originally intended to go the a club called Tall Poppy Presents to see Mal Darwen perform, but instead I stay in to do the work. For some reason it’s going slower than the last one.

I ponder the question of Frank Zappa’s misogyny, with special reference to Wet T-Shirt Nite a.k.a. Fembot in a Wet T-Shirt from Joe’s Garage. I consider various points of view – that Zappa saves his real contempt for the drunken audience rather than Mary, the character who needs the $50 that the Wet T-Shirt Competition pays to get home.

It’s one big global village out there.

I go into Walker in the morning. Sue has some corrections she needs done before lunch. Interestingly, events conspire against her to the extent that the Canon colour copier/printer is, apparantly, in pieces. I carry on doing the corrections and we manage to get printouts of a sort done.

Sara phones up and we have a long chat. An acupuncturist of her acquaintance has ome advise re the Gout. I’m never sure of these things: recently someone was trying to explaing the gout purely in terms of chi and I was trying to tell them it was salts, not chi.

And Feng Shui is just a long winded way of getting someone to tidy up.

In the evening I watch the DVD of This is Spinal Tap. It’s absolutely marvellous – the voiceover (ostensibly by the band members rather than the writers or director) makes it almost a new film. There are constant complaints that "he didn’t film all the times we didn’t get lost on the way to the stage!" and a whole host of new jokes. I haven’t seen all the outtakes yet. Apparantly "Marty di Bergi" (Rob Reiner, the actual director, in character) had more of a role in the film before it was cut. I’d love there to be a real voiceover with Reiner, Mckean and Guest, but you can’t have everything.

To demonstrate how in touch with Bossa Nova I’m not, I’ve only just discovered the fabulous song Águas de Março. This is a Tom Jobim song, originally done, I think, by/with Elis Regina. I’ve downloaded several versions, including one in hebrew. It looks like the Elis & Tom is an essential purchase, next time I wander to near a large record shop and get sucked in by their tractor beams.

I now have a copy of the Jubel Jubel Freu Freu Song The Happy Happy Joy Joy song in German. It’s one big global village out there.

She stopped doing that particular zoo radio show soon after.

Fi Glover on Radio 5 Live is mounting an attempt to make Nora Batty the most downloaded woman on the ‘Net. Click the link below for full details on this epic battle.

download Batty queen of the web

Although as someone on metafilter points out, this is more likely to be a surreptitious attempt to get Ms Glover up the Downloaded Woman Charts.

I once saw a very drunk man accidentally pour a pint of beer into her handbag. Which was a pity, because he was doing so well up to that point, chatting-up wise and we (standing nearby cheering him on) were beginning to think that he might actually succeed in getting her to go out to dinner with him (she was definitely weakening in some way or other), which was a considerable tribute to his powers of persuasion. Considering his phenomenal drunkenness.

That’s Fi Glover rather than Norah Batty.


She stopped doing that particular zoo radio show soon after.

Manage to do the gym thing. Hurrah!

And the supermarket thing. Double hurrah!

Sue at Walker calls to ask if I can go in and do some bits for her, but i have to put her off until tomorrow.

In the evening off to play at the Bug Bar.


Graduation time for the South Bank University. Sporadically from now on, hundreds of students in gowns and mortar boards will congregate around St George’s Cathedral and be photographed by their families. Not having been through this process myself, I wonder whether all these people own the gowns and hats and intend to keep them or whether they just rent them for the day from the academic equivalent of Moss Bros. The dangly bits at the back are apparantly colour-coded. You never see shops for these things, outside Oxford at least. Even the Freemasons have shops (opposite the big Freemason temple near Covent Garden – you can buy gowns and books and gavels and cufflinks and everything).

And who owns that green-and-white tent thing? The Cathedral or the University? They only break it out for the graduations.

Everything is showbiz if you look carefully.

Another Walkers day in the day, then back to sucking the internet dry of Goon Shows at night, Tonight I find the first Show I ever heard, King Solomons’ Mines, which features Ray Ellington singing Route 66. Or as we mathematical pedants call it 8.1240384.

I don’t think I can do the sociology here

The argument continues unabated on the VAC board.

You know when you absentmindedly kick a stone at the top of a hill, and the stone sets of other stones, and then boulders are dislodged, outcrops collapse and the village is buried in rubble? Common experience.

And I said sorry for breaking their village.

Anyway it’s like that. Walking to work, I notice that at the Henry Moore Sculpture School on Lambeth Walk ( a former Methodist church, so it’s less surprising), there is a pulpit over one of the doors. Presumably so the Minister could stand there after the service and glower at the congregation on the way out. Or maybe they hoped that the chapel would become so popular that he would have to preach to them in the street, because there would be no room in the chapel. I wonder if it ever was that successful. Methodism was a lot bigger once than it is now, but it’s always been in the nature of evangelical religions that their projected customer base is a trifle over-optimistic. There’s a Columbian refugee centre in one of the open/closed shops on Lambeth Walk. You have to hand it to Lambeth Council, they’re on the ball when it comes to that kind of thing. And I suppose someone has to be. The eggs were in the Art department at Walkers. Either someone was making a lot of omelettes or they were using a kind of egg tempera paint. Walkers’ is one of the few places where the latter explanation is more likely than the former. Return to Gnutella like a dog to his own vomit. I have moved on to trying to keep track of the collections of Goon Shows available on the internet. I download a number and listen to them. It’s extraordinary that something with this kind of energy is fifty years old, particularly if you compare it with something like ITMA. The terrible puns are there (the recurring doctor joke "I have a practice on Harley Street, but the police keep moving me on"), the hoary music hall comedy, but put together at an almost Punk pace. I am reminded of the huge part the announcer Wallace Greenslade (a Brian Perkins of his day?) and the singer Ray Ellington play as well, often taking roles within the stories (although the constant references to Ellington’s blackness are possibly a bit outré for todays audiences. An interesting indight, though, because they are not malicious, and come from a time when it would have been very unusual indeed.. I don’t think I can do the sociology here).

Never, under any circumstances, listen to what the other person is saying.

I may have caused a fracas on the VAC board. Or would have done if this had been a weekday. I posted a very nasty and sarky message on their boards last night, to which the recipient has responded with some offense. I write a more considered, but I suspect no less offensive reply. It sits there for a while, while I look at it. I post it anyway. I shouldn’t get into arguments, since I always lose.

Cubase and Unity kiss and make up, but I realise that I can’t play the keyboards. Pffft.

Conversation is thewhen you use the time when the other person is speaking to work out the nice things you are going to say about yourself. Argument is when you use that time to work out the nasty things you are going to say about the other person. Never, under any circumstances, listen to what the other person is saying.