my attention span is only four Villa Lobos bars long

I receive a Walker typesetting job. I used to do these jobs for Walker years ago, and I ought to have been doing them from my living-room then, too.

I seem to be lucky with the strings – the tuning is stabilising quite nicely.

I try playing some of the Villa Lobos Etudes My attention span can be measured out in bars: A whole Sor exercise, a page of Albinez’ Asturias. Sadly my attention span is only four Villa Lobos bars long, which isn’t that much. I pretend to myself that I’mm taking inspiration from the music and setting off on my own voyage of discovery, but to be honest I know the truth. Four bar attention span.

Call Christian at the Kashmir in hopes of a spot. No spots until January and he’s not booking those until November.

I discover the joys of Cascading Style Sheets, which alow me to apply controlled, personalised styles to my pages rather than just sticking to the basic HTML styles. This is why all the pages look different now. In case you were wondering. It took hours, but the next time I decide I want to change everything it ought to be a breeze. Of course, the Real World being as it is, it will still take hours, but I think it’s an improvement.

Thanks to a visit by Joan Coffey the Site is saved from the ignomony of it’s second worst monthly visitor record ever, by a couple of votes (that title is still held by April). In fact, if all the hits which are attributable to me trying out the new look are included I have more hits than I did in May though not as many as in June, a personal best for me.

So thanks, Joan!

(I do know that I can’t count my own hits, otherwise I’d just sit here clicking on my own site all day, making it look to myself that I was popular, and that would be too too sad. It just looks better on the graph, that’s all.)

Unless I’m lucky.

I finally get everything onto a disk and wait for a bike to deliver it. And wait. And wait. By 12:30, the bike has still not arrived. Still, it gives me a chance to catch up with this diary. It is finally picked up at 1:00.

After a trip to the supermarket to pick up healthful things, I download Netscape 6.1 (Clunky! Horrible! Type size defaults to humungous!) and then re-download Mozilla 0.9.3 (More or Less as the Netscape the derives from it! But I can work with it!). Almost bearable when I change to the Classic (i.e. old-style Netscape) theme from the Modern (i.e. vile) one.

I spend the day relieved that the immediate demand on my time is over, although other pressing demands (Tax, resolving the Teetering Pile of Chaos that is my living room) are actually sitting patiently in the background waiting for me to panic and do something about them.

Time to change the strings on the Classical. This will mean that for the next week or so the tuning will be completely rubbish and any performances I wish to give are doomed to failure. Unless I’m lucky.

Nice long chat in the evening with Veronique, just catching up with Stuff, and then with Laura, although it’s quite late by that time and I’m losing the fight with incoherance.

when I were a lad this were all fields .

As re the previous two days. Form and Void, this time. The actual book is beautiful, but the essays at the end (presumably an attempt to emulate what Moore does at the end of From Hell) tend towards a sort of barnstorming, adolescent argumentativeness. The "subject" of the first half of the book is Hemingway, and the essays relate how much Sim hates Hemingway’s books (which he had to read as research). I don’t really have a problem with that, except he latches on to the felicitous notion that Hemingway is "a typist, not a writer", which he repeats over and over. And Picasso specialises in "geometric twaddle-and-nonsense-in-oil-colours". Whatever.

If he’s not careful, he’ll end up like the Sturdy Men of The Art Renewal Center, in which case, God help him.

(I wonder if they’ve got permission from the galleries and owners to reproduce all those pictures, especially if they intend to make money from them)

As I say, the book itself is up to the usual standards, very affecting at the end. Who knows, if Sim can make it to issue 300 without getting in the way too much, perhaps we can all finish the story without gritting our teeth down to the gum.

The Forum at SOTCAA was wrenched unceremoniously from the grasp of the 4SOTCAAs several weeks ago, and the site itself will be disappearing soon. Which is a shame. There is a link to an article to day, however which enunciates clearly a few Art Renewal Centrist tendencies of my own. How to square a desire to be liberal with a growing despair for the stupidity (or perhaps more properly stupefaction) of Modern Culture.

Moan moan grumble grumble when I were a lad this were all fields .

Apropos of nothing in particular:

I really should learn CSS. I just should.

Inching my way closer to the goal.

As Monday, sadly. Inching my way closer to the goal. This time my reading is Going Home, which features Scott Fitzgerald. I finish the spreads: tomorrow I do the amendments to the previous spreads and the new edition of Shark in the Park.

fail to finish the spreads.

The day is spent trying to finish the last few spreads for the new Nick book, indeniably the most complicated ones in the book, and finding pointless displacement activities to avoid doing same. I fail to finish the spreads.

Among the displacement activities is reading Rick’s Story. Not much to say about it, really. Whatever his personal qualities or failings, though, Sim is a superb craftsman.

unflinching

I decide to actually buy a copy of From Hell. I call Gosh! on Great Russell Street to see if they are open (they are) and decide to walk up there and buy a copy. It’s raining like… like… like something very rainy, however, so I catch the bus there and back. When I get there I buy not only From Hell, but also bring my collection of Cerebus phonebooks up to date by buying Rick’s Story, Going Home, and Form and Void. This latter is a reference to Sim’s infamous #186 rant, so it’s vaguely threatening.

Anyway, it’s very important for someone who’s threatened with a colossal bill to spend huge quantities of money on fripperies.

Not that From Hell can fairly be called a frippery. It’s very dark, very serious and very explicit, both in terms of sex and violence. The best word for it is unflinching, I suspect. And long, clocking in at nearly 600 pages. Very well worth the money. I begin reading it as soon as I get home, and finish quite late on in the evening.

Joe Frank tonight is another repeat, this time one of the early dramatised pieces. Not as good to change the sheets to as the recent ones (Jack Kornfield and housework go together for some reason), but I listen to it all the same. I am worried for Mr Frank, who has been very ill recently, and worried for Larry Block (last heard of losing it big time).

hugely carved in stone

I read the correspondence (originally printed in the back pages of Cerebus) between Alan Moore and Dave Sim about (among other things) Moore and Eddie Campbell‘s From Hell, about Jack the Ripper. I am particularly interested in his researches and his ideas about London, magic and time. I look for other articles about From Hell on the internet. I only have the first issue (covering the early life of William Gull and the affair between Annie Crook and P.A.V.)

I check out the trailer for the film on the Internet (which necessitates installing Quicktime 5, chiz), and suspect that a complex and challenging novel has been reduced to a ho hum thriller. I ought to actually read the book before I convert that suspicion to a firmly-held opinion, hugely carved in stone.

Are we nearly there yet?

Still ill: I wake up as usual at 7:00, but find movement difficult and stay abed until after 9:00. After that my actions are few and laboured.
Listening to Radio 4 all day makes me unaccountably angry.

Personal victory of the day: blagging a lift to the bank (in order to pay in monies) then using said lift to get a new set of classical guitar strings from the Spanish Guitar Centre. If I switch back to Augustines. however (from Hannabach), and buy in bulk, I could cut my costs in two thanks to the Internet. Worth remembering. Even more worth acting upon, I suspect.

I try out yesterday’s violin take against the accordian that we recorded several months ago. Are we nearly there yet? Not sure.

it is obviously some form of Lurgi or other.

Despite my intentions (and to a certain extent my actions) I am unable to finish any new spreads for the new Nick Book, but Ness has all the corrections collected.
By mid-morning I am coming to the conclusion that I might be unwell. At first it feels like my (perhaps) overgenerous bowl of cereal this morning was sucking my energy, but my the time I have to get ready to go to Peter C’s record it is obviously some form of Lurgi or other. Also, I have to reinstall Cubase before I go, which holds me up a bit.
Today’s session involves overdubbing the violinist Ashley Reed. It goes quite well to begin with with some very fine performances then very badly as the different parts drift out of sync with each other. I have to reinsert the parts in order to get them to sync together. One of those nightmare computer things that just demonstrates the evils of technology to non-computer people. But the final result really gels fabulously. We try to do another song, but Ashley decides he needs to think about it some more, so that means another session.


When I get back, I’m very poorly indeed. I make a couple of calls, then realise that I’m just sitting on the sofa staring into space, so I go to bed at about 9:00.

Ve-e-e-ry tired.

Ve-e-e-ry tired.
It takes me three hours to catch up with this diary. Bah.
I get to the supermarket, so I have now stocked up up healthful things.
I do some research into the Folk music scene in Britain. There are lots of places, some of which might be sympathetic to what I do. But these are all only accesible by car, and I can’t drive. Chiz.
I have a lie down and a bath to try to refresh myself, and listen to a RealAudio Jack Kornfield broadcast on the Ten Perfections of the Heart to calm my mind as I do some scales.
Then off to the gig at London Bridge.
On the way back I spot a young fox, which passes within five feet of me (although by the time I get the camera out it’s gone, so no picture). I suppose that urban foxes have worked out that we are no real threat to them, since we only stand around going "Oh look, it’s a fox". Whereas living in what is technically the country for many years, I never saw a single fox.