the fantastic notions my hypochondria is proposing

I get to see Breakfast Television, which only reinforces for me the reasons that I don’t watch breakfast television.

The subsidence of the pain and the welling of the fatigue coincide to such and extent that I could get to sleep if I wanted. But I have to stay awake now in order to get to the doctors’ surgery. Chiz.

Eventually 9:00 rolls around and I stroll down to the surgery to see if I can get in. I’m told to come back at 10:30, so I come home, lie on the sofa and hope that I don’t wake up at 2:00pm.

But I do manage to get myself back there at the appointed time. The doctor concurs with my notion that I ought, by rights, to be at the dentist, but hearing my sob story prescribes the anti-biotics and some pain-killers. After a chat regarding my ongoing unwellness, she arranges a blood test for tomorrow. This will be assessed after Guitar Craft, when I will find out whether my body can match the fantastic notions my hypochondria is proposing.

Thence to the chemist to pick up the drugs. Then home. One drug must be taken with food, the other must not under any circumstances. I can see that this might become complicated.

Demiconsciousness, that I manage to drag out until 11:00, throwing in listening to a Radio 2 programme about Prince (it’s easy to forget how amazing Prince is, isn’t it…)

Somewhere in there I find my passport. I’d been worrying about that…

contemplation of the gum

In the morning the infected gum is back – as if it wandered from the gum to the sinus, decided it didn’t like it there and then wandered back again. Oh dear, I do hope I don’t have to do the whole guitar craft thing in agony.

Minor fontification during the day, along with contemplation of the gum.

In the evening it’s time for the Three Stags jam again. It’s quite nice and relaxed this evening – no ringer, Roland does his Dmin version of Summertime again, this time without visual aids. There’s a note in there I manage to miss on each occasion it occurs. Anything else? Oh I don’t know. One or two enjoyable noodles. I just like the standing-in-the-corner-being-handed-songs thing.

I do go to bed, but after an hour or so of failed unconsciousness give in and come and watch the television. The tooth is hurting quite a lot, now. This creates a dilemma for me. What I need is antibiotics, which I can most easily get from the doctor. But when infection or unpleasantness drifts into the mouth it becomes the province of dentists. I could go up to the A&E department of Guys, but that would mean sitting and waiting for a long time and then just being given antibiotics anyway. I resolve to do the doctor thing. Then it’s just waiting. I can’t get to sleep at all.

I listen to (and record for the nephew) the BBC production of The Subtle Knife. It does seem to be a tad humourless, but it might be that I’m building for myself a resentment against Pullman’s books (on the grounds that everyone else seems to like it). I would imagine that this wasn’t a good critical position, were it not for the fact that I suspect that quite a lot of literary criticism is based on personal animosities just as shallow and fickle.

I do eventually get some kind of minor bursts of sleep.

there’s an ad hoc feeling to the whole event

Once more the day settles into staring into space with my sinuses filling with … well, filling up. And I’ve got a sore throat. Oh, poor me.

In the evening, however, I drag my guitar stuff over to the Three Stags for a gig, of sorts. I can’t sing the songs I’ve been volunteered for on account of the gunge. Never mind. Despite all the preparation we’ve done, there’s an ad hoc feeling to the whole event, but then there usually is in gigs. I read somewhere the opinion that jazz is the art of faking it – however much one prepares, one ends up going onstage and having to fake it.

It’s quite an enjoyable evening, although I play dreadfully, I think. Lots of fluffed notes and overenthusiastic runs. Not bad playing (on my part) so much as uninspired. John’s programmed all the boppier numbers into the second half, so that feels better (apart from which I get the hang of playing as I’m going along).

Television is also watched.

The pain in the gum is still there, but for some reason transfers itself into my sinuses, where some unpleasantness takes place. Consequently I spend my time sitting on the sofa alternating staring into space and passing out.

Television is also watched.

In particular, the film Armageddon is watched. My father has a tendency to use this to demonstrate whatever technological advance has occured since my last visit. This is not a good film by any means. Or rather all the actors are very good at what they do, the effects are (usually) effective and the editing seems to have been done by a cokehead with a Starbucks mainline.


that person is without doubt not me

I wake up with pain in my gum, so perhaps that’s the unpleasantness I’ll carry with me to Guitar Craft. It certainly seems that GC activity invariably coincides with illness for me. I hope it recovers in time.

More fonts (it seems to be Era of the Fonts at the moment – Gill Willis calls about one that I did for her in the early days of this diary and which, it seems, I failed to invoice for. Whether I should be projecting that to world, or at least the handful of people that read this, I don’t know) and Joan comes over to record demos of songs we covered last Sunday so I won’t be all at sea when we play them in front of an agog crowd next month. Or I might be but I’ll have no excuse for it.

Does anyone know whether there’s a seperate font for Scandinavian languages, or do they use the European font mapping? Well, yes, of course there is. I think what I mean is that that person is without doubt not me.

If you’re re-reading that paragraph, scouring it for meaning, I suspect that that person isn’t you either.

Perhaps I’ll find them on the internet.

Pop to Boots to buy expensive mouthwash. Yes, I know it won’t work. It’s not a scientific application of medicine, it’s a sacrifice to try to placate some kind of dental god.

I try to record demos of songs myself (having gone to the trouble of digging up the microphones and all that), but it’s a bit dreadful. The aching in the gum isn’t enough to distract me from font-making, or spoil the pleasure in listening to Dead Ringers assuming there is any pleasure in listening to Dead Ringers. Come to think of it, I’ve never found any, except that time that I wrote a deeply abusive rolling account of an episode and posted it on the Comedy Forum. Anyway, no pleasure in these recordings.

I very much like the fact that it’s now possible to listen to the radio asynchronously.

(I’m talking about the BBC’s Radio on Demand thing. I listen to Neil Innes and that episode of Lloyd Cole Knew My Father I went to the recording of, and which has cut together very nicely indeed.

Er, hurrah. I think. Why not.

I find it pleasing, anyway.

Back to Walker to finish off the work for the time being and to confer re the Secret Project. Then back home to eat, start recording the BBC version of His Dark Materials off the internet for the nephews and then remember to get to the sextet … er, quintet … rehearsal. Or actually have to be reminded.

We’re supposed to be playing downstairs in the bar on Sunday, so we run through the stuff we’re going to do. The sound starts loud and settles down somewhat. My noodling starts a bit crappy and gets more pleasingly angular as the evening progresses. I find it pleasing, anyway.

I think I’ll bring the Big Old Amplifier. Oh, yes. At least I won’t have to carry the amp up those stairs. I’m rather looking forward to it.

Wednesdays, eh?

The day’s spent catching up with bits of work – fonts, mostly. A-a-and not a lot else. Wednesdays, eh?

Oh, there’s another, further attempt to install MySQL, this time using Fink, which is supposed to take care of all the nonsense.

More accurately, another, further doomed attempt to install MySQL. It has to be possible. They can’t have distributed all these installations as a joke, surely.

Can they?

Oh, hell, it’s all a bit scary, let’s be honest.

Walker in the morning, and in the afternoon I come back and do bits of work and prepare for the Jeays gig in the evening. Then I make my way over there.

It’s back at the Battersea Barge, and I manage to get there early this time, arriving at about the same time as Jezzer. We set up – I’ve brought the Godin/VG combination tonight, which I’m hoping will work. There is some kerfuffle with leads – the sound chap is doubling as the chef, or possibly vice versa, and when Phil plugs his mighty axe in I have to ditch the bass and use the bass patches on the VG. Which is potentially a bit scary. And I’m never sure about the right patches to use for the different numbers, whether the acoustic sounds will work, which is also scary. Oh, hell, it’s all a bit scary, let’s be honest. That is, in some ways, the point.

I’m on, first, though, doing my tunes. I do the gimmick version of River Rise, which is fun, but I’ve got the guitar turned up a bit loud. Somewhat distracting.

(Polling select audience members later on suggests that this didn’t cause a problem or that they were all too polite or tactful to say anything. To be honest, either way is fine with me.)

Geoff follows, and then, after a break, the Jeays Phenomenon. Almost all new material tonight, which is good, obviously, in one way, but on the other hand means that very little of it can be done on autopilot. Not that I’m suggesting that I ought to do it on autopilot, but… oh, you know.

Anyway, small, cosy, nice audience, nice night. I like the new one that Phil did solo. Late getting home, but then you guessed that.

No ringers or substitutes tonight

Despite the fact that there are many things that I’m embarrassed (or proud, one or the other) to say that I don’t do any of them.

But I can recommend Andrew Rilstone’s Rants, although he likes C.S Lewis hugely and doesn’t (increasingly understandingly) like Dave Sim, who (by Mr Rilstone’s account, and I believe him) spent twenty years constructing a complex and beautiful mechanism and is now nt only slowly smashing it with a hammer, but also claiming that the destruction is what he was up to all along.

Not that there’s anything that wrong with liking C.S. Lewis, and I suppose in these days of Philip Pullman knocking the old chap has become a bit de rigeur, but I remember the disappointment of realising that the stories I’d enjoyed were a sort of Anglican propaganda.

In the evening I drag myself up to the Three Stags for the now traditional jazz excursion. No ringers or substitutes tonight, something that I, in my selfish way, am quite glad about – I quite like spending the evening standing in the corner, unnoticed, with people occasionally handing me chord charts for me to follow. And Mr Perrin is in tonight. It always gets interesting when Mr Perrin’s in, since he’s often coerced into playing for people who are doing a tune in an unusual way or in a perverse key. And he’s generous enough to mouth the chords to me, so I look good too. Or, if not exactly good then not as terrible as I would have had he not done it.

I get to do a solo that includes a flurry of notes. So many that I can hopefully hide the fact that I’m not sure exactly what most of them are.

Hinder seems to be the way of the world.

I get up at noon. This is a new low, at least for the last couple of years, drifting back towards sleeping patterns more appropriate for night shift workers. Pah.

Some drifting is done, and no exercise is taken (and what kind of life is it if the account I give of it is essentially a list of things I have not done. I didn’t receive a phone call from the UN asking me to sort out the difficult situation in the middle east, come to that).

During the afternoon I’m very aware of the fact that I’ll have to leave to go to Joan’s for a run-through of new stuff, but when it comes to it I find that I leave the flat at about the time I ought to have got there. This is because the cold that lurks outside my living-rrom door causes the bit of my brain that covers Moral Fortitude and Resolve to shut down altogether. I’ll have to work on that. It’s not British.

I do get there, finally, and we go through a cover and three or four new originals, one of which demands that mandolin patch I wrote a few weeks ago and me attempting to do harmony vocals. This is bizarrely like trying to pat my head and rub my stomach (figuratively speaking – I’m sure that Joan wouldn’t be pleased if I added a patting/rubbing combo to the act in preference to the more usual playing the guitar. Interpretative dancing is all very well, but Stacia I’m not. Nor do I pretend to be), and I find myself completely incapable of identifying the notes I have to sing. It’s a whole other thing, this harmony singing. Or in my case cacaphony singing.

Goes quite well, though, I think.

So that people are up to date, re the leak: It is still in evidence, but when the ceiling came down on Christmas Eve, all the water now drips straight into the plastic bag arrangement that I’ve set up and from there into the funnel. So my wardrobe is no longer full of water (which just makes room for the mould, I suppose), and the water is being delivered into the sink. It is not, however, an ideal situation. I have to be a bit tough with the Freeholder’s Agent (re that bill for construction work). That will either help or hinder this situation. Hinder, probably. Hinder seems to be the way of the world.