or even a viable present

FTP might be the future, or even a viable present, if I could get someone to empty the folder at the other end.

So the day is spent working on the Hares and on the Secret Project and hoping that I can send something over on Monday.

In the evening I continue with the copious extras on the Lord of the Rings DVD. It’s actually quite inspiring the amount of love and energy that has gone into the film, and also Peter Jackson’s other motive (to build a viable hi-tech film industry in New Zealand) shows through. There’s nothing wrong with that. What with this stuff and Fox’s Sydney facility, I suspect that the future of hi-tech filmmaking might be antipodean. It’s astonishing how much time this sort of thing takes.

In there somewhere I lower the action on the fenix guitar that I use for Jeays gigs. In fact I lower it too far, then raise it a bit, then raise it a bit more. Thank you to Steve A, who told me at Southampton about the slats of plastic that they put under a guitar bridge to raise it up.

which I have obliterated in its original form and replaced with one of my own making

Today is eaten by my final attempts with the sky (which I have obliterated in its original form and replaced with one of my own making), identifying that FTP transfer is the future, even if it is to a place only two miles away.

In the evening I watch the rest of the Robert Wyatt documentary (what a fine man!) and watch the first half of the extended version of Lord of the Rings (they seem to have left out half the film from the theatrical release!) and some of the documentary. Above all else, Peter Jackson understands what the DVD watcher wants: extras, and ludicrous quantities of them.

I’m having a bit of difficulty with they sky if you must know.

In the morning I go into Walker to right a wrong that I committed just before christmas – damn these measurement systems and people’s desperate need for the correct numbers to be used. In retrospect, not only was this wrong, but it was spectacularly so. D’oh.

In the afternoon I return to Hare Business. I’m having a bit of difficulty with they sky if you must know.

In the evening I go along to the Borders in Islington to promote Plucked and The Secret Agent’s Dream which they call shhh, quite understandably and it’s entirely my fault. A full account may be read here.

After the gig I buy The Power to Believe (the new King Crimson album), and Grayfolded, an epic take on a quarter of a century of the Greatful Dead’s track Dark Star by the plunderphonicist John Oswald. So I go into a shop to promote CDs, sell none, but buy two. D’oh!

After that Ben, Terry, Denise and I retire to the New Culture Revolution where I proceed to eat two main courses (because I am not only greedy but also hungry, although I probably ought simply to have got a larger main course in the first place) and chat. T&D give me a lift home.

I am billed, wholly against my will, as an expert

The first part of the morning is spent trying to get more Hare Stuff done, then I have to jet out to the Jeays rehearsal. This time I just take my guitar. There is much drinking of tea and eating of biscuits and at least some playing. I also have my first negative encounter with a printer of the day – Lucy cannot get the ink cartridge out of her printer. Neither can I, despite the fact that I am billed, wholly against my will, as an expert. Indeed, a computer person, which (I have noted before) sounds like a euphemism for android.

But some work is done and the new Jeays magnum opus is tentatively planned.

After some more tinkering on Lucy’s behalf (this time it’s Jeays himself trying to change the bulb in her car headlight, with a similarly attenuated degree of success) I head home, do another hour of work before heading out to Osvalda’s, where I give her and David some instruction in Microsoft Word, general Mac stuff and also fail to get her printer to work. Two in one day. A new record.

I return home and a little more Hare Business.

a crucial syncopated note

The day is another one dedicated to remixing rabbits. The evening is another jam at the Three Stags. A lot of people come up tonight with songs that aren’t in any of the real books. So a bit of a challenge. When someone launches into another interminable 12 bar blues again, I try the trick of throwing in a crucial syncopated note that signals that final descending chord thing. It worked last week, but this week it takes a couple of tries before they get the hint. Whoever thought that a 12 bar blues is improved by making it five times as long as nature intended?

Pah. Jazz, eh?

I realise that I’m making squird

The morning is spent trying to straighten out the living room and (after a quick trip to the supermarket) making carrot and ginger soup. The room will be somewhat less spotless than I hoped it would be, which is a shame, but I do create a large space in the middle of the living room where we can set out chairs and play. This is at the expense of the bedroom, which now resembles a junk shop.

It’s only as I’m about to put the soup into the food processor that I realise that I’m making squird. This is a good sign.

Steve arrives at just after one and Elisa soon after that. We sit and drink coffee and chat and then spend some time working on technique and circulating (including a perhaps-overambitious attempt to circulate C major in three octaves ascending and – critically – descending. It looks like we might not make it for a while, particularly as the smell from the bread machine is beckoning to us. Eventually we do make it, and then look at a bit of thrakking and the Emergent Theme.

Then we stop for a break, squird and bread and the cakes I got from Konditor and Cook yesterday.

After that we go through the repertoire that we (mainly Steve) know, and play through some CDs of crafty music. I think it was a good start. Or beginning.

I bid on an Ovation on eBay before leaving for the Three Stags for the Quintet gig.

The line-up is a bit different tonight, which gives the situation a bit of an edge. And the place is very quiet, too. My playing isn’t quite as wretched as I feared it might have been, I think.

Returning home, I discover that my bid was beaten by fifteen pounds. Chiz.

I’m standing sweatily in his shop staring at the cakes

The first part of the day is spent carrying on with my desperate attempt to make space for my fellow Crafties tomorrow. To this end I make space in the bedroom to receive stuff from the living room. I possess an inordinate amount of zombie stuff, neither really needed nor valuable enough to sell, nor valueless enough to throw away. I wish I could find out what will inevitably happen to it to hasten the process.

After some space has been cleared in the bedroom I can start to move stuff from the living room which promises to make a lot of space. I am not sure that this is a promise that I or the flat can keep, however.

In here somewhere I go to the gym and buy cakes for tomorrow. The chap in the chef’s costume at Konditor and Cook eyes me suspiciously, since I’m standing sweatily in his shop staring at the cakes, unable to make up my mind. In the end I just buy some without really thinking about it. They’re all good.

After that I make the long trek up to Spekki’s for a VAC meet-up – Spekki, Joan, Rich, Tessa, Edwina and myself with an appearance from Alan the Emergency Bassman. Everybody plays a bit (myself, perhaps, too much. In retrospect) and I get to hear Edwina sing, which is a pleasure. She hasn’t really had an opportunity the last couple of gatherings I’ve seen her at. The trek up had involved a bus to Euston and then a 73 and then a long walk to Stoke Newington Road. The trip back involves a bus to Waterloo. I’ll remember that for next time.

Mmm. Up early tomorrow to continue the Tidy.

I’m sure it’s all part of the process.

The day is another return to the morass of trying to assemble pictures during the day and in the evening beginning the reassembly of my living room and kitchen while watching a Seinfeld tape. This largely involves me taking things out of cardboard boxes, into which I had put them the last time I had a big tidy, about a year ago, creating a mess greater than that which existed when I started. I’m sure it’s all part of the process. Trust the process. The tape stumbles across a BBC4 documentary about Robert Wyatt that was recorded for me, with actual performances by Mr Wyatt with the Annie Whitehead band (I wonder if he can be persuaded to take the next step and do such things in front of an actual audience. Anyway: a joy). I watch up until the Rock Bottom era before I go to bed.

But am I an arty and moody kind of guy?

The day is largely spent Photoshopping – I’ve reached that point where I’m staring madly at tiny details, wondering how I can make them work. In between I have fifty CDs (twenty-five of each) to manufacture before Mr Sherwood arrives to collect them. I shall be promoting them instore at Borders next week. Can you imagine such a thing. I thought at first that it would be just a gig, but of course there’ll be promotional material on display and stuff. With a photo. Scary. The one that David likes best is the one that looks like:

Which he says looks arty and moody. Mm. But am I an arty and moody kind of guy?

Anyway, it turns out that the fifty is excessive, and he takes fifteen of each with him. I’m vaguely nervous about the whole thing.

Actually I think it might be a prime example of “exposing the performer to public ridicule”.

try not to make eye contact

The morning is spent getting the GHMILY stuff together. Beginnings are always more complicated, since they seem to involve me picking up (possibly metaphorical) bits and pieces, looking at them closely and putting them down again, working out how they all fit together.

I get a courteous reply to my email to customer services and write a reply to it. As I am doing that a call comes to say that my lenses have arrived.

I bunk off at 4:00 to get some blank CDs, Borders for the use of and pass by Virgin (where I buy Show of Hands by the League of Crafty Guitarists, Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf and a Free Design compilation) and the Eye Clinic where I pick up my lenses from a friendly, helpful and efficient assistant and try not to make eye contact with anyone who might think I’d complained about them.

Home, more Photoshop and listen to the Crafties CD.

In the evening there is a last rehearsal before we perform down in the bar next Sunday. Some tunes go remarkably smoothly, some less so. It will be interesting to see how they pan out on the day, when it won’t be possible to stop. Ah, commitment. And we’re playing Little Games. Which will be interesting.