those four notes

Another getting-up-late day. And more playing with the websites until I have to go off to Wimbledon to rehearse with Monique. This could be more complicated stuff than I thought it would be, but they seem pleased and ask whether I’m available for two weeks just before Easter. I suppose I am, but it’s early days yet and we have an album to record. I have to find out about Corsican music too (although it appears I’ve had an album of it by Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses for a long time . Very good, too). It could be a stretching project, particularly in one tune where I find myself trying to play one of those impossible chords that one finds oneself reaching for when the mind decides that it needs to play those four notes, even though the lowest is a long way down on the sixth string and the highest a long way up on the first string.

I return next week and will take my electronic options (the VG88 and Godins) with me instead, and we’ll see what we can do with them.


Getting home, I make a lot of dinner and watch a lot of Seinfeld first series.

workarounds for my erstwhile ignorance

Another Saturday. I know this, because every Saturday Software Update tries to get me to download the same two bits of system software that I don’t actually need. Because I’ve decided to switch to OSX as much as possible (the whole upgrading thing is taking a very long time. This computer is almost two years old and the version of OSX is the one that came bundled with it. I really need to upgrade to 10.2 or Panther, though, if I want to use anything with it. And get a new scanner, I suppose. Not that I use the scanner that much these days. Shame.)

I don’t manage to get out of bed until quite late and miss out Tai Chi and Sitting, even though it is a Saturday and the Sitting on Saturday is the big one. I am a bad boy. I consider the notion of contours in the spaces between courses. Perhaps I should declare aims for these spaces, it would make life easier when I find myself (as I do now) in the middle of the middle.

I’m trying to rewrite the code for this page, partly because I now know a lot more about CSS and can use it for my primary layout method (and it looks a lot better, too), partly because I know a lot more about PHP and the site contains a lot of workarounds for my erstwhile ignorance.

I also want to do more things to the GC gallery page, cleaning up the menus, but my brain refuses, like a horse at a fence.

In the evening I return to the C.S.I./Law & Order night on C5. Astonishingly (what I suppose my tutors would call) reactionary stuff. L&O really reinforces that notion that some people are inherently evil (rather than that people do bad things as a side-effect of their lives, which is the other approach).

Fewer greenfly, of course.

That Friday running-for-the-tape feeling. After work, have a nice long chat to Ben about the CA site and bits and pieces that need to go in there. It’s my current intention to rewrite most of the sites I’ve designed over the last few years, to take advantage of what I’ve learned.

To that end, when I get home I redo a version of this site in pure CSS – most of the visitors seem to be running a version of IE that can handle it. I can do a frames version for other people.

This suggests that I have a firmer grip on all this than I suspect I actually do.

I also need to work on the menus for the GC gallery site – you need to click a few times to get pictures, and that’s inelegant.

In an email earlier this week I compared the building-websites thing to gardening. Fewer greenfly, of course. Hopefully.

some success, apparantly

The day is dedicated to doing the Maisy font, which I did originally at least ten years ago. At the time I skimped on the letterspacing because I figured that it wasn’t going to be used by very many people.

Since then, of course, it’s gone on to be used by more people more widely than any other typeface I’ve done. So I’m going back trying to make it useable. With some success, apparantly, but we haven’t had the verdict from foreign rights yet.

At the time of writing I’m hoping to join the 21st century and OSX full time, but I have so much legacy equipment (scanner, graphics tablet, etc) that it all doesn’t quite work in OSX. And it’s a ridiculously out of date version of OSX.

In the old days they had Mementi Mori to remind them of impermanance and the inevitability of decay and death. Computers seem to serve the same purpose for us. The brand spanking new superfast dream machine turns into something so pathetically slow and superannuated that it’s mocked by digital watches in the blinking of an eye.

I do feel old.


No deep excitement. Once again I get up late and miss Sitting, but this time I turn the alarm off in my sleep. I calculate that I am now in the Middle of the Middle of the space between Mendoza and Los Molinos. It had never occurred to me to apply the same criteria to hiatuses. Hiati.


More mousing during the day, including excessive quantities of lunch (but it was so nice!) Donna reminds me that I have to do the Lucy Cousins font. This is one of those jobs that I can’t seem to hold on to in my head. Grr.

I resolve to do it during the evening, but come the evening I’m dribbling somewhat, so I have to put it off until tomorrow.

Playing it, not writing it.

I allow myself an extra hour in bed. Because I’m weak. This means I miss out on Tai Chi and Sitting and it means that as I am emerging from the shower I miss the smell of coffee because it isn’t there.

Let that be a lesson to me. Or something.

Thence to the world of That Mouse for a day, chatting with Ben at lunchtime about things to do to the CA site, and letting him into the Mysql page at Dreamhost.

After work I jet (!) up to Walthamstowe, where I am to perform at the new VAC night for Mr Sherwood. I get to Walthamstowe station and realise that I would be safer walking around than waiting for a train to Wood Street, where the gig is. At least two wags are letting off fireworks. I fantasise that it’s Blitz Night – the Old Folks drag out the blackout curtains and dust off the Lord Haw Haw CDs and pretend it’s 1940 all over again.

There are a bunch of floor spots before (and after) me. I sit and put a part of my attention into my left hand and into various parts of my body that might have an interest in functioning properly in the next couple of hours.

One of the spots is a fabulous performer called Lea, who has arrived in London with a friend and her small daughter and is spending her first night in Walthamstow. This may have been a strategic error on her part, but I buy her CD. I hope she finds cool stuff in the UK somewhere. Not that there’s anything wrong with Walthamstow, per se, I’m not sure that it justifies a transatlantic crossing on its own, that’s all.

The gig itself is nice, although I find myself playing all the songs at the end much faster than I started them. Also, River Rise was a mistake. Playing it, not writing it.

I leave at 10:30, walk back to the Tube station (Walthamstowe village is quite nice when it’s not raining. I pass an inexplicable plinth/column thing), and then go home. Drunken revellers get on and one of them, the life and soul of the party type, touches me when I close my eyes and then gasp! pretends it wasn’t him. It appears that moving into adolescence and beyond held no charms for this wacky fortysomething. Or thirtysomething, perhaps. I think he thinks he’s a character from Cold Feet but is in fact Colin Hunt from The Fast Show

I’m listening to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Palm. It’s wonderful, constantly diverting and imaginative. I must do that some more.

Home late. Obviously. What time will I get up tomorrow, I wonder.

trying not to look guilty

Again with the mouse, so that’s most of the day out of the way.

In the evening, feeling up for it (whatever “it” means to you), I stroll down to the jam in a non-official mode. During the break I plug the guitar into the PA and it promptly stops working. The PA, that is. I end up putting the piano through the monitor and sitting around trying not to look guilty.

Then later on, in one of the big pauses you get around there, I test the inputs and find the PA is working again, so I surreptitiously plug everything back into it and plug in my guitar. This is summed up as:

  1. I broke the Pa.
  2. It fixed itself

Which brought out a bit of the sulk in me.

Some fine noodling, Summertime solo perhaps a bit dodgy. That thing about when you want your playing to get more frenetic is when you need most of all to relax. That still confuses me.

perversely exciting

Some dithering. Monique, of Monique fame, calls me up to ask whether I’d like to play guitar for her on some of her upcoming sessions, and I agree. I’m to go over to Monique HQ next weekend to work on the pieces.

The rest of the day is spent launching the Guitar Craft site, handing out usernames and passwords and watching the user log increment up. There are times when I’m watching the log, while people are actually looking at the site, which I find perversely exciting.

I think I ought to have it translated into Spanish.

The Guitar Craft gallery finally goes online to a select audience. I spend the day online, handing out passwords and tweaking the site (although I suppose adding a complete message board to the front page is a bit more than mere “tweaking”. Now I know how to make a message board), so some people will find it changing as they browse. Perhaps they put this down to really clever coding rather than really bad organisation.

I think I ought to have it translated into Spanish. Offer that as an option.

Sigh Complete insanity welcomes careful drivers.

I also do a lot of Jazz Noodling, for which I am not in the least bit embarrassed, particularly when I manage to visualise All The Things You Are in terms of shifting key centres, which is every bit as painful as it sounds.

Both of them, actually.

And, yes, back to Walker again.

It’s bizarre, (as I note to someone) that no matter how short one’s week is, one is always friday-fried at the end of the day. I return home and, although I tinker with the site and mail out to people asking them for passwords, still sit in a faintly burbling state.

There is a fanboy programme by Jon Ronson about Randy Newman. Aw, bless. Both of them, actually.

Then, because there’s nothing else I want to watch, I put on the DVD of Far From Heaven. I’m not sure what to make of it, though I do prefer it to The Hours (I’ve been polling people on the subject of that film, and it’s not as widely loved as one might hope, at least if one were the director). It’s stunningly beautiful, and very well played, but the formal inevitability of the form kind of robs one of any frisson of surprise. It’s such a good simulacrum of Sirk, with all the cadences in the right places, that there’s a sense of ritual about it, and it seems hermetic. A bit like hiding behind a curtain and watching some kind of Masonic service.

Or something.