Around and about

As I haven’t blogged in what seems an age, and as I’ve just backed up my phone camera – which had over a thousand pictures on it, I thought it only decent to post what’s probably tgoing to be closer to waffle than diary. This is in reverse order, so the more recent are at the bottom and the oldest at the top. However it does include Royalty, so those who are all pooped out with the Jubilee should beware.

Here then, are a few scattered oddities around and about town and other places:

There’s a vacant lot by Warrior Square Station. Obviously they couldn’t sell it as a building plot – besides, there are so many empty shops nearby you’d have your pick and you definitely wouldn’t want to live there – so instead they have used it for a mini sculpture park. Not that you can walk inside and touch! To me it looks like they had an accident putting razor wire on the fence, but what do I know. The following two shots are, I think, artistically better.

Better viewed from more abstract angles and directions.

Then I come upon this. The Tubman. I’ve never been inside, and I’m not sure I’d want to drink there without a Harry Potter to come to the rescue. I kind of like the decoration in a dark, black goth, sort of way: but it’s not at all jolly hockey sticks, or very welcoming. It’s more a ‘fancy a pint of blood?’ kind of gaff.

Up the street a nadge is this little lane that instantly sparked a number of fantasy plots…

…and just a stones throw away this – which made me wonder at the fantasy plots I was musing over; at humanity and its taste in general, and the locals and their taste in particular. I guess I’m just not a Gnome lover. Elves and Dragons and Wizards, yes: Gnomes, no.

The next day I was walking along the seafront and saw this beautifully painted car. Being presently carless I’m rather jealous, though I’m not sure how I’d feel if I had a bad hangover.

Then, on the 2nd June, we went to Canning Town to play a gig in a venue surrounded by scrap yards (most odd). Still, you can’t deny human ingenuity. One of the scrapyards had cleverly thought of a way to make extra revenue. I’m not convinced ‘Oasis’ is intentionally ironic, though I rather hope it is.

Then came the Jubilee. Locally, excitement was high. Here, Queen Victoria sports the latest in Royal headwear.

Though I’m not a dyed (or should that be died) in the wool Royalist, I do think the Queen is a remarkable woman, and the pageant on the Thames was rather splendid – even though the coverage was so dumbed down and crass the BBC should be spanked. Here though, I was convinced she was spying on me having tea.

Which brings me to yesterday – or, by the time this is posted, the day before yesterday. The last night of the Jubilee celebrations. We played a really good gig at The Rose and Crown in Worthing. The stage was tiny, but the audience wasn’t!

So that’s me up-to-date. Camera phones are wondrous beasts indeed!

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Live at The Fiddler’s Elbow.

On the 16th we played The Fiddler’s Elbow to a packed out crowd! Umm, okay, so that’s a porky. Yes, we played The Fiddler’s Elbow, and it was a really good gig. But, as it was a Wednesday night, there were only a few people there. Still, slowly-slowly catch the monkey – or some such platitude.

Anyway, for your delectation and delight, here’s a video of ‘Broken Heart’ a song penned by Codey, a friend I never met who, very sadly, died just before his 18th Birthday.

 

Dubious or what.

In the bog of the smuggler, Pett.

 

We played a gig on Sunday at The Smuggler in Pett. As gigs go it went jolly well. There was a nice lady dancing by the bar, and quite a few more people tapping feet. There was also clapping to which I humbly replied “Thank you,” or “Thank you so much,” in a slightly shy murmur that, no doubt, Freddie Mercury would have howled at.

The odd song arrangement I managed to stuff up went well, too: in that nobody noticed, or if they did they were to polite to say. It’s amazing that you can rehearse until you’re as perfect as perfect can be, and then your brain goes blank when faced with an audience. Ho hum, and c’est la vie and all that.

Anyway, the point of this blog entry is A) I haven’t blogged in a while and thought I should, and B) we had a poster and I thought you should see it. Of course the poster wasn’t just put up in the gents, it was on the noticeboard as well. But where’s the fun in that?

Apocryphal or what.

Kamakura - on the rack in HMV

 

A while back, though not in the dimest past, I found Mick sniggering. On asking him what was so funny he said he’d put a copy of our album ‘Dealing With Liquids’ in the racks at HMV Records in the town centre.

‘Sure you did,’ I said in a disbelieving tone designed to wind him up. Then I forgot. A while later he said there were now three in there and they been marked up at £10. ‘Hmm,’ said I, as sometimes young Mick can be a little fanciful … a little bit Walter Mitty.

So … I finally found myself near HMV and went to have a look: and now I publically kowtow, and apologise for disbelieving him. There was our CD in all its shrink-wrapped glory. I was almost tempted to buy it so they’d re-order; I was almost tempted to buy it to see if we ever received a royalty statement.

The thrill of seeing your own album in a large record store is worth the cost of putting the album there yourself. Better, anyway, than having them glaring at you from a shelf above your desk.

Word! 🙂

Rehearsal

Drums awaiting the drummer

We’re now a five piece: rhythm guitar/keys and vocals, keyboards and vocals, lead guitar, bass guitar and drums. Playing live is very different to playing with backing tracks. More fluid and less tight (maybe), but infinitely variable. It’s liberating; fun, and I wouldn’t miss our Tuesday rehearsals if you offered me the world … okay, so I might. But if I had the world I’d be able to rehearse anyway, so ya boo sucks to you! 😉

A nice bit of Sissinghurst

The foodles part of an 'official' Sissinghurst Tea.

 

Living in Bohemia, as I do, I try to live an ever faithful ‘Bohemian‘ lifestyle. Sadly, silk dressing gowns, opium in hookahs, exploring interesting sexualities and oodles of laudanum – and so deliciously forth – are out, primarily because of the cold (outrageous, the cost of heating one’s pile, damned outrageous) and the illegality. I’d move to casablanca where it’s all possible, but Kamakura – the band I howl for – might complain, the cats certainly would, and anyway, gosh I ain’t got the dosh. Casablanca is not what it once was – and certainly not what Evelyn Waugh‘s Brideshead Revisited painted it as.

Erm … where was I? Oh yes.

Sissinghurst in the Weald is known as one of the fave retreats for the Bloomsbury set: Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, E.M.Forster et all. And so from one we meander to another, to the Sissinghurst Tea. Yes, by far the best thing to take your mind off being without your little luxuries, and being straighter than a die when trying to write opiated poetry and fiction, is a Sissinghurst Tea – the scrumptious and most mouth wateringly drooling part of which is pictured above (oh gawd how delish! Infact the jam was almost teetering on ruinous).

Without doubt a Sissinghurst Tea makes for a truly magical, sensual, and creative afternoon – though for an ‘official’ tea you do need a dispossessed aristocrat to bake the cake (luckily, I had one to hand). For the sipping either Lady Gray or Lapsang Souchong will do, the latter being my preference.

So … take the day off. Relax in a hot bath during the morn (pre or post bath sweaty sexual and sensual massage nice, but not essential). A languid lubuncular lunch should follow and then, after a splendid siesta, prepare for and have your Sissinghurst. You won’t regret it. 🙂

 

 

Reverie and thought

Possibilities

I was cleaning my netbook earlier. It was making these weird noises as if it was choking, and on taking it apart I found the fan was full of dust and muck. So I cleaned it and then looked at it. Really looked at it. And I went off on a reverie.

Pretty much all I do, all I think and all I create is contained on the hard drive in the picture above. And it suddenly struck me as how remarkable that was, and how fast it’s happened. How incredibly fast.

Take music. When I first got into music there was tape. To record anything of worth you HAD to rent a recording studio, and the equipment therein cost a small fortune – literally. Tracks were laid down on damn great reels of expensive two inch tape and mastered onto reels of quarter inch tape … and there was tape hiss. Oh, if you had another small fortune you could remove most of it, but never all. Hiss was part and parcel of recording, then.

Computers took a while to infiltrate. But the incredible thing was that the programs you used were elegant and tiny. They had to be because RAM was finite, and again, cost an arm and a leg.

Now, any idiot with a laptop can record an album. Without tape hiss. Without tape. Now programs are huge and bloated because elegant code doesn’t matter anymore – RAM is cheap.

Writing.

Then: longhand delivered for someone to type out. Edit it with red pen and re-type. Rinse and repeat. To become a writer you really had to want to write!

Now: open up program of choice and off you go. A gazillion websites inflate ‘writers’ egos. Some even make it. NaNoWriMo (I’ll say no more).

Photography

Then: actual film stock. Twenty four or thirty six shots on a roll. Develop and print in a darkroom.

Now: digital. Snap as many as you want because you’re bound to find one good, usable shot. If not, photoshop it. Bing bang boom, done and dusted. Deliver the ‘product’ by email. No more messengers on motorbikes.

Film

Then: actual film and cameras and crews, etc.

Now: digital cameras and storage. Make a documentary during lunch; a feature film over the weekend. Edit at home (oh, and write the music too, if you fancy it).

Those bits and bobs stuck to the motherboard behind the hard drive in the photo above are enablers. Art is no longer precious or special. Art is everymans and everyman is an artist.

This blog wouldn’t be here without my baby netbook. Neither would my music be available all over the world, or Midnight Dude, the book I wrote a story for and typeset.

I wouldn’t know the wonderful (albeit virtual) people and friends I’ve met on-line, and I wouldn’t have websites to visit and loiter away my life on….

It was at this point my reverie ended. I looked at the cat as I put the back cover on and fumbled with its screws. Percy’s real. He’s not an avatar. Neither is he a trainable toy that follows me around the house meowling until, in a fit of pique, I remove the batteries.

I look out of the window. The garden fence I fixed this morning is still standing. Its real, not virtual. As am I, for my sins. But with the rate of change; with the rate of human invention, for how long? How long will it be until I’m just a virtual plaything? How long before the real and the virtual blur so much it becomes impossible to tell the difference?

Without a shadow of a doubt computers have changed our lives; my life. But is it really for the better, or should the Luddites rise again before it is too late?