Sunday

dear reader,


merry christmas and a happy new year.

i'll see you soon, and call you sooner,

lots of love,

grilly

xx

Thursday

quote of the week

"We're not in the business of predicting the future, but we do need to explore the broadest range of different possibilities to help ensure government is prepared in the long-term and considers issues across the spectrum in its planning," said Sir David King, the government's chief scientific adviser.


'in other words', sir david might have continued, 'we need to say these things before they happen - to use latin terminology, we need to 'pre-dict' them, if you will'.

further more:

It also warns that the rise of robots could put a strain on resources and the environment.



and also gamesmaster, when they 'accidentally' give it 95% before they actaully play it, just like they did with daikatana.

dumb fuck. what does it take to become a sir these days? i've read 2000ad. give me a mbe too.

see also: komodo dragons can reproduce asexually, if needs be, which is actually quite interesting (despite the 'virgin births' cheese) and not full of lies. why does the bbc feel the need to pass shit like 'robots may soon - er, i mean, one day - demand rights' off as news (remember 'human race may split in two')? to para-quote my lecturer at uni, if a com-puter was ever built that was going to take over the world, they would turn it off. like we'd give robots rights before animals.

Guardian stuff

2006: the bumper news quiz | Quiz | Guardian Unlimited

i did this, got 19 out of 50. when i looked at my breakdown, it had got almost all of my (wrong) answers wrong. i feel burnt; it got all of my right answers right, so that takes the piss even more. but the questions are fun.

my new favourite column in the guardian is larry elliott's ecomonics editorial. it fits exactly with my view on economics - he has an informed conscience. his article on where brown goes wrong (again) and his article on the bae scandle show how news stories should be written, and show up other writers who value free market capitalism as an end in itself to be what they really are - conspiratorial liars.

also monbiot's recent column on how brown is completely taking the piss with the heathrow and stanstead runway extension is excellent, as expected.

and i very much enjoyed this spat: roy hattersley writing about his experience of anne atkins, which she then replies to. her response starts with
"Oh dear! I realised Roy Hattersley was annoyed by a comment I made on a television programme we were on recently, but I didn't realise it would disturb his sleep for a fortnight"
so right from the word go we know she's an idiot. and just look at all those comments.

on a related note, i realised recently that i don't agree with anything the labour party pronounces any more. every new suggestion for society boils my blood. last week was hilarious for blair - questioned by police on the same day that he blocked the bae inquiry and another civil servant came out, claiming they knew saddam was no threat (i can't remember the context), and about two other things i forget now.. it's all gone a bit berlesconi, hasn't it? and then the photos of his holiday in iraq come back, in all of which he's grinning his face off - maybe that's just the ones the guardian showed. but then it seems like the only paper that's got any news in it anymore..

Tuesday

i meant to go to sleep about an hour ago.

my face hurts, i feel like i'm turning into a ferenghi. i don't know whether this is a old just starting or just passing through. i'm lying in bed, typing with my left hand, my right wrapped around rothko and belvedere. i'm kind of in the mood where one feels an enoumous amount of affection for someone, then they go away, and the affection remans but has no direction, and you end up being quite sad, but weirdly in love with everything.

i've had a lovely few days which i'm probably paying for now. damn me for trying to enjoy london. on friday night, i was in a terrible, foul mood - fell asleep after work and waking up was even worse. of course like an idiot i'd agreed to meet up with debbie at xford cirus, when all i wanted to do was sleep. but we wnt to the glass house stores, where i noticed a small sign - 'none of the soft drinks or alcoholic beverages for sale in this pub are media advertised.' some people just don't appeciate shit like that.

the next morning, i did the washing up, and finally decided that, poor as i was, i couldn't afford to not go to brighton. i just had to get out of town. and it was i went round rach and robin's, just caught robin before he went the other way, played with their arrogant, standoffish cat, and went and had a lvoely time. oh, it was bliss. that's wish fullfillment for you.

hardcored it back into town for the berzerker. i'd brought cds, but no covers or deluxe editions, so i didn't mind not trying to meet him after the show. i'll write him a proper letter, that's what i'll do, like andy. as a concession to debbie, i went to an free electro night with her a couple of songs before the end, although i got the impression she really didn't dislike that much , otherwise she would have left already - or was she just waiting around because the night didn't start 'til 11 anyway? i was off dancing alone all night anayway (wrong sheos of course - or can i just not move my legs as fast as i remember? maybe i need more than one pint to think i'm a good dancer), so she needn't have hung around for me. so we got to the elctro night - meeting someone she met at my old school pal adam green's party, who i met in the street a couple of weeks back - and rach's pat was there too! oh the coincidences. i wasn't sure if that boded well or not - i normally hate most of the music associated with 'that scene', but he makes quite good music too, under the name 'spatstik'. in the end it seemed like fairly rudimentry 80's style stuff. i was in danger of falling asleep on the sofa and so legged it with a nascent headache. from one pint.

the next day i got nothinbg done except make latkes with dan, which seemed to take all day. then i went to the sorted recordings album launch, of which of course i am a vital part, and for the first time ever introduced myself as 'dj gallow slutt'. the bobby mcgess were excellent, down to a two-piece again, mj hibbet and two of his validators were GRATE (to use his terminolgy) and the last lot, lazarus clamp, were fascinating, the kind of band i love and hate and can't make up my mind about. firstly - they were incredibly tight. the music was fascintating - beefhearty, bwyd time-y, but perhaps slightly too doorsy for my tastes. i think i'm just jealous. they should make me want to be in a band more, but sometimes i see bands and think, oh what's the point? i don't need to be in a band now, because there's a perfectly good one right there.

excuse me whlie i tangetalise on an ego trip with some reviews here:
Next up the Bobby McGees who some of you may recall also featured on that recent and
rather smart ‘A very cherry Christmas’ compilation, this time they stump up the wired as fuck systems overloading hectic sounding banjo meets drum ‘n’ bass rout of ‘Ivor Cutler is Dead’ which wouldn’t have come across as sounding so different from their usual stuff had you shipped in by coach a load of kindergarten ASBO holders into a studio and told them to do their worst.


there's a drowned in sound review too, but no releveant quotes about it. they do the the compilation 9/10 though, so i can't wait to stick it on. it's really nice to be part of something. they've asked to do some more, so i might just do the whole e.p... things could be worse. now, where did i put my stack of demos to mail out?

last night i went round ruth and ian's (nee jo's) for christams dinner. there was a moemnt there when the jam got out of control and people hadn't realised it yet.. the moment when we weren't thinking about it, it was beautfiul. good food too. i stayed over and made it to work only a handful of minutes late. and then i left early and came and made chana and played 'gun' which is like a zombie game but instead of zombies you have retards and native americans. a less offensive/stupid game is hard to imagine. you talk to this woman, a whore, andthe man she was warming up attacks you. at which point i thin k about 80 - a fair estimate - people rush up and try and burn down the saloon. it's like grand theft auto set in a one horse town. and the tutorial, where you have to shoot wolves, ducks, elk and a bear, and then get on your and trample a herd of buffalo to death, beggars belife.

Wednesday

billi oddie's suicide watch

a full and unabridged review of london:

today i woke up and thought, well at lesat it's nearly the end of the week.

getting to work, i figured the only way to get through the day was start off with a coffee. this coffee was made up of nescafe gold blend, white tate and lyle sugar, tesco uht milk, and hot water.

Tuesday

togs

lying in bed under three layers, with my teddies, in utter comfort, i wondered if love could be measured in togs.

and then went on to wonder the significance of a 'four season' love.

Monday

who says george lucas has no respect for continuity and cannon?

Star Wars: Databank | Drumheller, Thorn

that is some odd shit, and you have to read it, all of it.

i can't believe they didn't go the whole way and claim that wicket was actually a reincarnation of willow.
what do you mean you don't know what i'm talking about? didn't you read the fucking link?


so the eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed i've not been writing much recently. i keep meaning to do the definitive review of london after having spent a month.. no, two months.. more... the deadlines slip by and it never gets done, and nor do the minor posts.

for london, all you need to know is that there's not an awful lot of smiling going on. even southall, which i love, mainly because of it's several veggie curry/sweet houses (and also a double bass shop - one of the most beautiful things i have ever seen), is pretty smile-free. sitting waiting for the bus is remarkable - it's just a long line of cars, mostly with a single occupant, slowly rolling by, and no-one's smiling. face after face, car after car... i do have more to say, but i spent all tonight playing half life 2, and it was a heavy weekend. iooh, i supopse i ocould write up that, or the last month which seems to have largely unreported. i really miss having a diary. i keep getting the urge to write somrething down as i go to sleep, even if it's totally rudimentry. ooh, how meta-rudimentry.

i put the 'antenna' in 'antenatal'

do you know, peadophiles can now get children on the nhs?
what's the world coming to...

Friday

extinct


Giant panda - David Suchet
Polar bear - Anneka Rice
Hyacinth macaw - Michael Portillo
Orang-utan - Sadie Frost
Mountain gorilla - Graeme Le Saux
Asian elephant - Miranda Richardson
Bengal tiger - Pauline Collins
Leatherback turtle - Dermot O'Leary

Wednesday

google has destroyed my brain

i can't remember anything anymore. when i get asked for stuff i've worked on at work, i panic because i can't remember if i've done it or not, and i usually have, but simply have no memory. partly this is because work is so dull, but partly is, well, i don't have to remember stuff. i just search for it. something i nee to remember? just email it to my self. it'll turn up when i need it. of course, frighteningly, there may be loads of stuff i've emailed myself and completely forgotten to do anything about. i hate my rotting brain.

meanwhile, what should i do for tea? i want a take out curry (as oppose to the home made stuff of the last two nights) but with noone to eat it with, slop is just as good. i might try and run down marks and spencers now before it closes. and then apply for work.

Tuesday

so this is what being the nutter on the bus feels like

today was no music day, which i think is a great idea. resonance fm played no music, and nor did i. personally, instead of it being the day before the day dedicated to the patron saint of music, i think it should be at a polar opposite time of the year. but that's a mere quibble.

so it came to pass, that i got on the bus with my brother's copy of slaughter house 5, and no walkman, and sat upstairs, where a solitary scruffy school child sat at the front blared indie guitar pop from his ears. i was going to let it go, but the mood of the day got me and i approached him.

'excuse me, do you know it's no music day today?' i asked.

'do you mean you want me to turn it down?' he drawled, not impolitely, but he did make me realise what a fool i sounded.

'well, i mean it is actually no music day, but you don't have to go along with it if you don't want to, but yes, if you could turn it down that would be nice...'

he got his mp3 player out, span the wheel and i saw both that he had been listening to the libertines, and that the volume was literally on maximum. that's really uncalled for, as i said to the guy sat in front of me after the boy had got off, who shrugged and turned back again.

the moral of the story: don't talk to strangers, kids!

i had a bunch of thoughtys to scrwal down, but i left the note in my coat pocket that i lent to debbie after hers had a bottle of water spilled all over it. one i remember is school. i think it's odd how laurence always writes about things i was going to write about. school was such a ierd time, being woken up by hot wheetabix being spooned into my mouth while it was still dark outside. but i wanted to write about the fear of school. the extreme emotions you'd get as you got in in the moning and found out there was a piece of homework you'd not known to do. i've never known fear like that again, and i don't think i would have done if it wasn't for school. but then if not for school, i suppose i'd have had to have gone down the pits or something.

i'll have to do the rest later.

Friday

i put the lice in alice

what's the difference between a refreshing drink and a yorkshirian roof tiler?

one slakes thirst, the other slates thirsk!

Tuesday

why i hate the english language part 94b

consider the following matrix:

Mate Meat Meet
Grate Great Greet

nobuddy movie

walking back from an i'll planned night with debbie (there was no free jazz band, the service was terrible and she was grouchy about BT and losing the clothes i brought her that she left in my room, and i spent as long travvelling as staying), a thought occured to me that i reckoned so wonderful i had to type it up here insead of going to bed like a normal person.

its basically an inverse buddy movie - take a cop who only ever works in couples, and have the commisioner set them up on there own for the story. have it played by a young woody allen (or aaron mcmullen). at the begining he has his partner taken away, and he complains about not being able to do anything on his own. but then maybe his girlfriend's brother gets whacked or something, and when she appeals to him, as a cop, to do something, he just turns his palms up and says, 'well i'm sure something will turn up' and ignores everything going on around him. so eventually the commissioner says 'look, you're not taking enough chances, i'm putting you on the case' and everyone tries very hard to make this insecure (yeah, he goes around clutching a security blanket or teddy bear) mumbler stand up for himself.


and shit, i thought, it's me.

it also ollows the rules i mentioned before that palin decribes in the commentry to riping yarns - you either over extend the cliche or subvert the cliche. this also explains why i didn't find shaun of the dead very/at all funy - the concept itself wasn't subverted or extended at al. it was just a cheap zombie movie, with not many jokes (that i noticed). it had some terrifying social darwinism too - people only got eaten by zombies when they'd been rejected by the group of friends until it was just the couple left. and you don't get much more pseudo-metaphorical for growing up than actually killing your parents.

so lets make this film. and the manual. and a bishop fuckers documentry. lts have fun.

Sunday

wasted/staggered

staggered is a film. a very british film, i think - in it, martin clunes plays a groom, wakng up after his stag night on a remote scottish island, naked and bound. his mission is to get home before the best man takes full advantage of archaic marriage rules and usurping the bride, which he'd been plotting all along. the twist of course is that at the end of his oddessyan journey, he realises he doesn't want the girl, or any of it.

for some reason, this concept has been preying heavy on my mind; i can't fully express it so hopefully i will eventually here. the journey for something you really want that changes you so that you don't want it any mroe; i think the point is that either way, your desire is satisfied. it's not realising that somethng is not worth the effort - that doesn't stop you wanting something. it helps you get over it though. it's realising that the thing you wanted has no value, and that's fine too. and you don't feel disappointed that your efforts have been in vain, because they haven't - they made you grow as a person.

in a way, it's like the yom kippur fast - at the end of it all, you don't stuff your face as soon as the sun sets. you take it slowly, and gracefully. you could fast longer. you turn down the first chance to eat.


on firday, i don't know what was different in me, but instaad of calling anyone, i went out and stoked up on junk food - pizza, pies, beer, chocolate - all organic of course - pigged out and played lego star wars 'til four in the morning. the next day, ed and adrian came over with the intention that we'd play through dead rising, but at two in the morning we'd had enough - it wasn't as straightforwad as i thought it would be. not to do it with the plot anwyway (it's a great game, it really is, and the different ways of playing it really work - do you go for the plot, the rescue missiona, kill all the zombies (ha) or just try and survive?). ed stayed over, but adrian wanted to go home. unfortunately, he got the bus in the wrong direction and got mugged. life's like that i suppose.

so i've spent about an hour outside this flat this weekend. i think that's a tragic reocrd. it's funny, because ive had a not particularly enjoyable week at work, and getting out somewhere would have been great. i just couldn't do it. fortunately ed was online at somepoint on friday and came over saturday. i must be exagerating this - surely i'd have got out if i hadn't planned something for saturday. just ignore me, and listen to the cult of luna's cover of 'bodies' (i just deleted the original btw).

xxx

Saturday

music thing shop

music thing, the amazing and fascinating synth-porn (amongst other things) has branched out and opened a shop - it's actually jsut a collection of links to other items for sale on the internet, but it's here and wellawesome.

B E A U T I F U L L M U S I C S O B E A U T I F U L L

HELLO. HOW ARE YOU?
I AM VICKY, DO YOU REMEMBER ME?
I AM LEAVING IN AEGINA (FOR THE MOMENT) IN GREECE. I CAME BY TO WRITE YOU HELLO AND TO SAY HOW BEAUTIFULL IS YOUR MUSIC. YOU KNOW THE MOMENT THE MUSIC STARTED IN MY EARS WAS THE KIND OF MUSIC I WANTED TO HEAR. I DON'T HAVE ANY NEWS THAT I CAN SHARE I AM STILL ON THE ROAD TO DANCE AND ART AND I AM VERY SATISFING BUT NOTHING MORE. RECENTLY I FOUND THE COURAGE TO HAVE ONLY ONE PHOTO OF MYSELF IN MY SPACE AND NOTHING ELSE. I AM NOT STILL ABLE TO PRESENT MYSELF OR ANY CREATION. SO NICE HEARING YOU. ... END OF MESSAGE ...


vicky was the girl who stayed with us in brighton for a while in thom's absence. she was a funny little greek girl who made us really good food sometimes and had an awesome cd collection (too many albums by the guitarist out of the chilli peppers, but mad eup for it with martin gore and rare greek jazz-core like malamis socratis). the world is such a funny place. it's wierd the friends you make on your way to nowhere.. it's so much more enjoyable than taking responisibilty. freedom is quiet, lasting, happiness.

i can't remember monday night, but tuesday i bought falafel, humus, halloumi, lettuce and tomato (as well as an experimental can of 'foul modamas') and was marching home with it all when i got a call from debbie; she said she was in intense pain in a cafe in charing cross and could i come help her? she'd been to hospital the night before with this wierd perssure and pain in her back, and it had come on strong again. i got a call on my way to say she'd been carted off to hospital, so i trapsed to UCH, in a bit of a kerfuffle, where a couple of her tutors were still hanging around outside the resuscitation ward. fortunately she looked quite 'with it' then, walking in i had had no idea what kind of state she would be in. the doctors really had no idea what was wrong with her, other than it looked as though she were somewhat bunged up inside and she should try senokot to relieve the pressure. not that they gave her any, but she didn't take the paracetamol and other mystery pill they did give her because she finds swallowing difficult. she began to feel better at the hospital so i took her back here.

on the way, i made a polite recomendation that she not eat quite so much juicy fruit chewing gum, as i didn't want to smell of it the next day. i know i shouldn't have done, but i was tired, hungry, and bothered, and i just wanted this one small concession. she took it personally - i don't know how, but she was in something of a state - and said she was going to go home. stubbing her foot on the stupidly placed block in the middle of the entrance to my block of flats was the last straw, the pain rang around her body and she broke down in tears with the stress of the whole thing and then some. i took her in and made her some soup. unfortunately, as kind as i am - i might get pissed off by invalids, but that doesn't stop me helping them and i hope i don't amrtyr myself outwardly - being a nihilst, i find it very difficult to find comforting words. i wanted to make her feel welcome in this country, but i can't reason it, and it's not good to tell someone 'well if you can't hack it, toughen up or go home'. no-one wants to here that.

things were getting worse as the journey wore on and i had to massage her back all the way home and most of the night. when the pain got to much to bear - about three in the morning - i got up, internetted and phoend around, and then trapsed off again to tesco express, which, as we all know, is open forever, but still a twenty minute walk away in the hope theat they would have some suitable drugs. fortunately they did, but senokot takes about eight hours to work. anyway, she did manage to get some sleep, i maybe it was just me. but i came to work a little late to put her on her way safely in the morning - specificly to the phone shop, so she could reactivate her phone, which had been cut off for absolutely no reason, and she just wanted to call her mum.

Thursday

troy tate sessions

post for andy and anyone else who's interested: http://www.emptyfree.com/index.php?m=200606

a weekend with a ruth

i made a curry a couple of night ago - a huge pot's worth, which me and my brother polished off. i put two green chillies in 0 nothing hardcore, and the end result wasn't that hot. but for two days after, i could feel those chillies all over my body, not especially my bum which felt saddle sore. a very strange feeling.

last weekend, ruth hewinson came to stay and check out london, since i don;t think she feels aberdare is right for her. i say 'hewinson', not becuase it's her surname, but because it's the surname of the boy she had when he met, and i still don't know hers (she did say it at some point, so i really should have paid attention. but anyway, we got the drinks in on friday, and debbie and her greek course-mate lydia came over and we prepared to hit london and show her the life.

as is the way, we didn't leave until nearly midnight. we'd figured, from what we could gather from the interent, that most good nights were to be had in shoreditch, even though most of the good ones would be nearly over by the time we got there. a free paper gave us the rest of the low down on the tube; narrowing our options by several factors, we decided on a electro-pop &c. night starting at midnight and going on 'til 6, giving us a huge window of opportunity. when we got outside, they were playing 'just can't get enough', and a chalk board leaning against the pub/bar door advertised the nights's scedule; apperently, before midnight, the plase was a strip joint. so we went in, and got our only drinks of the night (bear in mind we were fully pissed on leaving, nipping from a half bottle of vodka (flavoured with a single drop my mum's super-pottent creme de casis) on the tube] the clientelle, who were filtering in, were.. .interestingly dressed. all dancing very expressivley (although less so as it filled up), all dressed very oddly - 80's gym wear, leggins and tracksuits, sheep hats and smeared make up everywhere. everyone was very loud, and very horny. what had we wandered into? i'd have liked to have danced round the pole, like we used to do at girl on, but i couldn't get near it for groping couples. the night was fun, but it was more 'smack my bitch up' than 'their law'. about three, they started to play rave, and i realised i had to leave right away, which of course is always the point when i can't find people. i was finding it very upsetting, and i was tired. 'you won't like me when i'm tired'. eventually we managed to leave, and after one bus, decided to hail a cab from holborn rather than wait half an hour for another in the freezing cold. we piled back to mine via the 24 hour shop for essential supplies.

here another magic thing happened. a young man, smoking, trying to get into the shop, asked me if he could come back to mine. apparently, some people were out to kill him because he 'fucked the wrong girl up the arse'. he tried unfolding money at me. i tried every rebuttal, not least 'look, if they're out to kill you, last thing i want is them on my tail'. i told him to stay inside the shop, where they at lesat had security and warmth. we had to run back, it was so cold. sometime in the night, debbie woke me up complaining of back pains, i massaged her for a bit until we fell asleep.

the morning started slowly. too knackered and confused by hunger to think about what to eat, we ended up getting noodles. debbie had the most disgusting sea food i have ever seen - ruth's sweet and sour chicken looked blissfully harmless in comparison. at lesat it didnt look wierd. but then i have read 'jenny finn', but then maybe that's only sickening because sea food itself will always be rank and odd.

pretty much the whole day was spent on public transport. everything was slow and stopping and breaking down;by the time we got into the centre of town, i thought fuck it, i'm going to virgin megastore. i picked up nasum's shift, bat for lashes' fur and gold, and ornette coleman's free jax, all for around twenty quid. i went up to the desk and said 'i'd like to buy this big pile of crap please', and the assistant said 'did you find everything okay?' the way back was equally tortourous, broken up by essential pint somewhere round acton. ruth is an amazing person, who understands that cult of luna is chill out music. my kinda woman. i took her to victoria on sunday morning, and then headed to deptford to wander around south london with dan, looking at houses and getting a sense of the geography of the place. it's wierd how quickly shit holes turn into lovely areas and back again. peckham is really ugly, but walk ten minutes down the road to the thames and the brunel museum, and it's a delightful, if slightly yuppie, paradise.

to be continued when more has happened. (it has, that's just me being wry)

Wednesday

l'est la

it's french for 'that's that'.

isn't that great?

'l'est la, you got me on my knees, l'est la...'

l'est-boured the point enough i think.

Thursday

new blog

i've a secret new anonymous blog to deal with all the shit i'd really like to say but daren't in public with my name and face next to it. but drop me a line and i'll come round and whisper it to you.

Wednesday

impulse purchases

it's a good shop that's missing, that's the problem. give me a good cd shop, i'll raid it for whatever i can - converge, nasum, exhumed, bat for lashes, nalle, ooberman, all records i really want, but i dare not set foot in the ludicrous hmv round the corner. i was in acton the other day, doing nothing other than being locked out and wanting only records. i remembered that google maps had said there was one over there, so off i trotskied. after an hour of wandering round the awful, dirty, scummy, broken town, asking strangers and co-ordinating myself with free street computers, i finally found the place just off the high street. i waslked past, and kept going. one brief glimpse inside was enough - it sold only regge, and over the top of the music coming from inside, a woman was screaming. i walked back past on the way home to check and itr still looked and sounded the same.

i found myself in hanwell on monday. hanwell - the dirt under the fingernail of the world. infact, the whole world seems to consist of these shit holes, so i don't know why i'm suprised. anyway, i had to make the 20-minute walk there since i had no cash (another lunchtime, i was late because i got lost on a golf course and couldn't walk because i needed a poo so bad.). all three cashpoints, free or not, were broken. the only thing to do was get food from the only place that would give it me on my card - domino's pizza. i really wanted shit pizza, but that was too much. hanwell has about three closed down music hardware stores - guitar shops, dj shops, tech places and stuff - that have closed down, leaving about another three. i went into one. 'where can i buy some records?' i asked. 'hmv in ealing' came the response.

how can it be that the internet has shut down the small retailers? why are hmv shoppers so fucking loyal all of a sudden? you might as well pirate music as buy it from hmv, it's that pointless. and yet the joy of the small shop, that makes you want to buy something because everything is so good, it's all stamped and approved - these are the places that suffer. it's probably a problem of disposable income too, or demographics.

Tuesday

no-one understands me

i've written before about asking difficult questions to people who work in shops, haven't i? like asking the pharmacist if whitening toothpaste cleans your teeth better than normal toothpaste, or if it just covers them in white. and they never get what i mean. it that instance, i was given a rough guide to the different whitening toothpastes they sold.

today, i happened to glance at a packet of instant hot chocolate. well lordy, what excellent grilly random conversation fodder.



it 'contains a source of milk'.

now there are two ways to interpret this. either it contains something that your body metabolises into milk, or it containts a live female mammal.

i pointed the offending line out to the chef, who was now behind the till.

"well, that'll be the whey powder or something" he said.
"but the only thing that is a source of milk is a cow, "i responded narrow-mindedly.
"well, it's just like 'may contain traces of nuts, isn't it?" he conjectured.

no. it isn't like that at all.

Friday

i feel slightly ashamed of myself for being less than honest over the last week or so, because i aimed to be very honest indeed. i chickened out pretty fast. basically, amanda and i both realised that it wasn't going anywhere. i was seriously considering setting up an anonymous emo blog so that i can say what i really want to in public, but being anonymous is hardly being any more honest, so i don't see much point. but i still had a lovely weekend, hanging out with the lovely jos and ians of the world, as well as new-in-town joy-monster debbie and playing dead rising. blood red shoes were fun, as were the brilliant but slightly familiar post-rock band on before them (whose name i forget).

i felt a bit mopey on friday (all 'speedway' when i should have felt 'the more you ignore me, the closer i get') which turns what should be the apex of my life so far - having a song (albeit a remix of someone else's track) offered to release on an actual album - into a bit of a damp squib. i'm not sure of the details yet, but quetis parabis, 'no friends - dj gallowslutt rebludgeon' will be included on a compilation for a 'relaxed' leicester-based record label.

then there was this weekend, which started with debbie again and a meal at bella italia - a chain with shit service, but undeniably tasty scran - and then out to see the boby mcgees at their gig at the pleasure unit. what a bucketshop venue the pleasure unit is; a simple dark room, band-stand in one corner, bar in the other, and enough well-rehearsed bands in the area to ensure a steady flow of entertainment. and be it novelty ukelayle songs or nasty noisecore, it's all just entertainment of one form or another, except for people who can't stand to be in the same room as a noisecore band. i can't wait to be in a band.

saturday and sunday were spent doing family things - fressing and shlepping. my room is now full of me and spacious and i love it, so come around for a jam everyobe.

Tuesday

a maths puzzle

a bus journey costs 1.50 pounds in paid for in cash, but only 80 pence if paid for with an oyster card. grilly only has 20p on his oyster card, but has a pound in his pocket.
will the bus driver let grilly get on?



no. grilly has to walk home.

Thursday

so that was last weekend... monday was another nice evening out with amanda, although i feel a little doubt creeping into the interest - how could i love a girl who thinks that the mars volta are as good as at the drive-in?
(reader's voice: "'koff grilly, if at the drive in were still going they'd be well shit now". grilly: yes. evidently)
but yes, i was amazed by notting hill, london is a truly strange place. i will blog it proper when i understand it.

last night i saw ephel duath, who felt a little sparse; when they had the trombone player alongside, filling in for melodic vocals, rhythm guitar, and trumpet, the sound was much more wholesome. i wonder if they were slightly short on energy too... and some impro could be nice, although i respect davide's choice of such completely deliberate yet chaotic notes. i've got to learn the scale that he writes in. i'm sure it's some kind of meta-scale, where the note is determined by some alien factor. i wanted a stage invasion, it nearly happened. sadly the encore was the first song again - the material must be quite intensive to learn (no count-ins, the whole set, whic given the largo they were using is truly remarkable).

today i started working at the ealing pct again, but upstairs now, not the dungeonous post room. i've started to appreciate the zen of temping again; it's lame and a bad idea and as equally valid as doing anything else.

and then tonight it was big gril's birthday party in a private kareoke booth. tremendous fun but expensive, or, expensive but tremendous fun. it really felt like culture, but also a piss-take of japanese culture, which is a piss-take of life anyway. the only experiance i can relate it to is renting a sheesha pipe in a cafe. the space reminded me of so many things; hell, gay dungeons, crypto-fascism.

i really feel like i ought to have a real diary again.

Sunday

thanks, i'll be here all night

did you here that rupert murdoch has rodent spread on his toast?

yeah, apparently he loves his mice paste!

a new england

i don't feel that different, but obviously something has changed; last night was a safe three pints. the first reneged on my decision to not drink lager - it was a shit pint of stella, which is saying something. but then we were in an o'neills (have you noticed thta o'neills don't even bother to give their pubs different names, like wehtherspoons do?) but i realy needed a pint and they had nothing else. also it wasn't me that ultimately made the decision to have stella ANYWAY, after that i had but two pints, both shoreditch stout, at the foundary. we - the girls, luke, ed's emma, and i, while a bunch of psychologist hen-nighters broke into our conversations, tricked us into saying things and then pretended to take offence. it was 'king bizzare. never, ever, ever, answer a woman who's asked you 'how old do you think i am?'. RUN.
we were kicked out gone 11, and i didn't drink the rest of the night, spending money on pies and cake instead. this is the new regime, and i motherfucking like it. i went home at one from the fifth place of the night (o'niells, foundary, prague, mother, jam), knowing i should go before i actually needed to. and i didn't get back til nearly three so that was a good idea. the night bus was full before we'd finished going through oxford circus, and many people looked pretty upset about it. plenty of people were upset on the bus too, not least the driver, it was pure school bus atmosphere, with him refusing to drive on until some persons got off, or marching upstairs to collect from a fare dodger.


i always arrange to do too many things. i always let people down, like on friday, arranging to see zabrinski in cardiff and not doing. it seemed so doable a few months ago. i probably won't go to the bobby mcgee's turds night tomorrow, despite having planned going at the first opportunity for ages. it's not good to let let people down; should i not make as many plans, or should i go to all the things i say i will?

i bumped into kev yesterday. i used to share a room in durham with him, and there seemed to be no connection there at all. i told him to google me, was as far as exchanging contact details went. but he said he was meeting up with wee dave later, which i did find interesting; but how do you ask for someone elses phone number without obviously not wanting the person you're speaking to's? it's not that we had a falling out - it's just that seperated from our connection, there was nothing there at all. he's in marketing now.


you should have seen the look on jo's face when i started playing 'banging in the nails' to her. i've never seen anyone so shocked.

Thursday

how's it going?

so amanda and i arrange to meet in a busy pub about 8. three hours of conversations and three pints later, and we're evicted into the noisy night. goodbyes lead to hugs; she kissed first. i can't remember what order things happened in after that; cheek, mouth, hands, tongue... i walked her the 20 metres to the tube, and we had a long, serious, parting kiss. it felt kind of brazen being so public; i should remember, as much as i deninied being drunk to ed, i'm really a two pint man, and i didn't get any dinner.

i floated home in a cloud of glee. couldn't sleep, but what little i did was dreams (the gorky's lyric is so true; 'if i walk you home then it's understood, i'll dream of you', and is going on the mixtape). i've been through the usual emotions; wonderment, thinking 'you should be here' at night, self doubt.

but now the thought keeps me warm. it's sick really isn't it.

amanda, if you're reading - please don't scroll down.

but yes, hopefully things will go as well with other band members, and ian will forgive me for being a dick to him.
so yes, i've been working in this post room for ealing pct. it's not exactly bringing home the smoked tofu - the hours are short and shit - but it's a proverbial foot in the door with a new temp agency.

Tuesday

i am a quivering wreck of a man

'do you want to go head to head?' he drawled into my ear.

against thee wickedly. i took him down, 4-1.

'good game,' he said.
'yeah, i enjoyed that,' i replied, not entirely comfortable with the intimacy, but satisfied with some decent kills.

in disgust with myself, i lunged over for the power button on the x-box and removed the live headset.

now i see why (my step-brother) sam lives online.

i would not say i was good at doom, but partly because of my brother's fat pipe, i didn't lose to anyone. other people seemed to miss more than me. sometmies you do something right and you've no idea how, but over time you brain has simply re-programmed itself to do things like shooting imps and people better. you can't help it. but learning how to learn is a wierd concept. damn homonculi.

this leads me onto, bizarrely, a rather vague idea which keep slipping away from me - how the brain can re-program itself through nothibng more than thought. this i sentirely possible - well is uppose it's neuro-linguistic programming. it just blows my mind though - i'm sure i thought away my headache the other night. according to my mind hacks book, muscles get stronger just by thinking about using them too, suggesting some of that strength is in the efficiency of the neural pathways. the take home lesson is - playing air guitar makes you a better guitarist.

now i've got to burn off some cds, get changed and eat, and then get to the pub for 8 to meet a potential drummer. hats off to the zebras (or something).

cc

Saturday

altgrindcore_steve

i've set up a soulmates profile. the profile isn't quite right yet - i've name dropped laverne (by which i of course mean laverne ten years ago. that might not be obvious to an x-fm listening londoner) and diana/artemis (goddess of moon and magic - that's my scene. goddess of the hunt and a perpetual virgin - that's not exactly what i meant [though i do like the woods]). during the development of the profile i really questioned whether i did actually want a girlfriend. i'm still usually completely cynical about the whole thing. but my cynicism is often tested and found wanting.

i was listening to a simian mobile disco mixtape and some of it made me feel very uncomfortable - not annoyed, but unpleasant. it was deep electronic music, and i realised it was making me feel somewhat like having sex. strange that music can do that to a person while they're sat at home in front of the computer, and i've never really noticed it. but my response was clearly not the correct one - the music was created to be enjoyed - and this underlies my cynicism.

and then someone said to me today: "she quite likes you, you know." 'eek', i thought. and 'ooh'. and also 'fuck'. this probably came about because of my relaxed state of mind when talking to women, including obviously attractive ones, which originates from this romantic apathy (or worse than apathy, perhaps even 'disparagement') of mine. in fact i was also partly surprised, i thought i'd bored the bejaysus out of her going on about my 'moses was a warlord' theory (i think i was probably fairly drunk at that point of the saturday party).

but what does that even mean these days, 'she quite likes you'? depends on context and intonation, i suppose. it could be any one of the seven kinds of love. it could be the sweet, lip-knibbling, trickle of a bourgeoning, ultimately fulfilling, relationship - if she's willing to bear with me for the sixth months it would take to sort my head out. if i were to have a lover, she'd have to double as a guide, and i'm sorry to be pessimistic but who could be bothered with that? certainly no-one i've met so far, and it's not something i feel like advertising on the internet.
apart from here, of course.

Friday

spot the difference

what's the difference between someone who believes that women are under-represented in society, and excessive humidity in the air?

one's a feminist, the other's a fine mist!

Thursday

well i guess i better write my blog or something

where was i?

so the last week and a bit has been... interesting. the landing outside the flat smells of artificial strawberry flavour. i'll com back to that later.

somethimes i wonder if i'm absolutely pathological about environmental stuff.. not leaving things switched on, buying the ethical thing above the thing i really want, and that. and then i realise that i'm probably actually quite reasonable and every one else should pull their socks up a bit to make me look less monomanic, and also so i don't lapse theough self-doubt.

so there i was, packing up my life into bxes and cleaning the flat, but forgetting about the grill pan and having to throw my carefully maintained collection of paper and card away because i knew my dad wouldn't recycle it and i didn't have time, dammit. i spent my last night in manchester with rufus his friend (actually his ex) emma and a couple of other lads, one of whom in fact seemed to quite like me. we chatted over the lack of an alternative gay scene in manchester, and his alt drag queen persona. he was really nice. i don't know; i'm not as anti-gay as i was; i'm certainly not anti-cock. of course there's more to a man than cock. but i wasn't about to start experimnenting; even though last nights are a good time to experiment, they're also a good time to do what you do well. so it came to pass that i shared with emma an absolutely perfectly comfortable intimation; some holding and a single kiss as she went to her taxi. 'good for the ratings' as they say. the next night i sat in with iona while her parents went out to the opening of the new hilton across the road from dimitri's. we practiced piano - not nearly long enough, i thought - and watched telly, and luckily caught half of the leeds piano competition (thanks bbc four). yes they do make funny faces when they play, but to be honest, you can't comment until you're that good can you? and maybe they're only that good *because* they make theose faces.

so friday came and i launched on the train to peterborough. i changed at doncaster, and there was andy on the same train!* he got out his laptop and played me the rough mix of the acoustic doom-core song we recorded, which still needs some work, maybe more guitars? peterborough of course was the station where andy and i seperated after our now legendary italian trip (when he was threatening to get off at cambridge and tracking down his ex), so pulling in there again was a magical experience. unfortunately it was pissing down and the bridge had warnings not to damage it because of the asbestos, which says so much about peterborough. luke pulled up and took us to his thankfully not peterborough town, which i can't remember the name of but wasn't far away. we bought drinks and nibbles and irn bru (very important) from the shop and went for a nice night in/out. some hilarious moments in various bars full of beautiful sixth formers who only wanted gum. went back and watched la haine; everyone went to bed half way through, and i stopped wastching at the point when it looked like it was going a bit goodfellas. i started playing grand theft auto san andreas, but i couldn't get into the whole blaxploitation. the whole eating and haifcuts thing was so stupid. then i fell asleep.

in the morning, imogen was there like an unexpected butterfly, as was lego star wars. getting to my brother's flat took all day and was not really worth the effort, for anyone but me. hooray for bhajis, samosas, and nuts in services stations. did i mention my new late night invention - the onion bhaji kebab? the kebab shop man will know exactly how to make this, they just never have. it's delicious and sesame seed free.

leaving luke's car at ealing, we tubed it over to bethnal green feeling less than human. we fed, then at jo's andy and luke sorted themselves out with a sleep while i went the opposite way with a shower. the party didn't start as much as evolve. ian's ipod, imbued with mythical proportions by friends of mine, was quite good. there was meant to be a lawrence of arabia theme, but this was entirely so that the four girls who had the kit could belly dance, while all the men sat around smoking a sheesha and clapping. of course it wasn't this divided, and the girls were all to happy to adorn us blokes with jingly things, me a little too much. people thought i looked rediculous and kept complaining my nipples were showing, but it wasn't my fault; because i don't care how i look, if someone dresses me up in head scarf and jingly bra while i'm playing guitar i'm not going to do anything about it. perhaps i was more drunk than i gave myself credit for, but my guitar playing and dancing were pretty well under my control. jingly things really make you dance in time with the music because of the enhanced feed-back from your movements, so in someways it was more restrictive. later in the evening dancing became harder, by that point i probably was drunk. but 'animation' should not be evidence of drink. i started using andy's ipod to queue up songs - unexpected crowd pleasers like 65daysofstatic's 'radio protector', and er, encouraged by andy, some dj gallow slutt remixes and klein bottle fish tank, which went down really well, and no-one knew it was me. it took purple milk before somone changed it, which is fair enough.

the morning after i promised to take my brother out for lunch and then didn't, for which i felt terrible and would have bought some flowers to say sorry but it seemed such a pathetic gesture (nothing says 'i'm kind of maybe a bit sorry a little' like sainsbury's flowers, plus the queue was obscene).

so since then, i've been dotting around a little, signing up at agencies, exploring, setting my computer to go through the telly (largely so i can listen to my music), and buying new shoe laces and a belt. i'm reading stalingrad, masters of doom (about romero and carmack), and teach yourself: zen. every morning i do my stretches, improvise epic post-rock on uke (the sort you can only do when no-one's watching), have a coffee, write a list and act on it. i missed a dynamite opportunity to make myself look great - when the person in 'directions' (a rather tacky little office) said 'so you seem to go for the longer contracts', i should have said, 'no, they were all month contracts, but they kept me on because i was very good', which is true. then asked what classification of degree i got.

i'm in a good headspace, and i don't really know how it happened, or how to maintain it. i just need to use it.

*(don't believe me for a fucking second that this was a co-incidence, i engineered the whole thing)

Saturday

the manual

i read the manual yesterday, coming across the link while having a nosey through my archives. i printed it off at work, and read it as a loose pile of a4 paper on the train to buxton. i was completely gripped, and the journey flew by. i was sat next to this completely gorgeous lady as well, not that i saw her face at any point because it was stuck in a big tom wolfe book. but she was wearing very sensible, rugged clothing, and had her bike with her. when 'i'm wide awake it's morning' finished, i took my headphones off in case she wanted to start a conversation. but she didn't, and hopefully this wasn't because i kept fiddling with the massive blood clot up my nose. i'd like to look at a female stranger and not think about how i would or wouldn't like to hug them. all the students are back in manchester, and i've managed to free myslef from the cynicism and actually cherish their innocence and numbers, even the ones holding hands (although i can only appreciate this in a wildlife sense). there have been lots and lots of very pretty girls hanging round the business school, but the trouble is they're all business students - it would instantly put a dampner on our conversation. not that it matters, because my job finished on friday so i expect to be in london by next weekend.

but yes, the manual. terriffic in every way; it reeks of warm cynicism; the love they have for the processes they describe shine through. everything's very explicit - it's about the eternal glory of having a number one single, not being a pop star or even making any money. and it's a relic of a bygone time (they even predict that the book will be outmoded whithin a year - that was 1988). it is such a different world now, not because you can't watch totp every thursday night, but for the exact same reasons that you can't watch totp every thursday night. and it's very sad to read it in this light.

that said, i haven't been the same since finishing it last night - listening to the radio becomes a completely different thing. i've started to appreciate shit pop music for what it is. think about what a turn around that is for me, and in such a short space of time. i don't like it, but suddenly i admire it, like rival species clawing at a savannah carcass.

it is also just about the only book i can think of written in second-person future tense ('you will have a meeting with a publisher...'). it is the most beautifully wistful meaningless trimuph of an ending, that can surely only be achieved through magic/hynposis/neural linguistic programming/cosmic ordering/scientology/dramatic self belief (ALL OF WHICH ARE THE SAME THING). most of the book seems to consist of making people cups of tea, and asking if you can have 28 days to get them the money. whithin five weeks of quitting your job, you will have a number one single. it tells you what to do every day and makes it seem almost believable. reading it straight it almost seems satirical, but reading it twenty years later it's an affectionate litany for a bygone time.

and the best thing is, it would make an absolutely cracking movie. it would be simple - the book even gives us characters and dialogues. if linklater can make a film out of fast food nation, then us lot can turn this into a magic film of the book it is now - set it in 1988, where solid state logic is the new thing and bruno brooks is a household name. or set it now and update it - then you don't have to get retro wall paper or find a recording studio that's not changed in twenty years. of course, i don't know what the aim would be now, since having a number one single isn't what it used to be. but there's something here.

so come on guys. let's do this. i'll bash out a script and a shooting schedule. it'll be huge.

Friday

no friends

after his excruciating attempts at remixing girls girls girls, dr gallowslutt is back with a vengence with his long awaited remix of the bobby mcgee's 'no friends'.


i hope it gets your party started right.

p.s. 'radio edit' version of girl in the kid a top has replaced quinlagg on my myspac space.

Thursday

it's officially autumn

i've had my first nosebleed of the season.

it's thursday and i've not blogged the weekend, meaning i still think of it as the start of the week.

i met up with rufus on friday night, for his workmate's leaving do, and ended up sitting at a table with four (out of eight) people who didn't like gorky's zygotic mynci. one, a well-pierced lass, said they were 'shit in a good way' and quoted 'my patio's on fire' in welsh (despite the fact that this line is sung in english!). another, rufus himself, hated gorky's on the basis of only 'peanut dispenser', and has been in turmoil since i put a song on a mix for him without giving him the tracklisting, and he really liked it. but there we were. we went for falafel at the now legendary 'falafel restaurant humous' in rusholme (best value food in town?) and then rufus went home, to my disappointment, as i'd been looking forward to a friday night out. so i went back to the flat and settled in.

i turned on the cathode ray, with the intention of playing thief:deadly shadows or sw:kotor (having absolutely no desire to finish halo). kotor put me off with it's incessant desire for comitment, and impossibilty (having finished it on easy [wuss], i cranked it up to difficult and found the task rediculous, since my team had been raised on the simplest of enemies, they were weak, poorly evolved little cretins, struck down by lowliest of kath hounds), and while i played thief for a while, again on maximum difficulty, it was nothing compared to the bewilderment of playing it for the first time. although i can now appreciate it for what it is, which perhaps i couldn't before, i can't forget the layout of the levels, the patrol routes, the locations of the special loot, so it's like playing it on auto-pilot. and the free-roaming city sections, inbetween the levels, still don't do it for me; they just seem to get in the way. so i went out and bought a bottle of port. when i came back, and switched on the wireless again, it plopped onto bbc four, and with it, a documentary on stiff records which was just starting.

i must have watched 15 hours of bbc four since that moment. so let's see..

the stiff season ran for two nights - the two part documentary itself, archive documentaries on shane mcgowan and madness, two full shows of archive clips of the bands, a tragi-comic documentary about a band from southend who sang in american accents touring scotland (which was surely the inspiration for 'bad news tour'), and the full 'son of stiff' world tour movie, featuring some more great bands and ten pole tudor. edward tudor pole is such a cam whore.

the whole experience was like a tour through my step-dad's record collection, and contained many life-changing experiences, most of which i can't remember. one i do was the video for jocko homo. people have devoed on at me before, and, although some of their stuff has left me cold, now i know why. it absolutely blew me away. i'm in turmoil about costumes, concepts, and pretension, but i think that's a post i'll have to write another day.

saturday i had a lovely day in town - buying nice things, good guitar strings, phonogram and mini-comics, blank cds, (the wrong) cases and the street fighter 2' box from maplin ("plugs straight into your tv! just like you remember it!"). so i've played that quite a lot, and i tell ya, it's quite a craic. only trouble is the megadrive controllers. yes, it's the mega drive version, with the dodgy colours and sound, but it makes up for it with 11 stars of speed. it came with ghosts 'n' goblins sorry, ghouls 'n' ghosts - on the side, which was handy, because that's good fun and quite hard too.



on sunday, inspired in part by the mj hibbett song 'breaks in the journey' (the new album's really rather good - a little too positive for my tastes, but a great counter balance to the stuff i write. i don't think he liked the cd i sent him as a swap though) i went off to heaton park (after trying to take cd cases back to maplin and getting a veggie breakfast at cafe pop) - europe's largest municipal park, only 3 miles north of the city centre, with a metro stop right outside. why had i never been here before? i went up with my hoftstadter, wandered the slopes, the trees and the animal centre (the alpacas were so zen.. does a dog have buddha nature? mu) and generally had a lovely time. a person needs to be able to enjoy simply doing nothing, and also being alone. although i think i was generally quite wistful the whole time; and i may have climbed trees if there were people to do it with. is it less fun alone? or is it just nice to have a friend around to help you up and down?





so then, later and still alone, i went out to the whitworth pub for an acoustic night, semi-open mic (like the best) part-run by a couple i met at the green man (they got a mention then, too) who vaguely remembered me. i played.. er.. purple milk (ukelayle), rain on your sunroof, grey eyes, love, and new boyfriend (part one) as well as telling 'french bovaphile' and 'swans' jokes. i went down ok. got some applause. the lady asked for my phone number, but i'm not sure if that's a 'don't call us, we'll call you' thing.

on monday, i went to cafe muse, as in, the cafe in the museum, for a bowl of the normally nice soup. 'sweet potato and pesto', the board said. that sounds disgusting, i thought. and it was. so i sent it back, because i'm ok, and it wasn't going to be a fuss; if i wanted a bowl of shit soup, i'd go to the uni cafeteria where it's a third of the price. obviously, there's not much they can do with a soup - all the other soup's going to be exactly the same, so they gave me a refund and i bought an egg sandwich, which was pretty rubbish too, but by that point you can't really complain because it's just an egg sandwich (if you're in manchester, by the way, go to the exhibition of wildlife photos in the museum. it's great, but it would be even better if they didn't have a big stuffed fox in the middle but seriously, check out that link because that guy knows his birds). the next day was even worse. i went to the usually excellent eastern restaurant 'umami' for their lunch deal. there was a note on the lunch menu - 'vegetarian dishes may contain shrimp paste, fish oil or egg'. i asked if either of the options did, and the waiter said they were definitely vegetarian, but given their definition, that didn't really fill me with any more confidence. i think it was the spring rolls, which were cold in the middle. aw shit, i thought, i can't be bothered sending it back today. i'll just eat it, because i'm ok. the next day i woke up with the shits, and left work at lunch time because it wasn't going anywhere. and when i got home, where i largely played sf2' and g&g and listened to random and grandaddy and slept, i had a nosebleed. but i did complete sf2' with balrog, which is something i've always meant to do.

so lots more bbc four this week, too - turning on the telly to see daniel barenboim giving lang lang tips on how to play beethoven was beautiful. plus charlie brooker's screen wipe usa (slightly fanzine-y), broken news (the day today for rolling news and channel surfing - good stuff, but too maybe too realistic, where the day today is like what the news is like now) and never mind the full stops, which is the worst show ever, worse even than lionel fanthorpe's religion quiz show (which i, of course, loved). never mind the full stops is clearly based on a tv go home idea, 'don't pass the past participle - grammar-based quiz show with a vaguely rightwing hue'. you have to see this program, it beggars belief. and it was going so well for bbc four.

look, i really hope you appreciate me doing this. and that includes you (points to self in thirty years).

oh yeah, and more videos (including ones of my solo set) are upon youtube now. have fun with them.

you'll like this

why, whenever i go out the back door to use the privvy, is there a decrepit lagomorph painting the ground?

because old rabbits dye yard.

Monday

brave captain

so yeah, i may have dissed the ol' martin carr in my post about the green man something rotten - or i may have been more polite - but if anyone doesn't know his work, and wonders why anyone would like him at all, go here and scroll down to 'i am a lion' e.p. which is free to download and freakishly good.

Friday

achtung bonio

i'm a bit worried about nigel from half man half biscuit. several things have been troubling me; specifically, the track 'depressed beyond tablets'.

i've only seen two copies of 'achtung bono' for sale anywhere, both in fopp stores at various points in the country. so i ended up buying it a considerable time after it came out. this isn't unusual for me; i often wait for the golden moment before going out and buying a cd i really really want. after the related peel and kershaw sessions, i was looking forward to the album with some trepedation; three tracks were classic biscuit (For What Is Chatteris?, Epiphany, Joy Division Oven Gloves), while the other three were so-so (ok, so 'hanging out in dixons with your corgi registered friends' elevates 'corgi registered friends' some way, but it's let down by 'when i hear your wife's silly giggling at anne summers parties' - what's he even doing at anee summers parties?), plus some great covers. on reading the tracklisting, and realising epiphany had been left off (presumably because the session version was perfect and everyone had already downloaded it), i began to wonder what could possibly be on the album.

in short, it's not that good and i've not listened to it all the way through. one track contains the lyrics 'is your kid hyperactive, or is he just a twat?.. i had tantric sex last week and it was shit'; the classic tactic of making up for a lack of humour with swearing didn't work then, and doesn't work now. 'shit arm, bad tattoo' just pulls out of this category by being about the libertines' second album; but generally there is a lack of humour over the whole record, the songs feel more like silly novelty songs (i mean, does anyone actually find 'i'm walking backwards this christmas' funny? in fact, that song is referenced with the witty 'i'm driving backwards at peak hour') than the typical hmhb schtick - tunes that make you laugh when you first hear them, and continue to entertain over time. those laughs are missing. and why is he taking lyrical swipes at motley crue? are they even still going? 'i'll shout gouranga and be happy when you're arrested for defacing the bridge' is a good line, but it's hardly news.

still, we've got 'for what is chatteris?', possibly the most tender break-up song they've yet recorded.. ah. is that it? or is it the fact that they're playing more than ever (always one off gigs, never a tour), something nigel admits he hates doing in a kershaw interview? whatever it is, nigel has lost some of his sheen, and i don't think 'depressed beyond tablets' is a joke.

so that song. firstly, that's a quote of ted maul in brass eye; it's not even an original plea. secondly the chorus: 'depressed beyond tablets, i've gone beyond pills' is entirely bereft of any kind of humour, despite being jaunted over an upbeat backing. and there isn't anything funny about the rest of the song either. not that it fails at being funny; it just doesn't try. it's just a slightly silly song about severe depression. bear in mind the temprement of most comedians, and it's understandable that everyone has their off-days, their long dark nights, their gloamings. i'm not saying nigel's lost it; i just think he should take some time off, get back in touch with himself, and be more funny.

Wednesday

videos are piling up from the ex-fest; note how almost all of the videos have andy standing in the same spot, regardless of the band playing. the curse of the toys strikes again too, as all our vids seem to be exactly two bars out of sync with the audio. and i don't think i have seen anyone simply stand (although she's playing bass too) as brilliantly as sarah does on 'fly, fly, fly'.

i must also link to aaron mcmullen's video 'cliddyplomp' which is quite good.

what d'you call..

a broadsheet that contains only the most terrible news it can find, driving it's readers suicidal with despair?

a noose-paper.

Tuesday

mae'r danadl poethion

spoiler warning!

i love the placebo effect. i love what it says about our brains. it means that either the ability to stop the pain resides entirely inside our mind, our the pain doesn't really exist. in my mind hacks book, they gave the example of dock leaves. dock leaves are a placebo. it's not an acid/alkaline thing; it's an illusion. i was shocked. until you've experienced the effect directly, it's hard to really appreciate it. and when you appreciate it, you realise you it's entirely in your grasp to manufacture it yourself, on a whim. you don't need a big red pill or a man in a white coat; you just need to know that your mind is strong enough to make the pain go away. and suddenly it is. i know, i was stung by a nettle yesterday, and after a barely a minute i'd forgotten. rather than losing faith in dockleaves, i moved that faith into myself, and it proved just as effective. i'm so proud of myself, but i'm not sure how to help you do the same thing.

end of spoiler


by the way, i only printed off 11 copies of 'on benefit' in the last batch and they've all gone. i was trying to figure out who i've given them to and there are certain glaring ommissions so sorry about that; is there anybody who needs one now that i've forgotten? i can think of a few but answers in the comments section please.

did you 'ear about...

the amazing new system that won the nobel design award? the person who's managed to find a way of encasing shiny metals in pastry, light enough that they can be worn fashionably?

it's really pie on earing.

Monday

whoops

i just totally destroyed my blog design, and have had to resort to this to save what little of my face i can still find.

sorry.

dreams can come true

unless they're about the world being eaten by a giant orca.

whenever i realise i'm dreaming, i wake up, instead of going into a lucid dream, which i want to do so very very much. then i'm awake and can't get back into the dream, and if i do it's never like a lucid dream, it's just like when you try and imagine stuff. imogen 'midgey' lovely cropped up in my dreams twice this weekend.

dream one: i moved to london and got a job, but it was like being at university - i had to move into a flat with four other people who were starting that same day at various positions, and we all had to share one bed. the flat was in massive hive-like structure, black and twisted with a hollow column up the middle, 'freshers' partying everywhere. we all went to bed, and i ended up having sex (while trying to avoid disturbing anybody), which didn't end in disaster! it did, however, end in a right mess. the next day (in the dream), i thought the previous night's exploits must have been a dream - they were, but i didn't realise i was still dreaming. i think jo turned up at some point too.

dream two: this was a 'disaster' dream, the one mentioned above where the world gets eaten by a giant orca. you should have seen it! it was the most massive thing ever! it's huge white whirring fangs grinding up the ground. all i can remember is driving around with imogen and two other people, trying to find somewhere that wasn't being eaten. everywhere seemed like a toy town, or a mock-up old mid-europe city like in a studio ghibli film.

Saturday

exhibitionism

i stuck a sticker saying 'get of our land' on a building containing a wetherspoons and a casino, under neath a plaque proclaiming it to be public land donanted by humphry booth.

i used sticky paper to amend the drinks coaster (see previous post)

i stuck a 'love your rage not your cage' sticker on the gossip mag stand in wh smith in piccadilly station.

i stood ranting in market street, 5 metres away from a bible basher, shouting "don't take anyone else's word for it - why doesn't god talk to you?" at people. in conversation later, it was pointed out that people just thought i was 'another nutter'. i must not forget this warning.

Friday

the desk i am working at has two place mats/coasters (whichever you like to call them); one with three colours and the 'friends' logo, the other more interesting; a sketchy cartoon of a 'classy' lass in a low cut dress with the motto 'chocolate coffee and men - somethings are so much better rich'.


i SO want to change the punchline to 'fairly traded'.


i've got a marker pen here and everything.

Tuesday

how many gigabyte do you get in an iChing?

i moved the pc into the bedroom and kept falling asleep to the itunes shuffle, then waking up and thinking i was late for work. it really didn't want me to turn it off last night, playing all the classics - everything from 'enjoy the silence 2005' to 'visions of johanna' to 'ant farm'. it was like it was seeing how far i would go. i'm begining to fear it.

it may have been taking revenge for me spending saturday morning tagging all (or as much as i could remember) of my mp3s by record label (all you lot come under 'unsigned', which is rather good). it may have seen a futile couple of hours, but it produces some wierd mixes; ask for columbia, and you get bob dylan and adam and the ants (cbs is columbia, right?). warner, and you get r.e.m.'s 'up', bach's well tempered clavier, and the soundtrack to brazil. fontana - middle period gorky's, and scott walker sings jaques brelle. virgin - viv stanshall, scott walker's climate of hunter, and late captain beefheart. emi is huge and varied. ankst, placid casual, ochre, and witchita are great, and the only records i have on creation are by super furry animals. the only records i have on nude are by ultrasound. earache, relapse, ipecac, and digital hardcore and all well-represented and familiar. it was a good experiment. of course the really geeky thing is i couldn't let myself put stuff i downloaded off artists websites or myspace down with the record label stuff, so there's a massive and eclectic 'downloads' area. dot dot dot.

i really miss living with people. i made some awesome pasta this evening, but i didn't have anyone to share it with. that didn't stop it being great, but i do feel like i'm wasting time sometimes. shit, like now.

Monday

firefox is not your default browser.

it's been a very manchester weekend, shopping and fucking (which should have been the name for purple milk e.p.). phonogram really is very good indeed. i'm haughtily impressed, i can't imagine anyone not enjoying it.
on both friday and saturday nights, i met up with alun/rufus, had a falafel kebab and then curry for breakfast (only a small chana or dall). i feel so cosmopolitan. on frinight i opted to miss bat for lashes and gang gang dance (and house of social retards, who i've just realised are completely amazing) to meet in the contact theatre with rufus and a friend of his who had requested i be there by name, for her official last night drinks before going off to india. yeah, hanging out in theatre bars, cosmo++. steve happened to be there too, as he knew the director of that night's performance, reducing us to ashtray-licking psueds. we trapsed over town, followed them into a lacklustre club where it turned out they were just sat in the bar upstairs, then came back to mine for music and wine. and do you know? i put itunes on, and selected everything but metal. andy's stern word about playing pig destroyer at x-fest must have affected me. or maybe it's 'the quiet revolution', an absolutely gorgeous mix cd free with this month's mojo that's chilled me out a bit.

i've been playing doom again too, the level design on the eviloution episode is quite imaginative - i really liked 'wormhole'. also tough, too - but put the mouse sensitivity high enough and you're fine. it likes to throw loads of disposables at you - zombies and imps - meaning running out of ammo isn't much of an issue, but health is, and you get to kill loads of people. and whenever someone harder crops up, which so far has been regular but infrequent, they seem to have timed them nicely to not fit in with your plan, so whether it's four revenants or one, it's an equally good challenge. and there's some great moments - one that's basically like the bit at the end of the first episode of doom, but where you have to somehow survive. what's great is when you surprise yourself at how effortlessly you zoom around the corner and shotgunned the imp you weren't expecting.

rufus said he set up a page on wikipedia about me, but i can't find any evidence for it. stupid wiki police.

and so on saturday night we were in didsbury, and ended up having the vegetarian conversation again between six. rufus had just lost an discussion with a vegan, and as such has become one - if only everyone was so enlightened. we were having this discussion, and a friend of rufus' said 'a balanced diet with meat in is better for you than a balanced diet without meat in'. i couldn't let something so flawed lie, as a logician more than a veggie. i actually got quiet violent about it, 'for fuck's sake'ing under my breath as i tried to make her understand quite where she was going wrong.
"let me ask you an analagous question," i attempted, "what's heavier: a tonne of bricks or a tonne of feathers?"
"a tonne of bricks," she said.
the table fell silent.
"you're a scientist," someone said.
she was claiming that the omivourous diet was better for you because we had evolved to include meat in our diets, despite the lack of differences between any two balanced diets. the argument never got as far as the persuasive one for eating fish, in that the oily fats really do do good for your brain; the effective two-pronged counter is of course, 'yes but where are we going to get all the fish to feed everyone from, cause it sure ain't the fucking sea' and 'fish get them from algae. why don't you use the same logic to demand algae?'
she then claimed after a week without meat she physically had to eat it, which even the other omnivores said was in her head.
what it comes down to is that we live in a society where we don't have to face the consequences of our actions. you can eat meat or buy unfair-trade stuff and say, 'sure, i'm being a cunt, so what?' and the bogey man won't get you. neither will your conscience. but if you eat meat, you're poisoning my planet. it really bothers me. and that's the last i'm going to say on it for a while.

so then the vege conversation somehow morphed into the sitcom conversation. yes, spaced is good, and we saw scrubs before the green wing so we never really got into that. high five.

i've spent ten hours on the computer today. and i criticise other people for whatching soaps. tell me, is doom really better than hollyoaks?

Thursday

the last post seems quite incoherent now that i read it back. it was made up from several digested or expanded diary scribbles so sorry about that.

i'm not going to write a full break down of the x-fest weekend. we didn't get around to recording averagetarian, mwng, or kid a. the day itself was tiring and self-indulgent, the only people there not performing being wags. the whole thing was a teriffic ego-massage - so many talented people telling me i was good, quite a confidence boost. we're just one big self-congratulatory machine. videos and audios will be up in due course on the ex libris records website (now officially online), for everyone who wasn't there. i don't think i got round to recovering from the 4:30 start on friday all weekend, nor did i manage to digest the alcohol that kept me slightly pissed the whole time.

we did get around to recording some acoustic doom-core though, tentatively titled 'hell on earth', which will run six minutes and sixty-six seconds long. the music was recorded in one take, no rehearsal, as was my vocal, which terrified me. i really did not enjoy it, and what came out of me. it's like finding a part of yourself that you really don't like. i spent the whole day slightly shaken after that. but by the afternoon after, i felt pretty good. just waiting from the final mix from andy..

last night i had a call to say my railcard and switch card had been handed into the bank. eh? i thought. i hadn't taken it out of my pocket all day. i know i had it when i got in on tuesday night, but wednesday i had just been on cash so i didn't need it. this is what comes of abandoning your wallet in favour of a small folding thing, you don't notice it if it falls out of your pocket. i was strangely calm at the prospect of having my account raided by internet purchases (the only ones that can get around the pin number) until i realised the amount they could take out of my account was roughly equal to the amount of money i'd saved up this year. and then i was calm again as i realised, again, there was nothing i could do about it. i'm quite good at that. the thing to do is find the certainty, even if that certainty is between two uncertain things; make your peace with both options, and you won't worry whatever happens.

congratulations to laurence and julie for finding a flat in toronto and pete for finding a job in france. things are in motion, aren't they?

straw dogs.

there was stuff i forgot to write - meic steven's excessive tuning intro, adem being actually quite good despite the hype (which i never believe), all the time i spent with imogen. but i forgot it all now.

i was very stressed after work today, i don't know why. i tramped down oxford road, and stopped for a big issue seller. he was completely pathetic and i bought one to put my soul at ease. he seemed quite confused - he said, i know i've already stopped you once but please buy one. they're supposed to be 'working, not begging', right? when i said okay, he completely changed his attitude, and started explaining what was in it like i'd never bought it before (maybe the person he mistook me for was more offensive to him). he only added to my frustration, and then the 8th day had packed away their sosmix rolls that i really wanted. after posting my time sheet, i thought it would be a good idea to sit down and breathe (despite being in the middle of the city). after four or five big deep breaths, i looked up and realised they'd taken the scaffolding off john rylands library, and it was magnificent.



i wondered, if i'd sat down and relaxed any where, would i have looked up and seen something beautiful?


i was complaining of near r.s.i. from work at the green man (something that after only three days back is causing me discomfort even now), so danny gave me his wrist band. it's great and colourful, but i found the crocodile logo on it annoying. on the verge of blackspotting it, i realised it was me that was branded, not the wristband; it was actually just a cute picture of a crocodile. nothing branded at all. i realised i should be able to stare at it and not see the corporation, but the images for what they are - random slices of light of different wavelengths, given meaning by this sentient meat.

i used to despise being called 'sir'. but considering it's unavoidable, p'haps i could affect greater change, and easier, by calling servers 'sir' back, or possibly pre-emptively? but then what do you call women - sir or madam? i don't ever remember hearing madam? and doesn't that only have sarcastic implications these days?

one thing stressful about working in manchester business school is the courses. i'm enrolling person after miserable person on these rediculous, useless courses, often in contrast with absolutely fascinating subjects. tell me - would you rather study BIOL 30131 - Ancient Egyptian Mummies: A Resource For Biomedical & Scientific Study, or BMAN 30131 - Accountability and Auditing? they run a course in political marketing. terrifying. 'oh,' you say, being a cunt, 'but someone's got to study it. got to live in the real world.' but being a cunt, you don't realise that this is not a politics course, it's a business course. read this taken from the website:

On completing the course, the students will have understanding and knowledge of:
The theory and practice of political marketing
The fundamentals of political marketing management
a variety of contemporary topics facing political marketing today.

clearly taken from figure one of 'how to be a lecturer'.
they have courses like 'international human resource mangagement' (can you imagine?) and 'managing diversity'. i can't remember if you get a bsc or a ba from these, but i don't think you should get either - there should be a different name for this sort of thing.

i ask the applicant in my head why they'd rather study accounting than mummies and bio-archeology.
"that's not going to put food on the table," they say.
but what's the point of putting food on the table when you've nothing to talk about over dinner, when you don't know anything interesting? why? why don't you just die? this place really brings me out in a rash.
also, i'm sure studying mummies will put plenty of food on the table, you greedy shit.


why do birds suddenly appear?
i mean seriously, why?
what's all that about?
what's the point?

every time i think about the world, i get back to the basic problem being people. so maybe i should become a serial killer or something. just perform pointless, surreal, nihilistic acts.
but killing on individual basis has two problems:
  • inefficiency
  • horror.

  • klling on a larger scale would be much more productive, and remove the individual 'tragedy' from the deaths.

    and how cool would it be to be in a band that actually killed people?

    so i thought about this, and thought about destroying a city, because that's where people are concentrated in vast numbers, and any nature that there is there is a piss-take of real nature and should be destroyed along with it. i realised i had become a pagan from thief.

    and then i thought of all the museums and libraries that would be destroyed too, and realised it was probably a bad idea.

    so apparently they proved cold dark matter exists, and down-graded pluto to a minor planet. reality is cool.

    so i saw waking life again last night. it really is that good. made me all excited about trying lucid dreaming again, which just makes me frustrated when i wake up and think 'oh noes! it was a dream! if only i'd realised!'

    Tuesday

    coat hangers at dawn

    BANDWIDTH WARNING - PHOTO SPECIAL!

    i went to the green man festival, yes i did, yes i did, yes i did.

    i left work on thursday evening, and it had just started pissing down. i waddled to spar, with tent in one hand, sleeping bag in other and everything else on my back, and thought about booze and food. it was disastrous; a 2 litre bottle of irn bru was 175p, but you could get two for 2.25. so i stood and stared and got caught in a loop - 'i can't afford not to buy two, but i can't carry two...' i should have just bought a box of wine, but i refuse to buy any from outside europe and they didn't have any (in boxes). eventually i said to myself 'you've wasted your time and you have to go now' so i didn't get any. this was a large mistake. i got to picaddilly, bought a loaf of bread, cheese and ketchup from marks and spencers (classic travelling food) and a pastie, a train ticket and boarded with moments to spare. it was gloaming when i got off the train at abergavenny (y fenni dans cymraeg), but the shuttle bus wasn't going quite yet, so a few of us mancs went to the pub for a swift half. upon exchanging names, one said 'my brother knows a grilly', his brother being steve clegg of legend. which was great.the other two run an open mic at the whitworth pub, which i will have to get my arse to, yes i will, yes i will, yes i will. by the time we got to the site, it was dark, and i expertly fitted up my tent by mouthtorch light (i'm buying a petzl as soon as necerssary). it wasn't quite expert enough though; my pegs were twisted to hell, which meant i couldn't get the tent taught, which meant a couple of puddles after that nights violent thunder storm. there were no leaks as such, just the sheer volume of rain meant that enough simply soaked through the light walls.

    the morning was beautiful, and i took the opportunity of an impasse to walk around the site in daylight. i picked up a fried egg roll, and about ten o'clock managed to get my hands on a programme, although it was designed by the annoying bbc collective, and only had previews of 'highlights' from the festival, 'hand picked' by someone who'd read too many press releases. fortunately, the festival was arranged such that someone started every 15 minutes, and was so small that you could actually, if you made the effort, see every single act performing. this of course would be a crazy idea, but it was often handy after watching enough of a band to make me sick i could wander somewhere else and be guaranteed at something at least different. on my first pass around the site, i went in a record tent, and came across the patton-applauded 'music from the body' by roger waters and ron geesin - very much the precoursor to jonny greenwood's 'bodysong', being a spin-off project that is a soundtrack, with 'body' in the title (although i don't think the film 'bodysong' is as medically orientated as the bbc series of 'the body'). it was fifteen quid, and having never seen it anywhere, i felt it an essential purchase despite the difficulty of getting it home, and the proportion of my budget. i've just finished listening to it and it is great, but it's also five quid on ebay on cd. i have learnt a very, very valuable lesson. then i got a phone call from danny, who was setting up his tent next to chrissy's and her friends', who i never got introduced to, despite moving my tent over there too. dan straightened out my pegs and helped me bang them in, and it never got wet in there again (well, a little on the last night). so then it was time for the festival to begin. i met up with kevin from work and his lovely, amiable and very fanciable friend clara (i don't know if that's her name anymore. i made a real good effort to remember it all weekend but now i can't) . enter chris t-t.

    chris was lovely, and went down very well by all accounts; hopefully that'll translate into sales, and get him more than just 'critical acclaim'. can't find any photos of him anywhere though, that must be what you get from coming on first. i think we wandered around after that and caught elaine palmer:



    she was okay, quite a john martyn-esque incomprehensible drawl. we left after a bit and wandered past the main stage. it sounded like they were playing some hardcore velvet underground on the pa, but it was none other than the saviour of the one man band, philip roebuck.






    honestly, he was so good. ultimate folk blues garage punk action. we must have gone and done something else again then, because the next thing i've noted down is circulus.






    oh, the contraversy. chris t-t and i both said they were like the darkness of folk - that's fancy dress they're wearing, not clothes. the music was the good side of pastiche, but still a pastiche. they were trying to sound like bands that i do like - gorky's, or flaming lips, or proper 60's psyche out (without the dark terror) for example. of course, most bands like them in the 60's were being wilfully pretentious too, so it raised a lot of questions for me. maybe what they were doing was actually really fun - turn around, as danny suggested, and i did actually enjoy the sound without the sight of them.

    then the aliens came out. three members of the beta band, and a couple of other people, playing music, that, for all the hateful hype in the program, sounded like oasis. we left before the first song finished, and went to see james green.



    here we met mum's friend nicky crewe (possibly that red hood there, although it could be her daughter vicky) as there was some familial link to green. he was very good, somerobert wyatt-esque moments as well more trad songs, and the first person we saw that weekend to be using one of those infinite delay/loop boards. honestly, they really are all the range now. it was the festival of the one man band, be it similtaneiuous-multi-instrumentalist, or the loop-based sonic artiste.



    there's another: gruff rhys. that was a much better view than the one i got, so i went back to watch the collection of archived virtuoso folk perfomances, cut up with footage of ufos, in the cinema tent with dan. and as we were leaving to catch 5 minutes of donovan (awful) before a hawk and a hacksaw (more of them in a minute) something wonderful happened:



    i bumped into a short man with a guitar on his back waiting for his band, looking for his venue. james milroy (there, on the left, with his blue grass band, later at the festival). it turned out he was here with the aliens of all people, playing (essentially) session guitar. he asked me: "did you see the aliens earlier?"
    "yes," i said, "i left after one song"
    "i don't blame you. i was playing with them. but it's just rock and roll, just a bit of fun. i'm making a living from my music now, so that's good" (quotes may be somewhat inaccurate)
    it sure as bloody fuck is james. it was so great to see you. but obviously grilly does not value 'fun'. or does he just think that 'fun' is not an excuse to be dull?

    so james wandered off to the campfire to sort things out and we went to see donovan, who as i said, was awful. i have heard good stuff by him, on a compilation of his 'more psychedelic' work at my aunties. but this was rubbish; i heard someone telling someone that he started and finished the set with a song that's on an advert at the moment. so we went to see a hawk and a hacksaw.





    i think they might have been the highlight of the festival for me, and i knew that as i watched them play. i thought there was about seven of them or something, like most ornate post-rock bands, possibly because of the brass on the album. there were two, and hacksaw apparently often plays solo. sat down with his accordian, playing lead/bass with his right hand, rhythm with his left, and percussion with every other bit of his body. like some mad leper king he had a hat covered in jingle bells, a drum stick gaffer-taped to it, with which to smash the cymbal there; plus a stick on his right knee for the cowbell and other cymbal, and then an array of floor pedals to trigger various drums and noisy things (visible in the top photo). one big bass one, and a slightly smaller one doubled with tambourine as the alternate hit, to facilitate polka rhythms. there was even a bit of double kick at one point. simply as a technical musician, that man was a genius (lets not forget his lovely wife on violin, another common theme of the festival to have a wife helping out). and with the music veering from idle patient beauty to crazy full on klezma to trad folk, it was like they were not only the best act, but the whole point of the festival. that is going far i know, but blimey. and i've had their album for ages (thanks the bobby mcgees).

    at somepoint i'd gone back to the tent for my uke, and after the hacksaw, i went up to the campfire to play accompany jed (james milroy's name, although i variously called him james and even jim whenever i saw him). so we were sticking it to the crowd - well, he was sticking it, i was just playing along as well as i could. people would recognise him from his stint with the aliens, but then a guy - ben - came up and said 'did you play in bars in edinburgh? you played this amazing song once, me and my mates loved it'. he brought out his harmonica (in c) and suddenly we were a power trio. while jed had a rest, i played my uke adaptation of 'enjoy the silence' and got a little applause. eventually his completely awesome bluegrass band turned up and after a while i went to bed.

    the winds blew that night, and i felt like i was the only thing holding my tent down.
    when i woke up, dan and i walked out to the nearest post box to get my time sheet away. a lovely stroll that was.

    vito were like the doves but not as good (whatever you think of the doves, they were not as good as that).

    i bumped into my 'very sexy lady friend' ewa at the water fountain. bumping into people was difficult and easy at this festival - every body looked like someone i knew anyway, so actually recognising people was tricky, despite the fact that it probably was them, given the circumstances. despite living in the same city, i'd kind of lost contact with ewa - it gets difficult to get in touch when it's been a month since you last made the effort and it didn't work out. in fact it was hard to avoid people you knew at this festival - it made mobile phones quite redundant, like being back in first year on campus when you could just wander down to the bar and your friends would be there. she's much more scene than me too, she'd probably be famous one day if she made the effort; we were always going to have a two piece, but she doesn't have her own kit, and you may remember the night she was meant to be coming round and never made it past the pub (or something. anyway, she never turned up). but it was really great to see her there. she really does have excellent taste in music.

    we got excellent veggie breakfasts -
    like most festivals, the food wasn't cheap, but unlike most festivals, it was really fucking good.

    we walked past james raynard -

    (who played an excellent song about working in a chicken farm. tag it 'funny and moving')
    - then we went to see nalle.



    nalle were like cirulus done right - retro, but comfortable at it. the lead singer's 60's style dress looked well-worn. dark, droney psych-out folk, with lots of jangly bits. that was the other common phenomenon of the festival - bands with toys all over the stage and different things to grab and make sounds with. nalle did this, so did bat for lashes, and others. i really liked them.

    we went to the main stage for quasi - slightly disappointing given the hype people told me. ben folds five comparisons fly thick and fast (accent, line up, style), until the man picked up his guitar and played a bit like graham coxon.




    we stuck around for euros.



    funny man euros childs,


    the lovely and cute alun tan lan


    and two new members of the band who don't add much (as a trio, the band would swap instruments all over the shop so i didn't notice the new addtions much), but are nice to see anyway. the bass player is an especially good singer, but the poor keyboard player only got to play to about half the songs. euros is a clever kind of a guy - even his songs in welsh have catchy singable choruses, like 'henry and matilda'. still playing a near identicle set to seven months ago, but great fun.

    bat for lashes!




    we love abi.

    costumes you see - how to make an effort and not look like you're being stupid. the egypty stuff really worked with the swirling smoke and low lighting and the music, which is kind of experimental and daring in itself, so the costumes go with that). there was a bit in 'i saw a light', when just as the song was reaching it's peak, natasha's piano started crackling as she was playing it too hard, which clearly distressed her even more and just pushed her well into the nic endo. magic.

    then i went off to see brave captain, who was disappointing. he started off by doing the old loopy guitar trick, but it wasn't going quite right, and everything seemed a little shambolic. his picking was off, his songs, dare i say it, ordinary, and the poor lad's parents had just got divorced. by the festival's standards, he was really shown up. which is a shame, because he does have good songs that would stand up to a pure acoustic performance with none of that laptop dillydallying. if only he'd just done that. i went off to see tobias froberg, but he was really bad, i couldn't even sit through the one song, but then it did go 'it's alright, don't worry, everything'll be fine' or something (see, it wasn't even memorable).

    btw, before brave captain came on, i saw a man walk past me with a 'yeti' sticker on his guitar case. 'wow,' i thought, 'who would have a zabrinski sticker on their guitar?' it was of course richard james, formerly of gorky's. the geezer.

    i walked around, past micah p.hinson (who seemed very good) and gareth pearson (more later) back to the folky dolky tent for john renborn.





    what a star. gentle, accomplished, and friendly, and the only person i saw all weekend with a miced up acoustic guitar (go on, call me a geek).

    we stayed there for james yorkestone.



    i didn't know anything of yorkestone, but when he came out i thought, 'oh, he's refreshingly old'. another eclectic performance from beguiling beauty to full on noise core. i'll definitely be investigating his back catalogue. natasha out of bat for lashes was watching from the sides, and afterwards i called her over and she remembered my name and everything. i don't mean to see this festival as a shopping trip. more of an eye opener.

    we stuck around for keiron hebden and steve reid, who i hated. they were keeping in time, but i found what they were doing completely boring. reid never settled into a beat, but seemed to spend most of the time just hitting everything on every beat. hebden just made some crap knob twiddling noises. piece of shit.



    i like noise as much as/more than the next man. but i found this frustratingly boring and it put me in a bad mood; i went over to see malcom middleton, and found him dull too, so i wandered back up to the campfire for a couple of minutes, stuck jed (who was in full flow with his bluegrass band) a cd, and went to bed.



    the morning brought a guitar playing masterclass with gareth pearson. he's only 17, only been playing for three years, but/and he is a phenomenon. his own tunes aren't that good yet, but that may be only because he was so willing to play his influences and show exactly where he got the different bits from (and where his influences picked up their stuff from); but his form is incredible. it's real meeting the devil at the crossroads stuff.

    i spent most of the rest of the day in the cinema tent. first a talk entitled 'gravity, gas and stardust' with 3-d flights through the universe that was as magic as anything that weekend. then 'rock guitar in 11 dimensions' with a slightly less child-friendly doctor of something, which covered the basics nicely, and the more advanced stuff - what happens when a sine wave is overdriven to hypercubes and 10-d tauroids - but didn't go far enough into the whole 'we are 11 dimensional music' idea in my opinion, cause that's the bit i really like. physics guys who just read to much tolkien. although dan was right to have a pop at him for claiming that evolutionary psychologists just 'made stuff up' (this was a talk on string theory remember, it doesn't even qualify as a 'conjecture')



    9 bach - trad welsh psych-folk, like the stuff on that 'welsh rarebeat' i've got compiled by gruff rhys (ewa: 'massive ego') and andy votel (ewa: 'vile'). actually it their songs sounded like eurovision songs.



    juana molina, proving that girls can use looping machines too.

    watched ira cohen's 'invasion of thunderbolt pagoda'; a nauseating mixture of bizarre images of death and nature filmed reflected on ripp;ing silver, given a new soundtrack by sunburned hand of the man.

    more ex-gorkys action: richard james.





    richard didn't play anything by gorky's though, while euros played 'billy and the sugar load mountain' since that mountain was now very much in the vicinity (actually that song's been in the set every time i've seen him). last time i described james' stuff as 'like gorky's b-sides', but that's unfair; it's like the songs he wrote for gorky's. he went down really well too. lots of nice picking harmonies and fun. harmonicas were too loud though, and in one case a song was aborted when he realised he was using the wrong harmonica when he blew into it. and for this i missed bert jansch.. i felt really bad about that, but never mind.



    the legendary meic stevens. he was secretly delighted (?) that so many youngters had come, spurned on by having both euros childs and gruff rhys cover his songs this weekend, although refusing to play those songs in particular ('houdini' and the one about going down the river in a banana boat, irrespectively). very sentimental songs, often in welsh, and a thouroughly rapt audience. although a rapt audience is nothing to go by, judging by sunburnt hand of the man. another piece of shit headliner, they reminded why i hate 'ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space'. they started up, the bass player playing a slow, steady, simple riff, the drummer keeping time with it (and little more) while two guitarists and a saxophonist made stupid noises. this pile of bollocks went on for about ten minutes, then stopped, at which point i left. danny had already gone home, his lift chrissy (with whom i exchanged a cd in return for her excellent festival zine, and recommend you do the same) having decided she'd rather do that than stay another night, i'd lost everyone i knew and wasn't about to go back to the campfire tonight, so i went to watch the mainstage headliners calexico. i thought ahead to the morning, packing up the tent, and how i wouldn't get any money out until i hit shrewsbury and imogen, and suddenly wondered how on earth i intended to get to the train station having spent all my budget. which meant i had to use the mobile cash point.



    i got out twenty quid, and promptly gorged myself silly on potatoes d'or and pizza. and a brownie. i was happy being hungry and broke, but stick some money in my pocket and i will eat myself poor again.








    photos taken by paperfaerie, chris barber, stevo, mr atrocity, dwlwen, mockney peirs, junctified, and of course, hot gril, all off whom have many more excellent pictures of the weekend. but you're probably sick of it now. sorry i'm not going to link the pictures to their big versions, it'll take to much effort. it'll take you more effort to find them, but they're all in those people i just said so you could.


    in the end i did meet imogen in shrewsbury, but i didn't get a chance to buy her a parma violet lollie (suitable for vegatarians? since when?) at abergavenny station. shrewsbury is gorgeous - the three fishes pub on fish street (connecting to the thin, winding 'grope lane') is a pub like i've not seen for too long. it even shuts at three for two hours. but they had that guest stout i knew i needed.

    speaking of too long, it's time to go to bed.