Tuesday Night Music Club

As promised in a previous post the music scene is back on. Soul Beaver met on Tuesday night to try out new songs. What made it different from usual rehearsals is that our drummer, Richard, was not with us but with Marillion in San Francisco. We got on with things anyway and adopted a quiet, no PA system, unplugged approach.
This worked well, once we got past the hilarious first attempt at 'Natural Woman' things settled down and we all felt quite pleased with ourselves. We still want our drummer back though.

Marillion, it turns out were on the same flight as Cat Stevens, and were responsible for getting the story to the press.

For those of you that don't know, Soul Beaver is playing with Marillion on Friday March 11th 2005 at their fan club weekend.

Current listening: A Typical Sound-check - Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.


Music, music, music (and Arthur Dent)

Today is the day that Richard, our drummer and the main man of Soul Beaver (that’s a soul band if you’re new here) flies off to Mexico. He is working as drum tech for Marillion and will be making the journey north from Mexico to Canada with the cheery prog rockers.


While he’s away the rest of the band are intending to practise and have some new songs prepared. In October though we take a short break for Dave, the trombonist and sound person, to get married.


In the world of Bridge Street (three piece blues/rock/fusion?) we too wait for the return of our drummer (it’s the same person) but we’re intending to write some new songs and begin making demos. More news about that soon.


Finally, the amazing whirlwind that is Russ (singer/songwriter) will be going up a gear and suggests that I have a chance to be bass player/singer in at least three projects this year. Juggling these is always tricky, especially when the ‘day’ job is a demanding one too. But I like a challenge and I hope to bring news of the more interesting musical events right to you, my bemused but faithful reader(s).


Oh, and tonight, at 18:30 BST (is it BST in England still?) we hear the return of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.


Can’t wait.



IMDb :: Boards :: Pi (1998)

IMDb :: Boards :: Pi (1998)
Just a random stop-off moment. I watched the film Pi tonight and, besides making me want to watch Eraserhead again, it made me look up its details on the Internet Movie Database. The IMDB has a board for each film so that people can post in comments such as "this film sucks!" or the equally valid "this film rocks". Imagine my surprise then to discover this thread. It not only contains a discussion about the nature of Pi and randomness, it also has some truly inspired name calling. Enjoy.

Current listening: Lykief - Branford Marsalis (The Dark Keys)

Better day

Originally uploaded by Roostar.
Last night went on a bit longer than I meant it to. "I'll get an early night" I said to Jenna, but crawled under the sheets in the early morning. Still early though.
Today I've been to see my mum, who is smiling and making jokes. I'm so relieved I even feel it's appropriate to post this picture of the novelty welsh pencil that lives in my parent's kitchen. If I'm right then Jenna is wandering the Welsh countryside looking at the larger, more human version of this pencil. Maybe she'll come home in costume?


Saturday night

Tonight I'm asking myself why I blog, and coming up with an answer. An inflated sense of self importance? Possibly. But really it seems to just be an outlet. Tonight especially I have a reason for this.
I came stumbling down the stairs this morning to a ringing phone. It was my dad, calling to say he was at the hospital. Mum had to be taken in last night in the ambulance because she had serious breathing problems. As I write she is still there, dignified and tired. Me? I'm feeling guilty that there's nothing I can do.
So, whatever the reason is for me, or anyone else, to blog, I'm thankful for having an outlet. I'm also thinking about Jenna, who is with her mum and sister in Wales tonight, and my wonderful parents, who haven't spent many nights apart in the past 49 years.


Belle End

Belle de Jour is no more. She has hung up her blog to concentrate on her book and, if rumours are to be believed, the film of the book.
I've added the Book Clup blog to the links list but will keep Belle's link going for now as there is plenty to explore there.



Originally uploaded by Roostar.
It's been a while since I posted a photograph, so here is Tinker the cat enjoying a bath. Actually a late night shot with her feeling a bit better after running a temperature.
I know she isn't 100% yet because she hasn't brought a mouse in recently.

Today is also my one month wedding anniversary. Even though the wedding provided the impetus to get writing the blog again (and now I just can't stop blogging) I promise you we aren't so sad that we'll be celebrating today.
Although, a glass of wine and some candles may be waiting for Jenna's return from work if I stop typing this long enough to get back downstairs.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Flower power turns up the volume

BBC NEWS | Technology | Flower power turns up the volume

These links to BBC news stories don't always work but it's worth tracking this story down.



Among the books that JRR Tolkien wrote was the Silmarillion. It's a hard read and I only recommend it if you feel you haven't suffered enough in your life.

Now, last night Jenna and I went to see Marillion. This was much more fun than the book. The band are promoting their new album 'Marbles' and played a lot of songs from this in the first half of their show. This put Jenna and I at a disadvantage as we had not heard the album. Neither, to be fair, had we heard anything of Marillion's output. We were, therefore, in the odd positions of going to see a band we didn't even know if we liked or not. The crowd at the Forum loved them though, and this helped.

H (Steve Hogarth), the lead singer, was the dominant stage presence and boy, did he show how to do it. He slowly unwound his stage persona and built up the levels of drama each song had to offer.
The band's other Steve, on guitar played some surprisingly restrained solos and did a lot of what I suspect is his trademark head nodding. Drums and keys were tight and well played too. The bass player, while obviously a skilled musician left me cold. I'm probably just jealous.

Apart from the music I got the chance to catch up quickly with some friends. One of these, a drummer of my acquaintance, kindly provided Jenna and I with our passes to get in. As I write this he is in Belgium with the band. By next week they'll be in Mexico. I really am jealous now.

Today the highlight was getting in late from teaching to find two Tony Levin CDs had arrived from Woodstock NY.

Current listening: Desolation Row - Bob Dylan.


Tales from Four in the Morning

At four O'clock yesterday morning I was woken by the cat. It was her 'I've got a mouse and I'm playing with it and if you don't come out here I'm going to deposit its internal organs on your face' meow. I'm getting to know it well.
We went through the usual farce of us both chasing the mouse; her wanting to play with it, me wanting to liberate it. The time dragged on, as this was a particularly cunning mouse which seemed to show real attitude.
Finally it was cornered, I shooed the cat away and, where a garden glove, picked up the mouse and liberated it. The cat was to be locked in the house this evening so I knew I had a good chance of an uninterrupted sleep.


At half three this morning I was woken by loud music coming from next door. I got up, on automatic, and stumbled round to the neighbours. The mother of the house was away and the son was having a party. I asked if they could turn the music off.

"I'll turn it down."

"Can you turn it off please. It's half three and we have to be up at six."

"I'll turn it down. I ain't turning it off."

"Please turn it off. We can't sleep."

"You can say please as much as you like, I'm not turning it off."

And at that point I did a surprising sensible thing. I walked off. He did turn the music down, and off about twenty minutes later. We'll have to wait to see if there is any fallout.

It reminded me of a similar time many years ago when the neighbouring flat played dance music until three or four in the morning. The solution there was much simpler. Their power supply was in a cupboard outside the flat, they were all stoned and effectively brain dead. My solution was to jog around to their fuse-box and switch the power off. I did this for two night and then they gave up.

Who knows what this coming morning will bring.

Current listening: Quiet.



Today, as I'm sure many other bloggers are reminding us, is the three year anniversary of the horrific events in America. Not that there haven't been horrific events in other places before or after of course, but 9-11 feels special.

I only visited New York once, as a teenager, travelling with my good friend David. We took the express lift to the top of one of the twin towers and marvelled at how we could lean into the windows, looking down on skyscrapers and almost imagining we were hanging in the air. AS a 17 year old Manhattan was a magical, amazing place, even though we were no strangers to big cities. On September 11th 2001 I heard the news while getting dressed to go out from my hotel room in Florence. I left the hotel room, walking through crowds of happy American tourists at the coach station who had not yet heard the news, and I spent the bulk of the day at the house of a famous rock star with a wonderful group of people. Tears and feelings of frustration (the phone system wasn't working - which didn't help) slowly melted into the knowledge that even something as tragic as this can be overcome and turned into something positive.

As usual, the lessons learnt from that day have been lost, but our little group has something good to remember and hang on to, and I'm thankful for that.

And in other news, the cat has a temperature, I've finished my full first week at the new job and it's time to make a loaf of bread again.

Current listening: Desert Song - Stanley Clarke.



Here I am in a classroom, all prepared to teach some eager students who want to get their GCSE English qualification. I wouldn't let them write sentences like that, that's for sure.
I have a lesson plan, handouts, assignments and pens but - and this is the important bit - I don't have any students. Maybe because it is the first full day of teaching, or maybe because they are sitting in another classroom or... who knows. It's the first week; anything is possible.
Last night I taught an Access group in English Literature. These wonderful people worked all day, dealt with partners and children (very often) and dragged themselves in for three hours of classwork. Being a product of the Access system I have a special fondness for these classes, but last night's class filled me with confidence anyway.

BTW, I'm off to see Marillion this coming weekend. I'm not a huge fan but in their post Fish day they've recorded some great music. It helps that friend and drummer Richard works for them. It should be a good night.


Tony Levin Waffles

Tony Levin, the Emperor of the bass, is driving south to rehearse with King Crimson. The following is an extract from his road diary which, when I get all my links up, will be easy to get to. I recommend a read.


Less driving today - only 300 miles took me into Nashville with plenty of time to rest up for tomorrow's rehearsal.

I couldn't resist stopping at a Waffle House, (having mentioned their juke box in yesterday's diary), and as I ate my scrambled eggs & cheese with raisin toast, I jotted down some of the song titles from the juke box. Ready?

Special Lady at the Waffle House - Waffle House Family
Waffle House Home - Waffle House Thank You
I'm Cooking at the Waffle House - I'm Going Back to the Waffle House
844,739 Ways to Eat a Hamburger at Waffle House - Waffle House for You and Me
There are Raisins in my Toast - Waffle House Hamburgers (I Love You)

and... Last Night I Saw Elvis at the Waffle House

(I can't resist mentioning this other song from their playlist: Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo)

Tomorrow, it'll be Lark's Tongues in Aspic, et al... quite a change!


Eleanor Rigby

It seems only days ago that I was raving about the new(ish) William Gibson book. Well, now I'm here to point you in the direction of Douglas Coupland's 'Eleanor Rigby.' Seeing it in Borders I felt a compulsive urge to buy it and get reading. Coupland is one of the most inventive and enjoyable writers alive and I look forward to his books with huge anticitpation - especially when they use my favourite Beatles song as a title.

Also, I'd like to point you in the direction of a new blog by friend and expert guitarist Andy Cross. It's just started but now is the time to get over there and leave perplexing comments for him. Another Mac fan and a man with a busy and facinating life, Andy's blog promises to be a lot of fun.

Current listening: 'Everybody loves my baby' - Louis Armstrong.


Back home. It's now September and I spent my first day at work after the summer break and all that it entailed. This week involves enrolling a fresh batch of students onto various courses. Next week the teaching begins.

New musical projects are about to start also and it should be interesting balancing one side of my life with the other.

Tonight, for a treat, we had an Indian takeaway and watched Raiders of The Lost Ark on telly. As the week progresses I intend to get back in contact with everyone and to update this with entries more interesting than updates on food and television. Photos from the wedding and honeymoon are numerous but I'll pick one or two favourites to share.