Hail and farewell (for a few days)

I've had two odd experiences with the weather recently. Yesterday, while driving out for provisions I felt a moment in time shift from the old phase to the new phase. The light was draining away, it was raining and there was a certain stillness in the air which made me feel as if the whole world had just clicked into something new. I'd been waiting for this for weeks. All I need to do now is work out what the 'new phase' is.

Today was something more basic but no less dramatic. I was finishing up at the day job when I heard the patter of rain on the roof of the library (where I was practicing my iambic pentameters). I then heard thunder and decided that was the time to make a run for the car. Before getting to it the hail came down, hard. There was a river of still frozen hail the size of marbles, rushing down the road. To me, the only thing better than heavy rain or hail would be if I was appreciating it with a good cup of coffee and something tasty to eat. Not being in the right place for such treats I dived for the car and enjoyed listening to some Keith Jarrett before the hail subsided.

With that written I'm off for a week or so. Everyone I know who shares a surname with me is getting into my car tomorrow morning and heading to Kent for a break, and a chance to (re)visit special places. It's going to be a mixture of pilgrimage, rest, catching up and change. Some of this will occur in pubs, very little will occur (I suspect) near internet hotspots. Keep posted just in case.



Some are born with DIY skills, some have DIY skills thrust upon them, and some can't put two pieces of an IKEA wardrobe together without letting go at the wrong moment and watching the internal screws shred the bottom panel into little pieces. Mind you, the previous occupant of this house was worse. He had some DIY skills but didn't know his limitations. This is why we have inherited a bathroom door that makes and impressive 'thrawwwwaaaang!' noise whenever it's opened. He also boarded up the stopcock, making fixing taps much harder than it should be. Added to this we have skirting boards that come loose when you sneeze in their direction, and a potential plumbing nightmare that gives me dreams of the house dropping into a boggy hole with a loud 'splosh.' Onomatopoeia, twice. That's value.


iPod humour

In a moment of true iPod humour I have just been treated to 'Rednecks' by Randy Newman, closely followed by the 'I have a dream' speech by Martin Luther King.



Originally uploaded by Roostar.
Oh yes, a real IKEA moment.

Needs some work

Originally uploaded by Roostar.
Spotted in Waterperry, just up the road from Rowan Atkinson's house.

IKEA at home

IKEA at home.JPG
Originally uploaded by Roostar.
Jenna's cake buying prowess allows me the 'IKEA at home' moment while grafting through paperwork the other night.

Who is Flora?

Laura Ashley have just called me back (after a further call from me to them) to let me know the missing nut for the table will be sent out on... ready ... April 10th. We bought a wardrobe from IKEA, who sent us said wardrobe but with a defective part. I called them up, they checked with their spares guy and put the part in the post. Today.

In the good news department I have just spent a cracking two hours playing Soul Beaver songs on the bass. All frustration (except at my inability to find the right harmonic note) has gone.


The wobbly leg

Here I am again, working late into the evening on the day job. Tonight the home office is the Powerbook, the iPod, mucho coffee and some cakes J bought me at Ikea. I'm currently listening to '2nd Early Monolith' by Keith Fullerton Whitman on the CD which came with this month's Wire magazine. Good stuff.

Now, a cautionary tale. There is a home furnishing company which I shall refrain from naming, let's call it Flora Ashley. J and I ordered a kitchen table from this company many months ago. Three weeks back it arrived. I put it together and discovered one of the nuts that holds a leg on had no thread. I called their customer support line and and was told this would be sorted out. I naively thought the customer support person would email or call someone and have them ship out the appropriate nut. I called on a Friday, they send it out on a Monday and I get it Tuesday or Wednesday. The company pays a few pennies for nut and postage, I'm impressed, no one has to suffer.

But of course this isn't what happens. I wait, and wait. I called Laura... sorry, Flora Ashley a week later and get told my request is being dealt with. It is now three weeks on, every guest to the house comments on the table with the wobbly leg and I tell them the story of this company's incompetence. All this after us having to virtually beg them to fix a delivery date and time (within half a day).

John Lewis can sort these things out without any trouble so why can't these people?

Ho hum. The music has now changed to 'Consume' by Plasticman. Time to sleep. The weekend promises a wardrobe (finally) arriving and some time to practise being a bass/stick player.


Sunday: the day of Paperwork (just for one day)

[Early afternoon]

I'm in for a full day of paperwork relating to the day job. iTunes has just thrown up the Bonzo Dog Band's 'Re-cycled Vinyl Blues' which feels highly prophetic of unimaginative sampling and the dreaded Stars on 45 tunes. Or was that all a nasty dream? Then, just to wake me up I get 'Gortex Weather Report' by the Shining. Full on screaming wonderfulness.

[Many hours later]

Having seen little of J today expect a hunched figure digging through the garden (treasure found: a bib, a pound coin and some netting) and after no practicing all weekend I am now ready for bed. Paperwork... yuck. I hate the stuff. But listen, iTunes just brought me David Bowie's 'Heroes' as a last song. "You, you can be mean. And I, I'll drink all the time..." Ah yes. That is that. Zzzzzzzzz


Tuesday is music night

I must have been tired when I last blogged. I forgot to put the link to Jakko's site, so here it is. We've been promised a podcast in which Sid Smith and Jakko converse about the songs and the stories behind them. 'When we go home' came up on my (sparkly new) iPod today and stopped me in my tracks. Again.

I'm excited to hear about the Fripp/Belew ProjeKct Six music being created. Equally exciting news is that master-guitarist Brough has returned from a skiing break without any breaks of the bones. This means our musical project ('Bridge Street+' Oh yes, we need a better name than that)) can get moving. It has resisted getting going for a while but I feel the time is now right.

After several recommendations I've been listening to Jimmy Chamberlain's CD (very good, if a bit patchy) and the new Donald Fagen recording (slick and fun if not groundbreaking). I've also got a copy of Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder's 'Talking Timbuktu' after hearing about the former's death last week.

And for those of you needing that perfect bluegrass ringtone, subscribe to Wichita Rutherford's podcast and you'll get one gratis.

Time for some practise.


The promised list

As promised.

Sid Smith over at Crimson Towers sent me some music to listen to by guitarist and composer Jakko Jakszyk. They were only rough mixes but it was obvious from the first bars that this was very good stuff indeed. Jakko has had an eventful musical career and I urge you both to visit his website and to by the album (The Bruised Romantic Glee Club) when it comes out. I'll certainly be advertising it here.

A friend in Germany sent me an album by the Christoph Busse Trio. This is what I listened to on my birthday morning. Post evening out, pre hill walk. It's a well drilled jazz trio interpreting songs by Sting and Donald Fagen, two of my favourite songwriters. Beautifully played and without recourse to stuffing 'jazz chords' underneath a carbon copy melody line (I've heard this done and it's vile). Both Jakko and Christoph's CDs now live in my new iPod, which is giving me the chance to bop around the house to (effectively) my entire record collection. If only I could get my Fripp/Summers records onto CD.

The joys of cataloguing come from this new piece of hardware. I've been spending some time going through the music on the iPod and in the dark corners of the house, trying to build the perfect collection. I quite enjoy creating temporary smart playlists too. Any ideas?

One other gift I got for my birthday was a pair of iPod Pants. There are in a fetching blue and have a pocket for the device. I've worn them once around the house. J is still recovering.

Finally, I've played some pretty reasonable Stick music recently and hope to get more of it down soon. Hopefully, there will be some other exciting music news soon.


The Answer

This weekend I celebrated my 42nd birthday. I had (far too much) good food with friends, listened to my parents harmonising "Happy Birthday" down the phone line and got to enjoy some new music as well.

Now, however, I'm in need of a quiet, dark room with a plentiful supply of water.

Coming soon: News of Jakko, Christoph Busse, the joys of cataloguing and how to wear iPod Pants.


Die another (World Book) day

The RSS feed on my browser just brought this headline up...

"Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is voted the book adults should read before they die on World Book Day."

Um, are we all going to die on world book day? Or is it just the book reading adults.