A seriously tiring day today. An enjoyable one too.

The plans for the Centrozoon talk are coming together. I've been listening to the album and enjoying the ... well, I'll tell you more later.

A highlight was when J brought in tomato soup, made from tomatoes from our late neighbour's garden. We had been offered them and, not wanting to see her produce go to waste, we happily took them. The soup was delicious and we toasted Cynthia with it. We were both quite tired and a brief hush fell as we thought about our departed friend from next door. The hush ended when J's bread and cheese fell into her soup bowl, sending up a surprisingly big splash of the hot stuff which splattered around the room. We laughed a lot. So much in fact that I spilled some of my soup.

Enough was left to pay tribute. We won't be taking any soup to the funeral though.


This year could prove to be an interesting one for musicking. With Coffee-Housing on the (virtual) shelves (even if no-one knows it's there) I'm now busy writing material for a much calmer follow up. The mystery instrument will soon be in my hands and then I'll get cracking laying down some basic tracks. As coffee-Housing was about the house I live in it was all recorded here in the building, with noises from within and without forming a big part of the record's texture. This time I'm going to demo the songs at home and then record somewhere else. There should be a few other significant changes but I'll blog them as I go, rather than curse the whole project by planning it in public.

I'm working with two friends who have been writing their own music and I'm looking forward to playing bass and possibly singing on this exciting material. Soul Beaver and Bridge Street should have a few gigs later in the year, including the Beaver's 10th Anniversary Special.

And as if this wasn't enough I've been asked to take part in making an audio commentary for the new Centrozoon album. I've been a big fan of Markus Reuter, Bernhard Woestheinrich and their many projects so this was a real honour. I'm expecting to hear the new album any day now and then we just have to find a good way for people in three or four different parts of the world to have a conversation.



But if I was in the Simpsons, would I look like this?

Today and Today (and hopefully tomorrow)

I was expecting today to be a trip to the dayjob followed by baby fun at home and some musicking and telly before bed. This is what happened.

In the morning a ceramic plant pot fell of the kitchen windowsill and hit a cat feeding bowl on the ground, smashing both.

I got to the dayjob and spent a few happy hours discussing existence with a colleague before J called to say she had had an accident (or rather an incident) in the car. She had been driving her car (the make of which we'll not mention but let's call it a Renault Clio Elize, five doors from 2001) with the baby on board, heading to the doctors for a checkup. Just as she left the village the bonnet (hood for you across the pond) flew up and jammed in place so she couldn't see what was going on. She pulled over to the side of the road, glad to be alive (which she would have been if circumstances had been slightly different) and called me on her mobile. I left the day job after calling the breakdown service and then took over the watching of the car while she went home with the baby. I had a few hours to wait for the breakdown person and was glad to see J and the baby when they brought sandwiches, crisps and chocolate. I spent the rest of the time watching trains go past and reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The breakdown guy arrived and took the car to a garage. When I got home the telephone calls began. The insurance company would not pay up because this was classed as a manufacturing problem. The company that made the car would not take responsibility because they had been dragged through a BBC programme after many similar accidents with their cars had ended in fatalities. They had had the cars tested by VOSA who deemed the cars were safe if (and I'm paraphrasing) they were either well maintained or the owner knew how to shut the bonnet properly. When I had finished talking to the person from the car company I wanted to call her back and ask if they could provide detailed instruction so we would know when the bonnet had been properly closed - as it seems a satisfying 'clunck' sound and months of the thing not making any movement were not good indicators. Maybe I'll call them back tomorrow.

This isn't an accident. All owners and dealers of these cars were warned by letter about the problem. Except the garage that sold us the car did not do so. It will be interesting to see where this leads. The car is now sitting in a garage in the nearby town with its bonnet stuck up.

When we finally did get out for a much needed walk around the village we bumped into a man who was, it turned out, trying to open his bonnet. He told us, "I drove to Suffolk and hit a tree." We told him what had happened to us and pondered the Yin and Yang of it all.

Then I did the washing up, put a newly scrubbed cat bowl on the drying rack, only for it to slip out and smash in the sink. "Un-f*cking-believable" I said to myself and went to tell J. We had a good laugh and decided not to leave the house for while.

If you drive a Clio you may want to read this and this.



When J and I moved to this house nearly two years ago we discovered 'problem neighbours' which, intentionally or otherwise, gave us hell. A very difficult period tested our resolve and gave me enough baggage to create a rather disturbing album.

On the other side we were welcomed by a nice old lady called Cynthia who sympathized, worked quietly and tended to her beautiful garden. Recently she suffered some ill health and was recuperating at home when, this afternoon, she suddenly died. It was more of a shock for her other neighbour who had seen Cynthia in the morning, popped back to her own house for a bite to eat and then returned to find her dead.

Grief is an odd thing. We've watched the man next door watering Cynthia's plants and quietly crying.

We lit candles and drank a toast to our nice neighbour.


Mr Mouse hangs around

Mr Mouse hangs around
Originally uploaded by Roostar
It was the first day back at the dayjob today. Freya celebrated by spewing over J and I first thing this morning. I missed her terribly and didn't want to put her down when I got home.

Now then - toys. I've been trying hard not to name any of Freya's toys; waiting for her to be old enough to name them herself. The mouse, kindly knitted by Emma Singer and stalwart friend to the baby in her tricky early days, seems to demand a name though. I'm going to resist naming it, but you don't have to.


Have you heard the one about the lions, the buffalo and the crocodile?

I'm sure everyone with a browser has seen this by now - but if not...

Perfect Day?

From the White Horse Hill
Originally uploaded by Roostar
Today was one of those perfect days. J, Freya and I visited our families, which is always fun. When we got home and Freya was sleeping I looked out of the kitchen door at the summer sun dropping down in the sky and soaked up the sense of... well, happiness. We spend so much time concentrating on the bad stuff (people being ill, things not working, frustrating jobs, forgetting to buy cheese, again) that we (OK, 'I') forget that there are moments like this.

Hang on. Three posts in one day? It must be time for bed.


BBQ Drummer

BBQ Drummer
Originally uploaded by Roostar
The day after returning from Cardiff we went to a BBQ at the invitation of Emma and Richard from Soul Beaver. We got to meet up with lots of old friends and, for me, it became apparent just how many of us now have children. It was a wonderful atmosphere and the food wasn't bad either. Your host - Richard Drummer.

Cheese Kazoo

Last week we managed a quick break in Cardiff thanks to J's sister. She generously loaned us her flat while she was elsewhere and so we set up Babyworld in her cool, beautifully decorated place. While there we left the car for a couple of days and walked into the city to enjoy the (allegedly) oldest record store in the world and the superb Madame Fromage. No, not a perverted sexual hang out for dairy fans but a fab deli who serve delicious food to those not in a rush.

While in Cardiff we also played our extended game of 'which store is baby friendly?' Added to the list of good guys is Pizza Express and Mothercare.

We've been back home for a while but feel good to have got away and shown baby Freya somewhere different. This week I've mostly been grooving to Pole, Le Fil and Braggtown.

Oh yes, and I seem to have gone a little mad. I'm entering some scones and a photograph into the local produce show. I have no expectations of winning anything (the top prize would be 50p and a trophy - how cool is that?) but I'll be there next weekend to photograph the event and sabotage anyone else's scones.

As well as this I still haven't done any promotion for Coffee-Housing. Soon. A musical highlight recently was playing with Rich and Rich but this has only made me more itchy to follow up what we did. The new material (from Richard Guitarist) was excellent and hearing it played by a full band was truly exciting. Can I have some more please?

Finally, I might be only a month or so away from getting my new, mystery instrument. It's not a mystery to me, obviously, but I'm very keen to get playing as it could open up some new and interesting musical directions. No, it's not a kazoo.


Mrs Cheese

Things have been a little quiet as we've been away for a few days. Exciting tales of Mrs Cheese and the Cycleshop diet will be here soon.