31.3.08

It seems I look like... (why you can't trust computers)

So, according to this program I look like Olivia Newton-John and Sammy Davis Jr.

Fair enough.


Toro delle Lane

A long day at the day job and a frustrating pile of paperwork when I got home. Some of this was mitigated by the episode of BBC4's Sacred Music dealing with Palestrino (which I was mostly just listening to) and this wonderful video.

29.3.08

Ninja Cow and the Cups


Ninja Cow
Originally uploaded by Roostar
Ninja cow rests on the stacking cups after a hard day's play.

Coffee and rain

A great day. I took my daughter swimming in the morning after breakfasting on croissants and good coffee. We caught up with pal Sarah (also taking her daughter swimming) and then Freya and I enjoyed coffee (for me) and milk (for her) at Borders. When we got home it was lashing down with rain, which I love, and then she played with the excellent stacking cups (simple pleaseures) while I tried to read a few pages of the Oliver Sacks' book, Musicophilia. What actually happened was that I spent most of that time watching Freya playing with her stacking cups. Joy.

25.3.08

Return of Colin

Top pal, guitarist, guitar tech and all round interesting dude Mr Colin Price is back from the first round of travels with Iron Maiden. His blog was in crisis so he's started afresh here.

24.3.08

More Beaver

Good news, totally unconnected with rug buying.

The Soul Beaver gig that was cancelled when the venue shut down could be back on for early May.

I'll keep you posted.

Rug

J and I decided to buy a rug for our front room. We did the obligatory research on the net and narrowed it down to Habitat or Ikea. Habitat won because it was closer. It was still a fairly substantial drive so we called ahead and were told (by the Habitat answer machine) that they were open till six. We got there at four to find them locking up the shop. We asked if we could run in quickly and glance at the rug but no. We mentioned that the phone line had siad the store was open for another two hours. That's our usual opening time, they told us. The man at the door wouldn't let us across the threshold and no one had bothered to update the phoneline for the bank holiday.

Next door to Habitat was a carpet shop though. So we went in there and found a fine rug for a bit less. Way to go, Habitat.

22.3.08

Too much coffee?

A simple task today. J, Freya and I would go into town to buy something for someone (can't say what, it's a surprise). We spent hours in Oxford, drank litres of coffee, ate a lot of cake, had a great meal at The Nosebag (despite being served by the 'world's grumpiest person' on the till) and then, when we remembered about the something we hadn't bought, had more coffee and some doughnuts. We're now home and feeling slightly ill. It turns out you can have to much chocolate. Too much coffee? I'm still researching.

21.3.08

Snow

A cold and grey morning was suddenly interrupted by snow this morning. Freya had never seen snow before and was delighted.

The day became brighter, and not just because of the weather. I got to spend most of the day with J and the baby and after making an omelette for them, I managed pancakes and coffee, which is always a good thing.

I've almost finished a workable version of a new tune and in doing so a new way of writing has emerged. The past few months have been tricky when it comes to finding time for musicking but that has made the time I do spend playing, practising or recording more intense - in a good way. The upshot of all this is a more confident and assured way of working. I'm enjoying it, but there's lots to do.

16.3.08

Food

This has been a good week in many ways. I've engineered a potentially interesting dilemma with the day-job and hope to have some news of this soon.

I've overcome a rather pointless hang-up and even managed to cook a few decent dinners. On top of all this there's been a strange side effect from my recent illness. After a week of eating nothing but toast and crackers my appetite came back. However, it seems to have come back with a vengeance. I seem to have one of those metabolisms that burns off food nearly as quick as I eat it, so maybe I'm eating so much to put on the weight I lost during the illness. Whatever the reason, there's no such thing as a safe bit of food in the house. And I'm still hungry.

This morning I had espresso and croissants (one of my favourite breakfasts next to pancakes and filter coffee) then waved goodbye to J as she went to work. Fifteen minutes later she was back as the village was cut off by the floods.

Still hungry.

15.3.08

Live 7

I spent most of last night working on a new piece of music. I had spent the previous few hours playing bass and the more I did this the more I wanted to get back to the Warr Guitar. I plugged in to the laptop and spent thirty minutes playing before taking the next few hours off mucking about with what I had done using Ableton Live. Lotsa fun.

More news soon.

11.3.08

Progress

Progress. I have demos now for an album's worth of tunes. None of them are good enough as they stand but they all point the way to something that feels like a complete album. Last time (with Coffee-Housing) I had ideas almost fully formed in my head. This time I'm getting parts or threads of tunes, and ideas for mixing sounds. This time I also have the Warr Guitar and that's making a huge difference. It's exciting to think there is an album waiting to be finished.

Fairly soon I should have a new batch of demos to put up on the Spingere MySpace site. Then I can get to work recording new versions (and enjoy all of the left turns that will probably create). This could, of course, be a process that goes on for ever if I don't give myself some deadlines.

9.3.08

How many blogs would a weblog blog if a weblog could blog blogs?


Feeling better. The dreaded D has left and I was finally able to celebrate my birthday, a little tentatively, with some pals. One rather wonderful gift was the new Oliver Sacks book, Musicophilia. I had tried reading this in Borders some weeks back but the young Freya was not in the mood to let daddy get past the second sentence. Music and the mind is one thing but good old practising and playing is the next thing on my mind. Watch this space.

6.3.08

The dread D

Well nobody enjoys reading too many blog entries about diarrhea (at least I hope they don't) but he we go anyway.

Last Friday I fell foul of the dreaded D. It continued up until Monday night and then I spent all of Tuesday feeling that normality had been resumed. J and I celebrated with hot, solid food and I went to bed, ready for my twelve hour shift at the dayjob.

Wednesday, yesterday, should have been me celebrating my birthday by teaching a variety of interesting people (foreign language students learning English, teenagers retaking their GCSE course and a lovely evening class of dedicated adults). I envisaged getting home at ten in the evening for cake and cards and a welcoming embrace from J.

But no. First thing in the morning the dreaded D returned, I found I had dropped quite a bit of weight and a doctor's appointment was made.

So yesterday's highlights were spending the day with J and Freya, talking to friends and family on the telephone and taking a (by necessity) quick drive to near the top of the White Horse Hill to admire the view. My celebration meal was a cup of boiled water and a couple of Viennese Whirls. Sadly it seems the diary content of the Whirls did some damage and I was back up at 3:30 this morning to 'ride the porcelain Honda' as nobody ever really said in the Eighties.

The dreaded D is still with me today.

On the bright side - when I was at my lowest ebb and needed to find something to read (jolly modern novels were too annoying and chunky classics tomes too much work) I rediscovered Xavier de Maistre's 'A Journey around my Room'. Which hit the spot exactly.

2.3.08

Still ill

It's day four in the rather smelly house. I've not eaten anything but dried toast for far too long and the dramatic trips to the toilet haven't ceased. Sorry everyone.

In the moments I can bear to watch telly there always seems to be food on. Food everywhere. Is there a channel which doesn't have a string of celebrity cook or food related programming? I suspect if I tuned into the Sc-Fi channel it would show the episode of Star Trek where Captain Kirk temporarily swaps bodies with a sentient blamonge.

The other thing I've noticed is that, with no appetite, I've got a much clearer understanding of how much eating I do out of habit. A biscuit here, a cake there, several packets of crisps... well, you get the idea. I'm now dropping weight a little too quickly for my likeing and as soon as I can eat again I'll be having regular (but very big) meals.

If none of this makes sense just put it down to my irritability at being ill. Bah!

1.3.08

07:02

Feeling very rough today. A bout of D&V has got me and alongside all the hurried trips to the bathroom I'm also unable to tolorate food. In the last two days I've had some dried toast and a lot of water.

But enough of that. I'm writing this at nearly seven in the morning. J has gone to work, Freya hasn't woken up (but it can't be long) and the rain is pouring down outside; which perversely makes me feel better. As soon as my appetite kicks in again I know things will be good.

What's odd about an illness like this is howthe most random thing has made me feel bad. Any reference to food, certain words or noises and particular forms of repetition. Why is this? Why do we get so sensitive to things that otherwise don't effect us?

In a completely different thread - happy birthday to my mother-in-law and congratulations to my newly qualified sister-in-law.