Important Hallowe'en questions

Halloween (who can be bothered with the apostrophe) throws up many questions each time it comes round. Such as:

Was it really invented by the Irish?
Why did the church change its attitude to all saints day in the early 1970s?
What's the story behind the pumpkins?

And now my favourite...

Why don't I come home with a huge bag of sweets that the local treat or treaters can't possibly all eat (therefore leaving me with a not inconsiderable cache of goodies) more often?


Welcome back!

Here's the new look blog. Updated and just a tiny bit more friendly.

To celebrate I'm going to respond to a well timed message from Sid Smith who has tagged me. I'm not a great one for these sorts of things but to honour Sid's kind request this is what I have to do:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So that's 1 and 2 taken care of.

Six random things about me:

1. My first remembered dream is of being in an unfurnished white room, sitting at a table and typing. Out of the window I could see a beautiful garden.

2. Although it's hard to keep me off a stage when music or speaking are involved, I was always terrified of acting. Because of this, only my shoes made it to the school production of West Side Story (as 'Chino's Shoes')

3. When I was very little I loved playing Elenor Rigby and a recording of The Last Post and listening very, very closely.

4. If I could live anywhere I'd want to live in the apartment featured in 'Three Colours: Blue' which is my favourite film, by a mile.

5. I'm more relaxed on a stage than off one.

6. I failed English at school and waited until I was thirty before going to university. I now teach English.

And the blogs I have tagged:

Now, to let Sid know...


Tidying up

I'm going to tidy the blog up over the next few days. Some of the links on the side bar are out of date and there are a few things I'd like to add. As well as this Blogger.com have added some new features which I can't use without messing around with everything else.

So, expect some changes, maybe (shock horror) even a new look. But most importnatly, expect me to do something silly and leave you with a blank looking site describing Dorset hotels of the late 1960s.

The revolution starts on Wednesday.


More detail

Another in a series of crazy weeks. I missed a chance to rehearse through no fault of my own and that has, to the best of my knowledge, never happened before. I was incandescently angry but bottled it all up. I don't get angry very often so this was a shock to the system. Everything is much better now, thanks. [on reflection 'incadecently angry' is a bit extreme. I was peeved beyond the usual borders of peevedness though].

But the good news is that my own musical project has jumped forward. All the bed tracks are done and all that's left is to re-record some bass lines, add one solo and put down the final vocals. I've recorded all the vocals so far on my laptop's built in microphone, as guide tracks. On reflection that sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't really. As well as finishing this project off I'm also a lot closer to getting a live, improvise set together (can you get an improvised set together?) after being inspired by both Markus Reuter and Juana Molina.

Freya has taken on more language and can now make the animal noises in the excellent 'Moo baa la la la.' She's also repeating a great deal of what she hears. I am overwhelmed at her abilities and have had two people (strangers) tell me she has 'wise eyes.' I predict she'll be a better chess player than her dad.

I may have mentioned this before but soon I'll be off to see the Annie Liebowitz exhibition in London. She's so much more than the woman who takes pictures of celebrities. I can't wait.



It's been a while, hasn't it.

A new tune is at the Spingere site and progress on the new album has come on a pace, in part due to fresh inspiration and in part due to some good old hard work. The new tune featured was alive recording, but it now has vocals (long planned and written) as well as beats. I won't say drums, because that's not what they are.

In the non-music world I've been contemplating change. Yesterday, for a change, I took my 12 year old nephew to London. We had dougnuts in Harrods, watched a 3D movie at the IMAX cinema and enjoyed the bonkers crush of the Apple Store on Regents Street.

I'm looking forward to rehearsing the 'difficult' tunes in the Bridge Street canon this week.

Featured pictures this week include the view from the train window on the way home, and a selection of treats at the IMAX.


Water music

Having felt awful all week I turned down a chance to rehearse so I could stay in, on my own, and have a quite night.

I'd been listening to the strange but lovely tunes of Juana Molina and decided, before I went to sleep, to have a quick musical noodle through my looper pedal. But then I plugged a delay after it and the G-Force effects unit before it and then played the Warr Guitar... and on, until I felt too tired to carry on. I still might get to sleep before ten thirty but why can't I just let ideas rest!

Anyway, a new tune 'The Shape of Water' (another puzzle title) is up on the Spingere site. The only edit is a fade in. Enjoy. But go to sleep now.


Retail Fun

Yet more retail fun. Having been ignored by two 'sales' people in Jessops camera shop last week I managed a ten minute conversation with a lady in a post office. All I wanted was some basic advice on how much postage to put on a package. The actual post office was shut so I was hoping to be pointed to a leaflet, or given a hint. It went something like this:

Me: how much do you think I should put on it?
Her: I couldn't say.
Me: could you make a guess?
Her: I couldn't, but you could.
Me: OK. I'll put two first stamps on it.
Her that won't be enough.
Me: Oh right. If you don't know...
Her: Why don't you put it on the scales.
Me: (feeling we might be getting somewhere). OK. It's 150 grams.
Her: Two stamps won't be enough.
Me: You said. How much would be then?
Her: I can't say.
Me: (Losing it slightly) I'll put four on it.
Her: We don't have any stamps.
Me: Thanks. (walks out)

Marston, Oxfordshire. Avoid.

I could also go on about the fight in the opticians. But maybe another day.


The first page

This is public blog. That’s to say, I’m not writing it anonymously.

If you want to, I’m quite easy to find on the internet. There’s this blog, MySpace, Facebook and various remnants of old web sites I can no longer access to either delete or update.

The downside of all this is that I can’t write about some of the things I’d like to (work, for example) without someone tracking it back to me. Call me paranoid, but it would be nice to have a space where I can vent, or explore, without anyone making the connection. Even my so-called anonymous poetry blog is easily tracked back to me (although I don’t think anyone has read it yet).

Is this a problem? No, not compared to the lack of adequate drainage around my house, or the familial problems befalling a friend in the States. Obviously it’s enough of a problem for me to write about it here. So what’s the solution?

Write a book!

I’ve always wanted to write a book. Or rather, I’ve always wanted to finish writing a book. I’ve written reviews, articles, plays, poems (sonnets, sestinas, limericks, haiku, free verse and all kinds of other variations), short stories, essays, reports, lyrics, notes, shopping lists and scripts for comedy sketches – but never finished a novel.

Now I have a plot (which, in theory I can’t use but I’m going to use anyway) and a motivation. What also helps is that I always find the time to write something every day. I even have a title.

Will it get written this time? No, probably not. But I’ll keep you posted on it’s progress until either it’s finished or I give up.


After a hint of darkness recently, I had a short but effective nightmare. I could hear a loud drip but withthe acoustics of a tunnel. Spooky and slowly more frightening as I lay in bed wondering where it could be coming from. It was too loud for a bathroom noise and had all the properties of something from a horror movie.
I got out of bed to investigate and, just as I was at the door my alarm went off. However, rather than waking in bed I woke at the door. Was I dreaming? Sleepwalking? Any plumber/exorsists out there?

Meanwhile, in the real world, things are brighter. I have a cold, again but should be playing some bass today and making a quick visit to the music shops of Oxford soon.

On Wednesday night my late night music making was sidetracked first by a non-functioning piece of kit, and then by an enjoyable video chat with Richard Guitarist. Beard Wars still rage. Who will be first to shave? Tune is for more exciting updates!