Monday, January 30, 2017

News of some zoological discovery - the fossilised remains of a creature with a mouth & no anus. According to the scientists, it ate & shat through the same orifice.

Wonder why I am thinking of another creature that eats & shits & speaks ...

... you fill in the rest.

Sunday, January 29, 2017



PS to the previous post ...

... Thanks to our correspondent Frimley Dave for pointing out the real reason for the Mayday: Trumpton hand holding - that way she knew where his hands were ...



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Ring for the fire brigade ... 

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There's clever & there's stupid.

Here's clever ...

Imagine a really insightful world leader looking at the current 'situation': tens of thousands - millions - of people trying to enter another country than their own. Would not this really insightful world leader pose the simple question: why do all these people want to live somewhere other than their homeland? Might it be because 1) conditions in that country have become unbearable?; 2) there is absolutely no hope for them & their children?; 3) the government in that country is actively persecuting them & would, if possible, eradicate them?; 4) they have nothing to lose? 

And then, would not this really insightful world leader ask himself (or herself) what has brought such a dire situation to pass? Might it be that my country has 1) turned a blind eye to such persecution due to a 'conflict of interests'?; 2) hoped the destruction & bloodshed would simply go away? 3) on the sly profited by selling arms to the various parties involved?; 4) in fact created the mess either through bungled decision making or clumsy intervention in the past? 

And would not this really insightful world leader then realise that any truly great country has the honesty, integrity & vision to say This Must Stop? That shutting the doors to all these people is simply postponing the problem & running the risk of stoking ever greater hatred for generations to come & sending these people right into the hands of anyone who promises them a better future on no matter what false pretexts (a god, an everlasting bliss, a house, a job, a woman who'll satisfy your every desire)?

And this really insightful world leader would then decide to bring representatives of all these messed up countries around a big table (& it would have to be a big one) & start to discuss in what ways things could change. For example: stop the bombing; cancel all arms deals; set up building programmes (hospitals, schools, repair the infrastructure); begin education & training programmes - not to replicate some other country's way of life but allow these countries to grow & develop their own; draw up genuinely fair trade deals ...

And then this really insightful world leader would see fewer & fewer people seeking to enter his (or her) own country because there were now so many reasons to remain where they were born. Furthermore, they had looked at what was really on offer in these other countries & realised it wasn't as great as they had been told (lied to). 

And then this really insightful world leader would turn his (or her) attention to sorting out the misery within their own country & finding ways everyone could truly live & work & enjoy themselves: decent healthcare, education,  a sustainable & fair economy ... 

And then this really insightful world leader could sit back & pour himself (or herself) a glass of wine & smile for they would have made not just their but everyone's country great again. 

And as for stupid ...? 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

 

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More Zorn ('Gnostic Gospels') & David Murray (the famous 'Ming') plus an unknown - 'Makrofauna' by the ampersand glued Vilde&Inga (not, in fact, a new fragrance or hair salon). 

The Zorn is disturbingly beautiful - a quality I find with all the CDs in the Mysteries series. That sort of head achey faintly nauseous sensation I experience with incense. The Murray is top flight (so, yes, everyone was right). As for Vilde&Inga it's the type of stochastic twang & screech & rattle I can listen to for hours (or not) depending on the mood. They're soul sisters to Mette Henriette - no doubt a Norwegian music school style declaring itself. 

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Drove back from the UK with the Murray 'Dark Star' & The Lounge Lizards booming out. I drive therefore I listen (to music) - to rephrase Descartes. How else endure the tedium of sitting behind a wheel? 

Now that would be an interesting car programme: following people around with their favourite listening. What do you play, say, on the M25 (The Jam - ha-ha! cheap joke) as against a windy country road? How music can transform the most mundane journey.

I remember listening to Radio 3 one Sunday morning coming up to 8am on the long descending stretch towards the M20. Mozart's aria Soave sia il vento came on just as the sun was rising - so exquisite a coincidence of sound & setting I very nearly swerved off the road. 

(After it finished the announcer paused as if he, too, had been profoundly moved & then said "perhaps the most beautiful three minutes ever committed to vinyl". I'd find it hard to disagree.)

& the name for my new programme concept? Tracks - what else? 

(Needless to say anyone remotely involved with Top Gear would be strictly off limits). 

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The Picture of Little J.J. in a Prospect of Flowers

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According to the handwriting on the back (whose?) I am pointing out a dog somewhere out of frame. I recognise the high chair - it had a blue & white check pattern. The chair could be separated from the metal stand & I used it for some years afterwards. As for where this is taken - my guess is the front lawn at Freshwinds. The year? 1965. 


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Anyone familiar with current corporate managerial behaviour - i.e. put a positive spin on everything, dress up facts, pick & choose statistics to suit - should have little difficulty in recognising the way the three-day old US Government is behaving. Except - wait ... wasn't this meant to be a new way of doing politics? Cutting through the professional deception! Power in the hands of the people!

Big joke.

& even then, not at all funny.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


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Today's haul.

It's the first time I've heard the 'Godard' piece (my own CD is the earlier non-Tzadik release). It's interesting enough but seems to lack the logic of Spillane. And I was rather expecting more of an engagement with the films, the culture ... The exuberance & joy of Godard (especially the early period) is entirely missing. Odd.

Angelus Novus I've not yet listened to. Of course, Walter Benjamin haunts the title - silly of me not to have made the connection earlier.

The Lurie CD is a very different style to his Lounge Lizards work. Needs time shorn of the visuals.

As for the Marcin Wasilewski Trio ... beautiful. The first two tracks alone (the second is Bjork's Hyperballad reinterpreted) confirm that this is one to play & play again.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

He wanted to found a school called Everyday Life and it would have courses on the seasons.

(Attributed to Joseph Ceravolo by David Schapiro - back cover of The Green Lake Is Awake).

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Imagine you have the sky at night ... with all the stars. Then, you put a bookshelf on it."

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Strange weather of alternating clear skies, rain & snow. I find myself digging back into my John Zorn CDs of the 1980s & realising that this is now but a fraction of what he has produced.

So ... a trip to the Mediatheque to borrow some more recent releases ... Mysteries & Lemma among them. As always such beautiful entities in terms of cover art & inserts.

Nosing around the internet there's a good hour long interview plus this experimental documemtary ...

https://youtu.be/7W458zmPFhE

I'm in two minds as to whether the style of the film is inspired or simply intrusive but the insights it affords of Zorn's compositional & performing practices are valuable.

Worth a look.


Saturday, January 07, 2017

On a day when yet more sad news arrives ... December was bad, now January ...

... The Guardian runs a piece on favourite funny books.

Here are the ones that occur to me ...

1) Any of the Wodehouse Jeeves series
2) Murphy & Watt (& maybe Mercier & Camier) by Beckett
3) Tristram Shandy
4) Early Waugh - Decline & Fall, Vile Bodies in particular
5) Oscar Wilde (obviously)
6) The S.J. Perelman of the short pieces
7) Flann O'Brien? Maybe ... Depends ...
8) Viv Stanshall's Sir Henry saga (OK, not really a book)
9) Ivor Cutler - the one about his Scottish childhood
10) The Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton (also him reading volume one on a CD) plus Just William & the Nigel Molesworth chronicles (How To Be Top etc). Definitely NOT anything involving Adrian Mole.
11) The bits of Gerald Durrell's Greek memoirs that feature Larry
12) Lyttelton's Britain - actually reworkings of the I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue intros written by Iain Pattison

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Friday, January 06, 2017


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Explorations into Icelandic modern composition continue with Orphee by Johann Johannsson (interestingly filed under Rock & Pop in the Mediatheque). Another JJ! 

I also happened upon this CD from the luxuriously bearded Norwegian saxophonist Trygve Seim. Rumi seems to be everywhere at the moment. 




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(Bad Scandi-jazz joke: not enough Rumi to swing a cat? ...

... Apologies.) 

Thursday, January 05, 2017




the idea
becomes a machine
which makes art

                           (Sol LeWitt)

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Re-mix yourself

                           Gordon’s Dry Gin ad (Boondael bus shelter)

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(from an old notebook, 2003) 


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Incidentally, track 3 - Estimated Prophet - on the David Murray/ Grateful Dead CD Dark Star is a cracker. 




Wednesday, January 04, 2017


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The Lounge Lizards, Live '79-'81

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“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
Jim Jarmusch, The Golden Rules of Filming

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Also ... 

David Murray Octet, Dark Star : The music of The Grateful Dead
String Quartets by Penderecki & Lutoslawski (Royal String Quartet) 

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Monday, January 02, 2017

The new Sherlock episode was obligatory viewing for myself & the Cumberbitch of a younger Wafflette. However ... decent as it was there's that nagging feeling developing into a more tangible wince that ... well ... it's lost the plot.

Thankfully, there was no grating Graham Norton Moriarty or the irritating 'and-then-I-woke-up-and-it-was-all-a-dream' type of reframing (although the last five minutes seemed to promise that). The problem lies in the increasing Soap Operatics - as if we bloody cared about Watson and his family! No, really, not interesting. God knows why Mark Gatiss has decided to foreground this aspect of the story - pressure from the BBC to make it more 'audience friendly'? A lack of confidence in spinning true suspense & criminal deviousness? The scathing put downs from Sherlock drying up?

Frankly it's all becoming a bit maudlin - ironically, the very tendency that would prompt a dismissive "dreary, dreary" riposte from Holmes.

Over lunch we agreed that the first series was head and shoulders better. Why? A case per episode. Just like the books. Sufficient sparring between Sherlock, Watson and the police plus the occasional and truly disquieting appearance of Mycroft. Wonderful. (Actually, the younger Wafflette admitted that she was beginning to think Mycroft was starting to eclipse Holmes ... Gatiss consciously or not upstaging his star. Oh dear ...)

In report writing mode as I am, let's give this Sherlock Holmes a B minus/ C plus? With a stern recommendation to go back to basics.

Sunday, January 01, 2017


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Notebook collage




"Time is not just years and dates, but weeks and seasons. Time is a pack of cards, to be shuffled by skill and chance, or gathered into suits through complex games, built up or down black on red in endless sets of patience, or of solitaire, with care perhaps not to get the ace of spades ... covered up so that you can't get him out, or a gambling game, no trumps, somebody winning and somebody losing, or else laid out in mysterious formulae from which some Madame Sesostris foretells the future, reads character, digs out the vital spots ..." ('Timing the Thunder', A ZBC of Ezra Pound, Christine Brooke-Rose)

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Steve Lacy 'Only Monk' on the stereo.

Thinking 2017 is the year my friend Eric didn't live to see. & I've only just discovered Ray DiPalma died a week or so into December. Kind of strange that while thinking of a way to assemble a text for Eric I dug out DiPalma's Obedient Laughter (although I'm not entirely sure why).




It seems my crystal ball was not so grubby ... ... resisting the temptation to say "told you so".