Thursday, November 30, 2006

A lovely morning in Redland

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Well right now what is there to do other than listen to fantastic new triple CD release from Tom Waits – Orphans and reading everything that you could ever wish to know about the man, his music and his life at the amazing Tom Waits Library!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

So the latest Ashes started in Australia overnight, sounds like it was a pretty tough day for the English. I managed to avoid checking on the score until around 6am, by then Australia were well in control, bringing back memories on childhood for me. It feels as though I woke up early on many freezing cold winter mornings, switched on the transistor radio which I had taken to bed with me the previous evening, only to hear that England were being soundly thrashed by a rampant Australian side.

Listening to a small radio in bed in one of the great joys in life those days. I guess I, like so many others of my age started by listening to Radio Luxembourg under the bed clothes whilst nervously waiting for my mum to tell me to "turn that off!" The reception for Radio Luxembourg in Bristol was pretty bad and the signal would ebb and flow, leaving you with the joyful sound of static for minutes at a time. Maybe it was this which caused my love of tuneless experimental electronic music? On occasions I would wake with a start late at night, realising that I had drifted off and the batteries on the radio has died. Now this was in the days before rechargeable batteries and we didn't really keep much of a battery stock in the house, so the prospect of several days without a radio was a worrying prospect.

Eventually I graduated to having a radio which I could plug into wall and keep on the table next to my bed, amazingly this didn't happen until I was on the verge of leaving school and starting my first job. By then I had made the move from Radio Luxembourg to John Peel on Radio 1. I dipped my musical ear in and out of the Peel show for a few years, until the festive 50 of 1978 saw becoming a regular listener. To ensure I didn't miss anything I would record the shows as well, so that I could play the tapes the next day, this would ensure that none of those fantastically obscure tunes slipped past me.

To this day late night radio is an essential part of my (and Orynthia's life). Our companion in the bedroom is Mark Radcliffe, consistently entertaining - sometimes just fantastic. Whenever he has Simon Armitage or Stuart Maconie as a guest of the show the silliness quota goes through the roof, and we lie in bed chuckling away at the wonderfully frivolous banter.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Following the postponement of our football match on Sunday morning, the weekend wasn't a tiring as anticipated. It also gave us time to have a proper look around the Totterdown art trail on Sunday afternoon, rather than spending it in bed as planned. As ever we saw some interesting stuff, especially the "Silver House" on Hill street, which quickly became the talk of the crowd as people moved from house to house. Saw a few things which we liked, but in the end we only spent a couple of pounds on a card.

The Friday night launch party featuring Suzuki Boom Boom (see picture) was fun, a ridiculous number of people squeezed into the abode of Mr Ritchie Paradise, to see his latest band swing into action.

Sunday evenings Grumpy Man, was a rather quiet affair, we'd like to think that it was the dreadful weather which kept the heaving crowds away rather than tunes. I don't think that we will be having one in December, but some exciting plans are coming together for the new year. We are hoping to get more involved with bands that fit the Grumpy Man style and we've lined up a treat for February, when Geoff Barrow of Portishead fame will become an special guest Grumpy Man for the night.

Tomorrow night we are going to a lecture on 30's ceramics at Bristol University, we've both got an interest in ceramics from the 20's to the 60's with our collection of "Homemaker" stuff holding pride of place. Hopefully it won't be too academic for untutored admirers such as ourselves, it's going to be a bit of a dash from work as it's a 6pm start, rumour has it that they provide free refreshments - always a sure way to attract our interest.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Well the good news is that I don’t have perforated eardrum after all. It’s just an ear infection, which should clear up soon, with the help of the cute little ear spray, which was prescribed for me.

Playing football was interesting as I couldn’t hear any of those helpful “man-on”, “time” “ lump it over here” shouts which are an integral part of the game. Added to that the fact that I’ve played once in the last month, I have to say that it resulted in a fairly woeful performance. The mighty Bryan Munich have a league game this Sunday, I hope that I can raise game from the lows of Monday night or I’m in for a miserable morning.

It’s actually going to be a pretty busy weekend, on Friday afternoon we are going to one of the launch events for “Front Room – The Totterdown Art Trail”. Sadly we won’t have a chance to have a complete look around during the rest of the weekend. It’s a shame as we really enjoyed it last year; of all the art trails in Bristol I think it works the best, mainly because of the compact nature of the display area. It’s really easy to visit all the houses on foot, unlike some of the other trails. As well looking at some interesting art, it is of course a wonderful opportunity to nose around other people’s houses, some of which are amazing. If you live in Bristol and have a spare hour or so, you really should go along and be nosey!

So what of the rest of the weekend? Well on Saturday I’m meeting up a friend for brunch before see City in action for the first time in ages (due to our trips to New York and London). Talking of City they have given me an interesting idea, on December 3rd my mum will celebrate her 75th birthday, sometime on that weekend City will be playing an FA cup game (date yet to be confirmed). Wouldn’t it be great to have my mum running out as the city mascot, having put up of years of obsessive football following from both my dad and I, what could be finer than going to first game at the age of 75! Seriously, I don’t think it would fair to put her through that; we will have to come up with another plan.

As previously mentioned I’m playing football on Sunday morning, before DJ’ing at Mr Wolfs in the evening at the latest Grumpy Man event. Sadly, I’m going to need a bit of a kip in the afternoon, otherwise I may make it through the evening, but I’ll be dead for the rest of the week.

Such is the sad state of affairs as I approach my 45th birthday . Not sure how much longer I’ll continue playing football as the recovery time, gets longer after every game. I’ll have to think of my 45 favourite 45RPM records and make myself a little play-list for my iPod, I missed the chance to do my 33 favourite 33 RPM records, will I still be around to list my top 78, 78’s ?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Every now and then I get a bit of a problem with an excessive build up of wax in my ears, leading to problems with my hearing. Over the past 10 days or so, the hearing in my left ear has been very poor, so I have been preparing myself for a visit to see the nurse in order to have my ear syringed.

Some of you may never have been through this experience, you have my sympathy. Few things in life are as startling as the change from virtual deafness to crystal clear hearing. Of course this does cause some interesting feelings to rush around your confused body. I remember the shock of hearing the rustle of clothing as my trouser legs lightly scratched against each other on the walk to the car. The car journey home was an amazing experience, I was convinced that all the doors had fallen of the car, so loud was the sound of the engine, passing cars and each gear change. The gentle swish of wiper blade across the windscreen was replaced by the sound of a jet engine whizzing in front of me.

At last I made it home, too risky to try the radio, TV or CD player, so I opted for a glass of water and a scan through the paper. Obviously the sound of running water from the tap was akin to finding oneself at the base of the tumultuous rush of a 100-foot waterfall. Time to sit and read the paper, this was back in the day of The Guardian being in its full broadsheet glory, pretty soon I realised that even this was going to be an impossible task. The noise of those huge pages crashing and crackling as I turned the pages was like sound of a thousand bonfire night parties exploding around my head. If only I read a tabloid newspaper, things may have been a little better.

Of course fairly soon, these amazing sensations begin to recede and once again it’s safe to put the kettle on, without thinking that the latest space shuttle launch is taking place in your kitchen.

This morning I went along to NHS walk in centre, only to be told that they no longer carry out “ear irrigation” there, I would need to see the nurse at my doctors. The receptionist said they might as well take a look at the offending ear as I had made the journey down. Less than 5 minutes later a nurse was looking into my ears and advising that my “good” ear was pretty blocked up, however my bad ear was not! She was concerned that she couldn’t see my ear drum, so she called a colleague into to have a look and they decided that I may well have a perforated eardrum and would need to see my doctor tomorrow. I was a little concerned on hearing this news, but they assured me that if it is a perforation, these things normally heal themselves. Let’s see what the doctor has to say tomorrow.

Last night I put my ear problems to one side (the left!) and went with Orynthia and Ashton to see a rare screening of the 1947 film “Dreams That Money Can Buy” with a live score being performed by The Real Tuesday Weld, with help from Cibelle and David Piper. It was great fun; the film itself is fairly mad surrealist take on the idea of someone being able to help people to have dreams, for financial reward of course. The people who helped with the creation of the film and dream sequences included Max Earnst, Fernand Leger, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp.

Of course with those people involved, it was a pretty crazy visual spectacle, the live score and narration was subtle and entertaining. The performers were split into two groups of four with the screen in the central area; they were dressed in period clothing and lounged around in comfortable furniture between contributions. It was a little like watching the recording of a radio broadcast (with amazing Technicolor images) and was really rather fantastic, even with only one good ear!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

So we’ve been back from New York for 3 weeks now and I think I’m almost ready to shake off the cold that I picked up just after we returned. The whole experience has left me feeling like I’m really on the threshold of old age, I have no energy or inclination to much at all over the last couple of weeks. My feet ache when I walk, if Phlegm was tradable on the stock exchange I would be a very rich man indeed, sleep has been fractured and inconsistent and I’ve been moaning and groaning (like I’m am now!).

I’ve decided to let my subscription to The New Yorker lapse for a while. I still love the magazine, but I just can’t keep up with the reading, I hate being 3-4 weeks behind which I always appear to be these days, because I’m behind I try to catch up by reading during breaks at work, leading to a decline in the number of books that I can I read. I’m sure that I’ll return but we just need a break from each other at the moment.

Talking of books, I am reading something that I picked up whilst we were in the States, It’s called “It’s alright now” by Charles Chadwick. A strange meandering and epic take on a mans life, written in an almost diary like style, with huge chunks of the book describing very small events in minute detail.

It’s received quite a lot of interest both here and in the states as it’s the debut novel from Mr Chadwick and he is in his 70’s – hope for us all then! I’m quite attracted to the way things move at a very slow pace, unlike like so much of the things which are put in front of us these days, this takes it time. Hopefully the journey will be worth it, in many ways it reminds me of an old fashioned game of test cricket, subtle change emerge slowly rather than in a blitz of frenzied activity like it would in a one day match.