zotz: (serious)
Current time to import a journal and comments: two and a half days. Still, it's done now. One small step for a journal, one giant leap for journalkind.

It's sunny here, and no more people are dying horribly than is usual for the time of year.
zotz: (serious)
So how does someone with no apparently marketable skills go about emigrating?
zotz: (serious)
I should say something about it having flown by, and in some ways I suppose it has but it also seems like several lifetimes ago.

Last time I tried to get round to saying anything here, I was going to talk about having seen Kate Jackson in Glasgow with Mark and Lauren. She was very good. A bit more relaxed than when she was with the Long Blondes, I thought. Hopefully it won't be another six-or-so years before she's back.

The support band were Kaspar Hauser, from Glasgow, who I really really liked too. They started off with the guitarist saying Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be Alison Moyet, which made no sense in or out of context. There was also something that sounded like "Nowt by Northwest", which I think is still available as a name to anyone who wishes to start an avant-garde music festival in Preston.

You're welcome.

They were not what I would call appallingly hipsterish, except in that they were selling demo tapes. Tapes. Cassettes. Really. It's the 21st century, so obviously they came with a download code, but still.
zotz: (serious)
But I imagine you'll all get bored with it quite soon.

Apparently the Europe campaign has started already. Twice today people tried to give me a leaflet telling me why Scotland's better in the EU. So the rest of you aren't, apparently. You heard it here first1.

I didn't take their leaflet. Firstly because I doubt I'll find anything in a leaflet that I don't already know, and secondly because I'm sure they'll be coming through my letterbox soon enough.

Are you all familiar with Freegle? If not, it's another of these net things that's got a name with the same ending as another net thing so you know it's a net thing. Like happens with real stuff as well, like when Henry Ford was a big success with his cars so now all the car companies are called Tord and Lord and Bored and Snored and the like. Anyway, this is a mailing list, or rather a set of local mailing lists, where people give away stuff they don't want but which is actually still perfectly usable so they don't want to throw it away, and other people ask for things they could do with and definitely don't ever then just sell them. It's like eBay for cheapskates. I fit right in.

Anyway, someone's asking for books. Old books. Hardbacks. But just as decoration. I don't know if they're going to stick them on shelves or actually eviscerate them and make the spines into wallpaper2. I know they're probably not books people are going to eagerly be seeking out to read, but it still rubs me up the wrong way. As I've said before, bookburning is morally repugnant. We would never indulge in anything so terrible.

It's like the old records people ask for to "turn into art" (they're art already you little squit) or glue to walls. I've certainly seen some actually very good old records (if you like Acker Bilk, which personally I do) stuck to people's walls, and they looked in good condition too. Maybe I could find out what they care about and trash some . . . I don't know, vintage clothes, or dolphins, or something.

1:Not that I'm saying they're wrong, taken literally. It's the assumption that saying "Scotland" is going to work on me and "Britain" wouldn't, because of course we're all that small-minded.

2:Inevitably I've just started making up a mental list of people we could productively do that with. I can't help it. I wasn't even going to use the word "spine" and then it suddenly just slipped out by itself.
zotz: (serious)
It was pretty much exactly what I'd been told to expect - a slow film without that much plot but absolutely beautiful. Some of the indoor scenes reminded me of Peter Greenaway. Apparently the actor playing the assassin herself was down for one of the lead parts in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but her manager insisted that doing a Coke advert instead was a much better move.

This morning, though. A council truck has just driven up with a car on the back, lifted it into a parking space, and left. I have woken up in science fiction story, but I've read too many of these to know what's expected of me now. Should I be vomiting up food, putting it back into its packets and taking it to the shop to exchange it for money? Or when I get food will they give me extra money that I have to give to other people to persuade them to accept goods and services? Or is this by an author I haven't read?

If you don't see me again, it's because I daren't leave the house.

Oh, Pixies : one of the ads at the cinema was for some sort of boneheaded killing game-console franchise. It was soundtracked by a gentle piano version of Where Is My Mind. Presumably it's a comment either on the game or its players.
zotz: (serious)
I could have gone to Glasgow on Monday to see Snuff, but because I was tired I stayed in and polished my boots.

Today, Blackjacks are breathing down our necks.

I may go to see a film tomorrow

When I say I don't really have much to say, I'm not joking.
zotz: (serious)
WRT the death of Antonin Scalia, and the obituaries and meconium thereof:

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It has been so long since I linked to a vid here that the method is unrecognisably different.

Also, from the generally highly readable Crooked Timber, this fair and balanced piece on Scalia's practical philosophy of law and society, including links to extracts from the author's book "The Reactionary Mind".

I hope your VD was suitably itchy pleasant. I think the only things I've said to anyone all day were "Just these please . . . cheers . . . thank you" to the guy at the corner shop.
zotz: (Default)
The highlight of the day is when the BBC engineer, who has no idea who Albini is - thinking he is just our pal invited along to give a second opinion - commends the American on his technical proficiency, asking if he has ever considered a career in the recording industry.

Yes, I've just finished Luke Haines' book Bad Vibes, and very good it is too. He's just as acerbic as you'd expect from the records, although he does occasionally and grudgingly concede that a few people aren't actually as worthless as he'd believed from their work . . . and it turns out there are a number of people he likes and admires. He also manages to phrase this in ways that don't leave it being too much of a disappointment.

In other news, Beltane went percussively and is now descending into its periodic fit of navelgazing, Anna Calvi's album's very good and people are worrying too much about the lack of AV, which everyone campaigning for would by now be wanting to replace with STV anyway.

Haines claims, incidentally, that during the week before Lady Di's funeral (the time when I wrote A Certain Email) Albini gave him a present. Two presents, in fact - a copy of Candle In The Wind, and a shiny new hammer.
zotz: (Default)
I'm just listening to Radio 6, as of course you do now and again, and there's a show on by a certain Mr Dylan. I knew he did a regular syndicated show, but I hadn't realised that the Beeb had picked it up.

He's talking about Jules Verne at the moment. A few minutes ago he was talking about the centre of the continental USA, and then the equator, and gave special greetings to anyone listening in an equatorial country. Before that it was Mobius strips, and about twenty minutes or so back he mentioned a New Scientist article he'd read recently - the one quoted here, which is here but only readable if you've a sub, which handily I have.

Errr . . . thanks, Bob. Nice one.

Ah. Nick Lowe. Excellent.

I had an odd waking experience a week or so ago, actually. I've mentioned that I had a cold. Probably partly due to an attempted mugging back in Cambridge, my nose gets a bit bunged up when I've had a cold, especially if I'm a bit dry. That morning, I'd partly woken and was lying dozing, annoyed at not quite being able to breathe properly. In particular, I had an odd intense belief that certain words had been devised by conspirators, such that people with colds couldn't pronounce them and would therefore only be able to discuss the concepts if they spoke Gaelic (which of course I don't). I was quite annoyed, and I couldn't shake the belief in spite of not being able to work out why I was so sure it was true.

I've been wondering since whether that's what it's like to have delusions. I'm rather hoping not to find out.

He's just namechecked Martin Rees. It's like listening to a very relaxed version of Out On Blue Six.

Ah. Richard Thompson. Not bad.
zotz: (mugshot)
The Hussy's were very good, but getting to see them was more work than I expected. The ad in The Skinny had no fewer than three URLs but no time, and none of the URLs had any obvious time listed. Their wn website didn't list one either. After a search, one of the sites said 7pm if you clicked down far enough, so at seven I was there and reading some notices saying they were on at ten. So I went home and came back at ten, to find a support band setting up. After watching them set up and play - Ross Fairweather and the Billy Shears, tuneful stuff but not exactly up my street, seem like decent blokes - The Hussy's themselves were on. It was nearly eleven by then. They seem to have shed a guitarist and swapped out a keyboard player. Oh, and written a load of new songs, which on one listen are about as good as the previous ones. Apparently there's an album coming along imminently, which is certainly welcome. They were about as good as I expected from previous gigs, which was very, and then I went along to what was apparently the last Neon for the moment, which is a shame but was a good use of the rest of a good and very cheap evening.

The Hussy's's "street team" have a MySpork of their own, with vido and stuff. And if you've seen them before you may be interested to know that Fili's looking more of a rock chick every second.

Tuesday was the biofuels thing at the Forest. The high point of the evening was noticing a copy of Dreams Of Sex And Stagediving on their bookswap shelf, which is now on one of my shelves. The factual bit was moderately interesting, and the music after (with [livejournal.com profile] decomposingsoul on saxophoid) was intermittently shambolic (but not nearly as much as it apparently deserved to be) and reasonably coherent.

On Thursday I went beachscouting with [livejournal.com profile] sleepycinderell and [livejournal.com profile] princealbert We found a couple of nice ones and wandered around a maze of p(h)easant-infested farm roads looking for a landowner's house near Tantallon Castle (and found a big ruined house called (IIRC) Seacliff) before coming back. As it happens the camping trip was cancelled due to today's weather conditions, but there you go.

On Friday afternoon Ed came round and we wandered into town after chatting to a slightly ill Charlotte. Ian Kendall was doing magic on a table on the High Street, and I was surprised he remembered me. A good and funny show, as you'd expect - apparently he's had a mixed couple of weeks, as some bastard stole his wand.

In the evening I went to BlAlex and Marianne's 10th Anniversary bash at the Counting House, with loads of old faces and a surprise Brigid. It was good, and I elected not to go to listen to loads of Eighties chart pop at the Shitrus club afterwards, for some unfathomable reason. And today I spent the afternoon playing some game out at Mark's.

Clive Stafford Smith has written a whole article about the use of music as torture. James Hetfield gets a thumbs-down for not caring enough to give a serious answer ("If the Iraqis aren't used to freedom, then I'm glad to be part of their exposure."), although apparently Lars was quite upset about it.

There was also an article, today, about Jamaica, which my mum mentioned on the phone because she thought one of the hotels mentioned sounded like one we we went to a couple of times while we lived over there (but I think we stayed at this place, which doesn't even seem to have changed its name in 30 years), as well as other places like Port Antonio, the Blue Mountains and other stuff outside the big resorts. Must go back sometime.
zotz: (primal)
Yes, it's a picture of me baring my torch. Obviously.

Writers Bloc had readings in Biggar and Prestonpans. Read more... )
Stephen Pinker gave a lecture for the Uni, which had to be moved up into the McEwan Hall due to demand. Contains swearing. Big, clever, funny swearing. )
Obviously at the end I did what I've done many times before - tried to work out what it says around the base of the dome. "Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding: exalt her and she shall bring you to honour." Proverbs, chapter 4.

Much fun. After that I went out to Dalkeith country park for a drink with Jim the arsonist and his mates, which was also great. I found some lager in Tesco's called "Lech", which is a very funny name if you ignore it being Polish.

After that it was the Meadows Festival, which was a lot smaller than previously, but then it did have its legs cut out from under it in the meantime. This was the first one for two or three years, and pretty good for effectively a new first time. Hopefully it'll gather momentum again over the next few years. There was a genuine 9/11 conspiracy theory stall, which I didn't stop and ridicule in spite of the fact that I probably could get back in touch with a structural engineer who studied the collapse of the towers in detail - something that, famously, said wackos have never paid any attention to.

Yesterday I went to see Mark Stewart and the Maffia. Read more... )
I've been reading my new (i.e. the older) copy of My Friend Mr Leakey today, which has been fun. I've noticed one thing, though - where the Seventies printing mentions Negroes as the victims of a particular kind of African devil, the older one uses a different word. It still starts with N, though. Pinker had mentioned it as currently the most taboo word in US English. I guess that in Britain it was still OK to use it in front of children as recently as 1948.

On getting back from the gig (OK, and from the pub afterwards) last night, I found a mail from a ticket agency with a whole list of stuff I've no interest in and details of Amanda Palmer playing at the end of September. Well and good, although I notice that Dolls gigs do apparently still happen very occasionally . . .

However, that wasn't the eyeopener. Other Dolls are afoot. New York Dolls, in Glasgow, anyone? In a venue the size of (and probably, admittedly, with the aroma of) a gorilla's armpit? That sounds like a good deal to me. And a couple of weeks later, Swervedriver.


Now that's not a name I thought I'd hear again. Still, tempting . . . I wonder if Dave Hetherington knows about this? I may have to pass a message via CJ.

Mixed week in politics, of course, SCOTUS have belted Bush one in the bollocks over Guantanamo. Your friend and mine Antonin Scalia, however, seems by all accounts to have delivered a shameless dissenting statementlamenting the effects of the actual decision, which would fly exactly in the face of everything he said about the grounds for his beliefs when he spoke in New College last year. Ah well. Maybe he's been misquoted.

Over here, a certain disastrous vote went the wrong way (but was tantalisingly close) and a Tory MP has resigned to fight his own safe seat at a point when the government's in trouble. His party leader, one David Cameron, described the move as "courageous", presumably meaning by Sir Humphrey's definition of the term. The words "nothing much to be gained" come to mind - he's likely to find that his only serious opposition comes from the Sun. If it descends into a farce and he ends up making himself and his party look ridiculous, he will undoubtedly go down in history as a political genius for finding a way to make the government look good in spite of its recent misadventures.

And if you think that sounds harsh, listen to what some other people are saying - one shadow cabinet member said. "There is a slight hint of self-indulgence and a slight element of tragedy. David cannot come back in a bigger position. He can only come back as even more self-righteous, but will he be more morally pure with a majority of 1,500 over the Monster Raving Loony Party? He has walked the plank and this risks looking like a pantomime."

I must finally mention that Weegie popsters The Hussy's are playing FOR FREE at the usually-execrable-but-I'll-make-an-exception-this-time 3 Sisters (on the Cowgate, if you've had the good fortune not to have come across it) on Sunday. Actually, they're playing in Manchester, at the Dry Bar, on Tuesday and in London Village (Purple Turtle, apparently) on Wednesday, so some of you could do a lot worse than pop along. Sadly, I've no indication that the other gigs are free, but I'm sure you can, as the saying goes, check local press for details.
zotz: (Default)
I came across another Graham Clark this weekend. On a mailing list. I was already aware that there was a photographer in town called that, but I didn't really expect to come into contact. I hope it won't cause confusion.

I saw Kate and Tony last week. I popped down to Haltwhistle, in Cumbria, being overflown by five Tornados en route and passing through Warwick-on-Eden, and took them to see Lara in Newcastle.

While Kate's hair was drying (I think) Tony and I popped to a local pub, passing a second-hand bookshop on the way. Tony insisted on stopping to check the boxes outside (honesty/letterbox deal, mostly 50p each) and I was amazed (really very very surprised indeed) to find a 1948 copy of My Friend Mr Leakey. The stories are in a different order from the copies I have and the illustrations are different. So's the author biog, actually - "He is 55 years old, and a communist . . . His cat is white and deaf, but she can turn somersaults. He is bald, weighs about 15 stone and is fond of swimming."

We went into Newcastle along the old military road, which follows the wall closely. I hadn't seen it before, and Tony obviously had a lot to say about it. I'm going to have to go and have a look myself now. Bloody historians.

After a false start, Lara found us a place to have Italian (which was very nice), after which we showed Tony and Kate the vampire rabbit, then I took them back to Haltwhistle and headed home. Fascinating, and lovely to see people.

Over the weekend I wandered around, sat in the sun, saw my parents, went to the Forest to catch some drummers at work, finished Wise Blood, read The Undertaking and started Lonely Werewolf Girl, and stuck a newer secondhand SCSI card in the PC. Not terribly eventful. Relaxing.

It may be worth people noting that Stephen Pinker's speaking at a University event at the end of next week, and Walter Willett the week after, Both ticketed but free. Tomorrow night Writers' Bloc are appearing at an event in Biggar and on Sunday will be in Prestonpans. The Meadows festival, I believe, is at the end of that week (6th and 7th).
zotz: (Default)
Almost everything you ever needed to know about My Bloody Valentine:

The flute is not an instrument one usually associates with extreme noise terror, but, when My Bloody Valentine unleashed the show's crescendo, a track called 'You Made Me Realise', the instrument added an almost unbearable shrillness to what was already a blizzard of sustained sonic overload. As the tour progressed, the song became a thing of ever more terrifying beauty due to an extended white noise section that could last up to 10 minutes and was built around the repetition of a single chord played by Shields and his then girlfriend, second guitarist, Bilinda Butcher. Both had already suffered for their art, Butcher with a perforated eardrum, and Shields with the onset of tinnitus. Now, it was the audience's turn.

A Place To Bury Strangers are in Glasgow tomorrow. I have to buy earplugs. Anyone else fancy?

Also from the Absurder, "Since Dr No was released in 1962, James Bond has killed more than 150 men and slept with 44 women, three quarters of whom have tried to kill him."

That certainly puts my problems in perspective.

Yesterday's start-of-summer drink was cold and overcast, but it's good today and the ash trees at the bottom of the road are starting to come into leaf. I notice Luke Mitchell's appeal failed, too, which didn't really surprise me. There wasn't any good lab evidence, but that in itself isn't fatal - courts worked for centuries without it, and the jury didn't take long to convict. I hope they got it right, though. I'm glad it wasn't a decision I had to help with. William Beggs had an appeal mounted too, but I haven't heard what happened there.

Londoners may be pleased to know that the ongoing Telectroscope project is nearing readiness: "If you should happen to be in the vicinity of City Hall in London or the Fulton Ferry Landing in New York next Tuesday or Wednesday, you may see something strange going on. And on Thursday, 22 May, a Telectroscope will be installed at each end of the tunnel, and will open to the public for the first time." More information here.

And there's a new ballboy album soon too. Life is good.

Last week

May. 12th, 2008 05:53 pm
zotz: (Default)
Thursday. Caligula bit and scratched Phil again. I went over to the Psych department to be in somebody's research. I don't know yet what it's all about, but I have some sneaky guesses (which will inevitably turn out to be wrong, of course).

Friday: Ed came round, so I missed sending Mel off. In the evening, rLex's birthday bash, featuring many cameras and The Fisting Stick. Keith played a Bomb the Bass track which samples a particular mid-seventies Brazilian funk bassline (which I know from looking stuff up over the weekend - I've never managed to note down what was playing when I've heard it before).

On Saturday Ed came round again and we sat on the Meadows with rLex et many al until thunder chased us all off. Roy and Mo came round, Mo insulted me outrageously and is now officially persona non grata, then we went to the Hoose to celebrate Sara H's bidet and finally the Dagda. Nice quiet day.

Yesterday I read, tidied and went for a walk, bumping into Saunderses et al on the way.
zotz: (Default)
Saturday was Ansel Adams, which was very excellent, and then seeing St Jude's Infirmary doing a quick drummerless set in Avalanche. A very acceptable afternoon. Sunday was much Beltane stuff - a big walkthrough and a health & safety briefing. During the week I went out to practice arson with Jim, first at Crichton Castle (very nice, and I'd no idea it existed) and then with Jim and Charlotte at Dalkeith country park. Both excellent days out, and photos or even vido may turn up at some point.

On Sunday just gone there was various construction work on the hill, possible because we have storage space for a few days this year, followed by rehearsals of various patches. On Monday I trailed all over the place and came back with new albums by The Fall and the mighty Biscuit to show for it. Apparently an Edinburgh gig for the latter is fairly likely. Today Jim, Phil and I went to Vogrie country park for more of the same, with various old iron kilns, woodpeckers, oddly carved trees, caves and luminous fungus cropping up along the way.

I've spent this evening convinced I've forgotten something. I don't think I have, though. When the record finishes, I'll turn in. It's going to be a long day, and possible an even longer night.

Gena's back in town, incidentally, for a couple of days. I'm not sure how many people who'll be reading this up here will remember her.
zotz: (holding forth)
Sunday was, due to the season, up the hill for a practice, but this time after picking Jim up from Bonnyrigg. We managed a quick fireraising session at the end, which went surprisingly well given the time since we last did it. Then I took him back out to Bonnyrigg and went to the Ann Purna with L&S for dinner, as it's due to change hands soon. I don't go nearly often enough - it was as lovely as ever. Hopefully it'll stay that way. After that, the ISIHAC Greatest Hits show at the Festival Theatre, with them and my folks. That's the first time I've seen a game show do an encore - and the first time I've heard 1500 people attempt an unrehearsed rendition of "Donald Where's Your Troosers" on kazoos, too. Very fine. We all got to keep the kazoos.

Later I started reading Kevin MacNeil's "The Stornoway Way". I took a break at about three and finished it today. It's very good - a clever, funny, and sad memoir of a young Stornoway man who's never got his life together, and has moved back to Lewis after years busking round the world. The bits that are funny are very funny, the bits that are sad are tragic, and all of them are clever. I will have to find out what my Stornowegian friend makes of it, by lending it to him if necessary.

Today I went to Mo's birthday picnic on Portobello beach. This was very good, although Nivine setting her hair on fire was a little alarming. Fortunately no harm seems to have been done. During the early evening there was a very loud rumbling with no obvious cause. It turned out that it was two Tornadoes turning on their afterburners over the Castle - apparently the RAF were also having a birthday party. Show-offs.
zotz: (mugshot)
Err . . . I went to see Ed on Wednesday, then went to the pub, which was nearly empty because the Goff'n'Rawk-Soc are apparently all away home for Easter. It was OK, though, because we got to recommend Top Secret1 and Dr Strangelove2 to people who haven't seen them.

Thursday was Saunderses as usual, then pub, which was not quiet as the redfolk were in attendance, Friday had Ed dropping by in the afternoon, then an evening finishing a book. Today's been more reading and the news that A Place To Bury Strangers will be touring Britain, including a gig in some tiny pub in Glasgow.

I've always wanted to be deaf.

1: "Listen to me Hillary. I'm not the first guy who fell in love with a woman that he met at a restaurant who turned out to be the daughter of a kidnapped scientist only to lose her to her childhood lover who she last saw on a deserted island who then turned out fifteen years later to be the leader of the French underground."

2: "You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"


Mar. 26th, 2008 05:53 pm
zotz: (serious)
Rik was round the house last night, for the first time in about fifteen years. He'd been somewhere with Jamie, who was coming over to make (and talk) balls for a while. All quite fun. Also got Neal's phone number from his doubtless-better half (Judy?) who was round also. Apparently he doesn't have a banjo, which is unfortunate. Hopefully I'll see him soon too.
zotz: (alert)
Sunday. York. I went down with my brother - he was going anyway, for a model railway show (I have mentioned that he's into model railways, haven't I?) so he suggested I tag along. I did.

We met Andrew Hewitt's brother John at the station just before nine and rolled south through the deepening snow until the towers of the cathedral appeared in the distance. We passed Durham on the way, and as usual I wondered why I've never been there. I should. Soon.

The show was at the racecourse, and we wandered round it for a couple of hours and had some dinner. Some of the layouts were very good, but a lot of them didn't have much going on. My favourite was a very small one on a turntable a couple of feet across.

After lunchtime, we walked back into town and wandered around the centre admiring the buildings until about four, then went (in spite of my slightly unfortunate history with pubs of the name) to the Maltings to watch the snow start pouring down again, and then to the station for the train back.

There was a beer on sale in various places called Kwak, which is just begging (especially if you've heard Beyond the Fringe) to be described as "a bit duckie", and slightly too late I noticed a board advertising strawberry cider. Intriguing. Maybe next time. They like their churches down there - hundreds of the buggers, there are. The big one was a bit busy, it being Easter Sunday and all, so obviously I'll have to go back at some point.


Mar. 22nd, 2008 06:04 pm
zotz: (Default)
Last night I also went to the Guildford with Miles and Donnla, until we were chased out by a trad-jazz band. They weren't obnoxious (not even the banjo, actually) but they did make it difficult to talk. We went to the (IIRC) Abbotsford, and discussed Opus Dei and the Society of Jesus, among many other things. I think there was a rough consensus on those two, actually, which I found reassuring.

Another milestone was actually seeing an Ayn Rand book in the UK. I'm pretty sure that's never happened to me before. I'm also fairly sure I wouldn't mind it never happening again.

Today the BFS sent me on a very quick first-aid course. 'Twas interesting. Haven't done anything like that for more years than I care to think. They recommend clingfilm for covering burns, but for what I hope are obvious reasons I would cause many raised eyebrows if I started to carry the stuff around.


zotz: (Default)

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