April 20th, 2004


Material Girl

Before I signed off for Lent, it had become fairly obvious to all (I hope....mmm, that assumes an audience. Fabulous...) that the concerns of this journal were pretty transparent. No, no, no, that's one of those dang New Labour words that's either crept into my vocabulary or has been sufficiently hijacked by them that it needs to put away for a few years. The concerns aren't transparent, they're just obvious. There hasn't been much deviation since my return (Caucasus, DVDs, music, Iraq, Orthodoxy), although there's been no mention of Romane Bohringer as yet. We've fixed that now. Today, for a change, let's go shopping. Or rather talk about shopping yesterday.

The money came through. The debts were paid. Here's what we bought yesterday:

1. A weekly zone 1-2 travelcard. It looks divine!

2. Some computer stuff. This laptop is now beefed up to 640M of RAM. Oooh, missus! The OS has at last gone to Panther. And I've got a bluetooth mouse. Yesterday I thought I might describe this stuff at length. No.

3. Software. Don't worry, honey, it happens to everyone at your age. I bought a copy of Reason, which is "stand-alone music station software". Living alone more likely. Anyway, it comes in a box that can only be described as avocado. Mmm, very 80's. It contains 14 channel expandable mixer, RV7000 Advanced Reverb, Subtractor Polyphonic Synth, Scream 4 Sound Destruction Unit, Spider Audio/CV Merger & Splitter, NN19 Digital Sampler, Dr Rex Loop Player, UN-16 Unison Effect, Malstrøm Graintable Synth, Matrix Pattern Synth, 512 band Vocoder, NN-XT Advanced Sampler, Redrum Drum Machine, Sequencer. Is there room in the house? Yes, since it exists in a soft state. Oh dear, not again, you must see someone about that. All of these units can exist in any amount or configuration provided your computer can handle it. One of the nice touches is that the visual look of it is as a series of racked units and you can flip it around where you see, well, the back of the units with cables dangling between them that you can plug to your hearts content. Not tonight, you won't. So it's reasonably intuitive. I fiddled a little last night. That might explain it (why has Dick Emery taken up residence in my head?). I felt rather like I was peering into a huge abyss of distraction. Charmed, I'm sure...

4. Keyboard. Musical. Above to connect with.

5. CDs. Natch. I was hoping that the new Patti Smith was out [The Guardian recently started one of those stupid registration systems. Access remains free, but you know that payment isn't far behind once they've done that. There's some good writing on the site and I don't really want to stop linking to it just because it's not always direct unless you're registered with them, although wherever possible I will try to find alternatives. Charles Shaar Murray is too resonant with that earlier period to turn down]. Alas, it's next week. I bought three others instead:
a. The Party Monster soundtrack. This had some old favourites on it such as Stephen ("Tin Tin") Duffy. He's still around and doing some good stuff.
b. Fest-Noz. A collection of Breton dances. I'll be doing a bit of DJing at The Minotaur's wedding in Britttany. Thought that at least one DJ should show a bit of consideration for the locals. I'm doing a French set anyway. Usual suspects: Bertrand, Dutronc, Gainsbourg, Gall, Goldman, Halliday, Hardy, Mitchell, Polnareff, Telex, err... I should email Daniel for assistance I think.
c. Gather in the Mushrooms (The British Acid Folk Underground 1968-1974). This is a bit of a corker really. It's put together by Bob Stanley of St Etienne (fame?). Yep, I reckon it's going to happen. There will be an English folk revival. Come on people, it's the only thing left! Let's have it!

6. Books. Helter Skelter, London's sole specialist popular music bookshop is closing down. Scandal. As The Landlady commented, it's probably the internet. You can't beat physical browsing. Whatever advantages of the internet for mass publishing, the place for all the odd fanzines and strange import stuff will have gone. Nothing must be left to the beauty of chance in the retail world. Soon there'll be nothing at all of note, even in central bloody London. I bought:
a. Re-Make/Re-Model: Die Geschicte von ROXY MUSIC, Bryan Ferry & Brian Eno by Jurgen Wanda. A pound, but the pages are stuck together (!?!).
b. Eurock: European Rock & The Second Culture by Archie Patterson. Filled with Euro-strangeness of the 70s/80s. A tenner, but hefty.
c. Where Dead Voices Gather by Nick Tosches. It's about blackface singer Emmett Miller. Seven quid, probably remaindered for 3.99 somewhere though, regardless of quality.
d. California Confidential: In Conversation with Kim Fowley. A fan book written by some Jan & Dean obsessive. Kim is one of my musical heroes and probably the only person in the industry I will mail my album to. He'll hate it probably [I have just emailed him]. But that doesn't matter. Music would never have been the same without him and he's still going. I can recommend his recent SAND album very highly. "Phil Spector may kill people, but at least I still make new recordings." All power to him.

Fortunately, I didn't buy anything else.