August 10th, 2005


La Javanaise

After much prevarication, I finally went and bought an espresso machine. I pondered long and hard over this one, but in the end abandoned any intentions of buying a hand-pumped model like the Pavoni. Dawn rising over South Tottenham, a momentary slip in concentration and/or the dressing gown unleashed, ... No, better to go with the more idiot-proof version. As it turned out, the Gaggia Classic. It won out over the Francis Francis, which I nevertheless established is a good machine, because:

a. It's cheaper.
b. It's almost brutalist in appearance and certainly a thick slice of domestic Italian neo-realism.
c. It's therefore unlikely to appear as a stock bit of kitchenware from the prop department in some contemporary documentary or series (aka The Jamie Oliver Effect).

I've made two cups so far. I'm tempted to go for the third, but feel that might be an excessive hourly rate. I'm very pleased with the quality of the coffee so far and the crema is relatively thick. You can put a teaspoon of sugar on top of it and it doesn't sink straight through (four and a half seconds on the second cup I made). I've yet to test my milk foaming skills though. That can wait until morning. If I can sleep, that is...

One small factor in the purchase of the coffee machine was my wish to be able to serve decent coffee once I open London's most intimate arthouse cinema in my living room. I'm still working on the program, although I can confirm that the first show will be a programme of Japanese horror films of the old school. I'm don't think that either of these really fit the bill, but today I did manage to obtain copies of both A Page of Madness (an avant-garde piece from the 20's and, since it's silent, one that members of the audience may need to improvise their own backing for if it's ever shown...) and Pastoral: To Die In The Country by Shuji Terayama (!).

As for the rest of life, well, I'm just in the process of fixing up firm dates for visiting Tokyo/Osaka and Sydney during October and November. I'm hoping to squeeze a week or so in Korea during that time as well. The stated intention for visiting Japan and Korea is to start work on the shop and have some preliminary meetings with various individuals and companies. Mind you, since the visit is also centred around research concerning various food ideas for the business, I'll be spending a fair amount of time eating and drinking my way through all these places. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

There are some other projects to finish in the meantime, I need to launch the next album for a start, but I most certainly need to finish this Jermyn Savile story. I've been busy enough not to finish it, just, but since I've agreed to dine once more next week with the real one, I can foresee that a dangerorous tear might occur in the fabric of this universe if I don't get it done by then. I'm on the fourth, and least coherent, version now. Mind you, not completing the tale has effectively spared anyone from an ongoing list of films I've encountered. Somehow, it's hard to explain, I've managed to see Alexander twice...

As a sort of here-I-go-a-journaling-again offering, here's some mp3s of music that I bought today:

Dastgah of Mahour - Ahmad Ebadi

This is from an reissued Folkways recording from the 60's that I bought because it features an almost complete set of dastgah, the Persian modes/scales. No, I don't understand yet either. But I did order a setar ("No, not a sitar...") from Iran a few days ago and this piece is played on that instrument.

Three Undergrads Become Transfigured in a Hong Kong Music Hall - Harry Partch (composer)

I'm listening to this CD now. It's a recording of The Bewitched (pdf) from 1956. I'm choosing this one for the title, but it's hard when you have other titles like "The Cognoscenti Are Plunged into a Demonic Descent While at Cocktails" or "Visions Fill The Eyes Of a Defeated Basketball Team in the Shower Room"

Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M'En Vais - Serge Gainsbourg

A bit of a cheat as I didn't buy a CD of this song, but it is included on an enticing 2-DVD retrospective that includes the entire Melody Nelson TV special and much else besides. I've always loved this song, but I doubt I'll ever have the heart to sing it to someone. Or even the opportunity...

Time for a last coffee, I imagine.