Monday, December 24, 2007

Albums Of The Year

The Good, The Bad & The Queen - The Good, The Bad & The Queen
The Tuss - Rushup Edge
PJ Harvey - White Chalk
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Efterklang - Under Giant Trees
Robert Wyatt - Comicopera

& failed to enjoy : LCD Soundsystem, Battles, Fiery Furnaces, Burial, Kate Nash, Jamie T, Mark Ronson et al

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Crack open the sloe gin

Crack open the sloe gin and have a couple of listens to The Tuss - probably Richard James' alter ego - which finds its way to my ears. It's ok I suppose, but it just sounds like a lot of Ableton Live and a.n.other bit of software, with the same mashed beats and wafty pads. Don't get me wrong, it's still about the most important work to come out this year.

Good too, to hear a lot of Stockhausen on the radio, though it's a shame he had to die before that was possible. It's a guarantee of extra exposure, the dying game: Remember laughing with NJ @ Mouse Records back in '97, that it'd be the best way of marketing 'Baltic Beats'.

Oh dear - the Stockhausen's got a bit shouty now. Think I need to come back to earth with a mindless half hour of telly footy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First frosts

Frost coming tonight, so I gathered up a few things from the allotment, including the last of the small pumpkins and dug up the vietnamese coriander bush to take home for the winter. I've already got half a dozen shoots in a jar of water which have sprouted taproots 3-4 cm long and are ready for potting up.
Never done so much faffing around before the first frosts - herded a load of potted plants indoors like sheep, some even though they don't really need it (olives, geraniums, parsley) and others to extend their lives a bit (lobelia, tomatoes, marigolds, dahlias). Wrapped up a couple of outside dahlias with bubblewrap, just to see whether I'll get the last buds to flower when it warms up a bit later in the week.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Late autumn sun

Late autumn sun ensures at least a couple of pumpkins mature in time for Halloween.
Sunflower heads in the shed had got damp and were starting to rot, so I sat in the sun separating a couple of hundred seeds.
Collected gladioli and rocket seeds too.
Planted out broad beans. The ones sown directly into the ground are finally emerging.
Harvested kale, rocket, lambs lettuce and a couple of carrots.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sow when the moon is low

Peculiarly warm, dark, day, busy up the allotment :
Cycled with a bag of compost from home, dug a trench and buried it
Cleared more space and planted another 50 onion sets
Planted 24 garlic cloves
Planted a dozen broad beans in open ground & a few in a seed tray
Made a small bonfire
Skimmed off some pond weed
Harvested : a marrow shaped pumpkin, the rest of the late new potatoes, a parsnip, some rocket & the last cucumber.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jorge Saxon / Galapagos Manufacture Remix

Jorge Saxon/Galapagos Manufacture Remix (edit) - mp3

Spent the last couple of weeks working on this remix for Jorge, who I met 17 years ago when I lived and worked in Poland and he was barely out of short trousers ! Apparently it's coming out on vinyl in Poland, together with other remixes - which is cool, 'cos I thought vinyl days were over. I'll be posting the whole track on MySpace soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

When Badgers Attack

Argh! I had been warned, but didn't quite believe it would happen to me : The badger/s came for my ripe sweetcorn in the night, taking three or four which we were going to have for lunch. "At least someone enjoyed them", said my sweet, philosphical daughter.

Still loads of runners left - picked another kilo today.

Glad I made the effort earlier - about 20 giant Russian sunflowers made it past the slugs this year.

...and this pumpkin is out of the danger zone - I've lost three small ones to slugs.

Not quite a record breaker - the ruler was bendier than the bean!

Three or four tiny ridge cucumbers - hope it's not too late for them to mature.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Gorgeous Morning

Gorgeous morning, worth getting up early to enjoy. Harvested more runner beans, french beans, sweetcorn and raspberries up at the allotment and cut back my leeks, which are all infested with leek moth larvae. Checked on and watered the pumpkins - think about five might make it - cabbages, spinach, kale seedlings and carrots. Dug over a dry patch of ground, ready for something later in the month.

Afternoon and evening in the studio, writing, mixing and backing up as I go along.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

CD Baby Payment

Hurrah ! Receive digital royalties and sales payments from 'CD Baby' in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. - Boo ! The buck is at a low against the quid.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Today's Harvest

- 750 g Raspberries
- 1 kg Runner Beans
- 1 Sweetcorn
- 500 g French Beans
- 3 stalks Rhubarb
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 1 leek
- 1 bunch Vietnamese Coriander

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sad Mac : (

Unbelievable ! In the same week that the studio amp dies and there's a lengthy powercut, the screen on the Powermac 5500 dies.

I know it's had 8 years of service - and was a few years old when I bought it second hand for £600 - but I was starting to believe it would live forever. The screen's been flickering on start up for a couple of years or more and as soon as that started happening, I got prepared for it to die. However, slowly I got used to the occasional flicker, when it would sometimes warp back to front for a few seconds, which was quite spectacular !

This evening, I was resurrecting the latest track, editing sounds in the sampler, when the screen went to sleep. Foolishly, I immediately woke it up, which it didn't like at all : It blinked and then went black, dragging all the software and data with it into a deep, probably eternal slumber.

Just as well I've got the Powerbook 3400 for immediate SCSI and MIDI needs, though even the transition to that will take getting used to. Don't have a USB scanner or MIDI/audio interface for this Mac or the PC - but the time is fast approaching.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Harvested the first ripe sweetcorn today : Wow - how tasty was that ?
Also : 1 kg Raspberries
1 kg Cobra beans
2 kg Runner Beans

...and got given a beetroot on the way out : )

Took some of the compost from my compost heap at home and dug it into the plot.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Blown Amp

Kenwood amplifier has stopped working : ( Don't think it was being overloaded. Strange thing was, after it stopped working a display light was still lit, albeit not showing what it should have, but when I turned it off and turned it back on half an hour later, there was no display light.

There was a smell of burning bakelite, or similar. I checked the fuse in the plug and googled for some help. After a while, I dug out a spare amp and got on with some work. Hope I can repair it, especially if it turns out to be something fairly simple, like an internal fuse, but as it's around ten years old it might be difficult to get spares.

Reasonably good replacements are fairly cheap - but I'd like to avoid being a consumer.

What's more, it belonged to a good friend and has sentimental value.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Fantastic weather at last - I've managed to spend quite a few hours up at the allotment this week. Harvested around 5 kilos of plums and a kilo of greengages today, which I'm turning into jam. Gave some to the women at the bowls club next door, who wanted to pay me for some at first. Also gave some to my elderly neighbour and left some out on the wall at the front of the house. Think I'll take them in later if they haven't gone, before they get chucked about by the Friday night crowd.

Did a lot of watering - rocket, lambs lettuce, carrots, kale & cabbage seedlings, young fruit bushes, leeks, sweetcorn, pumpkins, cucumber. Shame my kohl rabi never made it past the slug onslaught. Picked some dwarf beans, runners, a couple of courgettes and some raspberries.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

August Harvest

Roland From Poland - August (edit) mp3

Sweet peas

Courgettes, carrots, rhubarb, gladioli, sweet peas...

Plums & Greengages

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Not sure which is best - the visual delight of a mature artichoke flower, or the unique texture and flavour of an unopened one.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Stayed out late last night, digging spuds and harvesting onions. A proper summer evening for once.
Skimmed a lot of weed from the pond - no sign of the frogs, but I'm fairly sure they're in there somewhere.
Planted some rocket, using seeds from last year's crop - it can't do any worse than the seed which I bought & sowed last month.
Late peas are just coming up but they seem to have been attacked by weevils or summat, like the first lot.
Sowed some late carrots where some of the potatoes had been.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Into the gooseberries now - huge green gobstoppers, 100 to the kilo. Came home with several kilos for jam, stewing, pies and fool ! Well, my version anyway, with lots of cream. More raspberries, even bigger redcurrants, a few blackcurrants, potatoes and rhubarb. Makes up for the disappointing spinach and rocket crop. Got some more peas coming up, but the beans are slow.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Midsummer Harvest

Only intended going up the plot for an hour 'cos the weather looked iffy - but in the end the showers never came and I stayed for around five, harvesting, planting, weeding, lying on my back in the long grass.

Harvested nearly 1lb of redcurrants - which I put in the freezer when I got back - a few stalks of rhubarb, some peas, a handful of raspberries and an artichoke head : I made up some garlic butter with a little olive oil and lemon juice as a dip for the artichoke and peas and had the rhubarb stewed with some yoghurt. Yum.

Planted some more rocket, (more like ski-lift - it's really slow this year) 'cobra' climbing beans, the last of the peas, a couple more pumpkin plants and the last of the leeks.


Ah - a bit late I know, but I've finally got into Arcade Fire. It dawns on me that I've already heard around half a dozen tracks on the radio, but now with the ! Reminds me a bit of The Flaming Lips, Pixies, David Byrne. Smashing, absolutely essential live, even from the comfort of my own mud free sofa. Soul searching, tear jerking, brilliant stuff.

In contrast, Artic Monkeys seemed to be playing the same song, over and over again, with the social skills of a lamppost. Yes (ladies & gentlemen), some of us did look good on the dancefloor, dancing like robots in 1984 but we don't do it now. No need to take the piss.

You can keep yer Kasabian, Killers, Editors and Iggy Pop - what a ridiculous old man. What's his excuse ? And how foul mouthed is Lilly Allen ? Like it or not, she's responsible for how eight year old girls talk. I was quite won over by Rufus Wainwright, in spite of / because of messing up his own songs. Camper than the big top and what a voice ! Saw snippets of Cherry Ghost & Pigeon Detectives - catchy as headlice but infinitely more enjoyable, if shambolic. Thank goodness for the Manic Street Preachers.

The Beeb's coverage was well messy - natch. Still haven't forgiven Colin Murray for joking about autism last year and being a bit in love with himself. Still, entertaining to see him speak his mind about Peaches Geldof. Jupitus might be forgiven for 'not doing tents', due to his girth, but what kind of quasi racist / stereotypical rubbish was that bloke ( Don Letts ?) spreading by saying that black people don't camp ? At least Lauren Laverne was on cracking, sparkling form as usual. Nearly made up for Peel being missing.

Also missing, from where I'm looking, is any kind of interesting electronic music. The Chemical Brothers, despite the great visuals, are a bit old hat. At the risk of sounding like a real duffer, it's not like the old days of Richard James, The Hartnoll Brothers, Squarepusher, Underworld etc.

And who needs The Who ? Shirley Bassey ?!

Fatboy Norman had the right idea, suggesting that in future there shouldn't be any named bands at all, just the sideshows. Still, it's all very well for a man who's made it very nicely thank you, to eschew the bright lights. A bit like me moaning that it ain't what it used to be !

Friday, June 01, 2007

Possibly a porpoise ?

Rhossili beach, Wales, June 1st : Initially we noticed the smell and at first sight I thought it was a seal, but on closer inspection it appeared to be a dolphin, or possibly a porpoise.

A grim sight, though without a post mortem - or even identification - impossible to tell why it ended up here.

All week we'd been noticing the death slumber of a calf, washed up towards the southern end of the beach. Perhaps it had slipped from the cliff at high tide, or fallen into the sea elsewhere and been dumped by the waves above the high water mark.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Terrible News

Terrible news : Phil Hendy, the 75 year old who gave me my allotment key this time last year, has died following an assault here in Bristol, early on a Sunday morning two weeks ago, when he was stabbed outside a newsagent.
Phil was the allotment rep for years, a cheery soul whose shocking murder has greatly upset the local community in Greenbank.

There was a film crew by the allotment gate as I left this morning and a persistent hack wanted me to give them access to film. I was - am - shocked and didn't want to co-operate, partially out of respect for Phil, who advised me not to let in anyone who I didn't know.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Finally upgraded to a 17" Mac Powerbook - which now makes five functioning computers in the house. Ridiculous. But this is the world of USB & Firewire, which I've been in for a while now, but only on the PC, which will soon be relegated to a games machine for my daughter to play SIMS on. Now I have to get into OS X and start making decisions about what and how to transfer files between old and new.

I've a perfectly sound, but ten years old, MIDI set up, controlling fat analogue synths, sound modules and samplers, supplemented by processing and mastering software. Do I really want to go all laptop ? Answers on a postcard please.

Listening to Mali Music