ah, yet more reviews and accolades! :o)

…did I mention that there’s a rather nice review of ‘Not Dancing…’ in the ‘Bass Player Recommends’ section of this month’s Bass Player magazine? well, I have now – and it’s rather good. I’ll get it typed up soon, and add it to the site…

I’ve also just added another review to the archive, this time from Aural Innovations – ostensibly a space rock site, but it’s a bit broader than that, with some very interesting stuff on it. And I also made it into their end of year best of list – don’t believe me? see for yourself!

I’ve just posted all this info to the ‘news’ page as well – why have I still got this and the news page? er, good question – I guess some people wouldn’t want to wade through all the crap that I write on here just to get the 2% of what I write that actually relates to music (weird though such a thought may seem to you and I), so it’s worth having a more coherent news bit I guess… All those stats on how people engage with websites and how long they stay on them and what leads them to delve deeper etc. are very scary – have I got it all wrong? are they running away in droves, wondering what on earth a ‘blog’ is… do I need a flash intro? Is that really irritating pop-up that invites you to join the mailing list a waste of space, even though my mailing list is growing three times as fast since I added it? all important questions methinks…

anyway, a few hours ago I was planning to do some house work. Then I got sidetracked by… er, well nothing to be honest. Just sitting around, reading articles from www.axisofjustice.org and talkbass.com.

So anyway, on with the tidying – what shall I listen to? er, how about… ah, here we go – ‘Jordan The Comeback’ by Prefab Sprout… excellent.

None More Dull

Yippee – tax bill paid, tax return sent off, which for you lot means no more fist-chewingly dull stuff about my tax return! :o) Now I can lull you to sleep with Bonsai talk instead… although, as I’m off on tour tomorrow, there should be plenty to talk about for the next four weeks!

Yesterday was another big teaching day – exhausting but rewarding.

Today will involve teaching from 12-2, then driving my CDs over to Chelmsford to be shipped off to LA on Monday morning. Then I’ll be packing, repacking, remembering things I’ve forgotten and repacking again, tidying up here to try and leave the house in a reasonable state for the rest of the household to inhabit for the next four weeks (not really fair to bugger off and leave the poor aged feline with all the cleaning duties – his lack of opposable thumbs makes filing a nightmare…)

I’ll be moving my ickle Bonsai tree out of the office so it’s not ignored in the plant watering ritual of the next few weeks. I’ve been unsubscribing from the myriad mailing lists and discussion lists that I’m on so as to reduce the volume of email traffic while I’m away (just the 50 bits of spam and viruses to deal with each day then…) – does anyone else get as many viruses sent to them as me? Is this intentional and malicious, or just that I’m on so many people’s email lists that whenever someone with my address gets got I get sent a copy? Norton picks them up OK, and the ones that get into my inbox without being deleted are easily recogniseable (I just delete most things with attachments unless I’m expecting them – so warn me first if you’re trying to send anything, and don’t send me unsolicited MP3s!! Nothing is more likely to put you on my email s**t-list than sending me a 10 meg file with no warning… grrrrr (evil harv!)

anyway, better get started on the tidy, before the teaching, before the CD delivering, before the packing, before the sleeping before the journey to LA, before the tour!

Soundtrack – yesterday I got ‘Jordan – The Comeback’ by Prefab Sprout. I’m increasingly convinced that Paddy McAlloon is one of the all time great British songwriters – I don’t think as yet I’ve heard a duff song by him. Right now, I’m listening to Calamateur again – this is so so beautiful and haunting, you really have to get it – the juxtaposition of FSU beats, ambient sounds, acoustic guitar and loads of samples of speech/interviews/news etc. all relating to cars, car accidents, traffic police. It’s awesome – Andrew – make sure you send a copy into The Late Junction on Radio 3, they’ll LOVE this!

BTW, I’ve just seen that the BBC Radio 3 Website has all the previous week’s Late Junction programs archived for listening on demand – GO AND LISTEN, it’s brilliant – a fascinating mix of world music, new music, eclectic pop and prog, bits of jazz, ancient music – all kinds of stuff, and now you can listen any time of the day! There really is no excuse…

Curry, Theatre and the run up to Christmas

The Deep 2 Deep curry was great fun – organised by Wulf (and yes, he has brothers called Magnus and Leofrick…), 6 of us went out for curry. a fine time. Is having curry ever not a fine time? Wulf also had a CD of his bootleg of the Bass Centre clinic that I did with Michael Manring last month – not bad quality, so I’ll see if I can clean it up in Soundforge and put some of it on the website… We’ll see…

Anyway, Saturday was a great day too – not-at-all-evil-Dann proved his not-at-all-evilness by inviting me to the theatre to see The Play Wot I Wrote, at the Wyndhams theatre near Leicester Square (has evil harv ever taken me to the theatre? I think not… proving his evility) Anyway, the play was brilliant – lots of marvellous physical comedy, top gags, Morcambe and Wise routines (that’s the major theme of the play)… all great stuff. Why don’t I go to the theatre more often? It’s great! I really ought to… there’s new year’s resolution number 3 (the rest will be revealed at new year…)

Anyway, theatre followed by dinner with Dann and his not-at-all-evil family. Then home.

Also started reading Further Along The Road Less Travelled again – what a great book – a fantastic followup to ‘The Road Less Travelled’, sort of a bringing together of thinking on physcology and religion… fascinating stuff. I do like the way Scott Peck’s mind works, and will have to work my way through the rest of his stuff in the next year (Resolution #4?)

Found another cool 80s computer game on line – this time it’s Bomb Jack – not as addictive as the Helicopter Game (I’ve now got about 1760 on it, and the addictiveness of it is testified to by the thread that has been going on in the Miscillaneous forum at www.activebass.com about it!!

Today was the St Luke’s Nativity at church – always a pretty anarchic affair (particularly a couple of years ago when it was re-written to reference psycho half way through, Norman Bates having become the inn keeper!!!!) – the kiddies were on top form, and a fine time was had by all.

Then home to do the Christmas Food Shop. Asda was packed (shouldn’t have gone there…)

Soundtrack – a bit more of Gary Peacock/Ralph Towner, then the new Joni Mitchell CD, ‘Travelogue’ which is a series of orchestra + voice versions of her back catalogue. Her last album was her doing a load of standards with a couple of her own tunes thrown in which were the best tunes on the CD, heralding the way for this. It’s gorgeous, lush, sumptuous and a slight shame that there’s no new material on it at all. Very lovely indeed, and beautifully packaged, with lots of Joni’s paintings on the sleeve. And now I’m listening to Beauty And The Beast by Jez and me, which is also very good – you can download it from the MP3s page on the site, if you like, as a christmas pressie from Jez and I. It’s not available anywhere else…

Link 182

First up, a couple of sites you might want to have a look at, if you’re wanting to kill some time before doing all those things you really ought to be getting on with…

Fly The Copter – is a java game, and is rather addictive…

world’s dullest blog – you thought you were already reading it. Think again.

While we’re on the subject of ‘blogs, check out George and Gemini’s cat-blog at catchat.org – marvellous stuff!

Pacman – Ben Castle’s website, aside from having all the musical info you need about the man (which you really ought to check out), also has a java version of PacMan on it…!

What’s been happening? Well, The Aged Feline had another fit/seizure at 2.30 this morning. It’s really really traumatic to watch, as he seems to be in such pain – we’ve got a vets appt. for tomorrow, and I spoke to the vet yesterday, who said that it’s probably either blood pressure related, or to do with oxygen startvation… either way, it’s pretty worrying, and really distressing to watch, knowing that all you can do is cuddle him until it goes away (following him being sick and crapping everywhere)… weird thing is, he seems fine about an hour later… Still, I’ll be keeping a close eye on him today, checking in on him during the day… I’m hoping he’ll come and sleep down here in the office, in front of a toasty warm fire… we’ll see… I’ll have to tempt him with some quorn or red pepper (fave aged feline snacks…)

Last night was the Last Orders Christmas Curry – which was great, and all the more remarkable as Last Orders doesn’t really exist any more, and I haven’t really been involved since August 2001… It was, in its heyday, the rather groovy late night cabaret/music/comedy/nonsense show at Greenbelt, headed up by top comedy writer James Cary (Jam). Last night was me, evil harv, Jam, Jude and Andy Turner. A fine evening was had by all…

Latest news seems to be that the PPP/PFI/Part privatisation of the tube is going to cost a heck of a lot more than leaving it in the public sector… no shit, sherlock! really? what a surpirse, considering all the other PPP schemes have ended costing the government shedloads of cash for shoddy end results. Good lord, has it taken them this long to realise what a total balls up the whole PPP thing is???? Just visit any PPP hospital, and see the fine wallpaper in rooms with too few beds, and lifts that won’t fit a bed in… Why did we vote for these fools??? New Labour, Old Tory… Go on, give the Lib-Dems a go next time, I dare you…

US tour dates for January are coming along nicely – another one confirmed for San Luis Obispo this morning… I have fairly unfavourable memories of SLO from my last visit there, namely because I went through it on my way from Sacramento to Big Sur!!!! (a detour of about 250 miles!!) having been told to head down 5 to Highway 1, but not realising that I was looking for a road to connect the two, not actually the point where they met (over a hundred miles south of where I needed to me..) – I was very late for the gig, which turned out to be fine after all, but did leave me with a bit of a stigma attached to the name ‘San Luis Obispo’… :o)

Soundtrack – yesterday, was listening to Squarepusher ‘Go Plastic’, crazy drum ‘n’ bass insanity – Tom Jenkinson AKA Squarepusher is a fab bassist, although there’s no live bass on this album at all… great stuff. Since then, been listening to Drastic Measures by Michael Manring – his first ‘great’ album (his first two albums have got some fine music on them, but this is where his ‘voice’ emmerged, beautifully produced by Steve Rodby) – a very very inspiring album, which I spent some time last night playing along with…

In the car last night I put on ‘Steve McQueen’ by Prefab Sprout – which is always a bad move, as it means nothing else will get a look-in for weeks. What an unbelieveably perfect album in every way imagineable!!! Great songs, great lyrics, fantastic production (Thomas Dolby), remarkable sounds and arrangements. All round magic. I’m planning on doing a coupe of solo arrangements of tunes from the CD… who knows it they’ll work… Maybe I should do an all-covers CD… :o) Any suggestions for things I should do? feel free to email them, or post them to the website guestbook (Evil Harv, control yourself…)

The rest of today? some playing, some accounting, meeting Simon Jones for lunch (nice man), and er, that’s it.

Oh, nasty news from this morning – a woman tripped over outside the house and broke her nose!! Blood everywhere, I got a knock on the door asking for frozen peas, which I fetched, along with a chair for the woman to sit on before the ambulance arrived. Poor thing, hope she’s OK…

Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me…

…or if you’re like me, just do nothing! Find it very hard to get motivate to
do all the work that needs doing… what with the central heating being bust and
me feeling like I’m fighting off some sort of cold thingie… Anyway, must get
my self assessment tax stuff sorted this week, as I don’t want to be doing it
on Christmas day, and in the new year, I’ll be sorting out stuff for the States…

Anyway, today I’ve done some updates on the website – just tinkering really,
and probably a diversionary tactic away from what I really should be doing…
grrr…

tonight’s looking a bit better – first Grace (alternative worship thingie in
Ealing – all very groovy and ambient…), followed by Ben Castle
at the 606 club – should be fantastic!

And then tomorrow… hopefully some work… after church…

Soundtrack – today, just Rain Tree Crow, which was a sort of
Japan reformation in the late 80s early 90s, did one album, which is brilliant,
and then vanished again… I’ve listened to it four times in a row!

Right, I’m off to put some jacket potatos in the oven…

Lessons learned from a useless DJ pt 1

I have to thank Jon Gaunt… I made a fine discovery today, thanks to him.

For those of you that don’t live in London, or do but don’t listen to BBC Radio
London, he’s the ill-informed, reactionary, argumentative waste of oxygen
that comprises a big turd-stain on an otherwise fabulous schedule at Radio
London, between 9 and 12am… His is a phone in show, in which anyone
who disagrees with said loser gets shouted down or cut off or insulted and
sundry equally ill-informed losers (why on earth should I give a monkey’s
what Joe-schmoe-cabby thinks about Asylum seekers?? Has he done the
research? has he worked in a camp, or a homeless shelter? does he have
any idea what it’s like to be dislocated??? of course not!!! So why on earth
are his views being broadcast across London, at the licence payer’s
expense?????????????) phone in to agree with Mr Gaunt’s ludicrous polemic…

Anyway, thanks the small person leaving the radio on to entertain the
aged feline today when she went to work (a futile exercise, given the
profound deafness of the afore-mentioned feline, but a cute attempt
anyway…), I was subjected to about 5 minutes of Gaunt’s bile-filled
ranting, and turned over to radio 4. Woman’s Hour. What great radio!!
Quality broadcasting, expert opinions, funny presenters… good lord! any
way of getting that Gaunt loser to have a listen?

Jumped in the car to drive to Oxford to see Jez, and leave the radio on –
very funny radio play, followed by fascinating docu-thingie on inner city
schools. So thanks to Gaunty’s attempts to be ‘the british Rush Limbaugh’
(yes, my US friends, he’s that useless…) I have now discovered the delights
of Radio 4… :o)

Anyway, the visit to Jez’ was highly enjoyable and resulted in another
fascinating improv track, which will probably be available from the Pillow
Mountain Records
website for download soon, as an early Christmas Pressie
for anyone that wants it… No looping on the track this time, just my bass
and his piano and some lovely noises. Same premise as the ‘Conversations’
stuff. No discussion of key/vibe/anything. Just plug in and play… a rather
invigorating way to spend the day. Jez is a very intuitive musician, and
plays some fantastic stuff on here…

Came home, listening to more Radio 4 stuff on the way. Was hassled
mercilessly by the cat when I got in, who clearly doesn’t like being left
on his own during the day anymore, even though I’d fed him and given
him maximum snuggles before I went out… There’s no pleasing some
small furry people…

Soundtrack – well, during the few moments when I’ve not
been indulging my new love affair with Radio 4, I’ve listened to Cupid
and Psyche again, Peter Gabriel’s Up, the new Keith Jarrett double live CD,
and this new track from me and Jez, which is play at the moment…

Right, off to cook dinner now…

Adventures in Solo Bass

A couple of years ago, I started a website… not my own, I already had that
one, but another one – The Solo Bass Network – designed as a links and info
page for anyone interested in solo bass stuff, and a portal to finding all the
solo bassists around…

Just after starting to site, I got way to busy to actually collect the info needed
to keep the mailing list happening, so it has lain dormant for the best part of
18 months.

Finally, today, I got round to switching the list format to ‘anyone on the list
can post’, so that people can post their own news (like, that was a
revelation!) – so I’ve updated the site a bit, and hopefully, the possibilities
for spreading the word about solo bass related stuff will expand…

If you’re interested in solo bass, do check out the site – the directory has
got tonnes of links to solo bassist’s websites, and an ickle write up on each
of them…

soundtrack – on a solo bass theme, I’ve been listening to Trip
Wamsley’s as-yet-unreleased new album, and very fine it is too.. you can
find trip’s site via the Solo Bass Network! :o)

So much to do…

Teaching Schedule is now filling up, which is good… I asked my
students to get back in touch in early December, so the eager ones
are on it already and my diary is taking shape, which is nice…

Still feeling jet-lagged from the tour, sleeping late, sitting up late…
need to get back round the right way by the weekend.

Just found the site of a band called Dapp Theory
– jazz outfit based in NYC who have collaborated with Bruce
Cockburn on their album that’s out in January… very interesting
stuff. have a listen to the track Trickle Down on their website…

Right what now? need to go and post CD orders (mail order
ones, CC orders from evinsol.co.uk and from gemm.com
– it’s getting harder to keep track of what’s happening where!
Gemm seems like a very good set up though. I’ve only had the
stuff listed there a day or two and am already getting orders
daily from them, so I guess people must be looking for it! That’s
heartening… :o)

Also need to mail out all the review copies that I bagged up yesterday
– it’s going to be a fun trip to the post office with 40 jiffy bags or
something this afternoon!

Oh, and at some point soon I need to take the flight case back to
the Bass Centre that they so kindly lent to me for the L42
tour – this little Ashdown rig of mine, with the 4×8,
1×10 and 500W head, all fits into one normal 4×10 cabinet flight
case!! A whole rig in one medium sized case.. how cool is that?