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Thursday, August 31, 2000

Memories of bygone Crim

Boy, was there a lot of energy in the air yesterday, swirling around and throwing ideas up in the air like confetti. You had to be quick to catch them We all left work feeling charged up. So much so, that I received an e-mail from a colleague tonight which goes like this;

“What an exciting meeting! How extraordinary it is when the gaffer hooks into it all with the same exuberant commitment as the rest of us!

How unusual it is for the can-carrier to offer to support - and find the money for - projects which we believe in and which we advise are worthwhile! That was one memorable meeting.

There was a special feeling in that room this afternoon - last felt for me when we talked with Mike and came out with a commission for Matt Seattle. This is not a bad place to be.

Talked to Keith Tippett yesterday. He’d just got in from mowing the lawn. The reason for our conversation was the first draft of the sleeve notes I’d done for the soon to be re-issued Blueprint album. Keith gave some helpful observations and pointers about the tone and content as well as correcting one or two factual errors I’d made.

That’s what you get for reading other erroneous sleeve notes. Chinese whispers and the mistakes are perpetuated. I’m going to do a revised draft and see what he thinks.

After that, Ian Wallace and I chewed the fat for a couple of hours. Ian talks as wittily and as engaging as his dairy entries elsewhere on this site. I’d managed to get Virgin to send Ian copies of all the Virgin re-masters which helped prompt his grey cells on memories of bygone Crim. After nearly two hours, we called it a day and made arrangements to speak again.

Speaking of Virgin and the re-masters, I’ve had correspondence over the last couple of days with Declan Colgan from Virgin. Declan tells me that the re-master of Red is stunning. In the course of these epistles, we discover we both have liking for ECM records and swap a couple of titles at each other – sparking off in me a wave of nostalgia which sent me reaching for my one and only Eberhard Weber CD.

E-mail also from Bull Farflung of the BOAR album fame - That’s the Birth Of A Repercussion albums - who is on his way to New Jersey and the Guitar Craft course. He’s on his way to the New Jersey Guitar Craft session which starts in a couple of days. Sending out good vibes to all attending.

The interview I did with KCNN is now posted up and Dan the man who never sleeps has put a link to the thing at the top of the site.

Monday, August 28, 2000

The First National Bank of Dad

A glorious morning with a spectacular sunrise. From where I sit the sea is almost silver.

Listening to Durufle’s heartbreakingly beautiful Requiem this morning. The ache of loss and redemption which seems to permeate every note are quite beautiful.

And without wanting in any way to sour or cheapen the experience, some of it put me strongly in mind of Genesis circa Trespass. Can any Genhead’s out there confirm the connection or is it just in my ears alone ? Also on the playlist is the Fayman & Fripp glacial-movement-erama in which nothing happens - a lot. It’s perfect for taking you out of yourself and in this it reminds me of RF’s 1999 (er. . . the album not the year).

It’s amazing who our neighbours are. A day or so ago, Jude who lives next door was having her birthday party. I didn’t go as I was on typing mode but Debbie went along and got talking.

Turns out some people who we vaguely know from the next street are KC fans but one of them runs a business building a selling analogue synth modules around the world from their house. I gather satisfied customers include some group called A Flock Of Seagulls who I understand caused a ripple of excitement for chart compilers a few years ago.

Talked to Bill Bruford on Saturday morning for a couple of hours. This was largely about the 90’s version of Crimson and his verdict on the projeKcts.

I’d explained to the children on Saturday morning who I was interviewing and that I needed to be left alone. This was all agreed and off I went upstairs to do the business with Bill.

No sooner than Bill had started into the interview, when one of the Tom came in very upset, tears bubbling and lip quivering. I tried a few desperate signals of pacification but to no avail – I had to cut Bill off in his flow and tell him that I’d call him back. Around fifteen minutes later, I try again and no sooner than Bill had got the words out of his mouth, the boys appeared again, this time demanding money.

Sadly for them, the First National Bank of Dad was closed.

Talking to Bill is an interesting experience. It’s not so much like a conversation as listening to a performance. Subtle, demanding, eloquent, witty and challenging are all components of Bill’s pronouncements on King Crimson.

His periods in Crimson have inspired and exasperated him in equal measure and I suggested that the section of the book dealing with his tenure on he drum stool could be entitled “whatever they’re paying you, it isn’t enough”

Yesterday was a good day for the book and the section leading up to GG&F hold together quite well this morning. Debbie had wanted to get out to Belsay Hall but I want to take advantage of the bank holiday to nail some more of this sucker down.

As a way of taking a break yesterday, I used the I Ching as a way of getting a second opinion on some of the material. Very different perspectives emerged which are very tempting. Might go with that again today.

It’s amazing who our neighbours are. A day or so ago, Jude who lives next door was having her birthday party. I didn’t go as I was on typing mode but Debbie went along and got talking.

Turns out some people who we vaguely know from the next street are KC fans but one of them runs a business building a selling analogue synth modules around the world from their house. I gather satisfied customers include some group called A Flock Of Seagulls who I understand caused a ripple of excitement for chart compilers a few years ago.

Debbie has just informed me that I’m about to mow the lawn !

Friday, August 25, 2000


Unaccountably tearful this morning when listening to the opening moments of Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’ by Vaughan Williams. Romantic ? Sentimental ? Something brittle within me was swept up and carried away by this timeless music. I felt . . . freshened and uplifted afterwards, released from something, somewhere.

Maybe I felt released from my terror at turning in this bloody book in on time after a week with a depressingly low word count.

The post arrived as I was having a meeting on the lawn with a colleague and amongst the horrendous phone bills and final demands, there was a poster tube from Chris Wilson with a newly updated cover design. He’s incorporated all the album sleeves up to TCOL in the central bar and rather splendid it looks too.

I’ve been forwarding Chris all the various bits of commentary and feedback people have kindly sent regarding the cover design so far. This version looks even better and even I’ve been hard pressed to work out all of the album cover references suspended in the red space behind the main titles.

Later . . .

Barre Philips’ stunning album Mountainscapes is on full blast. Recorded in the mid-seventies with John Surman on sax, it’s a barn-storming performance of muscular, rippling playing from all concerned. Phillips is a wonderful acoustic bass player and worthy of your attention.

Recently on the guest book, Mark Taylor speculated a collaboration between Fripp and Phillips (Frillips as he cleverly calls it.) There were several points on the ProjeKct Four tour a couple of years ago when Levin and Fripp locked horns and the results were wonderful.

After the luminous Temple In Clouds with Fayman and Fripp, I’d love to hear Fripp and Levin vibing away. Or even Phillips and Fripp. Oh god, I must be tired . . .fantasy Fripping before the sun has passed the yard-arm.

E-mail from Bill Bruford passing on some contact numbers for Jon Anderson and Pete Banks and one from Donovan’s people saying that they passed my request for an interview onto the man himself.

I’d never heard the Donvan’s version of Get Thy Bearing until Chris Wilson slipped it on one day. A fine version and not a million miles away from the KC reading.

Thursday, August 24, 2000

Hopes & Dreams

Don’t know if anyone has heard the recent sixties compilation Maximum ’65 which came with the recent edition of Mojo but I caught up with it tonight. Totally stunning English Rnb meets pop meets pychedelia with a cast that features John Mayall, Small Faces, David Bowie, Donovan, Status Quo, The Kinks and er…Gordon Haskell as part of the Fleur De Lys.

It’s one of those rare occasions when I’d have gladly paid for what was a cover give away.

Talked to matt Seattle tonight about the recent commission. Sounds like things are falling nicely into place and it looks like we might have a touch of the McFall’s entering the picture as well. I’ll give Robert McF an e-mail and sort out the details.

In the course of the conversation Matt, mentioned the progress of the book and revealed that he had seen the ’69 Crim at the ICA and was blown away by what he saw and heard.

Another package from Ian McDonald arrived full of all sorts of goodies including an annotated set list for either a gig or rehearsal – fascinating stuff. Also included was Ian’s copy of the original agreement with Angus Hunking which set up GGF and McDonald with the means to focus and concentrate their efforts.

Spent a couple of days in the Lake District on a mixture of business and pleasure. The business side was meeting up with Russell Mills and Ian Walton to talk about their forthcoming sound installation and exhibition.

The pleasure side was going out for a couple of pints with Russell and Ian in their local pub and some sight-seeing around Ambleside and Rydal the next day. Gorgeous scenery and brilliant vast skies full of Summer hopes and dreams ( to borrow a phrase).

Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Out of The Flames

Up bright and early and after a spot of sitting in the garden, drinking tea on the lawn, I head off back indoors and do the washing up and put the bins out for collection.

The soundtrack to these domestic chores is none other than the wonderfully invigorating music of Matt Seattle’s Out Of The Flames. Amazing but true I download this morning’s e-mail and have a message waiting from Matt himself !

I’ll give him a ring today and see what he’s up to.

I’m lucky enough to be heading off to the Lake District today to meet up with Russell Mills. Russell has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, David Sylvian and a host of other luminaries both as a graphic designer, musical collaborator and no mean artist himself. Russell will be doing some work as part of a year of the artist scheme later in the year. Today’s meeting is the first stage of that.

Tyne Tees the local television company (part of the ITV chain) want to make a short documentary on Russell’s residency with us which will be good for all concerned.

Last night left a couople of messages for Mel Collins to try and fix a time to meet up. Also heard from Sean at Helter Skelter who’ve said no to the idea of splitting the book into two parts. Sean writes;

Gut reaction is - while it is tempting to split the thing into two, the punters (beyond the very hardcore) simply would expect it to be the full story.

I'm not sure that they really would buy two books and it might affect the sales of the first quite adversely. I will think on it, but believe that in the bigger picture, one book is viable and two might be that double album that arguably should have been a single - insert your favourite for this accolade, mine would be all double albums save White Album, Exile on Main St, Blonde on Blonde and The Wall.

Shy bairns get nowt as we say up here.

Monday, August 21, 2000

A Bachelor? Boy!

Dreadful night; turning and tossing around and around. Plagued by shrill, loud dreams. One of which was interviewing the lead singer from The Bachelor’s about his time in San Francisco with King Crimson. Then trying to find my hotel – going round in circles but always missing the hotel by blocks.

Now even I can work out the significance of that last part of the dream but THE BACHELORS ???? Maybe this is the unconscious telling me that my time is up. Maybe I should just try and get properly unconscious.

Diary readers of a certain age and location will know of the Bachelors. To those who don’t they were a popular trio operating in the sixties proffering clean cut ballads and uplifting tunes with stay press suits and ties to match.

I note from the latest Jaffa Cake toys available through a large Burger chain that the makers of the cakes have created some itty-bitty characters – one of whom happens to be called Boz. I decline to make any pithy comments.

Sunday, August 20, 2000

Home Again

Whitley Bay (Hooray !)

Back home last night. The six and a half hour train journey passed without event and Tom and Joe were complete angels all the way up. Debbie arrived back around ten o’clock having dropped Sam and Alys off with their father in Birmingham first.

Shellshocked and speechless, we wandered around the house which seemed endlessly vast after the constraints of the caravan. I checked some e-mail posted up a rambling and incoherent account of the holiday on the diary site and caught a bit of Clint Eastwood’s excellent Unforgiven on the television.

This morning I was up bright and early and made a start in the garden, uprooting the numerous poppies which are past their best and about to go off.Spent the other half of the morning listening to an album which was sent to me by Fred Challenor.

Trading under the name of Hughscore, they’ve produced an album called Deltaflora featuring Fred on bass and guitar, Elaine di Falco on various keyboards and gorgeously languid vocals and some other chums alongside the legendary (to me at least) bassist Hugh Hopper.

The album takes a nod to the Hopper back catalogue with a section of Facelift which was first featured on the landmark Soft’s 1970 album Third. In a piece of remarkable synchronicity as I opened the package from Fred, Radio Three were broadcasting a programme on the history of Jazz-Rock featuring the Soft Machine and then John McLaughlin. Uncanny but true.

Hopper was a key member of the Soft Machine and numerous other groups in the UK jazz rock scene. I’m grateful to Fred for sending me this CD as it not only contains some great tunes and playing but brings me back up to speed with Hugh’s activities with several other compositions by Hugh and the rest of the gang.

Delta Flora has a languorous, dreamy groove which gently insinuates itself into your pores. The last track particular caught my ear this morning as the sun shone down. Highly recommended.

Tonight Debbie and I went to see the new X-Men movie. Gratuitous SFX and dull script. What else where you expecting ?

In to late to answer a phone message left from Mel Collins. I’ve previously tried phoning but missed him. He’s in the country for a few more days yet so maybe I’ll have a bit more success.

E-mails from Ian McDonald and Peter Sinfield endorsing the notion of splitting the book into two separate gorillas. Further pondering and discussion with Helter Skelter required I think.

Hughscore Delta Flora

Teaching an old sliding dog new tricks...
Delta Flora

Recorded in two separate studios – Delta in the UK and Flora in the States – this is the third collaboration between Portland-based team, bassist Fred Chalenor and keyboards/vocalist, Elaine di Falco, (best known as Caveman Shoestore) and Canterybury sound legend, Hugh Hopper.

Trippy, often hippy and occasionally spaced out in the nicest possible way, Hughscore contrive to create a groovy jazz-tinged psych-rock that never quite existed in the late 60s but sounds like it could have.

Fans of Hopper’s back catalogue will want to know that they tackle “Facelift”, the monolithic epic from Soft Machine’s Third. On Delta Flora those angular sonorities have been reshaped and moulded to flow more evenly across Tucker Martine’s fizzing drum sample to give the old beast a new lease of sprightly life.

"Was A Friend" from Robert Wyatt’s Schleep (co-written with Hopper) is given a Hughscore makeover in which the fidgety, nervous energy of the original is transformed into a darker, cavernous dub-lined space. At its centre, Elaine Di Falco’s unhurried vocal hovers in stark, intimate contrast to the drifting dance-hall ambience of Craig Flory’s tenor sax.

Though Hopper’s name undoubtedly has a greater currency and potential appeal, this is not a one-sided fuzzfest by any stretch of the imagination. There’s some top quality writing from the youngbucks. Elaine di Falco’s up-close sensuous purr on “November” demands and gets attention.

The cyclical sing-song shuffle, "Based On" is infectious in the extreme with Fred Challenor’s bass bubbling underneath Canterbury-style organ riffs, Hopper’s flanged incursions and velveteen brass/wind arrangements.

It’s not all Softs-focussed. They let their collective freak flag fly on the punchy "Ramifications" whilst the punning "Robohop" plummets into Paul Schutze-style subterranean probing – deep, dark and down there.

The portly tones of real Fender Rhodes piano on "Tokitae" evoke a misty-eyed nostalgia, closing an album of sunny languor whose dream-laden grooves soothingly insinuate and percolate long after its fade-out. Close your eyes and its vintage stuff; homage for sure but without recourse to retread or kitsch parody.

Friday, August 18, 2000

Six People In A Caravan

Porthcawl, Wales

Tuesday 15th August
More rain but the kids don’t seem to mind. In the afternoon we head up to Debbie’s father’s house which is on an estate overlooking the valley. Being at Bill’s meant I was able to send some e-mails and post a diary update.

In the forty or so incoming posts were a couple from Robert commenting on some points concerning the original KC line-up and the recording of Poseidon. Just as I was about to read them, my mobile went and Robert was on the phone from Edinburgh taking up the points he’d made in his e-mails.

Robert also makes a suggestion that I talk to my publishers about two books on Crimson rather than trying to cover the whole Crimhistory in one shot. The first volume would cover 1969 up to 1974 and the second encompass 1981 onwards.

I have to say the idea is very appealing and splitting it this way would mean that a lot of the material that would otherwise be taken out due to lack of space, would see the light of day. Something to ponder on and I’ll talk to Helter Skelter when I get back.

The children were ferried off to the cinema and we head off to Bridgend ostensibly so I could buy the latest edition of MOJO which features a great interview and article on Julie Tippetts.

In the evening in a pause in the rain, Debbie takes the kids up to the local fun fair and I manage to get a bit more done on the Poseidon chapter sifting and lifting Keith Tippett’s commentary to fit accordingly.

Wednesday 16th August
Sunshine ! We head off to the local beach in Trecco Bay. It’s deserted and the tide is out. Impressively out. So out in fact that you’d have to walk about a mile to go for a paddle or plodge. The kids in the shape of Tom, Joe and Alys set about reconstructing an outcrop of rock into some kind of base camp complete with kitchens, offices, garages and bedrooms.

The power of children’s imagination is incredibly powerful. Although Alys is 13 she is still able to enter into Tom and Joe’s fantasy world without the encroachment of whether it’s cool or uncool - although not for a sustained period of time.

In the evening, Tom, Joe and I head up to the vast and sprawling amusement arcades which seem to be exclusively populated by droves of teens, drawling around in surly thickets. Elaborately coded dances and rites of passage are enacted in towns and cities by spotty faced kids the world over. Tonight though they appear to have decided to hold a convention here in South Wales.

They pout, pose, preen and prop themselves against every available surface in this neon encrusted hell-hole. Or perhaps I’m being overly priggish - a bumfluff of lads and a topknot of girls. Urrgh. . .

Thursday 17th August
More rain. Lots of tension between Debbie and her children who insist on using Sneer as the principle language of the day. We get out for an hour and Joseph re-arranges substantial sections of the municipal putting green with great relish.

In the evening, more writing and the chapter around Poseidon seems to be complete apart from addressing McDonald And Giles and some further input from Peter Sinfield.

Friday 18th August
Sunshine after rain and the gang goes out, leaving me to tap away at the laptop. I complete the main draft of the sleeve notes for the re-issue of Keith Tippett’s Blueprint.

Early evening and we head off for the big fun fair - a tradition which marks the last night of the Hols. You may be forgiven for thinking that I haven’t enjoyed the week. This isn’t true. However, the rain and the claustrophobic confines of six people in a caravan have taken their toll.

Looking forward to getting home and being able to stretch - physically and emotionally. Debbie is very tired after a fortnight of refereeing between Sam and Alys.

Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Lights Out For The Territory

Porthcawl, Wales

Saturday . . .12th August

The train journey on Saturday took six and half hours and was, I’m happy to report, bliss. Normally train carriages are packed to the gills especially on a Saturday at this time of year. However, I think we shared ours with around five or six quiet and withdrawn individuals for the entire trip.

This meant we could spread ourselves out a bit and relax. I’d filled a bag full of small table games and the like the but the bulk weren’t needed. Tom and Joe were so taken with the journey. Wispy cloud draped like lace across a the vast arc of heavens blue as we sped past Betjeman churches in their neat quadrangles of billowing greens and dappled wheat fields. I have a tendency as I get older to start getting dewy-eyed when I see this panorama. Maybe I’ve been playing too much Vaughan Williams, Holst and Elgar lately.

Our train went straight through from Newcastle to Bridgend without any hitches or delays and we were met by Debbie’s father Bill. Ten minutes later, we had been whisked to Porthcawl and what I’m told is the largest caravan park in Europe. The boys are shaking with excitement.

Sunday. . . 13th August

Trecco Bay is a provisional town in waiting, populated by redundant miners, shift workers from the post-industrial industrial parks and the stray tourist. It’s not so much enjoying the stay as getting through with gritted teeth. The kids love it but there’s little in the way for adults to do other than eat vast quantities of greasy food and drink gallons of beer which they do with much gusto. Thankfully, I have the lap-top and a few KC interviews to transcribe which gets me through.

The plus side is that there is a huge beach and when the sun strays into this neck of the woods (which it has failed to do so far)it can be very pleasant. I have a dim kernel of pop trivia lodged in my brain which tells me that somebody like Echo & The Bunnymen or The Teardrop Explodes had an album cover photographed here.

Monday . . . 14th August

Finishing off Lights Out For The Territory by Iain Sinclair. It’s a wonderful, kaleidoscopic documentation of the hidden London constructed on ley-lines of ancient co-incidence and connection. Sinclair’s rolling prose decodes a city full of secret symbols and obscured architecture, where Doctor Dee and Nicolas Hawksmoor rub shoulders with the Krays and the serious wide-boys like Lord Archer.

The rich fog of mystery that permeates Sinclair’s London is compelling, making a travelogue read like one of the best page turning thrillers in which the Ripper still lurks in the shadows of Whitechapel, casting a pall over the whole city. It’s an obsessive London, predicated on constantly unearthing conspiracies of association and half-glimpsed messages in the ancient grafitti of buildings and street names.

To an outsider like myself, the power of names is something which has a resonance for me. On a much smaller scale, place names like Brondesbury Road, Turnham Green, Fulham Palace Road, Denmark Street, etc., have a significance for me beyond their real existence or function.

Somewhere, there’s a map which of London in the late sixties to early 70’s which links all these sites, which traces all the connections and reveals the psychogeography of a bunch of disparate musicians and partners. Any volunteers with an old A-Z and a dayglo highlighther ?

Saturday, August 12, 2000

Just Deserts

Following my interview with Keith Tippett, a small package from Keith’s booking agency arrived in the post this morning. It contained a very useful press kit complete with interview, CV and clippings. Also in the parcel was a copy of Couples In Spirit II.

This astonishing music vibrated through the whole house and oddly enough appeared to inspire Tom and Joe to get both hoovers out and proceed to indulge in a spot of vacuum cleaner frenzy. Whilst this works up a self-righteous lather it’s truly incredible that so much floor can be missed by two young lads. Nevertheless they demand their Jaffa reward!

We head off to Wales later today and so much of this morning has been spent doing bits of packing and so on. I’m taking the lap top with me and will have an opportunity to do some transcribing of interviews.

Friday, August 11, 2000

Dotting I's & Crossing T's


A lovely view at the end of our street this morning makes me realise how lucky I am living here.

Talked to Keith Tippett for a couple of hours yesterday. We covered his work with Crimson and beyond. The more I listen to Tippett’s groups, the more I’m convinced of his influence on Robert and KC’s music. Listening to the opening section of Formentera Lady is so close to Blueprint or Ovary Lodge, both of which were produced by RF.

Also talked to Peter Sinfield and Ian McDonald tonight. Dotting I’s and crossing T’s. It's like putting together a jig-saw. Seeing how one piece fits with another. And then, you realise that you don't really have all the bits you need. Not so much missing as mislaid.

So you stop working on that part of the jig-saw until the missing piece arrives via phone, post, e-mail or intuition.

I realise that being an amateur unofficial biographer, that a professional writer would do the job in half the time. However, I’m trusting the process and hoping that it falls into place in the allotted time. And if, I don’t get it all finished on time, just add Volume One to the title !

Thursday, August 10, 2000

Bill Rieflin Writes. . .

11.45 a.m.

A big thanks to Dan K for a shedload of suggestions as to a possible new title of the book. The absolute front runner at the moment though, has come from Bill Rieflung. Writing from his penthouse loft which dominates the Seattle skyline Bull uses the might of his considerable grey cells to wade in with:

"Sucking My Way Straight to the Top: The Sid Smith Story"

That’ll do to be going on with for the moment I think.

Spent the early part of the morning wrestling with the washing machine, listening to In The Wake Of Poseidon and tweaking the section dealing with the aftermath of the ‘69 split.

Also started the packing. Never do this with kids who want to be helpful. We finished the grim task of sorting, folding and packing and Tom and I went downstairs. After a couple of minutes, we realised Joe was missing and it was only his stubby little ankle jutting out of one the cases that clued us in as to where he might be – that and his muffled anxious cries.

Also blasting to Thrak with fresh ears after my conversation with Pat M. He also sent through another couple of photo’s taken during the sessions at Real World.

Was due to go out with my mate Steve Cowgill for a wild night in The Fat Ox but having looked at the schedule, I’ve had to ring him and cancel. Not enough time in the day at the moment which suggests I’m being less than efficient. So what’s new ?

Wednesday, August 09, 2000

Hot & Close


It's been rainy but it's been hot and close. The kids were going stir crazy and about 6.00 o'clock they tunneled out and had some big fun which mostly involved getting filthy dirty or as we say up here, hacky black.

Talked to Keith Tippett and arranged to get our outstanding interview underway tomorrow. Spent much of the afternoon (or as much as I could) pondering the aftermath of the split in the 1969 version of Crim and wrestled with how to present this period of personal transition and change.

People have been candid in their views and one feels a sense of duty to acurately portray this. Yet for every point raised and cited, one can sense the counter-balance or explanation.

Talked to Pat Mastelotto tonight for an hour or so and we covered the making of Thrak. Pat kept some notes during the recording and he's agreed to make these available for the book. He also e-mailed a couple of snaps taken at Real World and in Argentina which I'll forward to Chris Wilson for scanning and the like.

A few more comments on the cover coming in. I am replying to everyone who has taken the time and effort to pass comment but please be patient as I'm likely to be washing clothes or packing for the impending trip to Wales.

Heard from my man Kimber, who sent me the following message;
this is the great kimbrini reporting from Las Vegas!

I've had a week a Dallas. I like Dallas but boy is it hot. Like an oven with malls and bars! As you can imagine life for the Kimber was slow and filled with frequent stops for margaritas! Life's a bitch and she's on heat - yippieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Las Vegas is, well er....well Las Vegas (really!). You couldn't mistake for anything else. Where else would you see the Miami skyline next to a pyramid with a castle in between. Having said that I went for my first cultural fix - I won a load of quarters - bring on the crack whores now - yeah baby that's my bag!

He then signs off by informing me that he's crankin' - whatever that is !


Rainy day means the boys are in the house though full of busy with lots to do. The house looks as though it has been hit by a small tornado - two small tornado’s to be exact. All of which means we’ll be getting onto heavy duty clean-up mode later today.

Talked to Debbie in Wales last night - missing her dreadfully at the moment. I’ll be joining her next week but that feels like an age away at the moment. Sounds like they got the rainy weather ahead of us.

A morning of work-related phone calls and e-mails to Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto, Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald. Crikey - what a line-up that would be eh ?

The deeply talented and golden throated Bill Rieflin ( sorry rEiflin) has me in stitches of laughter with some e-mails containing suggested titles for the book. Sadly most are unrepeatable to a family audience such as this.

More writing in between cooking food and entertaining the kids.

Transfixed by the beautiful O Ignis Spiritus from Andrew Keeling’s forthcoming Quickening The Dead this morning

Tuesday, August 08, 2000

The Church of Mario Lanza

Another early rise and another gift in the sky. These sunrises may look mundane to you here but to stand and see this quickly evolving scene unfurling and unfolding before your very eyes is a beautiful experience. Crikey, I’m getting a bit new-agey these days.

The boys and I headed off to the hospital where Tom had his finger looked at by the specialist. The good news is that the finger is making a splendid recovery and they don’t want to see Tom again unless we think there is a problem. They expect the finger to make a full cosmetic recovery.

Last night locked up in writing and responding to some of the e-mails which people have sent in response to the book cover. Sean at Helter Skelter got in touch to say they liked the cover and that it will go for inclusion into the distributors catalogues.

Comments and feedback are still welcomed though.

Listening to Requiem by Maurice Durufle. Such a beautiful piece of music. For half an hour I was kept spellbound and in a state of pure bliss as each bar gave way to one more spectral and profound than the last. I’ve not come across any other Durufle and was not familiar with this piece – so what a lot of fun I’m going to have tracking down other items. Any suggestions as to where to go next ?

Also on the playlist at the moment is A Somerset Rhapsody by Holst, Norfolk Rhapsody and other toe-tapping classics by Vaughn Williams, numerous choral works by Ligeti and a couple of items which came to me courtesy of Jakko Jakszyk.

The Church Of Lanza is a sombre meditation on the price of fame which was broadcast on BBC Radio Three a while back. Jakko’s incisive narration comes across a bit too much like the voice of God but neatly sets up an engaging dreamscape where the voices of Mario Lanza’s fans, friends and family drift in and out of the aural picture.

The whole thing is underpinned by a lilting score which creates just the right blend of melancholia without ever being maudlin or sentimental. Occasionally, a blistering note from the tenor himself bursts through the sepulchral gloom like a search light, reminding us of the subject matter was a real person rather than a glittering PR confection.

The uncritical adulation heaped on Lanza by his believers was so unhealthy and probably so wide of the mark. Yet his personality and music was important to them and touched them so completely – the conviction in their voice had a grim fascination.

I swear I’m not being paid to plug this stuff but the other item I’ve been playing over the last few days is Jakko’s first solo album Silesia. It contains a series a really punchy pop songs which somehow manage to get Canterbury-ized along the way by the inclusion of contributions from Dave Stewart and the deeply wonderful Amanda Parsons. Other great and goods include trombonist Annie Whitehead and some stand-out performances from David Jackson of Van Der Graaf fame.

Just when you think you’re in pop town, he goes and squiggles (technical term) a corkscrew of a twist and turn of a riff and your off. Good vocals and when he lets it slip off the leash, a ferocious, sprinting lead guitar that nods in the direction of Alan Holdsworth.

I’m not sure if either of these CD’s are still available but they’re well worth hearing and adding to your collection.

Saturday, August 05, 2000

Victoria Avenue Sunrise

5.50 a.m.

A truly terrible night’s sleep has left me feeling groggy and ratty but so glad that I can now get up and get out of bed. I wander through to the upstairs living room to be greeted by a gorgeous sunrise. What a gift this kind of sight is. I took a snap but it hardly does it justice.

Mind you if I had posted up an audio sample you would have heard the tremulous wracking cough to accompany this beautiful sight. My head hurts every time I cough.

Chris Wilson came round and made off with another bag of swag for scanning. Just to show I do have some manners, I opened a box of jaffa cakes which I had thoughtfully put in the fridge. I just opened the tasty comestibles when from nowhere, the room filled up with grubby kids all demanding their just deserts.

One of the items from Peter Giles included the original press adverts for the Cat Food single as well as reproductions of the McDonald And Giles and Poseidon adverts of the day.

Do any UK-based readers of this diary have a copy of the picture sleeve for the Cat Food single ? – if so, would you be prepared to let me borrow it for a couple of days, so Chris can scan it in ? Such a generous act would not go uncredited. Drop me an e-mail if it’s possible.

After cooking rounds and rounds of toast for the hungry throng, I managed to speak to Ian McDonald about some bits and pieces of memorabilia he’s dug up. This was quickly followed by a call from Debbie, who is down in Wales with her kids and a chum called Lil.

After a ton of gooey, oobey-doobey kind of sloppy talk, we managed to talk some sense and update each other on what’s been happening and what is yet to come.

It’s bath time for the boys – you wouldn’t believe how dirty they can be after a day out in the street.

Bad Finger

6.00 a.m.

A beautiful morning – the sun a perfect radiant orb over a shifting sea of golden and silver. The calm of the house has returned after all our house guests have gone. For the last two weeks various items of Debbie’s friends and family have been camped in our numerous nooks and crannies.

As nice as it is to have visitors, it’s nice to get the house back to oneself. I’m going to have it all to myself later today as Debbie and her children Sam and Alys go off to Wales for a fortnight.

Talking to Chris Wilson (graphic designer) and Dan the wondrous Webman last night about the possibilities of putting up the design for the book cover on the diary site. Dan thinks it is possible and Chris has expressed his usual reservations about it being work in progress and not the finished article.

Watch this space or somewhere very close to it for further details.

Talking to Bill Bruford later today about the double trio period of Crimson.


Turned out that BB rang me to say he couldn’t so the interview this morning. So we’ve arranged another date for later in the month. Bill was interested in the progress of the project and who I’d talked to. Concerned that I’ve yet to talk to Adrian Belew, who has agreed in theory but I’ve not yet got anything set-up.

Deb got off to Newcastle to begin her long journey to Wales only to discover that her train had been cancelled and she now had to get along via York. Privatisation of the rail network was supposed to improve services. I’m sure I’m not the only frequent rail traveller to notice the inexorable deterioration of the services over the last few years. The boys and I join Debbie in Wales next week.

Speaking of which. . . the dressing on Tom’s finger came off today and it’s scabbed over nicely. The good news is that quite a bit of it is growing back and there’s more than a bit of new nail pushing up through the end. Tom is quite proud of it.

Friday, August 04, 2000

A Funny Smell

A broad band of pale ochre hovers above a gorgeous calm sea of greys and blues this morning. Also this morning, pastoral greens freckled with teal and dark, tarry yellows inhabit a large swathe of white kitchen towel as I cough and splutter my way through the kitchen.

Speaking of phlegm and other unspeakable bodily functions, I received this e-mail from the man Schuleit. I’ll try and get a fix on which part of the States he’s in – so you can steer well clear.

You have slandered my good name, and I will have none of it. Especially on a public forum read by millions upon millions of bespectacled, hairy faced young men such as the DGM website.

The very thought that my professional image, which I work tirelessly to perfect, can be rendered ineffectual by some dashes of your untrained fingers on a keyboard has me in arrears.

My peers would certainly agree that my career has reached a low point when I am compared to a vile, flatulent post -pubescent conundrum of a man who in various guises parades around like a red-assed monkey masturbating to the bananna channel.

What gives you the right, Sir? And who is this Schuleit character anyhow?

Best Wishes while cupping one to your nose,

Now you can see what a delicate and sensitive DGM diarist like myself has to cope with on a daily basis. Fripp rabbits on about basement dwellers – cave dwellers might be more accurate in this case.


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