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Friday, October 29, 2010

Desk Duties XVII

After a couple of days away in Birmingham and Wolverhampton it was nice to return to the desk, despite the complete and utter mess it's in.

As one job gives way to another, I reach for a reference CD or a book. I keep meaning to put them back as I finish with said item but the phone rings, or emails have to be answered and blah, blah, blah, and so the mess, like misery, deepens like a coastal shelf (as someone once very nearly said)...

I may well have to deal with this lot today before it gets any worse!

Today I had a productive conversation on the blower with a well-respected musician whose work I love, about a potential project for the new year.

Then, checking my in-box, I see I've also received an email from a well-established publisher specialising in music titles, asking me if I'd be interested in becoming involved in a potential project.

Blimey, you wait for ages for a prestigious project then two come along at the same time!

Both are speculative at this stage but were they to come off, then I'd be a very busy bee in 2011 indeed. Which is just how we like it! Fingers crossed everyone!!!

Gratuitous Moss

No, I have no idea why either...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Drinking And Thinking

We had a lovely meal with Neil and Halina last night.

To say we were looked after is an understatement as you can plainly see...


An easy journey back to Newcastle on the train - though not in first class this time. No matter - ideal reading and thinking time. Next month I'm going to be in Sweden doing a lecture and although I've prepped a couple of notes, I really need to get things properly in focus.

The subject of the lecture? Writing about music. Two hours. So, no pressure then!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Day Out With Tom

Thankfully the weather picked up today and turned into a perfect day for standing outside Wolverhampton's railway station waiting for Tom to meet us...

Hugs ensued when he turned up and after the greetings we we took a stroll about town...


Tom wanted to take us to a place called Patisserie Valerie...

Where we spent a good hour or so chatting and savouring the delights within...



Out and about in Wolverhampton...







Then a short walk over to Tom's place in a nearby towerblock...

where he proudly shows off the contents of a fridge that will be familiar to students from time immemorial...
The flat he shares with three other students (including an old pal of his from Whitley Bay) maybe somewhat spartan in the soft furnishing department but it's clean, dry, secure and above all, affordable.

After chatting a while we walked back the five or ten minutes into the centre for a bite to eat and a drink in one of Tom's local pub.

A couple of hours passed chatting and getting a sense that Tom is a very happy young man, engaged in his course work and full of enthusiasm about his new life away from Whitley Bay. I don't think you can ask for anything else really. Debbie and got the train back to Birmingham feeling relaxed and satisfied.

Water Tower Wednesday XXVI

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brum Bound

The trouble with going away is that you have to get everything work-wise pretty much ready to go slightly ahead of schedule. So the deadline for an article was brought forward by a day which resulted in me pulling a shift until 2.00 a.m.

Back up at 6.30 a.m., I was awfy puggled, as Oor Wullie used to say, but keen to engage with the day which would take us from Newcastle to Birmingham. The reason for the journey was to hook up with pals Neil and Halina, and then pop across to Wolverhampton to see how Tom is getting on.

There's an advertising slogan which says something to the effect that the great thing about trains is that you don't have to wait about. This is just as well because the temperature in Newcastle's Central Station never seems to be much above freezing point - regardless of the time of year!


We normally can never afford first class travel but thanks to moment of chance, I'd managed to nab a table in first class for the same price as standard. The main difference is space, and the complimentary tea served throughout the journey. I'd travel this way all the time if it wasn't so hard to get a ticket without having to take on something like the equivalent of the national debt to do so.

Leaving Newcastle we crossed over the Tyne via the King Edwards Bridge...


A truly dreary day. Not that we cared, insulated as we were from the grim weather outside. I'd set up a temporary office and set about writing my review of the Adrian Belew Power Trio gig.

After that, I just sat back and enjoyed the view...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Time Portal VIII


In this secluded Newcastle courtyard, if you catch the right moment,
the sounds of the modern world drift off to be replaced by
the whispers of the 19th and early 20th Century.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

D Deuter

D
Deuter
Reactive

Originally released in 1971, the debut album from this overlooked exponent of krautrock proves to be a fascinating epic blending of rudimentary retro sci-fi electronics, found sounds, trance-inducing waves of guitar and haunting suspended organ chords.

There are moments on multi-sectioned suite Babylon that operate in roughly the same territory as the exploratory elements from both the live and studio sides of Floyd’s Ummagumma. Yet whilst the rumbling bass and blistering lead guitar excursions, which occasionally bob to the album's swirling surface, are clearly not virtuoso affairs, this slightly creaky “amateur” approach is precisely what lends the album much of its charm.

In his enthusiastic inclusion of just about any sound source he can lay his hands on, Deuter wears his freewheeling love of sound for sound’s sake firmly on his sleeve. Thus erroneous bumps, clicks and glitches join in the tape-looping fun and contribute to the sense of spontaneity which dominates much of the record.

If the motivation for this music was ostensibly part of Georg Deuter’s personal spiritual journey, it’s also a demonstration of one musician’s resourcefulness. A bit like a Cosmiche Stephan Micus, he creates a delicate array of ideas and different timbral auras, though not all of them are benign. The echo-drenched, tape-manipulated percussion that eerily Atlantis, anticipates the abrasive musique concrète Peter Hammill deployed to suitably unsettling effect on Magog (In Bromine Chambers) by a few years.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Walking To Gateshead

Knowing that I was going to see Adrian Belew tonight at The Sage I decided to make a day of it and work from the Lit & Phil in Newcastle.




The main jobs today were transcribing interviews I'd done recently with Eddie Jobson and with Trey Gunn. The view from where I sit...



Around mid-day, I was briefly joined by a stranger...

...who turned out to be fellow blogger Hazabaza or @philbop as he's known on Twitter. Although we'd exchanged comments and tweets before, this was the first time we'd met. It turns out the world is incredibly small as Phil lives just up the road from me in Cullercoats. Nice to be able to put a face to a name!

As the clock approached five, and all the transcriptions were done and dusted, it was time to go over to The Sage to catch up with Ade and the gang who'd arrived in Newcastle yesterday.

The "new" castle from which the city takes its name was looking lovely in the afternoon sunlight...
Pausing by The Bridge Hotel for a walk across the rooftops...



Then I decided to bypass Newcastle quayside and take a walk across the High Level bridge which was remarkably quiet.









And into a curiously deserted Gateshead...

past a bar in whose upstairs room I used to rehearse in many moons ago...

and into a strange half-world of intersecting roads, junctions, idling freight trains, and deserted alleyways...



And toward The Sage itself. The lack of advertising for the Belew gig - or indeed any concert which is notionally part of the International Guitar Festival - borders on the criminal.

Another walk across the rooftops as viewed from the Gateshead side of the river...


After meeting up with the team, and catching up over a bite to eat, we agree to do the interview after the gig. Ade, Julie, Tobias and John head over to their hotel, and I sit in the cafe and check email, etc courtesy of the Sage's free wi-fi. A few minutes in and I'm joined by Ian, who'd travelled all the way up from London to see the gig.

I'd last seen Ian at the Travis & Fripp gig in Wimborne and before that, at all the King Crimson concerts in 2008. Here he is outside of the Nokia Theatre just off Times Square...

Hall One has a capacity nearer 2000 and it would've been a lot better had the gig been staged in the much more intimate Hall Two. As it was the 250 or so folk who turned out had a splendid time. For many people, this was the first time they'd heard Crimson material played by a KC alumni.
Backstage the team were in high spirits and justifiably so - they had played a blinder!

Afterwards I sat down with Ade and interviewed him for half an hour or so, discussing his reaction to the recent bout of touring in South America, how a musician might make a living these days, Crimso '81 and his forthcoming orchestral manoeuvres in Holland next year when he performs e with the Metropole Orchestra.

Unable to join the team for a post-gig pint, I headed for my bus and Metro back to the Bay.

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