Tuesday, 28 December 2010

My 'Track Of The Week' : "I Can't Control Myself: (As Performed By Pascal Comelade).



Many thanks to Mr. Frank Key of Hooting Yard for bringing this to my attention and for publishing the book 'Impugned By A Peasant' that has held me spellbound for several days.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy What Ever You Celebrate At This Time Of Year!

Poppy the kitten enjoyed watching the fairy having a tree shoved up her arse.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Happy New Year.

Happy new year indeed.
I decided to spend New Year's Day in the garden with my friends.
Resolutions?
Oh yes...
  Finger Rhumba by Outa_Spaceman

Saturday, 18 December 2010

My 'Track Of The Week' : Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 "Alla Turca" (As Performed By Eiko Sudou At The Toy Piano).

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Fun With Cardboard.

A cardboard hand:
A new sign:

How To Do A Silly Thing No 01: Madonna's Hand.

I have collected quite a few odds and ends in my charity-shop-wheelie-bin-diving.
And I do mean 'odds' and 'ends'.
Very rarely do I end up with a complete set of anything.

Today I found a plastic imitation severed forearm/ hand that pulled several odds and ends into a whole new odd end.
I added a black lace glove, two rings and a plastic spiked bracelet.
 
I have decided to call this creation 'The Hand Of Madonna' (circ 1984)

I found a suitable town centre spot...
..where I 'dropped' the counterfeit limb.
Hee, hee! I love doing stupid stuff then running away!!!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

My 'Track Of The Week' : El Paso (as Performed by Lolita).


Gesplunde!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Get Thee Behind Me Satan.

It may be noticed that I haven't been posting much to my blog recently.
The reason?
I've stopped smoking.

I've been an on/off smoker most of my life.
Periods of desolute self indulgence tempered by periods of sickening self-righteous abstinence.

I didn't suddenly decide that I must stop smoking.
It, sort of, happened by accident.

I had a dental appointment and not wishing to offend my (attractive) dentist with ash-tray breath I slapped a nicotine patch on.
After my appointment I wondered how long I could go without a cigarette on one nicotine patch.
That was three weeks ago.

The only time I noticed being 'bothered' by not smoking was when I sat at my computer and every cell in my body shouted 'CIGARETTE!!'
So I've avoided using the computer for the last three weeks.

I hate to be smug but I didn't find stopping smoking particularly difficult.
Time will tell.

(Yes I have taken the nicotine patch off.)

Idiot Culture.

The way things connect in the world of the interweb fascinates me.
Some one in Seattle sees an image I made illustrating a posting on Hooting Yard:
Putty Putti
They contact me to ask if I'm will to allow it to be used for an album cover:
 I say 'yes',  some adjustments are made and voilĂ :

Here's the information about the album:

Please check out the band IDIOT CULTURE.  The band is led by guitarist Byron Duff.  Some of you may remember him from his days with The Spectarors, Dive or Moth.  He has a new album out on my 'dadastic! sounds' label.  Feel free to download and share the 'KINGPIN' from the album.
Byron is both an incredible musician and one of the nicest guys around.  He deserves some long-overdue recognition.
 
Here are some links:
Dadastic! Sounds (The record company)

I've heard some tracks from the album and, though not what I'd usually listen to nowadays, I quite like them.
Which is a bit of a bonus.
I wish you well Idiot Culture.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Oh! Look Over There.

See now, here's the problem.
If you live in any one place for any length of time that place will slowly become invisible to you.
The aspects of the location that first caught your attention will become prosaic and meaningless.
Although you still have the gift of sight you are blind.

It's time to venture out and find the next level.


Saturday, 27 November 2010

Beheld 'lite' (feat: Mystic Roger & Dolittle) Play 'Beheld'

An impromptu performance of 'Beheld'.
Girl on Wire wanted me to hear the glockenspiel part she had come up with.
We are ably assisted by Mystic Roger on guitar and Dolittle on backing vocal.
We suffer from the absence of St. Anley's Concertina and my getting the words to my own song wrong.

Linda's (Beheld's official film maker) film style is getting better but I do miss her 'cut away to shoes'.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

My 'Track Of The Week': Purple Haze (as performed by Svetlyo Zhilev)


'scuse while eye kiz dis guy....

Monday, 15 November 2010

My 'Band Of The Week' : Hatebeak.


A death metal band with an African Grey Parrot on vocals?
What's not to like?
Go here for more: Hatebeak

Saturday, 6 November 2010

All I Want For The 'C' Word.

Mr. Key has announced the launch of his new collection of stories under the snappy title
"Inpugned By A Peasant And Other Stories".

So, my Christmas 'get' list now reads:

  • Leatherman Squirt ES4 (a multi-tool)
  • HexBug Crab (a small novelty robot thing)
  • 12v Rechargeable Battery (a large rechargeable battery)
  • Inpugned By A Peasant And Other Stories (the new book by Frank Key)

Modest or what?

Linda tells me she wants a Nintendo Wii (something she will interact with between watching Emmerdale and Corrrie)

Another Cardboard Sign.

I haven't 'dropped' one of my cardboard signs for sometime now and feel it's about time I intervened in other people's reality again.
Here's my latest effort:

I gave it to The Girl On Wire and told her to place it in a strategic position in the town of Petworth.

So Long To "Big Fish".

Big Fish has been ill for about three days.
This morning he/she/it succumbed to the trumpet call and turned belly up.
This means that Little Fish gains promotion to the position of Big Fish.
Linda has been dispatched to the aquarium centre to recruit a candidate for the vacant position of Little Fish (it will probably be a shabumpkin.)

Last week we bought a couple of 'sucky' type fish in the hope that they might keep the tank a little cleaner but as soon as they were introduced into the tank they disappeared behind the filter and we haven't seen them since.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Beheld's First Attempt At Playing 'You And Me'.

I wrote 'You And Me' some time ago (couple of years I think).
I've performed it many times in different places and it always gets a reaction.
Usually questioning the gender perspective.
"It's not really a 'man' song is it?"
Why not I wonder?
Aren't men supposed to have the kind of sentiments expressed in the song?
At face value it describes that awkward period in a relationship where both parties know it's all over but neither can bring themselves to admit it.
I have a different take on what the song's actually about.

The Girl On A Wire asked if she could have a go at singing it and, in my opinion, she's made it her own.

This is a recording of the first time we've played it as an ensemble which accounts for Prof Dogsbody's somewhat tentative concertina. If I was a fair man I'd have let him know what the key and chords were before I turned on the recording equipment:
  You And Me. by Outa_Spaceman

From Earth To The Moon And A Trip Around It. Pt.V

At that moment, at six o'clock, the lunar pole appeared.  The disc only presented to the travellers' gaze one half brilliantly lit up, whilst the other disappeared in the darkness.  Suddenly the projectile passed the line of demarcation between intense light and absolute darkness, and was plunged in profound night !

For three hundred and fifty-four hours and a half, nearly fifteen days, the three adventurers were doomed to ride through the wilderness of interplanetary space in pitch darkness, although, fortunately, they were able to light up their cabin artificially.  The face of the moon above which they were now floating was never visible from the earth.

Why hadn't the Columbiad been drawn by the gravitational pull of the moon down on to it's surface?  That was the puzzle that teased Barbicane's scientific mind.  No more than twenty-five miles had separated it from the lunar disc, so it must have come strongly within the moon's influence.

It its speed had been enormous, he could have understood that the fall would not have taken place; but, with a relatively moderate speed, that resistance to the moon's attraction could not be explained.  Was the projectile under some foreign influence ?  Did some kind of body retain it in the ether ?  It was quite evident that it could never reach any point of the moon.  Whither was it going?  Was it going farther from, or nearing the disc ?  Was it being borne in that profound darkness through the infinity of space ?  How could they learn, how calculate, in the midst of this night ?  All these questions made Barbicane uneasy, but he could not solve them.

Certainly, the invisible orb was there, perhaps only some few miles off; but neither he nor his companions could not see it.  If there was any noise on its surface, they could not hear it.  Air, that medium of sound, was wanting to transmit the groanings of that moon which the Arabic legends call "a man already half granite, and still breathing."

One must allow that that was enough to aggravate the most patient observers.  It was just that unknown hemisphere which was stealing from their sight.  That face which fifteen days sooner, or fifteen days later, had been, or would be, splendidly illuminated by the solar rays, was being lost in utter darkness. In fifteen days where would the projectile be ?  Who could say ?  Where would the chances of conflicting attractions have drawn it to ?  The disappointment of the travellers in the midst of this utter darkness may be imagined.  All observation of the lunar disc was impossible.  The splendour of the starry world drew them to the windows of their moving ship.

Long did the travellers stand mute, watching the constellated firmament, upon which the moon, like a vast screen, made an enormous black hole.  But at length a painful sensation drew them from their watchings.  This was intense cold, which soon covered the inside of the glass of the scuttles with a thick coating of ice.  The sun was no longer warming the projectile with its direct rays,  and thus it was losing the heat stored up in its walls by degrees.  This heat was rapidly evaporating into space by radiation, and a considerably lower temperature was the result.  The humidity of the interior was changed into ice upon contact with the glass, preventing all observations.

"Well !" observed Michel, "we cannot reasonably complain of the monotony of our journey !  What variety we have had, at least in temperature.  Now we are blinded with light and saturated with heat, like the Indians of the Pampas !  now plunged into profound darkness, amidst the cold like the Esquimaux of the north pole.  No, indeed !  we have no right to complain;  nature does wonders in our honour."

Experimenting  and note-taking with all the calmness of men who foresaw a future safe landing on their parent Earth, Barbicane, Nicholl and Ardan sailed on round the moon without power to guide or alter the course of their spaceship, which was at the mercy of elements they could not account for, let alone control.

The vast disc of the moon hung below them at an unknown distance "like an enormous black screen upon the firmament."  Barbicane and Nicholl both agreed that whether the Columbiad was following a parabola or a hyperbola, it was certainly following an "open curve" into infinite space, and that it  "would never again meet either the earth of the moon."

What it did meet very soon, however, was a meteor, and this gave them some of the most terrible moments of suspense that they had experienced since being launched on their hazardous journey into unknown space.

Suddenly, in the midst of the ether, in the profound darkness an enormous mass appeared.  It was like a moon, but an incandescent moon, whose brilliancy was all the more intolerable as it cut sharply on the frightful darkness of space.  This mass, of a circular form, threw a light that filled the projectile.  The forms of Barbicane, Nicholl, and Michel Arden, bathed in its white sheets, assumed that livid spectral appearance which physicians produce with the fictitious light of alcohol impregnated with salt.

"By Jove !" cried Michel Arden.  "We are hideous. What is that ill-conditioned moon ?"
"A meteor," replied Barbicane.
"A meteor burning in space?"
"Yes."
This shooting globe, suddenly appearing in shadow at a distance of at most 200 miles, ought, according to Barbicane, to have a diameter of 2,000 yards.  It advanced at a speed of about one mile and a half per second.  It cut the projectile's path, and must reach it in some minutes.  As it approached it grew to enormous proportions.

Imagine, if possible, the situation of the travellers !  It is impossible to describe it.  In spite of their courage, their sang-froid, their carelessness of danger, they were mute, motionless with stiffened limbs, a prey to frightful terror.  Their projectile, the course of which they could not alter, was rushing straight on this ignited mass, more intense than the open mouth of an oven.  It seemed as though they were being precipitated towards an abyss of fire.

Barbicane had seized the hands of his two companions, and all three looked through their half-open eyelids upon that asteroid heated to a white heat.  If thought was not destroyed within them, if their brains still worked amidst all this awe, they must have given themselves up for lost.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Hooting Yard: The Fan Art Movie.

I took a couple of Mr. Frank Key's drawings and, via a process involving witchcraft, coffee, cigarettes and swearing, made them into this animation.

I created the title sequence based around the Hooting Yard 'Implausible' logo.
The component parts were finished in January but I've only just joined all the bits together today as I'm hoping to have the film included in Resonance 104.4 F.M.'s 'ResOvision' project.
If all goes well it will also be included in the Frieze art Fair but I don't know much about that as I'm not an 'artist' I'm  *"just a bloke that does stupid stuff on a computer".

(* quote used with kind permission.)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Beheld: Our First Gig. Wukulele Festival 2010.

So, our first gig then.
Filmed by Linda (who hasn't quite got the hang of her phone camera yet) featuring brief extracts from:
  • Disabled toilets and unsightly trousers.
  • In The Smoke.
  • This Small Stone.
  • Poor Wayfaring Stranger.
  • A nice bow tie.



I'll go into a bit more detail in a future posting.
Suffice to say that it all went well and nobody had to die.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

This Small Stone (Demo Version).

I wrote This Small Stone in July and haven't really been happy with the demo versions I've recorded until this one featuring St. Anley on his concertina.
The concertina adds just the right amount of melancholy to what is essentially a song about causality.

  This Small Stone by Outa_Spaceman

The overall sound takes me back to my childhood when I had to 'look after' my father's garage.
Late Sunday evenings I would sit by the petrol pump on the off chance that someone might want fuel listening to 'Sing Something Simple' on the radio.  Radio One stopped broadcasting at around 6 o'clock and Radio 2 took over to see out the weekend in the most soporific way possible.
It obviously had a deeply profound effect on me.
The only other music I remember from those endless Sundays was by Wildman Fischer played on the Alexis Corner Show.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Jimmy Pritchard. A Man You Don't Meet Everyday.

Post rehearsal I went for a wander into Bognor.
I was walking down the London Road precinct when this wonderful bloke hove into view:
I asked him his name and if he would allow me to take his picture.

This is Mr. Jimmy Pritchard.
He rummaged about in his pockets and gave me an A4 piece of paper with a photocopy of an article from the local newspaper that, more or less, detailed his whole life as a song and dance man.

We discussed the great comics of days gone by. Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe and Ronnie Barker.
He told me about working in 'Stars In Battledress' with the likes of Harry Secombe (a really nice bloke) and Spike Milligan (mad as a hat).
People who made us laugh before the university boys took over.

I said 'It's been a pleasure to meet your sir'.
'Why do you call me sir?' he replied.
'Because anybody who can walk through Bognor Regis wearing a pink stetson deserves the greatest of respect.' I told him.
'Call me Jimmy' he said.

Beheld. The Song.

Here's a hastily written song to celebrate the naming of our band.
I'm also trying to impress St. Anley with the speed and efficiency by which a song can be written, recorded and delivered into the public domain.
  Beheld by Outa_Spaceman
So there you have it.
An hour from concept to delivery. An hour that included a trip to the bank, letting St. Anley into the flat, making him a cup of coffee and explaining in tedious detail all the ins and out of the process.

(St. Anley tells me he's impressed. Job done.)

Monday, 4 October 2010

So, Beheld It Is Then.


Anyone whose ever had anything to do with musical collectives will tell you that one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the 'getting the act together' process is finding and agreeing on the name. I've known potentially exciting combos that never got out of the rehearsal room because they couldn't agree on what to call themselves. Looking back across my involvement in music I've always been reasonably happy with the chosen titles (the ones in bold are my own efforts):

Dr. Syn: The village band I was a part of during my teenage years. Playing covers of popular hits during the time of Glam.

Wet Licks: A band I was recruited into from the nearby town of Harrogate. Playing Dr. Feelgood type R&B tunes.

625 Lines: The punk band I formed after seeing the Anarchy In The U.K. tour.

Neural Circus: The post punk electronic band I formed after the demise of 625 Lines.

The Mighty Red Fish: Four guitarists and a drum machine. I'm told we sounded similar to the 3 Johns (whoever they were).

Moo: The last 'serious' band I was in. Playing complicated Jazz Fusion type tunes around York while I shouted in tune over the top of them.
The rest of the band wanted to be The Meters. I wanted to be The Pop Group but we ended up being compared to Talking Heads mainly because I insisted on wearing a big suit I think.

The Interceptors: A Rock n' Roll revival band that stopped me writing my own songs for two years and ended up falling apart in acrimony.

I still use both 625 Lines and Neural Circus for various sonic experiments.
Which brings me to the new ensemble I've helped create.

Beheld: A vehicle for my most recent songs and The Girl On A Wire's love of Alt. Country songs by the likes of William Oldham (she may want me to adjust that description but it's the best I can come up with).
St. Anley is a died-in-the-wool fokie and a little confused about what's going on at the moment which doesn't matter in the slightest as the contribution he makes with his concertina sets the backdrop for The Girl On A Wire and myself perfectly.

After the Wukulele Festival has passed I hope to put together an E.P.
This will come as a surprise to The Girl On A Wire and St. Anley as I haven't told them yet but the most important thing is we're all happy with the name.

(Should I add the definite article I wonder?)

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Shoe Shop.

For one reason and another I've been feeling a bit glum today.
I've cheered myself up no end by watching this:


I would have liked to include the "Two Soups" sketch but all the YouTube versions I can find have had the pay off censored which sort of spoils it for me.

I feel much better now.
I really do.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wukulele Festival 2010.

I am officially excited!
The Wukulele Festival now only 9 days away.

My newly formed ensemble, me (Uke & Vocals), St. Anley (English Concertina) & The Girl On A Wire (Vocals & Bowed Psaltery), will be opening the fringe gig at the Wheatsheaf pub then I'll be M.C.ing the rest of the gig.
I've had to part with my beloved baritone uke for a couple of days while it has a pickup fitted.
When it comes back I've promised myself I'm going to hook it up to my P.A. and knock out a couple of Ramones hits (which won't be in our set list for the festival) to entertain the neighbours

Due to some petty bureaucratic nonsense, which means only two musicians can play at the same time, we've had to compromise a little.
So, St. Anley will accompany me as I sing and play then I'll accompany The Girl On A Wire as she sings.

The whole festival looks like being a winner and I can't wait.
So, my advice is be there because there's nothing else on this tiny island worth doing instead.

Meanwhile here's a pictorial representation of our band:

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Halnaker Windmill Revisited.

Linda and I set out for a drive to nowhere.
Errrr,
That's not strictly true.
We went out to find suitable pieces of wood for winter fuel and the woodlands along the top of the Goodwood Estate are littered with conveniently sized logs i.e. they fit easily into the back of our car.
We figured that because the Goodwood Revival is on at the moment no one would notice a shifty couple of ne'er-do-wells up to no good in the woods.
But, as happens with many of our schemes, we got distracted.

We saw the footpath sign to Halnaker Windmill and decided it would be more fun to walk up and take a look round.
I visited the windmill last year with my bicycle but, to be honest, I prefer the company of Linda.

The path takes us though a tunnel of trees:
We meet some donkeys:
On arriving at the windmill Linda does her "Tales of the Unexpected" dance while I play the jaw-harp:
I placed 7 white plastic cats along one of the beams in the windmill:
Then came the treat.
The Battle of Britain flight (Hurricane, Spitfire & Lancaster Bomber) began to circle around us while they waited to do a fly past over Goodwood. Sadly I got into a bit of a 'tizzy' with my phone's camera and only managed to get a picture of them receding into the distance:
Linda did one last pose for the camera:
Then we put on our disguises and went off to raid the woods for errr, wood.
Now that's what I call a grand day out.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ukulele Right Of Passage.

In the U.K. if you pull out a uke some card will adopt a nasal whine and warble 'whennnn I'mmm cleanin' widoooooowwws'.
It's happened to me on so many occasions I thought 'well, alright then' and set about learning 'When I'm Cleaning Windows' by the late George Formby.
I can't say I'm a Formby fan but during the process of beating this song into my head I've developed a great respect for him.
I've still some work to do but, for the moment, this is as good as I can get it:
  When I'm Cleaning Windows by Outa_Spaceman
I have another reason for wanting to play and sing this kind of song.
Some musicians I know have been getting gigs in old folks homes.  The material they choose is, usually, completely inappropriate for the audience they are attempting to entertain so I decided to put a set of sing-a-long songs from the 30's and 40's together that they might enjoy.

I'm all heart (and empty wallet).

Here's the masters version:


Now, where's that Tiny Tim album...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Bluebell Railway Visited.

Many, many years ago my parents returned from a short stay with relatives in Beckenham Kent.
They brought back two items that fascinated me as they seemed unbelievably exotic.
A pressed brass tray with featuring a depiction of a railway engine and a small, blue ornamental jug with the words "Bluebell Railway" printed on the side.
From that moment I knew my life would never be complete until I to had visited this mysterious Bluebell Railway.

Linda and I visited the railway last week.

I found the engine shown on the brass plate:
At the time my parents visited this was the only engine the railway owned. It was used to pull the two carriages the line had then.
Things have changed and the engine shed is crammed full of engines in various states of repair.

I decided to lash out on first class tickets for our journey so Linda would be impressed by my largess and we wouldn't have to mix with the riff raff in the second class carriages.
It was a worthwhile expenditure as the first class carriage was beautifully appointed and had lights which Linda obsessively turned on and off throughout the journey (I was content to obsessively raise and lower the compartment window blinds).
The first class carriage had a corridor which Linda marched up and down when she got bored of turning the compartment lights on and off:

Then, ignoring the verbose warning signs, we hung out of the windows and took pictures of one another: 


I'd hoped to get a picture of the drivers of the engine which, I think were twins, and most definitely female.
So, that's it then.
Another life ambition ticked off the list.
I'd hoped to make this an exciting post but,  for some reason, I can't.
Ho hum.

Oh, I forgot.
I saw this sign and thought of Wartime Housewife:
I should also mention that the Bluebell Railway is in West Sussex and not Kent.


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Test Recording My Baritone Ukulele.

Since coming out as a uke player I've decided to start recording all my songs with the instrument.
But first I have to perform a few experimental tracks this being the first.

Recorded with 'Garageband' using a stock drum beat I added three over-dubs  via the built in mic on my computer:

  Uke Test 01 by Outa_Spaceman

That went well.
Now I have to get the serious microphone out and experiment with that.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Village Fete.

August Bank Holiday Monday arrived last week.
Linda became animated and insisted we visit the Wisbrough Green Village Fete.
I'm never keen on these events as they always seem to be a pale imitation of the village fetes I went to as a child.

On arriving at Wisbrough Green we are directed to a large field where we are to park the car.
The field is under the control of an overworked Venture Scout who seems to be buckling under the responsibility and the onslaught of 4 wheel-drive vehicles. My heart goes out to him.

Linda and I wander down to the village green where the action is.
The first thing that greets us is the 'entertainment':
To be fair the lad's doing his best to provide musical entertainment and is only the warm up act for the brass band.
He had one neat trick.
By moving one of his legs, or elbows I couldn't tell which, the top of his hat lifts up and a teddy bear pops out.

I buy a terrible cup of tea for £1 from a tent run by the Girl Guides and go to look at what must be my favourite type of exhibit, inexplicable pieces of machinery:
In truth I do know what most of these machines were intended for as my father used to repair them.

The Red Arrows Display team flew over on their way to some air show and a 30 something woman looked up to the sky then shouted at her children "Look! look! Spitfires".

I enjoy another piece of redundant farm machinery:
Linda and I decide that the bales in this machine were, given the amount of moss growing on them, probably the last ones it ever made.
Restored/preserved Fergusons and Fordsons are all very well but I grew up with them and find them prosaic now.
I would love to see/climb about on one of the really big combine harvesters that I see in the fields nowadays or even one of the monster tractors that clog up the roads here about.


Restored cars:
A thing of beauty perhaps but I spent a good deal of my childhood 'helping' my father (i.e. being used as slave labour) restore these type of vehicles.
The M.G. in particular is a disturbing reminder of my lost childhood.  To my memory I've 'helped' restore seven of them.
The resto' jobs on these two are first class in my opinion but bear in mind that a Nissan Micra could out accelerate and out brake these relics and should you want to start them on a cold morning well, best of luck.

The 'Fun' Dog Show:

This was essentially a beauty pageant for dogs.
Linda, having been raised by dogs, knows what to look for in a 'good' dog and fumed at the choices made by the judges.
This picture was taken just before a loud cheer went up and a English Bulldog pup had a rosette pinned to it (I blame the Churchill Insurance ad, Oh, yes.)
Linda nearly exploded.  She has very strong views about the breed points that define these dogs.
(It was very cute though.) 

The child racing was announced (one of the few announcements I understood from the rubbish P.A. system).
I would have had a bet but there didn't seem to be any bookmakers at the fete.
The sack race was hilarious and, had I been able to film it without getting beaten to a pulp as a suspected paedo',  I'd have cleaned up on 'You've Been Framed'.

So, sad to say, I prefer my memories of the village fete rather than today's reality.
Mind you, I didn't go into the flower and veg marquee.
That could changed the whole experience.

Lastly, here's a picture of a street name that should give Mr. Old Fool a bit of a chuckle:

My New Toy errr, Tool.

It's my plan for next year to build myself a new shed.
Given that I'm hopeless at sawing straight measures had to be taken.
£39.99's worth of measures in the form of a Mitre Saw.
The first product of this wonder power tool can be seen in the picture.

I ran excitedly to Linda to show her what I'd achieved.
"What is it?" she asked, "It's a square" I replied.
"Oh, that's nice" she said.

From Earth To The Moon And A Trip Around It. Pt.IV

At midnight the moon was full.
At that precise moment the travellers should have alighted upon it, it the mischievous meteor had not diverted their course.  The orb was exactly in the position determined by the Cambridge Observatory.  It was mathematically at its perigee, and at the zenith of the twenty-eighth parallel.  An observer placed at the bottom of the enormous Columbiad, pointed perpendicularly to the horizon, would have framed the moon in the mouth of the gun.  A straight line drawn through the axis of the piece would have passed through the centre of the orb of night. it is needless to say that during the night of the 5th-6th of December, the travellers took not an instant's rest.  Could they close their eyes when so near this new world?  No!  All their feelings were concentrated in one single thought:- See!  Representatives of the earth, of humanity, past and present, all centred in them!  It is through their eyes that the human race look at these lunar regions, and penetrate the secrets of their satellite!  A strange emotion filled their hearts as they went from one window to the other.

Their observations, reproduced by Barbicane, were rigidly determined.  To take them, they had glasses; to correct them, maps.

As regards the optical instruments at their disposal, they had excellent marine glasses specially constructed for this journey.  They possessed magnifying powers of 100.  They would thus have brought the moon to within a distance (apparent) of less than 2,000 leagues from the earth.  But then, at a distance which for three hours in the morning did not exceed sixty-five miles, and in a medium free from all atmospheric disturbances, these instruments could reduce the lunar surface to within less than 1,500 yards!

Among the equipment in the Columbiad were maps of the moon, drawn by astronomers from observations made through giant telescopes.  These the travellers had before them as they circled the moon and studied its mountains, craters and plains.  No clear sign of life did they observe among the lunar landscapes, but suddenly Michel Ardan exclaimed:  "Look there!  cultivated fields!"  "Cultivated fields!" replied Nicholl, shrugging his shoulders.  "Ploughed, at all events," retorted Michel Ardan;  "but what labourers those Selenites must be, and what giant oxen they must harness to their plough to cut such furrows!"
"They are not furrows," said Barbicane; "they are rifts."

The Frenchman was always fanciful, whereas Barbicane and Nicholl were never anything but strictly, seriously scientific.  Barbicane insisted that the lunar rifts were natural, although anyone more imaginative might have believed them to be fortifications thrown up by the inhabitants of the moon.  He would not even accept Michel Ardan's suggestion that the reason for the disappearance of the rifts from earthly view at certain seasons was that the dark lines were rows of trees, which lost their leaves with the coming of winter and consequently became invisible.
"There are no seasons on the moon's surface," was Barbicane's conclusive argument.

Floating in the void, with no atmosphere to obscure their view, the three space-travellers were beholding the surface of the moon as not even the most powerful telescope on earth had been able to present it to the human eye.  They were four hundred miles distant from it, but their glasses brought its physical features to within four miles.  Eagerly they searched the lunar landscape for signs of man's handiwork, but "not a work betrayed the hand of man; not a ruin marked his course; not a group of animals was to be seen indicating life, even in an inferior degree.  In no part was there life, in no part was there an appearance of vegetation."

"Ah, indeed!" said Michel Ardan, a little out of countenance; "then you see no one?"
"No," answered Nicholl; "up to this time not a man, not an animal, not a tree!  After all, whether the atmosphere has taken refuge at the bottom of cavities, in the midst of the circles, or even on the opposite face of the moon, we cannot decide."
"Besides," added Barbicane, "even to the most piercing eye a man cannot be distinguished farther than three mile and a half off; so that, if there are any Selenites, they can see our projectile, but we cannot see them."
The absence of atmosphere on the moon brought strange and novel experiences to the men from earth.  There was no gradual fading of daylight into dusk and dusk into night.  The change from light to darkness came with the suddenness of and electric light switched off.  Nor did the heat give place to cold in stages.  The temperature fell "in an instant from boiling point to the cold of space."

Another consequence of this want of air is that absolute darkness reigns where the sun's rays do no penetrate.  That which on earth is called diffusion of light, that luminous matter which the air holds in suspension, which creates the twilight and the daybreak. . . does not exist on the moon.  Hence the harshness of contrasts, which only admit of two colours, black and white.  If a Selenite were to shade his eyes from the sun's rays, the sky would seem absolutely black, and the stars would shine as on the darkest night.  Judge of the impression produced on Barbicane and his two friends by this strange scene!
At five o'clock in the morning, the explorers passed only twenty-five miles from the top of the mountains of the moon.

It seemed as if the moon might be touched by the hand!  It seemed impossible that before long the projectile would strike her, if only at the north pole, the brilliant arch of which was so distinctly visible on the black sky.

Michel Ardan wanted to open one of the scuttles and throw himself on to the moon's surface!  A very useless attempt; for if the projectile could not attain any point whatever of the satellite, Michel, carried along by it's motion, could not attain it either.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

So Long To "The Professor".

Laurent Fignon:  12 August 1960 – 31 August 2010
http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/news/story?id=5515283
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurent_Fignon

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Important Questions Of Our Time.

Is Julia Bradbury:
The new Carol Vorderperson?

I watched the B.B.C.'s Secret Britain programme this evening and noticed that the usually voluble Ms. Bradbury became very quiet whist being lowered into Alum Pot in the Yorkshire Dales.

Zeitgeist!

I felt there was something in the air a couple of years ago.
People of my acquaintance who don't know much about music started talking about the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (they've been together for around 25 years now!)
Last September, as I was 'training' to ride the Gridiron Randonee, I pedaled through Worthing and was quite dismissive of the town due to it's lack of dedicated cycle paths (now remedied I notice) but what I failed to mention was, on leaving the town, hearing the massed strumming of ukuleles coming from the Worthing Rowing Club.
I was curious about what was going on but didn't have the time to investigate.

Move forward to July of this year when I was contacted by Mr. Frank Key asking me to contact Resonance 104.4 FM magnifico Mr. Ed Baxter (see IoS Happy List 2009) about the up coming international ukulele festival in Worthing. I am in turn put in touch with the lovely Daniela who asked me if I would distribute promotional material for the festival around Bognor Regis and Chichester.

Turns out Daniela also runs a ukulele jam... in Worthing.  Thus the mystery of the uke strumming I heard last year was solved.

And so today, along with my friends Jane and Angela, I pay my first visit to a ukulele jam.
The Wukulele (Worthing ukulele jam) is held at the Worthing Rowing Club on the last Sunday of the month between 12 & 2.
It's fantastic!
Look at this picture of happy people with their ukes:
The picture only shows about half of the people attending.
Notice the range of ages participating.
It's got everything!
There's even a man with a beard.

Working from a downloadable set of song books, we twanged and plunked through loads of great tunes
accompanied by an excellent double bass player. I couldn't stop myself grinning from ear to ear all the way through.
Here's a picture of Jane, Angela and myself grinning:
(Yes you can play kazoos as well in the bits where the lead breaks should go.)
Technical note: My uke is bigger than usual because it's a baritone version.

So here's my recommendation for achieving happiness for at least 2 hours a month.
Buy yourself a ukulele and find a local uke jam.
If you can't find a local jam, buy yourself a uke and start one.

You should also book a holiday in Worthing from the 8th to the 10th of October and visit the Wukulele Festival 2010.
(If things go well you may even get to see Jane and me performing on the fringe.)
I'm convinced this is the way forward for happiness in our modern world.

From Earth To The Moon And A Trip Around It. Pt.III

As the Columbiad flew farther and farther from the earth, it's weight diminished, due to the lessening of the earth's attraction.  The time was coming when it would possess no weight at all.  This would be at the point where the gravitational pull of the earth and the gravitational pull of  the moon neutralized each other.  There was a danger, awful to think about, that at this point the projectile would stop and remain there, immovable, for ever.  Preferable to that would be that, losing speed, it might fail to reach the point of equal attraction and plunge back to Earth.  The likelihood, however, was that the Columbiad would still retain some of the motion given to it by its original discharge and would therefore cross the neutral line into the field of lunar attraction and fall upon the moon.

As they drew nearer and nearer to the dead line, extraordinary things began to happen within the space-ship. Captain Nicholl dropped a glass, which, instead of falling to the floor and breaking, remained suspended in mid-air!  Other objects were "hung up" in space, and the dog, Diana, floated about between floor and ceiling.  Devoid of weight by the cancelling out of the terrestrial law of gravity, the three men could lean at all angles without falling, and climb into the air without steps!  It was a startling and novel experience.
Barbicane explained that on the moon they would weigh six times less than their weight on the earth.
"And we shall feel it?" asked Michel Ardan.
"Evidently, as 200 lbs. will only weigh 30lbs. on the surface of the moon."
"And out muscular strength will not diminish?"
"Not at all; instead of jumping one yard high, you will rise eighteen feet high."
"But we shall be regular Herculeses in the moon!" exclaimed Michel.
"Yes," replied Nicholl; "for if the height of the Selenites is in proportion to the density of the globe, they will be scarcely a foot high."
"Lilliputians!" ejaculated Michel; "I shall play the part of Gulliver.  We are going to realize the fable of the giants. This is the advantage of the leaving one's own planet and overrunning the solar world."
"One moment, Michel," answered Barbicane; if you wish to play the part of Gulliver, only visit the inferior planets, such as Mercury, Venus, or Mars, whose density is a little less than that of earth; but do not venture into the great planets, Jupiter, Saturn,  Uranus, Neptune; for there the order will be changed, and you will become Lilliputian."
"And in the sun?"
"In the sun, if its density is thirteen hundred and twenty-four thousands times greater, and the attraction is twenty-seven times greater than on the surface of our globe, keeping everything in proportion, the inhabitants ought to be at least two hundred feet high."

As hoped and expected, the Columbiad's speed did carry it over the neutral line.  The next problem was how to land on the moon gently.  Even with weight reduced to a sixth of earth-weight, a fall from such a height without some checking of speed of descent might be disastrous.  Barbicane found the solution in a number of rockets, which, when fired off from the base, would produce a recoil and so check the projectile's speed.

The moon, now vast, seemed to be filling the universe, but it gradually became evident that the projectile was not going to hit it.  There became no longer room for doubt.  The Columbiad had been diverted from its course.  Why, none of the travellers could say.

"Might it not be an excess of speed?" asked Nichol; "for we know now that its initial velocity was greater than they supposed."
"No! a hundred times, No! replied Barbicane.  "An excess of speed, if the direction of the projectile had been right, would not have prevented us from reaching the moon.  No. there has been a deviation.  We have been turned from our course."
"By whom? by what?" asked Nicholl.
"I cannot say." replied Barbicane.  But at last he found the answer.  "Cursed be the meteor which crossed our path."
"What?" said Michel Ardan.
"What do you mean?" exclaimed Nicholl.
"I mean," said Barbicane in a decided tone, "I mean that our deviation is owing solely to our meeting with this erring body."
"But it did not even brush us as it passed," said Michel.
"What does that matter? Its mass, compared to that of our projectile, was enormous,  and its attraction was enough to influence our course."
"So little?" cried Nicholl.
"Yes, Nicoll; but however little it might be," replied Barbicane, "in a distance of 84,000 leagues, it wanted no more to make us miss the moon."
They were brave men, all three.  Bitter as was the blow, unpredictable as was their fate now that they were being borne past the moon into the unknown solitudes and perils of infinite space, they devoted their energies calmly to observing the vast heavenly body to which they had come closer than any human beings had ever been before.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

From Earth To The Moon And A Trip Around It. Pt.II

After this shock, however, the plain fact emerged that they were already fifty thousand leagues from the earth, and that they were still going up.  Cambridge Observatory had certainly miscalculated, but by a lucky chance the starting speed, "under the power of the 400,000 lbs. of gun cotton," must have been much greater than that supposedly needed.

Michel Ardan had bought with him in the aerial car chess, draughts, cards and dominoes, not only for their own amusement but for the enjoyment of the inhabitants of the moon!

"My friend," said Barbicane, "it the moon is inhabited, its inhabitants must have appeared some thousands of years before those of earth, for we cannot doubt that their star is much older than ours. If then these Selenites have existed these hundreds of thousands of years, and if their brain is of the same organisation as the human brain, they have already invented all that we have invented, and even what we may invent in the future ages.  They have nothing to learn from us, and we have everything to learn from them."

"What!" said Michel; "you believe that they have artists like Phideas, Michael Angleo, or Raphael?"
"Yes."
"Poets like Homer, Virgil, Milton, Lamartine, and Hugo?"
"I am sure of it."
"Philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant?"
"I have no doubt of it."
"Scientific men like Archimedes, Euclid, Pascal, Newton?"
"I could swear it."
"Comic writers like Arnal, and photographers like Nadar?"
"Certain."
"Then, friend Barbicane, if they are as strong as we are, and even stronger - these Selenites - why have they not tried to communicate with the earth?  Why have they not launched a lunar projectile to our terrestrial regions?"
"Who told you that they have never done so?" said Barbicane, seriously.
"Indeed," added Nicholl, "it would be easier for them than for us, for two reasons; first, because the attraction on the moon's surface is six times less than on that of the earth, which would allow a projectile to rise more easily; secondly, because it would be enough to send such a projectile only at 8,000 leagues instead of 80,000,  which would require the force of projection to be ten times less strong."
"Then," continued Michel, " I repeat it, why have they not done it?"
"And I repeat," said Barbicane; "who told you that they have not done it?"
"When?"
"Thousands of years before man appeared on earth."
"And the projectile - where is the projectile?  I demand to see the projectile."
"My friend," replied Barbicane, "the sea covers five-sixths of our globe.  From that we may draw five good reasons for supposing that the lunar projectile, if ever launched, is now at the bottom of the Atlantic or the Pacific, unless it sped into some crevasse at that period when the crust of the earth was not yet hardened."
"Old Barbicane," said Michel, " you have an answer for everything, and I bow before your better wisdom.  But there is one hypothesis that would suit me better than all the others, which is, that the Selenites, being older than we, are wiser, and have not invented gunpowder."

Among the livestock Michel Ardan was taking to the moon were two dogs, one of which died and was thrown out into space.  This burial accomplished without mishap, the astronauts did not fear to dispose of rubbish and waste in the same way, but to their astonishment nothing dropped away;  everything they jettisoned into the airless void followed in their train to the moon, including the dead dog!

This was only one of the many curious phenomena that came into their experience as they tore through space on the strangest journey ever undertaken by men.  The moon became an enormous disc, which, it seemed, they could grasp it they stretched out their hands.  They had expected to land on the northern hemisphere, but it became clear to Barbicane as they drew nearer to the moon that in some unaccountable way the course of the projectile had altered slightly.  He could not understand why, and he did not convey his fears to his companions.
If they should miss the moon it would mean that they would be carried on into an even greater unknown  - into interplanetary space.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

From Earth To Moon And A Trip Round It. Pt, I

I posted about a book from 1948 called Flights Into The Future I'd found at a car-boot sale.
The book contains an abridged version of Jules Verne's From Earth To Moon And A Trip Around It.
Over the next few days I intend serialising the story here.

 Jules Verne, famous French pioneer of science-fiction, visualised a voyage to the Moon by means of a projectile shot from an enormous cannon.  the "mechanics" of this amazing venture into space may not bear the light of modern scientific knowledge, but the account, given here, in "potted" form, makes fascinating reading and is a remarkable "flight into the future", taken three- quarters of a century ago.

On the first day of December at forty-six minutes and forty seconds after ten p.m., three bold pioneers were shot from the earth to the moon in an aluminium projectile.  The three space-travellers were President Barbicane, of the American Gun Club, Captain Nicholl, another American, and Michel Ardan, a Frenchman. Months had been spent in preparation for this amazing adventure, and millions of people were present at the dramatic launching of the Columbaid, which was fired from a gigantic gun sited on Stones Hill, Florida. It was timed to reach the moon at precisely  midnight on the fifth day of December, when the moon would be at the zenith, and at it's nearest point to the earth, namely, 238,833 miles.

In something like six seconds the space-shell passed through the deep belt of atmosphere lying above the earth,  Barbicane, gazing out through a window into the starlit night, suddenly saw a brilliant disc rushing towards them.  It proved to be a meteorite of enormous size, which might easily have ended their experiment there and then by colliding with them.  This danger escaped, however, they were able to gaze out in wonder at the heavenly landscape beheld unveiled for the first time by human eye.

The lunar disc shone with wonderful purity.  Her rays, no longer filtered through the vapoury atmosphere of the terrestrial globe, shone through the glass, filling the air in the interior of the projectile with silvery reflections.  Her mountains, her plains, every projection was as clearly discernible to their eyes as if they were observing it from some spot upon the earth; but it's light was developed through space with wonderful intensity,  The disc shone like a platinum mirror.  Of the earth flying from under their feet, the travellers had lost all recollection.

The travellers, however, were sharply reminded of the earth, for they discovered that the scientists of Cambridge Observatory, who had calculated that a starting speed of twelve thousand yards was necessary for the projectile to reach the moon, had made a mistake.  The impulsion required for the Columbiad to shoot free of the earth's gravitational pull was seventeen thousand yards in the first second.
"We shall not be able to reach the neutral point."  said Barbicane.
"The deuce!"
"We shall not even get half way."
"In the name of the projectile!" exclaimed Michel Ardan, jumping as if it was already on the point of striking the terrestrial globe.
"And we shall fall back to earth!"

Continued in tomorrow's thrilling installment!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Kazoo & Henry.

Does vacumming bore you?
Why not buy yourself a kazoo and buzz along with your sucky household gadget:

  Kazoo & Henry by Outa_Spaceman

Good Heavens! I Never Thought Of It That Way.

Quote of the week from The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe:

"You know that chemistry has an impact on your daily life, but the extent of that impact can be mind-boggling. Consider just the beginning of a typical day from a chemical point of view. Molecules align in the liquid crystal display of your clock, electrons flow through its circuitry to create a rousing sound, and you throw off a thermal insulator of manufactured polymer. You jump in the shower, to emulsify fatty substances on your skin and hair with chemically treated water and formulated detergents. You adorn yourself in an array of processed chemicals - pleasant-smelling pigmented materials suspended in cosmetic gels, dyed polymeric fibers, synthetic footware, and metal-alloyed jewelry. Today, breakfast is a bowl of nutrient-enriched, spoilage-retarded cereal and milk, a piece of fertilizer-grown, pesticide-treated fruit, and a cup of a hot, aqueous solution of neurally stimulating alkaloid. Ready to leave, you collect some books - processed cellulose and plastic, electrically printed with light-and-oxygen-resistant inks - hop in your hydrocarbon-fuelled metal-vinyl-ceramic vehicle, electrically ignite a synchronized series of controlled, gaseous explosions, and you're off to class!"

Martin S. Silberberg

I notice that there is one significant detail missing from that description of a 'typical day'.
Maybe he had a pee while he was in the shower.

N.B. It is never a good idea to 'jump' into a shower, or a bath.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

What The Hell Is That? No.2: Urban Rebounding.

Linda has cooled on Zumba and is now, after a free half hour taster session, an advocate of Urban Rebounding.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, good grief!

Bikes And Bike People No. 3: David And His Raleigh Superbe.

When I asked David if he would allow me to take a picture of him and his bicycle his first reaction was 'what for?' His accent, gruff attitude and his Bolton Wanders shirt marked him as a fellow Northerner.
When he realised I to was from the North the shields came down and we got on like a house on fire.

David came by his Raleigh Superbe after he had his bicycle stolen from outside a pub.
He asked a chap he knew, who lived across the street from the pub, if he could borrow the bike to get home.  The bike's then owner said he could keep it.

The bike is original save for the front wheel. David found a replacement at ReCycle Bike Shop in Surbiton, Surrey.

I wanted to ask him about how he used the bike on a day to day basis but he asked me where I came from. I told him and it turns out he knew the area very well having been at boarding school in Ripon. He then asked me if I knew anyone called Swires. I knew most of the Swires family and the Hardcastles and the Scofields and the Sherstones and then list went on and on.
We spent a whole hour chatting.

Nice bike, nice bloke.

An Offer It's Difficult To Refuse.

I received this invitation on Sunday.
I have highlighted the sentence that, I believe,  may cause 'difficulty'.
Dear Everyone,
 
Be it known by these presents that there will be a dwyle flunking match between the East Grinstead Hash House Harriers, who describe themselves as a drinking club with a running problem, and The Lewes Arms on Sunday 29th August at Plumpton Agricultural College, Ditchling Road, near Lewes, BN7 3AE starting promptly at 2.30 p.m. The match is part of the celebrations for the Harriers' 1000th Run Weekend.
 
There is free beer for musicians. If you would like to play, let me know so that we get an idea of numbers.
 
For those who have forgotten the full horror of the activity, a summary of the rules:
 
'This ancient and almost mystical sport requires two teams of twelve. They dress themselves in bucolic gear and their kit is inspected by the umpire before play begins. Points are deducted for poor turn-out, such as the absence of twirlers (string tied round trouser legs to keep rats out) and excessively flarksy weskits.
 
The first member of the batting side takes a position next to a bucket of carefully-matured beer in which is a swadger (broom handle) with a dwyle (bar towel) wrapped round the end. At a blast on the umpire's duck whistle, music strikes up and out desperately, and the members of the fielding team join hands and dance round the ‘Batsman’ (or woman) in a girter (circle). The Batsman dances round in the opposite direction. When the umpire blows again the dancing team must immediately stop, but must not break the girter. The Batsman must then flunk (flick) the dwyle at any member of the opposing team. Scoring is one point for a hit on the arms or legs, two for a hit on the body and three for a hit on the head. If they miss, they have to drink a pint straight down in less time than it takes the fielders to pass the swadger from hand to hand round the circle or lose a point. Musicians are protected by heavy fines from being splashed with stale beer and eligible for bribes in the form of free drinks.
 
The Batsman may be fined for hesitation; the fielders may be fined for breaking the circle or moving after the whistle. Anyone may be fined for intimidation. A Batsman who splashes the band or onlookers is fined. A side whose score is weak can improve it by bribing the umpire, scorer or the band with drink, gifts or sexual favours. One year every member of a Lewes Arms team gave the umpire a scented candle, so this is not necessarily as attractive as it might sound. Bribes are declared to the scorer and registered in the score book. At the end of the match the losing side may empty the bucket over the umpire.
 
 This is obviously a pagan survival which has evaded religious persecution by adopting a faintly Christian disguise. Students of folklore will recognize elements from the Grail legends: the Holy Spear, the vinegar-soaked rag and the vessel of bitter drink. The dancers in their circle echo the twelve apostles, but also the members of a coven. The Batsman is a sacrificial victim who spreads blessing in the form of a stylised asperging before being dispatched for the good of the community. The umpire's fate would have originally been ritual drowning, but appears to have been converted to stylised baptism in accordance with the practices of the more modern religion.'

If I Ruled The World No. 01: These Items Would Be Issued At Birth.

Monday, 16 August 2010

D.I.Y. (A Poem By O.S.M. B:52)

A D.I.Y. enthusiast set about a task.
Hammer, hammer, wop, thud.
Sod, damn, blast.

O.S.M. Ind. Protective Headgear.

How many times have you strolled through a public space or seated yourself on public transport, minding your own business, getting along, only to find yourself accosted by people you have never been introduced to wanting to share their trivial life-concerns with you?

This happens to me more often than I would like so, I have developed a stratagem to protect myself and out-wit buffoons who would waste my precious time.

O.S.M. Ind. Protective Headgear System

You will need:

01) A Sleeve from one of your partners long-sleeved t-shirts:
The length can vary but I generally cut from where the sleeve meets the body straight across thus leaving the t-shirt with a fashionable 'cap' sleeve. I then cut off the cuff.

02) A Red Elastic Band:
Not generally available to buy but, here in the U.K., magic pixies litter our streets with them.

Method:

Gather, or 'scrunch' up one end of the sleeve like so:

Keeping tight hold wrap the elastic band round and round the 'scrunch' (N.B. It is important to keep a firm grip of the fabric thus avoiding finger entanglement during this process).
Once finished it should look something like this:



The Finished Item:
I guarantee that wearing this hat in public will give you at least 6 feet (2m) of clear personal space.

Update:
I have found that applying spray starch helps to keep my protective head-gear pointy and perky.