Friday, 23 April 2010

For I Dreamt I Heard My Shed Singing To Me.

If you're drifting out in space
Come here
If you're lost without a trace
Come here
If you stumble and you fall
Come here
If your gods don't hear your call
Come here

If you're just one of a kind
Come here
If time's left you behind
Come here
If fate just seems so cruel
Come here
If love's made you a fool
Come here

If your mind's become confused
Come here
If you've nothing left to loose
Come here
If you've heard it all before
Come here
If you can't take anymore
Come here

If you're cast adrift at sea
Come here
If you've nowhere left to be
Come here
If you're bursting at the seams
Come here
If you're crushed beneath your dreams
Come here

And dry your eyes for heaven's sake
It only hurts when your awake.
And dry your eyes for heaven's sake
It only hurts when your awake.

O.S.M. B:52 © 2010

Thursday, 22 April 2010

I've Got A Certificate !

I'm going to frame it and hang it up in my shed next to my other certificate that confirms I've been on a hot-air balloon flight.
And somewhere, deep in the ocean, something is stirring, or will be when it's been released.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Love's Not Time's Fool.

When I lived in York, someone* super-glued a piece of card c/w the sonnet below to the windscreen of my car.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.
Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

(Sonnet 116: W. Shakespeare)

When I first took possession of the 'Black Tractor' I really couldn't find a good word to say about it
(see here).
Now that I realise we're stuck together for life I wrote the sonnet out and stuffed it inside the handlebars.

(* Yes I did know who did it and no, ultimately, it didn't work out.)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

News Flash: Adopt A Lobster.

In conjunction with Hooting Yard I ask all readers of this blog to adopt a lobster.

Outa-Spaceman The Obsure, The Art Of Party Conversation And How To Pick Up Girls.

In my youth I would go to parties.
I was never actually officially invited to any of them, I either gate-crashed or hung on to anyone I vaguely knew and drifted in on the tide.
At the time I was anxious to elevate my social standing from the gutter I was born in to the more esoteric world of the chattering classes.
I also wanted to drink for free and meet girls.
I would stand in suburban kitchens enveloped in a fug of exotic smoking mixtures trying to engage in meaningful discourse and meet girls.
Then the conversation I would dread started.
It began with a question.
'Have you read...?'
To save bit of typing here is a list of the possibilities that could be added to the end of that question:

Catcher In The Rye.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Next
Naked Lunch.
Das Capital.
Catch 22.
Zen And The Art Of Motor Cycle Maintenance.
On The Road.
The Female Eunuch.
Under The Volcano.
Anything By Kafka.
The Poetry of Sylvia Plath.

At that time my reading, such as it was, consisted of Tip and Mitten, lots of Ladybird books, huge chunks of the King James Bible, the obvious end of George Orwell's work (Animal Farm, 1984), bits of the Iliad I used to read to my Granny and books with titles like 'How To Pick Up Girls'.
At a push I could hold a reasonable conversation on Shakespeare's Macbeth which I'd studied at school and had seen Roman Polanski's film version.

Because I've always been hopeless at lying I would shamefacedly admit to not having read any of the 'possibles' and would then be subjected to patronising didactic monologues from girls I'd tried to pick up.
In the early hours of the morning I would stagger back alone to my squalid bed-sit, dig out my library ticket and wait for the library to open.

I read 'em all.
I also read Voltaire, Proust, Byron, Milton, Blake, De Sade, Ted Hughes, Dickens, Chaucer, The Bronte Sisters and Thomas Hardy.

It was sometime before I managed to get into a suitable party.

The question was asked (Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance on this occasion).
'Yes, I have read that'. I then spoke about some of the revelations I'd had whilst reading the book, I became voluble and expansive, posing questions on some of the aspects of the book I'd found perplexing....
I looked around the silent kitchen, I looked into the eyes of those around me and realised that no one in that room had read that or, any other of the books they had spoken about.

I went into the room where the music was playing.
Someone asked, 'd'you dance?'
'Yeah, I dance'. 'After we've had a dance would you like to come back to my squalid bed-sit?'
'Yeah, cool'.
'BTW, what's y'name?'

Monday, 19 April 2010


I recently trimmed out the top of a willow tree.
I cleared all the whips up into a bag and was heading for the compost chipper when I thought 'I'll have a go at a bit of weaving'.
I had nothing specific to weave in mind but was convinced I'd think of something.
The something I thought of was a 'fedge' (Fence/Hedge).
Before attempting anything on a major scale I did a mini-fedge experiment.

I drilled holes in a piece or 2x3 wood and inserted the uprights.
(I'm sure there's some archaic name for these pieces but I don't know what it might be).
I then started platting the whips through the uprights.
This is what I ended up with:

If I'd have carried on it would've become even more fan like which was not the effect I was looking for.
I gave it to Linda as a token of my affection (which is no substitute for cash, apparently).

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Found Art.

I was leafing though a book in a local charity shop when I discovered this drawing tucked between the pages:

O.K. children are rubbish at drawing yet they always capture something that people who call themselves artists would give their souls away for.
I'm going to frame this masterpiece and hang it in my shed.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

An Evening's Entertainment.

I paid a visit to Berry.
As we sat and discussed the unimportant matters of the day we listened to some hit tunes of yesteryear on his magnificent sound system:

When I say 'hit tunes' what I actually mean is a series of strangulated tenor singers accompanied by scraping and whirring noises.

Sundry Mortifications No. 15: Speaking Before Thinking.

My ability to open my mouth, say some words then have it dawn on me that I should have kept my mouth shut has been the bane of my life.

In an effort to keep my digestive system in the manner to which it's become accustomed, I accepted an offer of work from a rich widow lady who lives alone in a big house.
There are lots of rich widow ladies living alone in big houses round here.
Some of them have buried up to three husbands. This means there's a thousand and one odd jobs that need to be done that a dead husband just can't be relied on to do no matter what the inducement or how sharp the tongue.

I was asked if it be worth restoring this garden furniture:

The alternative to restoration was taking it to the local tip and purchasing a new set.
I said it could be restored. All that was needed was a lot of blood, sweat, wire-brushing and a tin of Hammerite paint which I would then apply liberally to the furniture and myself.
This would save the rich widow lady a considerable amount of money.
I wrote the word 'Hammerite' on a piece of paper and dispatched the rich widow lady to the hardware shop telling her that the colour of the paint was entirely up to her but the tin must have the word I'd written on the piece of paper printed somewhere on it.
In her absence I had time to reflect on the fact that, if I'd have said it should be dumped and I would gladly take it to the tip myself, I could have spent many happy hours sat at the table outside my shed drinking exotic cocktails as the sun sank behind the horizon.
When I'd finished the job the table and chairs looked like this:

I now have a clear conscience and a full stomach but, as I sit on an old tree stump outside my shed, I feel a sense of emptiness that my exotic cocktail can't quite rid me of.
Linda's emptiness is even greater than mine as she burnt her tree stump during the last cold snap.

Friday, 16 April 2010

HRH Charles Prince of Wales Bears Witness No. 01: The Momart Warehouse Fire.

His Royal Highness The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Great Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight of the Order of Australia, Companion of the Queen's Service Order, Honorary Member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Chief Grand Commander of the Order of Logohu, Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty bears witness to the immolation of the work of, amongst others, the Blessed St. Emin of Margate in the Momart warehouse fire 24th of May 2004.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Manly Pursuits No. 08: Performing A Ritual Offering Of Old Underpants To The Gods Of The Sea.

A little while ago I was invited to take part in a survey about my experiences and opinions on training.
This involved a short interview for which I was rewarded with a voucher worth £30 to spend at Marks and Spencers.
(Here's the formula for this process: me - dignity = cash)

I used the vouchers to purchase 6 pairs of underpants.

I'm dismayed by the lack of meaningful rituals in this modern world so used my old underpants, surely the garments most infused with the essence of my being, to perform this right.

There now, the Gods of the Sea have been placated and I shall reap the bounty of the ocean for the coming twelve month.

Monday, 12 April 2010

The Flesh Made Dream.

Look at him, tippy tap tapping on his keyboard.

He wanted to write something clever and dismissive about hyperreality.
He thinks he knows a bit about postmodernism but all he really knows is how use certain buzz words in context.

He can't do it though.

I know why he can't write about the hyperreal or simulacra.
It's the irony.
Anything he wants to communicate must be communicated through me.
His hyperreal construct self.
I bet he's even got hold of the wrong end of that conceptual stick.

He's dying.
Purposely killing himself.
He knows it and I know it and he knows I know it.
With every keystroke he makes me 'more' and him 'less' him.

Soon he won't exist at all it will be just me.

Did you hear about the spaceman who taught his avatar to talk?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

She Moved Through The Fair.

A pre-production demo of a collaboration between Mr. Dolittle and myself.
The spooky Irish folk song 'She Moved Through The Fair'.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Nuit Blanche.

Beautiful, beautiful.

Found Art.

Whilst out for a brief constitutional meander along the prom, my attention was captured by this pile of rocks:

I'm assuming that it was constructed by the hand of a man/woman/child as the sea is never, usually, that clever.

Smiths Selectric Clock Restoration: Update.

I began the restoration of this mantle clock sometime ago (see here).
I couldn't work out how to make the mechanism start so had to hand it over to O.S.M. Ind's expert consultant
Mr. Beresford 'Berry' Greene (Genius).

I stand in awe of Berry's forensic approach to solving the conundrums I present him with.
Together we have saved a bit of the past that would have ended up as land-fill.
The world is now a better place.

(Berry can't 'arf play the guitar an' all.)

Juana Molina: Un Dia

Mr. Glyn Webster has come up trumps again!
He tells me he's listened to this song about 400 times this year.
I can understand that.
I know nothing what so ever about Juana Molina but, from the look of her in this video, she seems like my kind o'gal.

Mmmmm, catchy!

Friday, 9 April 2010

What A Spaceman Had To Do For A Living No. 2: Moving Boxes.

In the previous post, recounting the hilarious ups and down of my working life, I mentioned my stipulation to employment agencies that I refused to work at anything that involved animals.
Of course a lapse from a principled stance always helps in confirming why one's beliefs are entirely valid.

I received a call from my 'appointed personal task co-ordinator' saying the agency understood and fully supported my refusal to work with animals but would I, as a big favour to them, consider doing four hours work for a company who's vital research involved the use animals?
I knew exactly the notorious local establish they meant.

I can't mention the organisation's name, not in fear of reprisals from out-raged ALFs whose beliefs I, very nearly, broadly sympathise with, but from the wrath of a huge mega-corp that will reduce my life to dust if I so much as even slightly intimate in a round-a-bout way that the 'vital' work they undertake, (ensuring that when I take two bottles into the shower my skin won't be removed in lumps, my hair won't turn a dazzling shade of blue and my moobs won't become any further enhanced than they already are) doesn't justify, allegedly, force feeding innocent bunny rabbits pomegranate and mango shampoo.

I turned to look at my, then, tiny children.
'Daddy' my daughter said 'my brother and I are so hungry, when shall we eat again?'

I turned back to the phone,
'Four hours you say?'
'Yes and if you finish before the four hours are up you'll still get paid for the full four'.
'Definitely NO animal involvement?'
'Non what so ever'.
'All that will be expected of you will be to move some boxes from one thermotainer to another thermotainer'.
'O.K.' I said 'just this once, I'll do it.'

I felt part of my soul fall off and die.

The unmarked company transport (with blacked out windows) arrived outside the house before the phone handset hit the cradle.
We sped past the permanent ALF protest camp, through three razor-wire topped fences into the belly of the beast.
Once 'safely' inside I removed my balaclava.
A set of security checks (involving a body search to make sure I hadn't smuggled a camera in) and I'm taken to be introduced to my allotted task.

The first thermotainer was old and decrepit. The interior looked like a glacier and was the same temperature as the backside of the moon.
I could vaguely make out boxes and bags under the ice.
The company representative handed me a pair of gardening gloves and a hammer and told me to release the boxes and bags from their prison of ice and transfer them to the shiny new thermotainer that had been placed alongside but not to begin until I'd seen him go through the doors of the office block across the yard.
That really should have started my internal alarm bell ringing.

Let battle commence.

I attacked the glacier with gusto, my labours aided by the warm summer sun helping to thaw the ice sheet.
I released the first few boxes and stacked them up carefully in the thermotainer next door.
I began to notice that some of the ice was yellow and, as it melted, smelt 'funny'.
I chipped a torn box free and, for the first time, noticed the label.
Yellow triangle (warning sign, not good) 'BIOLOGICAL HAZARD' and, in smaller hand-written words "Bulk Faeces Samples".
I noticed that the pool of melt water I was standing in was also yellow and had bits floating in it.
I began to attack the ice with renewed vigour planning to get the job done and get the f**k out of this nightmare.

The first bag I released was of heavy red polythene and an odd triangular shape.
It had a large warning label on it indicating that the contents were radio-active.
Although I really, really didn't want to I forced myself to read the contents label.
The words on the label are still burnt into my brain, bare in mind that this all happened nearly twenty three years ago. it read:

Sample Type: Canine: Leg: Rear: Left:

There was also some writing about 'isotope decay period' that I didn't understand.

I suddenly became aware of the fact that I really, really needed to visit the lavatory ASAP.

To save sensitive types reading this any further distress I'll just say that mice and rats come in twenty four packs and bottles containing urine or blood samples have a tendency to break if not handled with 'extreme' care (i.e. not hit with a hammer).

I finished the job in two hours 14 minutes (I know this for certain as I'd activated my sports watch's stopwatch facility).
I went to the gatehouse and asked them to let the powers that be know I'd finished the job and wanted to go home.

In the minibus home I recognised a chap I'd worked with on a previous job.
He looked pale and haunted.
'Where y'working?' I asked.
He turned, looked straight in to my eyes and answered.
'The incinerator room'.

I decided that I didn't want to ask him anymore questions.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

What a Spaceman Had To For A Living No. 1: Working With Vegetables.

I have, at various periods in my life, had to stray from my chosen career path of being an 'idle layabout dreamer' to keep body and soul together.
This necessity has often lead me into the clutches of employment agencies.
On delivering my body up to these organisations I have always made it clear that I will not work in any food processing that involves the carcasses of animals.
I don't have any 'ethical' problems about arranging animals into handy bite-sized chunks I'm just a little bit squeamish you understand.
I had no objection, at that time, to working with vegetables.

During one hot summer, to my recollection there has only been one in the 52 years I've been alive, I was offered the opportunity to work at a factory turning potatoes in to all manner of exciting products one might reasonably expect to find in a local supermarket freezer section.

So, let's start with the P.P.E. (personal protection equipment) considerations.
I was asked to supply myself with a pair of steel toe-capped wellington boots.
As I've shown in an earlier post, I have gigantic feet and hence I need gigantic boots.
To stop the boots chaffing my calves I wore thick knee-length hiking socks.
I was given a white coat emblazoned with the company's logo.
I suspect this was because, should I have attempted to escape the factory, the police would have known where to return me.
As the process was 'wet' I was given a rubber apron that ended just where my wellington boots started thus allowing them to be filled with 'process' water.
A safety helmet (company logo'd) was a must if one wanted to avoid being rendered unconscious by the jungle of jauntily angled pipes, valves and pumps conveniently arranged at head height.
The machinery made such a terrific din that I had to insert foam ear-plugs and then place ear defenders over the top of them.
The upshot of this essential precaution being that my own heart beat was the only thing I could hear.
Safety goggles. If anyone should suggest that wearing goggles is 'cool' let them try wearing them for a 12 hour shift.
A pair of yellow 'Marigold' rubber gloves.
A dust mask to prevent any accidentally ejected phlegm or snot from fusing the producer's D.N.A. with a potato and thus creating some kind of hideous mutant potato waffle being.
A blunt melon baller.

I was shown, by a complex series of hand gestures, to my work station.
A conveyor belt lead away from the HUGE rotating drum that removed the potato's outer skin.
The potatoes were propelled down the conveyor belt on a tide of stinking brown water past my work station.
My function, along with five other drones, was to make sure that no potato was allowed past with it's eyesight intact.
I was expected to remove the potato's 'eyes' with the melon baller.

To my right, a man in his fifties just made redundant from an accountancy firm.
To my left, a heavily tattooed man (his eyes currants in the fruit cake he had for a brain) who had just been released from prison.
Opposite me, directly in my line of sight, a clock.

Let battle commence.

From the corner of my eye I noticed that every joint in every pipe had a ghostly white 'stalagmite' of starch beneath it that shivered under the influence of the vibrations produced by surrounding equipment.
Some of these stalagmites were at least 4 feet in height which gave the impression, to me at least, that we were being over-seen by a race of sinister wobbling aliens.

There were brief periods of respite from this sensory deprivation.
Two 10 minute 'smoke breaks' and one 20 minute lunch break.
If one wanted to take advantage of the smoke breaks by actually having a cigarette one had to remove any item of clothing with the company's logo on it, walk off the site to a spot beyond the front gates and make sure that one wasn't visible to any passing traffic lest one should bring shame on the company.
As it took 6 minutes to walk from the work station to the discreet smoking area and 6 minutes to walk back smoking was discouraged to all but Olympic sprinting strip-tease champions.

At our first lunch break together I sat beside the redundant accountant and was trying to engage him in conversation when I noticed he was crying.
'What have I done to deserve this?' he sobbed.

I decided at that moment to add vegetables to the list of things I was no longer prepared to work with.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Steam Punk and Me.

During my formative years (1960's) I lived with my Granny in an isolated cottage in the Yorkshire dales.
Mend and make do.
Waste not want not.
One cold water tap.
One electrical outlet socket.
No indoor sanitation (Lavatory emptied once a month by a miden truck)
Bathing (once in a blue moon) in a galvanised tin bath in front of the fire.
Mobile shops (grocer/butcher) once a week (Wednesday's I think).
Black leaded range for cooking, heating and hot water.
Washing done with a Peggy tub, posser and mangle.
Waking up three hours before we went to bed to go and work at the mill for tuppence a year etc. etc.
Into this Victorian/Edwardian surf life-style the space-age was slowly making it's self felt primarily through the medium of television.
(I tell y' If my Granny knew what went on in Coronation Street nowadays she'd spin in her grave.)
It's no wonder Steam Punk appealed directly to me.

I first came across the term 'Steam Punk' in a review of Hooting Yard though I don't believe it's a description that in anyway fits Mr. Key's grand design in any of the important places.
I read through the Brass Goggles blog, signed up to the forum and joined in the fun and games.

And It was fun and games... then.

I was stunned by the creations of Datamancer, the Steampunk Workshop and Alex C.F.
I felt entirely at home with the 'feel' of the Steampunk Forum, it's civility and inventiveness.
I began reading the literature associated with the genre.
Alan Moores' League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the film's a bag of shite BTW).
Gibson and Stirling's 'The Difference Engine' which has some interesting ideas, a mcguffin at it's heart, a really bad sex scene and ultimately ends where it should have started.
I read biographies of Nicola Tesla and Charles Babbage (already heroes of mine).
Looking at a future that seemed increasingly unsustainable in terms of consumption I saw the Steam Punk ethic as a way forward.

Though I'm not a natural LARP-ist and, by nature, not particularly gregarious, I went to the meet ups and was introduced to some really clever and interesting people that included a healthy sprinkling of young women. In fact the whole U.K. scene seemed to revolve around, though I'm sure she'd be to self effacing to admit it, the enigmatic Tinkergirl.
To my immense pride I became a moderator of the forum, which was expanding internationally at a phenomenal rate.

Then I began to notice cracks appearing.

Tinkergirl was, knowing I what subsequently found out, understandably to engrossed in her work commitments to give the scene the attention it was beginning to demand, the blog went dead and, at the time, I felt like Sprocket and myself were the only moderators paying attention to what was going on.

Then, out of the blue, I was offered the opportunity to become Tinkergirl's successor.
That seemed to raise a few eyebrows I can tell you.
I didn't, at that time, experience any direct hostility but certainly got the feeling that a few people were wondering 'who the f**k is this Outa_Spaceman bloke?'
Fair comment...

My intention was to make sure that something that I thought was important and had invested a good deal of my energy into survived.
As time has shown I needn't have worried about it surviving of course, but then things seemed different.

I began to perceive a feeling from some quarters that the whole Brass Goggles Empire should be put on some kind of commercial basis which was fundamentally at odds with what I felt should be happening being of the 'if it ain't bust don't fix it' school of thought.
I began to struggle with the responsibility of a movement I felt like a Johnny-Come-Lately bit player in.

I might have resolved my unease if it hadn't been for what should have been a totally unrelated circumstance.

Anyone that reads my blog will know how important my shed is to me.
Some people have churches, some people have temples I have my shed.
I joined a site that linked me up with other people of a similar mind and up-loaded pictures of my shed which ended up, through no fault of the man who did it, on Boing Boing described as a Steam Punk shed.
Not my description.
The comments added to the Boing Boing posting were vicious but I'm a big lad and can take that sort of thing on the chin.
Ignorance is just that, ignorance.

Then the hate mail started.
Slowly at first but then increasing in frequency and virulence.

A good gambler is the one who knows when to fold and walk away.
I hit the 'block' button and I walked.

I've wanted to write this for a long, long time now.
I felt some people deserved an explanation.
It's been hard to write.
How do I feel about Steam Punk now?
It's like an old girlfriend that I loved and lost but still smile affectionally to myself about when ever I think of her.
I met some wonderful people who I hope to be on nodding acquaintance with for what remains of the rest of my life.
People like Tinkergirl, Herr Doktor, Rosel and Professor Fzz.

Fare ye well Steam Punk, you broke my heart but I've moved on.

I Used To Run.

Monday, 5 April 2010

'The Last Trick'

At the suggestion of 'Dobson' I went on the look out for this:

Jan Svankmajer - The.Last.Trick
. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.
Now that's what I call entertainment!

Dismal (Every Cliché In The Book).

This is more about process than content.
For some reason it reminds me of a scene in the film 'Three Days of The Condor'.
The kindest thing I can say about this ugly child of mine is that it didn't take long to create.
15 minutes from start to finish and most of that sitting staring out of the window while things rendered saved and uploaded.

In the words of the blessed St. Emin of Margate, 'STUCK! STUCK! STUCK!'

Places I Miss From A Former Life No. 01: The Valley Gardens.

Sunday, 4 April 2010


When I was a child the television scheduals were dominated by a programme called 'Test Card'.
'Test Card' was hosted by a human female child and her rag doll clown assistant.
The show played the cutting edge instrumental tunes of the day, my particular favourite being the electronic classic 'A 440Hz'.
Good as this show was my preferred viewing was always cartoons.
I would scour the listings magazines (Radio Times and T.V. Times) looking for examples of the form.
I would sit quietly in front of the screen waiting, waiting.
Tom and Jerry (younger people may know them as 'Itchy and Scratchy') any of the Warner Bros stable (I'm probably using the word 'stable' in it's literal sense there) and, at a pinch, the Hanna Barbera output.
Every now and then I'd hit on a Marzipan and Marmite flavoured confection.
'Award Winning Cartoon from (insert name of belegured Easten European soviet satellite country here)'
My tiny heart would sink.

How times have changed.

I now call cartoons animations.

During my late night/early morning recording sessions I have the television on in the background silently playing the animations of the Quay Brothers or, Brothers Quay or, Tim and Steve or, Steve and Tim.
Though them I found the work of Jan Švankmajer which bowls me over, especially his version of The Castle of Ortanto, Walerain Borowxzyk whose 'Les Jeux des Anges' I find completely incomprehensible yet frightens me for some reason.

I'm really a tourist in a foreign land as far as these artists are concerned and am finding wading through their work deeply inspiring yet, from time to time, I still yearn to see a coyote have an anvil dropped from a great height on to it's head by a small bird of the cuckoo family.

Hooting Yard & Me.

I discovered Resonance 104.4 through an article in Record Collector.
I went to the site and discovered the 'Hooting Yard On The Air' podcasts.
I don't like having music as a constant back-drop to the dreary bits of my life, I like to hear people talking.
Most of all I like being told stories.
I used to drive a van around the south of England (I'd heard the word of J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs yet was a slave in the conspiracy of the pinks).
I filled my pod with all the Hooting Yard material I could find then began driving and listening.
I was approaching Farnbrough listening to 'A Stern Refutation' and began to wonder if the events described had actually taken place, if the people described actually existed and a shift in my perception took place.
I became convinced, still am, that Dobson had, or still did, exist, trudging about on canal tow paths, wearing the surplus boots of an obscure army, trying to make sense of a lopsided world by composing mimeographed pamphlets that nobody read.
As I fell deeper under the influence of Hooting Yard I began to notice it's landscape, fixtures and fittings everywhere.

During that period I was also under the spell of Steam Punk*. The two worlds were not incompatible yet, as I became more involved in the Hooting Yard experience, I realised that one of them had an infinitely wider horizon, was capable of comfortably moving in any time or space it pleased without having to resort to anachronism to paper over the cracks.

There are writers who have managed to create worlds that exist just around the corner from this one, Lewis Carrol, Leonard Barass, Spike Milligan, Edward Lear and Flan O'Brien for example.
Without hesitation I'd add Hooting Yard's creator Frank Key to that list.

Not to read Hooting Yard is to isolate one's self from a world of heroic infants rubbing shoulders with tug boat captains, extravagantly bouffanted composers drinking and fighting in seedy dockside taverns, Jesuit priests lurking in kiosks on abandoned seaside piers, bat gods haunting abandoned potato research stations, huge grunting ogres drinking from cisterns in horrible caves, and where diktats are being issued to Community Learning Hubs by suburban shamans.

In Hooting Yard anything can happen and that's the kind of world I want to live in.

*More of which in a forthcoming posting.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

'Fings Ain't Wot Day Yous' T'Beeeeeeee....'

Personal experience has taught me that change is inevitable.

Here are some of my other findings:

  1. My eyesight has changed significantly.
  2. I've decided that not every sentence I type needs an ellipsis.
  3. I've heard that music before.
  4. I've been right all along in what I've said about men and sheds.
  5. The past is not necessarily a good model for building the future.
  6. Everything is an experiment.
  7. Lots of experiments fail.
  8. If one redecorates it makes the room look bigger.

My Collection Of Words....

I'm well aware of the fact that I am somewhat delusional yet one delusion I've never allowed myself to succumb to is that I am a writer...
I don't read enough to be a writer and I don't have any particular ideas worth writing down that haven't already been written down in a more coherent fashion by people who can write...
Having said that, I've always had tatty pieces of paper in my pockets covered in hastily scribbled lines that I think may turn up in my song lyrics at some point...
When my pockets get full I transfer the legible lines into what ever note book I'm currently using...
I've done this for years and years and years...
I've added to, subtracted from, lost or destroyed in a fit of embarrassment reams of this stuff till all that are left are the most trite cringe inducing bits...
When I'm stuck on a song lyric I'll go to my notes, now handily transferred to my computer, try, and usually fail, to find something to break the impasse...
I was about to embark on one of my occasional editing sessions when I decided that I just couldn't be arsed to read through the collection again and set the 'speak text' facility on my computer to read it to me (in a female voice) while I got on with a bit of light housework...
Imagine my surprise when what came out of the speakers sounded, to me at least, like the profound utterances of a Deity or, more realistically, the nonsensical pseudo-mystic guff of a typical tabloid horoscope peddler...
One line I'm currently building a song around is:
"Sitting on her sofa listening to her dreary stream of consciousness, that she thought was poetry, I didn't have the nerve to tell her I was wondering what she looked like naked..."

I wrote that and, when I wrote that, it was true...

Accidental Art....

Now the album's finished I can get out into our garden more...
I was doing a bit of light tidying up (after Linda) and was suddenly struck by this collection of oddments that I couldn't find a home for...

I tell you, my Turner prize is in the bag...

What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen No. 3: Acts Of Balancing...

I am grateful to Mr. Glyn Webster for drawing my attention to a practice that seems to have been going on for some decades...

I suggested to Mr. Webster that this might be an example of one of those things women do when men aren't looking...
Mr. Webster believes that it's one of the things women do when they know men are looking...
Another acquaintance of mine tells me that nowadays this sort of thing involves two women and just one cup...
I'll take his word for it...

Friday, 2 April 2010

A Collection of Novelties (Musical...)

It's done...
It's been put in the magic television internets tube and is on it's way to iTunes...

The final track listing is:
07: DAISY BELL (FOR HAL 9000).
10: NOW & THEN

I couldn't upload the liner notes (rear cover) so here's what the important bit says:



The moment I pressed the send button I was over-whelmed by a wave of deep physical and mental fatigue...
I've ruined my health by living on roll-ups, coffee and no sleep for the last two months...
(This fact of my life wouldn't have had the slightest consequence for me had I been 25 years younger...)
Now all that's left to do is sweep up the left-overs and wait the two or three weeks for it to appear on iTunes...

If anybody wants me I'll be in my shed story-boarding the videos...