Friday, 27 June 2014

Super Vision! : So, How Was Your Day?


I don't often have to get my hands dirty nowadays, but sometimes y'got t'go the extra mile.
It was 'human' BTW.

On a lighter note..

I've just been told I've got the job and am no longer an Interim Mobile Supervisor, I'm the real deal.

Just when I thought the day couldn't get much better, Her Majesty gave me back £300 tax she didn't need.

I now look like this:


Saturday, 21 June 2014

The Voodoo Doll.

I have no idea what possessed me to make a small stuffed person.

I need a pattern.

'Can't you just draw one?'

Yes, I could draw one, but I want it to look recognisably humanoid.

If you were to type 'small stuffed person' into your interositor viewing screen the consequence may be having your name added to a list.

I found the shape I was looking for under 'Voodoo Doll':

I printed it on to card, picked up the scissors, stuck my tongue through my thined out lips, and cut it out.

On my return from A&E...

I decided that a sort of banket stitch might do the trick... whatever 'blanket stitch' might be.

I have a vague idea that 'blanket stitch' maybe related to blankets and spend sometime examining all the blankets we possess.

My findings were inconclusive.

I consulted the interwebs, studied various confusing diagrams, and decided I had reached the confidence level required to attempt 'blanket stitch', or some variant thereof

I pined the two halves together - actually I did this before I cut my tongue out - and set about 'blanket stitching'.

I've, up till now, sewed and then unpicked it 4 bloody times now.

To be cont. as sone as I get 'blanket stitch' together a little better than is currently the cas.


The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God (J. Milton-Hayes) Updated... twice now and now thrice.. and for the forth, and last bloody time...

Sometime ago, while I was stumping the streets for a charity, I thought, 'I must know some poems'.
I jumbled this list together:
  • Jabberwoky
  • Ozymandias
  • The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God
  • This be the Verse
It was a start.

I found the texts, recorded myself reading them out loud, loaded up the pod, and set out walking...

I suppose Green Eye is more likely to be described as a monologue.
Here's what J. Milton-Hayes had to say about it:
"I wrote The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God in five hours, but I had it all planned out. It isn't poetry and it does not pretend to be, but it does what it sets out to do. It appeals to the imagination from the start: those colours, green and yellow, create an atmosphere. Then India, everyone has his own idea of India. Don't tell the public too much. Strike chords. It is no use describing a house; the reader will fix the scene in some spot he knows himself. All you've got to say is 'India' and a man sees something. Then play on his susceptibilities."
"His name was Mad Carew. You've got the whole man there. The public will fill in the picture for you. And then the mystery. Leave enough unsaid to make paterfamilias pat himself on the back. 'I've spotted it, he can't fool me. I'm up to that dodge. I know where he went.' No need to explain. Then that final ending where you began. It carries people back. You've got a compact whole. 'A broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew' They'll weave a whole story round that woman's life. Every man's a novelist at heart. We all tell ourselves stories. That's what you've got to play on."

So, after all these years I thought I'd have a go putting it to music... or the sword, depends on your point of view I suppose.

I robbed the double tone chord sequence from the world Calypso.
I like it.
It fits.

The initial recording was made using my dying iPod Touch.
Transfered to the lap-top for editing.
Transfered to the iPad to add a baritone uke track

(There was quite a lot of this transfering business BTW)

I ended up with this:

(Recording removed because I sodded up the mix and didn't hear how badly I'd got it wrong until I got it up on the monitors.
I'll re-post when I've fixed it.)

I want to add this to The Flying Aspidistras set.
I think it sort of fits.

Update: 01
The Wiki-lazy-pedia entry seems sane enough:

Update: 02

I had to do quite a bit of remedial EQing of the track.
I have a very sibilant voice which can generally be hidden behind a hi-hat or other hi-freqency element.
In this arrangement - lacking any percussive element - there's no hiding place.

The sibilance is compounded by the devices I use to record with.
The iPod mic is about the size of a pinhead, but, I keep reminding myself 'this is just a demonstration of what the framework will be when I eventually get round to recording it properly... with Harriet.'

Another side effect of the EQ setting the seeming transformation of the Broom Pole and Tin Box Bass into, what sounds to me like, a Crumhorn.

So, just me then...

As a final addition, here's the monologue in full:

The Green Eye Of The Little Yellow God

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

He was known as "Mad Carew" by the subs at Khatmandu,
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell;
But for all his foolish pranks, he was worshipped in the ranks,
And the Colonel's daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along, with a passion of the strong,
The fact that she loved him was plain to all.
She was nearly twenty-one and arrangements had begun
To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew;
They met next day as he dismissed a squad;
And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do
But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

On the night before the dance, Mad Carew seemed in a trance,
And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars:
But for once he failed to smile, and he sat alone awhile,
Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn, with his shirt and tunic torn,
And a gash across his temple dripping red;
He was patched up right away, and he slept through all the day,
And the Colonel's daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through;
She brought it, and he thanked her with a nod;
He bade her search the pocket saying "That's from Mad Carew,"
And she found the little green eye of the god.

She upbraided poor Carew in the way that women do,
Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;
But she wouldn't take the stone and Mad Carew was left alone
With the jewel that he'd chanced his life to get.

When the ball was at its height, on that still and tropic night,
She thought of him and hurried to his room;
As she crossed the barrack square she could hear the dreamy air
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro' the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;
The place was wet and slipp'ry where she trod;
An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew,
'Twas the "Vengeance of the Little Yellow God."

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.
I can't help feeling there's a whiff of - dare I say it? - SteamPunk about this.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Flying Aspidistras Perform 'Singapore' (Waits)

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Flying Aspidistras on the road to Hove, actually...

Due to work commitments The Flying Aspidistras have managed about 3 face to face rehearsals this year.

We are booked to open the ukulele stage at Hove's Paddle Round the Pier.
It's a couple of weeks away.

I went last year and was surprised at the size of the event.
I thought it would be something akin to a village fete.
It felt more like I imagine a large rock festival would be like.

The Wukulele Jam have been 'camping out' at a Worthing pub while the usual HQ gets an interior face-lift.
As a goodbye and thanks to our temporary home the jam agreed to perform an entertainment for the  delight for all present.  (if any)

We thought this would give us the perfect opportunity to road-test The Flying Aspidistras set.
Much of the set has never been played to an audience larger than a sleeping cat.

Here we go...

I'll probably be posting most of the set over the next few days..
If only to allow you to watch, what appears to be the third member, of our duo to become more of a celebrity than he already undoubtedly is.

Stay tuned.

Super Vision! : Boys Talk.

Since I started with my present employers last October I've had 9 different line-managers.
4 of them left the company, two sacked, two jumping ship before they were throw overboard.

I notice this kind of thing.

My new task is beginning to take shape.
As ever the situation is not the paradise of contented clients and happy workers I'd been led to believe it was by my predecessor.
Most of the teams are surprised to see me when I visit because they'd never seen the previous supervisor.
They're even more surprised when I deliver the supplies and equipment they've been screaming for over the last year or so.

I'm now resolved to the fact that the situation will never be an easy one with everybody doing what they should be doing, when and where they're supposed to be doing it.
There will always be some unpaid/overpaid wages issue with the amount of team members covering each others holiday or sickness absences.
Clients will always be on the phone asking why the bin in the room marked 'DO NOT ENTER ON PAIN OF DEATH' hasn't been emptied since the new sign was put up.

I spent sometime with my latest line-manager.
We toured a few sites, glad handed a few clients, and then visited the site manager of a large educational facility.
Not the one I was managing, but in the same city, and of equal size.

I'd met the fellow at a couple of times at the monthly managers' meetings.
I thought to myself 'that bloke knows what he's doing'.
Ex services, no nonsense, everything under control, unflappable.
Not like me.
Made me feel I was unfit to deal with the pressures of the role.

We sat in his office, drinking coffee, and eating Bourbon biscuits.
He then began to jabber like a madman about all the same things I'd jabbered like a madman about - to anyone who had the misfortune to engage me on the most trivial of subjects - for about an hour.

Stressed to f$%k.

So, it wasn't just me.

My most recent line-manager, who trusts me to get on with what I'm supposed to be doing, won't be with me for long he tells me.
He has ambitions to go regional!
He's had the nod BTW.

I picked up a piece office goss' concerning an alleged relationship between two senior members of the operations team (the team I'm on).
It surprised me.
Not because it was happening, but because I'd sort of worked it out myself a while back.
As it didn't directly concern me- and why should it? - I paid no attention to what they may, or may not, be getting up to.

Trouble is...
One of the alleged participants' son has, to the surprise of no one, just been made a manager.
He's 19 years old.
Word has it he's a bit out of his depth and the company want to place him with a 'safe pair of hands'.

That'll be me then.... on the day the honeymoon is over.

That's assuming that I'm going to apply for my position of course.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

txt/img: 28



Monday, 9 June 2014

More Rick...

The 'Kevin Turvey' sketch in the previous post was the first time I became aware of RM.

I actually thought his name was Kevin Turvey.

This video was the next time I saw RM, this time with AE. This clip has several stand out moments...






R.I.P. Rik...

I'm pretty upset about the passing of Rick (Rik) Mayall.

I still think this sketch, in the character of Kevin Turvey Investigative Reporter, is one of the funniest pieces of television He ever did:


Thank you Rick.

'Dancing in the Dark' (Springsteen) Lightly Shuffled.

I've neglected my solo performing for the past couple of years, concentrating on group performances.
I like to keep around 30 to 40 songs in my head that I can play on request.

The list is quite a fluid thing with songs coming and going and there's a heavy rotation core of around 10 songs that I'm usually working on.

The list doesn't include my own songs.

Here's one that will probably stick in the list for a while:

I was reintroduced to this Bruce Springsteen song at the Littlehampton Ukulele Jam.
They were playing it in it's original key of G.
This meant the predominantly male voices were trying to do Paul Robeson impressions and the whole thing sounded like a dirge to me which, at that time, didn't really concern me much.

Later, at home, I started noodling about with the song and, using the chord shapes for the concert uke, played the song on my baritone uke which works out at a 5th below.
D in fact.
Turns out to be much easier to sing!

That was about 2 months ago.
I've been crushing it in to my head.
The chord sequence is quite simple compared to some of the Jazz tunes I've filed in the list, but the lyric scan is quite tricky in parts and getting that right took the time.

I played it 'out' in at the RAFA and The Old Barn open mic nights and I think I've managed to iron out all the wrinkles in it.

This version was a test of an iPad app called DAW.
As a studio package it's very basic... I like that!
The original track featuring the vocal and resonator uke was recored using a very old iPod then imported into DAW by means of a mind numbingly dull process.
I added a baritone uke and a bass line played on my broom pole and biscuit tin bass.