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Posters [05 Aug 2008|04:40pm]
I've started asking a friend in Australia to do the design for my gigs. It seems like a cheap option, with the pound and dollar being in the alignment they are in, plus the possibilities of paypal etc.

She did a good job too, though it looks very slick and professional and I tend to like it a bit DIY.

Next big gig (next gig of any sort) is September 6 with Alasdair Roberts. Hooray.

Plus, I interviewed Pauline Murray of Penetration (and of the Invisible Girls) today for my local music rag. Gee, what's life coming to when I nearly forgot to add that? Murray was my fantasy girl when I was 17 and in love with their album Moving Targets. Now she's an attractive and hard working Mum and I still think she's lovely.
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Urban and Eastern [04 Jul 2008|11:46am]
Been working on website, facebook page and mailing list for my record label and gig promotion company, Urban + Eastern. In fact, if you're on facebook, please friend me and join the group.

Katerina from Prague did me a nice logo, and there are several big gigs coming up, including Momus, Young Marble Giants and Wrecless Eric.

As far as the record label goes, we have releases by Xenia Randle (12" vinyl LP), FS1E vs Vitamin B12 (10" vinyl LP) and Fiona Sally Miller (CD album) coming up in the next six to eight months, plus a compilation CD with booklet of New Weird Folk which will include tracks by Xenia, Fiona, Bridie Carter, Emily Portman, Ira Lightman, Dirty Diamonds and hopefully quite a few others.

I'm feeling like Nick Hornby's Rob Fleming character from Hi-Fidelity.
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Skip [01 Jul 2008|03:40pm]
Felt good about things today. Maybe the first day of the month, the flat looking good, nice new (s/h) shirt on - an expensive one too originally (from Harrods, but cost me £2.50 in RSPCA).

Through the post a sought after Mississippi Records record - the Skip James 1931 LP.

I've been trying to buy as many Mississippi Records releases as possible having seen them mentioned in Vice by Jason Peirce of Spiritualised. I now have about six - including WASHINGTON PHILLIPS What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?; VA I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore 1927-1948; PHILIP COHRAN AND THE ARTISTIC HERITAGE ENSEMBLE Malcolm X Memorial; VA Life Is A Problem; and VA '70s Thai Orchestra. All very beautifully presented and in thick sleeves.
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Boxes and boxes [29 Jun 2008|10:20pm]
This morning I was feeling rather miserable about the piles of books, cds, tapes and paperwork still lying about the new flat. We moved in about six weeks ago now and due to a combination of little money, no suitable second hand furniture, and being too knackered when we come in from work, there are still boxes and boxes of unpacked stuff.

But this evening it all looks a little better. There are spaces on the living room, kitchen and dressing room floors! Hoorah!

K has put pictures on walls, and I have stacked records under the record player, and there are places for my massive collection of Bollywood tapes and records.

And you would be surprised just how much decluttering our floor has made me feel like my mind has also decluttered.
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Posting again [28 Jun 2008|05:24pm]
Will anyone actually notice if I post for the first time in a year or more?
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Photobooth Helsinki - June 2007 [19 Jul 2007|05:27pm]

Photobooth Helsinki - June 2007
Originally uploaded by Boof Boy
One of the few b&w photobooths I've seen in the past year. This one was at a metro station in Helsinki.
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Monoculture and rockism [02 Jul 2007|05:05pm]
Weekend in Huddersfield with K. Weather hideous, but we did manage to get across to Dewsbury to do some charity shopping. Found an excellent pair of brown Loakes slip-ons (£8), plus The Smiths: The Complete Picture VHS (£1) and the BBC footage of the 1966 World Cup Final on DVD for 49p. Hooray!

Watched the history of rock show on telly, which was about the Smiths, Stone Roses, Blur, Suede, Oasis etc. Horrified to see not a single woman featured. You'd think the eighties (in fact most of rock history) was a female free zone - and that will continue to be the case as long as programmes like this propagate the myth. Even if you take the most obvious ones (and not all these are to my taste) you cannot ignore PJ Harvey, Kim Deal, Tanya Donnelly and Kristen Hersh, Kim Gordon, Bjork, Sinead O'Connor, Courtney Love or Tori Amos. And there were lesser lights in bands like Echobelly, Babes in Toyland, L7, Sleeper. And Justine Frischmann made a great album with Elastica, as well as influencing great break-up albums by Blur and Suede.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you are a band made up of four skinny white boys with guitars, you are just not trying hard enough. And you are making a political statement that says 'I refuse to live in an inclusive non-sexist, multicultural Britain!'

Am I wrong?
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Striking Post persons [29 Jun 2007|09:46am]
As much as I support workers in struggle, I must say that I do hate it when the posties go on strike. I NEED post to keep my happy. It's like mailbox prozac for me.
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[28 Jun 2007|04:21pm]
Met up with Ginny last night to discuss making music. I cooked some West Indian food - chicken in peanut sauce, rice and peas and fried plantains. Washed down with Peroni. The band will be called either WE or STRNEN. Any guesses on the origins or relevance of those names?

A bit of charity shopping. Took some clothes into Red Cross in Chilli Road, but came away with a navy pin-stripe suit (£7.99), a very fifties brown jacket with BIG checks (£3.99), and a Mambo Hawaiian shirt, with a sort of windpipe motif on it, and which I hope to trade with alasdair_willis for Vitamin B12 records.

Found some records further along Chilli Road in another charity shop:

OST (with Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly: High Society [Capitol undated] (£1)
Red Army Choir: Conducted by Alexandrov [MfP undated] (£1)
Wout Steenhuis: Hawaiian Surf Ride [Columbia 1965] (50p)

And the same shop was also selling VHS tapes 5 for £1, so though I only wanted the Russian film House of Fools, I bought:

About a Boy: Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz 2002
Fever Pitch: David Evans 1997
High Fidelity: Stephen Frears undated
House of Fools: Andrei Konchalovsky 2003
Reeves and Mortimer Live Tour 1694: Peter Orton 1994

Splitting headache all day. Took pain killers but not to much help.
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Thrifting [24 Jun 2007|10:29pm]
Late week finds in charity shops, mostly in Gosforth:

David Fanshawe: African Sanctus [Philips 1975] (50p)
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue [MfP 1959] (50p)
Frank Sinatra: Songs for Swingin' Lovers [Capitol undated] (50p)
Charles Ives: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Nonesuch 1975] (50p

and two books:

Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips: Windrush; the irresistible rise of Multicultural Britain [Harper Collins 1999] (£1.49)
Bob Copper: A Song for Every Season [Paladin 1971] (£1.50)

The latter was particularly sought after, and is in mint condition. It will go straight to the top of my 'to read' pile!

K came to Newcastle for the weekend. We mostly stayed in and watched videos - Almodovar and Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It. Cooked bread and beetroot chips, and made own ice cream. Went to see Martin Stephenson play in Gateshead. He told K he liked her hair, and told me that I looked like John Hurt!? Helen McCookerybook played on the same bill, Stephenson borrowing her wonderful lime green Gretsch for his own set!
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Gateshead [20 Jun 2007|11:02pm]
Signed on then cycled to Gateshead to visit the library and go charity shopping.

Found a couple of albums on vinyl:

The Stoneman Family: Live [Sunset 1969] (£1)
Sophie and Peter Johnston [Major 1987] (79p)

Steve Spartak used to like a song on the Johnston's album, Television Satellite, but I know nothing more about them.

Nothing much else - the pickings were slim in Gateshead, though on the way out I noticed two more charity shops that I'll check out next time.
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[18 Jun 2007|10:48pm]
My dentist has gone totally private, so went to negotiate my rate for the year under 'Denplan'. Groan.

Cycled to Byker library. The main City Library has been demolished and won't be rebuilt and open until 2009, so have to do with the old branch libraries. The Byker one is very disappointing, and yet it's the largest one still standing. They had none of my list, which included:

Albert Meltzer: anything
Bill Drummond: the one about Finland
Yevgeny Zamyatin: We
CLR James: Black Jacobins
Penny Rimbaud: Shibboleth
Gunther Grass: Peeling the Onion
The Kalevala
or any books by either Susan, Shoshana or George Berger!

I will have to go over to Gateshead Library, but it's such a shlep.

Bass guitar lesson with Nicky, where we played John Prine's Speed of the sound of loneliness.

This evening to a Star & Shadow meeting. Topsy was there to chat about putting his 'cursor' project on the walls, and we discussed the Northern Young Writers' Festival I am coordinating for 2008.
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Whiskey Ice Cream [17 Jun 2007|10:32pm]
I made whiskey ice cream last night, the first time that I have ever attempted to make ice cream. It was all organic and surprisingly easy to do. Though I had to use Jim Beam as we had no Scotch. Not all organic then.

Then Mandy B did a palm-reading for me. Apparently I'm very creative and my life- and money-lines are good. She says that the ethics of my employment are always important to me, so that rules out being a mercenary or putting up that porn site! I told her about the Northern Young Writers Festival I am running next year and she said that fitted in to quite a few of the things she had seem in my palm. Good oh!
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With poppycocteau [16 Jun 2007|01:16pm]

Fifth day of pretty much continuous rain. There is flooding in South Yorkshire and it's miserable. Fortunately, poppycocteau still manages to make it up from London and we go charity shopping as best we can.

Chinese food in Newcastle's miniscule Chinatown, then along Grainger Street and to the Amnesty booshop on Westgate Road. I find a copy of Harry Pearson's ' The Far Corner' [£2] (about football in the north east, and which I always buy as it's such an excellent present. I will send this one to Andy Carr in Australia).

Also a much sought-after copy of Laurie Gunst's 'Born Fi Dead' [£1.50], about gun culture and violence in Jamaica in and JA communities in the US and UK.

For K I found a copy of Wayne Hemingway's 'Mass Market Classics: The Home' [£2.50]. She'll love it. Then I dithered over buying a seven album boxed set called 'The Golden Age of British Dance Bands' [£5], mostly because it was so heavy. Left the Mind shop and went to see the Harry Smith exhibition at the Alt Gallery - then went back and bought it. Found it actually contained eight LPs - one was a collection that must have come as a bonus if you ordered the box mail order.

The Harry Smith was fun. Loved the work by Bill Drummond, Jad Fair and Linder Sterling.

Then to the Baltic where we had tea and tried to dry off.

Saw Julie off at the station and went home to dry off again - thinking I might go out to see Fiona Wright perform at the Star & Shadow. Actually ended up staying in and watching crap on telly!
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[15 Jun 2007|10:29am]
Postman delivered the ReR order I'd made for a This Heat boxed set and the Homosexuals reissue. Been waiting to order both for some time, being highly influential in my musical development and tastes. Odd that I should buy them while I'm on the dole, rather than when I had employment (and theoretically) more dosh.

Last night attended Star and Shadow meeting, where I've volunteered to help out with volunteer liaison and a few other bits and peices I've now forgotten and need to be reminded of.

This morning listening to Can's Prehistoric Sounds, and the soundtrack to Zidane by Mogwai. Also tuned in to the repeat of Yoko Ono on Desert Island Disks which I enjoyed more than I thought I would when steviecat mentioned it.
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[14 Jun 2007|03:55pm]
A record I forgot that I found in Finland ... a blue Philips 45 with no date, and Arabic script, but it says Sabah on both sides, so I presume she might be the female singer featured. Side A is called Aal Eih Beyheb, and side B is called the same - perhaps a two-sided song like American Pie - or am I being too Eurocentric?

I also found a copy (on DVD) of Amber Films 1983 docu-drama 'Byker'. Odd that I should find it in Finland, and that I live there pretty much. Except that the director was Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, who lived there during the project. Horrible flat-capped, pigeon-racing cliches though, and disturbed to find my friend E was involved in making the film. Yuk.

Went to the Star & Shadow last night to watch '¡Vampiros en La Habana!', animated Cuban film from 1985, and for which I have the poster. This morning I watched 'Sophie Scholl' - odd that it's called that as her name is quite plainly Sophia througout the movie, and was so in real life.
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Hoff-meister [13 Jun 2007|10:44am]
I'm reacquainting myself with the wonder of Susanna Hoffs' voice.

The first time I noticed it was in the mid-80s, probably the verse she takes in 'Walk Like an Egyptian', but also her part in 'Manic Monday'. She's very clear and syrupy - and you can only take so much at a time. It's like candy or doughnuts.

But a treat every once in a while all the same.

I bought her album of sixties covers, a duet with Matthew Sweet. Purists will wonder why I bothered, as the originals by such as the Stone Poneys, Beach Boys, and Beatles are pretty much perfect and can't be bettered. And I agree with that point of view while still enjoying the delicious purity of Hoffs voice. And from a prurient p.o.v. it always helped that she was drop-dead gorgeous ... the dream teenage indie girlfriend.

My guilty pleasure for this month undoubtedly.
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Puranen summer cottage, Pihtipudas, Finland [12 Jun 2007|02:44pm]
Like Edgar said, Bergmanesque.
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Finnish thrifting [12 Jun 2007|02:11pm]
Just got back from a totally relaxed time in Finland, travelling in and to Helsinki, Tampere, Jyvaskyla and Pihtipudas. In the latter we stayed in a cottage on an island in a forest. As peaceful an experience as I've ever had, and where I sauna-ed, swam naked in a lake, fished with a net and rowed a boat. All new experiences for me - except the sauna I suppose, but at least this one was wood fired in a cabin with no running water or electricity.

All we had was the radio - a local station playing Finnish tango. Did you know that the Finnish had their own versions of the tango? I didn't - it's the melancholy they love(d) apparently.

Had dinner at Traktor, and drank at Moskva (both owned and designed by Aki Kaurismaki) and did lots of second-hand shopping, including the following booty:

Two Norwegian fishermans' sweaters (€1 each)
One book - the Rough Guide to 100 Essential Latin CDs (€0.50)

Lots of vinyl, including a wonderful stack of Eastern European folk musics on state owned record companies. Finland, due to its border with the former Soviet Union, seems to be a great source of these. None of these cost more than €1, and most were €0.50:

Olavi Virti: Iskelmia Vuosilta 1952 - 1953 [Finlandia 1976]
Karoly Kiss: Hungarian Songs [Qualiton 1976]
Leegajus: Estonian Folk Songs and Instrumental Pieces [Medodia 1979]
Various: Russian Balalaika [Melodia 1979]
Northern Russian Folk Chorus: Untitled [Melodia no date]
Alexander Glazunov: Raymonda [Akkopa 10" no date]
Brass Band of the USSR Ministry of Defence: National Anthem of the Soviet Union and National Anthems of the Republics [Melodia no date]
Gipsy Band of the Budapest Dance Ensemble: The Budapest Gipsies [Qualiton no date]
Sandor Lakatos & his Gipsy Band/Folk Orchestra: Master of the Gipsy Violin [Qualiton no date]
Yomo Toro: Funky Jibaro [Antilles New Directions 1988]
Ion Laceanu: A Virtuoso of the Romanian Flutes [Electrecord no date]
Marta Sebestyen: Dudoltam En [Hungaroton 1987]
Estonian State Academic Male Choir: Velio Tormis' Compositions for Male Chorus
[Melodia 1975]
Uncredited: Cesky Folklor/Czech Folk Songs [Supraphon 1968]
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Earl Chinna Smith's shop in Kingston Mall [12 Apr 2007|04:22pm]
Well record hunting in JA has been slightly disappointing up til now. I'm not a fan of dancehall/bashment, but that seems to be the only music that is available. It's certainly easier to buy reggae in the UK, US and Germany - even Jamaican reggae fans tell me that they buy their stuff in NYC or Miami.

Prince Buster's has closed down, though there is still signage on the windows in Orange Street. Rockers International is still there just up the road, but has an odd policy of making you ask for what you want - you can't just browse. The only bright spot so far has been Derrick Harriott's shop - there was a selection of vinyl - all of them Harriott productions, including some strange dubs. I bought about six albums at a fiver each.

Likewise live music is mostly dancehall - Lady Saw, Beenie Man, etc. Not my bag really - I can listen to it on the radio and enjoy, but not live. I like my vibes mellow and conscious. I'll probably end up saving my money until I get to Cuba and looking for vinyl there.

Top listening choice for me so far in JA - Tanya Stephens 'Rebelution'.
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