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.

Urban and Eastern

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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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

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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Monoculture and rockism

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

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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(no subject)

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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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!