Checking in again

When I started this blog I was really in the mood for writing, but somehow that has worn off again. I don’t know why it comes and goes, but that is the reality of my mind. So, a quick check in to keep the locks from rusting.

What of my band, now a five-piece. We had a trial-run gig in the backwaters of Surrey (see poster below). A lot of bolts need bolting, and nuts need tightening, but we managed to more or less play 14 original songs, and have a reasonably good time doing it. Some people even said they liked some of it.

Some new songs have got written (well, old ones got finished) – “Incredible”, “Turn the light on/Exquisite Shark”, “Mister Amazing Comes Apart” and “Jill Stewart’s Dark Days are Over”.
A curious note on the latter song – the title came from a random subject heading in a spam email, and it was rolling around in my head to a melody for months. When it was finished, I checked that the phrase hadn’t come from an already existing song. It turned out to be the heading on an article about Jill Stuart, fashion designer – her dark days were over, because she was moving on to light colours!

Drawing? Photography? Dragging along at a stand still. I scanned a light bulb a few times. Hmmm. I also picked a sticky label off the gym floor and stuck it on my bag – it had the word “Reflecting” underneath a bright bulb. Sums it up really.

Cultural snapshot:
Books – I’ve got at least half a dozen art books on the go, indicating that none of them is a grabber. Reading “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” to my partner, which will tie in nicely with our planned week in Dorset. Started reading an eye-opener of a current affairs book “Dining with Terrorists” by Phil Rees – very adventurous and seemingly even-handed & good-hearted journalism.

Exhibitions – Eve Sussman & co’s intriguing video installation, and Wim Wenders’sWim Wenders - Street corner in  Butte, Montana, 2003 photography at Haunch of Venison, which gallery turned out to be back of the Royal Academy block. Good old Joan Miro at the Tate – a fiery old friend. Assorted artists on a domestic theme at Phoenix gallery, Brighton. And a revisit of the sound installation Forty Part Motet, at Brighton’s Fabrica. Possible write-ups to follow…

Films – Not been to the cinema since King’s Speech. It was so much better when I lived around the corner from the Duke of York art house cinema in Brighton – carrot cake & tea and all. Rewatched Tarkovsky’s fabulous debut “Ivan’s Childhood” about a boy messenger at the Russian WWII front. So much more watchable than his later bloated masterpieces, though I do have a soft spot for “Andrei Rublev”, the one about the Icon painter.

Music – Keep starting at ‘A’ to make sure I listen to all my CDs, which means I’ve been overdosing on Malcolm Arnold again. I am particularly enthralled by his first 6 symphonies – it’s very heartfelt, profound, constantly inventive sort of writing, but his tendency to go off on a seemingly schmaltzy tangent apparently saw his star much maligned during those more modernist serial days in the 60s/70s. I don’t find his best pieces bland at all, and the light classic tunes in the symphonies are part of a complex eclectic structure of expression, not just tacked on because he can do them so well. Why can’t we enjoy both the abrasive and the melodious anyway. I want Arnold and Xenakis, Strauss and Stockhausen, Birtwistle and Bernstein (not all at the same time – that would be too much for me).

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2 Responses to Checking in again

  1. ian russell says:

    Pleased the gig went well. I wanted to leave a message on Elbowroom, asking how it went, but the Blogger servers seemed to be down for ages; couldn’t get through.

    Well, you’ve been keeping busy. Me, I’ve just been too lazy. And events, dear boy, events.

  2. johnnynorms says:

    Thanks Ian,

    Recently our drummer dropped out, but we’re hoping that will be one step back and ten steps forward!

    Not much one can do about events – they have a habit of suddenly chucking one on the shoulder without a by your leave. I try and avoid them as much as possible.

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