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the funniest thing in the world….

Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2006

…well, not funny really but amusing nevertheless. Try to imagine, I was in Park City, UT, trying to get a cup of coffee flavoured coffee, in Starbucks, no mean feat in itself by the way, and realised that I was way, way out of place, for I didn’t have a laptop in the coffee shop with me, an obvious prerequisite of modern caffeine consumption, at least at this years Sundance. You see, foolishly, I had only gone there for a coffee, but there I was witnessing the worlds entertainment industry at work..Sorry guys I should have knocked…Honestly, had it not been for the battery of my camera being dead, you’d be looking at a picture of a very small Starbucks filled with no less than 37 people with laptops, obviously temporarily imported from Hollywood, most of whom, were standing… using the aforementioned laptops, something that I can assure you is not easy. I counted them..37 and I hated them all, but not for the reason that they didn’t hire me for their latest movie, which would have been justified, but more for the fact that I had to get my coffee to go, there being no place left to drink it in peace indoors and it was buggering cold outside…Oddly I didn’t have to wait in line for my coffee….No one was really drinking coffee as their hands were full with…er, laptops…
I always feel very Luddite in the US, ordering my espresso, because the truth is I’m obviously not, er, sophisticated enough to appreciate a how a ‘grande skinny, soy, strawberry, hot fudge peanut butter, bubblegum and gingerbread carrot lattechino’ or whatever, may enhance my life. That, and I’m way too tight to spend $5 on a cup of coffee.
What else made me smile?
Well, you know, my week has sucked for a reason I won’t go into here, but there are good things to report as well.. When the bad things in my life are overwhelming me, writing this helps me get some balance. Of course, as ever, the good things in my life are abundant, should I choose to notice and appreciate them.. So, anyway…
Just driving slowly down Fourth Street in Reno, NV, not, I’d guess, a high rent neighbourhood, I spotted a really sick looking surplus store which, as I have a fascination for the kind of abandoned, obsolete Americana found in such places, I stopped for a look. After passing though the usual collection of hunting gear and ex-army hair shirts, I passed into the yard outside which made my mouth fall open. It was wonderful. I walked through an Aladdin’s cave of trashy, broken useless detritus, useless junk to most, but a visual feast to myself. It was a sensual pleasure akin to witnessing the Tsukiji Fish Market or browsing the electronic component stores in Akihabara in Tokyo. It’s the kind of place I’d like to visit with Lincoln Fong, who would invariably be able to find five or six pieces of random junk and turn them into some labour saving device, using just brain power and a little superglue. Anyway, I digress.. So I’m wondering to myself, ‘those things over there look familiar, those long, sort of bomb looking things’ and, well you know the rest. Yes, you can buy a 3 inch mortar in a junk shop in Reno. I asked the two ruddy cheeked men in baseball caps ‘who buys these things?’ and apparently the main customers are…. hunters. So sorry Mr Bunny, party is over…. Come to think of it it puts a whole new meaning to On va a la chasse a l’ours !
I didn’t buy one.
In fact, I never buy anything in those places, I just like looking, for some reason which is completely beyond me. Where I do buy things, my Achilles heel, these days, are used book stores. To be in the US and not to visit a few would be impossible. My favourite this trip was called Beers Books, in Sacramento CA (10th and S St) where I spent some money that I didn’t have, although another favorite was Dog Eared Books, 900 Valencia, San Francisco CA, where I also spent some money I didn’t have..
I should probably write something about music and, as I’ve had my laptop and headphones with me, I’ve been writing some little pieces, mostly in very disturbing motels along I-80.. These are sure to become Violet Indiana songs, as the seedy atmospheres emanating from the walls of such places paint pictures in my head of wanton behaviour and broken dreams, two of Siobhans chosen subjects, for sure. I soak up the melancholy and the isolation…. makes me play lots of chord sequences that are just not right for any of my other musical output. I sure am looking forward to making that record…
OK, and I’ve finally crumbled from my stance of never wanting to make a DVD of Lumiere as after meeting up with my friend Ken Kato in Los Angeles recently, he kinda talked me into it when he suggested that he may be able to help me mix it in 5.1, something I don’t have the facility to do, nor, without a doubt, the expertise. What the fuck is happening with me and all this open mindedness? … it worries me… Anyway, I’ve decided to go back to the original 40 minute version and score it with some of the, never recorded, original music and some new stuff which I will compose to the picture.
Whatever next, eh?
Next thing I’ll be saying is I have someone to work with my record releases…
Next thing I’ll be saying is that the Guacamole gets better the closer to Mexico that you get……

Southern California in January…..

Posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

…. is like where I live in summer, with the exception that no-one smokes and everyone has a blackberry…Oh, and there are no sheep wandering around the street.
Here I am doing the things that I dread, as mentioned in my last post, namely talking to people in the music industry. Now, given that I’m sitting typing this in someones office while millions of dollars and huge superstars are being discussed in front of me, I should be a little more respectful, but I can’t help thinking ‘what the fuck am I doing here?’..
Well, actually what I am doing is sitting typing this, pretending it’s my office and that I’m doing something big and important. But you know what? I have the best job in the world and wouldn’t trade places for anything.
This life really confuses me sometimes. Still, people here seem to be enjoying, making money, in a way that I could not imagine. Well, I guess they may feel just as useless and out of place as I do now if they had to sit and watch me while recording in my studio. Truth is, they would not even register on my radar, which is rather heartwarming to know.

I’ve been a little productive, this trip, and have managed to record some new music, three new pieces to be exact, in San Francisco, working once more with Tony Espinoza and Count at SF Soundworks. I also managed to play some guitar for Halou, which was fun, but has shaken me a bit, to see the twinkle of Count’s eye as he told me he would ‘fuck around with it a little‘. Ah, well, it’s another leap of faith for me, as it always is when I let someone else fuck with my shit… However, as I have a great faith in the aforementioned gentlemen, I shall let it go and trust that it will end up better than I ever imagined.

What else? They have avacados here and I’ve decided to sign a deal with whichever label makes the best guacamole. It may make the decision easier for me than deciding on other more tedious things like marketing plans and promises of imagined success and world domination. Giving the artists snacks, in my case at least, will usually swing the deal…

All it took was one press of a key….

Posted on Monday, January 9th, 2006

… to delete my last entry. I silently curse the programmer who decided that if I hit on a weblink in an email, by default it would try to open the page in the current browser instead of opening a new window. My epic account of all the decidedly un-epic events that have befallen me recently has parted, somewhere into my overworked RAM never to return. Now, to recount them over would be like to record a song again and I just haven’t the inner strength to recount these sorry episodes, so I’ll leave it. Trust me, if there had been anything witty or clever, I’d happily regurgitate it, just to bring a smile, but, truth to tell, professionally at least, I’ve not been up to much recently.

The New Year has started, I had my birthday, I was 44 on January 4th, which is really cool, as it justifies the ever increasing amount of grey and white hairs working their way across my chest, amongst other places. It’s also amusing to be 44 for a myriad of reasons, amongst which, my favourite at the moment seems to be an ever increasing incredulity that I am still here, effectively still being privileged enough to both be alive and making music that seems to touch people. Of course the fear that one day I’ll be found out to be a completely talentless, worthless fraud still lingers in the that dark recess of my mind, the part that deals with reality, but… what ever… All of my greatest adversaries inhabit only my mind anyway, and I don’t want to play that today, thank you.

I should touch upon the fact that I’ve been a slacker with this weblog recently, and if I were the kind of person to have made new years resolutions, I would have made one regarding the consistent update of this page. Thankfully I’m perfectly aware of the futility of making such resolutions, so expect the usual irregular, erratic ramblings of a man with other things on his mind.

And so on to professional matters, I didn’t really relate the story of my trip to London for my show at the NFT. Due to the fact that certain people are still alive, I’d better not give too detailed an account, to cut a long story short, the show was quite nice in places, for sure, but was a little marred my some technical problems. (Hmmm, heard this shit before). The good people at the NFT, who haven’t paid me yet, indecently, decided that I couldn’t used the theatre sound system (apparently you can’t play music through it but what would I know?) and I was reduced to playing the show with, what sounded like two tin cans and a piece of string and in fact looked like that also. A 300W pub PA without monitors for the NFT seems a little inadequate, even to me and my humble needs, but I just tried to get on with it and do my best. Of course to be told constantly at the end of the show that the sound sucked, like it was me to blame somehow, rankled a little, but then, what the fuck am I do in those circumstances? Pull the show? Surely that would make me an asshole. No, I just get on with it and wonder what goes through the minds of people who arrange the show, bring me from another country, put me in a hotel, sell a bunch of tickets and then make it impossible for me to perform my show to any degree of satisfaction.
Hey, the film looked good though
I’d like to post some pictures from the show but don’t know anyone who took any. No big deal as they would look like all the pictures from my other recent shows, with the exception of the curiously resigned expression on my face.

What else?
Well, another thing I would resolve to do this year is, instead of staying in the studio and being creative, recording tunes, (something I’m good at) I should, instead, concentrate a little effort into making aforesaid tunes available to people who may want to hear them. (something I’m not good at, at all). This, of course, will tax my social skills somewhat, as I will have to talk with people. But no matter what, I will have to take the bull by the horns and start talking to people as I seem to be accumulating an ever increasing amount of unreleased material, and as far as I can see, there is more on the horizon. I was talking to Siobhan from Violet Indiana the other day and she will come to France in February to work on the new album, of which I’ve already done most of the music. I’m looking forward to that greatly as it’ll be the first song type experience for me for a while. Most everything else that I’ve been working on recently is either instrumental, or in the case of the album I’ve done with John Foxx, unintelligible. So obviously recording more will compound my problems and not solve them, at all. Thankfully, as I have said before, I have a clear vision of my capability to live up to my resolutions, so I guess that I’ll be stumbling forward into the New Year with as much of a masterplan as I didn’t have last year. I fear to end the year with five or six unreleased albums, due to my inability to get together the business of being me. I obviously need a manager/mother/nurse/friend/guru, not to mention someone to paint my garden wall and help me get my car started, but my ability to secure the services of such a person falls into the same category as my ability to get my records released.

robin guthrie : friend of orange
san francisco january 9th 2006

Things to do at an airport during a really long stopover

Posted on Sunday, January 8th, 2006

Pretend to be Dr Seuss……

Wait, wait some, but don’t leave it too late, don’t be too late to go to the gate,
(The gate, of course, being gate ninety eight)
Because if you are late when you go to gate ninety eight
The other passengers will look at you with something like hate
Because you’ve made them wait and wait and wait and be late,
Get this straight, if you are late, the plane won’t wait.

So you want to be prompt, so you stand in this line,
And you think, fine, I’ll stand in this line, it must be mine,
But after some time in the line, you feel less fine,
And you think, this line is not mine, it’s the line
For gate ninety nine.

So you go straight to the gate, gate ninety eight and you’re not too late, that’s great..
You’re lucky, that’s fine, you found the line, just in time at gate ninety nine..

Make witty observations
Why have they removed postal services from the US airports I visit but continue to sell postcards in the gift shops therein?

for power outlets to charge your laptop and free wireless networks to facilitate posting useless shit….