Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Grim Reaper

Almost had a short sweet meeting with The Grim Reaper. First time, and obviously not the last, otherwise I wouldn't be here to tell the tale. Driving on the M25 Friday evening around 7.30pm. Bank holiday weekend so more traffic than usual. Stop start stop start stuff. Finally get moving a bit. I'm in the outside lane, getting up to about 60 mph. I look away from the road for barely a second to grab some gum. I look back - brakelights on full red everywhere, except mine. Jam on the brakes. Skid to the left. Tyres screech, burning. Some space miraculously opens up in front of me. Instinctively try and steer out of the skid. Bad move. Lose control almost completely. Tyres burning even more. Zig-zagging across all 3 lanes thinking this is really it. All so fast not even time for the "whole life flashing past me" mini-clip ritual. Memories of driving lessons kick in subconsciously. I'm steering into the skid now. Foot still glued to the brakes. The car finally stops, stalled, just a few metres from the hard shoulder. I've done an almost complete 180 degree U-turn at 40/50 mph. I was very lucky - slow moving trucks were in the 2 inside lanes, and the cars immediately behind me had slowed right down, so I was face to face with a line of stationary vehicles. Started the engine, pulled off the road, switched off, got out, not sure whether I was in shock or not. No shaking anyway. Take a swig of water. Roll a ciggie. Look at the tyres - seem ok. Rear offside bumper pushed a bit out by the pressure of the tyre against it I guess. But no other damage. Shock absorbers ok. Brakes working. Chilled out for 10 minutes. Drove the 80 or so miles back home in quite a relaxed state. Woke up this morning - that was enough....

Backstage Blow

Warming up the old tubes backstage.
Faust gig @ The Metro Club, London, 02/11/05.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Aliens In Counter Insurgency

Finally got broadband sorted out as I'm fed up with all this time hanging around waiting for downloads, upgrades, leftbehinds, upfronts and all the rest of the package(s) that goes/go with joining the online/one liner virtual community geek parade-ground, standing to attention with the eternal repetitive brain injury brigade. The Frazzled Fifer returns from a well earned break beat holiday camp, only to discover intermittent alien sub-based freakwencies have distorted the virtuality meter into oblivion, probably somewhere between the DogStar Serious and Bill Burrough's spatially evacuated ashes. Which is a lot of space. And lots of meteors. All of which has nothing to do with aliens - current blogs closely encountered during a recent interfacial search gave a final random count down average of 295,360, (which is a lot of aliens). As for insurgency - this is now simply an ongoing global phenomena so enormous that the counter would never have even been accepted by the dis-servers in the first place. So I got a hit culture counter as well. Need to find out who/where those pesky aliens are very soon......

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rice, Lenny, & Sly

Couldn't resist this one - Dear Ol' Condoleezza - courtesy of The Observer 09/04/06.
Tricky one eh? I mean, how politically incorrect is one allowed to be when dealing with politicians who should perhaps be arrested on charges of conspiracy to incite and / or commit crimes such as genocide, mass murder, religious war, and a few other small errors of judgement?
Especially when they happen to be a black female right wing newborn evangelical creationist intelligent design worshipping fully paid up christian ? Words fail me.....well no they don't, but there are borders between thoughts, and words spoken (or worse still - written), which I suppose we have to respect. But with a little imagination I'm sure most people could come up with a few ideas. I can remember Lenny Bruce in the early 60's calling a spade a spade a time or two, and of course they had to shut him up somehow, so a slow death by state-instigated-drug-fuelled paranoia was a good way for him to go. Things have changed.....there was no such thing as political correctness in his day, which didn't mean he got away with it all - quite the opposite. On every single stage appearance he made he could be and often was arrested for all sorts of crimes - obscenity (you simply could not use words like fuck, motherfucker or pussy in public then), references to his drug (mostly heroin) habit, slander (for the corrupt politicians), a lot of racial abuse (references to kikes, spics, niggers, jews, chinks, etc), and anything else the Book Of The Law could find. I remember Sly And The Family Stone in the late 60's singing "Don't call me Nigga, Whitey - Don't call me Whitey, Nigga"....They knew what was going down, they knew what they were doing, they knew EVERYBODY would get uptight on that one. Except all those people who had already gone way beyond that barrier, slipped past the metaphor, sliding gently towards some newly found miniscule taste of freedom. All suggestions welcome.....but just for starters - a random question :- What do you call a black redneck?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ad Hoc (Key) Styx

This shot has a bit of history. Original photo taken in early 80's.
Chosen as part of a "body and objects" project.
Published in exhibition catalogue.
Exhibition itself was seen all over Holland and parts of Belgium.
Recycled in '05 as a magazine advert for Ad Hoc Records, producers
and distributors of the re-released MCCB compilation CD
"Things From The Past", plus 6 other re-releases.
There are now 12 titles on Ad Hoc,
all only available on vinyl until now.

Strange Daze

What a day for a strange daze....1st thing this morning, I thought yes - check out any blogs with connections to Brighton - I lived there for quite a while, and as I'm only 35 miles down the A259 coastal ghost road (as the Hyundai flies), I go there fairly often. So - the very 1st blog that came up was the Daily Photo ( and the photo of the day, (nothing to do with the photo above), posted only the night before, was one of a good friend and fellow mad-sax-man-do, the ubiquitous Gary Cove, busking in the Brighton Pavilion Gardens! would you describe that - coincidence or synchronicity? There were already 4 or 5 comments on the photo, mainly from "international correspondents" of the same organisation. I left a message mentioning that he's having a bit of a hard time of it at the moment, encouraging all passers-by to give generously out of the kindness of their wallets. Gary is yet another of those great musicians destined to never make it into the big time, because that's just the way it goes sometimes (look at me!), but if you're in Brighton, take a stroll into the Gardens - there's a good chance he'll be there, blowing some beautiful soprano saxophone till the cowslips cry...........thanks Gary!
I've been updating some of my earlier posts - check out the Archives from November - more words added to "Shadows" and "The Dance", also marking the introduction of Es-quim-O'Nell into the mix, or at least the blow-up doll remix of her.....steady on now boys, no rush...

Full Moon Beach Party

full moon beach nonparty windfeeze factor 23 skidoo lefthand{}sidedown upyours mine to keep 4evakeep the key the qi chi the tie/thai nots and lots for sale today/ze + tomorrow's pART- eez never say diedin the bull gothmagorick trix of the tray-ed/out right sides ball-foot match ~~lucifer fallenhumpty-style down +further down dumptywaste matter inbin{}}{upsurge inn-ta-resting sloganisers back to more shit & the differing levelsss... chicken shit = everyday stuff good morning my dear lovely day more sugar late already miss the train going back early again must rush love you me too. bull shit = when this stuff becomes fixed, ritualised, repetitive, eating away at the underlying reality of the superficiality. elephant shit = the final desperate stages of human life as we know it - the infinite joy and variety of emotional richness that makes up the subtle subnetwork-like beauty of existence has disappeared completely, leaving behind simply a script, a template to be stuck to right up to the very end. full moon out of reach party sunfactor number 9 come in come now come quickly all yesterday's pART--ee>>zz gone home for the weekend a little something for the weekend sir nowwhere does all that come from? full full feeling the hairsc on the back of the neck the nape the fur trying to brake thru the night the howl the chheek + Jowell -=bejewelled stars in yer eyez

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Aliens All @ C Again

It seems my destiny is leading me more and more into yet another deep black hole in this digitally overgrown underground. I've just signed up to the new Hastings Arts Forum (HAF), only to discover (of course - obvious really!) that the hand that might feed me has nevertheless already been bitten by my subversive attitudes to certain aspects of the art world, the whole internet phenomena, and pretty much anything else connected to them both. There I am sticking my neck out, criticising the (local) powers that be, especially this business surrounding non-payment of work done on the newly refurbished De La Warr Pavilion (DLWP), only to find myself potentially profiting from their contributions to the local arts scene. Now I feel like some kind of wannabe, playing both sides of the game, sounding off at the same people who might one day be filling my stomach and paying my rent. It's a dilemma - a blessing and a curse - past experience has taught me you can't have it both ways. If it means once again being banished to the metaphysical desert, I really don't know what to do next. What would you do? But there's absolutely no way I can compromise on these matters, simply because they do matter a hell of a lot. What kind of strategy can I adopt which leaves my conscience clear, while not rocking the boat so much that someone wants to throw me overboard? The walls do need to be shaken, the cages do need rattling, otherwise mass culture (now often disguised as underground culture) just eats up everything in sight, you and me included. It's the death of creativity to shut up and put up, and that is simply not my style. One of the main reasons I decided to call my blog Aliens@C (apart from the fact that I do like to be beside the seaside) is because it illustrates very well the basic limitations of the binary-code computer-speak world - written like it is with no spaces, a computer will always read it as an email address - the bloody machine can not tell the difference between an email address and a website! And of course it's neither! What's in a name? So much for Artificial Intelligence! Too much taken for granted - electricity, running hot water, fish and chips, letters through the door etc etc, let alone cyberland, blue tooth, MySpace (apparently not cool or underground any more, but corporate! Flava of the week hits the netpunters yet again - now it's was yesterday anyway). What a crazy world we're helping to build. And then......CHINA......what do we do about that? Is it ok for mein host Google to be compromising freedom of speech by taking censorship on board in such a crass political manner? Drowning by the sea , not my cup of tea, can't even swim, just let me be.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Almost Jumped The Gun

Well there you go - not a single word about this financial mess in the local Hastings paper. Before I write anything too inflammatory too soon, I'll double check with the Bexhill Observer, although I'm pretty convinced there'll be nothing there either. off to a very non-political weekend to celebrate my dear ol' Dad's 85th year on the planet....back on the case on Monday.

Jumping The Gun

I'm definitely jumping the gun here - I can't wait to get Friday's local paper to see what the De La Warr Pavilion have to say (if anything) about all this money owed to the builders (see my post "What would YOU do" for the background info). It's all looking a bit messy to say the least - so much money spent on a serious refurbishment, very well designed glossy expensive programmes, lots of publicity etc. Needless to say I'm secretly hoping and praying that they have absolutely nothing to say - this will be the perfect go-ahead for me to start making noises, starting off with simply emailing all their administration staff the original newspaper article, asking them if they have any comments. And of course even if they do reply, I'm convinced it will probably be just more blabla, well worthwhile following up. Back in a few hours on this one.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fresh Garbage

As the old song goes - "Fresh Garbage" - it doesn't get much fresher than this.

The Street Where I Live

The street where I live isn't always quite this bad, but for sure some of the locals seem to think the world is their rubbish bin. Unfortunately the flat behind the abandoned supermarket trolley is where I live. I was so pleased when the council installed these bins, but less enthusiastic when they started to get filled to overflowing, resulting in cats and seagulls ripping open plastic bags looking for fishy food. It could be much worse I guess - in another time/space frame, it could be you or me doing the same thing, just like some of our not-so-well-off-not-so-far-away fellow humans.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What would YOU do?

In case you're new to Blogger and not quite sure of the ropes (like me!), here's what to do to read this (badly scanned) newspaper article :- left click on it - when the separate page has loaded, hover about with the mouse in the right hand bottom corner until the"Expand to regular size" icon appears, left click on it, and you'll get a larger readable version. Happy blogging.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Slipping Sliding Simulacrum

A bit of light relief after this over-the-top politicising.
The boys enjoy a day out in a simulacrum of the newly
reconstructed De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.


Ok - I have now retracted my last post "Harper's Bizarre?" in it's original form, and condensed it down a little, as I found myself on some very tricky and potentially dangerous political ground - the last thing I want is to come across like some kind of right-wing-anarcho-lunatic, although perhaps even that could be an interesting alternative position to some totally blind and bland form of political correctness. The fact remains that there are many unresolved issues in the cultural arena at the moment - a real debate on some of these topics seems to have gained an almost taboo-like status, with the result that no-one is talking. Catch Phrases, Sound Bites, Neo PolitBuro Speak, and UnTruths are spreading like wildfire, with any opposition being stifled through a system of not very well disguised Control Mechanisms. I still stand 100% behind my original post, although it could easily have been misunderstood, and that's the only reason for the retraction. So.......lost but not forgotten - I intend to research and collate some "facts" concerning these issues, and publish them at a later date. Any contributions are welcome, particularly from any locally-based artists (or even politicians!) in the Hastings area.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Harper's Bizarre?

Firstly I have to say that these words are my own personal opinions, and do not necessarily represent the views of my fellow workers. Harper's is (was?) one of the best live music venues in Hastings (if you didn't know already, St. Leonards-On-Sea is part of an urban south coastal sprawl including Hastings and Bexhill). Experimental DJ/VJ/live musicians collective HomeGrown have a monthly residency there. Saturday 25th March :- amazing how chaos, confusion, synchronicity and misunderstandings can actually transcend the planning and expectations of a situation and transform it into something quite different and unique. Firstly : an unintentional double-booking meant sharing the bill with percussionist vocalist Nana Tsiboe's African hi-life band - no probs there really, Nana lives in Hastings, it's a small town, everyone knows everyone - there's an upstairs room and a cellar bar, although it took us all quite a while to realise that both groups could have been playing simultaneously without any real sound-spilling issues. Secundo : for a change, instead of our (un)usual VJ projections, Mr. Illuminati Top-Cat managed to convince Harper's to let us put up a seriously big canvas on their front window, and let a graffiti artist paint on it outside in the street. This was all filmed by our VJ man Jake using some high-power spotlights - the police had a bit of a nose around, (it was well after midnight, and the night the clocks went forward an hour!), but they soon went away, presumably (and quite correctly) assuming that we were not a threat or danger to public order, or actively breaking any silly laws. (Thanks a lot guys!) There's a good moral buried in all of this somewhere - the so-called ReGeneration of the Hastings area is "in full swing", but, as our local media are not telling us, there's a veritable minefield of socio economico politico culturico issues bubbling away under the surface and being totally ignored. Ok so now we can expect an influx of "young, high earning, educated, trendy, and sophisticated" tourists and new residents - very nice.......and then? What will these people actually be doing to support the local community, raise the profiles of local artists, and make some kind of contribution to real life here, apart from putting property and restaurant prices up? The arts scene here is just as close as it gets to the real thing - what happened in/outside Harper's that night was a spontaneously generated cutting-edge-mixed-media-event with no publicity, no (door) money, no subsidy, and no thank you from anyone except the few people who saw it, and the Harper's organisers. I recently performed at a mixed media festival in Berlin - the organisers paid everyone's expenses, accommodation (even if it meant staying with friends), and food for 3 days - in other words we were well treated and respected for our work - no subsidy was available, but the place was jam packed all the time, and even the strangest bands and performances went down really well. OK Hastings isn't Berlin, but unless audiences actually get the chance to see and hear new things, how can they decide what they like or don't like? It's not the place of the state or the media to make these decisions for people. Meanwhile back here the local arts centre St. Mary's In The Castle has pretty much had the subsidy-money-plug pulled - the future of the place for really serious artistic projects is now very uncertain, while a lot of subsidy goes to the White Rock Theatre, which presents "typically English seaside town entertainment". Fair enough, there are some community-related activities for young people going on there, but I can't see these new hip tourists and residents being that interested in weird nostalgic remixes of The Tommy Steele Show, The Black & White Minstrel Show, and an endless stream of Abba, Queen, Elvis, Beatles, Monkees etc covers band gigs. Apart from anything else, I always thought that these "Entertainment" affairs put plenty of bums on seats, and are financially speaking doing quite nicely thank you. So why do they need subsidising? The whole "Art" scene is something else. In the good ol' days most successful artists only became famous because they were already rich, or had some form of financial "patronage". The modern day equivalent of a patron is The State, which in my view has gone totally in the wrong direction. Art is definitely not a mirror - leave that to the White Rock and company - it is a hammer - not to smash or break things, but to reshape them. I'm no expert - maybe I've missed some essential snippets of information which would render this whole debate null and void, but my intuition tells me I'm on the right track. So what next? Getting back to the Harper's Happening - this was a great evening's "entertainment", but with a slightly arty edge to it - nothing elitist or inaccessible about African music, DJ's with live musicians, or graffiti artists - just the opposite in fact. The street meets the beat with no repeats and no bums on the seats because the media's in retreat. We don't do this to get rich and famous, we do it because it's what we want to do, and we refuse to play the game in terms of mass culture control thinly disguised as "sustainable community resources" along with all this "new-speak" slowly eating away at our language, turning it into meaningless jargon. We're not demanding tons of money, just the opportunity to express ourselves as we see fit, regardless of trends, fashions, political correctness, business speak, delivery deadlines, outmoded social and cultural parameters, the needs of the public/private sector to capitalise on anything and everything for it's own ends, or any of the other obstacles getting in the way of real progress in this cold world of art. All I'm saying is there is a lot more room for debate, and if I upset a few people along the way, it can only be a good thing - nothing wrong in gently rattling cages or shaking walls, unless there really is something to hide! And people have the nerve to ask me "Why Aliens@C ?" We'll see....