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Until now the strongest beer I'd ever had was De Struisel Black Albert (13%). I now have a bottle of BrewDog / Mikkeller Devine Rebel (13.8%). This is the beer that had the shopkeeper go to the shelves to make sure a 33cl bottle of beer really was that price. Although Stirchley Wines is a very, very good source of ales both UK and other. I went there on the way back from picking up a fresh loaf of bread from Tom the Baker (whose name is actually Tom Baker.)

I am listening to "My Lord what a Morning" a.k.a. "When the Stars begin to Fall" which despite supposedly being a Christian song sounds to me very much like the Day when the Stars are Right. I suppose it's all a transcription of "Dies Irae" - but,

I mean,
"You’ll hear a sinner mourn,
To wake the nations underground,
Looking to my God’s right hand,
When the stars begin to fall..."

What else could it mean? The Tentacled Dreaming One arising from deep Rl'yeh....

Apart from that, two weeks at the New Job and it's still good. Today, spent some time talking to a local radio DJ w/r/t the varieties of West Indies / Caribbean (many of the people I work with are Eastern Caribbean as opposed to Western which includes Jamaica). Of course being a Media Tart I asked him for an interview for the Community Newsletter which I also seem to be in charge of.

Went swimming at the University Pool on the way home today, the Uni (which must evoke thoughts of David Lodge who set three novels there) is ok for motorscooter access although I'm used to going there by pushbike.

Tomorrow is Moseley Farmers Market and I have just had an email from Alex Chambers of Slow Food (I have met two Alexes since living here, one M and one F, this is the M).

Writing: have had to research the Egyptian afterlife again, as you do. And did seem to be channelling "Infinite Jest" a while back w/r/t a character's past use of a 12-step programme.
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"Calamity Song"
The Decemberists

This, from the new album "The King is Dead", is a REM-like jangly tune appropriate now that REM seem to have split, with a science-fictional premise ("The war of the end times") and some evocative lyrics. What makes this a standout for me though is the video, which is based on the 'Eschaton' sequence from David Foster Wallace's near-future dystopia "Infinite Jest." and well done at that (even the Enfield TA shirts are as I imagined them from reading the book; although no head-in-a-VDU at the end!) The song has a reference to "The Year of the Chewable Ambien Tab" which provides a link, but I sort of wish I hadn't known what the video was based on before I watched it. Imagine the dawning sense of oh-yes-this that would have provoked.
The Decemberists, after all, never write just any old ordinary song and whether it's Belfast street gangs ("The Shankhill Butchers") or future war you are always in for something new.
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How ithers see us:
M., when I told her I was going to Eastercon:
"Will there be any women there?"
Was able to reassure her that it is probably 50/50 (don't jump on me, maybe it isn't, but the popular perception of SF fandom as all male is certainly wrong).

Still and all, after that rushed weekend - which involved sleeping for most of the Friday from 3pm onwards - last weekend I was back to Birmingham not least to have a look at a small vehicle of the Piaggio persuasion. Riding it back to London should be fun for although it has an engine it is limited to 50km/h and I do not feel like doing long distances on it.

And the new job. Yesterday and today I am not working and last week was mostly on the job training, but from tomorrow it starts for real.

So I've been doing some work in the garden - relaid the path from the back door alongside the conservatory, which previously had been widely-spaced slabs on top of gravel and is now closely-spaced slabs surrounded by gravel. And went to Wickes for wood preserver and painted the bench at the bottom of the garden. It's all looking quite nice out there now, the irises in the pond are sweetly blooming, and little apples are forming on the trees.

Last week? The O2. Roger Waters and the spectacle that is "The Wall". We knew that Dave Gilmour was going to take part on one occasion, but alas that was to be the night after we went. (Nick Mason was also on stage at the end of the Waters/Gilmour gig, making it all surviving members of the Floyd ... so essentially Pink Floyd on stage.†)

First translation paper of the new term, last week - considering I felt it was rushed, surprised myself by doing well enough for a Merit.

† although it wasn't because it was the Bleeding Heart Band, Roger Waters' backing band, with regular members such as Andy Fairweather Low and Katie Kissoon.
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Last night I finally went outside and went to the Half Moon Putney to see Thee Faction. Did not care for the 'DDR' bit in the show's title - wasn't the DDR one of the worst examples of State Capitalism? Thee Faction do do songs about Karl Marx and ditching your Tory friends though which is good.
But what wasn't so good was arriving too late to hear the band I wanted to hear in the first place - The Nuns. Not the American punk/gothic band of that name but an all-women band who play the music of The Monks. Not the British late-1970s band but the German-based ex-GIs of the 1960s who inspired Hendrix to use feedback.
After all the Half Moon is one half hour bus ride from here. Not like it's far

Canary Row

Jan. 14th, 2011 09:04 am
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Yesterday lunchtime saw me once more hanging out with a jewellery designer ... we had lunch in a pizza place at Canary Wharf (you sure that shopping mall is quite big enough? Eh?) which wasn't a fantastic idea as I had trouble hearing what she was saying some of the time (her English is fluent but she still has an accent after living over here for ten years). We will meet up again but mainly I think because we have an area in common - the Olympia part of W.14, which is as close as London seems to get to an 'Iranian district', and where I used to live. We should go to one of the Persian restaurants around there (Yas, Shiraz, etc). But I don't think it's going to be anything more than pals who meet up from time to time.

Curiously or no she also reminds me slightly of my landlady (Mme Esteban) from my Bordeaux stay during my Year Abroad. Which is no bad thing as Mme E and I got on fine and are still in touch. My new friend is probably about the same age that Mme E was when I was living there.

Then in the evening it was the Open Mic at the Fairfield. Played 'Mother' and 'Valerie' - some cover versions for a change, I know. The beer was good though I can't remember what it was, it had 'dog' in the name (no, not Dogbolter). One of the other performers borrowed my guitar but at least he gave it back. As well as him there were a few good acts - Vicky I shall look out for (I don't know her surname, but it wasn't Vicky Gold as I suspected it might be), and there was a two-guitar-and-cello trio which made a pleasant change I still think I am going to investigate bass playing as well as / instead of guitar.
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This week I have mostly been tidying up the garden. After much researching found out that it is not only acceptable to prune a Euphorbia pasteurii down to ground level in winter, you are actually supposed to. And there I was complaining that one of them was blocking the view from the back door to the garden! (sounds like a triffid, but it just growed there.) Also combined the various heaps of leaves and branches into one pile, though no real idea about what to do with it. (yes, into bags. This pile is four feet high or so and is probably harbouring wildlife in its lower layers).

Also have been practicing the guitar - trying acoustic renditions of "Mother" and "Comfortably Numb", as well as "Valerie", and "In my Time of Dying" (the Blind Willie Johnson song, not the Led Zep version). Last night was the first Choir night of the new term - so far we've started "All my Trials" and "Make you Feel my Love", neither of which I'm familiar with.

Today, got two phone calls that went down well - the first from the bank's fraud unit saying that I should get my money back in the next few days. The second from my neighbour's brother who wants me to do a website for him. It sounds a small but creative and interesting project. Also last night my brother-in-law phoned - he is recovering although he will obviously have to make some changes to his life e.g. not smoking.

I went for a contact lens checkup today - eyes ok, but I enquired about having monthly lenses instead of daily disposables - cheaper and more environmentally friendly. So I have these to try out and will do so.

I exchanged emails with Penny that I met on Sunday - she wants to meet up again next week. Looking forward to that very much.
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Difficult to say how many bands / performers I heard last year but the diary shows 16 musical events (doesn't seem very many?) and around 27 bands/singers. This includes Bince & Candy heard three times but top position is held by Catherine Paver who I went to see six times, including two performances at the Poetry Cafe'.

Limehouse

Dec. 14th, 2010 09:36 am
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Last night, over to the Troxy which is near Limehouse Station to hear Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Starting the set with ten minutes (or so it felt) of drone is going to sort out the somethings from the something-others. Arrived early and looked for the Mariners pub which has closed down. Looked for the Brewery Tap which was unpalatable although some concertgoers were in there later on. Finally settled on the Railway which at least had London Pride. Frantic phoning of my friend who turned up showing impeccable timing in the end - just as the main act started (though she missed the Dead Rat Orchestra who were the, er, warm-up). GY!BE contributed to the music for''28 Days Later'' and it is that kind of thing. The music is in conjunction with the film loops projected on the screen behind them - films of industrial landscapes, texts about ?Latin American revolutionaries, the word 'HOPE' discordantly in white on black while the band apparently plays a single note for ages. It does get a bit more accessible than that - guitars, violin.

Home via the DLR and got fined for not tapping my Oystercard on the reader on the way off - or something like it. JMI situation again - Just Missed the Kingston train, this time by two minutes but hanging around at Waterloo isn't as bad as at Vauxhall. Got home at half past midnight. Just like the old days.
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Yesterday I went to the Rose Theatre (nearly typed 'the Lyric' there instead) to hear Catherine Paver do a lunchtime set, which didn't just include her own songs but other morsels such as 'Three Ravens' and 'Gaudete'. I feel privileged to know her. Discussed with the management of the Rose whether Saturday lunchtime music would be possible there, something that used to happen at the Lyric Hammersmith. I think they feel that there wouldn't be room in the foyer with the matinee audience being in there as well (although it worked in Hammersmith). Possibly there's a demographic problem here: the proportion of young families in the affluent population here is much higher (no statistics, but pretty much everyone I knew in Hammersmith who started a family, moved out as soon as it happened.) - and children running around / enormous baby buggies doesn't go with live music?

Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but the times at the Lyric were good ol' times. Met at least two women I later went out with there.

After that I went home and did some more to the novel. Trying to fix the backstory and researching around I happen across the fascinating place that is Kabardino-Balkaria - a constituent republic of the Russian Federation, and a country very similar to my invented 'Kazlar', whose name is Turkish for 'Geese'. This linguistic morsel was accidental as I just wanted something Turkish-sounding and already used the country name 'Kazlar' in "Loving the Alien" (in Strange Pleasures 3). It's just easier to handle than the previous 'Cartixa' which was Eastern European and somehow managed to have a language that was identical to Catalan - yes, Romania has a Latin language; yes, the Grand Catalan Company active in Greece in the Middle Ages, but still. This change also allows me to fix the 'monochrome casting' problem I had with the story - having removed a hefty chunk of the present-day story I'd also removed one of the few major non-white characters. Then later realised that she'd fit right back in as one of the ones I'd created for the new section.

Not that Kazlar is Kab.-Balkaria, or I'd need to get it right. Flag's the same though and it has a similar history.
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The follow-up to Saturday's choir concert was an informal rendition of the same set, in the church hall for families - after which I bailed on having a singsong of Xmas songs with the visitors, and went to the pub with four of the choir who all live locally. Pub is the Pottery which probably wants to be a rival to the Canbury Arms but one mass-market real ale doesn't hold it against the Canbury's three or four ales of which at least one is usually a local product.

Heard once again the suggestion I should do a GCSE and teach French or Spanish or TEFL, but these qualifications will take even longer to get - possible I suppose and translation may not bring in much money so I'll need to do _something_ - at the moment my income is actually 0.
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Thursday: up to the Poetry Cafe' in Betterton Street (near Covent Garden) for what was called a Poetry Picnic and included my writing-class-mate poet Stephanie Gerra, and singer-songwriter Catherine Paver. It was a good one. Sat eating chips with the performers afterwards until we dispersed, Ms Paver and I head for Vauxhall, and the Kingston train (she lives not far from me so we shared a train journey most of the way). Home at 0030.

Friday: afternoon train a bit further afield, this time to Tamworth, where the semifinal of Tamworth's Battle of the Bands features five bands including Driven Like the Snow... which is Silver Wizard Project violinist Liz Pedley's other band. I arrive mid afternoon (fare is £17 return. If I'd left it later it would have been £143), wander around Tamworth. I have dinner in the Peel Aldergate hotel where I'm staying - probably a former pub, the original bar area is now a pizza delivery shop and the reception and restaurant are in the old back bar. Rooms are above it and in a gatehouse building.

Then in the evening it's the contest. Unfortunately DLTS... do not get through to the final. Still and all, we head for Decadence, under the Castle Hotel, and dance and drink cider until two a.m. I am told I am a nutter for coming all that way, but still had a good time.

Saturday and the train back is fortunately less of a basic commuter train than the one going up. A quiet night is indicated this time.

Today, not doing very much at all. My feet hurt, especially as I've been doing a lot of walking since buying a pedometer - up to the recommended 10,000 steps several days. I think most of my shoes are too small, size 9 does not fit any more and I do not walk properly a lot of the time. New shoes are needed. Walk later then, and watching the final stage of the Tour de France - though Contador seems to have won it already. Didn't realise that every winner since Armstrong's last win has been Spanish, as the 2006 race's original winner Floyd Landis was disqualified. That's Pereiro Sio, Contador 3 times including this one, and Sastre.
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Back from Eastercon - well, I only went on Friday Saturday and Sunday and even then only managed to turn up mid afternoon as I was commuting in by bus. Saw a lot of people some of whom I haven't seen for years. Heard Mitch Benn. Bought magazines. Had supper in the Three Magpies, and in another hotel, and in the con hotel buffet. Didn't drink that much. This was the first con I've been to since Newcon 4 in 2008 but must try harder from now on.

Monday, over to Chiswick, and Tuesday, back to work and then to the Troubadour in Earls Court to hear Catherine Paver and a couple of other acts. I was in the Troubadour sitting next to two women who turn out to be Ms Paver's mum and sister. Nice people as is she, who says I look familiar. The Troub is no longer the bohemian place it was a few years ago but has gone upmarket very much with prices according.
I had already had something to eat which was just as well given the food prices; shared my friend's spag bol though. Catherine does her set and when she comes back through the now crowded Troub my friend and I wish her well and go, to the pub next door - the Pembroke, which was formerly a gay pub called the Coleherne, but which is now just a pub although a smart one and not all that cheap, but less expensive than the Troub.

Home by tube and train. I seem to be spending my entire life on public transport. Whatever happened to riding the bike everywhere? Lost when I went to the suburbs.
Yesterday, just work and then home via the gym. Only one gym visit this week rather than the usual two. Tonight, not going out either unless it's to wander down to the open mic at the Fairfield, probably as audience only.

Pleased that LJ's Post function restores from saved draft as this MacBook has developed the habit of just powering down when it runs out of battery power rather than letting the user know it's about to.
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I haven't posted since 20 February. Too long. Rather than go for an update for the last several weeks I'll just post on the last week.

Monday and Tuesday: on strike. Monday evening, went to the Windmill in Brixton for their Women's Day gig including Gwennie, Katie Malco, Catherine Paver. Went home before Dawn Kinnard went on, which is a shame but I had to get home (after Catherine's set and telling her I enjoyed it and see her at her next gig).

During the week, read 'Crime' by Irvine Welsh. Less unusual possibly than most of his novels - certainly less dialect. Might have been written by Carl Hiaasen. And not a depressing ending either.

Wednesday, annual leave. Went to several pubs researching for the forthcoming Kingston and Surbiton Pubs Guide. Wednesday is recycling day but after the recycling van has gone some person has half-inched my recycling box despite its having the address of the house on it.

Thursday and Friday, Adobe Illustrator course near Waterloo. Good. Nice people. Thursday evening, no Open Mic for me, just the Mary Ward class - only four of us turn up so I get to read my piece which although to a class assignment fits very nicely into the WIP.

Friday night, to the Ditton in Long Ditton where 'Genie in the Jukebox' (singer Maria Ahearn, guitar virtuoso Dale Harris, and a drummer) were doing a mix of covers and original songs. Maria and I talk about songwriting etc during a break. I just miss the K3 bus on the way home so have to walk to Surbiton (and would have got lost had it not been for a man walking his dog who gave me directions - the man that is, not the dog) to get a different bus.

Saturday morning, the inaugural meeting of A London Tea and Cake Society. More nice people. I am still not quite sure how I happened across this group - [livejournal.com profile] euphoricstimuli and [livejournal.com profile] arryabsinthe are members, Stay Beautiful and Black Plastic were mentioned, and the group's founder [livejournal.com profile] xandratheblue is a pal of [livejournal.com profile] hoshuteki and [livejournal.com profile] exliontamer, but the exact route I am no longer sure of. Still, up to Camellia Sinensis off 'London's Carnaby Street' and Tea and Scones and Sandwiches. Photographs of the event appeared on its Facebook page later (the one of me is awful but everyone else looks nice).

Went back to Kingston and had a haircut.

Spent the rest of Saturday chilling out and fell asleep on the sofa at 9 or so.

This morning, walking down the garden I hear watery sounds - yes, a frog has hidden itself in my pond and there is frogspawn! I hope it doesn't freeze now. The end of the garden needs more plants not least because it's that bit that's visible from the back bedroom and so for it to be neglected as at present is not the best idea. For that matter I could dig up the lawn to plant vegetables.
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moreford's Profile Page

I can't find the version of this that allows you to link to your own (as I got it off [info]exliontamer's LJ there is obviously one) but the page is http://www.last.fm/tools/charts/basicrt10?subtab=&page=1 .
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Today I did get a bit of the NaNovel done, then in the evening over to the Hammersmith Apollo for Deep Purple, who seem to be self-parodying some of the time. Ending on an understandably audience-participation 'Smoke on the Water'. And there isn't even any decent beer in the venue.
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So I'm back at work after two weeks in Greece. The first week it rained and people were forced to evacuate their huts and take shelter in the big house. Week 2 was much better but the group didn't seem to 'gel' the way last year's did. Highlights: learning to sing and being on stage with a choir; sitting on the rocks by the sea in the early morning and writing automatic writing; paddling on a surfboard; snorkelling and being attacked by a pelican. Lowlights, anything involving the bar and beer that wasn't even nice.

I've signed up to do a residential weekend singing and guitar course in Norfolk in November.

Last week I was dreading going back to work but it's been ok so far.

Last night I broke the two-month fast of performed music - apart from buskers, and songs at Skyros over the fortnight, I'd heard no live music since Nine Black Alps in July until I went to Camden in the company of Laura, Jon, Liz and Greg, and heard Circulus. Not the first time I'd heard them but this was better from what I remember. Back by night buses and arrived home at 2.30.

Listening to Muse's new album as suggested by Jon - yes, bits do sound like Queen!
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But I thought it was appropriate that Ama$on.co.uk's reply to my email inquiring about the whereabouts of a missing David Gilmour DVD should contain the line,
"we will need a little more information first."
Just the basic facts? Can I tell them where it hurts?

It seems I missed the Mars Volta at the ICA, but they are playing Somerset House on Monday 13 July. Tickets £25 and I have no money. But still.
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A variation on the 'Canadian musicians' game is 'Welsh bands'. Catatonia, Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers, Magenta, GLC, Feeder, Super Furry Animals ... this was kicked off by going to see Magenta on Saturday night and a rendition (not by me!) of the Stereophonics' 'Dakota' on Friday night.

But today started off very badly. During the journey into work:
- someone kicked my takeaway coffee over me
- I tried to get off the train and a very large man tried to shove his way in before I could get off
- I nearly tripped someone up at the station on the way out

when I finally got to work I had to find someone (anyone) I knew and tell that unfortunate person that I had had it and was going to have a cup of tea for an hour.
Curiously my manager was also feeling crook and went home. Maybe it's the day.

Before all this started I was drawing up an ad for renting of the front bedroom, which could bring in some much-needed money. I've renewed my season ticket but only for a month - the annual season ticket was £1300 and I don't know where I'd find that just now. Besides, may be going to Brum for a while even though I didn't even get an interview for the latest job I applied for (and neither did the current incumbent. Makes me wonder what they're looking for).

Not that I don't like this place (I do) but I was wondering why, as I used to commute by bike every day, I moved somewhere too far to do that easily from. I was back in West Ken on Friday and remarked, "I don't know why I moved. Not that I have a great attachment to W14 - though in a way I do - but why move anyway?" "True," she said; "if you're used to Central London you don't want to move out." I do say that I only regret having moved when I have to get home from the centre of town, but that's regularly twice a week and often more. Friday night was so pretty damn good that it carried over all the way through Saturday, and I got some work done on the Work In Progress. Not like last weekend at all. And today of course it has been warm and sunny and I walked up Vauxhall Bridge Road at lunchtime.

It's just a shame about this morning.
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I've just been to the Peel to hear the progressive group Magenta. You can tell they're prog because they do very long songs and there is clever musicianship going on there (and all stopping on the same note a la King Crimson at least once). Backdrops of war when they're not of the lead singer in religious pose (can I see her on a cross with a pointy green face? Almost) recall Pink Floyd but there isn't that much similarity though I think the lead guitarist can sound like Gilmour at times. My friend backed out so I was propping up the bar and listening to the band all on my own. They are good though. I'm very glad I went. The House of Progression (the ongoing set of prog gigs) will get my custom again even if tickets were £12 a time.
Back up the Cambridge Road which is therefore the local equivalent of Fulham Palace Road - it has the cheap kebab shops and the prog rock venue (though that in FPR's case was the Greyhound, a long time ago, when Paul Brett of the progressive group Sage led a petition to keep the place open).

Now I'm in the front bedroom and there is a lot of noise from the former Six Bells. It's 11:59 (and I want to stay alive).

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