There really does seem to be so much great Swedish Pop around these days, it’s enough to make one feel quite dizzy with excitement. My holidays have been spent largely listening to a hefty pile of stuff from the Labrador label, catching up with some older Legends material, Sambassadeur, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Wan Light and the like. It’s been a fabulous experience and a fine way to keep smiling in the face of adversity. Today’s choice piece of SwedePop however comes courtesy of The Second Band and their ‘Wild Is The Wind’ cut which is lifted from a forthcoming EP for the Orangegrammofon label. Check it out.
To celebrate getting reconnected to the world at a decent(ish) speed, here's some details of how to go about snagging yourself a bunhc of new (and oldish) material from the very wonderful Lispector. I downloaded them all last night, and they are grand.
lispector's new album "the difference between now and then" (and its imaginary B sides) is now available online for free. it is customizable, unmastered and downloadable for free. just go to http://www.lispector.com and click on the christmas tree.
for the fanatics, a bunch of unreleased old titles (1996/2005) are also available in the discography section, including some of lispector's first & finest recordings.
I miss my cable broadband. I feel somewhat cut off without it. I know this is, on one level, silly. What did we do before we had Broadband (or Internet at all), after all? It just goes to sow how quickly we adapt ourselves to new structures and procedures; how we utilise and come to depend upon technologies. It’s all made rather worse by the fact that the BT line didn’t even work properly when we moved in, so there was no dial-up or even reliable telephone. Plussing as which, there is bugger all mobile signal from Orange in the village. There is a post office though, which is a mixed blessing. It’s clearly good because I can easily mail records and stuff, and it’s a short stroll to pick up any packages that need collecting; but it’s bad from the point of view that the village has its own sorting office (okay, so it’s a back room of a cottage, it’s still technically a sorting office) which means that if I tell Royal Mail that I’ve moved (and by next September I will have to) then I think my PO Box in Exeter will become un-useable and I’ll need to get a new one here in the village. Now I wonder if they do re-direction services on PO Boxes as well as home addresses? Does anyone know? I tried calling the ‘help’ number that the Royal Mail website gave, but all I’ve been able to get is automated and recorded responses which don’t answer my questions and which never give the option of talking to a real person. Grrr. God, does moving to a village mean I have to turn into one of those grumpy old technophobes? Heaven forbid.
Still and all, my new ADSL service is supposedly going active on Thursday. Fingers crossed it all works, though I have no great hopes of getting anywhere near the 2MB speed that’s been touted, mainly because we are so far from the exchange. I’m hoping for a single MB, though kind of dread the reality will be more like 512kb. Argh! Imagine it… serves me right for being spoilt with fast cable speeds for five years. Just one more of the downsides of living in a village. And incidentally, in case the geekier of you indiekids are wondering, yes I DO keep singing that fine Jazz Butcher song in my head everytime I say/write about ‘living in a village’. I AM that sad.
So yes, the Christmas holidays have felt like they have been in the way of getting the new house sorted. It’s been strange too because no sooner were we moved in than it seemed we were flying off to Scotland. Returning today it feels finally like we can start to settle and plan. Not that it wasn’t good to get away and spend Christmas itself with our families, because it was. It was actually nice to switch off for a few days and let everything happen around me. Not that much happened aside from eating, watching telly and talking to mom, dad and my bro, but I think that was pretty much what I needed. So now I do feel a bit more animated and ready to push things forward. I want to start being active, want to begin to address a lot of the things I know will make January (and February) busy months. I’ve got a two day ICT and Art conference to host, and then there will be the First Light animation film project to deal with. Also on-going English Media work and photography work also for English… plus part of a Food Technology project to organise. And hmmm, there’s the digital arts mock exam as soon as we get back, and art mock assessment and coursework completion. It never ends. Gah. Oh, and I need to write my comics reviews for the next Plan B. Argh! I need to find my copy of ‘From Hell’ which is buried somewhere in a box. Lots of other great comics to write about too, and really I just need to snap my mind out of its startled numb state and into one of dynamism. Easy to say (or write), of course, but perhaps rather more difficult to actually DO.
I know I haven’t posted in an age, but things have been getting in the way rather. Firstly, we moved house. The original Geek Lair, therefore, is sadly no more, and I am currently in the position of having one tiny box room which is acting as a temporary Lair, at least until we can get a wall knocked through and Things Done. And even though most of my CDs are stashed away on one of my Mac’s hard drives, I still feel incomplete with my collection in boxes in the other room. Ditto with respect to the boxes of comics and books which currently have nowhere to rest their spines… not to mention the vinyl that’s littering the floor in plastic crates. Plus, there’s a fridge freezer standing alongside my blue filing cabinet, at least until the kitchen gets refurbished; and that may take until the end of February at least. Erk.
Anyway, as a result of this, I feel a bit strange. Nothing is quite as it should be; or at least nothing is quite as my brain is expecting it to be. My body and mind need to develop new patterns of living. I just hope it doesn’t take too long.
So a new Geek Lair is in the pipeline, developing slowly in my mind and in scribbled sketches in assorted notebooks. It feels strange too to think that it will be in the country; feels strange to think that I am now living in the country. No longer in the city (that is, if Exeter can be really called a city). I think it will take a bit of getting used to. Already I kind of miss looking out of the attic gable window and seeing unknown people walking past the end of the street on their way to and from town. All I see now is our front path and the next door neighbour’s car in the driveway. The quiet is almost eerie. Not that I’m complaining… rather this suburban quiet than the unpleasantness of the screaming and swearing oiks from the summer, after all. I think.
The house still smells of old lady as well, which is unfortunate. Unfortunate too that the holiday season has rather gotten in the way of being able to get on with much in terms of organising to have work done (note to self, must phone structural engineer…). I realise that every year I moan about the Christmas holidays getting in the way (yes, yes, I am an old humbug, I know, I know) but they DO, and this year it feels even more irritating. I know I am going to have to live in a building site for far too many months, but the sooner it can all start the sooner it will all be finished. Grrr.
All of which makes me sound like a moaning ungrateful old git, which I most likely AM, but really I don’t want to sound like that at all. Because it really is lovely here. No, really, it is. Last week, when we had moved in, we went to the village pub for some food (bland pub grub, to be brutally honest, but nice inside and a good pint of Bass) and as we walked along the street there was the sound of carol singers! Real carol singers!! It was so quaint, we thought we were on the set of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ or something. It will be good for bike rides too am sure. It should knock a good ten to fifteen minutes off the time it takes to ride to school, so come the New Year, that is one of my, ahem, resolutions: to ride to school and back with more regularity than last year. The trouble is, the village is right on Charlie and Emma’s route to school too, so the prospect of keeping up comfortable lifts might be too tempting to resist. We shall see.
I wrote a long entry yesterday and then Word went and ate it, like the bloated pig that it is. Grrr. Even the autorecover thing didn’t work. Double grrr.
Anyway, I spent most of yesterday listening to The Smiths and packing up my life. Somehow the two seemed to go well together, and I enjoyed listening to The Smiths much more than I thought I might. I especially enjoyed the two albums I never much liked when they were released, namely Strangeways and Rank. Listened to now I can see why some people make out like Strangeways is their peak. It does sound so much better with a chasm of years between me and the immediate context of its release. But then again, I still prefer the earliest records because they have a more anxious, nervous edge. Strangeways (and The Queen Is Dead) sound much more like orthodox rock records, which is probably why more people think they are better, but meh. As for Rank, well, it reminds me of what a thrill The Smiths could be live; how urgent and, well, rampant they could be. All that guff about miserablism and whatever, it was so ludicrously misplaced.
So yeah, I played The Smiths and packed up boxes. I sifted through old artefacts, and it was scary how much there was. Fanzines, flyers, booklets, posters, some special letters…and I found the handwritten manuscript to my, ahem, novel called Big Flame which was cast into a box with a shudder. I did however glance at my old fanzines, realising as I did so that there are several I don’t actually have proper copies of myself. Like issue one of the Fantastique! ‘zine with the tracing paper cover, that Jenny Toomey once said was one of the most beautiful fanzines to ever come out of the UK. I only have a draft mock up left in my box. And issue three of the same title, which was a hand assembled affair with individual collages as ‘covers’: I have colour photocopies of all the covers, but no finished artefact. Ditto the ultra rare Imaginaction! ‘zine, of which there were maybe a half dozen photocopied and sent to who remembers who… I just know I don’t have one and that the artwork is all falling apart and half lost. So, you know, if anyone out there has any spares of those that they can bear to part with, maybe we can organise some kind of trade? It feels kind of odd not having them, a bit like a little part of my soul has been lost. Silly, but there it is.
I also thumbed through some old letters, posters, flyers and ephemera, including those for Kevin’s legendary Esurient Nights of Action when The Manic Street Preachers played alongside the likes of The Claim and The Hellfire Sermons. Amongst this lot was the first letter Richey wrote me, and I admit it was tempting to leave it unread and tuck it away for another five years or however long its been. But I gave in and had a look. I remember it as being a passionate and inspiring letter, and it still reads that way, only now of course with a hefty patina of sadness and regret. That’s the way life goes though, I guess. We grow up and we grow old. I just hope that inside me still there remains a thread of the heart that beat such raging blood. On nights like this though, as I stand on the edge of flight to suburbia (the countryside, even!) I start to wonder… wonder at what I might have lost.
Of course, it’s probably just that I’m getting old. Oh well.
Today I was given a cake by one of my students! Yay! With a little green frog and lots of chocolate sprinkles on! Plus a mini comic strip of the cake making activity… Sometimes being a teacher is the best job EVER.
I seem to be doing a fair bit of advertising events on here recently, but there really are so many things happening that sound exciting (and that I can't get to!). Here's the latest, advance notice for all you Bristol based or bound folks for December 13th. It's a Sink and Stove Extravaganza at the excellently named Stutter club (I wonder if they are old James fans?). Details, as ever, below.
- - - Club Stutter - Bristol's best indie club night presents an evening of music from Sink & Stove Records - Bristol's best indie label - - -
with live performances from:
Leave Land For Water www.leavelandforwater.com www.myspace.com/leavelandforwater
You & The Atom Bomb www.youandtheatombomb.com www.myspace.com/youandtheatombomb
The Playwrights www.theplaywrights.co.uk www.myspace.com/theplaywrights
plus Stutter & guest DJs.
This is a special Christmas party and the first 100 people through the door will get a free copy of the brand new Sink & Stove Records Label Sampler CD 'A Flash In The Pan' which will out for Christmas.
The Playwrights new mini-album 'English Self Storage' will also be on sale for £6.00.
doors 8pm. First band 9pm. DJs till 1am.
Tuesday December 13, 2005
The Manhattan Bar, St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1UQ
I seem to have been blighted with other people failing to do their jobs properly recently. This irritates me partly because I hate to see things not done right, and parly too because it casts me in a bad light as well. Grrr. First it was the arts booklet for school being collated wrongly by the printers, and then the new Unpopular 7” was pressed at 33 and 1/3 instead of 45 rpm. And the factory are saying that because the records are not ‘faulty’ they won’t offer any compensation, which seems insane to me. How much more faulty can you get? It’s just what I don’t need at the moment. I keep thinking of the Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ with that great line about feeling tense and nervous and unable to relax. Not that I think I will turn into some axe-wielding maniac, but you never know.