top hat James wedding

Nothing distinguishes memories from ordinary moments...

Only later do they become memorable by the scars they leave.

Answer for question 4338.
pub step
Have you ever had any run-ins with the law or been arrested? What happened (if you feel comfortable sharing the story)?
Kind of - neither of which were anything to do with me.

I've been told to 'fuck off' by an officer when trying to get a kebab (sober, and I was living locally) near Tottenham when I asked politely why I couldn't walk down this local street which was taped off. Never found out why, but wasn't surprised that riots happened there years later since even myself as a white bloke got treated like shit there by them, hate to think how they treated other people.

I have told police they can't come in, same place due to an arrest of someone at the address for GBH. That was very satisfying, I also barracked them during the arrest...oddly one of the policemen admitted to breaking the law himself casually, he was playing good cop to the other (bearded, the authority figures with beards never are nice and always turn out to be right c***s) playing bad cop...very odd.

Answer for question 4336.
top hat James wedding
What's your reaction towards people who are outspoken about their beliefs (whether that's politics, religion, or anything else)? Does your reaction change based on whether you agree with them or not?
Nothing wrong with being passionate, in fact if it matters to you then in my mind you SHOULD be outspoken. I personally don't get people who keep quiet to 'keep the peace' or 'get along' because all that happens is the truth comes out eventually. Keeping it in isn't healthy, and is sneaky.

I personally prefer to know where people stand rather than to be wrong-footed, I get quite annoyed when someone seems at total odds to what they were presenting and they're like 'so?' - especially on important issues, like LGBTQ rights, religion, politics etc. Hiding who you are from me just makes me suspicious of someone rather than what they probably want which is some kind of social grooming.

And anyway, when you have discussions or arguments with people then their true nature comes out - if they are insulting or illogical, petty or pedantic (I can be all of those, but try not to be) it tells you what kind of a friend those people are, what assumptions they've made and what strategy they choose tells you a lot about their internal makeup. More than they think.

I don't expect friends to agree with my opinions, quite often they don't, but I do expect them to have some sort of logic/thinking behind it, even if it's not mine. If I can see where they stand, then it's fine...if it's fluffy or not thought out but they are putting it out there, I'm less kind about it, usually.

That said, I try and avoid arguments unless it's someone who is being hella illogical or offensive, or completely out of what I think is their usual character.

Answer for question 4316.
top hat James wedding
What’s your favorite smell/scent? Is it somehow connected to a specific memory? If so, what is that memory and why is that scent so strongly attached to it?
Coffee and fresh sweat of a man I like ;-)

'Just friends'
Farnese hercules
Hmm, the weird thing about being over 40 is being in this odd hinterland, being sexually dropped for 'fresh fruit' - amount of bears and older bearded/hairy guys who are only looking for 18-20's aged guys is depressing (given what bears was originally about), and I probably didn't know how unique I was back then...I liked older guys AND wasn't expected to get paid. No wonder they loved me, saved them so much money for rent :-P

Just had the 'just be friends' line via someone who seemed interested but apparently now is only attracted to guys in their 20's, I wished he'd made that clear...

The irony will be is by the time I might be considered eligible again - e.g. 50-60+ 'daddy' type with grey/white beard (already getting close with the latter) and maybe attractive to the late 20's-30's group*, I suspect I might have just given up bothering. :-(

* Unlike these chicken hawk bears, I don't go for that 'student' age group, even though a few have expressed interest out and about I'm always suspecting they might just want my wallet! Nor do I pretend I am younger, or go to the gym, or cut my beard - all things that would 'improve' my chances, but I see no reason to change myself just to shag someone that shallow...what's the saying? My right hand is a better lover? :-P

Answer for question 4266.
top hat James wedding
If you saw two people fighting on a street corner, would you try to step in and break it up or stay out of it? Why would you make that choice?
I have intervened when it's been 2 against one, or an obvious unfair fight. Usually just shouting and making them aware that others are watching solves it, because they are drunk or caught in the moment.

Tabula Rasa, or This Is Not A Podcast (It's A Body Journey*)
holy synth

New mix from me (the podcast might have ended but I reserve the right to do the odd mix - or not). This is very much what the podcast wasn't - I hate the words ‘downtempo’ or ‘chilled’ *shudder* but at some point I stripped all the uptempo tunes out of this mix, I wanted something deeper, something heavier, something that says ‘blank slate’ and new start – hence the name and the image. Something arising like a phoenix from the ruins of the Radio Clash podcast, and something I’d never do before – a mix on the nature of existence, mortality, alienation – the naked state of the world in 2015 without the shiny disco lights obscuring the truth.

That's the blurb and there's a bigger rant about audience vs art on the blog - the short version is one of the reasons I fell out of love with the podcast was feeling like I had to play certain tunes, keep my 'chin' up, play uptempo stuff, play mashups, please Schrödinger's crowd a little, or face question, pushback, ignorance etc. Now that's gone I can just do what I damn please, and that was the idea.

It's a good point though - may seem churlish (to them) but the audience isn't a passive thing, it affects the artist by just being there...the audience usually thinks it doesn't, but this is why I battled early on with Radio Clash with requests, critique, comments. My response was always 'do your own podcast!' rather than try and change mine into what YOU think it should be. DIY, punk ethos, start your own. Interesting how people get so angry when you refuse to do their work for them...or project that I'm being bitchy or a twat when I do. I suspect this is what a lot of divas get, that whole projected as bitch thing, because they have an idea of what they are doing, and don't want to change. Challenging that is hard, and eventually I got tired of this mindset, as much as in my head as anywhere but no less real. So I stopped the podcast before it became work - because working to other people's perceptions, expectations and framework IS indeed work.

Have to shout out to Soundhog and greatbearmd for inspiring this mix - I wouldn't know about Mel Croucher or Troyka otherwise.

Download (125Mb, 1:37)

  • Arvo Pärt – Tabula rasa: II. Silentium. Senza moto

  • Mel Croucher – I Am Machine (feat. Jon Pertwee, Donna Bailey & Ian Dury)

  • Nona Hendryx – Design For Living

  • A Guy Called Gerald – Emotions electric

  • Gary Le Strange – All I Ever Do (Is Sit in My Room)

  • Labelle – Are You Lonely?

  • DJ Rozroz – la ritournelle de Marvin

  • Mort Garson – Prologue

  • bittersoundfoundation – second sight

  • Mort Garson – I’ve Been Over The Rainbow

  • Broadcast – You Can Fall

  • Dionne Warwick – You’re Gonna Need Me

  • Stereolab – You Used to Call Me Sadness

  • AFx – 15 sekonda

  • Troyka – Early Morning

  • Boards of Canada – Reach For The Dead

  • Low – Just Make It Stop

  • Mel Croucher – Old Age (feat. Jon Pertwee)

  • Super Furry Animals – Download

  • Arvo Pärt – Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten

  • Material featuring Whitney Houston – Memories

  • Arvo Pärt – My heart’s in the highlands

  • Mogwai – Helicon 1

  • Mel Croucher – Replay (feat. Ian Dury & Jon Pertwee)

  • Motherlode – When I Die

  • Labelle – I Believe That I’ve Finally Made It Home

* No prizes if you can tell me where that quote is from ;-)

Hi hi raspberry pi...
Tim Sideways
I geeked out and ordered one of the new Raspberry Pi 2 computers. All of £27 with postage!

Planning to make it a NAS/media server and iPlayer download so I don't have to leave my laptop running or worry about VPN being switched to certain locations to get downloads as I do now...apparently Microsoft are going to make a free version of Win10 for it, but I will be running Raspian or Ubuntu most likely - a new version called Ubuntu Snappy Core is also supported.

Nice thing about the Raspberry is it's made in Bridgend in Wales, it's British, and given the shortages before, they made sure that 10,000 units were available at launch, and many more being made. Picking up a second hand LCD monitor tomorrow, which I need for other video devices generally and will replace my old CRT monitor which uses up FAR too much space...having a DVI-D capable monitor even an old one will help greatly in these HDMI/digital days (Although getting video from the Amiga might still be fun without a TV).

Unlike the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator, which I ordered the drum machine one over a week ago, and now have been told it will be April before I get it. Britain 1, Sweden 0.

Answer for question 4198.
top hat James wedding
Have you ever binge-watched a TV series? If so, what was it? Why did you like it so much?
Game of Thrones, to catch up before series 4. Never really liked it, then Hapthor joined *cough* yeah I am that shallow sometimes...and actually loved it so I watched series 1-3 pretty much back to back.

Answer for question 4190.
top hat James wedding
What is the longest you've ever had to go without sleep? Why?
I think it was something like 30-32 hours. Just to see what it's like.

Around 24 hours you get a second wind after feeling really dog tired, but you start sort-of hallucinating about the 28 hour mark, your eyes start to defocus/focus constantly and you feel really ill...

2015: A Belated Post Odyssey
holy synth
I feel guilty that I haven't posted about the new year...mostly because it feels like new year, same shit. Customer service nightmares, banks and supermarkets who take your money and then treat you like shit, and a new year which is mostly a let down / raining. Yeah.

Xmas was quiet - I made Xmas Day Dinner for John, the first time so stress was high... and made the Best Risotto EVAH! as a starter which pleased me no end, because I was really worried about that...had a minor meltdown when I saw the nearly 2 inch Cote De Boeuf massive steak John had brought - I had planned everything to a T, but not checked that...luckily my Hairy Bikers Grill (no, not a fan, they just were on special and are rather good actually) managed to just fit it...with roast potatoes which were cheaty Waitrose ones (Waitrose...grr...The Forbidden Supermarket now, long story involving my chip & PIN card not working and them treating me like I was penniless vagabond - and finally it turned out to be THEIR machine, not my card. I had to do the walk of shame sans groceries. Dumb.) but I also learned how to make real ones. It's all about the fat!

Talking about fat I was glad to get to normal eating habits, because over Xmas we ate very well, then went out with Kirk and had a meal (this year seemed to be Hampstead Xmas, always meeting my flat, everyone LOVES my flat and my area, except me, I get bored of it and want to go far, far away. Preferably Bermuda, Australia, South Africa, anywhere warm and preferably without dumb people talking about politics or queer issues. Or inane chatter.)

I saw my Dad and Christine after Xmas for New Year's Day, again more rich food, and plenty of nice wine...stayed over and watched the birds fight it out in their garden, Robins, great tits, and the odd clueless looking blackbird who seemed disgruntled it couldn't fit into the birdhouse or feeder. We went for a walk along the old A3, next to the old old A3 at Hindhead, the Devil's Punchbowl. Not been there since they closed the road and were just about to open the tunnel, so it was strange to walk along the reclaimed hill and think of all those times I wizzed past there in my Dad's car - or even the odd fraught and unsuccessful driving lesson (which reminds me, Santander seems to think it's the United States here since to take money out without a cash card needs two forms of identity - a passport and a driving license, and that's all they accept. Cos everyone drives, right? More dumb).

As you might have guessed this year has been sorting out long-left financial stuff - even down to sorting out my home insurance which has gone from reasonable ten years ago to rip-off level - at current prices. Loads of odd questions - how the fuck should I know what the roof is made of? It's only contents insurance and I'm not on the top floor! Difference between other places and the UK, someone who has never made a claim and been insured for something like ten years - I phone up my current one and ask how I can reduce my premiums, I take off a few things and am told 'Computer Says No' about reducing the level of cover...I am overinsured since stuff has devalued, broken or been sold. I bet in other countries like the States they would value the loyalty and have a 'deal' or sweetener to stay...not in the UK, you get a harrumph and a like it or lump it attitude. But the 'broken machine' thing is the story of my life atm, so many of other people's systems don't work, and then they force the customer to jump through hoops. Bet you anything when I phone to cancel my old insurance tomorrow after sorting out a new quote (which I sort of have already, roof question allowing) they then try and 'keep' me when it's too late. If at all, the telecoms and mobile people are the same, they don't care until I've left, oddly. Maybe places like EE Broadband should try and keep customers, rather than do damage limitation when you've cancelled (and lie to you about charges, as well!).

Went to the sauna for the first time in years, to the Waterloo Pleasuredrome (I did go to Chariots Waterloo for the first time ever, but it was shit, and the people were milling around doing nothing and looking down their noses, I left and went to Pleasuredrome for the first time in about 10-15 years). I had a nice time but the nicest thing was the jacuzzi. If you don't have a bath you really treasure the moments of being immersed in water...good for the skin, too.

Went to a few great exhibitions recently - the one just closed this weekend on William Morris was beardy and facinating...his life-long batchelor friend Philip Webb raised eyebrows, since victorian times that was very unusual was at the National Portrait Gallery - some good photos, socialist history and his design was amazing, of course already knew a bit about him, but not seen his Chaucer in the flesh. Surprised they put Edward Carpenter, Anne Besant, Marx's daughter, Bernard Leach and Sylvia Pankhurst in the exhibition - a little tenuous of the curators trying to stretch Morris's News From Nowhere where he predicted a new socialist utopia in 1952 - of course they stretched it to Festival of Britain (1951). Boos to Eric Gill being there, though. No mention of his crimes.

I also saw the MIRRORCITY exhibition, also just before it closed...I wish I'd seen it earlier...mostly for two works, I became an instant fan of Ursula Mayer's videos, it's queer thing maybe, they just spoke to me (and having JD Samson in one doesn't hurt - not so into the Ayn Rand inspired one, but Medea with JD was very good) and the twisted narrative of Lindsay Seers at the start...she had a real story to tell with schizophrenia, dancing, her Dad's past and Leni Riefenstahl on Heligoland. Not sure how much of it was true, but it didn't matter since the connections it made were interesting, like a double screen documentary in a gothic cathedral like space, projected onto spheres. And I liked Tim Etchell's posters where he took and remixed headlines for comic and tragic effect.

But the rest, bar Susan Hiller who I love but sadly hers was the last and by then I was burnt, really demonstrated one of the problems of modern video art, and art in general. It's good I came to it fairly blind and didn't read the bumf at the site. "MIRRORCITY explores the effect the digital revolution has had on our experiences....The exhibition considers questions specific to our time such as: ‘How can we navigate the space between the digital and the physical?’ and ‘What is the effect of advanced technologies on our lives?'" - very little of that, and surprising how traditional most of the work was if that was the brief.

But I left singing/chanting "I Don't Give A Fuck About Your Story" - uncharitable but true, since a lot of the younger (20? 30's?) artists were doing really involved video pieces of them talking to camera, or others....but they didn't have anything to say, nor experience to impart. There was a lot of that disconnect, of obviously rich or at least well-supported young artists trying to say something and completely failing. And certainly lack of any new media that wasn't around say, 20-30 years ago. This digital revolution seems to involve drawing maps of charts, having one-headphone installations while nailing all the other old ones to the wall, making odd noises like Kurt Schwitters never happened, running a Berlin record label and being an artist on the side with forgettable closeup images, recreating a strange spooky space like the inside of a boiler room which you need to queue up for, and recreating your studio with hanging things in the gallery (which was at least fun in a child hides in the wardrobe way, you had to thread your way through the work). But a lot of painting, a lot of text work (oh how 20's that is, to work with text pieces - I did! It's clever but usually forgettable) mixed media sculpture in a sort of 'oh we have to have sculpture' 60's fashion and photography with completely blank punctum/perspective, nothing happening there.

It mostly didn't say anything - which is one of the problems with video installation and modern art (this is what I majored in btw) - the blank narrative of 'nothing happens' is boring, but so is 'personal story that I'll relate to you' - it's like someone telling you their dreams. You don't actually care. If you work contains a narrative, make it an interesting one...or go find one that is. Creating the artistic version of 'Time passes...' in an adventure game isn't deep, it's dumb, usually. A lack of ideas...because like when someone creates a memorable pop song and it's EVERYWHERE, an artist with ideas that people can latch onto is rare but also successful.

Enough ranting on the state of modern art, I hope you all are well, and find 2015 more interesting than I have so far...changes are afoot which means this year is probably going to be rocky and less than fun, but who knows? I hope yours is better.

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