Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Monday, 10 April 2017

Swish Magazine

A recent interview with Cosey Fanni Tutti to link in with her new autobiography has mentioned some of her "work" in the sex industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  One mention was of the magazine Swish.  I bought an issue of this once when I first came down to London and was investigating the things for sale in Soho.

It was a corporal punishment magazine feature young ladies dressed as school girls or maids and being chastised for various indiscretions.  A quick search on google actually revealed the actual magazine I bought - I remember being much impressed with the shortness of the girl's maid outfit!

Wasn't that bothered about the rest of the magazine though




Batgirl versus Catwoman

And speaking of bats (see last post), there has been some discussion in the paper about who is the best bat girl / cat women.

It seems obvious to me that it is the sixties version of each that is the best.



Batgirl in peril - oh no


A bat flies into the house

It was sweltering hot in France today with the peak afternoon temperature reaching into the 30s for the first time this year.  So when we were watching a movie this evening, the main door was still open and much to our surprise, we were joined by a bat that flew in.

It settled on one of the roof beams, hanging downwards, while I went and found my fishing net from the garage.  Rather surprisingly. it was happy to drop into the net and was carried to the bottom of the garden before it flew off again.

Bats are really tiny when you see that face-to-face as it were, but are odd looking creatures.

Not sure if they can give you rabies, as Daughter maintains, but I was very heroic as I rescued the bat and saved the day.

In my view, the bit when the bat flew in was the best part of the film.


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Andy Goldsworthy in the Times - a new Documentary

Rivers and Tides

Leaning into the wind



Thursday, 6 April 2017

J G Farrell's A Girl in the Head

While waiting for the Cosey Fanni Tutti autobiography to arrive, I have been reading JG Farrell's A Girl in the Head for the first time in 20 years plus.

This was actually published in 1967 I was amazed to discover, while my edition is from the early 1980s and bears a rather unusual cover and not the sort of thing you would see now at all.

I remember being rather sympathetic to the main character, Boris, when I first read the book, but find myself less so on this re-read.  And I am surprised that 80 pages in and Inez, the Swedish girl in question, has not yet appeared.



The Execution of Lady Jane Grey

An obituary in The Times reports that the art restorer who restored The Execution of Lady Jane Grey has died recently.

This is one of my favourite paintings and the shimmering dress she is wearing looks extraordinary when seen for real.  It is at the National Portrait Gallery in London and I last saw it a few years ago, so maybe it is time to see it again


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Cosey Fanni Tutti's new book

The autobiography of Cosey Fanni Tutti is released in the next week or so and I am very keen to read this.  I was amazed to find that she is 65 now.

When I was a teenager in the late 1970s, most guys fancied Kate Bush, Debbie Harry or one of the girls from ABBA.  The more extreme among us fancied Viv Albertine of The Slits and the really way out fancied Cosey.

Not that we had ever heard any Throbbing Gristle at that time - for some reason, John Peel wasn't keen on them and never played anything by them.  But when I came to London in the early 1980s, I soon bought copies of 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Second Annual Report.

TG broke up in 1981 and I never saw them live.  but I did once go to a screening of a live concert film of them which was held in a warehouse near Shoreditch one Saturday night, and what an odd audience it was - I was by far the most normal person there

Can't wait for the book to arrive - what with Viv Albertine and Kim Gordon's autobiographies, it has been a great period for such books.



Reading "K2 - Triumph and Tragedy" and Youtube K2 videos

Re-reading Jim Curran's book about K2 for about the fourth time.  I have also discovered that people have started making films of mountaineering trips using more basic camcorders and gopro cameras, and watching some of these on Youtube, I was amazed by how steep K2 is when you see it up close - maybe 50 degrees for most of the ascent?

I am also left wondering how you navigate on such a huge expanse.


Friday, 17 March 2017

More Weird Music - Ksiezyc Rabbit Eclipse

From a recent edition of The Wire's Adventures in Music and Sound comes the Polish weird band, Ksiezyc, about whom I know nothing other than that Rabbit Eclipse, their new album, is their first for about 20 years.

The stand-out track is the last on the album and translate into English as Sirens - it is 15 minutes plus of droning hurdy gurdy with a single oboe tune occasionally put over the top and the two girl vocalists occasionally adding a few lines

As beautiful a piece as I've heard in a long time, and a track that also features on a live clip of them to be found on Youtube which is also excellent


More weird music - Aine O'Dwyer

From the current issue of The Wire magazine comes Aine O'Dwyer and a new favourite "weird" record - Music for Church Cleaners - a series of fairly impromptu church organ recordings that feature the sound of church cleaners in the background.

I don't know her other work, but will be finding out more very soon



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

John Wetton R.I.P.

Other shock death - John Wetton aged only 67.  I know his work best from the 1972-1974 incarnation of King Crimson, perhaps my all-time favourite rock band.  I can still remember the shock of hearing the Lark's Tongue in Aspic album for the first time back around 1980.

I know virtually nothing about his post-King-Crimson work, but what I have is enough.  The three big Crimson box sets from the last few years have been a great reminder of just how much I love that band.

And I am currently 53.  I would like to live to be 95, so I'd have 40 years left, but what if I only reached 67 - 14 more years is nowhere near enough.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Jill Orme Comment

Back in 2012 I wrote a blog entry about the angler Jill Orme,  I had found a number of old fishing magazines and had been reminded of her as a result.  Of course some aspect of this was because Jill was totally gorgeous and I would guess there were many fisherman who thought it would be really nice to have a keen angler for a wife.

Much to my surprise, I received a comment from Jill on the blog.  I don't look at the comments very often, so the comment was actually posted some while ago.

And very sad it is too.

JONATHON WHO?
JILLY ORME HERE!,STILL ALIVE AND FISHING A BIT!WHEN MY BELOVED ANDY CALLED IT A DAY,I COULDN'T RUN SEER RODS ON MY OWN.
A FEW YEARS AGO I HAD SEVERAL BRAIN OPERATIONS,WHICH HAVE LEFT ME BADLY DISABLED.I CAN STILL GO FISHING THOUGH,EVEN IF I AM IN A WHEELCHAIR!NO BARBEL FISHING THOUGH!THE RIVER BANKS ARE A BIT AWKWARD FOR A WHEELCHAIR!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR VERY KIND WORDS.I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE A BIG SHOCK IF YOU SAW ME NOW!
LOVE FROM
JILLY ORME.

I met Jill once when I bought one of her and Andy Orme's Seer rods - their specialist rover rod which remains one of my favourites.  But her news is very sad and I can do nothing but wish her well for the future.


Problems of an aging Mother

We are just back from a week in the UK where we have been mainly staying with my mother.  Over the last year or so. she has become increasingly frail and we are increasingly worried about how she will manage going forward.

Like many older people, she is fiercely independent and doesn't want to pay any attention to the increasing problems that she has been having.  She continues to be unable to keep her kitchen clean and the house tidy, and we have done a full spring clean on this visit, in some cases doing the first deep clean that some places have had for possibly years.

Mum has a range of medical conditions, including pernicious anemia and a leaky heart valve that leave her short of breath after the lightest exertion.  Getting up and down stairs is increasingly difficult and we had hoped to persuade her to move her bedroom downstairs, but she doesn't want to at the moment.

I have been reading up on such issues at various age-related websites and have been talking a lot with her neighbours, Ian and Nicola, who have been through similar experiences with their own parents.

But overall, I have little idea how to proceed and my constant thinking about this is making little progress.

Addendum - March 2017

Since the above February trip, I have had two more trips back to the UK.  Firstly, I had to go back to sort out the damage done by the recent storm that brought down several trees in mum's garden.

But more seriously, we heard that mum had hurt her foot and following discussion with Iain, I returned to the UK to take her to hospital, where it was revealed that she had a small break.  At least this meant she has accepted that she should sleep downstairs at least until the ankle heals.

On a brighter note, we believe that her tests for colon cancer had turned out to be negative.

We are next back in late April and I am hoping there are no more issues that require immediate attention.

Maggie Roche R.I.P

Sad new - the recent death of Maggie Roche.  I heard about this when Katie Puchrik played Hammond Song on her show to commemorate her.

I first came across The Roches due to Robert Fripp's involvement - Terri Roche sang on Fripp's Exposure and Fripp produced the first Roche's CD.  I saw them play live in London in the early 1980s and have followed them to a degree ever since - not so much recently as I have lost track of what they have been releasing.  But I have enjoyed the odd live show recording over the last five years or so.

She died of cancer as so many do.  A great shame and a great talent


They are Terri and Maggie and Suzi, or Suzi and Terri and Maggie and they don't give out their phone numbers apparently.



Tuesday, 31 January 2017

I am thinking of applying to be the next Dr Who

So Peter Capaldi is finishing as Doctor Who later this year.  I am thinking of applying for the role - I'm sure I would be great.

The most important thing is the question of who my assistant would be.

I didn't watch many of the episodes with Clara in them.  Recently I have only watched Dr Who when Daughter has wanted to and that hasn't been very often.


On the other hand, I did see most of the Amy Pond / Matt Smith episodes and rather enjoyed them - the episode when Amy gets old having apparently waited years for the Doctor to return was one of the great episodes of any series ever.  And who can forget her police woman outfit?  I rather liked the Van Gogh episode too, though daughter was strangely opposed to this one.

The main problem with Amy was that she had stupid boyfriend in tow all the time - didn't like him


But my heyday of Doctor Who watching was when I was at University in the 1980s and the Doctor had two female assistants - Nyssa and Tegan.  Of course Nyssa was hyper-intelligent, but Tegan was an Australian air stewardess, for God's sake - what's not to like about that?

The least said about the male companion, Adso (?), the better



And I was a teenager when Louise Jameson brightened up Saturday evenings as the extraordinarily-dressed Leela.  Untameable I would think


And I also remember Sarah Jane from the Tom Baker era (and can just about remember the blonde girl who assisted Jon Pertwee)


So who to choose as my assistant - probably Nyssa and Tegan, then Amy Pond (without Rory), then Sarah Jane, then Leela, then Clara

My application is in the post.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Even weirder new music - Cup and Saucers

Another band from The Wire's show Adventures in Music and Sound and one that I haven't been able to download or, indeed, find anything about.

Cup and Saucers are apparently a band of Japanese origin as is so much good music, and the CD is called Awesome, but beyond that, I am drawing a blank so far.

More digging is required

Addendum

Apparently the cd can be bought from Amazon but it is £30, but isn't on the music site that I usually download music from (emusic.com) - I do have a picture of it but not a copy yet.


Friday, 27 January 2017

New weird Music - Anna Homler

More weird music is available via the website of The Wire magazine, particularly their radio show "Adventures in Music and Sound" which goes out every couple of weeks or so.

One recent example found here was the Anna Holmer and Steve Moshier collaboration, Breadwoman.

Apparently Anna Holmer performs as Breadwoman while dressed as bread and she is singing in an invented language.  This is pretty odd, but a very effective sound.  I have downloaded the full album and am thoroughly enjoying it.




Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Julian Barnes "The Noise of Time" and Shostakovich's "The Nose"

I have just re-read Julian Barnes's book about Shostakovich and have enjoyed it just at much the second time through.  I have a collection of S's symphonies and have been listening to one ever day or two.


His opera, The Nose, has been on in London recently and was broadcast on the radio a week or two ago, so I have downloaded that off the BBC radio app and plan to hear it next week.  Daughter's boyfriend is a keen opera buff.  I wonder if he was tempted to take Daughter to see The Nose?


Monday, 16 January 2017

Food Blogging

We have decided to record our food consumption in 2017 via a new blog.  This has been inspired by an article on extreme foodies in The Times the other day - four people who meet regularly to try new foods and did seem totally obsessed.

So we will be taking pics of our food and writing witty features about it all - at least until our food reveals itself to be quite ordinary.  Perhaps we will be inspired to eat a greater variety of food by having to record it.

The new blog link is;

http://confessions-of-an-extreme-foodie.blogspot.fr/


Contrasting the Times and Guardian

We subscribe to The Times online as our main source of news down here in France, but The Guardian's website is actually still free, so I am also reading that each day.

In fact, I probably prefer the Guardian's website as it updates the opinion pieces throughout the day, and it has The Long Read articles, which I try to read all of, regardless of subject.

But this process also gives an interesting way to see how the two paper's run their various stories.

I have long believed that newspapers target their market much more that act as conduits of knowledge in a liberal democracy.  The Daily Mail of course deliberately appeals to the fears of its readership giving them the stories to fan those fears.  And The Times and The Guardian clearly aim at their own audience.  I have enjoyed this process of review.

Listening to recent Swans and older Jarboe

Every so often, I return to listening to Swans.  The latest prompt was downloading a live recording from earlier this year of the current band - some extraordinary long pieces being played.

But this inevitably leads me back to Jarboe's music which I haven't heard much in the last year or so.  The last week or so I have worked my way through the half-dozen solo albums that I have of hers - still remarkable listening in my view.

Her website has some current pics - she remains a gorgeous looking woman.  In fact, it is almost as if she is getting more beautiful as she ages!






New listening - Radio 3's Late Junction

During one of his "freak zones", Stuart Maconie mentioned a BBC Radio 3 show called Late Junction which I have now been listening to for the last few weeks - an eclectic mix of modern classical and the sort of stuff that Stuart Maconie plays normally.

Odd to hear Black Metal played on Radio 3 - I hadn't realised Radio 3 had become so diverse, but I suppose there was a clue when it broadcast the whole 8 hours of Max Richter's Sleep one night.


Monday, 2 January 2017

Alan Booth's The Roads to Sata, Lesley Downer, Stephen Pern

Current reading is a book I found in the garage over Christmas - Alan Booth's The Roads to Sata.  This is another example of the long walk books that I used to buy loads of years ago when it was not impossible that one day I might do such a walk - now the prospect seems as far away as it ever has, but you never know.

But a long walk for me would not be the length of Japan, a country that just seems weirder and weirder as I get older!  I watched an episode of Joanna Lumley's recent series about travelling around Japan - I would still really like to go back there again one day




I have also found Lesley Downer's book on travelling the route of the poet Basho.  Maybe I will read this next



And finally, I have found the tv programme of Stephen Pern walking through Japan.  This came out in the mid-1980s or early 1990's I think and is still a favourite


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Christmas Books

A few new books for Christmas this year from Daughter.

The briefly studied the Frankfurt School at University but was turned off by what I considered the absurdity of the concept of "reification" - the idea that, but for a few exceptional thinkers who can point to the truth, we are all trapped in the world manipulated by capitalists.

The book has got some good reviews and has re-kindled my interest in the subject.


Lately I have been reading a few books from what you might call the extreme political left - particularly the field of so-called "critical theory"

And this is another
I seem to read a history of the French Revolution every two or three years - the "terror" remains an interesting historical topic for me.  This is the latest


And finally, my lifelong interest in medieval manuscripts has another outlet


Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy

Wife and Daughter are having a "mother-daughter" day out in London which involves lunch at Harvey Nichols and shopping at Westfield.

I, by contrast, took in some culture, visiting the Royal Academy's Abstract Impressionism show.

There were a number of highlights I thought.  Ad Reinhardt's totally black Abstract Painting of 1956, for instance, and the half-dozen Rothko's.

But two stood out above all other - Jackson Pollock's Blue Posts


and Joan Mitchell's Salut Tom


The show was pretty full when I attended, but I was able to spend over two hours there - needless to say, I have acquired the show's accompanying book.