Friday, 30 November 2012


Devised, produced and directed by FabMary; bacon, egg, mushroom, tomato, and HP sauce in a bun.

David Cameron: Corrupt or Does He think We are All Stupid?

No surprise there, then.
Lord Leveson spends several million quid on an inquiry, produces a report with clear recommendations and David Cameron rejects it. Could this be because he has always been in the pocket of Rupert Murdoch and was always going to reject statutory oversight of the muck-raking press, or does he think we're all stupid? It is quite obvious that the press is not fit to regulate itself, and neither are they all that concerned with accuracy, justice or consistency. Individual journalists might be, but their editors/publishers are not. The inquiry has shown that corruption and prejudice is rife; in any other context there would be statutory controls. But not, apparently, when there is the possibility that the perpetrator might be able to help a politician's chances of getting elected.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


I just spent a couple of hours reading the weekend newspaper - it being Saturday it comes in several supplements of varying worthwhileness. But something that struck me is the plethora of advertisements for trousers.The chaps at 'Chums' seem to be going for it in a big way:
Super Soft Fleece-lined Thermal Leisure Trousers from 'Chums'.
What Every Golfer Wants For Christmas - Plus Two trousers from 'Spencers'.
Ladies Fleece Lined Thermals from 'Chums'.
Moleskin Trousers from 'Peter Christian'.
Warm Moleskin Trousers from 'Chums'.
What makes Saturday the day for advertising trousers, I wonder?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Jack DeJohnette

A works outing last Friday to see The Jack DeJohnette Group playing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the London Jazz Festival.
Mr DeJohnette is now age 70 and has been a central figure in jazz since the mid-sixties having played with Charles Lloyd, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny and many more, as well as fronting his own bands. He also plays the piano and is an accomplished composer. For this concert he had a five-piece band comprising himself (drums), Don Byron (saxophone, clarinet), Marvin Sewell (electric guitar), George Colligan (keyboards & piano), and Jerome Harris (bass). They played six of DeJohnette's compositions in a concert lasting two hours.
This was proper jazz played by accomplished musicians, combining different idioms from free jazz to straight twelve-bar swing. They got us off to a slightly alarming start by going for an arragement with no apparent key or time signature but, as with performances of Shakespeare, within a few minutes your brain adjusts to the language and it coalesces beautifully. Hotcha! An unusual element was Mr Sewell the guitarist's use of a Stratocaster and playing slide, which is not something I've seen before in a jazz combo. Mr Harris the bass player was pretty nifty but without feeling the need to be flash. Mr Colligan had too many keyboards, but he's pretty good and was best on the piano.
The concert was recorded by BBC Radio 3 and was broadcast last Monday 19 November. It is available via the BBC iPlayer gubbins. Sadly, they've edited it down to only three songs and one hour, and the mix could be better but I guess we'll let 'em off given the various constraints under which the jazz element at Radio 3 has to work.
Promotional video for Jack's latest album below:

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Frank Zappa: Cosmik Debris

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that Dweezil Zappa has been working with those wonderful chaps at Gibson guitars on producing a Frank Zappa Signature Model of the SG.
Here's a video of Frankie playing the original.

The Mothers:
Ian Underwood, saxophone; Jean-Luc Ponty, violin; Bruce Fowler, trombone; Tom Fowler, bass; Ruth Underwood, percussion; Ralph Humphrey, drums; George Duke, keyboards.
[PS. The Zappa Family Trust have signed a new deal for the re-release of FZ's albums. If you haven't got 'em already, get 'em today! Either direct or, more reasonable priced, via iTunes, Amazon etc etc]

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Wakey Wakey!

There we are, peacefully slumbering just after sunrise, when our dreams are banished by the most awful flippin' racket outside.
"Uhrrr, wossat noise?"
"Dunno. Sounds like a broken moped without a silencer being driven over rocks without its tyres."
"What? Maybe it'll stop in a minute." 
The noise, however, continued. Eventually I looked outside. Some goon is pushing a clapped out rotovator around the ex-flowerbed in the traffic island opposite one's residence. [Insert oath here]. Then Mr Motorcycle man downstairs starts up his high pressure washer, followed by the piledriver on the bulding site up the road. [Insert further oath here]. This went on for some time - here's some edited highlights.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Wet, Wet, Wet

Today members of the Xorg collective staged a trip to the Troodos Mountains. It all started well as the three excited walkers ascended the Caledonian Falls in bright sunshine, but Mother Nature had other thoughts for their descent.
All it took was one spot of rain, and then in quick succession the rain drops gathered pace and the three young walkers became stuck in a rain/hail/thunder/lightning storm. But this was not your average storm; this one included ‘ice-pellet’ hail stones, and freezing cold rain.  There was so much rain; our once dry walkers became wet to their skin, their clothes providing no protection from the elements. Visibility was poor, the path became a river, and rocks splattered the path.
Shelter. Well there wasn’t a lot of that. Trees so sparse, their branches were poor umbrellas. Soon, our intrepid explorers, aged 28, 27 and 1, found a small cleft in the rock-face in which to find solace. However, this provided limited cover as another family was already there hiding from the elements.
Eventually, after an age of ‘ice-pellets’ and torrential rain, our soaking adventurers decided to make a dash for it and head to safety. This was easier said than done. Fortunately the path was heading in the right direction, but now the path was a river, flippers were needed not the canvas shoes worn by our naive protagonists.
The rain eased as they approached their car, but only the youngest member of the group had a change of clothes for the long journey home. So she, the 1 year old adventurer, sat happily, warm in her clean clothes as her parents sat in their pants on their journey towards warmth.

Michael Gove is Dangerous

There is an interesting article at the Guardian's blog for teachers, teacher network, in which the writer points out that in comparison with previous Secretaries of Stae for Education, Michael Gove is dangerous rather than merely inept.
"Gove is not like the other education ministers we have had in the past - inept, ill informed and interfering, but fundamentally well-meaning - he's a wrecker, he does not want to improve our education system, he wants to destroy it."
The writer is campaigning to get Education freed from political interference, and to restore a consensus which is driven by educational values. Gove's aim is ultimately to privatise education. Read it through and if you agree, there's a petition to sign etc.