Thursday, September 30, 2004

Needles, Quacks, Perverts and Snake-Oil Salesmen

I have returned from the hospital via the osteopath / acupuncturist. The hospital confirmed that there is little they can do except monitor my dodgy arm, but recommended physio. Since I have also had a pain in the neck for over 3 weeks, I decided to visit David Charlaff.

I first went to him in 1991 after a horrible accident left me with 3 compressed vertebrae in the neck. A thick heavy outside door fell on my head... (cries: "that explains a lot...!") I could have been killed. It was dangerous. I was lucky.

I was advised to see a cranial osteopath. This first turned out to be a more of a terminal psychopath. This is not a joke.. he took advantage of his position and of my vulnerability due to serious injury, with designs upon my tender arse. Now having a superb arse, I can understand his temptation, but he was lingering far too long around my nether regions considering my head and neck were bruised and throbbing, and it later turned out, my skull had a hairline fracture. After some preliminary inspection of my head and neck, he got me to sit on his hands, then rock back and forth. After a few minutes, he started muttering slightly closer to my ear than was really necessary a stream of barely inaudible words which included the phrase, "...something about the skin of the buttocks..." I gave it some more seconds to check my reality, but catching sight of his face in a mirror on the opposite wall confirmed my suspicion. I was being groped by the man.

Thankfully, generally speaking, I have not had to resort to overt threats or actual physical violence with members of the healing profession. For a second in this case I was sorely tempted. I was not well enough to exercise the famous Scots Kiss, which response would have been in any case a sledgehammer to crack a nut, and which would have probably opened up the crack in my nut into a fissure and converted me from walking wounded to instant intensive care. But then I saw him for who he was - a rather sad and sexually fustrated middle-class elderly man in a white coat who just happened to fancy me, and who had overstepped the boundary of propriety for a couple of minutes. See how pain enlightens us and gives us compassion, and in this case, robbed me of faintly homophobic repulsion. Actually no, it was just repulsion - I'm sure I would have felt just as bad about it had it been a woman. Anyway, as "yuk" moments go, it scored high.

I stood up, said firmly, "well, I think that's quite enough for today." He seemed surprised - I think he thought I was putty in his hands. Arse-putty. After paying him, I shook his hand very warmly whilst looking him right in his watery blue eyes, and I am satisfied to say, he looked crestfallen and rather shamefaced as I said, "you do understand don't you, I won't be booking another session..."

I was luckily able to exit the situation without coming to any harm or having to resort to defensive measures. He's not the only healer I have met who had ulterior motives, urges little to do with healing, and whose understanding of client care could use some revision. More of that later.

I then found David Charlaff, and I was so glad to have persevered. He was remarkably effective and quick, and I found him knowledgeable, intelligent and relaxing. When I was skint, he let me pay less. I respected him a lot for this. I sent him many people over the years, all of whom have have reported back satisfied.

I am an advocate of preventative medicine and have always been interested in Eastern methods and philosophies, so Mr C's particular skillset very much appealed to me. He straightened out my neck and I grew 1/4 inch allowing me to reach my full and towering height of 5' 10".

Having decided at age 6 or so that since most General Practitioners are overworked pill-merchants and to be trusted only as a last resort, I knew I could definitely benefit from having a relationship with a genuine healer. I started going regularly, minimum 4 times a year, more if injuries or stress dictated, and noticed the benefit and general improvement as the energy of my body started to flow unblocked, my drug-enhanced swings (coffee, tea, alcohol, etc., never mind the illicit ones) from overworked tiredness to hyperactivity began to level out, and I found my life more manageable as my natural energy became more available to me.

When I visit, generally the pattern is this: I get my stiff neck loosened, my spine and hips re-aligned, and then needles go painlessly in, depending upon where I am at physically, to different parts of my body, for example today, 3 around the left elbow, one upper arm, one in each foot, one top of the head. I lie flat in my underwear on a special table in a warm, pleasant treatment room like a human specimen, dozing off, looking at the art on the walls, feeling oddly secure despite my semi-naked state. You don't have to strip off, it helps if he can see you though. I've gone in dead tired and come out really happy and buoyant. I've gone in feeling pretty damn chipper and come out feeling like crawling into bed and sleeping for hours.. and done so ! What he achieves is specifically balancing, remedial to aches pains and discomfort, as well as being such a good all-round boost to the system that I have for the last 13 years remained remarkably disease-free.

Tip: wear nice underwear.

Tip: acupuncture does not have to hurt AT ALL to be very effective. If it does, find someone who can do it without the sadism - there is absolutely no need for it.

Tip: don't rush into the next thing. Give yourself a while to adjust afterwards.

Tip: Cycling home is not advised unless it's done extremely slowly. This stuff can s p a c e y o u r i g h t o u t . . . .

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Adopt a Plankton

They taste great (if you're a fish) and we all need them to keep alive, so that we all stay alive.

I think they look really cute as well. We should all definitely adopt a plankton.

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New Labour - New Profanity

The civilised person in us all usually obeys the dictum of William of Wykeham and in the daily run of things, our well-mannered tongues stay firmly in place, smiling teeth are clamped and gritted, and resentment festers darkly in denial. But rather than supress my anguish, I have been employing a different strategy, and positively enjoying the resentment I have been feeling towards people who have treated me badly in the past. It's great - you should try it. How good is it to scratch an itch ?

For some reason I have coined a rather satisfying phrase (the feeling being momentary but nonetheless an achievement of note) which makes me laugh out loud as I savour it's childish obscenity. I am sure I have never heard anyone call anyone else this, but it's somehow revolting and descriptive and colourful enough to be an eyebrow-raiser in the right context.

The last term I heard like it was "spunk-bubble" - which to my certain knowledge was coined in South Norwood High School, 1974.

I'm not sure I want to divulge it yet.

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Friday, September 24, 2004


There are too many tree-surgeons in London and not enough trees, which means that any tree which slightly deviates from straight or dares to suffer wind or traffic damage is rapidly reduced to a stump. Ugly brutal and stupid, since the replacements take many years to grow trunks thick enough to withstand the urban environment and what they are replacing will in a year or two look beautiful again as nature (with a bit of pruning) makes good the damage.

I despair at human folly regarding the natural environment and frequently rail against the optimists, whose argument goes something like, science will develop solutions to every problem we cause.. well, only if the biosphere sustains sufficient life to allow us to develop anything beyond about 20 years time.. and against the fatalists who say, well, it's all fucked, beyond help, let's just resign ourselves to destruction..

How do we know whether the damage done so far has already pushed us past the point of no return ? If it hasn't, how are we going to be able to adjust our way(s) of life on a sufficiently grand scale and in a concerted enough manner to avoid the Mass Extinction Event we seem to be headed for / causing ?

A part of me rationalises like this: we are part of nature. So, horrible as this may seem, our short-sighted greedy arrogant nature-abusive (is this too strong? I think not!) behaviour is natural.. and nature will find a balance, by wiping us all out if necessary.

I'd rather humanity grew up and restrained itself, and stopped acting like the drunken spoiled teenager, than smashed itself and all it's lifeform pals into a brick wall one drunken night some decade or other. Environmentalists have for years been saying, if we don't reverse (that's REVERSE not CEASE) our wanton destruction of the environment by around 2020, we all going down de pan.The Mayans predicted the end of the world to be 2012... and that's as far as I can think right now. So, that means, I can retire at 50 since the world will be no longer an option. Nice.

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Thursday, September 23, 2004


I have a head cold, which started last week when I couldn't afford to get it. So instead I had a day of sore throat and prickly heat, then work made it go away. Now work is almost done (that work anyway) so it's come back to get me. Funny how the system supresses illness when other matters like survival, financial or otherwise, dictate.

Coughing and spluttering, uncontrollable sneezing, eyes puffy and red, legs and back aching. Imagine the effects of the cold upon me when this is my normal state of being...

Some people seem to have a humour bypass when they get sick as if they must be serious about it or they will permanently have to endure the symptoms. I just get vague.. forget things..

I just get vague...

... forget things...

........ um.......

... and sometimes I can't quite remember what I was saying or doing. Like getting into the shower and wondering why I am standing there shivering. Ah yes, hot water. Supposed to be good for you. I decide to do no-brainer activity to try to make use of my downtime, which is a foolish strategy, since my forgetfulness means I put a hot white wash on then find the lost black sock (AT LAST!), stop the cycle and carefully add it to the whites. All sense of appetite is skewed. I am ravenous. I eat 2 mouthfuls and then I am full. Constantly thirsty though swallowing hurts. Can taste food only in the few sacred moments when a nostril is clear. Shopping for food is useless as I can only think of porridge and tinned spaghetti, the comfort food from my childhood. Headaches come and go like weather fronts depending upon the state of my sinuses, throbbing away like the bass bins at a rave I live next door to but can never attend.

Then there's the way a cold shows you how you are going to be when you are OLD. The bags, lines, creases and crinkles under watery eyes, the stooped gait, the hobble, the dry papery lips, the stubble (men and women)... the protest at all effort, however feeble, however pointless.

Colds are good for us. They tell us we are mortal. They help us to grow closer to God. This too is an effect of the virus, the plaintive calling for extra-terrestrial, metaphysical help, oh god oh god oh god i feel shit please i'll do anything. God forbid we should get really sick, or we'll be turning to the other fella. The desperation to escape as the virus has it's moment of victory and bends us to it's will, like Hitler bestriding Europe, like Stalin's iron grip on the East, erasing all that does not comply with it's purpose of self-perpetuation.


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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Prisoner on a Beach in London

We went to the Thames Festival and saw Groupe F blow a few thousand pounds on flame and fire into the air from barges on the river. Great fun, as the tide was out and so we saw it from the beach by Gabriel's Wharf.

After finishing the Frascati that Giovanni brought with him, I wrote a message on some paper and put it in the bottle, corked it and threw it into the river. One of the most optimistic acts of littering I have ever done. "HELP!" it reads, "I am prisoner on a beach in London. Please contact me on (number) or write (address)" - of course I put a real phone number and address.

I half-expect some Robinson Crusoe to text me from the 18th Century at some point in the next 50 years.

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Friday, September 17, 2004


David Byrne has written some great songs. This is one of his simplest and most sentimental. This morning as I walked by the Thames, looking at the grey-brown water and the clouds arriving from the West, the lyric came to me. I don't know where my home is anymore. Maybe this is the place, the whole damn city, and I am wrong to look for a specific bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and lounge. In my blues, I felt like a spoiled Westerner, sad in my surfeit of richness. Over to you, David.

This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb - born with a weak heart
I guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok I know nothing's wrong . . nothing

Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up and say goodnight . . . say goodnight

Home - is where I want to be
But I guess I'm already there
I come home - she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can't tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time Before we were born
If someone asks, this where I'll be . . . where I'll be

Hi yo We drift in and out
Hi yo sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I'm just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I'm dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head Ah ooh

Ah, ooh. Now there's an ending.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

A Finger of Fudge

I have been examining the deeply-rooted commercial themes that lie a couple of millimetres below my consciousness and inhabit everything I make and do and think.. Equus-style - though thankfully I am spared the urge to brutalise farm animals.

Because of their ubiquity and prevalance and their relatively short life, jingles place you (me) (us) in a time and a space and a culture very specifically. A finger of fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat. Were the adults who sold us this line aware of it's playground significance as we used it gleefully to ridicule the desires of paedophile homosexuals ? Were adults sussed enough to understand that we knew we were prey ? Did they comprehend the anal/manual reference as clearly as we did ? Did they really set out to sell chocolate bars on the back of this ? I know mine was not the only school that used the ad in this way.

Not all of them conjure up perversion. There are some disturbingly homespun sickly tunes lurking in there. I particularly remember Shredded Wheat, Britain (it wasn't UK then, UK hadn't been invented) mid-70s. "There are 2 men in my life, to one I am a mother, to the other I'm a wife, and I give them both the best, with natural Shredded Wheat".

Shredded Wheat was brittle, tasteless, digusting, made bearable only by copious quantities of milk and sugar and cups of tea. Shreddies much better. But the song ! To have a mother like that ! To be a doted-upon only child ! The acoustic hippy guitar music chimed out into my young soul, cramped and crowded and disregarded in my suburban home.. can I ever exorcise this demon ? I will have to record it.

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The Threat to Well-Dressed Democracy

Ok. Ok. I am developing a theory here. Costumes mean insurgency. They mean turning reality on it's head. They mean you can get away with huge challenges to authority.

Michael Chartrand. Tigger Man. Not just Tigger in fact, Goofy. He's an English-born (whatever else?) Disney employee who dons costumes and then.. well.. acts in character and so far seems to be stirring up people to the extent he's been in court for molestation (innocent) and then suspended for pushing (we don't know about this one yet).

IF MY THEORY IS CORRECT: he should be investigated immediately as he is clearly a threat to democracy and decent right-thinking people everywhere. Possibly he should be dressed as a policeman from now on.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Clowns Without Borders

Now THIS is revolutionary.. a three-hanky weep.

When I have finished being serious, then I'll know I have grown up.

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Commissioner Gordon

What was I saying earlier about Costumed Crazies ??

Now the police took 5 hours to remove Jason Hatch, 33, but surely everyone knows that the way to get Batman into police custody is to shine the Bat motif on the clouds above the city, and then he will always come to see what crime he must fight. Some poor bobby on a balcony was never going to get him down. One telephone call from Commissioner Gordon would have sufficed.

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Palestinian Boy Aged 10 Shot in Street

It's just like the Nazis in Eastern Europe, Greece... collective punishment. This poor lad was shot dead playing in the street, shortly after the recent Hamas bus bombs. Was he a member of Hamas ? I think he was just a poor arab boy. It sickens me.

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Monday, September 13, 2004


Zoe is my only sister. Her kids are beautiful.

Bless her.

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My brother Adam is rather deaf. He has been that way since birth; but nobody noticed untl he was 35, which says something about his adapatability and coping strategy. He's always boomed and banged; now we understand why.

He's a big lad, 6'4". Here are his parents.

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Mum's Getting On

So I went to my Mum's 70th birthday and survived it just about.. my family are many, since my Mum had 5 children and all of them except me have had children of their own. All of us rather bossy fussy and opinionated, just like Mum.

Oscar Wilde said, Children always judge their parents but seldom forgive them. I'd go along with that.

I think I've forgiven my parents for their sins when I was a child, but of course, there are more to come...

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Random Kindness

"Practise Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty" says the postcard in my living room. Today my random act of kindness was to the people waiting with me in hospital, mostly for an ECG (heart scan) while I waited for my EEG (brain scan) - which turned out to be a nerve test just on my arm. I have a left hand which sometimes goes numb after a road accident that happened 2 years ago. Turns out I have nerve compression at the elbow.

The pleasant middle-aged woman next to me with head stuck in a book was long-sufferingly and quite good-naturedly complaining about the numbering system that the heart patients were enduring. It was going 62, 64, 65, 66, 68, 67, 67... she said she was 70, and been here over 40 minutes. I thought, she doesn't look a day over 50. Ha ha. Said nowt. Don't want to make stupid jokes at a sensitive time of life, nearly got me the sack once. I got a written warning for being too cheerful when I worked at the Unemployment Centre in Croydon. "People may think you are laughing at them." The fact that there had been no complaints made no difference - dour was the way of Dole.

My neighbour in the green chair section 3a murmured and muttered. "They think we don't have another life. Nothing better to do." I said, sympathetically, "they'll be going backwards next" and she smiled. I then said, "still, at least you have a number, you are lucky" and she looked toward me curiously. I continued, "you see, I'm here for a head scan." I tapped my forehead, as she looked at me. "They don't trust us with numbers, but they think we might still remember our name." She laughed at that, and we talked briefly, relieving the tension.

A man behind, round with Fu Manchu whiskers and piercings more often seen in someone younger, said: "Chest ? Heart and Lung scan ?" No, I thought. But he seemed to want to join in, so I smiled. Encouraged, he continued, "They know who you are." Very Zen, I thought. I bit my tongue, and just said nowt, except "Thanks." Then, so he didn't feel left out, "I feel heartened." Oops, I thought immediately, maybe he thought I was taking the piss. I cast the thought from my mind. You can't win them all. On a random kindness roll, before my turn came I reassured a elderly man who smelled strongly of stale alcohol that no, he, like the other head cases, didn't need a number. Except perhaps, I thought, of a good laundry.

I met up later with my gorgeous girlfriend, and we went to the South Bank this evening, it was beautiful, warm, romantic. We kissed; we chatted about everything. It was a lot nicer than the electric shocks, the wires and the needles. I felt relaxed and happy.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Difference Between Ranting and Musing

I have been reading other blogs. Some of them are just letting off steam, some are very thought provoking. Makes me think about the difference between ranting and musing. I found a Philipino woman writing an English language blog in Holland - about Dutch Cheese Heads ! She's very funny. Someone else who loathes diaries but was inspired to start hers because of William Gibson's - she's concerned about memes. Someone else who was just about 11 years old or so and just slagged off the friends he made online who were not sufficiently socially skilled to impress him. There's a millions of us out here, tap-tap-tapping away, ranting, musing and coming over all verbal.

Now, I have committed a cardinal sin, surely - a blog entry about blogs ? No I think not. I studied art, art about art is valid self-reflection, completely fine once in a while. Just as long as it doesn't become too internal.

Speaking of art:

There. Now I feel better.

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Monday, September 06, 2004

Daily Simper

Is it me or do breakfast TV presenters develop a more manic saccharine smile as the show grinds on towards the 9am-ish end point and their 4am start begins to show ? The cracks in the presentation start to widen and they look like they have been glued to the sofa.. and then, any opportunity for humour or pathos is lurched into with gratitude.. anything "human interest" that doesn't reiterate the news dirge is grasped at like a straw by the hands of the desperate presenters, as they drown in the daily catalogue of human depravity.

These people often have journalistic pasts, so-called solid news behind them, previous lives in some more factual place.. yet here they are, stranded with the bright and breezey award-winning weather presenter Carol Kirkwood,

flapping about like stranded birds with grins as glassy and stupid as a shop window and as the coffee begins to fail, they secretly sympathise with John Leslie.. the drug-fuelled orgies.. the toothbrush around the bowl.. at least it kept him awake in the mornings..

Occasionally the veneer really does crack. Dermot starts to go fuzzy around the edges and the eyebrows do a dance of their own, unconnected to the news item or feature he is reading off autocue - so that suicide bombs seem to cause him some obscure sparkle of delight - and Natasha starts to cackle, the gap between the makeup and the face widens, the supressed anger vents like steam and suddenly the cruel little girl is back, laughing as her best friend gets a caning and a term's detention for being caught in the school toilets in an embarassing navy-blue clinch.. as Dermot twinkles and shines and arches and winks his way to special quiet spidery place behind the set for his packed lunch, getting a mile away from the horrid boys who will hurt him with the cricket ball, Natasha's no-longer fresh face shows the strain and she longs to pack the bags under her eyes, forget about Bruce Forsyth and that cringe-making out-with-the-ark Ballroom embarassment, and go lie on a beach somewhere, getting pissed and stoned, eating all she can, and shagging the dark-skinned waiters..

It's tough at the top.

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Sunday, September 05, 2004

Graham Gussin and the Definition of Plump


Know what I mean ?

Actually I just chose that image at random, so whatever it is, it's just as much a surprise to me as it is to you.

Who are you anyway ? Why am I talking to myself in this misguided way as if posterity cares ?

Graham Gussin creates art in an almost bewildering variety of media: film, sound, installation, events, photography, text, painting and more. Made alongside the most comprehensive exhibition of his work to date at Birmingham's Ikon Gallery in 2002, this profile showcases many of the artist's important works, including Beyond the Infinite (1994) and Spill (2000).

This from the Illuminations website - a company I once did some work for - who are selling a video about a man I knew from the age of 19, and lived with for 3 years. I have a large amount of Graham's work - most of it from his foundation year at Camberwell and degree course at Middlesex, which is where we met. He has a tendency of cutting off from people having once been friends - like quite a few artists and writers I can think of in fact - something I recently discussed with the author David Miller.

When I went back to help out at the college I had been to 20 years previously, I found a surprising amount of antipathy towards Graham.. nothing specific, but general vague charges of unoriginality and misappropriated ideas. I put some of the scorn down to jealousy - after all he has done pretty well, and stands out, in a career sense at least, head and shoulders above his peers in this area. He's had the conviction (dedication ? obsession ?) to stick to his guns and be nothing but an Artist with a big A. Some of the negativity could be down to his habit of dropping people. But, some accusations of plagiarism I knew were more likely to be true, coming as they did from honest types with no particular axe to grind.

Does it matter ?

Funnily enough, when we were working closely, I was into video and sound, and Graham still painted and drew. Here's one still on my wall:

We left college and for a while both worked at the Tate (now Tate Britain) in Pimlico. Graham found Julia, his partner and mother of his child there; I split up with my teenage sweetheart and embarked on a disastrous and deeply wounding affair with the marvellous Hollie. Graham having briefly lived in the flat I still inhabit had moved to Stoke Newington, after his Father's death. He became rather distant from this point. I was moving rapidly into the music scene where I would learn everything that was to become useful and rewarding. We grew apart with no particular effort. I was somewhat at a loss for a while as to why he became so awkward around me - I still considered him a friend - until years later my ex told me she... "never saw him after he made a pass at me that I was so shocked by that I ignored!"

I have been thinking of holding an exhibition celebrating Graham's early work, since I have so much of it, and since I am in touch with several people who own rather good examples. Maybe I should call it - "Graham Gussin - Retro-Retrospective". As an adjunct I will commission a competition with prizes attached. The aim will be to come up with a piece of work which will define the Essence of Gussin, in a way which examines the charges against him. This is such a mad idea I may just do it.

The last time I saw Graham we were in Tottenham Court Road. I came out of a music shop, and bumped into him. As always he was charming. "We've put on weight!" he said. I looked at his once slight figure and thought, well for a man in his mid-40s, you ain't doing too badly, but he was a rounder individual in a very Tao of Pooh way. I examined myself, and thought, hang on - I am still only 12 stone - he's including me in his definition of plump. I opted out by exposing my naked stomach in the street. How embarassing. No wonder he doesn't want me at his private views.

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Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Oud

I have been given a beautiful present - an Oud. I am not sure it has all it's strings but I have a new set, and I have found a webpage with the various tunings.

I can play it straight away despite the lack of frets.. it feels very natural, and has a great sound. I am practising for a gig on October 1st.. maybe I will be bold enough to play it. Azef jameel !

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Friday, September 03, 2004

The Friendliest Dry Cleaner

My local Dry Cleaner is Mr Chambio, a very charming and friendly man of Greek extraction, who has recovered from illness and returned to the Holloway Road. His shop is now brimming with clean clothes, and his machines hum and fill the racks with expertly pressed and darned garments.

Mr Chambio (Peter) is gregarious and funny, and he adorns his great big chemical tank at the back of the shop with pictures of his grandchild - also I believe called Peter - printed out from email snaps. I am going to buy him some photo paper when I next go to the stationers so that the baby pics come to resemble glossy icons. Mr C's love for his family is very evident.

In the morning, he sits in his sunlit window and makes his repairs on a small table with a sewing machine, and he catches the eye of his regular punters and greets them heartily. Today it was a lovely morning, promising the Indian summer we deserve after 40 days of rain. He accosted me in a pleasant manner outside the shop, looked me in the eyes and asked me how I was. I said, apart from tired, tired. He laughed and asked me why. I said, I have been working too hard. I had a headache last night and went to bed at 9pm. I realised I was telling him the truth I don't want to tell anyone, especially myself. He said, have you had a holiday ? I said, no. He said, you need a holiday.

I need a holiday. I need 2 weeks without computers, bills or deadlines. I need clean air, the sun on my back, the wind in my hair, and sleep without the rumble of traffic or the wail of sirens. I need to recharge my batteries. I want to get on a plane and go the Mediterranean somewhere cheap and stare at the sea for a long while. I need the scent of pine, and food that never sees a city. And though I don't want to admit it, I need some time truly on my own.

Thank You Mr Chambio.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Beginning of Everything

Now the Summer ends, mornings are colder, here comes Autumn, the beginning of everything.

Since August 11th so much has happened that this pretty regular blog has been stymied. In no particular order - a close friend lost it, by which I mean ranted raved and generally behaved so badly that I questioned the friendship; finished the production on two tracks, both of which took many hours of painstaking work; my gorgeous girlfriend returned from Palestine; the Olympics finished.

I have enjoyed the Olympics, it's a strange display of control and the lack of it. I particularly enjoy the moment when the athletes finish and realise - I've Done It ! then all the macho dissolves into tears and I well up on the sofa. Pinsent's medal ceremony had me gushing more than a Lassie film ever did.

What is that response about ? Like many, I am jaded and hardened by years of exposure to images of agony, grief and barbaric cruelty via TV, film, and news photography. I was brought up in the Cold War in the awful shadow of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, witness to the starvation of millions in Biafra, Ethiopia, the bombing burning stabbing and shooting of civilians in Northern Ireland, Spain, South Africa, Algeria, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iraq, Tibet, Burma, Chechnya, Afghanistan, systematic rape and torture and slaughter in El Salvador, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan.. the list is endless... and so rarely do any of us shed tears at this vast continuing array of human cruelty. Yet a single well-fed rippling pampered athlete coming first provokes the emotion you'd think would never see light of day. Is it like people who say a silent goodbye to old friends at a funeral, yet wail and moan and splash at the death of a pet ?

And what of Cornelius Horan, the protester who tried to wreck the Marathon by running in front of and pushing the front-running Brazilian Vanderlei De Lima, in order to alert us to the imminent Second Coming of Christ ? It's a bit like the Aaron Barschak the self-proclaimed Comedy Terrorist who broke into Windsor Castle. If you want to get past a paranoid security cordon, act (and dress) like a lunatic. That's the problem with modern terrorists - take themselves far too seriously. Comedy is the true revolution.

De Lima was awarded a special medal in the end after recovering to come third and take the bronze medal. Personally I thought the way around the inevitable protests about fairness would clearly be to let Cornelius loose upon the whole tired pack of Marathon runners so as to equally upset them all - that way he could be considered part of the course, the religious part if you will. For the record, Christ didn't come second - Mebrahtom Keflezighi of the United States took silver.

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