Thursday, March 30, 2006

Don't Mention The Day Job

It has become something of a Blog Mantra not to mention my day job which (I blushingly admit) sometimes is probably the best gig in the world. As an earner, it has its ups and downs just like a rabbit, sometimes grazing peacefully, one eye on the next fluffy shag, sometimes bolting for cover to avoid the foxes of impecunity. Every so often the tasty red carrot of enterprise provides the most spectacular nibble opportunity and sufficient frisk potential for one hundred small bunnies.

Today, I shall mostly be recording trumpet, piccolo, snare, and voices, on behalf of Engerland Fans everywhere, and most especially in Germany this summer. Have a listen to our cheeky demo. Let's hope it becomes the unofficial hit of 2006. Unofficial songs normally outsell the official ones 3-1. We'll be up against fantastic competition - footie versions of Amarillo, "Chant Like an England Fan" and "Tits Out For The Lads" all ready and raring to go. But, we don't care, and we fear no-one - for we have The Mighty Tuba on our side.

Part of me is nervous and almost like a preacher who desperately needs God but secretly knows that only rain and sun in the right order will bring a harvest worth reaping. And part of me is like an excited five year old who has just been given a hat and the rabbit to pull out of it. Here we go, here we go, here we go....

Wish me luck for as they say, there is many a slip twixt the time added on for injury and the decisions of referrees and linesmen.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Pod of Funk Number Four

Flying by the seat of my pants as British Sucker Time takes its revenge on my coordination, here is Pod of Funk #4.



All tracks are "Pod of Funk Safe"® GUARANTEED SEMI-LEGAL and zero flatulence.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spike Milligan And The Lewisham Spikefest

The London Borough of Lewisham has been dubbed many things, few of them complimentary, and most especially not by those charming citizens of South East London who live there.

In Saxon times, Lewisham began it’s humble beginnings as Oleofsa’s village. In 862, Lewisham was referred to as LIofshema mearc and Lieuesham in 918. The shopping centre was built in 1977, the centre was pedestrianised in 1994, and that's about the scope of the improvements so far.

Sydenham is the nicer end of Lewisham where it borders Croydon at Crystal Palace, the place where I grew up. The borough boundary runs along one side of the great park which houses the National Sports Centre up the long, slow leg-busting hill up to Crystal Palace Parade from lowly Penge. The mighty Victorian mansions, faded, crumbling hulks when I was there in the 1960s and 70s, have once more come into their own, refurbished, rejuvenated and split into flats with majestic frontages and some spectacular views. This is a posh, green part of the borough, with fresh air and middle-classes, and though Hither Green ain't so bad and some other patches, Brockley for example, do pass muster, most of Lewisham is pretty down at heel, the respository and domicile of a great teeming swathe of South East London chav.

If you visit the Towntalk Lewisham site, you can send e-cards from the various parts - including Catford, which has to be the least attractive part of the least impressive borough in the South East of Britain. Note the complete lack of Catford cards available to the internet-minded tourist should s/he be inspired by the sight of the famous Catford Cat to rush into one of the two internet cafes and email images to friends in Bangkok, New York, Sydney, Moscow.

Yet I have always had a soft spot for Lewisham, and specifically Catford, because it was the home (though not the birthplace, which was India) of one of my great and enduring heroes, Spike Milligan. I read all of his books as a child; I identified with his musicality, his art, his depression and his comedy. I recognised South London vernacular in his speech patterns, the non-punchline jokes, and the wonderful sharpness of his observations of human lunacy - in particular, Puckoon and his war trilogy Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall, Rommel? Gunner Who?, and Monty - His Part In My Victory all of which I consider essential reading.

In the latter book, fighting in the North Africa campaign under Monty, he and his wartime mates visit ancient Carthage, and the timeless comment from one of them is: "Looks just like Catford".

So for us Croydonians, the two places were always interchangeable. We'd catch a bus to Catford (there was an obscure hardware store there which contained otherwise impossible to find vacuum cleaner parts) - and we'd ask the bus conductor for a ticket to Carthage with our teenage faces completely straight.

"Where?" came the inevitable reply.
"Carthage," we'd repeat earnestly, and then give the name of stop to make sure we weren't over-charged.

Of course, in Latin lessons, which I studied (badly) until I was 18, we referred only to Catford, and the resigned acceptance of Mr Heald to this deliberate aberrance was a model of grace which won him our genuine affection.

Spike was a pacifist, an environmentalist, and a satirist without whom the post-war British comedy boom would not have been as spectacular. He inspired the whole of Monty Python, and his surreal legacy lasts to this day with comedies such as The Mighty Boosh. Yet his comic art had an edge and a pathos which made it disturbing, and frequently the laughter which came from great personal pain had an illuminating, cathartic quality. Unlike Hicks, he was a survivor, and lived to the respectable age of 83. When he died, it took his family a year to have his gravestone marked with the epitaph he had always wanted: "I Told You I Was Ill" - and even then, they had to write it gaelic - "Duirt me leat go raibh me breoite".

Lewisham honours the great Spike with an annual Spikefest- the London Borough of Lewisham's comedy festival - this year running from Monday 24th - Sunday 30th April. The highlight of this festival which I shall certainly try to attend is on 30th April, a Sunday afternoon film and talk given by Jane Milligan, Spike's daughter at the Brockley Jack theatre. It should be fun - Jane is great. I expect there will be a good atmosphere and it's only four quid.

If you can't get there, check these books out.



Teeth

English Teeth, English Teeth!
Shining in the sun
A part of British heritage
Aye, each and every one.

English Teeth, Happy Teeth!
Always having fun
Champing down on bits of fish
And sausages half done.

English Teeth, HEROES' Teeth!
Here them click! and clack!
Let's sing a song of praise to them -
Three Cheers for the Brown Grey and Black.


- Spike Milligan


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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Goodbye World

Resource demand challenges Earth's regeneration capacity. Fish are harvested faster than their natural replacement rate. Water is being withdrawn faster than aquifers are replenished. The biosphere takes one year and nearly three months to renew what humanity exploits in one year, on this analysis.

"...rates of species extinctions surge to their highest levels since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago..."


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Sunday, March 19, 2006

UK Podcasts And Some Very Dodgy Rules

Over at the Britcaster forum, I've found myself in the unaccustomed role of being positively tribal. Not that I have any issues with belonging; but since I left the Scouts - a shadowy, archaic paramilitary organisation for young children - and left a half-filled plastic bin slopping water on the front step of the Scoutmaster, leaning on his inward-opening front door, I've always felt that should I attempt to join any organisation in the future, his ghost will return, wet and uniformed, to haunt me for my disloyalty.

Our Scout group, the 11th Croydon, was in its death throes by the time I graduated from Cubs, populated by four boys, two of whom rarely showed up. It was embarassing. It was something we didn't talk about outside Scouts, the three or four of us, who would meet once a week in the empty church hall. We ran through the rituals with despondency, wondering why there were no girls here, no music, just garters, berets, badges and woggles.

Yet the long-suffering Scoutmaster, whose name, if not his face, I have long since condemned to the bin of forgetting, along with various knots, the right way to make a canoe, and the Cub Scout Law, taught me one thing which has remained indelibly printed, and this was the very essence of scouting, by which I mean the ability to move silently through dense undergrowth without cracking a twig, without being seen, observing the object of your silent pursuit at all times.

On the long summer evenings, he would drive us 20 minutes up to Shirley Heights, a wonderfully high and densely wooded place on the edge of the Surrey Hills proper, where we would soon be lost in the absorption of concentration; we would track him as he slowly walked through trees, bracken, gorse and bramble. He was canny, had good ears and eyes, and when he heard a snap, or saw a glimpse of shirt or face, he would stand rock still and stare through twenty yards of branches straight at us. Mostly he knew exactly where we were, and on the few occasions we outwitted him, he would praise us briefly and without fuss. This weekly event kept me in Scouts months longer than I would otherwise have remained, and the foxy ways of stepping lightly that I learned then have remained with me to this day.

As my adult cynicism grew larger, I threw off all and every imposition, including the family Scouting tradition which my three brothers all continued into their early twenties as Venture Scouts. Thank God for my sister, who post-Brownies found the whole Scouts and Guides malarky entirely bizarre, much as I did, and swiftly moved on to preferred 1970s pleasures: discotheques, Cheesy Quavers, and Pomagne.

My many careful steps through the forest of personal communications, and to the great citadels of Publishing, Broadcast and New Media over the last few years brought me to live in the London Borough of Blogging, and also to set up camp on the Frontier Territory of Podcasting.

Over at the Britcaster forum, I've been arguing that since the authorities who license music in the UK are currently attempting to impose a podcast license upon us in a rather ill-considered way, silence at this point amounts to acceptance. They have cooked up a set of "podcast rules" (which you can vote on here) which will potentially stifle a lot of perfectly legitimate podcast formats and structures.

For example: "Podcasters shall... obscure at least 10 (ten) seconds at the beginning and end of each individual track played in a podcast with speech or a station ID." Another states, "Podcasters shall not... produce podcasts that contain recordings from a single artist or that have more than 30% of the musical works written by the same composer or writing partnership." Another: "Podcasters shall... ensure that the podcast is at least 15 minutes in length."

It's easy to think up podcasts that break several of these rules at once. Let's say I want to make a podcast featuring and promoting my friend's son's thrash metal band Super Collider. The band members are all sixteen or seventeen, and they play super-loud trouser-flapping, very short, 30 second original compositions. They practise most nights, and gig as often as possible, and they are just the kind of dedicated, niche group that could really benefit from being featured in a podcast. A podcast featuring their entire set will only last twelve minutes. If I talk over the tracks or use "station" (?) idents as MCPS-PRS would like, I'm obscuring 2/3rds of their repertoire. Because they are sixteen and cripplingly shy offstage, I'd be hard pushed to get more than a word or two from any of them to make up the 15 minutes to acheive "minimum" length.

Another rule states: "Podcasters shall not... insert any flags or other markers in the podcast which may directly indicate or which may be used to indirectly infer the start and end point of tracks or segments of copyright content." What happens if I want to feature John Cage's "Silence", and decide that I will follow a Warhol-like structure by repeating it over and over? Coming from my background, this is a serious point. How else am I going to separate the silences, except by inserting "flags"?

Another rule: "Podcasters shall not... provide an electronic guide to the podcast which contains tracks played and corresponding times." Hang on - that, I believe, means that even our hallowed BBC is at fault for providing track listings on its website for podcast radio shows.

Now the BBC already pay MCPS-PRS millons of pounds a year (albeit at a special, discounted BBC rate) for the use of licensed music, so they can claim they are already covered; but, music aside, the most worrying suggestion in this license scheme is the mandate that MCPS-PRS are claiming on voice-only podcasts. "Non-music podcasts (e.g. predominantly speech with very little music) will be licensed under a new on-demand scheme for non-music services which is being prepared for launch at the end of April 2006." Can I not now simply record my own voice, singing, muttering, groaning, moaning or elucidating, and put it online without a license? This surely is a step beyond legal, and I have a strong feeling that it infringes not just my rights as a publisher of my own work, and a recorder of my own compositions, but my human rights as determined in the Human Rights Act 1998, Chapter 42:

"ARTICLE 10 - FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises."

I don't see podcasting, which is a syndicated form of electronic publishing, mentioned in there.

There is a very real possibility that clumsy legislation, nonsensical rules, and the imposition of inappropriate pricing could create a situation where as a podcaster using licensed music you are stuck with rigid, unworkable formats, and podcasters in general fall into either a commercial or pirate pigeonhole, with no space for anyone else.

I passionately love the creative, communicative innovations these new media forms offer the artist, and the broadly uncensored nature of the internet, and I want to keep the freedoms we now enjoy. If the "podcast rules" were followed - unlikely at present - the truly awful scenario arises that podcasts will end up sounding just like conventional radio - which is by comparison predictable, hackneyed and formulaic.

Silence, in this case, may well kill off innovation; and independent iconoclast that I am, I've been arguing that we UK podcasters must band together and articulate our needs as a group.

I can see the wet Scoutmaster smiling at me gently, through thirty years of crackling branches.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Dirty Universe, But A Pretty One

Scientists are proposing that asteroid impacts on Earth could have seeded other planets and moons in our solar system with life.
Brett Gladman from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver and colleagues calculated that about 600 million fragments from such an impact would escape from Earth into an orbit around the Sun. Some of these would have escape velocities such that they could get to Jupiter and Saturn in roughly a million years. Using computer models, they plotted the behaviour of these fragments once they were in orbit. From this, they calculated the expected number that would hit certain moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Microbes from Earth's planetary road accident flew through space and end up on the surface of Titan and Europa, and it is estimated that Titan's upper atmosphere is thick enough that they might have survived the relatively soft landing. Titan "is rich in organic compounds, which provide a potential energy source for primitive life forms."

Somehow this research fills me with glee. It reminds me of the last time in my life I ever attended the unemployment office. No shame in signing on - during my lifetime, we've had four major recessions due to the criminal mis-management of the local and global economies - but it was a drag, standing in line, hoping your payment would be on time, hating the smell of the place.

I used to cycle up the Holloway Road to North Star House, and to avoid theft, park my bike around the corner in local business carpark, chaining it twice over. I was aware that last time I signed on that I would never return, and I felt a sense of relief - nothing major, just the knowledge that I wasn't coming back.

When I got home, I found a twig from the bush that grew large by the square modern railing. It had got stuck in my spokes, and it a pretty pink flower on it. It had survived the journey, a mile in traffic down the A1, so I stuck it in a plastic tub rich in organic compounds, and it grew into a really nice bush - a Hebe Great Orme which attracts butterflies, hoverflies, and which flowers from May to October. It's been there a long time now, getting bigger every year. I ignore it, and it thrives. If I give it enough root space it will grow to five feet.

If Titan warms up, maybe Hebe will grow there.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Nation Of Podcasters

One of the main reasons people become dedicated podcasters is the free, individualistic, uncensored joy of being able to do whatever you like with this medium; and early uptake, this inevitably attracts certain types before the rest of the populace catch on.

There seem to be around 250-300 regular, active UK podcasters right now. I can't see this situation lasting, I can hear more coming. This is the breaking wave.

We need to be on the alert for bad legislation.

So, we are discussing setting up an organisation of UK podcasters here. So long as membership of this self-organiation is completely voluntary and doesn't make everyone who joins it conformist - me, conformist!!??

God Forbid! :wink:

There's also a poll here for UK podcasters to vote on the proposed MCPS-PRS Podcasting rules.

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UK Podcast Debate Frenzy Shock

It's all going on over here at Britcaster.

Here's the piece I wrote which became my first humble contribution to the UK Podcast community forum.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Country Thrill













I've been working hard at my music, and on this full moon I have great pleasure in presenting my first release of 2006 under a nom-de-musique, Country Cliff.

Massive thanks to Miss Wired for the glorious illustrations.



You can download this track (and others) in fabulous full frequency from the Funk Warehouse.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Don't You Just Fist It?


One of the things I really detest is the way fashion in everyday language debases real words signifying real emotions and dynamic actions, replacing them with cosy, sentimental, sanitised versions of themselves; instead of love some people use the word heart, fucking becomes freaking and shit becomes sugar. Perfectly functional, quintessential Anglo Saxon, degraded and devalued and bowdlerised.

How about, in the name of balance, sanity and anti-censorship, we reverse the trend? For example, kissing can become oraling, holding hands can be fingering and hate can become fisting.

I urge you to incorporate these phrases into your daily life from now on, and to contribute your own...

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Podcast Nation


There's a whole lot of debating upon podcasting and the rest of the blogging blarney right now. I woke up at 5.30 am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up and read the news. Ended up replying to Dan Gillmor's BBC article on citizen-driven media:

"In 2005 I covered the UK elections at five.org, and received this comment:

Thanks for making available these series of podcasts with the candidates in my constituency - much appreciated. I'm planning on listening to each one before casting my vote on Thursday. I've been away from Islington a lot recently so I've managed to avoid any direct canvassing from the candidates - and election flyers are not something I read. Hence your podcasts will probably be my primary tool for making the decision.

This convinced me of the social usefulness of podcasting. The self-organising of the UK podcast community will prove to be very important next phase.

Deek Deekster, London"


With this in mind, Podcast Nation is now underway and should prove to be a worthy successor to Five.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Watching Them Go

This BBC article is so short, I may as well just quote it in its entirety.

Mourners to pay virtual respects
Webcams are being installed at a crematorium in Hull so people who are unable to travel to a funeral can pay their respects online. Mourners will be given an access code so they can watch services at Chanterlands Crematorium in real time from anywhere in the world. Hull City Council said the move was part of a refurbishment of the chapels designed to enhance services. It said it got the idea after seeing people filming funerals on camcorders.

Mike Anderson from the council's bereavement services said: "There will be web-cams installed at each of the chapels and the people who actually want to watch will be issued with a code to access the service, obviously ensuring privacy and security. "In the past we have had people who have used camcorders to record the service for members of the family who've emigrated or are ill. Obviously the beauty of this system will be that it's in real time."

What a great idea - but why stop there? I'd like to see cameras installed in the coffin - how marvellous to be able to follow your loved one into the crematory flames, or, with a small battery-powered light, six feet underground, and during the period of mourning, able to peek in on the process of decay.

Once scientists have accepted and understood the mechanisms of after-life travel, we'll be able to watch post-funereal events in UNREAL TIME, engaging with beloved, departed souls - "that's funky harp playing!" "don't those pitchforks hurt?" or, "you mean to say, this is all just one single layer of experience, the soul is actually immortal, and the physical death of the body is only the beginning of the next phase of existance?"

My own plans are in place already. When I die, I will be buried in a biodegradable Argos coffin, in a pleasant and green spot somewhere in England. A tombstone will be placed at the head of this simple grave, upon which will be carved these words:

Here Lies Deek Deekster, 1962 - 2062
"Blessed be the Funky.
And the less Funky,
They shall also be Blessed.
Just less Funky"

Please Call 0800 262 6262 For More Details


When you call the number, you will hear my voice:

"Hi, this is Deek, I'm sorry but I am unavailable right now, but you can leave a message after the tone, or press 1 for more options..."

Pressing 1 takes you to:

If you want to record a tribute, please press 1.
If you want to listen to tributes, please press 2.
If you want to insult my memory, please press 3.
If you owe me money and want to make a donation to the Deekster Foundation for Slags, Poofs and Nutters, please press 4.
If I owe you money, please press 5,1,7,9,2,7,34,7,28,9,1,00,3,5,7,8,23,9,4,86,1, followed by the hash key.
If you want to subscribe to the Deek Deekster Post-Mortem Podcast, please press 6.
If you want to self-realise and live the rest of your life in ineffable peace and spiritual harmony, please press 7.
If you want to experience your own life passing you by, please hold..."

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Day, Month, Year

If you said that I was anti-American, I'd have to laugh. Me? Anti-American? How can this be, with my love of Funk, of Jazz? With my many American friends? When I sing, I use my catch-all American accent, unless of course, I'm singing something self-consciously English, like Ian Dury or Syd Barratt or Ray Davies. Actually, it's a kind of Irish-American accent. Unless it's blues, in which case, it moves south. Or maybe west. I even like Americans called Bill - Bill Murray, Bill Hicks, Bill Gates... OK maybe not Bill Gates, but two out of three ain't bad.

However it must be said that there are several deeply infuriating things about America - by which I mean The United States of - that irk even a lover of that nation, and I am not talking about the obvious things - Camp Delta, penal executions, not signing up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (an honour it shares only with Somalia), ignoring global warming whilst being the world's greatest environmental pollutor, calling a small, scarcely international sports contest the "World Series"... I am talking about the details, wherein lies El Diablo.
STOP AOL's Email Tax


It is often the small things in any relationship that become the focus for terminal annoyance, leading eventually to murderous frustration. "I killed him because he wouldn't put the cap on the toothpaste" said Irma Bloomfest, aged 72, giving her reasons for poisoning Ike, her husband of 36 years, by filling the Colgate tube with a compound containing arsenic. "I could handle the incessant farting, the endless abuse of our hispanic neighbours, and his compulsive gambling, but the toothpaste cap did it for me."

Why does America insist on writing dates: Month / Day / Year ? It makes no sense at all. It is completely illogical. Surely it should run in some order relating to scale? Europeans write, Day / Month / Year. This is because days are smaller than months, which in turn are smaller than years. Easy! It seems an arrogance based on curmudgeonly rigidity that the USA won't just do it correctly. I can see the point in avoiding problems by adopting an international Year / Month / Day format which at least has a logic to it, but no, this system has to be maintained because, well, it's American.

The shame of it is that today is a nice date, a palindromic date if you live anywhere else in the world - 6/3/6 - like my own birth date, it is the same backwards, Madam, except in America, where it is 3/6/6. I am sad that this beautiful symmetry will be lost on 300 million people today, I shake my head, and for 24 hours, I mourn the lack of there and back.

Now that rant is over and done, some pictures I took yesterday (5/3/6) and earlier today (6/3/6) of glamourous Islington, in the early spring light, which have absolutely nothing to do with the Oscars. Whatever they are.










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Saturday, March 04, 2006

God Told Me To Do It


After Tony Blair's revelation about God on the Parkinson chat show (see tonight, ITV1)... I have penned this little ditty.

(intro - spoken)

In politics, like life, there is no turning back
And once you've let the people down, you're sure to get the sack
The road runs only forwards upon one single track
To bomb, or to negotiate? To talk or to attack?
To just say no to Uncle Sam, or to invade Iraq?

(chorus)

God told me to do it
Jesus talked me through it


When I had my doubts
And everyone said "wait"
I had chat with angels
And they told me it was Fate

God told me to do it
Jesus talked me through it


And when Hans Blix was looking
For those weapons in the sand
He provided Mass Distraction
And the Devil in Saddam

God told me to do it
Jesus talked me through it


So what could a man of conscience do
Except to kill and maim
Two hundred thousand people
In the Almighty's name?

God - told me - to do it...

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Why The Long Face?

I have a longish face, not of aardvark proportions, or even horse, just a vertical kind of visage, inherited so far as I can see from both grandfather and father. I look good in wide-brimmed hats.

When I was seventeen, exploring my new adulthood, I bought a trilby, which I wore with pride. By sheer coincidence, ska was king, and post-punk fashions determined that my fashion choice made me acceptable, if eccentric, as I donned the hat, a long greatcoat, and tan cuban-heeled boots, and swished about in this self-designed teen costume. I was strangely unselfconscious at this time, content that I had bought my own clothes, cheered by knowing I was different, appalled always by the prospect of becoming anyone's clone.

I had a peculiar confidence at that age, based on having survived bouts of depression, bullying and adult manipulation over many years, and on being intellectually smart enough to succeed academically despite being almost entirely cynical about the entire schooling machine and western urban society in general. My confidence made me take risks (still true) that others would fear; for example, having sex in the reference section of the school library at 8am most mornings prior to school assembly. The lines of Oxford English Dictionary and dusty walls of similarly never-used brick-like tomes made a visual and sonic barrier for our early morning kissing, groping and frotting. We trusted to luck that nobody would be looking up obscure definitions in the quiet moments before our young minds were officially trained, taking the opportunity to exercise our yearning bodies and get funky.

I survived the ups and downs of early adult life, left school, drifted, worked hard, went to art school. It was here that I began to understand and throw off the shackles of peer pressure, and society's definition of the adult male was putty in my sculptor's hands. For a long period, as I adjusted to living away from home, I concentrated on self-portraiture, not with any particular degree of obsession, but out of a basic drive to find out who I was.

At this tender age with a chin beginning to sprout fluff, I looked if not cherubic, then innocent, but I was fascinated by decay, death and the processes of change, and my work reflected this. I went in twelve months from painting small, cool, representational symbolist canvases which you could hang on a domestic wall to large, hot, high-chroma gestural expressionism, bordering on the abstract whose only home was art school, or the gallery.

For an entire year I wore only the colours red and green, simply because I could. I died my hair red with henna, cut it at random, and used these voodoo offcuts embedded in acrylic paint, adding glass, glitter, ink, metal, collaging representations of myself, re-painting the same over-happy smile taken from a passport photograph again and again. I constructed larger and larger, until my self-image making became entirely divorced from any emotion I felt about myself, shattering kaleidoscopically, like my self-conception. Somehow, in this great uprush of creative expansion, I expressed my emerging self with joy, meeting all challenges, seeking stimulation. I felt like an orange London streetlight that had just come on and started to glow red.

At this time, I lived in safe but decrepit student digs which became a focus for regular pot-fuelled soirees. I had been laughing all evening, with friends. They had gone to bed, gone home, and I was winding down, still fairly stoned, happy. I was looking into a mirror at myself, after cleaning my teeth, rubbing my big jaw, which ached. Looking at myself, I saw that I was always pulling my chin back, so I spontaneously stuck out my chin, Desperate Dan style.

There was a hot tingling in my face as I pushed my face into a shape it had not assumed since puberty, and I felt facial muscles protest at having been locked into place too long. I looked like a crazy gibbon for a few minutes as I massaged and stretched my face, grinning at the foolishness of it all, yet knowing instinctively that this was an important moment of self-realisation and release.

I always thought my chin was too big, and like a lot of people do, I was subconsciously adapting my body posture to compensate for what I considered to be an unattractive quality in myself. I don't remember anyone ever telling me in my childhood that my chin was big - I just compared myself to the androgenous glam pop stars and film stars of the day, and decided that chin of mine was a non-starter. I actually became dizzy after a while and stopped, but over the next days and weeks and months, I gently remoulded my face and liberated myself from that particular inhibition.

A year or two later, a rather staggeringly erotic older woman chased me around a party, and one of the ways she expressed her lust for me was to run the tip of her index finger down the line of my brow, my nose, and all down the long firm line of my big jawbone.

I have long ago adjusted to being me, my proportions and physical quirks. I no longer carry too much of anything around regarding what I should or shouldn't look like, my work requires no specific dress code, and while I enjoy clothing and looking good, I really don't care anymore whether or not I fit into anyone else's concept of an ideal man. I read once that comparing oneself to others was doomed to failure, since it either made you vain or bitter, and this seemed so true that it became a credo which has lasted me until middle-age.

I consider that I am sufficiently attractive to be relaxed about it, but never having been burdened by masculine beauty, nor great ugliness, the process of adjusting to being found attractive has been a peculiar, staged process of losing inhibition and gaining self-love.

Now, aged 44, a single shred of my vanity yet intact, I can celebrate that my long face, the strapping male chin, keep me some years away still from the turkey-hang flaps, the lug-lugs, the doubles and the trebles that gracefully decorate and proliferate the chins of my gorgeous, gallant contemporaries.

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Pod of Funk Number Three

Pod of Funk #3 is up.

I moved the audio files for Pod of Funk to another server three weeks ago. Todd told me that the updated feed wasn't working properly. I "troubleshootized" the feed but it was still hanging tenaciously on to outdated links, so I had to delete the feeds and "reburn" them to make it work properly.

If you have no idea what the heck I am on about, don't worry. If you are one of the 20 subscribers, all now callously discarded like a pile of crispy used audience kleenex, apologies. The new feed is exactly where the old feed used to be.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Google Porn

Seems like Google's over-reaching arms have finally grabbed too much in the cinema of life, and the breasts of change are wibbling in their copyright brassiere. As this BBC article explains, Perfect 10 sought to prevent Google's image search from nabbing their naughty thumbnails.

"Perfect 10 (P10) launched its case against Google in November 2004.It alleged that Google users could find for free its pictures of nude women by providing links to sites containing pirated copies of its images. The firm publishes a magazine that sells for $7.99 and has a subscription-based website that costs $25.50 per month.

In his ruling, US District Court Judge A. Howard Matz concluded that "Google creation and public display of thumbnails likely do directly infringe P10's copyrights".

"The case highlights issues of copyright in a digital age. Google in particular has faced a barrage of complaints for linking to copyrighted material online via its news aggregator and its book search service."

Hold on - now that is interesting - via the news aggregator? Doesn't that mean (among other things) bloggers? I really must feature breasts more frequently in this blog...

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