Monday, September 29, 2008

The End Of The Future As We Know It

Banks are failing globally, the credit crunch has turned into the meltdown, and 2008 is becoming 1929. Bizarrely, this massive implosion appeared rather innocently in an I Ching reading I made last year when I asked about selling my flat and moving.

I can hear sarcasm and ridicule from rationalists, too nervous to desert their pints of proof, resounding about the cold, tiled Victorian toilets of their tiny minds, but what the fuck. I do read the I Ching sometimes, and I also read the Tao Te Ching, and hey, I study Lao Tzu. I find them all useful, representing a key philosophy in my understanding of life, and I thank God they are there for me.

Remembering this unexpected guidance, I spent this year of 2008 reiterating regularly to my nearest and dearest - who know me well enough to know that I tend to balance the artistic and irrational with the sublimely logical - to remember that the shit would really hit the fan in September. No, I kept saying, shit will REALLY hit the fan. It says here (points to HEXAGRAM 20)

Yes, but that's just you asking about your flat sale, came the reply.

Sure, I said, but if it's relevant, it will appear.

In all of these things, interpretation is important. So, I interpreted future events, it turns out, pretty accurately. And, I just had an idea that the fan would be big and this torrid pile of stinking capitalist shit would be spread wide - wide enough to affect my minor domestic transaction.

Thus, this year I have spent the past eight months quietly and deeply reorganising my life on the basis of this esoteric advice, as well as my own observations, and I'm ninety nine percent finished. I have been (and will be) steadily pruning this blog over the months - expect that to continue. Most of the posts over the past two months have been reprints - not that anyone noticed! I have started another blog which I will shortly reveal, and those of you who want to come with me for the next ride, I'm very happy to have you along.

Just one addition: while capitalism spasms like a dying man in need of medical intervention which it cannot afford, I've been finding some comfort in this remarkable conceptual framing of the situation and its possible outcomes by Dmitry Orlov, Closing the 'Collapse Gap'. As my friend The Obstructionist points out, you can find fault with some of Orlov's comparisons - especially if you're not prepared to see the vulnerability of the United States framed in terms of other dissimilar nations - but his detailed comparison of the US with the USSR at the end of communism is fascinating and absorbing reading.

See you on the vegetable plot.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Minipods Of Funk On DeepBlue FM

During August I am producing a daily (Monday to Friday) lunchtime feature on DeepBlue FM, a holiday season Bournemouth-based radio station. Martyn (The Hat) asked me very nicely, so how could I refuse? It means that instead of sixty or so minutes of podcasting once a month, in August I am producing more than double that in daily bite-sized minipod chunks. If you haven't subscribed, this is a good time to do so.

To celebrate Olympic month, I'm also running a competition on behalf of the Free Tibet Campaign. You could win a night out at a Chinese Restaurant! So mosey on over to and check that out. Did you notice the comments made by the architect of the Olympic stadium? That's what I'm talking about.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Exercise Your Rights

I've just published Pod of Funk number thirty five which contains a competition, and also the promise of twenty podcasts throughout August. The music is the usual groovulous mixture, and the competition focuses on China's human rights record, which extends of course to Darfur, let us not forget, which China supplies with (banned) military aid as they massacre their own people.

Enjoy the tunes - enter the competition - listen to the radio - buy the t-shirt!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Funkpod Thirty Four

This could be the last Pod of Funk emanating from Funk Towers. Flat is back on the market, and tomorrow Men arrive to take Things away.

Soon I will follow things, innit?

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Friday, June 06, 2008

21st Century Funk: Black Feeling

I must share with you the album I am most enjoying right now. I've played some of the tracks from this excellent compilation on Pod of Funk several times, but the album is wonderfully consistent and rewarding as a whole. Here I am right now, cup of darjeeling to hand, enjoying the summer evening and this wonderful, soulful, funky music. Shades of latin enhance the best piano and brass playing I've heard on these re-worked old tunes, old style grooves lovingly rekindled for modern ears. Retro funk for the 21st Century. Blog of Funk Recommended!

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Funkpod Thirty Three

Just the weather for some funk - it's warming up again. It's been well over a month since the last podcast, but though they may be irregular they sure be funky. Coincidentally, it's my significant other's birthday very soon, and she will be 33 years old.

Grab it here!

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Funkpod Thirty Two

Managed to squeeze out a podcast. Wonders will never cease.

Credit to justpedalhard for the photo of Range Road 32, Calgary, Alberta.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pod of Funk Number Thirty One

This glorious image comes from here - I'm using it to celebrate number thirty one of my world-famous funk music podcasts, now available for your aural delectation.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Funk Done Good

I'll finish 2007 with a quick summary of statistics for 2007 - by the end of today, it looks like I will have had over 4.5m hits, including 323,800 visits from 210,277 unique visitors. So, simple mathematics tells me that 113,523 are my returning visitors = my regular readership. Blimey! It doesn't show on the comments which are regular but scarce. But then, I practically never reply in comments to comments, as I prefer to email direct or visit the commenter's site where applicable, so I hardly encourage them. But I do appreciate them - so many thanks to all those who bothered to say something back.

This page is the most visited - beginning with, "Save The Planet? Hit Them In The Wallet" it's not bad, actually, some decent writing and relevant topics, even if I do say so myself.

Here's a present for all the people who like funk so much they keep coming back - one and a half hours of music to end the year and begin the new one.

Track listing on the website, as is my email address...

Happy New Year everyone!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Be Prepared For Funk

I'm working on the final edition of Pod of Funk for 2007, and below is a brief Seesmic video on that painstaking process. You can find more of these videos on Twitter, where I have established a Seesmic-only feed:

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Sunday, November 11, 2007


I've been getting a fair bit of difficult behaviour from some of the people local to me recently. Being stone cold sober, meditating daily, and having had sufficient in the way of mortality reminders, domestic and work dramas to cope with over the last 18 months to knock out a fair bit of self-aggrandisement and its evil twin self-pity, has helped me cope with this a lot.

I kind of feel I am now more-or-less the right size, not too big, not too small, for the various tasks which fate has allotted me, and I observe a significant lack of desperation in the quality of my reactions to crises. It's rather nice to realise that change is not an abstract concept, it's a real phenomenon working every day in my life. What is the word, forebearance? Old fashioned patience? Faith in a higher power? Hey hum, whatever it is, I seem to have it right now, and that's a very good thing. Roll with the changes, bend like a blade of grass in the wind.

Still, it would be inhuman of me not to feel the stress, and I got to feeling a bit crazy by yesterday mid-afternoon. So, I turned to my regular therapies. I started looking for music yesterday about 5pm and by 9pm I'd mixed a one and three quarter hour funky music podcast which made me feel much better.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Autumn Haiku 6

podcast twenty six
sixty minutes of music
how predictable..

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Saturday, September 01, 2007


I haven't always lived inside this massive carpark - they waited until I was born, then built a ring of tarmac and concrete around London to try and trap me. They failed. Part of the aim of moving house is to escape this automotive throttle. Meanwhile, I am moving in a different way, listening to pod of funk number twenty five, now online for ladies, gentlemen, and people with a penchant for anglo-saxon pleasures.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Funk, Wikipedia, Dragons and Cheese

Once upon a funky time, in a galaxy far, far away - America as we like to call it - I decided that since I had written funk songs, toured with a funk band, written Blog of Funk for a couple of years, and produced a Funk podcast for many months and pleased many music fans, I would take it upon myself to edit the section of Wikipedia pertaining to the greatest and sexiest genre of music in the world, namely, Funk.

Funk is the smell of sex. It has been transmogrified by prudes into meaning the smell of fear, or even fear itself; but this is a later, uptight, scared, white definition which has nothing to do with the physical celebration of men and women going at it. Less prurient cultures have often laid claim to products of the sexual act in this way. The ancient Chinese considered that Jade, precious stone, was the combined love juices of dragons, making love in the air, fallen to earth and solidified.

Aside from this glaring omission, I saw that Wikipedia made no mention of the early funk bands which were prominent in the UK in the late 1980s / early 1990s and so having first hand experience of this, and considering myself to be therefore in a perfect position to expand the definition, I created myself an account, learnt the ropes, and thus began my first and only period of editing this much maligned, sprawling edifice of online information and misinformation, joining the illustrious ranks of the CIA, the US Democratic Party, and the Vatican.

My mistake was soon evident. I was taken to task by Wiki pedants, who objected because I added a link to my own podcast. Despite the fact that Craig Charles' BBC Radio show also had a link (since removed) and was being referred to as an authority on the subject - and remember, I was only claiming authority on one specific period of UK Funk of which I have direct experience and first-hand knowledge, which was not in the article (and still isn't) - I utterly failed to make any lasting impact. I came to see that Wikipedia, far from being a friendly, cooperative joint venture in which democracy rescues meaning from grammarians, is a pit of snakes.

I realised quite quickly that for my information to to remain in place, I would have to enter into the endless minutiae of "rationale" which goes on behind the Wiki scenes, scenes populated by all the librarians who never won at sport, never had the courage to sing on stage, and cannot dance to save their lives. Like scientists and home improvement retailers, their confidence stems from winning intellectual arguments, not from actual knowledge. It doesn't matter whether or not you can play bass, it matters whether you can find an online reference for a citation. It doesn't matter that you can tap out a polyrhythmic structure just using your arms, legs and mouth which gets the place jumping, it matters whether or not you can beat the other guy with your relentless returning to the rules, which are many. Wikipedia has nothing to do with music, it has to do with text. It is like using a landslide to define a football game.

After several interchanges with more experienced Wiki editors, in which I defended my link, pointed out that there were entirely relevant sections in my audio podcast which compare and contrast strands of Funk - "unique resources" - and stood up for my right to be, in my limited way, an authority on the subject, I realised, that this fight for definition supremacy nothing but a huge game, played by professionals, which I was bound to lose, unless I dedicated the rest of my life to winning it.

The final, insulting straw was the following put-down:

"Funk" is too broad a category for individual music programs to be helpful to an encyclopedia article. Linking these podcasts are comparable to linking a portrait photographer's website from Humans. --Dystopos 00:44, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

This was the final paragraph in my attempt to play Wikipedia:

"There's a lot of analysis which is relevant to definition of the modern genre, or I wouldn't have bothered with Wiki. You'd actually have to listen to the content rather than just take a quick peek at the webpage to see that... despite this I am not certain that I will be able to find the time to contribute in this context - too much like pedantic bickering! blessings Deekdeekster 07:39, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

With that exasperated chiding, I exited Wikipedia for good, probably not pursued by all the victorious know-better-thans in the online world, the CIA and the Vatican, but they will have to prove it.

There is still no adequate reference to that glorious period in British music history when the flag of Funk was flying high, with acts such as Microgroove and drummers like Neil Conti keeping faith with the irresistable groove. Still, I learned something, other than the fact that this club for guardians of meaning with too much time on their hands is not for me; the first recorded use of funky is in 1784 in a reference to musty, old, moldy cheese.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Six Hundred and Seventy

Here it is, the post I said I would never write. Funk knows I intended to completely stop, and I sort of did, for over a month.

Stopping gave me the excuse to take stock and go back over my past work, also to assess the impact that writing Blog of Funk had not just on myself, the personal journey, but also the almighty blogosphere. I admit I had become disconsolate and saw no point in continuing to write. So, I just checked in with my bad self, so to speak, and sorted quite a a few things out while I was at it.

I remember that once I gave up music. I stopped writing music entirely. In fact, it was just this time that coincided with my discovery of what was then called multi-media, which soon became internet media, back in the days of Web 1.0 when pages were grey and text was black and links were blue (not followed) or purple (followed). Netscape was the browser of choice. We delighted in the misuse of the BLINK tag. Tables were revolutionary when they arrived, much like Mr Chippendale.

During this time, I consciously wrote and recorded no songs. This, bear in mind, after a period of 14 years in which I did practically nothing but record, write, rehearse, gig, and pursue like countless other dreamers before me a life of funk stardom, which was to be, eventually, just not when and how I expected it to be. Out of sync with the times, my dreams fizzled and popped, and I found myself in 1994 sitting in front of a Mac, pointing, clicking, dragging, dropping, and learning the basic HTML which propelled me into a new world of design and the internet. Within six months, I had a business, within eight months, I was on national television, part of the brave new world of technology.

Six years later, when circumstances completely unrelated to the dot com doom which devasted the online world at the end of the 1990s stopped me in my tracks, I found myself going over my past work, much as I have just done. To my surprise, I found myself listening to the songs I thought I had not written. There they were, neat, orderly, as always, decently produced sketches, surprisingly emotional; and I could not honestly remember much about writing them.

I guess I had not valued them enough to play them to anyone, or bother to professionally publish them, even though I had enough faith in my writing and singing ability to record them. As far as I was concerned, I was not making music, ergo, they didn't exist. Except, they did exist, because I still have them.

I guess the music was making itself, and that, I think, is the way forward.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Fun With Web 2.0

Ha ha.

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