Sunday, June 10, 2007


OK, so I've decided to restart this blog. It's been nearly a year since I last wrote in it, so perhaps it's time to start blogging again. But not at this exact minute. Right now I'm working. But later.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Back to E3 (In the ghetto, but not of the ghetto)

Well, I moved again today!
I have returned to the urban jungle that is Mile End, from Stockwell. And in a month's time, I'm off again! to Limehouse!
I'm looking forward to settling down a little more. There's so much clutter in my life at the moment, and I don't think moving from place to place every few months is very helpful for me. So yeah, I'm looking forward to moving in with Gwilym and Wes! It should be good fun, and I hope it'll help me to feel more settled.

I've worked out that when I do move at the end of August, I will have lived in five different places in the space of a year! Let me list them for you (from the end of August '05)...

New Cross (until beginning of September)
Thatcham, Berkshire (until late February '06)
Mile End (until early April '06)
Stockwell (until end of July '06)
Mile End, again (until late August '06)

That's moderately impressive for 12 months!!
P.S. That 'ghetto' thing in the title is shamelessly plaigerised from 'The Associates' of Southern Grove.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

4' 33" - London, England @ 9pm BST

I didn't perform in movements, but rather a continuous 4' 33". Some of the sounds were pretty constant, others frequent yet not constant, and others occurred only once or twice. This is how I shall list the performance.


People walking - At different speeds, and with different shoes. Frequent 'scuffing'. It was interesting when people crossed infront of me. An interesting 'panning' effect ensued.
People talking - People of all ages. This was usually a constant murmur, but there were also frequent close up conversations. (Including a German couple, and an American girl talking about ballet)
A group of musicians playing wooden gongs - A mix between the Gamelan and a Xylophone. It was interesting.

Frequent, but not constant

Trains passing across the bridge from Waterloo East to Charing Cross - This was a metal rhythmic rumble, accompanied by metal against metal screeches, and the usual b-dum, b-dum, b-dum... They always came from behind to infront, on the left.
Traffic from across the Thames - You'd think this'd be constant, but it ended up coming into earshot when there was a lull in aural activity on the South Bank.
Cyclists - Usually travelling across and infront of me.
Laughing - All ages and sexes, with many distant, a few close up.

Infrequent (Once or twice)

A buggy passing from left to right. Infront of me.
A man to my right, fairly close, rattling his keys in his pocket
Seagulls squarking over the Thames
Cutlery being placed on an outside restaurant table behind me. Distant.
A baby crying. Distant
Coughing. Happened a couple of times, both infront and medium close. Male and Female.
A reed wind instrument. Possibly middle eastern. Quite an interesting tonal quality.

This was quite a lively sound, although relaxing. I liked hearing different languages being spoken, and also the two musical instruments being played - which were not in western! I could have stayed there much longer, in fact, so much was I enjoying the experience, but I had to move on. I made it back home by 10pm. Damn tube.

Performance & Notes - Iain
It was performed on a bench in between the Royal Festival Hall and the Thames. Here is a photo (not by me).
* Wondered why I said London, England, rather than London, UK? Well, I don't really know. Maybe I want to express my Englishness, maybe not. :)
* Be sure to carry on reading below for Chinelo's performance. Thanks for those, Chin! I'm glad you enjoyed the performance!! :)

4' 33" - Minneapolis, USA @ 3pm CDT

Movement One - 4'33''

The loud hum of a stationary train motor and the hum of a nearby factory
The buzz of a fly flying by
The tweets of birds in the distance
A truck engine just revved; the squeak of an engine, a honk, the sputter of steam
The hum of the train/factory
Tweet--two birds dancing in the air together
End of Movement One

Movement Two - 2'00''

A (air)plane overhead--almost directly
Clanking of metal on metal
End of Movement Two

Movement Three - 0'43''

Car engine starts, another louder one, a truck motor starts. Sputter of a muffler, a motorcycle starts
A beeping, like a toy clarinet.
A plane directly overhead
End of Movement Three

I thought it was beautiful! Probably the best performance I've heard to date. I liked sitting outside and hearing the contrast between nature and industry. I kind of felt like I was listening to an "island of nature," with the sounds of industry surrounding it (even from overhead). Very cool.

Performance & Notes - Chinelo
(Chinelo informs me that she was under a tree, next to some train tracks for this performance)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hydrogen and Hydrogen and Oxygen

Sorry to keep harping on about listening, but I felt the urge to write now. I'm in my room, composing, with the balcony (well, sort of balcony - more like a ledge ;) ) door open, and it's raining. I'd forgotten how much I like the sound of rain. It's kind of peculiarly rhythmic, yet springs surprises. It can be soft, yet also violent. At the moment, it's nice. Quiet, but with occasional metallic resonances, from when an accumulated raindrop falls from the roof, onto the metal railings just outside the door. I'm enjoying it. It sounds like a composition by Phill Niblock had he been friends with John Drever.

I don't expect anybody to understand that last sentence.

Carsten Nicolai, Ryuichi Sakamoto & John Cage

Today I bowed to temptation, and bought an album by Carsten Nicolai (aka. Alva Noto) and Ryuichi Sakamoto on the iTunes store. It's awesome. Somehow, as I travelled around London, listening to the said record on my mp3 player of choice, spending more time than is considered acceptable getting from Stockwell to Shepherd's Bush, I was sent into calm, caught between a deep concentration, and a consideration of the super-imposed soundtrack to an afternoon. I like it when music can effect you in that way.
If any of you are at all interested, the record is called Insen. Buy it. But only if you can afford it. ;)

I think I spend so much time listening at work (well, it is my job!), that I haven't properly listened for a long time. I was thinking about this today, as I considered again the making of a mix CD for a friend. In the past, I have had a tendency to 'tone down' the content of my mix CD's, because I'm not sure the listener would be appreciative of the supposedly 'wierd' music to which I listen. There are a few exceptions to this. But maybe I won't in the future. Maybe instead, I'll include instructions for listening. I reckon most people who listen to music these days never really listen to music, in and of itself. They instead use it as background noise, a soundtrack to their activity. I know I have said in this post that I spent the day listening to music on my 'mp3 player of choice', but I think if we only listen to music like this, we miss out. One of the joys of listening, and the art of listening, is that you find yourself hearing things you'd never heard before, and developing a passion to listen more. You become interested in how sounds are. That's one of the reasons I appreciate Cage's music so much, I guess. And Feldman, also.

OK, here's an idea for y'all. On Tuesday Evening (to give you time to read this post - maybe I'll also find out how many do read it!) at 9pm BST (8pm GMT), I'm going to perform for myself 4'33" by John Cage. I'd like people who are willing, and who read this blog to do the same, at the same time. If you don't know what this is, then basically, it involves listening, for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, to the sounds you can hear. Technically speaking, the piece is in 3 movements, but I don't think it's so important to do this. Let's say, if you want a break from listening, at any two points in the listening, stop, and start again as the next movement. You don't have to go anywhere special (but you can if you want to!), or sit down, or stand up. Just be still and listen
Then, once you've completed the performance/listening, mail me, at, about your performance - what you heard, if you enjoyed it, what you found interesting, etc. And I'll post the performance notes on this blog. I'll be interested to hear about your performances!! Happy Listening! :)

OK, Bed. Goodnight and God Bless!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Snippets no.2 (Pinch, punch...)

's been a while since I last posted. Sorry guys. Seems like I do have stuff to say, but I'm really not very good at doing it. Until I have a few hours to compose a well thought through post, these snippets will have to suffice for the moment. Either that, or lyrics from musicals, "the highest form of art". Hehe.. Actually, Jess wasn't too far off when she said that! (Sorry, I think maybe some context is important here: Jess in an ex-flatmate from the 'Chesterman 8' days, who I think developed a liking for winding me up. After a week, I just got used to it.) Anyway, I think that although Jess may well have liked musicals, I seriously doubt that she really thought that they are the highest form of art. I think maybe she wanted to wind me up. However, it wouldn't be unreasonable to describe musicals as a popularised form of opera. Although this is a sweeping statement, I will say it: "Opera for the masses." Thing with opera is that it is described by some as 'total art', that is, the highest, and most complete form of art available, because of it's accumilation of all the major art forms in one performance. Wagner was the first apologist for this thought. This is what Wikipedia had to say about it..

"He firmly believed that each breed of art, including visual, dramatic, and, most fundamental, musical, working cooperatively would result in the most powerful transcendence and reckoning of the human condition."

And seeing as the musical is pretty much bastardised opera, I guess calling it "the highest form of art" isn't too far off the mark. According to Wagner anyway. And I never thought much of his work anyway...


I've been working really hard at work recently. Actually, this week, I've been overloaded with stuff to do, to the point that I've been having to go home quite late on a few occasions. Anyway, it hasn't really finished yet, either! I still have some stuff that I should have finished by now, but due to various other 'more pressing' jobs to do, I've had to put them to one side for the moment. So, I have decided to go into work tomorrow (!) to catch up on all the stuff I'm behind on, so that come Monday, I'm not stressed or having to make excuses. I think the main reason that I've felt so stressed and rushed at work is simply because of the piling up of work. So tomorrow is really cleaning up my work life. I think it'll help, in the long term. I can't go on feeling manic at work. Hopefully, it'll pay dividends in being more able to rest at home also. Anyway, that wasn't what I wanted to say...
I went to the NFT with some colleagues the other day. Any other week would've been better, to be honest, but it started at 8:30, so I was able to do the work I wanted to do before I went. I went to see a music video screening called "Antenna", which plays lesser-seen music videos. It was pretty cool! It's been ages since I've done anything like go to a concert or a art showing, or anything like that, so it was really nice to do so. I picked up a programme on the way out, and noticed the UK Premiere of the film "Danielson: A Family Movie"!!! It's showing on the 8th July, and I must go! It'll be ahsome!! I really must give a nod to Chin, who turned me onto Danielson in the first place. Cheers Chinny!! I remember when I went to see Bro. Danielson at the ICA with Chinelo, which must've been over a year ago now. It was pretty great, with too many cool and peculiar sights and sounds to list hear, but I will say that Chin and I waited outside the ICA for a while after the gig, and met the Hush the Many guys (again), who were lovely, and also Bro. Danielson himself! He was packing his stuff into his car, when we walked over, and I was like, "Yo, Bro. Danielson!" And he was all like, "hello?", after which a sort of conversation about nothing happened. I think Chin thought it was quite funny, and I felt a bit like a stalker, hanging around after gigs to meet the band.
That was fun.


Today's palindrome is "Yo, banana boy!"
I have been listening to "Rock Bottom Riser" by Smog and "The Only One" by Readymade FC whilst writing this post, and below is a picture of my expression whilst doing so. Goodnight!

Self Portrait #2

Friday, June 23, 2006

Impossible? Unbeatable? Unbearable? Unrightable? Unreachable? Surely not.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell
For a Heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Monday, May 29, 2006

The search for a name!!

Ok, just a small side post, before I move on and do something productive...

I've been trying to think of a decent name for this blog for ages, because they've all been a bit pants so far. So any ideas would be appreciated! The winner receives a grand prize of gratitude!!


London seemed to me rather beautiful today. I'm not sure why, perhaps it was a mix of the fact that I felt in a good mood, and that it was a bank holiday and the sun was shining, but I just enjoyed being in London today.

I'm rather afraid I might be a bit of a London Underground geek. I've been trying to hide it for sometime, but actually, I find myself quite attracted to the LU (and the DLR (QLR)). I went into the LU transport museum shop today, and perused the vast number of books and various bits of paraphernalia available. I found myself fixated upon a book all about the LU maps post Harry Beck. Actually, it was this book. I think that maybe I'm simply attracted to the Englishness of it all. I love the old posters you can get from the shop, with the old roundel and city workers in bowler hats, probably saying "spiffing day, what what?" to each other and smoking pipes. It is said that many people become nostalgic for an era twenty years before they were born, but I think I may have become nostalgic for an era fifty years before I was born.

I'm starting to think that Wikipedia is one of the best websites on the internet!! (I find myself typing 'WikipAedia", because I'm an Englishman :) ) It's pretty much run by the public, and anyone can add to it's content, meaning it's a continually growing fountain of knowledge right there on the 'net. That's all in that snippet. No more...

Today's palindrome is "I prefer Pi"

Check out this!!! The most ridiculous story I've seen for a while....

That's all the snippets for today, folks. More soon...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Back to black (and white)

I think I can be a bit obsessed with aesthetics and design. I can therefore look at sites like Veer for ages, and would buy publications such as Creative Review regularly if I could. It will therefore come as no surprise that I have changed the face of this blog again, back to the original template. But aren't Blogger's stock templates really very dull indeed?

I just don't have the time to design my own....

Saippuakauppias... your palindrome for today. When I was at school, I became very interested (I don't know why) in palindromes, especially in music. And so today, upon browsing aimlessly (actually, not so aimlessly - I was looking for for German language courses) I found this palindrome. It is a real word, in Finnish and means 'soap salesman', apparently. What kind of language has a word for a soap salesman?

Oh, what the hell, have another one....

Kobła ma mały bok Polish and means 'the mare has a small side.'
All found from the BBC's language forum pages for geeks!!

Oh, dear, is that the time? I must go to bed...
I'm sorry if I've either confused or scared you..

Monday, April 17, 2006

The White Lady Loves You More

This is my favourite song at the moment. It's incredibly sad, but it speaks a lot about addiction. In this case, I think it's specifically about heroin addiction, but I think it can be applied to other addictions as well. I saw a video of Elliott performing this in the US before he died. People in the audience were close to tears..

Keep your things in a place meant to hide
But I know they’re there somewhere
And I know that’s where you’ll go tonight
I’ll be thrown over just like before
The white lady loves you more
Need a metal man just to pick up your feet
It’s a long time since you cared enough for me to even be discrete
I know what this metal is for
The white lady loves you more
I’m looking at a hand full of broken plans
And I’m tired of playing it down
You just want her to do anything for you
There ain’t nothing that you won’t allow
You wake up in the middle of the night
From a dream you won’t remember flashing off like a cop’s light
You say she’s waiting and I know what for
The white lady loves you more
The white lady

The White Lady Loves You More - Elliott Smith

Sorry, somewhat of a miserable post, but I liked the song and spent a while thinking about the lyrics and why Elliott wrote it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Iain Says...

"I wouldn't mind losing my ears, because they're basically horns."