Don't be stood up. Stand up.

Mark S wanted to meet tonight, then texted to say he couldn't. I spent far too much time reading and responding to discussion board threads about Doctor Who. But I did at least finally start reading George Novack's essays on 'The Logic Of Marxism'.

With luck, there should be some new songfight titles up tomorrow. I have an itch to write something for it - I'm thinking something in the classic downtempo chillout mode, with sampled acoustic drums, sub-bass, swelling strings and sparse vocals. Of course, if I'm true to form, aiming for that vibe will give me a Gabber/Thrash number at 250BPM by the end of the week.

Applied Acoustics have finally released 'String Studio', which looks amazing, and is far too expensive for me. It's a high quality physical modelling synth for any and every string instrument you can imagine.

I checked out Cymatic - the long awaited and promising PM drum synth - and it looks like it won't be released after all. Looks as though development has stopped. Damn. Good Physically Modelled 'real' drums would be so useful to so many musicians, but no one seems to be making a VST to do it.

Today's insight: People keep busy to avoid getting bored, but their busyness leaves them just as bored as before. Boredom has nothing to do with activiy, something to do with variety, quite a lot to do with meaning, and everything to do with hope.

People who have something to hope for are never bored.

ZZZzzzz....

Why do I feel so completely shattered? I'm not depressed, just almost permanantly exhausted these last two days.
-----
Backing music for the festival done - apart from minor tweaks and possibly short 'link' tracks that go between the songs. They should both be quick to do.

I'm waiting for Nick to get back to me on mp3s of the results.

Really looking forward to being on stage. Maybe I'm too tierd to be nervewracked.
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Saturday's Dr Who was an odd combination of gothic horror, fun silliness, polysexual inuendo, and a great big feelgood factor. Actually I thought it was bloody good, just an uneven hybrid.

The forums discussing is have been all about...two brief jokes. Both about gay flirting. Plus one line that some people insist is also somehow gay. Page after page of arguments over whether children should be allowed to know there are gay people in the world. Jesus Christ.
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At the last forum - two weeks ago - Christina C brought along her boyfriend and 8 year old son, Matthew. They were talking about the last time they visited a gay disco, saying I should have come too.

Matthew piped up, saying I couldn't go, because I wasn't gay. CHristina said oh yes I was. Matthew looked at me incredulously, said "You're not gay!" and burst into laughter.

Apparantly I'm not camp enough!
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A quote I came across from George Orwell:
"Political language...is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
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Right. Sleep. That's an order. So there.

Together, briefly

Just as I was about to call H this evening, he called me. He's got a job. Nice little college in Southampton, 20K a year, friendly atmosphere and precisely one collegue in the science department.

So, celebratory drinks tonight, other things postponed till tomorrow. Things like recording vocals and chasing up the paperwork involved in following him into the real oldest profession in the world - teacher.

My internet connection seems decidely flakey today. So I'll have to post this when I can actually connect. Be seeing you.
-----
By the wonders's of dodgy internet connection, it's now nearly eight hours later.

H wants to take a holiday somewhere exotic before starting his job in September, so we'll be out of touch for a while. He also wants to come and see The K Twins perform next month.

We talked about a lot of stuff and I got rather drunk but the important thing is, when we parted outside my garage door, we hugged for a very long time. At least half an hour, standing under the stars in each other's arms.

He told me I was a lovely man and I should take every opportunity life offered. Easy for him to say - he's already done it.

It's not easy to describe the feeling of holding someone you love and admire very much - someone who incomprehensibly feels the same way about you - knowing your lives will soon go in different directions.

Buy, Bi, Bye!

There's been a veritable buying frenzy at the Kapitano household. Father's got an oil lamp from ebay to add to his collection, and mother's got a portable DAB radio (with FM, cassette and CD). Add this to the electric violin, old jazz 45s, books on Java from Amazon, new mobile phones, CDRs and DVDRs, bluetooth cards, and probably other stuff I've forgotten. And then remember we never thrown anything away.

I'm feeling better since I stopped eating chocolate biscuits. Alright, since I ate the last one in the packet. I've wondered whether I might be mildly allergic to chocolate before, but rejected the idea as too horrible to contemplate.

Work on music for the festival was delayed by having an urgent backlog of 30 TNGs and DSNs to burn on CDR. That's urgent as in 'there's no more room on any of the hard drives and there's new stuff we want to record this evening'.

Mark S has finally worked out how to send me non-blank text messages. I think I'll deserve a break in a few days, so I'll arrange a meet soon. I seem to like Mark a lot better since he stopped being out of his tree all the time.

Progress

Systematic Panic and Nothing Less Than Everything about 75% done - just tweaking the sounds and levels in the original Reason files, changing notes here and there, filtering dialogue samples better than before.

Still feeling a bit lousy. Not so much ill as unhealthy, as though I'd eaten nothing but bigmacs for week. Anyway, one thing I can't do in this state is sing.

I miss H. When I haven't seen him for a few days, I get into moods of apathy and mourning the past. A few hours with him wipes them away. The strange thing is, he gets the same moods. It's nice to think time spent with me has the same effect on him.

Thought for the night: A man who has never known friendship doesn't miss it. But once you've discovered it, you can't live properly without it.

You will wake up when I count to four

Well, I did actually get off the sleep around 1:30am, and wake up at 7, feeling refreshed and alert.

And then go to bed again at 4pm, again waking at 7, again refreshed and alert.

12 Monkeys is finished, and Riverrun nearly finished, though there will no doubt be some last minute tweaking of both. I should make a start on Systematic Panic before going to bed for the third time.

Looks like the twins may actually be ready for their big stage debut. It's four in the bloody morning again! How did that happen?

Relax, you are feeling sleepy

I'm going to try something new and unexpected. Tonight, I shall actually attempt to get to sleep before 7am. In fact, I shall be lying down with my head on the pillow by 1:30am!

That's after drinking my glass of hot milk with two chocolate biscuits.

I've finally spoken to Strict Machines about being supported by The K Twins. They are all for it. Right now there's two small gigs lined up with no room for a second band, plus a recording session. Guess who's the recording engineer?

After our big Hastings gig (panic panic), there's a venue pencilled in, though the exact date is still uncirtain.

I've got the backing for Twelve Monkeys essentially finished (created from scratch for the 3rd time? 4th?). I've just got to synthesise a proper set of drums for this track and some of the others that we'll be playing.

Just as I once spent far too much time on the SongFight boards, now I spend far too much time on the Outpost Gallifrey boards. They are much bigger, with many more posts per day in many more subsections, and are much more nerdy!

Right. I'm awake, alert, feeling happy, and it's time to go to bed like a sensible person.

Rush, Rush

Suddenly there's not enough hours in the day again. Respect want all their members to be out on the streets leafleting, talking to the public, and campaigning on any issue they can find. Paul T has a sick computer and two half novels to print out. And I have to sort things out with the OU, the GTTR, my bank and the jobcentre.

More than that though, the K Twins have a gig. It's at the Hastings music festival, with multiple hundreds watching, and a 20 minute slot. All of which is very good. We have four weeks to prepare. Which is not good and is bloody nervewracking.

This is the plan of action: I come up with prerecorded backing tracks and live triggerable samples for the four songs we've selected. Nick and I practice our singing seperately. Before the gig, we meet and practice together. Then we go on stage and try desperately not to murder our own material.

So I have at most two weeks to produce and master our music. Less if possible. As schedules go this is a little bit tight.

The Book of Job, Chapter 2

Nice job, nice area, nice people. Crap money.

I was met by an immensely attractive young man with red hair and freckles. He showed me a series of catalogues designed by the firm - multiple typefaces, pointless splashes of primary colour, irregular columns and graphics crammed in everywhere.

The kind of thing I could only dream about producing back in 1990 - now available as templates selectable with a single mouse click, and completely meaningless.

I was even tempted for five seconds to go for this untennable job. The atmosphere was cirtainly better than any other place I've seen.

The jobcentre, with usual efficiency, wanted me to phone them to report on how the interview went, but had given me the number for the wrong department. The wrong department gave me a number for the right department. Who still weren't quite the right department, but gave me a third number to call. Who never answered the phone.

Burn it to the ground

The jobcentre have found me a vacancy. It's completely outside my travel area, the pay is crap, and the company are infamous for screwing employees. Oh and the job description is meaningless. Tomorrow will mostly be taken up with the pointless interview.

John S told me a story last time we met. His jobcentre had a specialist in finding vacancies for people like John with disabilities or injuries. John has a 'war wound' from his naval service - a leg with shattered bones held together with metal pins. It means he can't walk far or fast.

Of course, he's also a respected artist with a master's degree in art theory, and a background in electrical engineering and carpentry.

For such a man, the specialist took six weeks to find a 'suitable vacancy'. Nighttime Security Guard in a warehouse.

Lots of walking, some running, occasionally fighting with intruders. Nothing related to art or it's theory, nothing relavent to wires or wood.
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Tonight was another gig by Strict Machines. There's not many bands who can fill fourty minutes with twenty seven songs, but they manage. As before, the mood was one of dutiful listening at the start, building to rapturous applause after the second encore. And as before, Simon F was there, being drunk, philosophical, and warm.

Drunk enough to let me french kiss him in the interval, philosophical enough to raise intelligent epistemological points I could disagree with in the rain outside, and warm enough that I miss not spending another night with him.

He's too busy to be with me tonight. H is too busy to see me at the weekend. I'm too busy to write a decent song. I don't mind being rushed off my feet, so long as it's for something interesting or worthwhile.
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Oh yes. Gallifrey One has published both my reviews. I seem to be in a minority in disliking Father's Day, and a majority in disliking The Long Game.

Burn Baby Burn

Okay, so I'm not so good at the exercise thing. Eventually I sat down and watched the latest New Who - Father's Day. Considering what I wrote a few paragraphs/hours ago, I'm not terribly impressed. I've written a review and posted it to Outpost Gallifrey. They may or may not publish it, but in any case, I'm pasting it below.

As I write, it is, as usual, a little past four in the morning. I have two dozen or so CDRs to burn. Here goes.
-------------------------
I've just got around to watching Father's Day, and I think I finally know what's wrong with the new series.

It isn't the intrusive or inappropriate music of End of the World. And I don't think it's really the pseudoromantic bond between Rose and the Doctor in Dalek, or aliens with supposedly comical long names. I think the problem is Russell T Davis.

In interview, he said Rose and the Doctor would be given equal billing. This turns out to mean Rose is the star and the Doctor is her all-purpose plot device. It's her concerns, feelings and actions that drive the show. The Doctor is there to transport her to settings where she can meet the local sentient life and display emotions.

This is evident in the first scene of Father's Day when Rose asks to see her father on the day of his death, and the Doctor cheerfully responds, "Your wish is my command."

Actually, he lets her do it twice, so they get to see themselves from the first time, in spite of knowing the great dangers of being "present in two aspects" as the Black Guardian once said. Inevitably, Rose impulsively saves her dad, and mucks up causality.

The wedding party get trapped in a church, with the Doctor using an idea straight out of Sapphire and Steel that the party would be protected (for a while) from the time creatures because the church is old. Cue a series of dialogue driven emotional set pieces.

We get to see the Doctor envious of the bride and groom, because he doesn't get to do romance and ordinary life. He says the couple are "important" and that he will save them because of their ordinaryness.

The Doctor tells us (once again) that his world - still not named as Gallifrey - is gone, and mentions his friends and family, indicating he would dearly love to go back and save them. Presumably this family is the clan of warring cousins in Lungbarrow. Has the Doctor ever mentioned any family in the television series before? Apart possibly from Susan, the canonical Doctor has always been a rootless renegade.

Rose realizes that the father she'd been told about is a fabrication from the mind of her grief stricken mother, but that the real man is both a failed wheeler-dealer and a decent, charming fellow. He later makes the greatest sacrifice a father could make for his daughter, dying to save her, and incidentally the rest of the world.

We even get to meet Mickey as a boy of about 5. Which, seeing as this is 1987, would make him about 23 in 'Rose'. The prepubescent boy hugs the girl he won't meet for years in a 'foreshadowing' of their later relationship.

RTD described Doctor Who as a 'Space Opera'. This turns out to mean 'Soap Opera'. Science Fiction is a way to explore ideas, not a forum for exploring tortured interpersonal relations.

He pointed out, quite correctly, that Doctor Who has consistently ignored issues about companions joining The Doctor, disappearing from their ordinary lives, and abandoning loved ones to go exploring the universe. Companions seem to effortlessly jettison their past lives and associations when they step into the Tardis.

There is a perfectly good reason why emotional bonds to friends and family are ignored. It's because they don't belong in Doctor Who!

If you want to know about the endlessly layered complexities of someone's neuroses - their insecurities, loves, fears, and of course their family - watch a soap opera, or a 'reality' show. If you want to play 'What If' games with technology, history or the laws of physics, science fiction is the place to be.

Obviously Doctor Who - and science fiction in general - has always had personalities and interpersonal relationships. The first Doctor was a wise but curmudgeonly explorer with bewildered companions, the third was a benign avuncular dandy with a series of innocent relationships with young women in short skirts, and the fifth a profoundly moral man who was very patient with his whining (and sometimes scheming) young friends.

But in Doctor Who under Russell T Davis it's just far too much. The science fiction elements of the plot are paper thin, while the soap opera elements are luxuriously thick. It's mildly interesting to find out about Rose's background, but not to have her family the center of every second adventure.

The Tardis is a way to easily find new worlds and threats for each adventure. It lets us see new aliens and human cultures, new mad scientists and fascistic robots, new political corruption and amazing technology, each time our mysterious, nameless hero lands somewhere.

It is not a way to find new angles for examining the inner life of a teenage girl.
-------------------------

Go for the Burn

I have three computers chock full of AVIs, and big stacks of CDRs and DVDRs waiting to recieve them. Unfortunately, I don't have superfast burners, or much time.

I think it's probably possible to take pleasure or find interest in any job in the world, except when the job involves catching up on a backlog. Maybe because there's no sense of achievement in clearing a backlog - it's just a matter of running extrafast to avoid slipping further behind.
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Tonight, the Sci-Fi channel broadcast the final Babylon 5 movie - Legend of the Rangers. The idea was to spawn another serial set in the B5 universe, but having now seen the film, I'm not surprised that it failed.

It was cack. Not one interesting character, not one good joke, not one moment of surprise. Plus laboured expositions and a plot cobbled together from bits of two earlier B5 films - Thirdspace and A Call to Arms.

The new Doctor Who may have it's problems, but in comparison it's a work of genius.
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Right. I promised myself I'd do some of that 'exercise' stuff. So. I suppose I should.

Gizza Job

Okay, computer working again (after running the Windows Recovery Console several times), and I'm trying to write something not-too-stupid about me on a far-too-stupid job application form. The job is 'Basic Skills Tutor' in a place that teaches literacy to anyone who can't read english well enough to...fill in job application forms.

My bullshit will look something like this:
I have extensive experience with computers and IT, having worked as a programmer and self employed repair technician. The latter involved teaching customers about wordprocessing, database management, safety and security.

Years spent in higher education have given me the ability to work independantly and unsupervised, writing to deadlines and handling large amounts of information.

I have been unemployed for many months at a time during periods of recession, and have attended several Jobcentre Plus courses. I can therefore appreciate first hand the frustration of the long term unemployed with unhelpfully worded forms, impatient civil servants and a hostile marketplace.

My last paid job involved singlehandedly setting up and running a videotape library and off-air recording service for the University of Portsmouth. Before that, I was manager, curator and co-owner of a small art gallery.

Recent work as actor and sound engineer with a somewhat volatile local theatre company, and years spent helping local bands put together demo CDs for record companies have, I feel, given me an ability to handle conflict within groups.

A year spent as a teaching assistant for children with special needs at Priory School gave me a sense of achievement at having given some ordinary people a better chance.


Something like that anyway.

Jinx (Part 2)

In the list of things I could happily live without, an "NTLDR Missing" error message on my computer is near the top. This is a problem with the early stages of bootup, and as such the backups that I made of stable windows installations are useless.

The windows installation itself is probably just fine, as are the various files and partitions. The problem is I can't get to any of them.

The Dell computers that I got for Paul T and Simon M have proven to be less than perfectly reliable. Paul T's computer refuses to recognize any of the four modem cards I've tried, and Simon M's computer just slows to a crawl.

Oh yes, and my three layered security system for John M worked for about a week. Now he's knee deep in popups for viagra again.

As Reggie Perrin would say: GAAaaahhHH!

Network

Back in 1988, I borrowed a cassette tape compilation of house music from the local library. One of the tracks was by The Housedoctors, which I liked, and contained a sample of a man shouting "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Months later, there was a trailer for a late night film called 'Network', which included that line. I was curious about the film that provided the sample, so I set the VCR.

It's very rare for me to be entranced by anything on television - amused, entertained, interested yes, but I think I've been entranced maybe five times. That film held me till the last frame.

Network was released in 1976. Directed by Paddy Cheyevsky, it starred Peter Finch as Howard Beale, William Holden as Max Schumacher and Faye Dunnaway as Diane Abbot. It was Finch's last film, and he recieved a posthumous oscar for it.

I must have seen it more than a dozen times. Before tonight, the last time was almost two years ago, when I was introducing it to Paul B, staying at his place during the Marxism 2003 conference. Before that, it was probably eight years ago introducing it to Stuart on VHS, as a film that had a big impact on my life.

It's a very dense movie. The story of a news anchorman who has a nervous breakdown and starts inveigning against the hipocrisies and injustices of western culture gives me a different message each time. The need for anger, the media exploitation vulurable people, the incohearance of capitalist ideology, the end of history, the way counterculture can be packaged, the way we try to think and love as though our lives were on the small screen. Each time I watch it, a different aspect jumps out at me.

There are bad points of course. There is a racist undercurrent, a cirtain frivility in the humour, and most of the supporting cast are caricatures. I'm not denying any of that, just talking about something that made a big impact on my when I was 16 and alone.

I watched it on DivX again tonight. TV almost never makes me cry, but there are two scenes that usually do it. The famous 'mad as hell' scene where half the denizens of a tower block - and by impication maybe the whole country - lean out of their windows in a thunderstorm and shout "I'm not going to take it anymore!"

It's as though they all lead lives of quiet desperation and repressed anger, and are now, together, starting to break out, to rebel, taking the first steps in freeing themselves.

The other is the final scene, as images of Beale's televised assasination mix and are swallowed by saccharine adverts for air travel and ice cream. Howard Beale's struggle first became assimilated into the same bland soup of Media that he opposed, then it washed over his corpse and buried him.

There was another flawed hollywood film on tonight that also made an impact. It was called Falling Down, and I may talk about that some other time.

Everybody's looking for something

I think last night was the first time H and I slept together. Not had sex, actually slept together. I was in a bad way - a little bit drunk (yes, I know), completely exhausted from a bike ride, and feeling a bit sorry for myself about lost youth and missed chances.

H held my hand and talked about how he felt the same way, but was slowly coming to live with it. Then, unexpectedly he said 'You can stay the night if you want'.

No sex, just hugging and drifting in and out of sleep. I felt very happy - contented.

In the morning of course we were both bleary and in need of more sleep than we'd got. He's got a a book to finish - that's writing, not reading - and I've got some fiction to write on some application forms.
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I have cancelled my debit card for the second time in a week. If the cancelled card turns up somewhere safe...I probably won't have the energy to be annoyed.
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There's a forum tonight, on the class structure of the army. Should be interesting, though I'll need another few hours sleep beforehand if I'm to be alert enough to learn from it.

So. It's midday. Sweet dreams.

Jinx

I did not especially need my phone to stop working today. Seeing as it's also my alarm clock, I overslept. And as it's my main connection with several people who are important to me, they might be wondering where I am.

Today is the day for once again spending two or three hours fixing Simon M's computer. That is, a complete reinstall of operating system (for the second time in a month), plus NTL internet connection and software (likewise).

Someone once suggested that the reason I mend computers so often is that technology breaks when I'm nearby. Something to do with Morphic Resonance. Hmmm.

My father is on the phone downstairs discussing how 'they' drive around in better cars than 'us'. By 'they' he means 'asylum seekers', by which he means 'forigners', by which he means 'dark skinned people', by which he means 'wogs from bongo-bongo land'. By 'us' he means 'the resident's association'.

Maybe Morphic Resonance works on people's minds too. When they come near me their minds break down. It might explain why other people get to live in communitites of nice folk, while wherever I go there are idiots.

Incidentally, my father's heroes are all the great jazz musicians, most of who were black immigrants. Of course, my father is just a hypocrite. But maybe what some people say is true - Music has no colour.
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EDIT: Okay, pissed again. Simon has wonderful taste in wine, and now (I hope) a fully working computer that won't refuse to boot in a few days time. Three glasses of wine, plus three gin and coke's in the pub with him afterwards. I'm really glad my childhood gave me no tolerance for alchohol - unlike his.

For my troubles, I have a DVD of Hungarian studs doing what studs do best. When I can consistantly see only one screen, I shall watch it.

Took me a lot of missed keystrokes to type those paragraphs.

Now. Meet H tomorrow for, er, more drinks.

Fucking blog won't log on. Save and post later. Goodnight.

Jush a Little Drinkypoo

I have half a (small) bottle of vodka left in the fridge, so I'm experimenting with 'Vodka and Milk'. Two conclusions. First, it goes wonderfully with chocolate. Second, I really need to try a better brand of vodka. Third, I'm a bit drunk after half a cup of two thirds milk and one third vodka. And fourth, I can't count.
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SongFight has finally been updated, and the reviews are starting to come in for Nick's 'I Forgot to Remember'. So far they're all positive. I think they like the song more than the production I gave it, which is fair enough - we are supposed to review songs not recordings. Though I'm not sure how they'd respond to the unprocessed version.

Nevermind, it's a good song and soulfully sung. It can't be just me who always feels like he means what he sings, even when I know he doesn't really.

Oh, and elsewhere in songfight, the stupid lyrics I wrote in ten minutes for a thirteen year old boy's turtle...were recorded in 'deep south banjo ho-down style' by Mostly Harmless.
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Cold milk and vodka is interesting. Hot full fat milk, with sugar, and a bar of chocolate, with a shot of vodka: lovely. All that while watching the best new Doctor Who by a long shot - Dalek - is absolute self indulgence.

Apart maybe from the headache.
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My parents have got a vinyl deck from Ebay. With which to put some of their classical and jazz LPs onto CD. As usual, they haven't thought through how to do it properly, and as usual they justify it by saying "We paid for it, so we'll use it how we like."

Why am I a perfectionist? Because my parents are sloppy.
Why am I interesting in science and logic? Because my parents think "because I say so" closes the discussion.
Why am I still living with these people? Because I'm broke.

Say Kids, What Time is It?

This should be the 'Four 'O' Clock in the morning' blog. Once again it is approaching that hour, and I'm encoding some Iranian films, skimming through some Doctor Who webpages, occasionally listening to some music, and sometimes trying to write some.

I've been collating all of my lyrics that I can find. So far, there's 34 surviving songs. This is the latest to be rediscovered, based loosely on Visage's Fade to Grey:

Standing on another empty platform
Waiting for another train to come
Through a rainstorm, finding a new home
I don't really care where it goes

Step off at a deserted station
In a place i never heard of before
Chose a history, chose a new name
Another life, I'm just a broken chain


I've written a pseudonymous review for the most recent Dr Who adventure for Outpost Gallifrey. Don't know if and when it'll appear on the site. I ought to sleep, but I can't. That could be my mantra.

If I Knew What I Wanted...

I often have ideas for essays and stories, and these have occasionally appeared here. Now I've set up a seperate blog for these longer pieces. This blog here is about my life and feelings day to day. The new one will (hopefully) be the place where I can do the intellectual stuff that doesn't really fit here. It's also a more private space.

Here is a small quote from the first entry, on notions of security, simply because it tells you what kind of day I've had:

Today I tried to replace my debit card. I phoned the helpline, who didn't respond. I went to the bank, who told me cards had to be replaced over the phone. So I called the helpline again, who told me I had to go to the bank and 'unlock' my access, before they could do anything.

I called them again, and got my debit card cancelled. I was also told a new card was on it's way, presumably by someone who didn't know about 'unlocking' access.

Five minutes later the university called to say they had my wallet. So I now have it, plus a row of defunct cards.


Met Nick on IRC last night. He had a finished but rough song recorded, and wasn't sure whether to submit it the songfight. I spent the early hours of the morning and afternoon waving my magic production wand over his rough demo, and the result is...a rough demo with a bit of production polish.

I wrote a quick song while we were talking, which he liked. I think it'll need some rewriting, but this is how it looks at the moment:

I can only see my own eyes
By looking into a mirror
I can only hear my own thoughts
In the words of a random stranger

If i knew what i wanted i would have it by now
If i knew where i was going i could figure out how

You can only see your footprints
If you turn around and look behind
You can only understand your own beliefs
By putting them in someone else's mind

If you knew where you came from
You might know who you were
If I were you...

If you knew why you left
Iou might know who you should be
If you were me...


We have very different styles of writing lyrics. Nick's words have the strange poetry that you find in ordinary conversation when dislocated from context. Mine are more didactic and philosophical. But we rather admire each other's work.

Simon M's computer has stopped working! Yet again! Oh deep fucking joy! I'm off the see if I can mend it quickly.

Today is the first day of...the same old thing

Once again it's four 'o' clock in the morning. One again I'm reading pleasantly pointless webpages (this time on Outpost Gallifrey) while recording one film and encoding another in the background - both of them about dead bodies, in fact. The Body, concerning the discovery the ramains of an un-risen Christ, and Kissed, about necrophillia.

If today follows the usual schedule, I will decide to have breakfast sometime before five, eat it watching a 70s sci-fi show, realise I'm sleepy between 8 and 9, go to bed and wake up around 3 in the afternoon. Yeah, alright. I'm a slob.
----
The night before the election, I bumped into CW. And his dog, Ben - a lovely big brown floppy thing of uncirtain breed. He's just as much a slob as me, but goes off to Dubai and Munich and places in the states I haven't heard of every few months. Plus he speaks Italian and has an 18 year old boyfriend. And the nice dog too. I rather envy him all these things.
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I lost my wallet on Friday. Someone found it and actually mailed it off to the university - it had my staff membership card in it. It should have arrived by monday, when I can pick it up.

Seeing as I lose things so easily, the universe must have decided to make me lucky in having me find them again. Wallet, bike, computer files, pieces of paper.
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Simon F remains impossible to contact, and H remains impossibly busy. I feel like I'm approaching the end of a holiday.

EDIT: 06:41. Blake's 7. Porridge. Sleepy. Bed.

Back to reality

Okay. Election over, Labour back with majority reduced, LibDems same figures as usual, Tories still have no real leader and no members under 65. UKIP and Veritas nowhere, BNP made small gains, so the the Greens.

And George Galloway MP for RESPECT will be insufferably smug for the next few years. Selma Yacoob came second in her constituancy - she's got more credibility and charisma than Galloway, so I think will be a name to be reckoned with in years to come.

The Dorset and Hove results for RESPECT were, of course, terrible. Standing there was, it turns out, more a matter of not alienating potentially useful allies than an attempt to elect someone. No surprises really - when you're building a coalition you sometimes have to do stupid things to hold on to friends.
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Now, I did have a life before I let politics take it over for a few weeks. There was an Open University course, which I'm now too far behind on to pass. There was some music, which is still 'almost finished'. And no end of books in the 'read sometime soon' pile.

Oh, and there was my plan to get fit. Well, less fat anyway.

I'm applying for several jobs. The interesting one is 'Tutor' (as opposed to quallified Teacher) of adult literacy. I probably won't get onto any teacher training course this year, but next year, with more experience and a better CV, hopefully.

A lot of things I want to do, but the opportunity and the motivation to do them never seem to coincide. Either that or I'm lazy and disorganised.

Oh well. Back to shite, back to reality.

Life continues, and life goes on

I didn't actually manage to sleep last night. I was just finally dozing off at 0400, when the mobile rang. John M, saying he'll be here in ten minutes to take me to the airport.

He'd barely slept, so the two of us sat yawning and driving in the rain, before picking up Lee, who of course had had a good night's sleep.

Anicet Mayela is a 22 year old man from Congo Brazzaville. Most of his family were killed, and by chance he esacped a year ago. He is a key witness in one of several against GSL (Global solutions Limited), who just happen to be the company that wants him deported.

We met seven others at the airport, plus one official who thought it was "odd that so many people would gather in the same place". Translation: They knew who we were and why we were there.

The plan - sightly insane as it was - was to find passengers and staff on the 0630 Paris flight, and persuade them to make trouble on the plane about a man being deported to his death.

I did say it was slightly insane. Well, the airport security and the local police gave us two hours of only moderate harrassment, essentially letting us do our thing, while letting us know it was at their forbearance.

They didn't want trouble, and some probably secretly half agreed with us. It's not uncommon to find security personnel reconciling their personal feelings with their duty by doing their job mildly and slowly. Obviously you can't trust them, but they aren't monsters.

I was absolutely terrified. We all were - even John, who's been campaigning for 40 years. Eventually we got moved on and drove home.

I got an update later. The Anicet wasn't deported. The air crew refused to take him on board. Did we help to make that happen? Unknown.

He's back in detention now. His escorts to the airport broke one of his wrists getting him there, and a rib getting him back. So he's injured and imprisoned, but alive.
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So how the hell can you follow that? In my case, I went to the dentist, for a check up and 'hygenic' tartar removal. My teeth are now so clean you could eat off them.

It would have been nice to have more than an hour's sleep before having my teeth scraped, but Paul T decide to drop round and bitch at great length about how life's little injustices get to him.

We don't know anyone who goes on and on about how unfair their life is, do we? Course not.

I'm in the final stages of a second demo of 'Friend'. More or less the same structure as the first, but with a more 'acid' feel, and more suitable for making an extended 'dance' mix.

The day isn't finished yet. There's still the other half of John's essay to transcribe. He's composing it as I type, and will give me a call when he requires my keyboard skills.
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EDIT: Essay all done and posted. It's 24 hours later, and I've spent 13 of them asleep.

Wierd world

Drink and chat with MS. Three big surprises. First, that he actually turned up this time. Second, that he's off the alchohol, amphetamines and ecstasy. So presumably this time next year he'll have a wife, a mortgate, a patio, a suit for work, and plans for two children.

Oh, and third, he wasn't looking for a blowjob behind a tree. Truely a changed man!
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Now. A small moral dilemma. The choice is between either

(a) Getting up at four in the morning, riding for an hour in a car, and joining a protest at an airport against the extradition of a stranger. On the grounds that his 'home' will execute him for political opposition. Or

(b) Stay in bed, safe in the knowledge that the protest has little chance of being effective.

I have to get some sleep tonight, because I'm up at four.

A Minor Hitch

I am extremely full of popcorn. This is because I ate far too much of it while watching The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy film with H. We both expected to be disappointed by a limp, unfunny, dumbed down americanised version of the story. Instead, we both rather enjoyed it.

Every time Hitch Hiker is told in a new medium - radio drama, computer game, TV serial, book - it's content changes significantly. The film is likewise recognisably the same but different, in plot and mood.

It was always implicit in Hitch Hiker that the politics of other worlds are those of small town, petty minded beaurocracy, but writ large. Here the implication is fully explicit, with the Vogons depicted as mindless dusty beaurocrats obsessed with habit and procedure.

The vogon face slapping machine, on it's own, would be puerile slapstick. Here, being activated by original thought, it's a good metaphor for the stultifying human culture that the vogon's satirise.

Do you remember the film of Pink Floyd's The Wall? It featured animated creatures with enormous bulky bodies, piglike faces, and long thin arms. In what must be deliberate homage, these creatures are reincarnated as animatronic Vogons.

It's also a nice touch that the voices were done by The League Of Gentlemen - who of course have their own film coming soon.

Other parts of the film impress less. The love affair between Arthur and Trillian is useful as a plot device, but trite and shallow.

The portrayal of Slartibartfast by Bill Nye is far too apologetic and 'together'. The character is supposed to be a lovable but bumbling technical nerd, trying to appear wise and serene.

The politician played by John Malkovitch was slight, and his subplot pointless. It's as though this part of the film were a fragment of a different replotting of Hitch Hiker, that got let in by accident.

Martin Freedman's Arthur Dent is an small town american 'ordinary joe' who happens to have a brit accent. He has no real characterisation.

Helen Mirren as Deep Thought? No. Geraldine McEwen, maybe.

Sam Rockwell's Zaphod Beeblebrox was presumably a satire on Bush Jr's vapidity, with elements of Ronald Regan's 'cowboy' attitude. Unfortunately it had all the sublety and charm of Michael Moore.

The voice and lines of Marvin were, I thought, very effective. This isn't a clinically depressed robot, it's a world weary superhuman. But the rounded bulbous design of the robot's body didn't fit. And the way he would save the day was obvious minutes in advance.

Incidentally, the original body of Marvin - from the BBC serialisation - got a cameo role. Which was then repeated twice just in case we were too dumb to notice the first time. Simon Jones (Arthur dent from the radio and TV serials) got a welcome and unobtrusive cameo as the magrathean answering machine.

On the plus side, Stephen Fry was suitably untextbooklike and baffled as the voice of the book. He managed to avoid camping it up, and equally avoided impersonating Peter Jones (the original voice). The book animation was imaginative and I think it was a good idea to not make it look like a computer display.

Initially, I thought Mos Def, as a stylish black Ford Prefect, was a bizarre choice by some casting director who hadn't read the books. But it works - he is intriguingly alien.

The set design has the 'huge and grimy' look of Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Overblown, as is the current fashion in science fiction visuals, but effective.

So, overall. The plot is just as lumpy as in all versions of Hitch Hiker, being essentially a stream of set comic pieces, which have a more pythonlike feel than Adams' solo work. But I don't think this is a problem.

Lots of reservations, but after all of them, I'm glad I watched it. It's a footnote to the Hitch Hiker cannon, not part of it.

The Book of Simon, Chapter 1

Quite an eventful 24 hours.

I'm thinking of starting a second blog, for essays. I occasionally post short essays here, but they don't fit well with the rest of the content, and I abbreviate them too much to be more than outlines.

So, a place on the web for Kapitano's extended musings is a possibility.
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I was trying to think of a plausible excuse to avoid sitting in a cramped pub full of revolting drunk people listening to Strict Machines play songs made indeciperable by bad acoustics and overloud guitar.

I couldn't think of one, so went. And was pleasantly surprised. Over the course of two half hour sets, the audiance warmed to the band, giving appreciative cheers at the end.

The vibe was so positive they were persuaded a play a third set.
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At the gig, I was introduced to the various friends and friends of friends of the band, including a reintroduction to Simon F, who I met at a previous Strict Machines gig - the one where I was the support act.

He's one of those self taught polymaths in practical matter who has no qualifications and doesn't know what a polymath is. He's also just as good as me at mending computers, and has the kind of open frankness that makes him either a dispised oaf or a valued friend.

He's also gayer than a treeful of pink monkeys on nitrous oxide. Dispite being comfortably bisexual. And yes, gentle reader, I spent the night with him. A night of honest talk and pressureless pleasure.

There is the possibility of a relationship. We're both being very mature and cautious, with no rush about making a decision.

If I end up being half a boyfriend of H, and half a boyfriend to Simon, does that make me a complete boyfriend, or a complete bastard?

It is (a) far too early, and I am (b) far too tierd to think cogently about this. H is fascinating, Simon is comfortable. Whatever happens, they're both good people, and I won't hurt either of them.