Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Acting as if it matters

Well, if anyone who reads this really does miss a daily column, I am sorry, but now that I am logged into the Maybe Logic Forum, and doing three different courses, I am online a lot, but not really updating the blog or the website at all.

It won't go on for ever, but I am really enjoying it. Brain-stretching time...loads of reading (instead of watching tv) - new friends I don't have to explain everything to every time (shared obsessions and sub-cultural language).


So to family, and Star Wars fans, old juggling mates, and ex's - I'll be back!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Rolling back the years

Looking back through the archives to this time last year (you can too, on the side bar of archives on the right of the screen) I found some fun stuff.

Here's my friend Pete cracking his fire whip (I took some but not all of the pics) - and yes, he teaches whip-cracking. (Workshops available)

"If you can see your path laid out
in front of you step by step, you know
it's not your path. Your own path you
make with every step you take. That's
why it's your path."

--Joseph Campbell

Getting lazy, but that's just because I'm busy...

I saw this interview with Jamie Whyte about sloppy thinking, and posted it to a forum I visit - here's a fragment, as it deserves a wider audience in this world run by 'faith-based organisations' (huh!):

In your book you are quite harsh on religion. Aren't people entitled to their faith?

This is one of my favourite errors. An interesting change has happened, at least in the west. It used to be that people would argue for a particular religious dogma or a clear religious doctrine. That is no longer what happens. The world is increasingly dividing into those who have "faith" and those who don't. It doesn't really matter what the faith is. That is why you now get "faith groups" coming together from all kinds of different religions. The weirdest manifestation of this new tendency is when people say: "I'm not a Christian but I believe in something." Then I say: "Of course, I believe in many things, like there is a chair there and a table. What are you talking about?" And they reply: "Well, you know, something more." But what "more"? What they mean is something more than we have any good reason to believe in.

That really seems to get to you!

What amazes me is that they like to set themselves up as having a slightly finer sensibility than you or me but in fact they are completely intellectually irresponsible. They used to come up with very bad arguments for their faiths but at least they felt that there was something they should provide. Now mere wilfulness has triumphed. This is what I describe as the egocentric approach to truth. You are no longer interested in reality because to do that you have to be pretty rigorous, you have to have evidence or do some experimentation. Rather, beliefs are part of your wardrobe. You've got a style and how dare anybody tell you that your style isn't right. Ideology is seen as simply a matter of taste and as it's not right to tell people that they've got bad taste, so it's not right to tell them that their opinions are false. I'm afraid that the cast of mind of most people is the opposite of scientific.

There's something close to that that you also hate. When people say "there is an awful lot we don't understand" and use that as an argument for believing in something...

The mystery fallacy: it's a mystery therefore I can think whatever I want.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Support your local library - information wants to be free!

Just in case you think being a librarian is the dullest job in the world, working with grey, boring staff - shushing people and generally fussing about...check out

Jessamyn West "Putting the rarin' back into Librarian since 1993"

Here's an article about her site ands the misuse of The Patriot Act in the US of A.

Or, if thinking is hard work, try the naked librarians page but be warned some of them are actually quite rude...

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Ah, yes, well...

That's a big Hi! to Rachel, as we just had a slightly drunken conversation in which I heard she reads this blog.

I didn't put a good case for publishing, I am afraid...

This really is a notebook to myself, but it's open (like a conversation) to input, 'cos I don't think I have all the best links in the world.

Oh, and I was a street performer, and that never goes away - to stay alive I had to draw attention to myself - without appearing arrogant, or pathetic, or whatever. Never an easy trick. This has an element of that. In that sense it is no more than a column in a newspaper where people drivel on about the everyday hazards that a freelance journalist suffers. hmmm. Like the stand-ups who get successful, and spend their whole time on stage doing routines about the food and service on planes and in hotels (funny, unless, like me, you didn't get on a plane between 1987 and 2002, then it leaves you cold...)hmmm

So, it's not a diary, it's not a column, it's a way of staying in touch with my family (but only if they have time to catch up), it's somewhere to drop links to stuff I want to remember, it's a train of thought, it's up to nearly 110,000 words, so I could have written a book (and perhaps I have). It's a glimpse of the real person behind the 'glamour of brief show-biz fame'. It's an experiment in writing. It's practice at touch-typing. It's the floating supplement to a fairly slow-changing website. And what's a website for? Ah....

And so on.

You should check out the other ways people use instant publishing - there are so many kinds of blogs...

You don't have to read it, you know, there's a whole big internet out there....

Be Seeing you!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Music - Muzak "One man's meat is another man's poisson"

It's such a lock-in, music. The associations and the generations... and the imprints.

I started playing Country Joe and The Fish to Julie, but all it reminded her of was Jefferson Airplane...sure, West Coast rock...but her 'best of' compilation is in the wrong order for me - who thinks they only made "Surrealistic Pillow" and then sloped off to be fat, rich and coked out - (although I quite like "Bless it's Pointed Little Head" - and went to see them live in the rain on Hampstead Heath) - ever-changing their sleeping-together patterns, hiring and firing each other...doing stadium rock. Don't get me wrong - I loved 'em, I ended up living on the beach in Bolinas...the time I was going to swim in Grace Slick's pool I was told the kids had peed in it, so it wasn't on for the day (sure). I even went with El Circo del Sol all the way to LA to do a 'circus' act at the opening ceremony for Big Grunt records and hear them live again...on acid (not a great plan) and so on. The music still got less and less interesting as time passed.

And now Frank Zappa is on the box downstairs - again, don't get me wrong, he can be funny. I loved Freak Out! but telling me he made 50 albums since then doesn't help. To me he's a control freak Capricorn, sarcastic, bombastic, smug and self-satisfied - didn't even let his musicians smoke dope, then killed himself with cigarettes (huh?) - just doing his 'Frank' thing. Sure he was some sort of genius (aren't we all?) Oh, and I like "Titties and Beer" (sounds like they're having a laff), but that's just because it was the first thing I heard when Herman put the elecricity back on in Castellar (by tapping power from the pylons). Yeh, it's funny - but how many times are you going to listen to funny?

I know Julie just hears Bob Dylan as mr.constipated whiny voice (she thought Jimi Hendrix wrote "All Along the Watchtower")...and I gave up saying he was a genius of popular music - broke the 3 minute record mould, said you could write yer own songs to The Beatles and The Stones and David Bowie and everyone - mastered folk, rock, gospel, blues - drawing on old traditions, and creating new ones for 40 years, hanging out with great musicians, and even outlived clean-living Frank(!) But no. He's that bloke with the strangled vocal chords. Fair enough.

Reality tunnels and imprints rule us all...

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

H2G2 - Hitch-Hiker Alert!

The BBC is transmitting a new series of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, starting on Setpember 21st!

The last three books of the five book 'trilogy' have been adapted finally to the best version (radio) - and don't forget, you can listen to BBC Radio 4 on Internet, even time-shifted!

the mad old, bad old daze....

And one last big hello to Nelly Gareau (wherever you are - is it really Kentucky?) who took me away from 'all this' when we ended up squatting an atélier in Alesia for a few months in 1970 - and LOOK, it's still there!

As it happens, I usually try not to mention people on this site without their permission, because it seems only fair (not everyone is delighted to have their past brought up!) but I have already used photos of Nelly on our Mexican trip (without giving her full name), and she was always much further out than me, so if the only reference I can find to her is as a reclusive old hippie mother in Kentucky, living in an old house on God's Land (no rent) it isn't really a surprise.

I assume that she and her kids may forgive me, showing the two of us happy back in the 'mad' days of the late 60s and early 70s.

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One big Salut! to everyone from Paris...

but particularly to Jørn for the great conversations (sorry to have to leave so fast - I had one last hit, then got the taxi after about two hours sleep!) - to Yazmeen (glad you got the badge) - to Sophie (sorry I didn't have enough time to talk more) - to Zissia (thanks for all the help on the first day) - to John and Nicole (what a delight to see you together in Paris!) - to Craig (sorry to raise my voice) to Richard (did I really teach you to juggle, I wonder where, exactly?), to Aurélien and Claude (as ever, thanks for all the fun) and, well, to everyone who was there...

Safe journeys, more fun, find the next job you really want, bless - love, luck and light!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Je suis arrivé

Well I have arrived in Paris, and found an Internet cafe quite easily (I used it last year!)

Aurélien picked me up from the airport, and put in me a posh hotel. Now I can wander around, tuning in. Listening to the language and trying to remember what little I know.

Il faut pratiquer, parce que j'ai oublié tout. Je vais ici et là. Une biere blanche avec citron ici, et une sandwich du fromage là, avec un cafe et une cigarette. Le paradis artificiel.

Being in Paris makes everyone a colourful character - the woman on the Metro with a kitten in a box, and the woman pulling her vacuum cleaner through the streets - it's simple magic to change your space, and hear another language, and just hang out.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Keep On Truckin'

I'll be going to Paris for a flying visit this weekend. It should be fun!

I won't have much time for being a tourist, but I have old and new friends to meet, and I can try to see if I can carry on with my Academy courses through Internet Cafes... but I probably will not be dealing with all my emails until I return on Monday, so please be patient...

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Sunday, September 05, 2004

What white rabbit?

I've just been on the tv again (nah, no royalties) but while I was in the garden on a hot day, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was on the box. And here is the six-man puppet crew, holding assorted tricks of the trade. I am sure we all got credits when the film came out, but we seem to have been dumped now. (sigh)- Well, I see we are all listed on the DVD version, perhaps it's the just the tv version which has shortened the 743 people list....

That's me centre/back holding the electronic lighter which the octopus barman uses to light the actress's cigarette...Dave Barclay (the grand master) in front of me, Mike Quinn with the weasel's machine gun...those two were 'Ultimate Animates' for a while. Then there's Geoff Felix bottom left (who makes vent dummies), and Christopher Leith (top right) the marionette expert, and Ian Tegonning the very funny Aussie guy in the top left.

It's odd to be discussing Harvey the pookah rabbit in the Academy, and to realise that I spent about 3 months with Bob Hoskins seeing a white rabbit who wasn't there at the time, but when we exposed the film he was there for all to see. fnord

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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Country Joe and The Fish

As I walk into work on a Saturday (while the Friday night revellers sleep on) I often listen to BBC2 Radio - "Sounds of the 60s". Now, mostly you will hear stuff to make you cringe - I can assure you (even if you don't much like The Beatles) that most of the music before them was truly awful pop, written by middle-aged men to grab young girl's pocket money, played by cynical or desperate middle-aged session musicians. I promise that Pop Idol and manufactured groups are not new.

However, sometimes there are little gems - and this morning it was "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" by Country Joe and The Fish. I got here, and immediately looked up Joe's website where you can hear "I Feel like I'm Fixin' To Die".

Now buying a couple of albums at Amazon (sigh) "Electric Music for the Mind and Body" and "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die". I know, I know, just allow an old man his memories of when you could score the real thing...pure molecules of sound, man.
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