#Harkive2014

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6am – 10am- The journey from bed to desk

It’s 9am and we’re off with Ann Sexton’s Have A Little Mercy On Me via my iPod and shuffle.

Up until this now there has been no recorded music this morning. Today wasn’t a running day, so no playlists, the radio is on Radio 4 until I hit the snooze button (building up a rhythm of a best every nine minutes). The only music has been the sound of the birds in the garden and a gaggle of geese honking off to work in the local park.

So here I am on the bus, and Ann has given way to Poison Candy Heart by Mark Mulcahy- a guy I like very much as recommended to me by another guy I like very much at work.

This is followed by I don’t need you – My Bloody Valentine and Pulp’s I-Spy.

I love the shuffle function on the iPod. When I can’t think my way through the choice this is my default option.
Although albums are still important, last night’s journey home was soundtracked by the wonderful Do To The Beast by The Afghan Whigs.. I’m seeing them tonight in Camden, and so it was a run through to see if I could remember song titles, etc. I dare say it will get played again today.

Off the bus at Penge West and onto the platform, as Jarvis reaches his angry sexvengeance climax.. Adem is up next with Sea of tranquility- off an album I love. I wish he would get something out again soon.

Last year when I did this I was on my phone as my iPod had died a few days before- diagnosis Heatstroke- and I believed that would be the move that moved me over to just carrying one device, using Spotify more and it’s just not happened.

Firstly the iPod got fixed, and I like having a large chunk of my collection with me.. Nowhere near it all, but enough to keep me going for a good six solid months, if not more. secondly, as much as a I love Spotify and happily pay for the premium service to access stuff via the app, etc it requires too much management to be organised with it. I discover and get so much music as a result of it, but without pre-deciding what to use it for it’s useless to me for commuting.

Throwing Muses’ Graffiti has just finished and been replaced with a demo of an old Liz Phair Song-21 instrumental. Funny how shuffle works, I played the last Liz Phair album on the way to work yesterday.

That’s the alternative to shuffle, is to go back over albums I don’t play as much and see if they justify the space on the iPod, and sorry Liz, but as much as I love you, that album is coming off when I next connect to my laptop/iTunes.

After Liz, it’s The Wedding Present and Brassneck. It’s all DM- tastic and as much as I love it, I’m skipping it. It’s not familiarity and contempt among the beast with two backs, but it’s safe to say I know this backwards.

It gives way to a bootleg of Greg Dulli and Steve Kilbey playing Golden Boy from Greg’s solo album on piano. Awful sound quality, but a lovely song. Totally different vibe to the album. I’ve been meaning to play this boot for a while, but y’know…

Crikey, there’s a lot of love for 90’s Alt artists, as it’s now 500,000 Warnings by Buffalo Tom. Honestly, there’s loads of other stuff on my iPod, but sod it, this is still good stuff and makes a stupendous racket -Volume at a respectful to fellow passengers level, of course.

Ah, one I don’t really know- The Loneliest Guy by David Bowie. Don’t really know this period of Bowie well at all, but this is nice enough, and he’s always welcome on here.

Nearly at work now, so time for a couple more. And it’s Otis singing These Arms of Mine. How fucking good is this? I reckon if I ignore anyone I see in the lift I might get another song in. I often have to stop a song halfway through and while it’s easy to start again, it does feel like it cheapens the whole thing.

What’s gonna follow that..? What can? Certainly not Train Round The Bend by the Velvets. Crikey, not their finest work, but then it’s not utter shite either.

When I get into the office it will be a switch from personal, headphone based stuff to the office Spotify playlist – Radio Kling Klang. Instigated a couple of weeks ago now to avoid people hogging the speakers with the same sort of thing. Now we all pile stuff on to one playlist and put it on shuffle. Much more democratic. It’s up to 400 hours of stuff so far..as it’s on my Spotify account I can still take my ball back if something is too awful,
but it’s not happened yet. Yet!!

One more stop and Laura Marling is singing about The Captain and the Hourglass. I’d forgotten this album, but that’s the beauty of shuffle- all these gems popping up as reminders.
That segues into REM and All The Right Friends from Dead Letter Office.

Off the train with Nomads by Howlin’ Rain to keep me company as I loiter outside the building for a minute, which reminds me to sneak Comets On Fire onto Radio KK.

10 – 1 – Desk to lunch

Headphones are off, and alongside the sound of rattling fans and various construction work in Shoreditch is the sound of Radio Kling Klang. I’m not going to be able to keep a note of everything, but it’s started with Dye by Tycho..

It’s now 12 and I’ve not really noticed many songs playing in the background, but When Two Doves Cry has just caught my attention.  It’s early days of using this playlist, and having instigated it I feel bad about plugging headphones in and going off on my own, but there’s some boring work coming up, so I will have to switch to a closed world soon.

 

Long afternoon of not much listening, despite the playlist winding on through the, er, list.

 

At 6 on the dot I was out the door to go see the Whigs and listened to their new album on the way.  I got to the pub to meet some fans that have travelled from far and wide and noticed Godspeed You Black Emperor playing – only in Camden, but not much else among the chat about how many gigs you’ve seen by The whigs and which rare 7″ you have. Always a guaranteed hackle raiser for me. Just listen to the fucking songs, who care on which format you have it.

 

Th gig itself was spectacular, although it appears to have raised comments among fans about the veracity of calling themselves the Afghan Whigs, seeing as they are missing a key member. As far as I can tell, it was  near perfect version of old songs, and new ones played really well. I loved it, and I’m pretty sure that spirits moved through me during Faded.

 

On the way home I listened to an old bootleg of the Whigs for a bit, then got notified that I had been given a ‘T’  on Facebook. This appears to be a movement that fills FB with music not pictures of babies, etc. I don’t really like movements on FB, but can get behind this one. I chose Thrum’s So Glad and ended up playing it at least ten times on the way home. This got me to Midnight.

 

 

Here endeth the day.

Slarver – Half-remembered things

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Blimey, almost a year to the day since the last post…(and Harkive is coming up next week folks..)

Last night was the culmination of a workshop run by Jen Campbell on behalf of the Poetry School. The workshop theme was Half-remembered things. The accompanying blurb said

“In this workshop, you will dig through your childhood memories, picking out something half-remembered and twisting it into something new. You might change something small, or transform it into a whole new tale. You’ll then put this story into a poem, using dialect or slang words you might have used as a child – to make the tale sound raw, as though it only happened last week.”

It seemed like a great thing to be involved with, and it was. It also had the dual benefit of kicking me up the ‘arris and getting me writing again.

This was my contribution – although there is lots to do with it, and thanks to the web chat last night I have a clearer idea of what to do, I am quite pleased with where it’s heading.

Slarver

I don’t mean to run on like a two bob watch,
but halfway through watching The Eiger Sanction
it hit me, I knew what I had to do-
I had to climb the railway bridge
at the bottom of the loke, through the basecamp of brambles and
ascend the embankment.
Raiding the stores for supplies I came up empty
but cobbled the essentials:
An old cycling helmet, a life jacket,
a length of rope that went on forever, wellington boots,
a map of indeterminate location and folded to blindness
and breadcrumbs to find my way back down-
it was a tidy step away.
All packed and ready, the gate to the road remained closed;
Unscaled.

Earlier and having put on my parts over a load of old squit,
a cuff round the lug,
and having thrown a hooly of a moodswing
you declared you were leaving
to no one.
A single sleeping bag-
blue on the outside, pink in the middle- as your only luggage
and set off to the overgrown field behind home,
about as far from Dick Whittington as the cat you didn’t have.
Setting up camp, you wrapped yourself up in it
amid the Cowslips and Lady’s Smocks like a sobbing Thumblina.
Floating home later on a rippled corn breeze at your stomach’s call,
having decided to forgive everyone.


Notes on Norfolk dialect

Slarver – Drool, dribble- talk rubbish Run on like a two bob watch – babble Loke – Short lane, alley way Tidy – Good, fair.Putting on parts – display of bad temper Squit – Rubbish, inconsequential Hooly – temptestuous Lady’s smock – Cuckoo Flower

Some I wanted to get in but couldn’t, yet
On the sosh – to mean on the wonk, not straight Hold you hard – Hang on there Rafty – Damp, raw weather

It must be said that despite almost everyone pointing out that their work was in draft form, there was some amazing work on display. I”m not sure if you can access the work, but have a look here for examples. I won’t pick out anyone in particular as everyone’s had something that made it stand out.

The web chat was also a rich and varied discussion where everyone commented on each others’ poems with good grace and intelligent comments.

If you get a chance to sign up for one of these courses please do..

Also, I heartily recommend Jen’s pamphlet, The Hungry Ghost Festival

#Harkive – All in one place.

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Harkive – the morning shift – before leaving the house

Good morning, so my alarm went off as per usual at 6. Most mornings I ignore it for a good couple of snoozes. Recently it’s been playing Magic FM instead of Radio 4. I’ve not tried to change it back as it doesn’t seem to want to. Radio 4 appears to always hover between reception and static no matter what I do, or where I put it on my bedside cabinet. Magic FM is indefatigable in the face of movement and change though-some would say that is actually true of the station itself – so Magic it is, despite my wife’s protestations each morning.
Some days it works when you get a good old 70s tune, or eg Belinda Carlisle doing ‘Heaven is a place on earth’. Today, it was Simon Bates talking.
The talking is delivered via an ancient clock radio. I estimate I have had it for about 15 years. It seems to want to keep going. My wife won’t let me have a docking system by the bed, so I guess it stays. Odd though, that despite all this technology, it’s this bit of ancient kit that starts my day off, like a Teasmaid.

Not entirely linked with Harkive day, today is the first day of my new exercise regime. I got an exercise bike from Freecycle about a month ago, and with a new found determination I have not long finished 3 miles on that. I know it’s not much, but I am seriously unfit.. So it’s a start. I have an old playlist on my phone called Running songs from my last stab at exercise. It’s mainly stuff with noisy guitars, and so staring out of my loft window is accompanied by the sound of pedalling, the noise of headphones banging against my neck as some sort of bass drum thud, and Boo Radley’s excellent ‘Ride The Tiger‘, followed by British Sea Power’s ‘Lights out For Darker Skies‘.
These were played via iTunes on my iPhone.
I have Spotify Premium on there, but did I don’t use it very much, as until yesterday I had an iPod classic with loads of stuff in it, it was full to its 160gb gunnels. Now it’s a brick as it seems to have given up the ghost and died in the heat. A trip to an Apple store is required.
So it’s my phone, Spotify on my laptop, and whatever else I can find that will get me through today.
I’ve loaded a couple of playlists on my phone, but I miss having my iPod. I like having a large portion if my record collection with me at all times. Either for specific songs or to just let shuffle work it’s algorhythmic magic. It won’t be a normal day today, but I feel like I might think about it all a bit more than normal.

As I type, the only music is that of the birds outside. I’m no birder; I’m not even a twitcher, but I know the difference so as not to insult anyone, so I can’t tell whether it’s a sparrow or an ostrich making those noises. Lovely as they are. Although we do have a very brave and inquisitive young Robin that visits our garden.
I don’t know how forensic this needs to be, and I suspect this will wear off as the days wears on, but I can also hear the sound of next doors hot water pipes – “the heat pipes just coughed”, me typing on my phone to write this- it’s vaguely rhythmic- (So meta!!). I’m sure there will be some creaky floorboards and the sound of my family shortly..

After Leaving the house

Once the mornings debates over breakfast choices are done and the weetabix dust has settled; it’s out and into the car for the daily commute, Rachael and Flo to work and school, respectively, and they drop me at Crystal Palace for my own commute to Shoreditch.
On the way to the railway station we get a couple of songs from a mix cd we made for Flo. They were First Aid Kit’s ‘Emmylou‘ and the Acid Brass version of ‘Pacific‘. We used to listen to the radio, but could never settle on Radio 2 or something else. Flo is quite into the repetition of songs she likes, so we’re trying to broaden the melting pot a little. It was Katy Perry’s ‘Firework‘ 8 times in a row recently. We could say no, but I quite like it. The 20 year old indie snob me would have turned his nose up at it, but the 20 year old indie snob me was a twat.
After two songs Flo wants to sing us a song, so we are treated to a brief ditty about what would happen if you woke up dead. Note to self: take ‘Inbetween Days‘ off her playlist. Very disconcerting to have a six year old sing “Yesterday I got so old I felt like I could die”.
It’s fascinating watching her get into music. We don’t want to be pushy parents about it, but we were most pleased when the neighbours asked her what she liked. They said One Direction, she said The Beach Boys. It’s not a competition, and there is no right or wrong, but we’re one-nil up.
There was no more music, until I get to the station, and switch back to my phone.
I start off with Joy Division’s ‘Closer’ as I have a “review” to write later, and a refresher never goes amiss. Listening to it more attentively than I have for a while I enjoy it more than I have for a while, but it’s not exactly summer music. Although, I don’t know of it’s Baader Meinhoff phenonenon or not, but it sounds like Chic are running through the album in a way I’d never noticed before.. Certainly in ‘Heart and Soul’ and ‘A means to an end’.
Anyway, I’ll turn my attentions to that, later.
As mentioned before if I had my iPod, it would have been a shuffle kind of day, but without it, I turn to Lady Lamb The Beekeeper on Spotify. Hers is an album I keep coming back to. And it’s an album I want to play all the way through, pay attention too without chopping and changing. I can’t quite get beyond lazy references to St Vincent or Joan As A Policewoman, but it’s an album that has become a heuristic for me, a short term fix for something to play when I can’t choose.. And there is just too much choice. I should try something new, but sometimes I just can’t be arsed to search. This feels like it kind of does both. Even though it shouldn’t/doesn’t need to. Rambling now, and I’m nearly at work. Let’s see what the signal offers when I get in.

At Work

Once in work, and I am first in, I can play what I want. Normally we have a set of speakers for people to plug into, but we had an office move around/redecorate over the weekend, and so I’m too far away to hear stuff without turning the volume up to deafen people.

When i get in there is the inevitable pulling out of earphones from ears, and i wonder how much of a song I miss before I remember to turn it off/pause things. Perhaps it’s not important, but when playing an album I guess it all adds up.

Any way, ear phones out, and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is paused.

It looks like while I am alone in the office our network can handle some streaming, so I’m now playing a showreel on a service called Mixlr by someone I know via reviews and twitter. His name’s Tom. I’m not sure what the track playing is now, sounds like something dubsteppy, with a feint whiff of Depeche Mode running through it..It’s accompanied by the sounds of traffic on Shoreditch High Street.

Spookily, the next track is ‘Inbetween Days’..

Let’s see how long the signal works for.

I generally try and listen to Lauren Laverne on BBC 6 music, but I’ve been able to piss stronger streams than we’ve had speed for at work recently, so it’s not been possible. Hence the reliance on iPods..Phones are ok, but I prefer the storage and choice of my iPod, and the battery life.

However, I guess as much as I think I have music on all day, I’m not sure I actually hear it all, or really do. I’m up and down from my desk, headphones are in and out. If I get the chance to note it down, I’ll find out today.

Just as I notice to song slip from The Cure to Blur’s Tender, the stream goes. Ace. Bang goes that plan.

However, I have just noticed I have a hard drive sat on my desk that has a large swathe of my record collection on it. If I can work out what i fancy we may be onto something here.

No, now I remember why I’ve not done this already. The lead on the hard drive is kaput, so it’s almost impossible to get stuff off it for now.

It’s ok, I remember thinking ahead and storing some songs on Spotify on my hard drive…First I’ll try the new I Break Horses on Soundcloud. I saw this mentioned last night via the Bella Union Twitter account…I loved this lot when they released ‘Hearts’. And thankfully it’s one of the things saved on my work computer..It’s sounding like a winner and a welcome return, not quite as swirl-y shoe gaze as before, but I suspect I will be making an album purchase soon, and a single too if there is something else on the ‘B-side’.

And so the stream has gone on that, so over to Spotify for the saved stuff, and the I Break Horses album..I’m going to have to think in Albums today. I can’t cope with single tracks unless a machine takes away the thinking for me.

Update at 11.oo. I Break Horses are all done, and now it’s Sam Amidon’s “Bright Sunny South’. This is about the 4th time I’ve played this album, and it’s growing on me. It feels like slightly more autumnal record, but also the sort of thing that fits the word apricity

12pm Update: Having walked away from my desk, I realised I’d left Sam Amidon playing, and Spotify had gone on to his other album, but as I ha to leave for a meeting I switched to Einstellung to ‘psych’ myself up for that.

2.30 Update. Back from the meeting, and I’m pretty sure there was nothing musical on the way, other than a guy cycling by with music blaring form on board speakers. It was something 60’s-like, maybe Herman’s Hermits. He was going quite fast.

Popped into Pret for a sandwich, and I don’t recall hearing anything – is that good or bad? No idea.

Back in the office, and the office stereo is playing something vaguely Rn’B like. Haven’t a clue what. It’s not going to set my world alight, but it’s not making me run for the sanctity of headphones, yet.

3.15 Update

Office stereo has gone quiet.

I have been alerted to the existence of a song called ‘Substitute‘ By Clout by @eamonn_forde, and it is alsorts of amazing. Alas, streaming is nit my friend.

Back to Spotify and the pre-saved stuff.

End of work at 6. Since last update I’ve barely been back to music. So other than what was playing in the office I think Clout that was the last thing I heard.

Journey home from work

My journey home required some time to catch up emails, and think so back to the phone and Einstellung’s “krauty” album, ‘And the rest are thunder’.

Possibly working when I get in, so may have access to the full library of stuff when I get in, but that will be through laptop speakers.

It’s rare these days to hear anything through a full stereo affair. It’s sad, but it just doesn’t come up much. I don’t think it spoils the enjoyment of music at all. In fact it means I get to play more than just wait. I’d say I fall into the music obsessive category, but I’m not an audiophile in anyway. Having cloth ears and being tone deaf does not help, but when the chance arises I will plug in..I have the new Julian Cope Cd sat there, and I’d like to hear that, and use the CD, but almost all my CDs and my sparse vinyl collection are all in the loft. Everything is ripped to iTunes and played through my laptop. It’s just easier that way. I have an eMusic subscription and use iTunes, so few bands are bought in a physical sense. Although Explosions In The Sky have a new album out soon, that will require a physical purchase, and if The Cure get round to the next phase of re-releases I will have to have them on CD. A new album would be nice too.

If I don’t work tonight I suspect the only music I hear will be on TV. We’re watching Les Revenant, so Mogwai will figure in that; a nice sneaky way to get my wife to hear post rock without her knowing it.

We have little in common musically, so we don’t play music together in that way.

If I’m cooking I might have 6 music on for Marc Riley, but it will be a quick ten minutes or so.. The DAB radio does feel more ornamental than it should be.

At home in the evening

Doesn’t look like the telly is going on, and I can’t think what to play, so I think that will be it for the day.So far the only music has the sound of the music box Flo plays as she goes to sleep. It’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; It could easily be a Sigur Ros b side..

The other noises are the mellifluous sound of my neighbour ranting at her husband. I haven’t heard this one in a while.

#Harkive

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So, over on Twitter, a wise man called Craig has set up a project called Harkive. A great project that reminds me of the Mass Observation project, but for music. His site explains it much better than I can, but it’s basically a diary for what you listen to on 9th July.

 

There are loads of way to update it, so have a look at his site.

 

I’m going to update mine here tomorrow.

 

 

Shipping Container

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There used to be an old white shipping container around the back of our village hall in the village I grew up in, Worstead, and for some reason it popped into my mind recently while I was thinking about the Roskilde festival that I attended when I was 18. The loose connection is that on the last day of the festival all you could hear was the sound of people banging on an old shipping container. The banging went on all day until the container was in pieces. Anyway…

Shipping Container

We learnt to shin up, hauled by finger and toe tip,
on to your roof to laze in the sunshine.
Read comics, books and the clouds,
ataraxia in just a short climb.

Pisses were released behind you;
kisses were practiced to your side.
Unlucky for either if someone was above
as everything was announced to the skies.

You were the boat you came from
an ice station, a tank, and a high-rise block.
Never once fathomed, opened
despite stones thrown, and air rifle pot shots.

A Sargent jump at your side,
to touch the roof was a goal.
To leap off was a test of faith,
or to hang for a while, and then just fall.

Vital Signs

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I’ve been trying to finish this for a very long time, and I could quite easily argue that I still haven’t, but after a month off work – I start a new one on Monday – I have finally found some time to sit down and write again. It’s mainly trying to finish some things off, rather than actual new stuff, but it feels like if I can get some of the backlog out of the way, then at least I can clear a path forwards.

Vital Signs

Two nights I dossed beside you.
The rasp of your lungs had thickened to hurt;
gained a viscous lurch.

For these few nights I no longer
knew the rise or fall of your chest,
couldn’t place your molasses breath.

Circadian rhythm has no bearing on your day.
You wake at 3am, and want to drive, to see stars.
This is the only time I will drive your car.

You sleep again, missing the procession of
deer and rabbits lining the road like a send off.
Ignore all the signs; let’s go get lost.

I am so tired I fear an accident;
as if killing you will make any difference.
We’ve come this far; let’s go the distance.

Home again, carrying what there is of you
to bed, the bones and the flesh.
Dozing off, I wake to that vicious breath.

It has stopped.

 

And a little light pissing about with some Haikus

Four Haikus:
Sock

Truly it is a mark
Of a sexual colossus:
The wearing of jazzy socks.

Woof

I’m off to see
a man about a dog. I need
to bark for myself.

Haiku

If you find that you
have seventeen syllables to
spare. Use them wisely.

All things being relative                                                    

I’m in a better
state than Ken Dodd’s dad’s dog is
right about now, mate.

 

 

While I’m on a roll..

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I thought I would post another couple from the I guess they’re finished, I never know file.

For those of you watching in B&W 

We kiss like snooker balls,
glancing off in different directions
and sink cleanly into pockets
at different ends of the settee.

Garden Leave

Softly, softly catchee monkey, my arse.
Who’s got time for that these days, I ask you?
I was put out to grass,
but I swear I will out last you.

It’s too soon to have gone above & beyond,
and jumped the shark.
So thanks, but no thanks;
It’s an idea we will have to park…

I’m out to seed in a country house
while I have a blue-sky think about my actions.
Time to play with ideas, cause a fuss,
kick up an almighty stink, and gain some traction.

I’m only after my way in a court of law.
I want what’s owed, what’s coming
and I want what for.

Siamese Twins 

He annoys the shite out of me
at least once every month.
We’re closer than most, but
he can be a total cunt.

Twice a year I want to
start running in the other direction
and hope he’s stubborn enough
to hold his ground; honour his intentions.

We often joke that he got the looks,
and I got the legs, but we share the rest.
I say let’s see what takes whom where
and how far each of us gets.

It’s fair to say that in keeping us together
family has played no small part,
but when it all comes down to it;
He hasn’t got the heart.

This one I have been trying to finish for ages, years..You cold say I should keep trying, but I’m calling it, for now.

Of a kidney

Talking to mother across lines and airwaves,
she’s avoiding the issue with this and that;
all doodles and chatter about the welfare
and eating habits of the cat.

How quickly it becomes a part of everything.
The days planned to within an inch, your life grows old.
You take flasks with you now, knowing the tea
is like gnats piss gone cold…

You’re on first name terms with the nurses,
orderlies and ward sisters; bringing in contraband.
You know these corridors
like the back of a veteran porter’s hand.

Your iodined stomach becomes its own cave painting;
daubs of scars telling of skirmishes
dating back longer than we care to remember.
We hang back, in accordance with your wishes.

All of us know
we won’t be asked to play organ donors’ snap.
Card on the table time;
who knows when we may need it back.

 

Enough, now it’s back to actually working on some of the bits and scraps floating around…