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November was a hard month for me, even before my cat suddenly died. I was tearing into a series of complications and difficulties I had been carrying for years, from insomnia to childhood trauma to dental issues, and was busy, busy, busy at home and work. But no matter how rough the terrain, the soundtrack was spectacular. We went to some good gigs - Metric, Idles, Brix and the Extricated, Heaven 17. We were practising hard for our next gig, which suddenly turned into another gig in December after we played the November spot in the Cellar - the night the Cellar was saved in a crowdfunded frenzy which simmered through the day then exploded in the evening, as we played - I nipped upstairs to check the crowdfunder and it was done. Music was suddenly everywhere, consolation and commiseration, discovery and exploration.

November's compilation, The Light is Fading Fast, is a hard mix of peak and bleak:



Most of these tracks don't have videos or have videos of no great interest, so you can play it in another tab - your substitutions are Shit & Shine, who seem to be stuck in the "only full albums" phase of putting their stuff on Youtube, so I've put in something else that remixes some of their rhythms (or possibly another band with the same name as there seem to have been several) and The Victorian English Gentleman's Club where you have Impossible instead of Atchoo which is not the same but never mind sorted thanks timscience. Metric bookends the mix to soften the heartbreak. Oh, there was one video worth watching:



Hot Chip's One Pure Thought which, for a track that came out over ten years ago, really managed to capture the flavour of the moment, for me, at least.

ETA, I did a cover, too.

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October's compilation opens with William Burroughs, just to avoid any shocks when you press play. I couldn't find the clip I wanted (William's welcome from Dead City Radio) so I went with an abridged version of Love Your Enemies, William's vision of weaponized love. I fear that things did go quite weird and creepy in places in this compilation - the inclusion of absolutely nobody's favourite David Bowie song, Little Bombardier, for example, or of Oxford's worst-named band (this is a stiff competition area, I do acknowledge) The Cellar Family. You may need to grit your teeth through bits of this. But bear with me. Autumn is always an endurance sport, with no prize in sight, only winter, coming. Sink Ya Teeth are back again of course, with Sextile and Teleman keeping it contemporary, but there's also a lot of history dredged up from my current run through the CD shelves with classic tracks from Chemical Brothers, Black Star Liner, Bomb the Bass etc. plus a couple of obscure house tracks from Young Marco and Andruss. Plus us, of course; Track 13, The Depths. Ruby Rain, the closer, I accidentally found on an album of classic love songs from Italian films. I was checking out the album because Grace Jones was on it (and on the cover, dressed improbably as an Italian gamine). Turned out I had the Grace Jones track already. But Laura Evan's Ruby Rain is a heartbreaker.



I just ran off the end of the book where I was drawing the covers. This is drawn on the inside back; you can see where the pen has lifted from the shiny card.



And here is today's picture of Harlequin Cat. Her little paws.

RIP Harlequin Day 2009-2018

Harlequin on the Bed

The artist's cat is dead, alas.

Who will wake me from my nightmares now?
Who will bat my fairy lights and call me down to breakfast?
Who will join me on the sofa?
Who will chase the bubbles I blow?
Who will be my gentle, neutral topic of conversation at work?
Who will doze in the garden?
Who will spread havoc until she is forgotten?

Background and foreground, front and centre, in the main action or just for atomsphere, she was a cat always passing in and out of comics. See you in the funny papers, Harlequin Day.
It's been kind of rainy this week hasn't it? The perfect week for whichever amazon delivery service it was to have a brainfart and just leave a package near to the front door. Hope it's wrapped in plastic! I said, as I hoiked it in out of the dark/wet/cold and definitely still drizzling night. It wasn't. But this is not the true horror. As I tossed the sodden package into the bin and tossed the hopefully ok item (it was) at Tim, I noticed some muck falling from it. On closer inspection, these were small, black slugs. I scooped them up and slung them out of the door. Then I thoouught to check the package. Turns out whatever Amazon cardboard is coated in, it's irresistible to slugs. There entire underside of the package was black, writhing and teeming with slugs. It was like the beginning of a horror film. It was disgusting. It was in the blue bin before rational thought was even engaged. And then the checking for and disposal of the stray slugs. I found one the following morning, dead and flattened on the kitchen floor. I guess I'm the real monster here.

Never mind that though, play this! September's compilation is a little less banging than last month's so should be good for Friday listening. Despite the intriguing still, there aren't really any unmissable videos in this lot, so you can just leave it playing an undertab and get all the fun that matters (although the Sink Ya Teeth song towards the end is quite fun because they're a great band to look at as well as listen to).



You have a few substitutions -- the amazing Mondkopf remix of Pieces of You was not on Youtube (though something pretending to be it was, groan) so you have the Baby Monster remix, which is also good, not as good, but good. Minerals by the Evenings (yes, I'm still working through the Oxfordbands pile) isn't up on Youtube in its original state, so you have the Trademark Peridot remix. Peridot is one of my favourite minerals, and this represents a good trade. It can sometimes be hard to find the right Negativland track and this was one of those occasions. Drink it up is just as good as Announcement though, if not better. Oh, and here's the cover:

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No playlist sorry. Got to run

inktober round-up post

The decision to participate in #inktober this year was made pretty lightly, to be honest. I didn't look at the prompt list or even think about it much. Most pictures were drawn by starting with a line and seeing where it went, though here and there I did an initial splash or used a bleedthrough from the prvious day. As the month went on, the metal spiralbind on my sketch book (which was a cheap item with fibrous paper not well suited to drawing on with ink) started to debind, cat scratches and hair (my cat found the ink endlessly fascinating) began to build up and the whole thing got a bit smeary. But I had this idea that I had about 30 bottles of ink, and I did; every single picture is a different ink, and most are drawn with different brushes and nibs. It was like unwrapping a new present every day, and while I didn't have much time for the unboxing (2-10 mins typically) I did what I could in the space that I had.

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the full month, with high click-through detail, should you wish to see how badly the ink spread and smearedCollapse )

Tags:



These may also appear on my twitter @cleanskies or my instagram @mrsjeremyday.

August compilation: Jump the Glass

It took me a while to get round to assembling my August playlist, but in the end it finally emerged from my mess of bookmarked songs, mostly from my walking commute, a few bus journeys. The local bands resurgence continues, that slightly annoying Underworld/Iggy Pop collaboration features, a few sweet blasts from the past turn up, and there's a random classical track or two, because why not? I'm still drawing "covers" but actually creating the CDs seems a bit wasteful nowadays, so the covers just stay in their sketchpad.

Here's August's:



As ever, we have a Youtube Playlist, but this month I've been less successful at filling in the gaps, so the Red Star Cycle track (that's a local band) has none of the soaring strings that make My Body Bleeds a great track, and you have a boywithatoy remix of the Evenings (another local band) track, which is pretty good actually. Mirror of Dirt from Robot Swans (you've guessed it - another local band) is not as good as the Tao of Dirt. But here are almost all of them:



Sadly, the play-out track is not on Youtube, or if it is, I can't find it. It's Sexy Breakfast's extraordinary track Fade to White (I wouldn't recommend that you put those search terms into Youtube, incidentally) which replays a chunk of the Snowman's Walking in the Air and shoves it, protesting every which way, into a huge throbbing slab of classic Oxford Mathrock. I should really upload it myself, but that'll probably have to wait, er, till after I've built myself an easy music video creator. But fortunately I had two play-out tracks in the original playlist and Fosca's The Director's Cut is a great track, so that's fine.

The videos are uniformly missable, apart from this one:



You're welcome

July on-the-go: into the Jum Jem Gym

2018 is my year of digitising everything; no skips, no excuses. There are twelve shelves on the CD rack, and I'm going through them all. June brought O and the Oxfordbands compilations; July R, and the dubious delights of a folkttronica trio called Robot Swans. Opera, modern classical, punt-based hip-hop, this is the year of listening to it all. This summer also saw the arrivale of the machacha delights of going to the gym; spinning, rowing, chasing pulse rates, spin counts and static miles and metres. It reminded me a lot of playing pokemon, except I was both trainer and monster. There also seemed to be a sinister aspect to the gym; dysfunctional exercisers, the heavy smell of ketones and sour breath, the glances and cross-twitches of comparison, status, attraction, repulsion. So I imagined a trainer gym full of japanese scroll-painting horrors, and it seemed to fit the music.

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We have fewer substitutions again this time, as I suffered a benign algorhythmic burp that alsmost seemed to generate the tracks I wanted (literally in the case of Revlon's Muscles I think!) however, you don't have quite the right boywithatoy track, the Nailbomb Cults track is a different (although just as good) slice of speed metal and I had to sub in one of the Robot Swans tracks - but not the closer, thankfully, which may be the ultimate platonic perfect folktronica plaint. I also couldn't find anything by Flooded Hallways - search ghosts suggested some deletion had occurred - but Deeq had a couple of tracks up including the Nemrot one I've included here, so that's covered. Deeq's video's a nice slice of normcore, and the Presets one is kind of dizzying, other than that you can leave it playing in the background unless you fancy dropping in for Pulp, which is accompanied by a film-studenty noirish fan video about escalators and shoplifting sunglasses.

CR ACK gallery

Woke up this morning from a dream about converting a hoarder's townhouse into a gallery. This person, played by a friend (best man Alex) but obviously not the same person, was moving out/moving on but had been something on the scene. His house was full of the fascinating crap that accretes in such places, along with quantities of filth, insects (I discretely moved my feet out of the way of some huge carpet beetles) and the usual decay. The entire bottom floor had been extended and knocked through creating what would be a decent space "but you can't see that right now as there's so much crap against the walls" I told my investor, who was here with the TV crew, because it's not really happening if there isn't a documentary.

Here's a mock-up of what the gallery would look like. The house already had a big crack down the front - and was a well-known party/hangout space for the local arts scene, informally and affectionately known as the Crack House, with that slight frisson of naughty that artsfolk like so much. The idea was to work with the crack and the dilapidation, with minimum intervention for safety and structure.



Upstairs there were two large rooms that would work for installation and performance spaces. The attic wasn't open yet, but that would provide a good project in a few year's time. It was small for a gallery, but two other problem properties, one corridor thin and the other rather larger with good-sized rooms, could potentially provide spillover space, if the deals on those properties went through (they were on streets round the corner, so there would be a little walk between the galleries).

I was pretty excited about this, as you might imagine.