MUSiC: David Axelrod’s Unholy Trinity

Axelrod at work at Capitol Studios, looking exceptionally cool!

I’m experiencing yet another musical epiphany. Which is nice. This one revolves, like a rather wonky moon, around the planet Axe, aka David Axelrod.

I don’t recall precisely when I first became aware of him. Poss’ during the noughties? There was a quite distinct period when Li numerous bloggers were pumping out digitised versions of old vinyl, and sharing them in the blogosphere. I hoovered up a good of obscure-ish or OOP (out of print) music during that period.

It soon became apparent to me that I already knew Axe, primarily via the Cannonball Adderley recordings of the mid to late sixties through to the mid-seventies, many of which I’d discovered during the same orgy of digital downloads.

The mighty Axe. Or Dave, to his friends. In ‘72.

Anyway, back then I downloaded and listened to such Axelrod stuff as Heavy Axe, and The Auction. I also downloaded, but failed to appreciate properly, both Songs Of Innocence and Songs of Experience.

Only now are those two latter albums starting to really seep into my pores, and transform me, along with 1970’s Earth Rot. It’s strange how music can be out there all along, and yet one doesn’t find or connect with it until some seemingly random moment.

Some folk who like Axe’s trio of heavy concept albums – also his first three solo albums (things were strange and different back then!) – can be a bit sniffy about his subsequent recordings. Personally I love pretty much all of what I’ve heard by him thus far.

It has to be said that this opening salvo, a trilogy of pretty unusual recordings, is, in some respects – taken as a whole – both quite singular, and pretty mind blowing. It’s hard, also, to properly appreciate the context in which they were made.

Dig that mandala cover, man… heavy!

As I type this I’m listening to Songs Of Innocence. As the title suggests, it tips a nod to William Blake, another maverick artist. The team of musicians creating the really quite sublime sounds, which have a kind of thematic coherence and unity I’ll address later, are top notch.

Axe looking very Clint, chats with Earl Palmer.

The elastic energised grooves of Earl Palmer (no relation, as far as I know; more’s the pity!) and the lithe electric bass of Carol Kaye, propel a rhythm section rounded out by folk like Don Randi, Al Casey and Howard Roberts. The all instrumental compositions are fleshed out with great cloudy pillows of strings and brass.

Like the original record cover, the music is stunning. Totally of its time, and yet also – to my ears – fresh and ageless, transcending the trappings of the era that gave birth to it. Axelrod was given carte blanche, and had both the budget and the means at his disposal to do something most aspiring producers can only dream of.

And all those resources and all that promise? It all kind of fell flat. Whilst Axe’s work with other artists seemed to work for both parties, his own stuff wound up becoming obscure, overlooked, and almost forgotten.

Bleak eco-doom, Earth Rot!

I’m loving the trinity of his first three solo albums so much that I’m going to make a point of going back to all those Adderley albums he had a hand in, and check them all out again. I’ve also ordered the eponymous album that Mo’ Wax released (2001?), which is actually culled from old recordings, of the same or similar vintage to the good ol’ trilogy that I’m totally digging right now.

As do in addition to that I’ve also ordered The Edge, a 2CD collection of his work on Capitol from ‘67-70. This will duplicate much of what I already have. But it also adds a load of stuff he did with other artists in that period. Can’t wait to hear more Axe!

But, as promised/threatened above, more on the music itself. The album – I’m talking primarily here about Songs of Innocence, as that was what I was listening to whilst writing the first draft of this post – is short. And rather than being a collection of different and distinct songs, it’s more a suite of variations on a few themes.

Carol Kaye recording with Axe.

The seven pieces clock in at about 27 minutes. So the whole thing is quite brief. Similarly, Songs of Experience (1969) is just over 30 minutes, and Earth Rot (1970) just under (about 28 minutes). So all three combined make a single playlist of about 90 minutes.

Here’s a link to a piece about Axelrod from The Guardian. This goes into how he has returned to public consciousness via the sampling of his works by hip hop producers. I’ll confess that’s not really my bag, baby. I definitely prefer to go direct to the source!

I also feel the urge to try and find more music exploring similar territory. Amazingly this runs the gamut from stuff like Roy Ayers, to Chris Bowden’s Time Capsule, or from Alice Coltrane to Ligeti.

And, like Woody Allen’s Zelig, I also want to try my own hand at composing some music in this territory. I think I may already have some recordings suited to being taken in this direction. Hmmm!? Yet more reasons to get my old home studio back up and running

But for now, my immediate ‘Jones’ is for listening to Axe’s incredible series of Capitol recordings. I’ve got them all as MP3 files, with the CD or Earth Rot (which arrived whilst Teresa and I were off, to Cardiff, for my sister Abbie’s wedding!) is the first to arrive in physical form.

As The Pointer Sisters famously sang, I’m so excited!

MEDiA: Vine headphones!?

Check out these weird things!

I don’t usually allow my whoring for Amazon to sully my own blog, or even my occasional FB posts.

But I’m making a minor exception for these headphones ‘cause I really quite like them. In a way they’re nowt special. They’re just a pair of ‘sports headphones’. There are loads out there.

The ‘off axis’ design aspect, where they hook over one’s ears and have a headband at the rear of one’s noggin, not over the top of the cranium, I’ve seen before.

But what’s fresh for me, regarding these, is that they’re not in or over the ear, but rather ‘induction’ style: they sit slightly forward of one’s ears.

I’m not sure if there are two speakers per side, or poss even more? The main thing, however, is that they leave one’s lugs open and free.

Sometimes you want closed-back speakers, to block out the outer world. But at others, the ability to listen to music – or to take a phone call (these also do that) – and yet remain aware of one’s surroundings can be great.

These also feel almost invisible. I wore them all day today. Ordinary headphones, or even ear-buds, I’d take off when not listening to music. I felt comfy leaving these in situ.

I do t think these are super high quality. And I hope they’ll last a decent length of time. I.e. I’m afeared they might prove to be cheap tat! That’d be terrifically disappointing, as these rather suit me – not visually, necessarily (you be the judge!) – but user-friendliness wise.

Earlier the same day… a first fitting/try out.

In terms of audio quality there distinctly average, or plain ok. Neither horribly cheaply tinny, nor jaw-dropping my great. Just got for porpoise.

I don’t listen to music as much not as obsessively as I used to. But when I do listen, these may become my go to, for a while. And they’re good for fielding calls as well.

These were Amazon Vine freebies. I get them for nowt. But I have to leave a review on Amazon UK’s website. I get tons of stuff. Very rarely do I like summat enough to share it here. In fact this is, I think (?), a first.

I think they’re currently (at the time of posting) about £29-30. Everything seems expensive to me! But in real world terms, and at today’s prices, that neither. Wry cheap nor super expensive. I’m just chuffed mine were free!

Here’s a link to them.

MEDiA: Casablanca/Play It Again, Sam

Today a cinema fairly local to me is showing Casablanca.

Billed as an 80th anniversary screening, it’s a one-off. I really want to go see it on the big screen. I’ve only ever seen it at home, on TV or DVD, so on a relatively tiny screen.

Truth be told, it’s Woody Allen’s wonderful 1972 Play It Again, Sam, that is, I believe, the chief reason I love Bogey and Casablanca. And, exactly like me, Allen’s movie is 50 this year! So Casablanca and Play It Again, Sam both celebrate significant anniversaries this year.

Allen’s Walter Mitty like Bogey daydream visitations are priceless.

Pity the local cinema isn’t doing the two as a double-bill. They’re missing a trick there. How I’d love to see that! I wonder if anyone anywhere is putting on such a bill? I’d be there, like a shot! (Adopts a faux-Bogey accent) So… would that be a two fingers of bourbon type shot, or a slug from a 45!?

Indeed, such is my yearning to see Casablanca on the big screen, I’m going to try and shift my Monday drum lessons around a bit and make it happen. Wish me luck!

Allen and Keaton do the ‘airport scene’.

This post isn’t the place for reviews or synopses of these great movies. That said, a few notes or observations seem fair game. For one thing, it’s fascinating how this, one of the best and most quintessentially Woody Allen-esque of all Allen’s movies wasn’t directed by Allen himself. Strange but true!

Also, it may very well be that it was Allen’s original stage play, from whence this movie derives, and of course the film itself, that have helped propagate the ‘false memory’ that the title of Woody’s works is actually a direct quote from Casablanca itself. It isn’t.

Vintage Hollywood!

Both are terrific films. I do hope I do manage to see Casablanca later today. We shall see, I guess…

MEDiA: Grisly Dolls Houses?

An innocent enough looking scene, at first glance.

I stumbled upon Frances Glessner Lee yesterday. What an intriguing character!

Not sure what the magazine is… great cover tho’!

Often called the ‘mother’ of American forensics, amongst her other accomplishments she created a series of 1:12 models, beautifully realised dioramas, but very unlike your typical dolls’ house.

The attention to detail is astonishing.

Most of the images in this post were harvested via a visit here. That link takes you to a Smithsonian Institute webpage about an exhibition of Lee’s ‘Nutshell Dioramas’, which includes a short film, some 360° panoramic photos you can explore (for five of the 20 extant ‘nutshells’), a little essay on Lee’s life and works, and a photo gallery of the dioramas.

This scene is in a garage (alongside another room).

I won’t tell the stories that each of these scenarios depict. Some are murder scenes, some suicides, some ‘cause of death unknown’. You can visit other sites for that info.

I love these for how bizarre they are, combining a fascination with death/crime, and miniature modelling. They were, so the story goes, designed to help teach forensics, by giving the eye scenes to work over.

The rather dowdy creator at her amazing work.

As the photo of Lee at work shows, she built these herself. I believe she also had help from some others. For example her carpenter helped with the manufacture of certain wooden components.

Gramaphone, fire-dogs, rocking chair, doll, lamp, letters…

The detail is, as I hope my selection of images shows, pretty extraordinary. Once again, these recreations of actual historical scenarios differ from the chintzy fantasies of the more normal dolls’ house in that they depict real life, or rather death, in genuine domestic environments.

A messy scene in a shack.

The detritus of everyday lives is often to be seen littering scenes: empty booze bottles, scattered paperwork, clothes and furnishings not curated for display, but in a more private disarray.

Note all the empty bottles by the bed.

But even the stuff not associated with the demise of the bodies – and all these scenes include the dead, despite my focus on other aspects of the scenes – is lovingly rendered in terrific detail. We can see specific books, newspapers and magazines, and the interior scenes range from a rough ‘n’ ready log cabin, or a wooden shack, to a pretty large and swanky garage; from flophouses to middle class lounges.

A Sherlock Holmes novel, matches, and a Buddha.

I love models and model making. I always have. And I have a definite soft spot for oddball or artsy takes on the making of miniature worlds. France Glessner Lee’s Nutshell’s definitely meet these criteria!

I’d like to get/read this, at some point.

There are one or two books on her, and these fascinating works of hers specifically, which, in the fullness of time and funds allowing, etc, I’d love to check out.

Here’s a full list of her mad little models:

• Attic (24 December 1946)

• Barn (15 July 1939)

Barn – Rather macabre!

• Blue Bedroom (3 November 1943)

• Burned Cabin (15 August 1943)

• Dark Bathroom (November 1896)

• Garage (7 January 1946)

• Kitchen (12 April 1944)

• Living Room (22 May 1941)

• Log Cabin (22 October 1942)

• Parsonage Parlor (23 August 1946)

Parsonage Parlor – the prim gentility of this lobby…
… doesn’t quite prepare one for this scene!

• Pink Bathroom (31 March 1942)

• Red Bedroom (29 June 1944)

• Saloon & Jail (12 November 1944)

• Sitting Room & Woodshed (25 October 1947; thought lost and rediscovered in 2003[11])[6]

• Striped Bedroom (29 April 1940)

• Three-Room Dwelling (1 November 1937)

Three Room Dwelling – One of the bloodier scenes.

• Two Rooms (damaged or destroyed in the 1960s)[12]

• Two-Story Porch (5 April 1948)

• Unpapered Bedroom (4 June 1949)

• Woodman’s Shack (8 February 1945)

FiLM REViEW: A Bridge Too Far, 1977

This period poster draws on the star studded cast’s appeal!

Described by American film critic Roger Ebert as ‘the longest B-grade war movie ever made’, this film is clearly intended to be on a par with another Cornelius Ryan adaptation, The Longest Day.

And in some respects it is. It’s certainly an epic production. But when Ebert’s critic buddy Siskel describes it as not much more than ‘a parade of famous faces’, we can be fairly sure that some who saw this weren’t too impressed.

Attenborough directs Redford’s river crossing.

Directed by Dickie Attenborough, I can see why some folk find it less than 100% satisfying. It’s length – and it is very, very, very long – could be a strength. But for those who don’t like it, it might feel like an interminable drag. Although I very much do like it, and have watched it many times, I have nonetheless often found myself drifting off at points.

They didn’t stint on the matériel aspect…
… in the air or on the ground.

Having started with quite a critical over view, let’s get into what’s good about it. For starters there’s the sheer scale of the production. In a pre CGI works, such epic productions really are a special thing, to be treasured.

Yes, ‘rivet counter’ type buffs will carp at the wrong or badly faked materiel. But, frankly, this isn’t the worst offender in terms of WWII movies. Nowadays it’s become easier to either fake real vehicles, or use CGI. But ‘back in the day’ it wasn’t necessarily so easy, or – in truth – always deemed important enough.

It’s clear that efforts were made. But not enough satisfy those who know their SdKfz’s from their PzKpfw’s! I’m a WWII military history nut/buff, but I’m prepared to hold the pedantry beast in abeyance and give older movies more leeway.

This was the edition of this book I had/read as a kid.

Whilst The Longest Day was shot in black and white, A Bridge Too Far is in colour. But they share not just epic proportions and Cornelius Ryan books as their basis, but also great stirring scores, terrific star-studded casts, and a desire for accuracy that includes having the right languages spoken, with subtitles.

Maximilian Schell as Waffen SS Gen. Bittrich.

Feldmarschal Model is portrayed as a self-important buffoon, with some of his subordinates chafing under his pompous complacency. How accurate this is I have no idea. Amongst the English brass there’s a preponderance of whiskers and clipped toff accents. The Yanks are, predictably, sceptical of Monty’s plans, and, for the most part, gruff no-nonsense ‘balls out’ tough guys!

This can reach almost comically cartoonish dimensions, as with Elliot Gould’s fun but faintly irritating cigar-chomping Col. Stout, based on Col. Sink, of Band of Brothers fame!

James Caan delivers a strong performance as Sgt. Dohun.*

Most of the actors acquit themselves admirably. The only real clangers, for me, are the aforementioned Gould, and Gene Hackman’s Polish Maj. Gen. Sosabowksi, whose accent is bizarre, coming off more Brooklyn than Bialystok!

Making a war film of this type is, I suspect, much much harder than most would imagine. Trying to balance a grand overview with the nitty gritty details, weighing historical accuracy against dramatic and entertainment considerations, and so on.

This scene is rather beautifully shot!

War is – according to many testimonies – largely boredom punctuated by brief but intense moments of terror. And the need for exposition can make ‘leadership scenarios’ seem rather leaden.

And then there’s the logistical stuff, both that required to make the movie, and the stuff depicted, such as the Bailey bridge building scene, and the build up to Maj. Cook’s crossing of the Waal, to take the Nijmegen bridge.

Personally the more I see this film, the better I think it is. Sure, it’s not perfect. Very little is. But it is epic, exciting, sometimes funny, sometimes moving. Definitely a film worth watching.

Hackman, O’Neal, Caine, Fox and Bogarde. Just five of the many featured stars.

* Interestingly this rather colourful episode is allegedly based on real events. Although the exact details aren’t altogether the same in real life as they are in the film, it makes cracking good film entertainment! For the real story, try this link.

Here’s another interesting link, with some nice production photos. And this one is very detailed, with plenty of pics and lots of info’, inc. a link to a comparison of actors with the characters they portray.

FiLM REViEW: Frankenstein Created Woman, 1967

Love the title font!

Teresa chose this from her Hammer box tonight. What fun it was! Completely ludicrous, as you’d expect from Hammer. But a rather wonderful and nostalgic form of batsh*t crazy!

The face of Hammer horror!

Peter Cushing is solid and reliable as the gaunt bony-cheeked Baron, and Dietlinde Ortrun Zechner, better known to history as Susan Denberg is bodacious as Christina Kleve.

This would be the former Playboy centrefold’s most challenging acting role; starting out as a physically disfigured barmaid, before the Baron ultimately reanimates her, post-mortem, as a psychotic sex kitten with a split personality!

Christina Kleve mit ein cleaver!

The plots of films like these are hardly worth the effort of synopsising, as they are so formulaic and silly. It’s all good clean sex’n’horror-sploitation fun!

But I suppose aorta at least have a stab (groans). The film starts with young Hans seeing his papa guillotined. Later in life Hans is working for Doc Hertz and Baron Frankincense.

Like many Hammer movies, it’s set in some German locale.

At a local tavern, Kleve, the patron, his daughter Christina, and Hans, become embroiled in troubles with three toff oiks, the upshot being Kleve’s demise, for which Hans is blamed.

Hans is guillotined, like his ol’ dad, this time with Christina as witness. She tops herself, alowing Baron Frankenfurter and doc Hertz to put Hans’ soul in Christina’s body.

Hans goes the way of his farter…

And to add some spice to the sauce, the diabolical duo perfect the formerly flawed Christina. Physically, at any rate. Alas, the dual residency of Hans’ and Christina’s tortured souls doesn’t pan out so well.

Denberg mit Spock!

There are many familiar faces (I recognised Denberg from Star Trek!), such as Peter Thorley as Doc Hertz (who looks like the perfect Geppetto to me!), and the trio of toff villains, Anton, Johann and Karl (Peter Bythe, Derek Fowlds and Barry Warren).

A nice photo taken during a break from filming.

In a bizarre ‘crisp of fate’, given the plot of this movie, in real life, apparently, actor Barry Warren would later change and live out last five years of his life as a woman!

Doing some mad blasphemous science!

I’m not sure why these silly old movies are such nostalgic fun. But they really are. They’re kind of awful in many ways. But I love them. The technicolour, the hammy acting, the formulaic clichés – from characters to scenarios – and yet they’re just so much fun!

Hammer did a sexy promo photo shoot…

… but this ‘scene’ was never actually part of the film. ‘Twas always just a saucy means of getting the film noticed. Methinks it works!

Christina about to serve up revenge to Karl.
The Baron gets hands on with his creation.

With rather hilarious irony, Wikipedia describes this movie thus:

‘Where Hammer’s previous Frankenstein films were concerned with the physical aspects of the Baron’s work, the interest here is in the metaphysical dimensions of life, such as the question of the soul and its relationship to the body.’

Denberg’s Playboy shoot brought her to Hammer’s attention.

Technically speaking this is of course true. But of course the very alluring physicality of Denberg as Christina also has a compelling part to play in this movie’s charms.

DAYS iN: Home & Garden – Trellii and Kitchen Hangings

A not too great pano’pic of the trellis panels.

Today’s two tasks were to put up four trellis panels along a certain portion of our garden fence. I also had to replace a fence post, as one of them was rotten and the whole fence was sagging in that section.

The near end of the new panels.

Removing and replacing a fence post from ‘twixt two fence panels, with the additional complication of a well established honeysuckle growing in that area, and weatherboards as well as the panels themselves, was tricky. But we managed it pretty well in the end!

A view along the whole length.

The other job I did was finishing, sort of, a hanging rack for the kitchen. Our kitchen is so pathetically tiny we have no space for even half of what ought to be in there (fridge and freezer currently reside in the lounge!).

This rack means we can have stuff hanging from the ceiling instead of cluttering up drawers or taking up real estate on the already crowded surfaces.

Viewed from the living space end.

I’ll most likely paint the rack and then re-hang/re-stock it. It’s not ideal. It ought to have been wider. But I had to work with the materials I had to hand. And this was the outcome.

Viewed from the bathroom end.

At some point I want to totally gut and rebuild the kitchen. But that’s a ways off. Hopefully this’ll sort us out a bit for the time being?

MiSC: Lunch II – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen…

Beans on cheesy toast wi’ coffee.

More hot ‘rate my plate’ action!

In a second instalment of what I like to call my ‘oat cuisine’ series – humble, like porridge – here’s the lunch I cooked today. In preference to dining out. Through force of circumcision, if I’m honest!

Beans on toast one, coffee nil.

As Tom Waits quips in a piece during his sublime Nighthawks at the Diner performance, ‘the coffee just wasn’t strong enough to defend itself’! Actually the coffee was fine. Hunger trumped in the face of heat, so to speak.

And in case these exciting posts aren’t enough, coming soon… adventures in the littlest room. Nah, I’ll spare y’all that!

HOME/DiY: patching a hole in the kitchen ceiling

As so often, I didn’t think to take any photos when I started this job. And consequently I have no record of the hardest and most time consuming parts of my labours. This whole sorry scenario has come about because I’m determined to add a utensil hanging rack to our kitchen ceiling, over the sink/window area.

In a bigger kitchen that might not be the place for it. But our kitchen is appallingly tiny, and, frankly, totally unworkable. And consequently that’s the only area it can go. By way of illustration of our situation, due to the lack of space we have our fridge and freezer in the lounge… fer chrissakes!

Anyway, I made a wooden hanging rack a few days back. And then I started in on attaching anchor points in the ceiling. The first two appeared to take fast. Although whether they’ll hold in the long term I don’t know. I’m not confident!

The second two were patently not holding at all. Just applying slight downward stress on the wall-plugs via the eye-hooks pulled them straight both out. So I had to investigate the sub-strata. Most of our home has hideously textured artex ceiling (and even walls… aaargh! ). In some such areas I’ve struggled to remove this execrable stuff with Ex-Tex. Never again!

The artex is on plasterboards. And in the kitchen, in turns out that beneath that – or rather above, in the reverse stratification of ceilings – is old fashioned (Victorian, perhaps, like the building itself?) lath and plaster.

To get sufficient purchase or anchorage in the intended spots, I needed to create a hole in the artex/plaster/lath large enough for me to reach two rafters, and to work in. And then I’d need to attach wooden boards or beams between said very old and very solid – at last something substantial – rafters. Once this was done – oh so much easier said than done (working in a confined space, and worse yet up a ladder in the ceiling space, wasn’t easy!) – I’d have to build back and re-plaster.

We’d love to get someone in to professionally skim all the artex surfaces. But I very much suspect that that’s well beyond our current fiscal reach. I’m trying to get a plasterer over to quote on the job. But it seems they’re so busy they don’t even feel the need to respond to our enquiries!

I initially tried scavenging some plasterboard at the so called local ‘recycling centre’, aka, the dump. But they wouldn’t let me have any. I only needed a tiny bit. But nope, no can do. Pathetic! So next I drove around town looking for skips, with bits of plasterboard in them. But no dice. So I just wound up screwing a piece of chipboard to the two lateral beams or batons that I’d screwed between the rafters.

And only at this point did I start taking a few photos. Aren’t they something. The excitement! The drama! The sheer aesthetic delights! Well, anyway, I added a bit of chicken wire to the chipboard, attaching that with a staple-gun. This would give the filler something to grab hold of in addition to the surface of the chipboard itself.

After a first thick slathering coat of said filler, I took a break. Intended to be a short lunch break, I wound up dozing off to the doings of Andrew Camarata, as he destroyed and removed a load of crap from a client’s property.

This longer than expected break was actually good, as it meant that I returned to the plaster several hours later, to add a second and hopefully final layer. Obviously, thanks to the thickness of the first coat, I needed to wait longer than normal before applying a second.

Also, thanks to the hideous artex, there’s no chance of a clean matching finish. And that’s where I find myself now, beer in hand, writing this.

I had a little bit more filler than I really needed, so I slathered it on, slightly exceeding the area required. I did this to see whether or not I could flatten out the artex surfaces myself. Maybe then we’d not need to hire a plasterer? Truth be told, there is such an enormous acreage of the evil material in our property that a professional is definitely indicated!

I’m now left waiting for the second coat of plaster to dry, before I can sand it flat. Then the anchors for the hanging rack will need to be fitted, and the filler probably ought to be painted.

Rather annoyingly I strongly suspect that I’ll have to repeat this entire rigmarole for the first two anchor points.

HOME/DiY: Garden Gates, cont.

‘Mary shut the garden door’ Donald Fagen

The latest addition to our front garden.

Yesterday I built this little wooden garden gate. I didn’t really document the making. Other than this lone pic of the Z-frame elements.

Building the gate.

But I’ve taken a few pics of it in situ’. I put it up today before heading out to teach. I actually took it apart and re-built it as well! I’d put the screws in from the wrong side, such that they didn’t reach far enough through and into the wood of the verticals.

This Z does not signify Russian aggression!

I wound up re-assembling it and gluing it all, as well as screwing it all together. I’m glad I did. The result is much better and stronger. Getting it hung is very satisfying!

From the front. Note dripping wood glue!

Next I need to add the latch. I also have a spring, designed to auto-close the gate. It’ll be interesting to see if I can install that and make it work satisfactorily. And then I’ll be painting it all to match the other gate pillars.

The ensemble.