ARTS & CRAFTS: Card Roadster, Day 2

Got the wheels on today.

Today I got the wheels on, and did the rest of what I wanted to do to the body, inc the steering wheel. I could keep going. But the point of this little project is simple child like fun/creativity. Not perfectionism!

Needs the driving area sorting.

I’m happy with this little project. It was actually instigated by Teresa. Lor’ bless ‘er! She suggested a ‘copper wire sculpture’. But instead I did this.

Right, that’ll do!

Next step is to undercoat the model. And after that, paint her. British racing green, methinks. Again, I’ve considered snazzy paint ideas. But I’m going to stick with keeping things simple.

Far from perfect. But good enough for me.
I’m pleased with how she looks.

I took it to the shed and then actually sprayed the undercoat outdoors. Under supervision from Teresa! To make sure I wear a mask, and look after myself. And the spray does give a lot of airborne materials.

Sprayed with undercoat.
Rear view.

The next step, painting… I’ll get around to that when I feel ready!

ARTS & CRAFTS: Scratch-Built Card ‘Roadster’!

Basic bodywork and wheels.

Confined to my sofa-bed, in our lounge, and suffering from unspeakable insomnia, I decided to make a cardboard sports car!

Rather than making a real/specific car, I’m just making a generic hybrid. Tonight, in part one, I’ve made wheels and the basic body. Tomorrow (actually later today; It’s 1 am!) I’ll continue with the body work, and fabricate some sort of axles/chassis, lights, etc.

Viewed from the rear.

It’s like being a child again! (Building the cardboard car, that is, as opposed to the grindingly oppressive sleeplessness.) I remember watching my dad make a cardboard cut out roadster, as a nipper. Or did we work on it together? I no longer recall, alas.

Earlier in the evening.

Earlier we watched another Rathbone Holmes movie, and enjoyed a tasty porky stroganoff that Teresa cooked. staying home and taking it super easy. Hoping to shake this awful persistent chesty cough and whatnot.

MEDiA: Hammer DVD box.

I got this boxed set for Teresa, for Yuletide.

We once had all the movies from the set as digital files, thanks to a chum. But we never really watched them. Having the physical DVDs – I guess we’re old school that way? – means we’re much more likely to actually watch them (they’re not included on Amazon Prime).

Dig that carved in stone ‘font’!

It’s Xmas day, and, having watched a Basil Rathbone Sherlock movie earlier (The Pooch o’ the Baskervilles), part of another DVD set I got for Teresa, we’re now watching She,

Shot in Israel and starring Arsula Undress, this is, it seems, where Rumpole got his ‘she who must be obeyed’ line from. Well I never! And you get of only Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and the many faceted charms of Ursula, but also Wombles narrator Bernard Cribbin.

Too much! An embarrassment of riches. Some of the sets or are they ‘mattes’?) are great, as well.

Fab scenes! Colonial clobber meets Romans and… well, all sorts.

Can’t be arsed to synopsise the ludicrous story. It’s just an excuse for exotic locations, good old fashioned Boys’ Own style adventure, with nutty costumes and plenty of feminine allure, all in a distinctly old school non-PC way. We love it!

Christopher Lee in one of many of his more ‘exotic’ roles!

As Miranda – or is it her mum? – is fond of saying, Such fun!

DAYS iN: Yuletide, 2021

Ye olde Yule tree, all a-twinklin’.

I ought to lighten up on this topic, no doubt, but… I Amat’s find the Christian connotations of how we celebrate Xmas, in current UK/‘Western’ culture, an issue.

No doubt at some point in this post I’ll return to this theme. But for the most part this post is simply a record of the pleasurable aspects of our Yuletide celebrations.

Xmas lunch. Delicious!

I worried about being Scroogey, inasmuch as I only texted and didn’t call family, and a few friends, to wish them a Merry Whatever. Was this mean? I dint know! It wasn’t intended as such. I do love the private pleasure of Xmas Day itself being just Teresa and me, and our moggins, Chester.

We love to spoil Chester. And he got plenty of presents. Plus some Xmas fare, inc s but if the roast duck we had for lunch. He had some fun with the ‘unwrapping’. And played a fair bit with his ‘flippety fish’ toy.

Chester, ‘sat at table’, kind of, with us.

As I have for most of the winter holidays, I’ve been sleeping alone in the downstsirs couch. on account of illness and insomnia. Not wishing to unduly disturb Teresa’s nights!

I even watched (ish!) a bit of typical YouTube stuff (drum stuff, snooker, this ‘n’ that), on Xmas day itself. But the main entertainment was a couple of movies: Basil Rathbone’s Pooch o’the Basketcases, and Hammer ‘sword n’ sandal type classic, She. What fun!

Some of Teresa’s unwrapped items, and some wrapped ones of mine.

Due to my being under the weather zi was a lot less involved in Yuletide lunch than normal. My only contributions being peeking n’ chopping the spuds, and helping consume many hours work in just a few minutes. We had roast duck, with all the usual Christmassy accompaniments: roast taters, neeps, pinion; gravy, bread, horseradish, cranberry (etc.) sauces, Brussels, carrots, and so on. Even some chopped cooked chestnuts! Delish!

Present wise, we started unwrapping gifts fairly early, 10 or 11am -ish, perhaps? Teresa had loads of stuff. Me a little less! Several of my gifts were T-shirts or tops. Teresa got a couple of neck-warming scarves.

One of several tops, this one paid for by Pops n’ co.

She also got two boxed sets of DVDs: the complete Basil of wwwRathbone Sherlock, and the 20+ disc (21?) Hammer film set. And we both got a few pampering style items: her, perfumes and unguents, me shampoo!

Teresa’s Hammer box leaflet.

I got a few tops that help profess some of my musical passions. A bit juvenile, perhaps, for a man on the cusp of the ‘big five-oh’!? But what do I care!?

And a Joni For The Roses T-shirt.
A snazzy purple n’ gold Future Days T!

This may sound pretty lame/pathetic. But a highlight of the day, for me, was later in the evening, when Teresa and I dozed arm in arm on the sofa-bed. Just so cosy and peaceful!

MEDiA: Phoenix Nights

Peter Kay as Brian Potter, svengali and impresario.

A recent bout of insomnia found me watching the entirety of series one and two of Phoenix Nights. Having only seen snippets before, watching the whole thing proved to be great fun.

Patrick McGuiness and Peter Kay, as Paddy and Max.

I won’t bother synopsising it all. Suffice to say Kay’s Potter character is a wheelchair bound club owner/manager, looking to run an family friendly old time variety type club, in Bolton. The comedy comes from the characters themselves, the awful acts, and the scrapes one and all get into, entertaining the public and battling Potter’s nemesis, rival nightclub owner, Den Perry (Ted Robbins).

Quiz night.

I like this series for many reasons. Chiefly because it’s funny. But also because, as they say, it’s got heart. It’s also nice because it foregrounds a good few characters often glossed over in modern TV, such as the disabled, elderly, and other peripheral and/or ‘loser’ types. They, like all involved, are treated both savagely and even occasionally tenderly.

Clinton Baptiste, medium … to rare.

Pretty much all the acts are some shade of awful. From the racist folkies (‘send the buggers back!’), to the staff who come to the rescue in Talent Night, when dastardly Den Perry sabotages proceedings. And every episode ends with Potter and co auditioning cringe-worthy hopefuls.

A standout for unadulterated appallingness is Clinton Baptiste, the clairvoyant who ‘didn’t see that coming’. With his bleached mullet, camp accent – ‘y’alright!’ – and ability to misread everything and everyone to maximum offence effect, he’s really something.

The incredible ‘family friendly’ bouncy castle.

I always love knob gags and farting. And whilst there’s a little of the latter, there’s not too much of the former. Except in the episode where they put in a ‘family friendly’ fundraiser, built around fun for kids and their parents. An unbelievable X-rated bouncy castle is the centrepiece. Whorra lorra laffs!

DJ Ray Avon acts as Kamikaze quiz-meister.

The cast is filled with characters we’ve all seen or encountered, simultaneously utterly ridiculous and yet tragically real. Bouncers Max and Paddy typify a very real breed. As does DJ/sparky, Ray Von, and MC/comedian/fall guy, Jerry St Clair (Dave Spikey), the latter one of the best developed characters after Potter himself.

Potter mucks in as Elton on Talent Night.

It’s occasionally laugh out loud. Indeed, several segments had me guffawing uncontrollably. But for the most part it’s gently humorous. Many of the scenarios are just plain dumb. But there are also touching moments.

Rumours of specials a third series, and even a movie, are out there on the net. I believe a couple of one-offs might’ve come to pass? There was a single series spin-off; Max & Paddy’s something or other (a fugitive’s road trip, poss’?) But there’s not really enough. A real pity, as it was a good series. There ought to be much more of it!

MUSiC: Can, Live, Soest, 1970

I wound up watching this this evening, prior to breaking out the ‘new’ Can CD that arrived from Amazon today, namely Live In Stuttgart, 1975.

I watched several other shorter live Can videos as well. It seems more such material is coming online. My last Can-fest, some years ago now, involved a lot of searching online, and didn’t turn up some of these newer finds.

Two particularly groovy videos are Vitamin C, with Damo, and Moonshake, the latter sadly sans Suzuki, but still terrific.

Karussell für die Jugend indeed!

This concert was the longest that I watched. And I’ll confess I skipped through a few segments. I will watch the whole thing at some point. But in truth I just wanted to ‘prep’ myself for listening to the newly arrived Stuttgart recordings.

Track one at Soest is not a promising or auspicious beginning, to be perfectly honest. The guitar and bass DIY d out of tune. And it comes over as a somewhat punky Malcolm Mooney era type leftover.

But, to my delight and astonishment, this was immediately followed by Oh Yeah, which is stupendously groovy. Riding along on a signature Jaki Leibezeit groove, this one both motorik and jazzy simultaneously, the rest of the band provide haunting sonic sculptures, and Dani’s singing brings the Can jamming into a song type focus. Sublime!

Interestingly, the initially baffled audience is gradually won over by the earnest intensity of the performance. Despite Can sporting the togs and hairstyles of their contemporary hipster crew, and, to a degree, the young audience, they play with a fairly self-contained unaffected manner. Only Suzuki, in his semi-shamanic frontman role, getting a bit wilder at times.

Shamanic loonbag Damo Suzuki, in full effect!

Holger Czukay is great to watch. Holding his bass at an unusual slanted angle, and clearly totally into the music. His head-nodding ‘in the zone’ mien perfectly encapsulates, for me, what this group and their music are all about.

At some point in the set the band get the audience clapping, and from that point on the vibe in the room – at least as conveyed visually – has thawed from cold incomprehension to warm admiration, and a good deal of fairly abandoned enjoyment. Some guys are kind of ‘freak-dancing’, and even some of the chicks are digging it.

Towards the end of the set they play another of my Suzuki era faves, Paperhouse. I’m not sure, but I think this might be one of the old Can concerts that’s part of a current wave of live Can reissues. In which case, I look forward to listening to and watching it again. Next time I won’t be pressing fast-forward!

Jaki Leibezeit grooves like a mother!

MiSC/HEALTH & WELLBEiNG: Doin’ Nuttin’…

It’s day four of doing, as far as poss’, absolutely nothing. It’s really quite hard. After the first day or two the psychological aspect starts to come to bear more forcefully.

Yesterday I tried reading our boiler manual, to both learn to operate it better, and deal with the potential onset of boredom. Such things are, in my experience, nine times out ten, appallingly written. Slogging through them isn’t conducive to peace of mind!

That was yesterday. Today, after sleeping a much better nights sleep than I’ve grown accustomed too of late, I’ve subsequently slept solidly through the morning, as well. Exhaustion is a commonplace for me. Partly a consequence of immune-system malfunction and the meds I take to combat that.

Am I sleeping too much?

When I’m in more ‘normal’ mode, such daytime sleeping would wreck my night-time rhythms! But sometimes, like now, I can sleep almost round the clock, and still – at present at least – sleep at night.

Other stuff comes in and out of the overall picture, as well. Such as intense headaches. Are they migraines? I’m not sure. Possibly. For some reason my brain never retains certain info, no matter how many times it is inputted! I’ve looked up the definition of migraine many times!

I have co-codamol on hand for when these get really bad. Just took some now.

My snooker re-play orgy on YouTube continues. I find watching snooker much more effective than these dedicated sleep things you encounter, with wind and rain sounds, and suchlike (as nice as they may be). With snooker I can either enjoy focussing on it, or let it waft me into unconsciousness.

‘Whispering’ Ted Lowe, formerly the ‘voice of snooker’.

There’s a lot of near complete silence, the occasional clack of the balls and the ref’s numerical interjections. And, in the good old fashioned British snooker on TV tradition, the commentary is mostly very spare and subdued. Ted Lowe is my favourite, his gentle whispering is so soothing!

MUSiC/MEDiA: Sonic Youth, From The Basement…

This promo pic captures Sonic Youth’s art-house rock energy!

This was an interesting watch. A trip down memory lane, and a blast from the past!

The date on the video, i.e. when it was posted to YouTube, is 2020. I was puzzled by the fact that altho’ Lee Renaldo is greying, Thurston and Kim look pretty much as they did back in the ‘80s. Nuts!? But… aha! That explains things; this was actually recorded back in 2007!

The lineup is the ‘classic’ quartet, plus a guy called Mark Ibold, who became an essential fifth member in the years before they split in 2011. So that’s Steve Shelley, drums, Kim Gordon, bass/vocs, Lee Ranaldo, guitar/vocs, Thurston Moore, guitar/vocs, and Ibold, doubling on bass!

The performance space is nice. Very old school rock club. Love that blood red carpet!

The setlist for this performance is three tracks from their album of the moment, Ripped, and The Sprawl and Hey Joni, from Daydream Nation. The last of these is one of my favourite numbers from what is probably also my most favourite of their albums.

The Daydream Nation pieces are easily the best. To my mind/ears. The overall performance is pretty good. Almost certainly best listened to, I assume, very loud. I was listening to this pretty quiet, lying abed around midnight! Not ideal. But it still came over pretty well.

I have to admit that there are some forms of music – anything from this to Beefheart or Slayer (but perhaps intense and weird music especially so?) – that seem inescapably the music of youth. And the idea of folk enjoying listening to, or even more strangely, performing such music, as they age, can seem a bit odd.

Ageing no-wave noise-rockers ageing pretty gracefully!

But maybe that’s totally spurious? I’ve seen Christian Zander and his Magma crew – several of whom are growing ever longer of tooth – doing their very weird very intense thing fairly recently, and thought it pretty compelling. Hmmm!?

Watching this reminded me how much I loved some of this sort of music once – particularly the Daydream Nation and earlier stuff (Evol and Sister); hadn’t heard any Rather Ripped stuff till I saw this! – and, to some extent, I still dig it. It also makes me think I’d like to hear more from their later catalogue. Perhaps especially when Jim O’Rourke joined? I like what he brought to Stereolab.

When this performance started, I was cringing a bit, at the very self-conscious and shoe-gazy vibe. But as it went on, the music re-captured my heart and mind. The Sprawl and Hey Joni in particular, because, as already attested to, Daydream Nation was a much loved and very familiar reference point for a former younger me.

A screenshot the setlist.

It looks like there are a number of From The Basement gigs on the YouTube archives. I’m now watching a Radiohead one. Not a band I’ve ever gotten into, to be honest. But their set is pretty cool. I like Thom Yorke’s total commitment to the music. But I sometimes find his fey delivery a bit much. But that’s for another post!