The Day After The Solstice, 2010

It’s been forever… and look, another year has dripped from the roof like melting slush.

I spent the best part of the summer with pneumonia, and the exhaustion recovery entails. A raft of medical appointments (x-rays, cardiograms, consults) followed, even more exhausting as the compass needle was for a while pointing at something worse than a “shadow on the lung”. however, it’s all in the past now.

Mum is now permanently in a (nice enough) dementia care home in Bognor. The stress on the family has somewhat been removed, knowing that she has such care.

I have retired from live Skinbat duties at the moment, I remain (I hope) a fully committed member of the project/object, and hope to be involved in the studio process of the next album (two tracks are in the can and sound quite wonderful) – also the “Live at the Forum” album if that ever sees the light. I hope so, as three of the Skinbat recordings available are amazing.

Music – not music of the year as such but that which has come into my world this year

Goldfrapp live at the Dome

Belle & Sebastian: Write About Love thanks to Sarah for this one
Brian Eno: Small Craft on a Milk Sea
Chicago OST
C.W. Stoneking: Jungle Blues
Imelda May: Mayhem
LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening
Grinderman: 2
Nellie McKay: Normal as Blueberry Pie
Crimson Jazz Trio: King Crimson Songbook Vols 1 & 2
Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports (how did I miss that?!) thanks to David for these two
Eels: Tomorrow Morning
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs thanks to Liz for nagging on this one
Laurie Anderson: Homeland
Divine Comedy: Bang Goes The Knighthood
Tom Waits: Orphans, Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Scarlet’s Well: Society of Figurines get well soon Bid
Goldfrapp: Head First
Joanna Newsom: Have One On Me
Eels: End Times
Scarlet’s Well: Unreal II
Tiger Lillies: Freakshow

TV / box sets:
Lost ended 😦
Celebrity Juice
[most of] Glee
The Walking Dead
Mark Gatiss’ A History of Horror
Mad Men (series 1 and 2 only so far)
CSI (Vegas only)
Hi-De-Hi box set
Lipstick On Your Collar
Miss Marie Lloyd , Queen of the Music Hall (thanks to Dickon)

Film (not all this year’s releases, some blu ray remasters and in the case of WDT only just available)

Wisconsin Death Trip
Toy Story 3
Alien Anthology remastered
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Up In The Air
The Thing remastered
Amarcord remastered
A Serious Man – Coen brothers back on form yay!
Watchmen director’s cut
Zombieland
Kick Ass (apart from the weak last scene)
44 Inch Chest

I’ve probably missed loads.

Books:

Have read all of Cormac McCarthy’s books this year – amazing.
Jonathan Coe: The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim
Stephen King: Under The Dome – as usual, under-rated by critics
Michael Chabon – The Yiddish Policeman’s Union
Gregory Maguire – A Lion Among Men
Richard Dawkins – The Greatest Show On Earth
Nick Cave – The Death of Bunny Munro
Peter Carey: Wrong About Japan
and re-read shedloads of Dickens

O, and I got a degree! I now own a piece of paper saying I have a 2:1 BA(Hons) in Humanities with Media Studies and Literature, which is nice. I have a ceremony in April 2011 with a cloak and everything!

I also got back into fishkeeping this year. When I was around 10 to the time I left home I kept tropical fish with my dad, that tank is long gone. Liz and I had a tank wen we first moved to Brighton, but we closed that down when we moved years ago. I’d always hankered after keeping marine fish, but in the old days they were very hard to keep. Skimming technology has moved on, and though more discipline is required than with a freshwater tropical tank, marines are now possible. 6 months on, I’ve got a nice little reef with corals, fish, shrimps and all sorts. Yes, I do have clownfish, and yes one of them is called Nemo. It’s a nice name.

OK more turn of the year drivel soon

20130927-073205 pm.jpg

Advertisements

Endings

Still amid a terrible month of depressive moods (circulating darkly around our house) and depressive vampirism (mum’s ongoing medicals) this has been a funny old time. Along with this is the usual raft of missed social engagements, and also a small sprinkling of pressure for P – upcoming school tests, peer group changes and a slight waver in her performance-confidence. Mum is in a respite home mostly in order to re-regimen her meds, she simply can’t cope with taking them herself. Strange times.

I handed in my final essay for OU yesterday. Assuming I get more than 40% for it – ?! – I have finally got my degree at 2.2 and will graduate in April 2011 assuming I live that long. I feel sort of empty with no focussed reading to do any more. Dickens here I come… I wonder if I’ll ever write another “essay” again? Pulling out the pin…

Skinbat Scramble have an upcoming gig at the Forum as part of the Syd Barrett trust; also recording to do for the next album; I have committed to this. Syd Barrett – could it be any more perfect?

Last night I dreamed that my next-door-but-one neighbour urinated on me from his window, in the dream I pretended to ignore it and haughtily went on with unloading groceries from my car.

Repwtez

Into the Granary tomorrow to continue work on the soon-to-be nascent Skinbats album. Hooray. My mum’s medical problems overhang everything like a manky sword of Damocles. It’s harsh and dull. P is doing well in dancing, and at school. But everything is overhung… Off to Vegas at Easter for a bit of desert therapy, which is a big sky-anchor, a big holiday, a big five-oh.

Frozen Water prompting Drivel

So much cabin fever/low-grade boredom that I thought I ought to “do an update” to this blog. Hmm. So.

The New Year Nifty Night gig went well, Skinbat Scramble did a set amalgamating with the Sons of Quag, so a melange of a set ensued. All good stuff though, and in homage to the soon-to-be weather, I slipped in “Stopped By The Woods On A Snowy Evening”. I also played sampler in the Old Dolphin Brigade, and the Skinbats all joined them for sonic shenanigans.

Another notch closer to graduating, with the last-but-4 essay handed in. The energy for doing the last 4 will have to come from somewhere, I’m not sure quite where at the moment.

Mum; seems OK at the moment. though Xmas proved a bit trying at times. Memory (and its loss) is a funny thing – and hard to fathom. Mood swings, aggression, denial, apathy – all mixed in a souffle of “where did I put that” and repetitive requests – Do you want a cup of tea? – No thanks – Do you want a cup of tea? Harsh.

Xmas was (in spite of above) very pleasant, L was off through until New Year’s, P got ballroom shoes and competition dresses (among lots of other stuff) and none of us were ill.

New Year has been a bit of a damp squib for obvious (weather) reasons, P only went back for 2 days before school closed (it has remained closed since) and it’s still snowing at the moment. L was unable to get to work (no buses) for 2 days, so the Xmas hols have sort of vaguely extended tendrils out into 2010.

Which means lots of PS3, Lost and Pushing Daisies boxsets – and oh yes I almost forgot booking up a 2-week trip to the States for Easter. VEGAS!

Blackpool | Medic! | Cloning?

Ridiculously busy week or two, a little in the way of business, a lot in the way of life’s rich tapestry of pooh. Mum’s medical condition is weakening, her memory is almost breathtakingly bad – like a 10 minute loop of drivel sometimes. Other times lucid and happy, then in a beat depressed and confused. Sis and I have been taking her to a Memory Clinic via NHS; I fear it’s not really helping her much, though it’s useful for us to see that there are others in the same boat. Not sure how this will all play out. We have our annual trust meeting on Weds evening, which will be ineresting…

Just had a call from credit card company – a fraudulent transaction on a card we hardly use. Looking back over a year or so of use, not really anyone “small” or “vague” – and virtually no internet use. Unsure how this can have happened; the cards are stopped and nothing has gone through. Hmmm. Worrying. I needed some more worry.

We (Skinbat Scramble) will be performing something in some shape on 30th December at the Forum. Started a poster for it today, RGAF, ODB, the elusive Brutai… year ending.

Last weekend to Blackpool for P’s national Ballroom and Latin Finals. Lovely ballroom, everything great, though she didn’t get through quite as well as we expected, which was a bit upsetting for us. The judging was all a bit weird, to be honest, with some very strange decisions and eliminations. Ho, and indeed, hum. Before we got to the ballroom, we had to suffer the earsplitting alarm going off in our hotel – at 3.30 and then again at 6.30 in the morning, whipping us from sleep and sending us down the fire stairs into the deserted bowels of the Victorian building and out into a rain-spattered windlashed seafront. Something of the Dunkirk spirit was present in the sleepy and half-dressed guests as we were told it was a false alarm. Things were not quite so jolly the second time around. However… in the zombie-like walk round town the following day, we did manage to hit our favourite Blackpool shop – WHO – for lots of sci-fi vinyl figure action, which proved expensive, but covered several Xmas present vacancies.

As usual, tempers flared over the correct preparation and presentation of P’s hair. I really must go on a hairdressing course soon, otherwise I’m taking some clippers and shaving it off before the next comp.

Open | Cambridge | New Skinbat Songs

This year’s (the last mwa ha ha) Open Uni Course has started, and I am essaying in earnest. As this is the “home straight” of the degree, my incentive rug has been pulled out from under me, as the result for this year can’t have any impact on my grade (as long as I pass) due to the way courses are aggregated – I simply need to “turn up”. Makes it difficult to work hard. Ho hum.

Last weekend up to Cambridge for P’s last ballroom “qualifier” of the year – she’s just moved up to pre-bronze level, and was very nervous. Didn’t get any medals at all. Never mind, for Blackpool she’ll be competing in her previous level, and so she’s got ages to build up the pre-bronziness. Cambridge was full of guffawing hoorays as the students returned to college, and that was just the parents. Tish-boom.

Yesterday returned to the Granary to progress the next Skinbat recording. Two tracks which had been previously bass and drummed were sprinkled with some guitar, synth and vocal in more or less first takes. Some editing is required (especially of my parts), but the bones are there. Two tracks were emergent – “Dead Rabbit Universe” and “Stereo Jack”. Great day with Guy Denning at the engineer controls.

I Was Missing | OU Start

Clouds are lifting from me; I missed a gig at the weekend, which wrenched, but I’d have been no good for it, if I ever am. I’m feeling way way better at the moment.

So, we’re all back to work/school (P is happily – so far – at Hove Park)… my work is still dangerously fragile. Mum’s health is up and down. I suppose the rest and relaxation from the Cornwall holiday are leeching away in the day to day trivia and aches.

My OU stuff has arrived for this year (the last year). Big box of books and paperwork – looks more daunting than I hope it is.

Sudden flurry of social engagements and obligations, such that we’re having to miss some invited events; Dance Comp this coming weekend for P,

20140106-094901 pm.jpg

Previous Older Entries