The Smith's Journal - January 2005

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We Apologise For The Break In Transmission

So far in 2005 I seem unable to write (ever since the tsunami proved how vulnerable yet out of touch with nature our species really is). Maybe there just isn't time any more, as I initially postulated. Perhaps a flood of your eager correspondence may resurrect my urge to write.

[some months pass...]

After a flurry of eager correspondence (thanks Louise ;-) urging me to get back on the case, I'm somehow finding time to type this. Since it is now April May June when I'm writing this, these journal entries are a bit late getting to press, but I'll fill in any worthwhile events that happened earlier this year. After seeing what depths of banality some folk stoop to in blogging their fascinating lives (*yawn*), I realised I could take up some slack, so I'll keep it brief and just relay the exciting bits, and leave the mundane stuff to the rest of the internet...


Drumming with Ade

Drive with Ruth to Michael's Folly, and rendezvous with master drummer Ade Wallace en route, for his first drumclass in the Strawbale Studio. Ian, Patrick, Bizia, Jody, Helen, Roberto, Ruth and I had a great time learning some new rhythms: 'Drumcall' and 'Yankadi'.


Gila Timur

Ruth took me to the amazing mirror/furniture shop in Hitchin called Gila Timur Trading Co.. After wandering for what seemed like days through its twisting passages and never-ending hidden rooms, we bought some ethnic percussion instruments:


More percussion, Vicar?

After practising some Naked Truth songs with my Tibetan singing bowls, I walked The Long Path with my flute to re-energise. Then went to Talkin Headz drum shop in Woburn Sands, to get some cases and sticks for my bowls, plus some other new toys:


Late Night Studies

Lots of overdue piano practice today. Played through some of my works in progress: "Decadends" and "The Second Ascent of The Mountain of Will", but found it very frustrating trying to scale that mountainous piece, so instead I calmed down by practising bowling to Ruth's songs "Heart Of It All" and "Be My Angel". Back on the piano, I played "Rebirth" and composed a new Spirit of "Cobra", as well as discovering the Second Subject of "Elsewhere" at last. I also found a title for these new piano miniatures: "Late Night Studies", as a sequel to my earlier "Night Studies" :-)


ROTW Tsunami Benefit gig

The Naked Truth played at a Rhythms Of The World - Tsunami Benefit gig at 8pm at Club 85, 74 Whinbush Road, Hitchin. We only played a short set of three quiet songs, stupidly spending ages setting up my Tibetan singing bowls which couldn't really be heard anyway despite the sound engineer's best efforts. Our music was not really fitting for this venue, being too intimate and demanding the listeners' attention, and was not really what the noisy crowd wanted. We thought that something deep and meaningful would better reflect the sombre nature of this event, but it seemed that most people were there to drink and chat as usual. Other acts included the Celebrate Choir, the Hitchin Allstar Choir, Ellie (singer from The Funky Monks) singing acappella, Fabrizia dancing Bharata Natyam, and the hilarious Spandex Ballet which were the highlight of the evening; their raucous humour and oddball satire were just what the doctor ordered, and inspired Ruth and I to consider branching out into humour.


The Big Shave*

Decided to turn over a new leaf: no more pussyfooting! I shaved off my beard (!!!) after two years! AT LAST! I'd not realised it had been clinging on for so long; I only originally intended to grow it for photographic purposes. Visited Ruth - much humour with scarf covering my face pretending to shield me from the cold weather. She welcomed me in and went back to the computer before I took off my scarf disguise. She didn't notice my naked chin for a good five minutes as she was lost in eBay, and only later on turned to see me and did a doubletake! :-)

We decided to branch out into political/satirical/humorous songs inspired by Spandex Ballet last night; we need to extend our repertoire to be able to serve up something to delight any audience, be it LOUD, quiet, funny ha-ha, funny peculiar, etc.

* [The Big Shave was an early short film by Martin Scorsese, a gruesome portrayal of a man shaving that went just a bit too far...]


Open Graphics Project

Checked out Timothy Miller's new Open Graphics Project, a Free/Libre Open Source graphics card. I'll buy two! :-)


Wales mission

Wales mission with Ian and AllyZen to see the farmhouse they are considering buying, called Sych Pant. They are in the process of setting up a housing co-operative and getting a mortgage, etc., and so are spending much time out there. Ian quit his job last month and is now a Free Man - lucky guy, retiring in his forties! So they invited me to visit the place and maybe to join them living there. It took us seven hours to drive there :-(in the Friday rush hour) and the old stone house was freezing having had nobody in it for weeks. We managed to get some sleep buried in coats and duvets and (not enough) blankets!


Sych Pant farm, near Cardigan Bay

The next morning I got up and went outside to get warm (!). Eager to take advantage of the unexpected good weather, I wandered about photographing Sych Pant farm amidst its delightful remote setting of rolling hills and fields of sheep. The sun came out to paint a glorious light over the place as I explored the ramshackle outbuildings and picturesque fields down by the river. I spent some time dreaming and wondering if any of the outbuildings could be converted into a studio space, but they would need lots of work that is beyond my knowledge and finances. So on reflection, I later realised that although it is a lovely paradise place, it wouldn't really suit my needs to live there. [UPDATE: Ian also decided the same eventually, and their plan to form a co-operative has fallen through.]

In the afternoon, we went out to visit Cardigan Bay, and had a fun trip to the beach, the beautiful weather quite out of character for Wales in January! The tide had gone out leaving a huge flat expanse of sand covered in a thin film of water, and the sun shone so brightly that the blue sky was reflected in the water, as if we were walking on a vast plateau of mirror. Then we went shopping in Cardigan town, including its cool health food shop called Go Mango! The atmosphere of this area is a welcome change from the South East, much more alternative/eco/celtic. Thankfully the journey home took a mere five hours.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2005-04-07 - last updated 2006-01-01