I spend a fair amount of my time waiting for machines. You wonder who is in charge. Is it me controlling the machine? or does the machine control me? I suspect that it's the former.
Well, it's about to get hellishly busy in my life. Having said that, there always seems to be a bit of time here and there for me to use for my own purposes. I was rehearsing the other night, but still found time to come home from work before the rehearsal and play piano for a bit - god I'm rusty - and then, after the rehearsal, have some food, watch some TV, mess around on the internet and write a curious wee song about President Mugabe. I've no idea why I wrote it or if it's funny, but it's mine!
I've been listening to some Beatles music. I'm still very much in awe of Howard Goodall's documentary (which I saw on Saturday evening) about how the Beatles influenced western music, while simultaneously being influenced by a wide variety of existing musical styles. The documentary made me want to rush to the piano and try out what I learned. This is a common side effect of watching TV shows about composition. Last time such a thing occurred, I ended up entering the Eurovision Song Contest. The show was Tony Hawks' One Hit Wonderland. My Eurovision Song Contest Entry - The Words To Sing - was not really very good.
The reason I brought up the whole Beatles/documentary was in response to the line I wrote about my President Mugabe song. I wrote "but it's mine". There's a line in "With a little help from my friends" which I always used to find slightly dirty. "What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine".
I did a gig last night at the Chillingham Arms. This was pretty good fun. The audience had a lovely loud voice. Not every line I threw at them worked, but I was in the mood to workshop it with them, so I got 11 minutes of fun with them. There was no PA, so I was working unplugged. This has a weird effect on some of my material and performance. It also makes it more intimate with the audience. I had fun. I also got a copy of Gavin Webster's fantastic CD. Check out his site for details. Gavin is definitely one of my favourite acts on the circuit. I had a long chuckle at some of his material during my lunch break today.
I'm currently reading the authorised sequel to The Time Machine, the book upon which C and I created an 80 minute musical. I'm having a wee listen to said musical at the moment. There are some good bits, some not so good. I'd still like to revisit this work and do it better. I think we've learned a lot about musical construction. In some respects, the songs from The Musical! are superior - more concise and wittier. In some respects, the first work we produced more deserves to see an appreciative audience than the horse (albeit not dead) that we're flogging in T'Moosicul. I have ideas. The time will come.
I'm sure that the above line will be used at some point to describe the new Phantom of the Opera movie, which is due for release in a mere 9 days. I'm quite excited. I've seen Phantom on stage a couple of times. The first time was in New York where I was persuaded by my, then, fiancee to choose Mr Lloyd Webber's work over Les Miserables, which was my first choice. I've never regretted this decision. We both really enjoyed Phantom and I think Les Mis sounds better with English accents than it does with American ones. I've now seen both Phantom and Les Mis twice on stage, so it all averaged out in the end.
Non-violent direct action works
I was pissed off at the Coke machine. It had 4 slots for Coke and 3 for Diet Coke, yet the Diet Coke always sold out first and the Coke only ever had 2 of its 4 slots at "sold out". I left a note for "Mr Coke Machine Man", explaining my opinion. Joy of joys, there are now 5 Diet Coke slots and 2 Coke slots. The system works.