This blog began in 1997 as a single news page called Nucelus. In 2005, during a long wait to move into a new house, I decided to learn some php and MySQL and write my own blogging system, which became inkyBlog and which now powers this, my own Webbledegook blog.
Thank you to my brother, Murray Ewing, for help with some of the more challenging aspects!
Embarrassing moment no.327: while working as a porter at a Gatwick hotel, I asked one of the chambermaids if she wanted a pass to this new venue called the 101 Club (I was in promotion mode, not flirting - at least I don't think I was). It was quite noisy in the canteen and she was horrified to (mis)hear I was asking her to go to something called the One-on-one club! I don't think she ever looked me in the eye again.
And a little story about Bonx and his old band, Pump. When 5D organised a birthday bash at Clair Hall in Haywards Heath in 1992, we had 5 or 6 bands play. Someone had to go on first, and the band we felt were the least well-known of the bunch (and they were all top local bands) was chosen. Upon hearing this, the band refused to participate, as they felt it was too early in the evening and the crowd would not be large enough yet. So we had to get a new band in quickly, and asked Pump. They were professional to the hilt - it is true the crowd was small that early, and mostly round the corner in the bar, but Bonx didn't even mention it and played one of the best and tightest sets of the night.
Here's the link: Getting More Out Of GarageBand.
"Spacewreck is a musical story, somewhere between a soundscape and a dreamscape, the soundtrack to a film you'll only find in your imagination, describing the journey the astronaut takes into the depths of this enigmatic dead craft."
The gig was very good, and Somerset House is a fantastic venue for it. A video screen showed live drawing from Pete Fowler before the band came on. Gruff thanked everyone for coming to the gig despite the previous day's events. "This is what happens when, instead of declaring peace of terrorism, you declare war on terrorism", he said. Then the screens showed stills of Bush and Blair put to the words of Bill Hicks, looping the line "all governments are liars and murderers". There was lots of new material and some old favourites, and they ended on the defiant 'The Man Don't Give a F**k'. The illuminated hooded boiler suits were good, but not as impressive as perhaps they were intended.
Despite this being a very enjoyable show, I'm afraid I have to be an old crock and say, generally, I don't enjoy the gig-going experience. Sound is often poor (bass guitars are amplified to be felt and not heard - this is okay, but it can get too distorted), and large crowds are not my favourite. But then again, when you work from home all day self-employed, it's nice (and important) to get out like this when you can! This was far better than many I've been too - the open-air was good.
There was various music being piped through the sound system before the gig, and one artist I particularly liked, but have no idea who it was. I'm looking into it... could be Baris Manco... but it could have been Japanese.
It's very difficult to learn! In principle it seems easy, but in practice there is a lot to it. So, after a couple of weeks I've managed to get something approximating a tune out of it. Here is a sample (160k mp3, Edelweiss - I've tried to get a kind of violin sound) - it changes key a few times (unintentionally) and misses the right note more than it hits, but I'll keep at it and hope I get better!
The band started in a little acoustic huddle stage-left to open the show, supplying banter reminiscent of the Beach Boys Party album, but not quite as chaotic. They then moved to their instrument spots on stage, joined by the Stockholm Strings and Horns (for one or two numbers, I think) and then a few more before an interval. The sounds and harmonies were sublime, a hive of instrumental activity on stage with Brian seemingly a calm epicentre, like a magnet drawing it all together.
The Smile section was stunning. This was not a set of songs, but a piece, a movement (or three) worthy of the old masters. It could have been so disappointing with the promise of 37 years built up behind it, but it completely came alive. It really was like being taken on an intricate musical adventure. It was fun as well, with saws, hammers, drills, fire hats and vegetables bringing an almost surreal circus-like quality to the affair and the enjoyment on stage infecting everyone. At one point, I think during Good Vibrations, a white light hit the central cross-beam of the lighting rig and produced a cross above Brian's head, just as a small crowd in the front stalls rose to their feet overcome by the utter excitement of this beautifully constructed song. I hesitate to laugh at the obvious analogy (amusing as it was), because it really was an almost religious experience.
After the Smile section the band returned for more Beach Boys (with an appearance by lyricist Van Dyke Parks), and a final encore left everyone with the beautiful Love & Mercy. There was a warm but fairly quiet buzz as people left the RFH, and as we made our way to Waterloo East, and the crowds thinned, we'd spot the occasional person clutching their square white Smile booklets, with a distant look of awe in their eyes, almost like they were in mild shock. My mind's been trying to recreate and hang on to the images and sounds of Sunday evening, but it's fading fast. But I know something great happened. Roll on the DVD so I can confirm it!
I know this blog has mainly been updates recently (but that was always the main purpose of Nucleus since I started the page in 1997), so apologies for another one. Not having the time to organise my small collection of Brambletye House pictures into some kind of display at home, I'm inflicting them on the web. Learn more here .