Heads, hides and rugs

On a wander recently I came across American Wild Life Taxidermy. The sign on the door said ‘Open’ so I decided it was an opportunity not to be missed.  The owner seemed busy but kindly let me see what they were working on. He led me back into the shop where a younger man was removing the flesh from a large (and clearly fresh) pelt with a circular electric blade. Read More

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Oscar of The Tube

It all began with a cardboard tube. A giant cardboard tube, addressed to “Oscar Rubio”. At work I have a foible about people who use our hostel address for their mail. Over the years the bulk of mail has grown exponentially with long forgotten visitors. When this over-sized package arrived for someone not even checked in to the hostel, my wrath had been invoked before we had even met.
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“Near a tree by a river, there’s a hole in the ground..”

Finally made it to the arts/media monthly event which this month presented 80’s pop star Nik Kershaw and Bond composer David Arnold. Nik Kershaw is looking a little bit Gary Glitter with his tinted specs and Goatee, but does look pretty spry, and was sporting a quite tidy, super-short, mohican style hair-do. Funniest moment was a weak knee’d middle aged woman asked Nik if “he worked out”.

I tried to hold my crappy N70 steady at full zoom for a video of “Wouldn’t it be good” acoustic” but failed miserably and was also thwarted by a moving person in front of me obscuring my frame. I like Kershaw songs, they have really tricky chords, especially when played on a banjo.

David Arnold was really entertaining and told extended Hollywood-dirt stories about some of his adventures. He’s surprisingly normal for a man with such a fine hollywood profile.

This weekend I have also discovered Radio Reverb, Brighton’s local community station. You can listen to it on analog at 97.2FM or live from the stream. DJ Lamp is very good and plays all kinds of music for his show Eclectic Chair, and also the 2 hour weekly show Simple Folk has some brilliant live sessions – check their archives.

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New house, Duke of York membership and a bluegrass festival

I have just moved house, to a lovely flat with a sea view and a splendid new flatmate Juan. He runs an excellent small start up, Fatdrop which provides lovely web software to record labels small and large, so they can release, and track the success of, promos via the web.

I not only inherited the room in this flat from a friend, but was gifted with his Duke of York Picturehouse membership. Since then I have seen the excellent Hellboy 2. Luke Goss is (again) a convincing, pale, whispering bad guy with shaolin moves. (an aside, look at the horror of Luke Goss post-Bros’ bad, bad long hair here and here!) Also saw dark, Icelandic thriller Jar City, a good if depressing drama about a genetic database unraveling family secrets from the past.

At home, I’ve enjoyed Heartworn Highways a 1981 documentary about the “Outlaw” country music scene in it’s fledgling years. The documentary is unusual as it’s mostly a relatively un-edited sequence of scenes with different artists talking and then performing in informal environments. A very intimate snapshot of a time and place. It includes priceless footage of a young Steve Earl (see the previous blog post for video of Steve Earl) and also Townes Van Zandt. More in detail at Puremusic.com.

Away from home I enjoyed Didmarton Bluegrass festival in Gloucestershire, picking up new music such as the Growling Old Men, The Slowdown Boys, Gypsy Fire and Monroe’s Revenge.

Reading Fairyland by Paul McAuley a near-future sci-fi novel about cloning, GM/Nanotech (lite). Although it had a promising all-action start, it became confused and muddy after the first part of the three act novel.

I bought this one as it’s in a series of Modern Classics by Gollancz Future Classics series which had included the unmissable Hyperion
by Dan Simmons and Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds.

They also have awesome covers without a teardrop space ship in sight!

“Using high tech printing processing including glow-in-the-dark, reflective and ‘furry’ textures, these are truly out of this world covers.”

Fairyland was too sprawling and ill paced to be what I’d call a Future Classic. For the dedicated only.

Finally, here is Mr Van Zandt from Heartworn Highways performing the first song he wrote “Waitin’ Around To Die”.

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