29 June 2008

Borat - no!

For some reason I can NOT watch the Borat movie.

He is brilliant and funny and I can't see HOW he resisted laughing out loud.

But his poor 'victims'. OMG.

I live in the land of men kissing but every time B rises to smooch those nervous Merkan cheeks, I die.

He doesnt push the envelope (see Howse's excellent cliche attack, "She literally exploded"), he pulps it.

This is the third time of trying and I still can't watch it.

Wanker Ross Jay-Zedded

So good to see that forelock tugging fop out rapped on his own show.

27 June 2008

Baddeley Mock

frisell guitar

So there I am dishing some awe over Billy Bob Frisell's new offering and just ever-so casually mentioning that you can take the reviewer out of Bainbridge but ya cain't stop the freebies tumbling onto the 'welcome' mat. Tiens! In swoops nemesis mou Dottore Baddeley with precise and hurtful mockery over how I can't resist showing orf.

Well! Talk about feedback.

Many of the folks there that night, grinding away to 'Change Gonna Come', they thought Badders and I must be in cahoots to further my plugs and CD store.


My dears, I have submitted myself to the mercies of producers and 'master' engineers and I know klass when it honks thru the Wharfedales or oozes thru the Sennheiser cans ... and messrs Lee Townsend and Greg Calbi are the 'It' men.

Track 10, the Sam Cooke tribute, is perfection of balance and crescendo of excitement.

How does Bill put it? "I don't fight, I don't dance." Right on: all the aggro pranks *he* gets up to is on the fretboard, and he know loops, tones and electronica tomfoolery enuff to be a nightmare to yer average engineer/production maestri.

Listen this track, preferably with your rider swaying in your arms, and listen to the sneaky Tower of Power build-up as Bill does his Duane Eddy 'Twang's the Thang' meets Hank Marvin chops.

Damn but it reminded me of Bill's rendering 'live' of Shenandoah on the East/West chef d'oeuvre.

Ms Nellie after listening to the Greg Tardy solo

And just when you think you've 'got' it, enter Geg Tardy's tenor with a solo that he rides hard and puts up wet. Check that boy out because he's got a tune and tone on him that every time he wails, the ladies press closer and raise their heads the cute puckering way they do .... shudder.

Now that, my lord Baddeley, *that* is showing off.

Skolion ~ rather apt, that. Sounds like Skullion. Remember the porter in Tom Sharpe's 'Porterhouse Blue'?

That verray parfit gentil knyght, my liege Baddeley, always gives good comment and when he includes a link it's worth spelling it out for the rest of you who'll never bother to paste to taste.

I see he also links to Mike's Panorama shot of Ano Korakiana which is an area I know so I sat there as the camera turned, waiting for the money shot. Hmm.

23 June 2008

Insignificant Yank

Always like to kick off with a headline likely to offend my Merkan pals, bless 'em.

Have been going thru the library in the attic most of today and damn me if all my old university text books and notes aren't there.

Pretentious little toff, I was back then. Not sure if I was clever or what because I can't actually understand a word, but the tutors' comments read complimentary enough.

And my set reading! My dear, all those brainy books by Granville-Barker and Pound and Stein ... and my favorite, Edmund Wilson's Axel's Castle. My earnest annotations brought tears to my eyes: who was I trying to impress? Tutor, the leggy gal who sat next to me? Me?

Anyway, I broke for 20 mins to skim thru the Wilson and might re-read him in ernest while mama's in Londres.

But here's the coincidental bit: as I went on tidying and poring over old foto albums, I came across a volume of Evelyn Waugh letters and it fell open at a diary entry whose style I *yearn* to mimic for blog entries:

"Hangover. Sent flowers to Angie, chucked appointment to show London to an insignificant Yank named Edmund Wilson, critic; spent afternoon at White's with Connolly; dined there, drank bottle of champagne and felt better, and went to Connolly's where I met E. Wilson mentioned above. It was next day I chucked him. Augustus John, Elizabeth Bowen, Bohemian girls."
Isn't that just divine? Says it all so succinctly.

Girls will no longer be girls

In fact, boys won't be boys and men won't be men in today's eunuch Britain.

That delicate breed, builders, need protecting from wolf-whistling étudiantes. Ever heard owt more daft?

Some idiots at a West Kent College have decided that whistling at the hunky constructors is "totally unacceptable", and any chicks caught 'harassing' the sensitive hod heavers will "face disciplinary action".

"It has come to the attention of the college that some female students have been making comments to, or whistling at, the builders both whilst on site and as they walk around the campus.

Although we are sure no offence is meant, this constitutes harassment ..."

Now get this - no one has actually registered a complaint ... it's just that some politically over-correct twot has decided that it's "inappropriate behaviour".

Makes you weep, yeh?

Meanwhile new laws could see wolf-whistling builders placed on the sex offenders register for "communicating indecently".

High above the Kentish countryside, is this really what those Spitfire pilots dog-fought the Hun for? If I'd been one of The Few, and had known it would come to this, I'd've given Fritz the thumbs-up and told him, "Bomb away, mate, strafe the silly Fokkers for all I care."

21 June 2008

Cartoon from the 1980s

Teenage boy dressed in animal skins, staring intently into the dancing flames of a small fire.

Behind him, bearded and leaning on a club, his scowling Neanderthal father, horrifed:

"Back when I were a lad, we had to make our own entertainment."

19 June 2008

Renegade Robo Libido

Ack ptui! So that's what's happening to the lovely Libidinous magazin. Such a shame.

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17 June 2008

Words and Weapons

The Spectator magazine runs word-playful competitions on its back pages that I've often entered but never come close to winning (altho' once mentioned in despatches).

June 7th's was to write a poem or prose ending with 'The pen (or pun) is mightier than the sword'.

The intro to the comp tells me,

"the tag comes from a play, Richelieu by Lord Lytton, the 19th-century politician remembered today, if at all, for The Last Days of Pompeii. "
I never knew that; I thought it was something Shakespeare tossed off. See how good the comp is? And it's not even kicked off yet.

The entry that caught my eye wasn't the winner, but Bill Greenwell is my kind of word wrangler and I suspect he is Wells sahib's too. The donnish Baddeley's, too, come to think of him, now he's back in my life.

Ink beats the sight of meadow, turf or lawn:
The pen is mightier than the sward.
Shakespeare cheers Macbeth, though Caesar-born:
The pen is mightier than Siward.

The writer tops the conjuror for tricks:
The pen is mightier than the sawed.
Print shames the plague, hits purulence for six:
The pen is mightier than the sored.

Nibs pip the pimps and any prostitute:
The pen is mightier than those whored.
Man Booker? Better than the Golden Boot:
The pen is mightier than this award.

Type trounces battlers - fight and you're the ones
The pen is mightier than, thus warred.
As we can see, the pen chops down the puns -
The pen is mightier than the sword.

'Purulence', indeed. So new to me, I typed it 'prurience' but the copy editor in me re-read and corrected.

I'm not sure about 'this award' and I'm sort of disappointed he felt he had to end with the line itself, but I guess them was the rules.

But some gleaming gems there, and I just hope the Speccie turns a blind eye to my quoting Greenwell in toto. (Even if they don't, Learnèd Counsel will have to come out to Corfu to serve me the papers whereupon the Ionian sun and Dimitra's wiles will soon have any misunderstanding in perspective.)

16 June 2008

To bed sober

... such a shock to the system that I wake several times, read listlessly and then turn out the light to try again.

Henry Green's 'Nothing', Christopher Hollis on 'Eton', Thurber cartoons; even one's reading at those hours is slightly surreal.

Suddenly I feel fit and alert and ready for a snack. I exit via the garden doors and walk round to the kitchen, collecting Sam en route who bounds snorting away into the darkness in ecstatic bewilderment at such rule bending.

Gunpowder Tea and Marmited toast as I re-read The Corfiot. Four things, according to one Paul Scotter, that I definitely don't know my mobile phone can do, including if I'm locked out of my remote keyless car.

Call home on my cell and hold the phone a foot or so from the car door. They press the unlock button to sound down their phone. My car unlocks. Rather good tip, as is activating reserve battery power by keying in *3370#. The sort of gem of info' that Eric Edgeworth would have up his sleeve.

An advert I'd not spotted at first reading: The Psychic School and the Esoteric School have a meeting 20-27 June 2008. Awaken to my Psychic and Channeling Abilities; Awake to my Life Vision and Life Purpose in Divine Union within World and Cosmos.

I put on the cans and listen to track 10, side 1 of the Frisell, 'A Change is Gonna Come'. Taken at exactly the right pace and Bill is spot-on with his tone. The band comes in at snail's pace and I marvel again at the magicianship of engineers like Lee Townsend who actually make or break these creations. Four minutes nine seconds precisely, the sax comes in and all of a sudden I remember dancing to it last night with a pliant and morose Diane. I suspect she would have preferred to have been asked to sway by a more sober partner.

I open up the laptop and there is a message from Dottore Baddely mocking me for swanking but being nice enough to pretend to like it.

The tea and toast take effect and I feel deliciously tired, but an email reply to something I sent comes in from Trish accusing me of being up late and carousing. I must reply before she herself goes to bed.

15 June 2008

PERLz Before Swain

I trust y'all are subscribed up to the hilt in Seditioness and have read The Commandments.

I try to URL-drop the Mountain Man's whereabouts whenever I can because of the Streetcred that attaches, and none more than this latest outpouring to RTFM.

What particularly pleases me is that I *think* this is one occasion when Street CreduliTEE is permitted: I do believe I was there when M'lud was practising what he preacheth.

He and I once served under the same lash, oaring the Good Ship Bezosia towards affluent waters.

We would have weekly meetings during which the team would solemnly dissect reps' performances and devise new tortures to keep them in line and meet their quota of calls and emails.

Except for the Big Guy there, who'd perch on the window sill with his nose in an O'Reilly and feign total absence from the chatter. Of course, when we tried to catch him out with a "Don't you agree?" or "What think you?" he'd turn out to've been listening along and snap back an irritatingly informed response and go back to R'ing TFM.

Bloody distracting for me because, as per the pics here, you can see they have intriguing jacket illustrations. Because The Maestro got thru a book a day, each meeting held a new thrill. We sort of felt like Noah as he counted the passengers in.

("Ooh, you're an interesting one. Oi! Someone get that fly ... ack ptui, too late. Oh well.")

Anyway, I just wanted to swank a bit and get my oar in before some smartie pants goes 'Yawn, yes tres interessant, old fruit, but I guess you had to have been there."

Well, I was.

14 June 2008

tim russert

R.I.P. Russert

I ended up watching a lot of American TV in the months before I left for Greece. A lot of it was crap.

Never Russert, who was always on the alert and watchable.

done blowin

Done Blowin'

Dad died 27 years ago today, so to the cemetery with flowers and sombre thoughts.

There, I visited my 2nd favorite, the horn player.

I always think the inscription should read Done Blowin' or Done Wailin'.

I think for myself I'd like a strummer leaning on a shattered fretboard; Done Frettin'.

I'd toyed with DunGreppin' once upon a time but I like the strumming image better. Done picking.

Smashed up Fender? Scratched Gretsch Country Gemmun with Bigsby couchant? Right on.

A pun on having picked and now being picked. I'll leave that to my girls to choose something suitable.

The light was good today caught his foot, splaying over the plinth.

13 June 2008


Bill 'Free'-sell

God bless devoted readers of my crazed blogging.

I'm listening to the latest Bill Frisell double CD and it didn't cost me a drachma. Came gratuit all the way from dankest Denver CO from a nice reader who's liked my earlier reviews and blogabbing and thought the music stores of Corfu isle might lack the newer cool stuff than when I could just stroll down Ferncliffe and into the BI Musicarium.

The really weird thing is that just the other night I was lamenting to no one in special about the good old days back in Bainbridge when hardly a mail would arrive without a package from

  • Melissa
  • the legendary Lee
  • My generous hero, Chip
  • ... Even PR doyenne Phyllis Oyama let me know when fellow Bainbridge strummer Maestro Frisell updated his CV.

    If you write it, the gifts will come.

    Blow me down with a capo: quel shock to have the postie delivering History, Mystery; I'm loving it.

    cover picWas playing it on the Nissan stereo as I drove Hector to his eaterie and when we got there he was like:

    "Give me that. I play it for the customers."

    And damn me if he didnt, all night long.

    He's got this major system there and the sound was heavenly.

    "What is this?" someone yelled, "It's GOOD!"

    "Vasilis Frizellos," bellowed back Hector.

    "Louder!" someone else demanded, so Hector cranked it up to 11 and we all called for another round of Metaxa 5-star.

  • 12 June 2008


    My secret is out.

    Why I choose to live in the Cradle of Democracy ... and the Anatomic Bimbo.

    Indeed, there is a true son of St Spyridion pondering a purchase - and his chances of sneaking aforesaid AlphaBeta up the stairs and past the eagle gaze of his missus.

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    11 June 2008

    Occam's Secateurs

    My parents built the road to the house. Not even a mule track existed to the 10 strema they trekked to and proclaimed good for their home.

    The gates came years later when the white men followed and there wasn't enough buckshot to keep trespassers at bay.

    I always said the south-west wilderness was prime land for planting good weed, but no, papa was a fuzz-fearing man and it stayed jungle.

    Alors, my stunningly talented maman built her garden and with equal talent lost countless tools de jardin until one day, at a dinner party, I frivolously suggested we track down a retired drug-hunting dog, give it a good home, and whenever mum lost a spade or secateur, tell the hound "Go track!"

    Laughter, so amusing, blah blah.

    The other night I was demolishing a crate of Cuervo with pals when someone said,

    "I know you.You're the hacienda that grows maryjane in the backyard and has killer hounds trained to step 'n' fetch retrieve your mother's gardening implements and rip the throat out of trespassers into your marijuana yard. How long you reckon you'll run that scheme?"

    You couldn't invent this stuff.

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    10 June 2008

    Jug Band

    We have ancient olive oil jars dotted around the garden which my mother swaps ideas for where they'd look best.

    I lug and roll and tote and tug best I can.

    There's this one barrel I need to roll up and round and over the gate and fence and then down to somewhere I'm sure it'll get away from me and end up in 1,000 shards.

    For the moment, it's on its side and waiting for muscle and a good sidewind.

    Speaking of wind, as of a few weeks back, a weird spooky sound has come to the neighbourhood that spooks the dogs and has the locals talking of devilry afoot and midnight shenanigans.

    "At least," as maman observed, "it doesn't seem to have worried Sam."


    Well, to cut an unlikely story some slack, I finally found out (by walking round the house one moonlit night) that it is none other than the angled barrel catching the wind and returning a basso profundissimo moan that'd honour any jug band.

    To boot, it has different tones and nuances depending which part of Upper Gouvia you happen to be - rather like police sirens sound different depending on how far a lead you have on them, or if you've given them the slip.

    I tested it by handing a T-shirt over the mouth which silenced it. Next, I must experiment with 'mutes' until I can play some sort of tune ...

    Actually, I have just received a total killer Bob Dylan link, so I'm seriously thinking of easing one of the Bose speakers inside and easing it up to 11, just to see.

    olive oil jars
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    07 June 2008


    I must be in confessional mood. I still feel the chill.

    Tonight in the Melodies bar, some poor bugger was caught stealing a paltry tip from the other table - €5? They hauled him away and called the police. Butterfly on the wheel.

    Back around 1972, I was living in Swiss Cottage, London NW, and at the height of my guitar bore mode. I took it everywhere, usually because I would go straight from busking Baker Street or some party, meet my date du soir, and cab it up to wherever we were eating.

    This one bistro in West Hampstead had an Italian chef who was a crazy git but he knew his cuisinerie and would now and then emerge with his guitar and sing to us.

    We met when he came out to take the plaudits, saw my axe and asked if i played it. Despite managements urging against, I did.

    I played the usuals - La Paloma, Santa Lucia, all the crooneriad - and he burst into song and the customers didnt dare not love it, know what I mean, squire?

    I became a fixture and it was THE place to take a new date - quiet modest chat, out comes Dino and big embraces, the usual urgings to play and my usual modest denials against.

    "Give-a this beyootiful lady a grappa ... and this whoreson spawn of a Neapolitan dung heap what-a he want ..."

    The night in question, we were dining up by the window, furthest from the staff and next to us (out of vision of my lady) a fresh-faced lad and his escort.

    When they paid and left I noticed that he'd left a 25 quid tip: two tens and a fiver.

    I could not stop staring at it. I was like Gollum, obsessed.

    Finally, I extracted a cigarette, patted my pocket as if for a lighter and excused myself as I rose to lean over light my cig from the candle on the other table, palming the 10s.

    Why not from the candle on *our* table?

    Aha, M'sieur Poirot - good point.

    I was petrified. 20 quid was beeg lucre in them days, still is to a mendicant comme moi.

    I eased my shoe off and slid the notes under my foot.

    Dino must have come out about then so out came the guitar and into the songs.

    Re-Enter the boy and his girl and went to reclaim his tip for something more sensible. (They took their time clearing the tables in those days)

    Up came the waiter, something wrong signor? From what he saw, the tip seemed perfectly reasonable.

    But he had left much more. No signor, we have not cleared the table.

    "He took it." Pointing at me. There, upfront. Good challenge.

    Who me?

    Who, this-a gemmun?

    Dino did not like his brief chanson window interrupted. How dare-a you accuse this gemmun? He is a regular. We know him, blah blah. Even my lady expressed indignation.

    "Fucking well search him!"

    Commotion, other diners all looking round.

    I rose with a placatory hand raised: "No no. He's right." Off with my jacket and handed it to the waiter, allowed myself to be frisked.

    So sorry so sorry, Mister Chris

    But they were good: the weasel-faced waiter went down my legs and in around my socks - where I almost stashed the notes - and then stood up: "Is no."

    The poor boy's face was white at losing all that dosh.

    Dino, finally getting the chord: "La mer, qu'on voit danser ... mister, we believe you ... maybe is fall outside ..."

    Everyone outside. I sit down and shrug at the assembled diners. Nods and murmurs, eyebrows raised.

    Eleanor the maitresse d' with two cognacs, so sorry so sorry. No charge. In my place, too! So shame.

    "Eleanor, dont be silly. Of course the bill. Dino, there's a major change there - La MER ..."

    As we walked down to the tube she asked quietly, "Did you take it?"

    What do you - how could I have taken it?

    "I don't know. Don't be angry. Did you take it?"

    "If I'd spotted it, I would have been sorely tempted."

    I could feel the inconvenient Princess-and-Pea lump of the notes underfoot. If it had been a Maupassant story, the crackle of the notes would have swelled in a crescendo.

    03 June 2008

    Tracker Tales

    1. My father did not waste time inventing. What he recounted, you could count on being based on sufficient research to be worth his breath telling.

      Apparently, as an April Fool, a senior civil servant in the Hong Kong government was sent a telegram reading "All is known".

      Next day, no sign of the dude. He had skipped the colony.

      Dad's point was that we all have something to hide and our consciences will fill in the gaps.

    2. 1995 and I was quitting Hong Kong for the last time, heading for Seattle. Queuing at Kai Tak airport for customs, a no-nonsense looking guy with a jaw you dont mess with and a 1,000-yard stare pushed in front of me. I dont recall what I said; something weedy like "Hey, there IS a queue, you know."

      He didnt deign me a glance but rasped in surprisingly well-accented Cantonese,

      "Fuck your mother, ignorant devil ghost man. I enter the line where I like."
      When I praise his accent, I mean he hit at least 3 of the 9 tones.

      Down Wanchai, if you're talking tough about jumping a queue, you go for the stevedore slang,and you can leave off the final "hai" in the maternal intercourse bit: Dieuu lega lo mo. To jump line is to 'hit the point of the pin'. Don't ask me why.

      So off I flew to Seattle-sur-Mer and ended up on Bainbridge Island where Walt's of Lynwood Center was our grocer of choice.

      Must've been no more than a week, lining up to pay and I turn round and it's The Jaw. Same neanderthal expression, 1,000-yard stare. In street Canto',

      "Fuck yer mutha, red-headed devil man. Need to hit needle point here?"

      He looks at me but I've turned back and am exchanging pleasantries with Walt as he weighs the veggies and rings up the total."What did you say?"

      I return the Kai Tak favor and dont look round. "Nothing, mate" and walk out.

    3. Back in my London busking days there was a smartass no one liked but he was tough, read 'Soldier of Fortune' and consorted with unsavory types. A number of pub owners wouldnt have him drinking in their establishment. He played a bit of guitar and I let him borrow my battered Santos Beirao when the Muse took him. It was an uneasy relationship and I wasnt convinced by his lies about him having to stay one step ahead of "Them".

      The other day, taking a short cut up from Garitsa, there he was in a kafeneion, looking older and heavier but the same scam artist.

      He hadnt seen me so I got out my cigs and Herald Trib and came round behind him and sat down at his table. He looked up and then down and then up again as he recognised me. I nodded to him and folded my paper open at the op-ed. The waitress arrived and i made a big deal about flirting with her in Corfiot sing-song Greek about their pastries that werent on the menu but which I bet they kept for the locals. What did she recommend? And a hot capuccino, not the luke-warm variety favored by her countrymen.

      "How's it going Paul?" (eyes sweeping the Trib)

      Not too bad. Yerself?

      "Keeping out of trouble. (Flip the page) Jesus, Gordon Brown couldn't run a bath. Hillary? When's she going to throw the towel in, you reckon?"

      My pastry and coffee arrives and it's hot and flakey. I tell her that mama neednt have fired the oven afresh just for me. She giggles.

      I pay there and then and include an unnecessary €1 euro tip,

      "For the kid's computer games. Oy veh! Toys these days, yeah?"

      Over tipping can be a goof insult but say its for the children and face is retained.

      I drink my coffee and wrap the rest of the baklava in a napkin and rise to leave.

      "They only told me to find you," I say. "Mission accompli. Have a nice day."
      As I walk away the waitress shouts out thanks and Paul calls out
      "No, I'm not into that any more. I told them."
      I think that's what he said. I hope that's not what he said.

    01 June 2008

    A Kraut Too Far

    You definitely have to be there - or here - to get the full humour of the British gent whose holiday holiday turned out to be so crammed with Germans that he sued - and won.

    He *says* there was nothing Fawlty-esque about his reaction, but you only have to be alongside them at the pool or duelling trolleys in the supermarket or trying to order or enjoy a quiet drink ... and Basil leaps to the mind.

    All my Greek pals hoot with lafter at this story which shows how long memories can be. When my Yorkshireman dad came out here 35 years ago, with his Viking looks from way back when his forebears popped over for a day's pillaging and liked it so much they stayed, he was asked less than tactfully if he was German, I suspect so the locals could gauge the low level of service to deliver. He was such a palpably truthful chap, and his classical Greek of such precision, they saw immediately he was a son of Albion and all was well.

    Sixty years back, our visitors from over the Rhine bow weren't the best behaved - either on land or in the air - and attitudes still rankle, hence the twitch of the mouth at this story.

    There's no excuse to be rude or racist, even at the worst of times, but since I continue in thrall to a certain lissome Germaniki, I feel ever so slightly "entitled" to share this story and make my tasteless cracks, particularly since I showed her the piece and got my arm soundly walloped and the iciest Wagnerian look from those gooseberry eyes ....

    DVDs Beat Libido?!

    How are the - er - libidinous fallen?

    Many a merry aprés-midi have I spent riffling thru the stock with companions of age and chassis more suitable to Libido ... to think it's come to this ... and in the Cradle of Democracy, to boot.




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