Categories
anthropomorphism music

surd rime

Here’s a couple of tracks from the new neureille album surd rime. I meant to do a lot more with it but sadly I’ve not felt that I had enough time and space to do all those things such as…

Promotion, distribution, dissemination, application, phosphorence, stability, strata

In particular I was supposed to organise an album launch party that could have been a starting place a building block foundation or something of that sort. Instead just 2 tracks from the thing. 2 bits of stuff which I can no longer judge. That’s how it should be I suppose.

Firstly Caspian Gates which is a potted history of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). It doesn’t tell you a great deal about him sorry about that. But if you’re interested it’s fairly easy to find out. One of the interesting things about the Caspian Gates – the gates that is and not the song – is that nobody is sure exactly where they are geographically or at least where the mythological site of the gates is.

Caspian Gates

And the other song is called Love On A Moving Platform which is a song about moving platforms and love. Adolf Hitler had a dream about leading his country. It came true. So not all dreams that come true are good things. Surely some are but possibly not.

Love On A Moving Platform

If you’d like to buy either of these tracks or indeed the whole album or other albums come to that you can do so by going to the Buy Stuff page which is on the menu at the top of the page. I can’t say fairer than that can I?

The 2 songs feature as well as myself Paul Wigens on drums Mike Mulholland on bass guitar Rosalind Moreno-Parra and Jane Thomason on backing vocals.Thanks again to all those musicians and the fantastic work they put in with very little direction from myself.

Categories
anthropomorphism birds music songwriting

mus et ursus

In 1974 probably in the 8 week term that is known as hilary I wrote a song which is the oldest song that I have on a cd. In fact I have it on 2 cds. And that is why this the 3rd series of repeated songs exists. The first version was recorded in 1980 probably possibly and as usual as it’s historically a precedent I’m highlighting it first. It’s out there in the world. I was happy that someone else (Chuck Warner) made that decision because to be perfectly frank I didn’t think it was good enough. As a song it’s fine it’s just the recording I’m talking about – not that there’s anything wrong with the musicians, just that if I thought it was going to be released to a wider audience I would have wanted to work and record it better. It wasn’t meant for general public release. But as I’ve said before it’s all there is so that’s in a way irrelevant.

The Mouse And The Bear (1980 version)

The 2nd version was recorded in December 2007. The people involved were Jeff Spencer, Paul Wigens, me, Immy & Mossy Price. The last 2 just had a cameo role and I’m glad to say that they’re both musicians now although that’s as a result of many more variant influences than me. More female musicians is pretty high up as a goal in my manifesto however.

the mouse and the bear (2007 version)

The 2 songwriters I associate with this song are of course Syd Barrett and Kevin Ayers who initially I copied. (Back in 1971). Most of my early songs were either based on one of the other of those 2. Luckily The Mouse And The Bear is not exactly quite like any song that either of those 2 wrote, I can certainly perceive the similarities. I have an even earlier song called The Story that I can play which is in the same vein. More Kevin Ayers-like in that it has jazz chords. The chord thing with Syd is moving mainly major chords up and down without worrying about basic rules of harmony but he never got round to any jazz chords all that much other than that Bb diminished in Here I Go. Maybe I’ll do a demo of The Story soon that would be nice. Really I ought to be working on the next stage of the coathanger trail but I’m stuck with that difficult requirement and so it’s possible I won’t be able to do that until the spring of 2014.

Categories
anthropomorphism birds insects micromuseum spider stamps

insect stamps

It’s been a while since I’ve turned my attention to stamps. I’d just like to point out that I wouldn’t describe myself as a stamp-enthusiast. I collected stamps between the age of about 8 to 12, the stamps I collected I still possess and now I find them a fascinating remnant of past times – geography and history resonates through my lifetime and before my lifetime.

Ok now I’ve got that off my chest I’d like to introduce the new addition to the stamp category which is insect stamps. One of the things that stamps represent is an advertisement for the country they come from. Insects are one of those things that most countries don’t want to confess to. I’d love to have a stamp which had a common British house-fly on it but honestly I don’t think such things exist, certainly not in my collection anyway. Countries generally don’t want to admit to infestations of fleas, cockroaches, locusts etc and so insects haven’t been featured as much as they should be in the world of postage.

So sadly the category is a bit hard to populate. There’s only one insect that’s easy to find on stamps and that’s the butterfly. The inference is that you’ve got to be aesthetically pleasing to end up on a stamp – no probosces or weird hairy abdomens thank you. Here’s a butterfly stamp to show you what I mean. Most stamps from Bulgaria use a Cyrillic script and I have no idea why this one doesn’t.

insect-stamps1

The next one’s an insect that Chile was happy to celebrate back in 1944. Known either as Darwin’s beetle, Grant’s stag beetle or the Chilean stag beetle this is a male. The female is much less elaborate, which is sexual dimorphism as I’m sure you all know. The large horns and forelegs are purely for the purposes of combat between rival males. 1944 was a hundred years after the publication of Claude Gay‘s book, Historia fisica y politica de Chile and that resulted in a large number of stamps. I’ve got a lot of them but this is the only one which depicts an insect.

insect-stamps2

And while on the subject of beetles I would like to say that my opinion of the species is indebted to Primo Levi in his book Other People’s Trades drawing my attention to the comment of biologist Jack Haldane‘s when asked what his concept of God was – “He is inordinately fond of beetles”. Somehow I find this comforting. So here is an African beetle which is basically a flat-faced longhorns type of affair. Apparently an infestation of these little blighters can have a devastating effect on cashew. So thanks to Portuguese Guinea for breaking the mould and putting a pest on a stamp. Actually Portuguese Guinea doesn’t exist any more it’s Guinea-Bissau now.

insect-stamps3

Well I’m scraping the barrel here a bit now with insect stamps. To be perfectly honest there don’t seem to be too many about. So here’s another butterfly. limenitis populi or the Poplar Admiral is a widespread Eurasian insect. One of the interesting facts that can be gleaned from Wikipedia is that

Limenitis populi has never seen coupling naturally in captivity. The manual coupling is described by Marion Weidemann, this is the Austin Platt’s method which consists to partially suffocate the male (anaesthetize in a cyanide bottle) before hand pairing (Dr. A. Platt specialized on North American Limenitis species).

From my early years I’ve always had a sort of desire to be an entomologist but having read that I’m glad it never happened. William Blake famously once had a conversation with the soul of a flea. If ever I have a similar conversation it will be with the soul of a person who is involved in insect-cyborg research.

insect-stamps4

Finally I’ve completely run out of insects, but I’m sure that there must be some hidden in this stamp somewhere as apparently rhinoceroses and let’s face it most animals even some humans are riddled with insect-type parasites of some sort. This is a white rhinoceros though it doesn’t look all that white and sadly it no longer occurs in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. A couple of egrets contemplate this large muscular mammal and of course the 2 species have a symbiotic relationship related to the ticks that infest the rhinoceros. Actually ticks are more spiders than insects, but I would have included spiders in this category if I could have found some spider stamps. Another of the birds that might feed upon a large mammal in this way is the oxpecker. Apparently the oxpecker has got so much of a taste for the blood of the carrying mammal which is in effect the main flavour of eating a full-bellied tick that they will work at wounds and feed directly on the larger creature’s blood. The rhinoceros seems to accept the birds as a necessary evil.

insect-stamps5

Categories
anthropomorphism crab micromuseum

micromuseum 8

The present instance of the micromuseum is a book published in 1961 by Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd. The publishers at this point had offices in Edinburgh, London, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Toronto, New York and there was also the Société Française D’Éditions Nelson in Paris.

During the middle years of the 20th century they published many children’s books in various series such as the Good Luck Series. For example, The Disobedient Cuckoo Clock

cuckoo clock book

or, also from 1951, in the Children’s Own Series, The Road That Lost Its Way

lost highway

Actually that one looks so great I’m determined to track down a copy and have one of my own, but only if it’s got a decent quality dust jacket.

I only have one Good Luck Series book and that is called Angus The Tartan Partan. It was written by a lady called Janet Caird and she used to be a near neighbour of my family’s when I was very small and lived in Dollar, Clackmannanshire. This is a first edition and signed by the author. Someone in Australia has a copy I would have to pay over £80 for. Presumably not signed by the author. No items in the micromuseum are for sale, but I probably do have my price for them, but bear in mind that they are all to a greater or lesser degree inflated by nostalgic value.

I asked my mother if she had any memories of Janet Caird. Her first thought was that she could still remember a joke she had told her.

A Scotsman is in a cafe and the waitress asks him what he wants for his dessert.

-Do you want an eclair or a meringue?

-Aye ah’ll have an eclair ye’re nae wrang.

It’s a linguistic, punny sort of joke, ideal for an author. Janet went on to write a series of crime thrillers.

Like the other books figured above this book is an epic of anthropomorphism. Partan is a Scottish word for a crab. The whole idea for the book revolves around a rhyming wordplay.

I won’t give the story away, but here are a few images from the book, firstly the frontispiece.

An image of Angus’s early happy captivity.

Crabs can make smashing pets.