Monday, February 23, 2009

Kraak Festival - Brussels - March 7th 2009

Geoff Leigh is a veteran in the prog, RIO and jazz world. He was one of the key figures of the Canterbury scene and played in legendary bands as Henry Cow, Slapp Happy, Aksak Maboul and Univers Zéro. Leigh is a virtuoso sax, clarinet and flute player, and still practices in the art of experimentation. Leigh still digs into his musical possibilities, while most of his pals from those days are enjoying an easy retirement.

Geoff Leigh is een oudgediende in de prog, RIO en jazzwereld. Hij stond mee aan de wieg van de Canterbury scene en speelde in legendarische bands als Henry Cow, Slapp Happy, Aksak Maboul en Univers Zéro. Leigh is een virtuoos blazer (sax, clarinet, dwarsfluit...) en het experimenteren zit hem nog steeds in het bloed. Terwijl veel van zijn toenmalige genregenoten aan een makkelijk pensioen denken, graaft Leigh nog steeds verder in zijn muzikale mogelijkheden.

Geoff Leigh est un vétéran dans le monde du prog, RIO et jazz. Il était un pionier de la scène de Canterbury et a joué dans des groupes légendaires comme Henry Cow, Slap Happy, Aksak Maboul et Univers Zéro. Leigh est un virtuose (saxophone, clarinette, flûte traversière,...) qui ne cesse d'expérimenter. Pendant que ses contemporains d'autrefois pensent à leur pension, Leigh continue à explorer les possibililités musicales.

"Mortons Object" - Brussels - March 6th 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Socks And The City?

Infamous Henry Cow 'LegEnd' album cover by Ray Smith.

The life of a man depends on a pair of socks

12.02.2009 Source: Pravda.Ru

Socks play maybe not the most, but a very important role in men’s life. Men’s socks were honored in an episode of Sex and the City TV series, when Carrie Bradshaw presented her philosophic views on this piece of men’s apparel. This seems to be quite surprising because socks may often drive women mad when they see or smell them. Socks may also become the reason of family scandals.

Socks play a very important role in the life of every man. His professional career or romantic achievements may often depend on a pair of socks. A woman may find out a lot about her man if she takes a closer look at his socks.

Needless to say that women, just like men, pay a lot of attention to men’s tastes in clothes. A pair of socks is a very important accessory in men’s clothes, just like ties, watches, sleeve buttons and wallets.

Indeed, a pair of socks can tell a lot about its owner. Rational and practical men mostly choose black socks for black is a universal color that fits everything. Gray or brown socks would be the choice of conservative men who do not welcome changes in their lives. Green socks attract military men and those who associate themselves with Greenpeace activists. Blue socks indicate the romantic nature of a man. White socks are the best choice for those men who like sports and those who go on holiday. White socks give a lounge look to a man, especially when he wears them with jeans or shorts. White socks are out of the question when it comes to wearing business suits.

If a man wears red socks, it means that he has his own sense of style. Red socks may also mean that he does not care a thing about style.

World’s leading designers scratch their heads over the appearance of men’s socks. Socks are quite familiar with modern-day fashion trends. Socks can be adorned with various ornaments which may also point out men’s character traits.

Ornaments of rhombs or lines indicate that a man is searching for his place in this life, or maybe for the point of this life. Flowers, little suns and rabbits may expose a playboy or just a man with a good sense of humor. Those who prefer classic style choose pinstripe and checkered socks.

Socks have a glorious history. They evolved from leather shoes that covered the sole, the heels and the toes. Greek women used to wear those shoes to keep their feet warm during sleep. Afterwards, people began to put pieces of fabric inside clodhoppers to protect feet from calluses and scratches. Socks celebrated their triumph in Rome 100 years later when they covered both the foot and the shank, slowly turning into stockings. Ancient poets began to glorify socks as the best clothes that human feet could have.

Knitted stockings appeared in Spain only in the 16th century. Those were very expensive and hard to find garments – a pair of stockings could be an excellent present to noblemen and even kings.

Stockings turned into socks during the second decade of the 19th century when men donned tight pantaloons. Finally, socks became even shorter during the First World War to economize fabric.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Where's The Money Gone?

Always a good question.
Click the header for news on how major corporations avoid paying tax in the UK.

Monday, February 02, 2009

John Martyn RIP

I first met John Martyn in 1968 (69?) - I used to busk with Alan Moller, a guitar player who later played bass with me in Mouseproof & Radar Favourites. There was a folk club in London's Soho district called Les Cousins - every saturday they had a gig by well-known musicians, & if you got down early enough, you could book a short spot to play before the main act. Alan said we had to get down there to see John - being a bit of a jazzer I'd never heard of him, but Alan said I'd probably like it. So we got there & booked our spot - we used to play quite jazzy modal kind of stuff when we weren't busking. John liked what we did & asked us to join him for a couple of numbers at the end of his set. Alan was of course over the moon - I was still head in the clouds - we did the tunes with John & it went down pretty well. Later Alan disappeared somewhere, & John came up to me & said "I didn't want to upset your mate, but I really like your flute playing, & maybe you can do a few gigs with me if there's enough money" - he handed me a copy of "The Tumbler", his latest album, saying "There's some flute on a few tracks - if you can play more or less something similar that would be great" - we swapped phone numbers & off he went. Of course Alan was a wee bit jealous, but understood the situation. When I looked at the album, I saw the flute player was Harold McNair, one of my heroes! So being a bit shy & wet behind the ears, I already felt a bit intimidated & out of my depth, but also pretty chuffed by the offer. After listening & playing along to the album I phoned John, & he invited me to a flat in Kensington somewhere for a rehearsal. Things got off to a good start - the usual endless supply of real 60's spliffs put me in a relaxed mood - we went through a few songs, then into a long very abstract impro, which I hadn't been expecting - pretty experimental to say the least. (I also had my first taste of muesli there, the result of which was an extremely long visit to the loo, emptying the old bowels!). His lifestyle was already pretty chaotic - people came & went - Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention, American singer Jackson C. Frank, & many other musicians & hangers-on - I was quite a heavy dope smoker in those heady days, but these people were way out of my league! I don't think I've ever smoked so much in such short spaces of time & still been capable of playing....all pretty wild. The first gig I did with him was at Chelsea Art College - he said he'd play a few songs then invite me up. I was quite nervous - he was very relaxed as always, tuning his guitar differently for almost every song, chatting & joking with the audience while he did it.....very impressive! Then he said "Ladies & gentlemen, I'm pleased to introduce a good friend & great flute player - give a big hand for DADDY LONGLEGS"! I was mortified! Hadn't expected that one at all! So on I shuffled, thinking "you bastard!", but also pleased to be part of the action. A great experience. Over the next couple of months we got together once or twice a week to rehearse, but his chaotic lifestyle didn't always help - he would sometimes just disappear for days on end - nobody seemed to know where he was or what he was up to - once he missed quite a few gigs after inadvertently taking an overdose of acid, resulting in a three day trip which was so powerful he just unplugged the phone, drew the curtains, & locked the door, refusing to see anybody. In the end I only played 4 or 5 gigs with him - musically he was a loner at heart, until his partnership with bassist Danny Thompson & drummer John Stevens a few years later - they were all serious heavy drinkers, & I guess John knew I couldn't hack it on that level, so we just kind of drifted apart. But it was a great period while it lasted, & like most people I'll miss him - his contribution to the more jazzy & experimental side of "folk" music will live on through his recordings, & anyone who ever saw him performing live will never forget the experience.
Wherever you are Johnny boy, aka Jack The Lad, rest in peace.
(The name "Daddy Longlegs" stuck - see Black Sheep).

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Putin to become Russia’s highest-earning painter

The paintings of Russia’s prominent politicians, public figures and athletes are going to be exhibited at Evropa Hotel in St. Petersburg January 14. Vladimir Putin promises to become the highest-earning painter at this point. The painting, which was painted by St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko, was sold at 11 million rubles ($366,000), whereas the work by the former Russian president and the incumbent prime minister is expected to bring a higher profit.

(Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against Russians at all - just find Pravda one of the unintentionally funniest online tabloids. As usual click on heading for full story).