Tuesday, December 05, 2006


We is concerned here in the Waugh/Bowman household for Nic fears she may have the 'Mump'. Not the mumps as suffered by many a poor child but the 'Mump'. For she has the soreness on but one side.

Those of us amongst the staff who have consulted the medical dictionary, when we recovered from the shock of the 'Mucus' pages are of the combined and informed opinion that she has a touch of the old sore throat.

The Hooligans were at home again today, Daniel with the fevers and Joseph with the raging snotters, both exhausted were also suffering from the 'getting up at six o'clock in the morning and jumping up and down on mammy and daddy's bed syndrome' i.e. a black humour, lack of appetite and the like.

I lost yet another day's work.

kids eh? can't live with 'em

can you?


Saturday, December 02, 2006

new fluxus

Warning! The following has a boring factor rating of 110/100. Probably better if you just look for the link it talks about!

Being an admirer of and interested in Fluxus, in fact having got to know and even work with some of the artists involved, I kind of keep half an eye on what is going on. A member of Fluxlist since 1998 (now NeoFluxlist on Yahoo as our host server seems to have packed up its trouble in its old kit bag and buggered off), I have had the fortune to witness the antics of quiet a few Fluxus inspired contemporary artists.

One of the arguments or questions that often arises is 'just how do we define Fluxus?' both historical and contemporary and so far no one seems to have come up with an answer which suits all, probably for the best. This question often leads to heavy and dour discussions and diatribes over 'who is in the gang? who can be? what is/was the gang in the first place?' And while this is all very good and academic and stuff it often omits to include the humour Fluxus, which although may not actually be that relevant to the argument but is important to me! :-)

I have noticed a distinct lack of fun in a lot of contemporary Fluxus inspired works, lots of 'research' and experiment which I am very interested in. Allen Bukoff (allenbukoff.com) is a contemporary Fluxus inspired artist (despite shunning the whole scene, well for a brief period anyway ;-) ), whose works involve a great deal of wry humour and whose 'research' pieces may appear somewhat tongue in cheek but on closer inspection/reflection are a whole lot deeper. Inspired.

There are of course many contemporary Fluxus inspired artists who have a fantastic sense of humour, but which choose not to express this in their work.

Recently however I came across a site which really did make me laugh, it's not particulary Fluxus it's basically just a send up or a parody of some Fluxus artists. I suppose it's not really all that good but it really hit a spot.
Yogi Fu Maciunas' "Flux-Mess" a parody of the Flux Mass is quite near the mark and Henry Flinch's "An Essay on Exceptual Art" is rather naughty. I spent a good few weeks with Henry once, I don't suppose he'd appreciate the joke.

the site is at fluxuswaste.blogspot.com/ there's not a lot there but i'm kind of hoping that more stuff will turn up.

and i'm not completely convinced that allen bukoff is not involved...

Friday, November 24, 2006


well then not a lot to report of late. all been a bit dull really.

venezia did win on sunday though, 5-0 against pro patria! who?
but they were 4 good goals and a penalty, pretty exciting stuff really. almost got my voice back.
had a horrible cold
but it's gone.

almost finished the biography of Sol Nte, Stoke on Trent's startlingly trousered troubadour then i'm going to send a copy to Roger Stevens and Michael Leigh for editing.

as they have absolutely nothing better to do! (check their blogs!)


Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Reversal of the Ex-Communication of Lord Listamovimenti Byron

the following is an extract from a document (as yet undated) found in the freeformfreakout organisation archives. unfortunately we have been unable to upload the images as our scanner is goosed. it appears to be an illustrated field report from a dig in the venetian lagoon - the following is what appears to be some background information which may shed some light on the actual finds:

The Reversal of the Ex-Communication of Lord Listamovimenti Byron
(The Impostor or Fake)
Archaeological Find from Saint Julian’s Isle

There is a legend which tells of a tale which relates the story of an enormous and preposterously opulent feast. A huge banquet, outrageous in both size, cost and the amount of quail used instead of hotdogs with the cheese and pineapple cocktail stick nibbles. The banquet is said to have taken place in Venice at the beginning of the height of the might of the Most Serene Republic, and is said to have involved so many guests that no calle or campo in Venice, not even Piazza San Marco was big enough to seat them all.

The banquet was in honour of the Reversal of the Ex-Communication of the Fake Lord Byron by Pope Gregory the Furred. Byron was originally ex-communicated for his blasphemous poetry, most notably the sonnet “Oh, So Called All-Seeing, All Knowing, All powerful One! If You’re so Great then Come On Have a Go! I Challenge You to a Yorkshire Shin-Kicking Competition, If You Can Find Me that is!”

Byron renounced his poem as an “Ill-informed and misguided work of nonsense by an ignorant and silly fool who had certainly seen the errors of his ways and who had every intention of returning to The Flock ay ess ay pee!” Byron had spent a god month or two in hospital after being found unconscious in an upturned beer barrel with severely bruised shins and a size thirteen Walkley’s ‘Foundryman’ Safety Clog miraculously wedged in a place which would ensure his avoidance of horseriding, cribbage and other sitting down based activities (like sitting down) for a goodly while.

So large indeed was the table required for the feast that a special pontoon bridge, funded by a special Black Jack Night at the Garibaldi Working Mens’ Club, had to be constructed out into the lagoon, stretching from Santa Croce almost to Punto San Giuliano or St. Julian’s Fiat.

Archaeological evidence leads us to believe that Pope Gregory, Henry Tudor, Lord Byron and in fact Marco Polo where sitting at the San Giuliano end and not at the ‘Venice’ end as previously thought. One theory being that the smell and noise from the bus station could have potentially triggered one of Pope Gregory’s migraines and therefore the potential flaying alive of any guest who was perhaps a little heavy handed with his spoon during the soup course. Doge Enrico Dandolo is thought to hat been sat at about one kilometre from the ‘Venice’ end, however a large margin of error must be considered probable to allow for the tide.

Giacomo Casanova, King Louis XIV of France, Quentin Crisp, Mary Magdalene and Martin Luther are thought to have occupied the foot of the table, the Santa Croce, or ‘Venice’ end. Studies of fossilised footprints found under platform three of the station point top the fact that a “right old time” was had by all in that particular company. Close scrutiny of the footprints show that apparently Casanova and Crisp coped considerably better when dancing in heels that King Louis or Mary Magdalene. Martin Luther, sat at that end for obvious reasons. (He still had a bag of nails from the Vatican True Relics of the Cross workshops that the Pope had lent him, unaware of what he wanted them for.) It is also interesting to note that Luther, although barefoot, appears to have danced a mean Tarantella.

Pope Simon, responsible for Byron’s ex-communication was not present on the count of the fact that;
a.) he wasn’t really all that popular in the Byron camp;
b.) the presence of two popes at the same dinner table may have been deemed as somewhat of a bad show, raising doubts over Papal Succession laws but not only that, questions would have bee asked about the economic and environmental issues linked to the creation of all that black and then white smoke, the endless lunches for the cardinals and the traditional end of election disco. The ‘two for the price of a nun’ drinks promotions were said to be responsible for a whole host of things, allegedly including two or three ‘immaculate conceptions’, still kept from the general Hail Mary paying public by Papal Dictate. Pope Simon’s election is purportedly the result of the fact that Cardinals Point and Synne used the white smoke producing wood to stoke up the Vatican oven just as someone else was asking whether “anyone fancied a beer while we look at the menu?”
c.) he’d been dead for 501 years, killed by divine intervention and a miraculous 6 dart finish.

Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about the archaeological finds is the fact that they were uncovered on an island which, if the truth be known, simply could not have existed at the time of the banquet. Standard and accepted previous archaeological finds point to the fact that the island was constructed by the Austrians at the time of their occupation of northern Italy and the construction of the rail bridge which still connect Europe to Venice. It just doesn’t point to where.

Excavations are expected to continue for as long as the wine lasts.

Monday, October 30, 2006


oh well it looks like it's that time of year again, all consuming apathy and inability to do anything creeps in.

at least i've got the football now, a season ticket for venezia - pride of serie c1!
yesterday we were away to cittadella and it was the worst game so far. BUT lunch was good, we found a trattoria near castelfranco veneto which specialised in grilling things on a huge fire in the middle of the restaurant. it was cheap and i ate too much and drank too much wine but the the ultra' were on form and the singing and insult hurling kept me awake.

today i'm just miserable


Sunday, October 08, 2006

forza ragazzi!

Well what's new?

Got a season ticket for SSC Venezia, stars of Serie C1, actually I got it as a present for my birthday. €55.00 with a free hat and flag! That's like one ticket for Newcastle if you can find one! It's a good laugh the match here though, I went to one once a while back, where the ball went over the stands and into the lagoon. The pre-match warm up is good too:
Spritz in Bar Vittoria here in Mestre then on the bus (or motorbikes) to Venice, down to the fist bar on the Strada Nuova for a seafood risotto, a polpetta/piece of squid/prawn skewer and some cheap red plonk....and so begins the tour of the bacari (little bars) until we get to Rialto, then a few bits and pieces "alla botte" (a bar with excellent polpette) then off down to near St Mark's Square aqnd the pile onto the vaporetto to Sant' Elena where the stadium is.
Stadium is used in the loosest possible way, pile of planks on scaffolding is nearer to the truth.
Then a quick drinky and off into 'la curva sud' - home of the various Ultras factions, most of whom spend most of the time smoking dope and trying to get everyone else to sing instead of watching the match. According to my scarf I am allied to the Rude Fans, so I'd better watch where I stand. Rude Fans! We stick our tongues out at the opposition and never say pardon me when we burp....

Tomorrow it's Venezia vs Pistoiese

pics from venezia - padova (boo!)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

a pea bird ear to me

happy birthday to me
happy birthday to me
happy birthday to me-eeeee
happy birthday to me

40 today :-|

the rotten buggers at work put balloons up on the front door so now all the kids and parents know. stil my little lot in class 5 brought in some cakes and pop so we had a party instead of maths.

which is only right i would say!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

you can take a horse to water but a pencil must be lead


oooh, are they anchovy fillets i spy in that jar?

isn' tit fun ny what misu seoft he spac eb arc ando.

me seat ali aarrrggh"

it's a friday night and we've been watching 'miss italia' for what seems like three days now. sylvester stallone is the guest of honour and he looks like he is melting. it's been on since tea-time and now it's 23:50 and the poor bugger's been there with his translator the whole time, money for old rope her job mind you - "amo gli animali" - 'i love animals'; "voglio lavorare con bambini" - 'i want to work with children'; "volevo sposarmi con un giocatore della juve ma sono nella seria b adesso, quindi ho cambiato idea...ma vieri e' ancora single?" - 'i love animals'. only 3 phrases to translate.
hang on! hang on! all the lasses who've been elimated so far (24,376) are line dancing to a c&w remix\of "staying alive" - oh how i love italy!!!

well, i'm supposed to be working on the biography of stoke's greatest living anagram of a body of water but i've just been a bit distracted.
kind of hammered a bottle of valpolicella (zonin) - a cheap but pretty damn fine slurp from the coop, one of my favourites at the moment at about 4 euro it tastes much more expensive. at the moment i am supping a sangiovese di romagna, superiore, from the terre cevico stable. it too is a damn fine plonk and was in fact surprisingly strong enough of flavour to frollow the valpolicella. must dash, they're going to choose the winner of miss italia - oh the politically incorrectness of it all, the bikinis, the sheer fabric of the 'evening wear' - i reckon they put the air-conditioning on for two specific reasons.....
nope, wrong it was just an advert break.

been listening to a lot of ska recently, stuff from the late 70's early 80's, especially the selecter and the specials and earlier stuff like the skatalites and the old trojan record stable lot. 'train to skaville' by the ethiopians is getting worn out here followed by the same song done live by the selecter, in fact my new lose the belly regime seems to consist of moonstomping and skanking around the house whilst tidying up, doing the ironing and the like. building those shelves today wasn't easy mind and i had to put a bit of willard grant conspiracy on to ease the sweating. oh! and "it mek" by desmond\dekker is pretty good to peel potatoes to as well.

they made stallone act out the "adrienne!!" scene from rocky with one of the contestants - she was better than him!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Eggbert Spoonbender.

Eggbert Spoonbender,
King of Teeth.
His interchangeable knee-boots
Made of jelied beef,
With his gargling chicken shirt
And fried egg mobile phone,
He's coming to a street near you.
Make sure your not at home.

Written as an example to Class 5 when they wher Class 4.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

back, front and sideways from the jollydaze

well dear reader,

the summer holiday is almost over and it's nearly time to go back to the grind. i've been off work since the end of june and i'm having difficulty remembering just what my job is! "but what has he been up to all that time?" i hear you say , followed by "my god his hearing's good!" then "and his imagination" then "hang on, i didn't think that!" and then "..or that! but my word i have in fact just thought all of that, and as i read i find that i am in fact thinking exactly what is written upon the screen. uncanny! the lad must have someof the magick powers about him, a touch of the ol' aleister crowley, or perhaps even the great doris 'i have a john coming through, is there a john in the hall' stokes."
and all of that is true.
interesting though, isn't it? how you never hear from doris stokes any more now that she's dead. you would have thought there would have been no stopping her popping across to fill us in on the goings on in limbo. (just try and explain that grammar to an italian doctor who insists on knowing the correct names for the grammatical elements before even trying to understand what is actually being said.) that part in brackets is of course optional.
so what have i been up to then? you know i have no idea! went to gateshead, home of the now defunct Isaac Tucker &Sons brewery. Isaac was me mam's great, great granda or something. in gateshead i met the startlingly trousered concrete poet of the potteries - monsieur sol nte. amazingly flexible for someone made of concrete i thought.

best thing i've seen in years - a very polite, if not a little timid too, gallery assistant at the BALTIC centre for contemporary arts (gateshead) trying to ram a motorcycle crash helmet onto sol's be-dreadlocked bonce and them him taking off slowly and unsteadily to do three laps of the gallery space on a tiny, mini-motorbike. i think i actually guffawed, and i thought that only victorian gentlemen did that.

what else? shaved all my hair off, drank a lot of whisky, got conjunctavitis, bought an new shirt, some new dr martens and some braces a shed load of cds and a computer game. yes a game! was sick of doing little and worrying about the fact that i thought that i'd might as well doing nothing constructively and in a way that the act of doing nothing and wasting my time actually took my mind off the fact that i was in fact doing nothing and wasting my time.

been listening to a lot of old ska from the 60's and the late 70's - i'd forgotten just how much i really like it and that to has helped take my mind off the fact that i have reached a bit of a sticky bit in the biopgraphy of sol nte (which is brilliant in parts!) in fact here are the last lines:

“And the others we make by carefully cutting out pictures from the Weekly Kebab and Curry Courier and making colour photocopies of them.”

see what i mean? well perhaps not. but i haven't written anything for weeks, i keep having ideas but never get around to fleshing them out. i'm on page 50 (A5 pages) and intend to send the whole thing to roger stevens for editing. seeing as how all he does is shuffle around in his BHS plaid slippers, sucking on a clay pipe, reciting humorous verse and rushing to do the vacuuming and wash the dishes before Jill gets in from work i reckon he'd be perfect. i suppose i should ask him first though....naaaaa! (hello roger !)

"...Ken’s wife Phyllis as she looked up to see a large woolly devotional candle which seemed to be trying to steal a falafel, encouraged by a priest; another scream from Sol as he realised that that stray spark theory has in fact a solid foundation; another scream from Phyllis as she realised that that wasn’t a falafel...

I'm having trouble keeping him out of prison.

I did spent nigh on 2 months working with Alison Knowles which was wonderful, but i've written about that...Oh i spent some time with mark bloch recently, we had an amble around venice together - very nice chappie. but what else? spent a lot of time playing with the hooligans who turned 2 on the 13th august. they had a great time in england. CARPETS! they have no fear and like jumping off high things.
well the hangover is hanging on...
over and out of it

"“What the hell am I going to do with a shiny lasagne?” he asked Hector Singh, head chef. Singh wasn’t really Hector’s surname, it was Sows but he thought that Singh sounded better, considering."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

and then the enquiry came and suddenly i had him back...

hippo birdie

aha! i am still here, just completely lacking in time and energy to write anything.
today was the boys' birthday, two years old already!
has anyone seen 'the wiggles'? what is THAT all about!?

did you have full consent to keep samples from ......?
of course, i checked with the solicitor.
you do realise the damage these cases can cause!
hello silvia.
i'm sorry its, what would you do.
i'd wait.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Rake's Progress

Tonight we open the show Alison Knowles: Time Samples.
We'll be performing too.

It's all been a bit full on but it's come together nicely - it's a very beautiful and striking show, which I won't even try to explain or describe. Perhaps one day when I have time to breathe (and and ADSL line) I'll post some pics.

Our time together in Venice is drawing to a close, it has been wonderful. I'm not sure what I'm going to do now, I mean I'll have free time!

Spoil the boys, have a kip, finish the biography of Sol Nte what I am writing. I founf it the other night, and do you know, in parts it's actually quite good.
A bit like Sol really!

An Excerpt:

“Good afternoon sir!” said a thick set barman
sporting a thick set handlebar moustache,
corduroy car-coat, well oiled pedal-pushers and
a pair of ice skates.
“Good afternoon bar-keep!” said Sol, who’d
never seen a handlebar moustache before, well
not one with bell and dynamo lamp anyway.
“How can I help you?” asked the barman.
“I wonder if you can help me” asked Sol, “I am a
little lost, I am tired an hungry and would like to
rest a while. Perhaps I may take advantage of
the warmth of your hearth and if you have a
menu I’d be most pleased to peruse it.”
“You look tired and hungry my friend” offered
the barman, “And if I am not mistaken have the
look of a man lost, tired and hungry. Sit you
down, rest you, take advantage of our hearth,
perhaps you would like to take a gander at the
menu whilst you warm yourself.”
He led Sol to an armchair by the fire. Sol settled
his arm into the chair and waited as the barman
pulled up another armchair, a footstool, and a
headboard. Sol settled himself and sat on the
“You make yourself comfortable whilst you look
at the menu,” said the barman, “I have other
customers to attend to.”
“I see that you have other customers to attend to,”
said Sol. “I’ll just make myself comfortable and
look at the menu while I wait. Oh and by the
way, it would appear that your skates are
Sol had the strangest feeling that the barman was
not only mumbling but in fact talking backwards
as he had not understood a word he had said.
Reaching into his travelling bag Sol pulled out his
reading monocle and looked at the menu. Turning
the menu the right way up he polished his monocle
on his shirt tail, making it completely unusable,
(seeing this however the barman did sneak up
and cut a small portion of Sol’s shirt tail off and
made his way quietly to the ‘Specials’ board,
where he added a new soup.) and was still
unable to read it. Squinting at the menu until his
good eye watered Sol simply could not make
head nor tail of what was written.
“This appears to be written in what I can only
assume to be ‘foreign’.” he thought. “Perhaps I am
near the docks.”

Monday, June 12, 2006

The onion skin song and other such things

it's been a very hectic few weeks dear reader, very hectic indeed. the end of the academic year brings exam preparation, reports, a monstrous cold-sore and a very surreal happening.
over the past couple of weeks i have been working, as normal, at work. teaching the children of class 4 and shouting maths at class 5 whilst eating cinnamon beans. after work and at weekends i have been working with alison knowles, helping to prepare for a performance, which will take place this evening at museo fortuny in venice, and setting up her show entitled "Time Pieces" at the Emily Harvey Foundation, again in venice. We also had to put together a prototype of a piece which will adorn a window of the Villa Buttafava, somewhere near Milan. actually alison put it to gether, i glued it down.
all of this has been relatively straightforward, with the exception of bill stone's video, and gone really rather smoothly for venice.
tonight we will perform alison knowles' 'loose pages', 'onion skin song' and 'shoes of your choice', ay-o's "rainbow", and a couple of pieces which slip my mind. a slippery mind is, alas something that i've had to live with since that first pint of scotch. it's all sort of organised to take off at 6.30 gmt+1 of the afternoon clock and will do so in a most spectacular room - an enormous and crumbling sala of a 15th century palazzo. empty apart from a couple of wardrobes and a large filing cabinet, we will perfom in the centre of the space. props are a 1m squared white podium and a microphone, saran wrap, onion skins, two pages of the score of 'the barber of seville', round bean turner, red bean turner, wooden pecking birds and the 'loose pages' portfolio. after there will be wine!

the surreal happening was this however:
i, through one thing and another i was really behind with the school reports for class 4 - and not a little stressed! alison knowles had expressed an interest in coming into school to meet the kids. so i got it arranged and in she came. she talked about beans and books and the kids talked about their experiences with beans and the books they were making and a very interesting session took place. the children were rapt and even began to write haiku about what was going on. i in the meantime was flying around, purple and sweating, trying to get everything ready for 4p.m.
at one point i looked up from the envelopes i was addressing and saw that alison knowles - an artist who i had studied at university, who i'd never even dreamt of meeting was now in my classroom, teaching my class, effectively saving my backside whilst i did all the stuff i should have done at least a week previously!


Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Alison Knowles

Alison Knowles phoned this evening, to ask me to perform with her in Venice.

That was a surprise.

And qite possible the most interesting thing thats happened around the old FFFO HQ for a looong time.

You can see the medication is doing its job by the sheer dullness of these posts.
I'm not sure how I feel about that! Sometimes I wonder if the sacrifices I make to stay 'balanced' are really worth it - the things I'm unable to do when I feel OK make me feel bad, but the medication stops me from feeling so bad that I can actually produce the stuff I do when I don't feel so good, and sonit goes around.
I bore myself!


I found this on me desktop, I obviously finished the wine before getting round to posting....

Busy preparing an asparagus risotto, accompanied by my "Testpiecesymphoney", yes I do spell symphoney like that for a reason. Just opened a 'Trebbiana do Romagna" which was on special - and is, if I may say a rather pleasantly fruity little number. Not actually taht bad considering what I paid for it - the sheer embarrassment of its cheapness prevents me from communicting figures here, but it was stupidly cheap. OK, Ok it's not a wine of any great note, but it's pretty good for €1.70.
Oh dear....

I've also just opened a bottle of "Sangiovese di Romagna". Oh there's a bit of my symphoney that sounds just like Lou Reed's 'street hassle', but slower ande a bit indianish. Anyway the Sangiovese is a little rougher, but still not bad for the pittance I paid.
May the gods bless the Coop and it's special offers for the poor of the parish!

Mind you, all of this follows two pints of beer and two sprizz (White wine, 'Select' - the local, slightly less bitter version of 'Campari' and fizzy water. The local aperativo you can have with Aperol or Campari too.)
So the old neurons in charge of the tasty buddlers may not be in perfect sync.

I may let you know later what the risotto was like. If it is as good as the hummus I made for lunch I'll be happy. But hopefully I won't fall asleep and wake up with a mouth that feels like it's beencarpeted with garlic flavoured felt.

I love asparagus, despite the italian fixation that it makes your pee smell bad. I mean, do we really know anyone whose pee smells good? Yes I know that some of you like these things, but in general......?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Trip

My goodness it's been a long time dear reader! I simply just have not had the time to write anything here for ages. Actually the fact that I haven't actually done anything anywhere for ages doesn't help either.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the UK, to the Lakeside Y.M.C.A National Centre on Lake Windermere, with 18 kids from the school - age range 10 - 14 years old.

I must be mental!

The place is well groovy, really beautiful, clean, great staff, well organised - but the kids were another kettle of fish - and not just for the smell. For the journey (Venice - Zurich, Zurich - Manchester) my colleague and I kept all the kids' documents, except for when they had to show them to passport control/immigration etc. In Venice airport I found £30 and two passports in Zurich! Luckily the passports had photos and names, everyone denied losing the 30 quid! But, alas I is a honest fellow and persisted - still waiting for a thank you from the bambino who was nearly 50 euros out of pocket. About four minutes after arriving in Manchester I found another couple of documents, one perched neatly on the toilet roll holder in the bogs before passport control. By the time we'd got to the motorway service station for something to eat I'd found two mp3 players. Later in the week I found an iPod, which was in my pocket for a day or two - nobody missed it! I remember losing me 10p dinner money one day at school, I was ill with worry. 10p was quite a lot in 1976 but it was more for the fact that I'd been trusted to look after it and I'd failed.
If you ignore the arrogant and spoilt behaviour, the refusal to listen to instructors carefully, the inability to self-organise (e.g. set an alarm clock - 1 per room of 6 children), and to pick up after themselves, the inability to accept an instruction such as "tidy away the cups please" without questioning it, ...
then it was a good week.
We went canoeing, kayaking, climbing, walking, did some archery, orienteering, went on a boat trip on the lake across to Bowness, did some shopping, ate loads of sweeties, played football, went swimming in the lake (madness!) and completely failed to complete ANY of the teambuilding, initiative tests (that speaks volumes)

....TBC as the lunch bell has just gone

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


i'd just finished a very good offline entry, ready to cut and paste here, when......

notepad froze! NOTEPAD!!!! i mean that just doesn't happen!

anyway i had writen all about what was happening in te barcelona - milan game, a woman in a black dress, the first mosquito kill of the year and how i was planning to change the spellings of first and least to firts and leats as they seem easier to type.

anyway milan are out of the champions. so hopefully arenal will beat villa real and we'll have a decent final.

pity you can't read the rest of what i'd written, it was really good.

Friday, April 21, 2006


spent the past two weeks with the hacking glob expurgers, the explungding lungs and the nostril glueshutters. and just as i thought i'd got rid of them along came the raging dollops, the gut crinkers and the ringstingers from hell. my grips were cribbled and my hrenks nonconflunchulated.

but i lost quite a bit of me belly

Monday, April 10, 2006


Dan looked at Joe, his natural yoghurt and honey, cavalier's moustache glinting in the light of the kitchen lamp. Joe returned the look, a glint and more than just a hint of dairy product in his eye, nose, ears and hair.
"BOB!" they shouted in unison.
"Na na" cried Dan pointing to the devastation which had once been a cheap, but clean and functional worksurface, "Na na, nana naa naaa!"
"BOB!" added Joe launching an 'Anyway Up Cup' with the skill akin to that of a fully paid up member of the Black Block brick Throwers Union.
"BOB!" and away went a spoon.
"NANA!" followed by his sticky sibling's proof of skill with the Surprise Dessert Dish Lob.

And the curtains were pencilled in for an earlier than scheduled wash.


sunday 9th april

i don't know if this story made the headlines outside of italy but;
yesterday was the live, televised funeral of an 18 month old baby, tommaso. i didn't watch as i simply don't like the organised hysteria, the weeping and wailing and people applauding coffins. i guess that's a cultural thing, i'm from a working class, northern english background, from a very close and loving family but one which perhaps has a different ideas to what i see here in italy. different ideas of respect and the like in the case of a loss, a death, hat is sure. for example - a banal and insignificant thing but interesting to me all the same. a short time ago the grandmother of a very close friend passed away. iwas not particularly close to the 'signora', my partner however was and the old lady was close to my children. anyway nic couldn't make the funeral but i could, so naturally i attended. a catholic mass. i am not religious in any way and have certain issues with the catholic church in particular but that would in no way stop me from attending the funeral, i simply had to, as a mark of respect to the lady and as a gesture of friendship and support to my friends. i went to church in black suit, white shirt, black tie - as is 'tradition' in our part of the world, i couldn't contemplate otherwise.
the interesting things was that everyone else was dreesed very casually, jeans, tee-shirts, leather bomber jackets - comfortable and i suppose practical clothes, the funeral lasts a couple of hours then life returns to normal for most of the attendees. i felt very out of place, i felt 'wrong'. however one of the major comments, apart from the nice service, was about the elegant gentleman in the suit. apparently the family was very moved at the gesture. moved at the very obvious gesture of respect whereas i felt most uncomfortably over dressed, like i'd made a gaffe - but i couldn't contemplate attending dressed otherwise.
cultural differences - my attire was strange to, yet most appreciated by the italians, and was, personally obligatory yet strangely uncomfortable to me. as they say here...."Boh!?"

anyway Tommaso.
tommaso was kidnapped a month ago, a month in which we followed the search for him and his kidnappers daily, only to find out in the end that he'd been clubbed to death hours after the kidnapping, because he was crying! they panicked apparently - poor bastards it must have been a terrible strain... no-one knows the true story, the mafia has been mentioned, the father was involved, the father wasn't involved, the killer's wife was most certainly involved - the mother of a 6 year old with heart problems who is now in the public eye. the italian media are a bunch of hysteria-mongering shits if you ask me. tonights news brought it to our attention that this little boy, if he survives his ailments will be forever branded as his father's son and effecually ostracised by society.
he's six for goodness sake! if we brand him now it's obvious he'll be forever in the shadow of his father's crime. in my opinion we should have been informed of his existence, he's going to live with relatives in sicily where hopefully he'll find love, support and a good home. although according to the news the village where his relatives live is a typical small town where children are held accountable for the rights and wrongs of the family - now they all know he's going there!
according to the journalists of TG5, hopefully he'll eventually be able to move away to a big city where he, with his common surname will be able to blend into the background, become anonymous.
absolutely fucking brilliant!
they could have just respected his right, as a 6 year old, to remain anonymous now instead of planting the seed of potential stupidity into the heads of the potentially stupid - a dangerous mix.

tommaso was 18 months old, my boys are just two months older than him. and i worry, not about them - i simply don't have that panic about the baby system set up in me, ( i watch them like a hawk, but from a safe distance. i worry about their futures, in case they turn out like me. i'll consider it a serious personal failure as a parent if they end up with my fears and nervous problems.) i worry about myself - insomuch as what i feel should be done to the murderers of Tommaso, if it was them of course. there's a gut instinct in me which has gradually emerged over the past few years, which i don't like that much as it often involves making people who commit vile crimes, pay a suitable price. i would quite happily kick the shit out of someone who harmed my family (ANY of my family). I couldn't kill. I know that for sure, or do real physical damage - psychological damage yes however - perhaps i am a real bastard..?
i'm just not as easy going as i was. mind you i used to feel no remorse about flattening someone who pushed me on the dancefloor or joining in a ruck against the wankers who where giving us lip for having long hair. but that all passed, or so i thought.
another unfinished ramble.
at least i'm consistent eh?

Tommaso, i couldn't read about you in the papers and i couldn't find it in me to watch that much on t.v. but it doesn't mean i don't care.

ten more wonder(if)s of the world

saturday 8th april, afternoon

i wonder if they'll ever realise that red wine is nearer purple
i wonder if they'll ever realise that red grapes, for the most part, really are purple
i wonder if i've just wasted two 'i wonder ifs'
i wonder if i've just saved my self the bother of having to really wonder if 3 times
i wonder if you bottom really would fall of if you untied your belly button
i wonder if you could exchange 'belly button' for 'a knot in the stomach' - "i was so worried i couldn't eat for the belly button"
i wonder, if i could have made that funnier - why didn't i?
i wonder if the people who say they really care, really do and if the people who say they really don't care, really don't. from experience i don't think so
i wonder if i knew what it was that was eating up and driving me on, whether it would still continue to eat me up and whether i'd let myself be driven on
i wonder i'm just not built for this world i live in. i try. i want to be able to just get on with things, lead a normal, peaceful life, look after my family, do my job as well as i can. but there's just somethings that simply seems out to sabotage everyhing i do - like i said churchill had his black dogs (led zeppelin had one too if i'm not mistaken) - luccky bugger, at least his took on a constant, identifiable form. they are most present at moments of success. and that includes getting the shopping done without major confusion.
and there you go.....it's gone again, the ol' devil caled concentration....


the mysteries of non fried maize snack stuffs

saturday 8th april, afternoon

why do they put powdered cheese in fonzies(tm), when there are perfectly good chemicals out there that actually do taste like cheese?

a packet of singing peas perhaps

saturday 8th april, afternoon

well then, just polished off a nice bottle of Corvo - a mid-priced (supermarket) sicilian red. A mix of Nero d'Avola, Nerello Mascalese and Pignatello if my tasty buds do not deceive me, or my eyesight for that matter as i'm trying to read the label through very dirty glasses. when the old blood pressure goes up the old lamp oil goes down it would seem. By Odin's wode clad wooden britches! i've reached an age where one has to remove ones spectacles to read. i live in fear of the arrival of the bifocal. instead i propose that all books be printed bigger, packaged foodstuffs to come with a sound chip (like those awful singing birthday cards) which reads out the ingredients and additives and potential side effects of the comestible under scrutiny and that televisions come with prescription screens.


friday 7th april p.m.

been doing some translations for a website on music from the mediaeval/renaissance periods - at least that's what i think it is! my part had nothing to do with the music side, just all terms and conditions, privacy and copyright policies, technical stuff on how to use the site and all that. i just needed MORE work!
on top of the day job i've got two private courses, the biography of the world famous and highly acclaimed deaf kneed lothario and erstwhile stick whittling champion, sol nte. the man who discovered the trick to deciphering the baltic tongue by simply walking backwards, and whose sixty year taxi ride back from red square is stuff of legend, second only to his orange trousers.
then -
i've been trying to sift through the quagmire which is the freeformfreakout organisation archived materials dept. having once missed the 's' off i found my self knee-deep in second-hand military twill and camphor scented taffeta. after a week of intense dressing up i decided to go to the materials archive and dig out the scores which had been requested for inclusion in the Fluxus Performance Workbook.
to be published who knows where and who knows when, if ever - but at least it made me look at some stuff.
i took a directorial decision not to edit for fear of actually throwing everything out. i did decide however to have the quagmire of an archive dried and turned into rubble, which is bay far easier to sift through. then, i'm supposed to be producing a Historical Atlas of Fluxlist for which I have recieved two pieces, and i think they're about the same person. i haven't finished mine yet either. then there's a major, and top secret, project underway. a collaborative affair with another who has recently been struck down with a touch of glumness and the neuhaus nadger shrinking stresses. then there's the music. i really have to do the acoustic interpretations stuff or i fear i may go crackers. and the electronic stuff needs to be practised and i need to learn more than Dmaj, Dmin, D7 and C on the keyboard. then i've been asked to provide a soundtrack for a short video - which i really want to do - just that when i try and contact the artist, she's not there.

oh, and there's my life as well. one twin has the gurgling hurlies and the other the is in training for the World Wooden Toy Throwing Championships.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

louder e....

two sundays ago we went t see lou reed in concert in pordenone, friuli venezia giulia.
by the great gods of valhalla, what a gig! i've always liked the velvet underground and lou reed's music, but i've never bee a 'fan'. in fact thinking about it most of the lou reed stuff i know is from that group of 'classics'. (I loathe Sunday Morning and I'm not that keen on Walk on the Wild Side, but the rest - well it's OK)
But this gig, woooah! A load of stuff I'd never heard (apart from the lame encore of Sweet Jane). the theatre was small, even near the back row we were near the stage, near enough to see the wrinkles! Lou Reed came on stage like an old, old man, holding his back like me on a cold, damp, venetian morning - but he played like a very young man. amazing to see and doubly amazing to hear.
two basses, two guitars and one hell of a drummer, drones and feedback, bowed electric viola (?) and ear shattering volume, trance enducing riffs and all that sort of really hard to explain stuff.
i was converted, well encouraged to go and listen to the lou reed stuff i have. i discovered that i have 3 or 4 discs that i didn't know i had! yep, i am that much of a fan! i found good stuff!
what IS interesting though (apart from the fact that at 39 I was among one of the youngest in the audience at a rock concert, my gosh! i've started to call them concerts instead of gigs! nurse the sanatogen!!!) is that i realised that i play the guitar very much like lou reed. ok he may be a little better than me, but style wise and in fact chord-wise. interesting as because guitaristically (!) i've never really referred to lou reed, keith richards, peter buck possibly. actually just thinking now, io don't really have a guitar hero or any particular influence - the stones probably are the most significant, but the rest ...? i play the way I do because i never took a lesson and still, after 20 years i still struggle to recognise anything but the major chords. and i tend to play my own chord structures - wrong fingering etc. sound cool but its a bloody nightmare when i have to play with another, competent, guitarist - one who actually knows what they're doing. however the stuff daniele and i knock out in the rehearsal room is a lot like the stuff i saw on stage that sunday. we is good at the old psychdronemelodicrepetativeriff thing - makes me want to get a band together, and do it my way for a change. i saw someone doing something similar to what ive knocked out for a long time, albeit at a much poorer level, but still could be interesting here in mestre where there's never been a market for what i like to do. makes me want to do it all the more, and now that i am a mature, sensible father, makes me want to do it all the more!
anyway, that was all a bit irrelevant...
lou reed, amazing!
did i say that?
i liked the way that it wasn't a 'spectacle', the sounded like a garage band, wobbly levels, too much bass at times, solos that drowned the rest of the band, but it all worked - even to my hyper critical ear.
bah! here we go, another time when i try to explain myself and then just when i get a little way into it, i lose the thread and it all goes mushy.

still if they will sell 5 litres of pinot nero for €6!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


well they're finally here.
clawing at my stomach and my lungs, sitting on my chest, filling their pockets with lead shot so as to slowly crush the very breath out of me. those faceless, shapeless shadows which dog my every move. sly bastards who don't even have the decency to hide properly, to just give me a chance once in a while, a headstart to let me see if i can finally out run them.
they pretend to give me a headstart, but there's always one or two of them hiding right out in the open in places so obvious that in my naive stupidity i simple don't see them. and then,
"oops, did you trip?"

people come and go. friends and family come and visit and it's lovely. but i'm at a point now where i can't enjoy the company properly. over the past 8 years visitors have come out and gone home again and each time they take a little of my spirit with them. nowadays i find it so difficult to have visitors for the sheer fear of them leaving again, in a way it's easier to not see people, but that is too horrible too.

winston churchill used to have black dogs that came after him in his moments of depression. i wish mine were dogs, at least i could try and throw them a bone.

my brain's stopped working. all i can see is a mess of letters on a screen, all i can see is a mess of words in my head. the noise of the heater and the computer is interfering with my concentration, if the phone rings i fear i could collapse.

so i'll stop, i can't get out what i'm trying to say anyway.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

ooh! an entry....

this simply isn't good enough!
and not just this blog!

i just don't have the time or energy to get round to this. a hundred thoughts, a hundred things to relate, pictures, musings, happenings...there all still there. i just don't have time to get them onto these pages.

and it's driving me crackers!

along with a lot of other things, all of which are probably far too boring to bother with; like being in a job that actually costs me money to do! and i'm not self employed or trying to set up some business. No. I'm a b1°°dy schoolteacher. a schoolteacher who's being shat on from a great height by the school he's been instrumental in building up.
instrumental, not by doing any great feat, but by being there, being consistent, committed (should have been when i think of all the time and energy i've dedicted to the place), trying to do my very best for those in my charge. the boss is great at making stupid decisions and we (the long term staff) are great at getting the school out of the §h1te. this time however i fear he may have overstepped the mark just that once too often, rubbed my rhubarb the wrong way, p1§§ed on my chips just one too many times...

you see?! i shouldn't be writing about this crap! i should be writing witty and charming stuff, expressing fantastically interesting points of view, sharing stunning images and waxing lyrical over unfeasably cheap, erm decent wines. actually this is being accompanied by a downright impertinant little chianti from the coop. a 2004 chianti from the cortebaldi stables (imbbottigliato da ca.so.co s.c.a.r.l., tavrnelle val di pesa, firenze). a real bottle of cheap plonk - about €3.00, but actually really rather drinkable. a little shallow with an aftertaste of very old ribena (TM) and a feel of the old vick's vapor rub, but drinkable all the same.
on the shelf as i write, dear reader.is a 'madonna del piano' brunello do montalcino, riserva 1998. bottled by vicenso abbruzzese on the valdicava vinyards, montalcino. highly recommended and winner of several prizes, i was warned to treat it kindly as it is pretty good - hence it still being there. don't suppose it'd go with a boiled egg sandwich.
the twins are eating us out of house and home! at 18 months! yesterday they had steak, mashed potato and carrots. we had egg sandwiches as there was nowt else to eat, nor will there be unless they pay us!
oops was nearly off again.


i am seriously close to the edge. and that worries me. if i go over they won't pay me. the sheer worry is enough.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Nam June Paik died.

I never met Nam June, there was no reason why I should have I suppose, but Emily used to talk very warmly of him. When I spent time working in New York Emily would point out places of particular Fluxinterest in and around SoHo - the loft that John and Yoko almost bought (!), the boiler that Yoko Ono broke and Yoshi Wada fixed. (There are some fantastic photos of Yoshi Wada rebuilding the furnace in 537 Broadway - Fluxplumbing! I think it's the one that's still in use.) The site of this performance and that, Ay-O's Black Hole - the gallery is in George Maciunas' last loft, under the floorboards there's a piece by Jean Dupuy, actually it's part of the floor. You unscrew two panels, one at either side of the gallery and look into the dark hole, and you see the ceiling! It's all done by mirrors you know! I always wanted to add another mirror so that when you looked into the hole, you'd be looking up your own backside. I got to look under the floor but there was nothing hidden there, just plaster and remnants of old performances, I left it all where it was. I got to hang out with Ay-O, he and his wife cooked us dinner, I helped Emmett Williams and Larry Miller, had tea with Alison Knowles. I spent a fortnight working with Henry Flynt, scanning photos for him, by the second week he began to relax and trust me, he gave me a CD. Emily introduced me to Jeff Perkins, I like Jeff but my drinks bills seemed to double.
I went to Alain Arias Misson's post 9/11 house-reopening party in Battery Park with Jean and Olga, we walked home past the World Trade Centre site two weeks after the attack. Emily made us keep the windows closed for the smoke. Larry and I were allowed to smoke in the airshaft, for a while anyway. Emily didn't like cigarettes around the place, but you could smoke a joint ok. Emily showed me a photo of Ay-O's Rainbow Washing, hung between the Twin Towers for Charlotte Moorman's Avante Garde Festival sometime wayback when. I went to help Larry in his studio (in the middle of which I went to the Port Authority Bus Depot to meet Melissa McCarthy), I helped him pack up for a show. Larry's studio contains the Bob Watts Memorial Archive and I didn't dare ask to look around. We talked and smoked a lot of cigarettes and recited Eddie Izzard sketches- 'Do you have a flag?' Emily and Davidson took me to an opening at a gallery half way up the Empire State Building, we were in jeans and no-one else was, I remember that the wine was awful. On the way to Ay-O's or to visit Alison Knowles or to go to the post office or to go to Canal Jeans or The Pearl River Trading Co. (I think) or to have a mooch along Canal Street or to go and watch RAI 1 through the window of a restaurant on Mulberry St, I'd pass a cafè on the corner of Spring St and Broadway. Some fancy Italian style cafè with overpriced coffee and pastries. I liked walking past as the seating area was raised up from street level. Knee height in the bar was about eye-level on the street, there are some lovely knees and surrounding areas amongst the office and shop girls of SoHo!

Emily told me that Nam June Paik used to sit on the bench outside this cafè on regular basis and just watch the word go by. Perhaps he liked a well-turned leg too. She showed me a nice photo of him with Geoff Hendricks and Dick Higgins (if my memory serves me correctly) on that bench. I never saw him there.

Now I never will, so nothing will change there.

Emily has gone too, I have a lot to thank her for.

Now where did all that come from then...? And that didn't include the Fluxlist meetings.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

sratgne ubt erut?

itns ti sratneg taht spedite het caft taht siht si lal mexid pu, oyu anc slilt ekam snese of ti!?

goodness gracious great balls of stuffing....

my word! an obstinate little bugger that merlot still, i think i got the better of it. a 'vino dell'amicizia' from the piave region it accompanied quite nicely some roasted pork loin with potatoes, stuffing, cabbage and some really quite sweet roasted carrots. very nice indeed and quite, quite un-italian. an english style sunday lunch, only served at 8.30 in the evening in italy.

got the keyboard to work, after a lot of stress and emails to roland, fluxlist, anybody i could think of. but, dear reader, if you can get past this excess of commas you may be amazed to find that i fixed the problem myself!

yes i did!


i learned to recognise the difference between 'in' and 'out'. i knew something was up and it seemed that one seemed to have more letters than the other... i took the most letters out of the back of the keyboard and put the one with less in, and "hey tesco!" music!

of a sort anyway.

Now i just have to learn to play and to use the software.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

tinkle tinkle...the quincy jones of the avante-garde...

just bought a roland midi-controller keyboard. i found a little bit of unused space in the apartment hat had nothing interesting to gather dust on in it!

actually i'm very excited. i don't really play keyboards but to begin with i aim to elaborate on some 'soundsdcape' stuff and then who knows i might even try and learn to play.

the moby of mestre....

may the great gods of valhalla help us all!

"dum, dum,dum,dum,dummy,dummy, dum, dum"

a rather impertinent sangiovese di romagna to accompany my lack of dinner this evening.
i say old chums it's all rather a bit of a rum do if you ask me. oh rum, now there's an idea.
the truth is that there's just not really anything to eat in the house, well there is, it's just that we can't be bothered to cook it and last night's split pea and wheat soup (which was delicious even if i say so myself), well it just doesn't seem that appealing this evening. even the boys wolfed it down, mind you daniel was up at 3a.m. screaming and didn't go back to sleep until the middle of his breakfast at 7.45!
i remember the days before babies when 3 hours sleep wasn't that bad on a weekday, in the days of la tavernetta on via ca' rossa. fabio was supposed to close at 7.30p.m. but many an evening we've rolled out of there after 11 and on to the 'irish' about 200 yards away for some rather potent little gin and tonics.

ah, the bad old, good old bad old days - never quite sure how to look at them really - enjoyable at the time, horrible the day after, workin 8 hours on pure adrenalin, being unable to face food and whan glasses of water tasted like last night's booze and cigarettes.
actually, they were pretty good times it's just that i don't feel that bad that they're over. perhaps i'm growing up!


it's funny though, well not funny ha ha but funny / uncomfortable sometimes when people associate you with the quantity you can/could drink, how 'hard' they think you are, how off the wall. i am a pretty ordinary bloke, certainly in my eyes anyway. i'm not hard, or even violent (although if i do go off i know that i've scared a few people here - but it's only hot air) and i certainly have never classed myself as 'odd', 'wierd', 'crazy', 'wild' or any other of those vile little tags people like to stick on those who conform differently to themselves.
i remember coming to play in a band here in italy and the lads being stunned by that fact that i plugged wolf's semi-acoustic (orange crate!) bass into distortion and chorus pedals, didn't want to write down the verse/chorus structure of 'anarchy in the uk' on a sheet of squared paper just so we'd know how it went, and that i jumped around in the rehearsal room and on stage (when there was space). i was labelled then and have been by others as that 'english' style musician, the one with the wierd stlye! I am a belove average talent guitarist and an inept bassist but i like to jam and play around, and jumping around helps me keep time and disguises the fact that i'm only really playing "dum, dum,dum,dum,dummy,dummy, dum, dum" on the bass!

now where did all that come from then ( a dinner the other night actually..zz.zzzzz.zz, thank god for diego and jelena i'd say)

i was only going to write about having nothing to say.
well i suppose i didn't really have anything to say really, so i wrote it.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


the pictures below are from my phone.
hence the superb quality!


Three views from the banks of the Canale Grande, this afternoon around 4.14

Two different views of Piazza Ferretto. What my telephone saw and what I saw! heavy night at Vapensiero. I walked home at about 3a.m. although I reckon I did more of a controlled fall than a walk..

Ho ho ho x 4

Sunday, January 01, 2006

me this morning?

aitch enn why

happy new year!

we've been very busy of late, hence the complete lack of anything on this blog.

let's hope i can find some time this year!