Friday, 27 August 2010

Annals of the Eerie Pt.3

"This odd new idea that all ideas, no matter how insane, merit equal consideration and that objective fact has ceased to exist."

Irrationality, eh? Surely we shouldn’t give it house room at all. However, I have noticed a strange relationship developing with my alarm clock. I suspect that, although it is an inanimate object, it has telepathic properties. Let me explain.

How often do I awake at night? I turn to the clock, which has an illuminated display which is activated by pressing the button on it’s top. I sometimes guess the time, and when I check more often than not it is within a minute or two of the display, quite frequently dead on. 2.22 is not likely to erupt into reality unless some rather odd mechanisms are at work.

Sometimes, the clock goes further, as if to show off it’s weirder abilities. Last night I had the pleasure of attending a Billy Whizz gig at the Retreat. They were on fine form as usual, as were the Film Extras before them. I saw a number of faces, chatted and smiled and nodded at words I could not hear. Then Billy Whizz re-appeared in my dreams. I call that overstepping the mark actually, but I can find it within myself to forgive. They were playing a magnificent song towards the end of their set which involved repeated chants of ‘Aubergine!’ ‘Aubergine!’ ‘Aubergine!’ ‘Aubergine!’ with a furious riff thundering away behind it. Suddenly, the power went and the song was left in mid air as it became clear that the police had pulled the plug. The band shrugged and started packing up.

Then, and this is the quirk that struck me, without missing a beat my alarm went off. The morning had arrived in a demonstration of alarm clock omnipotence, one that I shall not lightly forget. I was left to writhe in a confusing tangle of “wha happened?” and throbbing aubergine. The dream and the clock were obviously interwoven in some ninth-dimensional matrix somewhere beyond perception.

Is it really inanimate? It IS without the battery – let’s hope it’s sentient enough to remember that!

And, while we’re on the subject, I thought I might invite Rob Clark to guest edit an entry for the blog sometime to provide tips for the dashing man on techniques for ironing shirts. Anyone with half an ounce of fashion √©lan will be anxious to reproduce the even-ness of his crumple.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Object

Menaced by a mystery object
That I could not define or explain
I thought that by changing the subject
I’d never have to face it again

And now I’ve defeated that object
But the victory was always in vain
Because by defeating the object
I’ve defeated the object again

You object whenever I say
We’ve fixed up a meeting tomorrow
But if I were to see you today
The future is passed by Time’s arrow


Climbing to the peak is the object
Swinging upwards by hand over hand
But the point of the purpose the aspect
Where the skies kiss goodbye to the land

An object is a subject to some
And you’ve become an object of fun
An object is a subject to some
You’ll always be an object of fun


Monday, 23 August 2010

Austerity Measures

Turn Up Towers is not a military outpost, susceptible to chains of command or other forms of restraint, but even here we are not immune to the mania of the age. It is peddled by the very to-do and arrives in a bundled suite known as ‘Austerity Measures’.

‘Austerity measures what?’ you might ask. So far as I can see it measures the distance across the moat that separates those who have from those who don’t and the depth of said waterway and multiplies the two to produce the ‘Co-efficient of Protection’.

I therefore instigated such a calculation at the Towers and have received the surprising information that our ‘Co-efficient of Protection’ is a minus figure of substantial dimension. I have thrown the dice in all sorts of startlingly original ways, even employing one or two tricks of the conjuring trade, but the result could not be fiddled with, or even strummed along to.

Which brings me to Roger and Bronwen’s barbecue. Hugely enjoyable, old faces, opportunity for a bit of pluck. I was joined by a guy called Neil who was good company and we managed to turn out seven or eight numbers. Throughout we were accompanied by Sophia and (I believe) her elder sister who danced their little legs off, aged from guesswork 4 and about 8. Good times.

And not to forget the approach of Echo Road’s performance next Saturday at 2 pm at Ice Bytes. I am aware that vast swathes of our potential audience will be off on holiday (rather a rush on late bookings I think), so you should be able to get in through the crush.

Monday, 16 August 2010


And now, folks, calm your excitement! Echo Road will be playing at Ice Bytes cafe at the Homend in Ledbury on Saturday 28th August 2010 at 2 pm. We’ll play for about an hour and a half. We have a number of new originals to play, together with a few new covers. And we’ll be playing again some of the stuff you may already have heard. We’d love to see you there if you can make it, as it’s always better to have an audience. And you can indulge in coffee, ice cream and all that cafe sort of stuff. Entry is free, so I hope you'll support John and Shoko by indulging yourselves in outrageous gluttony. Feel free to rustle your shopping in appreciation of the music when the mood sweeps over you.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Salve and Salivation

How often have I referred to the men and women who beaver away behind the scenes at Turn Up Towers? They deserve recognition, albeit of an anonymous nature, for their endeavours. This is not through any desire on my part to detract from the full blossom of their celebrity, but from considerations of due probity. The glare of publicity unfortunately renders their work impotent.

However, I can tell you that one research team, whilst engaged in other studies altogether, has reported a number of digressions into the world of alternative medicine. This is an area frequently derided by the traditional scientific community, amongst whom we would usually proudly take our place, but usually in ignorance of some very interesting phenomena. Take, for example, the healing qualities of magazine articles through the use of nostalgia and the gentle application of pictorial representations of inanimate objects. Inanimate objects? I hear the readers of a particular tractor magazine scream. These are living machines with beautiful and finely balanced souls that reward the operator/owner/keeper the time and effort of salve and salivation.

And isn’t that the nub of the hub of the flywheel of life? Set it in spin upon the oil of choice and smoothly runs the well-adjusted, well-oiled human. It amounts to a philosophy, you know. A name for it, anyone?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The Fabled Return of the Fanciful Wanderer

It’s been a while as they say, and things have been churning. Stomachs, mainly. Turn Up Towers can be a grim a windswept pile of tottering stonework at times. There are those who take the view that it all depends on how you look at it. I take a different view, suspecting as I do that there are outside agencies at work.

Enough of that old guff! The Ledbury Poetry Festival is a subsiding memory. It was as good as I’d hoped, and in many respects surprisingly better. Michael McClure and his wife Amy stayed at the Towers. Great company. The headline in the Ledbury Reporter was right on the button; ‘Poet Holds Audience Spellbound’. Also staying were Colin Still, the film maker, and his wife Fern. Also good fun. It’s difficult to see how the experience can be topped next year, especially as Chloe is taking a year’s sabbatical.

But Martin Clark and I still have plans for our collaboration to take place at Tinsmith’s during next year’s festival. In fact, Martin has been working on the posters over the last couple of weeks. I am humbled by his skill and the beauty of the finished posters. They should sell; they virtually leap out at you and demand to be taken home. Tinsmiths is undoubtedly our best outlet.

I have to put my hands up to a lack of application on the web development front. Marcus bravely waits for some utterance of direction, some twitch of inclination, but manages to remain good company at the bar of first resort. We’ll get there, I’m sure of it.

Echo Road continues to be an inspiration and a frustration. Frustrating that we don’t get out and play, but when practices click, very productive and positive. We hope to be performing in Ice Bytes cafe one Saturday afternoon very shortly. I’ll return to this when more is known. There are certainly quite a few songs awaiting their first performance, including one in which Michael McClure had sufficient input to warrant a writing credit. Be there.