Something for the Weakened

Archive for July, 2008

The Manlathe Chronicle – Volume One

July 24th, 2008 by

It was like this. As a number of you probably know, I’m involved with the Swiss Concrete music promoting ‘organization’ (no links in this post I’m afraid – I’m writing it from work and they’ve blocked MySpace. Do a search if you’re really interested. They’re also detecting porn on this very blog, which comes as a surprise to me . . .). Last Friday’s gig included a London band called You & Me, who had played for us before. They had managed to secure this second gig by completing a challenge to make up thirty cheese based bands or acts (Stilton John, Edam and the Ants, you get the idea). In reply to this they offered us, the promoters, a gig if we could create a string of thirty bands (we started with The The, then went to The Fall, then Fall Out Boy and, well, you get the idea). We managed to do this before the night was out. So now we have a gig. Some time in November. Somewhere near Leicester Square.

This throws up several points of interest. The foremost of these is probably the fact that none of the four of us can really play an instrument. Admittedly regular correspondent Dick Gappy can play a mean kazoo and has a cracking pair of lungs on him, but as far as the rest of us go, there’s not much musical proficiency going on. As I’m sure I’ve banged on about in the past, I did do occasional guest shouting for a friend’s band, but a decade’s heavy smoking later I doubt that i could recreate any of that. We are in the process of enlisting a musical svengali to hopefully provide some guidance, but the actual intricacies of what will be happening on that stage in a few months time is still rather up in the air. I’m sort of envisioning a bizzarre cabaret feel to the whole thing, but whether anyone else is prepared to allow me to premiere my burlesque routine is another matter (they are very big balloons, ladies . . .).

As well as how we’ll be performing, there’s also the question of what we’ll be performing. Covers would be far too easy and frankly against the spirit of the wager. Creating some kind of minimalist noise/drone piece would appeal to me (as they normally do), but again feels like a bit of a cop out. All that’s been composed that I currently know of is a presumably bawdy piece about being at one end of Cilla Black. There is presumably a fair bit of writing to be done. I might go through the archive here and see if there’s anything worth cannibalizing. Don’t think I’ve done any posts in verse, but I can just pretend it’s free and no one’ll notice. No one rhymes any more, man.

One thing that we do have is a name. That is Manlathe (as in ‘man’ and, err, ‘lathe’ – do you see?). The reason for this goes back to the thirty band list – we concluded that our group should be thirty-first on the list and should loop back around to the start again. I think that the thirtieth band was Zoot Woman, lathes had been a subject of discussion earlier in the night and Womanlathe sounds sexist if not worse, So Manlathe it is.

Next time – Well, I dunno. It hasn’t happened yet. I’m not chuffing psychic.

Emptying My Bulging Sac(k)

July 20th, 2008 by

Right then, before I launch into any proper tirades, I feel I should address some of the mail that’s enetered my Inbox over the past couple of weeks or so. This first one concerns one of my weak attempts at creative writing from a while back. Regular correspondent Dick Gappy had the following compliments to make;-

Yes, well there are loads of records with multiple grooves that you could have chosen. I read about one in The Wire that has two grooves close togther, so you can never control which track you’ll hear when you lower the needle. Also, another one with loads of tracks that end in locked grooves, which may be the one under discussion.

Of course, how many “records” is a double album? You must define your terms more accurately. I also own a few one sided vinyl artifacts, which will of course have one groove.

Furthermore, what about the messages etched into the centre of your vinyl, such as “A porky prime cut”, or “there is no mail in the house of contempt”? These are, by definition, “grooves” in the surface of the record, even tho you’re not supposed to be put your needle onto them.

Finally there’s Oxford’s own Project DARK, who have released records made of steel & wood & biscuit that have no grooves…but they call them “records” & who are you to say otherwise??

Shall I mention that a CD is as much a “record” as a 12″ vinyl disc? As is a paper file.

So, in short, the whole thing’s a fucking farce.

However, I really liked the bit about the cow.

Thanks as always for the kind words, Dick. I think I did state that I abandoned writing the whole thing because it was rubbish – part of which was a realisation of how weak a conceit it was. Perhaps it wasn’t too wise to create a dubious competition with it either, speaking of which, regular correspondent Fforbes Munchell writes in to clarify the victor;-

Oh Tervs, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to burst your 2 correspondent bubble, but both were me – hence the 3 minute gap between the two, I did 3 mins of research :) As I remember the 38 groover was a 60s record. I want to find out more about it too, but I can’t find it.

About Metal Machine Music, I put it badly, all I was meaning was that it was just one of many examples of records ending with a locked groove – hence on the original release the timing for track four is given as infinity (or the symbol thereof – I can’t find it on the keyboard).

What was the record you were talking about in the thingy?


So that’s that cleared up anyway. Apart from my working out what prize I’m offering. Sure I’ll find something I don’t want lying around. Uncertain which thingy I was in when discussing what record, but I’m sure it was great. One final word on the record groove debacle comes from first time correspondent Chunky Dognoize;-

I have a Soup Dragons 10″ with 4 grooves as each side is double grooved. Do i win a prize?

No, Chunky, you don’t. This nest missive claims to have come from, which might imply that it originated from Rob (Uber), master of this here part of the web. But the message says –

Activate thine RSS feed uponst thy blog.


which I’ll concede sounds a bit like something he might say. Yet Rob (Uber) knows of my Luddish tendencies and would presumably figure that I have no concept of how to do such a thing. Unless it’s already been done and I haven’t noticed, which is again very possible. Anyhoo, the final missive to be plucked out of my big bag came from first time correspondent and reads thusly;-

Hi there. I’m the Archbishop of Canterbury. So say nice things about me or it’ll be purgatory for you, my friend.

Lots of peace, love and Jesus,



Cop Out

July 18th, 2008 by

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s been a bit manic round here and I’ve enjoyed making my idle moments particularly idle. Will do some proper ranting soon. In the mean time, I found this. quite fascinating and wonder how it’ll all turn out. More soon. Promise.


July 14th, 2008 by

Just got to nip down the shops. Back in a tick.