Monthly Archives: April 2016

“and the dead shall text again”

I can’t help feeling like my blogging drive is fading. I am by nature obsessive and I do find it hard to focus on more than one of my current obsessions. I stopped playing my bass guitar for 18 months, now I play every day. I used to put music on all the time in the background while I cleaned up, now I have radio 4, I used to blog every day now it’s once a month. The fact is that my desire to offload angst or outrage or funny stuff has been supplanted by my desire to get my telephone box to work exactly as I wish it to work. I also spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about stuff that I want to do and then doing little more than buying a book on it from Amazon. So time to come clean- What am I really all about? Feel free at this point to say who cares, I am not even sure if I do.

First lets cover a few customary bases. My family are my life and without them I am nothing at all. But I am not going to get all sentimental and appropriate by mentioning them every five minutes just so that you lot don’t think I am the egotist that  I am for sure. So what am I really all about – family excepted?

1. Without doubt a dabbler not a finisher. I enjoy skimming the surface of loads of things but I am too lazy to really dig down and get dirty in any subject.
2. I get superficially passionate about things. I can fixate on a subject and get very involved in it. In the history of this blog we have had, god, socialism, anarchism, various philosophical perspectives, music, poetry, old telephones, computer programming, hens, cats, rats, me, me, me, nurses. I can fixate on a single moment in a performance, bore everyone rigid when I discovered Piña Bausch or Happy Valley. Amazing moment in series two when Catherine and her colleague at the police station talk about nicknames – timing, writing unsurpassed – pure vaudeville.
3. A technical problem will obsess me more than anything. Making something work that doesn’t, will get me up in the morning with zest and energy in a way that nothing else will. I am much more of an incompetent Mr Fix-it than I am either an academic (not at all) or an artist (a wee bit)
4. My favourite toy ever was a Mamod Steam Engine – I still have it. To fire up the meths burner and steam away is absolute bliss. I think it and a white bread bin my grandfather had full of Bakelite bits and old valves is probably as close to the real me as I will ever, ever get.
5. To lie on an old ladder I adapted to have a cockpit, in the garden in Kent and dream about airships sums me up. Technology makes me dream. I don’t need to understand it I just need to sleep with it like a lover.

I have to conclude therefore that my life has been inexorably progressing toward the phone box. It is the perfect manifestation of me. The fusion of technology and dreaming,  Mr fix it and Mr poet. Aren’t I lucky.

My numbers get worse each month. Nothing too drastic but more treatment beckons. Don’t know when or what but as this is inevitable – so what. I would guess it will be in 3 or 4 months. Hopefully get the steroids again. Brace yourself for a stream of nonsense minted at two in the morning. I feel very fine but I must admit sleeping is super appealing and remains super- duper psychedelic.

I have abandoned, I believe with great grace, complimentary therapy. I had three sessions and have enormous respect for the practitioners. I really like Michelle and Clare. It wasn’t for me,  but I am convinced it is helpful to other people. Frankly I am much too screwed up and analytical. I wanted to please all the time and I was desperate to find the ‘holy’ groove or whatever it is, but I never happened. I don’t believe it ever will. As a teenager I was once given a very heavy illegal drug. My body fought for two days not to succumb and I managed to fight all the feeling off. I never ever took anything ever again. Raiki for me was the same experience – I just cannot let myself be subsumed by euphoria – unless that is it comes in a lovely package labeled morphine or temazapan or whatever. Oh what a mass of contradictions I am. Must be something to do with the context in which Euphoria is encouraged. In pain, bring it on – Not in pain – no thanks. Anyway I am not in any ‘pain’ physical or psychological worthy of depriving people who need complimentary therapy from having it. So I chatted for half an hour on why I was a useless participant, ( I was persuaded I was not at all) donated a paltry amount to this fantastic service and left with an invitation to come back anytime for coffee which I will definitely take up. Thank you Michelle and Clare.

Arthur’s album is available now, so I insist you all buy a copy. I think it’s fantastic. Very subtle and musical. It’s great that both my children pursue careers which I can only tangentially appreciate and understand. George writes fiction (never understood that) but adore the fact that he does and Arthur plays Jazz ( no appreciation of that either) but so happy he has. If they were into stuff I was into I would not have the same opportunities to fail to learn about their diverse artistic domains. That said I do understand the generic creative process so when they are struggling to ‘make it work’ I know exactly how it feels. Of course I cannot help.

While at complimentary therapy Michelle was having a surprisingly frank conversation with another patient about what she was planning to do when she died. The conclusion was, rather bizarrely she will send her a text. I jest not.

The next section will interest only the nerds. Actually I hate that term – I like the term engineers.

I have my  synthetic voice processing TTS in realtime on the Asterisk server to a 1940’s rotary dial telephone ready to be relayed to my K6 phone box. I have also synchronised an additional audio channel from Asterisk to Pd using midi protocol as a trigger. I think it’s probably one of the most Heath Robinson fudges I have ever produced surpassing even that produced for my PhD demos but it works! On the journey I have had to pickup just enough Linux, Asterisk, Python and Pd to get the whole thing to hold together. I am rather proud of myself . Nothing to show yet but hopefully the next step will be straight forward . Apart for the incredible generosity of Cereproc who have synthesised my voice for nothing I would like to also thank Chant for giving a me their software for nothing