Josh Keyes print sale

March 12, 2008

A nightmare evening yesterday (well, in relative terms).

Over the last few months I’ve been smitten by the work of a north American artist, Josh Keyes, and even managed to get hold of a small limited run screenprint, ‘Magician’s Garden’ through Tiny Showcase. And very lovely it is too.

Magician's Garden

Small edition screenprints of his work are occasionally sold through the Limited Addiction Gallery website, and a new print premiered there last night.

Something’s happened in the last year or so though – Keyes’ popularity has skyrocketed, and the gallery servers slowed and crashed repeatedly under the weight of several thousand potential buyers all chasing one of the 150 edition print.

And so I sat, from 6pm until midnight, my finger numb from poking F5, crawling slowly through the buying process (when I could get onto the site at all), coming agonisingly close several times only for the gallery site to crash before I’d receive confirmation of purchase.

In the end, of course, I didn’t manage to get the $185 print – and even before the sale’s end, a flipper had advertised and sold a copy on eBay for $800.

Looks like the ‘curse’ of Banksy has struck again. Sigh.

Never mind, though – there’s an unlimited run screenprint of his ‘Weaving’ painting up on Tiny Showcase on 18th March.



cold calamity

March 9, 2008

Q – What month of the year do central heating boilers choose to malfunction in?

A – The coldest month.

And that’s what transpired at Newington Towers in February – our ageing boiler, which has clattered and wheezed for several winters, finally gave up the ghost.

With everyone in the land (except, seemingly, me) signed up to some kind of maintenance plan or other, it’s hard to get an engineer to come out to repair with less than three weeks notice – they’re all ‘too busy’ doing potentially pointless but undoubtedly profitable annual maintenance checks to bother with folk whose vital functions are slowing to zero in the absence of heating.

After three weeks of freezing cold morning showers and wrapping myself up in blankets of an evening, I even considered claiming to be a 90-yr-old pensioner to see if it’d get them moving any faster.

Mention that you’re considering installing a new boiler though, and you’re bowled over by a flurry of quotations, accompanied by not unexpected dire prognostications of death, doom, defeat and despair. Or carbon monoxide poisoning.

A scant four days after accepting the lowest quote I received – still high enough to entertain thoughts of engaging in clinical trials of some new heart drug or even, heaven forfend, a remortgage – the chill has been banished from Newington Towers and all is warm and toasty again. The only sign of arctic chill will be on my bank manager’s face.

February’s stuff

March 5, 2008

The (typically) coldest month of the year always seems to turn my attention to sounds from warmer climes, and this year was no exception.

So, I’ve been ‘getting down’ with a double CD “Nigeria special: modern highlife, afro-sounds & Nigerian blues 1970-76” a lusciously sleeved various artists reissue package which delivers what it sets out to in some style.

Also got hold of TOUMANI DIABATE’S ‘The Mande Variations” and TONY ALLEN’S double reissue “Afro Disco Beat”.

Other stuff…

STRINGS OF CONSCIOUSNESS – “Our Moon Is Full” – on Barry Adamson’s label, and an interesting post-rock exercise

EL GABINETE – “El Gabinete” – Solo album from Mexican percussionist/multi-instrumentalist, picked up at the Nine Rain shows and featuring Steven Brown on several tracks.

DURUTTI COLUMN – “Lips That Would Kiss” – odds and sods from the early 1980’s

VARIOUS – “Festival DADA Paris” – Dada archive performances

I’ve also picked up a bunch of compilations of short films on DVD, including four containing a good few of this year’s entrants to the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards, on which I served on the Best New Producer jury.

Nine Rain at the Illuseum

March 5, 2008

Just back from a long weekend in Amsterdam, where I stayed with my good friend Jocelyne in her wonderful live-in photo studio, biked around the city at a leisurely pace, and spent evenings at the Illuseum for a series of Nine Rain events.

It’s a small space, but it wasn’t packed out (averaging maybe 30 folk a night) and there was room to breathe/move – even for the dogs that wandered about and lay down in front of the band as they played. Good Mexican food before the events too!

A workshop evening on Friday saw Steven Brown introduce Nikolas Klau and Alejandro Herrera for a quick meander through some of the basics of film soundtrack construction, and a look at a promo DVD containing clips from Eisenstein’s “Que Viva Mexico” soundtracked by Nine Rain album tracks. Looks like a hugely interesting ‘collaborative’ venture in prospect, though they’ll need to be careful not to overwhelm the extraordinary imagery.

The Saturday and Sunday shows presented slightly different sets, both delivered in a relaxed and friendly manner – I guess it’s relatively easy to engage with your audience if there’s no stage and they’re standing 50cm away from you. Having never seen them live before, I hadn’t fully realised how core Alejandro’s presence is to the band – he and Steven make great front men.

The weekend also saw a surprise appearance from Bruce Geduldig, freshly emerged from the edit suite to ‘premiere’ new cuts of a selection of short films which formed the silent backdrop to Winston Tong’s theatre performances in SF during late 1970’s/early 1980’s, and to which he’s added appropriate soundtracks. Hard to describe these as ‘music videos’, though I guess that’s what they’re becoming with this reworking for DVD. Bound Feet, White Room, Like The Others, Cell-life spring to memory as titles. I hope he manages to secure a deal to get these finished off and out soon.

I also got a sneak peek at the first proof copy of Isabelle’s Corbisier’s new book on Tuxedomoon. Given the paucity of the written word on the band, I’d hoped that it would be both weighty and authoritative – and Isabelle doesn’t disappoint. It’s an immense, tightly-packed doorstop of a book, and my brief flick through it has really whet my appetite (as if that were needed!). Need to set aside a week to get through it all. It’ll be up for sale in less than a month, I hope.

Other news is that TM are booking summer shows in France and southern Europe – with a show (might be a festival appearance) already confirmed for Marseilles in mid-July if I’m recalling what Carlos (their manager) said correctly. Looks like I’ll be giving the Airmiles balance another resounding thwack.

Overall, a very fine weekend, and it was great to see and chat with Isabelle, Mayjana, Steven, Nikolas, Bruce et al…