Sometime After The Garden Of Eden But Long Before Now

apples-and-snakes-bannerIf you follow this link Zolan Quobble & an early Apples and Snakes banner you will find some very kind words by Russell Thompson and evidence of a former life. This was a very intense period, a little bit like now although it is not miners this time and to date the mounted police have refrained from charging into a line of doctors.

The ‘sine qua non’ is flattering. There was a team of sine qua non’s at the time. Especially Mandy Williams, who was tireless and Pete Murry, who tried to keep us rigorous and Berni Cunnane, who was sane. There were also the performers who were extraordinarily generous.

To add a slight corrective, in case you were misled, any idea that I could produce that banner without enormous help from Greenwich Mural Workshop and Stephen Lobb is quite unrealistic.


Andy’s Christmas Drink

Lofe’s 2nd batch of baking will be ready on the evening of the 23rd December. Elwell, Nik the Deks & Zolan Quobble put together the same ingredients, very slight variation in the proportions and a random variable with the kneading and the oven temperature.
At the New Cross Inn along with Ming The Mong​ and The Perceptions making use of a sensible pub P.A. (aka an oven)
8pm Entry £3
See you there (Sliced Bread is only good as a platform for butter and then only when toasted. What you need is the whole LOFE)

New Cross Inn 231215 GigFly

LOFE Play 28 November sometime between 20:00 –23:00 along with GAGARIN & WARREN SCHOENBRIGHT


LOFE are driving beats, driven words and jewel carriageway chords. Keyboard plus Ableton (Nik the Deks), Bass (Elwell) and Voice (Zolan Quobble). It’s got that biodynamic, organic whole grain texture and that lively lambic yeasty rhythm. It hits 260°C, when it’s baking.

Here’s a sample of the jam that went on a slice of the first Lofe that ever came out of the oven

Zolan Quobble (voice) is a pre-Apples and Snakes performance poet tagged as ‘fractal rap’, ‘true beat’, and ‘shamanic’. He was the voice of One True Dog and is the voice of Rabbidog and Dodmen. Quobble co-founded The Deptford Urban Free Festival when Secretary of the South East London Music Collective. He has 2 books U-I Poems and The Tooth Agenda.

Elwell (bass guitar) was the keyboard player of the matchless Brain of Morbius. He is the guitarist and keyboard player in the comic, two-piece, legend that is Bert Shaft Orchestra and was the bass player in One True Dog. He played electronic percussion in the industrially ambient Foul Geese, and is the man behind Shopping Trolley Promotions. He is a founder member of Silo SE8 Studio and was in at the beginning of the South East London Music Collective.

NikTheDeks, a DJ & Producer played at the now legendary Drum&Bass nights at the Goldsmith Tavern. He does weekly shows on NakeDBeatZ Radio every Sunday from 6-8pm playing EDM, Drum&Bass, Jungle and Break-Core. Collaborations with Joe Oldfield & Reiner Cole (live Drum&Bass), Peter Rockmount (Furby-Core) various members of the now defunct Gabber-Karaoke. He plays, guitar, bass, drums, synth and FX using Ableton Live, Cubase, Massive and a plethora of effects.

Lewisham Art House, 140 Lewisham Way, SE14 6PD London. Google Map


Facebook Event Page


Does the Government really think the BBC crowds out Google, Facebook, Apple & 21st Century Fox

The questions below came up on the 38 Degree Post.

According to the email, I received, there is till Thursday 8th October to contribute to a Department of Culture, Media and Sport consultation on the BBC. The questions seem designed to provoke pompousness. I apologise for accepting this.

The questions are also written to herd any responses into justification for plans the Government already has. For example you have to accept the Government line that the ‘Market’ is synonymous with reality and that it is a force for good despite global warming, banking crises and a ‘free press’ that is mainly a voice piece for the wealthy.

My answers are here for the slim chance of them being read. They are hastily put together because of the deadline. They are also put together before I had time to read the consultation document

I am not a worshiper of the BBC, I just think in a world of International profit making Corporations, who don’t pay proportionate British taxes (Google, Apple, Facebook, Spotify, Amazon etc) a British Institution that entertains an audience 18hrs 17mins on average per week is not just vital but incredibly cheap at the price.

38 Degrees want a number of responses quickly.I was as quick as I could be.

How well is the BBC serving its national and international audiences?

The BBC is a huge patron of the arts especially of actors, writers and musicians. As an international brand, it is a great ambassador for the whole of Britain. Like most of my friends, I listen to Radio 4. Radio 4 Extra, Radio 3 and 6 Music. I watch most of the BBC TV channels at some point during the week. Friends from abroad, from the United States and Europe are always envious that we have the BBC. So though it could do better, the BBC is doing very well both nationally and internationally.


Which elements of universality are most important for the BBC?

If there is something going on that is of cultural, political, scientific or economic importance, it is vital that we have a broadcaster, who can straddle the airwaves and the internet and explain and inform us of the activity because that is the broadcaster’s primary purpose. It should not be tempted to self-censor because of the veiled threats of a Charter renewal process If information and elucidation have to justify themselves in terms of a profit margin, editorial standards will inevitably have to struggle against the kind of denominator that confuses public prurience with public interest.
The universality of the BBC should be a protection against commercial broadcasters endeavouring to monopolise and hold to ransom cultural or sporting events behind a paywall (or subscription).


Is the BBC’s content sufficiently high quality and distinctive from that of other broadcasters? What could improve it?

BBC documentaries consistently set standards. Not only is the photography often exceptional but the commentary is simple, clear and informative, without being patronising. This latter is a feat other broadcasters often seem unable to achieve. The number of honours the BBC wins for its output from the The Radio Academy Awards to BAFTA speaks for itself. But a crucial factor in the production of good work is having the room to experiment and learn. This is where the BBC can lead the way in discovering talent, formats and even technology (such as the i-player) that commercial broadcasters can recruit. emulate, modify, improve upon and export. Time and again the BBC has enriched the media world with startling programs such as The Blue Planet. Doctor Who, The Office and House of Cards. And now the BBC online has added to broadcasts a rich dimension of links to its online content and the World Wide Web . At some point the web and broadcast media will be the same thing. The BBC has already shown some of the way and should remain a home for media research and development and program innovation.


Where does the evidence suggest the BBC has a positive or negative wider impact on the market?

One of the great things about the BBC is that it can stand above the often trite dictates of the market. It keeps alive notions of public service. It distributes art and journalism because they are vital resources not because they are commodities to be bought and manipulated by the wealthiest. By its existence and its range it demonstrates an authentic connection between entertainment and education, that embraces its serious programming. The positive effect on the market is that It sets standards that commercial channels have to compete with, ensuring a much higher levels of professionalism in broadcasting than our relative small market size in the UK could otherwise maintain. This applies as much to online as well as to traditional broadcasting. The BBC is probably the main reason why our creative industries are as exportable as they are, contributing considerably to the balance of payments. This ‘financial benefit’ does not include taking account of the simple positive influence of the British brand that is the BBC.
Keeping the BBC funded as an innovative program maker leads to lucrative spin offs for other industries. This has already happened in the video gaming industry with BBC investment in computing in the 1980s and could well happen again with the introduction of the BBCmicrobit.


Is the expansion of the BBC’s services justified in the context of increased choice for audiences? Is the BBC crowding out commercial competition and, if so, is this justified?

The BBC is British but it has to exist in a world of massive corporations like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, News Corp and 21st Century Fox. To suggest that it is crowding out commercial competition is to look at the media market through a telescope the wrong way round. The fact that it is non-commercial in the UK leaves the commercial channels the rest of the potential advertising and sponsorship market to draw income from. The way to look at the BBC is surely to see it as protecting the culture, which generates the people who keep the UK’s media industry alive in the face of growing global monopolies based outside the UK.
Is it really increased choice for audiences? So many channels are simply reshowing old programs or selling gambling or working as shop fronts or running lazily scripted reality programs or even broadcasting soft porn. How much quality programming is being made in this increased choice? The BBC should be encouraged to expand across media to prevent vested interests developing monopolies and keep other content providers up to the mark.


Has the BBC been doing enough to deliver value for money? How could it go further?

When you actually measure the number and range of programs and information you are entitled to through your licence fee compared to a TV subscription package, the BBC is extraordinarily good value for money. This is without considering the more general public service aspects, including the global coverage of news and the soft power of the BBC flag. It is also really important that British cultural events including sport and the arts do not divide up and become available only in various, competing commercial interest empires.
I would like to see more scientific understanding among the journalists and commentators.


How should we pay for the BBC and how should the licence fee be modernised?

The licence fee is established and understood. To change it for the sake of ‘modernisation’ does not seem a sufficient reason to cause a major disruption.


How should the relationship between Parliament, Government, Ofcom, the National Audit Office and the BBC work? What accountability structures and expectations, including financial transparency and spending controls should apply?

The role of the BBC Trust appears to be to oversee the BBC on behalf of the licence fee payers. This is unarguably good. The trust though does not appear to have to defend the BBC on behalf of the same licence fee payers. If the BBC was guaranteed its place as an essential national institution, this would make sense. However given the hostile world of other media this is not the case.
Government should keep its hands off the BBC as much as possible. Ofcom, whose board is appointed by Government should also step back. The Charter should be decided by a transparently independent body that cannot be accused of any vested interests. As it stands it appears as if the Department of Culture, Media and Sport will act as prosecutor, judge and jury. At the same time anything said in defence of the BBC is dismissed as lobbying, paranoid and unreasonable.
Of course there should be financial transparency but the spending controls should be part of the BBC executive plan, once the charter has been renewed.

Hit By Debris

Which came first,
the sperm or the egg,
God or the ape
or the Ape God?
Which was it,
the nose coming round the corner
or the fingers on top of the wall?
Was it foot prints
filling with water
or an elbow holding the door
for the tray carrying tea
from India
or linen for a guest’s bed,
a cry or a crown
of the head,
hairs plastered with baptism juice?

In the procession of birth,
the shockwave, the flash of bright
heat, the skin cells falling
in sheets, the cushion of fat,
the pneumatics of breath,
hydraulics of blood, mechanicals
of tendons, muscle and bone,
lights industries – lungs and entrails –,
the wonders of anatomy,
was it
the working of a mind
on a float by of consciousness,
day’s scalpel piercing the curtains
to a blackbird accompaniment
that was first
or was it
the hair in the meeting places,
odour of bio-electric magnetism,
a new hard and a new soft,
rolling hills, cliffs,
water drum kits on rocks,
lighthouses like oak trees
all caught in one breath.

In the parade of delivery,
is it the leopard skinned band leader
juggling his wand
or the wound round of a rod
as a yarn is told
that precedes?

It all comes first.
It’s a wave front of birth.
Under thunderous samba clouds
knees pull shins and feet
over hurdles of beats,
hands hold together in prayer
or cradle water
to splash
a closed face awake,
an eye begins to open
small as a splinter of tear drop
on a lash, a tarn
in a mountain of other,
looking continues to find,
blows up a thin film of lick
of the world, of sky
and dark matter,
like a bubble on a pipe
of optic nerve.

Disturbing the blast fronts
your friends should be known as,
your birth is an explosion
that’s still going on
and long may it continue
to do so.

(1st read at Nick DD’s Birthday Celebration 11/06/2011)

A Visit to G-Remover Studios


In The Airgasmatron

In The Airgasmatron

“To prevent alien materials interfering with our engineering, anyone entering the workshop must undergo a decontamination.” I had slipped past this ‘small print’ on the invitation. ‘Decontamination’ meant stripping to nothing and having air at body temperature blasted at me from all directions. After that I was given a one-piece plastic suit to wear. It was grey, opaque, soft and so thin the drafts in the corridor insinuated I was still naked. The engineer’s suit was milky and translucent.

“If you’ve any interest in sound, you’ll enjoy this experience. It’s proof of Marcus’ theories.” She pointed me toward a chair, loosely upholstered in a thin, mustard coloured plastic. The chair was ringed with folds of material; some folds were rubbery, some looked like flesh and others were dark as shadow. In front of the chair was a matt black box like the bonnet of an old car. Beside the chair were two solid, column speakers. Like a studio there was a glass screen with a warm yellow light behind it and the walls were padded.
“OK, the speakers are just speakers but when you sit in the chair your body will become surrounded by little resonance chambers. The seat itself will adjust, as will all the spaces round you. Each resonance chamber corresponds to an organ or interstitial space and will move and change shape till their resonance pairs with a part of your body. It’ll take two minutes.
“Someone, when they sat in this, only then discovered they were claustrophobic. So now we have two kill switches: one in that glove and one activated by a kick. The chair opens immediately and completely. Please don’t worry though. Most people find this device a pleasurable experience.

“The way the chambers grow, move and weave into each other is very beautiful. I have film of it, I can show you afterwards.”
I sat in the chair. The engineer pushed the box toward me. As she did so the folds of material rose up and folded over, so that the moment the box reached my chin was the moment I became enveloped with the softer textiles. It was difficult dealing with the sense of vulnerability. Though the pneumatics were gentle, they were insistent and strong, nudging my arms away from my body and moving my legs further apart. My tension was just turning inflammatory, when she said, “You can stop the process at any time. It will work with the chambers in the position they are but if you can bear with it, these last tiny adjustments make an important subtle difference.
“If it’s dark, it’s better, if that’s alright with you. I’m just going to play a short recording from one of Marcus’ talks.” She switched off all lights apart from a grid of domino l.e.d.s.

The light tenor washed into me and buzzed just below my heart: “Even in a live performance, if you’re not careful, the visuals form a barrier between you and the music. That’s why I close my eyes. Sometimes it’s to cut out other audience distracting themselves and consequently me, sometimes I need to stop myself imagining the psycho-dynamics between performers.” My body moved with a new slow pulse, it was in the same breath pattern rising and falling through his sentences. Each word idea caught a fierce cold energy that shot up from my ribs through my neck to flower round my skull. “There is also a smug look that crystallises on some performers faces, as if music is an intellectual exercise. I absolutely have to shut that out. Mostly I close my eyes just to feel the music in my body.” I was definitely feeling the dance of his words. There was a bass note that he kept hitting, it hadn’t been there at first but now it was setting off a bubbling pulse through my lower back.
“Thinking about this and the impossibility of really capturing the vitality of live sound, I realised that sounds have skin. If you play back a recording, it doesn’t matter how careful or logical you are, you are going to be affected by the format. It is going to have a psychological effect. The warmth of vinyl is a psychological effect. The impurity feels organic but it’s still an impurity. The clinical reproduction of high resolution digital playback has its own connotations, which also interfere with listening. The point is you close your eyes to hear music in your body. Everything I have done in G-Remover is to analyse and then enhance exactly those qualities that resonate physically. We don’t just record the sound. We analyse the body resonances of the sound, so we can enhance it in the mastering process. It means that everything we produce, it doesn’t matter what you play it back on, gets straight under your skin.”
The words stopped. All I could hear was fast panting. I was annoyed. The breathing was breaking through into the hot, whole body pleasure, I was lost in. With embarrassment I realised the heavy breathing was mine.

When I congratulated Marcus on building an ‘Orgasmatron’, he looked pained. “You were breathing air at the time. You don’t call it ‘airgasmatron’. Equating the psycho-physical, autonomic reaction, you had, with sex says more about your small mind than about my acoustic analysis. Get out of here!”

He phoned me later to apologise, explaining he had been having a bad day. He did think my view was a trivialisation but asked me to write it up anyway. “That’s what you press do. What should I expect? I just hope some people see through it.
“It’s ‘G-Remover’ because glistening is evidence of surface.”

Thanks to Mullzimmer for commissioning the visit and VJ flickering light for visualising the effect.

The Ghost Of Neil Diamond – David Milnes

Cover of The Ghost Of Neil Diamond

If you’re an actor and want to win an Oscar, get the film rights to this book. The main character, Neil Atherton, an apparently talented, surplus to requirements musician, husband to an economic high flyer, makes a desperate bid for some kind of status. The ensuing tragi-comedy is classic. The falling man’s mind is so dark and rich that the author has to cruelly mock him to immunise the reader against too much empathy. At the end Neil has cast off every vestige of integrity, while somehow accumulating enough dreadful charisma to be awarded a sequel. Please let there be a sequel.

 The prose is so clean you don’t notice you’re reading. You arrive in the karaoke clubs of hell, where unctuous performers of ballads, that you can’t listen to without losing all faith in humanity, are worshipped. You are at the extreme edge of the world of Cliff Richard, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams. Your own morbid curiosity has you hooked on a formulaic song. You have to laugh.

 Neil Atherton leaves “the question of what things” are “worth to the people” who buy them. Economic necessity drives him toward the agent, Chan. Chan appears to have a profound knowledge of the market, so it is reassuring, when he is as fickle as consumer demand. Chan and Neil are two brilliantly exposed amoral people in a transactional dance. They each suspect the other of being the devil and they both want to make the deal.

 Neil, scorned by his wife, is deeply unhappy trying to act content. He’s a middle aged man, who never could be cool, endeavouring to be cool. He’s a passable semi-professional singer trying to be a professional Neil Diamond, an impersonator impersonating an impersonator and a broke man acting as if he has money and time. He’s an Englishman, clinging desperately to dignity, who has arrived metaphorically naked in a culture where ‘face saving’ is good manners. Sickly sweet songs and karaoke disco lights colour his grim life.

 There is a point, when Neil, on his tightrope walk round the edge of the event horizon of a celebrity circus, calls his “feelings of alienation, the last luxury of those about to fall.” He means we’re all in for it, embedded as we are in a universal culture of mimicry. Here Chan without irony measures authenticity as the degree of emulation; for him using plastic surgery to become a closer simulacrum is a sign of integrity. Karaoke bars are hydra mouths of a global x-factor we are being force fed and force fed into.

Pretending to be someone else “is an inexcusable thing to be doing with a human life.” Unless it’s played for laughs.

 To the Coen Brothers, this is recommended.


Lol Coxhill has disappeared down a saxophone one last time

Lol Coxhill in Herb Garden, Deptford - Photo by Dave Walkling
Lol Coxhill in Herb Garden, Deptford – Photo by Dave Walkling

Thank you Mr Coxhill. RIP

Lol Coxhill by Dave Walkling
Lol Coxhill – Photo by Dave Walkling

I hope Radio 4 disinter the recording of Lol Coxhill playing his saxophone inside a skip, driving a 10 year old child, who is outside the skip, giggly happy.

Lol Coxhill and Snow White the Dervish

George Lowen Coxhill, saxophonist, born 19 September 1932; died 10 July 2012

See comment for more detail on the 2nd photograph from Dave Walkling