Monday 31 August 2009

The Wire 307

Regular readers may have noticed that I don’t contribute that much to The Wire these days: after almost ten years of writing for the same magazine every month you find that you have to step back and focus on something else for a while. Just recently, however, they have been passing on to me a few items that I’ve found impossible to resist. As a result the September issue – number 307 for those who are counting – contains reviews of a CD release of pieces for onde Martenot and piano by Olivier Messiaen and some of his acolytes, beautifully performed by Nadia Ratsimandresy and Matteo Ramon Arevalos; the catalogue for the Susan Stenger project Soundtrack for an Exhibition; and reissues of three albums recorded in 1970s by Brian Eno with various members of Cluster and Harmonia. This last piece is an overview of projects so well known that they really don’t require any further linking from this blog.

As music provides the perfect environment for a growing number of interdisciplinary methods and approaches, The Wire offers some of the most useful points of access to activities that have less to do with music than with the development of new approaches to information design. Perhaps one day music will finally emerge as a new form of thinking, a series of propositions and precepts, or even something as simple and generous as an ever-evolving set of services. Until then I shall continue to support The Wire while at the same time quietly looking forward to an issue that doesn’t need to mention the word ‘music’ at all.

Saturday 29 August 2009

The Inverness Waterstone’s Must Be Destroyed

I’m in receipt of a postcard from Mr Ross McFarlane of the Wellcome Library: ‘A short note from the Highlands: spotted on the “Staff Recommendations” shelf in the Waterstone’s in Inverness – “Destroy All Monsters”.’

My sincere thanks are due to both Mr McFarlane and to the unnamed staff member who did me the kindness of recommending my first book to the people of Inverness. Destroy All Monsters certainly seems to have found some discerning friends north of the border. Unfortunately, Mr McFarlane doesn’t specify whether it was the Waterstone’s on Inverness High Street or the one in Eastgate Shopping Centre that is responsible for promoting the title. We therefore have no choice but to call in an airstrike on both targets. Sorry about that.

Image of Destroy All Monsters in the stack, courtesy of Emile Zile of Eurodisney.Biz.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Greetings from Mars: Planet of Contrasts

Life in the 21st Century will mean having to choose from some of the most exciting holiday destinations on offer throughout the entire solar system. This year, Daily Planet photographer Kitty Keen and I decided to spend a quiet week or so exploring some of the attractions currently available to tourists visiting Mars. This is perhaps not the Red Planet as fondly imagined in popular culture – the colour in many of those early satellite images having been artificially enhanced back on Earth – but it certainly has some spectacular landscapes and undoubted charms of its own.

Pictured above from top to bottom: KH at the foot of Olympus Mons; the ridge along Elysium Planitia, somewhere between the Pathfinder and Viking 2 landing sites (not shown); two views from the new cable car ride along Valles Marineris.

Thursday 13 August 2009

Welcome to Mars on Spectra TV

Just before the Ken Hollings Corporation takes some time out to enjoy a very brief summer recess, there is just leisure enough to pass on the news from Nad Spiro that the video documentation of Spectra 09, which took place in Valencia just before Easter, has finally been uploaded onto the Spectra TV channel. As well as marvellous material from Craig Baldwin in full flow and other highly relevant material, there is also a complete recording of my Welcome to Mars talk and reading. Available as a series of seven YouTube clips, it offers the viewer a chance to look at the Prelinger Archive footage used in the presentation as the audience sees it, plus the live feed of my talk and reading being simultaneously translated into Catalan. Unfortunately, most of my vocal feed, together with nearly all of the Simonsound’s amazing soundtrack, hasn’t made into the finished YouTube presentation. Those inclined towards reviewing Simon Tyszko’s more modulated version of Welcome to Mars reading should click here to download his beautiful short film. The Ken Hollings Corporation will be returning to normal in about a week’s time – ready, willing and more than able to make up for lost time. KH Inc also takes this opportunity to thank you for your continued interest and support.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Biting Tongues Onstage Gallery

The above photographs were taken by Nick King during Biting Tongues’ recent live show at the Moon Landing Party. My thanks to him for letting me post them. From top to bottom: two views of KH, Colin and Howard Walmsley onstage, Howard in silhouette, and Graham Massey in quarter profile.