Commission Music

Commission Music
Bespoke Noise!!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Since I last blogged

I read too much BBCut documentation and got a handle on basic functionality well enough to teach it. That ate a lot of time. Then I got a reasonable draft of a new piece, which is, of course, not finished because everything could be better.

The new term started, so I had to treck up to Brum for the first meeting, which, actually, I thought was going to be more formal, or I might have skipped it. Meanwhile, I was quickly trying to tear through a 200 page book of critical theory about noise music, so I could give a good lecture.

Then, right away, we had a BEAST weekend. I came to Brum on Thursday evening to help rig speakers, but I showed up late and they got chucked out early, so I just went to the pub. Then I slept on Eric's laminate floor and was up bright and early the next morning to help finish off the rigging. then I went to do fun things like pay my fees and talk to somebody at student records about having "Ms" as my title in the computer system. That last one caused some giggles from the person behind the desk.

Then, a afternoon concert at the Barber Centre, on campus. Immediately afterwards, we de-rigged and packed up all the speakers and put them onto a truck, along with about a hundred other speakers and took them over to the CBSO Centre. Somebody got the idea that we could so large, multi-channel systems at two different venues.

My bike has a flat tyre (AGAIN), so I rode the train into town. Or tried to, I waited more than 45 minutes in the rain just to buy tickets. And then more rigging! James now works for the CBSO and has keys to the building, so they didn't throw us out at closing time. So we put up 90 channels of speakers and ran cables and the like late into the night. And then went to the pub. I spent the next night in a spare room at Shelly's house, which had a bed in it! Yay!

And then back the next morning to tape down all the wires. There were 3 concerts Saturday night. And then we went to the pub.

Sunday just had an afternoon concert, that was possibly long enough to have been two concerts. And then we packed up all the speakers and all the cable and put it back onto trucks. This went shockingly quickly. Then we went to the pub. And then to curry. And then back to the pub. I got drunk enough where I kept asking Eric if he wanted to see my scars. The scars that are just rings around my nipples. He refused. And then, I thought it would be a good idea to break out my hip flask while walking back to where I was staying. (I think I might stop carrying it around, as I'd had the same idea after Sam's birthday party and probably drank as much alcohol on the way home that I'd drank at the party. Not that I needed more.)

So the next morning, Monday, I showed up rather late to unload the trucks and put everything back into storage. But it still got done really quickly and then we all went for coffee in the Senior Common Room. This is an area with sofas that sells caffeinated beverages and pre-made sandwiches. I think the drip coffee there could be used as diesel fuel, in a pinch.

There's a sort of amazing moment I noticed last time, when we go from being a team with a shared experience to just back to normal life. Like, this moment of togetherness that dissipates as people go to sleep it off or have meetings or whatever. I wish I could make a piece of music that does that somehow. This time, though, I missed that moment, as I had to go meet Scott, my supervisor.

I played him the piece that I declared done, and he had some good suggestions for how to change it. Bah. And then I played him my newer piece and he had many more suggestions for that. Since it's just at a stable draft (good enough to try out at a gig, sort of stable draft), I expected those. Then, huzzah, he told me I could put some improv in my portfolio, so I might throw in some stuff from my last Noise=Noise gig. I really miss improvising and if I could get into a duo or something, that would be ace.

On the train home, I read many more pages of the Noise book and then logged into facebook and saw Mitch had posted his UK phone number. And I saw it was the 18th and thus his birthday! So I texted him and made arrangements to meet, for after I got Xena back from Sam. Xena was very happy an has been more energetic and spry since I've had her back. Clearly exposure to playful puppies is good for her.

Mitch and I went for curry on brick lane and had plans to go on to an improv show, but the curry went too late. It's funny, because I tend to ask inappropriate questions and for whatever reason, people tend to answer them. But Mitch, who I've known for 17 years now, can seamlessly dodge such questions and change the subject through subtle slight of hand. Which is wise of him, and also funny.

On Tuesday, I collected audio samples for my lecture and got through most of the rest of the book. Then, I went to go to a SuperCollider meeting, but failed to find the meeting and so went home and worked more. That makes it the only day in the last week, where I did not drink any pints.

Wednesday, I woke up at 7-something to get out the door by 8:20 to get the train to Cambridge. I read more on the train and then in the few minutes before class. Last minute cramming, ahoy.

I talked a lot about transgender musicians, specifically Genesis P-Orridge. I could have done a much better job, I think. I was way short of sleep and some of the materials I read had wrong-pronouned him/her and so I started off by calling him/her, "he" instead of "s/he." Meh, what's wrong with me? Then I talked about Terre Thaemlitz, who I'm pretty sure goes by "he" and kept the digression of the crappiness of his "anti-essentialist" identity to a minimum. And then I talked about Venison Whirled, the band of Lisa Cameron, who is a transsexual woman from Austin who does noise music. I don't think she's really known outside of the Austin scene, but I figure binary-IDed trans people have a place in noise too. And I did all of this without disclosing, which, I dunno, I probably should have, since it was definitely sub-theme for the day.

Then, I got on the train to Brum and wrote a slide presentation about TuningLib, my SuperCollider quark, got to uni and then presented it. Scott noticed an error in one of my synthdefs in my sound example and then suggested I fix it in the piece. Which I had counted as done. (It's not just changing a line of code, it's re-recording the output and then re-mixing, etc etc etc). *sob* It was doooone. So I guess I have even less finished than when I started the day. And then we went to the pub and I drank a couple of pints without having eaten properly. Wheeee.

Today I woke up at noon and was able to resist feeling guilty about not working for about 3 hours. Not that I started doing work ater that. I've been dedicatedly faffing (mostly), but feeling bad about it.

In other news, I think I've fixed the problem with my phone that was draining the battery away. I ran top and noticed that the RSS reader was eating a ton of CPU. It's, apparently, part of the OS, so attempts to kill it didn't help. I finally blew away the preferences folder and it seems to be sorted out. My calendar, however, is still screwed up. I've discovered that it just never deletes anything. So if I schedule something to be every tuesday for the next 3 years and then move it to a wednesday, it keeps both versions. I don't know yet if this is a problem with the phone or the free service I'm using to link it to Google Calendars. I so don't have time to debug my sodding phone.

Anyway, today Mitch is done with his work in town, so we're going to hang out. And do something, but I don't know what.

And that's most of what's happened in my life except the stuff that I can't mention on the public internet. Alas, none of the unmentionable stuff includes nudity.

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