Saturday 29 August 2009

hello... hello... can anyone hear me?

The radio show business is a bit of a tragedy - the listnership appears to be falling off in direct proportion to the effort I put in to making the programmes. Amy reckons it's nothing to worry about, just the last week of August, the last of the summer holidays filling up people's time. I tend to take a quietly pessimistic view - it's my musical career in a microcosm - a gradual falling off of interest until one day there'll be none. Playing to an empty room, but still doing the show, fullfilling the engagement because standards must not be allowed to slip.
I can imagine us like a couple of old dodderers who still dress and sit down to dinner in a large, gloomy, unheated dining room, with plaster falling from the ceiling because Jerry's dropping bombs. There's a war on but we're not going to let it affect our routine. Except that there won't be any falling plaster, hopefully no falling bombs, just an empty dance floor and a club owner twiddling his thumbs, waiting for us to get finished.
I'm still going to carry on with the radio shows. I'll carry on even if there are no listeners whatsoever. The shows will be there, wherever there is, suspended in virtual reality, as pristine as the day they were created, waiting for someone to discover them. Along with just about everything else.
It's disturbing to me to think that nothing's difficult to find anymore - you just google it. I also find it disturbing that a stupid word like google has been allowed to creep in and become a verb - I google, you google, he, she or it googles... For fuck's sake.
Most people don't have the wherewithall to search out and collect Ming vases, Dresden china, Stradavarious violins and all that sort of stuff. I wouldn't want to even if I could so perhaps it doesn't make for a very good example, but I could always search out records, 33s and 45s. Affordable and every bit as collectable, treasurable as a Ming vase. And more fun too - you can't dance to a Ming vase. Or a Stradavarious, unless you're got Yehudi Menuin in a good mood strapped to the other end of it.
The pleasure I got from say finding a copy of Five Live Yardbirds in the back of a junk shop a couple of years after Columbia deleted it, snapping up Honey I Need by The Pretty Things in perfect condition for ten pence having looked for a copy for years... that's all gone. I took these records home, week after week, one at a time, and listened to them until I knew every nuance, every ping, creak and scratch. I listened to the fade outs with my ear pressed to the speaker to catch every last second of pleasure that these things had to offer. Now I could just google whatever it is, download it and probably never really listen to it because there's always too much at one go and less time to listen.
I sound like a grumbling old codger don't I? It's a funny thing - if you rail on about the way the world is when you're young you're a rebel, an angry young man, and that's cool. Do the the same when you're over fifty and you're a curmudgeon, an old git. Well fuck 'em.
The radio shows will be there alongside all the daft crap, dumb You-Tube shit and the like until the cockroaches take over the hard drives.
And so will this blog post thing.

Click this link and tune in - The Wreckless Eric Radio Show - make an old man very happy!!

Thursday 27 August 2009

I can hardly believe the abject stupidity that I'm forced to endure every day. The mairie of our village are about to spend a collosal amount of money, create a great deal of upheaval and subject us to God knows what inconvenience in the way of noise, dust, temporary one way systems and parking restrictions, because they're going to make the streets look nicer.

They've already done one street, and apart from digging a big trench along the length of the road all they seem to have done is replace the street lights with twice as many street lights on poles of a different colour to the original ones. The new street lights are glossy maroon affairs that don't match the street lights in the adjacent street which are a sort of dull municipal green. It's anyone's guess what colour ours are going to be.

It seems to me that every maire in every town and village in France has a deal with a street furniture company. Since the early nineties French streets have been increasingly cluttered up with benches, bollards, barriers, troughs and decorative cast iron globes. The pavement of the main shopping street of one town near here is so full of this crap that there isn't room for more than one pedestrian at a time, so most people squeeze between the barriers (designed to save lives) and risk death or injury by walking in the road.

When I first moved here back in the eighties the street lights went off at ten or ten thirty and the entire countryside was plunged into darkness. I never knew there were so many stars in the night sky. Moonlight was silver and thunder storms were dramatic - my neighbours had a weeping willow and when we had a good thunderstorm the branches thrashed and flailed around,occasionally jumping out of the blackness, brilliantly and instantaneously lit by flashes of lightning. Later on the mairie had new streetlights installed which put out a pervasive orange glare. They were kept on all night. But by that time the neighbours had got rid of the willow tree and I'd got curtains.

I don't understand this aversion to darkness. It's not as if people are walking the streets round here at night - there's no point because there's nothing going on anyway. There's nothing to be scared of in the dark in the countryside round here. I'm much more scared of whatever design horror of streetlights we're going to get. And worst of all, according to the plan, they're intending to fix one to the wall of our house. Not that they've asked us or anything. We went up to the mairie yesterday afternoon to look at the plan. It didn't tell us much except that they're going to get rid of all the street lamps and replace them with twice as many new ones. It's going to be like Las Vegas round here. I may be forced into buying an air rifle to ensure a bit of healthy blackness.

I can imagine that the mairies are getting backhanders from the electricity company. There's a village round here, just a village you drive through on the N21, that's lit up like Heathrow Airport. It hasn't just got street lights hanging over the road, there are auxillary lamps sprouting from the backs of the posts, providing a golden archway of light along the full length of the pavement, about two miles in all. It rivals Blackpool in it's splendour. You can see it from outer space but I've yet to see a nocturnal pedestrian.

I'm repairing and painting our window frames at the moment. By French law I'm supposed to get permission from the mairie if I want to paint them a different colour. You can't buy dirty white paint so I'm going to have to, but I'm not going to ask permission. Not until they tell me what colour street lamps they've got in store for us. And not until they ask me very nicely if they can fix one of them to our house. The answer is going to be no but I'm sure that won't stop them, they've got might on their side - they've got a big framed photo of Europe's top fascist, Nicolas Sarkozy hanging up at the mairie. When they left us alone in the room with it and the plan I had to restrain myself from ripping it from the wall and vandalizing it

Nicolas Sarkozy - he's a human fucking dildo. You can flick his little pecker and activate the batteries that make his sticky-out mouse ears waggle and cause extra stimulation... if only - he'd be some use to the world like that.

I'd better stop before I get worked up and get myself in trouble.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

This is a radical new departure for me, not Ericland - I had that going back when this internet thing was in its infancy - it's blogging that's a departure. I still have trouble using such an intrinsically unattractive word for an activity that I always thought was wonderful, inspirirng, life-affirming... communication that is, poetry and prose, stream of conciousness, real life stories and ridiculous adventures out in the world and skittering across a computer keyboard.

Amy has been doing very well with hers and people are always asking when I'm going to start writing this kind of stuff again and on a regular basis, but the truth is I did it for a good few years towards the end of the nineties and into whatever this decade calls itself (and I refuse to call it the naughties), and it must have worn me out.

The radio show have been something of a success - I've been forced into coping with the business of blogspotism, and it's been surprising easy and non-labour intensive. Updating the diary/news page on my site is terribly laborious. I use an out of date version of Dreamweaver. I've never really got the hang of it, just learned enough to do what I have to. It involves opening and updating files and dragging and dropping links and uploading - apart frrom the lack of physical exercise it's not unlike working in a factory. It's time consuming, tedious, and I can only do it on my own computer.

Sometimes I think life's too short, and it seems to be getting shorter. Twenty years ago I was a mad young thing of thirty five with a mental age of twenty five. Now I'm just a few years off being presented with a bus pass and the unthinkable, unspeakable idea of not dying before I get old is looking more and more inevitable. In another twenty years I'll be older than my dad was when he expired from old age.

I don't think I'll be ready to die, though God knows, a lot of the time this world gets on my nerves. I've got too much to do. And it doesn't matter how much I get done, it doesn't look like I'll ever be finished.

I've gone and shunted us into a morbid cul-de-sac here so that's a great start. We've got to brave the tedious city of Limoges today. We've got to get posters done for our UK tour next month and I've got to get some switch cleaner and various components for the beautiful late seventies Trident desk that's now installed, and almost fully functioning in the studio.

I want to spend a lot more time in the studio in future and less time touring. So if anyone wants to come over and record an album here I'm open for business. And you'll even get bass playing and harmonies thrown in.

This has all been a bit of a success so far - I even uploaded a photo, not the most inspiring photo I've ever taken but all I did was press the shutter. It, my new friend blogger, did all the uploading while I made a cup of tea.