Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-02-09 - 9:14 a.m.

Further with the Burt Bacharach study. His great period seems to have been between 1962 and 1968. His skillset is very particular to the time. Besides being a great writer (taught by several major figures) he is an obsessive arranger and producer. He agonises about both the detailed instrumentation but also about the recording process and what happens downstream of the master tape. He is like Teo Macero and George Martin – both men can write and arrange but also experienced the expansion of recording technique at the height of their professional lives and had the gifts to harness technique to recording great performances by others. Baby Its You – which is on either the first second Beatles LP – is an early Bacharach tune.

Like Teo producing Miles Ahead or Sketches of Spain, BB is used to working in the studio with a lot of musicians which make for very expensive sessions. As a result the recording process is very condensed. Dionne Warwick recorded Walk On By and Anyone Who Had a Heart in the same 3 hour session – along with all the instrumentation.

A gig has come up which I have got to do – in the sense that its too good an opportunity to let go by. “Beyond Belief” is an exhibition exploring identity by a group of artists who go under the heading “blink” in St Mary’s Gfd from 16 March to 2 April. Alwyn Marriage – aethetician, poet and environmental architect – is curating an episode as part of this on 17 March. I plan to be in the Southampton area at a McKinsey event in the first part of that day. I had a word with Alwyn about it today – I said it would be nice to do it with Eike who used to live upstairs from Regan von Schweitzer – next door to Richard the percussionist. I have used Alwyn in the past on some of my stuff eg to read Plath or Donne.

I did a verbal thing today – I wonder why I do it – but I said it would and so for the time being I keep on. I recycled some words I had used a few months back – I woke early up this morning and lengthened and extended them. Robert and Jonathan preceded me – doing an unplanned dialogue. I seemed to get away with it – Alwyn said it was OK. The more I do this stuff the more Cageian it gets. Getting close up to the mike helps – feels like the kind of performance situation I am more used to – a Milesian posture.

Then I had to help Vita with her German while I finished off the Sunday dinner – Yorkshires and roast potatoes and parsnips. While we were eating it, Yvonne returned with Penny and her son Alexis who is thinking of doing his gap year in South Africa next year. Yvonne mentioned that her brother in law is marrying a South African next weekend (news to me) and I mentioned that her (Jackie) sister had e-mailed from Brisbane (news to her). Jackie flew out a week ago with her daughter Sarah (my niece - who Vita gets on with quite well) who is there for a kind of year outing.

James is currently being supervised by a friend of Penny’s called Polly and we talked a bit about how he is getting on in integrating his essays with his politics and how Polly has a fearsome reputation. James is working on going to Lebanon in the summer. Vita wants to go diving somewhere hot and one of Penny’s colleagues knows about places like the Red Sea. Apparently there is an island off Malta that’s quite good too.

In half term week Vita and Yvonne are going to see James in Cambridge and then on to see Jackie’s husband Roger and Vita’s only surviving grandparent who live in Woodbridge, the place where I keep not bumping into B Eno. Its not far south of Aldeburgh.

I have managed to do a bit more on the Lullabyes concert – I mailed Cleveland and I have written to Gillian Lloyd, the organist, with the existing 5 track CD. I met Paul and Betty Bell this evening to discuss how best to pitch the idea at Cathie.

I keep meaning to mention Spirited Away – a Japanese cartoon directed to Hayao Miyazaki which we saw a couple of weeks ago. Its somewhere between Rupert Bear, Alice in Wonderland and the Yellow Submarine film – very very involving and fantastically inventive. See it if you get the chance.

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