Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-09-24 - 8:56 a.m.

I got back from Brussels about seven yesterday evening - having spent just under a day with Gilbert and Marianne and their family in a suburb of Bruges (which is quite like Surrey.) Their house is ideally designed for three adults and two teenagers - all with their own special interests and activities. Marianne has her kiln and pottery studio, Gilbert has his music room, there are two good gardens around the house etc. The weather was stunning - not a cloud in the sky for two days.

I saw the music-vid which their 2nd eldest son had written and directed for a Belgian group - the Nihilists - very professional indeed. The style of the music is a kind of local punk-rap which reminded me of the punk-ska that Lawrence’s band Fellthru played. Gilbert said some interesting things about the vigor and originality of the Belgian music scene in comparison to Holland. He also improved my understanding of the history and links between Holland and Belgium - just prior to the formation of Belgium in the 1830s it was actually part of Holland - and indeed Dutch is the language that a lot of the population speak - same grammar but different pronunciation.

We worked on using the WAVs that I brought over. It emerged that Gilbert has a copy of Wavelab4 - a better version of the software which I have used to make the files. We worked out a way of using Tascam multi-track and the PC software to develop the original material. One of these basic tracks is based on the sound of a naval gun barrage which Gilbert seemed to enjoy - also the gamut-piece using the air-synth.

I took my new ultra-cheap Chinese flute - it was cheap to start with and then I got a 30% discount on it. Its an ideal instrument for the rough and tumble of traveling. It received a recording baptism with a piece which Gilbert and I threw down just before I left. Gilbert has an excellent condenser microphone and his study has a tiled floor so there is a reasonable room reverb. He has worked out how to get exactly the guitar sound he likes and I was able to get a reasonable sound by sitting to one side of him. It would be fun to spend a lot more time doing this.

I have come to the conclusion that most serious flute players will get a much sweeter sound than me -so a rough and ordinary sound ought to be my trademark.

Glbert has a MIDI pickup and a Roland box which converts to USB which he uses to drive a score-writer. But this could also used with a softsynth to create some amazing music.

I spent about half of Thursday collecting Art Nouveaux material for a project Vita is working on - I think this is a textiles project. She had seen that there is AN exhibition at one of the big museums in Brussels. I found the exhibition and went round it - it is really about furniture and the whole line of design evolution from Gothic Revival through to Post WW2 Modernism. I bought the catalogue which is in French plus a map of Brussels with a number of walks you can do to view the clusters of AN buildings in the city. I managed to find one of these buildings - one which made a very big impression. Vita is especially taken with a staircase which is in most of the AN books. It transpires that his staircase is in a museum dedicated exclusively to one of the AN stars - and I managed to find an English guidebook to this place.

The reason for going to Brussels at all was a breakfast event on Thursday at which the EC Commissioner for Education and Training was speaking together with the GKN professor of engineering. The prof had led a study team for the European trade association for the auto supply chain and they had produced a set of recommendations about skills and globalisation. It sounded pretty good - but I thought we had something extra - and so button-holed the woman who had written the report and made sure that she was aware that we are on her case.

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