Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-04-27 - 7:01 a.m.

They have installed a new hob in the flat – it cooks by death ray. Fortunately I have come across this approach before and should be able to master it pretty smartly without eliminating half of Leantown. I christened it by doing turkey pieces with yellow peppers and red beans with cumin and tumeric.

Paul Wheeler was quoted twice in the papers on Sunday – maybe he has a new album to promote? Actually Peter and I have been discussing whether it streams properly. The download seems fine but I had some problems on the Dell with the wmas. Peter says it is now sorted and indeed it streams well onto this portable. That’s another facet of final mixing I suppose – getting one that suits wmas and the sort of sound system people have on their computers.


I downloaded Western Sun and I thought the mp3 played well – not least Gilbert’s steaming solo. I am listening to the wma of Palm Sunday which I think great esp Carol’s flute playing – I really envy her her sound which she works on in a very determined and sophisticated way. Of course I am a sucker for that style of working with songs which feels very familiar to me. Think of Harold McNair on Tumbler, say.

Next its Ghosts – the title of our 1976-78 band – a song which I think is co-written by Totton. This is a more domesticated version with the brushes for example. I remember Ghosts did Ghosts in a more alt.country styles - my fills and chops with the Tele into an early 6Os AC3O and Paul put more anger into the vocal esp the chorus – generally a more London Gothic undertaking. “I’m a lousy leader I’m a clerical error I’m a holy terror.”

Talking of which I did some arithmetic on the line between the Caesar’s Camp Wimbledon and Farnham Castle.. Paul and I debated the wisdom of the uber-ISB-fan’s foray into Global Public Reasonning. I would say that he has much of the psycho-geographic high ground

I had supper with the Ghosts drummer last night. Betty invited me to her retirement party. We both had something to say about things today.

I have a couple of versions of Ghosts in the archive – one has Colin from the original John Cole/P Bell band on bass and I have added some Hammond – the other is my own with Lee Marvin type vocals and a more camp take on delivery. One of the interesting things about the song is the use of the minor chord on the sharpened fourth of the home scale in the chorus – which then cycles to the subdominant I can’t bring to mind another song which does that. Ermm actually Triad more does something a bit similar in the chorus – but that’s another great song whats more its got similar chords to Poor Boy in the verse – stepping up a tone rather than down a semitone.

Just listening to the version of California Girl where I tried to blow the end of my flute in four bars – that’s another approach. Inelegant for Santa Monica

I am tempted to start with Gracyk’s observation that the words don’t matter in rock. He has objective evidence – surveys of how many people can quote accurately the lyric to Stairway to Heaven and the even lower percentage that can give an account of what it means – these are people who think it’s a really great song – not OAPs and 6 year olds

I suppose you might say that S2H is a rocksong and folkrock is different – but I am not sure that this is much of an argument. Lets stay with the thought that the words are often contributing to the totality through sound rather than sense. There is a classic case in Schools Out where the singer cant think of a word that rhymes and it just helps the business along.

Then at the beginning of the Great Leap Forward there is Eleanor Rigby which lots of poets were very excited by because it didn’t sound like pop but sounded like poetry. Does this mean that the sense didn’t matter that much in this case too? ER had the surface of poetry without some of the semantic complexity?

Imac says that this a poignantly realistic account of contemporary society – with metaphors, televisual editing and emotional consistency. Hmm complex semantics there and formal devices too – but also a string quartet which could be signalling a difference – listen to the words on this one because they are working differently – see no AC3O no ride cymbal. Macca’s girlfriend was in a play when he wote it – maybe that tipped the scales a bit. Imac says the 4tet is simple – that might be the secret of its success.

Talking of strings I realise that Pheasant and I must have actually played that arrangement of Magic.

One of Gracyk’s great discoveries was that songs in rock are ontologically thin. This means that between two recordings/performances of the same song there doesn’t have to be much similarity. And one could ask how far one could push ER without it stopping being a version of that song? A long way of course – further than the Flying Lizards pushed Money – esp from the Motown original.

Throughout Money there is the semantic question of true mood of the singers aspiration for dosh and how it may or may not reflect the listener’s attitudes. Imac and Gracyk are as one here – in that they agree on the value and extremity of the vocal noise in the Lennon lead vocal. That feature of the medium has to be deep in the message and it’s the posh-girl inversion of the ferocity in Cunningham’s experiment that gives it its place in collective participation.

Lurking in the distance is the Cunningham-Partridge disc about sentences. Some woman has just told me that she is only a sound – preceded by something which is uncontroversially only a sound. Is this a song? A cover of Good Vibrations perhaps? No GV isn’t that thin – this is an artwork. Are the words post-GLF poetry? Errrmm difficult. You could certainly make one of these CDROM art-thingies with the lyrics from Money. In this undertaking you might well use more than a few of Duncan’s 3O methodological devices for the GLF.


Talking of versions, there is a film soundtrack version of mine of Magic which I think Robin quite likes. Robin and I discussed how the biography might be turned into a film, Andrew marvelled at the way the whole thing has turned into an industry.

I fell out of the flat into the yesterday morning and switched on the radio only to hear Andrew Marr talking to I Sinclair about the mysteries of the A13. Has the world gone geomantic?

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