Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-05-01 - 9:09 a.m.

I drove down to Milton Keynes, parking in the lunar square where the station is, and jumped on the train to Euston to arrive at St James just in time for the 10.30am start of the meeting. My main contract just now is for the host organisation which is organising a massive piece of policy development involving thirteen sectors – of which ours is one – and we are the nodal point within the sector. Four of those sectors are pioneering the first wave including ours.

Stefan was also at the meeting. He is organising a related event at the Motor Show at the end of the month which means this strand is for me. After lunch we met up with the team who have let the contract with us to clarify what is needed and on what timescale. Next week is going to be a busy week.

The results for Volkswagen announced in the paper today come as no surprise.

I have very negative emotions about rail travel from the years when I was commuting from Guildford to Victoria while everything seemed to be going downhill. The journey to Milton Keynes was smooth and easy – a vision of what rail travel might have become (with good - as they say in the trade “intermodality” – something the Dutch are masters of). The journey back less so, including, the drive from Milton Keynes to Guildford.

I suppose the “futures” element was the way I was able to use RDS information to avoid congestion. It can be annoying when the traffic reports break into a favourite piece on the CD – but during the Friday rush hour its (which I normally avoid) its useful to know whats happening on the M3 M4 and M25. So once I’d got to High Wycombe I avoided the motorways and went through the Windsor Forest which was dank and dripping. But I was pretty tired by the time I got in. I suspect that the social function of smooth jazz is to sooth the mind in these conditions.

Jazz FM are at the New Orleans jazz festival and they played some extraordinary live music led by John Cleary on clavinet. Cleary was born in Kent and a few decades heard classic New Orleans piano on the radio. He took off to the city and has made that piano style his lifetime study to become a major session player. The live track was extraordinary – reminded me of what made Little Feat great.

There is a flurry of activity today around the dress which Vita will wear to her school “Prom”. A prime example of cultural Americanisation?

I continue to be intrigued by Ricardos reports on the piece. I first started writing music in my forties on my sons Amiga using a non-score based sequencer from Finland. There was piece that I did on it at the time that I was listening to a lot of Tippet and through him Beethoven String 4tets. Andrew has heard this one and I think he quite likes it. But the process of creating was harsh from a first person point of view and I resolved afterwards that I wasn’t to create music in that way any more.

And so I gradually adopted a number of very different approaches - which have yielded a great deal of stuff, most of which is on Minidiscs. I am hovering on the brink of sifting and sorting (and possibly developing) some of this material. I have invested in a bit more technology to smooth the passage between WAV and Attrac3. Maybe this weekend I will plug some bits and pieces together and see how good this new connectivity is. Generally technology based on MD is a thousand times more reliable than anything to do with the PC.

I have been listening to an Italian experimental rock group – something I picked up in the Oxfam shop alongside Magic and Loss, Lisa Stansfield, West African field recordings and the some Sheffield 80s pop – a tenner the lot. The Italian is slightly off centre and just fun – different combinations of instrument and voice etc – slightly serious (as far as I can tell).

I bought the Economist to try to understand what is happening in Falujda – I suppose it will be months before we get an objective account. I read somewhere that the Iraq War has reached the Stalingrad phase – which I always thought it would. There have been a similar recent episode in the capital of Chechnya. The Russians keep the cameras away – and they must know that style of warfare from both sides.

On the Highveld site the volumes have been pretty level through February March and April but there is a long term upward trend for about 10 months. Austria and Sweden look set to be the next countries to pass the 1000 requests threshold.

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