Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-05-02 - 10:39 a.m.

I transferred some WAVs from the Dell to a MD using the newly bought technology and this triggered a thought about what I might do on 21 August. Glad to see that Andrew K has volunteered his services.

I need some kind of strategy for developing the material marooned on the Dell – maybe I will start with Cubase files in date order – this knowledge management stuff is habit-forming. Cubase is temporarily inaccessible on the portable because of some contention with the Tascam US428 version which I don’t even begin to understand. However the demo version of Wavelab does both operate normally and recognise the US428 pathway when asked to . Lurking somewhere here is a viable model.

During the week I had a bit of an epiphany on turntabulism – a subject I have carefully avoided . A fortnight ago Lawrence showed me some things on his twin decks – and then there was a feature on the form on R4 of all places. It began to dawn on me that some of the ideas from ttbm had begun to creep into the more experimental material about the time of Serious Music were probably knock-on effects of the genre – especially an interest in real-time processing of tracks.

I listened to more Simon Fell and looked into his bio. Actually he is the second most radical musician/writer/composer to come out of Fitzwilliam in the last 40 years – and he seems to have a studio base in Cambs which I must ask Mark about – he is bound to know about it. At the moment I prefer Mick Beck’s Something Else – which is linked to Fell’s endeavours.

I do find it odd the way that the innovative centres eventually give you a kick however much you hide in a dull fog. Mick Beck and I went out with the same girl – serially between about 1966 and 1972. I bumped into her in a supermarket in Edinburgh in 1975 and she knowing I was going to London gave me the contact details for Mick as another philosophically trained jazz playing civil servant. Mick turned up in my office around 1996 with his latest CD which really opened my ears – in the interim he had developed his links with the Fell enterprise. t that meeting I played Mick a recording of a flute thing – which used a 1919 Prokoviev piano piece – sequenced as a ground.

Roughly the same thing happened at the same time with Birmingham. I turned up at a gig in Guildford and one of the consultants on an appalling computer project I was responsible for walked in with a DX7 under his arm. He had studied composition at Birmingham in the 80s and eventually introduced me to the extraordinary Dyp Experience – which he was a leading member of.

A little extra time with Eno’s Swollen Appendices was all it took to realise I had been missing out – also I confessed to a member of my team my ND links and he suggested that it could be of wider interest.

Mick Beck jammed with Steve Pheasant 5tet in Drury Lane in 1976 and indeed we all went to one of Jon Cole’s parties after a gig. Mick was too radical for Steve – who had been very radical in 68-69 – say at the time we had Horn.

I have been reading more about this trajectory – or arc as I believe the fashionable term is these days.

Andrew Duncan believes that the great period was between about 66 and 75. Psychedelia obviously contained some dross but it was hardened by Conceptualism and in the process the Great Leap Forward took place. But dissension between the radicals , a desperate group of traditionalists and an alienated middle ground fractured the institutional base. Thatcherism did the rest.

At the time of the fracture my radical wing was the Totton-Bell-Cameron poetry trio which surfaces on Careless Love on the Highveld site. The neo-classical wing was Pheasant’s increasing interest in the purity of bop. For me neo-classicism turned into regionalism when I joined Hullabulloo with its exclusively Barcelona based repertoire – although we used to gig with poets like John Heggarty – this was my toe hold in the 80s underground.

The neo-classic turn locates jazz similarly to the positioning given by Larkin and Amis – within the Movement. The girl that Mick and I went out with was actually Donald Davie’s god daughter – something that impressed me terribly at the time especially when he went to the USA.

Yesterday I printed off an article which tries to develop a continuity thesis between Larkin and Davie – on the one hand – and Prynne on the other. (Prynne inspired Simon H Fell). Its hard for me to judge this – it’s a style of argument I am not very familiar with.

Duncan’s claim that Prynne was key mover in the GLF is likely to trigger a counter-thesis that stresses the continuity. There is even the claim that the triumph of the Movement is that people still want to duff it up – possibly a very fair point. There is a cultural moment in the 50s where concerned middle class aesthetes negotiate a position between mad modernism and the official culture.

When I read the book on Angry Young Men (the media banner for the Movement) I was shocked that such bizarre individuals could be part of my cultural heritage – so the continuity thesis probably has more truth than we’d all like to admit. Within AYM there may even have been some proto-hippies or counter-culturalists.

(Never forget Nico’s engagement stretches all the way from here through to Madchester and Ibiza missing out very very little of any consequence – not least ND).

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