Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-07-05 - 8:31 a.m.

I went to Gaydon on theM40 for the launch of the Warwick University Formula Student car. The competition runs next weekend.

Back in Leamington I have started to change the pictures round, in particular I have put into a frame one of the bush outside Port Elizabeth in South Africa and another of the river Avon near here. The pix which were in the frame have come out for a bit of interference – one of these is a view in LA up the coast from Venice Beach towards Santa Monica and the ocean terrace where Robin lives.

The other is a view of the High Sierras in California – a lake some 10,000 feet up. The former can be improved I feel. The latter is rather too timid - whether I can do something about that without spoiling it is open to question. Anyway the two new pix look quite good behind my stove – next to one from the Scilly Isles and one of the Hurt Wood in Surrey. Great name for a bit of Surrey – actually the view is looking towards the place V Wms lived quite a while

I have been developing the MM performance concept in discussion with Andrew. We are looking at the idea of putting a solo flute phase at the beginning which is from Coltrane – a transcription of one of his classic solos. I thought it might be “Countdown” but I am looking at Milestones instead – the key suits better – the Trane solo line – treated as a solo flute piece. Its really something to engage with those notes – the freshness and intensity of invention. Hope my neighbours can handle that. There’s a thing around the note the G – on this flute – I hope that isn’t going to turn into an issue.

I played some of the line on the guitar – an astonishing experience – mind expanding in the true sense. I don’t know why I ever stopped practicising Trane and Bird lines – its obviously a good thing to do every day – JSB too. There was a time when I learned a lot of Bird heads off by heart – bits of Armstrong too.

Listened to some of a programme about Janacek – didn’t realise that he lived in Brno – a place I have visited a couple of times – where you still get a feel for Central Europe before 1989. J’s piano pieces from the 1900s sounded good to me. He seemed a bit like a musical Strindberg. I even heard some modal jazz in Brno – I found it very moving actually – like the music was carrying some of its old radical values

I watched The Shock of the Pseud part 2 on Saturday night. I think he’s over doing it . The big idea at the moment is back to painterliness and its unique values. Its not as if anyone abandoned that idea – I didn’t hear people saying that you shouldn’t go in the Rothko room because the paint will warp your mind – go and look at some cool conceptual art instead. I thought it was interesting to see all those Kiefers. No one is going to drop Bacon , Freud (and his interpersonal void) and they only dropped Hockney because it was just too easy – not that he cared a stuff probably.

The idea that the camera isn’t adequate to the current expressive situation is an interesting one in my view – a kind of “new times” signal. Paul mailed about his son – a film cameraman – and also about going to various 60s events during his Apple years.

I had lunch in the local Pizza Express – something I have never done before – and read more of Totton and Ackroyd poetry in parallel. You can’t miss the snow. Its even in De Rien which is dedicated to PW

“there’s snow about

we’re exposed to the air

pierced by a glance (its how I got that hole”

Paul was saying its not so much the cure as the attitude to the cure that counts.

There’s also this question of London Gothic. You can’t say it isn’t in PA – that would be stupid. Its just not in the poetry or if it is I haven’t found it yet. There was a thing last night on R4 about the lyric impulse and the divine – a sign of “new times” if ever I heard one. Totton has been scouring the conceptual universe for about 40 years for such signs if you ask me.

There’s a quote from Trane via W Shorter is the Porter bio where WS reports that Trane was so into pattern that he genuinely wanted to learn how to speak English backwards – to get a new angle. This is not a joke in any sense.

Actually I once taught myself to play some Christmas Carols backwards - step in the right direction?

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