rashbre central: June 2008

Monday 30 June 2008

field report

Surreal moments on Monday morning as I sat in traffic on my way to a business meeting, looking at sleepy heads in cars in my rearview with Glastonbury stickers. I guess I'd headed back a few hours earlier than fellow road-users and reverted from field life to business mode. We'd left before the final acts, and spent around an hour hiking from the Tipi field back to the car parked in the far eastern fields.

There's plenty written about Glastonbury and the music, but I think the main experience for me transcends the physical into the happy emotional state from an enjoyable weekend.
I draw a mental line across the middle of Glastonbury, around where the old railway embankment runs. To the north are the big rock venues of the Pyramid and Other stage where stadium bands play and the BBC sets up most of its cameras.
South of the line are the gentler areas with different music and varied and alternative lifestyles. Its much easier to see the stages and musicians in this area and the feeling is far more relaxed than the areas where 70,000 people gather to watch a single band.

Glastonbury is large. A 160,000 person village that assembles and disappears within a week. There's an almost immediate logic to the roads, the zones, the areas of different music and the cultures which all build to a great experience. Of course, good weather helps and I'm more concerned that I might have caught too much sun rather than mud or rain from this years generally pleasant outlook.
And even now, some two days on, I still have a slightly smug and happy feeling from the experience.

Sunday 29 June 2008

elemental child

around dawn
An hour after dawn, around the recently installed sacred stones where the non-sleepy assembled around smoky fires.

I loitered here before heading to the Green Field where a collective of musicians rotated through songs and instruments weaving folk tunes to the early morning.
best place for a morning cup of tea
There's a magic in an ephemeral town, assembled for just four days. As we left finally left on Sunday, we looked behind at the grass where our tent had been pitched. Nothing remained.

Love the farm, leave no trace.

Saturday 28 June 2008


The Children of the solstice end
Gathered in the dampened grass
We played Our songs and felt the Glasto sky
Resting on our hands
It was God's land
It was ragged and naive
It was Heaven

Touch, We touched the very soul
Of holding each and every life
We claimed the very source of joy ran through
It didn't, but it seemed that way
I kissed a lot of people that day

Oh, to capture just one drop of all the ecstasy that swept that afternoon
To paint that love
upon a white balloon
And fly it from
the topest top of all the tops
That man has pushed beyond his brain
Satori must be something
just the same

We scanned the skies with rainbow eyes and saw machines of every shape and size
We talked with tall Venusians passing through
And Peter tried to climb aboard but the Captain shook his head
And away they soared
Climbing through
the ivory vibrant cloud
Someone passed some bliss among the crowd
And We walked back to the road, unchained

"The Sun Machine is Coming Down, and We're Gonna Have a Party
The Sun Machine is Coming Down, and We're Gonna Have a Party
The Sun Machine is Coming Down, and We're Gonna Have a Party
The Sun Machine is Coming Down, and We're Gonna Have a Party
The Sun Machine is Coming Down, and We're Gonna Have a Party."

memory of a free festival - bowie

automatic post - I'm in the mud here

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Friday 27 June 2008

Glastonbury weather update

Automatic post with automatically updating picture of the Pyramid
I shall try to post a few glastopix from my cameraphone direct to flickr.

They would be here if the technology works.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

something in the air

Crossing Paddington today, I noticed extra barriers and police presence.

Then I noticed that everyone with backpacks and popup tents was being directed to a special line and at the front was a clutch of policemen and some friendly looking sniffer doggies.

I happened to pass just after most people had boarded the train bound for Glastonbury, although I noticed one camper was being helped away from the train by two interested looking law enforcers.

Glastonbury live webcam and weather 2008

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Stolen Earth

I've only just viewed last Saturday's episode of Dr Who, and its a great ramp up for the two part finale.

Throughout this series there's been various disappearing planets (and bees) and I guess it will be the earth's turn to get stolen on Saturday unless the sonic screwdriver saves the day. I reckon it'll take Dr Who, all his recent assistants, plus Sarah-Jane Smith and the Torchwood crew together to figure this one out.

I don't even know which parallel universe we are in now, because there seems to be at least three judging from the last episode.

I'm wondering if we've all been watching the series from a different timeline (perhaps since Donna's beetle arrived in Pompeii) and maybe the oft mentioned haunting Medusa Cascade will be used to reset everything.

Otherwise its just too suspicious that we're back once again with a renegade Master and a collusion of probably cloned daleks - perhaps we'd better call for Richard Dawkins to help us with the genetics and work out the significance of the red one.

Someone will probably end up being followed into the dark. Make a parallel space behind the sofa before Journey's End.

(above) My quick mix of death cab for cutie with the trailer...sort of works

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Tuesday 24 June 2008


crumpled 2009Clothing and backpack optimisation for next weekend's muddy music includes taking thin clothes that fold into their own pocket.

Admittedly, the creases take a few minutes to dissipate when worn.

My spies tell me that this appearance is the basis of the 2009 fashion collections, which are striving to create crumpled look straight from the hanger.

Now, where's my collection of Russian badges?

Monday 23 June 2008


The scratches are nothing.

A few days of exhibitionism buffed away leaving only those that share the secret of the narrow moment. It could have made the longest day seem even longer. They say walls have ears; sometimes they have talons too.

Better this narrow scrape put to experience and then a move along. We'll flaunt the situation next weekend, maybe a flower to brighten or even to conceal. It will add to the muddy demeanor of sitting together in fields holding the sky back with our outstretched hands.

For now, its about making things shiny.

Sunday 22 June 2008


Kings Road
Sometimes there's a complete unpredictability to events and the last couple of days have been somewhat like that. Agility and an ability to hop over minor obstacles comes in useful as does some flexibility in calendaring.

Such randomness is a key element of a rich experiential world. I'm deciding how much of today's unfinished plans can be wrapped up neatly with a bow whilst I offset them with other adventures.

We shall see.

Saturday 21 June 2008


booting disassembled powerbook 12 after disk change
The old and trusty Powerbook 12 has had a touch of the clonks for a couple of weeks now. It displayed the little sad folder picture akin to the sad ipod picture that many have seen.

Its not my machine, but I helped fix it, the first time by the time honoured switch off - wait - switch on and astonishingly it went through about thirty minutes of unprompted disk recovery and managed to sort itself out.

As a usually quiet but intensively used machine, it was obvious something more fundamental was wrong, because the disk was now clearly audible as it searched around for files. A few days later the sad folder appeared again, and another similar repair once more rescued it. Cue CCC Carbon Copy Cloner and a couple of hours to copy everything to a replacement disk (the old one from my Powerbook 15, if truth be told).

Half an hour with screwdrivers of the right sort and the case was popped open, the old disk extracted, the new one popped in and then a trial re-boot with it still in pieces. I'm pleased to say everything works. Another half an hour to put it all back together and hopefully this already rather battered machine will continue to run.

Friday 20 June 2008

mind jump experiment number 1

mind jump experiment number 1
I thought I'd experiment with some of the Mr Y ideas.

Let's see if the mind jump works.

This is my own variation of the experiment, borrowing a couple of moons from Mars.

Get close to the screen and stare at the big black dot.

If the smaller one starts to disappear then its beginning to work, if the grey specks disappear, then its closer to working. If the black dot starts to get bigger you can probably mind jump.

You'll feel refreshed afterwards in any case. And probably want to try it again.


Sometimes it's all about perspective.

I've spent this week red-lining whilst sinking backwards into an expanding pile of tasks.

I know the theories "A I R" (Action Information Read); "Only handle it once"; "Urgent vs Important"; "Work in the long waves"; "Prioritise"; "Say No" ; "Make a list"

Sometimes things still sort of sneak up from the shadows. It's knowing where to look.

at, through, past, over, under, away, into, behind, ahead, elsewhere, here, there, then, now.

I suppose I usually look forward.

There is fun going forward.

Thursday 19 June 2008

they lied to us

they lied to us
...this was supposed to be the future.
Where is my jet pack?
Where is my robotic companion?
Where is my dinner in pill form?
Where is my hydrogen fueled automobile?
Where is my nuclear powered levitating house?
Where is my cure for this disease?

shakespeare hates your emo poems

Wednesday 18 June 2008

the end of mr y

early tardisI'm reading The End of Mr Y at the moment, where the somewhat penniless Ariel gets involved in thought experiments and physics on behalf of a missing professor. There's bits of Schroedinger's Cat, Derrida's post-structuralist de-centering of the intellect and a chatty, modern form of narrative style. In case some of that sounds barmy, perhaps it is; I don't know yet as I'm only about 40 pages in, but its certainly a good read.

I like the process by which I acquired the book, too. I'd had it recommended. Then someone said I may receive a copy. I didn't, so I added it to my list of things to buy. Then, prior to a business meeting nearby, I was alone in a book store coffee shop, reading a newspaper, which I'd bought earlier. "Special Offer" it said, only "£2.99 at WH Smith's". I had ten minutes before the meeting, so left the bookstore (past a pile of the full-priced books), and around the corner to the nearby WH Smith's. Yes they had it. Yes I could buy it for the special price, but I had to buy the newspaper again. I argued, but then asked the assistant to re-swipe the newspaper already in my possession.

In the cosmos of this book's narrative, it sort of feels right that the book was discovered and earned in this way. Reading the first couple of chapters would explain this further. If I'd seen the prototype tardis outside the book store sooner, then maybe I could have re-arranged the sequence and saved a further 80 pence.
The end of Mr Y

Tuesday 17 June 2008

vivienne westwood

Vivienne Westwood
A few minutes to spare today, as I passed the Vivienne Westwood exhibition, so I thought I'd stop in for a look. As I arrived, I was the only visitor, although by the time I left it was getting busy.

Westwood designed the emblematic punk rock era clothes, but as one looks at this extensive collection, it is evident that it takes real effort and design to look so casual.
active resistance
active resistance
There's layering and tailoring from the most raggedy punk anarchist clothing to the well behaved and highly tailored love jacket of her later work. Fascinating to step through the eras of Pirates and Protestors, through Regency and Victorian tailoring ideas all the time evident that this is the work of a thoughtful seditionary.

Monday 16 June 2008

sounds of a city

Another city today and have been listening to the sundry sirens and background noise.

I suppose I'm used to London and perhaps didn't expect so much 'blues and twos' activity around here. From where I'm staying there is a sort of natural 'bowl' and perhaps the sound is just carrying around within it. Individual sirens seem to go on for ten minutes whilst moving around the area.

Either that or there's more emergencies here per hour than I've experienced in other places. Its actually early morning when I write this and I've had sound from sirens, drunks, sirens, loud revellers at 2am, more sirens, dawn.

Tuesday will be fun.

Sunday 15 June 2008


Strictly Gershwin at Royal Albert Hall
A foot-tapping afternoon, as we found ourselves at the Royal Albert Hall, partly via the 452 bus route. A performance of Gershwin tunes, ably danced to by the English National Ballet. Our tickets were for the Grand Tier, and it turned out that we had a box with a great view of the central stage and also the orchestra, and also some nibbles and bubbly waiting for us before we took our seats.

There seemed to be a 'bit of a do' going on in the room next to us too, after initially spotting Lucinda from the Apprentice in a strikingly pink beret with a supporting and well co-ordinated ensemble. Then Rachel Stevens, Paul O'Grady, Maureen Lipman and a few others from show biz, who also seemed to be enjoying their own champagne reception.

A slick performance, with great energy from the cast, from the dancers, through the musicians and even the amusingly manic conductor. The show comprised entirely Gershwin numbers, all recognizable from famous films and mainly accompanied by ballet based dancing.

After this Sunday afternoon performance, we headed to Manicomio just off the King's Road for Gnocci and a dash of red wine.
Gershwin at Royal Albert Hall

Saturday 14 June 2008


Figured out that there must be a high pollen count. Need antihistamines.

Friday 13 June 2008

Laura Marling in church

Laura Marling, St James, Piccadilly
"Cross your fingers, hold your toes, we're all gonna die when the building blows". We're part of a loyal group of followers watching Laura Marling singing, in church, on Friday the 13th, that "You're no God".

Laura Marling, St James, PiccadillyA simple plan, to meet before the gig, which somehow had a couple of us drinking on the pavement outside the Red Lion behind the church and the others dining Italian in Piccadilly.

Anyway, we all met in the line and were able to link ourselves with the tickets. St James is the church with the little market outside it most days, across the road from the Royal Academy and le Meridien. The queue of people snaked outside of the church grounds and along part of Piccadilly.

Inside, the pews filled fast and we moved from downstairs to the gallery where we grabbed seats with a pretty good view. First up was the accomplished Mumford and Sons, which is a separate band formed from parts of the group that accompany Laura Marling - confusingly it was billed as Melody and Me, so maybe its one of those collectives with rotating band members? Harmonies, plenty of varied folky instruments and a strong five number set. Short pause before a second support band, with plenty of enthusiasm although perhaps not quite the same musicality as the first group.

Laura had been sitting out front for the first act but had sidled into the backstage area during the second act and sure enough, after a short pause for candles to be lit, Laura took to the stage beginning with solo acoustic numbers before being joined by a varied selection of band members.

I've listened to 'Alas I cannot swim', Laura's first haunting album, quite a few times, and found the live versions both precise but still suitably different from the album. Laura's lyrics are quite dark and suggest a life which has felt death's breath and a few unusual encounters. The album is a sort of song cycle with an emotional arc in it like an 'olden days' concept album.
Laura Marling, St James, Piccadilly
One can't help thinking that the themes of relationships, death and crossings simply provide an initial slightly buried "X marks the spot" from which to project forward other themes in later work. A few new tracks in the set suggested that there's plenty of ideas musically and lyrically in what one assumes to be a busy mind.

Overall a good example of a performer and friends who can just play and sing live well without too much electronica to aid them. An interlude about walking around a graveyard in Birmingham added to the intrigue of some of the lyrics and reinforced my thoughts of a negative image of Emily Strange.

Laura seems to spend time inside her songs when on stage. Aside from the between song chatter, she sings in a manner which often looks to the floor rather than to the audience. The songs are strong, but its not always easy to tell the demeanor of their enigmatic singer.

Here's a fabchannel version of the recent Paradiso gig in Amsterdam.

I am honest now, not a shouter,
I am reformed, forgiven and reborn.
And you're been busy but you've missed me
And I plagued you mind.
You will never go outside,
You will never go back to being blind.

I need shine, I need shine, I need shine,
Step away from my light, I need shine.

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Thursday 12 June 2008


davisAn interesting day at the spin factory, with the resignation of Shadow Home Secretary David Davis because of the government win on the terrorist detention vote.

It looks like proper conviction politics, when a well regarded MP front bencher stands down and creates a by-election on a matter of principle. His point is about erosion of UK civil liberties and that the 42 day detention without charge becomes another example alongside cameras everywhere, the big DNA database and potentially a national identity card - "The database State", he called it. I see the Lib-Dems say they won't contest the seat when he restands for election in Hull. I wonder whether Cameron will offer Conservative party support for the election?

Its harder to read Gordon Brown's reaction to the outcome, with a win of the vote by 9 seats, despite a rebellion of his own back-benchers. There's still the House of Lords to traverse and possible scraps with the Judiciary. For Gordon this must be more about his leadership credibility as he counts the days to the summer recess.

Interestingly the small majority was finally swayed Gordon's way by the Ulster Democratic Party voters, who changed their mind just before the vote after a backstage session with Brown.

Everyone denies that there were any concessions towards the UDP. Certainly no money from central government to support the introduction of metered water in Northern Ireland. Certainly no concessions on the sell off at less than market rates of ex MoD security bases in Northern Ireland. Certainly no special treatment for Ian Paisley.

I'm sure Gordon wouldn't be using behind the scene tactics to force the vote his way at a time when his own credibility is on the line. He'd play it straight with his own conviction.

Wouldn't he?

Tuesday 10 June 2008

hello campers

popup tent 3 seconds after unpacking
Continuing the mobility theme from yesterday, here's the latest version of rashbre mobile.

A trial run today of a popup tent for Glastonbury. This year, instead of tent poles and fibre glass thingies, its popup all the way. The tent in question is in a circular bag like a 95cm x 3cm pizza.

Unzip from the packet. Throw in the air and bazzong - an instant tent.

Don't get me wrong, I like proper backpack style tents too and have hiked around Europe with them, but for a festival moment, this has the advantage of instant deployment and only slightly longer take-down.

We trialled it today and had such fun we popped it into use three or four times. We wouldn't do that with a peggypole tent. Now, where's the wellies?

Okay, a popup tent demo from utube...[warning - these clips are quite addictive]

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Monday 9 June 2008

another me

mobile meI received notification today that I'm now part of the "me crowd". I can continue to be part of the mac crowd too, but when MobileMe arrives, apparently I'm already enrolled.

Of course, there's been rumours about this mail/calendar/contact/gallery integration service for a while, since the "me" domains were purchased by the company that looks after Apple's domain business.
mail interface
I'll need to think about this one, because I try to keep my 'work' and 'play' computing separate.
I have a work phone and a play iPhone at the moment, so I wonder how tempting it will be to add 'work' Microsoft Exchange links when the iPhone 2 software appears next month?

I suppose .me gives me a way to have yet more identities if I want them. "We" shall see.

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Sunday 8 June 2008


A leisurely cycle ride today around a few twisty lanes. Hardly a car in sight although the occasional waft of barbecues being prepared.

There's an area where I sometimes cycle which has a bit of a valley and occasionally I've seen a big bird of prey (big by London-ish standards) soaring around but never close enough to identify. It has a markedly large wingspan compared with most of the birds around here and is a kind of rich rusty brown colour with some white plumage.

Today it flew past quite close for a few seconds and I managed to make out the striking V shape of its tail, which makes me think its a kite - which I understand are quite rare in this part of the country. By the time I'd grabbed my camera from my backpack it had disappeared and although I briefly followed in the same direction I found myself in a field which had some sort of metal detector convention in progress.
KIte ?
Then, when I got home, I noticed a corner of another picture accidentally seems to have the same bird in it - and even another one at a much greater height.

Probably one of the worst photos I've published on here, but it gives me a challenge for another day!


this is not a ticket
...but this is...
but this is

Saturday 7 June 2008

sitting pretty

So after the band, I spend an indulgent time sitting in a waterfront bar watching the world.

Sunshine, with boats and people bobbing by.

I'll admit to some blackberrying when I first sat down, but then I decided that I needed a little down time and awarded myself the chance to chill out somewhere pleasant before the hike back to London.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is pretty positive about Norway and the 'crinkly bits' and sure enough its a pretty country, especially on a beautiful sunny day. The snap is from the plane's window.

Friday 6 June 2008

strong arm of the law

strong arm of the law
I finished my work with a little time to spare, so instead of heading back to the airport, I asked the taxi to take me back to the harbour.

As luck would have it, there was a rock band playing, so what could I do but stop and listen?

It was a bluesy and pretty good band of Norwegians all in a kind of black get-up. Hmm, then I noticed the checkerboard around their legs. And then I noticed the insignia on their shoulders. It was the local police force blues band - de Politie? no they were (I think) called "Strong arm of the law" (My Norwegian language skills are minimal). See the two Politie fans taking a few minutes from their patrol duties!
strong arm of the law
And the band rocked.

Look carefully in the video and you can see behind the stage, where a huge cruise ship is parked in the harbour. I stayed for the whole enjoyable set, before seeking a lazy cafe along the waterfront.

here is a brief rashbrecam extract

or the end of voodoo chile

Thursday 5 June 2008

norwegian pizzas are expensive

Headed to Stavanger, Norway this afternoon which seems to be about ten degrees hotter than London. When I've been here before, its had a kind of bleak North Sea climate with mists and rain, so this is quite a pleasant experience and I managed a quick stroll armed with a small camera.
They were clearing up from some kind of rock concert in the main area near to the harbour and getting ready for an ecology related open air exhibition. A rather large cruise ship named Aida was stopping by, so with the combination of events, the whole place was lazily filled with all manner of tourists.
Stavanger appears to be quite small, but has plenty of cafes and bars and is the staging post for people involved with the North Sea oil industry, so as well as the high traffic heliport, there's a big and interesting museum dedicated to the oil industry.

All this contributes to the throughput of people, which increases the urban style street entertainment possibilities.
I spotted this group of four umbrella wielding performance artists doing a circuit, as well as stopping suddenly in poses for the tourists to catch.
And later, a homage to Banksy, on the side of a warehouse near to the quay. I wonder if its linked to the one in Hoxton in a manner similar to the giant tectroscope that links London's City Hall to Manhattan's Brooklyn Bridge?
And if so, where do you have to look?
My pictures today (except the two older London ones) are uploaded straight from the camera to flickr because (a) I'm Mac-less and (b) I set myself an eight o'clock cutoff this evening and am now enjoying the evening sunshine and a delicious if astonishingly expensive, pizza.

Maybe I've got the conversion rate wrong?