Analogue Blog

28th January 2012

or RetroFuturism

So, it really is a cliché to note that everything is happening all at once but sometimes it is necessary to note the obvious, just to remind ourselves that it’s a cliché mainly because it’s true. You know, stuff like, Cameron is Tory scum who has no clue how to run the country. There, that’s better. But really, everything is happening all at once, the past and the future are colliding in the present, to create things like they were before, but different. So today we found out that vinyl sales are up, from a very tiny amount to a slightly bigger number that is still very small. Most music sales are now, of course, digital, not on CD or cassette, which means that most music now doesn’t actually ever exist. It just kind of floats around on drives, then gets lost. But it’s not just us old folk who still like handling big slabs of fat oil, the ‘kids’ are into it to. I think the best thing about vinyl is that it’s cost and weight act as a great filter. You have to really like a tune to spend £6.50 on it, then carry the dastardly thing around in a box just so it can give you six minutes of, admittedly high quality, sound pleasure, it’s much easier to just skip through it on Spotify or Youtube. Vinyl is as good and as annoying as it ever was but now we like it for a different reason, because there’s less of it, because it’s physical and expensive it limits our choice, in a good way. There, you see, everything’s the same, and different, at the same time. The same theory applies to analogue film. OK, it looks better than digital, but the really good thing is, when you use real film, you have to think about every shot, or the reel will run out before you get to the good bit. And when you get the pictures back they feel special, and there’s not so many that you just can’t be bothered to even trawl through them.

Yesterday we bought a typewriter for the same kinds of reasons. It’s a beautiful object, with some great graphics on the instructions, and a genuine typed test page, with a special inky stamp, to prove that when it left the factory it was in working order. But when you use it, you have to really think about what you write, because when the ribbon runs out it’s hard to get a new one and if you make a mistake you can’t just go back and do it again, it’s there forever. H is going to use it for labels for her massage oil. I will type out the running order for my Freedom Street album project, then photograph it, using real film. The whole thing might even end up on vinyl if everything goes to plan. Now, that would really feel like an achievement, a thing of real value, well, a thing, a tangible, real thing at least. Now, that would be really retro, in a futuristic sort of way. Or is it the other way round?

Family photos

22nd January 2012

Like Eastman Kodak’s rose-tinted footage of the rose-covered cottage. Like Poloroid’s analogue memory fade. Like cassette and vinyl and minidisc. Like bus conductors, miners and socialists. It will not be long until we are all ghost.

Mixing, Soup and Misty Sunsets

12th January 2012

Hard times on the blog front. It’s January, so it’s all mixing, soup and misty sunsets. Nothing much to photograph. Too much time spent staring out of the window, trying to concentrate on another bassline, or work out why a song doesn’t quite, ever so slightly but ever so definitely, sound like a record. Plenty of hours spent trying to give a track that special Balearic attitude that will make it work in the sunshine, in the summer, in that far away country called the future. And hours at the block, chopping onions, mastering the art of squash dismemberment. The best of times, the worst of times, as some one once said. Now, where’s my Kindle?

2012 : First Impressions

2nd January 2012

Collected on a clear day on the river, inbetween The Wandle and Albert Bridge.

My Xmas Turkey

28th December 2011

A quick trip to Turkey to distribute and collect some delight. It’s one of those – arrive, eat, play, sleep, leave – jobs. Because it is Istanbul there is traffic on traffic in driving rain, roads like rivers, roads like car parks. There’s Guray, the gentle door manager who lives in the country, who keeps chickens and cats and dogs and grows parsley in summer time, enough to share with friends and neighbours. There is grilled meat and lavish salad, there is Raki (pronounced wrecker, an appropriately descriptive word for a deliciously devastating drink). Then there is Lux, the bar club in a back street in the still driving rain, in the increasingly vicious wind. Function One sound, crossover, house music, hotel, and another night of fitful sleep. Half dog tired. Half waiting for the alarm. Rain lashing on the windows.

Image repetition – a series of known unknowns on TV – an explosion in a city; a crowd protesting in another; hot or cold weather in various regions of the world; stocks and shares going up and down; a man on a beach playing an acoustic guitar, a beautiful woman wandering, hopeless, aimless, pleading, vulnerable, all eyes. In my dreams or in the club or on TV, I am not sure now, the waves of bass throw words onto the shore. Boom – superabundance. Boom – obesity. Boom – instant gratification. I want it and I want it now. That system doesn’t work anymore, we all know that, we can feel it, but what do we have to replace it? We can feel it like the wind rocking to hotel, like the windows buckling and bending, warping out of shape in the lashing rain. We can feel it in our stomachs like a sharp punch or the slap of a bass wave from the Function One. Enough is enough I splutter as the phone beeps or pings or does something. I compose myself for a second – hello. Upbeat, sounding to myself like I am awake. There is nobody there of course. It’s just another alarm call on just another morning in just another room with a view. In the lift on the way down to breakfast I hum a simple tune:

Stay hungry, stay smart That’s a start, that’s a start When it all falls apart Stay hungry, stay smart.