Monthly Archives: October 2009

Happy Pumpkin Day!

(yeah, the knife slipped – I’m clearly rubbish at pumpkining)

Sorry for no post last week. We spent so much time on the meal we didn’t have any left over to make music, and then I couldn’t think of anything to write here as a result of a severe imagination deficit. Which made me guilty and worried about you, our imaginary readership. What would you think? How would you cope? Were you hunched over the keyboard, jabbing the F5 key every 10 seconds? Was your thought process “Where’s the post? Where’s the post? Did something happen? Is someone dead? Did the band split up? OH GOD NO TELL ME THE BAND DIDN’T SPLIT UP!!!”? Did you start an online petition to try and convince us to put aside our petty squabbles and get back together for the sake of the fans, for the sake of the music? Did you collect thousands of pounds to try and cover the crippling debt built up by Craig’s shoe addiction, and my horrifying Irn Bru habit? Did you resort to drastic measures to try and scrape the money together, including doing something you swore you’d never do again? I’m sure all of the above are true and we’ll be receiving a cheque just as soon as the postal strikes are over, but don’t worry, we’re here now. With pictures! And sound!

And along those lines, here’s a slightly shoegazy (Craig’s influence – that’s what happens when you put ideas in my head, even in passing) sketch. The different bits don’t really hang together yet, but you can see where we’re going, I think.

Pumpkin Day

Food-wise, Craig invented a pasta thing especially for us. I’ll see if I can remember what went in it:

  • 2 bags fresh (spinach-filled) pasta
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • some basil
  • 1/2 a pepper
  • a wee pile of cherry tomatoes
  • ???
  1. Cook the pasta.
  2. Stick the rest in a pot (except the mozzarella), cook for a bit.
  3. Once cooked, stick the sauce in a food processor, whizz.
  4. Put the sauce back in the pot and add the mozzarella, cook until the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve it all with some salad.

I’m going to end with links to some web comics, since that’s what I’ve been looking at lately:
DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary
and of course Freak Angels (obviously you need to start from the beginning with that one)

Erase all Traces

“Erase the Traces. Destroy, in order to create. Build a new world on the ruins of the old. This, it is often thought, is the Modernist imperative, but what of it if the new society never emerged? We have been cheated out of the future, yet the future’s ruins lie about us, hidden or ostentatiously rotting. So what would it mean, then, to look for the future’s remnants? To uncover clues about those who wanted, as Walter Benjamin put it, to ‘live without traces’? Can we, should we, try and excavate utopia?

To do so might be a final, bitter betrayal if Modernism itself. Although there have always been several strains in Modernism, one of the most dominant has always been based on the demand, made by Bertolt Brecht in his 1926 Handbook for City Dwellers to ‘erase the traces!’.”

– Owen Hatherley, Militant Modernism.

We did some more to the previous song (we went with the 2nd version) this week. I think it’s probably finished now, though it’s maybe a bit short?

After the War (v.3)

The lyrics are a clumsy attempt to articulate the utopian impulse that runs through Hatherley’s book, the modernist desire to erase the traces. The idea that if we could free ourselves of all the weight, the baggage of the past, a better world could be possible. So they’re (meant to be) kind of melancholy (for the future that never materialised) and euphoric (for the thought of being genuinely free).

Foodwise, this week we did a Ratatouille Crumble:
Craig got the recipe from here. And very nice it was too. You can also see some salad in that picture; the dressing (also Craig’s) was: 3 parts olive oil, 1 part wine vinegar, 1 part mustard, 1 part honey and some seasoning.

After the war

Craig was in Berlin this week, so I had a go at making our last sketch less… sketchy. I couldn’t settle on one particular way to go though, so I did two versions (warning: both with singing):

After the War 1
After the War 2

I prefer the second one, though it doesn’t particularly fit with the rest of the stuff we recorded the previous week. Well, neither of them do, really…

Incidentally, these images (via, and) by Roksana Mical are gorgeous:
I’ve only had brief glimpses of plague doctors before, and I always just assumed they were the invention of an imaginative costume designer/author. Turns out they were real. Discoveries like this always make the past seem far stranger and more interesting (to me, anyway) than the version we get fed on TV documentaries/period dramas etc. I desperately wish the BBC would make something with even half the atmosphere these photos have. Sadly they seem to be completely paralysed right now, unable to do anything remotely ambitious or brave.

The pictures also remind me a bit of what I’ve seen of Pathologic, a game I’ve never played but wish I had.

Surpass the Impossible and Kick off with Momentum!

Sorry for there being no post last week – Craig said he was going to do one and then didn’t. Boo Craig 😦

Anyway, I just started re-watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan, and made myself a motivational poster:
I love Kamina’s ridiculous self-belief (and the way its basically just a series of constantly escalating battles, ending with one where they fight the universe itself – because once you’ve beaten up a planet, where else can you go?). I also love how the buildings all have faces – imagine a city where all the buildings were anthropomorphised, each with it’s own personality, and choosing where to live was more like choosing a pet(?) than weighing up the location, amenities etc. That’s something Calvino never considered (I think?).

One day I intend to write a book (or a film, or a game, or something…) that mythologises Glasgow – the city coming to life as an enormous sentient creature; buildings growing limbs and consuming their occupants; feral children racing along the tenement rooftops, more fox than child; red Clydeside roaring back to (un)life, the ghosts of all the workers betrayed by Churchill, Thatcher (etc.) streaming onto the streets to reclaim their city. And it would have to be set in winter, when the sun hangs so low and casts that incredible yellow-gold light across the city. The point is, you walk in New York or London, even Edinburgh, and you’re walking through all sorts of myths and stories – these are places that get used in films, books, music all the time. But to my mind, Glasgow only really has a few such stories (No Mean City, maybe Lanark, the sickly sweet stories in Belle and Sebastian songs…), despite its incredible potential. That’s what the council should be spending its money on – a mythology – not the commonwealth games, or all those horrifically ugly buildings down by the river.

So, um, took a bit of a detour there. What I meant to write about was what we did on Wednesday. Which was:
A butternut squash, tofu and pea curry. Also;
Where’s My Cake?
As usual for the first sketch of a song of ours, it’s very sketchy. I don’t like the sound of Craig’s buzzy guitar in the second part, or the way my bassline and his buzzy part there are so repetitive. I also think we’ve used that initial chord as our initial chord in quite a few songs now. Time for a new chord!

Click to see the curry recipe:

  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1tbsp thai red curry paste
  • 250g butternut squash
  • 225ml vegetable stock
  • 200g coconut milk (can)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 150g firm tofu, diced
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • finely chopped red chilli to garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a wok, add the curry paste and stir-fry over a low heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add the squash, stir-fry until coated with the oil/curry paste.
  3. Add the stock, coconut milk and lime leaves. Bring to the boil, and simmer gently for 15 mins until the squash is cooked.
  4. Add the peas, tofu, soy sauce and lime juice, simmer for 5 mins until the peas are cooked.
  5. Serve in bowls, garnish with the chilli.

Finally, the best game I’ve played all month: