Friday, March 31, 2006

I want this record

The Music of !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, Africa. 1962. Folkways Records. FE 4487. 4-page booklet. 24 songs & instrumentals played with thumb piano and bamboo fiddle.

Richard Rippin, 30 soon...

Richard's going to be 30 on 21st April, a birthday he shares with the Queen, funnily enough. Personally I share a birthday with Saddam Hussein (my birthday is a public holiday in war-fucked Iraq, or used to be) and Kenickie's Lauren Laverne. Recently I was pencilled in very lightly to support Arab Strap in Colchester, and I'm wondering whether I might have got to hang out if the gig had gone ahead.
In this picture Richard is making one of his baubs films and I'm attempting to up the ante by rubbing my hand on his small face. We were off to a jumble sale in Sam's trusty Skoda.
For Richard's party I have to DJ records from 1976. All suggestions welcome. Sam is also DJing, which is her official debut.

Um Discography Part 6: General Purpose CD (back cover)

This was the mildly indecent back cover.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


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Black hands crawling...

Somewhere on an Um tune there's a sample of Captian Beefheart saying "black ants crawling..." which my brother, perhaps intentionally, used to mishear as "black hands crawling..." Mysteriously, in this school photo, some unexplained dark-skinnned fingers seem to be creeping towards Bob's head.

My brother is famously well-hung, but even that only goes so far in explaining the air of cockiness he exudes in this photo.

Um Discography Part 4: You Won't Get Better

At some point in 1998 this chap Neil approached me about putting an Um track on this Co-op compilation, and for some reason he was tickled by a stupid tune I did called Working At Home. Somehow he got this CD on the jukebox in The White Swan, and the regulars used to put Working At Home on because they knew it wound up the bar staff.

CD also featured Hofman and Whisky Before Breakfast and Vigi, members of whom, I'm led to believe, still have some kind of careers in the biz. It's like fucking Stella Street round these parts...

Um Discography Part 6: General Purpose CD

There was only about ten of these, maybe 15 or 20?

The super-exposed photo used for the cover shows a nice rave haircut and the tree-lined path across Jesus Green that leads to the dole office.

I was going to include the sleevenotes but they're a bit embarrassing innit?

Weird Mill Road Happenstances...

Last night I was walking along Mill Road with Syd, feeling a bit tired and spaced out. Approaching us was a young couple, he looking a bit moody in shell-suit and cap, she quite dolled-up, but in a smart, "respectable" sort of way, as if not wishing to look too tarty. Suddenly he pulled in front of her and started marching ahead, obviously aggrieved about something. As she passed Syd and I she called out to him "What's the rush Aaron? Do you need a shit or something?" Her tone of voice had just the bare minimum amount of mockingness, suggesting total mastery of and/or total emotional detachment from the situation.

Similtaneously, on the other side of the road, a middle-aged man strode past (alone) in a mask that looked something like this, only a bit less obviously skeletal.

I'm sure if I took better care of myself this kind of thing would be less obvious, or might not occur at all.

3 In One

I don't know why there are 3 of me here.

Mike Green's New Zealand Thing

Been adding to my investment portfolio/pathologically spunking a load of cash on Ebay lately, and for some time before that an' all. Some dude decided he wanted to ditch his NZ weirdness so I bought 5 Alastair Galbraith 7"s and a Bruce Russell.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Um Discography Part 5: Um In Dub

I seem to be losing the allusive quality I was seeking and appear to be explaining things into a right old mess as per usual. This CD came about because I was getting ready to do my first gig proper and Neil Bone Idol asked me if I wanted to make some product. Somehow I ended up giving him the tracks that I was going to use as backing (I didn't have lyrics for most of these tunes, but was hoping to come up with some by the time I did the gig) and so somehow I added the insult of selling my backing tracks to the injury of the then pioneeringly piss-taking singing-over-tapes method. Neil and his cohort Stuart also produced t-shirts to sell based on the CD cover image, which were unfortunately ruined by any kind of washing. I never even owned one of these t-shirts.

The artwork was done by Gordon McKenzie, a very talented and funny man.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I've got a picture of Brucie somewhere too. Don't get me wrong though, the whole Celebrity Ballroom Dancing thing looks like TV for cows to me.

The Trickster

Maybe we should just pause here to take a quick peek back in time. The guy in the chicken mask is Adz, aka The Trickster, at some rave thing back in the day. It does say what you think it does.

Um Discography Part 3: Autumn Clearout 1997 (cassette pictured)

See how some person shelled out for a decent-ish tape for their demo and it just got co-opted for my nefarious ends.

I listened to this for research purposes the other night. Some of it sounded surprisingly good, some surprisingly shit.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Um Discography Part 3: Autumn Clearout 1997

Christ... probably only Dave and Gav out of Gwei-Lo were given this...

The first song on each side of the cassette is the result of a collaboration with Toby Mills. We used to share a house and a love of funk.

Ach...this stuff needs sleevenotes...

Um Discography Part 3: Blank (cassette pictured)


Um Discography Part 3: Blank

Not many of these found their way into people's hands, and I don't think anyone has ever mentioned anything about it to me. I think some of it's alright though, and I eventually brought out a CD-R version, which has had a similar impact.

I did In The Summertime In England at Harvest Time's "An Evening Of Psychedelic Drone Music" a little while back.

Um Discography Part 2: General Purpose (cassette pictured)

Look! The master!

I waited with bated breath for people's reactions. Rupert said he preferred Bad Mood Music and Tom Long said he liked the version of Coming Up less than the one on Bad Mood Music (they are both the same).

Um Discography Part 2: General Purpose

This is generally known as General Purpose but originally it was meant to be General Purpose Um, because that was what it was meant to be. Where Bad Mood Music was more disagreeable and Blank was what we used to call "ambient" this release was intended to be representative of the disparate Um sound and yet appealing to a larger and more heterogenous audience.

Roughly ten (10) copies produced.

Um Discography Part 1: Bad Mood Music (free mini-poster pictured)

Stop me if my comedy gesamtkunstwerk routine is getting too much, won't you?

This was the free mini-poster (roughly 10cm by 20cm) that came with the cassette. Jayne Mansfield, I believe, with a couple of pintas.

The font that the band name is in is called Lucy Cousins. Many years later, after having a kid, I discovered that this was because Lucy Cousins writes the Maisy Mouse books for very young children. Quite fitting, in an ill-fitting kind of way.

Um Discography Part 1: Bad Mood Music (original tape pictured)

Here's an original tape. Looks like a TDK D60. I used to tape over demo tapes that got sent to The Boat Race (I had the comedy job of reviewing them) and this karmic no-no has stayed with me ever since.

I was using a Macintosh PowerMac 7200 back then, as I recall. We're talking '95 or '96. The processor speed was 90Khz and the hard drive size was 500Mb. Do about ten songs and then back everything up. Onto cassette.

I was running Deck, I think. I used to like that programme because you could slow the whole playback of your song in real time, which I did quite a bit, and also the effects were amazing and quite unique.

Um Discography Part 1: Bad Mood Music

This was the first thing that came out under the Um name. I gave it away free to a few music types in Cambridge. Mr Henson was positive, and I was very surprised and gratified to hear "Scythe" coming over the PA at a Hofman gig. I couldn't figure out where I knew it from at first.

Largely instrumental. Bit repetetive and harsh.

Less than ten copies produced. Never released on CD.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Nazis

If my brother is irritated by something, he goes: "Ah, the Nazis are in town..."

Today i'm irritated because:

I feel a bit sketchy.
My computer went very wrong earlier. Shut down randomly and would not reboot.
Logic wouldn't work.
My son bumped his head at school.
Blogger isn't working.


I did this little montage ages ago. I wouldn't draw attention to it were it not for the fact that it actually started out as a picture of Shakin' Stevens.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rest In Peace

RIP Barkly, then.


Barks was the family dog from the late 80s until 2005. My brother and sister still live in a post-Barkly universe. The South-East of England had a lot of fallen trees after the hurricane and he would skip up their trunks with me until we were 20 or 30 feet into the air. He could also take off vertically, so if he was hungry you'd see this small dog go up and down past your back door window.

This pic is a video still from the famous day I did a pipe in the riuned tin mine near Pensilva and just about lost my freakin' mind.

Hanging with friends.

This was me, Alex and Kid 606 at The Boat Race back in the day.

Jesus! Have you lost weight?

This isn't quite as blasphemous as it might seem. Ages ago the man Pete Sutton (a local artist now seemingly AWOL) needed a model for some illustration he was doing for a religious book, so I got cash, wine, cold and embarassed whilst pretending to be Christ for half an hour. When he'd finished he overdubbed the Um theme and sent me the picture.

Never looked back.

Back in 1986 I went round Tim Crawford's house with some mates, possibly Dom or Guy. Tim and Thierry were there looking a bit bleary because they had broken down on the way to Glastonbury and had got back late via a tow from the AA or whatever. I asked what tune the little tape recorder was playing, because I dug it. At the time I was mainly into Depeche Mode and shit.

"I'm So Green", by Can.

No Lay

I wish Unorthodox Daughter was on a nice little 7"...

Miss Starpower

I'm guessing this beauty is American. My man Puyo Puyo posted her somewhere.

I think she deserves some kind of essay...

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone...

It might never happen

Then again, it might.

Napoleon On Trial



I think the Christians were right about forgiveness and stuff.

Once, back in my hot knife days, I had a sudden vision that sentient humanity was the result of colonization by extra-terrestrials, whereby what we know as our central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, is in fact an alien parasite.

But this pic is more about the heavy labour of carrying a brain about.

I can be mean, ornery, and stubborn, but...

We're all gonna die...

There used to be (and probably still is, for all I know) a terrible old Um tune called Death Song. It started off with a very stoned answerphone message from Rob Jesus, and then this hideous David Bowie impersonator goes:

Sail away
into the water...

To our left stands Nathan Blunt, much-loved but usually in want of pussy.

Sometimes, when I'm too incapacitated to record, edit or mix music, or write, or make films, or even browse the web, I draw. Sometimes in notebooks, but lately in Microsoft Paint.

Tripel Records

This is how we do shit at Tripel...

Skwide and Kira-Bira, and their dads.

This is my brother and I and our offspring, pictured Mill Road, Cambridge, December 2005.

Dallas Boner

This is a wonderful photo of Patrick, who is a marvellous fellow.