Monday, September 30, 2019

In a Midhurst Tea Room

Reposted from November 2, 2009

The hottest summer on record made doing the tourist thing a bit more difficult. It was a family vacation and we started things off in Midhurst, seeing some ruins (and relaxing a bit) before heading up to London and the more intense part of our trip. The tea-room we stopped in that afternoon had sandwiches and sodas and, although it wasn't air-conditioned, there was a trellised garden in the back which was quite pleasant.

We were waiting for food when a man and a woman sat down nearby. He had full motorcycle leathers, she did not, but both carried helmets. It must have been quite a ride, for the woman was visibly excited, trembling even, and was watching her companion very intensely. The man began to talk. He was not well-spoken but by the swagger in his demeanor I could tell that he'd done this routine many times before.

She was reading him; watching his little show. An afternoon thrill? Or was he worth another look? Her intensity of concentration suggested that she was ambivalent, she nodded a little too vigorously and her smiles of attraction alternated with fleeting grimaces of repulsion.

Our food came and we ate quietly; the boys were still jet-lagged. The couple finished their drinks and were off, I could hear the cycle rev as they sped away to parts unknown.

At that moment I was glad that my courting days were over, that my family was intact, and I was happily married. The mating dance is fascinating, but not always pretty.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, September 27, 2019

SRX 500 Bass

More of my son's junk, this was gifted to him after sitting in a dank basement for many years. These went for about $200 new, a pretty good value.

Labelled Soundgear by Ibanez, this bass from 2001 has “active/hybrid” pickups. I don’t know exactly what that entails other than it does have a battery and an active EQ. I’m not real keen on active electronics, if it was mine I’d change it to regular circuitry (the pickups are Hi-Z, it would just need to be rewired.)

I cleaned it up, getting rid of as much corrosion as I could (you can see it on the tuning keys.) It works well, in sort of a heavy metal way, it finally went back to my son (now if he'd only pick up his baseball cards!)

Here is a clip of the legendary Carol Kaye playing a SRX 500:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Jóhann Jóhannsson Documentary

A call for materials pertaining to the late Icelandic musician/composer for an upcoming documentary prompted me to revisit some of the images I have of the man.

I first became aware of him in the avant-garde Apparat Organ Quartet at the 2006 Iceland Airwaves:

It was the start of a beautiful relationship. I became aware of his other musical pursuits: composer of music for plays and films, previous work with pop groups (Unun), and experimental hi-concept electronica.

He was gracious enough to actually come to Minneapolis, just for me it seemed (the show was sparsely attended):

Southern Theater, June 30, 2009

And again, only sixteen months before his death:

Cedar Theater, October 18th, 2016

I think the most fun he had when I saw him perform was when he was with the group Evil Madness performing “soundtracks for imaginary horror films”:

Iðno, Reykjavík, October 21, 2006

By Professor Batty

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Another Saturday Night

An email from an old (60+ years) friend lured me back into show business.

He had finagled a gig at a winery in west central Wisconsin. Most of the old band was going to be there, of the nine people with the group last Saturday, seven had been in The Explodo Boys, most of them for many years. That was 45 years ago. As gigs go, it went pretty well. The sparse crowd was very attentive, it was more like a concert than a dance. But we did have some dancers. For some of them this was more than just another Saturday night—it was a re-kindling of past charmed nights, the couple above were well into their sixties but acted as if they were in their teens.

I guess if we can bring back someone’s youth, even if for only an hour, the whole rigamarole: arranging the date with nine people, driving, setting up, playing, and taking it all down again, is worth it.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Gold Foil One-Off

This is a distillation of various guitars and parts, the body was from Guitar Fetish, one of their miscellaneous Chinese factory buyouts, I've never seen another one with that shape. It is on the smaller side but balances well with the no-name neck I got at a musical instrument flea market. The pickups are from the Zenon, they sounded much too nice to be on such a cruddy body. The pick-guard is "gold mirror", the pictures show a reflection of the ceiling. Pretty straightforward in its wiring, it sounds and plays great. I may redo the pick guard at some date.

UPDATE: Sold at the great guitar purge of 2019.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Spice of Life

Steinlicht’s Variety Store, location unknown, found photograph, circa 1940

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Out of Retirement

Ack! I've officially come out of retirement. I had said that I’d never do sound mixing for bands again but I got two sound jobs in September (and more if I wanted them!)

No more lolling in the hammock for this Professor!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, September 09, 2019


Sculpture by Shoshanah.

She also writes me heartfelt letters that tell stories from her magical life.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, September 06, 2019

( )

Lawless Distilling

A rare midweek pause in my busy schedule found me in a distillery/bar in the industrial section of South Minneapolis:

Cue Lush Life by Billy Strayhorn:

There was quite an extensive menu of bizarre cocktails, I had the Life is a Scream, with rum, orange bitters, cream and numerous other sweet and savory delights. It was served with a real scream:

The evening’s theme was macabre art, as furnished by Caitlin Karolczak and Stef LM:

The friendly staff belied the grim atmosphere:

Afterwards I drove home to the dulcet tones of the Sigur Rós ( ) album. It isn’t my favorite, but it somehow suited my alcohol-fueled mood of quiet despair.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Big in Sweden

In a previous life I went by the moniker of Dr. Fuzz. It had something to do with Flippism in that a 45 rpm record (remember those?) on that label had a “song” by the aforementioned as the B side. The other side was a spacey jam by “Haley and the Howlers”—neither track charted and both were justly lost in the sands of obscurity.

Until now.

It seems that there is a Swedish podcast titled Arkivet (the Archive) about underground music from the 60s and 70s - focusing on psychedelia, progressive and folk. For the December 27th 2017 podcast the theme was Not on Discogs, described thusly: “For this episode we’ve put together a selection of lesser-known or possibly unknown (?) records. It’s a strange mix of strange music with all possible genres, including real people, lounge-psych, dreamy psych-pop, breezy soft-rock, folk and hard rock.”

Leading off this episode was my magnum opus I’ll Be There at the End of the World. How they managed to find a copy of it in Sweden I’ll never know. The host’s comments were generous, although they sounded befuddled by the whole thing, rightly so. In an amusing twist, this record is on Discogs, you can pick up a copy for $65!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

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