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Posted on Apr 19th, 2009
The Expectations Game, The Ten Inch, Reclaiming My T’s, Tall Drip, Short-Change


(Soundtrack: Ruts “The Crack”)
Last week Brian and I finished mixing the tracks for the forthcoming Spearmint EP. Brian ends sessions by standing on a chair and taking photos of the mixing desk. It always looks to me like some kind of Home Guard observation manoeuvre when he is up there. He then puts the photos onto his computer, so that he can zoom in at a later date to recreate all the settings quickly, should he need to revisit the mix.
I left the session on a real high as I thought the tracks sounded amazing. Brian posted me a CD of the mixes, which I got a couple of days later, and I made the usual mistake of sticking them straight on and being disappointed by how they sounded. I don’t know why I always fall for this; it is an expectations game, constantly expecting things to sound great and being disappointed, or expecting things to be disappointing and them sounding great. “Good soundcheck / bad gig … bad soundcheck / good gig” over and over again. But lots of things in life are like this aren’t they – so much of our reaction depends on preconceptions.
I then listened to the tracks again the next day and they sounded great. I envisaged the project as a kind of 10” vinyl expansion of an EP we did a few years ago called “The Last Bus Home”, which I really liked. Pleasingly that is exactly how it has come out. Thematically it has a link to “A Week Away”, which suits the timing, musically it is quite “Goldmine” / “Leopard”, but a bit different to anything we have done before. Jim is now back from holiday, so we will meet this week to start talking about the artwork.
I have always wanted us to do a ten inch, as am very fond of the ones by The Fall, The Clash, The Rudolph Rocker, etc – ten inch records are such gorgeous things! I figure that if our releases are going to become more and more geared to downloads, then we might as well make sure that the “physical version” is on a lovely format. Andy suggested doing a double-seven inch EP and I would love to do that at some point!
On these new tracks you may notice that I annunciate my t’s slightly clearer than usual. I have been making an effort to reclaim my t’s recently. After so many years living in London, I find that my t’s have been eroded, and I hear myself increasingly saying things like “wanned” rather than “wanted”. Halting this slide is not that easy and I find myself over-pronouncing t’s to compensate. I don’t want my words to be eroded by others. It is like when you hear Brits singing without g’s like “goin” instead of “going”. I know this comes from hearing so many Americans singing that way, but that is no reason for us to do it. Let me keep my t’s and g’s! If they go I won’t have that much left to work with.
Yesterday Bridie and I went to see a really excellent Swedish vampire film called “Let The Right One In”. Quite arthouse in approach and nice and sparing in use of special effects so that it was genuinely creepy and involving. Good soundtrack too. Hollywood horrors have a habit of starting well then losing all the tension once they start revealing things and showering us with special effects and unsubtle music, which I find dull, and never scary. there are a few horror films out now, I think so that the DVD then comes out around Halloween.
Each morning during the week I go to the Starbucks before work. There is a big American guy who works there. As I approach the counter he shouts “What can I DO you for, BUD?” To be fair, he shouts this at everyone. The other chaps in the queue are all wearing suits and carrying laptops. One of these guys will respond by grabbing his collar, pretending to be choking with thirst after a long trek across the desert, and cry “Cawffee!” Or “I don’t care what it is as long as it’s brown and wet!”. I tend to order a filter coffee, which they call “Drip” and this week has been an Ethiopian blend. I go for the small size, which they call “Tall”. So I ask him for this, and he shouts “A TALL ETHIOPIAN” I always expect to see a tall Ethiopian come walking out of the back room at this point. I ask for a blueberry muffin, and he shouts “the muffin BLUE”. He rings up the till, and the digital display says “TALL DRIP”, which I always feel I should take offense at. I pay and he says “Thank you BIG MAN”.
Last year, Bridie and I nipped into a Starbucks at Piccadilly for a quick coffee before we got the tube to Battersea to see a show (the wonderful Will Adamsdale in fact). I paid with a twenty pound note, but the girl gave me change for a ten. I hesitated about whether to say anything, but when I went through my pockets and thought back to getting cash out and what had been spent, I felt sure I had been short-changed. So I went and queried it, but the girl was adamant that I had given her ten. Having worked in record shops I know what the crack is – there is no need to get angry, no point in getting angry about it – it is the customer’s right to ask them to check the tills there and then and see if there is a discrepancy. So I asked for the manager and made them cash up. It took them fifteen minutes, but it was worth it as the till was ten pounds out – result: I was ten pounds better off than if I had just let it go.
Unfortunately, due to the delay caused by the cashing-up, we were then too late to catch the tube to Battersea, so we got a cab – cost: eleven pounds.


You mentioned The Clientele on your previous diary – they had passed me my somehow, so I bought The Violet Hour and wow! I am so glad I did, fantastic tunes. The downside is it will cost me a few quid now to buy up the rest of their back catalogue, but a nice problem to have. Thanks for the nod to them.
10″ vinyl could not agree more – I still fondly play an Orange Juice release – Two hearts together – sounds great.

• Posted by Tim at 11:31 am on Apr 20th, 2009

Yes, I ordered The Clientele’s “Strange Geometry” online a week or two ago – still waiting for it to turn up though!

• Posted by Shirley at 5:06 pm on Apr 26th, 2009
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