CD-SHOP   by     Courtney Love on MUSIC   by     MGCK Music   by    UK Copyright Advice  by   The World

The new TWELFTH NIGHT 'VOICES IN THE NIGHT' Double CD is now available on Cyclops Records.  The album of previously unreleased material, includes 3 of the earliest Twelfth Night tracks written and performed with 'Electra', in that brief, but glittering period when she was their lyricist/vocalist.  If you like the words 'PROG' and 'ROCK' in the same sentence, you'll like this. So, GO get it NOW!  [SLEEVE NOTES]

OH my Gawd. It's already JULY 2007  - And we are back in the cold, wet North!!


we left it by the pool... LAST summer

[Photographs of ' Electra' courtesy of Monsieur Le Bihn - by the pool @ Madremanya July 2006]

Yup, it's official.  I'm depressed. 

Missing my Marlboro Lights and vodka martinis, my wet bathing suit and warm sunsets; the mornings spent sailing and the afternoons on the beach; dinner parties and the champagne sparkle of scintillating conversations with a coterie of urbane Europeans.  Jazz and Film festivals. There ain't no cure for this, except a carbon-emitting jet-ride to the Cote D'Azure or the Costa Brava.

  All you can do is make a toast to the good times....

and kick the bird-killing cat.

['On The Roof' and 'Evil Pussycat Known Only As 'Gato'', taken by Electra @ Madremanya July 2006)

by Your everlastin' summer you can see it fadin' fast, so you grab a piece of somethin' that you think is gonna last. Well you wouldn't know a diamond if you held it in your hand; the things you think are precious I can't understand." (Reelin In The Years -- STEELY DAN)


Sat 21 July 2007  MGCK Music     The weather suits the mood...and it is blue

Yesterday, I received a letter from the Musicians Benevolent Fund in London, asking for a professional reference for an ex-colleague (song-writing partner) of mine who has been seriously ill for the past 5 years.  They needed to verify his professional credentials and discuss whether I believed he was deserving of financial assistance due to his present circumstances.

I wrote the reference this morning with incredible sadness as to the actuality, yet pleased that such an opportunity exists for musicians in need.  If you have worked as a professional musician or earned the majority of your income over the years as a professional musician or are the child or spouse of same, you may apply for financial assistance in times of hardship.  This is all to the good.  

Following the lodestar of 'music' (any performance art really) as a career, is a choice based on passion and natural ability.  There are few, if any, safety nets for those who take and stay this precarious path.  I would hope that anyone who is a professional musician or is related to one become a 'friend' of the Musicians Benevolent Fund, UK.  Applications are accepted at their website: www.mbf.org.uk



Tues 17 July 2007  MGCK Music     I'm sure it's JUST around the corner...

And it's STILL only July!!!!!!  I was in Madremanya last year for the whole month of July (and some of the end of June -  after our trip in the beauty that is France - and a little bit of early August - can never get too much).  Missing it deeply now, but this is a reflective month before the killer beats of August and The Edinburgh Festival  - my partner's most hectic, murderously busy time.  It's simply THE time (and, also, my favourite time) in Edinburgh.  Plus our August gigs at The Elemental Arts Festival in Argyll (both with ALTRES and now Norman Lamont has asked if I will do some free-ranging vocals over his 'Soundwaves' set.  So, before all of that, I am enjoying doing a LOT of NADA this lovely subtle month of July.  Some people think summer is for touring.  I think summer is for lulling and doing a whole lot of 'nothing much' but just being in the warm glorious sunshine.  If you happen to be in a place where the sun shines...., like Silver City, New Mexico.

['Silver City Bridge' photo courtesy of James Miller June 2007]

I have to mention a book that Fifi J (the honourable Ms Jackson) gave me for my birthday last year; short stories by Annie Proulx (have no clue how to pronounce that surname): "Close Range, Brokeback Mountain and Other Stories".  I know that the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain was written by both Ms Proulx and the legendary Larry McMurtry (he also has frequented 'Las Manitas' celebrity chili-joint in Austin, TX!!!).  I read a book about screenwriting, written by Mr McMurtry while on a beach in Bali 12 years ago.  Odd geographical juxtaposition, but really, IT WAS JULY!  And I WAS living in Singapore, writing a screenplay, and Bali WAS just kinda THERE and That's what I like to do in July, lie in the sun all over the planet and read great books!

Anyway.. the point being, the story is so precisely a jewel-like, cameo-petit, carved-in-ivory work that the script was faithfully fleshed out from.  The story is amazing.  The writer is amazing.  I recommend her work to anyone.  I think she wrote her first novel when she was 55.  There's still time....

Another great book, which was not so faithfully transposed to the screen is The Talented Mr Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith, who died in 1995.  The screenplay for the subsequent film starring a perfectly-cast Matt Damon and gorgeous Jude Law, was written by Anthony Minghella and very much creatively RE-written by him.  The film reflects little but the most fleeting skeleton of the book.  I guess this is why writers suffer (except monetarily) when their work is translated to the screen by Hollywood hacks.  Luckily Ms Highsmith was already dead and Anthony Minghella is a genius.  The film is ALSO brilliant, reflecting his full talents.

There is so much significant work already in the world.  It gives one pause for thought... like.. 'what am I doing here???'  Ahh... that's it.. I just remembered...

If you like the words 'Prog' and 'Rock' in the same sentence, you'll LOVE the TWELFTH NIGHT 'VOICES IN THE NIGHT' Double CD.  All previously unreleased tracks.  12-page booklet - great photos of the band in all its permutations.  So BUY IT!!  I get royalties... so yes, like to see them flying out the shop!  So maybe, I guess, yeah,! THAT's what I'm doing here!



W/end of 6,7 & 8 July 2007  MGCK Music     We found it alive and well in LIVERPOOL!!!

"Drink Scotch whiskey.. all night long... and die behind the wheel!"

STEELY DAN @ The Aintree Pavillion:  What can you say when the best songwriters, best musicians and one of the very best natural vocalists (i.,e. Donald Fagan)
all come together to play an hour and a half of jazz/funk/pop/fusion creations from their most recent albums and stunning back catalogue??!!!???  Nothing.  Not a word.  You stand awestruck and marvel at a moment so over-brimming with talent, so fecund with rich natural ability and cool expression, SO MANY GODDAMNED HITS!!!!  Too many gifts.

Speaking of which: Special thanks to Mark and Collette for.....

"The Cuervo Gold... the fine Colombian... make tonight a wonderful thing... "

AND the 1/2 gram belted down BEFORE the gig... which becomes the other half you're desperately seeking DURING the gig.   Never go off half-cocked. Just a word to the wise..  

The only possible disappointment:  They didn't play 'Babylon Sisters' - all night I wanted to 'Drive west on Sunset... to the sea'.... and just had to do it in my own head. Oh to see STEELY DAN play in LA!!

Other notes:  There was absolutely NO 'body check' going into this place.  No search of handbags, pockets or comestibles.  I guess Liverpool knows,  Scousers won't call it a party (they won't even GO!) if they can't bring their own, so don't try stopping them.  (I wish I'd known this before I went in.  A memorable bit of video-ing AND the finer Colombian would have been mine.)

PS: The DAN's 'WHAT A SHAME ABOUT ME' track off of TWO AGAINST NATURE is one of the best 'rehab' track ever written.  Amy Whine-house... take some notes.


W/end of 1 July 2007  MGCK Music     The shock of being back in a land of high-ceilings and low barometers,

 is almost too much for me.

 Brad 'the Style Nazi' Boles to the rescue - He's in New York, where he belongs. [photo courtesy of S. Camejo} But has forewarned me, he will be in Morocco in August, renting a house in Tangiers.. inviting me on another trip.. maybe it's an 'off-road' 'round-the-hookah' kinda trip.

and as always LEITH FM 98.8 posters on Rose Street - Why Yes! I believe that's me at the top!!!

[Photo 'Posters Rose Street' courtesy of Robbie Martin July 2007]


JUNE 2007  - Notes from The Road

Last days of June 2007 MGCK Music     "Grab Life by the Pull-tab!" (Budweiser)

Goodbye to the Southwest.

The Eagles, Neil Young and countless others wrote songs about 'desert highways'... In my heart and in my dreams, I am driving down a desert highway... 'wind in my hair'.  The horizon always before me.

[all photos @ June 2007 taken by James Miller & Electra

Thurs 28th June 2007 MGCK Music     Back in Austin and it feels better this time...


Even if a hurricane's blowing and the sun is gone from my favourite poolside seat.

We've roamed around doing the things we need to do before leaving, like getting all that stuff you can only find in Texas for all those people who don't even know it's coming their way.  My genuine, complete and 'total' thoughts on visiting this state??? KNOW somebody.  Know ANYBODY.  But preferably  KNOW  SOME  BODY .  Someone who is in your corner and is connected and, of course, has money!! (always helps and there's lots of it around here.  Austin is AFFLUENT)..

i.e. a US President,  a media mogul or  someone with a big ranch out there in the hill country, and/or many oil wells; a pool is E-SSEN-TIAL!!!  but KNOW some-body before you come.  It makes it so much easier.  Otherwise, you'll spend a lot of time driving around this BIG COUNTRY, going the wrong way down one-way streets and scrolling past endless shopping malls on your way to god knows where; or just plain 'NO where'.

For the consumer - into shopping to confirm your sense of identity in a changing world; i.e. if you need boots????  Belt? Buckles? Cowboy gear for the wannabe superstar??? Head for South Congress.. We recommend Allens Boots at 1035 S Congress, (I think that was the number, somewhere around there. Near a shop called 'Electric Ladyland'.)

A pair of Yellow Ostrich cowboy-boot thangs will run you up to $3000.  But, you're worth it!!!

[Here's the ladyland.. not the recording studio Jimi Hendrix created in groovier New York, but the second-hand shop on South Congress:

you gotta give them 5 lone stars for trying and for stealing a GREAT NAME!.]

After all is said and done, we give TEXAS!!...5!!! You ROCK's

..in your own peculiar way. i.e. just WHY is Austin the 'Live Music Capital of America'????  I never saw a tour-bus, or a single poster advertising any 'incoming' acts, heard very little LIVE music pouring out of clubs and bars onto the street.  Saw very few gigs of any substance or unusual content. Austin is postcard picture perfect, clean, tidy and has PERFECT civic planning, i.e. NO SPRAWL, which, believe me, in Texas is a BLESSSSSSSSING!!!   The town is apparently 'politically' active and thumping the new credo of 9/11 government complicity (but we all already knew that anyway)... And still, I just can't figure Austin out.  I've got to think on this one.  Everything I saw there was just the opposite of what it purports itself to be.  It seems a VERY conservative State Capital of a VERY conservative State!!!  Texas.. indeed you rock.. in your own peculiar way.

PS - although we split off from Kenny's gig (The Peyote Brotherhood - and then there were ONE!) some days ago, apparently he was bitten by a snake (non-poisonous) in a cave somewhere out there.  I must say, I'm not surprised.  I think there are snakes in Texas!

Austin is STILL an enigma.... and there's always CLEARCHANNEL.

(All photos taken by Electra & J Miller, except photo of Amy Lee and 'George Bush' above, courtesy of?? who knows...?.)

Wed 27th June 2007 MGCK Music     Yes Virginia.. it's true...

...they're all FAT!

this is actually a 'tiny' one, who will no doubt, grow into an ENORMOUS ONE!  Some Americans (not me!) are so 'huge', needing walkers and little electric buggies to ferry their gigantic flabbing folds of flesh around. Especially out here in the hinterlands, i.e. Texas and the southwest in general.  [California, New York, in cosmopolitan hubs, people seem to be slimmer.]  But this 'fat' thing really shocks and boggles the mind.  A shameless statement about gorging greed.  The simple undisguisable need to STUFF YER GOB!!! At Walmart I had to buy my clothes in the 'juvenile' or 'junior' department - I just bought a pair of cut-offs in the junior department 'Size 9'.  You should see the 'ladies' department.. tops and bottoms start at size 17.  I have no idea where my cousin Leah in Albuquerque shops.  She is a lithe super-slinky size '0' or less.

SO.. Ok.. forget they're fat and


the reason the Lone Star State exists

and a GORGEOUS 'live oak' planted many years ago by an Englishmen (Sewell) at the site of the siege.

plus the common Southwest flora - cacti

[All photos @ The Alamo taken by Electra June 07]

San Antonio is not somewhere we'd like to stay for too long (every city has a 'vibe' and MILES of 'Urban Sprawl') and there's a 'circular' storm hanging around the 'hill' country of Texas this week.. i.e. all up east Texas; that includes Austin, up to the panhandle and Oklahoma.  Torrential rain and flooding included. Bang goes my tan.

[N.B. There are so many political thoughts and conflicts we've been exposed to on this trip.  To describe or discuss them all would need an ENTIRE MAGAZINE!!!  Was listening to a Charlie Rose interview last night with 'Adam Moss', the editor of NEW YORK magazine.  Brilliant guy.  A genuine journalist who just tells it like he sees it.  All of culture's discrazias.  No justification or condemnation, just pure observation.  My big observation yesterday; the big 'news' story was Paris Hilton getting out of jail.  That story was juxtaposed to another little local story of a servicewoman who'd lost both legs in Iraq and, (as if that wasn't enough), was certain her husband (just heading off on a tour of duty as a convoy driver) would be killed.  The two of them were clinging to each other like it was the last breath.  He said, 'I love my wife, but I love my country more and I made a promise I must keep.'  Signal the tears, and believe me.. even I was crying.  Then CUT to Paris sashaying out of jail, smiling,  on two perfectly good legs, completely wasted on such a media manipulating doik.  CNN news is a trip all on it's own.]

Mon 25 June 2007 MGCK Music     Back in Texas...

...where 'Everything's Bigger!'

[photos 'Texas Longhorn' taken by Electra, June 07]

It's a long drive from El Paso to San Antonio.  And this 'immigration' issue is hot on the table. 12 million Mexican nationals seeking 'amnesty' to become US Citizens overnight.  20 million illegal aliens in America as we speak.  It's a tough call.  MY grandparents had to learn to speak English and do the whole citizenship shebang.  Why should it be any different for anyone else??  As a second generation American (on my mother's side).. I think, just let them go through the process.

Sun 24 June 2007 MGCK Music     Leaving New Mexico

There are so many things I have loved about this State.  So many incredible vistas and WONDERFUL people.  They ARE the friendliest people on Earth.  They're even good-natured when they're doing a dope-drop and you happen to be next door.  My memories will sustain me on the rest of the trip SXSEast back to Austin via  El Paso tonight, but here are some of the things I will miss:

A sky the size of heaven, with

Aliens in it (Roswell)

Multi-media Evangelists thumping their bibles

The First Minister of Travel thumping his Best Western Hotel & Road Atlas

Mountains full of elk and bear

Hot White Sands

[both the Missile Range and it's EXPERIMENTS! that changed the world and all our lives.]

(I didn't take this photograph, by the way)

I know it's a little 'hairy' but New Mexico IS synonymous with...uh... Bikini Atoll!!!

read the history, it's a cracker.


A pilot named 'Dustin Truelove' (no photo, but believe me, you would MISS this guy should you ever meet him - the surname printed on his shirt was mind-blowing, even w/out the 'Top Gun' style astonishing good looks.)


and the Mountain Spirit (Taos Kachina Lodge)

[Photos: taken by Electra outside Santa Fe, Lake Sky @ Bosque Apache Reserve and  'Aliens' @ Roswell, by James Miller -  Mountain Forests, White Sands, 'Bibles' & Mountain Spirit by Electra; all June 2007 in New Mexico]

Sat 23 June 2007 MGCK Music     ....After Columbine... Alamogordo...?

I can promise you.. Alamogordo - the town next to Holloman AFB -  IS the friendliest place on Earth and I had deep thoughts all day about the benefits of living inside a 'gated community'.. i.e. a US Air Base.  Yet something is rotten, even in this Garden of Eden.. and it is WALMART! Yes.. I purchased a pair of juvenile size 12, NoBo jeans shorts for $11 and a 100% Cotton lovely grey tank top for $7... yes, those chinese sweat-shop workers make nifty and very cheap threads... but then I went a step too far.. I asked a WALMART employee where I could find foam earplugs "to cut out noise level", (my partner snores) and this incredibly genial and friendly WALMART person led me the half mile to the back of the SUPERWALMART in Alamogordo, to the 'Sporting Goods' aisle:

then down the aisle to the gun racks:

[photos of 'Walmarts Alamogordo' taken by Electra June 07]

 where he fingered through various goods on a shelf loaded with ammunition and other bits and bobs and handed me some wax earplugs saying, 'these really muffle the pop!'

My partner snores.. that doesn't mean I want to shoot him.  

Michael Moore exposed WALMART for selling guns and ammo to just about anybody and weren't they supposed to take these products off the shelf?  Later today, in another town, I related this incident to someone wearing an "UCK WAR" t-shirt and that person explained that WALMART waited a while and just put all that stuff back out there for sale.

Maybe BOOTS could take their cue from such commercial focus.

Fri 22 June 2007 MGCK Music     ....Following Oppenheimer's footsteps... apparently..

We had to pass through Security 'Border Patrol' [there's one AT the border and always another one 50-100 miles north of the border on every single road leading AWAY from the border along the Southern United States] to enter the White Sands Missile Range, which has the 'White Sands National Monument' hidden at it's snow white sandy centre.  Yet our understanding of the White Sands Missile Range was elevated; first by the appearance, on the horizon, of two jet black  'Stealth' fighters ("F-117 "stealth" aircraft", to be precise that look JUST LIKE black UFO's) going through their paces out of Holloman AFB ("The Friendliest Place On Earth"???!!!?????) and the two days earlier 'Los Alamos' leg of our journey became not only 'prescient' but 'predictive'.  White Sands is the REAL ancestral home of the Manhattan Project where Oppenheimer (Dr J Robert) and General Leslie Groves watched the testing of their baby, the first Atom Bomb, only 10,000 meters from GROUND ZERO (around 6 miles.. not much..)  The 19 kiloton blast broke windows 120 miles away.  Oppenheimer can't have been too comfortable in his bunker with only goggles and earmuffs.  Anyway.. we nearly FRIED walking only maybe 50 yards across the central trail dunes @ WHITE SANDS National Monument and later, after reading about the bomb, I was wondering, along with the excessive heat and UVF burns we acquired on our afternoon's stroll .. did we also collect a few Marie Curie-style geiger's worth of old radiation??  What IS the 'half-life' of such things?

It's called WHITE SANDS for a reason.. this stuff is not snow. It's 120+ degrees Fahrenheit out here.

[Holloman AFB and Stealth logos courtesy of their website.  Miller crossing the white sands by Electra June 07]

JM's face, neck (and BRAIN!) is completely burned from less than 20 minutes trudging across the sand.

Thurs 21 June 2007 MGCK Music     ....STILL in New Mexico..

I've been talking a lot about the beauty and magick of the countryside here, but now I'm going to talk a little bit about the Music Bizness.  This is a generic essay.. a general commentary on the state of play for anybody going in.  We are supposed to be playing a gig tonight, but I won't discuss names, dates, places or events in detail.. just keep it 'general'.

The music bizness is a hard business and not for the faint-of-heart.  I've been 'IN' and OUT!!! of it all my life in many different roles, mostly that of 'artiste', a role which gets you two things.. adulation and rejection in terrifyingly uneven doses.  The bizness itself has always been a closed shop.  The big companies running the 'stars' and the 'star-making' and stopping everybody else at the door.  The bizness is about 'blocking'.  Stopping people from getting in unless you are making someone on the inside money, or are likely to.  That's really all it's about.  Also, that exclusion protects the people on the inside and gives them a bigger piece of the pie.  That exclusion policy is why so many people now are 'independents'.  That and the fact that the industry can't support the development of artists any more, unless they've already been groomed by Disney.  But that's not the complaint.  Really, there is NO complaint, except the blocking extends to every small-time nobody who is star-struck and bedazzled and only wants to know you, as I said before (in Austin), if you look like a 'celebrity' or come bearing gifts they can first of all 'recognise' (and some of these people need special Jacques Cousteau underwater infra-red goggles to see ANYTHING!) and most important, gifts they can use for themselves. Gifts you are willing to let them attach to themselves and maybe even 'claim' as THEIR OWN! In other words.. they are small-time and pretty stooopid (maybe I'm being a bizness snob here).  So.. in truth.. it can be much worse being on the outside with them than being on the inside being ravaged by bizness sharks.  Either way you'll probably wake up in an alley with nothing or a mansion with everything or both.. for a while.

I was told once by someone who was VERY MUCH on the inside (and then on the outside and then clawed his way back inside again and is not doing too badly lately) that you have to make your own way in.  There is no route map.  No sure thing.  No front door and maybe the only way in is through the back door or jimmy-ing a window.. coming down the chimney might be an option... after all of this discussion.. I just decided to build my own house!  But that hasn't been easy either.  Enuff said.

To other bizness... we are on the main drag up from Old Mejico, via Ciudad Juarez through El Paso, TX, into New Mejico and boy oh boy can't you just tell.  Last night, sitting on the step of our motel room, me and JM smokin' a fag (as I like to do when life is lived in real summer, i.e. OUTSIDE) and we hear a kind of roar of a souped up engine.. but SOUPED... and two things happen.  A big beautiful brand new Bentley pulls into the car space one over from ours and then that Souped Up Engine-Bearing Thing all black and white and huge and angry and telling the whole world 'I AM HERE'.. pulls into the space next to our car.  A young 'dude' hops out of each vehicle, the Bentley dude launching us a wave saying, 'how y'all doin' and they skip into the room next door.  A tsunami of TERROR rushes through my blood as I turn to JM and whisper, 'we're gonna die tonight.'  He says, ''we're not here, we don't see them, they don't see us, it'll be fine.'  I said, 'what happens when the SWAT Team gets it wrong and smashes through the window of Room 105 instead of room 104???"

Anyway, I decided to just go for a swim and chill out.. ignore everybody else's 'bizness'.. but while I was in the pool, it became very clear that not only our neighbours were 'at it', but EVERYBODY in the place was 'at it'.. this is a real 'drop-off' point on the traffic route.  Over the next couple of hours, with the comings and goings of Mr Souped and the Bentley owner, the blip of their car doors locking and unlocking and the Engines roaring every 15-20 minutes.. and then, once they'd completed their 'biz' their increasingly loudly 'settling in' for a little self-satisfied taster and some relaxation next door, perhaps discussions of future 'bizness'; I figured it starts with the laughing and ends with gunshots at 3am.  I did not sleep well.  But I'm still alive this morning.. and they are simply 'gone'.

[The Open Road' photograph by Electra June 07]

{Whatever happened to the happy 'family on vacation' atmosphere of the motels of my childhood? GONE like the Buffalo.  Now they are sites for wife-swapping, kiddy-porn and dope drops.. oh.. almost forgot.. throw in the musos on tour.}


Wed 20 June 2007 MGCK Music     ....Still in New Mexico..

New Mexico is one of the most under-rated overly-beautiful States.  We know about California and we haven't been to Oregon and Washington and Montana yet and New York will always be my heart home and is a BEEEYOOTIFUL State too, but New Mexico.. man.. there are not enough days to spend in Taos, Red River and Eagles' Nest:

Taos Main Drag - Kit Carson lived in Taos for 25 years.. his house is now a museum

a typical Taos back street

a political message - but Taos is full of artists and their galleries, alternative types, groovy cafes, a book store called 'Moby Dickens', many Native Americans and LOTS of political messages.

and lots of old pick-up trucks

Next we headed for LOS ALAMOS... not for it's beauty but for it's history.  Built inside the crater of an ancient and gigantic geological formation, looks like an old volcanic crater to me, a bunch of guys set about making the first atom bomb... these days it's even more black ops and super secrets.. and modern legend tells us: Los Alamos is where they back-engineer UFO's.  To enter the town center (which is also the only way into the Bandolier National Park -another breathtaking location) you have to pass through what looks like a toll booth or a border crossing station and is indeed, a security checkpoint.  Once inside, you drive past dozens of 'Tech' Zones and they are not shy about their reputation:  Oppenheimer Avenue and Bikini Atoll Street.  These mountains are where George Bush will hide (5 miles down) while the rest of us are getting fried by nuclear holocaust, asteroids or, according to the many Evangelists spouting their wares on the radio - The Rapture - when all of Gods good ones will 'ascend' to heaven and the rest of us dogs will die down here consumed by an endless fire.  Thanks.  The barbed wire around seemingly vast stretches of beautiful pine elk-roamed forests boasts the warnings every 20 paces: NO TRESPASSING, DANGER: EXPLOSIVES - I guess they mean Minute Man silos.  Would not want to step on one of those.  I suspect, if you crossed the line here you could simply, disappear.

But there is more to Los Alamos than Oppenheimer's Best, there are mountain ranges, gigantic valleys and a huge vast open blue sky.  

This valley called VALLE GRANDE was part of the crater of an ancient volcano 14 miles across.. so huge and vast was this vista to the right of this photograph that we had to use binoculars to pick out the herd of elk browsing in it's midst.

The same sky was above Taos and I fell in love with a Kachina Lodge Zuni Spirit singer- wailing as his brothers danced.  That young man's voice (they call themselves 'Indians' not the politically corrected 'Native Americans') shot through my heart like an arrow.  I could feel my Siberian gene-roots springing to life through his voice, knowing they came from there too.

One thing I must tell you if you choose to come to this part of the world: it ain't cheap and there are bears.  

Gas will run $3.16 - $3.33 a gallon (OUCH! if you're American.. a big 'Oh My It's So Cheap!' if you're from the UK).  I have to laugh remembering the words of a very pretty blond bar maid in Texas, just the kind of girl guys hang around all night drinking beer to watch walk up and down.  She was heartbroken because the price of gas had soared and she had to sell her SUV and buy a car!!!!  She said it with such a shocked look on her face, like a car was the lowest of the lowest of the pits of things to be stuck with.  Like she had descended into the very bowels of the uncool.  Anyway... Hotels, if you want them clean will be a minimum of $100 plus tax per night around $111-by 122 minimum (city taxes vary).  Food.. pretty cheap.. breakfast (if not included in the hotel} and lunch every day is running us about $20 per meal. but then there's the tip.  20% is now the norm.  Museums, Parks, all that wonderful cultural stuff? About $10 a pop per adult.  Not too bad.  What else can I say?  We are in Albuquerque, hoping to see my cousin Leah today. Her radio show is on right now and I should go out to the car and listen to it.  After that we're headed back South to El Paso and hopefully, should we have the time a little trip across the Rio Grande into Mexico.. but that still a day or two away.  But time is Slip Slip Slippping away....  Taos forever.. now that would be nice.

[All photos by the two of us!  June 07]

Tues 19 June 2007 MGCK Music     ....New Mexico..

after Roswell (Famous UFO Crash site!) 

and a day in old Santa Fe, we are in Taos..  one of the most beautiful mountain towns anywhere.  Again... camera is acting up.. will download photos later.

Sun 17 June 2007 MGCK Music     ...Leaving Texas...

a land of Evangelists...of all kinds.. endless highways... wide open spaces... and a LOTTA RULES!

We Won't!!!

Not a whiff of an oil man...

Media is the new black gold

We are leaving the 'Lone Star State' now ... before Armageddon kicks off in Babylon. They talk A LOT about 'The Rapture'!!!!   I feel kinda sorry for Sadaam 'Nebuchadnezzer' Hussain.  It was mapped out before he put his foot in it.  Other images from Texas?  Oh so many.. my favourite road has been 10 West to El Paso...wide open and EMPTY spaces... here are a few of my favourites from wherever.. NO ALAMO!  Camera batteries died at that point:

(all photographs June 07 by Electra except 'Alien Kiss' and 'Ghost House' above by James Miller)

Fri 15 June 2007 MGCK Music     ...go with the flow...

Last morning in Austin:  My Notes on the experience: "I haven't seen a way in anywhere.  It is as smooth and impenetrable as the face of The Eiger."

Beerland was pretty small water, no crowd and not that exciting a venue.  People are aloof unless they assume you are 'connected'.  Walmart made my day and I've been working on my tan.  Of course, I tell a lie about my indifference.  The deepest experience I've had in Austin, TX is the second sight of a stone sculpture my mother carved out of alabaster many years ago and sold to the University of Texas (Austin), Rare Books Library.  Rock and Roll may come and go but a REAL 'rock star' lasts forever.  For the first time since I was eleven years old, and I watched my mother's hand carving her, I came face to face with the head of 'Dame Edith Sitwell', the famous 'Bloomsbury Group' poetess: 

(I want to thank Jimmy Miller for taking the above photo and the University of Texas for letting us photograph inside their magnificent library (at all!!) - which is also now home to the Gutenberg Bible - so no flashbulbs are allowed anywhere.  Which, is OK, be'cuz I was crying with happy memories. (ignore the date. I found my camera.. but it's been misbehavin'.)  Dame Edith is sitting next to James Joyce.. lucky girl. [Sorry.. JM just informed me.. James Joyce was on the 'other' side.  How am I to know what he looks like?]

Other Notes On Austin:  It is small (10 minutes to drive up and down it.. another 5 to the airport) and flat and pretty featureless and very 'new'.  Apart from the University area which is eclectic and full of rebellious anarchic shops and literature outlets (well... rebellious in a rather predictable fashion - i.e. until daddy's money runs out or the new corporation says 'get rid of the tattoo'), plus some great places to eat (especially the Groovy 'Shroom' pizza and other specialties parlour) .. apart from the University and it's students, there seems to be NO ONE in town.  Maybe it's like New York.. in summer you head to the Hamptons, the Sound or Martha's Vineyard.  Maybe there's a 'Hamptons' somewhere nearby, only Austin is a little land-locked.  Also, there are no Stetsons and the only cowboy boots on sale seem to be for wannabe groovsters.  There ARE lots of tattoos and lots of tattoo parlours and a lot of dudes 'look' like they're in bands.. probably are.. I mean, how hard can it be??

We visited the MUSEUM OF THE STATE OF TEXAS and I noted although it took us through all the hemming and hawing between Spain, France, Mexico, Tejas and finally the emergence of The Republic of Texas and it's marvelous cotton, cattle and oil rich future all the way through to the Space Age, it never mentioned that John F Kennedy bought it in Dallas.  Odd.

BUT.. something that really raised and maybe answered a question in my mind:  My mother told me, way back when she'd been a model, she'd heard a story about a once famous Texas Oil heiress by the name of Electra Wagonner.  I made a marvelous discovery in the Museum of the State of Texas.  Rancher John T Waggoner, of Electra, Texas complaining of the moment he discovered oil, 'I wished it was water.'  She was his daughter and the town of 'Electra, Texas' was named after her.  Some things are just unique. And oddly enough.. I have to admit.. I am ALSO named after her.. and the daughter of Agamemnon.

So TEXAS is the Lone Star State and every 'big boy's' t-shirt says, 'Everything's Bigger In Texas'.. they wish.

(PS.. I would like to Bring ALTRES here for the SXSW Festival.  I get the feeling Austin is a bit like Edinburgh, it fills up with lots of GENUINELY interesting people during Festival time.)

Anyway.. today, we're headed for San Anton'.  REMEMBER The ALAMO.. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Last shot from Austin: Miller goin' a bit wild on Congress

Wed 13 June 2007 MGCK Music     "We've all come to look for America..." Paul Simon

We hit the ground running: A bit like a paratrooper with two broken legs trying to avoid friendly fire.

Our arrival was not a great big "
Welcome to TEXAS" (with obligatory 'Yeeeehawwww!'.. but really.. Austin is a bit clean and corporate so probably no 'Yeehaws!' or maybe a tiny  occasional 'Yee Hee' applies!).. more like "Welcome to CHAOS".  Not deliberately, mind you, it's just kind of 'Ok' whatever it is and you go with the flow.  Being more fiercely and, admittedly, 'anal', I like to know what the plan is.  I guess I'm going to have to throw all that uptight shit to the wind and just get in the car and DRIVE!  Unfortunately, on this trip, I'm riding in the back seat.

Anyway.. back to Austin, for all of you kids who've read all the 'blurbs' and 'blogs' from wannabes' adventures and groovily described experiences of the South By SouthWest Festival, now so famously placing Austin firmly on the 'Cool Dude and Dudette' radar.  My surmise of the scene: This 'Festival' business is not a natural development of talented people converging on some wonderful
energy-emitting locus on the grid.. a bit like a southern Salisbury Hill; but rather, this 'fame' is a 'deliberate' (that word again) creation of a bunch of people deciding to up Austin's profile and raise the town's game.  Make it a BIG Conference Centre.. not just for music, but for Corporate types everywhere.  I  mean, previously, what was Austin famous for??  Only one or two things: the first famous thing being what they tell you on ALL the websites and other PR materials: 'JANIS JOPLIN came from AUSTIN!!!!' (a small hopeful 'Yeeee Hee Hee' can be emitted at this point')

Well hello re-writers of history and Yes!!.. indeed! Janis Joplin came from Austin Texas, via a lot of other places (she was born in Port Arthur).  Luckily for those of us who recognise her talent as HUGE and SINGULAR, she took her developing excesses and talents elsewhere.  It was San Francisco that nurtured Janis Joplin.

Famous thing number two: Univ of Tex @ Austin is the birthplace of George Bush promoted, Christian-driven, global multi-media-manipulative giant CLEARCHANNEL (just have a look around Edinburgh some time and check out the the 'footprint' left all over the city by ADSHEL (AKA CLEARCHANNEL) and you'll understand how huge this monstro has grown and how wide it's tentacles of power and subversion have spread.. but I digress. Their headquarters are in San Antonio.

Famous thing number three: John F Kennedy was assassinated in.. uh.. no actually.. that was Dallas.

Famous thing number four: The South By Southwest Festival has indeed taken off since it's creation 12 years or so ago.  It's really become the BIG THING musically Stateside and worldwide.  So yes.. a LARGE Yeee Heee Hawdy for that!
[The point is: Someone decided to make Austin cool... and.. yeah.. they even convinced me.]

Famous thing number FIVE!!: and this is for all you conspiracy theorists out there.. the OWL building IS in Austin Texas.  If you don't know what I'm gettin' at, then you haven't been on the Bohemian-Grove-Bilderberg-Group-Owl-On-The-Dollar-Bill trail long enough!!

Now to the 'touristy' facts:  CAR HIRE: EXPENSIVE (comparative to other locations).  HOTELS:  EXPENSIVE (for what you get) and even if you pay for it, you still clock the odd cockroach out for a stroll across the carpet.  FOOD???  We haven't eaten yet.. . maybe you should ask a cockroach!  We've only effed about with a lotta booze.. all the way across the Atlantic, and from our flight transfer in Atlanta (a coupla-hours in TGI Fridays - desperation sets in after 8 hours in a tight space), through to Austin airport (a very pretty little airport actually) and then arriving 'here' wherever 'here' is.  Of course, I've arrived 'here' without my camera... the first casualty of a little too much absorption in the next round.. somewhere between Atlanta and Austin.  So I can't SHOW YOU anything of the town, as I would have liked.  Shame.

I've got to go now.. Tonight is a gig at ...somewhere - BEERLAND - I think....after groovy 'celebrity' chili (an oxymoron if I ever created one) at Las Manitas.. I think.. again.. not sure.. about anything, except Austin's spin is pure media.  MORE NOTES WILL FOLLOW as I collect my trip notes and currently occurring moments.  It's all smoke and mirrors...

Notes from the Flight

Looks like heaven from here.  (My photograph..by ME so don't mess!)

Mon 11 June 2007 MGCK Music     We're on our way.... to the Lone Star State!!!! 

What can you say but "YEEEEhaaaawwww!!!" 

...Yes Virgina.. .there IS an  'Electra, Texas'... 

[Going to Austin, Texas, actually,... the best little biggest Live Music Capital in the world....but who gives a rat's ass where we go... we're gonna have a wail of a time!]

Travelling South By Southwest.. again

Sat 9 June 2007 MGCK Music     Leith Festival Gala Day on the Links

Our last tour of duty in Leith, Edinburgh (before flying across the map above) takes place at the LEITH FESTIVAL Gala Day on the Links Sat 9 June 2007.  Some photos of the 'tug of war' taken by Fifi J: 

Charlie Don't Surf

"Charlie don't surf..."

Marksman Bar Pulling Team

Marksman Bar 'Pulling' Team

Real Men Don't Surfva

'Real Men Don't Surf.... They PULL!

[Leith Festival Pulling team photos by F Jackson June 2007]

Tues 5 June 2007 MGCK Music     A bird's-eye view..

of the ALTRES gig at Bannerman's on the 24th: 

""The launch of their double album "Tripping The Dark Fantastic" brought Scottish sonic savants ALTRES to play at Bannermans, Edinburgh, on 24th May 2007. Electra's vocals/lyrics are free-form, 'stream-of-consciousness', of the moment and unrehearsed.. ALTRES are ALTRES.""


(vid-clips courtesy of  James Miller May 2007)

Sat 26 May 2007 MGCK Music     A bird's-eye review..

of the ALTRES gig at Bannerman's on the 24th: 

Notes from Brian Hutton: ""Just found this from the guy Ian that came to see us in the Subway last December.

"I got to Bannermans around 9.15 last night and, armed with a pint of Caledonian 80/-, wandered through the bar to the performance area which was closed for the soundcheck. The sounds emerging were clearly not Altres but I assumed that they were in there somewhere. They weren't - I had walked passed them without noticing when I entered the bar! I spotted Brian and discovered that Altres weren't on until 11.30 or so. More beer was required.

I didn't catch which of the other bands were which in terms of names but the first one was interesting, if a little ramshackle, but with an excellent drummer; the second were duff - or at least the front man was right up himself - and far, far too loud for the space. Ted Nugent used to say that if it's too loud then you're too old, in which case I am in my dotage. More Caley 80 was required.

And then they were on: the audience grew noticeably larger and hippy tendencies emerged as one or two of us started swaying to the electro-vibe of Altres. This was the second time that I'd seen Altres and this time they had the time to be more expansive and also had Elektra along on vocals. The language filters on this board means that I probably can't tell you that they were abso----inglutely fan----ingtastic but hey, what are a few asterisks between friends?

I wrote last time that to imagine Altres you have to think of Timewind era Klaus Schultz tossed together with some Floyd Live at Pompeii. With Elektra on board you have to throw into the mix a little Jefferson Airplane and Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies too. I'm not quite sure how much was stream of consciousness and how much was rehearsed but it was excellent. About half an hour into the set I noticed that the guys from the second support band were standing open mouthed and awestruck by the talent on the stage in front of them. Good!

Thanks guys - great gig."

This Summer 2007 MGCK Music     Notes from Electrasong:

""Other Business: There will be some gigs over the summer: with ALTRES @ Bannermans in Edinburgh 24 May. In June, a trip Stateside to Austin, TX and Albuquerque, NM with JM and Kenny Brady (will The Peyote Family ride again?  Legends on the highway.. watch this space...) and  maybe something in July (like a dental appt or something) and then in August - THE ELEMENTAL ARTS FESTIVAL in Argyll. ELECTRA will do a solo set and a set with ALTRES 10 & 11 August or is it 11 & 12.. whichever starts on a Friday. ""BE THERE! or be somewhere else.

Fri 18 May 2007 MGCK Music     "What a shame about me!"

I've got to apologise for my lack of communication over the last while.  I haven't been answering emails or 'My Space Messages!' (so urgent those) or clicking on the 'ACCEPT' button for 'My Friends'...or responding to texts or even answering my mobile and certainly NEVER answer the house phone.  I just have not had the time or the inclination to hand my life over to the computer age for the last few weeks.  FORGIVE ME!!! But if it isn't actually 'important' (...to me!...), I'm not going to be dealing with it.  That's just the way it's gotta be for the foreseeable.

  "Wheatgrass Enema.."  Try this for what ails you. 

Mon 14 May 2007 MGCK Music     Yes.. they have green spaces..."

Was away again over the weekend.  Liverpool this time.  A place where the party never stops... and we went for a walk at 3 in the morning til the dawn came up.. all through the hedgerows and fields down to the canal, and lovely they are too at dawn..


1. Monkey Warfare and After Party at the Bicycle Film Festival
From: Ingrid Kopp 

Shooting People are big fans of the Bicycle Film Festival so we are really happy to be getting involved again this year. We are co-hosting the May 18th screenings of Monkey Warfare, the festival's opening film, but please check out the whole fest cos there's lots of good stuff going on!


Monkey Warfare Screenings are on Friday, May 18th at 7pm, 9pm and 11pm at the Anthology Film Archives.

More details and tickets:


About Monkey Warfare:

Many critics have selected this film as one of the best films without distribution of the year.

Dan and Linda are two ex-activists in Toronto who live a low-key lifestyle of selling junk online and riding their bicycles. After their pot dealer gets busted, they meet the young revolutionary Susan, forcing Dan and Linda to question their relationship and face their turbulent past. "Monkey Warfare" was well received at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival winning the Special Jury Award.

Buy your tickets early as BFF screenings tend to sell out in advance!


Shooting People presents the Bicycle Film Festival After-Party! with DJ's Fancy and Mon Mon Mon Amour
May 18th
10pm-4 am FREE

Fri 11 May 2007 -  MGCK Music     "A great night in!"

Watching BBC morning program; a new Japanese cocktail bar has opened.  They serve cookies and cocoa and you lie in a lovely double bed (teddy bears optional) and listen to classical music and watch fashion shows on a large slightly raised platform.  That sounds like the ultimate night out to me.  Champagne should be mandatory and I'd be there..  probably never want to go home.


Mon 30 April 2007 -  MGCK Music     "Last weekend of the month.

We were supposed to be sailing around Mull this weekend; setting off from Tobermory.  Two things happened to edit that experience.  Terrible flu (me) and the sudden illness of the yacht-owner's father and his subsequent hospitalization in Edinburgh.  So.. we detoured to Ardfern and found ourselves on Saturday afternoon on the patio of The Galley in the middle of a 'wake' for a young man who'd died in a sea-kayaking accident. Very tragic, but the event was more like an 'after-party' than a funeral, so the lad had a fine send-off into the hereafter and our weekend was spent not quite out on the water but close enough for jazz.  Around 8pm.. a little bit 'tanked' I took a bicycle ride (4 or 5 miles) out to the viewpoint at the far southern tip of the peninsula.. gorgeous west coast late-Spring evening looking across to the 'paps' of Jura, listening to the gentle lapping of waves, lambs bleating and birdsong... and then repeated the trip the next morning when JM was compos mentus enough to accompany me.

JM view.jpg (94490 bytes) jura view.jpg (70966 bytes) railing view.jpg (215403 bytes)

 THE TRIPTYCH Festival ... It should be a trip... which reminds me..


If you're looking for LAST MONTH's stuff : go to Last month's blog: APRIL 07

Still smokin'!!!!


  BE THERE...... or BE SOMEWHERE ELSE!  If you don't know how.. take lessons on COUNTERCULTURE.


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SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER! Always an eyeful: The Universe Today

Sites worth a visit and support are: http://www.adbusters.org and Be an 'Antipreneur' - anti-corporate - self-motivated activist: http://adbusters.org/metas/politico/antipreneur/


as always www.clearchannelsucks.net  (note: this site WAS closed down in a court battle with the Media Giant who got awarded the rights to the website name.. but it has sprung up again in an Appeal.. gripping stuff..


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SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER! Always an eyeful: The Universe Today

Sites worth a visit and support are: http://www.adbusters.org and Be an 'Antipreneur' - anti-corporate - self-motivated activist: http://adbusters.org/metas/politico/antipreneur/



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