Surreal things

I returned to the world of landmines today.

I had been asked to provide the narration for a documentary being shown at the opening ceremony of the 11th States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty, being held in Phnom Penh at the end of this month.

It was slightly surreal to be simultaneously back in two worlds which had once been so familiar and were now quite unusual to me, those of mine action and the recording studio.

Amazing also how easily I slipped back into the language of both worlds.

Equally amazing how I managed to resist doing my bad Sean Connery impersonation, or indeed to stand up, and with right leg twitching in a Jaggeresque manner, hands over headphones, enquire ‘ …’oy, can I get some more level in me cans, please?’.

Sureal indeed to watch playback and listen intently and critically to my voice, suddenly aware again of that old feeling… ‘Is that really me? Is that what I sound like?’

If you are one of the thousand plus delegates I do hope you will watch, listen and… well I guess ‘enjoy’ is the wrong word… be enlightened?

It’s on after the Ballet and just before the Prime Minister’s speech…

Recording over, it was back to work to meet a Japanese millionairess.

Surreal things…

Breakfast of champions

It’s breakfast time in an unnaturally quiet Phnom Penh. Unnaturally, as it is Water Festival which normally brings milling throngs in their millions to the city from the provinces, but this year the spectacular boat races pivotal to the festival have been cancelled as the countryside is still reeling under the impact of the floods. Maybe some echoes of last year’s tragedy at Koh Pichhave also added to the sense of quiet contemplation that seems to have settled over the city. Even the fireworks of yesterday evening seemed almost perfunctory and embarrassed to be breaking the calm. However, it’s not so quiet in our street.


After a long and noisy period of deconstruction, construction work has now begun opposite us, and as this is a mid-scale job (probably a high-rise apartment block), the lack of safety precautions taken by the construction team is frankly alarming to behold. I have already watched one worker place his head directly under a jackhammer which seconds before had been pounding relentlessly away (no hard hats either, which of course wouldn’t really have made any difference) and another, a teenage boy, swinging from the hook of a crane by one arm, about 15m off the ground. Meanwhile the local kids are playing in and around the site, which has no safety barriers or warning signs of any kind in evidence…


So, breakfast time… ah, yes, it makes me think fondly of orange juice (you poor old soul, you!) and fond thoughts of orange juice lead on to even fonder thoughts of the chieftain of OJ, the inestimable Sir Edwyn Collins. His remarkable journey back from his debilitating illness continues, and the latest evidence can be found right here on ‘Down the Line’, a brand new track from his forthcoming album. It will be released next year on the rather wonderful AED Records (Analogue Enhanced Digital – Todays Technology Now!), a label to cherish, with some excellent acts joining Edwyn in keeping the spirit of independent music alive, whilst simultaneously falling and laughing…


I saw yer’!!

Much merriment yesterday (and today) when Otis and I revisited the 1960’s, travelling down the time tunnel to find The Who in their mod-tastic prime firstly performing (in a bizarre little b&w film) the treatise on mental illness and cruelty they christened ‘Happy Jack’, followed closely by the mayhem they inflicted upon The Smothers Brothers Show in the USA. Mr. Moon packed a little too much gunpowder into his stage effects during a performance of ‘My Generation’ , and the result…. devastation!

auto-destruction - The Who, where art and rock 'n' roll collide and explode...

Otis likes Keith Moon, which is just fine by me… one of the greatest drummers the world of rock’n’roll has ever produced. Indeed, the way my son batters wildly on his collection of drums, the furniture and his mummy and daddy makes me think that Moonie Mark II might be among us already…!

God bless The ‘Oo, and award yourself one point if you know where the title of this piece comes from…