Yeah I know – last night’s roll call of the mighty in the vocal field left many (hundreds in fact) out. Sorry. Blogging is often an immediate response, as was last nights – so apologies to all the wonderful voices who were not name checked in my ramblings but who deserve to be up there in the pantheon of vocal greats. Can I just give honourable mentions to Josh Rouse, Brett Sparks, Jeff Tweedy, Jay Farrar, Neil Hannon, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Todd Rundgren, Evan Dando, Bic Runga, Alex Chilton, Donald Fagen, John Lydon, Jenny Watson, Dr John, Little Richard, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Rod Stewart (late 60’s early 70’s version) etc, etc..
Anyway – life is not all about music (oh yes it is…) … what have I me mine been up to in the long weeks since last blogging? Well, we survived a robbery… although our I-Pod did not, and led to me visiting the local nick. Have you seen Orson Welles’ ‘Touch of Evil’? That might give you some idea of what I was up against… the local police chief must have had extremely bad toothache, as he had obviously been gargling for several days with cheap whisky, and the array of ladies of the night who seemed to be his support staff were also highly amused by the foreigner in their midst… number one question was ‘…what do you want us to do about this?’ . I swear that if I had said ‘you must bring me the perpetrator’s heads on a silver platter!’ I would have had a better reaction than the one I got when I meekly asked if perhaps they might try and find out who did this and get the items back… my Khmer friends at the office were highly amused by all the shenanigans around my ill-advised attempts to report the incident, and seemed to suggest that the local constabulary might be fairly deeply implicated in the theft anyway…
Otis is now crawling everywhere with the manic intensity and superhuman agility of Ridley Scott’s Alien, and with pretty much the same horrendously destructive effect. We can’t wait for him to start walking. No, honestly, we can’t. He’s a truly wonderful little chap, and a constant source of amusement and bemusement to the Sutherland-Mathur’s. He also has top and bottom teeth now. Ouch. Next week we are taking him to Thailand. Please watch CNN 24 Hour News for further details and updates, as and when they happen.
I went to Nairobi a couple of weeks ago, to attend a course on gender in mine action, which was most entertaining and extremely illuminating, as mine action is still male-dominated and full of ex-army machismo. Things are changing though, which is good. There was no doubt that the feistiest and toughest people there were the women, which was very heartening – most of the men seemed stuck in a terribly British Terry Thomas/Leslie Phillips landscape which ceased to exist a long time ago… “ I say! That’s a bit unfair, old chap…”
I’m sorry, those last two or three paragraphs were really quite boring. So, life goes on. I’m a little tired tonight, so I won’t ramble or bore you any further. It’s time for bed, as Zebedee used to say. Tomorrow, who knows…
I think I’ll listen to a little Elliot Smith.
Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine…

Night Night

Sleep tight

senses working overtime

The other day I watched with interest as a couple of barang (foreigners) struggled manfully across the busy riverside road lugging a large Cambodian urn between them. It got me thinking about Morecambe and Wise. Not that they were indulging in any humorous bantering interplay between themselves, indeed far from it. They were hissing from between gritted teeth at the barrage of ‘hello – you want tuk-tuk’s’ that they were subjected to from the riverside posse. Judging by how much they were sweating they had been lugging and naysaying for a long time and were pretty much fed up. They did not even resemble Morecambe and Wise, they were in fact clean-cut-t-shirt-wearing-college-boy look-alikes. So why did the humorous twosome spring to mind? Because in the random morass of neurons and thingies that zoom around in the grey(ing) matter that passes for my brain I thought of a ‘joke’ that I am certain Eric Morecambe once used, albeit with a different locational content.

But we’ll get to that later. The grey matter shoots off in a different direction and lands upon things that make me very happy. I spoke to my beautiful wife and baby boy today courtesy of the Thunderbirds videophone that I have disguised as a Macbook. They are both well and happy, and despite the tendency for the digital pixilation to occasionally turn them into a David Hockney-esque explosion of colours, they are looking good. One week to go, yippee! and I can see them in person – I truly am very, very excited by that.

The bad weather here seems to have severely scrambled television signals, so I am unable to watch hours of Khmer karaoke videos as I had hoped. Severely disappointing, but if the weather and signals improve then be prepared for a blog on the finer points of how to create the perfect Khmer karaoke video. So you can put in some preparation, it might be useful to seek out the following – a tree, three people (either two men, one woman, or two women, one man), a shop selling jewellery, a motorbike, and a long path to stroll down (preferably adjacent to the tree.). This masterclass will continue when the reception gets better…

So I have actually been watching some DVDs of late. Here are my thoughts on the last couple. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – my kind of movie. Fantastic, in the truest sense of the word, beautifully shot and acted, and in Spanish, which always makes the dialogue more portentous. ‘Volver’ – as above. Today I also bought the first season of ‘The Outer Limits’ – $13 for 8 discs, and oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy, am I inordinately excited about that… the man in the shop tried to put me off by telling me that for some obscure reason the first disc is dubbed into French with no subtitles, but you know something? I DON’T CARE. Now if I could only find a set of ‘Journey into the Unknown’ I’d be ecstatic…

The Khmer grunge outfit that performed on Friday night were rather sweet actually. They were about as grunge as Josie and the Pussycats, but immensely likeable, and played their own stuff, so three cheers for that. I think that the music scene is really showing signs of developing here, which is so encouraging. I think I’ll try and keep out of the way musically, as I don’t want to set things back 10 years or so with my noodlings…

What might Eric have said? Maybe something like this –
Eric ‘look – there are two blokes, lugging a Cambodian Urn…’
Ernie – ‘what’s a Cambodian Urn?’
Eric – ‘just over a dollar a day, based on the GNI of $380 per capita. Boom Boom!’

And before you ask, it was a Big Urn, not a little Ern…

Listening to – ‘Live from Brattles Theatre’ – Evan Dando
‘Iron Man’ – Black Sabbath
‘Highlights from the Plugged Nickel’ – Miles Davis

Eating – Spiced Fish Chowder (Friends Restaurant)
Drinking – Pineapple and Chili Frozen Margarita (as above)

And yes, still really, really, really missing my two beautiful babies, Ani and Oti.