Thursday, January 31, 2013

Touristen in Katakolo (German and English)

Diese Touristen denke wo kann ich "Hotel California" hören.

These tourists think where can I hear "Hotel California."

Sie kann es sehen!  Diese Touristen wollen nicht griechische Musik!  Musik ist in der Kreuzfahrtschiff. Alles haben "Hotel California" gesagt.  Wir mussen "Hotel California" hören!

You can see it.  These tourists don't want to hear Greek music!  Music is in the cruise ship.  All have said, "Hotel California."  We must hear "Hotel California!"

Michi Renoir and a Unicorn at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus - Report

So the Unicorn says to me, "I like your shoes," and this is a polite way of saying, "Geez, where did you get that ugly suit!"

Some may find it unusual to be talking to a Unicorn but I think it's unusual to live in a world in which you cannot talk to unicorns, particularly when they're as polite and fashion-conscious as this one.  Her name is Agleo and she is German but Unicorns also have better English skills than my German skills so it was easy talking with her.

Here is a shot of Cat and I dancing while we listen with Agleo the Unicorn to Michi Renoir playing.  He was making some incredibly beautiful synthesizer sounds and what he was doing was all the more remarkable as it seems he only uses two keyboards.  He has one for the piano sound and the other for synthesizer sounds so he achieves the diversity in his sound by splitting the synthesizer keyboard so it uses different voices from different parts of the keyboard.  This is not an uncommon technique but he does it with extraordinary proficiency as he gets a remarkable array of sounds in each song.

It was sad as attendance wasn't very good and it was all the more saddening to go to another show later on that was one blues song after the other, all with excellent tone and technique but all pretty much the same.  Perhaps it is the nature of music that anything progressive will not draw much of a crowd and the same ol' blues will always be met with incomprehensible enthusiasm as this is the way it seems to go.

And Cat and I danced:

Stars rose up to light the sky with the music and the love.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus on Babba's Jukebox (video)

Babba Ballyhoo is a German musician and he has recorded an outstanding feature on Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus.  The video doesn't just show a few frames and then get on with the magazine but rather he does quite a good tour of the circus.

Diese Video ist auf Deutsch aber es ist sehr gut.  Ich kann es nicht verstanden aber ich lerne mehr und mehr.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eine Apologie für mein Reiten (Deutsch und Englisch)

Diese ist für Cat.  Es ist Manipulation wenn ich Angst verursachen.  Diese ist auch für Lotho.  Ich habe gesagt das ich werde verhalten und diese war nicht gut benehmen.

Ich denke nicht dass meine Reiten war sehr gefährlich und mein Motorroller war immer unter Kontrolle aber ich ritt zu nahe an der Linie.  Das ist spannend und ich wollte aufregend aber es war zu viel.  Mein Motorroller ist nicht ein Motorrad!  Eine Harley ist immer eine eiserne Pferd! Aber meine Motorroller ist nicht eine Harley!

Bitte Entschuldigung Sie mir!

This is for Cat.  It is manipulation when I cause fear.  This is also for Lotho.  I have said I would behave and this was not good behavior.

I do not think my riding was very dangerous and my scooter was always under control but I was riding too close to the line.  This is exciting and I wanted exciting but this was too much.  My motor scooter is not a motorcycle!  A Harley is always an iron horse.  But my motor scooter is not a Harley!

Please excuse me!

"Reiten zu Hause von Katakolo" - Reiten in der Nacht (video)

Diese war nicht fair.  Ich war verärgert und wurde meistens bewusst ich war reiten dumm.  Teilweise wollte ich du zu begeistern und Teilweise wollte ich du zu erschrecken.  Du verdienst besser.

This was not fair.  I was annoyed and was mostly aware I was riding stupid.  Partly I wanted to thrill you and partly I wanted to scare you.  You deserve better.

Es war Spaß aber dumm.

It was fun but it was stupid.

Diese ist mein Motorroller und mein Musik.  Ich hoffe du diese Video mag.

This is my motor scooter and my music.  I hope you like this video.

James Corachea and Kristopher Walpole at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus - Report

James Corachea opened the show last night at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus and he apologised several times for having played a song in a previous set.  There was no need for apology as he does a marvelous job on his songs and the fact that he has played one before isn't a bad thing at all!

James is an acoustic guitarist from the United Kingdom and he's a bit shy when he's in front of the microphone talking but he's not at all shy once he starts to play as his music always comes across with great confidence.  Relatively few (i.e. only the best) of the acoustic musicians use a finger picking style and James is excellent at it.  He has been classically-trained and one can easily hear that in his music.

There is a lovely intricacy to the way James plays and this comes through in all of his songs, most particularly in his originals which he delivers with noticeable enthusiasm.  His covers can sometimes sound a bit like a recital but his originals are obviously (and reasonably!) close to his heart.

You can learn more about James Corachea on BandCamp.

The MusikCircus welcomes Kristopher Walpole, another guitarist from the United Kingdom, as this night was his debut!  He has played for some years in Second Life but this was his first time at the MusikCircus and I had never heard him before.  My friend, Merry Gildea, said I ought to listen to him on SoundCloud and I knew right away that Cat would want to hear him.

Kristopher started out with some fairly sweet songs and I do confess to egging him on a little bit as artists always dig it when you already know something of their material.  I wasn't faking anything as I was asking for songs I had heard there that I thought the audience would enjoy.  The romantic songs went over fairly well but what really kicked up the set was after I requested "American Highway" which, I believe, is one of his originals.  I'm not taking credit for kicking up the set as he did that but I do confess to trying to steer it a bit!

When Kristopher went into "American Highway" he started delivering the punch that had originally drawn me to his music on SoundCloud and the audience was obviously responding to it.  My suggestion to him is to bag the cover songs and keep punching out originals like that.  They're powerful, exciting and a great pleasure to hear.

If you couldn't attend Kristopher Walpole's show, you can hear "American Highway" and other of his originals on SoundCloud.

And Cat and I danced:

What's interesting about this one is that Paris Obscur is standing behind us and he was talking with Cat about a gig next week.  That's now scheduled for next week and he will be singing on Wednesday.

And onward to lion taming!

There is all kinds of cool stuff at the MusikCircus and I thought I would try my lion-taming skills.  Since I didn't get eaten, I'm guessing I passed.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Riding Home from Katakolo" (video)

Recorded tonight and it uses for an audio track "Walking in the Dark."  This wasn't exactly walking but close enough!  Fun with the scooter!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus Web Page is Online

The Web site for Cat's Art MusikCircus is now online at My Duck Soup.  Although more will likely be added in the future, this establishes the foundation for the site and all links are verified to work.

Cat's Art MusikCircus is a Second Life venue for live music acts that are decidedly out of the mainstream.  All of them are incredibly talented and you can read more on the Web page.

More to come!

What Are the Songs Doing

The graphic shows the downloads for songs from the Ride the Dragon podcast as of yesterday prior to when I uploaded "Walking in the Dark."  I don't look at the stats all that often as the hazard is you can easily wind up spending all of your time looking at numbers and consequently don't get anything done

It looks a bit unusual in that a song that didn't get so many hits may be higher than a song that got hit more but that's because the chart is sorted by download size rather than download number.  If a song with a large file size gets only a few hits then it can be higher on the chart than a song that has a small file size but got hit more.

The hits decay with time as "Celebration of Circe Broom" got a great number of hits last month but it's been on the podcast for a while now so it's faded.  Below are the stats from December to show you that:

So, "Mister Ganja Man" did surprisingly well ... and I wasn't even stoned (laughs).  There's not much to conclude about cover songs as "Everybody Knows" is nowhere but "Send Me an Angel" is pretty high up.  The latter was based on canned back tracks but with my lead guitar and my vocals whereas for "Everybody Knows" I played everything.  From that I conclude there is no logic to cover songs and I still have very little interest in doing them.  Judging by the numbers, there is no reason to have any interest in them either.

The songs that invariably do the best are when I put something of my own on the looper and then wail on top of it.  Fortunately, that's what I love to do the most anyway.

On the Efficacy of Second Life Music Groups

A Second Life music group is a collection of people with a common musical interest and the purpose of a group is typically to provide notification regarding upcoming musical events.  Such groups exist primarily within Second Life but there is a growing number on Facebook and also on Google+.

There are two general classifications of such groups:

  • Groups devoted to a particular band or music venue
  • Groups devoted to providing information about music as a whole

The first class is usually effective whereas the second class is not.

In groups devoted to a particular band or venue, friends and fans will receive notices about when performances are happening and this is great as it's an obviously interested audience.  The big advantage of such groups is that people who are interested will hear and no-one else will be bothered by the messages.  The big disadvantage of such groups is this does not provide a way to add more fans.

In groups dedicated to providing information about all bands and venues, the problems and advantages listed above are reversed.  People are told by friends to join, for example, the Live Music Enthusiasts group, to hear what is happening in Second Life music so a bigger potential audience is growing all the time and the performer / venue doesn't have to do anything to encourage it.  However, that audience may be alienated by the tremendous number of notifications that can come from such a group.  When there are three hundred or more performing musicians in Second Life, it's easily possible for twenty or thirty to be playing on any given hour and all of them will want to notify you of that performance.

For a little bit of history, the Live Music Enthusiasts group was founded by Astrin Few, an excellent jazzman from the earliest days of Second Life.  At that time there were no other groups competing with it and the group provided exactly the service listed above.  Many people joined it as this was definitely the way to hear what is happening in Second Life music.

Others saw the success of Live Music Enthusiasts but also the problem of a growing number of messages coming from it.  The problem is valid but the solution was not as those who decided to solve it only created more groups, all with the same purpose, albeit with some intention of filtering to focus the message traffic.  However a performer or venue doesn't have any idea which people are in which group so the answer for them has been to send a message to all of them.  Now the problem originally observed in the single Live Music Enthusiasts group is multiplied by the number of groups which is up to somewhere between thirty and thirty-five in Second Life plus at least half a dozen more in Facebook.

The lack of definition of purpose in the general notification music groups is what has caused their downfall as bands and venue owners are not recognising in others something they all do automatically: as soon as you join a group you turn off the notices and possibly the Instant Messages as well.  People who send the notifications aren't recognising that other people do it too.

Toward the definition of purpose of music groups is recognition of the different types of music available in Second Life and the list below shows some of the broad areas:

  • DJs who are spinning songs out of an iTunes playlist or similar
  • DJs who use whatever mad techniques they use for a live performance
  • Karaoke singers who use commercial back tracks as a band
  • Acoustic or electric musicians who strum chords and play, usually oldies or standards
  • Acoustic or electric musicians who play Blues
  • Acoustic or electric musicians who play Jazz
  • Acoustic or electric musicians who play Progressive

The above list is not meant to be comprehensive but it does mean to demonstrate the segregation of groups by purpose as an audience for one group is not likely to be interested in one of others.  If anyone is interested in more than one genre then the solution is simple:  join both groups.

The owners of the existing groups are not likely to change anything so it is incumbent on an audience to resist the multiplication of groups by dropping out of them.  Of course this happens anyway because of the overwhelming spam but it doesn't happen enough to stop them.  If you review the member lists for these groups, you will find that many of the same people belong to each one.  From this it is easy to deduce one thing:  they don't read them.

My solution offered above may not be the best one and I recognise that.  I don't mean to say that it has to be this way or to hell with all of it but rather I observe that a problem exists and it can be solved if people are willing to enter into a community spirit to solve it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Walking in the Dark" - Audio podcast w/Direct Link

"Walking in the Dark" is the latest in the series of one-take wonders and I do them this way because memorising things usually sterilises them.

The lyrics are in a previous article.  Hopefully the lyrics will speak for themselves and, even more optimistically, I hope the lyrics in the song come through clearly enough that you don't need to read them.

If I ever get out of Greece and actually get plugged back into the Internet again, the performance version of this won't be the same but you probably know that already (laughs).

"Walking in the Dark" is available now on the Ride the Dragon podcast (free).

Direct link to the song:  "Walking in the Dark" (MP3)

Orchideen für Andromeda

Ich habe viele Fotos von Orchideen aber die meisten sind nicht verändert.  Dies sind anders und ich hoffe sie gefallen euch.  Alle sind Original.

Solutions for Streaming Music into Second Life

There are multiple methods for audio streaming over the Internet and this article is to review some I've used and others that might be interesting to try.  The first task is to decide what is necessary as solo musicians and DJs don't need all that much.  The problem to solve is how you're going to get your music onto the Internet so listeners at some remote location can hear it.

Solo Performance:

For Apple systems, almost every online performer I know uses Nicecast.  The software is simple, effective, and reliable.  I've used it for over six years and recommend it highly.

For Windows systems, there are multiple choices and one that comes up often is BUTT, an open source project, but there are others as well.  I've never heard of anyone trying to stream on Windows who had an easy job of getting started.  Note:  BUTT also runs on Apple systems although why anyone would want to do that remains to be seen.

After selecting the appropriate streaming software, it is then configured based on information given to you by the stream provider.  While it's possible to stream from your own computer, you will be quite limited in how many people can listen to it simultaneously whereas most stream providers permit up to a thousand simultaneous listeners.  The cost is minimal at five or ten dollars US per month.

For performance in Second Life, you will provide the URL to the venue owner and it will in turn be plugged into the land properties to make the connection between your incoming audio stream and the land where people want to listen to it.  For solo musicians or DJs, at this point you're finished with the software and it's time to play.


This is a technique through which two or more musicians can play simultaneously and the combined audio stream can be transmitted over the Internet.  The basic setup is as above for solo performance and the way the multi-stream is achieved is that the stream as a whole is treated like a daisy chain.  In other words, Musician One sends the audio stream to Musician Two who adds more music to it and sends it on to Musician Three, depending on how complex you want to get, or instead sends it to Second Life where people can hear the combined result.

Note that Musician One and Musician Two have different audio streams as the purpose of Musician One's audio stream is only to get it to Musician Two.  Once Musician Two has received it, the job of that audio stream is done.  Musician Two has another audio stream and this is what is sent to Musician Three or Second Life and it's the URL of this one that must be plugged into the land properties for the venue.

From the listener's standpoint, the result can be quite good as this permits a much more interesting performance than can be delivered by a solo performer.  However, from a performer's standpoint it's pretty much of a horror.  The reason is that Musician One cannot hear what Musician Two is doing without monitoring the target but the audio from the target is subject to a network propagation delay and may be anywhere up to thirty or more seconds behind what Musician One is doing.  Unless you're some type of cyborg, there's no chance of playing your music while listening to a long-delayed result at the same time.  I tried it once and was horrified at what I heard had come of it when I listened to the recording after the show.  There's no chance I will ever do this again.

Real-Time Jamming:

In Second Life, Virtual Live Band was the first to work out the technique that permits multiple musicians to play simultaneously and hear at the same time what each is doing.  I believe but I'm not sure that BlueTom Haller, a German bluesman, first started the band.  They are playing in Second Life to this day and you can review their performance schedule on the Virtual Live Band Web site.  You can also write your own editorial on why the really innovative stuff seems to come out of Germany as that goes beyond the scope of this article.

The software used by Virtual Live Band was for a very long time NINJAM but I don't know if they still use it today.  NINJAM has been in Alpha development since 2005 so its future is highly questionable.  Regardless of the prognosis for NINJAM, Virtual Live Band used it to excellent effect as the key difference between this approach and multi-streaming is that the musicians really do jam with one another.  It works in very close to real-time so there is a true interaction between the musicians, something that is impossible with basic multi-streaming.

For streaming using this technique, NINJAM is the only software necessary other than your actual music programs.  You do not need to also run the software required for solo performance.

Alternative Solutions for Real-Time Jamming:

eJamming is another solution similar to NINJAM that permits real-time jamming between musicians across the Internet.  It has been available since 2008 but that was the same year my world disintegrated so I don't have a report on whether anyone is currently using it in Second Life.  From what I have observed, there is very little real-time jamming in that virtual world as most is done via multi-streaming but this remains to be verified.  The key point is that there are multiple solutions for real jams and they are available right now.  For any solution, check to see when the software was developed and check to see if that development / support continues.  Once you commit, you will also be committing the other members of your band so measure carefully.

What is Wrong with Real-Time Jamming:

Actually, not much.  When involved with a software solution to audio synchronisation, there are some limitations such as the inability to change tempo, propagation delays, etc.  However, what such solutions do provide is a true jamming environment that is vastly superior to daisy-chaining or anything of that nature.

The point of this article is to make you aware of more solutions to Internet audio.  While some solutions are used quite a bit, that doesn't mean they're necessarily the best ones.  Review as much as possible what is available to you and then decide which way you want to do it.  Never limit yourself!  This is about music and music is never about limitations.

Joaquin Gustav and Voodoo Shilton with The White Band - Report

Joaquin Gustav opened the show last night at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus and his first song was "Sunshine of My Life" which he does in a beautiful Latin style.  Joaquin is in Argentina and, through Second Life, he can play live for Cat Boucher who lives in Germany and an audience that can come from just about anywhere.   This makes for a wonderfully diverse mix of people, all enjoying Joaquin's performance as one of the most romantic entertainers in Second Life.

Joaquin continued with a surprising number of covers of pop songs, all of which he played with his own extraordinary style.  He is quite fast on the guitar and yet there is always a lovely delicacy to the way he plays.  While Joaquin always does such a beautiful job on these cover songs, I question whether they are his greatest strength as there is so much beautiful Latin music and he always does a masterful job in playing it.  In his set he mixes both so do come to hear for yourself sometime!

Not long after he started, Joaquin was joined by The White Band, a trio of guitar players who played the accompaniment for Joaquin's lead.  Note that this was virtual and The White Band wasn't really making any sound as the performance was coming entirely from Joaquin.  Nevertheless, The White Band added a charming touch to the concert.

From left to right are Belethil Ishtari, Roza Raymaker, Joaquin Gustav, and Anja Tigerfish.

Here is another shot of The White Band, again with Anja, Belethil, and Roza:

Following Joaquin came Voodoo Shilton and he also plays a Latin style but it's quite different from that of Joaquin.  There is probably no way to adequately describe this and, as with Joaquin, I recommend you come to Cat's Art MusikCircus on a Friday night to hear for yourself.

The White Band continued in their role as accompanists and also played for Voodoo.  Here you can see them, now joined with several more helping as well:

From left to right are Anja Tigerfish, Lord Blithor Esharham, Belethil Ishtari, Roza Raymaker, Voodoo Shilton, and TrickY Ohh.

TrickY is not a member of The White Band but rather she is Voodoo's partner and, as you can see, they are partners in a musical sense too.  However, just as with The White Band, TrickY is not really making any sound as she accompanies Voodoo by appearing on-stage with him and looking beautiful, particularly with her little red nose.

Voodoo Shilton has excellent guitar skills and often his set is more oriented toward jazz but last night he was playing songs with a more Latin feel.  Although he plays extremely fast, I remarked at one point at the delicacy of his playing and he was pleased to see me say it as he wasn't sure if people get it.  Rest assured that people get it, sir, as that's why we come!

Voodoo plays everything from covers of Chick Corea, for example "500 Miles," Django Reinhardt, and others to his own original compositions.  My preference will almost always be for originals as I want to be surprised by what I hear although I do enjoy covers as well.  This mix is tough for a performer as doing cover songs at all can wind up in a situation in which you're trapped by them and the audience expects you to play only music they know but Voodoo keeps quite a good balance on that.

And of course Cat and I danced:

My ol' Dad taught me a lot of things but he never taught me this move and if he could only see me now!

I delight in supporting Cat in her work at the Art MusikCircus and sometimes that's more than writing reports on the shows, etc:

So, ol' Dad, how am I doing!  You worry about me dropping her?  No chance, big guy, I won't let her fall!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kreuzfahrt Katakolo im Regen (Deutsch und Englisch)

Ozeankreuzen im Winter ist ein seltsames Hobby!  Hier sind die Ozeanriesen in Katakolo heute.

(Crusing in Winter is a strange hobby.  Here an ocean liner in Katakolo today.)

Hier ist NORWEGIAN JADE von Norwegian Cruise Lines.  Das Wetter ist sehr schlecht und es ist kalt.  Honig, lass uns nach Griechenland gehen!  Aber in Griechenland ist es also sehr schlecht und kalt!

(Here's Norwegian Jade from Norwegian Cruise Lines. The weather is very bad and it's cold. Honey, let's go to Greece! But in Greece, it is also very bad and cold!)

Nur eine Ozeanriesen?  Nein, nein!
(Only one ocean liner?  No, no!)

Ja, heute wir haben zwei Ozeanriesen!  Hier ist COSTA MAGICA.

(Today we have two ocean liners!  Here is Costa Magica.)

Tausende von Menschen sind hier!  Ich möchte in Katakolo im Regen wandern.

(Thousands of people are here!  I would like to walk about Katakolo in the rain.)

Und was werden sie tun?

(And what will you do?)

Diese Menschen werde nach Olympia gehen.  Ich mag also die Felsen im regen zu sehen!  Vielleicht werde ich eine Tag.  Nicht heute!

(These people will go to Olympia. So I like the rain to see the rocks! Maybe I will one day.  Not today!)

Sie können Dinge in Kastoria Furs kaufen.  Keine dass man brauchen aber Dinge.  Ja, mehr Dinge ist immer gut.  Kaufen 'BRONZE ALABASTER STATUES!'  Was ist das???  Also kann man CD, DVD, und T-SHIRTS kaufen.  Ich habe nach Katakolo gehen und jetzt ich habe diese T-SHIRT!

(You can buy things in Kastoria Furs.  Nothing you need but things.  Yes, more things is always good.  Buy 'BRONZE ALABASTER STATUES!'   What is that???  Also you can buy CD, DVD, and T-shirts.  I go to Katakolo and now I have this T-SHIRT!)

Diese Strasse war tot aber heute ist es leben!

(The road was dead but today it is alive!)

Bin ich lustig auf Deutsch.  Das weiß ich nicht!

(Am I funny in German.  That I don't know!)

Sonya Jevette at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus

Sonya Jevette came back to sing at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus last night and showed once again what a beautiful singing voice she has.  She does her originals and also some covers from Wynona Judd and Adele.  I can't say I really liked Adele's material all that much until I heard Sonya sing it.

Yes, I do shoot new pictures each week so what these are pictures are telling me is that we need to give Sonya a MusikCircus make-over!  She just wouldn't be Sonya without her hat and she has such a pretty face that I wouldn't think of putting clown make-up on her but Cat finds some incredible outfits so I'm sure we can find something Sonya will like.

Sonya sings her covers beautifully and she definitely owns them.  In singing them she adds just the finest touch of vibrato and that nuance makes an incredible difference.  You may well come to her show to hear the covers but what will make you remember her the most are her originals.  She often opens with a song she calls "Jevette" and you can hear the full band arrangement of the song at the Sonya Jevette Web site.  In it she sings, we are all children of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  Truly, and we are no more than the trees and the stars either.  We are children of the Universe.

The "Big Girls" song is also on her Web site and you can hear that too.  She has released her first CD and is currently working on another one.  The version of "Big Girls" Sonya does at the MusikCircus is solo and it's always with people from the audience dancing with her:

From left to right, Medora Chevalier, Sonya Jevette, and Merry Gildea

Medora was doing a quite spectacular dance in an obviously spectacular gown and you may think your eyes deceive you in seeing she is blowing bubbles but, yes, she is.  It's all part of the song and Medora is a lot of fun.

Merry Gildea is my friend from way back in Second Life and she was killed in almost every video in which she played.  For her, any visit with me is just not complete until she gets murdered!  She's a great friend because, after all, a good friend will maybe let you borrow a car when you're in trouble but how many will let you kill them!  Merry also introduced me to Kristopher Walpole and I was quite surprised by his talent so I'm sure it will be no surprise to you that Cat has booked him for Monday night.

So this was the "Big Girls" song in which Sonya sings of the 'wobbly wobbly' and I know you know what it means.  If you don't, you're probably too young to be reading this blog!

The show got off to a bumpy start last night and I can't emphasise strongly enough the importance of sound checks before gigs, either in real life or in Second Life.  Everybody got all tense as it took about ten minutes or so to get it sorted out but that passed once Sonya started singing.

And Cat and I danced!

The turnout for the show was actually much better than the picture shows you as quite a few people did come to listen but it takes a while to recover from a bumpy start.

Responsibility to the Truth

Just now I realised John McLaughlin, yah, THE John McLaughlin is following me on Twitter.  I wasn't following him, I have no idea why he would follow me.  But the reason doesn't matter as it emphasises greatly something that is coming more and more to me that my responsibility to truth now is greater than it has ever been in my life.  I can't come back thirty years from now to say I didn't mean it and then kick back in retirement with a beer on the beach like nothing ever happened.

(Yes, I realise John McLaughlin's Twitter feed is for his tour news but that doesn't require following me.  I'm certainly not going to waste his time by asking but I do observe that no other musicians do it.)

I'm deeply appreciative of the response to the article on Nazism as even some I thought might be angered by it saw the truth of it and why I wrote it.  My intention is not to elicit anger, to shock, or to conjure any kind of cheap thrill but rather to report on the world as I see it and my only intention is to report on what I see.  Hopefully there will be some wisdom of age and experience in the report.

I'm also deeply appreciative of you taking the blog again back over two hundred hits a day.  It hasn't reached that since I 'came out' under my real name rather than using my stage name of Silas Scarborough.  For many years, playing music was my Dirty Little Secret that I kept from the disparaging view of my colleagues in IT as it was at once painful and amusing that not one of them ever got why I do it.  The fact is, I don't get why I do it either (laughs).

So, thank you.  The support from you encourages me to keep aiming higher.  I will not go quietly.  I will not lie down!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Michi Renoir at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus - Report and a Video

Michi Renoir played an excellent synthesizer set last night at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus and he does great work but to not such a large crowd.  It was heard more than once the lament, not from Michi but rather the audience, of why do people so often take the easy way and just listen to acoustic covers of The Beatles from fifty years ago.  I understand that it's comfortable to be there but life is now!  No matter how hard you reach for it, the past isn't coming back and that's not a sad thing as what is happening now is pretty damn good!

While Michi plays solo synthesizer sets now, he is not without a dark rock past!  Where would any of us be without a dark rock past!  Here's a video that was recorded in, I think, 2001.  He no longer plays with the band and the break-up of a band is closest in emotion to a divorce, a very difficult thing.  He doesn't look at all like the hard rock headbanger but, so what, he's obviously having a whale of a good time.

Räumungsalarm in Austria

(Evacuation Alarm in Austria)

There's no particular editorial in this report other than to push yourself.  I sent an invitation to my friend, Wendy Swenson, and I'm happy to report she came on over to the MusikCircus to hear him and stayed for the whole show.  Try something different!

And all the while Cat and I danced:

I decided I would go with a Hipster Clown this evening as wearing an outfit like that will get an easy laugh every time.   Sooooo cool!  (laughs)  I got away with it as Cat wasn't wearing a clown outfit either!

Behind us is Wendy Swenson and a little bit beyond her is Janeel Kharg who definitely had the prize for the Cool Clown Outfit of the Evening as she got it from a Japanese designer and it came with animations that let her walk around on her hands and do all kinds of interesting things!

Über den Nazis oder die Kinder Weinten (w/translation)

Updated to include an English translation at the bottom.

Amerika so sehr geholfen die Nazi-Pest zu töten.  Heute viele glauben die Pest war nur auf Deutschland.  Jedoch die Pest ist überall.

Wir kann Anne Frank merken und das ist sehr wichtig.  Wir kann den Konzentrationslagern merken und also das ist sehr wichtig.  Deutschland wissen diese Wahrheiten und werde niemals vergessen.  Deutschland kennt und akzeptiert diese Verantwortung.

Doch überall sonst ist es vergessen.

Das Blitzkrieg ist jetzt benannt 'Shock and Awe'.

In den Niederlanden Leute hassen die Marokkaner.

In den Griechenland Leute hassen die Türken.

Die einzige Lösung für den Islam ist wir müssen töten Islam.

Die NAZIs sind uns alle.  Diese ist die Wahrheit wir haben vergessen oder nie kannte.

Wir haben al Qaeda kämpfen aber das Problem wird schlimmer.  Wir haben nicht al Qaeda kämpfen sondern wir kämpfen Menschheit.

Wir haben das irakische Volk 'ragheads' benannt.  Wir haben das vietnamische Volk 'gooks' benannt.  Mit diesen Namen diese Volk nicht Leute sind.  Diese ist nicht die Menschheit.

In der Armee ich habe auf dem Helmen 'We Kill Gooks' gesehen.  Diese war nicht von Männern geschrieben.  Diese war von Kinder geschrieben und diese Kinder hatten Waffen.  Und all diese Kinder weinten als sie nach Hause kam.

Diese Kinder waren nicht falsch.  Die NAZIs sind uns alle.  Wir haben nach dem Kinder gesagt, "Tötet die gooks."  Die Kinder denken dass sie für Gott und Vaterland zu kämpfen.  Die Kinder glaube.  Aber all diese Kinder weinten als sie nach Hause kam.

Es ist nicht Deutschland.  Es ist nicht Amerika.  Es ist jedermann.

Ich habe der NAZI gesehen und der NAZI ist mir.



America so much helped to kill the Nazi plague.  Today many believe the plague was limited to Germany.  However, the plague is everywhere.

We can remember Anne Frank and this is very important.  We can remember the concentration camps and this also is very important.  Germany know these truths and will never forget.  Germany knows and accepts this responsibility.

But everywhere else it is forgotten.

The blitzkrieg is now named 'Shock and Awe'.

In the Netherlands people hate the Moroccans.

In Greece people hate the Turks.

The only solution for Islam is we must kill Islam.

The NAZIs are us all.  This is the truth we have forgotten or never knew.

We have a fight with al Qaeda but the problem is getting worse.  We are not fighting al Qaeda but we are fighting humanity.

We named the Iraqi people 'ragheads'.  We have named the Vietnamese people 'gooks'.  With these names these people are not people.  This is not humanity.

In the Army I have seen on the helmets 'We Kill Gooks'.  This was not written by men.  This was written by children and these children had weapons.  And all of these children were crying as they got home.

These children were not wrong.  The NAZIs are us all.  We said to the children, "Kill the gooks."  The children think that they are fighting for God and Country.  The children believe.  But all of these children were crying as they got home.

It's not Germany.  It is not America.  It's everyone.

I have seen the NAZI and the NAZI is me.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Walking in the Dark" (poem)

Been jammin' this out on top of a loop and decided I better write it down.  The middle part is awkward so I'll probably play with that some more.  I like the loop so this will likely get recorded.

Update:  This is being continuously modified and probably will be until I record it.

Walking in the dark
and I can't see where I'm goin'

So fuckin' scared
and I hope it ain't showin'

Just trying to find a light
and won't you help me please
I'll do anything
but I won't get on knees

Set me free
Just let me be
Set me free
Just let me be

That's when I found
the entrance to the cave

with crystals and diamonds
all the things they craved

Light is the sound
but sometimes a siren's song
I've got to keep moving
I've got to get along.

Set me free
Just let me be
Set me free
Just let me be

All these things
No-one even needs

They don't matter
People want to be free

I turned around
and left that bright cave
Into darkness
and maybe my grave

Set me free
Just let me be
Set me free
Just let me be

Walking in the dark
and I can't see where I'm goin'

So fuckin' scared
and I hope it ain't showin'

Just trying to find a light
and won't you help me please
I'll do anything
but I won't get on knees

Send in the Clowns w/Pics

Cat's MusikCircus is where I spend most of my time so the Silas the Sex God avatar just doesn't do it.  Here are some of the new ones!

Silas the Demonic Clown.  Send me your children!

Yah, I'm guessing this one will traumatise children as well!

I'm guessing children wouldn't like this one too much either!

So, I think that pretty much puts Silas the Sex God into the can!  Silas the Demonic Clown couldn't get a date on a bet but that's ok as he isn't looking for one (laughs).

And In the News ... NO, Not That News

Here are some questions from email on a roll:

Can Cat make me happy?

From the existential standpoint, there's the inane New Age answer that no-one can make anyone else happy.  Skipping past that, there is great love in how we talk and that makes me very happy.  We will likely never see each other but if you don't understand how there can be love in that situation then you have a little more learning to do.  In my view, it's the purest kind of love.

What happened to Sunny?

She's still in Second Life sometimes although we don't see much of one another.  The whizkid who made the Greek Mykonos sim folded it.  He's now built a Sydney sim but that will likely cave also unless he has developed at least the bare minimum of the skills required to run a venue.  I suspect that's not likely.  He wasn't very good at listening.

What happened to Mary?

I don't know.  We talked quite frequently and now we don't.  No idea why.  It's a shame as I had thought it was quite a good friendship.

What happened to the Mystery Lady?

She is doing much better.  I still won't say what happened as it's none of yer feckin' business!  There is much people could learn from the Mystery Lady and I will love her until I die.

What happened to Daisy?

Daisy is doing fine and she's got a lot of the Galactic Peace Tour dreck.  Maybe it would be viable to try hustling that stuff and split 50/50 whatever came out of it.  There were loads of t-shirts and, I'm pretty sure, the DVDs of the Cincinnati concert plus more, well, dreck (laughs).  It would be a hassle for her to ship the stuff so it might be more annoyance than value in doing this.  I will talk to her about it.

Daisy was the dancer in the Cincinnati show for "Woman in the Snow," along with The Raven.

Someone said I've been getting money from these women but maybe that someone should tell them as they don't seem to know they should!  (laughs)  I will just keep watching the mailbox for cash or checks ... at least I would if I had a mailbox (laughs some more).

What is the plan?

I guess I'm down to Plan E, F, or G and I talked yesterday to Harry about selling the iMac and I emailed him this morning about selling the scooter.  My dentist must be paid as she has done incredible work.  I did not understand the schedule and the someone mentioned above said that is an attempt to blame the dentist.  Apparently the 'I did not understand' part wasn't clear enough.  So, I failed to understand the schedule and that's what got me into so much trouble.  So Georgia must be paid and that campaign is ongoing.

What about high-speed Internet?

Harry told me there's a possibility for higher-speed at twenty euros a month for 6 - 7 Mb.  It's not clear whether that would be fast enough for audio streaming in Second Life but we shall see.  I want very much to play for Cat but I'm seeing a great deal more drama in SL than I had seen previously from other venue owners and I hear of a great deal more griefing so I'm not at all convinced playing there is viable for making any euros.  Nevertheless, even if play only at the MusikCircus, that would be very good as Cat has extremely sophisticated musical tastes.  I'm a bit intimidated by it as I'm well aware that I'm a much better writer than I am a musician but that's all part of the art of it.

What about Germany?

I have reviewed the ways to get there.  Bus and train are out due to expense.  A flight on Lufthansa is a hundred euros or less plus the cost of checked luggage.  That makes it impossible to take the iMac and that's fine as the laptop is more powerful, it just doesn't have the big screen.  It also doesn't have as many USB ports but that's just an inconvenience.  There won't be any data loss as everything of importance is on an external hard drive.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"My Favorite Things" - John Coltrane (video)

"My Favorite Things" is recorded live and please do cut some slack for the audio.  Keep in mind this was recorded fifty years ago.

I had written an extended discussion on this but really it's all about my suggestion to just about anyone that a band is better than solo.  If you don't believe it, listen to the video and then tell me why Coltrane didn't play solo on a street corner for tips.

Lefty Unplugged Sings "Because of You" at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus

Lefty Unplugged gave a wonderful performance last night at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus and I keep doing reports on his shows as all of them are different.  As you may have seen in the article yesterday on "Singing Protest Songs," Lefty is a gifted lyricist and his guitar playing is excellent with quite diverse shades of tones in what he creates.

Lefty and I were talking yesterday before the show and he told me he plays an Eastman archtop guitar, an axe I didn't even know existed until we talked.  I will talk with him more on this as he gets excellent tones from his guitars and I'm not clear on whether he is doing this through an amplifier or an amp simulator, both of which are perfectly wonderful ways to do it but I'm not clear on which one he prefers.  In last night's show he was getting delicate nuances of feedback that were highly tasteful so I'm curious as to what electronics he uses.

The highlight of last night's show for me and many others who were there was "Because of You" which is a beautifully romantic song with a poignance that comes from a man with some years on him looking back over his life and then to the One True Love for whom he lives.  This was the song he used to close a set that, according to him, was weak but it wasn't at all weak to anyone who heard it.  This last one was so moving that people, me among them, were chanting the lyrics as he sang.  He didn't just sing the song but rather he explored every place it could possibly go and it was spectacularly good.  I've heard so many self-proclaimed brilliant guitarists and really they just makes my toes itch.  If I'm going to a show, this is what I want to hear.  The guitar wizards are largely twenty-first century remakes of The Ventures but Lefty is real, he's not imitating or competing with anyone, and his words are truth.

Don't mistake the above to mean Lefty is any kind of a slouch at guitar playing as he has marvelous skills with an excellent balance of tones.  He will often set a loop with a fairly light chord base and then augment it with a much more electric lead line.  One of his primary skills in guitar playing is that he knows very well the value of restraint.  He's an excellent guitarist and I was going to ask him last night and may yet whether he has a Dirty Little Secret of hard rock guitar playing in his past.

When a set is really lit-up at the MusikCircus, there's only one thing to do:  CONGA, CONGA, CONGA!

From left to right, this shows Cat, me, innie (one of Lefty's strum rats), and Lefty

Cat und ich tanze, tanze, tanze!

Ich küsse die Hand von mein Liebchen.  Wenn du nicht glaubst das du kann ein Clown lieben, ich wisse das du hast nicht nach der Zirkus gegangen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

And a Situation Report

Today I had to go into Pyrgos to get my medicine and I can cheerfully report that a month's supply is only 13.20 euros.  I decided I would also stop by to visit Georgia to find out if she was serious about taking the iPad in trade for the bill.  It turns out she was not but the conversation was all smiles.  I really didn't want to give up the iPad as that's the only means for video but the bill has to be paid so I asked.  She told me why it has to be cash but that doesn't need to be revealed here and she's fine with whatever rate it comes.

Plan D, C, or E or so is that Harry told me he would buy back the scooter from me if things did not work out.  It's clear that things are not working out (laughs).  This may seem like burning my hair to make a point but here's the logic:  the scooter is dangerous in a light rain and on German snow it would be suicide.  Given that snow in various parts of Germany covers the ground for several months of the year, the scooter would be close to useless.  Therefore I simply need someplace close to a bus line and I don't need the scooter.

The biggest problem isn't the scooter but rather the iMac as I can move the rest of the stuff myself because there isn't much of it but that thing is big, bulky and heavy.  The plan is that selling the scooter would generate enough euros to pay Georgia and leave a bit remaining that should be sufficient to get a bus to Germany.  Trying to carry the iMac and the guitar would be one very bad joke.

The compounding problems are the difficulty of getting a Greek drivers license and that means I have no insurance.  One option is to dump the scooter and move into Pyrgos but there is relatively little reason to do that after what I have learned of Germany, primary of which is that unemployment is extremely low.

If you think the scooter plan blows, contact me here or via the usual channels.  I think it makes sense and the reason I find Germany so compelling comes from multiple things you have seen in articles here.  I also feel an obligation to my own humanity to visit a concentration camp memorial.  I can't say I care too much about Greek ruins although I'm a little bit interested and would like to show you whatever I can.  However, I feel a very deep understanding of humanity coming out of Germany through Cat and I'm drawn to it.  Vielleicht ist diese meine Schicksal.  (Perhaps this is my destiny)

Singing Protest Songs with an Example from Lefty Unplugged

Yesterday I listened to Lefty Unplugged singing "Ballad of a Rich Man" and check out the lyrics to the song.  I said at the time that I think the lyrics are brilliant but that's kind of dismissive.  After all the work he did to make the song, all I've got to say is a single word?  Well, no.  Rather than brilliant, let's go with "Ballad of a Rich Man" being an extremely well-crafted protest song with deliberate an incisive lyrics that state his position strongly and effectively.

"The Whores of Amsterdam" is one of my poems that's a reaction to seeing Moroccan prostitutes in store windows in Amsterdam and my perception that this is the most overt act of human slavery I have ever seen.  Cat and I talked about this at some length and she reviewed prostitution in Germany where it is legal and has no particular stigma.  Both of us agreed that this is no big deal as it's a woman's right to decide whatever she wants to do.  However, I have no belief at all that the Moroccan women in those Amsterdam store windows have rights of any kind and, in my view, whoever was behind them was debasing sex, debasing prostitution, and debasing humanity.

The Whores of Amsterdam

We walked past the whores this evening
the windowed creatures of the dark.
Leering mud-packed eyes of promise
for something lost in freakshow farce.

We turned into an alley
and she pulled me to one side.
We moved to a dark doorway
as a sheltered place to hide.

She said I need you in me
against the horror all around
I want you now to love me
and I won't make a sound.

In loathing and in passion,
we kissed each other hard.
Growing more to the cold moment
in this ancient stone courtyard.

She freed herself to take me
We moved quickly then as one.
The fire burned so brightly
as the passion in the sun.

Exploding into rainbows
we stopped and didn't move.
It only stayed a moment
and then again alone.

We walked past the whores this evening
the windowed creatures of the dark.
Leering mud-packed eyes of promise
for something lost in freakshow farce.

Cat's reaction to it was that it's interesting and that's the kiss of death to any work of art but the death stroke isn't from her hand but rather from mine as the meaning would be clear if I had written it better.  Cat is a very smart woman, blazing smart, in fact, so any failing in comprehension is my fault.  My purpose was to show the horror of the prostitutes in the store windows and I deliberately called them whores to put that right in your face.  I set the couple having sex in an alleyway to show the cheapening of sex in what I perceived to be happening, not simply from an act of prostitution but rather the enslavement of women to make it happen.

Don't take this as a point by point comparison with Lefty's lyrics as that isn't my purpose at all.  What I see is that Lefty's poem is well-crafted whereas mine is not and I have presented his a representative of a high standard.  So I'm curious what you think!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Hey Mister Ganja Man" (audio podcast)

Here is "Hey Mister Ganja Man" recorded for audio.  This is the first time with the full lyrics, largely because it never had full lyrics before.  Let's see, let's take a wild guess as to why it didn't have full lyrics previously.

And here's the link the Ride the Dragon podcast where it's still free.

"Hey Mister Ganja Man" (poem)

Hey Mister Ganja Man
Where you goin' with that big, big smile
Come over here and sit with me
Let's talk a little while.

He said I'm feelin' happy
I got some good good weed
I said, yah, I see you smilin'
but that isn't what I need.

He said don't you want the ganja?
How do you get along?
I said, I took it to the music
and I put it in a song.

Then he smiled broadly
and said don't you want a taste
I said sure I'd love to smoke it
But I really want to play

He said I'll sit and listen
I might smoke a little too
I hope that's not a problem
Is that ok with you?

I said not to worry
Rastafari loves us me too
I'll just play my song now
If that's ok with you.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Griechisch Autobahn Denkmäler

A UK-geboren, Australien- und Amerika-raiste, griechisch-Bewohner Reisender möchte schreiben Sie auf Deutsch über Griechisch Autobahn Denkmäler.

Ich habe diese Denkmäler gesehen und diese hat mir denken machen von Religion in Amerika und auch in Griechenland.  In Amerika, Religion ist sehr laut mit Plakatwände, autoaufkleber, Radio, und Fernsehen aber diese gibt nicht für Spiritualität, diese ist für das Geld.  In Griechenland, Religion ist sehr still.  Griechenland habe keine Plakatwände, autoaufkleber, Radio, und Fernsehen von Religion.  Aber Griechenland hat diese Denkmäler und diese sagt so viel von Spiritualität.   In Amerika, ein Autobahn Denkmal ist nur eine billige Kruzifix aus Holz aber diese sind sehr unterschiedlich.

Dies ist nicht etwas das wegblasen wird in Tagen oder Wochen, diese ist für Leben und Liebe.  Das ist nicht professionell aber diese war von dem Familie Händen gemacht, diese war von Liebe gemacht.

Hier sind Ikonen von Liebe und Spiritualität, alle aus den Händen der Familie.  Hier sind nicht so viel Geld aber hier sind ganze Liebe und Spiritualität.

Hier sind einige andere und diese sind aus zwei Familien.  Nach links ist besser gemacht, nach rechts ist nicht so gut aber beide zeigen die Liebe.  Nach rechts Sie kann ein Bild von der Junge sehen.   Diese muss neues sein.  Am Boden kann Sie eine Flasche Wasser und eine Kerze sehen.

Und hier ist ein andere.  Diese hat keine Geld aber diese hat so viele Liebe.  Was in dem Flasche sein?  Ich weiss nicht.  Nur die Familie weiss.

Es ist nicht dass so viele Denkmäler sind hier, ich habe nicht so viele gefunden.  Ich fühle die Liebe von dem Familien und ich fühle den Verlust.

Spiritualität ist nicht so laut aber es ist ein stille Ding.  Spiritualität hat keine Geld aber es hat viele Liebe.  Amerika kann von Griechenland viele lernen.

Joaquin Gustav at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus

Second Life wanted to do its best to ensure the weekend started on a romantic note so it did its best to destroy the show last night in yet another display of software that just does not work.  In my physical world, storms knocked out the power multiple times during the course of the evening but, surprisingly, that stopped during the show, only to return later in the night.  My mood is rather less than cheerful this morning but I don't have to be professional about it.  Joaquin Gustav was eminently professional about his set last night and kept trying to deliver it despite the most extraordinary difficulties we have seen yet.

There's no need to describe the detail of the difficulties last night but rather I can show you the alternate stage Cat uses for times when these difficulties arise:

Joaquin was so patient and was trying so hard and, as with previous times this has happened, Cat and I were trying everything possible to support the show to ensure it actually happened.  That did finally work and an audience even came to hear him play but it was brutal trying to get to that point.   Due to the problems, I didn't get to hear much of Joaquin's set but what I did hear was beautiful.  I had not heard him play "You've Got a Friend" before and that one really touched me.  As always he played in his wonderfully eloquent Latin style that gave a depth to the song that one will not often hear.

The song gives direction to this morning as I can focus on the bleakness of the circumstance here in Greece and remain in this dark mood or I can look to the light that shines out of Germany.  I choose Licht und Liebe (Light and Love).  Es ist die Licht von Wahrheit und das ist die Liebe!  (It is the Light of Truth and that is the Love!)

Licht und Liebe, meine Freunde!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Agustin Braham and Sonya Jevette at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus

There are now two shows on Thursdays at Cat Boucher's Art MusikCircus as Agustin Braham opens and Sonya Jevette follows.  They complement each other quite well as both have unique singing styles and Thursday has become the Night of Singers while Friday is the Night of Latin Guitarists.  Cat doesn't bill the shows these ways but that's something of the feel you will pick up on each night.

Agustin Braham has a very smooth and relaxed style of singing that you will find quite captivating.  Who knows, maybe he is wound up tighter than a cheap watch inside but I very much doubt it as there's a compelling calm in his voice.  Agustin doesn't do any grandstanding with his guitar but every so often he will do a few runs around the neck to show you he knows how to play it.  He delivers a highly professional performance and I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Very much the focus of Agustin's set is the content of the lyrics of his songs but I can't well report on that as yet as I haven't fully grabbed it.  What I know for sure is that the content is there and it is worth reaching to discover the depth of it.  I'm sure Agustin will be back again next week and I'll report more fully on his set as it wouldn't be fair to write on that prematurely.  I'm sure I heard 'dinosaurs and ice cream' and I have GOT to understand what that meant!

After Agustin's set came Sonya Jevette and you have seen me reporting on her shows previously so what I want to assure you is that she knows how to put a set together and she doesn't do the same set twice.  She does a mixture of covers and originals and she does just enough of the ones you have heard before to keep it feeling familiar and just enough of new ones to keep you surprised.

The picture shows the mix of entertainment and poignance in Sonya's performance and, in my view, that's what gives the performance its special charm.  She has such a wonderfully pretty voice and it's always a pleasure to listen to her sing.

So of course we need a picture of dancing with her during "The Big Girl Song:"

It's not the whole show with the conga and this time Sonya jumped on it with us.  From left to right in the picture, there's Yevette, Sonya, Cat, and Silas.  Big fun!

Something people sometimes don't realise about the MusikCircus is how many things Cat has built there.  Yevette has been my friend for many years and last night was her first visit to the MusikCircus.  We encouraged her to explore and here she is on the trapeze over the stage:

Welcome to the MusikCircus, Yevette!