Tea, hoverboards, USB fingers and Pinot Noir

What are dreams? .. I’m still trying to figure out the impossible limbo between asleep and awake.. I feel like most of us I lead a double life, and so have recently been very much exploring the grey (or not so grey) link (if any) between two distinct existences.

Waking up / going to sleep.. I don’t seem to be the only one with this problem. My laptop takes about a fortnight to power up or shut down. It seems to spend more time ‘thinking’ than Steven Hawking but has yet to contribute anything of value to society..

My most original ideas come to me lucidly by night and my work whilst awake is very much about adventuring into strange otherworlds, of which the dreamworld is one. The portals are not always obvious and often hide in the periphery, to vanish instantly and annoyingly on conscious inspection. It’s a bit like trying to get through to Vodafone customer services – the connection is nebulous at best and you never really know if you will ever get through (and how long it will actually last when you do).

I’m inspired in my musical explorations by the work of Dali and Gaudi, as well as someone who famously sketched many of his wildest ideas in the small hours, the great polymath himself Da Vinci – sculpter, painter, anatomist, inventor, astronomer, MC..

No one really knows why we dream. No one’s entirely sure why we even sleep. Perhaps as Carl Sagan suggested, it’s simply a mammalian hangover to protect us from the nightly cold, and large predators who want to eat our small furry bodies.

Does the pope shit in the woods

The science of sleep is fascinating, for example did you know that gut feeling of suddenly falling is literally your blood pressure dropping? – that night-time feeling we all know well, the ‘hypnic jerk’ happens when drifting off to sleep your body can mis-interpret the brain sleeping as the onset of death(!), and so drops blood pressure and sends an electric pulse out to attempt to revive your body, often resulting in you waking up with that strange but familiar AAAH! WTF!? thing..

I woke up oddly this morning, ripped brutally from my vivid nocturnal adventures, I awoke instantly though not entirely lucid – the kind of awake one is ten seconds after snorting vodka off a teaspoon (I don’t recommend this by the way).

So here I am.. slowly phasing back into the ‘real world’ (whatever that means) with my daily (re)birth trauma accentuated by a mild but irritating hangover. It dawns on me now that I possibly had a little too much wine yesterday afternoon/evening.

Ah, seduced yet again by the pleasures of the senses – so ironic many of the few bonuses reality has to offer is escaping it in one way or another, and there’s always a painful pay-off. Perhaps death is nothing to be feared, possibly the ultimate pleasurable experience even. We’ll all find out sooner or later let’s face it, there’s no hurry.

comedy fake childrens book

Life is for living as the cliché goes. Which brings me neatly to wine.

There are a couple of absolutely stunning wines available at the moment which (despite my current state) I simply must recommend you. For white Marlborough region Sauvignon Blanc is just awesome this year, and red, pretty much any New Zealand Pinot Noir is always a great bet. Californian Duck Pond label is reeally good too right now (especially the Merlot). New World is the way I reckon. French wine of course is always best enjoyed in France itself – they just don’t export the good stuff, or rather when they do, they weigh it like gold dust (perhaps they fly it Ryanair)

Now to drink wine properly of course we all know one needs to *slurp* – allowing oxygen to flow around tongue activating the necessary sense of smell which combines with the base of taste to give a full spectrum of flavour (our tongue sensor is 4 bit, our nose -16 bit). So only neck the really bad stuff basically. Although lately I’ve been applying The Slurp to all manner of drinks, lemonade, tea.. it certainly enhances taste in general. Okay, this advice is hardly rocket surgery but it’s a neat thing to bear in mind, and it can also bug the hell out of your drinking buddies/dinner date if you so wish.


Morning for me is centered not around wine, but a different beverage. Yes I am a national stereotype. I am of course talking about TEA.


Ahh, just typing that made me feel good.


From a teapot mind.. none of this teabag malarkey (or teabagging for that matter, let’s keep this clean).. Of course if you’re in the US or Europe never attempt serious tea-drinking, unless you enjoy another great British pastime, the art of secretly craving disappointment at every opportunity – stick to coffee which is generally far superior globally.

Tea has to be one of the high points of British culture. Don’t get me wrong I’m not being ‘patriotic’ here, I couldn’t care less about the Queen, Teletubbies, Benny Hill or bad dentistry, I just really like tea (interesting the word patriotic comes from father as used by the state and church (pope/papa/our father) to give a sense of family structure, hierarchy, etc)


my first rave - kids classic


I heard the other day the Apollo moon landings cost 1 US dollar per citizen, Vietnam $3, and the recent economy/bank bailout, about $4000 per US voter.. even with 40 years of inflation that’s some diff.. Perception is a funny thing though. Money doesn’t really exist of course. The jury’s out on whether we even exist in any real sense of the word, but here we are so I guess we’d best get on with it and get spending our nonexistent money on nonexistent things.


The Future.

Ok we don’t yet live on biodomes on the surface of Mars, but there is some evidence the future (as promised in 1980’s documentary Back To The Future) is finally here.


Yes a working hoverboard !

http://www.futurehorizons.net/hoverboard.htm

Ok, so it’s basically a crude hovercraft powered by a lawnmower engine but still..


Or how about this cyborg?..

http://scienceroll.com/2009/03/14/usb-finger/


OK, I look around, it’s hardly Metropolis (visually) is it? .. Ever seen Oscar Niemeyer’s buildings? That is what I expected 2009 to look like.. Asimov stuff..

Oscar Niemeyer lived to 101, though perhaps spent too long asleep looking for cool designs in dreamworld, if only he had been more prolific here (and Gaudi wasn’t hit by that bloody tram) there are so many ugly buildings…

Not that any of us notice as we’re all looking at screens writing nonsensical rambling blogs (exhibit A) or telling everyone how bored we are on Twitter..

Yes I’m now too a resident of Twitterland (www.twitter.com/kkmusic ) .. I don’t (yet) have a USB finger tho.. a matter of time perhaps

Anyway my musical Park Guell will be open later this year, will keep you posted, you will of course be the first to know especially if you are brave enough to click here and join my mailing list

Meantime, if we meet in the dreamworld, do stop for a cuppa..

KK

www.kkthemusic.com

nightmares, sweets and nun urinals

Last night I had the most horrific nightmare.

Like most people I generally dream in colour, but when I have a nightmare it is always in the same vivid tone – a kind of dark, high contrast black and white  (those of you with ‘Raw Fear‘ will have seen Simon Marsden’s stunning photography,  it’s not unlike this)

Anyway, I’ve never been able to fathom why this is the case.. maybe I caught a glimpse of a black and white horror film when I was a child?, or perhaps it’s a universal thing (do you dream in colour or b&w? are your good dreams the same tone as your bad ones?)

I personally think it has something to do with the abstraction of time, I even find watching very old cinematic footage disturbing sometimes, kind of like looking at ghosts..

I read of a study recently which found that people who grew up before colour television dream almost exclusively in black and white, and the rest of us in colour,  suggesting the media has a lot to do with it.   This however doesn’t explain it,  after all I don’t dream in a kind of 1980’s video hue, and I doubt todays children dream in a YouTube pixelated style.  Besides, my monochromatic reveries only apply to the dark and twisted..  the plain old surreal and sexy ones broadcast in glorious technicolor.

Back to my nightmare.  Like most vivid dreams, the intensity was more in the mood and feeling, the details of the ‘plot’ have since vanished into the ether.  Needless to say it was quite Saw/Hostel esque and involved some crazed butcher chasing me and cutting people up and me waking up caught in the grip of the primeval fear of the hunted which nearly all life on earth experiences daily.

We are fortunate that for most of us human beings such intense fear is limited to the bedroom (missus),  that said the insanity of the horrific genocide of Rwanda 14 years ago (which left behind 500,000 machete’d corpses) has flared up again in the Congo.  Africa, the world, humanity, we’re in such a bloody mess,  it’s daunting.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to the now trivial matter of mon petit cauchemar.

In the cold light of day I can see the intense animalistic feeling of hunted/hunter in such a dreamstate are related to the fact that largely dormant part of the brain, the R Complex (which has evolutionarily been there since we were even smaller and less furry) wakes up and flexes it’s crude reptilian feelings a little in the night when the more ‘human’ areas of the brain are resting or busy sorting out memories (allegedly one of the main purposes of dreaming).

Aside from this, I realised this morning I have not the faintest idea what causes bad dreams, so I wiki’d it..

“Nightmares are typically caused by illness, anxiety, stress, bereavement..”

ok neither one of which I’ve suffered from recently

“..or are alcohol related”

ah.

Ok I have to confess I am typing this with something of a hangover.

Last night was the launch night for an album I produced earlier this year for a fun new band called Elova.  A three piece (one piece of which is essentially just a wooden box),  Elova are fellow Devonians (a part of the ‘West Country’ here in the UK), and onstage are this multicoloured explosion of upbeat party pop, musically they range from 1940’s Tom & Jerry style cartoon music to soulful 70’s funk.  Was certainly a fun and different thing for me to be involved in (they kept a ‘behind the scenes’ blog if you want gory details on that).  As for the record, it’s called ‘Sweetbox‘ and you can get it (and more info etc) on their site..

The other album I produced this year, was of course the new Mediaeval Baebes record, ‘Illumination

Some of you from the USA or Europe might have caught the fair maidens in action on their recent tour, they are doing a few dates in the UK around Christmastime and then back to the US for a longer tour in the new year.  Illumination will be available generally in the new year and is available at the shows and on their website.

Winter has really set in here in London.  Cold and with approximately 40 minutes of daylight per day, it’s now the middle of the afternoon and already dark.. Later it’s ‘Bonfire Night‘ and there are already explosions in the frosty London air (great for the aforementioned hangover).  In reality, the UK’s Guy Fawkes Night lasts from September until January when the last fireworks shop in town returns to its default state of a sad looking disused unit.  It’s like our equivalent of 4th July but with hints of good old British misery and drunkeness.  I’m actually sat here with a large cup of tea, feeling quite the stereotype..

Anyway, I shall have to drink my tea and type quicker as I’m sooned to be dragged to the fireworks display at Alexandra Palace,  which this year is apparantly accompanyed by a mock German Oktoberfest (ironically the huge building was used as a POW camp for captured Germans during WW2) .. anyway it all sounds rather hideous and being a bone fide nerd, I would rather of course stay here basking in the warmth of my laptop screen.. but such is life..

I actually had the geniune Bavarian bierkellar experience a few weeks ago when visiting Munich, during which I drank my bodyweight in Weissbeir (I can’t remember if I had nightmares, nor indeed anything much of that day)

Munich is a very pretty historic looking city which oddly seems to have more cathedrals than houses, about one per street, sometimes two.  Anyway something struck me as I wandered past these huge old churches..

It’s well known that monolithic towers, church spires, monuments, Effiel Tower etc are pretty unsubtle phallic symbols… is it me or are some cathedral entrances decidedly vagina shaped?!

Perhaps it’s sexually frustrated architects, or like the phallic towers, some kind of subtle symbolism (birth/rebirth?..).  I dunno..

from the sublime to the ridiculous.. nun urinals

Nun Urinals
Nun Urinals