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

The Gaudi of Music?.. Wooden submarines?

I’m sitting in the colossal shadow of one of the most incredible manmade (well, halfmade) structures on the planet.  I’m in Barcelona, staring up at Gaudi’s infamous Sagrada Familia, and it’s impressive to say the least.

Now usually these ‘tourist landmarks’ are a major letdown, somehow they always look much less spectacular in real life than you expect.  Not so here. Despite being clothed in towers of ugly scaffolding, cranes and workmen, surrounded by a swarm of sombrero-wearing tourists (the irony of it looking like some huge termite hill),  the great monolith is still a surreal and awesome sight.

Sagrada Familia
Its bells ring, and the melody is even original, pleasant even – a far cry from the usual sombre, oppressive tones of the typical cathedral.    Inside it’s a building site – Gaudi’s masterpiece still unfinished (100 years under construction to date), not helped by his untimely death in 1926 when he was hit by a tram whilst standing back to admire his own work (perhaps a lesson for us all)

 Gaudi workshop  (Gaudi’s workshop)

Last night I stopped by one of the artist’s smaller works, Casa Batllo,  a townhouse he designed as a commission for a rich statesmen, now owned by the family behind the famous Chuppa Chups lollipop empire)

Now architecture in general does not float my boat, far from it, I think it is rarely the ‘art’ it claims to be.  But I am just blown away by the artistry and sheer originality of Gaudi’s work.  The design of this house for example, was like something from a wild post-seafood dream,  sublime waves of ‘melted’ structure and hints of alien worlds.

Casa Batllo

I just stared at it for about half an hour, daydreaming.  It seemed the more I looked at it, the more hidden detail of the world it was part of revealed itself.  I found it as captivating as hearing a truly original piece of music (Rite Of Spring, Dark Side of The Moon,..) for the first time.  It was quite late at night, which helped,  the drama of the building enchanced by unusually tasteful floodlighting.

The next day I visited Park Guell.   Gaudi turned landscape gardener in 1900 when Count Guell hired him to create a surreal ‘minature city’ on a rural hillside (then) outside Barcelona.  The project was aimed at the super-rich on the time,  it was a commercial disaster.

Now owned by the city, Park Guell is an enchanting place,  and an almost hallucinatory place to wander around – dreamlike fairytale cottages, Moomin valleylike winding paths, and strange bridges with arches like giant dinosaur ribcages.   I am rarely ‘influenced’ by other musicians,  but I certainly want to create music with the same originality, attention to detail and mind/world-altering quality Gaudi’s legacy of work has.

Park Guell cottage

Park Guell sign
                              Park Guell : so magic your dog will poo ice cream

Of course here in Catalonia, there are two other very famous, and highly unique artists – Dali and Picasso.    It is interesting how modern, forward thinking and prolific this period in history was there and for Art in general.   The beginnings of electroacoustic music and film for one.

Of course, there was conservatism,  most famously at Stravinsky’s Rite Of Spring premier in Paris in 1913.  It’s strange rhythms and pandiatonic harmony literally shocked the audience into rioting.  But now the same piece (after years of being very closely copied in film scores, good example being John Williams “Jaws” score), seems almost quaint, certainly unthreatening, today.

Anyway, enough of my little love affair with Gaudi.  I’m certainly feeling inspired now.  Isn’t it amazing how us artists can inspire so much from each other?  It’s like our collective work (the genuine stuff, which is unconcerned with fashion, conservatism, materialism and the like) has a life of it’s own,  and one artist’s Vision can go on to form a small part of another artist’s Vision and so on.. It’s kind of like the genetics of creativity.   Aside from any kind of direct inspiration (eg “I like the way this artist does that”),  there is also a higher type of inspiration involved,  that of aspiring to create truly exceptional work,  and no being afraid to take risks, remaining true to one’s own Vision no matter what and so on.

We live in artistically quite conservative (and also perversely materialistic) times.  If Gaudi were alive and working today, I’ve no doubt the same happy-snapping tourists who ogle his work would consider it “weird”, as many original work is.  Maybe it’s always been like this.

Either way, I’m wary of people who describe anything as “weird” – it implies “this does not fit in with what everyone else says is ‘normal’, and therefore suspicious to me.  I have no mind of my own.  I am a sheep. I have either been brainwashed by a current sociological trend (eg fashion, conservatism) or I had no brain to speak of in the first place.  The idea of thinking or judging (properly) for myself scares me, and being weak minded, I will take the easy option and not do so.”. 

Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh and seriousy.  I’ll change the subject..

From the sublime to the ridiculous,  I came across this little curiosity.

wooden submarine

Allegedly the worlds first submarine, “Ictineo II” (from Icthys (fish) + Naus (ship), was made in 1862 by Narcis Montriol (I don’t think the then 10 year old Gaudi was involved).  Anyway its very cool and quite steampunk, so I took a pic.

There only seems to be one slight minor design flaw..  I could be wrong of course, but doesn’t wood erm, float?

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Explore the weird and wonderful world of KK at : www.kkthemusic.com

KK’s new album “Telescopes” is available to download now at iTunes, Amazon and KK’s site.