Factual Uncertainties: Don’t Panic, Peacock!

“100% of all lottery-winners gain weight”

For those of you unfamiliar with writer, illustrator, broadcaster and fortune-cookie-making philosophiser Leila Peacock, here is a picture of her voicebox:

voice box 6

“Cats cannot see the colour blue”

If by any chance that voicebox does look familiar, it could well be that you’ve heard it before, as we worked on a couple of pieces together for Radiophonic Creation Day 2011, which can be found on the Radio page of this site. But right now I want to draw your attention to her latest work, entitled ‘Factual Uncertainties’, currently being featured on the German arm of the Don’t Panic! website.

don't panic logo“Clicking on this logo doesn’t achieve much”

The actual page can be viewed here in all it’s attractively-designed glory. I must say the good folk of Don’t Panic really do know how to make an nice-looking webpage. And their pictures don’t have silly grey borders that I can’t remove around them. Anyway, I’ve included the audio here, for your convenience. It’s about 18 minutes long and contains some very peculiar nuggets indeed, so grab your ear-goggles and pop the kettle on:

A development of a piece performed at the Voidhaus, Berlin in July 2011 entitled ‘Digressions in Diagrammar’. A voice reads from a list of reliably unreliable ‘facts’. It’s a poetry of lists, (mis)information as entertainment, instruction-manual hypnosis. In this era of the over-informed, you learn something useless everyday.

With sound design by Robin Warren (Resonance FM)

I may or may not be loosely affiliated with Mr. Warren. All I will say is that I don’t mind some of his work…

“The World-Record for not blinking is 11 minutes”

i only have eyes for you...

“29% of people like to make car-noises when they drive”

Baby-Grands And Bagels For Eyes: The Return Of The Art Party

Question:  One of these men is in fancy dress. Which one?

If there’s one thing that a photograph featuring a be-horned person with bagels for eyes must surely signify, it’s that another event curated by The Art Party is in effect. And so it is.

Once again the good folk of The Art Party are taking over Mol’s Place for another celebration of all that is good and right in the modern art world (there’s also a bar and canapés, but that’s purely a fringe-benefit). And this time it’s rather poignant occasion, as they are bidding goodbye to this most splendid of arts spaces, owned by collector and patron of the arts Jan Mol, who will shortly be giving up the gallery’s Covent Garden location and moving onto to pastures anew. Determined to see the venue off in fine style, the night included a mixture of painting, installation, sculpture and performance, including a live set by accapella and cassette-recorder trio Goodbye Leopold and myself as the DJ-ing glue that held it all together. Or perhaps the buttercream filling between the performance layers. Whichever analogy you prefer.

Goodbye Leopold – Hello Leotard

The point I’m trying rather clumsily to make is that I was DJing at this splendid soiree, filling in the gaps between the performances and trying to avoid this one woman who kept demanding I play some Sting.  For those of you not lucky enough to have been added to the exclusive guest-list, I’ve included some of the music played on the night here for your enjoyment. As you’ll hear, the artist formerly known as Gordon Sumner is mercifully absent:

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It was a four-hour set in total, though unfortunately time and other, more physical constraints prevent me from including everything here. Still, who really has time to do anything for four hours without stopping these days? And besides, I think these two little extracts contain the gist of the proceedings.  It was a sad moment leaving the gallery for the last time (although when I finally left after packing all my gear away, someone was blasting out The Black-Eyed Peas at skull-crushing volume, which rather burst my poignant farewell bubble).  A good time was had by all, with the possible exception of the chap who had to lug that Baby Grand Piano up the stairs.  I wonder where The Art Party will turn up next?  Wherever it is, I do hope I get the chance to play for them again, and that the whole Sting-debacle hasn’t irretrievably blotted my copybook.

Let The Fog See The Koala – Panel Borders 02/10/11 on Resonance FM

A very special edition of Panel Borders, the UK’s only radio show on comics, illustration and other graphic delights featuring an exclusive interview with Canadian turntablist and graphic novelist Kid Koala!

Otherwise known by his alter-ego of mild-mannered Eric San, Kid Koala is a world-renown DJ, music producer and cartoonist hailing from Montreal. Best known for a series of delightfully odd-ball albums released on the Ninja Tune label (often including a free comic book), 2011 has seen the publication of his second graphic novel ‘Space Cadet’, which comes with its own bespoke soundtrack. On vinyl, no less!

The Kid has also been travelling around of late presenting a series of ‘Music To Draw To’ events, where pens and paper are mandatory accessories and the audience sit around drawing to an ‘inspirational’ DJ set. This most recent event, which doubled as a sort of unofficial launch for the book; took place within the very pleasant confines of the Material / Red Gallery in London’s fashionable Shoreditch area.  Sketchbook in hand, I attended the recent London leg of his tour to talk robots, etch-boards and the Canadian work-ethic.  It was broadcast by Resonance 104.4FM on Ocotber 2nd 2011, and is now available as a podcast right here:

Or you could also download it by visiting it’s page on the Resonance FM website here

Interviewing such an instantly-likeable, softly spoken chap (except when he laughs – which is often!) made for some curious recording levels and a few clashes with the air-conditioning, but none-the-less, I hope this programme will entertain and inspire. ‘Music To Draw To’ was certainly an inspirational enough with a room literally bursting at the seams with talent, all sitting around nibbling cake and beavering away.

Stolen from http://www.materialmaterial.com. Blurry, but functional...

In fact, for added visual stimuli, why not listen while staring at the pictures below? This first one was created by graphic artist and blogger Andy Paterson in real time as the Kid ripped into some classic Hepburn:

Kid Koala at 'Music to Draw To' by Andy Paterson.

Andy proved most unpopular on our side of the table by effortlessly making all of our creations look like crap in comparison. To prove it, here’s a slightly dodgy one of mine, that certainly hasn’t benefitted from the amount of time I put into photographing it:

And lastly, let us turn to this affable chap called Ollie, whose contact details I have since lost and therefore cannot be properly credited (unless we can track him down). Which is a shame, as I think this drawing wraps up the spirit of the evening rather neatly:

Oh, and one more thing, because you’re lovely: Here’s a ‘wildtrack’ recording of Kid Koala ripping up the aforementioned Hepburn. I include it here because it’s rather obscured on the finished programme, and frankly, it’s too ace to just sit there and be a backdrop:

If you have any pictures of Space Cadets, Kid Koala, Kids, Koalas, Cadets or Space, do send them to robinthefog@gmail.com and I promise I’ll look at and perhaps act on them. In the meantime, remember: pens are your friends!

Making Sexy Happen

Hello. This week I have been helping to make sexy happen.

But why make a fuss about it, you might ask? Those of you who know me will of course assume that I make sexy happen all the time, that sexy happenings are a daily distraction in the fantastic world of The Fog. But real sexiness is something that has to be worked at, fought for, dare I even say sweated over. And right now that’s where I’m at, rolling back my sleeves and fighting for sexy. Remember the ‘Mucky Mixxxtape‘ I posted last month?

There were a lot of 'fake' French Tickler Novelties in circulation at the time.

Don’t play the innocent with me, you remember! Well, it’s since gone on to become one of the most successful and popular endeavours I’ve ever laid my hand upon, receiving more hits than all of my other Mixcloud sets put together. To jog your memory a little further, here’s yet more breathless hyperbole from the back cover of the modestly-titled ‘Fornicating Female Freaks’:

Real MEN and WOMEN actually SPEAKING to EACH OTHER. Now THAT is SEXY!

How do I account for this extraordinary spurt? Well, normally I would head straight for the lowest common denominator and confidently assume that all of my friends, associates and visitors to this site are a bunch of desperately seedy perverts, casting all my painstakingly crafted sound designs and video projects aside in favour of something a bit more trouser-rousing. But then I discovered that, completely without my knowledge, it had appeared on this most intriguing website, specialising in erotica for the visually impaired:

visit sonicerotica.com

And jolly fine it is too. Now I don’t claim to be an expert (in spite of all this recent activity), but I’ll wager that one advantage the Sonic Erotica site has over the 1970s ‘unusual stag action recordings’ brigade is that all the material here is made by actual people. For all Audio Stag’s talk of using ‘real MEN and WOMEN’, they’re still reading from a script when all is said and done (and it is a script, written by the wonderfully-named ‘Peter RAMAGE’). Pausing once again to remind you of my lack of expertise in the field, I would however like to speculate that surely its’s infinitely more stimulating listening to a bunch of genuine people having actual, genuine fun than mere actors pretending? And if that is true, why did they bother using actors at all? How hard could it be to find two people willing to get it on in front of a microphone? I once had a flatmate who never worried in the slightest about who might be listening…

So, why not visit http://sonicerotica.com next time your parents are out of the room? But no time for that kind of thing right now, we must brushing ourselves hastily off and move on to my next abundantly sexy piece of news – I’ve made a new video:

A tenuous link? Hardly! What could be a loftier pinnacle of sexy than a blonde woman waving foreign currency under your nose? Furthermore, parts of the soundtrack (the noisy ones) were made using a tape loop created by two very sexy people (myself and Mr. Chris Weaver of Resonance FM), and of course there is NOTHING sexier than a tape machine! Like all very sexy things, they’re rather fiddly to mess around with at first, but immensely satisfying once you’ve got them unspooling. That’s about as close as I seem to be able to get to a double-entendre on a Tuesday. Here’s a photo to add depth and colour:

Insert witty line about 'doing it at fifteen inches per second' here...

So as you can see, it’s sexy happenings aplenty here at Fog Towers. And they’ll be much more to follow. But I think you’ve had enough for the moment. Right now the only crumpet I’m hankering for comes from Sainsburys and has to be removed from the toaster with a kitchen-devil. See you all again soon, my hard-to-please stag collecting friends…

RAMAGE!

Frank-Scorching Language, Deep-Thrusting Throbbing Activity!

This Is Penis.

What’s that? A DJ set by Robin The Fog composed entirely of dirty, sleazy smut? Why, you might ask, has such a respectable pillar of the community undertaken such an endeavour? A cynical attempt to get a bit more traffic on this site? An attempt at causing controversy? Career suicide? Or is it simply that there’s something about these records that he can’t help but find oddly fascinating?

The answer is all of the above. Somebody, somewhere, sometime around 1988 must have been struck by the rather dubious epiphany that what the world needed more than anything else right then and there was a rap record called ‘Penis Delight’ by The Tittyhole Gang. And a reasonable number of people must’ve concurred with this idea and voted with their wallets. And then one person in particular must’ve decided that it would make a good donation to Oxfam, which is how I first came across it.

I’ve tried to keep things light-hearted, removing a couple of references to ‘next Tuesday’ and all traces of Rudi Ray Moore. But despite such efforts, I must warn you there is still some at times quite unpleasant stuff on display here, and that it’s not for the faint-hearted. Send the kids to bed and put the cat out.

Now, let’s slap it on:

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Your hosts on this journey are Rana, said to possess ‘the infamous claim to fame of being an expert SEX PERVERT!’ (their caps, not mine); and a rather dull women who appears to trade under the moniker ‘Honeypot’, though I think that may be a pet name. Who knows what kind of exciting way-out adventures await this lovely pair? The decidedly maximalist cover of their 1971 LP teases us with a couple of subtle clues…

Which bit are you supposed to read first, I wonder?

Clearly not a quiet weekend at home with a glass of crème de menthe and a jigsaw.

Anyway, I thought it might add some extra stimulation to your listening experience to single out a couple of the more obscure tracks and offer up what little information I can, thus giving a little anthropological weight to the proceedings. So, who’s up first? And what the hell is she wearing?

Probably quite chilly - Faye Richmonde

You might be forgiven for thinking a quick glance at the cover of this LP would show you everything you needed to know about Faye Richmonde. Biographical details about the chanteuse behind such gems such as’My Pussy Belongs To Daddy’ (a song concerning the ownership of a cat, naturally enough) are even scantier than that shower curtain she’s wearing. But I’ve included three of her tracks on this mix and would’ve happily included more if I didn’t have a lot more perverts to shoe-horn in. Despite the pedestrian title and the absence of a single dirty word, ‘My Movie-Operator Man’ which closes our proceedings here could well be the filthiest song ever recorded. I mention it now because I’m not sure all of you will make it to the end.

Blowers - Definitely not a production of the Children's Television Workshop

The poor sap who sold this 7″ to me on ebay listed it as children’s record, though he perhaps meant only children over the age of 18. It wasn’t until it arrived in the mail that I discovered its dirty little secret, although in hindsight the knob-coloured vinyl should’ve given it away. As you will hear it consists of a funk groove (actually rather killer) with a group of snickering men (and women) shouting an alphabetical list of dirty words over the top. Very little effort appears to have been put into compiling this dirty alphabet, inspiration runs out long before they get to ‘Zombie P***y’ and I can’t even begin to imagine what ‘Quick Nuts’ are, a breakfast cereal perhaps? I can tell you practically nothing else about it, except that another copy (on standard black vinyl) recently sold in the US for seventy-seven dollars, thus making the paltry seven I paid for my purple one seem like a wise investment. My purple one. Tee-hee…

This is what passed for graphic design in the late 80s

The phrase ‘jaw-dropping’ is bandied about a lot these days, but I really think the brains behind Sexual Society and their track ‘F**king* deserve to claim it for their own. Seriously, I’ve tried putting into words how profoundly, disgracefully odd this track is and I just don’t have the vocabulary. As with the aforementioned Tittyhole Gang (on the flipside as it happens) somebody, somewhere thought that the world needed to hear it enough to press it up and ship it to the UK. And as you can see I put as much effort into photographing the sleeve as the label did in shopping around for a graphic designer. Those apples look good enough to eat!

Highly Treasonous - Chloe Poems

Acquired this at a very fine evening of electronica a decade ago upstairs at The Bridge Hotel in Newcastle, in exchange for buying the promoter a pint of Guinness. Rather like the Blowers record, I had no idea what lay in store for me until I arrived home, placed the needle in the groove and got about a minute into the record. Then it hit me like a plateful of highly scandalous trifle.

Just who is Chloe Poems? Well, in a 2004 interview she described herself as ‘a gay, socialist transvestite poet, [a] lover of life and a great big camp girlie-goo girls blouse who loves joy, whoosh and nothing better than having a good time’. Fair, enough, we all enjoy a bit of whoosh now and again. But really, Chloe, this is a bit much! Is treason still a hanging offence in this country, I wonder? If so, it would certainly explain her completely dropping off the radar in recent years, her web domain disappearing and her Myspace being long-abandoned (like the rest of Myspace). Nonetheless, here she is in all her glory, and it’s worth noting this is the one track here which concerns anything other than instant, cheap gratification. We salute you, Ms Poems. What a pity you never scaled the heights of your label-mates The Ting Tings…

Head-Nose-Tongue? Stick it in your ear, you screwy sex weirdo!

Well, I’ve shot my bolt for now. Big thank-yous to the Kent Coast’s premier selector Lucky Cat Zoe for help with a couple of entries on the playlist, to Alasdair Dickson for unwittingly kick-starting this dirty little voyage, and to you for listening. Who knows, one day there might be a sequel. But for now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to roll over and go to sleep. And I’ll expect eggs in the morning…

We never did find out what Frank-Scorching was, did we?

I am Wonder-Dick.

Hauntology For Fukushima, Cafe Oto, 15/08/11

Put the date of Monday August 15th in your diary now. Then underline it heavily. Then put a circle round it and add a couple of stars.

Why? Well, because as part of Michiro Endo, Otomo Yoshihide and Ryoichi Wago’s Project Fukushima! festival, Cafe Oto and Resonance FM are hosting Jonny Trunk’s Hauntological Orchestra live and in concert, with all proceeds going to help those at the epicentre of the recent crisis in Japan. Trunk will be joined in his endeavours by a veritable cavlacade of talent including members of lounge quartet The Windsors, radiophonic genius Stefan Blomeier, Oramics researcher Chris Weaver, synth builder Ben Barwise, and others including a small support role by my Foggy self on ‘processed field recordings’ (yes, that would involve a laptop, cleverdick). Rumour has it there’ll be about 15 of us altogether for the final piece, playing a mixture of home-made, electronic, and acoustic instruments and even a vibraphone!

The playlist is a closely-guarded secret, but apparently will include some sort of interpretation of this:

I really, really hope that guy shows up.

Most importantly of all, however is that all proceeds are going to the very worthy cause of ‘Project Fukushima!’, about which you can read more here.  As Resonance FM director Ed Baxter says: “The Orchestra doesn’t remotely pretend to – and probably shouldn’t – offer anything resembling a pertinent commentary on Fukushima. We can empathise and state our solidarity – and we can send the people of Fukushima our money and our prayers.” Well spoken, sir.

In summary, a fantastic line-up, a worthy cause and one of London’s finest alternative venues. Please do come along and show your support if you can. And try not to do any rioting while you’re there…

Do Zombies Dream Of Electric Sheep?

The first Electric Sheep anthology of film essays was published on 16 May 2011 by Strange Attractor Press. From the gutter to the avant-garde, The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology brings together Bill Morrison’s chemical ghosts, the bad girls of 50s exploitation films, apocalyptic evangelical cinema, the human centipede, Spanish zombies, Japanese nihilists and David Lynch’s soundtracks of decay. Contributors include the Brothers Quay, Peter Whitehead, Jack Sargeant and Jason Wood. And jolly fine it is too.

As part of the launch party of ‘The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology‘ on June 7th at The Horse Hospital, Holborn; I was asked to DJ a live soundtrack to a screening of Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated (1968 / 2009), an experimental collective reinterpretation of George A. Romero’s classic zombie film by various artists, animators and filmmakers, using mixed media including puppetry, CGI, hand-drawn animation, illustration, acrylics, claymation, etc. Over the top of this curious mash-up of styles I played a mixture of space jazz, musique concrete and murky electronic doodles. Why not have listen to this mix while watching the film for yourself? It syncs up quite well, although there was one point where I developed a stiff neck and missed a scene change…

[audio
http://www.archive.org/download/NightOfTheLivingDead-ANewSoundtrackByRobinTheFog/notld_robinthefog.mp3%5D

This is the full-length slightly lower-quality version fit for the synch-ing. I also split the mix into two parts and uploaded them both onto mixcloud complete with tracklisting, which you can find on the DJ page of this website.

There’s also a frankly bloody marvellous pre-screening DJ set from Lucky Cat Zoe Lucky Cat Zoe featuring some unbearably smart tunes from the likes of Esther, Keith, Enid, Ella, Sharon (oh, Sharon!!) and Augustus. And while we’re on the subject of links, why not check out the Electric Sheep website and maybe even order yourself an anthology? It’s never less than stimulating!

Classy Tunes, Slightly Dodgy Mixing

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Made in one take on borrowed turntables during a brief 42-minute respite from the chaos of a live day of broadcasting, featuring whatever 12″s I had lying around. I must admit haven’t done this for a while due to my own turntables growing old and infirm, and I like to think that accounts for the occasional slightly baggy nature of some of the mixing, but are you really going to complain when the tunes on display include ‘Champion DJ’ and ‘Some Justice’? Of course not!

Once I retire, of course, I’ll have a lot more time to do this kind of thing and my mixing will no doubt go back to its previous lazer-like precision. But for now, this will be fine.

The Art Party

Mol’s Place is both a contemporary exhibition space and the home of collector and patron of the arts, Mr. Jan Mol; and The Art Party on 23rd March was the first in a planned series of events organised by the gallery to promote the work of a number of emerging artists and encourage fresh creative endeavour.

Actually, it’s probably better if I just show you their manifesto:

As well as exhibiting a host of artists working in such diverse disciplines as painting, sculpture and kaleidoscope, the evening also featured performances from awesome band We Are Birds of Paradise, the extremely bizarre Rodnik band and myself in my capacity of official Art Party DJ, which was really rather an honour. Here’s a short extract from a set that if memory serves me correctly spanned almost three hours. It would’ve been a longer extract but the batteries ran out. The batteries on my recorder, that is. My own batteries gave out at about 4 o’clock the following morning when I finally finished tying the speaker cables back together.

Thanks to Katy, Melissa and of course Mr. Mol for a splendid evening. Further events are apparently in the pipeline, visit the Mol’s Place website to find out more.

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Commence Dicking About…

Today my life began.

I am the personal website of radio producer, DJ and self-styled frustrated artist Robin The Fog.

I predict many happy years of him sitting in front of me swearing copiously as I dutifully spread reams of complex HTML code all over the space where he was hoping I’d embed a media player or something. He really has no idea what he’s doing. Still, wish him luck. 

Here’s a video he’s just finished working on to celebrate: