Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Yay Area

Cushioned in the nook with which I have been thoughtfully been provided by my Berkeley associate, whom we’ll call ‘K’ for internet reasons, I can hear the mournful call of the huge trains sidling up and down the Amtrack line which runs up the East coast of the Bay. It’s weird that I can hear them, because they’re a really, really long way away, a fact I know because I walked there today – infinite blocks of an infinite grid, how anyone finds anywhere is beyond me – and managed to get a very mild sun tan in the process (January! California!).

Flanked on one side by the railway, and on the other by the freeway, the discretely-hidden Aquatic Park is a haven for frisbee golf (no idea) and large pelicans (hilarious). The campus of an extremely large¬†pharmaceutical company, spanning several blocks, made finding the entrance impossible for staunch ally ‘J.’ (internet reasons) and I, and a route to the nearby marina – with beautiful views across to San Fransisco – was also¬†counter-intuitive. America was not built for pedestrians. But in the pelicans, which also did a victory flyby for the ferry I took across the Bay yesterday; in the oranges and avocados and sushi I’ve lately been guzzling; in the antiquated aesthetic of the urban transit systems; in the good-natured contentment of every resident I’ve so far met – in all these and more, there is much to admire about this place. I’ve done a lot of sidling down Berkeley’s famous Telegraph Avenue (went into the place that claimed to have invented the latte; had a root beer float). Yesterday I covered several miles of San Fransisco’s mission district, its Nob Hill (actually), Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcadero, Fort Mason. I saw trolley buses and Sea Lions. I also nearly died getting lost in the scummier end of the West Oakland docks – my pigeon-like instinctive attraction towards terrifying industrial environments may one day be my undoing – but survived, intact if sore of foot, ready to stroll another day. There’s been a lot of strolling, in short, and despite occasionally resisting it, this landscape has come over very well. LA and the Bay Area are supposed to be opposites, but I find myself bewitched by both, and hope I get an excuse to return one day.

California and the Stars

I’m totally sold on Los Angeles, which many of my American friends warned me against. I’m out here doing some sessions with MC Lars, and he took me down to Venice beach just now for a pleasant stroll and educated me about hip-hop’s history on the west coast! Very exciting and awesome to be out in a new place, and hopeful that some cool new material will come of it. Proper update when I have more time, but to keep you busy, here’s a photo I made from a 1970s school textbook to highlight the stupidity of constellations!



I’m in Canada, pilchards! Flew out to British Columbia (sunset all the way), hired a guitar for $14, and wrote a song about sailing. It’s pretty deep: the chorus goes

Sailing, sailing, sailing
na na na na naaaaaa
Sailing, sailing, sailing
unh unh unh unh unh unnnnnnhhh
Sailing, sailing, sailing
buh buh buh buh buuuuuuh
Sailing, sailing, sailing

but more on that later! The point is that I’m alive, exploring my inner took-wearing puffy-jacket-sporting syrup-guzzling bear-fishing self, and even writing the odd chord or two. I also finished the Chronological Discworld Project, for which I read every Discworld novel, in order, in a year. A wild ride!

Soon I’m jetting down to Los Angeles to hang out with MC Lars. I have absolutely no idea what will happen when I get there, but you can safely predict that it will result in at least one blog entry…