Shimura Curves

Thursday, June 30, 2005

I Hate My Life

It's 8:30pm and I'm still at work.

I'm supposed to be rehearsing right now, but I had to cancel at the last minute, and felt like an utter shit since Frances had been waiting for me at Elephant and Castle.

Right now I'm feeling the dilemma of having to choose between my band and my job. And I can't afford to give up my job. The band feels like a major hassle at the moment anyway but life doesn't seem worth living without it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Midnight In The Garden Of Harmony & Complexity

First rehearsal in a month last night.

The weather was so nice, we dragged the laptop and a guitar amp out into the garden and sat out there, singing as the sun set. Pink wine and pizza and ice cream. Rehearsal more like a picnic than a performance. I like it.

We weren't nearly as out of practice as I thought we would be. That sounds awful, oh me of little faith, but I'm used to the first rehearsal after a long break sounding like a dog's dinner. We didn't. We sounded so lovely that my housemate commented on how nice it was the next morning at breakfast.

So I guess my plans backfired, and what started as a "f*ck you, you want to know about noise?" to my Chavvy Lumpenproletariat (I've been told Chav is a classist term, so I'm substituting the Marxist term) neighbours actually ended up entertaining the whole block. Maybe we can get a little PA... and a marquee... and start giving impromtu performances at weekend BBQs around St. Leonard's. School Fetes and Church fairs and family picnics, oh yes.

But now we're thinking about becoming a Proper Band. And actually recording and getting a manager and stuff. I think it's obvious who we want to manage us - I approached her in the past, about managing a different band. Someone I absolutely adore, and have got on with through thick and thin - and who I trust implicitly, because I know she is philosophically and ethically Sound. And also, who "gets" it.

Right, now I'm off to a training session on the new systems. Hurrah.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I'm sorry that all of my posts lately are about my job. It's quite a novelty for me to actually have a regular one. (Does something you've only been doing for two days actually count as regular? I suppose it does if you've got it in your head that you'll be doing it for the Rest Of Your Life.)

Today I've been teaching myself Oracle. Words I never thought I would hear. It's unbelievably difficult. Not because Oracle or programming or TOAD (my code compiler/schema representah) is difficult, but because I have no idea what I'm doing, and it's like trying to back engineer technology in another language. Which, I suppose, it is.

I guess, rather than overwhelmed, I should feel proud that I've got this far with no technical support, no handover notes, no manual and only the Financial Dept staff to give me clues about what everything is supposed to do.

Tomorrow I go back to being a Pop Star. Maybe. I haven't even written "The Grain Of Sand In Lambeth (That Satan Cannot Find)" and I feel like a fraud.

281 --
282 END Shattered_Ego_Pkg;
283 /* Thank you, goodnight

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Call Me Ms. Information

It's my lunchtime before anyone blasts me for playing on the interweb while I'm at work!

I need to take a break and rest my brain because it's getting very full. So much to learn. I'm trying to get a handle on how the Old System worked, even though the New System is going live in two weeks. So I've got to learn the entire Spying business in that time. Well, no, I don't have to learn the Spying Business as a whole, thank f*ck - I just have to learn which Spies we have in the field, what they do and where they do it, and process the Information that they bring back.

This is what I like about MIS. You deal in Information, all day long. (You won't get it! By hook or by crook, we WILL...) It doesn't matter what the information is, Spying or dyslexic children, the reports have to do the same thing. And the moment you hear certain words (Clawbacks! oh no!) you know they will be trouble.

We've changed our rehearsal date for this week. Sometimes I wonder if we'll ever rehearse again. Just as well I cleared the decks of Any Social Life Whatsoever this week.

I'm just slightly worried because it's my first day and I'm not Completely Lost. Which generally means that I haven't actually grasped the size of the problem. Maybe this is because my brain has learned to deal with jobs as concepts, and I have already grasped the Concept, but it's going to take me a while to actually slot in which bits go where. Where the reports come from, and where they go. Many of them seem to be automated, which scares me a bit, as I'm used to being a bit more hands on. But if it's a better, faster, easier way of doing it, I'm perfectly prepared to learn.

Besides, all of this will change in two weeks. Wow.

Right, I need to go and look over my notes.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Snake Sheds Its Skin

I had a rubbish night on Friday night. OK, so that's not such a big deal. I was expecting to have a FANASTIC!!! time, it being my Last Weekend Of Freedom and all. But the combination of the club (I hate Bar Academy) and the heat and the awful, awful people (F*cks who tried to get in a fight with me. Usually I know I'm aggressive when I've been drinking, but these idiots were all Punque Roque and actually started shouting things like "Let's see if we can get her to punch this guy" grrrr, argh.) just made it all go wrong. And I've been left feeling very out of sorts.

At first I thought I was pining over the Semi-Unrequited Crush. But no. He turned up late, was a bit out of sorts himself, gave me a big congratulatory hug and a bottle of champagne. We went off to drink at Emsk' house and I was a bit relieved he didn't come with us. Because I *was* feeling out of sorts.

But then I messaged him and said "I should be really excited, this should be the greatest thing ever. Why do I feel so sad... almost grief?"

And that's it. The feeling is still with me two days later. I walked into Club Hedonistic and the first people I saw were all people from my Old Life. Lollies people. Stephen started in with the gossip and it was all about the BJM and the Dandy Warhols, and I was so out of touch, it took me a few moments to realise who they were talking about.

I don't like rock stars and gigs and clubs any more. I find that I just don't particularly care. Lately, I've been more excited about Psychogeographical Walking Tours and Dr. Who and Hyper-Dimensional Data Cubes than any albums or gigs or bands. My life has just changed, I've outgrown the old life. Outgrown former friends and that makes me sad, but it's just part of life.

The past year has been so hard, it's been so painful. But now I'm realising that it has been so because I'm like a snake that is shedding its skin, a catapillar coming out of its coccoon and I'm not really sure what kind of animal I've turned into.

I talked to Emma quite a bit about music, and that was exciting. She played me a couple of CDs - I really liked The Postal Service, who she said was what Shimura Curves were like. That was nice. I liked them a lot. Tweelectronica. But I also felt a bit like I was letting her down. Like she was so excited and so supportive of my music, that it was almost like she *expected* me to do something with it. When all I really want is to carry on doing it when I feel like doing it. I don't want it to become something "proper" and a hassle and Not Fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I Be Got Me A Job

Wooo! Yes, I'm a bit shocked and all.

That's MS. M.I.S. to you!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bubblegum Crisis

This has nothing to do with music whatsoever, I apologise. Please skip it if you actually want to read about Shimura Curves and not about me whinging about my (lack of a) love life.

So the other day I was trying to figure out if I was "In Love". I suppose because really, I feel like I can't even write songs unless I'm either In Love or Have A Broken Heart. I still think up songs, they still percolate up through my head, especially when I'm walking quickly through quiet countryside. They still press themselves into my ears. I just don't bother writing them down or demoing them unless I feel I have Something I Want To Say to a Specific Someone.

But the irony being, when I've actually been In Proper Relationships, often my urge to write songs at all completely disappears.

And then there was a whole thread on ILX about The Joys Of Being Single, and for the most part, I realised that I was quite happy to enjoy the freedom of Being Single. Not so much sexual freedom (pretty much celibate at the moment, bah humbug) as just the freedom to do and feel what I like when I like. Little things like leaving the pub when I feel like it. Not being hassled about stupid stuff. And I suddenly realised that there was a part of me that didn't want To Be In Love.

Because Being In Love, to me, usually means that you value someone else so highly that you put their happiness as being more important than your own. And in retrospect, that's really quite rubbish. Because it's never been mutual.

So I guess that puts me in the odd spot of Being In Love, but not wanting to Be In A Relationship. (Or am I even that? I don't even know. Perhaps I'm just obsessed with someone for the simple reason that I can't have him, and were we to ever just sit down and say "Right then, let's just shag" it might evaporate.)

I keep telling people that what I really want is some sort of "Friends With Benefits" scenario. But I specifically want it with him. Possibly because he's the only person I know that I actually *trust* enough to consider something so delicate.

Oh god, I should just shut up. All this Carrie Bradshaw crap will Go Away when I get laid again. But what does it matter? It's my blog and I'll whinge if I want to. It's not like anyone ever reads it anyway.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Hurrah! Ned "Top of the Statscock To You" Raggett, the Patron Saint of ILX is coming to London in July. So of course we had to go and book a gig specifically to honour him.

It's going to be one of the Windmill's fabulous BBQ's - this one is in benefit of the Friends of Windmill Park, so proceeds go to a good cause as well.

I think I've known Ned since before ILX even existed - blimey, that's a very long time - but I don't think he's ever actually seen one of my bands before. Even though we have been in the same town at the same time, for different festivals.

It seems to be a bit hard getting the whole band in the same room at the moment. But dammit, I'll play the show solo if I have to!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Space Station Jefferson

What a revelation! I went to see Frances' other band (Morgen und Nite) the other night at Barden's Boudoir. Since it was a Post-Folk night, they did their Post-Folk set, all wind-swept swooping synths and spooky "acoustic theremin" slide dobro and old time folk-gospel hymnal harmonium. But the most amazing revelation of the night... miking the harmonium turned out to be such a difficult proposition that her vocal mic had to be moved, with the result that she had to "sing lustily" in order to be heard.


It's kind of like Nico in reverse. Nico always used to sing with full-on Valkyrie Of Death voice, until Lou Reed had to browbeat her into singing in her Frail Little Girl voice for "I'll Be Your Mirror". Frances usually has this pretty, little girl folk singer voice, but the other night, suddenly this haunted, spooky, Kendra Smith... WAIL (and I mean that in the best possible way) was emmanating from her skinny frame. Lonesome and scary, necrophilliac black metal folk, like the ghosts of starving Adirondack moutain folk, singing hymns of desperation to the god they fear will eat them.

I'm completely in awe. I want them to do more of that!

Pink Whine 2

It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to, whine if I want to...

One thing I learned from the IPO Festival is that *every* male, heterosexual musician in the world - no matter how unattractive or how unpleasant - has a girlfriend.

So I'm just going to throw a minor temper tantrum and stamp my feet and go "Where is *MY* adoring girlfriend?!?!?" Because I can.

I know all the blah blah blah I've talked about "not feeling ready for a relationship right now" and I need to sort out my own life and get some stability of my own. But really there are some times when I really just feel like some kind of Platonic one-off, when I really just want someone to understand me, and accept me, and actually *get* me (shades of Trillian in H2G2).

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In Your Room

Heh heh, I'm in Frances' room, burning demo CDs while she's out soundchecking for her solo gig.

We finally recovered my amps from the Kissing Time's lockup. They've only been there for six months at this point. But Lee needs to borrow them for tonight and he has a car, so hurrah, everyone's problem is solved. I like Lee. He reccommends me books on Superstring Theory and we get all locker room wang super-showdown about our effects pedals. Even though my collection is now vastly diminished post-night bus disaster, I can still make an unholy phased out Doppler Effect racket. Maybe some day we can write a drone symphony for guitarists playing on two trains approaching each other at differential speeds, to see how the phase cancellations sound.

Miss AMP fed me tea and we bitched about boys. Though I must admit I'm feeling fairly positive about the male sex right now, as Semi-Unrequited Crush Boy emailed me from Paris saying that he had taped Dr. Who for me, but really he just wanted to tell me he was drinking beer in a street cafe in Paris. What a sweetie.

I'm trying to be very organised and burning demo CDs for all sorts of people - I'm cheating a bit by changing each demo slightly depending on who it's for. So some people get the rockist demos and some people get the super-electro demos. Heh.

Being in a band makes me feel all positive and empowered, like I belong somewhere. It's a nice feeling, like being in A Gang. But not a nasty chemistry-lab exploding gang like Hollyoaks. Cause really...

What did YOU do?