+I’ve spent the weekend in Glasgow at the Tectonics festival, now in its tenth year. This was my forth. It’s about contemporary music, but to many people’s ears I doubt much of it would be classed as music at all. Noise is a description the festival organisers have been happy to use. Some pieces are played by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, guided by conductor Ilan Volkov – a full ensemble of 80 or so players have lots of fun making one hell of a sound. But other pieces can be so somnolent I can barely stay awake. The festival takes place in two halls, The Grand Hall and the adjacent and connected Old Fruitmarket. It is in the latter that the less orchestral contributions occur. I bother you with this information merely to report how pleasing it was to see a 70 year old bloke sat at a table playing with his Ipad and laptop with a rapt audience watching his ever so slightly sliding finger moving across his screens. This is very definitely not like watching a guitar player. But the sound Carl Stone made with his mega-watt sound system was sufficient to impress. I’d never heard of him until now, but he is described as ‘one of the pioneers of live computer music’ and the ‘king of sampling.’ For anybody who’s a bit deaf, Carl’s your man. If you weren’t deaf already . . . Apparently there’s been some important football match here this weekend. What an opportunity to do some sampling.
+Canada’s Chief Pompous Arse is at it again. I refer of course to Conrad Black, the so-called Lord Black of Crossharbour. The convict has once again protested his innocence in an article in the newspaper the National Post, which he founded. He seems to think that a pardon from his chum Trump overturns his criminal record. It doesn’t of course, it merely illustrates the abuse of a presidential power. The reason for his latest protestations, in which it turns out that some (unnamed) Canadians are quislings, is that he has just had a new Canadian passport issued to him. What I didn’t know was that when he was courageously but oh so modestly battling for his ermine (he didn’t want to embarrass the Queen over so trivial a matter) he was in touch with Tony Blair.
‘Blair graciously sent his driver to my home (in London) with an application for British citizenship and told me to put him and the home secretary, Jack Straw, as my British sponsors and sign it and return it to the driver. He welcomed me as a British citizen an hour later.’
Was there no end of embarrassment Blair was not prepared to undergo? Conrad of course eventually got his gong, thanks to William Hague who witnessed his induction along with Henry Kissinger – a moment I am sure Kissinger will consider one of the highlights of his long life. M’Lord Black clearly loves his place on the red leather benches for according to the Parliament website ‘there are no spoken contributions for Lord Black of Crossharbour.’ He’s conveniently on a ‘leave of absence.’ It would be fair to say ‘thank god for that!’ Black’s prodigious efforts to get his convictions overturned I suspect had more to do with the US way of justice, where some wealthy people can pay lawyers to endlessly argue their case. Thankfully it doesn’t always work. Naturally, the question left hanging is if asked what favours would Keir Starmer do for ‘Lord’ Black?
+I have learnt that some or all of Gordon and Sarah Brown’s business affairs operate under the aegis of The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown Ltd. A Companies House search reveals that their total equity (2022 accounts) shows a balance of £2,716,152. Is this the whole picture I wonder? If so, it’s a poor patch on Tony Blair who is often said to be worth tens of millions. And apparently even Liz Truss now has big earning potential. The lure of lucre I have to declare straightaway has no corrupting influence on our politics whatsoever.