Niche appeal music, volume 3

I spent a couple of days over the Christmas break messing around with an old 6-chord JubelTöne zither that I found at a car boot sale. It’s seen better days, and has not been tuned. This is what happened:

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Niche appeal non-music

In preparation for a new project I recently went through my archives of field recordings, fragments of various sound bits collected over the years. I’ve recorded a lot of pointless audio, it’s true, so I ended up deleting a whole bunch of stuff that was badly recorded, or just boring, but in amongst it all were some things that were worth keeping. So I thought that with a bit of editing, some of them might be interesting for other people to hear. I’ve compiled them into three volumes, because no-one wants to be presented with a single, huge archive dump, do they? Plus, of course, creating three volumes means a more impressive discography (and more entries on

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Niche appeal music, volume 2

I’ve recently been messing around with an old three-quarter-size guitar I found at the car boot sale. It was £2, had no strings, saddle or nut, so I added those myself, and given that it’s quite difficult to play properly (not that I actually have much interest in doing so), I’ve been figuring out what else it can do. Here are the results of some of my investigations. Preparations include fidget spinners, paper clips, sandpaper, wool, suction cups, a cactus and roll-on deodorant. It some of it seems a bit ‘warts and all’, well, that’s the nature of research.

and here’s the third and final part of the acoustic guitar trilogy, recorded on a full size with steel strings.

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Niche appeal music

Like one of those infuriating rural bus services that publish no music for years and then suddenly release two albums at once, I’m delighted to announce that despite not having published any music for years, I’m suddenly releasing two albums at once. I’ll write more about these later (maybe – no-one’s actually reading this, are they?), but for now here are the plain facts:

2xCD, Recordiau Prin
“… imagine yourself unexpectedly released into an alien forest filled with swamp mist and static electricity…”

The Master Musicians of Dyffryn Moor: Cerddoriaeth Ddefodol Gogledd Sir Benfro (Ritual Music of North Pembrokeshire)
2xLP, Amgueddfa Llwch
Ritual trance music from rural Wales, performed on kitchen utensils and garden tools.

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While driving along one of Britain’s motorways recently, I was overtaken by a lorry that was prominently decorated with the web address SPLOGISTICS.CO.UK. It amused me because SPLOGISTICS is a funny word, but it was especially amusing because my initials are SP, so if I had a logistics company, I’d definitely want to call it SPLOGISTICS. So, on returning home I immediately established the following companies. Their main line of business should be self-explanatory.

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Hospital Waiting Rooms

A list of people it’d be confusing for me to share a hospital waiting room with, sorted by increasing potential for confusion.

1. Simon Jones
2. Simon Prosser
3. Simon Proffwell
4. Simon Proffidd
5. Simon Prophet
6. Simon Proffitt-Please
7. Simon Proffitt-Toroomnumberthree
8. Simon Proffitt-I’mafraidwehavesomeratherbadnewsforyou
9. Simon Proffitt-Getoutofherebeforewecallthepolice

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Egg Custards

I like egg custards. The Ancient Greeks believed that the best egg custard was the one you’ve just eaten. Inscriptions found at Yaxchilan, meanwhile, clearly indicate that the Mayans considered the best egg custard to be the one you are about to eat. I subscribe to neither of these systems, and believe instead in the power of empiricism.

There are three (and only three) components to a standard UK egg custard:
1. The pastry: that noble and unheralded support layer, quietly carrying out its duties with pride and grace.
2. The custard: that champion heavyweight that we’ve all come to see, that we remember watching on Grandstand as a kid, but that’s still knocking ’em out cold in town halls and leisure centres throughout provincial Britain.
3. The nutmeg: that cheeky young scamp from faraway lands that occasionally appears at your window, mouthing unintelligible words while you attempt to watch the news.

I once had in mind to write a comprehensive guide to the country’s egg custards. Not just a survey of my favourites, or the ones near me, but a rigorous analysis of every commercially available custard in the land. Even given the homogenisation of most UK High Streets, though, it’s a huge and dietarily thankless undertaking, and I have reluctantly added this to the list of things that are just not going to happen, along with learning to play guitar, getting into the album charts, tidying my office etc etc. This move brings both sadness and relief. Having said that, I still have a rough idea of my favourites. In the same way that we like to choose some personal cultural standards to wheel out when asked, instead of having to consider them from scratch each time (favourite album, film, that sort of thing), I have a best egg custard. Best 5, in fact. I am compelled to write all this now because the current number 1 was discovered this very week – I could have wept when I first bit into it – and discovering a new favourite anything is a big deal for some. Here they are:

5. Bailey’s Deli, Llangollen
4. Ashley’s Butchers, Whitwell
3. Milk Bar, Llanrwst
2. Sandbank Bakery, Towyn
1. Bosun’s Locker, New Quay

Supermarket egg custards are sometimes pretty good. M&S are the best, I think. The flipside of all this is the worst. I’m generally fairly well disposed towards Morrisons, as supermarkets go, but their egg custards have never, after multiple attempts, been anything other than joyless.

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21st Century Blues

Here’s the track list for my forthcoming contemporary blues album. It’ll be available on LP, cassette, minidisc and 64kpbs mp3.

1. End-of-Financial-Year Roadworks Blues
2. Incorrect Username/Password Blues
3. Rural Bank Branch Closure Blues
4. This Item is Currently Out of Stock Blues
5. 500 Internal Server Error Blues
6. Cuts to Essential Services Blues
7. Civilians Killed in Drone Strike Blues
8. Corporate Tax Evasion Blues
9. Fear and Hate Fuelled by Corrupt Media Blues
10. Misplaced Phone Charger Blues
11. Reading the Comments on Daily Mail Articles Blues
12. Men Shouting in the Street Late at Night Blues
13. Wasting Time by Engaging with Internet Trolls Blues
14. Unsaved Work Lost Through Program Crash Blues
15. Civilians Killed in Terrorist Attack Blues
16. ‘Political Correctness’ Used as a Pejorative Blues

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Forthcoming Releases

Here’s a quick guide to some of the best new music due for release later this year.

New albums by:
DJ Unexpected Item In Bagging Area
The You Must Be Logged In To Do Thats
The Restart Now / Restart Laters
She Takes A Single Paperclip & The What Happens Next Will Amaze Yous
This Vehicle Is Reversing

New singles by:
Japanau Chocolat
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
The Sign Up To Receive Our Occasional Newsletters
DJ This App Is Incompatible With Your Device
A$AP Social Media Faux Pas

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Gwaddol / Legacy


If you find yourself anywhere in the vicinity of Bangor (Gwynedd, not Co. Down) over the next 3 months, then please consider calling in to Pontio, the new and exciting Arts & Innovation Centre. It’s an interesting place with lots of things going on, but in addition to those interesting things, you can see my new multi-media exhibition, Gwaddol, for free.

Gwaddol is a celebration of Theatr Gwynedd, the popular precursor to Pontio, built in 1974 and demolished in 2010. Here’s what I said about the exhibition when put on the spot with a voice recorder by Pontio’s marketing team:

“I admit to feeling a bit daunted when I was first approached about doing this, as it was clear from the outset what a clear sense of community there was around Theatr Gwynedd. There were so many people who knew each other, worked together, grew up together and one of the most interesting things for me was finding out these stories – these stories and people who had grown into local legends.

“I feel really warmly towards the place now, though I never went there myself, and it seemed there was lots of fun to be had there. So that was something I really wanted to come out in the exhibition. It’s all very well doing a very serious and sombre reflection of the history of Theatr Gwynedd, but from speaking to people who were involved with it, it really seemed as if it was a good, fun happy place so I wanted that to be reflected.

“Rather than a memorial, I wanted it to be a celebration which maybe triggers memories. I really hope that people who do know what Theatr Gwynedd did can connect with this – whether it’s one of their stories used for something, or they see an object and it reminds them of a good time they had there.”

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