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monday, february 21st 2000
all back together again, a week off and our studio tans have faded nicely. everybody seems rested and refreshed for the next five weeks..........nigel wants to get his teeth stuck into mixing, so we decided to set up and record 'cuttooth'. this at eight and a half minutes (by the end) is the long one - did five or six takes of which a couple are pretty good. will review further tomorrow. nigel and jonny are at present getting stuck into going through the various string parts on 'egyptian song'. good to be back.
wednesday, february 23rd 2000
listen to 'cuttooth' and it sounds fucking great. graham, our new engineer, earns his spurs by doing some great tape editing......which involves cutting the master tape at a particular place in the song and attaching another piece of tape from another version of the song. a bit more complicated from the days when your tape recorder chewed up your favourite 'madness' tape and you had to get out the old tape splicing kit and when finally fixed there was a section missing in the second chorus of 'embarassment' ......no very different from those days.

anyway coz fixed up his fantastic driving bass thing....thom did a cool synth pass...and it's quite fast for us.
thursday, february 24th 2000
more work on 'cuttooth'...........jonny did his guitar thing...feedback,backwards guitar.......it was good to hear. it sometimes seems as though not much guitar has been played so far, which is probably bollocks. there has been a fair amount, but in the quest for different sounds we haven't first turned to the trusted and tried six-string. thom did some work on a track upstairs, which sounded great. lots of editing on the computer to make the track in question more coherent. am i sounding boring?....apologies, just tired that's all....on to thursday...
friday, february 25th 2000
more good things added to 'cuttooth'........sounds. its one of those classic situations where the temptation is to continually embellish whats on there and it's one of those songs that you could get away with it. but in doing that, you often lose the essence of what was great about it in the first place. i guess the trick is to be absolutely ruthless on what is added................so at five in the morning having not savagely edited some of these overdubs the track sounded too overcooked..............

please read "NO LOGO" by Naomi Klein
monday, february 28th 2000
had a funny old meeting last friday..............definitely nursing a hangover from it today.................

nigel was sidetracked last week by 'cuttooth' so he really really wants to do some mixing this week. 'egyptian song' then..........thom plays bass and it sounds pretty much finished. i haven't really been involved in this song so when i hear it i think i'm able to be fairly objective about it.........it has the feel of one of the tracks on the last mark hollis album and it is definitely one of the highlights so far. meanwhile downstairs...................jonny and i are let loose on fucking up phil's drum sound. hours of fun as coz might say. starts off by phil doing some drums on 'kinetic'...................keep getting that ground hogday sensation writing this diary. can't help feeling that this must be an exceptionally boring read except to maybe the diehard muso............
tuesday, february 29th 2000
I froze up upstairs after Nigel has done a good mix of 'Egyptian song'. pick up on 'i will' downstairs.......jonny plays some cool organ on it. trying to do some rhythm stuff on it.
wednesday, march 1st 2000
thom and nige arrange some drums on 'morning bell' ...........downstairs we continue trying to get rhythm stuff on 'i will'. arranging it on the computer....taking a while to do, but these things do.....
monday, march 6th 2000
we spent alot of time last week 'throwing shit' (jonny specifically said he was sick of hearing these very words today) at 'i will'. minor panics all round about completing things.....our perennial fear/problem....'morning bell-copenhagen', nigel did some very nice pro-tooling on some complete gibberish that i played. phil did some drums downstairs on the track that has no name.
tuesday, march 7th 2000
heard a great story on the six o'clock news on R4. great in the sense that it reveals the true madness of one of our former prime ministers......the pm in question is of course maggie thatcher. ok.............so the spanish foreign minister was reported as saying today that 'lady' thatcher should undergo the same senility tests that senator 'butcher' pinochet underwent a couple of weeks ago. this was triggered by a particular event from last week; the aforementioned butcher of chile was being wisked away by a chilean airforce 707........the plane was apparently taxiing down the runway preparing to take-off when with great ceremony it was stopped in its tracks by a bearer of gifts from thatch herself. she wanted to give a 'leaving' present to the ex-dictator.......the gift in question was a plate commemorating sir francis drake and the english fleets' defeat of the spanish armada.........unbelievable.............or maybe not so, as it's entirely consistent with the train of thought that she's a pathetic anglophile, who never gave a fuck about the rights of individual human beings. and don't believe that bullshit that during the falklands war she went to the aid of the islanders..........nothing like a war to get a country behind you should you be faltering in opinion polls and likely to lose the next election.

apologies for the invective...it slips out occasionally, but when you read books like naomi klein's 'no logo' you can't help but feel that much of the mess we're in now is part of the leagacy of the thatcher-reagan years.

good work on 'up on the ladder' today...good drums and a much better arrangement. will return tomorrow to things i am 'qualified' to write about.
wednesday, march 8th 2000
left early......mixture of the lurgee doing the rounds at the moment....but also one of those days when the winter seems to have been too long and you just feel like a bag of shit. probably something to do with smoking more fags...gave up for almost a year and am gradually being wheened back on them. bollocks. this summer i'll cut down. the thing is it's true what they say about giving up ....you do feel so much better it's just that i have no will power......better to mope around at home than around here where good things are going on.
thursday, march 9th 2000
arrived at the studio and some brilliant stuff had been done last night. cozzie finished off his amazing bass thing on the song with no name......bass musos won't believe it. jonny did some cool guitar on 'up on the ladder'. after yesterday it was nice to do some playing ...the sun shone and it feels like spring is on its way. more things on 'up...'
sunday, march 12th - thursday, march 16th 2000
what a fucking week........sometimes i feel like the nature of this band is that we have to do things the hard way......to use a terrible football cliche......snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat................fucking hell ron, thank god all weeks aren't like this, otherwise it would be early baths.......not that i'm going to elaborate any further...........the only thing that need concern anyone is that the songs sound fucking ace on the whole......nicely diverse.

i'll write much more next week and apologies for the excessive use of the word fuck.
monday, march 20th 2000
there's a line drawn.....above which are the names of tracks finished bar mixing.....and below, those nearly completed. for the first time the tracks below and above the line are equal in number. that was the state of play at 5am friday morning. 'knives up' was complete. i was telling a mate over the w/end about 'knives out' and how it was started in copenhagen on 10/3/99.......some 373 days later we finally finished it.............a ridiculously long gestation period for any song..........naturally my mate thought that having taken so long on a piece of music it would be some sort of magnum opus, a kind of paranoid android to the power of ten..................... the song is probably the most straight ahead thing that we've done in years......and that might explain why we took so long on it. i'm a real believer that bands as they become more successful often lose the ability to do straight ahead stuff well...... the need to embellish tracks with melodies and sounds becomes imperative. and often in doing so the song loses its essence especially if it was written on acoustic guitar. but i think we've done alright on 'knives out'.........

thom's got a busy old week this week........most of the finishing touches are vocal things. i'm trying to get my head around some new software called logic which seems to be what all the right programmers are using...........the manual is about the thickness of a hardback edition of 'war and peace'.........he's singing along to 'fastrack'. he's hyperactive as well....it's 1.30am..fantastic..
sunday, april 16th 2000
never again............that's it, no more..............not another drop of alcohol, in this case vintage cava, is going to pass my lips until next time............... i'm in the epicentre of one mutha of a hangover................ in fact the last time i felt like this i never drank gin again and that was 14 years ago.............it's evil stuff. my father rang to tell me i reminded him of himself when he used to drink a bit.........maybe hangovers are hereditary..........alcoholism probably is...........it was my birthday, we took the evening off and drank....and drank. i did a run down to majestic got the booze and issued strict instructions that no one was to leave until everything was finished.................and so it was......anyway enough of the fug.

we've been back a week after a two week layoff. finishing the large number of songs off is the priority.......and would you adam 'n eve it but we're so nearly there. nigel is booked into the studio on wednesday to mix and we start playing together/ rehearsing on wednesday week for the live shows, not knowing how the fuck we're going to put most of these songs over live.

so what i'm actually saying is that the recording part of this record will be finished in a couple of days......but you know if we're consistent in our behavioural patterns, then you might finally hear something in the autumn of '01............after arguments over track-listing, running orders, etc.........who'll be the first to suggest the quadruple album mixed in surroud sound? ....................might throw it in there myself to stir things up a bit.....the running order for an album is so important...... i don't think you have any idea how vital it is until you actually fuck it up which we did big time on the first record.....for 'ok computer' it was a nightmare, agendas had been set and at one time it was like bloody horse-trading............. "if you want 'let down' on the record then it only makes sense if 'electioneering' is on there too"......maybe it won't be such a torrid experience this time........somehow i don't think so and that's probably right anyway.

there's been a couple of articles recently in the press speculating what's up with us....the one in melody maker sent a journo down to oxford to snoop around......he or she was apparently outside each of our houses on a kind of indie 'stakeout'.... and the piece ultimately was very flattering, but you know this is a non-story............yes we go food shopping and fucking hell would you believe it we actually walk down the street in broad daylight........and what's more we've been known to sometimes break into a smile......the other was in the grauniad on friday, entitled 'why are we waiting?' again very nice and for the record, you won't have to wait too long now. but please don't waste column inches on mere speculation about when and what the album will be like.........all we've ever claimed is that the records will be different...... anyway if the truth be told we don't actually know. i've gone on way too long in this stream of alcohol induced consciousness and i must end before i write something even more stupid like offering that melody maker journo a handbags at dawn duel - see you at shotover a week on monday with your best louis vuitton..6am be there.

viva la lucha and good luck and respect to all the anti-imf and world bank protesters in washington this w/end, in fact go to thom's page and there are a couple of links to some relevant sites about what's going down.