The beginning of a three-day weekend. When my supervisor asks me what I did on times off, my reply is usually along the lines of "I caught up on my lost sleep", but I haven't had more than a nap yet. I'm on a borrowed Windows box (yecch!), and to do my personal work, I've had to install an old Win32 build of wget and translate one of my scripts into a batch file and remove manually the Unix newlines that don't seem to have a happy home in Notepad. That out of the way, my weekend stuff is to officially begin, but I'm too sleepy to go on. It isn't really the weekend until sunrise anyway.

r.m.p legend The Christopher Currie is doing his Friday night radio show right now, and he's at the tail end of his Gentle Giant A-to-Z, playing every track from every album, in alphabetical order, seeming to take special relish in telling the audience how awful/dreadful/stupid the selections from the latter albums are. He's right, too; they're B-A-D -- in the late 70's, GG, perhaps on the advice of their accountant and record company, "experimented" with the sounds of American arena rock and radio-friendly short songs with conventional verses and choruses, even, on Civilian, enlisting Lee Abrams, the US radio consultant who helped homogenize freeform radio into AOR, and thus shape modern commercial hit radio.

But it's nice to hear the relatively old stuff, like "Peel the Paint" (see, we're past the middle of the alphabet!), and countless songs whose names I no longer remember. When I was a freshman in college, I bought some of their early long-before-the-sellout LPs, after being unimpressed during high school (first reactions to GG were/are usually boredom or irritation), and was blown away by the musicianship and inventiveness -- an idiosyncratic blend of jazz, folk, and classical elements via the medium and technology of rock (sort of a British Mothers minus, deliberately, the humor and satire, plus they could -- and sometimes did -- sing like a church choir, unlike Uncle Frank, who sang like a church dungeon), which pretty much doomed them to cult status and the aforementioned desperate grab for the hearts and minds of American radio-programming consultants (it worked for Genesis, after all). Ironically, Derek Shulman, one of the three brothers who co-founded the band, became a VP at PolyGram, furthering the careers of countless bands who had the musical ambition of a plate of turnips, and subsequently sold like hotcakes. Go figure. I always imagined some sort of Ghost of Gigs Past coming to haunt him in his California mansion, making him revisit some famed GG concert in Zurich in 1972 until tears welled up in his eyes and he woke up screaming mea culpas. Didn't happen, AFAIK. Oh well.