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Chimmie in the Studio


I don't really have time for this at the moment. I might get Inglesfield or, better still, Murdoch to write something. He likes that kind of thing. Anything with knobs and switches and he comes over all excited. He's always saying things like "Don't do that or you'll make an Earth Loop!" Really Weak Attitude.

I used to have an Atari, err, something and an Akai something or another. Quite good really. I am unpleasantly reminded, by some boxes that are lying around, of that thing at the back of Appliances Direct. No. Nothing could be like That Thing.

Anyway these days all you really need is a PC and a soundcard and ....oh god I'll leave that stuff to Murdoch or Computer Music.

I'll begin again:

The studio is the welding station of the soul where the creative fires reach the white heat that melts what is normally hard as granite: Life, the boring stuff.

How are we to endure living in a world where you have to get up in the morning and be polite to cretins?

Yes. That stuff that can be worked and reshaped by the Artist's tools into something strange and wonderful.

You darken the room. And then, the mixer with its many lights is the superstructure of a huge ocean liner surging into the night, over glistening black seas, on the journey to the unknown. This journey, secret, private, is a conspiracy against the great unfeeling public. They don't care about what you're doing. Don't know about it. But they will care. And when the noise of fame is whizzing past your head, your work will mean exactly the same to you as it means now in the ghostly light of your private moment. These fools don't count. You have already arrived. Well I have, at any rate.

Something you've always known is that you can live in your Own Beautiful World if only people would shut up and let you be. The only way you can know peace is to make your noise Louder and Louder until it is the only noise you hear, and the voices of all the dim little fucks who snipe at you from the sidelines are drowned out, even if only for a brief, lovely moment.

But before there can be adventure, the craft must be There. Genius ignores this at its peril. Naturally I am a master. What is required, however, is more than the technicalities of Inglesfield's paradiddles or Murdoch's incessant knob twiddling. (He Builds Things from Kits.......).

The main thing is Leadership. Obviously, with my lineage, I 've got plenty of that.

"What do you think you're doing?"
"I'm Motivating you."
"You're blowing a toy huntsman's horn in my face"
"A bloody Robin Hood horn, David. In pristine condition too, you peasant."
"What I want you to do is to find out why nothing's coming out when I'm playing on channel 6 not gob in my face."

I sometimes feel that Inglesfield and I are the victims of some chaotic force that conspires to turn what is Obviously Going to Happen into something unexpected that you Don't Want. We just seem to be trapped in some hideous Fate that claims us with a buzzing noise or complete loss of signal at the precise moment when a Horse called Creation is racing down the Home Straight, and like the victim of some shitty fucking Greek myth, we are caught in a cycle of never ending repetition.

I was once even forced to make enquiries about having a mixer exorcised as it was possessed by a malignant entity. Suddenly, for no apparent reason at all, the output channels would fill with signal and shoot into the red while rasping demon voices would come over the monitors shouting things like "Fenny will sex Silver Lady tonight!"

I looked up under 'E' in Yellow Pages. No luck. Then someone said you have to get a priest. A priest? Some perv who wears a dress and sock suspenders? Don't make me laugh. I'm Scottish. I don't believe in that kind of mumbo jumbo.

When recording (other) vocalists, it is important to get a good atmosphere going in the control room by saying things like:
"The foxes out the back can hold a tune better than that." or "Where did you find her? At a bus stop?"
But over the talkback mike its different.

"Hey, you're really getting it now. I think we're ready for a take!"
"You said the last one was a take."
"Well I was lying. This one's the take." That is: it 's the Fiftieth Take. Can't you see I'm trying to Motivate you?

I think you understand now why the talkback button on the mixer Doesn't Latch.

Most in need of guidance is Ellis, so I just sit back and try to frighten him and tell him to do things again for no reason. It's character building.

"It's all sex from now on!" I'll say or "Get some oats in your carriage!"

He's going to do well, let me tell you. Especially if he sticks with Chimmie.

In the last resort stimulants may be required. I have found that administering generously of Laphroaig single malt whisky mixed with Irn Bru has taken the throb of many a dull session upwards to a completely different level and onwards to that glorious point where you allow yourself to turn it up and make the room creak.

"Get some oats in your carriage!" Yes.