Friday, 28 April 2017

Further to the last post......

......after reading it back and seeing how many software synthesizers I have recently added to the GTK2 Studio computer, I am so glad that my synth collection is all software - could you imagine trying to fit all them soft-synths into this if they were hardware!!!!!!

Bits and bobs, this and that......

Work and other commitments have really taken away my focus from the music AND the photography, however, I am currently approaching a week in of a two week annual leave stint from the "day job" and hopefully, I will be getting things a bit more "back on line" as it were.

So, today I have set up three photo sessions for the middle and end of next week with some very interesting people.

First off will be a visit to my chum Kent Spong, a man who is as solid and as down-to-earth as they come and at the same time, is a leading synthesizer technician with a client list and base of friends that read like a veritable who's who of the recording and film music industries!!! I always look forward to a visit to Kent's house just outside London, the tea and coffee flows, the supply of biscuits always seem endless and the conversation is rich beyond imagination. This is a man who has classic synthesizers with some seriously heady price tags sitting in his toilet. Yes. His toilet. His toilet is famous for the amount of vintage synthesizers it has stacked up in it.

Following the visit to see Kent, I shall be heading westwards to Windsor where I shall be catching up with another synthy cool dude who goes by the name of Tim Dorney. He plays keyboards for Republica and has a rather toothsome collection of synths and the like. I look forward to visiting Tim as he is much like Kent when it comes to the synth chat, and he has already indicated that the kettle will on. Good start ;-)

The end of week will see me heading westwards once again (living in East Anglia, I suppose I shall always be heading westwards - unless I go to North Norfolk of course. Then I'll be heading northwards. I digress) to the East Midlands to meet leading experimental electronic music artist, Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner. I am quite delighted, and not a little excited, that Robin has been kind enough to make time for me to visit as he is an exceptionally busy individual, with a diary that seems to take him around the globe.

This of course means that there will be pictures.

Lots of pictures.

I'm also hoping that the weather will show some signs of continued improvement as I would really like to get out and about with the Canon and do some exploring. It's been far too long. I have a couple of places in mind and with a bit of luck and a fair wind, I'll get to photograph them. Watch this space ;-)

On the music front, I have been using time this week to explore some of the amazing new software that I've been gathering over the last few months as well as a couple of bits of new(ish) equipment I've bought recently.

It's been quite fun playing around with my Korg MS-20ic MIDI controller (hooked up to their Legacy Collection software) again. I recently availed myself of a new set of short leads for the patchbay and I'm really glad I did. As it had been so long since I last messed abut with this cool little bit of kit, I decided to work my way through the totally brilliant video tutorials made by American synthesist Marc Doty (who I had the pleasure of meeting last year in Sheffield at SynthFest). I was more than a little pleased that what my software was creating was near perfect to the hardware MS-20 used by Marc on his videos. I've also had my little Korg Monotrons (Monotron, Monotron Duo and Monotron Delay) out as well - feeding them through ValhallaDSP's Shimmer reverb, Illformed's Glitch2 and the now defunct Camel Audio's CamelSpace. I had a great evening creating some seriously cool (but at times very screechy) sounds. Not really sure that my beloved Anne thought the same thing...... I've also been enjoying reprogramming my MIDI controllers (Evolution UC-33e control surface, Akai LPD8 pad controller and Novation ReMOTE 61 SL keyboard) to get the best I can out of them - these gadgets make life so much easier and definitely improve workflow. 

On the hardware front, I now have a rather intriguing piece of kit from M-Audio called Trigger Finger Pro. It's essentially a MIDI controller for percussion software, however, it also has an onboard sequencer that can control both software and hardware synthesizers/drum machines. It also has lots of really cool blinky lights that you can change the colour of. What's not to like!!! I'm going to see how I get on with it over the weekend as it was something of an impulse buy from evilBay, mainly so that I might program drum machine software using a system that's not unlike the old Roland drum machines. As a side note, I tried to create a programming interface on my Hudl Android tablet using a really fab app called TouchOSC - I got so far with it, but sadly my aging brain simply couldn't around it all, that said, I did create a nice little interface for Reaper that can use when recording vocals or any of the little bits of hardware I still have left. If the Trigger Finger Pro doesn't work out, then I'll sell it on and try the Arturia Beatstep Pro - similar item but I think it might be a little more flexible in terms of connectivity and it's certainly smaller. When the postie arrived today, I nearly fell over because the Trigger Finger Pro was a whole lot bigger than I expected. You've seen this studio, space is not something I have plenty of!!!

Software-wise, things have slowed down. A bit. Not much. But still noticeably slowed down. Waves have had another of their rather fab silly-daft sales this month which has proven to be a bit of a bonus as I managed to snaffle their MaxxVolume plugin - very useful for vocals, synths and rhythm loops I have already found. I've added Xfer Records's Serum wavetable synthesizer and KV331 Audio's SynthMaster One wavetable synthesizer - both of which are VERY cool pieces of programming. I've taken advantage of the new idea of subscription-based software packages from Softube and Roland. The Volume One package from Softube offers a pretty comprehensive set of tools including compressors, EQ's, amplifier simulations, synths (Modular - it's based on the EuroRack modules from Doepfer and has optional modules from leading manufacturer Intellijel) and drum machines (it's called Heartbeat and it is FAB!!!) - I'm impressed and look forward to using much this stuff on my projects. The Roland package is called Roland Cloud and features software versions of their classic synths - and let me tell you, they are quite simply astounding - Jupiter 8, Promars, SH-2, SH-101, Juno-106 and System 100 are the classic synths and they are worth every penny. You also get software versions of their latest Aira synths, the System-1 and System-8 - very modern and sounding great. I picked up something by the name of Outer Space - it's a very nice sounding software emulation of the Roland RE-210 Space Echo from a company called AudioThing. I pushed a few synths through it and I have to say I like it a lot - very useful for spacy Radiophonic type stuff. AudioThing also do a couple of very cool drum machine emulations of the SoundMaster SR88 and Latin Percussion which might have found their way onto the GTK2 Studio computer (!!!) - very retro, sounding quite lovely and certainly not cute toy-like units as their hardware counterparts were oft to be regarded.

I'm still contemplating the upgrade for Spectrasonics Omnisphere and buying their Trilian bass module. Both are really cool products (I simply could not do without Omnisphere!!!) and I am loving Stylus RMX, but it comes down to the outlay - if anything, Trilian would be the one I would go for first if I go ahead.

The three music projects I have on the go at the moment are progressing slowly. Too slowly. Time has not been in abundance in recent months, but I have come to realise that I simply must make time. I have the studio, I have gear, I have the software and I have the ideas - so I'm now telling myself: "let's make it happen".

And as another day draws to a close, I once again feel that little buzz of achievement through getting things done and making things happen.

Back on track ;-)

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Fostex X-15 Multitracker - travelling back in time

I first started composing music, writing songs and recording my efforts back in the 1980's and my tool of the trade was the utterly wonderful little Fostex X-15 Multitracker, a stonking little 21st birthday present from my parents in 1986.

The X-15 is a cassette-based 4-track recorder, that (along with all other cassette-based multitrack recorders of the time and since) used only one side of the tape - each side of a cassette tape has two tracks for the stereo recording you listen to, meaning that when you play these cassettes in a normal player, you only get two of the tracks - turn the tape over and you get the other two reverse. Whilst very limiting in some respects, it was a truly fantastic introduction to the world of multi-track recording - record your drums, then play them back whilst recording your bass and so on. When you reached your limit, you would "bounce down", or in other words, record three tracks onto the fourth, leaving you with three more tracks to play with. When you did this a few times, your recordings tended to get a little muddy and dull, but hey, it was still better than nothing.

I loved my little X-15 and was quite sad when a career and a marriage dictated that it had to go a few years later.

So, moving to the present time, whilst rootling about in the loft sorting out some bits and pieces that needed sorting after last years' double house move, I found a bag with a load of cassette tapes that had the recordings I made "all those years ago", and so decided to avail myself of another Fostex X-15 Multitracker. Inevitably, evilBay came up with the goods and few days ago, an X-15 arrived "chez nous". It's box was pretty battered (after 30 plus years, not really surprising) and within, following a truly weird sort of pass-the-parcel moment (wrapped in muchos newspaper), was my new (to me) little X-15. No power supply, but it still had the battery pack (taking 10, I said 10, C2 batteries) and after purchasing and installing the required 10 (yes, I said 10) C2 batteries, I was utterly delighted to find that it worked perfectly.

I wasted no time in getting it up to the GTK2 Studio and integrating it into my system (integrating sounds a bit more butch than saying "plugged it into my mixer with a set of phono leads......"), jammed in a tape and wow, the recordings I made so many years ago, my 21 year old self screeching like a cat in a Nutribullet and melodies and tunes I had long forgotten about, were emanating from the Alesis 520's. It brought a smile to my face as I was back there, but as an observer, quietly watching my younger self delighting in this creative tool and marvelling in the opportunities that lay before me - a pity I didn't pursue those opportunities as I should have done, but as with all things, it's in the past and I'm doing "stuff" now instead of back then. What also brought a wry smile to my face was how utterly shit the recordings are :-D

I don't if I'll keep the X-15 or not. I can't see that it will be a tool I could or would use regularly, if at all. Certainly, I am discovering things that I had forgotten about, things that could be given a new lease of life and I found songs that I couldn't remember how they went or couldn't find any written copies of lyrics and pieces of music that were an outlet for my mind and being at that time.

A few pieces will find their way onto the project I've called "The Splendour Cascade", mainly songs - they'll need a bit of re-arranging or the lyrics adjusting slightly. And some of the instrumental ideas I re-discovered will surely see light of day on the "Altered States" project.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

New album update: The Splendour Cascade

Yesterday I started work on a new project to be called "The Splendour Cascade".

It will be made up of songs and pieces of music that I created when I first started writing back in the early 1980's, some of which have already seen the light of day, in various guises, on my Geigertek albums. The idea is to present these songs using the equipment and software I have now which I didn't have 30 odd years ago, my hope is that they will sound as I originally envisaged, maybe even improved by the options and choices that modern software has endowed us with. The pieces that were used on the Geigertek albums will be recorded in their original forms, not the same, but not different - makes sense in my head :-D

I made quite a good start yesterday with a song called "Moonlight Strangers", no vocals but a significant amount of drums, bass, pads and sequences were laid down and it very quickly started to take shape - I find that really encouraging. I did another version of this song about 6 years ago - it was more "pop" in it's style and never really sat that well with me, so I thought I would revisit the original idea I had back in 1987 (when it was written), using a constant marimba riff/rhythm - it worked well, and sounds great with added sequences. The screenshot below shows the Reaper screens with Toontrack's excellent EZDrummer 2 (using the "Rock Solid" expansion), Native Instruments' FM8 (the marimba patch from the Yamaha DX21 via sysex) and the Lexicon MPX Native reverb (amazing buss reverb and it's the bottom of the range one!!!):

Today I started working on a piece of music called "This England". This instrumental was used as an opening number for a band I played in back in the mid-1980's, it's up-tempo, but something I always wanted to do was alter one of the instrumental breaks to make it sound a little more grandiose, with timpani and fanfare trumpets, I suppose as a kind of nod to the pomp and ceremony for which our island nation is so well known for. I did that today, and I have to say that it sounds far better than I could have ever imagined it would. Still much to do, but it was fun actually using a real life bass guitar for......yes you guessed it right......the bass :-) The screenshot below shows the Sonivox Brass and Big Bang Cinematic Percussion and ReFX's fantastic Nexus² synthesizer (one of my favourite plugins):

I have some guide tracks already recorded for another 3 songs, "The Edge of Nowhere", "Go-On" and "The Wild Heart" and another couple of instrumentals called "Just A Little Imagination" and "Dreaming of Thee".

I've taken a look at the "Autumn's Breeze" files (the second F/R-F album I'm doing with my son, Callum) - a lot of work to be done.

And lastly, I've recorded a few "snapshots" for my "Altered States" album - combining Spectrasonics' Omnisphere (I'm still on the MK1 version - not a cheap upgrade!!!) with ValhallaDSP's fantastic ValhallaRoom reverb plugin is providing for some interesting textural ideas, watch this space ;-)

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

I give you the GTK2 Studio......

Yet again, it's been far too long since I last posted - taking my eye off the ball will affect things if I'm not too careful!!! I have, therefore, decided that I must try and get a lot more on this here bloggy thing more regularly.

A series of events, not so long back, forced a double house move (twice in 8 weeks), I also had a very unexpected change of day job (also twice in 8 weeks) and a whole host of other things going on that aren't really relevant for the porpoises of this posting. In amongst that was the dismantling of my beloved GTK Studio, literally just as I had got fashioned in such a way that I was happy with it. Sod's law. But on the plus side, all these events have led to a better place for my fab woman (the lovely Anne) and I on so many levels, not least the creation of a new studio in our new little home.

So, without further ado, back to the title of this latest warbling - my new studio:

The new GTK2 Studio is my own personal little composing/producing/mixing/recording space, it's a bit of a pseudo-1970's nightmare, you can't swing a cat in there and it's very small, but it's really rather nice acoustically, courtesy of 5 rag rugs hung on the walls. It's totally unsuitable for any kind of band work, you can't swing a cat in there, so it's what I believe you would call a "project studio".

I am now totally "in the box", in that I am only using software and very little in the way of hardware, other than a small collection of MIDI controllers. The studio is very small small (box room off our bedroom - handy for staggering through to bed after a late night session, I know, I've tried it!!!), but it's compactness makes it comfortable, warm and a relaxing environment to work in and I'm already very much at home in it.

The completion of the "Interpretations" album was done here and it was a really enjoyable experience, despite the room being in utter chaos and the studio incomplete. I am now eagerly looking forward to starting on a new album of music, which will be called "Altered States" and working on the second F/R-F album "Autumn's Breeze" with my son, Callum Raeburn-Fellowes. Talking of "Interpretations", it's now available to buy on Bandcamp, here's the link to it:

The new GTK2 Studio (imaginative name huh?) has a whole host of new software and hardware gubbings, including new synths from Arturia, Air Music Technology, Sonivox, Rob PapenSoftube and Audjoo, as well as effects from the likes of Waves Audio, eARECKON, ArtsAcoustica, iZotope and PSP Audioware. On the hardware front, the GTK2 Studio has seen the addition of an Alesis Q88 (an 88-note MIDI keyboard controller that's just perfect for playing the Arturia Piano V properly!!!) as well as a Mk 1 Novation ReMOTE 61 SL MIDI keyboard controller (you might recall I had one of these before - should never have sold it, hence it's reintroduction into the studio!!!). The computer upgrade from early 2016 has proven to be money and time well spent, as has the addition of a second monitor screen and the fabulous Evolution UC-33e MIDI control surface (old tech that's still incredibly good, particularly in tandem with the Novation ReMOTE 61 SL). I've also increased the GTK2 Studio's sample loop library with some wonderfully crunchy glitchy rhythms from those dashed brilliant Samplephonics folk - predominantly downtempo/ambient stuff, but hey, that's what I do!!! I have a full list of hardware and software I use on my personal website, which you can find on the following links - if you are so inclined :-) :

GTK2 Studio Hardware

GTK2 Studio Software

I'm intending to do a blog entry on the new software in the coming weeks, and there's quite a bit to get through - all these fab software houses keep having yummy sales!!!

On the cards for 2017 Spectrasonic's Trilian bass module (both priorities) as well as an upgrade (finally) to Omnisphere 2 and it would be nice to get the latest Komplete 11 from Native Instruments.

I had been pondering the purchase of some hardware synths, but I feel there is a certain reality that I will not do any more live stuff for now, plus I really am tight on space within the studio. I recently attended the fabulous SynthFest in Sheffield, whereupon I was shamelessly seduced by the presence of Korg's amazing reproduction of the classic ARP Odyssey synthesizer, their Volca range and their MS-20 Mini synthesizer, all of which would be simply wonderful to have, but alas, I don't have the space for them and being as I have each instrument (as such) in software form, I'm just not certain that they would get used as much as they should be - remember the first GTK Studio a few years back? Yes, and look what happened there!!! No, as things are at the moment, I think it's software all the way for now. In terms of computer hardware, I will probably need to upgrade the SSD to a much higher storage capacity - currently using a 120GB drive and it's not enough, so as soon as I can, it will be a 480GB drive, minimum. And that of course means I will have to reinstall everything again - actually one of my most favourite things to do - I get in the snacks and drinks, so much so, it's like a day out!!!

So, that's it for the moment. I'll start doing some bloggy things about the software and hardware over the next few weeks. Much to enthuse over!!!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A new post about a new album!!!

I felt that I didn't know where to start as it's been so very long since my last posting here. So much has happened, it's actually quite unreal. But, happened things have.

I shall start with something I'm a little excited about. In spite of moving twice in two months, losing my studio and my job and then getting another one (studio and job!!!), I've managed to reach a point where I can say that I am hours away from completing the classical album project. Yes, "Interpretations" is all but done - the mixes and art work are just about finished with only a few minor details on both elements to finalise, the product of 5 years work and I'm quite proud of it. "Interpretations" is a massive exercise in self-indulgence as it comprises 16 pieces of some of my favourite pieces of classical music. Here's the track listing (not in order - still working on that!!!):

"Crown Imperial - Walton"
"Dambusters - Coates"
"Danse Macabre - Saint-Saens"
"Dolly - Faure"
"Gymnopedie - Satie"
"Holiday for Strings - Rose"
"Masquerade - Khachaturian"
"Meditation - Massenet"
"On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring - Delius"
"Praeludium - Grieg"
"Reverie - Debussy"
"Sorcerer's Apprentice - Dukas"
"Toccata - Widor"
"Venus - Holst"
"Waltz2 - Shostakovich"
"Waltz of the Flowers - Tchaikovsky"

And here's how the cover will look:

I decided to go along the download route and so will be releasing "Interpretations" on my Bandcamp page. Sadly, CD manufacturing costs are too prohibitive for me at this time. I seriously contemplated a kick-starter campaign, but, whilst the idea is sound, it would have taken too long and I wasn't confident enough that I could raise the required amount. However, it will be released and to me, that is the most important thing.

When you're close to something being completed and released, it's a cool time as you are filled with so many thoughts and emotions - does it sound okay? And will people like it? Or even, will it sell? Who will listen to it? You get the drift. It's akin to that time when your children take their first steps, utter their first words or even when they fly the nest. A lot of time and emotion goes into producing a body of artistic work, you have an almost parental love of it, hoping it's future is good and that it finds acceptance. My fingers are certainly crossed that it's liked.

I have a new studio in our new home, it's imaginatively called the GTK2 Studio and is considerably smaller than my previous one, but it's perfect for my needs now that I am entirely software-based. I've expanded the software collection somewhat over the last few months - those pesky Waves Audio peeps keep having silly sales that make me buy their gubbings!!! I've got some new synths and a number of effects programs, so am now pretty well stocked up. There are still a few bits and pieces that I would like to get, but all in good time.

Once "Interpretations" is released, I will be getting to work on the next F/R-F album with my son, Callum Raeburn-Fellowes. It was originally going to he his own solo album, but his life is rather full so we agreed that we would turn it into an F/R-F project. He's done the writing, I'll be arranging and adding bits as well as producing it. It'll be called "Autumn's Breeze" and will be ready when it's finished (lolz). It'll be a very ambient affair, bordering on New Age - quite a contrast to our first offering, "Structures of Paradise". The music came about as a result of Callum experimenting with software synthesizers, notably Spectrasonics' lovely Omnisphere. It's a surprising move considering Callum's heavy metal background, but I'm quite excited at the prospect of adding to and producing an already interesting and cool body of work from such a young mind.

Right, that'll do for now, my bed is-a-calling :-)

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

On the move to find our undiscovered country......

Well it's all been happening, so much planned and pretty much all of it in the diary!!!

Some truly amazing gig photography opportunities

The GTK Studio finally as I wanted it and a layout/set up I was actually happy with

An album of classical music destined for a very possible CD release

A series of distance walks planned with over-night camping

However, it's all changed AGAIN!!!!!!

Owing to unexpected house move, all of the above has either been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. As the French say, "that's life".

When I say "an unexpected house move", that's not entirely true. My fab lady Anne and I had been thinking about moving for some time, and essentially, we've had something of a weird sixth-sense inkling that our genuinely brill landlords might be wanting to sell up at some point. We just hadn't expected it to be now. But, from another point of view, and this is how we actually feel about it all, our decision to move was made for us, and we are not in slightest bit unhappy about it - we have basically got what we wanted and we're excited about it.

We've been experiencing a few changes within the household and family, not least all our three children (Anne has a 26 year old son and I have a daughter of 19 and a son of 17) are now VERY grown up and doing their own thing. We've both come to realise that our lovely home (a rather enviable little off-the-road, 3-bed detached bungalow) had the propensity to be too big for us once Anne's son leaves for distant shores in the next few days. The garden isn't big, but it isn't small, and we are not gardeners. We don't need so much room anymore and we are not one of those desperately sad couples who see a large property as a much-desired, sort-after thing, because that's not the be-all and end-all of our life together or what we want from our life together, we're very happy to simply leave all that for the pre-programmed, conformist, factory-produced and materialistic "achievers" in this world - our mentality is far more evolved and we prefer to be living our lives according to our own terms, not to the dictates of others, the satisfaction of society's expectations or the balance of our bank account. And if you are one those types reading this, a simple message - get a life, you're a long time dead ;-)

So, we now find ourselves surrounded by boxes and dismantled furniture, getting ready to find our own undiscovered country that lies beyond the familiarity of the last ten years in this house. In a break from what is, I suppose, considered to be "the norm", we decided to pack first and then hunt for a new home afterwards, and that's almost where we are now. By this coming Sunday evening (the 17th April 2016), it's more than very likely that we will have completely packed the house up ready for the move. From that point, we will begin our search for a new nest and if fate lends us a little hand, we will be ready to go at a moments notice. We even have the move organised - what will go where and when, we have the move crew sorted and even a van!!! Nothing if not organised :-)

So how does this all change the plans outlined at the very beginning of this post? Well, one thing we have already encountered are the costs of using lettings agencies. My ghast has never been so flabbered. I have to say that lettings agencies make estate agents look positively charitable in comparison. How on earth can you seriously justify such horrendously high fees for basically doing next to fuck all???!!! One agency in Norwich (no names mentioned at this stage) wants £720 in admin fees for a couple and that's WITHOUT fees for credit checks (non-refundable), reference checks (non-refundable) and tenancy renewals. Really, I find that most unbelievable. Needless to say, we are inviting lettings agencies to basically fuck off and do one. The words "scandalous", "thieving", "slimy" and "bastards", amongst a few other more choice offerings, have passed our lips. No. We will NOT be using lettings agencies. If you have any sense, and a basic desire to keep a hold of your hard-earned, you'll give them a very wide berth also.

I digressed, but not indirectly. As we will be dealing direct with private landlords, we still need to raise funds to cover deposits and rent in advance - normal stuff, totally acceptable and without fees - and it has been necessary for me to sell my camera and some music equipment. A bit of a bummer, and trust me, I did have a day or two walking around like a child with a broken toy, but ultimately, it's things, possessions, objects and all of these can be replaced, a roof over the head is of greater importance and priority. On the plus side, I still have an abundance of very high quality music software, so music making will not stop. Once the "Interpretations" album is finished, I already have ideas and plans for the next one, which will be all original material, along with one or two (for me) inspiring titles :-)

Talking of "Interpretations", it's nearing completion. I am going to try and finish it before we move, but that is such an up-in-the-air thing it's not true. If not, then once we moved, it'll be the very first thing I focus on. I'm excited by this album, I really am. I've had one or two very prominent musicians give me some feedback on a few of the tracks and that feedback has basically blown me away - and please note that these people will tell me as it is, so no form of pointless bullshit would ever come from them. It's not an album that a lot of people will like because of the massive classical bias, but that isn't my problem, I'm more concerned with producing and presenting a piece of work that I am happy with and not something that is the expectation or demand of others. Such arrogance eh? You'll get over it.

Photography-wise, I just don't know. I've already taken the step of closing down the Neil Fellowes Photography project for now as I estimate it will take me a year or two to get back the gear I have. That's fine because I've had an absolute blast, I've met pretty much all my musical heroes and I've found a few more in the process, as well as getting to meet some really great people, many of whom have stayed in touch, famous and otherwise. And who knows what's around the corner, a twist of fate can change so much in a short space of time. Or not. Isn't that quite exciting?

The distance walks will happen at some point and again, probably later this year. I have this wild desire to get out and experience the world around me in it's most natural form, so walking and camping are featuring very heavily in amongst the many things I want to do. For some of it, I will be joined by Anne, my soul-mate of so many years now, and some of it I will do alone. But do it I will.

For that last few days, I've been reading how people in this life regard other people as under-achievers. Sorry, I don't buy into that at all. People will, for the most part, live life according to their own values and means, each person with different hopes dreams and aspirations - and you have to know, in my world, no one is an under-achiever. I look upon those who make these kind of statements with some kind of condescending pity, as it is they who are the under-achievers in this world, they are the slaves of society and conformity, bound by the quest for the next big profit or the vastness of their bank account. Take it from me, when you're dead, you'll be a lump of decaying flesh swimming in your own fluids on a metal table somewhere, just like the "under-achiever" next to you. Money and status are not important, money and status do not make you a better person, money and status do not buy you respect or admiration. That's down to the individual to earn from others, and it's time the world started to see that.

And on that note, I shall away to contemplate another pile of stuff for packing.

Back soon ;-)