17 December 2012

The Man in My Basement, Walter Mosley

Charles, a black man with no job and no future is approached by Anniston, a mysterious white man with a strange request. He wants to rent Charles's basement for four months and offers $50,000 which to Charles represents salvation from his creditors.
While straightening out the basement in preparation for his lodger, Charles discovers hundreds of items stored by his long dead ancestors, artefacts which an expert tells him are very valuable as they represent a significant period in Negro history.
Anniston moves in and takes up residence in the basement as a willing prisoner in a specially constructed metal cage. After selling some of his heirlooms Charles is no longer so financially dependent on Anniston and subtle changes take place in their relationship. The author introduces themes of race, sin and atonement and in a curious role reversal there are echoes of black slavery with Charles the black gaoler and Anniston his white prisoner.
This is a deceptively simple book yet is in fact multi-layered and dense with allegory. As a modern fable, the tale which unfolds is eerie and unsettling. Mosley's writing is precise and uncluttered and he has created memorable characters here.

04 December 2012

making CD cases

These are downloads I burned to disc. The double discs required an adjustment to my patented homemade card cases. A few minutes tinkering with my template in MS Word and I printed a test copy. Good stuff, they work. Then I fiddled with RGB colour settings to match the album covers and filled the remainder of the design with the same colour. Finally I printed the resulting artwork on white card stock and the disc surfaces to match.
It’s quite a while since I listened to Hefner but inspired by recently getting back into front man Darren Hayman’s solo work I downloaded from DH’s site the latest incarnations of some of the band’s albums, double disc sets coming in at a whopping forty tracks each. So there are plenty of session outtakes, b-sides and acoustic versions etc.  The material is barely a decade old and has stood the test of time well. Darren Hayman is a hardworking Essex lad with an ear for melody and a lyrical turn of phrase that beautifully captures the minutiae of everyday life and the people who populate it.
Just need to find time to listen to them now!