Sunday, January 22, 2012


I'm old enough to remember when Skiffle music enjoyed its brief popularity in this country. More specifically, I recall Lonnie Donegan's 'Does Your Chewing Gun Lose It's Flavor' on the radio. I'm not certain, but I suspect that one of my older siblings may have had the 45 too.

For those unfamiliar with Skiffle, it was something of a reworking of American jug band-like music in 50s England, adding elements of the music hall tradition. The name 'skiffle' was used in America for amateur blues-oriented bands playing at house parties and such as far back as the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

Within a few years, Rock and Roll and the Folk Revival displaced Skiffle's modest popularity. There is no doubt it played a role in the renewed interest in Folk in this country and it certainly was pivotal in the development of the British rock sound of the 60s. Practically every English musician of that period cut his teeth on Skiffle.

It also helped form the Punk aesthetic: modestly skilled players banging away loudly and enthusiastically. So, naturally, being modestly skilled myself I have a liking for it!

Lonnie Donegan would be one reason I play around with a plectrum banjo these days. It's just the right sort of instrument for Skiffle, loud and relatively easy to play. A certain amount of my own song-writing might fit well into a Skiffle repertoire. Except people would probably call it 'folk-punk' these days. You say potato, I say 'tater.

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All my weeping willows are coming out in leaf, thanks to the rain and warm weather. I do hope a hard freeze does not knock them back but that's a probable occurrence, considering the current date. We'll see. I continue to put in my peach trees when I have a free block of time. Three or four at a go is enough. I am going to have a LOT of watering to do this year.

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I'm trying to get Yahoo's Sitebuilder to work on this computer. I am assured that it is possible to get it operating properly on 64 bit Windows 7. If I had high speed internet, I would use their beta online version (apparently the direction they are going with the program) but I know from experience how much of a pain that can be with slow dial-up. Better off working off-line and using ftp to update.

The reason I use Sitebuilder is 1) I am an artist, not a programmer, so the drag and drop interface works much better when I'm designing than writing out html (writing html is sort of like writing about painting instead of using a brush) and 2) it is way more versatile than most of the simple template-based programs out there -- the results can look completely custom if you put the work in. If I wanted a preset look, I'd just use a blogging service.

I could always switch over to CoffeeCup's VisualSite but it's a bit like Sitebuilder's dim-witted little brother. Not to mention the work involved in completely redoing the site in a new editor.

next morning: I'm getting everything to work except upload, using all the suggested compatibility settings. Whether that's a function of my slow connection or a program problem, who knows? I'll keep trying...I wonder if I could just ftp the pages in a different program.

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