Softly Fading

February 21, 2013

Kevin Ayers died yesterday. If you search out the page you arrive at says “this domain has expired”.  A grim accidental joke. There is a rather good obituary in the Guardian. It seems that by his bed a note was found that said “you can’t shine if you don’t burn”. Ohhhh…. shivers. So … Kevin … why why why are you sleeping ??

When a lad, Soft Machine was my favourite band. The whole journey from psychedelia to jazz fusion to burn out was only a few years, but thats when my neurons were connecting like crazy. Pretentious? Yes. Still fascinating? Yes. So… Kevin Ayers is dead, we know not why. Hugh Hopper died of Leukaemia in 2009. Daevid Allen is somewhere lost on Planet Gong. Robert Wyatt is a National Treasure. But but but … where is Mike Ratledge??? How can someone with such cool sunglasses have been lost to modern culture? There have been rumours that he writes tunes for commercials. Can this really be true?

Here is Wyatt performing “Gharbadzegi”. We get so out of touch, words take the place of meaning.

Here is some classic Ratledge just before he vanished : Gesolreut. I think I could play that on an endless loop and be a happy boy.

(Don’t know why this won’t embed properly, but the link works.)

Anyhoo. Bye bye Kevin and thanks for everything,

HST, Soft Machine, and the Vanity Press

December 9, 2008

I’ve been too busy trying to write a proposal for the HST Cycle-16 Supplemental Call to think about blogging. If you didn’t know about the call, tough luck, its too late… And for those like me who thought, hey lets go for it cos it came out at the last minute, so nobody has had time to think about it … think again. Judging by the number given our draft submission, everybody else had the same idea… rats.

To keep my spirits up while sweating away, I have indulged one of my guilty secrets – searching for early Soft Machine clips on YouTube. I can guarantee nearly all of you will hate it, but 5% of those over 50 will genuflect. It gave me an idea for a post which I will think about when the proposal is in …

Meanwhile, I seem to have gotten my first blogger vanity press mail shot. I got an email today that says

Hi. I wanted to let you know that your blog, The e-Astronomer, has been selected as one of the web’s best blogs by the editors of, the most selective blog directory on the web. Each blog featured on Regator is hand-selected and reviewed by an editor to ensure that its content is topical, original, well-written, and frequently updated.

It is then put into one of nearly 500 channels covering topics as diverse as beekeeping, neuroscience, books, and pop culture. This makes it easy for mainstream audiences to find high-quality posts on things that interest them. Regator’s What’s Hot List gives an at-a-glance summary of what the astronomy community is discussing right now and is a great resource for bloggers and academics.

Please let your readers know you’ve been selected by visiting to download a badge for your site. There is NO fee involved and you don’t have to take any action to have your blog added to Regator’s directory–it’s already there.

We know your content has value, so we aggregate your titles and summaries, but our users must click through to your blog to read the full text of your posts. In this way, we hope to drive traffic to your blog and expand your audience.

If you visit our site and find it useful, we’d be extremely grateful if you could help us spread the word by mentioning Regator on your blog.

Congratulations and welcome to Regator! Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

All the best,

Kimberly Turner
Co-Founder / Editorial Director

Only trouble is when I visited the site, my posts were hard to find, on account of bloody Phil Plait writes a new post about once three millseconds.

Seems to some kind of new aggregator / feed reader. Haven’t quite seen what the advantage is compared to using Bloglines or just reading feeds in Mac Mail.. Anybody a fan already ?