Tuesday, March 27, 2007

DrGaz's Music: Old Old Stuff

I finally figured out how to convert my old audio tapes into MP3. Horray! This has given me a the perfect excuse to inflict all my old music on you!

"Old Old Stuff" is a collection of tunes I recorded on an 8-track about 9 or 10 years ago. It's a bit like with my Garageband stuff - lots of little ideas, short snippets and concepts that were recorded in the hope that one day I will harvest the better ones and develop them into proper songs! Some of them are intended to have vocals which were not recorded (I'm no singer), so it's all instrumental - just me with a guitar, occasionally accompanied by a shit keyboard.

So here they are! All 31 of 'em - some short, some long, some bloody awful, some irritating, some cheesy. But hopefully you'll find one or two tolerable ones. My apologies for the quality of some of the recordings, but the little analogue 8-track I used was just borrowed from a mate and it wasn't a particularly great one.

What I've done is compiled all the songs as MP3s over podcast and you can listen to them using the players below. The reason there are two players is because for some reason odeo.com wouldn't let me put more than 20 MP3s into a single podcast. Very annoying, but hopefully I'll work out how to get around this soon.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

DrGaz's Motorhead jacket

I was a bit of a heavy-metaller when I was an undergraduate ('92 - '96). I had the full rock credentials; the mullet, the leathers, the oversized white trainers, the range of Iron Maiden T-Shirts, and of course the inevitable 6-string. In about 1993 I decided to paint the sleeve of my leather biker jacket with a "Motorhead" logo (click the thumbnails for a bigger view). I was quite pleased with how it came out. I used acrylic paints on it which were pretty tough and kept their nice rich colour. I also did a crazily green "Overkill" logo on the back of a mate's jacket too.

I put my jacket on eBay last year and amazingly it went for about £22! Not bad for an old jacket. And I thought I'd be dumping the thing at the local charity shop! I had to get rid of it one way or another, you see. The time had come. As a respectable member of society I hadn't worn it for over 10 years, and certainly couldn't think of a socially acceptable occasion (apart from maybe a fancy dress party) where I'd ever wear it again.

Anyway, below is a view of the jacket that I used for eBay auction. That's my Fender Stratocaster I'm holding!

Photo of the day: Cambridge market square.

This is a view of the colourful market square taken from the window of the Marks & Spencer cafe in the middle of Cambridge. At the back of the shot is University Church of "St Mary the Great". Visitors can climb the tower and believe me, you get a fantastic view of Cambridge from there.

Monday, March 19, 2007

DrGaz's Music: The Gaz Dance (Lets Take Some Drugs)

OK, I'm not sure why I called this one "The Gaz Dance (Let's Take Some Drugs)". It sounds more like Van Halen than Acid House. I think that this was the first name that popped into my head. And why not? There's nothing stopping anyone from popping a few pills and grooving down to this tune! It's another short - one of my earliest Garageband attempts.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

DrGaz's Music: Spooky Happenings

Here's another short snippet of another musical idea. Actually this was my very first attempt at doing something on Garageband. "Spooky Happenings" is a clunky little '70s classic rocky thing. I've even thrown in a church organ for maximum spookiness! Maybe I'll improve it, make it longer, and add some guitar added to it, but something tells me that I'll never get around to finishing this one off!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

DrGaz's Music: MonsterBeat

This in one of my MANY unfinished Garageband compositions. I call it "Monsterbeat". Any suggestions on how to take it further? I haven't got a clue. I like it, but the problem with my songs is that if I don't finish them in a couple of days they simply never get finished!

Sketch of the Day: Nosferatu

This was something I drew way back in 1989. I was 14 then, doing my GCSEs (click on the image to enlarge). The woman and her right hand came out a bit dodgy, but I was quite pleased with the Nosferatu chap himself and the woman's left hand. This is a copy of a photo I liked in a "Monsters of the Movies" book that I had at the time. I found this image on my hard drive and thought I might as well post it. This is a photo of the A3 original that I binned during a de-cluttering session a couple of years ago just before I moved house. I beleve that this image comes from a 1970s remake of the classic horror film "Nosferatu".

I really should do more drawings. I always enjoy doing pencil sketches, and could probably get much better with practise. I get so absorbed doing them that I forget myself. Sadly I never seem to find the time.

Friday, March 16, 2007

DrGaz's Music: Frozen Beef

One of my recent favorite obsessions is composing music on our trusty little iBook G4. We have a piece of software called Garageband that comes free with Macs as a creative tool. It's fantastically easy to use and immense fun. I was up and running in a few minutes. So far I have put together lots of ideas for songs. Some of these are complete, and some of these mere snippets of ideas. I'll gradually add them to this blog over the next few weeks.

This is my first upload, a recent attempt that I entitled "Frozen Beef". It's a silly name (DrGaz likes silly stuff), it's primary objective being to remind me of what the song sounds like. I'll never remember how it goes if I called it "Song idea 32c" or something. Do you get me?

On "Frozen Beef" I dabbled with some crowd noises to give it a "live" feel. Hopefully it'll make this effort sound like a better job if you can hear people going crazy for it!

Photo of the day: Bedside table.

It's our bedside table, and it's got some stuff on it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Photo of the day: Yes, folks - it's a church!

I snapped this earlier today as I was walking near Hills Road. It's "Our Lady and the English Martyrs" (that's a mouthful) church, the Catholic Church in Cambridge. Not my favorite piece of architecture here, but quite an imposing beast nevertheless. Please could somebody give it a bloody good scrub.

Such beautiful weather we're having at the moment. I can't believe that snow is forecast soon.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

DrGaz’s Doctor Who Stuff – the lost collection

Today I spent a couple of hours engaged my ongoing monstrously huge project of scanning my old photo albums and saving all the images as hi-res JPEGs. Whilst I did so, I came across some photos of my collection of Doctor Who merchandise from circa 1990 when I was a big fan of the series.

Back then I had tons of stuff and what you see here is only a small chunk of it. I had all the BBC Videos, Sevans models (more info here), a mountain of DWMs (Doctor Who Monthly) and other magazines, some collectables (nothing rare, though), buckets of Target novelisations, annuals, posters etc. It seemed like a lot at the time, but in these days of the internet, I realise that what I owned is nothing compared to true super-fan collectors of today. Check out www.richardwho.com to see exactly what I mean. Scary.

My own collection reached critical mass in around 1989. In fact, my teenage bedroom (according to a mate) was “like a shrine” to Doctor Who. There came a point at around the age of 16 when I could no longer bear to undress in front of a grinning Tom Baker or leering Anthony Ainley and the posters finally came down.

So where is the lost collection now and why did I get rid of it?

In 1989 the BBC axed Doctor Who, which by then had become a dreadful television programme. By this time I’d seriously overdosed on bootleg episodes of older episodes, and after I’d seen almost every episode in existence, Doctor Who had lost its lustre for me.

Without a new series to cling to I lost all interest in Doctor Who in 1991 and decided to sell off everything I owned that related to the show. Before the days of eBay I drew up a catalogue and started selling items through adverts in DWB (Dream Watch Bulletin), and through the local FreeAds. The items that I didn’t manage to sell gathered dust in the attic for years - until as recently as 2006. The last few things were auctioned on eBay, given away, or (if it was just rubbish) thrown away.

All I own today that relates to Doctor Who is a few autographs (only the ones that mean something, because they were personalised to me) and a DVD box-set of the wonderful new 2005 series.

No regrets.

I don’t regret getting rid of it all. Despite my rediscovered passion for Doctor Who, I’m glad not to have all this junk on my hands anymore. I just hope that it all found its way to people who can appreciate it as much as I did when I was a kid. Last year I sold a few old annuals and BBC Videos cheaply at a car boot sale to a woman, who was really happy to have found them, telling me that her children (who had been glued to the new series) would love them.

I can’t honestly think of a better home for them.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Horror dream diary: DrGaz’s Final Resting Place.

My nightmares are generally rather macabre and I often remember them in quite some detail. This is an account of a recent dream where I visualised my own death. As disturbing as this may sound, for some reason in the dream it didn’t bother me too much. I don’t know why.

Music occasionally features prominently in my dreams. I often wake with a distinct melody in my head. This dream is no exception.

I dreamt that I was part of a brass band that was practising one evening in the streets of Cambridge. My instrument was the tuba, and our suited, bespectacled bandmaster was rehearsing us through a melody – two melodies in fact, both of them very similar with only minor variation between the two.

"My lungs would be the cause of my on death..."

As I played, the bandmaster walked angrily up to me and criticised what I was doing. He told me that I was playing the melody incorrectly and that I wasn’t blowing hard enough. Shaking his head he turned to another official and muttered something about my lungs being not up to the job. Between them they conceded that my lungs would be the cause of my own death, and this was not far off in the future. They resolved that now would be a good time to choose a burial plot for me. According to the band-master, Mrs Baxter, (whoever the hell Mrs Baxter was) had decreed that I was to be buried rather than cremated.

"I approved their choice of plot for my final resting place..."

We all trooped off together to the local graveyard where I approved their choice of plot for my final resting place. It was next to the main path and on a grassy incline.

At this moment in the dream my mind was filled with a vision of the future. I saw myself dead, lying in state in an open coffin, my suited-and-booted corpse looking not a day older than I am now. The coffin lay at floor level and was enveloped within a sealed ornate box with glass sides. The box was lavishly decorated with carved wooden framework and gold leaf.

I remember that in the dream I felt positive about what I saw. I even remember thinking that they’d done a pretty damn good job of me! The dream ended at this point, and I awoke with the tuba melody in my head. I have no idea what this all meant. Maybe I should lay off the fags.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Photo of the day: The view through my window II (not David Tennant).

Here's a view through the bedroom window. Spring has definitely arrived in Cambridge. The sun has been shining the last few days and the cherry blossom and daffodils are out in force. This is definitely the best time of year as far as I'm concerned. It's all downhill now from here as the days get longer and warmer and...

...Doctor Who series 3 (with David Tennant as the Doctor) starts in just a couple of weeks!!!


Sorry. I just had to mention David Tennant's name in this post. You see, according to one of the chaps on the Outpost Gallifrey forum, if you mention David Tennant's name in your blog you'll get plenty of hits. Therefore I just thought I'd test the David Tennant theory and mention David Tennant just maybe once or twice in this post. I realise that this David Tennant thing's just a cheap shot to get some traffic to DrGaz's Stuff, and I apologise. So, if you've come here because of David Tennant (or if you are David Tennant), to prevent your total disappointment, please find a nice picture of David Tennant below.

David Tennant...David Tennant...David Tennant...etc

Above is a photo of David Tennant.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Recipe: DrGaz's nice Italian-style tomato & basil sauce with pasta.

There are endless variations on this recipe, but this is my generic DrGaz one that you can customise. Exact measures are not important. Just be free to experiment and cook it to your taste! This recipe is so quick and simple and makes a great meal. After you learn to make your own basic sauce, you’ll never want to go and buy one off the shelf again. You can also customise the dish in many ways (a few suggestions are at the bottom of the recipe).

Serves 2 people.


  • Olive oil
  • 8 medium-sized tomatoes (I use nice vine-ripened Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference ones).
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp mild chilli powder
  • Fresh basil – a fistful of washed leaves
  • Penne Pasta (however much you need for 2 people).
  • 2 tbsp capers (use the ones preserved in salt rather than in vinegar)


  1. Skin the tomatoes by pricking them with a fork and then dunking them in just-boiled water for a minute or two. Take them out of the water then remove the skin when they’ve been in for long enough for it to come away easily. Note: Make sure that you use good-quality ripe tomatoes. Use cheapies at your peril! They can be impossible to skin.
  2. Heat a large skillet and add a generous slug of olive oil. Chop the tomatoes and cook gently. The tomato bits will gradually start to turn into a sauce, so just keep it on a light simmer.
  3. Chop the garlic and crush it to a paste with a knife, then add it to the tomatoes.
  4. Add the chilli, chopped basil, pepper, and washed/chopped capers.
  5. After everything has been lightly simmering together for about 20mins, add some salt gradually until it tastes spot-on. Salt is an essential ingredient in cooking, so if the sauce doesn’t taste right, then it’s probably because you simply haven’t added enough of the white stuff.
  6. Serve with the boiled and drained pasta (you can always stir the pasta into the sauce at the end – this is the way I usually do it).

A few variations on a theme:

Why not experiment by trying out one of the following options?

  • Chuck in a few chopped olives
  • Bung in a drained tin of tuna (works really well with the capers).
  • Leave out the capers and instead spice it up a bit with mild-chilli for Penne al Arrabiatta.
  • Leave out the capers and add some olives and a dash of Balsamic vinegar for a different nuance.

Well that’s another DrGaz recipe for you, folks! Please try it and let me know how you got on by leaving a comment below.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Horror dream diary: The Interrupted Ritual

Last night I listened to some Robert Johnson, the legendary 1930s blues player. There are stories that Johnson sold his soul to the devil in return for his musical ability. I recently also saw a movie called “Skeleton Key”. This is about two black servants at a plantation house in Louisiana who used a form of ritual witchcraft called “Hoodoo”. I guess the combination of both of these things must have ticked a couple of boxes in my subconscious, resulting in this latest instalment of my Horror Dream Diary…

Interestingly, in the dream I wasn’t me. Instead I saw events through the eyes of Robert Johnson’s wife!

I was in our house (in the Mississippi Delta probably) one afternoon and I thought that I was alone in the house. I went downstairs into the living room, where Johnson’s guitar lay resting on a sofa, and saw that furniture had been moved from the wall revealing a door that I didn’t know about. Standing in front of it I could smell incense and hear the sound of chanting coming from behind the door.

"At Johnson’s feet were a human skull and complete spinal column."

I opened the door and inside Johnson stood rigid, his eyes fixed in a stare and he appeared to be having a fit. The room glowed with candlelight. At Johnson’s feet were a human skull and complete spinal column. They glistened with the remains of recently removed flesh.

I screamed and he came out of his trance. I ran for the front door, but he stopped me. Calming me down, he reassured me that everything was fine. I believed what he said and trusted him. We went back into the living room where he explained everything, telling me that only good will come from the rituals he secretly performed.

Immediately two men forcibly entered the house and blocked our exit from the living room. They were black and wore dark suits. One carried a black leather holdall. Both stood there grim-faced.

“You have seen the face of Azazliel, and have interrupted his coming” said one. He then went on to say that that a ritual was needed to correct things, and that there were to be consequences for us.

"He sliced the dog open from throat to anus..."

In the dream we had a pet dog (a Jack Russell terrier) and they used rope that they tied to its legs to suspend it from the ceiling rafters, so that it was belly-up and at waist height. One man opened the black holdall and I could see that it contained shiny surgical instruments. He sliced the dog open from throat to anus, and removed and discarded some internal organs. The next thing he did was really strange; he took out a syringe and began to inject small amounts of fluid into various points within the dog. I asked him was he was doing and he explained that he was injecting a substance that would cause the dog to have cancer.

One man then announced that the dog was still alive and would be sewn back together shortly, but before this he told me that one more thing was still needed to complete the ritual.

All eyes were firmly fixed on me as he announced that they needed a human heart to transplant into the dog. I was held firmly from behind as he removed a large knife from his bag.

I struggled and was pushed face down onto a table. They were going to cut my heart out through my back. As the sharp tip of the blade touched my back to make the first incision I jolted awake. It was 4:30am.

I have to go to see the dentist today, so maybe this dream was partly caused my squeamishness about surgery!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sketch of the day: Shelves in our room

Here's a sketch I did the other day - Sunday night in fact. It's the shelves in our room which since we've just moved in are in a bit of disarray - plenty of kitchen cupboard overspill there at the moment. I only intended to do a quick 10 minute scribble, but got carried away and was still shading away 3 hours later!