John Dunn being nice

The Radio DJ John Dunn died last week. He brought a wonderfully calm tone to the drive time slot on BBC Radio 2 and will be missed by many. On the BBC tribute to him was the following, which I felt like sharing.

Speaking about his Drivetime success, he said: "After a long scratchy day at the office, stuck in a traffic jam and it's raining, I just wanted to remind listeners that 98% of people out there are extremely nice and we tend to forget this."



Originally uploaded by Roostar.
I had this weekend all planned out.
Friday night - quiet night in, practise some bass, enjoy chilled evening with loved one.
Saturday - exciting gig with Soul Beaver.
Sunday - catch up on work, tidy house.

The reality:
Friday - drummer called to tell me the Saturday gig had been cancelled. Caught terrible food poisoning from previous night's fish and chips (had attempted to remove 'hassle' of cooking for Jenna and I by getting take-out and poisoned us both instead). Frequency of visits to bathroom not seen since the horrific 'squits-gig' incident when playing with band in Egypt. Three songs, off stage, loo, back on stage, repeat all night.

Saturday - continued feeling very poorly. Decided to stay home with Jenna and clean house. Less than an hour in she calls me downstairs to suggest radical overhaul of front room. A few more hours progress and we have bought two new chairs and I have sawn our three seater sofa in half (see picture - and no, you wouldn't have wanted it). Ended evening just about ready for solid food and glad, for once, the evening's gig had been cancelled.

Sunday - dump sofa halves at local tip. Catch up with work. Back on track.


... and coincidence

Earlier this week my wife's uncle died. She took the news well and went up to the funeral yesterday. While she was at the funeral, it now transpires that my uncle died. Harry Harrison, a great Yorkshireman, now leaves my mum as the eldest of the remaining six siblings.

My intended post about the world's quietest television and the comedy moments it caused during this evening's observed lesson will have to wait.


Everyone knows that superstitions are unlucky. But in tonight's rehearsal I was reminded that our band, Soul Beaver, has one superstition that we find difficult to shake. It is this:

Bad rehearsal = Good gig
Good rehearsal = Bad gig

Now, it's likely this only came about because, back in the day, we sounded rough in rehearsal and had an amazingly good first gig. Then, a few weeks later, bouyed up by a great rehearsal, we sounded awful. Whatever the reason, the idea still haunts us.

Tonight, we played really, really well. The gig is on Saturday.

Watch this space.


Hopkins - The Lost Frog

I'm sure this story has already done the rounds a hundred times, but I'm posting a link to it (above) as it touched me. The story of a lost frog is like a fairy tale told by Kafka.


Christian McBride

My first visit to Camden's Jazz Cafe last night. We watched a cracking set from Christian McBride and his band. Jazz, jazz fusion, whatever... Double and electric bass playing so virtuosic that I spent the night swinging from thoughts of practising harder to just giving up and selling the double bass. The band injected a good natured feel into everything they did (even the drum solos) and got roars of appreciation from the packed house. I feel like I've been spoilt by the great music I've seen this year.


Music III

Originally uploaded by Roostar.
And finally, after the serious issue of music as a tool for healing, and music as a political means of improving lives of those suffering... a gratuitous shot of my poor fingers after Saturday's gig. Proving once and for all that there is a big difference between practise and performance.

Music II

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Blogging the Band Aid recording

It's more likely this is getting press than the last story. Important that someone is making an effort and interesting (to me) that it is more overtly political this time.

Music I

BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | Overcoming grief through music

A great gig last night. Rich and Rich played like daemons. In Richard Drummer's case he overcame extreme back pain to get through the second set. Other Rich played some blinding guitar lines garnering admiring responses from the wonderful crowd that turned out on such a cold night. Good to see so many familiar faces.
With the joy of playing back in my life it seemed appropriate to link to a few stories that confirm the power of music. The story above is one. Another follows soon.


Bad Meetings

In my non-musical life I teach people things. Usually to do with English literature, but also the perils and pitfalls of communicating. I can be pretty terrible at this myself sometimes but my bad days are nothing compared to the horror of a bad meeting. The BBC news item (link above) caught my eye. Tell me if it sounds familiar.


Spider Pumpkin

Spider Pumpkin
Originally uploaded by Roostar.
Pumpkin carving time is long over, but here is my effort. It lives in the dustbin now as is becoming furry and genuinely scary.

More music news soon.


Music therapy

Another good rehearsal for Soul beaver this week. added another new
song to the set list, allowing us to drop several over played tunes. I
struggled with 'Play that funky music' as the bass line and vocal line
occupy quite different rhythms. It took me years to learn to sing and
play bass simultaneously though, so I'm not being too hard on myself.
The Beaver is playing a ticketed concert in Chalgrove on November 27th
and a free public gig at the Chester Arms, Oxford on December 4th. Come
along and say hello.