Plan C

In this last week I had a chance to spend more time with baby Freya. She has now started eating food from a spoon, which was not quite the mess-fest I thought it would be. She very nearly got interviewed by the Daily Telegraph too. But that's another story.

Every Saturday J takes Freya swimming. I found it impossible to go into the pool room though. I would sit outside listening to the group of mums and dads with their babies, singing badly and performing routines to make the babies more confident in water. Something stopped me from joining in and I was reminded of miserable years being invited to parties, refusing to go and then being both sure that I would have hated the parties and annoyed that I wasn't at the party. I've lightened up a lot since then.

As luck would have it my pal Richard convinced me to follow him in this Saturday so I got to watch my amazing wife and her friend Sarah singing badly and dunking the babies. It was thrilling. Sarah has been a friend for a long time now and I was ridiculously pleased when I found out that her and Richard were expecting a baby within a few weeks of J and I. It's been good for both of us to have people we like and respect going through something similar.

J and Sarah had a chance to see The Police in Cardiff. Richard had suggested we treat them to a night out as we had previously seen the band play while they were at home with the babies. This is a long story but the short version goes like this.
Plan A: J and Sarah drive to Cardiff, watch The Police and drive home while Richard and I take care of the children and play and/or talk about guitars.
Plan B: J and Sarah are driven by me in a mad dash to Swindon railway station (while Richard bravely takes care of the children), miss the train, get to Cardiff late, run around the stadium to the main entrance and then watch the last few songs after J spends time in the medical tent because she didn't bring her asthma inhaler. Richard then drives to Cardiff to pick them up and bring them home (while I sit with the children and listen for outbursts of crying) as there are no late night trains from Cardiff to Swindon.

OK, Plan B wasn't a 'plan' but it was the reality.

Maybe next time we'll find a less complicated way to treat our wives.


Spingere news

Spingere - my ever ambitious music project - has now got a Blip.TV site, to keep the MySpace site company.


What is it good for...?

OK, the mystery instrument is a Warr Guitar.

Having spent some time with a Chapman Stick I was wary about playing another touch style instrument. The Stick was a beautifully designed and made thing but, after a year of playing it, I found that I wasn't the right person to make the most of it. The Stick is a purely tapping instrument (at least it is with me playing it) and that wasn't what I wanted to dedicate myself to.

After trying a Warr Guitar I found the right balance of style and versatility. As soon as it was in my hands I was happy. The proof of this is in the long hours I have been spending at night just playing and exploring. I can't wait to play it loud.

Also, just as I was hoping to have some new material to play on, along came a CD of tracks from guitarist and good-ideas man, Colin Price with a request for my input. I'm confident a digital collaberation has stared which could become an album of tunes, themes and grooves. We'll see.

Pal Richard Guitarist has played the Warr and discovered the delights of a well made instrument and a strange tuning. Who knows where this could all lead?

News from the non-guitar part of my life shortly.


The dangers of peanut butter - part two

Phew. Still alive.

The dangers of peanut butter

Just before we get on to the answers to those burning questions I thought it right to warn you I may be in hospital soon. Taking a break from a day of essay marking I went to make a sandwich but dropped the jar of peanut butter on the floor. The lid smashed off, leaving a jagged mess of a rim. I was still hungry though so I carefully spooned out the contents and made a sandwich which I'm about to eat. Does it contain dangerous shards of glass which could rip my insides apart? Let's find out!



Coming soon - what is the mystery instrument? What happened when J went to see the Police? Why is the front garden fence in the back garden?



Moody cat
Originally uploaded by Roostar
I have been attending ENT departments and the doctors for over a year trying to find why I have problems with my nose. My sense of smell is terrible and... well, you don't need to know. Today I had allergy tests in the JR hospital in Oxford. As you may have guessed I am allergic to cats.

Despite this Tinker the Cat will continue to be a part of the family.

At last!

The Mystery Instrument has arrived. It spent more time in Stansted Airport customs shed than it did traveling from California.

It is a thing of beauty and wonderment.

Expect some new music on the Spingere site very soon.



No sign of the Mystery Instrument. Fed-ex promised it today but nothing has arrived.




I had a gig on Friday night with Soul Beaver. We played well, despite last minute personal changes (never trust a keyboard player who forgets their stand) and my forgetting the words to half of one song. I did prove though, that if you sing nonsense syllables to a happy, slightly intoxicated crowd, no one will know.

After several late nights the drive home from Aylesbury felt much more like hard work than the gig. If I pack up quick enough I nearly always have enough adrenaline in my system to get me home safely awake - Friday night was a case of not quite enough adrenaline. It was, as ever, great to play live and the audience helped create the much needed atmosphere for us to be good in. It was oddly satisfying to drive through a part of Aylesbury close to where I had lived as a young person many, many years ago.

There are no more Beaver gigs (planned) until next year so now there is a bit of space for new music. Let's go.

And in other news, J and I took Freya swimming on Saturday morning. Actually J did the swimming and I sat in a room reading. We celebrated this baby milestone by traveling to Newbury, shopping and eating. Newbury proved to be a nicely jolly place with the cheeriest busker I have ever seen. Just as we were leaving we found another quarter of the town with fab restaurants and a market. Oh well, next time.

Freya is growing in confidence everyday. It can't be too long before teething, walking and talking appear on her list of skills. Blimey!


LA to here

Back from a late night rehearsal. When I arrived at the studios a country music loving goth band were packing away. I thought the nine to midnight shift was too late for me, a fortysomething, to be doing. but I was wrong. Despite not having some key players there we made some good noises and did good work. I was tired and happy after the four hours. My p-bass sounds great too.

For half of this week I've been tracking an exciting Fed-ex parcel from Los Angeles to Memphis Tennessee to Stansted to... well, hopefully here soon. I'll reveal all once it gets here.


Head of steam

Another Soul Beaver rehearsal today. I suspect everyone was a little tired because the energy levels felt low and there was a sense of relief when we finished. Despite that we played well and built up a good head of steam for the last hour. I was just good to play again.

The bad news is that we have a gig this Friday and I'm coming down with a cold. The first one in a long time. The good news is that my new mystery instrument should be arriving soon.

In the rest of the world there is a sense of things about to becoming new. Freya is now three months old and taking on a personality of her own. J is looking better than ever and proving to be a fabulous mum. The dayjob, musical projects and all the other parts of my life are on the edge of change. I can feel it.