Bagels and ice-cream

What a wonderful weekend. I quick trip to Oxford to pick up a guitar turned into a full day out with Freya. We went to both music shops on Oxford's Cowley Road, catching up with Gary, Soul Beaver's sax player and all round good person. We failed to buy the right guitar cable at the bigger PMT (Professional Music Technology) which was a shame, but then we had food. Freya and I ate at the bagel shop and after downing a veggy one and a ham one (for me and her respectively) we treated herself to ice-cream. For a two and a half year old she behaved amazingly well. For Freya she behaved even better.

After all this fun we found a playground and had fun on the swings and slides. After all this we went home, cooked dinner (although I did most of the work), brushed out teeth and made up stories before falling asleep. Well, she fell asleep. I went downstairs and played my bass for an hour or so.

It's been a great weekend.


As good as a rest.

It's been an odd week in the dayjob. Change of building, malfunctioning computers, printers, photocopiers, telephones. Leaking ceilings, dodgy heaters, fluctuating internet access. I've been enjoying it for the simple reason that it's a change.

When I first experimented with recording music I had written I used to get frustrated that I couldn't play the same thing twice. Until I learned pieces more completely, or used the basic music reading skills I had picked up form school, I would fail to reproduce almost anything.

A couple of nights ago I was reminded that one of the joys of playing live is that you hardly ever play the same thing twice. I remembered how, when playing with my friend, the drummer Richard Lee, I would delight in hearing a once in a lifetime drum fill, or accent on a cymbal. It's true with all my favourite musical collaborators. As with many things, it's the changes, the surprises and the lack of repetition that make you feel alive.


Back to the (cold) front

Bass, amp and coffee
Originally uploaded by Roostar
Soon (weather permitting) and can get back to playing live music again with some regularity. I now have two recording projects underway. The first one with Johnny Love and friends via the internet (I can't afford to visit Texas just now) which is taking on a new life in this new year. Songs and tunes are forming through the backwards and forwards emailing of parts, with me mostly sticking to bass lines (on fretless and Warr Guitar). I love what I've heard so far.

The second is the latest Spingere solo project which is being built from solo pieces. In theory this will be an album that could be played live - we'll see.

February is coming and that means the RPM Challenge - an album written, recorded and mixed in one (short) month. This year would be my send RPM, if I have the time. I'm thinking of doing something less guitar/bass orientated. One idea is to spend the first half of the month collecting sounds and snatches of music and then using Ableton Live to mix them into something worthwhile later. I have a suspicion that this will end up in unlistenable crap though, and although that's never stopped me before I'd rather like to make some music that doesn't frighten everyone off on the first listen. So maybe it's time to go back to writing songs. Whatever happens I can feel a strong thread of ideas pulling me along, so this should be a good year.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the snow. For so many years I've been frustrated at the way it snows and then thaws in a matter of a few days. Now my wish has been fulfilled and we're into the second week of snow and ice. It feels like a proper winter.



The 365 photography project I took on a year ago is now complete and you can see the results here. There are a lot of very bad pictures, but a surprising amount that I ended up being pleased with.

I'm having an exhibition at the Wantage Vale and Downland Museum in April. I'll post details nearer the time.

The irony is that I don't have to take a picture tomorrow but I'm expecting a highly photogenic day.