It's a high C!
Originally uploaded by Roostar
Yesterday I remembered that the large Microsoft Word file on my memory stick was not an unfinished novel but a finished one. It only needs some minor revisions before I’d be prepared to let someone read it.

I’m not going to let someone read it though, because it is tripe. What I am going to do is have another go in November (the month of NaNoWriMo) and write something better.

Meanwhile, my friend Hilary is still keen to have your votes for her book (very much not tripe). Go to www.NextTopAuthor.com. Once there you can search for her video pitch by name or by using her author id code, which is 2068.

Meanwhile, there is music in the air. Having played an acceptable soundscape in a recent rehearsal with the trio I’ve now changed how I want to structure it. The joy of improvised music is, of course, that no one will know what I’m up to until I do it.

As well as my usual late night bass and touch guitar sessions I’ve been inspired by a Mr Gunn of Seattle to master an Arvo Part keyboard piece. If all that wasn’t enough Freya now has a recorder. Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!


Clear Skies

A fab weekend in two parts. Firstly a day out with the family in Oxford’s Natural History Museum, then a picnic in University Parks.

Freya loved the glowing minerals, stuffed Shetland Ponies and, of course, the little shop. Strangely she didn’t seem at all fazed by the gigantic T-Rex skeleton or the collection of tribal masks (which used to freak me out) in the adjoining Pitt-Rivers museum.

The park was lovely. As we had our picnic some university students got their Frisbee caught in the tree near us and an extended comedy (‘How Many Oxford University Students Does It Take To Get A Frisbee Out Of A Tree?’) unfolded. Much good humour, a rugby ball and some choice photographs later the Frisbee was free and we finished our picnic. Duck feeding, cricket watching and quite a lot of walking ensued.

On Sunday I dug the garden. I’m not a gardener. To my dad gardening is one of life’s greatest pleasures. One of my best friends is a professional gardener. Even I like to look at and walk in gardens but really, this felt like hard labour. If I had more money I would hire someone to do the work and spend more time practising double octave runs on the bass.

Meanwhile, although I know many people (including some friends) are stuck in various places around the globe because of an Icelandic Volcano (try explaining that to a two year old) I’ve been enjoying quiet skies.


On bass...

On bass...
Originally uploaded by Roostar
I’ve worked my way through a good few basses in my time. Some I’ve stuck with for years, others not so long. My absolute favourite for many years has been an Ibanez, five-string fretless (except for playing soul music, when an old Fender P-bass has the edge). I’ve been playing this a lot lately and love playing it so much I’ve bought another one, just in case. They aren’t identical. The main one is made from better wood and has better hardware and electronics, but the dimensions of the body, neck and string spacings are the same. What’s fascinating (at least to me) is the difference I feel when playing them. I was in a rehearsal room last week, playing the new model and felt very happy with it. The sounds, tone, balance, everything. Then I swapped to the older bass and felt instantly happier and more relaxed. The temptation is to just play the old bass and keep the new one for emergencies but, of course, it makes more sense to play the new one and ‘break it in’ for a while.

I know, logically, that instruments do not have a life of their own, but it is hard to shake the idea that years of playing don’t imbue them with something other than wear and tear. Is it just familiarity or is there something deeper going on?



Speaking of wonderful writing (see below), there's been precious little of it on these pages. I've been re-reading some recent posts and keep being horrified by the typos I let through.

On a brighter note, the Eclipse Trio will be playing a gig at the Manor House in Wheatley, Oxfordshire on Saturday 15th May. Probably.

Stay tuned.


The Hermit and The Dreamcoat

My good friend Hilary Cave has written a book and has been entered into the competition for the next top author at the cunningly titled www.NextTopAuthor.com. If you go there you can such for her video pitch by name or by using her author id code, which is 2068.

Hilary is a wonderful writer who's had a fascinating life (part of which involved playing the drums for a band I was bassist in) and I'd urge you to have a look.