31.12.14

End of year, part two

The more poetry I read, the less I want to write it.

The more photography I see, the more I want to be out with my camera.

I always want to play music.

End of the year

Thanks to my pal,  Russ, wanting to demo a country song he had written earlier in the year I found myself reaching for my Touch Guitar. I have had this instrument for at least seven years but never got to grips with it. Since I needed a bass instrument with frets I used it on the song and it sounded great.

My new band, New Accelerator got going this year with me playing fretless bass.  But memories of this Touch Guitar session stuck and I decided to give it another go. The door opened and my wonderful instrument started to come to life.

Of all the musical highlights this year (a new and better oud, enjoying songwriting again, fabulous gigs and inspiration everywhere) the return of my Touch Guitar (which is the only instrument made for me and which I named after my daughter, Freya) has been the best of all.

Now, in 2015, I need to work at improving my technique and having more fun with it.

happy New Year.

15.12.14

Sovereign (again)


After a few months of relatively normal life our neighbours have decided to make our lives miserable again. They have been turning up the music and, crucially, turning songs up and down many times during each song. That’s important because it doesn’t suggest someone playing loud music to dance around and have fun. What does it suggest? Well, I’ll leave that to you. Imagine someone playing a piece of music very loud, then turning it down, then up, then down, over and over again. Then imagine them doing for the next song and the ones after that. Why?

Worse than the neighbour’s behaviour is the terrible attitude from the housing association that they rent their house from. After a seemingly positive meeting in the summer we were given all sorts of promises to make us feel better. There has, sorry, had been progress but nothing was in place to deal with what has been happening recently. Nothing stops the neighbours behaving how they want.

So, if you felt you could act with impunity and you had not much of a social conscious (let’s just dump this pizza box and its contents in the parking area, no one cares. Let’s drive our neighbours crazy and wake their children at three in the morning, no one cares) what would you do?

Sovereign, as a company, have shown no respect or social conscious. I will be posting more about this.

14.12.14

Piano

Many years ago, in my late teens, I was starting to play bass but I had a needed a keyboard to work ideas out on. What I really wanted was a piano, or at least an electric/electronic piano (so I could plug headphones in). My bandmates at the time talked me out of this and into buying a Yamaha DX21. This was great fun with hundreds of sounds and an algorithmic programming language that I still don't fully understand. The downside was it had too many sounds and the keys didn't respond like piano keys and, most importantly, it wasn't a piano.

The DX21 got used to create crazy tunes and even got hauled on stage a few times. Then it slowly sat there, gathering dust until I traded it in help fund a decent bass amp.

A few months ago I was walking down Denmark street with my wife and we were talking about pianos. We were on our way to see the incredible Neil Cowley Trio at the Barbican and had been listening to a lot of piano playing. I went into one of the many music shops, asked a few questions and tried a number of keyboards out. In our house we could never have a real piano but the electronic version could work. It turned out that the price of one of these was just within our grasp. Excitement was generated.

Today I ordered the piano.

Obviously an electronic piano will never sound as good as the real thing. But knowing we've got 88 weighted keys on an instrument with only a few sounds is a wonderful thing. I can't imagine a better present for our family (except maybe a house somewhere else). Let the piano madness begin.