Tuesday, 15 April 2014

An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers - Vince Hawkins

An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers - Vince Hawkins

First the disclaimer - this book is NOT conference approved AA literature.

I bought this book because..

a) it was recommended by someone who I have tremendous respect for - 19 years sobriety and one of those AA oldtimers I admire.  He is an atheist and makes no bones about it, sharing appropriately about his atheism in meetings - in an encouraging way for those still early on in the programme etc.
b) it is written by someone I know in AA, he has moved away from our local groups but was about when I was new in and again someone who I have big respect for.

I found this a really helpful book.  Let me put this in context - if you are entering the AA programme or have been on it a while but find all the "God" thing a worry then this is a good book to read - I'd recommend it even if you don't consider yourself an atheist but are not someone to whom regular organised religion is attractive for whatever reason.

Vince lists out modified steps - not all of them, but those where God is mentioned and he modifies these to be for a more atheist view.  He talks eloquently about his own experience and that he has learnt of others who are atheists but walking the AA path of sobriety.  Also he points out some of the limitations within the literature that surrounds the AA programme in particular the big book and the chapter "To Agnostics" which he determines makes the assertion that if you hang around long enough you'll get the God thing but he feels that isn't suitable and AA should encompass and can successfully encompass atheists too.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Rodrigo Aranjuez Concerto Live Performance (+playlist)





The brilliant Richard Durrant plays the Rodrigo Concerto - and proves he can perform wearing shoes!  He really is one of the best classical guitarists around today

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Rochester Music Cafe Band

Video from the Rochester Music Cafe event I did back in February...


Book Review - The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

... or should I say JK Rowling.  I believe Ms Rowling was most unhappy about her cover being blown.  In the end I only bought this as it was the Kindle deal of the day when I looked at a time of needing some new reading material so it sat on the Kindle until I decided to read it.

It is a good detective thriller.  At times early on the author seems to be over trying to sound clever I feel a bit - and it is funny that for me that came and went over the first few chapters but once settled down so I'm not having to look up too many words (that heavens for the built in Kindle dictionary) it is a good British book.

One thing of interest to me straight away is that the main hero of the book is a private dectective, ex soldier who was badly injured in Afganistan.  But my interest peaked because... his office is supposedly in Denmark Street.  Anyone who knows London and knows about music knows Denmark Street for ages associated with song writing, recording and now the mecca of music shops along it's short little length in the shadow of Centrepoint.  Also he drinks in The Tottenham - only pub on Oxford Street - which is right outside Tottenham Court Road tube station and during the two years I worked on the top floor of Centrepoint one of my main watering holes.  Funny how connections like that really draw me into the story - this has happened before...

Anyway - the plot centres on the death of supermodel which has been declared by the police etc. as a suicide.  However her brother engages our hero on the basis that he doesn't believe it was and wants a fresh set of eyes on it.  There is a lot of inter family politics and loads of interesting and outlandish characters brought in so you are kept guessing as you begin to agree she probably didn't jump to her death unaided.  In the end there is a bit of a twist at the end but some of the outcomes are a bit too predictable and the whole thing ends with a set up for future instalments... and let's face it Ms Rowling has previous in making a success out of a long running franchise ;-)

A two thumbs up on FTUBRS*

* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale - 
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down, 
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal, 
one thumb up, 
two thumbs up 
two thumbs up with a grin!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Walter Trout needs a new liver

I’m combining for once guitars and alcoholism on here.

Walter Trout the renowned blues guitarist is currently in UCLA hospital in desperate need of a liver transplant.  He stated when news of the illness broke in the Blues Magazine that “It seems my early years of debauchery, lechery and partying has finally caught up with me.”  The latest statement says “Walter’s condition has rapidly deteriorated. His surgeon and team of doctors say it is a matter of him getting a liver transplant within the next 90 days or he will die.”

Now look at this picture… yes that is before and after and before Walter deteriorated to his current condition.



There is a campaign to raise money for his health bills and to support his family in this time.
I saw him once when with the Blues Breakers and have dipped into his music at times.  He is a great guitarist.  But this post is about what drinking can and will do to you if you don’t get sober and stay sober the statements above and the photos above say it all.   I wish Walter the best for the future.