Thursday, 30 September 2010

The CD - a track by track commentary

Let me Love You Tonight

Written in Feb 2010. The picking bit at the beginning was the start on an acoustic but as soon as I found the chords for the verse I could hear that as a bass intro. I was pushing myself to use chords with suspense in them so a Cmaj7 to start then a Em7Sus4/B ... I think! (It is probably something else!). The lyrics were inspired by something I heard someone say in a meeting once - about when they hit their rock bottom someone said - "Let us love you tonight until you can love yourself". I nearly used that lyric as it was then realised some people could misinterpret it! So the "Until You Feel Alright" line came along and I altered some others so it can be interpreted as a love song - the listeners choice. This was one where I knew I needed to "spice it up" somewhere in and hence the move to the Bm when you're just thinking - has this song only got 3 chords?

That was recorded at Broadwood Studios in Kent after my wife bought me some studio time. The end result is what I wanted. The solo isn't bad - a couple of green ones I wish perhaps I'd nailed there and then but never mind. The solo is in E minor but the chords center on C - some mode, I never can figure them out! My electro and PRS CE 22 are the rhythm guitars, 5 String Ibanez bass of course and the solo is my Gibson Les Paul Custom. A live version is on Reverbnation to compare if you like with the studio performance.

Running in the Shadows.

A good old protest song! Well we have a Tory PM, cuts coming, strikes on the way, a left wing Labour leader... sound familiar? I wrote this as a solo acoustic piece but again in my head could hear it in a band setting. Having learnt from the studio experience I'm pleased with this one. My electro is the acoustic rhythm, my Gordon Smith Graduate 60 I think from my H&K amp gives the other rhythm track. Usual bass. And then the Gordon Smith bridge pickup coil tapped to sound a bit Telecaster is the solo.


Written ages ago. Originally in standard tuning then the Drop D idea came to me allowing it to be all over the 6 strings at the start of the pattern. Then I played it to Gordon Giltrap at a workshop some years back - he suggested the moving octaves with the drone on both D strings... took sometime to work it out though and get it nearly right most of the time :-) Named by someone I met in rehab who called it the Gypsy one... I pray he is safe and well whenever I play it.

I Used To Know Her

Written in 2003 when I was in a band called Tripwire - a covers rock band that failed without playing a gig sadly. I never used it in the band as I didn't think it fitted at all. Dug it out - still have the original scribbled lyrics etc. from when I wrote it - as I needed material to play at the Lib in Nov 2009. It is always dedicated to my wife - it is my love for her exposed to the world. Written with a deliberate David Gray style in mind, he might not think that mind... or you come to that!


Another love song... I don't write many :-) Came from noodling on the 12 string, I wanted another 12 string number. A bit like Pink Floyd to my ears but whatever... some of the lyrics came quickly others took ages and it was changing right up until I recorded it - esp the bridge bit which I knew the song needed but couldn't get any lyrics for then the Never... etc. idea hit me.

Golden Moment

A bit John Martyn maybe - that was who I was sort of thinking of anyway. I wanted a finger picked quieter number not a thrash the hell out of it type one! Originally was to be something called Lasagne Lady which was an inspiration from regular commenter Liz but never came together. I put those lyrics to the side and some days later the Golden Moment idea came to me. An inspiration from my AA sponsor. Just my LL11 recorded via a Shure mic - I like the sound I got on that.

Friends Welcome

An old thing I had lying around for ages - Yamaha LL11 with some effects applied.


Written a couple of years back. I had the intro for ages then started to play the same chords in the first position with heavy use of G in the chords wherever I could as that harks to the intro opening string drone... the chorus then fell from that. I always thought the intro/outro sounded like a Waterfall and that lead to the lyrics. Autobiographical obviously this is all about my alcoholism and recovery. At the time written I thought the whole thing was like swimming up a waterfall - which I heard once used to describing trying to get out of a black hole!

Strength of their Hearts

Inspired by people you see with some disability or illness who just get on with life and cope with it. True heroes. Very simple chord pattern etc. The solo was played on my Squier JV 62 strat using a patch on the Boss in stereo - like the sound of that one.

Rise Up

An old 12 string noodle that was the intro of something for ages. So once I had a second gig at RYTD set up I knew I had to turn it into a song. I can't remember what came first the words of the chord pattern for the verse. However there's a musical joke in it actually... Rise Up... the chord pattern is Em, G, Am, C, D (sus2)... rise up... yes it is simply a run up the Em pentatonic scale... ROFL!!! Well it amused me! I doubled with a 6 string - sometimes I like that other times I listen and think I shouldn't have bothered.

I have the 12 string detuned half a tone - the bass line is played on the 5 string Ibanez which is in concert tuning - so the E♭ is on the bottom B string.

Solo Sunday

A real old one - actually a mismatch of two songs of mine from years gone by. The start was a deliberate attempt to write something Steve Howe like and the second bit was a song I wrote in a band when I was 16 so that is 30 something years old now! I keep wondering what the lyrics were then and whether I should drag them out.


Another one that came from a noodle about - I like a pattern of chords where for a lot of it I had the same two notes on the top two strings like a drone - the D Sus4 just sort of draws your attention to it/away from it. The chorus is my great sing-a-long anthem... just need the Wembley booking now :-)

A feel good lyric about how now in recovery the best thing really over all else is that I'm actually getting happy about being me. I'm not at odds with the universe and don't believe it is out to get me. After some thought it was obvious this has to be the title track of the CD - that is a statement about how I feel today.

You Make Me More

I wanted something where I held long notes singing. I thought I was too quick in delivery of lines. It came through a noodle and is with a capo on the acoustic and the electric is the same chords in different voicings on the Strat. Acoustic is the LL11 and the bass the ever present Ibanez five string.

Inspired by something a friend once said to me "Just knowing you has made me a better person". Something I was shocked by as I didn't feel I deserved that accolade. He sadly passed away in a car crash some time later. It is dedicated to him and many others who have made me a better person just because I've known them, whether they know it or not.

My Baby

A jazzy lick I had around for ages, reminding me of My Baby Just Cares For Me by Nina Simone - which was why My Baby was in my head when the lyrics came. A tongue in cheek view of how I think some people treat love with great fickleness... :-)

Guitar is my Gibson Les Paul through a patch on the Br600 - with reflection too distorted possibly. My first success with drum patches on the br600 :-)


A Gordon Giltrap inspired piece - just came through a few noodles that I captured and built on. Written in early summer in the UK... hence that why it is such a short piece :-)

The CD Story Part 2

Into 2010...

The second gig at The Lib on Valentine's Day was more nerve racking than the first for some reason. I think because now it wasn't a one off and I was nailing my colours to the mast as a solo singer/songwriter and therefore needed to raise the game. In the end it went alright I think. I learnt some stuff there indeed... using 12 strings live is a nightmare :-) I will still go there but not ever gig. I was still "sitting down" as I had at the debut and afterwards thought - I don't feel comfortable like that - so a move to stand up ... moving about... :-) was on the cards.

I took the Boss BR600 along to that and got some surprisingly good results with it just running off batteries and on the table in front of my daughter who was in control of the buttons and only using the built in mics. If you to to my Reverbnation site you'll find a couple of live tracks in there from that.

This also introduced me to Audacity. I had one big track of the whole performance which I wanted to "chop up". Colin Gilman (good egg and sadly missed blogger) suggested that Audacity would do it and indeed it did that trick. Now a tool I wouldn't be without but I still am only scraping the surface with this stuff. There is more about this at this post.

I'd hoped for a gig with Scooter Forums radio but that didn't come off. I did get to play at a friends small party locally and Toby booked me to return to the Lib in June and every so often a new song would come along. I started looking at song structures of the covers I was learning. I noticed one important point, must had some kind of bridge in them... some bit somewhere that took them away from verse, chorus, verse, chorus. I realised why some of my songs were a) short! b) not that interesting. So I endeavoured to think about this more. It delayed the completion and recording of some songs - like Everyday which was around a few months but without the "Never..." bridge bit. Well I knew I needed it - I had the two chord repeat and the sort of melody for that bit early on but couldn't get any lyrics for a fair while.

Before Dinners got a proper job again I was a regular appearer on his radio show. So I signed up to PRS I've not yet earnt from this but you can but hope :-) I need Dinners to get the show back on the air ;-)

As regulars will know I left work (redundancy) in July and that opened up a time to me to focus on the music. I did some recording of some stuff I'd written that had been lying around waiting for me to record it. I was learning more about the recorder now so if you aren't a music techy skip this bit...

So the Boss br600 is a simple all in one 8 track digital recorder. It is no longer a current model but available cheap second hand. Firstly - get a power supply! It can eat batteries and also needs secure power at many points of it's operation, failing batteries not good! You can use the internal mics - I have done for the live recording and for demos. Plug in a mic - I started with a cheap old Peavey one but have bought two Shure mics now. Or plug in an instrument.

It has a wealth of "in line" effects. This includes a COSM amp modeller - so all of my bass recordings have been via this and most of my guitar recordings but I have done some off a mic from my Hughes and Kettner amp. For me some acoustics are microphone recordings (esp things like Golden Moment, Gypsy etc.) but others are using my electro and using the inline effects to colour that.

It also has a drum machine that took me a while to suss out - hence why most of the early recordings have no drums!! I don't know why I didn't get it - just stupid at first. You have to get the bpm fixed and then work from that. Once that is done I now know how useful that is for things like "loop recording" (i.e. looping the same bit over and over to practice a solo) or punch ins to patch up mistakes ... every bloody bass line for me! :-)

You have tracks 1 - 4 then a stereo tracks on 5/6 and 7/8. Normally if needed I bounce to 5/6 early on and reuse the early tracks but in one case (Strength of their hearts) I used 5/6 for a stereo guitar patch with the inline effects. My arrangements are never overly burdened with too much stuff so I've never got to need to use all 8 tracks. Good thing is the drums are a separate thing, only if you have them playing in a bounce do they get actually recorded... there was a learning - don't bounce early with the drums playing if you haven't finalized the drum pattern!!! doh! So now I only add the drums to the final bounce down. I've read some forum comments where they say that the Br600 is only really a 6 track as you need the tracks for the final bounce... wrong. It has a clever trick in that you can select a "virtual track" for it to go on and so you bound to 7/8 V2 not V1 and that should I believe work - I've not tried it mind. That means you have 8 full tracks and you could have done two stereo bounces if you thought about it and a full stereo drum rack as well on the final mix down. Not bad for a box about the size (but deeper) of an iPad.

Other tips on the BR600 - buy memory cards. It is tempremental about size and speed etc. So update the s/w from the Roland site and then buy ones you find recommended on forums. The ones I bought like this have given me no trouble at all.

Once recorded and the last bounce is done... what then? I export the 7/8 track with the stereo mix down done. You export to a WAV file and get that onto you PC. I then use a cheap MP3 converter I've got. However increasingly - actually always now I load up into Audacity. I then just trim the start and end... normally at the start I've had a counting on the drums for a few bars which I replace with silence before the mix down - so there are several seconds of nothing... or more commonly a cough and or string scrapes! Audacity allows you to easily select that and cut it... and the same at the end. One thing I learnt from the studio experience was that you can do fade outs as well. I've just got into that in Audacity to give a better ending where some of my early ones you can hear where the stop button was hit on the bass line or whatever. In Audacity select the tail of the track and hit effects and then fade out... brilliant. There are other things like a fade in etc. I've not yet tried but think I will at some point on something... a la Boston More Than a Feeling start etc.

Okay techy bit sort of over...

My wife paid for me to have some time in a professional studio which you can read about here. I learnt a huge amount in that few hours. Punch ins and outs - use of effects etc. All really great stuff and the out come track was everything I'd hoped for and the production I'd had in my head since writing it back at the beginning of the year. I'd never recorded it as I wanted to "get it right" but knew it needed a lot of stuff.

So here we are nearly into October... nearly a year since I first emailed Toby.

I've played a bunch of gigs at The Libertine and a couple of private party ones as well. I've written a whole bunch of stuff - 54 mins approx (ok Waterfall, I Used To Know Her, Solo Sunday and Gypsy were already written ... but....). I've got a gig at The Lamb and Flag coming up (Oct 23rd) which I'm really chuffed about - that will be a 30min all original material set! :-) I've been played several times on internet radio - thanks Dinners and Scooter Forums radio. Really it was Dinners huge enthusiasm and appetite for material that really spurred me on at the start of all this. I've had the Reverbnation page up for a while and it's a great way of getting my material out there... it is listen to by some people from time to time, I set up a Myspace one too befriend me on that if you are on there.

So I looked at this body of work and thought - make a CD. I looked at duplication/printing costs and could have got 1000 done or something but thought - will I sell a 1000? Who knows. But I thought, apart from Let Me Love You Tonight and the time in the studio then this has been all totally me writing, playing, recording etc. so why not the CD as well. I bought some blank CDs, empty cases, a program to make/print labels and inlays and did it all myself. I've sold a handful so far but one to punxxi who is someone I've never physically met and who lives in the USA... can I claim I'm an international recording artist now? One caveat - my son took the cover photo and did the photoshop manipulation on that ... so he has a credit as well :-)

You look at it and ok the numbers are low, num of gigs, attendances at gigs, listeners to the Drunk Punk Show, number of CDs sold, hits on Myspace/Reverbnation... etc. However what the heck I've done all this in a year and I'm reasonably proud of it all.

The CD story part 1

Here is a the story of the last year of my life...

In 2009 I looked to put a band together, for sometime the music in my life was a frustration not an enjoyment. I knew I needed some kind of outlet for it. I had some replies to some ads and met some people but nothing clicked. People were either just into "I want to gig endlessly" or "I don't want to gig" or "I'm not good enough"... etc. I just couldn't find people I clicked with.

Then in August 2009 I was taken ill and was off work for a while and simply not good at all. Everything took a back seat and the people I had made contact with drifted away - largely my fault I'll be honest as I didn't pursue anything at that time.

October arrived and I felt a bit better physically. That month erstwhile blogger, ex-MagicShip front man Colin Gillman introduced me to Rock-Til-You-Drop and he played at the October Sunday Acoustic afternoon at The Libertine. In a moment of madness I thought - I could do that, be a way to put my toe back in the water. So I emailed Toby Burton and tentatively offered myself for a Sunday slot. His answer as "how about next month". Hell!!! only a month to get ready. So I dusted off some old acoustic stuff of mine and thought about a few covers that I could play in a solo setting.

So November 15th arrived and I played my first ever totally solo gig (with me singing, I'd done some small classical ones as a kid!) I was really pleased with it, Four Dinners showed up, my brother and his wife came along, another friend turned up late, but Ken, Colin and Steve came along to support and so did my old pal Deejay.

The spark was set - especially as Toby had offered another possible set in a couple of months. So I thought - let's record some of this stuff. I'd had a Boss BR600 lying around doing nothing for a year or more at the time and I got out the mic and hit record. So on 17th Nov 2009 I used to know her made it's debut on this here very site. Quickly over the next few days I was writing some more material, Toby confirmed a gig for Valentines Day and Dinners God love him played my tune on his Drunk Punk show on Scooter Forums radio.

So now I was a solo singer/songwriter/guitarist. I worked on new material, got a bit more knowledgeable about the recorder. Learnt some other covers or dusted off old ones I'd not played in years. I was being pushed by Dinners to get more stuff available for him to use on his show.

In December some more material was written - including Within the title track of the CD and one that means a lot to me personally. (More about the tracks in a separate post later folks...) I found Reverbnation via the band Logan and created my own page and loaded up my material there. I also bought a new guitar to make live shows easy which I funded by letting Flat Eric add my Peter Cook bass to his impressive collection.

So we entered 2010 and the story will continue in post two due soon...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

CD available!!!!

I'm really pleased to announce the release of my home made CD Within.

Within contains 15 tracks all written and performed by yours truly and with one exception (Let Me Love You Tonight) they were all recorded by me at home as well. The CD itself is also home produced with the printing and burning etc. all done on my home PC. Not often in this day and age you get that level of sweat in any product is it :-)

There is one exclusive track only available on the CD for the time being so what better reason to buy one do you need?

Easiest is to pay me £7 via paypal to or email me at that address for overseas rates (depends on the postage) and how to pay/order via post if you'd prefer.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Why do you play the guitar?

It's funny - I've had this conversation with many people over the years I've been playing. Now for many the belief it that I picked up the guitar as a way to get girls or because it is supposedly some phallic symbol. I've heard these thoughts reinforced many times by observers, other musicians etc.

However for me that was never the reason in my head and I never make the association with the sex thing that many seem to. When I was very little I was obsessed with music, my Mum had one of those huge stereograms that people used to have in the 60s - I just remember that replacing our old Danset record player.

Here's a similar type one...

Eventually this ended up in my bedroom whilst I was in 6th form / college before I replaced it with a music center I bought off my wife's brother not long before he passed away.

Anyway back to the point... I used to stand in front of this loaded with 45s that were on the spindle and crashed on to the deck to play... remember that - playlists aren't new you know just the technology has changed :-) My Mum had a good collection of music, Elvis, The Beatles, Shadows, Herb Albert etc. I had a little old metal toy guitar that I used to stand and mime with "playing along". I honestly can't remember when I didn't do that. By junior school I was into anything music, learning the recorder and in the choir etc. so I could read music etc.

I then went to grammar school and again was straight into the choir and then into the orchestra playing the oboe - I've no idea why but I wanted the oboe. I think I'd heard that was the instrument all others tuned to in an orchestra therefore it must be the best I thought! Also then my Mum got me a cheap Spanish guitar and started to learn in a group lesson but didn't get on, soon Mum found a young lady who taught classical guitar and I took off with that. A year later the first electric arrived and bands started.

However in all this - it was the music, making music, writing my own music that was always the driver and the interest for me. Frankly I never considered being a musician and a guitarist would "get me the girls" or was some form of public masturbation. However I did meet my wife through music connections - she'd been in a show that my mate had played drums for and she came to see a big band jazz band we were both in and he introduced me to her. She then came along to one of our rock band rehearsals and the rest is history as they say. But I don't think the guitar had any appeal to her in any way.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Sorry is this 2010?

I heard the story today on the news about the failure to repeal the rule banning openly gay people from serving in the US military.

I was to shocked to say the least - when did we get rid of that nonsense in stuffy old Britain? About 10 years ago and that was long over due - I seem to recall it being a European directive that finally forced the govt hand. To be honest though now today in 2010 you'd think any such ban in any vocation / job as simply ridiculous and unfair.

I can't understand the reasoning against it - some general claims it would "disrupt unit morale" - sorry?! There are over 10,000 people who have been discharged from the forces in the last 10 years over this.

It makes you wonder doesn't it... here we are standing shoulder to shoulder fighting wars that supposedly are supposed to introduce our fantastic western freedom to them and those forces have a policy so openly discriminatory. Bizarre.

As my brother said about Obama's election - "Yep he is a black American but when they elect a full blood native American or an openly gay president then I'll be impressed". We're a long way from that aren't we?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Wales and back

... well just about!

It was that weekend of the year I dread, i.e. Son-of-Furtheron (the now semi-professional photographer and physics/space science student) was due to return to university. Well he has a week or so before lectures but wanted to get there and set up his new flat with his flat mate and supposedly do some reading up on the modules he is doing this semester.

So Friday night we packed off Daughter-of-Furtheron to stay with her "other family" - some friends of ours whose daughter is the same age and they have been best friends since mother and toddler days. It was the friends 15th birthday weekend so they were more than happy to have their adopted daughter there and there were shopping trips and lunches etc. all planned.

Saturday morning we were up at the crack of dawn my belief being an early start would avoid traffic issues... oh how wrong! Car loaded to near maximum capacity with cameras, clothes, X-boxes, guitars, amps... you get the picture - thank goodness we'd done one run to see the new flat before hand else we'd never have got the three of us and all that lot in the car!

M2, Dartford, M25 including the roadworks - all going fine :-) Then "Accident after next junction", so first A road excursion to cut across to the M1. M1 was a nightmare in the roadworks - I picked (twice!!!) the one lane in the contraflow and both times a couple of hundred yards into the 5 miles of it all stop. Engine off and wait - 5 mins later all moving again and never a reason as to why we stopped - mind boggling if we had to stop that long there must be something stuck somewhere... surely?

Anyway then M1 closed J16!!! Damn! Cross country again onto the M40 and then the M42 the motorway I hate the most in the UK all that "active management" - chaos more like. Use Hard Shoulder - Use Hard Shoulder only for this junction ... don't use it... For crying out loud how's it help?!

The rest of the journey via Shrewsbury and Welshpool was ok and we arrived at sunny Aberystwyth (ok I lie it was damp and drizzly as ever) before nightfall.

The new flat is just brilliant - so much better than the dump he was in last year. He water board was already threatening legal action over unpaid bills so student life begins again with him having to make a payment over the phone urgently to stop the water being shut off :-) We bought him a toaster as a flat warming present and he had the internet up and running in double quick time - priorities!

The journey back was better - one A road excursion to avoid another crash on the M1 - why are there so many crashes on the M1? We'd only been in a few mins and he's been in Aber less than 25 hours and he calls to introduce a new girlfriend! Oh to be 20 eh... can anyone remember 20?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Technical crap today...

Monday evening I turned on the TV - we still had a big old tube TV (kids please ask your parents what I'm on about). Well it warmed up and George Alaghia appeared, briefly, then *bang* and the picture disappeared and the light started flashing alternate green and red, no doubt a useful error code to an engineer. So I did the usual thing, turned it off and on about 3 times before finally admitting that it had failed. I've been saying for some time that "when the TV breaks I'll get a new one".

So my son starts showing me modern TVs. There was a time when I felt up to date on this stuff and new roughly what was what but which 1080i vs 1080p, 100Hz refresh... blah blah blah... I felt totally an idiot and so out of touch. How can so much have changed in the 8 years since I last bought one. However my son guided me through my belligerent denial trying to explain the various features and what they would potentially provide me with.

Tuesday we set off to John Lewis to look - armed with some price comparisions. We quickly found 3 that were in the range of what I was looking for and started to compare the pictures - a cheat really as they had a piped HD feed which given we can't get HD Freeview here until 2012 it was a bit pointless. Anyway I settled on the one I thought had the best picture (it was a 100hz one so that being the deciding factor no doubt) and we approached the guy to haggle. Failed! The John Lewis "never knowingly under sold" promises has more small print than a contract with Simon Cowell! Still never mind I realised I was haggling over £70 and if I bought off an internet site I'd have to pay £20 for delivery and only get a 1 year warranty so with John Lewis giving a 5 year one "for free" (well in the price) I went for it.

My son and his mate ("I'll see this project through" :-)) had a great time helping getting it all up and running which was nice of them. So at last as my son says our TV is at last in the 21st Century. I had to admit the picture is much better than the old set and DVDs via the player my son sold me a while back that does "upscaling" is just stunning.


Network hard drive. I thought a simple solution to home PC backups. Oh how wrong. I ordered a 2tb one from Amazon Marketplace - that was cancelled instantly. I thought £74 for that too good to be true, elsewhere it was £175 so I think a typo mistake that they realised when no doubt flooded with orders! So I bought the £80 500Gb one. The instructions when it arrived couldn't be simpler. Attached power cable. Attach ethernet cable into the router and power up. Load the s/w on the CD.

Ok this'll take no time. Hmm... CD wouldn't work "illegal operation" error as soon as you hit the autorun.exe. So onto Forums and found a link to download off the manufactures site the s/w in a zip. Did that and installed. Now we are cooking!

Ok so just copy over my "data disk" - about 20GB, big but not huge. I did a drag and drop and left it as I got on with something else. Then at the bottom of the screen in the task bar the thing saying "3 days remaining" made me look again. What?!!! It was creeping along. So onto their support. "It is your router - try direct"... same speed issue. So now about an hour in I thought - "blow this". I tried a small cheap 500GB USB drive my son had recently bought - 20 times the speed. So parceled up the network drive and sent it back.

Technology - bloody marvelous isn't it. Good job I don't work I need days and days on this bloody stuff.

Book Review - Sepulchre by Kate Mosse

Summary - a very good book, an excellent read.

Kate follows the format from her excellent Labyrinth book of a few years back that I previously enjoyed and my wife liked a lot - so much so that Sepulcher was bought and read by her some time back and sat on the shelf waiting patiently for me to get round to it. The format in question is that of a time shift novel where there are two stories intertwined around each other one in the present day and one in the past - namely in this case in the 1870s.

The 1870s story line involves a family in Paris where we are introduced to one of the heroines of the book a teenage girl who is just blossoming into a woman. She is highly concerned about her brother a writer and journalist who early in the year lost his lover and who has had a series of rumours smearing his character. Suddenly they are offered a chance to visit an aunt - the much younger widow of an old uncle who they had hardly ever seen. So they escape Paris - and you know that this is a good thing as the net seems to be closing on the brother by the day. They lay a false trail indicating that they are travelling in one way but head in another to the Carcassonne region and the big house that is owned by the aunt. Here she is lead into much intrigue regarding the legends of the area and the occult actions of her late uncle some years back.

In the modern day we find our second heroine a musician who is writing a book about Debussy and in France to carry out research. However also she is a woman who knows little of her family past - her mother committed suicide and a cousin brought her up and she knows little of her family other than some belief that they came from France after the first world war. She is determined to find out more and heads to Carcassonne to find out more after a very bizarre and surprising Tarot reading.. Here the two stories intertwine around the people, the tarots, the occult and more.

A real page turner with some great little plot twists and turns and a brilliant climax where the two stories come to a fitting conclusion. Kate Mosse is a very accomplished writer. I'm not sure if the principal audience is female for this kind of thing but I throughly enjoyed it too.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Oil City Confidential

The story of Dr Feelgood. I watched this film that was shown on BBC4 on Friday - if you are quick you can catch a repeat tonight again on BBC4 or via the iplayer no doubt.

Brilliant film. It charted the Canvey Island boys early lives, talked a lot about the culture and atmosphere on Canvey in the 60s and early 70s which made them what they were. It then charted the bands genesis and sadly the departure of Wilko Johnson - there was a little bit of time given to the imediate time after that with Gypie Mayo when they still had some chart success. But let us be honest Wilko and Lee Brilleaux (now I know where that name came from :-)) were Feelgood. Lee with his agressive vocals and stance and Wilko his mad man side man flinging himself around the stage on the end of the curly lead with his telecaster his weapon. The Big Figure and John B Sharpe were one of the greatest rhythm sections ever - just there on the beat and solid whilst the too loonies at the front went nuts.

It is a shame they parted company too early really. The Feelgoods were such an influential band - punk would probably not have been the same without them and really they should be considered up with the legendary bands of the past. But not to be. However Stupidity is frankly a stunning album - second in my live albums of all time to UFOs Strangers In The Night.

They still are going but without any originals but it was Lee's wish they continue after his far too early death.

Here they are at their best with Back In The Night - the first track I heard of them.

And here is Riot in Cell Block No 9 - one of the first things I learnt on the guitar!

Lastly You Shouldn't Call the Doctor - just watch Wilko on this... brilliantly manic!

Friday, 10 September 2010

New songs.

I've more new songs to be heard at my reverbnation player.

Everyday and Golden Moment. Enjoy

It's a Brave New World

Or is it...

My son has just posted a rant on his blog over at The Cynical Scientist. I can't say I disagree with him. Is this country in too much debt? Yes - as a country but also as individuals, too many people have mortgaged themselves to the hilt and have loans for this and that, credit cards maxed out etc. The UKs personal debt is about £1.5 trillion (source BBC news). I can't even thing in numbers that high. So taking the World Bank published population for the UK as 61,414,062 that means we are in debt to the tune of about £25,000 each. Hang on! Each that is every man woman and child in the country. Now think on how many have no debt at all? Suddenly you start to realise the mess we are in - and I'm not talking government debt here - this is the debt people personally have.

So we have to stop living the ludicrous way but we have an economy that is pretty much funded by services and the public sector - we make precious little and a lot of our income is things like financial services and insurance.

Where is the next big thing? What is the next internet? We need to get the UK into the position to be determining that, leading that, making oodles of cash out of that. So yes cut but we need to think about investment. School building programmes cut, university fees to rise etc. etc. All the things I believe we should be actively pouring money into.

I ponder some of this as I do sitting here unemployed at the moment. I have to admit I'm going to start looking at banks for work they still seem to be recruiting in many areas so I'm as much to blame as others but I can't turn the country on my own. Frankly though where I live I can only think of a couple of manufacturing companies, and one of them is a major defence contractor that has just announced big job loses, pretty much everything else is retail, banking, insurance, health or local government. Where is the "industry" we used to have?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Very proud Dad

Today my daughter returned to school - year 10! Where are the years going?

So I got up at 6am to make Mrs F a tea and wish Daughter-of-Furtheron a good day. She was her usual miserable self :-) She "doesn't do mornings" and after some weeks of coming down stairs wrapped in a duvet to sit in front of the TV whilst one of us got her breakfast ready so she could ease into the day the up at 6:30 and on the bus at 7:25 was a shock :-)

However one thing was she had her GCSE results to look forward to. She had taken two a couple of years early - what is it with schools and all this excelerated learning these days? Let them have their childhoods and adolesences I say - anyway... TWO As!!!!

So so pleased and proud of her.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Another new song!!! Running in the Shadows

I'm on a roll on the music front following my time in the studio. Two days at home with my little BR600 has produced Running in the Shadows - go to or look right for the player.

This is more rockier than my usual stuff and is a good old fashion protest song - turn it up!



Wednesday, 1 September 2010

New mix of Let Me Love You Tonight available

A new mix of the Let Me Love You Tonight track from last Friday's studio jaunt. I realised that the bass seemed to drift away in the mix. I emailed Nick at Broadwood Music and in a jiffy another mix was available.

Hear it over at or via the player in the right hand margin on this page. :-)

I've been spurred into trying to get a more "band" sound via my little Boss BR600 - I'm half way through with another track now amid some swearing as you find out little annoyances with things - like I shouldn't have done a bounce without first completing the drum track or at least I should have muted the drums in the bounce down. Also I can't figure out the punch in / out buttons... must read the manual that'll no doubt help :-)