Saturday, 31 December 2011

Furtheron review of the year

In the past years I've done reviews of the year so here to keep with tradition in 2011 Furtheron's reflections.

Jan - I got interviewed for a job having spent 7 months in the back end of 2010 out of work.  I was listening to Heaven & Hell a lot, recording rockier stuff and putting up pictures of guitars...

Feb - Started my new job, where I used to work it was announced that a full UK pull out of R&D was happening and all my old colleagues were losing their jobs.  Gary Moore sadly passed away. I played a gig at the Lamb and Flag in London.

Mar - I was working away from home and my post count dramatically dropped off.  I was really struggling with the job - not the work (although it was a stupendously big workload) but more the living away from home all week or a really bonkers commute - up at 5am back at about 8pm.

Apr - One lousy post!  I was really lost in the madness at that time.  I ended up leaving the assignment away from home, the company luckily offered me one back at my old place helping with the close down which was good as I knew the place, it was a much better commute but was very sad being there as hundreds of people left.

May - Went to see Rush at the O2 with my brother.  Posting picked up :-)  Bin Laden gone etc.  I went through my 7th AA birthday.

June - Tescobank - don't go there!  Useless just useless...   I hurt my Squier Strat in a stupid accident - I knocked it off the wall getting out a case when I should have taken it down first.  My mother-in-law had an unnecessary accident and we had a lot of disruption in family life as a result of that.

July - I was heavily affected by a great BBC play called Stolen about child trafficking. Daughter-of-Furtheron was away in Spain on a school trip... sounded more like a great holiday to me :-) Poor Amy Winehouse surcomed to her addiction sadly.

Aug - I was offered two jobs!  In one month!  I had got a job lined up in Kent with a similar commute to my old one but it was good not great money and whilst some said the company was good I heard other poor reports.  But then I got an interview and an offer of the job in London which I then accepted.  We had a terrific holiday in the Lake District even if Son-of-Furtheron did try to kill us with his mountain hike!  Mrs F and I went to a lovely wedding in the West Country too... busy times!

Sep - Still amazed with stories of slavery in modern England.  The 10th anniversary of 9-11 brought back a host of memories and I left my job and the placed I'd worked in for most of the last 20 years for the last time (most likely) as it is all being closed down and I wouldn't be surprised if by this time next year it'll just be a large pile of rubble.  Started my new job.

Oct - I entered my last year of my 40s... this time next year I'll be 50... 50!  How the hell did that happen.  Books - I was reading like mad now I was commuting to London.  One of the major advantages of working in London frankly :-)  I had a stunning PRS payment for royalties on my material - well it was several 10s of pounds :-)  Sadly Dan Wheldon died which was a huge tragedy, his career looked like getting back on track for 2012 with a good drive and the new car he'd already been helping develop.

Nov - I started to use Soundcloud which is a great vehicle.  I started on a series of chairs at meetings that has continued through December and into January I have one already in the coming week.  Funny you do no chairs for months then get a stream like that.  We had the bus ticket scandal to deal with - actually still dealing with they have so far still not reimbursed us for the extra costs as they promised - frankly Arriva your customer service stinks!  Lot of proud parent posts as my daughter became 16 and we had a parents evening and my son had some stunning photos on Flikr.

Dec -  Some acoustic solo pieces recorded following a request from someone for something they could use.  My use of Soundcloud led to one of the most amazing things of the year - I was covered!  Having someone else consider something that I'd penned worthy of them putting effort into learning it and frankly massively improving it then recording it was hugely humbling.

Gig of the year - few to choose from but I'll give it to Rush - they were brilliant as ever.

CD of the year - Blimey that is hard... I'll give it to John Martyn - Heaven and Hell since it was his last probably more due to sentimentality than anything else. Worthy of mention Elbow's Build a Rocket Boys, City and Colour Little Hell and Black Country Communion 2, Yes - Fly From Here (great return with a new singer) were big contenders as were late entries Steve Earle I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive and The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow.

Book of the year - another hard one... The Millennium series I'd not read until this year so they possibly get that as they were fantastically good.  Also I read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks that was another brilliant book

Anyway - Happy New Year to you all I hope 2012 is a good year for you all.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas music round up

I got three new CDs :-)

Peter Gabriel - Shaking the Tree.  Well not strictly new, I used to have this on cassette (any one under 20 now will need to go to wiki to look them up!) which bit the dust as cassette players reduced towards zero in the house.  It is a collection of his hits up to about 2000 ish - great stuff, Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Solsbury Hill, Don't Give Up etc. 

Steve Earl - I Won't Get Out of This World Alive.  Just under 38 mins - just like an old vinyl record!  12 tracks of utter brilliance frankly... super lyrics (e.g. Melancholy Malady) super playing throughout and Steve's voice just gets better with age.  Written in the time after his fathers death a very poigniant tribute.  Super duper!

The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow.  Fantastic debut from this Nashville duet.  They have voices that angels would have and together are just devine.  This is probably the debut CD of the year for me without a doubt.  If you've never heard of them try and check them out I'm positive you'll not be disappointed.

On other music front I got Tony Bacon's book on Gibson's odd shapes (Explorer, Flying Vee and Firebird) which has a good set of photos and I'm early on in reading but is as ever with his stuff well researched through interviews with Gibson employees of the day etc.

Also I have a new music book - Gordon Giltrap's classics.  I'm trying to learn Heartsong at the moment.  As ever with him it is almost a surprise to find something in standard tuning but still a challenge to come anywhere near his impecable playing.

I got some blu-rays (Cars2 :-)) and a condenser mic for use in the studio from my wife and son :-)  Looking forward to using that at some point soon.  I hope you all have a good Christmas yourselves

I should do the annual Furtheron review of the year soon... I'll try and get to that...

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Yuletide blessings

... to you all.   Given I'm not a Christian it is a bit odd that I find myself repeatedly wishing people a Happy Christmas... my son heard the Yuletide thing and said about it... I'll try to adopt it from now on.

Our Yuletide is underway, the turkey is roasting, the veg is for the large part prepared and ready for cooking, all the presents are wrapped and cluttering up my music room before Mrs F and I play Santa and his little helper later tonight and put them under the tree.  My daughter has been baking mince pies, we've watched Muppet Christmas Carol and have Carol's from King's on as I type this.

I'm lucky I have my family around me, warmth, more than enough food etc.  Others will spend this Christmas on the street, cold and alone.  I should be forever grateful of what I have not what I have not.

I hope all you have a great holiday and celebrate whatever you want in the manner you wish to.  May the blessings of Yuletide from any deity that you may, or may not, believe fall gracefully on you...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Book Review - The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore

Just about to start typing and thought "Shit last time I did a review the flipping author popped up and made a comment. Therefore conscious of the litigious world we live in I ought to mind my p's and q's!"

I bought this book on a bit of a whim.  Piley and Mondo have a Tuesday night radio show these days (they no longer comment on here or talk to me now they are famous you know :-() and Syd was a guest on there a few episodes back.  Anyway due to that I looked out this book, which I believe is her first novel.  It was only 99p for the Kindle edition so given that was a third of what I pay for The Big Issue now and half the price of a skinny latte in Pret a Manger I thought what have you got to lose and in seconds it was on my kindle in my Tor Be Read collection.

The Drowning Pool is a modern ghost story set in the Essex seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea.  Sorry did I just say a ghost story in Leigh?  Yep that is what I thought too, surely ghost stories need to be set in isolated mansions in the highlands or something.  The whole thing is written in the first person as the personal account of the events that happen to Sarah Grey who has moved to Leigh with her young son after the tragic death of her husband.  She has a group of very close friends who unwittingly on a summer night hold a sort of seance that starts a series of hauntings of Sarah that leads her to investigate the death of a lady with exactly the same name as her some 150 odd years before.

It is a brilliant story in which the various characters in the modern day life of Sarah end up completely intertwined with the historical characters in the 19th century and the ending is somewhat cataclysmic and not what I was expecting at the start at all.

The one observation I have to make is that the modern day characters live in a world of alcohol and drug filled fun - the use of "recreational" drugs is talked about.   I know this is for many very much the reality of modern life - however for me I never got how any drug was "recreational".  My drinking was rarely if ever fun.  This isn't a criticism of the book at all, in fact it was truly enlightening of Syd to open this world a little to me. It only relates to me reading about characters in a world I simply cannot inhabit ; the "Oh I get drunk once in a blue moon at a friends gathering" and "I'll smoke pot when it is offered to me"... bizarre people what's the point in that!  Chemically induced oblivion only has any point if it is pretty much a constant situation for me... A small insight for me into the "real" world.  My wife has had a few "girls" nights out as we approach Christmas where she has the rare few glasses of wine or Southern Comfort., me I avoid the Christmas party at work and go to a Step meeting in an Age Concern building in Canterbury...  I am lucky that my wife has never really been a big social drinker... although that could be as a result of watching me slowly drowning myself towards death with booze - if she'd had the good fortune to marry a normal guy she might have a better relationship with alcohol herself... 'tis a family illness as they say.

Sorry - back to book.  Excellent read with a Furtheron double thumbs up.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Insincerity becomes you...

I got an lovely email from some lady called Liz who works for some website somewhere... apparantly they have a fantastic new product, I wouldn't know it is something that has absolutely no interest for me and not an area I can recall ever having blogged about at all on here.  Anyway she "ran into my blog" (sic) ran? into it... what it was on the screen and you headbutted your laptop from a 10 yard run up?  She says she "absolultely love(s) it"... really?   So given your product has nothing to do with guitars, sobriety, recovery, or pretty much any other subject ever referred to on here I get the feeling that isn't quiet the truth... 

Now for anyone else - here is something I've stated on here before - or on the blog that went before this that I stupidly deleted once in a fit of some weirdness - I don't do endorsements, not for money or anything.  I don't review stuff sent to me, my reviews are of stuff that I've actually bought myself.  I have turned down free offers/trials of stuff that is guitar related that I get because this blog is not about that, it is about me and my life it is not about making money or getting a free offer of something.

Another valuable lesson on life's little highway for me (to be honest I don't think Liz will be stopping by the blog again despite her protestations of affection for it so she'll sadly lose out on this little insight) - if you are going to do something, do it well, be truthful and honest with yourself and with those you are engaging with.   If I ever did blanket email people with a view to them reviewing and promoting my music for example I'd probably target blogs and sites that actually regularly have that stuff on them!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Book Review - King's Man - Angus Donald

We continue with the latest enstallment in Mr Donald's retelling of the Robin Hood saga... through the eyes of Alan o'Dale or Alan of Westbury as he is known in this fictional setting.

The book is written as a memoire of Alan's written in his old age, this is like the others in the series, so the one thing you know whatever scrape Alan may be in he has to survive it or there is a major continuity blunder in store ;-)

Anyway these are good rattling, knightly rampaging romps.  Robin and Alan are now back in England following their travels on the crusade with Richard the Lionheart of the previous book.  However Prince John covetously is eyeing the throne of England and Richard is captured by some enemies he made on the crusade on his way back to good old Blighty.  This is all historic fact but within the factual parts Angus weaves in the acts of Robin Odo, Lord of Locksley, the Robin Hood of the legends to come.  He turns Alan into Blondel who is a legendary troubadour who allegedly did go to Germany to try and seek King Richard out whilst the King was  being held for ransom.  So a mix of historical fact and legend weaved in.  It works well and is an easy read without being as totally absorbing as some are.   I definitely enjoyed it enough to purchase the next instalment once released.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas nearly here

It is feeling more like Christmas - Son-of-Furtheron is home for the festivites, I picked him up over the weekend.  Compared to some Christmas time drives to deepest, darkest Wales this one wasn't too bad, a bit of slushy snow on the road above 900ft over the mountains but not too bad.  I took today off just in case we had issues getting back but in the end I went out with S-o-F and his mate to the cathedral of consumerism that is Bluewater.   Too many people but he got the books he wanted and we then went to see the new Sherlock Holmes film which was good entertainment.  The cinema there has the new digital 4K projectors - impressive frankly.

So four days at work left, although a lot of folks are on leave and the campus will be very quiet now all the students will be gone.  So hoping it is reasonably quiet few days.

That's it really... not much going on in the Furtheron household just awaiting the day...

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Jamie Johnson - you heard him here first

Jamie performed at the Songwriter night at the Nags Head last night and blew us all off the stage - we all easily accepted that he was the only real flipping talent there - an amazing voice.

Go here and have a listen to Cloudy Skies.  You can download it and play it to all your friends too!

Then go and like him on Facebook to make his day.

A little spruce up

You may not have noticed but I've spruced the blog up a little... well on the right hand side where all the boxes and stuff is...

Firstly given it is pretty much the anniversary of my winning the Rock-Til-You-Drop 2010 Outstanding Achievement award I thought I ought to take that off the site.  Also I'm liking SoundCloud a lot so have replaced the Reverbnation player box with a couple of SoundCloud - I might think about actually paying for the premium service as I can then have a larger amount of "sets" to put works in which might make sense to then do and vary from time to time what is on here. 

Finally I've added a Facebook button to my Facebook music page if you like my music and are on Facebook please click that and then "like" me as a few followers of this blog already have.  I only use that page to put up music related stuff so you'll not get all the family drivel about how my daughter hates my leather jacket etc.

That is about it for this week really busy at work catching up before we all go on holidays.  I'm off to Wales to fetch Son-of-Furtheron back for Christmas first thing Saturday morning.

Oh yes I went to a Songwriter's Night in Rochester last night and saw a brilliant young singer/songwriter.  I've got his card somewhere - once I check out his internet presence I may well come back here and urge you to go listen to him - he was brilliant.  The guy who runs the night at one point said the rest of us might was well just sit back and let him play all night!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Some more music on SoundCloud

Ok I had originally "kept back" these three as they were intended for a band project idea I never got off the ground.  I decided I might as well stick them up on SoundCloud... they are a certainly a bit different from the stuff I've recently been posting :-)

Demons by Graham Hunt - Medway
Looking for a lover by Graham Hunt - Medway
Might just be the one by Graham Hunt - Medway

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Golden Moment - Graham Hunt cover

I'm very humbled as Nic Evennett has listened to some of my stuff up on Soundcloud and decided to do a "cover" of Golden Moment... well frankly her cover is way better than my original!  Click on the linky to listen

Golden Moment - Graham Hunt cover

Here is my original for comparison - I think you'll agree Nic's piano and much better vocal and lowering the tempo to a beat I'd never be able to sustain (I'd speed up I know I would) really captures the original essence of the underlying meaning of the lyrics, a moment of total peace, calm and serenity.

Thank you so much Nic I am very humbled.

Golden Moment by Graham Hunt - Medway

This shows just one annoying thing I've just discovered with Soundcloud - I thought I was being a numpty but the embedded thing I figured out the other day appears to only be available for your tracks when you click on the Share button in SoundClous.  I suppose I can see the reasoning, anyone could embed the player thing without you knowing... but given you've put it up on SoundCloud would you worry?   Anyway please go click on the link above and give Nic's version a listen.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


These are times of austerity, we all need to tighten our belts, make sacrifies etc. - hence my pension and my wife's will cost us more, hence we're to get a massively below inflation payrise next year but will have to pay £9000 a year for my daughter to get a degree which is the only way she'll be qualified to get a job in a coffee shop soon no doubt.

Right Mr Cameron and others I have one answer for you - Scrap the OFT.   I've read two bonkers decisions of theirs recently that defy all normal logic.  (OFT - Office of Fair Trading)

Firstly the OFT have decided that there is no need to limit the interest rates charged by payday lenders.  As long as they abide by telling people the rate that is fine.  These parasites charge up to 4000% - no I didn't mistype that - 4000% for short term low value loans.   OK unfortunately, dear government, your numeracy education has failed repeatedly over the last few years I pretty much guarantee that most people don't really understand percentages - if they did no one would ever borrow from these people.   So more of the most vulnerable will be forced into spiralling debt due to the decision that "such (price) controls may further reduce supply" (OFT report).

Secondly our local paper closed this week after 156 years loyal service to our community.  This put 35 people out of work less than a month before Christmas.  The reason the paper closed?  The OFT.  Yes honestly it can be laid pretty much straight at their feet.  The owners were trying to sell that title and some others to a rival to combine with their own (in my view much inferiour) product.   The OFT decided to refer this to the Competition Commission because of the concern about the new owners having a monopoly in a particular area - hey look at water supply in my area or train services... where's the competition there?  The new purchasers withdrew the offer that day, citing the cost and length of time it would take for them to take part in such a review.  So a matter of weeks later the paper is closed completely all staff lose their jobs and the rival has the monopoly that supposedly was the concern.  By the way the OFT were told that this is exactly what would happen if they made the decision to refer this case!

Utterly bonkers!   Hello men in ivory tower... earth calling!  So we need to save public money I can offer you the OFT as I fail to see how this is actually helping the man in the street at the moment.

The few...

What would you think is the exclusive club in the world in terms of exploration?  Those that have best Mt Everest?  Sadly no longer you can virtually book that on a package deal these days.

Easy then you think, the men who went to the Moon - there were 12 in total of them... interestingly there is the same number in the club of "men who flew to the Moon but didn't land".  (Source Wiki).

No the one that I think probably beats them all, and interestingly beat the first walk on the Moon by about 9 years is the Men Who Have Been To The Bottom Of The Ocean.  Truly only 2 men have done it, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in the research bathyscaphe Trieste in 1960.

This story reported by the BBC is interesting as there has been a whole plethora of new survey's being done in the Pacific at the moment, the devastating tsunamis of recent past have allowed for an influx of research money.

The estimate now is that the deepest point is actually about 10,944m give or take about 40m based on the accuracy of the kit.  11km to you or me.  That is 6.83miles in old money or a couple of furlongs short of 7miles - that is a heck of a long way.  You could drop Everest in there from the very very base up, i.e. from sea level and it would still disappear under the surface.

There is a new race on to go back to the bottom - and now these guys can do it with a much more accurate understanding of the sea floor due to this recent mapping. But still seems amazing that there is a place on the earth that man has visited substantially less than we have visited the Moon.

Interesting cheap guitars, TC wizardry, Rice Guitar pickup giveaway

So in keeping with the title of this blog something about guitars for a change... actually 3 things.

Firstly - CH Guitars have some different from the run of the mill guitars for sale via eBay at the moment.  These include this take on the Fender Broadcaster (to be renamed Telecaster) prototype that Leo first made.  Given only one pickup it is more an Esquire-a-like I suppose.

Secondly - how about this.  A 12 string Les Paul - ooohhh!  Seriously I'm mostly putting this up here in the hope one of you will buy this and stop my head going "buy it... buy it"...

The good news is the prices - £249 for the Tele and £349 for the Les Paul!! Go check out there is also a nice looking sunburst Fender Tele Deluxe copy for only £299 as well.

Now here is the coolest thing I've seen in technology in ages.  TC Electronic have a long established reputation for quality kit.  They have introduced a new range of compact effects pedals with the "Toneprint" feature.  This is in itself already neat - the pedal has a small usb connector on it, you plug that into your computer, go to their website, find a "Toneprint" (i.e. patch) you want from some famous muso and down load it into your pedal.  How neat - esp useful I'd have thought for session or covers band players but then... hang on you go to the studio guitar, lead, pedal(s) - you aren't going to hump the laptop are you.  So now you don't need to if you own an iPhone.

You download their app for the phone (free) - on the phone you navigate to the TC site find the Toneprint you want and then you beam it to your pedal by holding the phone over an active pickup on your guitar - it goes through the pickup down the cable and viola the pedal is reprogrammed.  At first I a) thought this was a gag - check not 1st April b) thought it so Star Trek ... but it does work.  Holy Moly!

Finally there is a pickup give away going on over at Rice Guitars - if you go to their Facebook page and click on the link etc. you can win yourself a $250 set of handwired Strat replacement pickups.   Got to be worth a go.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Book Review - Trinity Six, Charles Cumming

This is the first Charles Cumming novel I've read and I bought it because it was one of those "if you liked that you'll like this" recommendations.  So I downloaded it onto my e-book reader - oh yes I'll say a little more on that in a moment... and gave it a go.

Very good in general, very typical modern intrigue filled modern day spy thriller.  Of course the problem for modern spy thriller writers is that the old East (i.e. Russia) vs the West (i.e. UK and USA) antagonism of the cold war years has long since gone away.  So what does Mr Cumming do to address this?  Simple dig up old spies from the cold war and have them spilling the beans to a new generation with the hint of a big modern day scandal if any of this got out.  So why Trinity Six... remember Blunt, Burgess etc. well here is a claim of a 6th member of that group of spies recruited in the 30s but this one remains buried by both Russia and the UK to this day... imagine that Margaret Thatcher had never stood up and admitted to Blunts confession made all those years before type thing.

Actually it works well - for me more than interesting in that the hero is a Professor of Russian History where I now work!  Some of the scenes are played out at the corner of the road just outside my office... which makes it difficult for me to separate fiction from truth... this happened when Waking the Dead was filmed in an office block I once worked in many years ago and I found myself thinking - "So the murder happened just after I left there. I can't be a suspect or witness then"... err... it's fiction you Muppet!!!!  So whilst I've looked for the hero's office it isn't there... 'cos it's fiction you Muppet!!! Oh yes right...

Still we run through London, Winchester, Berlin, Vienna etc. at a rattling pace.  Good and bad spooks pop up all over the place and in the end.... well read the book.   If you like spy thrillers this is pretty good and I'll be probably reading some more from the same author.

Kindle Reader update

Mrs F bought me a Kindle for my birthday back in October and I've read the last few novels on it.  I like it, easier than carting a book about.  It is easy to read, or so I've found, only once on one train did I find light an issue but given that is a one off must have been me that day or the light itself.  Also it is really good for reference books.  I've only bought one or two so far but having them in a slim small little thing means you can quickly check something, put bookmarks in where you need to and quickly pull up the one flipping bit you can never get in the right order.  I know I'm trapped into the Amazon paradigm through this one and there are other more open choices out there but all the reviews say the Kindle is very good, I'd agree with that.  To be honest I'm a bit of an Amazon whore anyway so what the heck and finally it has worked really well with my account - it was quick and simple to set up and has worked fine since.  So I'm an ebook convert now... honestly I'm nearly in the 21st century!   Only one thing I'd moan about the Kindle.  Someone else can't buy you a book and send it to you currently which is a shame - would be nice for Christmas/birthday if you could buy a book for another person and then it download on the day - I'm sure they will fix that some how.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

A couple of solo Acoustic pieces

A couple of pieces originally completed as part of a commission for some royalty free soundtrack click on the link

Solo Acoustic pieces

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Furtheron Studios

I couple of quick (and rubbish!) photos of Furtheron Studios in full flight!

Firstly the chaos that is the music room!

Later on downstairs copying over the recorded material onto the laptop and using Audacity to clear off all the coughing and sniffing before I get settled!

Friday, 2 December 2011


I have a great old friend who I worked with for a good number of years, he was briefly my boss for a while, a man I have a lot of respect for.  Very level headed a man who has seen a lot and done a lot and quite a humble chap.  He also edges more than a little towards the curmudgeon end of the scale.  Anyway one day we were reading an interview that had appeared somewhere from another old colleague of ours who was trying to climb the greasy pole of corporate success.  In this interview he was asked who out of his past and present colleagues would he say had been "inspirational".  I remember my friend just repeating with almost despairing incredulity the word "Inspirational?".   He couldn't quite grasp that anyone we worked with could be inspirational in any way.   It was very funny and over some years I've only had to say "Inspirational?" quietly under my breath to him for him to have a beaming smile at our private joke in whatever context that may have been.

In a world where superlatives seem to be losing their value in the currency of language daily everything now is "awesome", "amazing", "fantastic"... if you say something was "interesting" or "good" people look at you as though you aren't joining the party, you aren't on the programme.  But truly I try to keep the superlative for use when applicable.  My coffee this morning was "nice", it was "good" - it wasn't "awesome". 

I watched a series of speakers this morning at an event I was invited to attend.  One in particular was very impressive.  He spoke for exactly his allotted time, 10 mins, no notes, no PowerPoint slides, no prompts - no hesitation, no noticeable errs and umms, not flustered or too fast nor too slow and stilted.  What he had to say was concise but also far reaching, it was educating and thought provoking.  It was "very good" and it did indeed enthuse me.  None of the other speakers were bad, others were highly enthusiastic and humours, others clear and direct etc.  However this one person did shine out - a very special man with a very great talent that he has clearly honed into an applied skill. 

In 10 minutes I learnt a lot - and not just from what he said.  Inspirational?  Pretty close...