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Showing posts from 2008

2008

So that was 2008 was it. Well nearly about 12 hours still left. Rubbish year on many fronts, the global financial crisis, continuing conflict in too many areas, again exemplified by the Gaza fighting in recent days. I watched a Michael Palin programme with him trying to trace some crew he sailed with 20 years ago, he went to Mumbai and visited several of the places subsequently attacked in the recent attack. Why so much violence? Anyway - at least for me another sober one under the belt, as long as I don't drink at all today, unlikely as I'm at an AA meeting this evening. Music - lack lustre year in some ways. But CD of the year is either Elbow's Seldom Seen Kid or Kings of Leon Only By the Night - one day one next day the next... :-) Best live album defo Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scotts. Best rock album Metallica Death Magnetic. So here's to a better and hopefully more peaceful 2009.

Happy Christmas

Well folks this is the very last post before Christmas 2008. So happy Christmas to all of you. Did anyone see the Rab C Nesbitt Christmas revival special last night? I’d forgotten just how brilliant that show was. I was in stitches throughout – esp. his discussion with the server in the coffee shop about his Tall Latte. Here are a selection of my favourite Christmas tunes for you to enjoy.

Mark my words - there'll be queues...

On Saturday Mrs F and Son-of-Furtheron headed off to the Bodyworlds exhibition at the O2. Daugther and I had passed on this, largely as I don't think daughter would have liked it. Mrs F said it was fascinating and glad they went - my son said the whole thing about embryos to children's challenged his thinking on abortion. I'd stupidly in a moment of not thinking/listening properly had apparently agreed to take Daughter to Bluewater as she had a voucher still from her birthday burning a hole in her pocket. She is to shopping what I am to guitar ogling; an obsessive. We headed there early with her moaning and me saying in typical grumpy Dad style - "there'll be queues already". There weren't :-( I've never had such an easy exit of the A2 and into the place, this of course accompanied by a daughter in complete "told you so" mode next to me. Anyway we hit the shops then had a Chinese lunch before heading for the exit as the after lunch hordes

Good grief I'm famous...

Well not really but I have been asked to pen a post as a guest blogger on Jemsite a community site with focus on Ibanez Jem guitars plus other stuff. My post is about my guitar collecting obsession and is called in search of the perfect guitar . Funny since penning this last week for them I've since bought this months Guitar Buyer magazine which has a PRS flavour. A PRS catalogue, DVD with endorsees talking ad nauseam about PRS's (I get the point that they "stay in tune dude") and many shops highlighting their PRS stocks throughout the magazine. So now I'm thinking 513 ... I played one a while back and really loved it but that was a rosewood neck one that was really silly money - as if the new mahogany necked one at £2199 is a bargain heh? Or maybe a CE Alder - different, interesting woods and bolt on neck. I'm thinking sort of souped up strat sound. Stop it!!!

Davy Graham 1940 - 2008

With great sadness I heard of Davy Graham's passing this week. Davy was one of the great pioneers of the British Folk scene in the 1960s along with the likes of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. Bert Jansch is known very much for his rendition of Anji which was written by Davy Graham. I was introduced to that piece by my first guitar teacher and that was when I first came across him. From my perspective he's a name I've known and respected but really it was the people he influenced who've subsequent been influences on me, Gordon Giltrap, John Martyn and Jimmy Page. Here is some Davy Graham to remember him by. And here is Gordon Giltrap playing Anji(e) in his own stunning style.

Eleanor Simmons and Alastair Hignell I salute you.

I watched most of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shindig on Sunday night. The two best awards for me were the young award that was given to Eleanor Simmons for her stunning gold medals in the Paralympics. It was so good to see a paralympian wining an award where she was head to head with able bodied athletes – a great message for our country I thought. Her beaming face and great spirit are one of the best memories of this year. But the most poignant for me was the award to Alastair Hignell who was awarded the Helen Rollason award for ‘outstanding courage and achievement in the face of adversity'. In 1975 I was on a school trip to Twickenham to watch the varsity match – we saw history as Hignell scored 60 points that day for Cambridge. He’d already moved positions from scrum half to full back so that he stood more chance at an England place. He’d made his debut in club rugby and also for England already. He went on to be a memorable England full back. Not only that h

Song recording update and headlights…

I drove over 600 miles in 24 hours to pop over to Wales and return with Son-of-Furtheron, a good proportion of his belongings, a ton of incomprehensible Physics lecture notes he needs to revise for his exams in Jan and a somewhat bizarre range of books needed by a friend of ours doing his masters who’d come home on the train earlier in the week. Frankly with the weather this weekend the driving stank, on the M1 on Sat it was laughable to watch these idiots trying to weave through the traffic. After every 30 miles or so you’d pass them again as they’d got stuck in the outside lane and they’d be off again. One of my flipping headlights failed on the drive up. So I thought “No problem I’ve some spare bulbs in my box of crap in the boot I’ll replace it”. Open the manual; I’m un-usual I normally do read the manual I generally find it helps. Once when I was support for a leading dealing systems provider I used to do front line support for some of the top financial institutions in Europe – m

Oliver Postgate

You may have seen on the news last week that Oliver Postgate has passed away. A man who had a gentle but still massive influence on myself and my family. For those readers who’ve never heard of him Oliver Postgate made short animation films for the BBC. His films were for kids. I well remember as a child myself loving Noggin the Nog which was the first one he made with Peter Firmin under the moniker of Smallfilms. These were introduced like an old Norse saga. Oliver Postgate provided the narration as well as the storylines. Last year we went to the British Museum and I sought out the Lewis Chessmen which inspired the look of the characters and set. Actually I love books about Vikings and historical novels, I wonder whether there is some influence there, it wouldn't surprise me. Later Smallfilms made Ivor the Engine. This was always my personal favourite. Again the animation was homespun and quaint, the storylines gentle and narrated by Oliver. This was the brilliant sto

It’ll be lonely this Christmas…

Anyone remember Mud’s Elvis rip off from the 70s? Firstly what happened to good old Christmas novelty number ones? Come to that what simply has happened to good old fashion pop music? There’s a lot of good music out there still but there is a lot of guff as well and the radio isn’t what it used to be. This post is in danger of becoming something from Grumpy Old Men at Christmas. I was at an AA meeting last night and Christmas was, not surprisingly, one of the topics of sharing. What was surprising however was how many people honestly shared that they really don’t like Christmas, it disrupts the routine, it costs you a load of cash you can little afford and for many it isn’t really a time of celebration with families fractured or moved away etc. However one thing we were all agreed on I think is that a sober Christmas will be a thousand times better than a drunk Christmas. I used to be one of the big organisers of Christmas nights out etc. in my drinking days. One I remember was a pub

Oh what a beautiful morning.

Hardly Oklahoma I know. Whilst the temperature is distinctly demanding a woolly hat it was beautifully sunny and clear today on the drive to work - so clear in fact I could see to France on the drive down the hill. Also believe it or not - Gillingham are still in the FA Cup. Yes I know! And cap that it was an away win, a massive rarity in itself, but also an away win in a replay. Against Stockport who are in League One. What is going on? We've now got Villa at home in January. Holy Cow! STOP PRESS - the Villa game is going to be on ITV. The Gills full 90 mins on top telly against premiership opposition. I think I've just enter an alternative reality.

The relativity of time and Christmas memories/wishes

I don’t live up a really high mountain, I live in Kent and whilst I am some way up the shallow slope on the northern side of the North Downs so hardly a region noted for its high altitude. The reason I’m pondering this is that the weekend seemed to flash past quicker than Lewis Hamilton on a final lap burst for pole position. I watched a Horizon programme about time last week and was reminded that the closer you are to a large gravitational body the slower time travels, therefore if you are up a high mountain time must surely go quicker. Hence my puzzlement as to whether the contours on the map about my house are correct or not… Enough of the waffling basically the weekend came, the Christmas decorations came out the loft and went up, after having to fix one set of lights, I cooked a Chinese for Mrs F, Daughter-of-Futheron, my brother and his girlfriend, we put the kitchen back together which is always a big job once I’ve been cooking (I ran out of oven space, bowls, spoons everyth

New look blog, last gig of the year and the much treasured Furtheron gig of the year awards.

I’ve tarted up the blog a bit as you may notice. Along with the seductively reclining Les Paul on the header there are some lists as to music I’m listening to and books I’ve been reading on your right that I’ll endeavour to update regularly. Please feel free to comment on anything you notice in there… Mrs F got an early Christmas present last night as I took her to see Simply Red at The O2 on their Greatest Hits tour. Simply put Simply Red are Mrs F’s favourites above all others so she is sad that they are calling time on their career and that this is the final tour. This was the fifth time I think we’ve seen them, once about second album time at the Docklands Arena (does that still exist?) and I remember them having loads of technical issues that night. At Wembley Arena I think on the Stars tour. Brighton some time later on the Home tour and a couple of years back at an open air gig at Leeds Castle in Kent just after Blue came out. So anyhow – very very good gig. We were up in the g

Healthy life

Health is a relative term isn’t it? Are you healthy? Am I healthy? Well I feel pretty good at the moment. Firstly the problem in my upper back / neck that was giving me pain in my arms is a lot better than a few weeks back. However as regular readers will know I hurt my lower back two weeks back. It made a remarkable recovery I think given how I felt the 48 hours directly afterwards. It is still twinging a bit but not bad at all. I went back to swimming for the first time since then this morning and it was pulling a bit but was okay really. I need to do the funny exercises a physiotherapist gave me some years back. I’ll not go into detail but I look like a deranged cat in most of them – there that’s got some peoples imaginations working overtime no doubt. I had a cardiac risk assessment done recently, when I drank for years I had hypertension (high blood pressure) and was on treatment for it. As soon as I stopped drinking it came down. Now I’m “a little over weight” and my

Shopping done!

Took a day off on Friday and got the Christmas shopping done. Good old Mrs F had given it all some thought and had the lists in order we hit Bluewater at opening, split up and by lunchtime were all done. Blinding! There's a lot on order from Amazon but we are pretty much sorted out. Daughter-of-Furtheron and I had a day together Saturday as Mrs F had a girlie day with some of her mates. We went shopping and got a load of bargains in Body Shop - thanks to the assistant there who helped us, had a coffee/hot chocoloate and muffin moment whilst waiting for her shoes to be reheeled and then headed to our favourite Chinese restaurant. Somehow we had a discussion about drugs, alcohol and smoking. She's only 13 and so knowledgable already, I hope she makes the right decisions in the future.

F1 medals disaster

As long as the F1 championship has been going, long before Mr Eccelstone had made a fortune from it, it has been a championship that rewards consistency of performance throughout the year – hence it is points based and I for one hope it will long remain so. It could do with more overtaking… people blame the circuits but I’ve watched GP2 races on the same day at the majority of European circuits and there is plenty of overtaking in those races. Yes that is a one make championship so everyone has the same car, engine, tyres etc. I’d hate for F1 to go that way since part of F1 is the teams building better and better cars to beat one another. So if it was up to me what would I do? (No point moaning here without an alternative is there). Okay here would be my plan. Points for positions increased. i.e. 1st place 15 points, 2nd place 10 points, 3rd place 8 points…. Or similar – if someone won’t overtake for 2 points will they for 5 or 10? Give points for qualifying. Pole 5 points, 2

What in the name of Les Paul is that?!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that but what the hell is Gibson doing making this? http://www.guitarvillage.co.uk/product-detail.asp?id=7064 Also who is going to buy it? Esp at that price...

A dilemma

So I’ve some ideas for new songs hanging around but over 2 years ago I jettisoned all my recording gear when I downsized into the smaller bedroom in the house to allow Princess Pink and Lilac (my daughter) to take over the room above the garage which had been my “studio” since we’d moved in. To be fair I’d hardly touched the stuff in years as I’d lost the drive to write and record my own stuff, also it was very dated a very old and very basic Fostex 4track portastudio, an old Alesis sequencer, a Yamaha DX keyboard I never got the hang of playing let alone programming etc. I even sold my old Boss drum machine. The dilemma therefore is what to do to rectify this situation. My first thought was to go computer recording but frankly I have enough of computers at work and my home track record isn’t good either – our latest one is just back after weeks on its back needing a new CPU etc. So I’ve decided I definitely want to go for a dedicated recorder of some kind for ease of “plug in and ju

VAT

I’ve tried a little research but not got to find what I was looking for. My memory of VAT was that it first came to be in the UK in 1973 as part of our entry into the European Common Market (as it was called then). At that point I remember there being three bands – 0% for essentials, 12.5% for most items and something like 24% for luxury items. Some years later the two charging bands were pulled together into one at 15%. Many items that were exempt as essentials have over the years lost that status and are now taxed – Children’s shoes I recall being one that was hotly argued at the time. Along with fuel which was at times on a different lower band. I thought that VAT was “temporarily” increased to 17.5% from 15% by the Tory government in the early 90s to cover the deficit that the treasury had due to number of people not paying the community charge (“poll tax”). It never went back down – so this “temporary” move to lower it to 15% could be viewed cynically by people with long me

Some of the guitar collection

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First is my old Classical - it's a Fender FC40 that my Mum bought me when I was about 14/15. I've never had another classical really and it has lots of memories. Next up a slight odd ball - A Peter Cook Axis custom This has active EQ on board. Lovely guitar with a great neck. Big frets and a strat scale with through body stringing. I got it in Andy's in Denmark Street in the 80s. Probably not worth much but if you wanted similar quality today you'd pay a lot. Here is my Squire Strat. It's a 1962 replica that I bought brand new in 1982 in Charing Cross Road and have had ever since. So one of the early sought after JV series. In the name of playability, usability and reliability I've replaced the tuners with locking Sperzels and the electrics are from an old USA standard. In value terms both mistakes but this is a "keeper" so what the heck. Whilst not as beat up as his it has a bit of the John Frusciante about this one... okay it's al

Hairspray review

The weekend went really well with Son-of-Furtheron making the trip home from Wales for his sisters birthday. Saturday morning was the usual over excitement that youngsters have for birthdays with her opening all her presents in our bedroom. I'd got her a new digital camera - pink one of course - and all weekend she's been clicking away like nuts, including a picture of the Camberwell snooker club... don't ask me. Unfortunately I'd let slip something a week or so ago and she'd put two and two together and despite as saying we'd pick her Nan up just so she could see son-of-Furtheron before leaving the obvious hole in this being that Nan lives right next to the station so it looked odd. Anyway at the appointed time the streched pink limo pulled up outside and her and her friend were over the moon. We all settled into the ridiculous thing full of balloons and banners. Son-of-Furtheron now admitted that when he'd told his flat mate he was coming home to ride

This week and the weekend

So I spent two days off sick with my back. It got a bit better Tuesday. Wednesday morning I made the decision to go to a business meeting I was booked to attend near Stratford-on-Avon. So I set off, I got off the M25/M40 for a bunch of it to allow me to stop and walk about. To be honest about half way I thought “this was a mistake” but by then it was really a case of might as well carry on to the end now I’m this far. The meeting was very useful – lots to consider. This is in an area I’m trying to work on at the moment about how can you facilitate better buying and selling of knowledge. We’re at a potential tipping point to get this off the ground but it all needs marshalling and focusing and pushing. The meeting was held in a large Elizabethan manor house that has been turned into a hotel. Allegedly Shakespeare route As You Like there. Wednesday evening the back began to feel better and this continued on Thursday with the journey home not as bad discomfortwise as the trip up

Pain, pain, pain!

So some point today I bent down just putting some rubbish in the bin after I'd been out in the garden clearing up leaves etc. and bang! It was like someone swiped my back with a sword. Agony! Goodness knows what I've pulled but it hurts like hell!

What the hell happened to me?

This post was inspired by Aunt Jackie at Deep in the Forest . My first ambition was to be a musician – it’s so old I can’t remember where it came from. Before I was at school Mum had bought me a little play guitar and I’d stand in front of the huge stereogram we had then playing her collection of singles. Beatles, I want to hold you hand and This Boy a couple of my favourites, The Shadows who my sister like, we had an EP from the film The Young Ones with the red Fenders on the cover, Elvis – “Devil in disguise”… etc. I remember at a birthday party before I was 10 telling everyone I was going to be a guitarist – I remember they mostly laughed. Then I started to buy stuff – Ha ha said the clown by Manfred Mann was where it started and then others until Supertramp, Hendrix etc. started to take hold. Then the flood gates with Rush, Yes etc. etc. by then Mum had forked out £20 and I had a nylon strung acoustic I tried to learn on. She sent me for classical lessons which was a great way f

I simply wouldn't have believed it....

Amazing!!!

Gig Review. Queen + Paul Rodgers

Brian May extolled the virtues of the refurbished Wembley Arena saying how the £10 million face lift had improved it all and apologised for the last time they had played there which had been in the temporary tent thing. Well yes Wembley is a lot better than it used to be at least the toilets (although there are far too few for blokes and far too many for girls…:-)) and the food outlets are more numerous than of old, however if you now compare it with say O2 at Greenwich I don’t think there is much comparison. The O2 is much better with all the restaurants outside, better seats which have more leg room and are more comfortable and better laid out than the slab sided arena. Anyway – enough of the venue… The gig was brilliant. I wouldn’t put myself in the rabid Queen fan category but I do think them a brilliant band and have always liked the diversity of their music, they seem to roll up a lot of styles whilst always maintaining the Queen sound. Even now with Paul Rodgers filling the voc

A Head Full of Shoulds.

I’m still struggling with this depressive mood I’ve had for several months now. I’ve never known me have one that has lasted this long or had me so baffled as to how to move on. I’ve a head full shoulds. (I tried to write a song called that a while back, embryonic lyrics at the bottom) I should be happy as I’m not in Rwanda as one example. I should be happy Obama was elected president as that is a momentous thing. I should be happy my son has done so well in his first set of exams at uni. I should be happy I’m off to a gig this weekend with Mrs F. Etc. Acceptance. I’m not doing so well on acceptance. Where I am, how I am, who I am, what I am are all exactly right, for right now. I’m not living in the moment my mind is a yard forward or a yard back never exactly where I am. I'm comparing myself too much to others again as they are always better at me in whatever dimension I decide to compare myself against that day. Positivism. I bought the book The Secret a while bac

Gordon Giltrap - emptying his cupboards

Deejay put me on to the fact that Gordon Giltrap is selling off some of his guitars via Guitar Junction in Brighton. Oh heck now look I'm drooling over this Hagstrom Jazzer and this Fylde Nylon Electro-Acoustic and (unrelated but a bargain and would fit nicely in my English Guitar Collection Corner) this Patrick Eggle Berlin.... Hopeless isn't the word...

A new day

I wake up. It’s a new day. So is today radically a different day from the last? There are days when the world changed. When that guy assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand that change the world (Sad but I bet you most people under 30 will think of that band from Scotland before WWI today). Hitler deciding to ignore the rhetoric of England and invading Poland that changed the world. Dropping the bombs on Japan that changed the world. Henry Ford thinking up mass production, Fleming with penicillin, Berners-Lee just letting the world wide web be available for all for free… Will Barack being the first African American elected president be one of those moments? Who knows, history will judge won’t it. There’s some weird connectedness sort of going on here though isn’t there? Well there is in my mind… So today is 5th Nov – Bonfire night, Guy Fawkes night or whatever you call it. Tonight throughout Britain people will let off fireworks, build bonfires and burn an effigy of Gu

Sorry?

According to this news story on the BBC some scientists claim they can trace a relationship between the development of autism and higher than normal rainfall in the first three years of a child's life. Beats the hell out of me... Maybe there is some truth but I think this is where you begin to wonder about two unrelated facts being misconstrued. There was some survey a while back that found that schools that had a blazer as a compulsory part of its uniform had better GCSE results. So recently my sons old school has reintroduced the blazer as part of it's uniform. I'm at a loss about this supposed link - my sons school is a high school in an area of selective education - i.e. we have local grammar schools as well. Those have retained the blazer throughout so at the time of the survey a school with pupils who failed the old 11plus (as we called it) who didn't have a blazer in the uniform was compared to schools with the top 5 - 10% of intellect (i.e. the grammar school

Lewis

Well that was a bit flipping close wasn’t it? I think if I’d have written an F1 thriller novel with that as the final chapter the publisher would have no doubt said – “The ending is a bit far fetched isn’t it?” I did for a few minutes think that he’d probably let the championship slip away when he seemed to just lose concentration and go too wide and Vetel sneaked through. I’ve not seem any film of Glock before the passes but from the car language presume he’d spun – or was having massive difficulty keep the car on the track. I mean you can’t get any closer than that can you when Massa crossed the line he was champion but then in the next few seconds that pass meant he wasn’t. How cruel for him was that as well. It is good now though that F1 is in a much healthier place driver wise than a few years back where really it was Schumacher and virtually no one else to challenge him. Now you have Hamilton, Raikkonen, Massa and Alonso all with the ability to win the championship and ot

Jeff Beck at Ronnie Scotts

Last week the BBC showed film of Jeff Beck playing at Ronnie Scotts at the end of 2007. Stunning. Breathtaking. Genius. Jeff Beck has for a while been one of the few guitarists I'd say to people was really still out there being inventive, novel, interesting, different. I saw him live backing up Sting some years back but this TV special was absolutely ace. I think a CD is already out and a DVD to come. There's nothing I can find on the net from that show but here is a taster of one of his tunes.

Buying advice

A friend at work is looking to get a Christmas present for one of her family - a Fender Jazz Bass. Good choice! She has a budget of £500 and ask my advice. I offered the following but made me realise that frankly it's bloody confusing as hell isn't it for someone who knows nothing but what they know the other person wants but they want to buy in secret without that person knowing.... No problem – happy to help. Okay firstly an attempt to quickly unravel the mystery around this… Largely there are three main groupings of Fender instruments. American made – these are the “puka” Fenders made in the Californian factories. Generally considered the pinnacle that people aspire to. I’ll explain more about these in a moment… Mexican made – these are still Fenders but generally not considered the real thing. You have to be careful when buying as these are often refered to as Standard series and I’ve seen Mexican Fenders on eBay with “American” in the title. There is a differ

Signs

The other day I was looking at a large sign in the window of a church where I regularly attend an AA meeting. It was advertising an “Indoor boot fair”. I looked at the steps up to the door, there is a ramp but small and twisty. The door isn’t that big either. So I turned to a friend and said – “How do they get the cars in for this indoor boot fair then?” He pondered this – “Presumably you empty your boot and take the contents inside”. He offered. “Wouldn’t that be a jumble sale?” I asked. “Would’ve been in our day” was his considered reply. However another person spotted a similar sign and then we had a conversation about boot fairs vs jumble sales. And rightly he pointed out that for a good old fashioned jumble sale you separated out your crap into, clothes, bric-a-brac, etc. and placed it with other similar items. Whereas in a boot sale, indoor or traditional, basically all your crap is on your table and then the next table is another similar assortment of different categ

Then suddenly it was different... after weeks of effort…

(Bit like the quote from the Roger Miller the singer who said something like “It took me 20 years to become an overnight success”). For anyone who’s followed stuff here or elsewhere before there was a here will know I went through a low patch. I’m slowly coming up the other side. I was sharing about that and some other stuff at an AA meeting last night and as ever in that process I began to realise that things are better than they were a while back, I’m moved on and am getting on with stuff better. As ever though my negative default brain process clicks in and almost demands something more tangible to prove to me this improvement. I try to quell that with “This will pass..” “Time takes time”, “Acceptance is the key” etc. thoughts and application of the programme. Then in my inbox this morning is an invite from a Prof at a learned university to step in at the last min as a speaker at an international conference next week. Someone can’t now make it and they know of some work I

Happiness is the Road

The new Marillion album has arrived in it’s jiffy bag. A double CD with two books of photographic art work, lyrics, credits and of course the list of nutters from the Marillion “family” who parted with their hard earned cash some months back to pre-order and hence pay for the production before a note was played. So yes my name is in there. Marillion have pioneered the use of the internet to connect directly to their fans since the 90s and this is the third album they have funded through a direct appeal to the faithful to pay for a special issue of the finished result before they begin to make it. This one is currently only available direct from Marillions on-line store . Like many of their albums after the first listen through I’m thinking… “Hmm need to listen again”. After another few listens (despite my daughters protests) it’s a classic Marillion album. Very much more Marbles than Something Else was. The lyrical concepts are pretty neat as well. It’ll be in the player fo

she's back

After over two weeks and just when we thought there was no possible hope my mother-in-laws cat has reappeared. She'd been less than half a mile away and via the cats protection league she's back home now. The lady who had been feeding her had no idea who she belonged to. a happy ending...

Gig Review – James Blunt

I took Mrs F to see James Blunt at the O2 arena last night. Second time I’ve now been to a gig at the O2, my son took me to see the Metallica fan club show last month there, which I missed a review on as that was during blog hiatus… Just for the record, bloody brilliant, bonkersly loud and all very Metallica. I’m very impressed with the O2 as a venue given there are loads of restaurants in the building, for us it’s only 50 mins drive away and the parking is really close if expensive (£20) but then we can leave the gig and be home in less than an hour from leaving our seats. As opposed to Wembley, Earls Court or Hammersmith where we’ll be lucky if we’re on a train by then. I’d done very well getting tickets in the third row right in front of the stage. Mrs F was very impressed although we were surrounded by a few slightly worrying JB fans who looked like they might stray into psycho stalker territory on occasion. They were having various chats about how to get backstage after the show

Julian Bream

There was a great programme on BBC4 on Friday night showing clips of Julian Bream from the early 60s through to the 90s. Now I remember him being "the man" of the moment when I picked up classical guitar in the mid 1970s. I remember him being this outrageously ostentatious bloke driving old 30s sports cars etc. Also I remember his facial expressions whilst playing. This programme though was a really good sample of his playing - he is a man with great tone. Here is one of the things I found on youtube. Made me think about getting the old classical out more and trying to knuckle down to playing that more... then the Les Paul called and I was seduced by the mistress of rock n roll - well Red Barchetta by Rush mostly... do you think that was a bizarre round the houses reference re the red sportscar of said Mr Breams?

Great Guitar show

If you've not seen yet the BBC is doing a series on the history of the guitar - I think the 1st part is repeated on BBC 4 this evening at 11pm - set your recorders up now! Here's an example of the exclusive video clips off the web site the BBC has set up.

What’s the bloody point?

I was commenting on another bloggers blog about energy and commitment etc. So here we go guys here’s my major issue at the moment my major character defect that is causing me pain. Sometime ago I used to have the energy thing where I used to throw myself in to something with a passion. Nowadays though I find myself begrudgingly struggling into some action with a continual “What’s a bloody point?” question bouncing in my brain. Why is that? Am I just lazy? Fair question to ask. It may just be that but I don’t think that is it. I do “turn up”. I go swimming quiet a bit, I put in the hours in at work, I attend regular meetings for AA and I so service commitments in AA and again I turn up and contribute there. I regular take my kids to events they want to go to, I do my bit about the house and garden. If I was just lazy surely that’d show through in those kind of things or in how I take care of myself physically etc. So whilst I’m prepared to admit to a bit of that I don’t belie

It's been a week now

My mother-in-laws cat, Mitzi, wasn't well last week - a problem with her kidneys that she's had before. So she got some medicine from the vet etc. but then almost immediately and very unlike her the cat went missing. She's old and a rescue cat who'd been poorly treated so she stays pretty much in the house and the garden. Sadly it's been a week now with no sign of her. It's the not knowing that's the worst bit isn't it.

Missing the boy

Son-of-Furtheron has started at university – he is now in his third week. To be honest it’s been a bit traumatic for us. He really struggled with homesickness at the back end of the first week much more than any of us really expected I think. I wasn’t sure what was best to call him each day or give him distance. The calling each day seems best at the moment. He then got “Fresher’s Flu” no doubt due to the stress, a whole load of new folks in one place, diff living conditions etc. However he is on the mend now and really settling in well it looks like, however the weather has been terrible apparently but then he chose Wales! He scored on the accommodation he is in a revamped block and not close to the noisy pub area but away in the trees. But I’m missing him – it’s now me and the two women in my life. There just isn’t someone who gets my humour or encourages me to turn the music up. On Saturday I sat on a bench like some lost bloody tramp for an age whilst the girls tried on

My birthday…

It was my birthday last week – my belly button birthday as we call them in AA. One advantage of being a recovering drunk is that I get two birthdays!!! My AA birthday – i.e. the day I started to get sober (14th May 2004) and my actual birthday which was last Friday. I had the day off work as Mrs F doesn’t work at school on a Friday and we had the day together. We went shopping at Bluewater – we are so bloody predictable!! So now I’m in my late 40s – I have to be according the family as I argued when I was 44 that I was still in my early 40s they then point out the mathematical inconsistency if 46 is not my late 40s… honestly mid 40s suck they seemed to only last a year. :-) At the shopping centre we bumped into an old school chum of mine and his wife. He hasn’t changed in all the years that have separated us meeting as 11 year olds at the bus stop to head to secondary school in Sept 1974. His son has the guitar bug as well and our music likes still so overlap – he was at Ma

Unfettered capitalism

So is the current money and stock market meltdown the precursor to the end of unfettered capitalism? I don't know frankly but I do sit and wonder about it all. a) how can one bank (HBOS) be under so much threat when others aren't? Is HBOS really that badly run? Or is it that people just hate that goon Howard in the tv ads? b) maybe all those building societies that became banks shouldn't have done. In both the case of the Abbey and Halifax I voted against demutualisation - although I never moved my business. I sold my Abbey shares ages back but held onto the Halifax ones. Whatever given both have been taken over and Halifax / HBOS is about to be taken over again I'm not sure that the few hundred quid everyone got as a result of the demutalisation was worth it now? c) How the hell is Iceland in the position it is? About a year ago I wondered where all the Icelandic money was coming from as some Icelandic consortium bought Army and Navy. Now I know - they didn't h

So I'm back

So I'm back in the world of blogging after a while away. I'm going to try to get back to original spirit I had in my old blog before I seemed to lose the point. So the name says it all really - this'll be about guitars, music, life (mine and others), the funny things I see in the world, the things I don't understand in the world (well some of them maybe - if I go for everything in that category we'll never get finished), and things I learn in the world... Welcome to anyone who comes here to read and comment. However I will moderate comments and reserve the right to not publish comments I don't like or don't want published. Simply put this is my blog and my life and that's my choice I simply ask you all to respect it. Bienvenue, Welcome, Wilkommen...