Showing posts from November, 2008

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? 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


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

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....


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


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


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