Posts

Showing posts from 2009

New guitar...

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Couldn't last for long... always seem to buy guitars around this time of year... Just bought one of these (Yamaha CPX) as a more appropriate stage guitar than my LL series Yamaha, which isn't electro-acoustic for a start.

Furtheron Music Awards 2009

Best gig of the year. Very difficult... after much deliberation Muse just edge it I think but Heaven and Hell at Sonisphere ran them a mighty close second. Others of note - I like Snow Patrol a lot and Judas Priest at Wembley in Feb were great as well. Best album of the year. Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us Saw these on the second stage at Sonisphere and I was impressed. I listened to this when released on Spotify and instantly bought it. One of the best "metal" albums from a British band in years. Rarely off my listening to list since. Brilliant. Worthy of note... a lot although this was a quiet year for a while. Okay U2 produced a good but not great for them album, Heaven and Hell showed that the old boys of metal can still produce the goods! Newton Faulkner's second effort disappointed a bit at first but has grown on me, less flashy but good song writing. Biffy Clyro continue to grow and impress with a strong showing on Only Revolutions. M

The Furtheron Review of the year.

So 2009 – the end of the noughties... I’ve hated that title for this decade, oh crap what’ll the next one be the teenies? please I hope not. So this year has been one hasn’t it. The biggest recession in my lifetime which I have to say luckily has largely passed us as a family by so far. Quick summary then... January January was a sad month with some tragedies for including the sad loss of the great great John Martyn. Gives me an excuse to point you to spend 5 and a half minutes of your life just listening to this – if you want to get close to the emotion of the man. I found out I know John’s cousin which provided some amazing insight to him. Also I acquired my PRS CE22 in January – still now my principle “go to guitar” when I plug in the amp. February I was told that my old job had gone away and that I was “redundant”. I went frankly into a bit of a tail spin... I had no Plan B, I frankly had bugger all Plan A. In retrospect I probably should have taken the cash and g

So this is Christmas...

And what have you done? Another year over? And a new one just begun... Hats off to Mr Lennon there. I'll soon have to to the Furtheron review of the year in terms of music and life. But in the meantime Happy Christmas to all the readers of this continuing ramble through my mind...

I need some of these

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Christmas is nearly here. Daughter-of-Furtheron has broken up from school for Christmas, Son-of-Furtheron is home from uni, Mrs Furtheron has finished at school and all the Christmas performances are over. In the office we've had the end of year celebrations and day by day less people are turning up as those that haven't used up all their leave are using it up... I've blown that and am here until Christmas Eve, but never mind at least then I'm off until the 4th Jan as we have a site shut down. With all this though a phenomenon has arrived, Mum and Dad's taxi service. Mrs F was shuttling girls to and from the cinema yesterday evening and has some complicated movements through the day today. So I think I need to get some of these and those beady seat covers for the drivers seat and plastic ones for all the others and a meter to try to get payment for all this taxi service!!! :-)

RATM - Killing in the name of

I was so pleased that this hit the number 1 slot. Nothing against the X-Factor except that I am fed up with the manufactured pop star thing. It isn't a new issue... Bay City Rollers anyone? etc. but increasingly there isn't anything edgy anywhere. Funny the edgy track chosen is 17 years old!!! Still it is the message it sends which is good, there are a huge number of people out there who will buy music when moved to do so. Hmm maybe some new bands should take heart from this and get out there and promote themselves and we'll get something new interesting and different up in the charts in 2010... You can hope can't you?

Sunny Wales

That isn't a statement I often make but it was very sunny and lovely in Wales on Friday. I did run ahead of the snowstorm on Thursday down the M4 stopping about Chippenham for the night. As I say whilst our part of Kent was gridlock on Friday morning with several inches of snow I woke to a glorious sunny day and had a lovely drive right along the end of the M4 and up the coast road. We came back Saturday via the M40 and dropping of my sons girlfriend near Uxbridge - they had a bit of snow... but then as we hit the North Downs near our home the snow was piled high. Mrs F had spent a couple of hours digging out the drive thankfully and despite a scary slide on the approach we got home fine. Back to work today - getting there not an issue but getting back along our road to get home... now that is a different point :-)

Snow.. not yet!

Heavy snow is forecast for the South East overnight. Darn!!! I need to get down to Wales to pick my son up to come home for Christmas. Maybe I'll shoot off tonight instead then have the issue of getting back on Saturday...

Oxytocin Heart by Giles Toller...

Another brilliant song and video by Mr Giles Toller...

New Songs

I've loaded up two new songs as promised. Go to here or they are in the widget in the right hand bar of this page just down a bit... You Make Me More - is dedicated to all the people I've come across in my life who have made me a better person... those that give energy to people not those that suck it out of you. My Baby - is a little diversion for me. This is a jazzy chord progression I've had lying around for ages. I thought it needed some tongue in cheek lyrics so this song is a play on the fickleness you sometimes see certain people have in relationships and love. Enjoy...

Pointless things to do on a Sunday Morning...

Number 27 Wash and hoover your car in the pouring rain. ... oh and thanks to all the wise arses walking up my road from the shop who thought it necessary to point out to me it was raining. I knew that but the car was covered in filth and I was doing it no matter what!

New songs to debut on Drunk Punk show...

I've a couple of new songs that'll be debuting on the Drunk Punk show on Scooter Forums radio tomorrow night from 9pm I'll be posting them up to Reverbnation and hence into my widget... look right and down on Sunday.

She's going...

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... the Peter Cook bass that is. This beauty has been in the collection for about 20 years now, but I'm no bass player, it only ever came out rarely to add bottom end (mostly root and fifth) to my home recordings. Given I took about 8 years out from any of that activity it generally hung on the wall for a long time. My son did use it briefly when he was playing bass in a band about 4 years back, then he converted to 6 string and that was that. However also in that period he convinced me that really a 5 string was required for modern bass playing so I bought a black Ibanez 5 string off a guy at work and now I have two basses I hardly play. Prior to that her only real use was when the bass player in a band I was briefly trying to get together about seven years ago used it as a backup and Drop D ready tuned for a while. The recent upsurge in my home recording hasn't found me pulling the Peter Cook from it's place in a gig bag behind the rack of other guitars at all even t

Book reviews, Mark Billingham - In the Dark, Will Adams - The Lost Labyrinth, Jon Fashman - Unpossessed City

I'm behind on book reviews so here is a catch up on the last couple. Jon Fashman - Unpossessed City I loved his first novel - Geographer's Library. This wasn't quiet as good but was intriguing as the plot switched back and forth and you weren't exactly sure who was who and what was what in it. It is set mostly in Moscow where an American finds himself after getting into debt and deciding that "run away" was an appropriate tactic. He then unwittingly finds himself caught up in a complicated plot to spirit ex-USSR scientists out of the country. I'd recommend this as a good read - the description of Moscow and the life within it was excellent giving me a better insight the underlying plot than many novels do. Will Adams - The Lost Labyrinth This is his third novel I think, and with a similar plot and many returning characters. The main one is Dan Knox who is an archaeologist who has a knack of making the greatest discoveries of the century... book after

Christmas is coming...

Anyone remember the old rhyme? Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat Please put a penny in the old man's hat If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you! My Dad used to often recite it. Today would have been his birthday but sadly he was taken from us back in 1984... blimey I've been alive more without him now than with him! I was 22 when he died, I'm 47 now. Anyway - Christmas is suddenly baring down on us at a huge speed. Only a week and a day or so and I'll be off to pick up my son from university. Looking forward to him being home again. We've put the tree up - well Mrs F and I did that bit and put the new 200 multi-function lighting rig on it. I have to say they do look better than the batter old two other sets we used to wind around the tree hoping it'd look ok and every year saying we'd buy some new ones, well now we have and all the options for flashing etc. boggle m

In Da Studio...

Okay stretching a point since I actually mean - In the little box room that is crammed with guitars, books, AA paraphernalia (I hold the stock for Public Interest stuff in our local area), Christmas presents... etc. But it has my little recorder in it so today it is the studio. :-) I'm recording a couple of new tracks - so watch this space. I've signed up to Reverbnation as an artist... nothing like self publicity is there. My page is here . It's quiet neat as you can then get a player for your material without it being available for Download - well it is up to you to set that and then you can get widgets to bung on your blog... note the two news one to the right of this post. If anyone would like to promote me on there blog then go here and you can grab the code for a widget of different types which you can put on your blog etc. (If you are on blogger in layout tab click on add a gadget and then select the one that allows HTML to be pasted in and viola - done! I h

What's occuring on the music front

Well a lot!! Soon I'll have to put up an "Upcoming gigs" widget on this blog. :-) Yes true folks I've got another gig. This time in March and actually not just a gig... look I'm of the age when live music on the TV was a huge rarity (although actually it's probably rarer now!) and as a teenager I waited for a new series of Rock Goes to College, or Sight and Sound in concert. Ones that stand out... the last ever Lizzy TV gig, John Martyn blowing me away with just him and a guitar and that voice!, The Police, Supertramp, Queen... etc. Anyroad the March date isn't just a gig I'll be broadcasting live... yes live... to the world... yes the WORLD on the legendary Scooter Forums Radio! Well I think the date is in March there is some confusion on that at the moment :-) So now two live dates fixed... blimey it's nearly a tour :-) Okay in preparation for the next Rock-Til-You-Drop acoustic gig I'm planning to do, which is btw 14th Feb at The Li

Home from home...

Well I'm in the good olde US of A this week for work. First time I've traveled on work related stuff for something like 18 months, which is so odd given I've had a USA boss for over 6 months and the rest of my team is based here, but that is how life is sometimes. I've had other less "global" jobs and traveled much more. Today is a big workshop (the pretext for traveling) with another group then I've got a couple of days in the office to try to catch up with "customers" and "partners" before flying home on Friday. I'm staying in the same hotel I've used now for years and which the family stayed in the summer on our USA holiday. Funny it seems all so familiar now - I almost was confused as they've moved the TV in the breakfast room! The trip out was ok but very tiring. Why do airlines get you all to bundle on the plane thinking that you daren't hold up the process or all the other passengers and crew will think you

New tracks...

All of which made their live debut at the Libertine gig. Gypsy Waterfall Solo Sunday

Christmas shopping... DONE!

In the spirit of the cult of done we have done the Christmas shopping. A full paced blitz through Maidstone and Amazon on-line shopping and by lunch Mrs F and I could head off to a Mexican restaurant for a Burrito! I need to just pop out with Daughter-of-Furtheron today to get some bits with her but then that really is in essence it. I'm off to USA on Monday - typically I've had some vertigo issues this week after at least 3 weeks clear. But it's no big deal and I'm sort of looking forward to the trip to catch up with my team mates in USA and to have the first face-to-face with my boss since he became my boss in June - apart from us having dinner with the family and some of the team whilst on my summer hols.

Brought up by The Booze

I finally got around to watching this programme yesterday. I was off sick as I've been back to having mild - moderate vertigo attacks again which is flipping annoying. Anyway this documentary was about Callum Best the son of legendary football and drinker George Best and was a Children in Need special about the effects of alcohol abuse on the children of the alcoholic. I'd recorded it as it had been promoted within the AA fellowship. However I'd sort of expected something very typical without much substance. I was very very wrong. It was brilliantly done. Unfortunately as it was over a week ago it doesn't look like it is on the iPlayer which is a shame - they have space for so many complete series of popular things it is a shame that they can't find space for this one programme. Any how - Callum Best talks very candidly about his relationship with his Dad and how alcohol affected it. He meets the children of active and recovering alcoholics and people working in

Living the Dream

I'm having a great time at the moment. On Saturday one of my songs appeared on the infamous Drunk Punk show . If you listen I appear about 1 hour in and at the very end. I've got stuck into recording some more material using the Boss BR-600 which I've had about a year and not done enough with. All I need to really figure out now is programming the rhythm machine in it. Some new material will soon be released via Divshare again no doubt. Watch this space. So recording, played on the radio, a gig in Feb lined up, writing new material... and madly a possible interview for Scooter Forums radio . It's mad I really am living the dream right now! :-)

Catch up

So it’s all been a bit hectic recently... I think this’ll continue until Christmas probably. Still it’s good really isn’t it? Firstly this weekend was our daughters 14th birthday. That meant a night out with a load of her friends at the local ice rink, me cooking a Chinese meal with her for Saturday night and then a big meal out and going to the cinema to see Christmas Carol on Sunday. BTW I thought the Christmas Carol was really good, the animation was stunningly good and they kept really true to the Dickens story - worth seeing. She got a load of presents that she wanted including the web cam we’d promised her – in fact I’d bought 2 of the same one so we could install one on the family computer as well. So Sunday morning ended up with us waving at each other in different rooms in the house on web cams... at times like these I wonder why we bother with technology. Oh no I remember one thing is so that hopefully we can have the odd web cam waving session with our son in Wales...

Gig video

I screwed up the link I think

Video and Photos of the gig

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By way of my son for the stills and Mrs F's camera for the video. Video Photos

New creativity

Suddenly I found myself spurred on into new realms of creativity – the gig clearly did me some good. As per the previous post I already have finally got my act together and started using the digital recorder I bought a year ago. On more than one occasion in the last year I’ve pulled it out looked at the manual, poked a button or two, scratched my head and gone off to do something else. Most of that was just my lethargy but I didn’t have the drive to get on with it . Admittedly my first attempt was simple only three tracks and a quick fiddle with pan settings then mastering to a stereo mix and getting that onto the PC and from there converted to MP3. But hey it was a success for me. I do intend to do some more as soon as I can find the time. I’d like to figure out using the drum patterns better as well. But I think at least a couple more simple ones. Secondly last night I had some time on my hands as daughters regular swimming practice wasn’t on. So I sat down guitar in hand an

Getting brave!

So in for a penny in for a pound. Flushed with success of the gig on Sunday I've taken the plunge dug out the BR-600 (digital recorder) and the tome of a manual and recorded one of the original pieces that debuted at that gig. This is "I Used To Know Her".

Sunday 15th Nov – gig at The Libertine

So I did the gig. Let me just put some of this into context as for many people this’ll be one of those shrug the shoulders and mutter “So what?” moments. I’d not played live at all since stopping drinking. It had become a slightly stupid thing in my head about whether I could do it sober. I’d never played an acoustic gig like that, i.e. me an acoustic guitar and my voice only. I have in a couple of bands been the second lead singer – i.e. taking the lead vocals on one or two tracks but never the guy singing for the whole thing. The set included a smattering of my own material all (expect one) had never heard the light of day outside of my practice room. Here is a summary of my reactions. Venue – the venue is a nice cozy little place with a small but adequate stage, it managed to host three piece Strange Behaviour at the end complete with drum set without any issue. The staff were friendly and helpful and the food (Sunday roast beef) was excellent! Organisation – big thanks a

..the one in which my wife lies to me...

In a good way. Last night I'm cooking a curry wondering why my wife had insisted on 3 Naan breads, Bombay potato, samosas etc. The door bell goes and she asks me to get it. Stood there grinning like a Cheshire Cat was my son!!! He'd come all the way back from Wales on the coach to be able to be at my gig. To say I was touched is an understatement. I'm so lucky to have the family I have. Yesterday morning my jitters about this whole thing made me question why I was doing it. Now no longer a problem.

Muse at O2 12 Nov 2009

The Muse gig was great! We had really good seats, at the side just about level with the front of the stage so a really great view if side on. The stage set was very impressive, huge risers for all three of the band and they opened with them on the top of these structures about 30ft in the air - i.e. level with us :-) They played a lot off the new album particularly at the start of the show kicking off with Uprising which was a great one to start with. Other stand outs included United States of Eurasia which worked well even without the orchestra. That was actually the only one where Matt Bellamy played piano - and that was again on the huge risers with a great light show using the risers as projectors. As the show progress more of of the older hits came out including the live anthem Plug in Baby which was a highlight. The final encore was Knights of Cydonia which they opened with when I saw them at Wembley Arena in 07 but frankly I've always thought should be a climax of a show

Gigs...

Tonight I'm off to see Muse at the O2 with a friend - sadly Son-of-Furtheron (my ever faithful gig partner) is too busy at uni and can't get back for this so I'm going with a friend of mine who is a huge Muse fan and chuffed to bits when I offered her the ticket. Oh yes and Sunday is THE GIG!! I.e. me and an acoustic and my debut as a solo performer at The Libertine Pub in Borough .

Stop being a miserable so and so....

I'm not a very happy person at the moment. I'm really not enjoying work at all... and sadly not only do I let that really get to me, I let many people about me know that it is really getting to me. That isn't plesant. I'm off to see Muse tomorrow at the O2 with a friend. I have my gig on Sunday... at The Libertine in Borough. If you are in the area come along for the afternoon starting at 1pm. I have reasonable health - it's a lot better than a few weeks ago etc. etc. A friend passed away earlier this week from cancer. I ought to be more grateful about what I have and I ought to try to be more happy about it... my life is very good frankly. The old quote from Abe Lincoln about being as happy as you choose to be (I paraphrase) feels very apt.

Fireworks

We went to the big free council display on Sat night. It was excellent as ever, less popular than years before but there was no big fair this time attracting a lot of the local youth. We took Daughter-of-Furtheron and a couple of her friends. No sooner were we on "The Lines" (big open space slap bang in the middle of the Medway Towns that is own by the army I believe) and they were off doing their own thing meeting up with some others that they knew would be there. Mrs F and I were left standing alone with a cup of coffee each. Suddenly I was thinking - where has all the time gone? D-o-F is 14 in a few days time, my son will not be a teenager this time next year! Next July is our silver wedding anniversary! Funny some days spark (sorry that's an awful pun) old thoughts... like my 5 year old son setting up a cash till to get his Grandparents to pay 5p entrance for our home firework display one year... which was a bit rich given my Father-in-law had supplied a signi

Royal Mail - no problem

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I used to have one of these... It's a Dean Markley Promag easy install acoustic guitar pickup I think I lent it to someone a while go and it disappeared - I've searched the house. It's gone. So gig looming I thought - order one you berk! So I looked on Strings Direct and found them for just under £50. So I ordered it. I only noticed when I got the dispatch notice that I was 5p under the limit for them using ParcelForce and realised it had been dispatched via Royal Mail 1st Class. Darn I thought "the strikes!". If I'd have bought a plectrum it would have been on Parcelforce and trackable and easy to pick up (ho ho!) at the local Post Office. But I shouldn't have worried, less than 24 hours after my ordering it was delivered by my friendly postie. So Royal Mail - brilliant!!! I hope whatever the outcome of the dispute currently that great service isn't undermined.

Later...

Suddenly a really good Later with Jules Holland. To be honest this series there's been a couple of shows where I've struggled to latch onto anything. Is it me or since the BBC got rid of shows like Top of the Pops and there is nothing (other than Jonathan Ross I suppose) in the way of variety shows that Jules seems to have a lot more "chart" acts on than before - this series people like Calvin Harris for example. In the dim and ancient past I'm not sure that he'd have been on a show like Later but there is precious little live music output on the BBC any more is there. Anyway - Sting playing his latest stuff which is very folksy - deliberately so, I suspect after the mammoth world tour playing the old Police hits he needed something completely different to recharge with. Whatever people may say about it - his vocal delivery on the one piece on last nights 30 min show was frankly... stunning! Oh how I wish I had the talent of that guys little finger! The

Book Review - The Prophecy Chris Kuzneski

I think this is the second of Mr Kuzneski's books I've read - I think I read Sign of the Cross sometime back. So - fast paced interesting thriller with the added spice of being linked to the greatest of all sooth sayers - Nostradamus. The interplay between his two regular Jones and Payne frankly did begin to wear a little thin at times with me. We get that these two ex-special forces guys are inseparable best buddies and will wise crack their way through the book but can we have a break from it at times? Also I'm afraid that for me the ending was a bit rushed and frankly a little bit unbelievable but then many thrillers are plus the final punchline was a little limp. But all things considered not a bad read.

The gig is looming!!

Suddenly it's less than 2 weeks to the gig... blimey! So at the weekend I did some work on getting the set list finalised. I'm now umming and ahing about a couple of my own instrumentals vs one of Gordon Giltrap's. The problem being the Giltrap one is a bit of a challenge, I play it okay but obviously no where near his level. To still ponder I've sorted out my little folder of lyrics. I'm okay remembering lyrics but have decided to ensure I have a prompt if I don't a folder with all the lyrics in on a music stand is the way to go. So all set apart from some continued practice. I've been offered the loan of an acoustic pickup for the gig which'll be good but it's annoying as I used to have a similar one. After an extensive search, including the loft, I have to admit it's gone. I have a vague recollection of lending it to someone some years back... I doubt it was returned.

Hospital

So I went to the appointment with the specialist over the vertigo yesterday. Frankly nothing much new to report. He thinks it is Migraine Associated - and I have to say some of the stuff points to that. We talked about the medication and he has pointed out one change which I'm pleased with - there is one I'm taking (an anti-psychotic... yes come on get the gags over with!) that does make me feel most odd when you take it - it's like the feeling you get about 2 hours after someone has kicked you in the side of the head. Well I don't have to take that one so often! Result! I'm suppose to be more strict on a diet that frankly they had told me about 5 years ago but I'd sort of been a bit selective on remembering what was on it. Sadly it includes things like chocolate in all forms... i.e. on a biscuit as well! I mean! And cutting down on my tea and coffee... and cheese!!! "No Cheese Grommit!" Still I shouldn't moan it's a small price to

Hamsters!

I arrived home last night to find Mrs F and Daughter-of-Furtheron looking "frazzled". They'd had to separate the hamsters who had been having more and more fights in the last few days. A friend came round who is a trainee vet nurse and said that the little one had been injured - several bites/scratches on her back and look undernourished which would explain the fights, we think the bigger one is keeping her away from the food. So they are now separated and we're considering what to do, i.e. keep them both and separated or look for a new home for one of them... Hamsters! This is why I'm not a pet person... too much hassle!

My pal Val

For some reason today I was reminded of an old friend. Val. Val was a lovely lady, she went to one of the local meetings of AA that I started going to when I was first around. Eventually due to her regular "lift giver" going back out on the booze I ended up being her chauffeur once a week to the meeting. She had been through the same rehab as me some years before and she had a gentle lovely recovery. She went off to the theatre with some friends at any opportunity, went to AA meetings in France occasionally with another couple of retires and generally smiled a lot. Sadly one week she never called me up for the regular lift. I called her number and got no answer - I assumed she'd gone to visit her sister up north as she did occasionally. Another friend tried to get hold of her a day or so later. Sadly then it was discovered that she had passed away in her little flat. I was thinking about something and wondered what Val would have said to me about it. She was a

New music

I've added a few new CDs to the collection recently. Paradise Lost - Faith Unites Us, Death Divides Us Paradise Lost describe themselves as the "dark side" of rock. I saw them on the second stage at Sonisphere and they impressed me. This CD reinforces that level of impression. This band blend heavy rock with melody and interesting lyrics to create an extremely listenable sound. If you like Metallica, Megadeth, HIM, Magnum etc. then I think you'll like this. British too!!! Newton Faulkner - Rebuilt by Humans The dredlocked acoustic maestro returns with a second effort. It's not bad but not as good as his début. He was injured at Christmas (broke his wrist) and I wonder if that has affected him at all? It's a pleasant enough blend of numbers but the guitar playing certainly doesn't stand out as before. Iommi - Fused Recommended to me by a friend from the USA. Glenn Hughes has had a troubled past and some of this is reflected in the lyrics

How old are you?

I saw some ad on the TV - I think for Flora margarine. It was about a guy who as a kid started jumping over the garden wall to keep healthy... something like that... something then about your heart age. I know this was about margarine and polyunsaturates etc. but I'm sure there's a song lyric in there about "heart age"... does your heart age through love or does your heart stay young through love? Looking for inspiration :-)

More thoughts on the set list...

hmm... hmmm... (That's me mulling stuff over)... hmm.. Okay so the set list that I'd come up with. Concerns? too many instrumentals? too much of my own stuf? So to that end I'm thinking of perhaps juggling it about a bit and inserting Snow Patrols Run and possibly Semisonics Closing Time. Not sure on the second one yet - still undecided about it as an acoustic solo piece.

Another British World Champ

Just watched an amazing Brazilian Grand Prix.... if you don't know the result look away now... too late probably. Mad first lap! But Jenson's tough drive from the far back to get into the points and then to see the bad luck that happened to Barichello means we have back to back British champions for the first time in 40 years. :-) Well done Jenson - what a worthy result for all your years of effort and especially this year with Brawn coming from a position of nearly not even in the championship less than a year ago. Add to that Dario Franchitti won the Indy Racing league in America through driving carefully through the first ever IRL race to not have any yellow flags. He managed to stay on the lead lap with the two other title protagonists (Scott Dixon and Ryan Brisco) and when they both needed to dash into the pits for a last gasp top up of fuel Dario managed to just hold on to win the race and the championship. 2 years ago he passed Dixon on the last lap when Dixon'

Committed! And the Set list develops

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See that... that's me on the bill! So committed now, and some friends have somewhat surprisingly shown enthusiasm for coming along! The Set List Develops So here we are at the moment Babylon David Gray Sail Away David Gray The Circle Ocean Colour Scene May You Never John Martyn Beautiful Marillion On Camber Sands Gordon Giltrap Dublin Day Gordon Giltrap Then a selection of my own from Gypsy Solo Sunday I Used To Know Her Waterfall Friends Welcome Order needs figuring out - 3 are in Drop D so will need a rapid re-tune - also the reason I've left out Late Night Radio by David Gray as that requires the top E retuned to C and I just saw this all as a disaster in the making with too many retunes in the set. Two are capo first fret and three are capo third fret. So be led by ease of guitar setting or consider the flow of the set? To be determined.

BBC Documentary on alcohol - Do I Drink Too Much

I watched the programme - Do I Drink Too Much? Last night. I recommend it - follow the link. Very interesting stuff. I love the experiment with the monkeys that shows similar to humans in terms of break down of population it those with alcohol issues and those without. I did think the presenter who admitted his father was "an alcoholic" (Did his Dad come to that conclusion? Was he ever properly diagnosed as such? Or was that just an assumption?) and I think he was desperate to not be like his Dad. One moment in the whole programme smacked me in the face as he talked about a pub he was stood by where his Dad drank every night after work before coming home, and he described the scene as his Dad came in the house after those drinking sessions. He wondered if his father understood or worried about his drinking and the effect it was having on him. I can't answer that obviously no-one can now his Dad is no longer here but that pattern was so close to my own experienc

Just call me the frog catcher

So last night again we had to rescue a frog that was under attack from one of the darn cats from next door. I managed to grab it and get it in a bucket that we kept in the garage until after dark and the cat had gone. At least on this occasion my daughter wasn't in the garden screaming like mad... not at the violence of the cat but just because the frog kept hopping towards her!!

Overdue book reviews

I've not done a review of the last few books... Excavation and The Last Oracle by James Rollins I discovered Mr Rollins earlier in the year and quiet liked the first book I read - it was a wizz bang non stop global thriller. You know the type where the characters don't spend days in departure lounges or immigration queues so that the plot can move fast from one location to the next. Both these were very much in the same vein but sadly I now realise Mr Rollins has a formula. That is ... take an ancient legend which has a lost location/temple etc. queue an archaeologist or the like who can find that. However there is always some baddy involved who wants to stop it for some reason. I preferred Last Oracle largely as I'd recently thought of a book I remember reading that was brilliant called about Savants - I think it was by James Clavell. Anyway I can't find it on Amazon to get it to re-read as I can't remember the title and it doesn't look like it was a C

Biting the bullet

So Toby Burton over at Rock-Til-You-Drop has offered me a place on one of his up coming Acoustic Afternoon in London in November. Someone said to me the other - "So what do you really want to do with your music?" A relatively straight forward question but one actually I struggled to answer easily. To be truthful I didn't really know. However I have some songs/tunes in the works that have been tripped out on my acoustic for a while now and apart from one or two being up on Youtube I've done nothing with them. I'm not a great singer but there are probably worse out there, so what the hell I'm going to make my debut as a solo singer/guitarist. Now to find 30 mins of material!!! Actually that hasn't proved as difficult as I first feared. A couple of David Gray covers are ready for polishing off ready and ideal solo guitar/singer material. Hmm - a little rearrangement of one particular Marillion song and I'm sure that'll work. I have to includ

This too shall pass...

That phrase has been good to me in the last couple of months. As you all know (regular readers anyhow) I've not been well ... to briefly recap. Stress at work - self induced Busy holiday in very hot/humid New England Vertigo attack on hols More Vertigo attacks at home Time off work Stress because of time off work Back to work full time too soon Stress! Panic Chest pains New medication Off work Slow return to work Through all of this I've had to tell myself - this too will pass - in time. And it appears to be doing so. No doubt the road that is life will have another hairpin turn or sudden dip I don't see coming and that'll either cause the breaks to have to be applied or a crash that'll require some form of recovery truck to pull me out of a ditch. Work - I'm in a much better place with it all. Still too much to do and frankly a load of utter nonsense as to what we are doing. I used to get it about what our company did and what I did in that

Rock til you drop gig London Sunday

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The current set up...

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Rubbish photo off my phone... must buy a new camera!!! This is the latest set up - just treated myself to a new set of cables to properly wire the FX in on the loop from the amp.

What the kids think of me...

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Yes very funny... the punch line inside of the one on the left is.. "...'Cos I'm your kid. And that's my job!"

New Toy

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Mrs F's present to me for my birthday was one of these. A Boss Flanger . The name caused much hilarity with my giggly daughter for some reason. Anyway - great!! Been years since I had a Flanger at my footstep. My continued move from PODs and programmed devices to real valve amps with knobs on and stompboxes continues. I plugged this in played one of my tunes that I thought would benefit from a Flanger and it sounded super - all controls on 12 o'clock and it's there none of this 6 hours in a "push-this-hold-that" menu to get something I'd think... "Well it's close enough" just top quality sound that you can just tweak here and there if needed. I've dug out my old Cry Baby Wah-Wah, Boss Chorus and Boss Delay. I'm thinking of getting a pedal board to mount them all on. Mrs F has offered to get me the Boss Phase Shifter for Christmas! :-) Set to Stun Me Zulu... oh he's in our local panto this year George thingy... "Oh y

Dictionaries

What's the point... I'm dyslexic... when I was a kid I was told to look up words I couldn't spell... but the bloody thing is in alphabetical order if you can't spell what's the point - how far after aadvark do you give up? beaurocracy is the one that had me baffled for too long today...

Restart, rewind, replay... pause

I think that's a line from a Rush lyric. Whatever. Last night I went to one of the regular AA meetings I go to. It was quite a few folks are off globe trotting the lucky buggers so it was a bit less full than usual. The booked speaker failed to show up so another regular member took the chair. Boy what a meeting! She really said it from the heart, exactly as it is for her today, many years since she had a drink but still facing life's tribulations on a daily basis and as an alcoholic to do that without a drink can be a challenge. So many shared back about how it can be bloody hard life at times. It was bizarre as a meeting that many might have thought quiet negative about recovery was in fact the opposite. All these people many with many years of sobriety talking about times when it's been really tough, either now or in the past etc. and all saying that they get so much strength from others who are facing or have faced similar stuff and got through it and didn'

New music

So after a while with very little new listening pleasure the birthday and the time of the year has brought a bunch... so here's a quick catch up. David Gray - Draw the Line I like David Gray - actually I wish I was him in terms of songwriting and singing. This album is top quality Gray. If you like him you'll like this, but I doubt it'll win many new fans. He seems to have dropped off the popularity stakes since White Ladder but this album is as good in my opinion. Muse - The Resistance Muse go more over the top! A good album though with a lot of Queen hints in the arrangements and vocals. Probably more piano from Mr Belamy on this than before and less of a head banger feel than the last two albums. Rodrigo y Gabriel - 11:11 11 tracks dedicated to musicians who've influenced them. Now these two have a very unique sound and style. Born from their thrash metal history it is however the rhythm work that sets them apart and that is very different. Often peop

Saving the planet

I think I am... my Peugeot 406 SW - i.e. a large family estate car, fully loaded with me, Mrs F and Son-of-Furtheron and all his possessions needed for the new year at uni. 600 mile round trip roughly, M25, M1, M6, M54, A5 then the little roads to the wilds of Wales... 50mpg!!! Yes 50mpg! Stick that up your expensive, full of so many metals that'll cause more misery for longer in the environment, hybrid!

Getting better

The good news is that I'm feeling much better at the end of this week. Finally admitting to the problems I was happening and giving into my body telling me to take it easy has obviously been the best result. I had an ear test at the hospital today as part of the vertigo investigations. They could compare it with the test I had 4 years ago when I first had real issues with the vertigo. The result was that my right ear has an almost identical result - that is the one that has the worse hearing loss in it, I blame the big band jazz band I played in for a couple of years - I stood normally far stage right as you look at it and therefore my right ear was exposed to two drummers and a large row of saxophonists within feet of me! :-) The left ear, the side I have the tinitus and the side of my eye issues during my attacks however was actually slightly better than the previous result. That is to some point good news. If I have Meniere's then your hearing gets worse every attack

Slowly, slowly

I'm back at work - part time, 4 hours for 4 days this week. Funny given the fearsome state I'd got myself into about work and how all these things were major stress factors in my life once I'd had the break again last week and then agreed to come back part time now I'm back there seems to be little that really is that urgent. There's always important and needs to be done etc. but in the grand scheme of things in my job it's not like I'm saving people's lives or anything. I feel very tired - I think as a consequence of the drugs I'm on at the moment. Also I'm having disturbed sleep - again on the packet as a side effect but doesn't help when you don't feel that bright to start with. Or maybe this is just my body asking me to take life at a slower pace. So slowly back to work and slowly back to life I think.

Doctors, pills and not getting stuff done

The car crash that is my well being at the moment continues to run its course. I basically have had a few bloody awful days. Friday I felt like shit all day - hugely stressed and feeling very inadequate. Saturday was better although I felt a bit unsteady on my feet at times. Also in the middle of preparing a curry for everyone I had a sudden real nasty tightening pain across my chest. Now I've had chest pain for a while and in good old male style just brush it off as indigestion etc. Sunday was a reasonably good day although I did veg in front of the TV for a lot of it watching motorracing. Monday not so bad apart from again one of those real painful crabs across the chest. I mentioned it to the family and consensus was that I ought to seek medical help. But then Tuesday and Wednesday weren't good mentally. The overwhelming anxiety that I've had briefly took complete control and and really did my head in. Even the simplest story on the news that had nothing to do

Stress and Fear

I've not posted anything for a week or more... to be honest I've not been in a good space, I'm still not. Physically the vertigo has got better but I've another problem now that I've got to get looked at. Work, stress, fear, failure, stress, fear, failure, work... that is the sort of cycle at the moment. I've blogged about work on here before and it's come back to bite me but what the hell it's where I am at the moment. I feel completely at sea at work currently, very swamped and stressed and not sure on half of what I am suppose to be doing what I am supposed to be doing and then feeling there is a ton and a half of other stuff I'm not doing that I probably ought to be doing and especially in the area of all the process improvement stuff that I'm involved with that there is little point as frankly that is trying to mimic Canute in the chair by the seaside! It has really got me very down. Last year about this time I was depressed as wel