Showing posts from 2011

Furtheron review of the year

In the past years I've done reviews of the year so here to keep with tradition in 2011 Furtheron's reflections. Jan - I got interviewed for a job having spent 7 months in the back end of 2010 out of work.  I was listening to Heaven & Hell a lot, recording rockier stuff and putting up pictures of guitars... Feb - Started my new job, where I used to work it was announced that a full UK pull out of R&D was happening and all my old colleagues were losing their jobs.  Gary Moore sadly passed away. I played a gig at the Lamb and Flag in London. Mar - I was working away from home and my post count dramatically dropped off.  I was really struggling with the job - not the work (although it was a stupendously big workload) but more the living away from home all week or a really bonkers commute - up at 5am back at about 8pm. Apr - One lousy post!  I was really lost in the madness at that time.  I ended up leaving the assignment away from home, the company luckily offered m

Christmas music round up

I got three new CDs :-) Peter Gabriel - Shaking the Tree.  Well not strictly new, I used to have this on cassette (any one under 20 now will need to go to wiki to look them up!) which bit the dust as cassette players reduced towards zero in the house.  It is a collection of his hits up to about 2000 ish - great stuff, Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Solsbury Hill, Don't Give Up etc.  Steve Earl - I Won't Get Out of This World Alive.  Just under 38 mins - just like an old vinyl record!  12 tracks of utter brilliance frankly... super lyrics (e.g. Melancholy Malady) super playing throughout and Steve's voice just gets better with age.  Written in the time after his fathers death a very poigniant tribute.  Super duper! The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow.  Fantastic debut from this Nashville duet.  They have voices that angels would have and together are just devine.  This is probably the debut CD of the year for me without a doubt.  If you've never heard of them try and check th

Happy Yuletide blessings

... to you all.   Given I'm not a Christian it is a bit odd that I find myself repeatedly wishing people a Happy Christmas... my son heard the Yuletide thing and said about it... I'll try to adopt it from now on. Our Yuletide is underway, the turkey is roasting, the veg is for the large part prepared and ready for cooking, all the presents are wrapped and cluttering up my music room before Mrs F and I play Santa and his little helper later tonight and put them under the tree.  My daughter has been baking mince pies, we've watched Muppet Christmas Carol and have Carol's from King's on as I type this. I'm lucky I have my family around me, warmth, more than enough food etc.  Others will spend this Christmas on the street, cold and alone.  I should be forever grateful of what I have not what I have not. I hope all you have a great holiday and celebrate whatever you want in the manner you wish to.  May the blessings of Yuletide from any deity that you may, or m

Book Review - The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore

Just about to start typing and thought "Shit last time I did a review the flipping author popped up and made a comment. Therefore conscious of the litigious world we live in I ought to mind my p's and q's!" I bought this book on a bit of a whim.  Piley and Mondo have a Tuesday night radio show these days (they no longer comment on here or talk to me now they are famous you know :-() and Syd was a guest on there a few episodes back.  Anyway due to that I looked out this book, which I believe is her first novel.  It was only 99p for the Kindle edition so given that was a third of what I pay for The Big Issue now and half the price of a skinny latte in Pret a Manger I thought what have you got to lose and in seconds it was on my kindle in my Tor Be Read collection. The Drowning Pool is a modern ghost story set in the Essex seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea.  Sorry did I just say a ghost story in Leigh?  Yep that is what I thought too, surely ghost stories need to be set i

Insincerity becomes you...

I got an lovely email from some lady called Liz who works for some website somewhere... apparantly they have a fantastic new product, I wouldn't know it is something that has absolutely no interest for me and not an area I can recall ever having blogged about at all on here.  Anyway she "ran into my blog" (sic) ran ? into it... what it was on the screen and you headbutted your laptop from a 10 yard run up?  She says she "absolultely love(s) it"... really?   So given your product has nothing to do with guitars, sobriety, recovery, or pretty much any other subject ever referred to on here I get the feeling that isn't quiet the truth...  Now for anyone else - here is something I've stated on here before - or on the blog that went before this that I stupidly deleted once in a fit of some weirdness - I don't do endorsements, not for money or anything.  I don't review stuff sent to me, my reviews are of stuff that I've actually bought myself.  I

Book Review - King's Man - Angus Donald

We continue with the latest enstallment in Mr Donald's retelling of the Robin Hood saga... through the eyes of Alan o'Dale or Alan of Westbury as he is known in this fictional setting. The book is written as a memoire of Alan's written in his old age, this is like the others in the series, so the one thing you know whatever scrape Alan may be in he has to survive it or there is a major continuity blunder in store ;-) Anyway these are good rattling, knightly rampaging romps.  Robin and Alan are now back in England following their travels on the crusade with Richard the Lionheart of the previous book.  However Prince John covetously is eyeing the throne of England and Richard is captured by some enemies he made on the crusade on his way back to good old Blighty.  This is all historic fact but within the factual parts Angus weaves in the acts of Robin Odo, Lord of Locksley, the Robin Hood of the legends to come.  He turns Alan into Blondel who is a legendary troubadour who

Christmas nearly here

It is feeling more like Christmas - Son-of-Furtheron is home for the festivites, I picked him up over the weekend.  Compared to some Christmas time drives to deepest, darkest Wales this one wasn't too bad, a bit of slushy snow on the road above 900ft over the mountains but not too bad.  I took today off just in case we had issues getting back but in the end I went out with S-o-F and his mate to the cathedral of consumerism that is Bluewater.   Too many people but he got the books he wanted and we then went to see the new Sherlock Holmes film which was good entertainment.  The cinema there has the new digital 4K projectors - impressive frankly. So four days at work left, although a lot of folks are on leave and the campus will be very quiet now all the students will be gone.  So hoping it is reasonably quiet few days. That's it really... not much going on in the Furtheron household just awaiting the day...

Jamie Johnson - you heard him here first

Jamie performed at the Songwriter night at the Nags Head last night and blew us all off the stage - we all easily accepted that he was the only real flipping talent there - an amazing voice. Go here and have a listen to Cloudy Skies .  You can download it and play it to all your friends too! Then go and like him on Facebook to make his day.

A little spruce up

You may not have noticed but I've spruced the blog up a little... well on the right hand side where all the boxes and stuff is... Firstly given it is pretty much the anniversary of my winning the Rock-Til-You-Drop 2010 Outstanding Achievement award I thought I ought to take that off the site.  Also I'm liking SoundCloud a lot so have replaced the Reverbnation player box with a couple of SoundCloud - I might think about actually paying for the premium service as I can then have a larger amount of "sets" to put works in which might make sense to then do and vary from time to time what is on here.  Finally I've added a Facebook button to my Facebook music page if you like my music and are on Facebook please click that and then "like" me as a few followers of this blog already have.  I only use that page to put up music related stuff so you'll not get all the family drivel about how my daughter hates my leather jacket etc. That is about it for this

Some more music on SoundCloud

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

Golden Moment - Graham Hunt cover

I'm very humbled as Nic Evennett has listened to some of my stuff up on Soundcloud and decided to do a "cover" of Golden Moment... well frankly her cover is way better than my original!  Click on the linky to listen Golden Moment - Graham Hunt cover Here is my original for comparison - I think you'll agree Nic's piano and much better vocal and lowering the tempo to a beat I'd never be able to sustain (I'd speed up I know I would) really captures the original essence of the underlying meaning of the lyrics, a moment of total peace, calm and serenity. Thank you so much Nic I am very humbled. Golden Moment by Graham Hunt - Medway This shows just one annoying thing I've just discovered with Soundcloud - I thought I was being a numpty but the embedded thing I figured out the other day appears to only be available for your tracks when you click on the Share button in SoundClous.  I suppose I can see the reasoning, anyone could embed


These are times of austerity, we all need to tighten our belts, make sacrifies etc. - hence my pension and my wife's will cost us more, hence we're to get a massively below inflation payrise next year but will have to pay £9000 a year for my daughter to get a degree which is the only way she'll be qualified to get a job in a coffee shop soon no doubt. Right Mr Cameron and others I have one answer for you - Scrap the OFT.   I've read two bonkers decisions of theirs recently that defy all normal logic.  (OFT - Office of Fair Trading) Firstly the OFT have decided that there is no need to limit the interest rates charged by payday lenders.  As long as they abide by telling people the rate that is fine.  These parasites charge up to 4000% - no I didn't mistype that - 4000% for short term low value loans.   OK unfortunately, dear government, your numeracy education has failed repeatedly over the last few years I pretty much guarantee that most people don't really

The few...

What would you think is the exclusive club in the world in terms of exploration?  Those that have best Mt Everest?  Sadly no longer you can virtually book that on a package deal these days. Easy then you think, the men who went to the Moon - there were 12 in total of them... interestingly there is the same number in the club of "men who flew to the Moon but didn't land".  (Source Wiki ). No the one that I think probably beats them all, and interestingly beat the first walk on the Moon by about 9 years is the Men Who Have Been To The Bottom Of The Ocean.   Truly only 2 men have done it, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in the research bathyscaphe Trieste in 1960. This story reported by the BBC is interesting as there has been a whole plethora of new survey's being done in the Pacific at the moment, the devastating tsunamis of recent past have allowed for an influx of research money. The estimate now is that the deepest point is actually about 10,944m give or take

Interesting cheap guitars, TC wizardry, Rice Guitar pickup giveaway

So in keeping with the title of this blog something about guitars for a change... actually 3 things. Firstly - CH Guitars have some different from the run of the mill guitars for sale via eBay at the moment.  These include this take on the Fender Broadcaster (to be renamed Telecaster) prototype that Leo first made.  Given only one pickup it is more an Esquire-a-like I suppose. Secondly - how about this.  A 12 string Les Paul - ooohhh!  Seriously I'm mostly putting this up here in the hope one of you will buy this and stop my head going "buy it... buy it"... The good news is the prices - £249 for the Tele and £349 for the Les Paul!! Go check out there is also a nice looking sunburst Fender Tele Deluxe copy for only £299 as well. Now here is the coolest thing I've seen in technology in ages.  TC Electronic have a long established reputation for quality kit.  They have introduced a new range of compact effects pedals with the "Toneprint" featu

Soundcloud test

embedded Soundcloud test Waterfall by Graham Hunt - Medway

Book Review - Trinity Six, Charles Cumming

This is the first Charles Cumming novel I've read and I bought it because it was one of those "if you liked that you'll like this" recommendations.  So I downloaded it onto my e-book reader - oh yes I'll say a little more on that in a moment... and gave it a go. Very good in general, very typical modern intrigue filled modern day spy thriller.  Of course the problem for modern spy thriller writers is that the old East (i.e. Russia) vs the West (i.e. UK and USA) antagonism of the cold war years has long since gone away.  So what does Mr Cumming do to address this?  Simple dig up old spies from the cold war and have them spilling the beans to a new generation with the hint of a big modern day scandal if any of this got out.  So why Trinity Six... remember Blunt, Burgess etc. well here is a claim of a 6th member of that group of spies recruited in the 30s but this one remains buried by both Russia and the UK to this day... imagine that Margaret Thatcher had never s

A couple of solo Acoustic pieces

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

Furtheron Studios

I couple of quick (and rubbish!) photos of Furtheron Studios in full flight! Firstly the chaos that is the music room! Later on downstairs copying over the recorded material onto the laptop and using Audacity to clear off all the coughing and sniffing before I get settled!


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


In a momentary lapse of reason I clicked on "add to basket" for the Michael Bublé Christmas CD when on Amazon the other week.  My wife and daughter both wanted it for the lead up to the festivities of Christmas.  Oh Lord forgive me - I must make amends! It arrived yesterday and on the journey home I walked from the station to my mother-in-laws where Mrs F and Daughter-of-Furtheron were having dinner.  We got into Mrs F's car to drive home and they had said CD in the player and preceeded to torture me with it.  The drive home is less than 10 mins - I can walk it in 20 and wished I had.  Finally I had to crack wound down the window and screamed out "Help! Get me out of here they are playing Bublé".  The woman walking her dog seemed a little surprised. Now Mr Bublé is very popular but every time I hear him I just don't get it at all, it is cheesy, sickly, dummed down crooning, and he is devoid of any emotion in any delivery of any song I've heard, I jus


I was going to post about the economy, the Chancellor's statement (Osborne, not Valorum, though you might think we've gone over the dark side given the perilous state of everything), the strike, the debt mountain - I started typing it on the way into work after reading the paper.   But frankly is was a miserable post that concluded we are all doomed, capitalism is reaching it's ultimate zenith of a small number with huge wealth and the rest of us fighting for existence from the scraps from their tables.  So I binned it - what's the point? Now what is worth talking about is that I went to a meeting last night I've not been to in ages.  No real reason except that family circumstances make Tuesday less than ideal for me to be out that night every week.  I had been invited along by the secretary to be the speaker.  Now 6 years or so ago this was one of my "home groups" I was secretary myself and the guy who is now secretary was himself a struggling newcomer w

Gig Review - Gordon Giltrap Brook Theatre Chatham 24-Nov-2011

Another visit by Mr Giltrap to the old Town Hall in Chatham.  The Brook makes use of the old Town Hall's main ballroom which is a spacious but still reasonably intimate setting for Gordon's one man show.  I've seen him several times here now - Gordon has affection for Kent as he was born in the county and has many family connections still with the area. As ever Gordon was on top form playing through many old classics, Dublin Day, On Camber Sands, Heartsong, Lucifer's Cage etc. whilst interlacing in material off his latest album Shinning Morn in particular showing off his capabilities using a partial capo on a couple of numbers. As ever Gordon entertains between the songs with anecdotes, jokes and whimsical tales.  He is a man of very pleasant company. For all the guitar maniacs out there here is my recollection of the guitars used Vintage Gordon Giltrap signature Fylde dreadnought Fylde 12 string - 1970s vintage which Gordon recently acquired and frankly sounded fantast

Book Review - The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The concluding book in the Millennium trilogy and a gripping one at that.  At the end of the 2nd book there was a tense ending with still unanswered questions (clearly) and this book picks up directly at the final point of the preceding title. Once again the two heroes of the piece at Lisbeth Salander - who is one of the oddest main characters in any series of books you may find and the journalist Mikael Blomkvist.  So firstly - you can't really read these books out of sequence, especially this one follows so much from The Girl Who Played With Fire that frankly I suspect you'd be totally lost before long.  However if you have read the first two there are still a bunch of questions to be answered about what happened to Lisbeth in her childhood and how none of this has ever come to the surface before.  Without trying to give too much of the plot away Lisbeth is in hospital gravely ill and still likely to come before the court on a series of charges relating to the incidents in th

The A13 blues

Didn't Billy Brag do a Route66 rip off way back about the A13? Well it was hardly the road of dreams on Tuesday night!  We did manage to get to the gig all on time, but the air was blue in the Furtheronmobile at one point.  There is a bunch of roundabouts all together all with a gazillion cones around them and seemingly not one iota of a sign that might actually tell you what chuffing exit to take!  Whatever - we got there as I say in time and Daughter-of-Futheron had a great time.  Mrs F and I retreated up the road to a little Italian restaurant with a good set menu and had a lovely meal - despite Mrs F's coffee cup falling to bits as she lifted up and coffee all over the place.  Anyway on the way back I checked the map - probably should have done more of that on the way up there and we got back a lot quicker than it took us getting there!  I did also have a terrible nights sleep that night - been a long time since I've had a bad dose of insomnia but I really had a rubbish

Sweet 16

Well maybe not so much of the sweet?  No, no I jest honestly. Somehow my darling daughter is 16.  16!!! Where the hell have the days, months, years gone.  Her due date was 21st of Nov.  At about 3am that morning Mrs F woke me up and said "My waters have gone"...  So into action, called the midwife, called the in-laws, made sure all the bag etc. was ready.   Midwife turns up and says "Given your waters have gone I'm calling an ambulance" - I remember Mrs F strapped to a wheel chair thing being carried down our stairs by two burly ambulance guys with her in one of her uncontrollable gigging fits. Anyway - as with our son guess what... nothing.  All day... nothing, I thought "This'll be like last time and she'll have to be induced etc.".   Anyway with my son packed off to stay with the inlaws I left her on the ward in the late evening, and went home.  To bed - be fair I was knackered having been up half the previous night ;-) (expect plenty of

Shameless promotion of son's talents post

Go look at this stunning photo my son took recently

How do they get away with it?

I looked in a well known high street pawn brokers in Chatham yesterday. I just looked in and saw a '72 style Telecaster Thinline hanging up. It said on the ticket clearly Fullerton USA - £599. WHAT! I went in... Even before getting within 4 yrds of it I could see it was a wrong'un but I asked for it off the wall for a quick look. Hmm.... Let us start with the obvious things I noted. 1. No serial on the headstock - I think it highly unlikely one of these would not have one, some early ones may be but. 2. No bullet truss rod. EH! All Thinlines with humbuckers had the same neck as the custom, i.e three bolt with adjuster and a bullet truss. 3. black paint inside the body... what? 4. The bridge was held on by normal woodscrews... through holes in front of the bridge pieces as well as through the centre... again WHAT! 5. no Fender stamp on the bridge saddles, which never looked like been within 5000 miles of the USA! 6. pickups - gold plated. Yes you heard

New song called Partial

Click on this link to hear  Partial Influenced by David Mead - using a partial capo, covers the top 5 strings at the 2nd fret leaving the low E open. Enjoy

Jon Gomm - Passionflower

All you can say really is... Holy Cow!  Followed by "Pass the chainsaw I need to chop up my guitar collection and give up!"

Buying tickets for gigs these days

Coldplay - Emirates Stadium June 2012.  Tickets on sale 9am Friday 18th November 2011.  I was online, logged in and punched in 3 for the unreserved seating at exactly 09:00... after a couple of mins - can't allocate your request.  Try again - 7 min wait... think I'll be clever and start a second window - neat eh!  No they've thought of that somehow via Cookies I presume or IP tracing spot it and tell me to start again - bugger.  So go again about 09:10 now... more than 15 min wait.  Hmm... not looking good.  Not unexpectedly it tells me again cannot fulfill the request.   One last try - instant rejection... sold out!  What a joke. So I try another site - that says all the cheaper ones are sold out already so I elect for the more pricey reserved seats... yippee success, however we'll need oxygen due to the altitude we are sat at and we're in a different postcode to the stage - how come they are £20 dearer than the nearer unreserved seats?  Oh yes - of course they w

Little acts of kindness

On this blog there is a page entitled "My Drinking Story" - it is actually simply an assembly of three posts that I put up on this blog around the time of my 6th AA birthday in May 2010.  I put it there when I revamped the template etc on the blog a few months ago.  Earlier this week someone read it and left an Anonymous comment saying simply "Thank you".  How kind of them, I've no idea if they are seeking a solution to their own or someone else's drinking problem, someone struggling in recovery looking for a bit of a boost to get them through a bad day, hour, week, month or whatever.  But how kind of them to just let me know that they had read it and were grateful it was there. Someone else in the blogsphere who is a long term reader of this blog responded to a comment I made on their blog with another act of generosity and kindness. Both these things are quite little in the grand scheme of things but they really hit me - it is these little things that real

Book Reviews - Agent 6 - Tom Rob Smith and The Legion - Simon Scarrow

Agent 6 - Tom Rob Smith This is the third novel I've read by Mr Smith.  All three have had as the central character Leo Demidov.  Leo is an ex-KGB officer who has wrestled with his loyalty to state and party with his own inner moral code.  The two previous books Child 44 and Secret Speech were both excellent reads and I was looking forward to this one.  I wasn't disappointed - it leaps forward in timeline at times (like some films do) from Leo's time in the KGB in the 50s through the 60s and onwards into the 80s.  The plot centres on a tragic event which completely throws Leo's life into turmoil - one that will haunt him for the next 15 years.  This is a brilliant book.  Really a fantastic page turner with shocks and twists at all page and there is more than one climax in the book - the final ending was for me extremely emotional.  There is a great deal of knowledge shown about Russia through the period and you do get under the skin of people living in that regime at th

The bus ticket scandal!!

Here is a good one... frankly you can't make this sh** up! We have for the last 4 and a bit years bought my daughter a termly season ticket to get to school on the local bus company.  Luckily the council just introduced a scheme when she moved to secondary school that allows us to get that at half price - yes unbelievable to many of you but until then in the free republic of Medway you had to pay full fare to get your kids to school!  Even at half price that is a lot of money - that latest one cost us £98 a couple of weeks ago... yes folks about £600 a year for about a 4 mile commute!  My £4000 a year to London which is 10 times the distance actually seems a bloody bargain compared with that! Anyway - it has always been a family gag about the bus station.  They used to have to look the cost up in a book and then do a calculation manually on a calculator then write the ticket out by hand!  Recently i.e. in the summer they "improved" this.  Now they... look the price up

The Student protest in London this week

A facebook friend commented about the protest in London this week "...shouldn't these bloody students/wasters of taxpayers money be in the f**king lectures they a moaning about paying for?"   I politely commented back that it is "reading week" at most London unis this week, meaning many courses have no timetabled lectures and also that Wed afternoon is traditionally sports afternoon as well so that the march was scheduled for a time when the majority of students wouldn't miss a lecture.   The tabloid inspired snap judgement made me smile really and reminded me to criticise from a position of little knowledge is a dangerous thing.   To be frank the march started at the bottom of the street my office is in - I could barely hear the protest over the droning helicopters and there were more police on the streets than protests and bystanders combined!  There could be an argument that the massive police operation was a bigger waste of taxpayers money.

An unashamedly proud parent post

I am a proud parent.  We went to my daughters "parent evening" last night.  They really are awful flipping things.  A hoard of parents all feeling madly out of place, this is my daughter's domain, the teachers talk to her with a closeness I find at times odd since I have pretty much no knowledge of them but they know my daughter very well, the building is an old school (some bits about 100 years old I believe now) my daughter knows it intimately pulling us this way and that way.  We arrive for an appointment, there are no chairs to wait on so the parents shuffle like naughty kids waiting outside the Head's office. Then the teacher shuffles the appointments apologizes for running late and calls you over.  Then the conversation is really with the pupil - rightfully so but I feel at times almost purely an observer in on my daughters life, just given an glance through a normally closed window.  The teachers talk about assessments, mocks, exams, grades etc.  It is all jarg

Soundcloud vs Reverbnation vs etc.

Following on from the last post. I've kicked off a couple of discussions on a couple of forums to see garner people's opinions on these. So if you have any and are  a member of LinkedIn then go here or if you are, or would like to be, a member of Rock-Til-You-Drop then go here . If I get much debate on these I intend to end up summarising in both places and back here at some point in time.


Increasingly I've been finding more and more people are out there on SoundCloud.  So I've joined them, clearly MySpace seems pretty much long dead and Reverbnation whilst good is looking a little old and haggard in the fast paced changing world of music dissemination. Anyways  I've a profile and a bunch of tracks up at  please pop over and say hello. One thing with Soundcloud is that it very much is a mix of producers and consumers - there are a huge number of people on there simply using it as an on-line music juke box - which has been a restriction with Reverbnation for me the only people who join up are normally other musicians, Soundcloud looks a more direct to consumer method. Having said all of that of course - if I ever get to 100 plays I'll be happy! :-)

Gibson Firebird X

Gibson continue to court controversy with another new techno rich offering. I've not even seen one of these in the flesh but have read a couple of reviews and seen the demos on Youtube etc. What do I think?  Firstly I like the Firebird shape this being based on the second non reverse version.  The headstock looks odd, I think it had to be 3 a side for the robot tuning but I think an asymmetric shape would have suited the body shape better.  The finish... well personal choice, I'm not madly keen and would have preferred at least some natural or block colour option.  The body is ash by the way, different for Gibson.  I have a home made Ash bodied humbucker loaded Strat - I like Ash, dense good sounding wood only used from time to time by Fender and some others. Maple fretboard!!  Yep Gibson seem intent on pushing the boundaries of their expected norms on this one! Now the technical bit... It is too much to cover but lets try.  You have three pickups all different magne

Step 10

Last night I visited a meeting I don't often go to.  I'm thinking I ought to go more often plenty of friends there who I don't see as much as I used to, plenty of strong sobriety etc.  I felt wonderfully at home and happy. I was asked to be the initial speaker on Step 10.  It was funny I was asked on Monday and said "yes" as any good AA member should do.  But Tuesday and Wednesday I was thinking, not for the first time in my recovery, maybe I shouldn't do this - I'm a bit of a fraud I don't do it the way it should be done.   Hang on, what way it SHOULD be done, it is a programme suggested not mandated.  Anyhow on Wednesday night at my home group a young AA talked about his first year in recovery and touched on the steps including Step 10 and said like all the steps he needs to do it every moment of every day when needed.  I woke up at that and thought - "Exactly that is how I live it". He was at the meeting last night - Kismet - another o

Book Review - The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The second in the Millenium trilogy. This book picks up some time after the initial book finished but the two central hero characters are the same.  This time we get much greater insight into the illusive character Lisbeth Salander.  Through the book elements of her past that have made her the social misfit she is are gradually revealed.  You understand much more why she is like she is. This book is however darker and more brutal than the first.  Larsson was himself a campaigner against violence against women following an experience in his own life.  This book is more explicit about some of the abuse and the violence more prevalent than in the first book.  However as part of a campaign to expose exploitation and abuse of women it does an excellent job. The narrative is fast flowing with many twists and changes to keep you guessing.  It is indeed a shame that Mr Larsson did die so young, he'd have gone on I'm sure to write many more best selling novels.  Definitively a thu

Post script to St Paul's story

Subsequent to the last post.... here is an excellent commentary on the current position from a BBC journalist.

St Paul's

So what is going on at St Paul's then? The protest is as ever the loose coalition of folks who are against the excesses of capitalism - some no doubt more than others in the mix.  Some probably just want a "fairer" system, would like to see that the world economy was not put into recession by the actions of relatively few. It would have all been a bit of a side show with probably little coverage in the media after the initial glare of publicity.  However now various members of the clergy are falling like nine pins over the whole thing.  Bizarre!  I'm still not sure why they have resigned.  First to go was Cannon Giles Fraser - who appeared to have been instrumental in the siting of the camp around the cathedral in the first place when the protestors first turned up and were looking for somewhere near the London Stock Exchange.  He seems to have resigned as he felt decisions being taken inside the cathedral were ones he could not agree with.  The subsequent initiat

What do you buy the Aston Martin owning guitarist?

Now I'm sure this has been a problem for many of you over the years.  Well we know have the solution. Aston Martin guitars and amps!!! Inspired by the Gibson Corvette guitar (Yuk!) and the Fender Jaguar Strat these are now available for order. The guitar is a high tech carbon fibre affair made by Status. Love the logo between the pickups and the Aston style "vent" on the upper bout, although I wonder if any punks out there might find that injury inducing as they thrash windmill style around.  Punks playing this... maybe not. Anyway so you've got the DB9, Vantage or what ever and your beloved has bought you the guitar.  You can't possibly just plug it into any old amp can you?  No of course not.  Enter the Aston Martin amp I love how this looks - the grill has real 1960s DB4 look about it. More info at Aston Martins guitar and amp site. Now for the painful bit... The guitar is £5,995 and the amp is £7,995!!  Available from World Guitars if

RIP Amy Winehouse

So now we know. The verdict of "misadventure" brings a close this sad story.  "Misadventure" - sounds almost a playful word, a lark, mucking about and something went wrong.  Drinking yourself to death is not just mucking about that went wrong. The official level of alcohol in her body was 416mg per 100ml.  Apparently 350mg per 100ml can be considered likely to bring on fatal consequences.  The drink drive limit is 80mg. I dread to think what levels were in my system at times - especially towards the end.  I was barred from a pub for life in the last few weeks since I was drinking pints of Guinness faster than they could be poured.  I know one day I gave up counting at 20 pints - got off the stool and drove home!  Utterly ridiculous -  somehow I never killed myself or others. The story of Amy having been abstinent for a while then picking up again isn't novel either.  I hear this time and again in the rooms of AA.  I myself stopped for about 6 weeks at on

Interesting BBC programmes

I'm seriously ill by the way - I have the man flu - which if you are male you'll understand that I am very very nearly at deaths door and how I struggle on is a triumph against all adversity.   Hang on why I just slurp my extra strength LemSip.... Right - I'll not dwell on my serious medical condition clearly... I watched a couple of great programmes last night during a "home alone" period when my daughter and wife were at swimming training. Firstly Dr Alice Roberts has an entertaining and educational programme on at the moment about the evolution of human beings.  This was the second in the series.  It is interesting the kind of things they are showing in the development of bipedal humans from tree dwelling apes in the forests.  Driven by climate and forced change of habitat as the world changed around our ancestors.  Interesting stuff - looking at how we evolved to a particular type of diet, why cooking might be the reason we developed bigger brains than t

RIP Marco

Only a week after having to share the sad loss of Dan Wheldon very sadly MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli died at today's Malaysian MotoGP race.  He had a front end fold on the second lap and sadly instead of him and the bike sliding straight off into the gravel trap for some reason the bike came back across the track and he was hit by two other riders.  His helmet came off in the impact and it was obvious from that split second that this was very bad news.  The race was abandoned and soon it was announced that Marco had not survived the crash.  He was 24.  He'd come 2nd last week for the first time ever - had struck a deal to be a brand new Honda next year and would have won GPs soon and possibly been a champion. A very very sad loss - This year Marco I watched you mature and try hard to get rid of the wild man image some branded you with and the last few races showed you were a true threat to the top riders.  Love and prayers to his family and friends trying to come to terms w

Quick Book reviews - Death of Kings - Bernard Cornwell, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

Death of Kings - Bernard Cornwell. The latest in Cornwells Lord Uhtred series.  This one finds devout pagan, Danish raised Uhtred still fighting for the Saxons.  Alfred the Great is nearing the end of his life without seeing his dream of all England united in a single kingdom... the squables with the Danelaw in the majority of the north of the country overshadow this.  With Alfred near to death some scheme to take the crown of Wessex for themselves, others eye Mercia the puppet kingdom that is a buffer between Wessex and Danelaw.  Others want peace - peace?  With Uhtred about?  No chance!  Even in his 40s he is the most feared Saxon warrior.  This brilliantly tells the history around the narrative of Uhtred and his follows. I love Cornwell's stuff - if you love old history and fictional novels based way back when - read this.  Makes you proud to be British and descended from these tough guys!  As I sit there reading it on a Kindle in the HS1 into St Pancras...  GRRR!  Maybe I s

I want it all and I want it NOW!!!

This post is about change, fear, anxiety, faith etc. I'm slowly getting into the new job.  It has been an interesting journey so far.  Basically I've been recruited into a new position in the organisation that actually is yet to fully exist.  This is because they are only a certain way through all the proposed changes to the division I'm in and therefore I've joined as head of a group that won't exist until all the changes are completed and that is still a little way off.  So it is a little bit odd at the moment, there is stuff going on in the existing structure which I'm listening to but not actively involved in.  I've been involved in some of the organisational change stuff working with my boss and others on the job descriptions and gradings with HR. Work is beginning to come along that I can pick up on since new stuff, like some bids for new projects don't have an obvious owner other than myself so that is ok. But overall I just feel not quite the