Showing posts from November, 2011


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