Showing posts from March, 2012

DIY Fretwork

See this guitar here That is my "Nunostrat" - as I call it.  It had been about some years before that name stuck which was when I stained the body the colour it is now and due to the hand staining and teak oil finished neck, Strat look and twin humbuckers I thought it a bit like Nuno Bettencourt's (Extreme) famous N4.   However it's origins lie in about 1981.  I decided building my own guitar better (cheaper?) than buying one.  I was young and foolish.  Now this was in the days before lots of DIY guitar stuff was available but inspired by Brian May, Stephen Delft (magazine articles in International Musician) and Adrian Legg (Customise your guitar book) I bought a body and a neck from Touchstone Tonewoods and hardware from all over the place.  My Dad helped the initial assembly which was good since at the time I'd have probably made a complete hash of it!  Why a strat with two humbuckers?  Well in 1981 you couldn't buy one like that and Allan Holdsworth pl

Book Review This Time Next Year - Liz Hinds

It is with immense pleasure I'm able to write this review.  Liz is probably the longest running / surviving reader/contributor to this blog and the one that went before it.  Liz can be found at her own blog over at Liz and Harvey.  Liz is a brilliant person she is a conscientious Christian working hard in her own community, she visits prisoners, helps all sorts of people at Zac's, is a proud Mum and Grandma, she writes the brilliant and very honest blog afore mentioned, she makes the best Christmas Puds known to mankind since my dear old Mum passed away (according to Mrs F anyway) and now she is a fully signed up published author. Now I'll be honest This Time Next Year is probably not what I'd normally read it probably falls into the Chicklit category.  I'm very sure Mrs F will love it and she'll be reading it soon. It is a book about a 50 year old recently divorced mother, Alison, and her trials and tribulations in life. The book is written in the first person

Book Review - Glenn Hughes, The Autobiography

Glenn Hughes - a bit of an enigma to me until recently.  In our house musical interests were a little partisan between my brother any I.  He bought the Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple records.  I bought Supertramp, Rush, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Led Zep - just the way it was.  I listen to his stuff and he listened to mine.  So Glenn Hughes was the bass player and second singer in the later versions of Deep Purple to me.  He then disappeared off my radar for years, although I remember Hughes/Thrall, his collaboration with Gary Moore and that he was briefly the singer for Sabbath during the wilderness years for that band sadly.   The rest of Purple I knew about - I'd been into the early Whitesnake stuff where Coverdale, Lord and Paice were and of course there was Rainbow with the revolving door on lead singers trying to work with Ritchie Blackmore.  But Glenn Hughes...  where'd he go? About 3 or 4 years back a friend in the USA and I were talking about mus

Battle of the bulge

Any really long term readers out there remember this post from 2009 about the bulge on my 12 string guitar?  Thought not, well I have a bulge on my 12 string or a belly as it is also known.  My recent read through the excellent Haynes Acoustic Guitar Manual introduced me to the JLR Bridge Doctor .  Now the Haynes book shows one where it is fitted without any new holes etc. by a brass pin that screws into the device replacing your normal bridge pins.  After that installation though the guitar isn't strung conventionally but as like an Ovation / Takamine pin less bridge through the replacement brass pins, which seems less than satisfactory to me, you might remove your bulge but the tone may well drop off given it was never designed to be strung like that. Hmm - that method saves a drilling game through the bridge which given the installation in the book is on a rare 1930s instrument is probably not a bad idea but... a) I'm not keen on the strings not being strung normally th

The Power of the Group

I like going to AA meetings - in general now it is no longer a daily struggle to stay away from a drink, I've been away from one a number of days, weeks, months, years now and new habits are there.  Those habits have replaced entirely the old behaviours that revolved around drinking, there is nothing of the ritual left.  That helps obviously, but also I do react differently.  I get stressed over something at work, a meeting I have to chair or what have you and I don't run off to the pub to "calm my nerves" I walk through the anxiety.  Sometimes better than others but over the years now I'm learning that frankly in most of these things I fear all I really fear is being shown to be lacking in some way... to be seen to be human!  When I celebrate I don't have to drink to do it - and best for me as much of my worst drinking was triggered by situations that would call for a celebration I don't feel the need to destroy the celebration with my drink filled self-p

Book Review - Pantheon Sam Bourne

I believe I've read all of Sam Bourne's previous novels and he has been one of my favourite authors in the "cracking thriller" genre.  This is an interesting novel on a variety of levels.  The story centres around an Oxford academic, his wife - also an Oxford academic and an Olympic swimmer and their child, a young boy.  The novel starts out in the early days of WWII the time of the Battle Of Britain when Britain stood pretty much alone against the might of the Germany army camped a mere 23 miles away on the French coast when everyone expected an inevitable invasion.  Through a series of flash backs you are introduced to the romance of our two main characters and realise that these are principled people - they met at the People's Olympiad which was an attempt in 1936 to present an alternative Olympics for those boycotting the official games being held in Berlin. To cut to the chase our learned academic returns from an early morning rowing session on the river to f

Musical progress

... slow musical progress ... I played at the regular (every 2nd Wednesday of the month) Songwriters Open Stage at the Nags Head in Rochester last night.  The long suffering Daughter-of-Furtheron came along to support me - although to be fair she was reasonably enthusiastic.  Mrs F was having a hair done! Last time I was there was back in December or January I can't remember, December I'm sure and it was cold, snowy etc. and there was only a handful there.  Good news is that it has picked up as the lighter evenings have come and it was a reasonable crowd in.  Rules are simple, first come first served for a slot - 15min slots from 9pm onwards and original songs only.  This latter stipulation setting it apart from many open mic nights and to me adding the greatest asset of it - original music, stuff people have crafted themselves exposed to the world, often for the first time. I played a new song "In Your Eyes" that I've been working on over the last few weeks

Does is take longer to get better?

I was reflecting this weekend.  In a couple of months time I hope to be celebrating 8 years sober, don't want to count the chickens and all that, and I need to remember the programme is only a day at a time but at the moment I have no hint of any compulsion to drink and I intend to keep on the same plan for recovery that has been working so far.  8 years - suddenly this seems to become "a while", if you get my drift, it was "I've only be sober xyz" now I suddenly think, there is some real time served here. I had a phone call from the guy who I shared a room with the most whilst in rehab.  He called out of the blue around Christmas and we reconnected and I had been thinking I ought to call him, but I'm terrible at that stuff.  Then he calls me Saturday - sadly he has been drinking again, and clearly it was out of control quite quickly, otherwise why was he calling me and also saying he'd looked up local AA meetings?   He moved a while back out of Lo

British Swimming Championships

Mrs F, Daughter-of-Furtheron and yours truly had a great night last night.  We went off to the British Swimming Championships at the new Olympic Aquatic Centre.  Firstly if the experience we had last night is anything to go by the Olympics will be a great success.  Loads of helpful, friendly marshalls, good factilities - the Aquatic Centre is superb! The racing was brilliant.  I think the mens 200m IM was my favourite of the night as James Goddard was just beaten by Joe Roebuck and the 100m Women's Free with another close finish and the ever effervescent Fran Halshall taking gold. Nailbiting finishes, Olympic qualifiying times a plenty and then to cap it off in the disability swimming session Ellie Simmonds broke the world record in the 200m IM - the first world record to be set in the venue!  There weren't many dry eyes as Ellie took her medal.  Straight after that excitement the truly inspirational Lyndon Longhorne broke the Bristish record in the 150m IM in a fantastic

It must be Thursday

Seems to be a bit like that at the moment, not really sure what flipping day it is.  I'm definitely sleeping well at the moment for one thing - Mrs F was out on a works girlie night out at the cinema to see the Hotel one with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench et al in it.  I was in bed when she came home, I remember her talking to me, can't say I responded well, if at all, since I was already out for the count and then for the second day running the alarm really does wake me from my slumber, often I'm awake and dozing for the hour before it goes off.  Not recently. Usual routine of up, make pot of tea, eat corn flakes, have a wash, get dressed, walk to station.  Only once I'm on the station do I start to sort of wake up and I'm stood there today thinking "It is Thursday isn't it?" And it is!!  First off my good blogging friend of many years and maker of the greatest Christmas puds since my Mum passed away, Liz, is launching her book today.  I think it is like


I was reminded at a meeting recently how fortunate my life has been.  Despite my years of drinking I remained what many call "a functioning drunk", i.e. I got up every morning, got dressed and got to work.  I did enough at work not to get sacked and therefore the money continued to come in.  In fact I was very fortunate that I was in an industry and a job that paid very well indeed and therefore the money I needed to feed my habit wasn't difficult to find, I could drink enough and not have to squirrel money away for that from the bills, the shopping etc.  I was lucky too that I found recovery before I started to lose the things that really matter - family in particular. Others tell stories of true horror, of ending up in places and conditions I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to have to live day in day out like that.  It is vitally important that I listen to these people, "listen to the similarities not the differences" they say.  I do, and I real

Book Reviews - Haynes Acoustic Guitar Manual & The Alchemist's Secret

Hello - book review time... First up Haynes Acoustic Guitar Manual by Paul Balmer. I already own the Les Paul and Stratocaster Manuals from this series but have to say the Acoustic one is the best I've had so far.  I bought this on a whim in WHSmith after a quick flick through. Ok Mr Balmer goes through a quick history of the acoustic guitar and then delves into the major types and issues you may have.  Lots of very detailed DIY tips and like all the Haynes Manuals the photography really sets it apart from many many other guitar manual type books.  There is stuff about nut work, saddle work including making custom compensated ones using a neat little gadget to determine the ideal break point for the string.  There is some stuff on dealing with a bellied acoustic, my Yamaha 12 string which is approaching 20 years old I think has this issue.  I'm now seriously thinking about having a go at one method shown in this book which uses a brace you insert, attach to the bridge and

RIP PC Rathband

Around the web on blogs, newsites, twitter etc. there is an outpouring of tributes to Davy Jones of The Monkees who sadly passed away this week.  However sad his parting, and really 66 was too young, spare a thought for PC David Rathband who also was found dead this week .  PC Rathband is the man who was shot in the face and blinded by Raul Moat.  (Sad isn't it that the person who committed the crime against him is a more known name than the man left so badly injured.) From reading the reports it looks like PC Rathband took his own life in some way.  How very very sad.  I read things like that and I instantly feel so sad.  This guy went to work one day and just because he was a policeman in the wrong place at the wrong time ended up horrendously injured.  Since his injury he had set up a charity to help serviceman like himself injured in the line of duty.  However there are documented interviews with him where he stated that he was frustrated by the blindness and having to relear