Showing posts from June, 2012

Book Review - Engleby by Sebastian Faulks

This was one of my Father's Day gifts from my daughter.  I've read a couple of this authors works before - A Week in December which was well written with some great characters, however the postponement of its release due to Mr Faulks being engaged to write a "new" James Bond novel meant it came out after the 2008 market crash, if it had come out straight after he'd originally written it, it would have appeared more stunning in its predictions.   However last year I then read Birdsong - frankly brilliant.  If you saw the recent BBC dramatisation you sadly missed out, there was at least a 3rd of the story missing in that, there is a view from modern Britain in the book completely missed out.  Again the characterisations were excellent and great writing of a complex plot and interweaving of people's lives and emotions etc. This book is better again!  Simply one of the best books I've ever read I think.  Strong praise indeed from me.  Why?  Well this is a jo

If you can't be...

... with the one you love, love the one you're with. eh?  Okay following on from yesterdays outpouring of self-pity and looking at the comments (thanks everyone) and Mrs F saying repeated yesterday evening - "You'll never be happy in any job!" I've had the great Stephen Stills song in my head all morning.   Basically along with the old Abraham Lincoln quote “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."  (Adopted by AA on the Just For Today card).  The point being that I need to be (more) in love with my current situation given ideally I'd like to be noodling on a guitar all day, but let us face facts that won't be my bills.   So that is the new mission - change me to be more accepting etc.  You know just trying to smile a bit more is a start I think.   I'll be back here no doubt to let you know how it is but that is the new mission - essentially break the cycle in the last posts diagram at the point where I realise how good

Reset, rewind, pause, reboot

I feel like I need to do that with myself - delete all previous settings, especially delete browsing history and start afresh with a clean install of Human 1.1a (Never buy 1.0!). I saw an opening via someone on a social networking site - get me down with the web 2.0 gurus!  Anyway late last week I put together a CV and winged it over to them via the marvelous internet - how did we exist 20 years ago?   I had a really nice "chat" with the Chief Exec today on the phone.  Problem is this is a bit of a speculative venture, an alliance of people, companies, institutions who kick around ideas until there is enough substance to turn that into a project normally for an initial proof of concept.  At that point they need someone to corral the various interested parties to get a reasonable project brief and that is then hawked around to get funding from one of the members to kick it off.  They need people to do that donkey work getting some consensus on the project look/feel/size/scop

CD reviews

Some overdue reviews... Have to say so far this year we are having a mega year for albums - well I am anyway! Rush - Clockwork Angels. Long awaited album from Rush.  Clockwork Angels has been in development for what seems ages, largely as the band started on it, took a year out to go touring with the Time Machine tour where they played a couple of songs off it, then returned to finish it off.  So not to the timescale of Chinese Democracy but still a while some Snakes and Arrows came out, but it was most definitely worth the wait.  Whilst Rush have always produced good stuff you can't help by say they did slowly decline from the heights of Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures and Signals (my personal favourite Rush album).  Clockwork Angels is back right up there.  Firstly it is a concept album - what prog rock fan couldn't help but applaud the getting back to that.  However it isn't once long piece or a couple of long 20 min epics like from Hemispheres etc. each song is a

Album progress

Ok folks it is slowly creeping towards a release.  I'm working on my second album release to follow Within which was released in Sept 2010.  All the recording is done, I've fiddled with some remixes on a couple of things and sorted out an order for the tracks I like. Last weekend I had a photo soot with my son as I'd had an idea for the cover shot that my daughter had agreed would work.  He has been working on photos from that to create some artwork for it all and I was looking over where he is at with that last night - looking good. I've also been in touch with someone about an outlet for the CDs.  That looks promising as well.  I'll probably to a CD release at the same time as the MP3 release as well. Last thing now is to actually arrange the CD pressing - I found a company reasonably close to me I intend to contact them in the next few days and ensure I understand what is needed from us - my son already has worked from their artwork templates so I think we&

Happy Solstice

Is that the correct salutation for today?  Now is the Solstice today or tomorrow... my calendar says today but people are gathering for tomorrow morning at Stonehenge...   Whatever the point of this post is actually that we are half way through 2012!!!  Holy Mother - where's the time going. 2012 - Jubilee year - yep we've done that, flotillas, concerts, services, flypasts etc.  Happy 60th your majesty.  Time was I'd have been spitting about the need to remove the monarchy and let true democracy reign but I've mellowed with age also I like that the Prime Minister still answers to the Queen, I know it is all a bit phoney in that if the monarch did refuse to sign a new statute we'd be in a right constitutional conundrum but I like it that the senior elected official in this country is put in their place a bit.  I like the continuity of the monarchy and that we don't have to endure presidential elections with a collection of candidates who no doubt would always ma

Book Reviews - Peter May The Blackhouse and The Lewis Man

I bought The Blackhouse when dropping off a load of stuff at the local charity shop, including some books making the bookcase strain a bit themselves. So I donate a load of stuff then return with a book - luckily Mrs F didn't complain :-)It was one of those - I've seen that book before and thought I wonder if it is any good - that is £1.50 can't lose - moments. The Blackhouse This initial book details the story of Finn who we meet just as he is recovering from his son being killed in a hit and run accident in Edinburgh. He is encouraged to return to work and an investigation he has been working on takes him to the Isle of Lewis his birthplace and where he grew up. You know from the word go that there is much more to his return than just co-incidence and the intertwining of the present day which is portrayed in a standard third person narrative style through to the memories of Finn which are written in his first person account of them. He soon meets up with memorie

Father's Day Weekend

I found a lottery ticket in the front garden whilst weeding, snipping and tidying up on Saturday. I've not done the lottery for years as it gave me a depression I could do without, basically every Monday I'd walk into work in a complete rage that I hadn't won on Saturday and could tell them where to stick the job. I realised this was not good for my temperament and stopped doing the lottery! This ticket was rainwashed and sun bleached but all legible - we checked - it didn't have any winnings on it. Now there would have been a dilemma - say it had had outstanding winnings on it what would you do? Claim them and keep schtum? Advertise the ticket as lost and found? In many ways I was glad there was no winnings on it, no dilemma as it went in the recycling bin. Father's Day was very nice. The kids got me the usual selection of offensive and non-offensive cards. Also they got me the new Rush CD Clockwork Angels, Blu-Ray of Slash live in Stoke and a Sebastian F

Guitar Review - Vintage VE2000GG Gordon Giltrap Signature 12 string

Folks will remember my purchase a few weeks back of the Vintage Gordon Giltrap VE2000GG 12 string to replace my old Yamaha which sadly has seen better days... My requirement was for a nice playable 12 string electro-acoustic.  Most of my stuff is as you know acoustic rock orientated in the David Gray, John Mayer genre.  I'd had my eye on a Gordon Giltrap for a couple of years now anyway since a) I'm a big Giltrap fan b) I'd heard said Mr Giltrap use the 6 string version live a couple of times and was impressed c) it seems incredible value for money. Now then my life was made a touch my complicated by the appearance of the Paul Brett signature 12string.  This is a slight oddity in that this is a parlour sized guitar which to be honest wasn't my initial desire but has received rave reviews and also has been designed as a 12string from the ground up - unlike the Gordon Giltrap which is an adaptation of a 6 string design.  Not unusual to be fair most 12 strings are 6

Gig Review - Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs and Friends

We went to see Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs at the Brook Theater in Chatham last night.  Who?  Yes I know hardly an international top drawer act but a fun night out.  Main reason we went was that Rosie Eade was on the support bill and you may remember me waxiing lyrically about her after seeing her at the Rochester Sweeps Festival. First act was Kirsty Macleod from Detling near Maidstone being given an opportunity to shine.  She was very good, strong confident vocals with a nice lilt to them. Next up was Rosie who was highly impressive again.  I like her voice a lot, great power in it not just in terms of physical singing power but also in terms of the emotion she conjures.  Rosie's set ranges from traditional folk through her own material and some unexpected covers but last night was a concentration on her own stuff.  She also is able to conjure a number of different tones from her nylon strung six string.  At one point almost punky thrashing was the order of the day.  I

Keep death off the roads

In the middle of all the moaning about the weather and the taxman etc. I have omitted to tell you about a fantastic Saturday afternoon. Back last Christmas Mrs F and I were a little stuck with ideas of a gift for Daughter-of-Furtheron, having only turned 16 a month before the Yuletide festivities she had had a new super doper camera from us and other things.   Anyway I stumbled on a great idea - Young Driver at Brands Hatch - any kid over 11 who is tall enough (D-o-F does just qualify on that poor thing) can have a go at driving a car with an instructor through a course.  Now this is about teaching them to drive a car not racing the thing although they do all the driving on the Grand Prix loop of the famous circuit!   Anyway I bought the voucher thing but we've been waiting for the good weather before doing it!  Luckily despite the regular downpours across the country in the last few days we actually did get a nice dry and reasonably sunny afternoon on Saturday when she did it.  

Rain, traffic jams and Brown Envelopes

Friday was a bit of a day... I'd gone to Aberystwyth to pick up my son on Thursday.  We woke to a horizontal waterfall, otherwise known as Welsh rain.  By the time we'd loaded up the car we were soaked to the skin but we set off about 9:30am.  The rain was relentless, and as we headed up into the Cambrian mountains it got worse, waterfalls off the hills, virtual rivers across the road and then stones etc. strewn across the road in the wake of the water. If you've not seen the news - it was a good job we left when we did.  The floods have been bad in the area and the road we used to get out was blocked! By the time we were near Newtown it was just a mild downpour and a the road surface a lot better - i.e. not running constantly with water!   We got stuck in a 10 mile tailback on the M25 for no discernible reason - they were supposedly some accidents, we saw no evidence just 10 miles and 2 hours of stop start 1st gear M25 grind. On arriving home there was a brown envelo

CD Review - Joe Bonamassa Driving towards the Daylight

I bought this as soon as it was out pretty much with one listen on Spotify confirming it was another good Joe Bonamassa album.  I now have to change that opinion - this is a great Joe Bonamassa album!  Mr Prolific seems able to bang out album after album as well as his collaborations with others and of course being one quarter of Black Country Communion - who themselves have banged out 2 impressive albums in as many years. He intended to get that old 1960s/70s blues/rock sound.  He certainly has achieved that, at times it is as close as I've ever heard to the original "Beano" album sound the Clapton inspired the world with from his Marshall amp and Les Paul Standard.  Reading through the sleeve notes the guitars used are unbelievable... '52 Tele, '50s strat, two '59 Les Pauls (each of those will be worth over $250,000 no doubt) a '60 Les Paul with bigsby, '60s ES 335... etc. etc.  Holy Cow!   Now normally I'd think - yeah but does it matter.  On

Gig Review - Coldplay Arsenal Football Stadium 2nd June 2012

Happy Jubilee and all that... although frankly beginning to feel a bit like, ok enough already, had the river thing - sorry but that was so funny with the orchestra in the dry and the poor choir singing their hearts out on top in the deluge that only an English summer can conjure up.  I laughed my head off!  Saw some of the concert - Stevie Wonder - brilliant, Madness - ditto, Paul McCartney - better than I'd expected but Elton John... er sorry when did he stop being able to sing.  I know he'd been ill but frankly he was pretty awful to my ears. Anyway - one of our bits of the weekend was Coldplay at the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal).  So... firstly support - Rita Ora was brilliant, that girl can sing and got the limited crowd that was in early going.  Only a short 20 mins set which was a shame, I'd have gladly listened to more - great band as well.  The Robyn... well not my sort of thing, very very clever drumming but her sound and style didn't really suit a stadium gig

Book reviews

Treacherous Games - David Brodie. This is Mr Brodie's first novel written after his retirement as a Professor of Cardiovascular Health, and not a bad first effort at all. So to set the scene, the central character is Nigel Gressley who is a top sports agent, the guy who puts together all the sponsorship, appearance etc. deals and creams off a nice percentage profit.  He has a young English middle distance runner in his stable of sportsman and woman.  A chance comment from this athlete after a defeat by the worlds best makes him consider a radical strategy to help his man claim the ultimate prize, a gold medal at his home Olympics in London 2012.  So extremely topical!  The plan, to actually disadvantage the main rivals through a variety for means.  To get information on how to do this Nigel funds some research by a promising young student and boxer to discover ways to undermine an athletes performance, all the time he claims he is doing this to help his stable of athletes to be