Showing posts from October, 2013

Recent Reading

Bernard Cornwell - The Pagan Lord I've just finished Bernard Cornwell's "The Pagan Lord" - I bought this for my Kindle with a birthday Amazon voucher my sister kindly gave me.  I like Cornwell's stuff and have read most of his books except any of the Sharpe series for some reason.  This latest one was the continuation of his Warlord series with Lord Uhtred the pagan lord of the title.  Uhtred has had an interesting life - a fictional character set against the reign of King Alfred and then afterwards.  This is afterwards with Edward on the throne of Wessex but a move by the Danes in the north of Britain to push south and take the dream of a united England away again. Uhtred has been banished after a disagreement with the Christian church has led to him kill an Abbot.  But with a small band he disrupted the Danish plans and becomes again the hero of the Saxons.  Great read with much terrific research by Cornwell in to a time when little is truly known of what we

RIP - Gypie Mayo

I've put this up as tribute to Gypie Mayo who was long term guitarist with Dr Feelgood replacing original 6 string slinger Wilko Johnson in 1977.  This is the Feelgoods most successful single ever - the only one that made the top 10.  Whilst many of us feel that the Wilko period was the golden one for the band with the first few albums up to the incredible live Stupidity it was with Gypie in the band that they were their most commercially successful.  In later years he stepped into the legendary shoes of Clapton, Beck and Page when he was guitarist in the reformed Yardbirds in the 1990s and 2000s.

The best motorcycle racing nation in the world.

Anyone watch Pointless on BBC?  Whoever thought that up was a genius.  Quick side bar for those that have no idea what I'm on about, those that do, skip to next paragraph.  A teatime quiz show where you have to get the answer to a question the least number did in a survey of a hundred people before the show.  The ultimate aim to get to the last round and get a Pointless answer - i.e. a correct answer but one that none of the 100 people surveyed did.  Brilliant.  Recently I'd have won the jackpot with my ability to recognised T-Bone Walker in a set of five guitarists and knowing there is a George Washington Bridge in New York.  Pointless - so well named on a more than one front... subtle. To the point(less) in question.   If I was to ask the 100 people "The most successful motorcycle racing nation in the world in 2013".   I would suspect the highest number of people would say "Spain" as we watch Lorenzo, Marquez, and Pedrosa slogging it out (sometimes liter

New and Old.

One of Fender's classics from the 1970s that had so far missed the re-issue bandwagon was the Fender Starcaster.  Whilst we've had all the various Telecaster versions featuring the wide range humbuckers the large bodied, and even larger headstocked, Starcaster was missing.  Until now.  No doubt due to Killers guitarist Dave Keuning use of a Starcaster in recent years Fender have brought it back, and currently retailing in the shops at about £610 it looks a really tempting proposition. My only minor gripe is that there are a few significant changes from the original. Here is the reissue (courtesy of ) and here is an original... (via Ebay where this one is up for sale at the moment) So the differences?  No master volume control - like good old John Birch you could wind down or up a pre-mix setting with both pickups on.  Not a great loss but you're a knob down on the deal!   More for me a shame is that the original followed the Fender tradition of

Music Shops

Sadly earlier this week one of my local music shops closed its doors for good.  Mid Air Music of Chatham is no more.  :-( * 1 minute silence * Sad days - I've bought a few things out of Craig's emporium over the 6 years it'd been in existence, notably my PRS CE22 (huge bargain) my Hughes & Kettner Statesman Dual 6L6 combo (another bargain) my Yamaha CPX 500 and some mics, pedals etc. Sadly all too many shops on the High Street are closing, my favourite hardware and ironmongers store closed down.The last time I was in both the writing was on the wall. Stock levels down, things you'd expect not for sale and just me lonely punter wandering around with little money to spend in them. But it is a complex issue isn't it.  Craig at Mid Air tried to have a quality music shop for our area - i.e. he stocked things like Blackstar amps, H&K, Carvin, Vigier guitars, Mayones guitars, Warwick basses etc.  Now I applauded the effort but...  how many people need a

Big Big Train Make Some Noise

I've really enjoyed Big Big Train over the last year or so with their two releases English Electric Part 1 and ... Part 2 (you saw that one coming didn't you!).  Now they have re-released both of these in a double album version with four previously unreleased tracks.  This is one of them "Make Some Noise" - this is probably the most "pop" these boys are ever likely to get.  Top stuff... flutes, rickenbaker basses etc.  yes it is British prog at it's best!

Rush - Clockwork Angels Tour

Here is Rush playing "The Garden" the closing track from their excellent Clockwork Angels album live on the Tour they've been on across the globe this year promoting the album, complete with a full string section.  Now if you know me you'll know I love Rush, they are up there in my favourite three bands of all time, so I loved the album and the tour and the book that embellishes the album. A DVD package of this tour is due out in November - put it on your Christmas list now!  The gig was up there as one of my best ever, alongside Led Zep at Knebworth etc. for me. Now - click on the video below and enjoy - oh yes and about at 4:30 one of the best guitar solos comes forth from the fantastic Mr Lifeson.  The lightshow is flipping ace too - the whole thing is just flipping ace!!


A colleague just really surprised me.  We'd been talking about favourite foods and stuff the other day - we had a charity cake bake competition underway... I didn't bake, just made a donnation and eat!  She just came in and said "I've some Biriani I made last night left over - there is enough for you".  Simple little acts like that stun me at times do you know - they really do.  Largely as I often fail to perform such acts myself. Darn - should this have been on the other blog ... whatever.  Remember I'm in two places now - the split personality coming to the fore!

This blog and that blog

Right ... this blog here will become more mostly about guitars and music and all that. My other blog is going to focus more from here on about the life part of the title.  To that end there is a new post about my life over there... go read, follow etc. over there...  ta

New music... and isn't Amazon clever

Some new music I've been listening too. Alter Bridge - Fortress. Hello did I put on the wrong album?  The first few bars are a really nice acoustic guitar solo, a bit Spanish in nature and I was wondering what was going on...  but then Cry of Archilles kicks into the drums, bass and heavy guitar riffs.  Oh yes Alter Bridge on top form - Miles' voice soars in and this is all very good territory.  On the whole a little heavier than their normal fair to my ears, with one track The Univited reminding me of the music Metallica should be producing.  Highlights... hmm - too many but probably Waters Rising is the stand out track for me - following a well worn Alter Bridge formula, nice finger picked intro with laid back drums and bass that kicks up when the chorus arrives.  Yes they nailed this as Creed with the other singer but hey if you have a formula that works why break it? Queensr├┐che Right - this is the version with the new singer... like Alter Bridge is to Creed, but th

I sometimes wonder...

Reading the news today there is a big story about the UK e-borders scheme.  The bit that really made me chuckle was the statement from Immigration Minister Mark Harper - who says... "We have the best coverage of any country in Europe but we are working to improve our coverage further." I think his title should be Minister of the Bleeding Obvious.  Could it be that we have the best border system in Europe as we are pretty much the only country that has a border?  The map below shows the Schengen Area - those countries with no border controls between them (those in green are going to join those in blue in due course) The Schengen Area Still Mr Harper will no doubt be pleased to see that quote over the press in a time when the press continually seem to tell us we should be concerned with immigration... The other immigration related story that caught my eye was -  Jack Wilshere says only English players should play for England .  Mr Wilshere is stating only peopl

Fitting a Fishman Rare Earth pickup

I've fitted the Fishman Rare Earth Pickup I got as a birthday present. I was fitting it to my trusty old Yamaha LL11.  I bought this guitar brand new in London in the old London Acoustic Centre, which was based down in Wapping in those days, it was in the mid 90s at some point.  So this is heading for 20 years old now.  It is a lovely guitar, most of my recordings have featured this guitar via a microphone.  However live I've used a CPX500 for some time or I have used the LL11 with a Dean Markley soundhole pickup but whilst that sounds ok it isn't the best solution.  Recently I bought a Vintage Gordon Giltrap that has a Rare Earth Blend pickup, that was really impressive when I used it live and I thought I'd get one of them, but the blend (which has a magnetic humbucking pickup and a small gooseneck mic as well) is £250 vs about £130 for the humbucking only model.  So this is the non blend model I'm fitting here - which the darling Mrs F bought me for my birthday

Birthday booty!

Some of my booty from the family. A new Fishman pickup which is destined for my Yamaha LL11, a really neat neck support from Crimson Guitars, Alter Bridge's new CD and Allsorts!!!


Can you believe it... another orbit has passed with Furtheron sat on this lump of rock going around a small star in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way.  A year - is is funny that we get preoccupied with this stuff isn't it, we divide up things into seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years.  All of these are just to a point arbitary constructs we use to make sense of our planet and it's place in the cosmos if you think about it.  A day is only a day and a year only a year because of where we are in the solar system.  Anyhoo I've managed to sit here on the planet we call home for 51 of these orbits around the sun. Now if you want to really feel inconsequential in the scheme of things consider this.  The solar system is gracefully swinging around the centre of the galaxy at around about 514,000mph (puts any land speed record into context doesn't it!).  To complete an orbit like this known as the "Galactic Year" will take around 225million years or