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It's all a load of bollocks, quite frankly

Covering all basses

When I were a young lad back in t’day, long before days o’ tungsten carbide drills and gala luncheons, I were at school playing an instrument known as t’double bass. Aye, luxury it were, lad. ‘Twere a bloody great thing as big as ‘ouse. It made a noise that to me were right grand, but to other folk must have been a right terrible din to a man’s eardrums, aye.

It were at same time I started banging t’drums like summat possessed. I mean, it beat a days hard graft int ‘pit, now, didn’t it. I loved pounding t’drums in most northern of ways, but t’bass were my musical instrument o’ choice young lad. And I tell thee one thing for sure, I bloody regret hanging up t’bow and giving up t’bass. Aye, it were only until recently about a year or so that I picked up t’bass guitar once again to see what music I could play. Ooh it were bloody fowl I tell thee. Utter shite. I’d sooner cut t’feet off end a’ leg it were that bloody dire. But as me great Uncle Bert would say, If at first you don’t succeed lad, join Yorkshire Cricket Team. Which he prompted to do right bloody quickly an’ all. I saw his error o’ ways I did and cricket weren’t for me so on wi’persistance. And as I tell you this fable, persistance is a right bastard. As is writing something in a Yorkshire accent, especially as I’m Cornish and live in Cornwall. So with that lucky piece of realisation, erm, realised, I shall refrain from writing in a dodgy manner in which some of those Northern types from overseas speak. The people responsible for the Yorkshire accents have been sacked. Aye. And that one has just been shot. Aye. Twice.

So I got a bass guitar which is on some kind of “I’ll store it here for you but only if I can use it and I will give it back to you one day, promise!” loan by a good friend who shall remain Alec and we shall call Nameless. It felt good to pick it up for the first time. It felt good to play something on it for the first time, though others I’m sure will tell you it sure as hell didn’t sound any good.

My influences on the bass, predictably include Paul McCartney, who in the Sixties pretty much threw the rule book for bass playing away, where beforehand it had served simply as a rhythm instrument. He did interesting stuff with the bass, main melodies, counter melodies and used it as a lead instrument. He basically set the mould for bass players to come.

Peter Hook of Joy Division then New Order, when he isn’t being a knob, is also a superb bassist, and plays it as a lead instrument. Again, someone who does interesting things with it. Other bass players whose work I admire include Steve Harris, John Deacon, John Entwhistle, Bruce Foxton, Jack Bruce and the blokey from Jamiroquai whose name escapes me. There are many more to name, but quite frankly I cannot be arsed to do so.

These bass players explain a great deal as to why I prefer to play something that isn’t just a straight rhythm. I enjoy trying something new, something tricky that takes me forever to learn yet ultimately rewarding when I find I can play it and it vaguely resembles the tune. Even more so because I can’t read music and am too lazy to bother to learn to be honest. I rely on picking it up by ear and cheating by using tabs.

What it has done also is made we want to record stuff as I have all these ideas floating around in me head, but record it by myself. I have a big enough living room, but a lack of instruments, recording equipment and a six month old son who is more vocal that most lead singers are a bit of a hurdle. I’ve always liked the DIY approach to making music where you lock yourself in a room, play all the instruments yourself, produce it yourself and whatever comes out results in an album. Artists like McCartney, Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Karl Wallinger of World Party and Ian Broudie all enjoy locking themselves in a studio and seeing what they can achieve, even if the results make you think “what the fuck were you thinking, mate, seriously”.

Therein lies my musical schizophrenia, however I’m in two minds about that one. On one hand I’d love to be in the studio, crafting and experimenting and letting whatever the fuck happened to naturally happen. On the other hand, I’ve got four fingers and a thumb. (Too predictable?) I’d like to just be playing live in a band doing heavy stuff. If I could ever play it…

So, to summarise minus the bullshit, I’m borrowing a mates bass guitar, and I’m lovin’ it lovin’ it lovin’ it, I’m lovin’ it like this. And now I’ve included that in my blog I’m off to go fly a kite. Yes indeed!

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November 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A very short Bono rant

My one regular reader (oh, alright, me then) should know that I hate Bono as much as I love the late, great John Entwhistle’s bass playing. I do feel a huge amount of shame mentioning Bonio in the same sentence as The Ox.

Now I do enjoy reading through publications such as Q Magazine, but only in the shop, unless it features anything Beatle, Who, Ian Broudie, New Order or Neil Finn related. Otherwise I won’t waste my money on it as it has become nothing more than a monthly pastiche of the NME, which in turn is a load of bollocks anyhow.

This month features a cover with U2 and somewhere blazened inside the usual attention-catching quotes. This particular one had something along the lines of “I know why people hate us and me”, and another with Bono trying to be humorous: “I have to live with me too”. Yes, but it’s far, far worse for the likes of me, Boner. We’re inundated with your fucking ugly, egocentric, hypocritical “awareness raising” bastard mug all over the TV, tabloids, magazines and bloody frisbees. You made yourself like it, so suck it up, bitch.

Trust me you don’t, really don’t know why people hate you. In fact you know so fucking little as to why people, me especially, hate you, your ego only being part of it. I don’t want to repeat myself from previous posts, as I don’t want to end up like a pastiche of the NME any more than I already may be. I will rant again in time about Boneheado when he appears in public (won’t be long, then).

Well, Bono, I have my own awareness-raising campaign for you (this blog) and its slogan. It’s about raising awareness that you’re a twat. The slogan is “Bono, you’re a twat!”. Are we all aware? Excellent.

Bono belongs in a select few group of people that I’d quite like to throw in the Channel Tunnel and seal it up our end and let the bloody French have them. Off you go Bono, The Edge, Phil Collins, Chris Martin, Bob Geldof, Sting, Madonna and anyone else that suffers from Lead Singer Syndrome. While we’re at it, the entire line-up of the Manic Street Preachers can go in. God I hate those self-important, self-absorbed wankers. Thankyou and goodnight!

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November 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Weddings and a Funeral

For a change I was struggling to find a topic to write about when thinking of friends and family sprang to mind. I love reminiscing. Great times had with people past and present. Most of my blog entries are structured and for the most part planned. This isn’t. This is me spilling my thoughts out into a blog entry as they enter and leave. It may seem like I’m rambling, which may have something to do with the fact that I am.

The main person in my thoughts presently is my late Uncle John who passed away five years ago last month. The same year I got married. Three times. You see, me and the missus buggered off to Italy to get hitched. We then returned for a celebration reception in St. Ives for the family and friends down this way who couldn’t make it to Italy. Then in October of that year we had a renewal of vows “party” oop north for Jayne’s family who couldn’t make it to Italy. However, days after our return, myself and my family found ourselves at Longstone Cemetery in Carbis Bay, St. Ives burying my Uncle John.

Now it would be in his type of humour to have looked upon the whole thing as “Three Weddings and a Funeral.” But I couldn’t see it like that. This was the first time I’d seen that side of my family in eons. Mourning the loss of a family member wasn’t quite how I imagined meeting up with them again. Especially their dad. He of many wonderful prank phonecalls, practical jokes and wicked sense of humour.

It made me realise how much I’ve missed them. Ironic as I’m currently listening to the Finn Brothers 2004 album ‘Everyone Is Here’. Principally, song number one – ‘Won’t Give In’ with the lyrical refrain ‘Everyone I love is here…’

Katrina, the eldest daughter, now lives over a million and six miles away in New Zealand. Somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and now her citizenship has been accepted I best start saving up for when my son is old enough to understand travelling, and meet her. Unless she decides to “pop over” for a Philps pasty. Tim, the middle child is still at home in Essex. And baby of the family, Hannah now lives in Scotland, which is slightly less than a million and six miles away, but not by much. To the uneducated, Scotland is north of England. Up there. Above the Geordies. Past that wall. Yeah, that’s it, you got it!

Thankfully, through the medium of social networking and blogging (Hannah writes a most excellent blog, I suggest reading it. Oi! Hang on, I meant finish reading mine first! Pft!) I have been able to keep in touch with them which has been fantastic, yet doesn’t quite seem enough somehow. I would love to meet up under different circumstances, and one where mourning isn’t involved in the mix.

My family isn’t vast anyway, and they aren’t getting any younger. Hell, Father, the youngest in a family of six, turns 60 this week! He’s already lost two brothers – Richard at the age of 48 and John at 64. Both his parents only lived to 69. My wife and I turn 30 next year. Later this month my son will be half a year old. My wife’s family, however, is more densely populated. I don’t have much in the way of friends, save for a few close friends, some of which go back to my school days, some are new to the fold within the last couple of years. I’ve never wanted to surround myself with people. Have a few good friends and that’ll do. That’s what you get for being a bit of a loner. I love solitude.

Which brings me neatly back on to social networking, bizzarrely. Looking at my friends list on Facebook and the quantity is below 70. There isn’t anyone on there I don’t interact with in some form or another. Everyone is on there because I want them to be or because we share at least one thing in common. To me, that’s the point of it. It’s absolutely pointless having people on there from your school days that either they ignored you or you ignored them back in the day and now want to get friendly. Yes, you lot can fuck right off.

This whole post has got me thinking about people past and present. Those I never want to see again so as long as I breathe. Those I know it’s impossible to see again. Those I look forward to seeing again soon. Those who it has been far too long since I’ve seen last and those who I miss. Goodnight all. Playing out with Regret by New Order. Which is about not regretting things.

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November 9, 2011 Posted by | Other Stuff! | 2 Comments

Fiat Punto 1.2

What possesses people to do certain things can sometimes have the world’s finest psychiatrists baffled. Generally buying an Italian car rather than one of the more reliable, better built Japanese or German counterparts would indicate a unique mindset. To go one further, anyone buying a decade old Italian car with nearly 95,000 miles on the clock for a very princely sum should be sectioned. So I bought a ten-year old Fiat Punto with 93,000 miles on the clock for a princely sum.

The Punto range was always regarded as being a well specced out car, that is of course if you steered well clear of the poverty-spec, entry-level model, which was advisable to do. So I bought a poverty-spec, entry-level, ten-year old Fiat Punto with 93,000 miles on the clock for a princely sum. I could not any more in that sentence as I have run out of hyphens.

To be fair, the equipment levels aren’t sparse, when compared with, say, the equipment levels of a brick. Standard equipment includes seats, dashboard, wheels, engine… erm… doors, yes, it has doors as well. Five of them, in fact, and they allow you to gain access to the interior of the car in a most convenient manner. It’s been well thought out, really. For example there is a windy thing on each door that allows you to raise and lower the windows. At the same time, it exercises the muscles in your hand, which is excellent thinking on Fiat’s behalf. The other excellent feature is four doors that lock independently of each other. This allows you to get wet in the rain trying to open all the doors, which saves you on showering when you get home. It also allows you to lock the keys in the car, which is an excellent security feature and stops you from losing them.

It drives well, it stops well and up to 70mph it performs well. Past 70mph it’s about as quick as Paris Hilton’s intelligence. 0-60mph takes somewhere in the region of six to ten working days. However, on the flip side it’s as miserly as Scrooge when it comes to fuel consumption. Handling wise, it’s typically Punto. Neutral, safe, quite fun to chuck around the bends but the steering is a tad light.

I have to say though, get a good Punto and it will be a cracking car. I’ve had two previously, both Mk2 Sportings and both were superb and 100% reliable This one also appears to be a highly likeable car. It was pretty much a steal and had a reasonable amount of tax, a near as makes no difference full MOT, immaculate interior, service history and a cambelt change in recent months. It has a few bits that need sorting such as the exhaust system and could do with a good engine service, but these were things reflected in the price. Otherwise it seems exceptionally solid. There are also a few bits and pieces here and there that I want to do to tidy it up in places. Get rid of those black bumpers for instance. Get a decent set of OEM Punto alloy wheels for it when the tyres expire. In five weeks so far, the only thing I’ve had to do to it is repair the wiper linkage which decided to fall apart. The whole repair cost less that a fiver so I’m going to cheat and not count that. So, stay tuned for the running (un?) reliability report. Go on, you know you want to. Have another laugh at the expense of a Fiat driver why don’t you…

November 5, 2011 Posted by | Motoring | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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