Archive for the 'Music' Category

Goodbye guitars

saying goodbye to my guitars saying goodbye to my guitars

Back in late September when I had a bit of a life crisis and subsequent life laundry, I amazingly managed to convince myself that, after 16 years, I didn’t need two guitars and that perhaps the band wasn’t ever going to get back together.

I worked all the summer of ’91 in a chip shop in Lyme Regis to buy that electric guitar and amp. Grunge was around at the time and everyone seemed to be forming bands, arguing about names and having musical differences, normally all in the same afternoon. I only ever played one gig in front of a paying audience. It was at Munroe’s, a shitty nightclub behind the market in Stockport and I think my mum actually dropped me off in her mini metro – ROCK! We were on a stage 6″ high, but when you’re ‘up there’ facing 30 or so faces it feels like you’re standing on the white cliffs of Dover. We were the support act to the support act, The main act was a band called MrMeaner, (you can read about the gig here). The guy who printed the flyers didn’t know what we were called, and so as he knew the drummer’s name he christened us ‘The Steve Chapman Experience’. Our set list consisted of L7‘s Pretend We’re Dead I think, and some Nirvana covers.

Anyway, that was all a long time ago and it’s time to move on. So I took my two guitars to The Doghouse, which is a small guitar and skateboard shop attached to Antenna Studio’s here in Crystal Palace, where I said a very emotional goodbye. Johnny, a really nice guy who also makes custom Dickinson Amps offered a part exchange for a single new acoustic. It has a much better sound, but being brand new and made in China the fret board smelt of fish (the glue I think) for the first couple of weeks until, um, dirt, finger skin and sweat ‘seasoned’ the board.

And so to today, like a divorced Dad with visiting rights, I went back to Antenna to check up on them. Johnny’s done a great job cleaning them up and restringing them. I’m hoping some 16 year old kid looking to buy his first guitar comes in to the shop clutching some hard earned savings and a dream of being in a band and buys it, or it could be yours for £150.

custody visiting rights on my guitar

Google or Googe? Valentine’s Day and Love/Hate

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Google have done a custom logo..if you click it, you get a load of Valentine links. So far, so public holiday, except a very smart sub editor friend of mind saw a double message in this one.

The ‘L’ in this one is formed from the strawberry stalk one would assume. How ever, due to it’s small size, the word could also be ‘Googe’ …. typo? Poor design? Well Debbie Googe was the bass player in My Bloody Valentine

Ah-har! We’re on to you Google and your multi level word playery! Bet you’ve had that in the bag for months!  also redirects to 

In other Valentine’s day news.. I’m liking the Love / Hate option on  Ahhh Love/Hate were one of my fave bands of the 90s. I saw them at the International II in Manchester, which was a well rough venue.

For those about to rock… We will sue you.

Link: BBC NEWS | Magazine | Discord over guitar sites.

Sepia mode on: It’s 1991, and a 16 year old eyedropper has spent the summer working in a chip-shop in Lyme Regis. He’s returning up north with a ruck sack of dirty washing and a wodge of hard earned cash… cash that is to be spent on a guitar! Weaned on rock and metal during the dancey ‘E’ Madchester rave years he’s fired up as grunge takes the UK by storm! He spends £200 on a Tanglewood Les Paul copy and and a Marshall Valve-state amp! Plugs it in, runs a finger across all dails up to 10, and let’s loose a right racket. So how do you play this thing?

When I was learning guitar we didn’t have the internet.. so we’d either try to work it out by ear, get a book out of the library, or shoplift one – any of these options doesn’t really get the publisher any money. Nowadays budding axe boys and girls can learn they’re favourite songs in a jiffy… This move is perhaps the single most stupid thing I have heard yet. (Up there with shutting down Harry Potter fans sites.) Yeah kick fans in the nuts you money grabbing tossers. Anyone who’s ever used tab is reading that whilst listening to the song they already own.

So, on to bit-torrent with tabs then. And to see that Beautiful Day by U2 is one of the artists being deprived on anymore money is gauling, like they need the cash. If you’re in NYC on sept 26th you might like to meet a member of the lawfirm representing the NMPA, Moses Singer, at a talk Gideon Rothschild is giving entitled ‘2006 AICPA Briefing on Tax Planning for Wealthy Clients’. Says it all I reckon.

I wouldn’t mind if music publishers had a decent digital alternative, or put the tab/sheet music on the damn CD – bang problems solved – but, no, there’s none. And to only just come round to this when Olga’s been around for over a decade is shameful. Once again it’s us, the fan/consumer getting it in the bum. Google however, has 292,000 results for U2. btw If anybody cares it goes – A –> Bm –> D –> G –> D –> A. So keep on rocking in the free (tabs) world kids, or – and this is a better plan – sod them and make your own better music.

Furthermore, the BBC has massive music output, yet I don’t think we’ve ever done a ‘learn to play guitar’ style offering apart from this, which is soooo BBCy it would make any kid worth his plectrum vom.

not your everday excuse…

From an email to Rhodri.

How you doing. Fancy a beer some time soon?

hey Andrew – I do, of course. We never manage to get around to it, do we. At the moment I’m up to my eyeballs because I appear to have joined Scritti Politti

When celebrity knocks, you gotta be in I guess.

Home to Roost and the O2 festival

So sometime in the past I must have said something to someone, or given my business card to someone, and the other day an unsolicited envelope turned up with a review copy of ‘Home’ by Rooster from Hudson PR (yeah, the state of the website speaks volumes). Since then I’ve had four different calls from different people at Hudson asking can they have some PR and what I thought of it. I said I’d pass it to someone in Radio1.

The song’s ok, in a middle of the road Virgin Radio white guitar rock 4/4 kind of a way. Too over produced for me and doesn’t exactly give a lot lyrically. Songs about ‘going home’ are always a bit iffy, there’s usually a roads reference, a ‘back to you’ line. What’s ‘home’ actually mean anyway? Like in films when they say ‘let’s blow this thing and go home’. Home’s a nice cup of tea and a sit down, maybe a biscuit or a snooze, that’s home. Remember that ‘Home..where my thoughts are racing. Home..blah blah” that went with the MSN advert? Or was it Windows 95? (I thought that was Start it Up by the Stones?) That always seems a very American view of home to me.

Anyway, my real issue’s with the whole Song BMG –> PR Co. –> Media review CD process I guess – are labels and PR agencies still doing that?. Compared to way say Hill & Knowlton went about promoting the Chocolate phone Hudson’s approach couldn’t have been more anachronistic if they’d faxed me the sheet music. The World and his wife knows these days that that’s not the way to reach the My Space generation.

Belle & Sebastian

In other music news, I went to the O2 wireless festival last night, and saw Belle and Sebastian, (who do sing about cups of tea) and The Strokes. I got on the guest list through a mate, so braved a gormet burger from the VIP area washed down with a £3 can or Carling…went straight through, didn’t touch the sides, at least the guest pen had decent loos. Nice to see a lot of beer throwing in the crowd during the Strokes set, not quite as bad and the bottle ‘n’ can fest I witnessed during the Metallica set at Monsters of Rock festival in 1991, now that was throwing beer around! Tsk! Kids today eh? (I did feel a bit old….gulp).

BBC – Later – May 26th 2006

You may remember the story in the news about BBC staff making up the audiences for popular BBC shows like Top Gear, Jonathon Ross and An evening with Paul O’Grady.  Well one show that sort of went round via viral whisperings was Later…with Jools Holland, and it was to this that I went last night.
Bonkers lineup though. Crosby and Nash, Dave Gillmore, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello and…. The Streets.  (Plus some crazy Brazilian drumming band) The Green room must have felt like a retirement home. What Mike Skinner was thinking as he nodded along to Simon’s ‘Graceland’ is anyone’s guess.  Jool’s interview with Simon didn’t reveal much. Jools: Why’s it taken you 6 years to release a new album?” Simon: “Well 9/11 happened….” There was a tiny groan from people around me. But hey, he’s the envy of every Starwars fan.

Likewise his interview with Skinner, but then Jools isn’t about the probing NME style interview, he more of a ringmaster of aural blood sports.  A guy I know is in Belle & Sebastian, and he says that doing Jools is liek stepping into the gladatorial arena. Didn’t really feel like that last night, more of a aural chess match, still had a great time and was glad of the opportunity to go. I think the public performing license has come through now, so they’ll be letting ‘normal people’ back in for next weeks show.

Blurry pics on Flickr.

New York siddy… it’s raining.

Crikey it’s been a while since the last post.. That’s because I’m in NYC, only it’s chucking it down outside and we’ve got 20 mins for we have to be somewhere else, so I’ve got time to put finger to key.

First off, just before I left to come here I went to the BJP’s Vision conference as a portfolio judge for the third year. The standard was very high this year bar a few stinkers, but most of the students seems very corporate focused. I guess that’s the way it is these days, none seemed to be doing photography for the love of making images… Mind you with college debts no topping 10,000+ the halcyon days of further education are long gone. Strangely enough there were one or two adult photographers this year, people with complete books, past commissions and proper equipment. The only thing they lacked was guidance… Which I felt silly offering in one case to a guy who’d been a photographer for over 15 years but who’s book seemed frozen in the early 90s…’erm, get some new work’ is had to pad out to 10 mins.

I had the following Friday off too, as I had a mate coming over to watch a certain trilogy… but before that I wandered up to the shops to get some supplies. 11am was fast approaching, and I’d left Morrisons so wasn’t sure quite where to observe the 2 min silence. As it happens the CP war memorial is just by the side of Morrisons and I saw a few veterans assembling there.. So I went over and stood with them, after we’d paid our respects I got chatting to one of them, a Mr Jack Russell, who’d lived in south London most of his life, and who saw action in the far east.. we were chatting away and I thought what the hell, so I said, let me buy you a drink.. the pub across the road had just opened so we went there… I then spent an hour listening to the most amazing stories of this old man.. He spoke of how they’d all come to the Crystal Palace for a treat as a boy, and the things he saw in the war. I think he was just happy that some one ‘young’ had come and remembered, and that he had someone to talk to. He’d also submitted his story to the BBC People’s war archive, with the help off his grand daughter. He was, in short, a truly nice old man.

Anyway, after I got home my mate Dan came round at noon and we watched all the Lord of the Ring’s films in one go.. my head was mush by the time we finished at 1am. That’s what they fought for…

NYC calls.. the rain’s stopping, big post to follow.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
April 2020