Monday, May 24, 2010

Good old fashioned acoustic fun.

Over the weekend, we were lucky enough to be invited to one of those impromptu BBQs that spring up amongst friends when the weather improves. Ours will be shortly I suspect.

Anyway, the occasion was firing up the Ozpig (www.ozpig.co.uk) amongst other things - this fantastic little piece of steel ingenuity is the result of Aussie outbackers converting gas bottles into portable wood burning stove/heaters. There is even. Community of OzModders, I understand, who weld further brackets and acoutrements on to utilise more of the heat.

This is by the by though. I brought the trusty Acoustic Bass with me, and had a grand old plonk well into the evening while being warmed by the pig. Some ├ętude style pieces, a little bach, a lot of funk and some two-handed buffoonery. I must perfect the Inspector theme tune, although the full brass section middle 8 is probably a pipe dream without the MIDI driver.

A great night. My first public performance in a few months, so to speak; best compliment was the agreement that people only realised how much they enjoyed what I was playing when they detected the silence as I took a swig of beer or zhivago (Nic, of course, had a full portable kit with her - we have converted further masses to the zhivago cause).

Otherwise the warm weather is, as usual, and in an entirely predictable way, playing merry hell with any practice schedule I try to keep. But it's the best reason to spend more time on he acoustic. I just need some good backing tracks. Hmm...

Monday, May 03, 2010

Ash cloud remnants...

All that recent ash cloud goings-on and the way in which the airlines got back in the air troubled me; it seemed to me that a financial imperative put the planes back in the sky; now it seems the CAA have pointed a finger at aircraft engine manufacturers-this is from the BBC;

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines told Radio 4's The Report: "The critical path for this decision was the time it took for the manufacturers to satisfy themselves on the safe level of contamination. How long does it take for a manufacturer who has declined to determine something for many years to actually say, 'Given the evidence we've now got, we're happy to nail our colours to the mast and say that these are safe levels of contamination that don't present a hazard.' I suspect that manufacturers knew much of this, that they knew there was an acceptable level of safety but what hadn't happened is that they were prepared to underwrite that and validate it. I suspect that a lot of these things come down to a combination of commercial and safety pressures and actually there are levels of contamination which might impact on the life of the engine without impacting on its safety. But that's only a speculation on my part.... I'm just grateful that they came to the table and worked very hard to get it resolved. If we'd had the assurances from manufacturers that we have now at the start of this crisis, the response would have been different."

I see. Buried in there is a tiny little phrase

I suspect that a lot of these things come down to a combination of commercial and safety pressures and actually there are levels of contamination which might impact on the life of the engine without impacting on its safety

I stand by what I said before. I expect at least one plane to suffer from unexpected engine failure in the future due to pisspoor maintenance scheduling which didn't take this into account. The airlines were in trouble before this happened; I simply don't trust a financially driven organisation to be 100% vigilant.