Thursday, January 20, 2005

Quiet day today. Non musical wise started the motocycle theory test book (sample tests, etc) as theory test is on 10th february. Got to put the hours in towards passing that, want to ride that bike out for the spring!

Musical wise been working on the biog for the site: wish I'd kept better notes or diaries when I was at uni(!) - I guess it's predictable that I didn't, I was, after all, having a rather good time.

It's proving quite cathartic actually: I suspect the history side will end up after a section detailing influences, style, techniques, experience etc so there's something quick for visitors to get their head around to see if I could match their musical needs. That's going to include both live, studio and orgnisational experience. I'll put my gear on there as well.

I've joined the newsgroup for the newbury jazz forum (see previous posting) so hopefully that'll help raise my profile. Although not as much as getting out there and playing! I might try to get to the hungerford jazz night this month which is a week on friday (i.e. 29th Jan), but I'd dearly love to have a piece I could play, preferably solo with a backing as Joost is dead busy at the moment - in fact, as I type he's probably in the end stages of auditioning for Leeds musical college. Pity to "lose" the only drummer I know hereabouts who would want to play the stuff I'm into (like jamiroquai or james taylor quartet) - but I'm totally stoked for him, he's doing what I wish I'd done. If only... Etc.

Noticed (in true dweeb style) that after I converted the smoke arrows at the ends of the menu bar into forward and back arrows, they don't work if you pull my blog window into the main lower frame(!) - oh well, no biggie.

Yurch too little sleep last night zzzzzz

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Internet: can you find a muso?

Well, it's interesting times. I've been slacking off the practise for a couple of days to relaunch (ho ho) my webspace on Virgin Net, which is now at least in a beginning form. Much simpler, no clever javascript-enabled buttons, just the basics, presented in a reasonably stylish form, I hope - and with this blog integrated into the pages via a cheesy shot of me onstage at the Dublin Castle used as a backdrop.

Internet Muso Search Engines
I've been trying to find some like-minded musicians to get working with locally.

The Newbury Jazz Platform Open Nights (second friday of the month down the RAFA club in Newbury) are great - excellent for a quiet night's playing. They also hold open nights in Hungerford (last friday of the month at the Hungerford Royal British Legion) which I'll be trying to get to in the near future. There's talk of a need for volunteers to organise these events - I think I'll be applying.

Also, I've found a whole host of online communities where you can register yourself as a musician, or as a band looking for musicians: - the site's a little wierd, possibly because it's hosted in Germany by German guys, but there are people registering there all the time (i.e. it's current). You can search by region and then county, which is cool. is a forum-based music community for Berkshire which has plenty of contributors going on. I've had a few leads from there, but no concrete stuff yet. is a cool site, they'll actually mail you if bands with a profile which matches one you supply are looking for someone who plays what you play. is the forum of - another forum-based community where musos can advertise themselves and search for acts looking for their talents. This one's a national community so there's ads for the whole country there. - a little difficult to wade through, but there's ads for both wanted and available. - useful site. You register all the usual stuff, and can browse who's on there. Currently there's nearly 3900 "musos". The search facility works really well, by area and what you're looking for. - the bands/musicians area of diamondfreeads, a UK free ads paper. If you open a free account and place ads, they'll appear in print in the freeads paper.

phew I'm knackered now.

The Great Practise Plan Rewrite
Well, I have started it. I've organised the month and put in the warmup exercises, rotated for both 4, 5 and 6 string (depending on what I'm playing on the day). Now I'm trying to map the hammeron-pulloff exercises across the month somehow, and formalise the fret/string location for each day so they're rotated.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that more of my practise is musical - less of the mechanical stuff (which is good for ensuring my hands are strong and fast), and more emphasis on taxing my brain with arpeggios and chords, preferably in sequences I can play over. Besides, I figure technical playing of scales, arps and chords can be mechanical if you're moving around a la scale tone chord sequences, so it's just as good for my fingers. Thing is, I won't be able to do it while watching Hollyoaks. Gulp - well, that's one forbidden pleasure you'll know about now then.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

... and the madness was over.

New year, after christmas's golden glow brought on by Nic and I spending it here at home in rosemore towers, was nothing if not a contrast.

Contrast meaning we had 16 guests, that is ;)

Seriously, we had to pull the picnic table in from outside (pausing only to let it dry a little in the garage next to my pride and joy, Nellie the virago) and cover it with a tablecloth, just to get enough dining arses on seats in te dining room.

If you feel trepidous about "entertaining", my advice is go ahead and do it anyway - I pissed and moaned my way through the three days before guests arrived and I ended up loving it. Seeing old friends having a laugh at your place, bringing huge amunts of booze an snacks, getting hysterical tramping through pitch black woods before seeing the Rosemore/Manchester fireworks (my eternal thanks to Cridz for bringing the rokets, they were stupendous)... and oo and aaaahing at the london eye fireworks at midnight.

All great fun. My res for the new year has even been affected: positivity!