Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy new year! I'll be asleep.....

Twas the night before driving for 13 hours,
and all through the house,
lots of things got unpacked in a hurry,
including an infra-red mouse.
The audio equipment was stashed with due care,
in hopes that on arrival it would all still be there.
The laptop was nested all snug in its case,
With visions of new Janeiro tracks (with cracking bass).

Tomorrow we set off. Around 10am we'll pull out of folkestone on the chunnel train in the car, and tomtom will guide us (with the excellent european map pack - I'd recommend it to anyone) all the was to Andorra. We're planning to stop off in Toulouse, which should be interesting.

I've rationed myself to a 4, 5 and 6 string bass, which should be more than enough. My rationale is that while I'm out there it's music and boarding, boarding and music, so I might as well go for it!

Only thing bothering me at the moment is a lack of small MIDI controller keyboard. I think I'll have to get one while I'm out there. Still, I'll have the ultimate small studio system then! Must update my webpage with the new gear... have to do that when i get back :)

Got lots of spare drive capacity - 2x120Gb drives plus a small 20Gb one as well. Even brought a little DVB stick along! Wonder if they've got digital TV in Andorra...

Wish me luck - this is definitely feeling the fear and doing it anyway, so to speak.

Finally - and this goes out to anyone who is willing to read my diary, such as it is, with its' occasional philosophical meanderings - have a great new new year. Here's to your 2007 - I hope it's as interesting as mine is going to be!

And if you still work for Panasonic... then good luck to you too :) Big shout out to Darren K, Chris B (the man in the far east), Sean C, Abid K, Shinee R, Mike L, James T... have fun this year guys, and be careful with that system.... :)

Oh god yeah - and here's to James Brown. I've spent more happy hours playing his stuff than most other - with the Apostles in St Andrews, we used to do a version of Sex machine that lasted literally 15 minutes and caused people to almost drop dancing.... wild.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Stagecraft... gulp!

There's something I'll have to do more of out there in Andorra which I admit scares me a little - I'll have to front the band a bit! While Jamie is without a doubt the star, he does need a break sometimes so I need to sing a few tracks so he can back off a bit. I was tinkering with the bassline to "the boys are back in town" earlier on today on the 6 string (ah, strumming those barre chords will def help thicken things out!) and thinking about how complex and "semi spoken" the words are...


I'll have to practise that one until I'm sick of it! Actually, I've only sung a whole sung as the "front", as it were, a couple of times - really, it's a question of practise, I think. I'd guess I'll just have to tone down the complexity of the basslines to try to give myself more head space to remember lyrics, etc. I think I can just about handle some green day though. We'll have to work on some new green day tracks. Basket case does get 'em going though. Just ask David Hasselhoff. The hoff knows, he does.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Last day at work! Now I can look forward...

Wierd day. Wierd, wierd day.

I had all those "Well, this is the last time I'll" moments getting into the building, then I spent the day sorting out things to bring home (including the pinky and the brain characters Nic bought me years ago) and making sure my exit didn't leave anyone in the lurch...

And at 11:30 a small crowd of brave souls who were still in the building on the last friday before christmas gathered to see me off. When I left Racal years ago it was totally different, I just left really. Getting the card was nice, and the sequin covered fluffy red cowboy hat (which Chris B assures me is essential in Brighton clubs, along with white gloves) was a nice touch. Apparently Darren quizzing me about using iTunes to buy music was to make sure I did ( they were going to get me an iTunes card) but I then went off on one of my little rants about how I hate iTunes music shop because they don't sample at a high enough rate. Truth is, I'm a staunch CD buyer because that's the best digital quality you can buy - you can dictate the sample quality when YOU rip it, and if you buy your CDs on play, you'll pay about the same rate as iTunes charge per track. DON'T LET THEM RIP YOU OFF THIS WAY! 128k is not quick enough.

I think I may have just illustrated my rant. And possibly restated it again. Sorry about that, I tend to go off on one... :)

Anyway, I was genuinely touched by the sendoff. Actually, lots of people have been really nice about what I'm doing - very few people have called me mad (at least not to my face!) and one or two have actually implied I'm something of a hero! I'm flattered, but it's definitely time I had some form of career break from the desk jobs to tax myself in another sphere before I come back. If you read this, Mike Livingstone, I will make sure I get in touch once I get back to earth. Thanks for the comment mate, means a lot. :)

And now I can really look forward to the season - although at the moment Andorra is lacking in snow like a lot of european resorts. It's looking bad in the alps unless you're over 2000m... I think Andorra may be in a good position in the pyrenees though, the warm moist air from the atlantic should dump on the pistes!

Been trying to squeeze practise into all the madness recently - I'll be blistering by the time I get on stage. In a good way.

Got to unpack some of the studio to get at some software before I leave and no mistake....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Getting VEEEERY close now...

If you click on the title of this post, you can look down into the comments about Soldeu for a mention of Breeze (who are gigging as Janeiro in this winter season with yours truly!)... I've got a lot to live up to, obviously!

So much to catch up on.... OK, I'll try to get it into some kind of order.

1. Moved house
Nic and I moved again! Found a place (at the last moment, it's got to be said) a couple of miles up the road, really beautiful, and space for the Virago in a nice dry shed. We have a pond, ducks and a moorhen (which you can hear at 1am). We also have a dairy herd which wanders along the hill opposite in the mornings while you're trying to make breakfast!

Currently the house is a total shambles, but it's getting there. Kitchen is arranged (better than the one we had before!) but my studio is still well and truly in boxes. Good news - the mixing desk is working again, I can recommend sending your dead Soundcraft 328XD power supply off for repair with some guys I found near stevenage. Total cost was around £113 for the repair, as opposed to £450 for a new supply from soundcraft... no contest! If anyone wants the address give me a shout on the blog. I need to unpack some of the studio so I can get at software before I leave!

The cats are going stir crazy, surprise, but they seem to like the new place. It's a lot warmer. Despite feeling more rural that the last place, it's actually got gas central heating(!) - never mind the cost, the place is WARM!

So all in all a good move. We did it with one luton transit again, and that definitely is the last time. After the 6 vanloads, (2 of which were solo on my own! We did get lots of help from my Bro and Nic's mum for which I am eternally grateful) and the cleaning of the old place, I took a week to recover. Hard hard work. Volga boatmen city.

2. Ready for Andorra
Well, nearly. I've got a laptop (finally) to keep the blog up to date (I notice I've got a comment or two - thanks for those, whoever you are...!) and hopefully do some recording out there with Cubase. I'll be using internet cafes though I think, thankfully I'm sure there is one in Soldeu and the access cards aren't too expensive.

Our gear (Nic's skis and my boards) has already gone down in the van - Jamie is already down there! Actually, the Van is a worry - currently the brakes aren't working, but thankfully they got there OK before they gave out. I've got the workshop manuals for LDV vans which look like they're pretty good, but how do I diagnose from this distance?????? eek.

3. Job situation....
I've had a lot of good positive noises from ex-panasonic employees - many thanks to all of them - and I'll be working on my CV (probably towards the tail end of while I'm out in Andorra, now I've got a laptop) in order to come steaming back to the UK and find a software sector to terrorise. Typically, I've got something really juicy to dig into at work as well. Wish I'd had that 3 months ago, but what can you do? It takes a long time to persuade the Japanese of things.

4. That's it.

Oh yeah... I fixed my car up. Window winder, windscreen, tail light... little things.