Saturday, 31 March 2012

Its not a guitar.....honest

Its a Bass

More specifically a handmade fretless Bass made by French lutheir Philippe Berne. Also more specifically, the 1st of her kind, a truly unique and lovely thing...which it seems no one else on ebay wanted as I got her 1st bid for a 1/4 of her retail was meant to be.

Ed our bassist plays an old EKO fretless Acoustic bass which sounds lovley though is very prone to feedback. I love the sound he gets from it though and as our sound moves towards a jazzy old school blues the fretless is prefect (in Ed's hands).

Since our Monday night practice and recording sessionstend to be just with me and Britta, though Ed is coming this week. I thought I'd find a nice fretless to compliment the tatty old Roberts Fretted bass for some of our practice sessions. Also if Ed's feedback problems don't reduce he can borrow it if we ever have a gig.

Of course she needs a name, Bernie seems appropriate, I have an old collegue named Bernie whith a cool fun personality, I wonder if the name will fit the bass's personality also...we'll see.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Come Dine with me

Round 3 of our Breda ex pats Come Dine with me Challenge tonight, my ex Boss Frank is the hostesss with the mostess this time. I've drawn the lucky last straw so I get to cook next week sometime. I'm looking forward to it.

The 2 evenings so far have been lots of fun with nice food and fantastic conversation, so am hoping for more tonight, Frank is a bit of a dark horse, I know he can cook but claims he's never tried tonghits interestig italian themed recipes and that his wife has shown him now to turn the oven on :D har har, I don't believe a word of it.

I better go get ready for the event.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Getting there

Had an absolutely great jam session last night with students, I organise this every couple of months or so...What was good about it?

At no time did I feel out of my depth. big step.

Felt really great, and we sounded great sometimes, totally improvised, most of the time one of us laid down a groove and eveyrone joined in taking turns to solo or change the groove tempo

I would never have been able to do that a year or so back, so for me this is amazing progress. Playing with others makes such a big difference.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

ermmm Video is hard

I dont have a clue how to do a video....I thought it was easier than it is, but mixing them up needs some kind of fancy software I don't have so not going to get that done this weekend as hoped..

so here's the audio version.

I apologise in advance for the singing, but at least the drums are good, since thats the only thing I didn't play on this.


Monday, 12 March 2012

Sinners Prayer

One of the slow numbers on Hart and Bonamassa's Don't Explain album, orginally by Ray Charles but his duet with BB King is a stand out version.

Anyway they played it at the BH concert and I managed to see how the guitarist played it. He did it with a slide which I can almost do but sounds terrible so I have managed to work out how to get close to that sound on the main riff without slide, armed with a close approximation of the drum beat on my Adrenalinn, this is my next music project, and its going to be video based...with me doing Bass, rhythm and lead...and ermm singing...maybe.. I did a test run over the weekend and mistakes aside it sounded watch this space.

My version is different, a little cleaner and technically less challenging of course, but I think it'll be good...not as good as this of course...


But good for me :)

I'm putting this on record to force myself to do it, since I start a lot of recording projects and give up or get caught up with another idea, but this one I have a good feeling about, the test sounded great and if I get to master the video sync it'll look and sound above average ;) Now to find a couple of spare days to play 4 parts without errors, on video, and then stick them in to Imovie....hmmm challenge accepted.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Beth Hart == AWESOMENESS^20

Went to the Beth Hart gig in Tilburg, bit upset at poor location we only managed to get into the upper balcony and really didn't get to see too much of the lady in question, a long way away from the stage with line of sight often blocked by tall dutchmem, next time we'll get in a bit earlier and camp at the front of the stage. We also had constant chatter all around from people who really should find some other ways to throw away 30euros, that really fucked me off.

But even so, what a show, what a singer, what a band...quite brilliant. They did a lot of the Don't Explain songs and had a 21yo lead guitarist doing the Bonamassa solos....brilliantly...and I do mean fucking brilliantly, quite a talent, sadly I didn't pick up his name due to constant chatter that drowned out much of Beths between song chat. Other songs I was only partly familiar with having only just discovered Ms Hart, but I'll be getting to know them a lot better in future.

If you get the chance...go see her..Amazing!

oh found the guitar players name Josh Gooch keep an ear out for him, he's going to be big one day, some of the stuff he did last week was amazing.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012 be avoided

I bought an iSK flexible studio stand from them. It seemed a decent good quality sturdy item, but it broke unexpectedly just less than 6 months later. I contacted them about it and asales manager called Andy, told me they sold 100's of these and they don't break...when I pointed out mine had, he wanted me to explain how...I did, and sent photos of the break..They concluded from these photo's that the damage was caused by excessive force and not covered by warranty???? Ummmm....

This presumption of my inability to use a mic stand with my Gorrilla like arms and intellect to cause the damage, continued; despite my best efforts to tell them that the thing just collapsed and must therefore be faulty. All I wanted was a replacment, I wasn't trying to scam them, get refunds or anything, just my stand back...Eventually I had to quote the sale of goods act?? Why anyone ever has to is beyond me, especially as I stated all I wanted was a replacement for a clearly broken stand which should not have broken and the normal use it was put to.

This then resulted in Michelle from "customer service" taking over the communication and stating that these stands don't break, and they don't like my "tone", and do I "think they are stupid?" I kid you not, in fact...

"Dear Brian

Andy is away at the moment and has not had time to reply but I do not like your tone of communication to us!

The stand does not just you think we are stupid?

As for your threat of litigation, I don't take that seriously!"

They did offer to repair my stand if I sent it back but I wasn't going to let the tone and Stupid comment go. So I fired back a quick reply explaing the reasons for my tone and annoyance that my explinaiton of events was being classified as lies.

Which then prompted, a fantastic "Without Prejudice" reply staying that due to my reply (yes it was a littel sarky but did offer an olive branch to try to get back on a proper customer with problem/seller wants to resolve, footing), due to my reply they would "now only proceed after examining the damage to ascertain whether it has been caused by a manufacturing fault or by forceful use" certainty that if i send it back as I had offered,at my own expense that they'd even carry out the repair or replacment...Since they clearly won't drop this presumption that I had been using my mic stand as some form of excercise equipment the discourse contined in a few ever more challenging emails and I have now given up.

Rather than seeking a repair/replacement I'm going to take them to small claims court for a refund, and complain to their MD about the shocking customer service..Though I doubt that will make a difference to this shoddy example of customer service.

Edit Oh I just discovered the owner is the self same sales manager who started the assumption of forced breakage, so I'm not going to get very far complaining about the customer service.

I'll go straight to the small claims court, I have a good case and I loathe being shafted by bad service. This blog post and another I found when googling will remain on the interwebs to act as a suitable warning to people to be careful of dealing with people who offer such bad service. I'll buy myself another stand from a reputable seller who appreciate the idea that good service brings people back, bad service drives them, along anyone they can warn, away.

So this is a warning.

Avoid MicsDirect, prices and range might be good, but if you have a problem, you're probalby going to get screwed.


Monday, 5 March 2012

Strange Ideas that refuse to die

Its odd that so many people hold views that are not only against the norm, but are factually provable to be false or at best misguided, or worse led by powerful interests intent on lining their own pockets (Tobacco???)

Consiracy theorists, Bigfoor hunters, anti vaccination lobbies, Anti taxation of the wealthy, no need for insurance just dont get sick, there is a god, Obama's an african, (or a commie), they won't give us the cure for cancer cos it'll cost them, The Royal family are flesh eating lizards, the illuminati have prison camps ready for us, Evolution is a lie, we can prove the world is 6000years old....the list goes on and on.

Occasionally I get myself involved in "debates" with these people but its really pointless...I must stop myself, when people refuse to accept any view point but their own, no matter how crazy or mad it is you have to wonder exactly how their thought processes work.

These are not stupid people, often far from it, they've read and disseminated huge amounts of informaton, even spent time analysiing it, formed an opinion, then re-inforced that opinion by only listening to other like minded people.
The problem is they have not taken the basic neutral stance you need to take in order for make an informed opinion...if all you do is build "evidence" to re-enforce a false idea while ignoring or dismissing any other evidence, then you are just really good at defending that falsehood.

So when you come along and point out a factual issue, they have mountains of "evidence" to hand to refute your claims of fact...The evidence however does not normally pass the simple tests of what constitutes evidence, its usaully some "opinion" spread by a person or group with some agenda to gain.

So you point out the failings in the source and supply accurate information and when that fails, they resort to the good old, ah but you're not really being told the truth, argument!!! More conspiracy! Can't trust those pesky facts and provable evidence, its all been set up to protect the powerful interests of the world..or religion, or whatever.
Even worse, and often funnier is when due to lack of understanding of the other viewpoint they try to discredit it while not having a clue.
For me Creationists are the worst at this, certanly the most organised since they often have churches behind them, I do reserve the right to call these people stupid..and here's some proof.

2 words...water cycle...why let a bit of factual science get in the way of a perfectly good but of athiest bashing.

Homeopathy comes close 2nd...hey do you know what they call Homepathic medicine thats been proven to work...Medicine!! I could probably list 10 or more...most are crackpot harmless..But some...some really worry me.

I really do despair at times, I just said that these people are not stupid, but they really do have some bloody stupid ideas...and thats why we're all ultimatly fucked!

Life is never dull, but it is sometimes deeply confusing. And its very late, I've done a shed load of work today, and have more to do tomorrow so time for bed.


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Technology hates the old!

As someone who has made a life out of exploiting the use of technology I find my ever increasing inability to both understand and use it, frustrating

It seems more and more that every time I need to make use of technlogy for a simple task, that task becomes exponentially more difficult and takes far longer.

Take the simple act of copying a file to my flash bother you say..indeed, I would normally agree, except my flash key disageed in some way with my PC and while the two of them argued it out my PC locked up and the file took over 10 mins to copy..well I assume it copied, the light stopped flashing, but the PC was still in a sulk about apparently losing the argument. Only the removal of my key from the PC finally persuaded the PC to unlock...and of course reset.
2 mins or so later when it had finished rebooting, and I needed to log back into all my web based data systems....the file had not actually copied.


Pretty much every tech based task now seems to be fraught with difficulty, worry and stress...

I'm sure I have stumbled on the reason old people don't like technology....its because technology won't work for them...and I'm getting into that age where its all starting to go wrong..

oh and I think I have lumbago and my rhumatism is playing up.