Category Archives: Music

SPRING HAS SPRUWNG…

What a cracking day! What a great weekend! We are all finally back in the same country and the same time zone. After a very successful PPI claim we had a chance at taking the entire unit across the pond and found a great deal back in Oct. We all flew out and after 6 red eyed days myself and thing1 came home to return to our normal gigs.  Wife, thing 2 and 3 stayed in America for 3 more weeks. You would think that 3 weeks alone would buckets of sleep but it was quite the opposite.  Moving an entire head office to a new building meant a lot of late nights and a few reasons to celebrate – my liver still hates me.  The girls flight was supposed to come in 10:40 at Heathrow but due to fog had to do an emergency landing in Manchester.  Then refuel, then wait for clearance to fly.  Eventually after what felt like an eternity to thing2, she eventually was able to give her Dad a hug.  I burst into tears of relief and joy that they were back here safe.  On our way home we found a closed M42 which meant a nice detour around country lanes.  Thing2 has just slept as if it were a normal night but thing3 has been awake all night.  Wifey is feeling the effects of breast feeding in both time zones while thing3 recovers.  While we were in California we did Disney – the happiest place on earth – especially when it rains hard and we took shelter in a Star Wars store.  I could have spent a LOT of money in there.  Ironic gifts, funny things with Chewie on them, actual things I would love and some things I now know exist and will have to own.  We did come out with 2 brilliant BB8 drink cups that I bought without looking at the price because they were so damn cool looking.  I’ll give Disney one thing, they really know how to merchandise a movie.  We also did the proper tourist thing of driving around Hollywood with a tour guide pointing out famous people’s houses or movie sets.  I thought thing1 was going to hyperventilate at a certain J. Beaver’s apartment block.  Also nice to drive past the Rainbow bar – RIP Lemmy.  Talking of Lemmy, we (Boney and I) went to see Henry Rollins again on his latest spoken word tour – must be my 5th by now.  He did his thing and made everything right in the world for me.   A great entertainer and story teller especially as the first hour was just Lemmy and Bowie stories from his times he had crossed paths with the recently departed Gods.  Great night and had a profound effect on the audience as he always does.

Kids – the kind of update you would expect.  Thing3 did her first solid on 20/01/16 after eating mushed apples.  Yay I hear you so say?  Well from here it sounded like yay but anyway worth documenting as since then she has worked her way up to all kinds of mushed foods and fruits and is growing nicely.  She is doing a kind of reverse breakdance where she lies on her back, lifts her body up and pushes with her feet to move around.  Not quite crawling but movement that gets her about.  Not quite rolling over with any style just yet but getting stronger every day.  It’s been amazing to see the change in the 3 weeks they were away.  Facially and vocally, she has really turned a corner.  Dadadadadadada is now common but still waiting for the first sign of Mama which would make Wifey very happy.  Things 1 and 2 are their normal selves – cute and cheeky.  Thing2 has not left my side since she got off the plane – no complaints from me. Hopefully she will get back into school and not find it hard to adjust to life around here.  If only I could say the same for Wifey.  No amount of Chips from Majors will make up for the distance away from her people.  No matter how many times we visit, its never long enough or in anyway the same as us being there.  I’m so grateful for her decision to live over here and to try and decipher English English.

I know I missed the deadline for the getting one out every month but the dog ate my homework.

UPDATE

So it’s been a while since the last blog and to be fair an awful lot has happened. I’ll start with the smallest and work up from there! Liv has come off the boob, onto the formula and turned a major corner. It took the best part of two weeks for the milk to go down for poor old H and I’m told it was a very painful experience. Huge swollen breasts are never a bad thing to a man. Liv is putting on weight at a decent rate and is on the third highest percentile for height apparently. Teeth are coming in (and don’t we know it), but still none of the ****ers have come through despite them being very visible.

Moo went to see Justin Beaker/Beaver (delete as appropriate to wind her up) last night and fully screamed the place down apparently dancing until the last note. She had a half term at ‘Cold Disney’ and a great time at the Valentine’s disco. She is so much fun to be around with a cracking sense of humour. She also lost her first front tooth on Tuesday and is very proud of it!

H is dreading going back to work as she has become quite attached to our ankle biter and isn’t looking forward to Nursery. It’s worth it for the child development alone but I wish she was going to work at a company she was better suited with her exemplary skills in design. We also said our sad farewell to Tharon Main – rest in peace Papa. We raised a toast in your honour with the lovely Champagne you brought us last Xmas. Peace after so much pain.

Me, well lots of work has been done and not a great deal of fun apart from the band. We’ve still haven’t got a band name, vocalist or more than 3 songs but we are having a lot of fun writing, rewriting, chatting, throwing a bit out, jamming on blues standards, writing, chatting, going home because we are grown ups now with commitments – you know, that kind of stuff. I’m very happy with my Rickenbacker bass sound having thrown my compressor into the mix and bought some decent speaker cables – what a difference! Boney is toying with having 3 separate amps (yes 3) rather than the Marshall rig and a Vox rig he runs through at the moment. Yes, the surrounding houses must love us. Jonny Meatballs has just bought a new Tama drum kit and crikey it is like a cannon going off, very sweet. We are open to offers if anyone has a suggestion for a band name 😉

WHAT A WEEK…

A pheasant just flew into our kitchen window, snapped its own neck and left a greasy pheasant shape on the window.  I kid you not.  My next-next door neighbour has a taste for that kind of thing and has taken the fresh bird away.  All this in the last 5 minutes.  Earlier today I picked up Moo from her holiday and on the way home we stopped off at the Ranch and we rocked with her on the mic and me on the drums then we would swap, Man or a Muppet never sounded so sweet.  Sign of things to come.  Olivia continues her development and has not only progressed to food and water but said Mama for the first time.  These are wonderful days.  Earlier this week we three rocked out and I think I may have found my perfect bass sound, Ravine never sounded so sweet.  So all in all, a great week!

LIFE IS GOOD…

Well it seems these days that I rarely get five minutes to myself with 2 kids, work and sleep but this morning I woke up very early and decided to get on the mac before everyone else does.  Figured I would update my footy team ready for another disappointing fantasy league season and do some housekeeping on my email but noticed that it has been months since I last blogged.  Weird that I am no longer compelled to dump stuff here after so many years but I think that Twitter has just become an instant way to share a thought or a link and I know that the people I want to react to those thoughts check Twitter.  Anyway, life is very good and everyone is growing nicely, myself in the waistline.

Been writing music and rehearsing live for the first time in ages with Boney and Jonjo writing a song and it’s turning out to be pretty awesome.  Work is going well and despite the place having to make yet more redundancies this month, we should be a lot stronger pretty soon.
Another reason for being so happy is that a trip to the dentist yesterday not only left me with clean gnashers but I asked to have three of my razor sharp wolf teeth smoothed a bit and wow what a difference! Hopefully a lot less cheek and tongue injuries.

APPLE FROM THE TEACHER?..

Well this week I became something I never thought I would be – an Apple Mac Book Pro owner.  Given the ridiculous nature of the over time hours I have built up recently, I have shall we say, a little more disposable income than normal.  Also one came at the right price from one previous Bone owner!  I have thought very long and hard about this new direction – about 12 months.  It is something I have wanted for a very long time but either the cost of hardware was way out of my league or the bit I could afford was just not good enough to run the audio I need to do my hobby – writing awful music.  As I’ve been using Ubuntu for a few years at home, I’m not exactly foreign to ways other than Microsoft in the home, but still there will be a learning curve involved with many nice tweaks and shortcuts to learn.  Basically, I want a portable music workstation and I think that is what I’ve got.  I can now take an idea to band practice and leave with the developed idea in place ready for next time – which given the amount of time wasted currently by having inspiration, recording quickly and then not being able to find it or know what we were doing next has been very frustrating.  This way I get to be Mr. OCD and still get to do it out side my studio.  Winner!…

A SMALL VICTORY…

When I moved out of the nest at 18, I put a pair of old speakers in the bathroom and hooked it up to the amp in the lounge. Everything was peachy as the flat was a total wreck and you didn’t notice the additional cable popping up from under the threadbare carpet. But since I moved onwards and upwards, I’ve never been able to recreate that soul nourishing sensation of high quality audio in the shower and frankly its been p*ssing me off ever since. So, with that in mind, with the big splurge in Nov on myself last year I bought a set of water proof bathroom speakers, a volume control, some decent grade speaker cable and then plotted and planned and agonised about how to make it work for the best. Do I want to have the sound from the TV in the bedroom available in the bathroom? Do I want the ability to change tracks *from* the bathroom? Do I go all high tech and buy a Sonos system? – I’d still need the waterproof speakers. Do I want to make my wife happy and give her a music system in her office? The answer is yes to some but not all. The solution: Drill a big dirty hole from the bathroom in the room next door underneath the bath -> Wifey’s Office (what we call the box room that is full of wardrobes and lady things).

Channel out tracks that utilise an existing channel that feeds the new extractor fan from the ceiling. Also utilise a big hole that Big Phil made in the ceiling pulling the cables into the new fan – thanks Phil you helped me make up my mind with what to do with hole! The finished product, two flush waterproof speakers and a heavy duty volume switch that feeds from the room next door. The smile on my face when we were able to shower listening to Django Reinhardt was priceless…..and Millie’s reaction to turning the volume up on Lady Gaga in the bath, even better! Tick in a box, onwards to the next job…

WHOA, THAT’S CREEPY…

Me and the wife have Android phones and after an update last weekend from T-Mobile we have the same version of operating system. Which is very cool as we now have the same toys to play with. One of them is Google’s Latitude which I remember coming out but it didn’t impress me at the time. That said, I played with all the new toys on Sunday now that there is another phone that will respond to all the gadgets and this one is really very interesting. You have a list of contacts in Google that you can do ‘stuff’ with (call, email, txt, etc) but now you can find out where they are! AND get directions to them! All this sounds like something from a science fiction movie but I can now see where my wife’s phone is (or was in the last hour) on a Google map which I can then do all sorts of cool stuff with like see a street view of what she can see. The Google navigation has meant that I’ve ditched my GPS and hasn’t failed me yet. The only issue is when you hit an area that you haven’t got mobile high speed data coverage in – like the United States for 10 days – then the plan falls on its arse….
Anyway, this weekend we officially ‘rested’ and didn’t do a great deal which flippin’ rocked. I practised and practised until I nearly have ‘The wolf is loose’ by Mastodon down and we went to the cinema to see the new Twilight (wife’s choice) and Inception (my choice). Eclipse was, as was to be expected, awful but not as awful as the previous one. Inception on the other hand blew my tired mind and left me with the same feeling as when I saw the Matrix for the first time – highly recommended and want to see it a second time!..

A WHOLE NEW WORLD…

Last night I spent a very happy few hours with a new guitarist and new drummer over in Shropshire jamming out songs. It turns out that my old Peavey bass with a bit of TLC and some new strings has still got what it takes to play some nasty metal which makes me very happy as I don’t want to break my vintage Ricky bass by making it do things it shouldn’t. I had learnt a couple of old ‘Machine Head‘ classics beforehand and me and the guitarist compared notes and got it working pretty well. When the drummer turned up I was expecting a lacklustre performance as to be fair, it is really very hard to find people who can play metal drums in time and for more than 25 seconds but my jaw hit the floor when after we nailed the song on the first attempt. For reals. Fook-Mi is what Austin Powers once said to a Japanese twin and my thoughts were similar but with a different connotation. Well maybe, as I do think about Japanese twins every now and then…Anyway, after we did the ones that I’d learnt we then fell back on songs that we kind of remembered and loved and managed to fill a very happy 3 hours banging out heavy classics including some of my favourite Mastodon songs – these guys don’t mess around. I’m extremely happy to be working musically again, even in just a cover facility as these are songs that I love to listen to rather than just stuff that I know. From here who knows!