Thursday October 31st, 2013. Posted by Alex:
Soo… here was the introduction:
I’ll be doing another spot at La Gallina Cubista, the health food and eco shop in Via Garibaldi, Pontremoli (about 50 m up after leaving the Duomo on your right).
I’ll be doing a bit of acoustic guitar (authentically bastardized white urban country blues) there on Saturday (2 Nov), starting at 4:30 or so. This time I plan to perform standing up, so bringing a dynamic, new and vibrant energy to the tired old genre. (Insert ironic smiley.)
Bring your shakey eggs!
And here is a link to a short youtube video of the event. I should have started later, but I was pretty happy about how it went.
Sunday October 27th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
Friday night. I knew where. I knew when. “Untrio” was playing. I approached the pub in downtown Pontremoli:
There it is – you see the lights on the left? But is it open?
There is a notice!
OK, cars down the street to the left and round the back, on foot go the the right and down the tunnel. That means 50 metres up here:
Then down here:
And down here:
(Trust me.) Then down here:
See, it’s getting lighter again! Or it was, because now it’s down here:
And you’ll have seen the light on the left:
You don’t exactly emerge into the light of day, but, yes:
You have found it. Enter!
Unfortunately the sound was very poor, and I could make out about as much of the music as you can make out visually in this picture.
Wednesday October 9th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
I had a battle with my conscience yesterday, but the right side won. So never mind that “don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing” stuff – here’s the story.
I broke a guitar string a couple of weeks ago, and realised that it was time to put on a new set. I usually keep a spare set, so no problem, but I thought it might be a good idea to actually have two spare sets, so that even when I had just put one set on, I would already have a potential replacement in that tiny, crowded box in the guitar case. So I ordered two sets of the type that I use these days, from Amazon.
And yesterday, they arrived. The outer wrapping seemed surprisingly large, but there was a fair bit of that scrunched up paper that Amazon sometimes use. There were indeed two boxes inside. One was a set of strings. The other, larger, box contained no less than 12 sets of the same strings.
I had ordered two sets, correctly been charged for two sets, the delivery note said two sets, which is what was signed for. So I knew that the chance of this ever coming to light was very small. I was tempted to say nothing, but came to realise that that future knowledge that I was using essentially stolen strings would always leave a bad taste. So, yesterday afternoon, I sent a message to Amazon, pointing out that this did not fit the normal patterns for returning something I didn’t want. I should explain that I was willing to let them have the strings back, but wasn’t very keen on paying postage and dealing with filling in all the forms and waiting in all the queues at the post office.
Anyway, the message came back yesterday evening that whereas normally they would expect something like this to be returned, since I was a “loyal customer”, and since I had “proactively” informed them of the mistake, I should keep them as a “gesture” from Amazon. At around about £12 a set, 11 free sets is not to be sneezed at. They will keep me going for some time! Thank you, Amazon.
Two things that are not the same:
Wednesday October 2nd, 2013. Posted by Alex:
All very good fun, though rain brought us inside. The video clip was supposed to be much more sophisticated, with titles and so on, but I’m having trouble getting hold of a simple video editor.
There was some blues-based stuff too, courtesy of yours truly, but I don’t have any images. First the Italian traditionalists outside:
And song guy whose name I’ve unfortunately forgotten:
For bonus, a rather poor quality video:
Sunday September 15th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
It is only a couple of weeks ago that I followed a Facebook link from a friend and came across “Songs from the Shed“. It’s a revelation. The acoustic, quasi-folk music scene in the UK is not nearly as tired and unoriginal as I had, in my ignorance, assumed. On the contrary.
If you don’t know it, let me explain that Songs from the Shed as about minimalist as you can get. It really is recorded in a shed: one microphone, one lens on one hand-held camera, one take, no postproduction except for trimming it and sticking the site’s cute, four-second signature clip at the front. As the site itself says, “it’s not about studio quality, it’s about a moment in a shed”.
At this stage there are something around 300 artists there, most of whom have two or three songs, adding up to well over 1000 YouTube clips. They vary from amateurs to highly established professionals, and their styles vary too, so you’re not going to like everything. But there are gems there – take a look!
Monday September 2nd, 2013. Posted by Alex:
It was nice to prove to myself that I really do have a repertoire of workable size and quality. Lots that I’d like to have done better (of course), but the dancing toddler (unfortunately not captured on film) was very encouraging. Anyway, people listened, clapped, and I passed the acid test: the shop would like me to go back and do it again sometime!
Both me and fresh bread, eh? How good can it get? We don’t know who the woman was, but she stayed leaning against the wall, reading and listening for quite a while.
And a brief vid. There were two, but one of them was taken at one of the (few) bad bits, so I’m not showing that one!
Sunday August 18th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
… La Gallina Cubista on Sunday 1 September 2013.
From 6:00 pm for an hour — or maybe two — I shall be entertaining staff and clientele (yes, both of them) with some “aged-white-college-boy-acoustic-urban-country-blues-guitar (of the finest)” music. It will be a low-key event with some numbers even in E. And entirely acoustic. Any and all friends who feel like popping by will be very welcome! Bring your shakey eggs!
La Gallina Cubista is a health food and eco-products shop that opened in the old quarter of Pontremoli in May.
Wednesday August 14th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
It happened a couple of months ago, but I only just got round to getting the right code:
That was Dick’s first public harmonica sound!
Monday June 17th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
This article in the Guardian, in which Zoe Williams gives us some of David Schweickart’s thinking, is one of the most thoughtful contributions to the economy debate I’ve seen for a while.
Repeat after me 7 times in fast succession:
The way to make work pay is to pay for the work at a rate that makes the pay worth working for.
Tuesday May 21st, 2013. Posted by Alex:
So there I was setting out with the dogs for a walk this morning, like nearly every morning, when there was a rustling and a movement in the bushes. Then out she came, maybe 10 or 15 m in front of us, what I take to be a female deer. She crossed the road and sprang away through the vines to the right, with that body language that says, “OMG somebody’s seen me,” and disappeared in the direction of the river. The dogs, of course, barked, and no doubt that didn’t serve to calm her down.
A sound then came out of the trees from which she had appeared, sounding something like a cross between the bark of a large dog and the baaa of a sheep. A buck? I don’t know – this is obviously not the rutting season.
She wasn’t small – perhaps twice the size of the greyhound, so perhaps not a roe deer. If so, it was a really large one. There were no spots, so probably (I stress probably) not a fallow deer, and was mid-brown in colour. A red deer? I don’t know, I’m no expert. But it put a spring in the dogs’ step for the rest of the walk! Wikipedia does say that, when alarmed, a roe deer will bark much like a dog, so perhaps that was it after all.