Archive for February, 2014


Plug it, play it

Well, it’s been a week of delightful serendipitous coincidences!

Last week, I blogged about listening to more music, and completely unannounced and unrelated to the blog a shiny mp3 player arrived from a source-not-to-be-specified.  As an aside, musical mission accomplished!

The awesomely lovely Mrs Barljo and I went out for a meal on a whim. The first place we tried was full, the second was not.  Result was discovery of some great soup. Win!  A perfect date with the perfect wife.

But that’s a summary! This blog is to unfortunately confirm that I’ve joined the dark side. I have clicked “agree” to the terms and conditions, and placed a tick in the box.  Yes, I now have an AppleID.  I’m expecting a knock at the door any day now!

Although, it has confirmed to me that my suspicions about Apple are right.  Setting up a new piece of kit was as easy as plugging it it, and just made it seem like science fiction is here and now.  For me the fun of new kit is getting it set up just right for me, tinkering, messing and generally geeking out. A new (and my very first) iPod did leave me wanting for that experience, but just highlighted first hand that Apple have made pretty high-functioning tech (phones and mp3 players in general) available to the masses.

Not their Macs which still need something like the sale of a kidney though!

“Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it.
Drag it, drop it, zip/unzip it”
Technologic, Daft Punk

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Open your eyes

I’ve been watching a program about the making of one of my favourite albums- Queen’s “A Night At The Opera”. It’s one of their earlier albums, and yes- it’s the one with Bohemian Rhapsody on.

This post isn’t really about the record, or the songs, or even the technical ‘behind the scenes’ that I am always fascinated by. I haven’t listened to much music recently, and this made me feel like I was letting these guys down. They clearly loved what thy were doing, but so much work from so many people went into it, and the end result deserves more than me not listening to it.

I’ve been trying to keep up on podcasts whilst washing up, and scooter riding isn’t really conducive to a musical commute.

This programme, with the lovely gentle Brian May and some interviews with Freddie I haven’t seen before, brought back memories of their music.  I remember finding a vinyl of Greatest Hits when I was about 6 years old. I didn’t know who those guys were, or what music was going to be, but I remember bugging my Mum and Dad to put it on. They gave in, and I listened with huge headphones on.

Since then, I’ve got pretty much every song they have released, some that they haven’t, and a Guild Red Special 250 of 315 from 1985. Without Queen, I probably wouldn’t have ever played the guitar.

And so, a public promise to you all: starting next week, I will listen to music again, and what better place to start than Queen I from 1973, and I’ll follow their timeline first.  One album a week, in order, on repeat. I also hereby promise not to skip Hot Space.

I won’t blog about it, but I will do it. After Queen, who knows, but that decision is months away.  Maybe something recent!

“Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see…”
Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen.

Oh-whoa, Come Take My Hand

I’m looking forward to the clocks changing this year.

Not because the days will be longer, or the evenings lighter. Purely for a silly self centred reason:- that will be the time to put away my winter bike gear, and break out the lighter coat and my open face helmet. A full helmet like I wear over the colder wetter winter feels like two things to me. 1, like I’m riding a post box and 2, like I’m in a tiny car, so what’s the point of a scooter!

I’ve only worn an open helmet for a few months after TT last year, but it felt much more like real riding.  I’m not under any illusion of being a Real biker (I’m sure my scooter has nearly 3hp!), but I don’t consider myself a real guitarist either, and I enjoy them both.

So here’s to summer. The wind in my eyes, and also the sand in my face & flies in my teeth!

“Come take my hand- we’re riding out tonight to case the promised land. Sit tight,  take hold. Thunder Road” Thunder Road, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band

On the road again

It’s been a long time coming. I lose track of just how long, easily 2 years, maybe even 3. I know it’s a couple of years since I picked up a guitar though.

The amazing StoneChase have been booked for a (private party) summer gig, and this year nicely coincides with our ten year anniversary of that weekend at the Blues Festival Fringe when we played for over 20 hours altogether in a single weekend.

I don’t know if this will lead to more gigs, or if it’s just a one-off. I don’t know how long we’ll play for do to various injuries and us all being ten years older. I don’t know what songs we’ll play. I don’t really know much to be honest.

I do know that picking up my Irn-Bru coloured Gretsch again felt ok, and playing went ok (ish)- the muscle memory was there, eleven if the fingers weren’t as quick or accurate as when I was match-fit.

I’ve moved to heavier strings (two reasons- I’m having to relearn how to play again so I may as well try and sound as good as I can; and also Brian Setzer generally uses heavier ones than I used to). That’s a challenge in itself, but everything does feel a little tighter. I’ve also loved to different plectrums ( plectra?) as I got an awesome pressie from my awesome wife that I haven’t yet used.

It’s a whole new fretboard based adventure!

I don’t usually go beyond one line for the lyric quotes, but this one just had to include the extra line.

“On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again. The life I love is making music with my friends”
Willie Nelson, On The Road Again

So, it’s a little breezy on the Island this week.  and that’s saying something as we get our fair share of breeze!

It’s felt a little like The End Of Days recently- rain, floods, storm surges and all that. We finally had a dry day the other day, totalling 1 this year, but then yesterday reverted to downpour!  We travelled off the island yesterday, down to Brighton-ish, and found more rain.  Much more rain! It reminded me that maybe we haven’t had it quite so bad at home.

Having said that, though, as I write this on Saturday morning, it’s a beautifully still, crisp, clear and dry spring morning. Long may that continuem or at least until after we have flown back home on Sunday.

Stay safe, in particular everyone on The Island where I believe that everything is being battoned down in readiness for another battering from the elements.

“Here comes the sun, it seems like years since it’s been here”
The Beatles, Here Comes The Sun