Thursday, 25 June 2009

Gift idea for musicians

Somebody sent this video clip of an extraordinary musical instrument to our drummer. They suggested he should treat himself to one for his birthday...

Happy Birthday Dave!!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Delightfully silly, yet oddly compulsive

There's always room for another game, and this one is a definite candidate for the room marked "What on Earth were they thinking when the came up with this?"

It's called "Grow", and you can find it via this link.

It's a puzzle game which runs in your web-browser.
It may take a couple of attempts to work out exactly what you are supposed to achieve but once you've got your head around the main idea, it's really quite charming.

My thanks to Tateru Nino for bringing this one to our attention.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Won't get fooled again

Back in February, my band were booked to play at a pub in Cheadle Hulme.
A few hours before the gig, the landlord rang us up to say that another band had been booked by a private function, which was also taking place at the pub that night, so we wouldn't be required to play.

We were annoyed, but we were philosophical.
Stuff happens.

So we arranged another date to play there and moved on.

Yesterday was the date that had been arranged for the return gig, so you can probably imagine how delighted I was when, on arriving at the venue, I discovered that there was another band already there, setting up all their gear.
You've guessed it; We'd been double-booked for a second time.

I could describe my conversation with the landlord, but quite frankly you wouldn't believe the lame excuses that were offered for how this situation had happened; I know that I certainly didn't.

Based on the experience of two oral contracts with the management of the Ryecroft Arms, I am inclined to agree with Samuel Goldwyn...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

"What's that coming over the hill...?"

"... is it a monster? it a monster?"

Well actually, it's "STENDEC", the new five-piece rock band that we went to see at "The Red Lion", Goostrey, on Saturday night. Two of the guys are work colleagues, so I've been following the development of the band with some interest. It's taken a while for them to get the line-up right, with all the usual strife and comedy of "musical differences" that usually signal the departure of one or more musicians.
I've not been keeping score, but I think that they lost a couple of people here and there. Although this may have stalled their progress, they've stuck with it and on Saturday they made it to the critical, "First Gig".

It's always fun to watch your mates play, and as this was their first outing, it was one that I didn't want to miss. I've been through a few First Gigs myself, so I was looking forward to seeing just how close to blind panic they'd get. Disappointingly, they didn't seem to be awfully worried; there was no sign of obsessive equipment adjustment or excessive toilet traffic. They did a swift sound-check and everything sounded as well balanced as you can reasonably expect in a pub, then they went back to the bar. When they started the first set, they just got up and got going.

The gig went well. Actually it went very well. (Curses!!!)

They stormed through a sound choice of covers that suited the line-up well; 'Kaiser Chiefs', 'Franz Ferdinand', 'The Automatic', 'Sex Pistols', 'Blink 182' and more besides. All the songs were clearly well rehearsed and played with bags of attitude. If there were any mistakes they weren't obvious to me, so they either all played faultlessly or they've developed the confidence in each other that prevents a single player's error degenerating into an on-stage multiple car pile-up. I think that the latter is more likely, even though it is often a far harder thing to achieve.

Every song was perfectly paced thanks to some fierce and yet artfully controlled drumming, with a gloriously thick bass guitar binding the rhythm to the melody. On top of this were the two guitars, hacking out brutally crunchy rhythms and wailing through some mighty lead riffs, while the singer gave a stadium performance.
The crowd lapped it up, needing no encouragement at all to get up and dance. Once they were on the floor there was no chance of them escaping back to their seats, as the transitions between the songs were so crisp.

Altogether an excellent evenings entertainment.
I shall have to warn the rest of my band that the competition just got a little bit better.

[Photo by Mike Peel]

Thursday, 4 June 2009

People in glass houses

Today, I'm celebrating the successful completion of the new greenhouse. It has been an unusually aggro-free project.
OK, the completion date slipped rather badly, but that was largely to do with the Land Rover deciding it wanted to take a month off, leaving me with no suitable vehicle for transporting bulk building materials.

With the base completed at the end of last week, it was a very straightforward task to assemble the aluminium framework and then bolt it down before fitting all the glass. The weather was just about perfect and the whole thing went together with hardly any 'effing and blinding' at all. (it would have been entirely profanity-free, except I managed to misinterpret the assembly instructions for the sliding door and initially put it together in such a way that the glass wouldn't have stayed in.)

You'll see from the picture that I haven't yet put the slabs down that will surround the base, but the plants have already begun moving in and they seem completely happy with this.

If you're thinking of getting a greenhouse, I can strongly recommend "The Greenhouse People". Their on-line ordering process was clear and uncomplicated, the delivery was efficient and the after-sales service was first class when I rang up with a couple of questions.