Summer update 2014

Its all been …….kicking off

Everything else, of course is extremely regular in these parts.
Now then; There’s been stuff happening. Some of which will tie in seamlessly from my last update and some other stuff (like the knife incident and the European Ambassadors), that won’t.

We bought a tour bus, the one I mentioned last time, but it took several months for the previous owner to realise how worthless it really was. Its old, slow and quite big whereas I am old, slow and very far away. A 2001 Mercedes with a tortoise on the back.
Here I am in Captain’s chair……

speaking of Captains; I pulled alongside a tandem at some traffic lights last week. The couple had shirts with Rochdale Tandem Club written on the back. On the frame tube were the words ‘Pilot Ron Butterworth’ and at the same frame tube for the female rear rider;  ‘Co-pilot; Sue’ …Campervans have Captains; Tandems have air crew.
So there you go. Campervan wise, we are fettling a few parts, installing jacuzzi, shoe cupboard, guitar racks and festival amplification system. Haven’t actually stayed overnight anywhere yet but no doubt myself, the current Mrs Doughtfire and Monseur Les Wagg will soon take to the highway 49 in search of the new horizon.
The new CD title to be confirmed (One Man’s Meat)? is progressing at the pace of an old motor home on a long and winding road as the engineer and I got diverted by all sorts of other guitar shite related activities – but I am getting on with it.  Its all frustratingly in my head and not in the air; a saying I’ve used several times in the past when I need a kick in the far side.  There are some recordings from live gigs flirting about and here’s one to be getting on with from my set at The Clonter Opera which is quite a posh do in the fields near Macclesfield, Cheshire .

Oh how lucky to have variety in both venues and latterly music. From solo gigs at favourite places like Nantwich Museum as part of their Jazz and Blues Festival to playing as part of the Paraorchestra in Qatar with the backing of the string section from the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. To perform a couple of solo pieces in The Opera House was so enjoyable, challenging, moving, emotional.
The knife was found at customs inside the lining of my guitar case. Taken very seriously, we were interviewed by the Police along the lines of ‘why don’t you use scissors to cut gaffer tape?’ and to Caroline ‘you must help him more; he’s too independent, shouldn’t be allowed to handle a knife!’ (My sentiment entirely).
We were finally allowed to head for boarding after our severe bollocking to hear the Police Officers in the background asking who had the knife and where had they put it. Gone forever now, it was my favourite for chopping onions. (Always start with an onion and a tin of toms)
It was bizarre to think that two days later in Qatar, the self same musician carried the same case through the security gates’ policed by Group 4, at the British Embassy where along with another Orchestra member, Lloyd Coleman, I played a few pieces of music to most of the European Ambassadors, their spouses and families at a small gathering arranged by the British Embassy.  An inspired idea by Charles Hazelwood to continue to bring The Paraorchestra to the attention of influential people and promote our work.  I was chuffed to be asked but in reality any of the Orchestra members could have provided a professional job. Suffice to say the power of music easily addressed any potential prejudice surrounding our abilities. Or to put in more plainly, the crowd went wild in a very restrained and dignified manner. This photo (the extremely talented Gemma Lunt in the background); was taken at our first Qatar rehearsal – a piece called La Folia, originally a Portugese Folk tune which was used by various composers including Corelli and Vivaldi who both wrote variations. Our interpretation involved improvised Paraorchestra sections melding into the Corelli variations which were performed by the Qatar Phil. Here’s some of my interpretation:
My next couple of gigs since coming back from the middle east, were great fun if a little lonely for the first few minutes. Playing a solo gig after being on stage with 50 other musicians put me at the centre of attention and I found that challenging at first. The crowd at Nantwich were a pleasure to play for however; being both interactive and quiet. Fun indeed  Graham and I then played a gig at Leigh Miners Welfare club which was part of a fundraising idea I had. Great that such places still exist even though the industry has gone – completely now. We had grub called lobby with pickled cabbage and Graham found an old NUM Badge and the music flowed like ale. So did the ale. Think we raised about £400 towards the lift fund so it was worthwhile.

Its Wednesday, sun is out; and on Friday I’m in Baginton in the West Midlands doing a gig for SIA. Hopefully tomorrow will see a track laid down for the new CD.

Gigs are being added to my web site but I’m being a bit choosy as the CD is becoming the priority for the next few months. I need deadlines or nothing gets completed.

Well, you’ve heard most of it already. The article in the Guitar and Bassd magazine written by Lars Mullen was in print in the April edition. Guitar anoraks can access it here:

We also got this. Its a 1957 Centenial – a good year for Jukeboxes and blues singers. Its original and has completed 72,000 plays – many more plays than me and is in much better condition. Also it needs less maintenance and is cheaper to run.

So we’ve been Dancing in the Street. Saying a little prayer, Love Shacking with a Wooden Heart and having Sweet Dreams Baby all to our hearts delight in the music room.

Last weekend we had a performance here at Slideytowers by the World Reknown Lutenist, Matt Waddsworth. What an evening! Could hear a pin drop and 35 of us were treated to a vertuoso performance by an absolute gentleman. He seemed quite sensible until he suggested we record some material together – slide guitar and theorbo.

Also and what’s more music is the thing.that’s all for now. Keep it clean.