Autocue for Vlogging

July 3, 2020

My friend Tony watched the first Vlog I made in the persona of Percival Bright. He gave me the feedback that his wife, Alison, has been making a conscious attempt to look directly into the webcam when speaking, as opposed to constantly glancing down at her notes. I can see, on reviewing my relatively newbie status as a vlogger that I have much to learn in that regard.

I therefore searched around online and discovered that this is a widespread problem for many vloggers. Professional autocue systems are expensive. As might be expected, many people have found inexpensive work-arounds. I tried using one which involved writing notes on a laptop, converting the text to white and the background page to black and then scrolling with the laptop’s mouse. It worked fine, except for the fact that I got an image reflection exactly where my eyes were on my spectacles. 

I have moved on to construct what might be regarded as a Heath Robinson frame from which to hang a sheet of pen on paper notes behind the webcam. It took some while messing about with rubber bands and scraps of wood I had laying about my little workshop. In the end I have built something which acts as an extension rising perpendicular to my desktop. I think it epitomises the meaning of the term ‘unstable equilibrium‘.

Boiling Potatoes

June 5, 2020

Have you ever been fed up with the way the steam condenses onto the stove around the place where you have opened up the lid to let out the steam when boiling a pan of potatoes? I have and I decided to think of a way to avoid it. What I needed was a widget that would cause the steam condensate to fall back down into the pan. Well, folks, I think I found it: a long-handled wooden spoon, no less! The spoon supports the arc of the pan lid and the weight of the pan lid keeps the spoon steady. I give you the photographic evidence, below.

Steam to Extractor

So, I feel moderately pleased with myself!

Wooden Spoon Technique

Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles 🙂

Current State of Stuff in the Lock-Down

May 16, 2020

I address you today, my dear blogophiles, as one of the many in Lock-Down and Social-Isolation. I have fallen victim to LBS (as in Low Battery Syndrome). This was literally true of my little car (an old Vauxhall Corsa). I have not been using it at all during Lock-Down and it barely croaked last week when I turned the ignition key. In the end, I bought a jump starter kit on Amazon and this solved the problem. I will say that it involved a learning curve approaching the exponential. There’s a word with horrid connotations, thanks to Covid-19. Actually, I frequently travel on segments of the A19 in the UK; I anticipate feelings of gloomy despair next time I take it. Perhaps it should be renamed the A(non-Covid)19.

My computer has been acting up. It has lured me into the depths of its BIOS where I have attempted to give it a drop of linctus. BIOS, to a computer nerd manqué, sounds almost as frightening as Covid. Once the acronym is unpacked it feels a lot more cuddly: Basic Input/Output System. My PC originally came ‘over-clocked’ but the overclocking no longer seems to be working. One has to take care because it would be possible to totally screw up the whole system. At the moment, when I fire up the beast (that is how I fondly refer to my huge old-fashioned tower system that resides under my purpose built desk [thank you B&Q for the excellent plank of contiboard]) it usually takes me straight into the BIOS screen nowadays. I then have to faff* (should that be spelled (or even spelt?) phaff or phaphf or phaphph – I rather like the latter) about choosing a boot-up option that gets a windows screen on the monitor where I can log in. That is a palaver (another brilliant word, don’t you think?)

*I looked up faff in the Oxford Concise English dictionary and discovered that faff is, indeed, the correct spelling. As for spelling, the past tense can be spelled spelt, if you wish, but might then be confused with a kind of wheat. I’m not sure whether or not it would be correct to refer to the person who has spelt something as the spelter since she or he might then be confused as being made of crude smelted zinc. Of course, this might be taken as a compliment were the speller to be besotted by The Wizard of Oz, identifying with Tin Man. I am getting into something of a tangle here. The only way out is to launch into another paragraph, preferably with no attempt to segue.

Some days I spend hours wondering which I like best: dictionary or thesaurus. Anyway (good word for introducing a non-sequitur), my computer is not the only bit of kit that has been giving problems. My head-set voice mic has been spewing out badly clipped audio signals. I have spent hours checking the sound levels (with Vu-Meter traffic light indicators on my mixing desk and my microphone receiver module) and the sound has sounded great in my IEMs (In-Ear Monitors – buds to the man on the Clapham omnibus [law students geddit?]). I feel so sorry for providing my audiences with sub-optimal auditory experiences. I think I have sorted things out now. My next show on the Internet will be in Second Life on Monday at 8 pm British Summer Time.

I have been attending quite a few webinars relating to various aspects of the music business. I think this might deserve a separate blog entry all to itself. People in the music biz would think of me as a creative/artist. I feel that in order to understand the business side of music, one needs to learn and operate in what might be regarded as a totally different Wittgensteinian language game. I have been trying to learn the rudiments. It is easily as difficult as learning to read sheet music.

Somebody in one of the webinars said that they thought that it was a good idea for the musician to do podcasts about their music, perhaps playing some of the tracks within the talk. They were mainly thinking of how they might relate to their fan base (and these folks think of a fan base as comprising 1000s of fans). My fan base is almost certainly under 100, could be less than 50. So, I’m not sure how I would fit into this world. The short answer is that I do not, and probably never will. I did once do a podcast and also a vlog (video equivalent of the audio podcast). In the end I stopped because I felt I was repeating myself. I can see that one way to get around the constant repetition is to bring content in from an external source, such as the daily news in the newspapers or on TV news channels. I can relate some of my song material to current affairs but that is not going to cover all the music.

I did put a podcast episode up on my website a few weeks ago and I am thinking that maybe I should try another one. I’m not sure if it is worth doing one on a podcast hosting site. I am already paying quite a lot of money to rent both my website and my audio stream. You know, I play solidly for one hour on Internet shows in Second Life (30 minutes with guitar and 30 minutes with piano – mixture of a few old covers and my original compositions). The idea is that Avatars within Second Life can come to the shows and listen. I get rewarded through the tipping system. Admittedly the currency in Second Life (L$ or Linden dollars) is a bit like Monopoly money, but there is an exchange rate with US$ (they can be bought or sold on the Internet). Sometimes people attend my shows and they get an hour of relatively unusual entertainment for free – they leave at the end without tipping me a cent. Meanwhile, I am paying for the stream that enables them to hear me! On the other hand, many other avatars (people) are very generous to me. My good (virtual) friend Ferdy (from whom I rent the virtual land upon which I built my virtual venue) has been coming to almost all my shows since 2006 and never fails to give me a serious tip. I really appreciate that level of support.

I once hoped that my music would pay for itself, as it were. When I retired from my day job, I thought that it might give me a little extra money to cover the computing equipment and the costs of keeping guitars in good condition, getting the digital piano reconditioned when necessary, upgrading mixers and microphones, and so forth. That has not happened. Of course, a purist might say that a ‘creative’ should be satisfied and content with the intrinsic level of satisfaction that flows from the creative act; that this should be more than enough for them. Creativity (and the related artistic performance of the material) is not all fun, fun, fun. There are often difficult problems to overcome; the act of creating can sometimes be painful.

Anyway (that word again), I am thinking about making another one-off podcast for my website. I shall take the existing one down. I can’t keep the podcasts up on the site because it is very easy for me to exceed the amount of stuff I have online in my account with my Internet hosting company. I rather fancy the title of ‘Living Life in Unmatched Socks‘ for the forthcoming podcast. God knows what that means but hopefully I shall come up with something before recording it!

I hope you will excuse the fact that this blog entry has turned out to be something of a rant. Maybe it is Lock-Down that it getting to me. Be that as it may, I hope to speak to you again, soon. Goodbye for now, my dear blogophiles.

Smart-Phone Desk Support

April 3, 2020

Today is Friday and, were it not for Self-Isolation and lock-down, I would be meeting my friend Tom for a good chin-wag over a full English breakfast, in a cafe of pleasing ambience somewhere nearby in the city. As things stand we made do by each making a cup of coffee in our own homes and having a lengthy phone conversation. Although we could not completely avoid the topic of Covid-19 we tried, with some success, to prevent it dominating our agenda.

I decided to take the conversation at my studio desk.  I had recently come across advertisements for smart phone holders on the Internet and I wondered whether I might sort something out for myself, as opposed to laying the phone flat on the desk or holding it to my ear as if it were a dinosaur phone. I think I did pretty well, given a few bits and pieces that I happened to have close at hand. Let me tell you all about it!

The first thing I decided was to raise the phone up, so that the microphone would have a better chance of catching my voice, hands-free. Luckily I had The Concise Oxford English dictionary and Roget’s thesaurus on my bookshelf and these two volumes gave me the height I was seeking…

















As you can see, I also placed a rather nice wooden box on top of the thesaurus. On opening the box, I found that I had a few old plectra (I prefer the Latin plural to the English ‘plectrums’) inside. Here they are…













I removed the plectra and bodged a support using a small wooden cube together with an old retractable table measure (red) that I found in my bureau draw…


















I put my phone into the holder and turned on the camera. It seems to avoid the whole ‘up nostrils’ thing that many laptop cameras appear to go for.
















So, that was a very satisfying way to spend some Self-Isolation time.

Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles

Week 3 of Self-Isolation

March 31, 2020
    I have just started my third week of Self-Isolation; the last time I left the house was on 16th March, 2020. As a 75 year-old git, I am taking it all fairly seriously. Part of me feels that I am living in an existential no-man’s land. The logical thing for me to do is stay at home, in the house, until such time as I can be vaccinated. However, the development of a vaccine could take a year or more, so I can see that a modicum of deep readjustment may be required in order to navigate the unlimited flow of quotidian events with no discernible end in sight. The problem is knowing how to pass time in a satisfactory fashion.
    I have pottered in the garden. Summer is around the corner so there could be more to do on that score. Bedding plants might be a problem. I normally buy in some plugs from a local garden centre (about a 5-10 mile drive away) but I can’t do that in Self-Isolation. I have used a nursery near Manchester in the past for various bits and pieces, and I might see if I can order something remotely from their catalogue (assuming they still have staff working for them). Last year I planted some cabbage plants and put in a few potatoes. Unfortunately, all the leaves got eaten. Perhaps I should have fixed up some netting. I think that will be too complicated for me to sort out for this year.
    In general, I find my mood and motivation swinging up and down in a mildly bi-polar fashion during all this. For example, the other day I needed to do a small amount of D.I.Y stuff. Ordinarily this would involve multiple trips down to the B&Q store to get the  bits and pieces that are needed (perhaps  replenishing an empty pot of screws or something like that). In a way, that is normally an enjoyable part of the project – one can pick up all sorts of ideas whilst idly wandering up and down the aisles of  the  store. Yet this is something I must now forego.
    Turning to another area, I am used to taking the Metro to a nearby city, about once a week, for a good browse in the book shops and the library ( these are much better than those where I live). All that has gone.
    With regard to the  daily TV briefings on the crisis (in England) I feel glad that I had some training in statistics. This means that I can more or less understand the  graphs and have some idea as to how to read them, while being aware of some of their limitations. I had no idea, back then, how paying attention in double-maths classes at school/university might pay dividends as I trundle through my 70s. I hasten to add that in no way am I a trained statistician, I am merely numerically literate.  I feel sorry for some of the politicians who have had no training in science and yet are having to talk about this in an apparently convincing fashion.
    I think this is enough to be getting on with today. Time for a spot of  lunch. I think I shall make a sandwich and have a banana for desert. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Day #012 of my Self-Isolation

March 28, 2020

It has been patchy. I seem to have plenty to do at times; other periods are boringly flat. The idea of gaining sufficient quantities of good/interesting TV seems more and more remote, the further I vanish down the path of Self-Isolation into the void that might be a black hole for all I know. Death, without metaphysical belief,  looms as a rather bland, if inevitable, possibility.

My interest in following what is happening in the world through my favoured news channel (BBC News-24) is waning as the chat drones on about the topic of Covid-19, with endless repeats of short video-streamed interviews. Of course, in a lock-down, folk are not getting out and doing stuff and reporters are wisely limiting their movements to the bare minimum of what is allowed, I imagine. So, paradoxically, there is not much variation from a conventional news perspective at this point in time when we are all embraced by possibly the greatest, all-encompassing event ever.

I have spoken in the past of my tendency to Auto-Didactic Polymorphism (ADP). This is a pseudo-syndrome that I invented whilst pondering life over a cup of tea and a biscuit, some years ago. It occurs to me that ADP might be a strength in combating Lock-Down Syndrome (LDS), since I ought to be able to think of plenty of things to do. I decided, a few days ago, to make up a weekly timetable in order to provide myself with a degree of temporal structure (this is also something that the very lovely Stephen Fry advocated in a recent BBC interview). It has proven to be a more difficult task than I at first envisaged. Still, I did manage to cobble something together today. Let me tell you how I am getting on.

The timetable schedules some weekly domestic chores for Saturday morning and afternoon (1: cleaning the bathroom; 2: cleaning the bedroom). I am pleased to report that I have completed both of these tasks. I have a one-off event in the diary which must be done in about one hour’s time. I have agreed to play a one-hour show for Medecins-Sans-Frontieres at a virtual musical event in the 3rd Rock Grid, Open Sim, on the Internet. I shall get ready for that shortly.

The other thing that I have to do is to spend some time on a new sketch (I have set aside three sessions per week for drawing/painting). However, I am stuck on this one, at the moment. The other day I decided to move on from my Doppelganger project (you can see this on my website). I have not yet worked out what I want to sketch next. If I was Van Gogh, I could just put a bunch of sunflowers in a vase, I suppose, but that doesn’t inspire me. You could say that this blog is a displacement activity, to hide my creative inadequacy on the well-sharpened pencil front. I’ve already had two cups of tea, to no avail. And my next blog was not due on the timetable until next Wednesday.

First day of the new regime and it is falling apart already! When all else fails, I guess one can always read a book. Speak to you later. Bye for now.

Day #005 of my Self-Isolation

March 21, 2020

It is day #005 of my Voluntary Self-Isolation (VSI). It is 0500 in the early morning and, having woken up at 0400, I find myself unable to get back to sleep. Thus I am sitting at my computer, sipping a mug of decaf tea, grinding out this desultory blog.

I am due to receive my first supermarket delivery this morning. I am hoping this will go smoothly; it is essential that it does, if my attempt at VSI is to be successful.

In terms of passing the time through the weeks, I’m thinking it would be good if I could set up a daily phone chat to friends/family (maybe a different person each day of the week). I suppose my Internet shows could provide enough virtual social interaction for Monday and Thursday. Apart from that, I usually speak with my brother on Sundays and my friend Tom on Fridays. So, that leaves Tue/Wed/Sat to be covered. I could knock one of those days out with my friend Patrick, although he hates strict plans/schedules; he is more of a spontaneous person. I need to give this some more thought.

So far, my reading has been sporadic, at best, and my sketching is going very slowly. I think I need to move beyond the ‘dopplegangers’ project. I had been intending to build a virtual gallery on the 3RG (3rd Rock Grid) on the Open Sim space (Internet). I could think about that, too.

I understand what the UK government is trying to do in terms of managing the Corvid-19 virus pandemic in England. They want a series of flat peaks, low enough for the NHS to be able to deal with at any given time. In other words, they are going to crack down on social interaction to flatten the peaks, but when new cases start to fall away they will relax the rules to allow a bit more interaction so a few more folks can get the virus. Then they will apply the breaks to social interaction to stop the rise of infection surging past the capacity of the NHS. This will go on, up and down, until the entire population has had the virus or a vaccine has been developed and the vulnerable groups are inoculated.  Current thinking seems to be that it will take at least 12 to 18 months for the new vaccine to be developed and tested.

The government is currently injecting vast amounts of money into society (businesses, public institutions, individuals temporarily unable to work due to VSI, etc). This is tantamount to printing money and might well be seen as a form of inflation. A less toxic interpretation would be to see the raising of government loans as a way of spreading the cost of the Corvid-19 episode over many years into the (possibly distant) future. However, I have to admit that I have not yet got my head around how, precisely, this is going to affect the person on the Clapham omnibus when all is said and done. Ordinarily, the value of one’s cash would be decimated. Grounds for optimism seem scant!

It is now just past 0600 and I should go back to bed and try to get some more sleep. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Pondering Covid-19 at MMXX-03-18

March 18, 2020

Hello, my dear Blogophiles!

I have decided to share my thoughts on the Covid-19 situation. I should perhaps add that these thoughts will be highly subjective, coming from the bowels of my slightly dodgy cortex! My family have requested to be left out of the picture.  You may therefore consider them airbrushed (as if with the image editing software one might use on a photograph or video representation, in order to make them vanish).

In terms of my demographics, I am a white male living in England and I am 75 years old. I am, generally speaking, healthy. Indeed I take no medication whatsoever on a daily basis. However, my age defines me as belonging to the At Risk category for purposes of this Covid-19 chat.

Probability of Death

Let me start by talking about death. The annual UK Caucasian death risk, throughout the age range, is greater for a man than for a woman. When I was around 30 my risk would have been about 1 in 1200; had I been a woman it would have been around 1 in 2500. I have now joined the 75 – 85 bracket and my risk is 1 in 15; were I a woman it would be in the region of  1 in 20.

Of course, we all die some time and the risk that each and every one of us will die at some point in the future is 1 in 1 (certainty). Looking back to when I was 30 I took various steps to improve my longevity. I quit cigarette/pipe smoking and I took up regular thrice-weekly jogging (to an easy-going half-marathon distance) in order to push the likely end-date further into the future. I also swam regularly, although never more than  20 lengths in any one session. I did not want to become one of those obsessive mile-a-day thrashers.

I had it in the back of my mind that my father had died when he was 40-ish. I was part of the post-W.W.2 baby boom and he died when I was a baby. So, I grew up thinking I should probably die in my 40s, irrational as this might seem. Even though I never knew my father, his death had a huge impact on my life, since I was shipped off to a rather severe boarding school from the age of 8 (to 18); it was a charitable orphanage, run along the lines of a minor public school.

The current pandemic has re-kindled many thoughts about the flames of death in my head as I am sure it must be doing for other folk at this time, too. I need to put this in perspective. Given that there is a 1 in 15 chance that I shall die of natural causes next week, anyway, I’m not sure that Covid-19 is going to shorten these odds by much for me, at least if I behave prudently and more or less follow the prevailing health guidelines. So you may be forgiven for thinking that I should resolve to stop obsessing about it!

Worst Case Scenario

This morning, as a cognitive exercise, I sat with pencil and doodled out a list-wise sketch of what things might look like if the worst were to happen. I tried  to imagine the scope of the disaster on a scale that might be bracketed in terms of its magnitude with nuclear war, or unlimited climate change. Here goes…

Let us assume that the virus incapacitates the basic foundations of society. Admittedly, this might require the virus to show sufficient aggression to re-infect cured individuals in devastating ways but, hey, I am thinking worst case here.

  • Transport will be reduced to an irregular, unpredictable, sporadic flow.
  • Energy (electricity, gas, motor fuel) supplies will slow to a dribble.
  • Water will cease to come through the taps; if it does it will be impure.
  • Sewage will back up and, due to lack of water, will not be flushed away.
  • Government departments and local city councils will become depopulated and will no longer function effectively.
  • Communications will gradually die out: Internet, TV, Radio, Smartphone, Telephone. How many people, setting aside the Canadian Mounties, know semaphore?
  • Food supplies will dry up.
  • The Police and the Armed Forces will be decimated.
  • Crematoriums and funeral directors will no longer be in operation.
  • Corpses will be left to rot where they expire.
  • Angry and desperate mobs will roam the streets aggressively seeking food and water.
  • Society will gradually rescind into anarchic chaos.

So, what am I to do?

  • Keep half an eye on the currently evolving situation
  • Fix what is fixable on a daily or weekly basis but don’t fret what is out of my control
  • Make prudent plans, as necessary but don’t overthink it all (which, of course, is probably what I am doing right now!)
  • Go forward on the assumption that I shall probably die, anyway, BEFORE the worst case scenario (see above) arrives. Hopefully this will be of natural causes. If I die from Corvid-19, unattended on a trolley in a hospital corridor, then so be it. There is a very strong element of Que sera, sera in this situation.

 

Out of the Ashes of Despair Arise Small Flickers of Joy.

  • I am content to eat a reduced, plain diet of basic food rations. No problem.
  • In Voluntary (or Compulsory) Self-Isolation, I shall have a lot of time to do stuff.
  • Assuming most facilities still operate a roughly OK service (electricity, Internet, phone etc) I can put some time into:

Music

  • Piano & guitar practice (N.B. a concept of future is implied in the notion of practice)
  • Composition of original songs
  • Streaming my music shows to Second Life virtual community on the Internet

 

Art

  • Continuing with my pencil sketches
  • Getting back into pen & India ink work
  • Returning to watercolour painting

 

My Website

Updating and expanding the www.lewismusic.co.uk site

Reading

Self-Isolation precludes using the local libraries. However, I have many books on my shelves at home (light novels and more serious tomes) that I can read/re-read. More than enough to keep me happy

Writing

I am in the process of writing a novel called ‘The Alien Biographer’. This book has been in hiatus for a month or so. I think I should be able to bring it back on stream. Interestingly, it is a fictional biography of someone who shares my cohort exactly!

Gardening

I am fortunate to have a small garden and there is no reason why I should not work on that in the coming months. Self-Isolation may prevent me from going to the local garden centre, but I may be able to order plants to be delivered (I have done this Pre-Corvid-19 ~ would that be Pre-Corvid-XIX ?). Planting for next season is inherently optimistic!

In Conclusion 

I thought I would like to share my current musings on the dreadful situation in which we find ourselves. If you wish to comment on this post, could you entitle your comment in a meaningful way, such that I can separate it from the SPAM that tends to clog up blogs of this nature. Finally, may I wish you and yours the best of luck in all this.

Goodbye for now,

John (a.k.a. Fyrm Fouroux)

 

 

 

Taking stock in MMXX

March 15, 2020

Not sure what I am doing in terms of my media activities. My Twitter account has been quiet for over a year and I have almost no followers (hardly surprising). The fact that Trump seems to rule the world via Twitter causes me to wonder whether I should get into it a bit more, although I can’t think of a good reason to do that. I have not blogged since October 2019, and here we are in MMXX (don’t you just love those Roman numerals?)

I started working on a series of pencil sketches which I have put up on my website here on the doppelgangers page. I’ve done nine so far.

I had been writing a lot of new songs using the Cubase DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I uploaded home studio recordings of these to the bandcamp site. I have just under 30 tracks on my page, all with my original artwork, lyrics to each of the songs; I don’t know if anybody is listening to the songs, but there has not been a single download from the site. All I am asking is £1 GBP to buy the track download. I just thought it would help pay for some of my production costs, studio equipment, website rental, and so forth. It is quite time-consuming to do the writing, recording and artwork; I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth the candle. BTW, that is an interesting phrase. In the old days, prior to household electricity, to stay up late writing would involve lighting a candle in order to see what one was doing. My mother used to have to light a candle to go upstairs to bed, in the winter. I grew up in a house with an outside toilet in which there was no electric light; my mother kept, on the floor, a candle in a holder and a box of matches, in case anyone needed to use it at night. Happy days!

Last year I did attempt to do some VLOGS (video podcasts) and, like everything else, virtually nobody watched them. I quit doing that.

I continue to play my live music shows in Second Life. Nowadays I play two gigs per week (I have my schedule up on this website). There is a lively group called ‘The Wailers’ who attend regularly, along with my Internet friends Ferdy, Madelin, and others. At present, a few other fans log in from time to time but that is about the size of my audience. Given that I play on a virtual world-wide stage, my audience may therefore be regarded as modest by any reckoning.

I have written two novels and they are both available (printed as single copies, when the order is placed with the Internet pubishers). I guess they are a bit pricey but nobody has ever bought one (well, my good friend Tom did, I think). The relevant links are on my website.

I’ve currently got two new songs written but they are not yet recorded and copyrighted. I’ve also been working on a new novel. However, I am starting to wonder whether this creative stuff is worth doing at all. One possibility (given my age of LXXV and the likelihood of a Covid-19 death for old gits – in the offing) would be to fritter my time away, instead. I could: read more airport novels (but not at airports); watch more Crap Cable Movies; vegetate; take more naps; watch NEWS-24 ~ enjoy a quiet retirement at home (ROFL). Hmmmh.

Change to my Second Life Regular Performance Days

October 12, 2019

Hello My Dear Blogophiles,
Sorry it has been so long since the last entry. Anyway, this blog is to inform you about changes in my Internet music show dates & to tell you about what I am currently doing, music-wise.

As from today, I shall be playing the following regular shows:
MONDAYS (Each week at midday – Terra Fyrmusica, Second Life) – but NOT the 1st Monday of the month.
MONDAY (First Monday of each month at 10 a.m. – Fyrm by the Waters Edge, 3rd Rock Grid)
THURSDAYS (Each week at midday – Cafe Musique, Second Life)

At present, I have no other regular gigs in my callendar. ALL the above times are expressed in terms of the Second Life time zone which is the same as that of Los Angeles in the States. Hope that is clear!

I will just say a few words about my current musical interests and activities. Since August 2019 I have brought on stream three new songs. These have all been arranged and recorded in my home studio using the D.A.W. [Digital Audio Workstation] called CUBASE. They are fully orchestrated with a rhythm section (drums & bass), so I don’t classify them as ‘live music’ in the true sense of the word. At present, I am using one of these songs as an Interval Song which I stream up in the middle of my show (between the guitar and the piano halves). As you know, it usually takes me a few minutes to sort things out in my studio when I move between instruments, so this is working well, I feel. Unfortunately, I still leave my avatar playing guitar when he should be sat at the piano tickling the ivories, but usually somebody reminds me!

If I can keep up the pace and pressure on my new compositions, I may alter the format of my show into 3 sections, as opposed to the present 2 sections (guitar; piano). The 3 section format would be: 1) Guitar songs 2) Studio DAW songs 3) Piano songs. This is just a dream at present; I am nowhere near moving to that stage of organisation right now. My present thinking is to move back more heavily into original composition and gradually reduce the number of covers I play within my shows. I will say a few more words about that.

I have never enjoyed large audiences at my shows (1800 gigs, since January 2008). An audience of 10 avatars would constitute an extraordinary LARGE crowd for me! However, that having been said, I have always had a small number of EXTREMELY loyal followers, and without them I would be lost! I originally included covers in my song lists, thinking they might attract more folks to my style of music/songs, but that has manifestly NOT worked, over the years. I feel a constant urge to apologise to Laya, Vicki and the show hosts at Cafe Musique as I watch their guests TP out in droves while I get stuck into my show. In a very basic sense, I can’t do anything about that. All I can do, is do what I do. I know that my music is an acquired taste (perhaps a bit like Guinness or Malt Whiskey) and I have to live with it. That is not a problem at my small venue Terra Fyrmusica (which I rent at a very reasonable rate from my good friend Ferdy) but for the owners of top quality live music venues such as Cafe Musique, I wish I could do better.

Well, that’s quite a bit to get off my chest, as they say. I hope you are all OK, and that those of you who used to come to the Monday Terra Fyrmusica shows in the past might think about returning in the near future?
Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles 🙂