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 🙂

Annoying TV Presenters

April 12, 2019

 

On watching programmes such as Gardeners’ World (BBC 2: with Monty Don & Carol Klein et al), Van Gogh (Sky Arts: with Kate Bryan & Lachlan Goodie et al) on my TV channels (I am based in the UK), I notice that many of the folks fronting these shows seem to be suffering from:

Manic Presenter Syndrome (MPS). Hopefully a cure will soon be found!

Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

AtQ-IQ: Answering The Question – Inability Quotient

April 8, 2019

Amidst the awfulness that is Brexit, one comes across so many politicians and commentators who appear to be incapable of answering perfectly sensible questions. I’m thinking of assembling a list. The idea was sparked as I watched Andrew Marr interviewing Rebecca Long-Bailey on his Sunday morning TV programme (7th April, 2019). Here is a graphic I made to sum up my response.

Btw, I am no longer doing my podcasts, although I might start up again at some point. Talk to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Another podcast published today

January 22, 2019

Hello!

I have just put another podcast up, today – click this link – (my podcast page)

I got in a muddle in terms of responding to recent comments and may have accidentally deleted them. Sorry if I did that to one of your comments (well, not sorry if it was spam).

I have a busy day today, so will say no more here. Listen to the podcast if you want a glimpse at my current ‘slice of life’.

Podcast #5 is now available

January 14, 2019

Hello!

It is Monday and I have managed to keep to my resolution of doing a weekly podcast (which is published each Monday). I keep blowing hot and cold on the idea: sometimes I listen to it and think it is a bit boring, other times it sounds OK. I think I prefer the episodes where I play a bit of piano in the background (as I have done in today’s Episode #5).

I’ve just been listening to the Drella songs by Lou Reed and John Cale. My virtual friend Ferdy put me on to this; I think he saw some similarities between my approach and John Cale’s. Anyway, I found the songs to be inspirational. I am still sitting on 4 original songs that are still not practised up to performance level. I really must get this sorted out!

Well, this is just a short note to let you know the new podcast series is now rolling. Talk to you later, my dear blogophiles!

Python

December 12, 2018

Today I wrote my first program in the computer programming language called Python. It was, as tradition demands, a program that printed out on screen the message:

Hello World!

And, as always, it is very satisfying to get that far. I am hoping to use Python to help me with the perspective problem in sketching that I have been wrestling with for some time. Specifically, when Vanishing Points are a long way outside the margins of the sketchbook frame, how do you work out where parallel lines should exit the drawing frame on the sketchbook page. For some time now, I have been working this out using basic school trigonometry and a hand-held calculator. I just think it would be nice to write my own app to take care of it for me in future.

Of course, this could be a displacement activity to avoid pushing ahead with my piano and drawing practice and projects. Another factor that occurs to me is that I am thinking of having an ‘un-festive’ season this year (apart from cooking a traditional turkey dinner on Xmas day). So, getting into Python (and returning to podcasting) could provide a way for me to avoid the excesses of Xmas and New Year. Since I quit drinking (over two years ago, now) this time of year has less of an appeal, anyway.

Well, I had better Bah-Humbug my way off and leave you in peace.

Bye for now!

I have now abandoned the Vlog idea

November 18, 2018

Hello! This blog has been inactive for months. In part this was due to my tentative exploration of vlogging. I have decided not to go down that path; it takes too much time and effort. I have not tweeted for ages and obviously don’t seem to like doing that; I have no aspirations to emulate the Trump. So, maybe I will come back here and post from time to time. It is a matter of getting into the habit again. I also need to spruce up my website, so I do have a few things to be getting on with.

I’m still streaming my live gigs into Second Life and the 3rd Rock Grid, on the Internet. In this connection I am very much enjoying playing the Telecaster. As for piano, I plod along. The songwriting has been going slowly this year. That is a bit of a mystery to me. The  ideas are flowing but I am slow to work the finished compositions up to standard  for performance. I shall continue to ponder this issue; it would be good to get some more of these numbers into my repertoire.

Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Blog on the Bog: 12 o’clock Position

June 2, 2018

Hello, my dear blogophiles. This is to introduce what I hope will become a new mini-series of blogs. As you know, I did recently have a foray into the world of vlogging. This proved to be an extremely time-consuming activity, especially at the post-production stage of the proceedings. I am therefore returning to my blog for a while, which is much simpler to sort out.

Let me start by mentioning a plumbing saga that has engulfed my quotidian existence of late. At home, for various reasons, we needed to replace the bathroom toilet. We engaged the services of a local plumber who had been carrying out some work on a neighbour’s house. All went well and the job was finished more or less on time and I paid the bill. Some weeks later, we noticed that the loo seat had slipped out of alignment. It was leaning a little to the left, towards the side wall. So, from the point of view of the person sitting on the toilet, the seat was at 11 o’clock to the porcelain bowl. I called the plumber and he came around swiftly to sort things out. Little did I know that this would be the first of many visits!

I hasten to add that the firm is a well-established small business within our city and the boss is as puzzled by it all as I am. So far we are on the third replacement seat. At the last visit I did say that I was having conversations with him more often than I was talking to my mates, and that I had almost come to regard him as a personal friend. We laughed over that and he told me to be sure to phone him if and when the next misalignment sets in.

Earlier this year I read an interesting book on stoicism. A major theme in this book was that when you are hit with an annoyingly problematic turn of events, you should regard it as an opportunity for finding something positive in it. In other words, a problem can be regarded as a stimulus for creative thinking. While I was travelling on the local metro train, earlier this week, I got to thinking about all this in relation to the plumbing saga. I am not a plumber and therefore I cannot come up with a creative practical solution. However, it occurred to me that I might be able to use it as a framework for a short series of comedic blogs (I don’t think there would be enough in the idea to support a larger project, such as a novel).

So here I am. I shall start the series with an illustration I have done in my digital art program. This depicts the 12 o’clock position of proper alignment. Hopefully, I shall be able to shift my character around a little as the seat drifts into wonkiness. At present, I don’t even know if there will be another episode or not. Still, that is the fun of live blogging; it is all very spontaneous. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Bog 05

Lachlan Goudie’s thoughts about painting

May 20, 2018

Yesterday evening I watched a programme on cable TV about Van Gogh and was struck by a comment made by the (Glasgwegian) painter Lachlan Goudie. I jotted down what he said on the back of an envelope, to share with you. I may not have this word perfect as a quote but it certainly will give you the gist:

Painting is a difficult, troubling and enormously frustrating activity. Everyday, when I stand in front of my canvas, I will expose the gap between what I want to achieve and what I can achieve. Painting exhausts you if you are doing it as a conviction or a passion. That’s no lie, it’s for real!

In the programme it was explained that Van Gogh was largely self-taught to begin with. He worked from books on technique and so forth. I have sometimes felt that I suffer from autodidactic polymathitis.  I hasten to add that the syndrome does not appear within any scheme of diagnostic categories I have come across, it is merely a term I invented for myself. So, the comments made by Lachlan Goudie about painting can be extended to cover music and prose writing, as well as art, as far as I am concerned. Indeed, I think they apply generally to all acts of creative work.

I say this without any implications of self-aggrandisement since I am highly critical of my own paltry attempts to create works of art, music & songs, and works of fiction. I think that creativity, however small, however modest, contains within it a tendency for the artist/musician/writer to experience bi-polar swings of mood. I hit a down swing over the past few weeks. At such times it is not infrequent to be hit by a block, too. I suppose one  might think of writer’s block as the prototype, but I recently had a sketching block lasting for a month. Fortunately,  this has now been broken. I have three new songs with the sets of lyrics completed in full, yet I have not been able to bring myself to practice them up to performance level. I can’t understand this; it has never happened before in this fashion.

I do sometimes search for evidence that I might be on the right track, whatever that might mean. Perhaps I am looking for a modicum of feedback. Here is the problem. I have maintained a website for many years. Nobody downloads my songs from links I provide on that site; nobody buys my novels or my art books; very few people listen to the live music shows that I play each week, streamed on the Internet. It is true that these are primarily played for people with avatars in the virtual community known as Second Life on the Internet, but I give clear instructions on my website as to how to listen to my stream ‘live’ should anyone who is not in that community wish to do that.  So, basically, I sometimes wonder why I bother. It can’t (given the time and emotional effort required to create and perform all this stuff) be for the joy of knowing that it is widely appreciated. However, I do have a small but loyal group of fans within my Second Life audience and for them I am truly grateful. Without them, I do think I might just quit and settle down to a life of watching soap operas on cable TV channels!

Oh, one more thing. The bipolar down swing curbed my enthusiasm for moving more deeply into the phenomenon of vlogging. I am not saying that I have given it up, but for the time being all is quiet on the vlogging front. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Cement Mixers

April 12, 2018

Hello! I have today placed a Vlog up on my Lewis Music site, about cement mixers.

Hope you enjoy it!

Bye for now 🙂