A cold start to 2010

In England the cold snap persists with warnings of snow falls and sub-zero temperatures continuing in the north and east of the country through to mid-January. It seems to me that we have experienced fairly mild winters over the past few years and, unlike the Canadians for example, we are not geared up for bad winters. The gritters get out to within two streets of where I live. Once I get onto the main road system I can drive around ok. The problem is getting in and out from that node; I have to negotiate fairly steep hills (that seem to be manqué ice rinks).

Snow continues into 2010

Earlier this week, I poured the lower half of my body into a smaller size of jeans; the weight reduction programme seems to be working well. The jeans are a rather snug fit, although I am not reduced to lying on the floor in order to zip them up. They should be just fine in a couple of week’s time. I have said goodbye to approximately 15 Kg over the past 10 weeks and I am now looking to bulk-buy some inexpensive magnifying glasses on ebay. I shall hand these to people who seem to be having difficulty in perceiving my new, corporeally-challenged, blade-of-grass-like self.

Those of you who consult my website for the Second Life gig list should know that I have not been able to get in as web administrator to update it for several days now. I think the company that I rent this site from has been closed for the holiday period. Hopefully, somebody will be back at work next week and reset the appropriate server or whatever. My immediate gigs are as follows:
03 JAN 10 @ 11 am (SLT) ~ Cascadia Harmonics
04 JAN 10 @ 12 noon (SLT) ~ The Cup n Spittle

I expect to have the website updated after that. Bye the way, the show I am playing on 3rd of January, today, happens to mark the second anniversary of my playing live into the Second Life virtual community. My very first show was on 3rd January, 2008, at Rocky Shores (which, happily, is the sister venue of Cascadia Harmonics). This is, indeed, a very happy coincidence for me. I won’t review the details of my musical progress over the past two years, in this post, since I covered that here on the occasion of my 400th gig which occurred in mid-December.

I did spend a little time thinking about things yesterday. I went to shows by Max and Strum and both events were extremely well attended. They were playing at Euro-friendly times. They are both excellent performers but the difference between their audience figures and my own is huge. People have told me not to expect big audiences because what I do is a bit quirky. Yet nowadays I mix original material with covers more or less in equal measure, my guitar playing is above average if not brilliant (IMHO), the pianist Evamoon Ember said last week that my piano playing has improved a lot this past year, and I do provide a 50-50 mix of guitar and keyboard accompaniment in my 60 minute shows. I don’t want to address this problem by going down the path of managers or agents, since I value being a strictly independent musician. I think the only way to go, in terms of new year’s resolutions, is to expand the repertoire of covers in interesting ways and, maybe, to start composing on piano in 2010.

As far as keyboard goes, I am hoping for something of a break-through in 2010. At present I am vamping on piano, playing from chords as a guitarist might. I think 2010 will see me playing more from the musical score, but in order to loosen that up a little I want to be able to improvise around it. So my ideal will be to retain the vamping style in parallel with the development of a more classically orientated reading of the scores. And then there are toys like the Loop Station, not to mention the Roland synthesiser.

Apart from my musical activities, I am trying to keep to a resolution to do some sketching or painting each day. I have not been terribly imaginative in terms of my subjects which, so far, have amounted to a series of still fruit and vegetables. Well, I did do a pair of socks yesterday but I don’t think I will show you them!

Still fruit n veg in pencil

I am starting to ramble. Let me conclude by wishing you a very Happy New Year, my dear blogophile. I have to go and practice some piano… bye for now.

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