Another blog

February 1, 2018

I am trying to get a reasonable workflow in terms of my attempt to become a Video-Blogger (Vlogger). One problem has been that my movies have arrived at some of your screens in the incorrect orientation (so you have to lean your head to the side at 90 degrees in order to watch them).

Regrettably, my learning curve is very steep in this regard and I am still not confident that I have got the hang of things. My primary objective is to get the Vlogs to work on You Tube. I’m not sure how well the links  from my Lewis Music home page are working.

The current situation is this. I have cleared out some old stuff from my You Tube channel. There are now basically two blogs up on it (one dated 28th January and the other 31st January, 2018). So you could try to reach them from my Lewis Music site, and hopefully that will work.

In terms of the 31st January blog, I will endeavour to now put a link to that directly from here, as follows:

Fyrm’s latest Vlog

 

Hope this works. Bye for now, my dear blogophiles

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My First Attempt to Vlog Using a Green Screen Technique

January 25, 2018

It has taken a while and I am still not confident about using the HitFilm software, excellent as it may be. However, I have succeeded in getting a VLog up on You Tube that makes use of the Green Screen technique….

I recorded the blog sitting in an easy chair in my little studio. The room is too small to take a proper Green Screen, but I managed to make do in a Heath-Robinsonesque sort of way. I’m afraid the content is not brilliantly inspiring but, at last, I managed to turn my solid wall background into an open window looking out onto some rather old-fashioned buildings on a street in Paris.

I hope to explore more virtual scenes in the future. The downside of doing the Vlog in this fashion is that I cannot play the piano. I attempt to explain what the problem is, within the Vlog. And I talk about my spectacles and the fact that I possess a high-domed forehead! I bet you just can’t wait – lol…

Fyrm’s first use of the Green Screen technique in a You Tube Vlog

Speak to you later my dear blogophiles/Vlogophiles !!

 

 

New Vlog on You Tube

January 21, 2018

Hello!

I have just started a new Vlog on You Tube in the name of Fyrm Fouroux (aka John Lewis Smith)…

Enjoy!

New song up on Bandcamp today!

January 18, 2018

Hello! I have just put my new song ‘The Cleaner and the Teacher’ up on Bandcamp

https://fyrmusica.bandcamp.com

This song should be regarded as an imaginary story about a (divorced) woman who has taken in a French teacher as a lodger. She also happens to work as a cleaner at the school where he teaches. Eventually, one things leads to another and they embark on a secret love affair. So, you might want to think of the song as a piece of fiction, rather like a story in a novel. This is my first new original song for 2018!

I have talked about how I made the song on my website…
http://www.lewismusic.co.uk/SongNotes/Cleaner%20n%20Teacher.html
I do the acoustic version at my live shows in Second Life but I made an orchestrated arrangement for Bandcamp  using one of my studio DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation). Hope you enjoy it. Bye for now, my dear blogophiles.

Driving somewhere in the car

November 3, 2017

I present to you a clutch (geddit?) of navigational TLAs…

  • WLA = Wrong Lane Addiction
  • SLR = Seeking the Longest Route
  • WTC = Wrong Turn Compulsion
  • SND = Sat-Navigational Depression
  • SLO = Schizoid Lane Occupancy
  • RIR = Randomized Indicator Response
  • NKC = Never Knowingly Correct

I hate travel. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Mobile phone

November 2, 2017

I’ve had a busy couple of days. The mobile phone I have been using clogged itself up and ground to a halt this week.  Anyway, I have taken on a mid-range upgrade that seems to be working a whole lot better. However, the replacement caper has gobbled up a mass of time and effort; these things only work ‘out-of-the-box‘ if you have already discovered how to make them work out-of-the box on a previous occasion. Ah, well, nothing like a badly translated technical manual to cheer you up! So, my plans to push a little harder with my piano practice this week did not work out as envisaged.

Be that as it may, I am out for breakfast tomorrow, with my friend Tom. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Second Life gig 31 Oct up now on website

November 1, 2017

Hello! This is just to let you know that I have put up the mp3 file for the sound stream (no visuals) of the live music gig I played in Second Life on 31 October 2017. There has been minimal studio editing on this file. What I played is, more or less, what you hear – warts and all.

Hope you enjoy

The link is from my home page and you can click to the audio stream on the left hand side of the page towards the bottom.

http://www.lewismusic.co.uk/

By for now, my dear blogophiles.

Guitars and PJs

October 18, 2017

I seem to be permanently behind with things at the moment. I am slowly emerging from the remnants of my head cold, although I had to finish my gig a little early at Cafe Musique on Tuesday.

My four main guitars are now hanging nicely on the wall, thanks to my good friend Patrick Vercambre who knows his way around hammer drills and so forth. This has generated yet another clear-out episode. I have transferred a load of stuff that was in a cupboard under the roof tiles in the rafters, to various other hide-away holes; I now have a further bunch of stuff waiting to go for recycling. Ideally, I will get it to a charity when they are collecting in my area.

So, my piano practice took a dive during the head cold and I had hoped that I would sort that out today. However, other things took precedence. Firstly, I popped down to our local B&Q store to buy some packets of spring bulbs (I am a bit late but if I get them planted by the end of this month it should be ok). Then I drove to the Metro Centre (free parking at that mall) and set out to buy some warm stuff for the coming winter months. I bought a new dressing gown, some PJs and a fresh set of long thermal underwear. I feel sure that most stuff is not made to be as warm as it used to be. I think manufacturers assume we all live in houses with the central heating racked up and swan around indoors as if it were a summer’s day. I have a huge problem with feeling the cold nowadays; I think it is because I lost a large amount of weight over the course of last year (3 stone 10 lbs, in Old-English money).

Oh, yes, bloody B&Q refused to accept my circular pound coins as legal tender. So, I had to make a special trip to the bank and get them changed. Why the banks could not just withdraw the coins as they come back to them through the shops and so forth, I really do not know. I can tell you, B&Q put me in a really BAD mood and so I shall try to do any garden shopping elsewhere for the next few months. Actually, garden centres have to be avoided like the plague until next February. In England they are already kitted out with fireworks for Guy Fawkes night (5th November) and Xmas decorations. It is enough to make anyone sick – I mean it’s October! Actually, I think I might physically puke the next time I see a Santa’s Grotto. As I move through the years, I think I am becoming more and more like Victor Meldrew; Bah! Humbug!

So, this evening, instead of getting back into my piano practice I spent the whole time testing out 25 banks of 4 guitar effects per bank (that amounts to 100 in all) using my Gibson 335 Knock-Off. I found some very nice sounds, although not too many were suited either to my guitar playing or for accompanying my vocals. Still, I do think I have made some progress. I will double check this Behringer FX selection against my Tadcaster home-made guitar and my Mick McConway electro-acoustic – sometime tomorrow, unless I get distracted. Oh, did I tell you? I fixed the hum on my Washburn guitar yesterday. So I have placed that in an open D tuning and might try and find a couple of songs to do on slide guitar with it.

Well, I have a hundred and one things on my list of things to do. Still, I figure that eliminates boredom as a feature of one’s existential being. The trick, I suppose, is to manage it all without sliding over into the stress zone. On that note, I shall leave you to ponder. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Cold: cough, cough, cough…

October 11, 2017

I felt very much under the weather yesterday with this ghastly cold that is going the rounds in England. I tried to sing a song earlier this morning and it was impossible. I have been to my local supermarket and picked up some more pills to deal with the symptoms (it being a virus they cannot provide a cure, of course) and I bought a packet of Jakemans’ Honey & Lemon Menthol sweets which seem to help a little.

I didn’t do much reading yesterday but I have generated a new set of random numbers for my 3rd Post-It bookmark. The experiment seems to be working fine. It does turn the reading into something of a problem-solving exercise. So far, it is probably not quite as enjoyable as the bland, passive way of reading that involves steady page-by-page progress. I have not been able to work out how it compares with reading novels that contain plenty of flash-backs.

I think, by the time I am able to sing again, I should be able to do a cover of Richard Thompson’s 1952 Vincent Black Lightening. I watched him playing it on You Tube (presumably a video recording) and noticed that he was playing it in open tuning. I definitely do NOT want to play my guitar in that style, so I guess my version won’t sound much like the original.

I felt so rough yesterday I did not play any piano at all. That is very unusual for me. I’m not sure about today. I think I will do some more work on the level-crossing sketch I am doing in pen & India ink. That has been going rather slowly (also due to the bloody head cold) and I would like to get it finished by the end of the week. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Weird reading & winding folks up

October 9, 2017

I have two things to talk about this morning. Firstly, I will give you a progress report on my Random Page Number approach to reading a novel. It does feel very strange. In terms of pages read, I am about a third of the way through the book. So far, I have read (in order of reading): 225-251; 96-108; 345-to-The End; 87-89 (supermarket queueing); 37-68.

The experiment is a bit of a failure in terms of my original plan. I had intended to put this to the test with books that I had already read; it turns out that I have not read this current book. I think I must have bought it with a few others and put it on my fiction shelf intending to get around to it at some point but then forgot to do so. I have to say that the novel I have chosen is definitely not a ‘feel-good’ read. If anything it is a ‘feel-pretty-depressed’ read. I don’t think this has anything to do with randomness, and the author can write good English. It is probably written for a younger reading audience. Folks who have recently left university might be the target, especially women. Oh, and they will ideally have been on a ‘gap’ year travelling the globe to Thailand or wherever. I can’t stand the concept of ‘gap’ years and I hate travelling. So, I am undergoing a bit of light-reading torture.

Moving on, I watched Graham Norton’s chat show at the weekend on British TV (BBC1). The music towards the end of the show was provided by Noel Gallagher and his band (I believe he was once famous in another band called Oasis). Anyway, Graham Norton had brought him (Gallagher) over to the sofa for a short chat, in the course of which he enthused about the fact that he liked to ‘wind people up’.

I found it a little difficult to understand why he (Gallagher) should enjoy doing this. The Concise OED defines the verb to wind up as: irritate or provoke a person to the point of anger. Why might anyone wish to do that? I can think of a few possible reasons:

  1. The Winder-Upper may actually enjoy the other person’s discomfort
  2. The act may make the Winder-Upper feel powerful or superior
  3. The Winder-Upper can use the event as a way of grabbing the Windee’s attention

I think the most likely explanation is that the Winder-Upper lacks the minimal social skills needed to gain the attention of the other folk(s) in any constructive or meaningful fashion. I think this is rather unfortunate. When all is said and done, the Winder-Upper is likely to end up being regarded a something of a sad, attention-seeking asshole. I would never seek to be voluntarily exposed to the company of anyone whom I regarded as an asshole. Indeed, I would avoid them like the plague.

Of course, winding someone up might be a not-so-distant relation of the German phenomenon of Schadenfreude: the malicious enjoyment of another’s misfortunes. One might be forgiven for thinking that this might be the sort of thing a bully might be good at. Being a skilled bully could be a useful prerequisite for anyone who actively seeks to irritate or anger other people for their own enjoyment!

I’m sorry to have drifted into such a negative topic. I am generally feeling a bit off-colour with a head cold. Having a cold does not sit well with my style of singing and I have a lot of music that I want to get done. Talk to you later, my dear blogophiles.