Studio session 24/11/13 recording the E.P. The Idolins

After a not too boozy night before, eating fish finger cobs, watching a Drag Queen rip the piss out of a bird called Donna (poor lass, but very funny! It was her 40th Birthday bash too), playing bingo and losing the raffle. I was gutted not to have won a gallon of whisky. I saw all of the hope drain from our mate Veronica, as ours wasn’t the winning ticket drawn. I grumbled, ‘Bastard’ out loud many times that night!

So the next morn, I packed up my beer, wine, herbal tea, tiger balm, wet wipes, tampax and guitar then headed off with our band,The Idolins http://theidolins.com/ for the studio. In A cold November grey day and a heavy period. I was nervous. (The day I don’t don’t get nervous, will be the day I quit music. That day will never come if I have any choice in the matter.) Nerves help performance, give the rush, make accidents, create perfections, the genius.  Paper Stone Studio has character, the big live red room felt good, even though a bit ‘chilly willy.’ If I could have legally lit a campfire in the middle of the cables, and had It have been practical. I would!  But I suppose too much heat makes one dozy. I popped open a bottle of Bud (At 10:30 am, I felt like I was on holiday abroad!  We commenced set up with the engineer, Tom. A dude that reminded us  Bar and I sat googling, after trying to put our fingers on his ‘looky likey’ for hours, in between conspiracy theories and Reptilians chat. Vince Vaughn mixed with Ice T. A talented, honest engineer. This session was recorded live. By that I mean. The band were individually miked up and performed each song live, together. Did I mention that my family of bandmates are special in so many ways. A great bunch of people. Talented too. Always a bonus, The likes of Jedward, The Cheeky Girls and the many delusional pop idol ‘wannabies’ whose family blatantly lie to them, have no place in our world. Well thats just cruel. Give a kid a wax crayon and let ’em draw. If they are good buy them paints. If they are crap, in time, try them on something else. Or you could just sell their work as Modern Art! Shit in the eye of the arrogant and pretentious. Being a good musician takes talent, dedication and practice. Oh and a good chunk of your day job wages buying instruments and bits.

Karen-Acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Nick-acoustic guitar, Hannah-Cello, Bar-Backing vocals., Mark-Cajon and djembe, Me-Banjo and lead acoustic guitar picking, licks and flicks. A few extra backing vocals were added later by Nick and Hannah, cymbals by Mark and tambourine by Bar was added at the end. As having ‘Bar’ our backing vocalist wacking a tambourine would have drowned out everything.

So we gathered and began to play. Maximum concentration is required to perform to ones best. Or you just let go and fluke it, or get possessed by your instrument.   One fuck up and its all over! Start again. Patience and attentiveness.  Now acoustic strings hurt after a while, even with hardened finger tips. After a few takes, the fabulous new song, ‘The Dancer’ was done. I’d heard the workings of the rest of band a few weeks ago. It was emotional. So I worked on a few bits for my part. Its one of those songs that would be so easy to over indulge in. But keeping things a little more simple to give space to all was achieved.  Its dark, velvety, haunting and beautiful. Holding ones breath, not moving through fear of the mic picking up as the instruments hit the last note. The vibrations dwindling into silence…”Now breathe!”

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I got into my own little world at the start of ‘Choices.’ Its an oldie, but a favourite, also known as the ‘sound check song.’ It used to be first on the setlist. We’d sound check it infront of said pub audience. It’s short at sweet, only about 2:30, then get a round of applause..and then… play it again to said audience, who clapped again. We never quite got it down well recorded before. It featured on The Sound Of The Rain Album and many demos. But we never quite captured it properly. We did yesterday!

I was sat on the piano stool. Messing with harmonics and my capo. Getting into my “Zone” dream world. Its an improvised intro. I like to think of it as a bit of ‘Doors’ influence thrown in. I then noticed all eyes watching me. Oops. The band were waiting to begin the hook to go into the first verse, all eyes staring at me.  I laughed out loud. I only have to look at Karen and pull a face for cracking ups to occur. Luckily that was the engineers sound check. We got that song down in a few takes in the end. Everyone afterwards entering the engineers room to listen back and ‘devastates themselves’ over perceived mistakes, or what didn’t come out as planned. As a collective. We thought, “ooh try a few more.”  But they didn’t feel right and I dropped a clanger. So the original one we chose will get mixed and mastered. It feels alive, melodic, right..Just so right!  You can get into the ‘What If?’ trap. If it feels right, go with it. Being in a band is about compromise. Happy accidents are cool. I sit back and make them all the time. I rarely play the same thing twice, Thats not a bragging thing. Its just the way I play. I’m a Gemini. I get bored easily. My Ying and Yang battlle each other. I’m working on my oneness.  I need adventure and new things all the time. Old age in later 30’s is mellowing, not settling me, myself and I.

Well I play the ‘known’ hooks on the guitar. The other way of recording, (except the ‘non musician/technician’ cheating way where samples and shit are used to generate songs) If you are recording a song literally track, by track. You can achieve such levels of anal retention perfection. Spend weeks and months on a song. But the danger of losing the great holy moly vibes poses a threat.  But as a band. Capturing the live feel was what we wanted.

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So we moved onto another new song, ‘What Would You Change’ Now this is very energetic live, a bit Mumford and Sons. But very much The Idolins. We all love performing it. Really easy during rehearsals. Its great to do on stage. One can almost mosh and flip a wig off on the banjo. I dont have a wig, but If I did or had a comb over. It would look superb going at it to this song!  SO

… After a break and pub lunch, the sleepiness and weariness hits. SHIT! The filmmaker arrives, takes his footwear off (as to not make noise while he is filming us live) and sets up. Red light fever hits! Its major fuck up time! Forgetting the structure. We are all like…AAAArgh. What is going on. We’ve played this song so many times without a problem. Trying to pose and hid the double chins when the camera is pointed at one. Nick hit a wrong chord clanger! The dirty and horrified look Hannah and Bar gave him made me piss, Karen got just to the end then lost herself. I kept losing my timing with Mark, who was bloody knackered.  Nick calms all and suggests a break. So the energy of this song was being sapped. Sorted our shit out..and finally I think it was maybe 7 or 8 takes in the end? We got it! We decided not to do ‘Forever Changing.’  Our collective battery has gone flat for the day. We have a great new recording of it. It would have been nice. But we were all exhausted. There is only so much musical creativity one can channel and output in one session. I never understand bands who take ages recording albums. Maybe they are too busy snorting, popping or swigging? Knitting or having nails and hair done? Or just extremely unorganised? Or just crap.

Proud? Yes. Satisfied? Yep. Excited? Hell yes! my work is now done. Well except painting the EP cover design. I’ve got a crazy little idea.

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See Nick and Karen doing their Johnny Castle and Francis ‘Baby’ Houseman impersonations.

I’m playing live and solo this Saturday for an Oxjam fundraiser comprised of some Nottingham singer/songwriter. Should be panty liner fillingly fun. I’ve brushed off the cobwebs of some of my old and loved material. Pissed the neighbor’s baby off by practicing on random evenings in our healing room. You never know, the little winkle might grow up liking real music.

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The brilliant Choices V’s Consequences Chores Chart.

So I got a little miffed about the amount of chores and housework I was doing on top of my full time job. Comparing this to the light of my lifes household input. The woman that I married and share my life with. I became disgruntled. Something had to be done. A retraining, re inventing, reiterating was needed. Having chortled about it at work. A plan was concocted. Some catalogues with useful pictures were donated.  We executed it the other evening. This in itself created a domestic!

So points are given and ticked off for such tasks as changing the cat litter, putting the bin out, recycling, hoovering, cooking, cleaning, washing up. Putting the laundry away, not just throwing it in a heap.  You tick it. These points add up to prizes such as massage, foot rub, zit squeeze for 10 minutes. A night where the other has to do all of the chores without grumble. This chart also contains the irritations and bad habits. Scoring bad points.  Farting in bed, making the other heave and cough, smoking at band rehearsals, not scrubbing stinky armpits before bed, being patronising, not leaving boiler cupboard door open… And so on, yes some of the irritating things. Are marked as bad. This chart is not designed to dictate our life. Its more an experiment. So I can, without argument show how much extra shit I have to do! Prove a point!

With every choice one makes, there is consequence. That can be good or bad!

So varying scores

Image from hitting 10 points plus. For good I get to choose my reward. For bad. Ange chooses my punishment. Or I choose hers. You get the drift.  I’ve chosen pampering as my rewards. Not that I don’t get plenty of it. Just nice to have even more after a hard day in the office. Ange, with her favourite foot rubs on tap, who is addicted tea. Has chosen it to be made for her for a week! Claudmaid!

Upon my suggestion of a bad consequence. (Knowing full well she loves tea) I said she must drink only water for a day.(hardship I know) Well… She went apeshit! Saying I’m punishing her and herbal tea should be included. I said no! Water is pure and monks drink it. The argument escalated to her trying to implement with immediate effect my crisp and chocolate ban consequence.(I see that asa good opportunity and motivation to lose pounds) I then suggested she only drink water for a month. She went more apeshit! Its truly really hit a nerve. I asked her to stand back and look at her ridiculous reaction. (While laughing)

She shouted she would never do what I told her. Drinking water for a month was ridiculous! (God knows what the neighbours thought, probably hearing the rant through the walls) I said I could see her, in her self imposed bitch fit, ripping our chart off the fridge. Achieving nothing. I mean the whole point is to share the housework equally. I had been doing nearly all of it. But had stopped doing most of the washing up. Leaving it for Ange. Just to prove a point.

So we are in our 3rd day. Ange is winning due a stroke of cleaning opportunity (I was out rehearsing with the band last night) She came home from work to carnage. We’d kept out cat, Rambo in for two nights as its been cold and wet. His protects was to bypass the litter tray. Shit on the landing, shit on the bottom of the stairs and piss on the sofa. Little git! So bar snow and another ice age. He can go out. He’s got fur! He sits on porch wall poking his head up to the front door glass faffing about. In and out, in and out! We don’t own this house so no cat flap. I’ve build one into the shed in the garden. Rambo is scared of it. Goes in but cant work out how to get out and wails! As she cleaned the litter tray. out other cat Pattie copped a squat on the newspaper. Both kitties had planned their assault on us together during the day.

So Ange point scored loads cleaning that lot up. I’m not concerned. It won’t take me long to catch up and reap the rewards.

12 months of it!

So a year has passed since, what I’ll call a very disturbing, challenging period in my life. Being around awful folk. Ego’s a go go, emptiness and a sense of self importance, equating to treating everyone surrounding them as inferior. Damage done, lessons learnt. Standing up to this and raising issue, I hope has paved the way for positive change. I know I’ve gained a lot from it. Even though at the time it almost tipped me over an edge of no return. Progress made. If the people in power continue to brush things under the carpet and not set examples. It will come back to bite them on their arses. If the ones at the top fail to act. They in due course could get the chop. I see this happen over and over again. How the mighty fall. Even though I still face challenges. Those challenges are not the mountains they once were. I’m ready for a break. My body and mind are tired. I’ve been doing far too much lately. Under intense stress. It’s just the way things have happened. Meditation has aided me. I can sit here and say I’m a lot happier than I was last year. I have to maintain and work on mine. I’m surrounded by good folk. The ones who help. Ask for it and it will come. But no one will do the hard work for you to ease the struggle. A team will do their bit. One person cannot achieve impossible tasks alone. Running away makes it worse for all. The problem will still be there. There are ways to prove a point. Productive solutions. Everyone has a voice. Make it be heard! Shout louder! Resilience, listening to good advice and acting on it. Will change your life for the better. Ignore it at your peril!

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Sponge Bob, figs, farts and winning.

After winning a giraffe .. A wooden one. At the Gambian Festival earlier this year. Our Law of attraction winning abundance spree continued. We won a hotel room for the night at Crowne Plaza. A superb treat and Indian meal at Cumin in Nottingham City Centre. Followed by a night of farting from myself. A long hot bath that was that steamy, I nearly had a panic attack. Almost setting off the smoke alarm. The supply of sleep relaxation aromatherapy kit and pampering did wonders for a restful nights sleep.. And more farting.God the farting! I woke to a sunrise over the city. Pretty neat considering I love the country wake ups. Not city grey buildings. America is a place to wake up in a big city. Explore, lunch. Fill up on gas and go find an adventure down the highway. We had a mahosive breakfast with figs and prunes to help it on its way through. We both sat smiling. You can be in a hotel next to your home. A break is a break. Counting our blessings. It’s been a challenging year for us. But Sponge Bob Square Pants puts things into perspective. Singing “oh crusty crab, how I love you crusty crab!” At least I’m not a square yellow cheese textured funny speaking creature living in a TV set. Off to the parents to learn how to thread a mini sewing machine that drove us to despair. Plus do lunch.
As I lay here. Talking to Ange about the taxi driver, driving me to band rehearsals the other night. Doing the same old, same old, “oh I wish I could play guitar” I sigh in my mind.. Again and say the same thing I always say. Practice practice and practice makes a good musician. With a bit of talent thrown in. Anyone with some form of workable fingers can play an instrument. Or cheat and use one if the many ‘apps’ available. Not the same as the feel of the real deal. Before the taxi driver horrifies me by reeling off some R&B stars he loves. I can’t get the point he is making with real instrument playing and these made up and marketed produced money making publicity machines. But hey. Whatever inspires and whips your shit. Right, better get off the bed. The sun is yet again shining on the blessed. Note Ange hiding double chin.

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Bibliomancy, pumpkin seeds and affirmations

Last night we had our annual Samhain ‘Circle’ get together in Wales. The is the group of gifted good souls brought together by the powers that be to utilise their gifts for greater purpose. Helping our own development and others. We are not talking cult, naked dancing round a fire, animal sacrifice or devil worship. We are all earth beings that have opened up to the energies and practiced our gifts. The messages we are given are not ignored. They are taken on board. Guided by the greater good. Carving my pumpkins teeth, I felt like a truth squash sculpting dentist. Image

During our meal in between courses. It was divination time.  We tossed dried pumpkin seeds, apple peel over shoulders. Letters, patterns spelt out relevant messages to the circle members.

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Now having had full clarity last Sunday, of what I need to do during my Quantum Healing Regression. I didn’t feel particularly drawn this year as I know what I need to do. Previous years had given Ange and I our Handfasting date which was April 1st (April fools day)

We did bibliomancy sat in the blue room. I was drawn to a book the moment I walked in on arrival. It was french and technical. With eyes closed, instincts trusted. My fingers ‘randomly’ flicked through the pages. I was hoping for a diagram. YES!

photo-28I instantly got as message. Diet, health and knees. I also got “Sitting on the toilet” and bending down.

Translating.. photo

“There is the risk of “d’amincir” (To make thinner) and even tear the sheet metal”

Now. Having the past life regression. The life I had entered had showed me the most relevant message to what I need to do in this life. I was incredibly healthy, fit and thin. Laying my body on the couch during the session. I literally felt how great it felt. This added message confirms and also warns to take it slowly, don’t go to extremes. Or I will do myself damage. Fair sensible point. This had lead on to finishing a chapter and book conclusion this afternoon. Which is so very enlightening. While we are all sat around by the fire talking of fate, lessons, fears, conclusions. Answers have been flowing. The sun is shining now. The misty beautiful autumnal valleys are blissful. I slept a sleep of pure rest last night. The Welsh fresh air is cleansing. I feel I’m home. The camera picks up a percieved bleakness through the window. My eyes and soul see the beauty and colours beyond.

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Going for a walk in the fresh air now the sun had broken through.