A mind is higher when its come undone

I new that day was different. The sun bathed me with warmth I’d not known for a while. I felt calm in the darkness when the news was given. All of my dread and anxiety had lead upto this point. Now knowing why I’d felt like this for a while. I now felt a different strength and calmness. That whatever happened next, could not be as bad as the not knowing dread I’d felt for a while. Could it?

I went home from the hospital. Lit a purple candle and burned sandalwood incense. Whatever the future has held was going to happen anyway, right?  When you are surrounded by it. You get used to dealing with the empathy, seeing the fear, sadness and suffering in people’s eyes. You think you become stronger. Then the meltdown occurred. You do become stronger, because you have to. While other succumb. You have to stand like scaffolding and hold the rest up. There is no blame, nor anger nor 1000 questions. There is a course of action that now must be taken and what will be, will be. Our time on this earth is very short. So really do make the most of it with yourself and loved ones. The spirits, ancestors are about giving reassurance. I am grateful to colleagues and friends for being just lovely. Thank you.

I have to decide whether these recent events become part of the 2nd book that i’ll write. The first one is now finished. During said meltdowns. Between the tears. between the meditations and acceptance after the shock. I completed. So that is just being proof read again before we upload to kindle and publish ‘Claudsville – Blogs and Biog of A Bog Woppit.’ The timing now is good. Just as I near 39 years of age. I close once, chapter- Well 14 actually! begins the new.

So here is the new song for the forthcoming record. Very inspired during ‘said’ meltdown. I’d had a long hot cleansing bath. Then just picked up the guitar. The working video clip is here.

Blood video 2014

I’ve been working on meditation music. But that will be released at a future date.

This is ‘Blood the song’

Comprising of acoustic guitar, mandolin and strings. I’ve kept it fairly simple. It flowed very organically. Clicks, warts and all. The experiments I capture is the raw musical energy that I channel through my fingers. Making music this way makes me feel very much alive and accomplished. These of the writing of the real things, the musings in the dark. A mind is higher when its come undone.Image

 

The A-Z of my Week. Musicians, Linkedin and Enemies Behold

Here is the A of my week.

Righty ho. Another good week. Knackering but productive, positive and surrounded by love.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on medication. My PMT rage is at its height. But that will be eased later by a removal session in a loft without SPIDERS. Please let there be non. By the mere mention I’ve law of attracted them. OOOh MUMMY!

So after the 3 week relationship with a winter virus of doom.  Kindly and really, they should have been so generous, given to me by my colleagues and then spread by me to more work colleagues, not through snogging as previous rumours stated 😉  One of the perils of working in a hospital visiting many wards. An apple a day didn’t keep my Doctor away. I had such healthy intentions to survive dark January too. But there has been a lot of dark about. My light is too strong and bright though.

Now I suffer the sort throat lurgy irritation. Luckily the solo set I played on Friday wasn’t too hampered and squeaky chat line husky voice encumbered.

Watch the performance here : 

Exit – By Claudine West aka Bog Woppit

 

It was blinking well nippy out. In between the urge to cough my lungs up half way though.  My fingers stopped working on the chorus finger picking parts on ‘Unusual Haunts.’ “I ain’t no pussy nor primadonna!”  One carries on regardless like a true pro, A soldier of strumming!  (nice comparison to the birds voice out of the Beautiful South that man! Thank you )  I don’t keep calm as I cringe at that saying. I get excited. I’ve been working with my solo stuff for quire a few months now after a hiatus. One I redescovered what I truly loved. The things I was doing pailed into insignificance. If the passion is no longer there, and things get overcrowded with unnecessaries who lack vision and experimentation ability,  its time to go.  Big thanks to the organisers of Sneinton Market Light Night, Nottingham. Amy Dickens at Red Rox Projects  and Sound Engineer Phil Taylor . Check out this fab band The Breakfast Club.  I love their sound and instrument swapping. Suitcase drums too!  New album ‘Petrol Money’ –  ‘Work Related Stress’

2013 was busy with studies and a new job. It took time to learn (and I still am) all of the clinical knowledge needed to do it effectively. I’m blessed with a supportive team and Matron. Central Procurement has been my favourite job so far. It has only taken 22 years of faffing! I’ve counted my chickens and blessed them.  I’ve been updating my Linkedin, getting things in order.  Getting the C.V. updated.  Ange (My Wifey) is a prime example on why Linked in is so damn good. She has just been head hunted. An Agency saw her profile. She got asked for interview. Did bloody well, as she is bloody good at what she does and wham, bam on the rag of jam. She got the job. I’m really proud. It’s always nice to enjoy your day jobs as well as having it pay the bills and lifestyle.

So yesterday morning was spend with the band – ‘Subway Circus’ https://www.facebook.com/subwaycircus

Things are coming together nicely. We have the band member line up locked in. The thing with music is,this is proven time and time again. Ignore at your peril.  You have to all gel to make the magic. Every person in the band has to add the magic and play their special part. Deadwood sinks ships. I like our rawness. Our honesty and true equality. Everyone has input. We have our manager on place who deals with all of ‘that’ stuff. So we can concentrate on creating great stuff.  For some its about posing. For me its about jamming and making music. If I’m sat in my shorts and t-shirt on the kit v’s tossing it off in a posh dress. I’m more comfortable in my shorts and will play better. I grew up with grunge not ponsy clothing labels to pose in to be who I am. If I am naked, in a dark room. You only hear the music I make.

Here is a clip

Subway Circus performing a cover of Black Velvet

I think we’ve got four cover versions. We are an original band, but it’s nice to pop in the odd homage to a good song. The live set should be ready pretty soon. It’s been a bit of a journey getting the band up and running. But it has been well worth it. The vibe feels great. Its challenging, sweat inducing and I get to exercise sat on my arse! E.P In the pipeline. Then its gigfest a go go!

IMG_1920

Paul Delacey

photo

Claire Gilbert

photo 1

IMG_1911

Right I’m off to take a time out as its back to the day job tomorrow.

I’ve got a bunch of Reiki clients after work next week, plus a ‘little project’ to complete ;-0 which I should have done today. But I need a break and to meditate before we go out and get busy with the ‘C@nty Stumpets’ lugging musical equipment about.

The final comment for today.  “Claudine West Is a true believer of keeping your friends close and your enemies, bound, gagged and kept as far away as possible. Life’s too short for games and wrong ‘uns.”

I finish with the Z of my week.

~ Claudine

How musicians are created…

Image

I’m blessed to be in this band. The Idolins  

My solo works Bog Woppit 

The big question.

Are you born a musician, or do you train and become a musician?

My name is Claudine West aka Claudine Barker-West. I’m 37 years old. I live in Nottingham. UK. I’m a multi-instrumentalist.  Oh and yes you have probably never heard of me. 

Music has been in my life since I can remember. From my first Bontempi Keyboard and 2nd hand classical guitar; my Dad bought me while on holiday in Norfolk, UK. It was only when I moved onto electric and steel strings did I realise what a nighmare classicals are to play and start on as a kid. (So what to Schools do? Make kids play ’em! Cruel )

Now I’ve not been trained in a ‘training’ sheet music kind of way.

I bought chord books for keyboards and guitar. Sat and played, practiced. Shut myself in dark rooms so I didn’t need to look at my hands to play the chords. Looking back I was a loner, socially crippled (still am to an extent), shy, a disturbed child ( luckily not due to any trauma, abuse etc) just special in my own strange way.

Music made me feel good, it released my pent up creativity. It drew me to it, tempted, excited, satisfied. Music just came out of me and my fingers without me having to sit there and work out each note.  By this point every Birthday and Christmas present was music related. My first tape 4 track recorder.  I was privileged.

School involved verbal bullying, name calling due to my deformed face. (Surgery at 19 corrected it, not my self hatred..Thanks Bullies. I’m so glad im not you. I pity you. no one likes to be called a monster amongst other things!)  and near 6 feet tall skinny frame (I was probably too tall and intimidating to get punched) maybe I screamed misfit.

I retreated, was encouraged and supported into music and art indulgence.  I had an amazing Music teacher (Simon Davie) at secondary School (Frank Wheldon, Nottingham class of 1991/2 ish) Spent most of my lunch breaks and spare time in the music block. Jamming. Playing on the piano, or playing on the Grand Piano in their Concert Hall. Some little turd, with a grudge burnt the school down years later. (and most likely my lovely Grand Piano) Its been rebuilt as a sports college now.

At 16 (thanks to my sister complaining) I got a job in a local supermarket (18 years of customer hell and vileness, back stabbing, gossip, hangovers, but lots of laughs and messing about) I currently work for the NHS. (inspired by true hatred of retail and damage done, my Dad being awarded an MBE (God bless you Princess Anne) for his services to the NHS. (I’M SO PROUD) the final straw being told I deserved to be raped as I was a lesbian!! Adorable customer scumbag!

I’m proud to be doing my day job bit helping poorly folk. Reiki is my life calling along with art and music. Indulgence is bliss.

So basically from my first job (yes kids I worked for my things, put up with some abominations, stinky fuckers, rude bastards and worked every shift pattern known to Mankind) bought more instruments. Worked nights for a year and at around 19, I bought my first Pearl Export Drumkit; and a Zildjian Cymbal every payday. 

My basic chord and note learning moved into capo and key change experiments. ‘Capoing’ a guitar. Recording that track. Then working out a new fret capo and different chord structures to make things sound sweet in stereo.(I still do this today)

From around 13 years old. I’d written songs, composed music, learnt the art of multi tracking (Live performance, warts and all… not computer generated  cheating) Warbled with a very crap gob (surgery enabled me to sing and pronounce words better)

After finishing my A levels. Knowing full well my face operation was imminent. I chose not to further my education. I embraced live mic nights, bands, (Word For Word, Dominion, Subject To Status.. and ones I cant remember right now) gigs, music, booze, fags, grass. Indulgence. I loved my Bongos!

Live Mic at The Lion
Live Mic Night at The Lion, Basford. Nottingham. during the 1990s

Inspired by Jim Morrison’s whisky intake. I had a pretty good go. Ooh I loved my Bourbon and Wild Turkey. Fortunately I never woke up craving alcohol. I rarely drink now mainly because my money is better spent and my body just needs to mend. I do tend to get occasionally battered on the red wine, (big fan of a good Shiraz Cabernet nowadays) at a band rehearsals and spend the next day puking my guts up feeling like death. Swearing on my grave its green tea forever. Ange (my wifey) once farted in bed after one of these night. That set me off on a big boff. She blamed the booze. I blamed the stench. I may write a blog on farting. It’s something that makes me cry laughing.

I began a 10 year exodus into my world ‘Claudsville’

I bought a Fender Bass guitar, Mandolins, more acoustics, A Fender Stratocaster. Eventually I bought a Taylor Acoustic. Elixir custom light strings. Bar that fact that you really cant have too many instruments. I’m content.

I learnt to finger pick. I practiced strumming 😉 being a percussionist helps with rhythm. Being a drummer is a great cure for PMT. There is a big misconception that playing the drums is about kicking the shit out of them. Maybe for some drummers.. Its about creating rhythm, patterns. Jamming, linking, connecting, locking in with your bass player (my Yang to my Ying is the very Talented Dave Pacey) 

I played Glen Miller Jazz at School. Moved into Blues Jamming in pubs and Rock Bands.

I love the Folk music, acoustic stuff on the guitar. I enjoy experimenting with effects and layers on my electric guitar parts I compose. I’m not anal enough to go into great technical detail. I’ll leave that one to others.

You can watch some videos if you so wish on my Claudsville Youtube Channel

 

I dated a sound engineer. (Pete, lovely bloke) me, trying to at least be bisexual. Ultimately you can’t change who you are and what floats your boat. Women do it for me. I’m happily handfasted to my soulmate Ange. After spending a little while sampling a few unhinged (to be polite) birds. Not a good combination with me being me.

I met Grimm (Graham Skelton-Ruth) an amazing guitarist. You can hear some of his Lead Guitar Genius on my Bog Woppit Recordings.

Had M.S. taught me sarcasm to the extreme. Inspired me. Listened to my drunken rants and exorcism of demons. He died when I was 27. (overdosed) that destroyed me.

Claud & Grimm
Claud & Grimm

I luckily managed to travel to America and spend time touring with my family. Some were living there at the time. Texas. Got to Jam on drums in a bar in San Antonio. Being rewarded by a shot of Wild Turkey courtesy of the bar tender.(THAT MADE MY DAY!) I talked at lots of stuff out.  HEALING PROCESS.

I’d played regularly at the Lion Pub in Basford before Grimms Death. We used to go on a Thursday live mic night. I’d get drunk to try to control my morbid stage fright. Play 3 solo songs (not covers, I performed my own. There are plenty of people riding the cover version appreciation wave for applause and a career. Not me.  I like to  create, not copy) If you are going to cover a song. At least do something different with it.

I met Karen Smalley-Turner at such a night. We recorded a few sessions at Grimms Home Studio. ( I basically lived there and slept in there at weekends and every Holiday)

We then lost tough for a while. She had a baby. Robyn. Then as fate has it. I met her again while working in a shop. Broke the sad news that Grimm had died. (not the best way to tell someone over a checkout) I’m known for my Oral splurts of the wrong thing at the wrong time. We later got together and played a gig. The rest my friends is history. 12 years later. Our official Website is here The Idolins  are going from strength to strength. We have expanded. Played live at the 2012 London Olympics. Love each other dearly and are back recording 2013 after a wonderful 2012.

The Idolins. Sound Of The Rain Album
The Idolins. ‘Sound Of The Rain’ 2010 Album
Greenwich Park 2012 Olympics. Photo Rob Smalley. Scene photography
Greenwich Park 2012 Olympics. Photo Rob Smalley. Scene Photography
Karen & Claudine Live 2011The Idolins
Karen & Claudine Live 2011
The Idolins
Live @ The Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham Photo Rob Smalley. Scene photography
Live @ The Royal Concert Hall 2012, Nottingham Photo Rob Smalley. Scene Photography
The Idolins 'You Said'  Album 2011
The Idolins ‘You Said’ Album 2011
Rehearsals
Rehearsals
photo-25
The Notts Factor Final 2012.
Subway Circus Live at Nottinghamshire Pride 2012
Subway Circus Live at Nottinghamshire Pride 2012

I’ve also been driven back to playing the Drums again. The new Rock Band. Subway Circus. Has been born. More to follow 2013.

<<Subway Circus Live at Nottinghamshire Pride 2012.
My Dad told Karen and I about my Great Grandparents. The Drews. They played instruments. Maybe music is inherited?

All I know is I love it. I can only describe it as an energy of sound. I’m a vessel for it to travel. I dont consciously think about what i’m playing. It just happens. Flukes. Maybe my mind already rehearsed it? Maybe I’m a puppet for Angels?

The Stage fright gets easier as I age.

People have asked for lessons, like I’ll show them an easy non effort way. My answer is always the same.

“Learn your f**King self!! ;-)”

I’m blessed. I’m rehearsed.