Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Playing live, a musicians guide


Here are some tips for aspiring musicians when playing in front of people other than your Mam:

1. Don't look at your shoes (unless they are really awesome, like Elton John's in Tommy), the audience is like a pack of wolves and can smell fear. If you are scared, they will attack, or worse, ignore you.

2. Tune your instruments before starting playing.
You aren't getting paid? no reason not to be professional

3. Write out a setlist.
And for God's sake don't say 'any requests?' There are thousands of songs in the world, the likelihood that you will get asked to play something you know is tiny.

4. Be proficient at the song you are doing.
Believe me the audience does not like you yet, unless you impress they will walk and you will feel like shite. Being in a bad band is slightly more embarrassing than that dream where you are in work and you realize you forgot to wear trousers.

5. Jokes: Don't!
Unless you are blessed with a total disregard for the opinion of the audience, because you will become nervous telling/making the joke, it will fall flat, and you absolutely will look a cock.

6. Enjoy it!
Having fun is infectious, if you are so nervous it feels like torture, you will be better of writing bad poetry in your bedroom. See all those old guys not in a band? you will be surprised how many of them were in a band and decided it wasn't for them, no shame in that.

7 Drink/Drugs: No!!
Chemical assistance may feel like a good idea when getting on stage, it isn't. To get rid of nerves on Alcohol requires you be pissed, and no one plays well when shitfaced. Speed reduces you accuracy if you are a guitarist and is poison for drummers, and cocaine turns you average egotistical wanker (or guitarist/singer) into Fred Durst. If you cant do it straight, them don't do it at all.

8. Expect rejection.
If you took Led Zepplin at their best and made them play at a old man's pub on a Thursday there is a fair chance the audience would just ignore them.

9 Screw the Audience's opinion
Opinions are like assholes, everyones got one but I don't need to hear it. I don't care what the audience think as most of them are idiots, and if they weren't they would be playing themselves.

10. Don't try and be a Star#1
The point of music at the lower level is to express oneself and to enjoy the process; stardom and money are side products of that. If you try and get into music to be rich and famous you will be disappointed, either because you will still be poor and obscure, or if you get fame you will not enjoy it. Whats the point of fame for fames sake? As Ricky Gervais said, if you want to be famous, murder a nun.

11. Don't try and be a Star#2
What worked for David Bowie will not work for you. If you walk into a School Muso Night in a faux fur coat, wearing glitter and platforms, treating the audience like they are privileged to gaze on your magnificence you will get called a tool when performing and likely get a kicking later on. Be Honest!

12. Papa Don't Preach!
You are not a politician, you are not a Philosopher, you are not Christopher Hitchens or the Dalai Lama, the audience did not come to hear you talk, they came to listen to badly played 70's rock anthems like Sweet Home Alabama.

Bono is in the Worlds Biggest Band. Everyone thinks he is a twat. Ask yourself why is that? You are worried about the forests/fish/starving millions/cars etc? So is everyone else but no one gives a toss what you think you spotty little tool.

Being a musician is brilliant, I love that shit, but I do it because I want to do it, and I don't care what everyone else thinks; I play my own music and I don't crave the audiences approval, which is more than likely why I enjoy it so much..

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creativity, Sport and Alcohol


I can't remember who said it (though I think it was Winston Churchill) but you haven't lived if you haven't been a poet at least once in your life. I have written a lot of poetry, some of it very bad indeed.

Here is my poetic thoughts on last nights England/Argentina Rugby game

All together, we are friends we all
To prey at the church of the oval ball
We have the nibbles, we have the brew
Dead animals cook on the barbecue
by 8:30, we are in the mood
Chock full of beer, bellies full of food
What can possibly spoil this scene?
England are playing the Argentine

This game is played at a sleepy snails pace
Plenty of kick, but precious little chase
There is no flair, no one can deny
Its more interesting watching paint dry
A dire game, kill the lights, make it dark
Steriod-fuelled morons strolling in the park
Why cant both sides look at themselves and see
This game's a crime against Humanity

Stop this game, of thee all I beg
I'm so bored I could chew off my leg
You killed this game, no flair, no art
You brainless morons should stick to darts.

As you an guess I didn't enjoy the game.

Personally if winning Rugby looks like this, I'm glad the Welsh lose.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Its been a while,


Funny how time flies. I used to blog, if not weekly, then at least a couple of times a month, but I know I haven't done so in about 2 years.


I think I ran out of things to say. I lost the ability to be of interest to myself, and so I spared the World the tedium of my own boring NZ paradise. But now life has got fun again!!!

Firstly, I have a new baby!! Ysabel is a joy to me that I cant describe, she is a continuing and constant source of the most giddy and exultant happiness that it makes my heart sing just looking at her gummy gorgeous smile.

Secondly my career is awesome, which also means I am constantly knackered. C'est la vie, I would rather be shattered than bored.

Thirdly musically I am now happier than ever, I am writing, and people like my shite, my Daughter even dances to it!!

Which is nice

Lasty, but not leastly I love my Family, and I love my Wife, even though shagging is a now and again thing due to babiezzz. That will change, but my love won't.

21 years beatchez!! beat that!!!

Chill, and , yes, I have been drinking


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tim Minchin: Pope Song


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I don't blog enough...

I was looking through my Multiply contacts, like I often do, when I realized that I haven't blogged in MONTHS, and after I promised as well.

So here goes,

We have put our house up on the market, so that we can move to another part of Hawkes Bay, a place called Havelock North. Nice place with a nice cinema and a nicer School, also all of my mates live there, so it will save petrol.

If you would like a tour of my house it can be found here Please buy it, I want to move.

I have a new old workmate. When I was but a youngster I was asked to show a prospective employee around the Hospital in which I was a Student. Her name was Angela Woof and I thought she was very nice. She didn't get that job but I worked with her as a student when she did a locum job in Singleton, and as a qualified MRT when I got my first job at Neath.

Later on I worked with her at Bridgend as a grade MRT, and she was my senior, again she was lovely to work with. She got herself promoted to Charge MRT for Neath and I left to go to NZ.

Last year Angela gets in contact with me to ask about how to emigrate, so I help in as best a fashion as I can, she duly emigrates to Hamilton. Then the Team Leader in General Radiography job is advertised, and she is the successful applicant! With the result that I now have a very capable good friend as a work mate.

In order for her to start on time, she had to lodge with me for 4 weeks while they organized their accommodation. This was fun, most people can't stand to be around me for 10 minutes, but we all got on like a house on fire. Plus I got a lift into work!!

Angela understands the business of healthcare, in that how you organise your work has a greater impact on the patient population that how you do your individual patient. Apart from Myself and Chris, the Radiology Business coordinator, this understanding is absent from all the other team leaders.

Its nice to have someone else talk the same language as I do, and in the same accent!

Since I last wrote my cousin has died of complications due to years of Alcohol and drug abuse. He was a sad and troubled lad, but a nice guy who had made a number of bad choices. His Family buy and large had lost patience with him (apart from one Sister and his Mother), which is understandable considering his behavior, but I know that they wish they could turn the clock back. You can't, of course, which is why you should always try to be the better person, even if the other guy has stretched your patience to breaking point.

You never know what is around the corner eh?

One of the nice things about Angela coming here is that she brought her Children. Catrin and Eve are 8 and 13 respectively. Catrin is a lovely, smiley little kid who loves coming to our house and painting fairies with Jacqui. Eve is a teenage girl, with a big personality (and that is not a euphemism).

Ieuan my Son, loves them both.

It is funny to watch as he tries to figure out how to be friends to these girls. With Catrin it is easy, as he just hands her the Cat, plays with and looks after her, but you can see that with Eve he can't get his head around how being friends with her feels different to him. Mostly he just hangs around on the periphery as they talk and play, happy just to be in their company.

It is quite sweet.

Ieuan is quite socially awkward, and he can't do the teenage chat thing, but he is doing OK as it is. He is very innocent, and I hope that continues for a while. Certainly he wants to go to mixed High school now, as I think he has figured that he can meet more girls there, and when he figures out why that is A Good Thing, we might all be in trouble.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Banging your head against a brick wall is a symptom of Aspergers syndrome...

Some of us have kids, this is a statistical fact. That is where the problem starts.

Kids are a problem for society, it appears, because they have needs and yet produce nothing (except crowds of bored teenagers on a Saturday outside Burger King and badly executed graffiti).

It appears that the producers of kids, or "Parents" are a whinging bunch who will try to get preferential treatment for their mewling brats, costing the Government loads of cash, and being all difficult around the place. Demanding things like schools that teach, and food that isn't full of chemistry.

I don't know, some people!

Even more difficult are Parents of 'special needs' kids, demanding ramps and such. Why can't the lazy buggers carry their kids? Once they get to big, put them in a home or hospital!

Are there no workhouses?

Even worse are the kids that look normal, but are not. Kids like Ieuan, my son. Ieuan has Aspergers syndrome. Apparently, so do I, which explains a lot. Like how I could read Shakespeare at 3, but am unable to spell 'thier'. No matter how often that little red line appears, I never get the I and E the right way around.

Also explains why my school days were so miserable. An Aspergers kid in a class full of working class Welsh is like blood in the water. I had a torrid time. I don't want the same for Ieuan.

So, against my gut feeling, I enrolled him in a 'special unit' Initially things looked good, he was sent to mainstream class for Maths, where he excelled, and then went back to his base class to keep in a calm atmosphere. However over the last year, they have not done this, because they don't have the staff. Hence he is bored.

However, he is 13, and has to go to High School. His School has no place for him in their unit, so they want to keep him back. I don't think this is a good idea at all.

Aspergers kids are hyper competitive, but they also benchmark. He sees a class of kids who are (through no fault of their own) no where near the intellectual level that Ieuan is, and he thinks "I am already number 1, why try harder?" This is Ok if you have a career in Apple picking ahead of you, but Ieuan is not becoming an Apple picker unless he has to.

So we have been searching for a school to take him, which may mean that he has to sink or swim. Or we might have to move home. Or get a loan to pay for a Teacher Aide, or Home School Ieuan, or Jacqui might have to work for nothing in the school to release another Teacher Aide.... God knows.

One thing is for certain, I will not allow my Son to have his future prospects ruined by a system that wishes he were more stupid, or less trouble. I won't accept my flesh and blood getting second best because of expediency. Bollocks I will.

I'll go back to Wales first.

What to do with Parents eh? I mean what are kids, except literally the future of humanity.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Good Afternoon Children,

The British need their winter woolens this year, it appears

Now apparently this is going to be the coldest winter since records began, with temperatures in the -20 degree Celsius range

Global warming is to blame. This is due to the odd fact that most of the heat that Europe gets in the Winter comes from the Gulf Stream, a conveyor belt of warm water from the tropics.
As the ice melts in Europe due to warming, the salinity of the ocean surface water drops, fresh water will settle on top of salt water, so the water, one it has given up its heat, cant sink. If it cant sink, the conveyor will stop. Once that happens, then Europe will freeze. Swansea is at the same latitude as Nova Scotia. Get used to -20dgrees, and summers will suck even worse then before-Just what the UK needs, on top of all the other problems that have been documented by me over the last few years, we will soon look fondly back at the great summers of the latter 20th century, when temperatures averaged in June 21degrees, and winters were a balmy 0 degrees!Which is another reason why I moved to NZ. The weather here is like the weather used to be in my imagination when I was 8 years old. Nice, generally. I also had the great pleasure of corresponding with a guy I last saw 20 years ago, He was one of my best mates in primary school, but after we went to separate secondary schools we became distanced, to reaffirm our friendship as teenagers, before he went to serve in the Military and I went into health care. In our letters I spoke of my childhood, and how, before I went to "big" school, it didn't suck, and how after it did, hard. The rose tint were on big time, and it got me thinking of how times have changed. Nostalgia is the feeling of fondness for times past, and in many ways I am against it. Music was not better, films were not better, fashion wasn't better, its just we filter out the crap that we don't want to remember.But I do think that society was better in many important ways, the sense of community was very strong with us kids at Gendros Primary, and we all looked out for each other (mostly). Differences didn't matter not so much as what brought us together. I remember the Christmas parties and Sports days being well attended by Parents who would happily help, and compete themselves (3 legged race? Sign me up!) Now it appears that we are so concerned with appearance and being rewarded for our works that we don't do it unless we are paid, look cool doing it or feted for it. Which is sad, as we lose more from enjoyment that we gain from not doing. You only get out of something (like life) what you put in. If you are more concerned with weighing the output before inputting, there will be no input.This lack of community action manifested itself to be by a gradual coarsening of values, a loss of the spirit of comradeship and ultimately a fiercely self centered society, where if it wasn't your problem, then you didn't care. I thought that was only seen in the UK, but apparently it is World wide. Or are we all just looking at the past through rose tints?On Thursday, Jacqui rescued a kitten. This scrap was tiny, looked less that 4 weeks, it was being kicked down the street in a box by a couple of teenage girls. Jacqui confronted them and when quizzed they said they found it in a field. The Cat was ill, coughing, grunting when it was breathing. Its eyes where closed with mucus. It may well have been feral, and rejected by its Mother. I cleaned it up, gave it some water and called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. A nice Young lady collected the kitten. Her opinion was that it was too young to be fed solid food, they had no nursing cats, it was very ill and would more than likely be put down. But being humanely destroyed is a better end that being kicked to death, terrified and alone, for the amusement of a couple of unfeeling bitches.What is wrong with people?I could go across to the house where they were playing, to ask the owners who the girls where. I could involve the Law, but I won't, because ultimately the Girls would not be punished, and kids with time on their hands can find all kind of interesting ways to get their own back (and I speak from experience). Am I a coward. Guilty as charged. As the old slogan states:If you not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.Try to be good