Tuesday, April 24, 2012

500 not out

This is my 500th blog posting!

As I've said elsewhere in these hallowed pages that I actually started this blogging lark to learn to type and to get better at using a computer, rather than to just wallow in egotism and self-publicity and to scream on and on about myself in cyberspace; I'm still only using two fingers to type most of the time, and I still don't know my way around a computer as I well as I would like, but I'm miles ahead of where I was all this years ago as I typed the words 'please allow me to introduce myself' (that took me about a minute-and-a-half, or it certainly felt as thought it did) to begin my first posting. I suppose you could argue that it would be a bit of a shame if I'd make no progress in the interim period, but the other thing to say is that I thoroughly enjoy writing it, and as long as I feel that way I'll continue to do so even though I often wonder if anybody is actually reading it...

In the meantime the egotism and shameless self-publicity is about to take on new heights, as I've now got my own website. Oh yes! Of course I couldn't even begin to do something like this without the help of people younger than myself, and it's at this point I must thank Dave from Balcony Shirts, his good friend Greg and Ace! DJ chap Simon for their assistance in the creation of something that gives me even more chance to scream on and on about myself in cyberspace. Well, no one else is going to do it are they? If you'd like to have a look then click here - it's work in progress as all of these things inevitably are, but it's been good fun to put together and I'm looking forward to seeing where it all goes in the future.

In the meantime the second 500 blog postings start here...

I was in the middle of a Skype conversation with the Cool Britannia crew on Friday afternoon (lots to talk about with the first show only three weeks away, but more about that another time) when my phone rang - it was my Dad, telling me that Bert Weedon had died. Often considered to be 'the first British guitar hero' thanks to singles like 'Guitar Boogie Shuffle' and his work backing everyone from Tommy Steele to Frank Sinatra, his tuition books 'Play In A Day' and 'Play Every Day' were read and studied by a generation of guitarists. It was all a bit before my time ('Play In A Day' was first published in 1957, 'Guitar Boogie Shuffle' was a hit in 1959 - I'm old, but not that old!) but his influence cannot and indeed should not be denied, as tributes from the likes of Eric Clapton and Brian May show. And Levon Helm has died - like most people I'm more familiar with his work with Bob Dylan and The Band than any of his subsequent projects, but for that alone he is guaranteed a place in music history. And away from music Jack Ashley died at the weekend - I met him once, when The Price played at The Middlesex Show in aid of The Royal National Institute for Deaf people (do your own punchline!) and he seemed to be a very nice chap, very committed to the cause of disability rights (I talked to him about my mum who had MND) and of improving the lives of deaf people. We could do with a few more MPs like him don't you think?

Saturday night it was time to return to The Feathers in Staines for a show with Big Al Reed. We began to an audience of around 10 people including the bar staff (or as Al put it - 'I could have invited you all round and done the gig in my front room') but by a few songs into the first set people were pulling up chairs and enjoying a show that could perhaps politely be described as 'loose in places'. Al had obtained some new backing tracks which we sadly hadn't had chance to practise with, but although a couple of the songs went a bit wrong it just seemed to make people warm to him (he comes over very well on stage) and by the end of the show people were dancing and demanding encore after encore. A good gig, but maybe not one to over-analyse, not least since the evening ended with a young lady in perilously tight red trousers taking severe exception to the barman refusing to serve her after closing time - if there is a World record for swearing I think we all saw a new champion.

And much of today was spent at Jamm in Brixton with Segs running through potential new additions to the Ruts D.C. live arsenal - with new album 'Rhythm Collision Volume 2' nearing completion and 'Animal Now' about to be re-issued there were plenty of songs to consider, and we came away with around a dozen of ifs, buts and maybes to start working on at next week's band rehearsal. Now there's something to look forward to!

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some work to do on my new website. Now there's something I'd never thought I'd be ever be typing, especially in my 500th blog posting. Strange days indeed.

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