Monday, May 11, 2009

Belated gig review - 10CC

I know this is rather late for a gig that I attended on Friday, but felt the need to post as it really was an unexpectedly fantastic show. Not that I expected it to be bad or I wouldn't have gone, but it was way way better than I had expected it to be.
The first set was an accoustic one featuring Grahan Gouldman solo for the first couple of tracks then increasingly adding the further members of the band (Rick Fenn, Mick Wilson, Paul Burgess and Keith Hayman) as the tracks progressed. This set was all about Graham's hits, written for bands other than 10CC, so we had numbers such as For Your Love & Heartful of Soul (Yardbirds), Look Through Any Window (The Hollies), Pamela Pamela (Wayne Fontana) and No Milk Today (Herman's Hermits).

The second set was quite mindblowing with a 10CC mixture sounding as good as the original studio recordings with a couple of numbers from Graham's 'Wax' days thrown in for good measure. All of the expected Gouldman, Stewart, Godley and Creme 10CC numbers were there such as Dreadlock Holiday, Rubber Bullets, I'm Not in Love, I'm Mandy Fly Me and the original hit that started it all off, Donna.

The most amazing thing about the whole show was the incredible versatility of all of the band members, playing percussion, lead, rhythm, bass and keyboards at one time or other throughout the gig.

If you get the chance to see this on its multiple UK venue tour I would highly recommend that you do it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Time to catch up post!

Not having posted for rather a long time - I don't seem to feel inclined but rather tend to favour reading all of my favourite blogs instead - I thought I would do a bit of a catch up.

Redundancy / Retirement
The saga of the official paperwork (or should I say lack of it) continues so I still do not have a final date yet. The departmental reorganisation has completed so I don't have any official work to do and am on 'Gardening Leave'. Suits me, getting paid to do what I want to do which is .........

Guitar Playing
It is improving my playing no end having some additional free time to get practice in
Current pieces under the cosh are Highway to Hell, AC/DC, Pride & Joy, Stevie Ray Vaughan and getting to grips with some music theory which I didn't ever think I would enjoy but is adding to my practical work. It's amazing how much better it is when you understand how it all works :-)

Golf
Managing to get out 2 or 3 times a week now instead of the lone Saturday morning round and boy does it show. I'm still nowhere near threatening Tiger but hey he better watch out, I'm coming

Not all idle play
I have also been working hard on the allotment and after turning it all over, digging in masses of compost and rotavating it, I now have 5 rows of potatoes in, a row of carrots and a couple of rows of beetroot. In addition to that I have some 60+ seed pots sown in the greenhouse of cabbage, brussels, artichoke, runner beans, dwarf beans, some of which have already germinated and are beginning to put on some good growth.

Some more idle play, visiting our local Young Farmer's Club Lambing Day with Mrs DeeJay (and yes we did order another one for the freezer)

was culminated last night with a trip to Folkestone to see Gary Moore and Buddy Whittington (see my good friend Furtheron's Blog for an excellent review).
I have commenced a rather eclectic mix of shows/gig for this year with a visit a couple of weeks ago, again with Mrs DeeJay, to The Royal Opera House to see Swan Lake performed by the Royal Ballet. FANTASTIC! Gary Moore last night and to come are Carmen, 10CC, an organ recital at The Royal Albert Hall with youngest son and his girlfriend and of course Status Quo in November. Watch this space for additions. I am considering the Download Festival to see ZZ Top

Oh did I tell you about my 'Dumper Truck' racing? An activity voucher bought for me by my sons as a birthday present. No, well perhaps that's as well as I didn't actually cover myself in glory, although finishing 8th out of 18 wasn't too bad I suppose. It wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be as it consisted of lots of manouevering around tyres etc in a vehicle that is controlled by two joystick controls (skid steering they call it).
I was actually in the lead at this point!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This made me happy today

If only this could replace wars, economic and geographic disasters
And why did it bring a small tear to my eye - its only people dancing after all?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mixed and Weird Emotions

There are some considerable cut backs occurring at the place I work and although not unexpected are not as easy to deal with as I thought they would be.

Firstly knowing that these changes were coming, I looked forward to the opportunity that it would give me to apply for Voluntary Redundancy and to take early (2 years) retirement. It has been confirmed to me in the last week that my request has been accepted.

Secondly, having been made redundant 3 times before in my career, I thought that I was better placed to handle the emotional instability that such a change brings with it.

So as of yesterday, the new organisation structure was announced and put in place. It was very odd to attend the presentation and to see the marked absence of my name and several of my close colleagues from the charts. We therefore do not have any work to do moving forwards other than transitioning anything that we still have on our plates to someone else. Although I have been verbally informed of my position, I am still awaiting formal confirmation, discussions about pension/redundancy payment options and a final “separation” date.

I just want to move on but because of these things I cannot. I also have some ongoing medical treatment under the company private medical scheme which has a limited validity after my final date. So I want to try to stay on my contract for as long as possible through my notice period, but this adds to the difficulty of allowing me to move on. To give my company their due, they are being very good to those of us leaving and have informed us that if we don’t need to come into the office we need not do so as long as we are contactable. This however makes us feel even more in limbo.

Finally, going through the clutter that I have accumulated over the past 10 years and throwing the majority of it away is making me quite depressed. My office used to be my 'home from home' with lots of photos and nick-knacks on my shelves but it is now clear and so bare.

So all in all I am experiencing some very odd emotions at the moment and hoping that I can soon emerge on the other side of them into my “new life” – more of that perhaps in later posts.

Friday, February 27, 2009

1st post for a looooong time

So I don't know why exactly but although I have remained an avid reader of my favourite list of blogs, I have not felt at all inclined to continue my own posting recently.
Maybe it is to do with the impending job loss and early retirement that I am facing, but then I feel quite happy about that. I suppose it may be the fact that even so I have never liked enforced change and this really is a whole new chapter opening in my life.

Today however while reading Axe Victim's blog, I was prompted to want to do this.
Here's how this works:

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More”or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

Well this is my result and I am pleased with the image, the band name, as it is a Rhone vineyard and I love red wine and particularly the album name, given the above described situation in my life.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday funny - on the English language

I found this thought provoking article this morning in an email from a training company's newsletter

Language (1) The English Language!

"At present, this article presents a present, presented in the form of a presentation that presents the present use of the English language, which represents the present."

We take English for granted.

There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.

Paradoxes.

We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

Why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Madness?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

Food for thought

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who are spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly?

Humor

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Guitar

My good friend Furtheron offered me first refusal at buying one of his guitars as he has bought a new one and needed to make space, raise funds etc by disposing of one of his rather large collection. Well it is rather large in the eyes of his wife and indeed mine who don't seem to understand the need for multiple instruments. OMG I have just had a horrible thought in which I saw Mrs Furtheron and Mrs DeeJay gettting together to discuss the subject - oh please save us!!!

Well as I say being a good friend of mine, how could I let Furtheron down? He brought the guitar into work yesterday and I was immediately smitten. This is a 'real' guitar compared to the "cheapo" that I bought when I started this journey into music almost a year ago. AND it shows! I took it home and last night I had the best practice session I have ever had. Did the guitar do that or is it simply a state of mind knowing that I now have a decent tool in the toolbox? As Furtheron reminded me this morning the other point is that I can no longer blame my inferior guitar for bad playing :-(

So here it is my new Gibson Les Paul, lovingly cared for for the past 5 years by Furtheron and I hope I can treat it and eventually play it as well as he did.