Showing posts from June, 2010

Classic Rock

Upselling is every sales-assistant's dream. If the guy behind the counter had known I'd only come out with the intention of picking up a few plectrums he'd have been slapped himself proudly on the back for coaxing customer through the purchase of a nice new guitar amplifier. Instead he chose to comment on the irony of an English guy buying perhaps England's finest rock'n'roll export, a Marshall amp, in Bosnia. It was a slightly impulsive purchase, although not an entirely unpremeditated one. The amp I brought with me from England has been playing up and experience says that it's the sort of playing up that is not easily rectified. I have been keeping an eye out for a small, all valve combo. When I saw the Class5 today I knew my search was over. It looks great, sounds fantastic (and will hook up to a 4x12 cab for sonic enormity!) and, best of all, was a wallet friendly price very comparable to its UK rrp. Given that I usually expect to pay half-as-much-aga

Learning the Blues

Regular readers know I'm a musician, some will have picked up I'm a song writer too. As such it pays not to be too blinkered in your musical outlook. I enjoy music from rap to rock, electronica to eclectica – if such a genre exists! However, in case you think I never draw the line, I'll confess I am not yet a fan of folk, I have an uneasy relationship with reggae and my association with jazz is limited to using the phrase 'close enough for jazz' to excuse mistakes. As a young musician I remember spending hours in extended blues jams with my brother. I use blues in the loosest sense: twelve bar patterns and lots of pentatonic noodling. It was enthusiastic but our comfortable life in suburban Southern England was a million miles from the inspiration for this music. Rock'n'roll historians will know that the blues is rooted in the call and response chants of displaced people. It is the music of facing pain with perseverance; the sound that gives the downtrodd

Tweet stuff: it's the Three Tenors!

When I hear the term songbird I usually thing of one of two things: one of our more talented, twittering feathered friends, or a sweetly-voiced female songstress. I do not associate it with singers such as the Three Tenors. But somebody does! Look closely at the labels on these cages, the evidence is clear for all to see even if the birds themselves aren't. It was unclear if these prize possessions were for sale or merely being proudly displayed but I snapped this shot, in a Dubrovnik side street this afternoon, as we wandered by. I'm sharing it on our blog fully aware that a Tweet would be might be more appropriate!

World Cup Lessons

Last night, I was reading in a recent issue of Time magazine how Samuel Eto'o believes football is "the best weapon against political conflict." It may be. But as I'm sitting watching England's oldest allies play in the World Cup I have doubts. Logic says I should want to support a team my country hasn't fought against in a very long time. Emotion says differently. It's not because former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson is coaching the opposition. It probably has more to do with the owner of (arguably) the world's most punchable face just slamming a shot off the woodwork. I jest about the punching, of course, but the presence of Ronaldo in the Portugal side makes it hard offer them genuine support. (That said Droga's place in the Ivory Coast squad does do something to balance this out.) Memories of a cold night in Zenica, where a less-than-impressive Portuguese side ground out the narrowest of victories, remind me of how nearly this could have be