Category Archives: Music

River of sound

Music has always been an important part of our lives. Both of us are self taught guitarists and I remember clearly the first guitar I was given by my parents for my 11th birthday. It was a full size Spanish acoustic and came with a tutor book called ‘a tune a day’. By the end of the first week I’d mastered ‘she’ll be comin’ round the mountains’ and then had to give it a break as I’d quite literally lost the skin from my finger tips.

I then got a copy of ‘Beatles Complete’ and a 12 string Yamaha acoustic for my 16th and then I was off for hours in my bedroom. That book taught me a lot of chords very quickly with the added bonus that I knew how the songs were supposed to sound. It makes such a difference hearing it in your head as you play, so now I can listen to a new song and pretty much work it out within minutes without the chords written down.

Phil and I have quite a collection of guitars now. At the last count it was 10 including my original Spanish acoustic, my 12 string Yamaha, another Spanish guitar inherited from my musician friend Alan who died (we formed a Bossanova group called Jazzamba back in the 90’s),  my Takamine which has Dolphins round the sound hole and up the neck and my Baby Martin which was a Christmas gift from Phil.

Phil’s guitars include the love of his life, a Hadyn Williams Li’l 58, originally made for Martin Waugh; guitarist for Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis- Bextor, Mika, Lilly Allen amongst others.

Phil kisses it every night (he thought this extreme behaviour might stop me kissing the dogs)…… Ha ! He regularly falls asleep on the sofa with it strapped to him. His brother Chris (a real musician) says it’s the best guitar he’s ever played but let’s see if that changes.

We’ve been keeping an eye on Hadyn’s Facebook  page and watching the step by step creation of his latest masterpiece. It’s a beauty! It’s a prototype acoustic called the Esk, named after a local Cumbrian river. It’s crafted from Cocobolo, Carpathian Spruce, Ebony and Mahogany. We went over to his workshop yesterday just for a look……


Then there were 11……  All photo’s and beautiful Esk courtesy of Hadyn Williams.




Rush ‘Time stand still’?

Late in 1979 My school friend Dave lent me a cassette recording of the Rush album ‘A Farewell to Kings’ I can still recall the layout of my bedroom at the time of first listening. People of our age will recall the type of cassette player with piano type keys and a very sad off white plastic ear plug that contained a thin piece of metal that was to vibrate and give the listener an audio experience in one ear only that bore little resemblance to that which the artist had actually recorded. However by the time Geddy rattled into my right ear the line ‘ Invisible to telescopic eye, Infinity the star that would not die’ I was already a fan.

Today is the 34th anniversary of the time I first saw Rush. Unfortunately I had missed the Permanent waves tour of the previous year because I was studiously revising for exams! That tour was to be the last in the UK playing smaller venues and this year they had stepped up to the cattle market sized venues just short of Arenas. We had queued for hours outside Piccadilly Records in Manchester for tickets for the gig at Deeside leisure centre ( a boarded over ice rink) near Chester.

Dave his brother Simon another school friend Stu and my brother were on this trip. Stu’s sister drove us to and from the gig. A great time was had by all.

The tour shirt I bought was worn to the point of destruction. When the arms fell off I had them sewn back on again and continued to wear it for special occasions. It is now so fragile the threads creak when it is handled.

The Signals tour shirt of two years later has never suffered the perils of the washing machine and was only ever worn on very special occasions ie gigs.

The Presto shirt from a show in Vancouver was worn to a point of transparency.

The lyrics below are compiled in chronological order from songs that have meant a lot to me over the years.

The photos clearly show that time has indeed stood still………..

Time stand still

Time stand still

As I look back on all the thoughts I’ve had

They reflect just what I’m learning

From the golden light of coming dawn

Till the twilight when the sun is gone

We treasure every season

And every passing day

Living one long sunrise

For to me all things are new

I’ve never watched the sky grow pale

Or strolled through fields of dew

Wearing the 'Moving pictures' tour shirt

Wearing the ‘Moving pictures’ tour shirt

You don’t get something for nothing

You don’t get freedom for free

You don’t get wise

With the sleep still in your eyes

No matter what your dream might be

Can’t we raise our eyes

And make a start

Can’t we find the minds

To lead us closer to the heart

You need only trust your feelings

Only love can steer you right

Wearing the 'Signals' tour shirt

Wearing the ‘Signals’ tour shirt

Each of us

A cell of awareness

Imperfect and incomplete

Genetic blends with uncertain ends

On a fortune hunt

That’s far too fleet

I feel the sense of possibilities

I feel the wrench of hard realities

Sadder still to watch it die

Than never to have known it

I learned your love for life

I feel the way you would

I feel your presence

I remember

I feel the way you would

Wearing the 'Presto' tour shirt

Wearing the ‘Presto’ tour shirt

Dreams flow across the heartland

Feeding on the fires

Dreams transport desires

Drive you when you’re down

I’m not looking back

But I want to look around me now

See more of the people

And the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment a little bit longer

Make each impression a little bit stronger

Chase the sun around the world

I want to look at life

In the available light

Time stand still?

Time stand still?

Like a million little doorways

All the choices we made

All the stages we passed through

All the roles we played

The future disappears into memory

With only a moment between

Forever dwells in that moment

Hope is what remains to be seen

Lyrics mostly Neil Peart, the first couple of lines from the first album Geddy Lee.





Desert island discs

Several years ago I decided to make the effort to select my own desert island discs. It proved to be more difficult than I had imagined but what I ended up with was a list of eight songs that pretty well defined who I was.

Some would suggest that one track would have been sufficient !

during a period of wakefulness last night rather than count sheep (there are too many around these parts) I took to thinking about the disc dilemma .

With only a couple of changes over the years I still feel that this list defines who I am. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Artists who have made the list for giving me such great pleasure over so many years.

Eight tracks in no particular order :-

2112 – Rush

Fallen – K.d.Lang (Ron Sexsmith)

Ship of fools – World Party

Helpless – Neil Young

Famous blue raincoat – Jennifer Warnes (Leonard Cohen)

Jolene – White stripes (Dolly Parton) Live under a great white northern sky

Broken boy soldier – The Raconteurs

My cosmic Autumn rebellion – The flaming lips

The biggest Loss this time is almost certainly Led Zeppelin’s – “Since I’ve been loving you”, but time moves on and I can’t remember playing any Zep in what seems like years.