mercoledì 25 aprile 2018

A post about The Last Post.

It was cold out there this morning. Misty and cold.
You can't have a practice run at 5.30am - the neighbours don't seem to go for that.
Instead I sang through The Last Post and The Rouse in my head.
We (Shelley came too) had to take Shelley's car because it was the last in the drive. It has a bit of a window misting problem, so it was a bit of a tense drive.

Actually not this bad.
I met up with Bart (the head of the Nuova Lazio RSA) and a few other old boys who were dressed as soldiers.
I blew air through my trumpet. This was down at the main memorial.
I played pretty well, no obvious cracked notes, but Bart said we should stretch it out a bit more next time. I came in with The Rouse too early after his little recitation that finished with, "We will remember them."
Then everyone hopped in their cars and most people headed up to the Garden of Rememberance for round 2.
This is about the only time you see a traffic jam in Nuova Lazio.
It was very cold at the garden. Very cold.
I wasn't happy with my playing, but that's life.
It's nice to be home having some hot food and coffee.

Round 3 takes place at 11am. This is the big one with semi-important people in attendance.
Funnily enough round 4, in the afternoon, probably has the biggest crowd. It takes place on a rugby field before a premier division rugby match between Nuova Lazio and someone else.

Then I'm done for about six months before the next last post is required.
The trumpet goes away.

Thanks green and black trumpet,
you'll be nice and warm now.

martedì 24 aprile 2018

Three appointments in one day.

Okay, business people have appointments all the bloody time but I can't remember having three appointments in one day before - I'm not counting parent / teacher interviews.

My first appointment, and potentially the most scary, was at our local pharmacy to get a flu jab.

Not the actual pharmacy
I'm not a fan of having needles stuck in me. I had a flu injection two years ago and it hurt so much that I skipped it last year. This year I was more sensible. I hear there are possibly some bad flu bugs going around and 30 seconds of pain is probably much better than three weeks of feeling discusting - and I'm no spring chicken.

Spring chicken

It turned out that the young chemist who gave me the injection, as well as being a very nice guy, had a special skill with a needle and I felt nothing.
Appointment no 1 done.

I made my way over to the Hutt to Specsavers. AA members get a free eye exam - I needed new glasses (again because of not being a spring chicken).

Spring chicken

It's quite a long proceedure where you actually see four people. The first chap took my particulars and then I was sent off with a young lady who took pictures of my eyes. Then it was off to see the optician. He did lots of tests and sized my eyes up for a new set of bi-focal glasses. He did one last test then he gave me some news. He had found a slight irregularity in the eyes and said that some people just have it and it means nothing but for others it can be the start of Glaucoma.
"Fuck!" I thought. I mean, the day had started so well with the painless flu jab.
He told me there was a test but it would have to be done at a later time because they were under staffed and the test took a little while. I remembered the fun of waiting for my colonoscopy and the bowel cancer result. At least this time the worst scenario was just going blind.

 I guess I wouldn't have to buy glasses again.
Just sunglasses, but you can get them from the
Two Dollar Shop.

I was then passed onto the final person, a very friendly lady, to get my new specs organised and to set up an appointment for the Glaucoma test. It turned out that she was a double bass player, and a very good one. We did a lot of chatting about our musical experiences as she organised the construction of my glasses. She said that the Glaucoma testing room was actually free and that we could pop in and do the test now if I liked.
"Might as well know." I thought.
Waiting can be the worst part.

The test was all about peripheral vision. I had this little hand held button and, every time I saw a flashing light out of the corner of my eye, I had to push it. Each eye got a turn of about 5 to 8 minutes of doing this.
This was one video game I was keen to do well at.

To my surprise the lady continued the rather full on discussion about music.
I wanted to say, "Shut up and let me concentrate," but she was a very nice and helpful lady.
So I listened and discussed music and I did my best to concentrate on the, sometimes quite subtle, flashes.
She said they'd send me an email later in the day but my new friendship paid off.
She rang me shortly afterwards to say that all was good - no Glaucoma.
Appointment no 2 done.

Off to the bank.

Not my actual branch

I was advised that, with leasing a car and staying at hotels in Italy, it would be essential to have a credit card. I don't think the young man who I had an appointment with had been in his job long. On several occasions he asked advice from the tellers - it's a small branch and easy for staff to join in a chat. When he found out that I was a pensioner he seemed reluctant to give me a credit card. 
I pointed out a few facts:
  • The bank regularly sends me letters asking if I want one.
  • I don't want to use it to borrow money, I only want it if the car leasers or hotels ask for one as security.
  • I own a house (with my wife) and, at the moment, I'm actually earning better money than a lot of working people. I also have savings.
After a long discussion he ran my details through the computer and the computer said, "Give this guy a card."
Funny really, I've been with this bank for probably about 40 years (probably longer). They should know a bit about me by now.
Appointment no 3 done.

On this day I also had a rehearsal with a singer and did 3 hours of guitar practice.
I think I've nailed Cherokee at 300bpm. Still 6 days before I play it - that's about 18 more hours of practice.

The actual guitar I'll be using.

domenica 22 aprile 2018

All quiet on the Blogging Front.

Oops, sorry, wrong picture. That's the Western Front.

I'll keep this short because I have a lot of practice to do today.

"Short longs or long shorts?" My mother
used to ask when she saw pants like this.

I've been busy, besides practising guitar for hours, cleaning up the back yard - cutting down and trimming trees and getting rid of the wasp ridden grape vines.

Study this.

I added this second photo just in case you were reading too 
fast and didn't study the first one.

I also found time to pick up 13 bloody
heavy concrete slabs to cover up the 
trench I had to dig to divert a flood.

Thanks to Bin Hire for supplying me with one of his bins.

As you can see, it's pretty full.

There you have my post for this Sunday. I'm off to do a bit of Italian practice, then it's back to the guitar, Cherokee and fast picking.


sabato 21 aprile 2018

Buongiorno from Richard's Bass Bag.*

Well, there is just The 6 Strings and The Curmudgeon Inc (ink?) posting regularly at the moment. Robert pops up like a Jack in the box here and there, but it's basically the old guy and his team, and us.

Thank heavens for The 6 Strings! 
I've been busy pruning trees on our section and practising for a little gig next weekend. As I think I told you, we're playing Cherokee at 300bpm - that's me and my son. Running 8 notes (quavers) at this speed is a bit of a huge challenge.

I think that The Curmudgeon has been pruning trees too, though The Old Girl doesn't trust him around tools.

Actually he won't have to cut trees this big.

Good luck TC and be safe.

* the original bass bagging site

mercoledì 18 aprile 2018

I practised for 5 hours yesterday.

I'm playing at an open mic night with my son in about a week and a half. I'm on guitar and he's on bass. We planned to do Billie's Bounce and Stella by starlight, but we decided to add a third tune - Cherokee.


As you can hear, it's a fast tune. Last time I played it (on double bass), the young cats I was playing with played it at 350bpm! I was pleased I had my bow at solo time because I can play faster with the bow!

young cats
When you're soloing, those fast runs you can hear Wynton playing are the equivalent of 700 notes per minute. That's about 12 notes per second. FAST.

Now I've never played that fast on the guitar (it's really my 3rd instrument) and, although we plan to keep it down to about 300bpm, I know I've got some practice to do. That's for damn sure.
I did 4 hours on the guitar yesterday, along with 30min on my bass and 30min on my violin. I'll try for another 4 hours of guitar today, along with cutting trees (but that's another story).

I think I've only done 5 hours in a day about twice before in my life, so I'm really interested to see what it does to my guitar playing if I can do it regularly over the next two weeks. It's not just a matter of sitting there and twiddling your fingers. You need to have a clear purpose and know how to practise productively.

So, that said, I'd better head off.
Ciao, ciao.

lunedì 16 aprile 2018

Introducing 'The 6 Strings'.

Knowing chords is an important part of playing the guitar. Sometimes as many as six strings will be required to make beautiful sounds together, sometimes fewer will be required. Whatever the case, the 6 strings are tuned so that they can work together to make beautiful music in harmony.

The 6 Strings
Five of our award winning blogs have been a bit quiet lately. This is because they have been away on courses studying how to make blogging AN EVEN BETTER EXPERIENCE!
Now Angry Jesus, Bin's Bass Bag, Akish The Philistine, RBB2 and RBB3 are back with Richard's Bass Bag*.

Because we will be taking blogging to new heights by working sometimes together in harmony and sometimes as individuals, we will now be known as The 6 Strings.

Once you've visited our sites you will realise that you don't really need to read other blogs because IT IS ALL HERE!


* the original bass bagging site

sabato 14 aprile 2018

This is what it looked like and no I didn't ride it.

The bull
I went to a 60th birthday party last night and people tried to stay on this mechanical bull. It seemed to be slippery because everyone seemed to slide off it.

34th wedding anniversary today. While studying Italian I found this sentence which I wrote in a card for Shelley.
Sei cosi bella che credo tu sia la vera ragione dei riscaldamento globale!
I'm not going all sentimental on you, I just thought it was a great line.

ANZAC day approaches. That means I need to do some practice on this instrument

of this tune.

There is also another little tune that comes after the Last Post. I get to play both tunes four times. 
The last performance is before a rugby match. This is one of the biggest audiences I get to play to.