Relaxing and protesting

November 19, 2013

I love getting lost in a book. For me it is one of my primary methods of relaxation along with going for a walk (no running, please) and music.

Ah, yes. Music… little can be more relaxing, or more frustrating than writing and playing music. I’ve played guitar for many years and have written a few things along the way. A few years ago a friend asked me to write a song for him to do instead of a ‘best man’ speech and that was my first incursion into writing parody songs. I’ve carried on doing it for myself, and just for myself, ever since.

Until a few years ago …. I have a friend in Nottinghamshire who frequents the acousticsoundboard forum and will occasionally challenge me to write a song. We were bemoaning the lack of good protest songs and he sent me this link and challenged me to do something with it… so I did:

A Protest Song

The story developed and the individual concerned learned that he was going to be prosecuted for ‘vandalism’ which initially required another verse to be written (but not recorded):

It is so unfair I’m being prosecuted
For my protest on the cobbles of Red Square
But I’m up before the beak tomorrow morning
And I doubt that I will get much justice there
But I cannot stand by idly while the politicians lie
And at least my protest made the daily news
And that’s why I nailed me knackers, yes that’s why I nailed me knackers
Yes, that’s why I nailed me knackers to the mews

But I decided that, as in every democracy (and, surely, Russia is a democracy, right?) the State had a right, nay, an obligation to explain itself and so got to thinking what that response might sound like… maybe something like this:

Putin’s Right Of Reply

So, there you go … now you know my dirty little secret. When I get the chance, and when I am either ‘inspired’ or, more likely, challenged, I relax by writing and recording supposedly comic songs (although I do some serious ones occasionally, too)

She’s here…

August 20, 2011

Well, I’ve been banging on about her since January and, on Wednesday, she finally arrived.

Sybil has been just over 6 months in the making in the workshop of Dave White and he has produced a beauty.

She is different from my other guitars in so many ways – the two most obvious are that she is a 12 fretter and those frets are multi scaled.

So, just so that you can see, what she looks like, here’s a pic


Oh, sorry … She’s in bed.

Yew’ll Never Walk Alone – but Olive Would

March 23, 2011

You know my guitar? The one that’s being built for my 50th?

Remember how everything was sorted and I had decided on the woods?

I’d even decided on the soundboard inscription (Dave gets a quote, translates it into Gaelic and inscribes it on the inside of the soundboard – it can’t be seen; but you know it’s there). I’d decided on “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

Well, Dave White ( contacted me yesterday to let me know that the Tasmanian Olive Wood had arrived – along with a really nice set of English Yew – what did I think?

Well, I can’t make up my mind. this is what a guitar with yew back and sides can look like:

Yeah, I know, gorgeous, isn’t it? And Yew has such a ‘religious’ history – being planted in many church yards to ward of evil spirits.

It was also used to make English Longbows and is, I am told, the wood of choice for wands and ‘anti-vampire’ stakes.

It is a fairly rare wood to use in guitar making as the Yew tree doesn’t grow straight and, to get a piece that’s big enough for a guitar means that the tree from which it came must have been hundreds of years old – and most of them were cut down to make Longbows. I am reliably informed that it’s not a particularly easy wood to work with, either.

And there’s something quite edgy about playing a guitar that’s poisonous…

So, what do I do? Tasmanian Olive Wood (which, by the way, isn’t really Olive Wood – but when we sent our criminals over there, they just named it olive wood because that’s what it reminded them of most) or English Yew?

Below are the two samples – Olive wood on the left and Yew on the right. What do you think?

Olive Wood

English Yew