Showing posts from June, 2009

My kind of guitar - looks aren't everything

Following along from the idea of the ultra compact gigpig drum kit there comes the travel guitar with integral amp/speaker, digital fx and drum machine. The Fernandes Nomad is a kidney shaped device that by all accounts plays extremely well and sounds very nice indeed. It has a little 5 watt amp built right into it and the deluxe version has a battery of high quality digitech digital fx. It comes in many gaudy colour schemes or just plain black, silver or wood. Actually I should say it 'came' in many colours because it is sadly in the past tense. So it's over to ebay where they seem still to be available. A quick browse on youtube also yields some folks demoing the instruments. I think they're kinda neat and I would love to have one just to pick up and wander about with or to jam along with other acoustic instruments. It's the immediacy factor that does it for me. I'm sick of cables and stands and hours of setting things up, I'd rather just pick up and

Gig Pig - My kind of drum kit.

About 25 years ago, before I had a car or could even drive for that matter, I decided I needed a portable drum kit for busking with friends. I based my design on a black plastic dustbin with a lid, several kids snare drums and el cheapo tambourines. The snare and hi-hat assembly strapped onto your leg via a big wide Velcro elastic strip while in the sitting position and the open/close hat was operated by a hoop and string mechanism hanging down to the left foot. The toms where attached separately by a wooden dowel to the short plank that held the snare and hi-hat. The whole lot fitted inside the bin which doubled as a very respectable sounding kik drum. I did actually busk this kit at the strawberry fayre in Cambridge with a couple of pals playing acoustic guitars. We called ourselves 'Colossus'! What a laugh, actually I thought we sounded pretty good. I think my portable kit fell apart shortly after that, but at least it lived for 1 legendary gig. And now these guys have

Panic Attacks - How to cure them.

I used to suffer from sporadic anxiety attacks during my teens that occurred usually for no real reason that I was aware of and at strange times like sitting in a cafe or a cinema. At the time I was like most people quite unaware of the underlying causes but suffered them blindly until they disappeared by themselves. Of course they never went away for good. I was relatively free of them until my late twenties when I began to have them more and more frequently until at the worst point I was living in what can only be described as a permanent state of anxiety that lasted for about 2 years solid. Looking back, knowing what I know now, I can see that my nerves where in tatters mainly because of being in bad relationships and stressful emotional situations combined with an unconscious suppression of my natural instincts in order to keep the status many people live in that kind of situation, be it a marriage/relationship, a crap job, a place you live, financial stress or just a ge

Folkstreams - folk roots documentaries from the big country.

This is a hugely fascinating site. It hosts an amazing catalogue of historic documentary films about old style roots american life. The archive includes everything from the most ancient all the way up to present day material on things like storytelling and youth culture. The subjects are diverse and range from outsider art to real blue ridge hillbilly music and Mississippi delta blues, quilt making, painting, letter cutting, chainsaw art, fishing, shakers, body art, aging, death and ritual. These films were all made, (quite often on 16mm film) by people who were real enthusiasts about the subjects they loved and they capture some real, gritty and beautifully honest portraits of old time down home life U.S style. My personal favourites include; Sonny Terry : Shoutin' the Blues Homemade American Music Stoney Knows How - An old school tattoo film Final Marks : The Art of the Carved Letter Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old Cowboy Poets Inneresting.