November 11th, 2003


Spreadable Goat Cheese

Well, yesterday didn't quite transpire into a daylong sadfest, largely because Pan Buczinski rang up to dangle a rather tempting musical carrot before me. He didn't elaborate, but it seems that Xan's guitarist might not be able to play with her much more, so would I be interested in an audition? Yes, was the very swift answer. The current guitarist, one Mark Beacock, is one of those rare guitarists that I have watched and listened to in fairly constant agreement. He works really well with the band and it would be a shame for him to go, in all honesty, but if he must, well, I can certainly play like him and maybe more besides. My only hesitation would be that I might have a tendency to veer towards too much of a country sound some of the time and the band would need a large inflatable object to thwap me around the head if that happened too much for their liking. I'd also need to brush up on my Latin rhythms and jazz scales, I haven't needed to use those for years really.

I played a couple of years ago with a Canadian musician called Jen. It created certain tensions with the band I play with, since they felt I might be stretching myself a little too thinly. We had some good gigs, but never really recorded anything together. We did mutate into London's most shambolic alt country band, known as Country Ham. The word 'ham' was quite appropriate, since the bassist and other guitarist had an inability to remember even the simplest chord changes for more than a few hours. The second gig we played together, their sense of rhythm was also very erratic. It transpired they'd dropped acid before we hit the stage. Playing music on acid requires a lot of practice in my opinion. Back at school, I used to play in a trad jazz band, in a New Orleans style. We'd been invited to play the leaving disco, which was the closest thing to a school prom that we ever had. I'd decided to play the guitar for this one, rather than the banjo. I'd also decided to drop acid earlier in the evening. I wasn't so far gone to forget how to make the correct chord shapes, but I was incapable of hearing the guitar out of the amp. As the band progressed their way through 'Darktown Strutters' Ball', 'Muskrat Ramble', 'Basin Street Blues' and so on, I was reduced to placing the guitar directly against the amp cabinet in an attempt to hear anything at all and proceeded just to flail the open strings. It must have sounded something like a Glenn Branca piece, since three people at least were thrashing their heads back and forth before the stage. When the set finished, I looked down to see blood sprayed over the guitar and my fingers liberally bleeding. Acid really doesn't mix with performing music. Honest kids, don't try it at home, well, certainly not on stage. I can remember another story of a guitarist who spent the whole set trying to retune his guitar, only to realise the next day that the neck had actually been detached from the body the entire time. Don't do it!

There's a lot of issues surrounding gender in music. I've always wanted to play in bands that had women in them, I don't really get the all-male tendency that is, I hope, more and more on the wane. I suppose I've got issues with the band. I never write any material for it, since the only things I've ever written have always been rejected as either too sad, or too 'girly'. I've never really got the second of those. Maybe it is time to move on. Leaving a band is certainly like leaving a relationship and I have to admit to often wishing that the band would break up without me needing to do anything about it. We're not maybe that far off. We're getting ahead of ourselves here, and WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE STANDARD OF WRITING?!? Stop droning!

A clearing of the throat, attempts to continue. I'd love to play with Xan. I got home, put on the CD, played along. Yes, I can do that and I shall email the manager on completion of this entry just to remind him. And, heavens be praised, they have a vibraphone player!

The Charles scandal drones on. The incident that the British press is not allowed to mention is freely available on the net. The problem is that there are a number of Charles-related rumours and it was difficult to establish which one it was at first. Initially, I thought it was the rumour that Charles had helped cover up a rape committed by a royal servant, rather than HRH The Prince of Wales being caught in flagrante delicto (How I wish that was fragrante instead. Much more poetic) with a male servant. This second one is of no interest to me. Who cares? This is an utter non-issue. It's his business and none of mine. That a rape may have been covered up is though to my mind. That speaks of arrogance and misplaced loyalties. Royalty have always indulged their sexual whims with servants. It's what they're there for, for Lady Jane's sake. Butter me crumpet, you old saucepot! Yes, it may presage the shedding of any slight raiment of mystique for them. It may be the end. I shan't shed any tears, but in principle I don't see that the existence of an imperial line is anymore of a sham than western democracy. It's more ridiculous and therefore quite defensible in my opinion. As I've said before, I just wish they behaved more like the kings and queens of olden times. Their abandonment of the Russian Imperial Family also smarts. Surely they could have found a small country estate for them to farm. Send Charles to Mount Athos, I say.

Paul Burrell, a sociopath with no shred of doubt, makes oblique mention of various cassette tapes in his possession. Not even video. Paris Hilton seems to have got herself into a bit of bother. Another one of those Netscape moments that I quickly visit. 'So out of it, you can only see the whites of her eyes', the newscaster comments. It does bring to mind the jingoistic phrase, I think dating from the Boer War, of 'not shooting 'til you can see the whites of their eyes'. Gentlemen, let that be a lesson to you. Who the hell is she, anyway? And who names their children after hotels? Obviously, hotel owners. I hope the other children got decent cities that commemorate their conception. Gatwick Hilton doesn't have much of a ring to it.

Back to rehearsing Xan numbers, no point blowing the audition. If it happens. I could be a contender, honest, just maybe.
  • Current Music
    Xan again and again