Instead of a review today we have a written interview that I did with Jason Barnard at a really great and incredibly dense website called The Strange Brew located somewhere in Yorkshire although really as it’s the web, it could be on the moon. It’s amazing that these people put so much work into these sites out of love of music and if they are making any money out of it, it’s so deserved. Spreading music should be well paid, experts sharing their knowledge with the public trying their best to direct people towards something that will make them feel good, stimulate their souls. It’s positive education. But what of negative reviews? Are they a service because they warn us about something bad or is it all just subjective anyway? Dua Lipa fans aren’t going to get much out of Henry Cow and vice versa. But maybe the passion for music at least through other’s enthusiasm can spread like a virus, hm, bad taste analogy.
The day started with the doorbell ringing downstairs and the arrival of my midi-controller keyboard from Germany. I won it on eBay (good price) and it is one of the last missing pieces I need for my home studio. It was delivered by the most talkative and friendly of the different post people we seem to get, he also speaks the best English. He apologised for the state of the box. Yes, it was my keyboard in a box so flimsy that it must have broken before it left the post office in Germany. It’s a very fragile plastic keyboard that the sender hadn’t wrapped properly – a big flimsy box with other smaller boxes inside but the actual keyboard hardly protected, no bubble wrap and loose in the box and yes, it was damaged, broken at one corner. I plugged it into the USB and the lights came on but I’m yet to see if it is completely functioning. The question is should I accept it damaged? If I don’t I have to send it back, what a hassle. Do I get the postage back? I suppose I could send it back as an example of how to package something properly, and hope that teaches the sender something…so frustrating.
I had a sesh with Fred in Minneapolis, three new songs, he has become really prolific. But after the sesh we had a soundcheck because tomorrow we have a Skype concert for Fred’s friends and family (FFF). Fred has his own studio so he knows about sound and soundchecks and with my new home studio setup, we were trying to figure out the best sound, mic placement, and distance to mics so we could get the best possible sound for the listeners on the other side. Plus getting the chairs in the right positions and you learn from thousands of live shows to mark with tape where the mic stands were, where the chairs were, and even what the angle the computer was so that tomorrow the soundcheck sound is the same as the concert sound.
Outside it was a lovely day, 63/17 degrees, I hit the bakery and then the park bench, the man with the plastic bag and the rucksack was there as usual and the benches were full of the usual solo relaxers and the occasional gaggle of friends. There is something mesmerising about sitting and staring into a fountain, there’s something relaxing about watching the birds – and the humans.
Last but not least today as we started in Yorkshire we’ll finish in Yorkshire with the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield performing The Picture Of Dorian Gray, next Saturday, March 27th. It’s £12 to stream the play and it stars Fionn Whitehead as Dorian Gray and also stars Alfred Enoch, Joanna Lumley, Emma McDonald, Russell Tovey, and Stephen Fry. Sounds like something good to me. Here is the link.
Music today came from Dando Shaft and their first album, An Evening With Dando Shaft (1970). Formed in Coventry in 1968 they were a psychedelic, progressive folk jazz band and are something for fans of Pentangle and The Incredible String Band. For their second album, they added Polly Bolton to their all-male quintet making comparisons to Pentangle even more obvious. The lineup of Kevin Dempsey, Martin Jenkins, Ted Kay, Roger Bullen, and Dave Cooper with Polly Bolton made two more albums in the early seventies, Self Titled (1971) and Lantaloon (1972). If you like your mandolins and tablas, your flutes and fiddles as well as acoustic guitars and bells then this is the band for you. A more electric effort, Kingdom, was released in 1977 with all but bassist Roger Bullen but with a guest appearance by Pentangle legend Danny Thompson. Dipping their toes in and out of traditional British and Irish folk sounds on real ale and possibly the occasional funny cigarette – it’s really great if you like that kind of thing.