Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter Than You Are 

On a cold, damp Sunday evening when I’d normally be in my PJs and looking forward to a glass of milk and maybe a Wagon Wheel if I’ve been good, we drove to Manchester to see Tom McRae and an assortment of his American hobo friends playing at the Life Café. It was a good show.
They swapped around and changed every couple of songs, taking turns being in each other’s backing band and it worked very well.
With the exception of Tom - not nearly as miserable in the flesh as he is on record; positively chirpy in fact - they all sported that 1849 California Gold Rush look, lots of lank hair and extremely beardy. It’s the closest I’ll ever come to seeing The Band live, musically and follicly, and I enjoyed it a lot.

There can be few sights that lift discouraged spirits better than lady joggers in the morning. There’s a couple I see in tantalising silhouette on my drive into work, and needless to say it’s the highlight of the day. The past few weeks at work have been particularly dismal so I took Friday off because I could and also because I might have exploded otherwise.
In the morning I went for a run, kind of wondering if I might pass my favourite lady joggers, which of course I didn’t, and then spent the rest of the day getting to grips with a musical gizmo I bought two years ago and have never taken the time to get to know properly. “Man tax” indeed. So Friday was good.

Barbershopping is coming along. Lieutenants Fleetwood and Fulwood both asked if I want to attend the convention next Spring. “It’s the highlight of the barbershop year. Old guys get together from all over the country and things get pretty wild.” I said I’d think about it.

At the other singing night I go to, I did a slide guitar version of “The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter Than You Are” which made all the folkies wake up and go “Oooh! Slide guitar!” I always try to spread the joy of open tuning with other guitarists, but it’s generally met with looks of horror - “Good God no! I’m fine with my tuning just as it is, thanks” - like I’m some kind of warped deviant.
It’s as if they’re expressing their small town conservatism through the medium of non-experimental guitar tunings. I find it frustrating - “It’s only DADF#AD! You can’t catch AIDS from it! Try it - you‘ll like it.” - but on the plus side it makes me feel by comparison like some out there creative dude. Clouds, silver linings.

I also played my song about occasional affection based sex. It raised eyebrows in the Conservative Club bar, and one or two blue rinsed old ladies looked like they might keel over with heart attacks, which of course was the whole point. Some of the other singers made encouraging noises about my writing - you should send stuff off, they say, like I was a referee dismissing footballers. Where to? What for? A mini-break in the Cotswolds to soberly reflect upon how naughty they’ve been? - but it was generous of them to say so and it perked me up a bit.

In camera news - man tax again - I’ve been getting to grips with the new whizzy one I promised myself a while ago, which means that Girlfriend has inherited my old one, so everybody’s happy, I think.

Girl in a duffle coat.
Granny’s Bay.
Mum’s front room.
Attic Studio Complex, gizmo familiarisation exercise.

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