So when I left home I picked up the bass in its bag and looked forward to a night on a completely familiar instrument.
But no. When I opened the bag I found the Warr Guitar and was forced to play everything on it. Of course, having no option but to rethink my parts I had some panicky moments but also had a ton of fun. My kind bandmates also seemed to enjoy the change.
Teaser No. 2 - work in progress from the band New Accelerator from Will Cruttenden on Vimeo.
Many years ago I ordered a guitar from Mark Warr. It took a year to build and it arrived around the same time as my daughter, so I named it after her.
This instrument is a touch guitar and is designed to be played by tapping the strings against the fretboard, although you can play it in any style you like. I had previously owned a Chapman Stick, which is a purely tapping instrument and turned out not to be right for me. I didn’t like only being able to tap and, over time, I realised I did not like the tone.
The Warr Guitar is a wonderful, beautifully built, gorgeous sounding instrument, even when it isn’t amplified. But there was a problem. Not having anyone to teach me the instrument I felt my way and developed plenty of (probably) bad habits. I recorded it for bass and lead parts on my Spingere project and played soundscapes in front of audiences before Eclipse trio gigs. I even recorded the bass line for a country song on it.
The one thing I had never done was to play it, full volume, with a drummer in a band situation. At least, I hadn’t done that until last week.
The Band With No Name (soon to be revealed) tried out some new material and I felt this might be the place to let the Warr Guitar loose. I began with my back to everyone and the more comfortable I felt the more I turned around.
It wasn’t perfect. Getting consistent volume took a while and, as I was alternating between by bass and the Warr (both are tuned in different intervals) there were a few brown notes. But, overall, I was pleased with the sound and no one asked me to put it away and pick the bass back up.
The next step is to gig with it.
Thank goodness for the i newpaper and its five clue cryptic crossword.
I'm learning to solve cryptic crossword clues as part of my 50 at 50 list. I've tried before and got nowherr. I read Colin Dexter's book and got a tiny bit further. Now I can attempt these small but fiendish puzzles and feel seriously good when I get three out of five right.
Sometimes I don't understand the answer even when I have it in front of me. But I'm getting better and enjoying the difficulty. Time to read Mr Dexter's book again.
You may like to play the game of 'guess which days Will totally ran out of time and/or inspiration'.
2. Spend a day with Jude
3. Spend a day with Freya
4. Watch all six Star Wars Film in a day
5. Play an entire gig with the upright bass
6. Write some cheerful music
7. Finish reading Dante's Divine Comedy
8. Finish reading Milton's Paradise Lost
9. Release a book of poems
10. Learn a formal dance
11. Learn more of another language
12. Take some street photography
13. Try snowboarding
14. Sort out my awful posture
15. Make a short film
16. Play tag somewhere unusual
17. Learn to use a sewing machine
18. Improve my music reading skills
19. Learn to cook some new dishes.
20. Climb a tree.
22. Go drunken knitting
23. Apply for the LRPS (distinction with the Royal Photographic Society).
24. Read a self help book all the way through.
25. Go on a rollercoaster.
26. Try Archery.
27. Visit friends more.
28. Extract my own DNA.
29. Meet a tardigrade.
31. Don't get a vasectomy.
32. E publish my two finished novels on Kindle.
33. Go to a new Oxford venue.
34. Send some poems to Poetry Magazine and The New Yorker.
35. Learn to recite a favourite poem.
38. Sing O Solitude all the way through in Andreas Scholl's key.
39. Be a forensic scientist for an hour (with Freya).
40. Have a pillow fight.
41. Finish preparing my poetry course.
42. Make an album with [The band with no name whose name is soon to be revealed].
43. Make another album with The Eclipse Trio.
44. Go to a play I haven't seen before.
45. Go to an opera I haven't seen before.
46. Go to an exhibition of paintings or photographs I haven't seen before.
47. Go see Les Miserables (Noooooo!).
48. Improve my chess skills.
50. Do more.
[Update: I will be scoring through items on the list as I do them]