It's been a long, long time since I have had any active involvement with cricket. I played at school and enjoyed it far more than football or rugby. In those sports I would be a grudging addition to a team and would spend almost all my time running around the field, avoiding the ball and thinking up ways to avoid the dreaded post match shower. A teacher once berated me for not getting covered in mud like all the others. He insisted I had to shower with the others anyway but I snuck off and went to the library. It wasn't that I was anti-social, I was just fed up with being forced to do something I did not enjoy.
At our school you were not taught the rules of any sports as you were supposed to know these already. If you asked a question you got ignored. This meant you instantly did not fit in which meant when teams were being picked you were always in the last two. No one would pass to you and no one would discuss tactics with you. After a few weeks of this I gave up and subverted the games as much as I could in the hope they would just give up on me completely and let me do what I really wanted. In those days that meant, read in the library, make movies with the school's cine camera or hang out in the music block, trying out the instruments.
But cricket was different. I knew the rules, just, and I liked the pace of the games. My bowling was execrable but my batting was pretty good, so I could just about manage to feel part of the game. As a fielder I was a dreadful waste of space, having seen someone get a high velocity ball in the face. I went as far out as I could.
School did nothing for my love of sport. Once I was out though I slowly began to appreciate playing squash, fencing and tennis. My mum was, and is, a huge rugby and tennis fan so I had someone Who could pass that excitement on to me. It just took a while to shake off the bad feelings school helped set up.
Last year I was watching a video for a Neil Cowley Trio tune which features a cricket match. The appeal of the game returned and, frankly, all that shitty schools stuff was a long time ago. So now I have something new to enjoy.
I am working my way, slowly, through a set of exercises and painfully highlighting my shortcomings on the instrument. But, I am having huge amounts of fun and can sit there working out chords and melodies all night. Let's see where this goes.
Thanks to my pal, Russ, wanting to demo a country song he had written earlier in the year I found myself reaching for my Touch Guitar. I have had this instrument for at least seven years but never got to grips with it. Since I needed a bass instrument with frets I used it on the song and it sounded great.
My new band, New Accelerator got going this year with me playing fretless bass. But memories of this Touch Guitar session stuck and I decided to give it another go. The door opened and my wonderful instrument started to come to life.
Of all the musical highlights this year (a new and better oud, enjoying songwriting again, fabulous gigs and inspiration everywhere) the return of my Touch Guitar (which is the only instrument made for me and which I named after my daughter, Freya) has been the best of all.
Now, in 2015, I need to work at improving my technique and having more fun with it.
happy New Year.
The DX21 got used to create crazy tunes and even got hauled on stage a few times. Then it slowly sat there, gathering dust until I traded it in help fund a decent bass amp.
A few months ago I was walking down Denmark street with my wife and we were talking about pianos. We were on our way to see the incredible Neil Cowley Trio at the Barbican and had been listening to a lot of piano playing. I went into one of the many music shops, asked a few questions and tried a number of keyboards out. In our house we could never have a real piano but the electronic version could work. It turned out that the price of one of these was just within our grasp. Excitement was generated.
Today I ordered the piano.
Obviously an electronic piano will never sound as good as the real thing. But knowing we've got 88 weighted keys on an instrument with only a few sounds is a wonderful thing. I can't imagine a better present for our family (except maybe a house somewhere else). Let the piano madness begin.
First, find the cookbook you had all those years ago.