I've just been reading back through some recent blog entries and I am horrified at how many stupid mistakes are there. Well, were there (I've been editing). If you read my blog I humbly apologise for being so rubbish at checking for mistakes.

In other news, my plan to take part in this year's NaNoWriMo have come to nothing. November has already beaten me and I simply don't have the time to write 50,000 words, even though I'd love to.

On the bright side, the idea I had now has a whole year to be grown and prepared.


Star Wars. Part Two

I spent yesterday watching all six Star Wars films. When I put this on my 50 at 50 list last year I had an anonymous post from a slightly grumpy sounding individual who told me not to do it as I would be wasting my time. They had a point.
Six films of any series in one day is ridiculous. How people sit through box set binges I don’t know.
On the bright side I had help from my young son who talked all the way through the first few films. Making dinner and getting children to bed meant my favourite films (episodes 4 and 5) had to be stopped and started a few times. By the time I got to episode 6 I had opened a beer and was desperate for some real culture. 

The only conclusions I can draw from this experience are that the grumpy person was right, that I’m not as big a Star Wars fan as I thought and that there is nothing wrong in your tastes maturing. After you’ve been a teenager for seven years it’s time to move on.


Star Wars Part 1

One day, when I was about thirteen, my friend David Thomas put me onto a film that was about to come out. I got hold of the book and before I read it I said to David, "this isn't going to go anywhere."

That film was Star Wars. I was a bit wrong.

And I loved Star Wars. It didn't have the charm of Doctor Who, it wasn't subtle and the dialogue was crazy, even to a thirteen year old. But sod that. It had spaceships, lightsabers and fantastically good music. I cycled into town to see Empire Strikes Back about fourteen times.

Then, many years later, the prequels came out. They were, by and large, pants. But, when The Phantom Menace arrived I made a rash promise. I  swore I wouldn't watch the original three movies again until all the prequels were out and I could see all six films together, in one day.

I have been a bit slack. Ten years after Revenge of the Sith came out I am preparing to put myself (and whichever of my children that can be bothered) through the Star Wars-a-thon. I have been warned that it will be a crushing disappointment and that I could do a lot more with those hours, but there's more to this than meets the eye.

From next week I have to start making some difficult decisions about my mum. I also have to take some serious steps in other areas and it's all going to be rather heavy. So I need a day of silliness and fun. I shall try to post comments from the ongoing day on Twitter at @spingere. Please join me, or at least do something mildly silly.


Back to the Studio

This weekend I paid a return visit to Woodworm Studios with my friends and band mates. We've been working on some new songs for a while and foolishly thought we might get all five of them recorded in two days.
It didn't go too badly. We got all the drums, bass, main guitar parts and guide vocals done on day one. Although, by the time we were putting down the final song we were all so tired it affected our playing. The last song had undergone a major transformation in the last few days and simply wasn't ready.
Our trusty drummer went home to sort his car out and we remaining three stayed on for 
Indian food and a late night chat. I love my friends. We always seem to be able to pull out some new line of esoteric conversation when normal folk would be fast asleep or watching telly.
On day two we added obscene amounts of extra guitar and exactly the right amount of fabulous vocals. By the time that was done it was time to go home, a quick mix was made and we left, ready to return soon.
With one big exception I was pleased with my bass playing but I was disproportionately happy with the touch guitar part on one song. It's not the cleverest piece of playing but it worked well with the song.
The next trip to the studio will be all about guitar solos, possible vocal harmonies and mixing.


Mustang Sally? No thanks.

Regular readers of my blog will know that a few years ago my friend Rich and I gave up playing in covers bands to concentrate on making the music we wanted to hear/play/write.

It's been going well. We found a fabulous drummer and then an equally wonderful singer. We've written songs we're proud of that are both catchy and complex. We have put our hearts into this.

As this band plays original music, rather than covers this is making getting gigs quite hard. Even for support slots. One venue has, in its conditions... "Do you play songs that everyone likes? We have a party crowd that enjoy a mix of classic indie, rock, funk & soul covers from 70’s to current day to dance to. (We’re happy for bands play up to 4 songs of their own material)"

Do we play songs everyone likes? Maybe. But we won't know if we can't play at your venue. Sigh.

We could expand our list of covers, which would be easy given our history, but that would be missing the point. On the bright side we are booked back into the studio to record more of the songs you probably won't hear in certain venues.


When marnie was there

A short while ago I picked up a book for my daughter. I was drawn to it because it was to be made into the (possibly last) Studio Ghibli film and I have been a fan of their films for a long time. The film still hasn’t made it to the UK yet – we would have to pay a lot of money to get the un-dubbed Japanese version of the DVD – but the story appealed.

Freya is reading a lot at the moment. She is taking in all kinds of genres and is open to and surprised by story forms that I might have become a little jaded by. She hasn’t read Tom’s Midnight Garden yet and so, I thought, might be pleasantly surprised by how a story like that pans out.

So I bought the book and Freya wasn’t interested in it. She had too many other, more tempting books available and it turned out that I had misjudged her reading age slightly. Not wanting the book to gather dust I read it myself.

When Marnie was there was written in the 1960s and describes a world which is beginning a process of accelerated change. The references to people watching telly make it sound like pastime that had only recently been a novelty. Almost no one makes a phone call. The rhythm of the day is governed by the light and the tides.

The subject matter of the book is a girl who doesn’t quite fit in but who, maybe with a tiny bit of magic, finds a way to be happy. OK, I’m not a girl, but this appealed greatly to me. I loved being in this world. Because I had read Tom’s Midnight Garden I could see what was coming. Or at least I thought I could. But the dynamics of the story still swept me along and I even gasped with surprise in one of the last chapters. This was reading for pleasure and I look forward to seeing what Studio Ghibli make of it. More importantly, I can’t wait to see the look on my daughter’s face when she makes this discovery for the first time for herself.


Holiday books

To read...


I am now on holiday. This means I will be stressing about dayjob related things without being able to do anything about it. But wait, there is an up side. Two weeks with my family, a stack of books to read and a chance to 'relax'. Let's see how that goes.