domenica 31 luglio 2016


Georgio ha trent'anni.

Laura e Georgio alla festa.


Georgio suona il mio contrabbasso.

sabato 30 luglio 2016

I'm upset!

Robert* has been reading The Bible.

Essentially there is nothing wrong with that. The book contains some good stories, like 'The Apostle Karate Kid", "Taken From Palestine 2" and "Red Sea Down." Let's be honest, it's a bloody good read.
The trouble is that he's getting a bit obsessed by characters like Richison, The Curmudgeon, God and someone, or thing, called satin.
What Richard (of RBB), you may say, is wrong with that?
Well, I'll tell you.

Okay, this is the page that I use to follow Robert's progress on duolingo. Look under achievements on the right hand side.
It says 'STREAK 0 Days'.
That means that Robert is not practising his Italian every day.
He seems to be stuck on Level 6.

This is not good enough!

I formally ban Robert from reading The Bible until his Italian is at least up to Level 10.

I will be watching for any new posts about angles fighting satin.


* aka Second Fiddle & Geramy Watkins III

domenica 24 luglio 2016


My two bows.
numero uno
numero due
I always thought that, if anything ever happened to numero uno I'd never be able to afford to replace it. Yesterday I was in a music shop and was offered numero due for $100. I tried it and it felt really nice. It had been traded on something, maybe a banjo, and the shopkeeper seemed keen just to get rid of it. The shopkeeper is pretty knowledgeable about bows but does not play double bass. Maybe the guy who traded the bow had done little bowing practice on the bass and didn't know whether the bow was good or bad.

This is where I come in. I tried the bow very quickly and decoded to take a chance. It was only $100 after all. I got the bow home and applied very good rosin that I had bought from the shopkeeper a couple of days beforehand.

Numero due plays like a dream! I couldn't put it down yesterday.
You can't see it in the photo below but, in the film Gladiator, Maximus has two swords when he rides into battle.

I'm thinking of putting two bow quivers on The Gloria and using both bows on gigs.
So cool!

sabato 23 luglio 2016

Bass practice calls.

There won't be a SATURDAY MORNING LIVE AT RICHARD'S BASS BAG* this morning because I need to get some bass practice done.

I'm trying a new rosin that is supposed to be the best - it's also used by cellists, so I hope it's the right grade. I'm working on time, the extreme high register and rhythms today. I'd also like to get a little bit done on my solo pieces. I'll also do some work on one finger melody playing.
I retired (for now) from the WCO because jazz is my calling and I want to lift my act a bit.

There you go. Have a great Saturday.

* the original bass bagging site

mercoledì 20 luglio 2016


Moving the house, board by board, to the top of the hill, behind where it had sat, before the rising sea had made relocation essential, was a long, slow job. Even longer than that last sentence.

And Pete (aka The Curmudgeon) was no spring chicken.

In fact, over the last few years, he'd cut his work load from four hours a day to about fifteen minutes.
Well, to be honest, he was being phased out a bit - ever since he had acquired the rather unsociable habit of saying 'fuck' under his breath when he was talking to clients. He'd only got away with it this long because most people in the wine industry are permanently pissed.

It's a big ask to move a house, and its contents, up a series of very steep steps. He'd struggled with the oven and the fridge.
The Old Girl was not being much help.
She kept repeating, "It's you who wanted to live by the sea Matey!"
Pete understood that this was a man's job; and possibly a chance to learn something about plumbing. Well, there was a toilet to 'wire up', possibly even two if Richard (of RBB)* ever came to stay.

The bed was heavy and the big matress was hard to hang on to.
What he was dreading most were those heavy outside chairs.

"Thank goodness," he thought, "I only bought fourteen of them!"
Well, Pete loved a bargain.

Once everything was up the hill he'd leave it to The Old Girl to sort out the finer touches like putting up curtains and hanging pictures.

Pete was not much of a handyman but, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Putting the house back together again, at the top of the hill, was a bit of a challenge.

Now he'd just need to work out how to get the car up.

* the orignal bass bagging site

martedì 19 luglio 2016

"The Curmudgeon's Panel" a real let down.

So, what do you like to read on a Monday evening, after a hard day at the office?

Are you looking for a bit of insight or information? Maybe you'd like to catch up on the news of the day? Perhaps you'd like a bit of a laugh before beginning your bass practice?

Well, avoid this new offering from The Curnudgeon - HERE

I think it is intended to be a bit of a spoof of the ever popular Saturday Morning Live At Richard's Bass Bag.*
Well, sadly The Curmudgeon's Panel just doesn't cut it.

The Curmudgeon tries to pull a team together to entertain us.
Sadly it's just a group of farting, Lion Red swirling freaks.

The Curmudgeon seems to spend his time saying Fuck under his breath.

"The Curmudgeon: (under his breath) Fuck!

: I'll have a red ta.

The Strange Guy
: Nein.

The Curmudgeon
: Nine?

The Strange Guy
: No, nein.

The Curmudgeon:
(under his breath) Fuck!"

One liners (see the rather stretched out Nein joke above) are the order of the day.
Really, except from serving drinks, nothing happens or is talked about.
Yes, there are the expected wine versus beer jokes. No doubt there to make The Wine Guy's presence seem appropriate.

"Bas: What the fuck's this I asked for a red.

The Curmudgeon
: It is a red - Pinot Noir.

Nah mate. Red - Lion Red. Jeez.

The Curmudgeon
: (under his breath) Fuck!"

Sorry, The Curmudgeon, but if you've got any hopes of becoming even half as popular as Richard's Bass Bag*, you'd better put your thinking cap back on.
Oh yes, and lose Bas and the Nazi bloke.

I'm sure that Angry Jesus and Bin Hire would endorse my sentiments.

* the original bass bagging site

sabato 16 luglio 2016

Saturday Morning At Richard's Bass Bag.*

Richard (of RBB): Welcome to the bag and welcome to Saturday morning. Unfortunately Bin and Angry Jesus can't be with us this morning, so we have two special guests.
My first guest has survived extreme storms in the far north to be here. Please welcome The Curmudgeon!
[cat calls and cheering]

The Curmudgeon: Hi. It's a real honour to finally make it onto this show. Thanks for inviting me.
Richard (of RBB): You're welcome. Our second guest used to go by the name of Second Fiddle, and his blog is certainly a must go to for any serious reader. Please welcome Geremy!
[even louder applause than The Curmudgeon got]

Geremy: I could be wrong but thanks.
Richard (of RBB): I thought we might make our topic for today practice and how best to do it.
The Curmudgeon: Good, as a non musician this is a topic that has always fascinated me.
Geremy: I'm interested too and will start practising once I get my sound post back up.
Richard (of RBB): Geremy, who do you arrange your practice?
Geremy: I sometimes start off with a few scales and then I get into playing a few pieces. I find videoing my performances is a good learning tool.
Richard (of RBB): Interesting. What are your thoughts The Curmudgeon?
The Curmudgeon: I guess you'd want to warm up. You remember that time when I had a chair blow over in a horrific storm up north? Well, I sort of thought about practice and the best way to quickly get the chair back up. Don't forget, we're talking about a heavy chair here.

Geremy: Picking up a chair that got blown over in the wind is a bit different to practising a musical instrument, though I could be wrong.
Richard (of RBB): I think that's a valid point Geremy. How is picking up a chair after a storm like practising an instrument The Curmudgeon?
The Curmudgeon: Scatology! Well, the chair was made of wood, not unlike a violin or a double bass.
Richard (of RBB): Why did you say scatology?
The Curmudgeon: Okay, I got a bit off topic - it's one of my favourite words. I think that bass practice is best initiated with some long, slow bows. Those strings need to warm up a bit. Then I'd be looking at getting my left hand going. I'd certainly want to throw a metronome into the mix. It's important to push your comfort zones too so I'd be exploring things like alternate fingrings for chords and scales.
Geremy: Don't forget that Richard is a jazz player, you'd also want to be checking ways to put in more out notes. Maybe you might use that triad thing that Coltrane pulled out of the diminished scale?
The Curmudgeon: Yeah, that would be good practice because you could use it over both dominant 7th and minor chords, and there are only three sets to learn. It's a good sound, that diminished thing.
Geremy: I'd set it as a goal to learn as many tunes as possible. All The Things You Are is a good one to work on - it pops up a lot and is not the easiest chord progression to memorise.
The Curmudgeon: Well, there are a lot of tunes, but I take your point Geremy. Don't forget though that time is everything. If your time feel's not there...
Geremy: Timing? I could be wrong but timing is about getting it spot on while time indicates duration.
The Curmudgeon: Well, yeah... What do you think Richard (of RBB)?
Richard (of RBB): I'm going to try that, though I must admit that I'll have to think about what Geremy said.
Geremy: Time can be about duration, time passing, but you've got to be right on the beat.
Richard (of RBB): Well I guess Geremy's suggesting the importance of a metronome.
The Curmudgeon: A metronome, to a musician, must be as important as bubble level after a very severe storm!

Richard (of RBB): Do you mean a spirit level?
The Curmudgeon: Scatology!
Geremy: Why do you keep saying that word?
The Curmudgeon: I don't know. It could be a phase I'm going through. Hey, shouldn't you two be practising? Anyway, I want to get home and do a storm check. I'm nailing all the outside chairs to the deck.
Richard (of RBB): Let's hope the deck doesn't blow over as well next time. Okay, thanks to my two guests. Don't over practise and warm up carefully.

* the original bass bagging site

venerdì 15 luglio 2016

On the comeback trail.

The problem is that I didn't make it the first time, but I'm digging into some serious double bass practice.

And this little chap is an important part of what I'm doing.
I've decided to leave the orchestra for now and concentrate on my first love - Jazz.

Job no 1:
  • TIME
Time is everything and it's an area I really need to work on, so the metronome is in full swing.

Better get back to it.

martedì 12 luglio 2016

Happy Italian Language Evening.

I'm writing this in English for you poor lost souls who haven't got your Italian together. A considerable number of years ago I renamed my home town Nuova Lazio and have been trying ever since to encourage use of the Italian language.
Sadly people are still using English too much, but I feel that Italian is slowly making inroads.
I don't feel that we're quite ready for an Italian Language Day yet, but thought that we could start with an Italian Language Evening.
Let it be known that the evening of July 12th will hensforth be known in Nuova Lazio as Italian Language Evening.
To celebrate I will be cooking Italian and have brought in some special ingredients - the wine is from Butera.

I'm asking the good folk of Nuova Lazio (and anyone else who feels inclined) to get into the spirit of Italian Language Evening.
You might like to get the family around the dinner table and try a few simple phrases while you eat your pasta.
La mucca non è rossa. - The cow is not red.
Sei sempre in mezzo come un gatto. - You are always in the way like a cat.
Sono pieno come un uovo. - I am as full as an egg.
Non voglio una cioccolata calda. - I do not want a hot chocolate.
Gira a destra. - Turn right.
Tutto fa brodo. - Everything makes broth.

Happy Italian Language Evening to you all

domenica 10 luglio 2016

The Curmudgeon hits the big time (again)!

Big time.

Okay, we were all blown away by that post of the big storm that hit his house - big enough to blow a heavy wooden chair over -

The actual chair.

and cause very, very, very minimal damage inside.

A good eye was needed to deal with this damage!
Now The Curmudgeon is at it again!

The Curmudgeon.
For not the first time, TC has made it into the finals of The Listener's Caption Competition!

TC has the Pope saying, "I'm not worried. This is safer than dealing with the cardinals."

Richard's Bass Bag* would like to extend its congratulations to The Curmudgeon.
Though we'd like to see a win next time TC!

* the original bass bagging site

sabato 9 luglio 2016


Non ho andare alla scuola per uno settimana e mezzo.
Questa settimana io amo sabato, io amo dominica, io amo lunedì, io amo martedì, io amo mercoledì, io amo giovedì e io amo venerdì!
Cosa faccio?
Io penso, io cammino, io dormo e io suono la musica. La vita è fantastica!
Oggi io amo il mondo intero!

lunedì 4 luglio 2016

domenica 3 luglio 2016

Oggi suono con il Wellington Chamber Orchestra.

E` molto freddo in Nuova Lazio questa mattina. Oggi suono il contrabbasso con il Wellington Chamber Orchestra. Suoniamo il Weber Concerto per clarinetto, numero due. L'overture del Flauto Magico di Mozart e la Sinfonia Granda di Schubert. Mio figli e la sua findanzata e mia moglie vengono a sentirlo. Suonare la musica è bella.

sabato 2 luglio 2016

The Holy Scriptures according to Richard (of RBB)*. Part 2

John? Paul? Luke?
I don't think that Ringo was involved.

I found this info on a site called Bibleinfo. com  (I hope they're not shitting me around, because I'm quoting them)...

"Answer: 40 authors wrote the Bible over a period of 1,500 years. These Bible writers wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Moses was the first person to write portions of Scripture while John the disciple of Jesus was the last. Other famous people who wrote the Bible include: David, Daniel, Peter, Paul, Jonah, Isaiah, Solomon and David.

Those who wrote the Bible lived at different times, some separated by hundreds of years. In many cases they were complete strangers to one another. Some Bible writers were businessmen or traders, others were shepherds, fishermen, soldiers, physicians, preachers, kings—human beings from all walks of life. They served under different governments, and lived within contrasting cultures and systems of philosophy.

But here is the wonder of it all: When the 66 books of the Bible with their 1,189 chapters made up of 31,173 verses are brought together (KJV), we find perfect harmony in the message they convey. As the great scholar F. F. Bruce noted: "The Bible is not simply an anthology; there is a unity which binds the whole together."
The Bible writers gave God's messages by voice and pen while they lived, and when they died, their writings lived after them. These prophetic messages were then gathered together, under God's leading, in the book we call the Bible."

KJV? What is that?

F.F. Bruce? Who is he?

Here he is.

Frederick was 80 when he died in 1990.
"Bruce was in Christian fellowship at various places during his life, though his primary commitment was to the Open Brethren among whom he grew up.
Oops; they're a pretty looney group.

Time to try again.
A website called Bible Odyssey says:

"We tend to think of the Bible as a book—and we’re not entirely wrong—but the Bible wasn’t always bound between two covers. The Bible we know today took a long journey through many eras, communities, and places before it became the sacred text we recognize today.
The word Bible comes from the Greek word biblia, which means “books.”  This is a more accurate description of what the Bible is—a collection of many books, like a library. Each biblical book has a unique history and took a distinctive route on its way to inclusion in the Bible.
Many authors in very different places and times wrote and edited the books that constitute the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament; all told, this process extended over a thousand-year period. There are many guesses about when people began writing the books that are now found in the Hebrew Bible. Traditionally, Christians and Jews dated the earliest biblical writings to the time of Moses, which might have been in the mid- to late second millennium B.C.E. (circa 1500–1200 B.C.E.) Many scholars now claim that the earliest biblical texts were written down in the eighth or even seventh century B.C.E. For most ancient texts such as the Bible, the exact dates of composition are unrecoverable.       
The earliest biblical texts were written on scrolls made from papyrus (a plant-based paper) or parchment (animal skins that had been scraped, burnished, and stitched together). It is very likely that all biblical books were initially written on scrolls. Only in the second or third century C.E. did scribes begin to write on papyrus or parchment that was folded and stitched into a codex, which more closely resembles our modern print book. After the invention of the codex, Christians tended to copy their scriptures into codex form, whereas Jews traditionally continued to copy their scriptures in scroll form. "

Sorry, no dates for scripture writing have been easily found.

I'm open to information and suggestions.
Please help.
Off to bed now - big orchestral concert tomorrow.

* the original bass bagging site

The Holy Scriptures according to Richard (of RBB)*. Part 1

Just reading Second's latest post (here - he calls himself G Watkins III at the moment).
It's all about the scriptures and when they were actually written. Interesting really, and I must say that I don't know much about this topic.
I guess that, in an ideal world, there would be someone writing things down pretty soon after they happened.

"Out again with Jesus yesterday at a wedding. They ran out of wine. What were they thinking? I mean, how hard is it to cater for a wedding? Anyway, fortunately Jesus was among the guests and was able to turn water into wine. I tried some and it didn't taste bad. Quite a fruity bouquet, though I must admit we were getting through the plonk pretty quickly and you weren't really aware of the taste after the third glass. All credit to Jesus though for saving the day."

I think it's pretty important when the scriptures were written.

So, what are our long term memories like? Obviously this differs from person to person, for a variety of reasons.
My long term memory is not too bad and I can remember watching TV shows fifty years ago.
My Mother The Car, Car 54 Where Are You?, Ivanhoe, Green Acres and Bonanza are among many that I can recall. On Sunday afternoons I use to love to watch musicals like State Fair, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and Annie Get Your Gun.

These days you can check your memory on things that you've watched by finding them on YouTube.

Here's a test:
I got the words pretty much spot on with this one...

but I didn't remember the honking horn or the brass backing.
I don't remember any complete episodes though; only that this guy's dead mum had come back as a talking car and lived in his garage. I suppose there wasn't much more to the show than that. Really it was a show based on one gag.

I suppose that, if something was really important, you'd remember it pretty accurately for a while, say 60 years. Once something was passed on to someone else though the accuracy would come into question.

Watch the Chinese Whispers experiment in this great documentary at around 7.30

Okay, I'm going to have to leave you there for today - I have a busy weekend of orchestral rehearsals and then a concert.
This investigation will continue in Part 2.
Please feel free to leave links to evidence about when the scriptures were written in our 'commenti' facility.
Ciao for now.

I'll leave you with this...

* the original bass bagging site