giovedì 29 settembre 2016

4 hours of double bass practice yesterday.

Not bad going, and it was quality practice - no wiggling of fingers.
I practised the same tune for 4 hours - Cherokee.

I practised the changes at different tempos, slow and fast. I bowed the tune in thumb position and I worked on soloing. I think that, when George and I record this piece, I will solo with the bow.

* * *

Good to see Rob's Sue home and I hope she is feeling better. Been a stressful week over there in Moera. Take care you lot. xx

martedì 27 settembre 2016

New Richard's Bass Bag* company car.

Should finally be able to get the chicks in this.
(a long wait)

Just one problem:
  • The chicks are probably in retirement homes and using walking frames.

* the original bass bagging site

lunedì 26 settembre 2016

So Richard (of RBB), what do you plan to do in the holidays?

I have 9 days before I have to return to school.
People have asked, "What are your plans for the holidays?"
Well, let me tell you.
My plan involves using this.

I'll only need one bow though.
And this.

The guy on the left.
To play this.

At 300 BPM.

George will play eletric bass and I'll be on The Gloria.
It all happens Tuesday week, so there is a lot of practice to do.
300 BPM is pretty fast - thats 5 crotchets per second for walking (playing the changes) and 10 quavers when we are soloing.

I started practising yesterday. I woke in the middle of the night and memorised the chord changes.

Let the challenge begin!

domenica 25 settembre 2016

Sunday, daylight saving and a Long sax solo

First of all check out this sax solo - HERE.

My son sent me the link. He's checking out some great stuff. We jammed together for hours last night - he on bass and me on the little guitar.

The boy is playing very, very well. The old man didn't do too bad either. Pretty special to play with your son.

I got up at around 7.30am only to find out that it was the old 6.30am, but no longer. I never can understand daylight saving.

Fortunately my phone and the computer update automatically.

Today is Good Sunday. Nothing to do with Easter.
It's just that there is no school tomorrow.
Free as a bird.

"Some days it's hard to find food, but at least I
don't have to go to school."

It's a bit wet in Nuova Lazio this morning. That's okay though because I'm as free as a bird.
I think I need to do some serious bass practice today. Expecially after listening to that sax player.
His name's Chris Potter. I wonder if he's related to Harry?

"Chris is a wizard on sax!"

sabato 24 settembre 2016

Saturday Morning.

Italian time. My mate Antonio wants to ask me questions about THIS short video to help me along.

Mi chiamo Stefania Bortoli e sono la titotare della libreria “Gulliver Mille Pagine” di Luino.
Sono una libraia.

The man asks, Da quanto tempo fai questo lavoro?

Stefania replies,
Da tre anni e mezzo.
Then the man asks, Quali sono i generi più ven

Stefania replies,
I generi più venduti sono sicuramente il settore bambini e ragazzi e poi per quanto riguarda il romanza in generale e anche del giallo, sì i libri da esporre li scelgo secondo il mio personale gusto e poi secondo le classifiche.
Sì secondo le classifiche ma anche tanto per quello a me.
Now there's quite a bit of Italian to be sorted out there!
Here secondo does not mean second.
She also tells the man that she stocks children's books, novels and yellows.
In Italia yellows are crime novels.
There you go, you wouldn't get all that from Google Translate.
* * *
The school term finished yesterday, thank the notion of a supreme being who looks after some of us but lets others really suffer.
I organised two hour and a half concerts - big job!

Fortunately both concerts went well - you can never be sure until they are done because there are so many things that can go wrong. My one gripe would be that, when all is done and people have starred, they all bugger off. They don't understand the most important part is still to come - pack up.
There is a pile of heavy gear to be returned to the Music Department from the Auditorium.
Huge thanks to mio fratello Daryl who was really up to the task. There's a guy who understands about gigging. I need to teach my students about this very important part of being a muso.
That's it from me this morning.

mercoledì 21 settembre 2016

A 'Bill' call for innocence.

Robert, in one of his recent posts, accuses me of unfriending him on Facebook.
Robert asks, in his post, "Why did you defriend me?"
I (or my character on his post) answer, "You were silly and wrote stupid things... let me go. Anyway I have refriended you!."
Robert evidently has me chained to something (I hope he's not getting excited by the bondage thing) and replies, "But I haven't accepted that refriending so it is neither here nor there but I need to know what I said that was so bad."
Then, on his post, I start using bad language.
Jesus Christ! That's not true!

But I want to say one thing to the blogging community. I want you to listen to me, I'm going to say this again. I did not unfriend that guy on Facebook. Robert. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never. These allegations are false and I need to go back to work on my blogging. Thank you.

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

Okay, okay, I'll come clean. Robert was probably a little assisted by liquor and was leaving silly comments on my posts (comments he seems to have trouble recalling)  - calling me 'master' and saying things that just sounded a little silly. I was tired and was slightly chardonnay assisted, so I forget his actual words.
Anyway, I gave him a warning, "Delete this comment in two minutes or I'll unfriend you."
He was defiant.
So I unfriended him.
Cause and effect.
Not a big deal really - we had far more serious fights when we worked together at Murray Roberts in the 70s. I think he should get over it.
Like the time we argued over who would trek up to Mr Kelly's house in Baden Road, Hataitai - it was up a long zigzag. I got Robert the job so he should have respected the fact that he was the second delivery driver.
If he does not accept my new friendship request, my life will carry on.
His action will be like a goldfish farting in the Pacific Ocean.
I will still go to work, visit the bathroom and cook tea.
Anyway, God forgave Moses when he did that terrible Red Sea trick with the Egyptians.

Don't be fooled, this is really Charlton Heston.

domenica 18 settembre 2016

Wings clipped.

Robert was being silly on Facebook, so I had to temporarily unfriend him as punishment. I warned him first, but he didn't listen.

"It was a fair cop, though I could be wrong."

sabato 17 settembre 2016

Practice schedule update.

Suonare con me stesso requires 10 tracks.

That's quite a bit of practice when one is playing three instruments. Okay, most of the Lamenti (5 tracks) are pretty short.

Slow practice and attention to detail is what the project requires.

martedì 13 settembre 2016

Suonare con me stesso.

Three instruments needed.

Three bows will be called on.
There are 10 pieces in total - Cinque (five) lamenti e five individual pieces.
I will be endeavouring to fully utilize slow practice, as did Sergei Rachmaninov.
Three instruments require slow practice.
Let the process begin!


lunedì 12 settembre 2016


It starts again.

They call it stormy Monday
But Tuesday's just as bad
They call it stormy Monday
But Tuesday's just as bad
Lord, and Wednesday's worse
And Thursday's all so bad

The eagle flies on Friday
Saturday I go out to play
The eagle flies on Friday
Saturday I go out to play
Sunday I go to church, yeah
Gonna kneel down and pray

Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy on me
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy on me
Though I'm tryin' and tryin' to find my baby
Won't somebody please send 'er home

Oh ho
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy on me
Yeah, I'm proud, Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy on me
Though I'm tryin', tryin' to find my baby
Won't send 'er home, yeah, oh baby


domenica 11 settembre 2016

There goes rhymin' Robert.

When you want a reply,
Pulled out of the sky,
A punchy wee retort,
That keeps the detail short,
Understood by any bod,
With a quick mention of God,
Go to the land that filmed The Hobbit,
You want rhymin' Robert.

Hey, come from far or nearo
Just like Robert de Nero
Just turn up, he'll give you time,
And a bloody good rhyme,
And if you're down on your luck,
And feeling just a little stuck,
Go to the land that filmed The Hobbit and
Listen to rhymin' Robert.

On his blog he has a 'nom de plume',
And one can only assume,
That to round off the task,
His avator wears a mask,
But Rob's thoughts come through loud and clear
Sometimes helped by wine or beer,
No need to look for Hobbits,
We've got rhymin' Robert.

sabato 10 settembre 2016

Chatting in Italian.

At 8.30am I'm expecting to Skype a chap who lives in (or near) Verona.
It's all about helping each other to speak our native tongues.

I've got to be honest and say that my Italian listening is not going too well and I struggle for meaning.
Not good.
It's like trying to get through a door in the dark.

We speak for thirty to forty minutes in each language and Antonio doesn't let me finish early when my Italian is not coming together.

He was curious about some Australian phrases and I taught him to say Fair Dinkum.

"Fair dinkem mate."
I don't really know how that will help him, unless he intends to hang around with Australians. I think he's more intent on visiting the US.
Antonio's English is pretty good, though obviously there are some words that he struggles with.
Italians don't seem to find it easy to say English words that end in ed, words like finished and replied.
Churches can be a hard one for them too.
The word enough came up in conversation too and it emphasised, for me, how unpredictable English pronounciation is.

Will I make it through that door of understanding this morning?

Probably not.
Ma ricorda, chi va piano va sano e va lontano.
It's like Robert practising his violin - slowly is the way to go.

I found this on line a week ago, the guy had gone to spend some time with Sergei in 1967:
Rachmaninov was a dedicated and driven perfectionist. He worked incessantly, with infinite patience. Once I had an appointment to spend an afternoon with him in Hollywood. Arriving at the designated hour of twelve, I heard an occasional piano sound as I approached the cottage. I stood outside the door, unable to believe my ears. Rachmaninov was practising Chopin’s etude in thirds, but at such a snail’s pace that it took me a while to recognise it because so much time elapsed between one finger stroke and the next. Fascinated, I clocked this remarkable exhibition: twenty seconds per bar was his pace for almost an hour while I waited riveted to the spot, quite unable to ring the bell. Perhaps this way of developing and maintaining an unerring mechanism accounted for his bitter sarcasm toward colleagues who practised their programmes ‘once over lightly’ between concerts.

"Those guys who don't practise slowly really piss me off."

venerdì 9 settembre 2016

I'll be playing with myself on this project.

Starting work on the guitar parts for 'Suonare con me stesso', my first recording after a lifetime of writing music. I'll also be playing violin and double bass.

giovedì 8 settembre 2016

A brother for The Gloria and Signora Violina.

I was looking for a nylon string and came home with a twangy little 1930s/40s style parlour guitar. Ah, it was probably meant to be.

Freddo in Nuova Lazio


lunedì 5 settembre 2016

Times we get stuck in.

There are points in time we get stuck in.
4.45am Monday is one of those times for me - when I hear my daughter's warning alarm go off.
It plays a pleasant little melody but the lyrics, if there were any, would go,
"Monday's here, Monday's here,
Out of bed now, into your work gear."

It takes me about five minutes to obey Mr Reality.
I use the bathroom first, this is our unwritten routine.
When Steph approaches the make up mirror I'm already at the computer with coffee for company.
Facebook and a check on the blogs; then a bit of duolingo.
Every morning is the same.
Then back to the bathroom. Dressing comes next.
Outside, throw the neighbour's paper over the fence to save her a walk.
Then into the car at 5.45am.

Friday has a time too.
The final school siren (in Ab) for the week is sounded.

* * *

There's a door to door salesman coming up the grove, going door to door.
He's wearing a Red Cross outfit.
I spoke to him down the road, when I was feeding a neighbour's cat, so I can't do my I don't speak English act.
Shall I hide?
Can't because Steph has just come home and we need some heaters and lights on.
Guess I'll just have to front up and say no thanks.

* * *

I played guitar and violin at a jam in Nuova Lazio yesterday.
Good fun.
The audience reached a record seven people at one point.
That was for a short time.
I don't do many guitar gigs and don't practise, so it's always a bit of a challenge.

George thinks, "I wish dad would practise the guitar."

sabato 3 settembre 2016

Saturday afternoon.
I've started looking at cars.

When I say I started looking at cars, I really mean that I'm looking for one to buy.
I'd prefer one built after the year 2000.

I'm not too fussy about how it looks.

It needs to seat more than one person.

And it needs to be big enough to have room for a double bass.

I don't want one that turns heads.

Just one that drives well and doesn't need lots of fixing.

venerdì 2 settembre 2016


I'm sure this was made with good intentions. The lesson is to stand back and look at your work, like a good writer gets his work proofread, before going into production.
I guess the manufactorer's message could have been all is good if you keep the lights on.

giovedì 1 settembre 2016

Drum Clinic.

I went to a drum clinic last night with mio figlio.

There were microphones everywhere so that we would be able to hear the drums better. I hope there were no babies sleeping nearby. Or anywhere around the Wellington city area. If you were struggling with coming up with a good concept for loud, then this evening would have solved the problem for you.