domenica 30 ottobre 2016

Ashokan Farewell.

That was the piece we finished on at Aunty's 97th birthday celebration today. Robert took the lead - and played it well.

Rob in action - HERE.

Ashokan Farewell served as a goodnight or farewell waltz at the annual Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps at the Ashokan Field Campus in upstate New York. The tune was used as the title theme of the 1990  television mini series The Civil War.
I looked that up on the internet - clever me!


Aunty turns 97 tomorrow.
The boys and Daryl's family are going to the 'the lodge' to play some music this morning.

We'll try to keep the tunes short and bouncy. No lullabies or long sad tales.
I'll be doing Orange Blossom Special and we will finish off with a lovely piece featuring Robert.
I play Orange Blossom Special just about every day - I taught the caretaker at NLHS the guitar part and we play it every morning before school starts.
You might remember that I told you before that the 'chorus' uses Hokum bowing. It's made up of a series of double stops. Each chord is moved over three strings with a bowing pattern playing two strings at a time. The first chord is on the G, D and A strings and sort of looks like this.
              A          A            A              A              A
 E    E    E  E  E  F#  E  E   E  E   E   F# E    E   E  E  
C#  C#      C# C#   C#  C#     C#  C#    C#  C#    C# 

It's a sort of 3 rhythm and goes over 4 chords. A  -  D  -  E  -  A.

Hokum bowing takes quite a bit of practice, so training up the caretaker was a good idea.

sabato 29 ottobre 2016


Going to see the new Jack Reacher movie today.

Shelley is a lovely soul, but there are two things she doesn't like:
  • Action movies and
  • Tom Cruise.
I've told her that she has to come to the movie today to make up for the chick flicks I've sat through.
She'd be happier, methinks, if the main character was a young homosexual man dealing with cancer who is living with his sister's family and he doesn,t get on with her husband who is a huge sports fan  but they must all learn from each other's life experiences and grow closer together.
Well, that won't be anywhere near to today's movie.

There will be Glocks.

There will be cars doing unsafe things.

There will be fighting.

Afterwards Shelley will probably go on about Tom Cruise being creepy (Scientologist) and too short to play Jack Reacher.

Well, these two points my be true, but I'm getting ready for a great movie.
Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

lunedì 24 ottobre 2016

No longer second fiddle!

PBs practice today and Robert showed up.
We played three pieces and then Rob pulled out a stunner.
He played the lead and I accompanied him on second fiddle.
Forget my last post and any attempts to play Stockhausen!
Robert crafted a beautiful melody and the rest of us boys fell in behind.

What a great tone he produced! What a lovely piece!
I don't think there will be any complaints at next Sunday's gig.
This lovely piece will be our climax.
Well done Rob.

I've gone into labour.

Oops, sorry, that's bad gramar.
I meant I've woken up and it is Labour Day.

Labour Day is a public holiday in New Zealand that commemorates the eight-hour working day initiated by the labour union movement over a century ago. It is celebrated on the fourth Monday in October each year.

Today the Prowse Brothers have a practice for a one off gig. We're planning to perform next Sunday at Johnsonvale Rest Home.

To be honest it's not a venue that successful musicians get excited about playing at. We're playing there to celebrate Aunty's 97th birthday.

Aunty last year, turning 96.

Daryl will do some tunes with his wife and kids and us boys (well, 4 of us) will play about 4 tunes.
I'll throw in the Orange Blossom Special - I need to get the boys to play it faster than last time we did it.

One brother said that no one clapped last time we played there and that the old people were smart and probably had a better taste in music but couldn't get away - or something like that.
To step things up this year we will attempt a work by Karlheinz Stockhausen.


Obviously we won't be playing in helicopters because I don't like flying. Anyway, hiring four helecopters would be quite expensive. We'll just play it in the rest home. I'll play violin and the other boys will transcribe their parts for two guitars and double bass. We won't be taking the cheat's way out and just make bits up because it is a freaky piece and hard for people to remember - not with those musically savy old people listening. We probably will put the cello part down an octave though, so that the bass part isn't too high. The other two tunes we'll keep simple for the nursing staff.

Well, that's it from me before I really go into labour.
I hope you've got a day off from whatever you do.
Hi to Christine and hi to Abby.
Hi to ex-Clive, The Curmudgeon, Robert and Bin Hire.
Sorry if I've left anybody out. Thank goodness my reading audience isn't too much bigger!
I mean, thanking readers could take ages.

domenica 23 ottobre 2016


This picture was taken at the Nuova Lazio Jazz, Blues and Poetry Jam that happens in a little local bar once a month. We usually ge an audience of one ore two (one time it got up to six, counting band family members) but no one cares because it is really good fun to jam. Sometimes locals stick their heads through the window in disbelief. The fact is that jazz is not popular in Nuova Lazio. Worse than that really - in Nuova Lazio I think it is fair to say that jazz in actively disliked.

Today our leader has jacked us up a (free) gig playing at a rugby league tournament.
For some reason I keep thinking of this joke.

As usual it will be fun to play with the boys.

Later that same day...
Well, it's nearly 4pm, the gig is done and I have a Chardonnay in hand.
I got to the gig at 11am and was able to drive through the food stalls and get close to the proposed stage, which arrived on a small truck not long after me. They used a small truck because it was a small stage. A small stage with no cover. It was hot and the stage had no cover. It was plonked in a field a little over from the food stalls and away from the league fields.
We were supposed to start playing at 12, but our leader was informed that they'd kick off at 12.30pm and there was another act before us. I started to worry about my double bass because it was very hot and double basses don't like being in hot cars or being on a stage in direct sunlight. My double bass is worth quite a bit of money.

I made a decision to take my double bass home and go into school and borrow a bass guitar. That turned out to be a very good decision. Unfortunately it meant I'd have to give up my great carpark and hope that I could get back in on my return. When I dropped The Gloria at home I took the precaution of getting some sun block and a hat.

My very cool NLHS hat.
I returned and task number one was getting the Maori Wardens to let me back into the site and close to the stage. At first they refused but then an organiser overturned their decision and led me back to where I was parked.

The act before us consisted of a woman singing and a guitarist. They were good and perfect for the gig - she sang with lots of those pentatonic runs. Another lady had a go too. Really this was perfect music for the event.

Eventually it was our turn. We packed onto the little stage. There was a generator just behind the stage which made it very hard to hear. A double bass would have been hopeless. I thanked Robert's God for the bass guitar. I said to the leader, "No solos for me, I'll hold the time with the drums." We all smiled and did our best. One couple sat and listened for a while - it was like being back in our little bar, except we couldn't hear each other.

My hands got a little sore because I haven't done a bass guitar gig in a while and I was using different muscles. It was good to finish.

I thanked my band mates and said I'd better get home and check on my one handed wife. I drove very, very carefully until I got to the barrier between the event and freedom.
I waited for a Maori Warden to approach my car.

Not this fellow. I'm sure he does a great job, as most Maori
Wardens do.
All the wardens I'd encountered today seemed really nice and tried to be helpful, but this last guy seemed to have it in for me.
He said, "I want you to know that I'm reluctant to let cars in or out of this area." It was obvious that he was exhibiting attitude. I think he was on a slight power trip. Many answers to his statement ran through my head. I guess that, if I were Jack Reacher, I would have just ploughed through his flimsy barricade (and it was very flimsy); or I could have just told him that he had absolutely no power to restrain me, that he looked so out of shape that he would probably have a heart attack if he tried to physically restrain me, that I had just spent four hours of my time doing a free gig that was not really appreciated and bloody hard work, that a plumber wouldn't have fixed his pipes for free - especially not on a Sunday. Instead I just smiled and said grazie. He may have taken a moment to think and then he removed the barrier.

The moral? Avoid freebo outdoor gigs.

venerdì 21 ottobre 2016


I took the day off work today because I had to take Shelley to the hospital for a proceedure.

We had a bit of a wait because there were a couple of emergencies this morning, but she's all back together now.
The staff at Hutt Hospital were great. Just one little bleep was that they didn't seem too concerned when I shut one of my fingers in the pre surgery door.

It actually was this one.

I was bent over in pain but the doctor just ignored me.
Hey, this could have effected my bass playing career!

Anyway, we both survived the morning. My finger is on the mend and Shelley seems to be doing okay.

domenica 16 ottobre 2016

3rd Letter to the Corinthians.

Hi Corinthean brothers,
Paul is such a wanker!

Check him out HERE.

Did you notice how his script changes from black to blue? Well, let me tell you, that's a sign of the Devil if ever I've seen one!

God, (a handy explanative) he calls me a soak! Actually I blame Jesus for turning water into wine. I mean, he could have turned into fruit juice or anything else.
I've heard a rumour that Paul never washes his hands, except unwittingly when he dips them in holy water at church. Dirty little Roman! In italia he'd be called un ragazzaccio.
Don't underestimate how much suffering could have been avoided if Jesus had told everyone (back in his time) about acetaminophen - ha ha, I'm using big words like that wanker Paul! I mean, he obviously knew the recipe because, as the son of god, he knew everything past and future.
That's just cruel - to hold back that knowledge. Think of all the suffering children. He would probably just say he was testing their faith. That's sick.
Anyway, I must be off because I have a bass bagging site to run.
One final note - don't be sucked in by Paul's silly ideas. Also, wine can kill bacteria in your mouth, so a few glasses will do nothing but good.

Richard (of RBB)

Letter to the Corinthians.

Hi Corinthians,
I hope all are well in Corinth. I'm writing from near Ephesus. Well, to be honest, a little bit further south.
Just thought I'd share a few things because I think you guys down up in Corinth could use a little guidance. I hope you're all being nice to each other. I know Paul was giving you advice a little while back, but he's probably a bit out of date. We have panadol now and it is good for relieving pain, like headaches and mild fevers. It also works if you drink too much wine. Hey, I also wanted to advise you that hygene is very important. Wash your hands well before preparing food and after going to the toilet. I'm not too sure where you are up to with toilets, but make sure that they don't discharge their contents into your drinking water supply. Believe me this is very important advice. I don't know why Paul didn't make it a priority when he was sending you letters. Jesus should have told him that.
Well, I'll leave it there for today. Treat each other with respect and remember to wash your hands.

Richard (of RBB)

sabato 15 ottobre 2016


Piove a dirotto in Nuova Lazio oggi.

Recovering after a week at the factory certainly takes longer these days.
Wear and tear.

Today's main job is to defrost the fridge (and freezer).

Like me our fridge is no spring chicken and it ices up pretty well. The fridge part went well, but the freezer part is taking longer. The ice just doesn't want to move.
I guess I'd better get back to it.

My daughter is away for the night, but made a contribution to getting that tricky to move ice off without even knowing it.

I hope you're enjoying your Saturday.

domenica 9 ottobre 2016

Dangerous Roads.

I suggested to Shelley that we take the 'new' car for a ride (slightly) north on Friday.
We decided to spend a night in that wonderful tourist destination Palmerston North.

Actually we were very impressed with good ol' Palmy - good restaurants, great art gallery and a great museum. I also spent some time in the rugby museum.
But this post is not about Palmy, it's about getting there and getting home.
The Mitsibushi ran really well - it's an easy car to drive.

The start of this weeked seemed to be a popular time for accidents. As we travelled north we discovered that State Highway 1 was blocked (and closed) just south of Paekakareki because of a crash with a hot rod and a truck. We had to turn around. Shelley suggested that we take the Paekakareiki Hill Road. I remember riding my motorbike over that as a youngster, but have avoided the road in my older age because of the bloody big drop. I also knew that we wouldn't be the only people to have this idea and there could be a bloody traffic jam up there.

It was busy up there, but we did make it over to State Highway 1 and were able to continue on our adventure.

Would you believe it? Coming home the road was closed again by another accident. Shelley, that lover of alternative routes and not a fan of Bob's (my late dad) often used statement that the shortest distance between two points was a straight line, suggested that we take the Akatarawa Hill Road to Upper Hutt.
Well, we didn't really have much choice; anyway, I remembered it as an okay road.


For most of the first half the road was a single narrow lane and very very winding - to an extreme!
When cars came the other way getting past each other was a problem.

Shelley, the passenger, was on the 'drop side' for a fair amount of the journey and this might have helped cure her of funny little back roads.

Okay, I don't have a head for heights and The Curmudgeon will probably say I'm just being a big baby but give me State Highway 1 any time.

venerdì 7 ottobre 2016

Have Mitsubishi, will travel.

Going to take the Richard's Bass Bag* company car up th line today.
Actually we're not going very far up the line.
It's just a short trip to have dinner somewhere and have a night out of Nuova Lazio.
Maybe we'll stop in Levin?
Probably not Levin.
Probably not.

We'll take Jim Dandy for a ride.

Jim's turned out to be a great little guitar. I had a jam with my older brother last week. He has acquired a very expensive jazz guitar. No problem for Jim to keep up.
Jim and I have become very good friends.

Well, that's it. Just a short post.
Enjoy your weekend.

* the original bass bagging site

martedì 4 ottobre 2016


I was doing some recycling earlier today.

There were three of us there - an older guy was the first finished. I tootk a little while because I was tuning into Radio 24 Italia on my phone. The car with two young men took a while and then started to leave. Then they stopped and one of them came running back and threw a rubbish bag over the recycling bins - I think they had waited for me to leave, but I took too long.

Now I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I thought quickly enough to memorize their licence plate.

I rang the council when I got home. A chap rang back to say that they had traced the car to a nearby part of Nuova Lazio and they would issue an infringement notice.

Na Na Na Na Na to people who don't give a shit about the environment!

You'd better watch out because Richard (of RBB) is never far away.

domenica 2 ottobre 2016


Hi all you readers of the bag.
It's a wet old Sunday in Nuova Lazio.
We have a jazz jam this afternoon in Nuova Lazio. It's at Eddy's bar, a swanky abode on Queen Street.

It'll be on contrabbasso today.

We're expecting a big crowd.

It's always a fun workout and an excuse to have a beer in the afternoon.

It'll be my first time putting a bass into the Mitsubishi.