giovedì 31 agosto 2017

Bombed out.

I bombed out at my recording session today. A little way into it, when things weren't going too hot, I thought of Andy Millman in Extras.

"This is not the sitcom I set out to make."

I said to myself, "This is not the recording I set out to make."
I'm not blaming anyone but myself.

It's a bit of a hard burden when you fail.
So, to cheer myself up, I fixed up two bow holders on my double bass.

"What shall I play? French or German?



I'm up fairly early.

A day of recording ahead.

A bit of practice (warm up) would be a good idea.

mercoledì 30 agosto 2017


Un altro giorno a scuola.
The hardest part of being a daily relief teacher is the standing (or sitting) around.

Actually 5.45 isn't a time you're going
to see as a daily relief teacher.
If the class is basically settled and are getting on with it, daily relief teaching can be a sitting and waiting game.
It's a job a little like that guy on the road who stops cars, but it's better paid.

Don't get me wrong, there can be challenges, but the experienced teacher can usually deal with these without causing too much fuss.
Daily relief teaching is all about not causing too much fuss.
Today I'm back at NLHS for the second day in a row.

Tomorrow I'm back in the recording studio (really my brother's place, but he has all the gear).
There are violin tracks to be put down. The trick is to be relaxed, like a good daily relief teacher.

This is not really me. You probably noticed because my
hair is shorter.

lunedì 28 agosto 2017

Ich bin ein Mann

I like the way Bin Hire's name pops up in German.
I've decided to learn a little German. Just slowly.


Well, it's sort of the opposite of Italian. English is supposedly made up of Latin and Germanic words. I guess I'm interested in exploring those Germanic words a bit.

I was with a couple of old German friends yesterday. I was starting to look at German and said to the lady, "Du bist eine Frau." (You are a woman)
She replied, in a very matter of fact voice, "I know."
It reminded me of the strudel joke - here.
I mean, she could have replied,
"Ah, learning a little German?" or
"Good on you, that's a good start."

Once, as a joke, I said to her husband, an old friend of mine, "You speak good German."
He replied, "I am German."
As if I didn't know.
Good, logical replies I guess.

No school today.


I'll do some arco double bass practice (I'm playing both German and French at the moment) and, of course, I'll do more work on that violin tone.

Ciao, ciao.

sabato 26 agosto 2017

Heaven 2067

At the monthly tenants' meeting.

Jesus, "Any more questions or requests?"
Guy at the back, "Can you tell Robert to shut up?"


Welcome to Saturday morning at Richard's Bass Bag.*

So, where are we at?

TC is off down to try to sell an apartment in the big smoke.


Robert seems a little obsessed that politicians on election billboards are all too beautiful.

"I'm more beautiful than you." "No, you're not."
At Richard's Bass Bag* we are more preoccupied with the important issues.

Issues like violin tone.

"I'm beautiful too!"
Okay, so I was busy recording Testore Trio parts last Thursday. I got down the bass parts and guitar parts for all the tunes (except one that will need redoing) and was a bit tired when it was the violin's turn.
The violin sounded scratchy and my intonation was questionable. Chris (the guy recording it) was very reassuring and suggested I come back in a week.
I got my violin out when I got home and the tone sounded fine. I had driven past quite a few political billboards on my return journey, so maybe the beautiful politicians had some sort of effect on me.
Though, when I think about it, I'd passed them on my trip to the studio too.

I don't think that those beautiful politicians really come into the equation.

Sings, "Beautiful, I'm beautiful, to Rob."

I'll spend a week working on tone. It's really that, when I play, I'm thinking about other things and I neglect the most important things. I'll endeavour to put that right through the week.
I make the same mistake when playing with the PBs.
Life is a journey of learning - then you die and don't get to use it.
Robert's lucky there - he can play his snare drum in Heaven.

"Are there drummers in Heaven, or does God kick them out?"
Looks like it's going to be a lovely day in Nuova Lazio.
We're going up the coast for a 30th birthday party this afternoon. THe joke is that the person having the party lives in Nuova Lazio.
What is it with young people having parties and weddings in far off places?
We've been invited to weddings in Collingwood and The Sahara Desert [okay, I'm exaggerating a little with that last one]

"Why didn't they just get married in Lower Hutt?"
Well, that's it from me for this morning.
Enjoy your Saturday.

* the original bass bagging site

giovedì 24 agosto 2017

Welcome back to the bag.

I'll be loading the bag this morning, along with these two.

Three instruments needed today.

Yep, today I start recording the sampler for the Testore Trio.

Not the real Testore Trio but I bet the bass player likes craft beer.

Recording is always tricky because every little mistake shows up like an elephant in the room.

The trick is just to take it slowly.

No phone call again this morning. Well, that's actually good because I can't relieve today. You wouldn't want to record while minding a class of year 9s. Too distracting, that's for damn sure.

Well, I'll leave you there. Enjoy your Thursday.

mercoledì 23 agosto 2017

Frost Report.

No, not 'The Frost Report', just Frost Report.
There is a frost in Nuova Lazio this morning and it's cold. Frosts do that - they make it cold.

Actually, our frost is not this bad.

At least its not raining.
First fine day in what seems like months.
I'm hoping not to get work today because I need to start recording the Testore Trio sampler tomorrow and that means practice.
Recording is a lot easier when you're well prepared.

It's 7.15am right now. That's Relief Teacher Ring Time.
I'm feeling a bit off colour today and, as I said, I need to put in some good practice so...

Please don't ring phone.

Relief teachers have special
red phones like this.
7.20am - no call yet.
If I wasn't a relief teacher I'd still be in bed. That's for damn sure.
Once I get past 7.30am I should be okay.
Thank Robert's invisible friend who decides who gets into Heaven for heaters!
A relief teacher can never sleep in. Except on weekends.
I suppose that's better than a cleaner's lot. I don't think Robert ever gets to sleep in.
The Curmudgeon is probably still wrapped up in bed.
Farting at will. As old men tend to do.
Getting safer.
One is never entirely safe, but it's looking good.
Breakfast soon - to celebrate.
Eggs on toast with cheese.
It's known as a cowboy breakfast around here.
I think I made the term up once when someone was staying.
I served it up to The Curmudgeon once.
He called it something like a heart attack breakfast.
Ungrateful old bugger!

"Grump, grump, grump."
Okay, it's probably safe to assume that I'm free for today.


Time for a cowboy breakfast.

Today's cowboy breakfast.

Ciao, ciao.

lunedì 21 agosto 2017

Buon compleanno Roberto.

Robert gets advice from Richard.

"One day you'll be sixty two Rob. It's a long way off yet, but you will be. It's elementary. Not to be confused with the tree to my left because that's 'a lemon tree'. Ha, ha, little joke there. Long before then we'll all be travelling around in hovercraft, no more cars like this one Rob. And we'll have phones like Captain Kirk uses on Star Trek. And we won't write letters anymore, but all hovercraft will be fitted with TV things that you can talk into. We'll all have little spaces we can use to tell stuff. These spaces will be called something like Blicks or Bogs. I'll probably call mine Richard's Violin Case.* When we're older we can have a few wines and insult each other, but don't worry because we'll be able to make them disappear in the morning. I think there might be colour TV too, but I'm not sure about that. Maybe there will only be one world language. I'm guessing that it might be Italian. I'd better start learning it at some point. Houses will all be on huge poles. I'm not sure why they're going to do that to houses - maybe so that hovercraft don't have to land all the time?
I'll use my TV thing in my hovercraft to wish you a happy birthday when you're sixty two. Of course, I'll have to say it in Italian then. I might see if I can find an Italian dictionary when we go out with Poppa and Nana later this morning."

Buon compleanno Roberto. Auguri.

* as it turned out, it never was the first violin casing site

sabato 19 agosto 2017

The Holy Gospel according to Richard of Richard's Bass Bag.*

E` sabato!
You're probably wondering why a retired man is excited about Saturday.
Well, for the last week and a bit I've been working as a relief teacher - every day.
Why? Because it is very good money.

And I'm back at it on Monday. I've been working at my old decile 3 school and a decile 9 school. 
The troops at my old school were very pleased to see me, which was nice. Most of the people at the decile 9 school are very nice too. The job has a few little challenges but, overall, it is pretty easy.

This hay making looks like it was easier work than 
the hay making in the first picture. Relief teaching
hay making.

This week I hope to take a day off work to record the sampler for my trio. Just to make it easier, I'll play all three parts (I guess I'll be playing with myself). In Italian there is a different playing (suonare) word, so the pun doesn't really work. It's easier because it involves just playing snippets of tunes and I've been practising pretty hard. Getting ready for this has been a good practice routine for my three instruments - violin, guitar and contrabbasso. Some time I might do a duo thing with mio figlio and use the three instruments - just for fun.

My Italian is improving. Mainly because I'm doing a lot of work on it. The rough plan is to go to italia some time around October next year. It is important for the Testore Trio that I speak very good Italian because I want to include some language into the act. I want the trio to have an Italian feel.

No chat with my pal Antonio this morning because he is in America. I hope he's having a great time and enjoying using his English skills.

Okay, I'm off to listen to the news in Italian. Enjoy your Saturday.

* the original bass bagging site

lunedì 14 agosto 2017


Back at the decile 9 school for a few hours today and back again tomorrow.

Not much to write, so here's a good joke I read on a social media site...

A German couple has a son but, at five years, he still hasn't spoken a word. Naturally they are worried and take him to the doctor. The doctor says (obviously in German) that he appears to be in perfect health. The parents are mystified and life goes on with the child not speaking.
Suddenly one night at the dinner table, when he is past his seventh birthday, the boy says (obviously in German),
"The strudel is tempid."
The parents are delighted and ask him why he has never spoken before. 
The boy replies, "Until now everything has been satisfactory."

domenica 13 agosto 2017

Testore Trio Update.

The Testore Trio is putting together a sampler of its repertoire. As you may know, I play the three instruments that will be in the trio, so I'm going into the studio in about a week's time to put down all the parts - playing with myself. Suonare con me stesso.

I have it all planned out and I'm stepping up the practice.
1. Nightingale
Violin tune
B section A section (D7 last bar)
2. L’Addio a Napoli
Violin tune – last 9 bars
Solo A B A - violin
2nd ½ tune violin
(last bar E7)
3. Fly me to the moon
Quick swing
1st half guitar, 2nd half violin
1st time ending (last bar pause on A7)
4. Love Theme from The Godfather
A section double bass tune B section violin tune A section double bass tune
5. Bye Bye Blackbird
1x violin
6. Oh Mio Babbino Caro
1x violin
7. SGB
1x violin
8. Santa Lucia
G major – v v ch violin to A7
9. The Immigrants (feature)
Tune guitar & Bass
Tune violin & Bass with guitar chords
Solos: violin x2, guitar x2, double bass x2
Tune violin & Bass with guitar chords
Violin repeats last 8 – solo rubato
Guitar and double bass join on final chord

I've tried to combine Italian tunes with popular old time jazz standards. There will be a lot of improvising when the trio plays (on the Italian tunes as well). I've also thrown in four originals that seem to go down well at concerts. The repertoire contains 24 tunes.
When we play I hope to have il mio vecchio amico Wade sulla chitarra. Mio Figlio George is lined up suonare contrabbasso. I want all three members to have plenty of room to do their thing when we play. You'll notice that there is a lot of violin in the sampler. Think of the violin as being like a singer - it's all about getting a consistent sound for the sampler.

sabato 12 agosto 2017

Update from 'the bag'.

Welcome back to Richard's Bass Bag* where string instruments take precedence and the wine is always Chardonnay.
I relieved at a decile 9 school yesterday.

Okay, a slight exaggeration.

Remember that for the last twelve years I have worked solely at a decile 3 school.
Is there a difference?
I felt like I was on another planet!

I started off with a year 11 class. Okay, they chattered quietly to each other but everybody worked - for the entire spell.
They were all in the correct uniform, no one was eating, there was no paper or chippy packets on the floor, they were polite to the reliever (me) and the room was well heated.
I had a year 10 class second and wondered what they would be like. If you're going to get a workout, it'll be the year 10s, that's for damn sure.
They entered the room and, as they worked, you could have heard a pin drop. On the occasion that someone spoke to a partner, they whispered. I found myself whispering too. It was like being in an exam room. Unbelievable. Every child was able to learn without suffering it's all about me behaviour.
My last class for the day was a year 9. There was a group of four slightly naughty boys in this class, but really it was minor. They kept up with the work and we exchanged a bit of friendly banter.

What an experience. I'll be going back at some point - it actually got a bit boring at times, but I can handle boredom.

It made me really think. Get your kids into a good school and they'll have a much better chance to really learn without all the distractions of problem children. At morning tea the rooms were left open for form class members to use (there was no supervision). When I returned to mine it was spotless.

I'll be relieving at another high decile school in a couple of weeks. Should be interesting.

* the original bass bagging site

giovedì 10 agosto 2017

How to play tennis.

The first thing you're going to need is a couple of rackets...

...and a ball.

Then you need a reactangular space...

...and some net.

Put the net across the middle of the rectangle, starting at the middle point of both of the longest sides.

Now you need a friend.

No, a human friend.

That's better, though a smart man would have 
chosen a female.

Okay, you're ready to play.
Take a racket each and stand at opposite sides of the net. Hit the ball to each other. There is a scoring system in tennis but it has really complicated numbers. Just take one point every time the other guy misses the ball. Make it that the first person who gets to 10 (or some other number, depending on how long you want the game to last) wins.

That's basically it - you're playing tennis.

How to become a cyclist.

Cycling can be fun and will make you feel superior to other people.
You'll need a bike (official name = bicycle or cycle).
There are many different types of cycles. There are road cycles and ones with big tyres for going into paddocks and on dirt tracks. You want a road cycle. Below are three cycles. See if you can pick the one you will need.

Cycle 1

Cycle 2
Cycle 3

If you picked Cycle 1, no, no, no. Far too elaborate. Go back and pick again.
If you picked Cycle 2, so you want trainer wheels? Kid's bike. Go back and pick again.
If you picked Cycle 3. Well done! You are ready to get dressed up! Love those side on reflectors!

Okay let's get you dressed appropriately.
See if you can pick the right uniform for a cyclist.

Outfit 1
Outfit 2

Outfit 3
Outfit 4

Outfit 4 is correct. If you picked any of the others, go back and read from the start of this post again.
The correct outfit is very important for a variety of reasons:
  • Your head will be protected - remember that you have a very special brain
  • There is padding around your bum because you'll be on a hard little seat
  • There is a pocket on your bum because you don't want bulgy pockets at the sides spoiling your look
  • When you go into a cafe everyone will know you're a cyclist and feel inferior and lazy
  • Those gloves are something else 
  • You look incredibly cool (at least to other cyclists).
Okay, now you're ready to hop on that cycle.

Looking very cool!
If you're having trouble balancing the thing, go back and choose Cycle 2.

When you're on the road there is a set of Road Rules to be followed.
Don't worry about these.
There are also other types of vehicles on the road.
These include cars, vans, motorcycles, trucks and buses.


These are all vermin!

Another example of vermin.

These machines are full of fat, lazy, unfit people who are jealous of you and are
Treat them with scorn and contempt.

Always feel free to ride two abreast with a fellow cyclist. Remember that you are the one getting fit and doing something noble. Make those gas guzzling vehicles wait. 
The drivers of these vehicles have very low IQs so keep your language simple if you have to yell at them.

Okay, you are now ready to be a cyclist.
Wear your lycra with pride and remember these points:
  • You have a HUGE right to be on the road
  • You are the one getting fit
  • You are smarter than motorists
  • You have a beautiful body
  • Road Rules are only there to try to keep motor vehicles out of your way - THEY DON'T APPLY TO YOU.