mercoledì 18 aprile 2018

I practised for 5 hours yesterday.

I'm playing at an open mic night with my son in about a week and a half. I'm on guitar and he's on bass. We planned to do Billie's Bounce and Stella by starlight, but we decided to add a third tune - Cherokee.


As you can hear, it's a fast tune. Last time I played it (on double bass), the young cats I was playing with played it at 350bpm! I was pleased I had my bow at solo time because I can play faster with the bow!

young cats
When you're soloing, those fast runs you can hear Wynton playing are the equivalent of 700 notes per minute. That's about 12 notes per second. FAST.

Now I've never played that fast on the guitar (it's really my 3rd instrument) and, although we plan to keep it down to about 300bpm, I know I've got some practice to do. That's for damn sure.
I did 4 hours on the guitar yesterday, along with 30min on my bass and 30min on my violin. I'll try for another 4 hours of guitar today, along with cutting trees (but that's another story).

I think I've only done 5 hours in a day about twice before in my life, so I'm really interested to see what it does to my guitar playing if I can do it regularly over the next two weeks. It's not just a matter of sitting there and twiddling your fingers. You need to have a clear purpose and know how to practise productively.

So, that said, I'd better head off.
Ciao, ciao.

lunedì 16 aprile 2018

Introducing 'The 6 Strings'.

Knowing chords is an important part of playing the guitar. Sometimes as many as six strings will be required to make beautiful sounds together, sometimes fewer will be required. Whatever the case, the 6 strings are tuned so that they can work together to make beautiful music in harmony.

The 6 Strings
Five of our award winning blogs have been a bit quiet lately. This is because they have been away on courses studying how to make blogging AN EVEN BETTER EXPERIENCE!
Now Angry Jesus, Bin's Bass Bag, Akish The Philistine, RBB2 and RBB3 are back with Richard's Bass Bag*.

Because we will be taking blogging to new heights by working sometimes together in harmony and sometimes as individuals, we will now be known as The 6 Strings.

Once you've visited our sites you will realise that you don't really need to read other blogs because IT IS ALL HERE!


* the original bass bagging site

sabato 14 aprile 2018

This is what it looked like and no I didn't ride it.

The bull
I went to a 60th birthday party last night and people tried to stay on this mechanical bull. It seemed to be slippery because everyone seemed to slide off it.

34th wedding anniversary today. While studying Italian I found this sentence which I wrote in a card for Shelley.
Sei cosi bella che credo tu sia la vera ragione dei riscaldamento globale!
I'm not going all sentimental on you, I just thought it was a great line.

ANZAC day approaches. That means I need to do some practice on this instrument

of this tune.

There is also another little tune that comes after the Last Post. I get to play both tunes four times. 
The last performance is before a rugby match. This is one of the biggest audiences I get to play to.

mercoledì 11 aprile 2018

Piece for solo cymbal.

My latest composition.

I was moving this little cymbal back into our very back room (after the flood) when I dropped it. I loved the sound so I wrote this composition.


One of the many gods that man has invented was angry with Richard (of RBB), probably for various reasons. He decided to send a flood. On the other hand, maybe it was just a bit of a storm and Richard (of RBB) was unlucky enough to have water coming down the hill at the back of his property that was trapped against a concrete foundation that wasn’t sealed properly.

Water appeared in the two bottom rooms of his house that he had converted from a couple of garages many years ago. Lots of water. Richard (of RBB) frantically moved floor coverings and furniture. He tried to trap the water with towels. This god was angry!

I guess you don’t get to run the original bass bagging site if you can’t rise to challenges – also Richard (of RBB) was used to dealing with deity because he knew Angry Jesus.

Angry Jesus

“I will build a trench.” He proclaimed. “I will build a trench that will take the water away from the house.”

Darkness was rolling in and it was raining heavily, but Richard (of RBB) built a trench. A mighty trench. He was then able to dry the sodden rooms and have a Chardonnay.

It continued to rain, but all was well in Nuova Lazio.

That little bridge is a concrete 
thing I had to go under.

lunedì 9 aprile 2018

The Curmudgeon is unable to post today, so I said I'd post for him.

He has headed down to Auckland to hopefully finalise the deal on this car.

He's trading in this one.

The new car is a 2016 Toyota Corolla and he's having a towbar fitted.
It has only got 30,000km on the clock, which is good. 
He needs a bigger car to pull his trailer because he needs to tidy up his section.
This is as well as taking care of outside furniture in storms.

As you can see, The Curmudgeon is a busy boy. So busy that he really hasn't got time to practise pool.

He's had a few hidings lately (losing to his partner on several occasions) and one can only really blame nature for making his garden grow too fast. At least, if he decides to spend the evening in Auckland, there is no pool table in the apartment!

The Curmudgeon promises to be home tomorrow and has said that he will write a post. All the other Curmudgeons will be sitting up north awaiting his return and wondering if one of them will be given the task of writing a post on his return.

If he stays in Auckland for the night, he might take his partner out for a drink and something to eat. Let's hope that that ex-pregnant waitress isn't back on the job, or that she listens carefully when taking The Curmudgeon's order.
If she is reading this, HE DOESN'T WANT A BEER.

No! He ordered a fancy wine.

On the job.

I played three solo bass pieces at the Newtown open mic concert last night. I was well received, but I personally wasn't happy with the Bach cello suite movement that I finished with. Unfortunately Shelley recorded it. Recordings can be cruel, but they tell the truth. We must learn from them. 

I think I have the day off today. I'm not working tomorrow either because I have to move some chairs for Shelley at the library. 20 chairs. That's a breeza for me - when I was at NLHS I used to frequently set up the chairs for assembly by myself. There were 200 permanently place chairs and I would set up the other 200. I could perform this feat in 15 minutes, so I don't think that 20 chairs will be a big problem.

sabato 7 aprile 2018

I woke up this morning.

No, this post is not about a blues song.

"I woke up this mornin'..."
I'm just saying that I woke up this morning - I guess that means I'm not dead.
I got up before 5 because I'm speaking with my Italian mate at 7 and I had a few things to do before that.
We normally speak at 8 on a Saturday morning, but daylight saving has mucked that all up.
When daylight saving is not turned on, 8am in NZ = 8pm in Italia. Nice and easy.
As daylight saving kicks in in both countries, 7am in NZ = 9pm in Italia.
We both have to compromise. I get up earlier and Antonio goes to bed later.
We usually talk for over two hours - the first hour is in Italian and the second is in English.

Double bass practice will also feature today.

I've been practising three pieces for a performance in Newtown on Sunday evening. They have required hours and hours of practice. I'm trying to push my bass playing (which has been neglected a bit this year) up another notch.

Okay, I'm off now. Have a good day.

venerdì 6 aprile 2018

Sign at Nuova Lazio mall.

They should really add the word SHOPS under LOITERING.

mercoledì 4 aprile 2018

Followed and harrassed by two fantails.

I went for quite a long walk up into the bush behind our house today.
Two little fantails flew in very close to me and followed me as  I walked panted up the steep hill.

I tried to take a photo but they moved too quickly.
They seemed very keen to play but I had to move on. It was a bit of a special encounter though.

The Curmudgeon Inc. posting is like an old wine.

The Curmudgeon Inc. posting is like an old wine.

You wait a long time to drink it and you don't know if it's going to be any good. 
I just can't work it out. They have an army of old men sitting around who hardly ever post. 
Maybe they're losing their marbles?

If you see these please return them
to The Curmudgeon Inc.

Maybe we need a big storm up north to prompt them into action, like on that famous day when a piece of outside furniture was blown over?

This was a big deal up north.

martedì 3 aprile 2018

Have bass, will travel.

I'm returning to Newtown next Sunday evening to play a few contrabbasso solos at the open mic evening at The Office bar. I've neglected poor old La Gloria a bit lately and thought that a challenge like this could put things right - six days of fairly intensive practice.
I've chosen three pieces:
  • Maria, Mari - an Italian tune that I've performed before.
  • Bye bye Blackbird - this is a new 'arrangement' in a different key.
  • Gigue from Bach's first cello suite with 'My Gentle Giant' inserted in the middle - this is the first time I will play the Bach in public.
This is a pretty demanding programme. I'll need a glass of Chardonnay, or two, after this one - but first the practice.

The battle of Richard's Bass Bag's* Backyard.

Biologists know them as waspus flius and in Italy they named a motor scooter after them.

There are many varieties but it appears it is the German wasps that give people a run for their money.

"Vee are here vor to eat your grapes."

Our grape vine was very successful and produced many grapes but then the German army arrived.

"Tell zee Komandant zat vee have
found many grapes at zee hausen ov
zee baze baggen mann."
There was little we could do. The wasps seemed to get drunk on the grapes and some turned their thoughts to raping and pillaging. We have had to shut all of our windows to keep them out.

"Head for the open windows!"

So we made a decision to remove the two vines in our backyard. I sneaked out early one morning and cut the two vines at their trunks. They started to die rather quickly, but the wasps still came. I started carefully cutting bits down. As the grapes start to decay the wasps will go.

We're getting there but it's not yet
'All Quiet on the Western Front'.
I'll be getting on to Bin Hire to drop off one of his bins shortly. I also need to trim some trees.

We've kept a smaller vine around the side of the house but hopefully this will be an end to the annual invasion.

* the original bass bagging site

lunedì 2 aprile 2018

Monday Morning at Richard's Bass Bag.*

I'm not complaining but I don't know how Easter Monday got to be a holiday. It was a busy weekend for Angry Jesus. Maybe he just needed a break to get over resurrecting?

Angry Jesus

We invited AJ into the studio but he declined, saying he was a bit tired. I pointed out that all this resurrection stuff happened a long time ago. He said that they always have a few drinks at this time of the year and, unfortunately, he'd overdone it a bit. He didn't remember the last bit of the evening too well but sort of remembered getting into a bit of an argument with his Dad over why a human sacrifice was necessary. He said that they often argued about this after a few vini.

It's good to see Robert getting into the composing. You can keep an eye on his progress  - HERE.


I've added a LINK on this composing blog too. It's called A Composer's Journey.

He certainly is showing that he has a knack for composing. I guess that all those years of playing and listening help. I'm looking forward to what he does in the second movement - he's writing a violin concerto. Good on you Rob!

* the original bass bagging site

domenica 1 aprile 2018

Romanza e Nefanie from 'Suonare Con Me Stesso'.

'Suonare Con Me Stesso' (Playing With Myself) is an album I set out to make quite a while ago. I intended to play the violin, guitar and double bass parts - hence the title. Unfortunately I have not been able to complete the project yet, and it doesn't look like it will be happening in the near (or slightly more distant) future. Never mind, at least with 'punch in the parts' music software programs I can get an idea of how it would have sounded. The guitar and double bass sounds on this program are pretty basic (think 'plink, plink, plink'), so I thought that the electric bass sound was better. 'Romanza' is a little slightly Eastern European piece I wrote about 8 years ago. The tune in the middle dates back to 1998. 'Nefanie' is what my daughter called herself when she first attempted to pronounce her name 'Stephanie'. I wrote it when she was a teenager and used to practise it on my double bass. One very cold morning she came out to sit in front of the heater while I was practising this song.
I said to her, "I wrote this song for you."
She was silent for a while and then she replied, "One of these mornings, if you don't shut up, someone is going to break that bass." True story.

sabato 31 marzo 2018

Here's a little waltz that Riccardo Testore wrote for his trio.

Theme from Richard's Bass Bag.*

HUGE THANKS to Robert for making this recording possible!

* the original bass bagging site


Okay, both The Curmudgeon and I did an online Asperger's test and it appears that we both haven't got it. That doesn't make us normal. We are, after all, two uomini anziani  who spend too much time on blogs that about three people read, often writing for imaginery people that we invented.*

The Curmudgeon questioned the accuracy of these online tests - HERE.

I hope he's wrong because I did an online IQ test the other day and scored 132.
I did a bit of research and discovered that people put different labels on actual scores.
Words indicated of different scores include (in no particular order):
  • genius
  • gifted
  • moron
  • dullness
  • near genius
  • retarded
  • average intelligence
  • fucking idiot

There are probably a lot of important qualities that IQ tests don't measure (ability to love, compassion, instinct), so don't get too worried if you try one of these online tests and your score is lower than mine. On second thoughts, start worrying if you score around 65. Though you can't do much about it and, if your score was this low, you probably couldn't turn on a computer to do the test so you don't know your score.

So there you have my thoughts for today. I don't think there are many of us who can comfortably claim the title NORMAL, so just do your best and try to be nice to people.

* I said 'we' but I really meant 'he' - I'm more like his support person

venerdì 30 marzo 2018

A trip down memory lane.

Shelley and I went for a walk in the Wellington Botanic Gardens today.
I took her up to Magpie Lawn where we used to play as kids. You could see our house in Garden Road from there but I think that the trees have grown too big now.

Many a rugby match was played on this lawn. Sometimes Robert got into 
a snot if he was on the losing side and buggered off home with his ball.

We, the not so brave Garden Road Boys (aka The Prowse Brothers),
climbed the less steep parts of this bank and bragged about doing 
the steep bits one day.
This was also the bank that The Kelburn Boys climbed down to terrorise us.
The Kelburn Boys were older (probably by about 3 years) and dressed as Bodgies.
You were in the shit if they caught you. The Garden Road Boys knew to scamper down the hill quickly when they were sighted.

The were also The Tinakori Road Boys to watch out for.

Many paths and sights bring back lots of memories.

You're not allowed to feed the ducks bread anymore.

There's a sign telling you that you have to feed them the grain that is provided. I can't see The Tinakori Road Boys bothering to read that!

Health and Saftey has also had its way with the Children's Playground.
The big dangerous slide and the rocking roundabout thing are both gone, as is the swing boat.

Safe covered plastic slide - for babies and girls!

Kids these days are getting too soft! I wonder how they'd go against The Kelburn Boys?
The Garden Road Boys may have lost a fight or two but we didn't go running home crying to mummy!

One of the main paths.

We walked up to Kelburn (Phew! No sign of The Kelburn Boys) and had a ride on the cable car with a lot of tourists.
Like the ducks and the playground, the cable car has gone all Health and Saftey too.

There's a little museum that has one of the original cable cars on display (actually there were earlier models but this is the one we rode in the 60s, 70s and 80s). Shelley and I looked at each other and smiled. Shelley pointed to the outside seats and told a couple of overseas tourists how we used to ride up there all the time. No one with any self respect held onto the leacher straps.

Theme from Richard's Bass Bag.*

A while back I did a series of posts on composing a piece of music. I took you through the steps as I wrote what became the Theme from Richard's Bass Bag.* I wrote a version for two guitars but was then able to download a music software program that Robert kindly suggested and I wrote an arrangement for string quartet. Unfortunately I do not have the knowledge or skills to make a recording, though again Robert has kindly offered to help so it's not over yet.

What I did manage to do this morning is print the score so that at least you can see it is done. The dynamics on the score ( p  mp   mf   f ) are only there to balance the program sounds for recording and are not intended for a live performance.

So, here it is:

A big thank you to Robert for his help.

* the original bass bagging site