mercoledì 21 febbraio 2018

The Storm Has Passed.

I'm talking about Gita, not The Curmudgeon and Robert's little spat last night.
(deleted to calm them down)

When an outside chair blows over, just pick it up and carry on.
I'm sorry to hear that other areas of the country weren't so lucky with the storm.

I have a late start this morning because I have no class period one. That means I can roll into Nuova Lazio High at about 10.15. That also means that there will be some time for violin practice.

Ho intenzione prendere il mio violino in Italia.
I'm thinking of taking my violin with me to Italy. As you can see, I have a very good case and I could take it onboard when we fly.

It would need looking after as we travel around - that's the down side - but then I could say I've played my violin in Italy.*

The other option would be to buy a cheap guitar over there. 
We'll see.

Shelley and I are off to a place near New Plymouth on Friday and I hear that it might be out of internet range. We will return on Sunday.
I've decided to leave The Curmudgeon in charge while I am away but here are a few rules to keep him in line:
  1. No fighting with Robert.
  2. Keep your posts as interesting as you can.
  3. Try to give as many Curmudgeons as possible a go at posting.
  4. No posts about outside furniture blowing over.
  5. Worship The Bass Bagging Hexagram by leaving a few comments.


* Am I just a wee bit of a wanker?

sabato 17 febbraio 2018

Saturday Morning Live At Richard's Bass Bag.*

Richard (of RBB): Welcome back to the bag and welcome to another edition of Saturday Morning Live At Richard's Bass Bag!* I'm very pleased to welcome back my two regular guests Angry Jesus...
[cheering and clapping]

...and Bin Hire!
[louder cheering and clapping]

Bin Hire: Thank you, it's great to be back.
Angry Jesus: Where's the coffee?
Richard (of RBB): Coming right up AJ, we've got Different Time Zone Bill working in the kitchen. He's had a bit of a rough time lately, what with that nonsense with The Curmudgeon Inc. and his blog being very quiet. He does zone around a bit when he should be making coffee but we've got The The The Guy helping out to give him some moral support.
[The The The Guy pokes his head into the studio. He has three coffees on a tray]

The The The Guy: The The The coffee's The The ready. Sorry The The it took The The The The so long The The but Different Time The The The The Zone Bill The The buggered off The The just as the The The water boiled The The.
Angry Jesus: [to Bin Hire] I can never understand this guy. He might as well be talking Italian!
[coffee is served]

Bin Hire: Talking about Italian Richard (of RBB), how's the planning for your trip going?
Richard (of RBB): Good thanks Bin. I go in and pay for the car, the flights and some other stuff on Monday. I'm putting in a lot of time on my Italian.
So, what's happening around the blogs?
Angry Jesus: Well Robert, one of mine, has a blog called 'Do Not Send Feedback'. I've noticed that no one has. The Curmudgeon seems to have copied him a bit because he started telling a story and then didn't. These are strange times in the blogging community. We need baxter to show up and sort these pricks out.


[the audience gets very excited as, unexpectedly, Baxter walks into the studio]

Richard (of RBB): Welcome Baxter. This is quite a surprise for everyone!
Baxter: Thank you. I don't make make many appearances on shows like this but it's hard to turn My Lord and Saviour down. I've left my sword by the door because sometimes, when I get a bit excited, I tend to solve problems rather quickly.
Richard (of RBB): Good idea. Well, it's great to have you here.
Bin Hire: Are you still updating The Book of Baxter?
Baxter: Yes, I'm going to sort out all this evolution nonsense. It's important to understand that God made everything. Oh, and thanks for the sword God.
Angry Jesus: Yeah, and just for the record, Dad made bananas too.
Bin Hire: Better tell that to The Fill In When There's Really Nothing To Say Curmudgeon.
Richard (of RBB): Well, times moving on and I have some planning to do for the big Italian trip, so I'm going to wrap it up there.
Angry Jesus: This is a bit like that The Curmudgeon post where nothing really happens.
Richard (of RBB): Well, that seems to be the new way with blogging. It has been a blast having you all here. Thanks to my guests and enjoy your Saturday.

[guests chat as theme music and credits come up]

Example of a talk show ending.

* the original bass bagging site

giovedì 15 febbraio 2018

A New Post From 'The Fill In When There's Really Nothing To Say Curmudgeon"


Where people often go wrong with emptying a letterbox is that they don't realise that there is an entrance and an exit - neither goes in and out or out and in.

There is a slit facing the road where letters, newspapers and junk mail can be inserted. Watch out for overcrowding!
Here's the tricky part. On the other side (not shown in the picture above) there is a little door where you can retrieve things.
When you understand the entrance and exit thing it's really pretty straight forward. Before assembling your letterbox in place, it is a good idea to set it up in your livingroom and have a few practice runs.

mercoledì 14 febbraio 2018

A New Post From 'The Fill In When There's Really Nothing To Say Curmudgeon"


"Some people think that a banana is just a yellow thing with white stuff in the middle.

In actual fact there is much more to a banana.

Well, check that out! What a complicated fruit when you really get to know it! So, next time you're enjoying a banana, spare a thought for how complicated and interesting it really is."

Introducing 'The Fill In When There's Really Nothing To Say Curmudgeon'.

"Hi, I'm the latest addition to The Curmudgeon Inc. stable and, because I'm such a special Curmudgeon, The Curmudgeon has jacked it up so that I can introduce myself on Richard'as Bass Bag.* Well, they have got much more readers than us."

The Fill In When There's Really Nothing To Say Curmudgeon

"Yes, I give my permission 
for him to appear here."

"I've just finished my first post - HERE - and I have many wonderful ideas for posts. Here are a few I'm working on:
  • Watching the tides go in and out.
  • How often people move when they are sleeping - in real time.
  • Growing cabbages.
  • The life cycle of a turnip.
  • 15 things you can do with snake droppings.
  • Do shadows obstruct the sun's power?
  • The parts of a banana.
  • How to measure rectangular things.
  • How to empty a letterbox.
I guess I first got interested in blogging when I read a post by The Curmudgeon about a very bad storm he experienced up north. It came to a nail biting conclusion when an outside chair was blown over. I try to use this wonderfully exciting post as my inspiration when I'm thinking up posts. I think it is fair to say that so far it is working for me. I'll obviously be showing up on The Curmudgeon's blog, but I may post a few here as well. Sit back and enjoy."

* the original bass bagging site

martedì 13 febbraio 2018

Easy Ridin' Papa.

Easy Ridin' Papa - HERE.

The PBs do a version of this called Easy Ridin' Bros from Wellington.

Funnily enough I heard it when I was listening to Radio 24 Italia yesterday on the way to work.
I'd always known that Chris had adapted this song, so no surprise there. However, Robert probably doesn't know that and will probably write a comment to have a bit of a dig at the PBs. Then The Curmudgeon will expect Robert's blogs to disappear. I'll say nothing, I'll just watch and see what happens. What they will write, as comments, could be called an 'Aversion'.

Yes, I am working, and in these hot, muggy conditions.
There is a lot of daily relief teaching available and it seems silly not to take what is on offer. So, at the moment, I'm sort of working full time again.

Off to do some violin practice now.

domenica 11 febbraio 2018

Sunday update.

Good morning fans of the bag.

I spent an afternoon filling up Bin's bin yesterday.

Bin as viewed from our kitchen. The bin, not Bin.

I always finish up with lots of cuts on my arms when I do this type of work. Yesterday I got a beauty on my leg while I was in the bin trampling vegetation down. I guess I shouldn't have worn shorts.

Last night I backed a singer at a party. I played guitar and violin. One lady said that the violin made her cry. I said sorry.

PBs practice this afternoon. We have a gig at a book launch in March.

The Curmudgeons are all in Auckland. It seems that they go everywhere together because when one is away nobody posts.

Members of The Curmudgeon Inc seen in Auckland.

The Boss Curmudgeon is always getting at Robert for deleting his blogs, but at least Robert doesn't regularly pack everyone up and bugger off to Auckland.

I'm back relief teaching. Two days last week and so far three days lined up for the coming week.

I spent some time reading up on flying.

For years I have not been keen on flying, but In September I will be doing a bloody lot of it.
I decided to do some research so that I can get over it. I'm reading up on how planes fly.
Here's an interesting fact - in developed countries, the odds of crashing are 1 in 30 million. I don't know how they worked that out. I'll have to check its accuracy.

There you have it. Richard's Bass Bag* likes to keep you up to date. Unlike The Curmudgeon Inc we don't just pack up and bugger off to Auckland. Okay, we are buggering off to Italy in September but we're hoping it will be business as usual, obviously with a slight Italian style. We're presently looking at setting up a temporary studio in Italy. We'll keep you posted on this nearer to the time.

Ciao, ciao.

* the original bass bagging site

sabato 10 febbraio 2018

Ho intenzione di essere in italian a settembre.

In September we're off to Italy.
We're flying Premium Economy.

Premium Economy seats are not cheap. It is one step up from what is referred to as 'cattle class'.
More leg room, bigger seats, less cramped. More expensive. More comfortable.
We're flying with Singapore Airlines.

It takes about 22 hours of flying to get to Italy. We'll have a night stopover in Singapore.
We land in Milano and will travel south as far a Bari. We plan to stay in smaller places (not big cities) so that we can get plenty of practice at speaking Italian.

Monteforte d'Alpone (near Verona)

venerdì 9 febbraio 2018

Where have all of Robert's blogs gone?

 Watch THIS.

Where have all of Robert's blogs gone?
Long time passing
Where have all of Robert's blogs gone?
Not that long ago.

Where have all of Robert's blogs gone?
The Curmudgeon wants to know.
When will one ever stay?
When will one ever stay?

"Where the hell are they?"

giovedì 8 febbraio 2018

A miracle in Nuova Lazio.

I looked out the window and saw the big bin in my driceway.

A picture from yesterday,
before it happened.

You can see the pile of vegetation behind it. Now the pile is inside the bin.

Rubbish in the bin.

Proof that the rubbish has gone.

Matter moving from being a problem to being taken care of by a bin.
It occured to me that this bin could be a vessel of God.
Locically, moving on from there, this would make Bin Hire Our Saviour!
He who removes the rubbish from our lives.
He who makes things clean again.

The Holy Bin Hire.

Everyone thought He was just a boy from Bahrain, but He's waiting to reveal Himself to us.
He's waiting to show us the way!

mercoledì 7 febbraio 2018

Thanks Bin.

Just a huge note of thanks to my mate Bin Hire for the great service and great price when I needed a bin.

martedì 6 febbraio 2018

Composing Music 5.

Okay, this is a VERY ROUGH version of my tune. I couldn't quite pull it off with the chords when I tried to record it. I was doing okay until I pushed the 'record' button.

Sorry about the facial expressions - I tried to stay out of shot. Please remember that it's very rough playing and I wouldn't usually post something like this, but it is part of the process in this little composing adventure. The last step will be to get the two parts recorded properly, but not on a music writing program. It has to be done on two guitars.

Just as a reminder, here are the chords that go with it.

Composing Music 4.

Someone suggested that I was having a bit of a laugh when I wrote the 'Theme from Richard's Bass Bag'* melody.
This is certainly not true. I admit that, on its own, the melody does sound a bit unusual. When the chords are added it all fits into place. I will attempt a solo guitar version of it over the next short while and post it on this bass bagging blog.
Robert wrote a tune HERE that sounds really nice. I told him that his score was enharmonic. He got a bit upset and did a horrible recording of my melody. Fortunately he deleted that post.
I think he thought I was saying his piece was unharmonic. This is where it pays to understand music terminology and theory. 
I think I'd better try to explain the term enharmonic. I'm going to keep my explanation simple.
In western music (the music that originated from Europe) we have 12 evenly spaced notes to work with (these even distances are man made). Think of the white and black notes on the piano.
There are 7 different white notes - A B C D E F G and 5 black notes.

Each black note has two names. This is because, when the 12 evenly spaced notes were 'made', some notes were sort of squeezed together into the same pitch. These double named notes are - A#/Bb   C#/Db  D#/Eb   F#/Gb   G#/Ab.
# = sharp and b = flat.
It is fair to say that western musical theory is based around the major scale. This scale is a series of notes that have an order of going to the next note up or missing one out and going to the one after that. In music we call these steps tones (miss one note out) and semitones (go directly to the next one).
 The series in a major scale = tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone:
C D E F G A B C.
A major scale can start on any one of our 12 notes, and the pattern is maintained by changing the notes.
For example, if you start on A you will use A  B  C#  D  E  F#  G#  A.
Start on Eb and you would get  Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb.
Notice that each scale uses each letter name only once - except for a few weirder scales, that's a 'grammatical rule' in music notation. The other 'rule' is that a major scale will only use either sharps and flats - they won't be mixed up. This certainly helps a performer read something that is written down. The number of sharps or flats a scale needs is called a key signature. When you start on a different note, you are using a different key.

Let's look at a simple chord progression in Eb major. (minor chords come from minor scales that have a different arrangement of tones and semitones)

Eb major      C minor      F minor      Bb major. Each of these chords are made up of three notes.

Eb major = Eb G Bb      C minor = C Eb G     F minor = F Ab C     Bb major = Bb D F

If these were written for piano, the notes for any chord will probably be mixed up. Lets imagine a bass line (left hand on the piano) where each chord gets 8 sounds:

| Eb Bb G Bb Eb G Bb Bb | C G Eb G C Eb G G | F Ab C C F Ab C Ab | Bb D F F Bb D F F |

This is easy for a musician who understands music theory to read and he won't have much trouble identifying the chords.

Now imagine if it was written like this (using some enharmonic note names - eg. A# instead of Bb):

| Eb A# G  Bb D# G A# Bb | C G D# G C D# G G | F Ab C C F G# C Ab | A# D F E# A# D E# E# |

Complicated and hard to read!

I guess you could call this bad musical grammar.

This is what I noticed in Robert's piano score when I said, "Your score is enharmonic."
He implied I was critisising his music (for being unharmonic?) when, in fact, I was criticising how it was written down.

Okay, that's it for today.

* the original bass bagging site

lunedì 5 febbraio 2018

Composing Music 3.

Okay, the composing is finished.

Here's what my worksheet looked like.

Then I wrote it out neatly.

That's right, it's called 'Theme from Richard's Bass Bag'.*
It probably took about an hour to write and half an hour to write out neatly.

The final job is to work out how to record the two tracks - tune & chords.
I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

* the original bass bagging site

Composing Music 2.

Okay, it's just before 7am. Time to start.

My tools are ready:


Manuscript paper (the feet aren't
supposed to be in the shot)



I often like to start with chords when composing. My other two options would be to start with melody or rhythm, but it's quite nice to construct a melody over a nice group of chords.
There are two ways to find a chord progression:
  • Pick random chords by using your ear. 
  • Use your knowledge of chord families.
Perhaps I'll do a bit of both, but I will certainly be using a bit of knowledge of chords. I'm going to pick a key that works pretty well on the guitar. I'd also like to avoid everything being in 8 bar phrases - just to get a bit out of my comfort zone.
Time to grab the guitar.

* * *

Okay, that took about half an hour and I've got something. It's a little weird in places and turned out to be 12 bars long (which is pretty conventional). I dropped a few slightly unusual chords in - remember I was trying to get out of my comfort zone.

Here's a rough recording:

Okay, that's me for today.

After Breakfast: I sat down to play the cords through one more time and a little 6 bar bridge came to mind. So, imagine the 'A' section, then this new 'B' section followed by the 'A' section again.

The B section is | C   | Cm   | Bm7   | E7   | Am7   | D7sus4  D7   |

Pretty conventional, but it seems to work.

Later that same day.

Damn, I just sat down and wrote the tune - didn't mean to do that. It's a little freaky but it seems to work.

domenica 4 febbraio 2018

Composing Music 1.

There was another blogger (Mr Delete This) who started a blog about writing music. It got deleted.

This series of posts is in no way a reaction to anything that was on that blog. I just thought it might be fun to look at one way of writing a piece of music.

I repeat that this is not an attempt to do it better than anyone else or any sort of rivalry. I just thought it might be interesting to some people out there to see one way that musical composition might work.
I have an honours degree in musical composition (which must be way past the expiry date by now) and have written quite a lot of music in my time. This does not mean that these are requirements for any aspiring composer. There a quite a lot of ways to compose music and I'm only using a way that suits me. The world is full of wonderful music and what I write here will really just be another person pissing into the ocean.

The guy on the left is not a composer.

What I will try to do is take you through a series of steps that work for me sometimes.
I will try to write most of this piece while I am at the computer posting. I don't have any fancy music programs so anything I notate will have to be written by hand and scanned into the computer. Inspiration is an important part of musical composition. At the time of writing I have no ideas (or inspiration) and no plan, other than writing an instrumental piece probably for two guitars (melody and chords). This is not the first time I have performed such a task, so I am very relaxed about it as I do have a very particular set of skills.

I don't know how I'll record it yet. I do have a brother who has those skills, so I might use him.

I plan to start this project tomorrow morning - the time when I write a lot of posts.

See you then, if you're around.

sabato 3 febbraio 2018

Brutal Hails!

No, I'm not talking about the weather.
Brutal Hails is a Heavy Metal complement.

Brutal Hails! Though I must remember next 
time to keep the selfie stick out of shot.

Last night I went to see George's band play. They're called Scorn of Creation.

Someone with a big head was standing in front 
of my phone when I took this shot.

The feature band (Scorn of Creation) started playing just after midnight. I was cunning, so cunning that if you pinned a tail on me you could call me a weasel (thank you Blackadder), because I had a few hours sleep in the earlier evening. Some people who didn't think to do that were quite pissed by midnight. Heavy Metallers conjure up a certain image in some people's minds but, in reality, they're a nice bunch of people who like black clothes and a few rings and tats. This band is on the up and up at the moment and have released their debut CD. The guys in the band are all excellent musicians.

Here are the boys in action...

venerdì 2 febbraio 2018


What do we notice when we listen to this song?
Firstly there is the use of repetition to tell a story.
The composer uses artistic licence with the use of the word 'hanging'.
The video suggests that the bottles have actually been placed on a couple of ledges.
While the word 'hanging' initially seems like a mistake, it is used here to catch our interest in the lyrics, which are an important part of any song.
Basically the theme is one of 'what if?'
If no bottles fell, there would not be an event.
So the bottles fall (accidently), one by one.
We start guessing the outcome - no bottles left.
Are these wine bottles?
Are they full bottles?
Cleanskin or that fancy stuff The Curmudgeon drinks?
The quality of the wine will make a difference to how one interprets the story.
The Curmudgeon, for instance, will be deeply moved if this is expensive plonk with a peach after taste.
A Cleanskin drinker might take it more in his stride.
Some people will see these as beer bottles.
Cold beer on a hot day going to waste.

The word 'accidently' is really there to tease us.
Is someone breaking these bottles on purpose?
This is a song about vandalism.
Remember the East Germanic tribe, or group of tribes, who first appeared in history as inhabiting present-day southern Poland hundreds of years ago?

Vandalic goldfoil jewellery from the 3rd or 4th century.

The lyrics take us through the history of vandalism as a subtle theme that sits just below the surface of what seems like a simple concept of bottles falling more by chance than by anything else.

The song is in 2/2 time, with a 4 bar riff between each verse played by an accordion. 
Each verse is 16 bars long. The accompaniament is homophonic and it is interesting to note the melodic contribution of the accordion that underlies the significance of the lyric.
This particular recording of the song has a  Da capo at the end of the breaking bottle cycle. The cycle of breaking starts again but is faded out.
Very clever.

There are no fancy musical devices used in this song. No modulation, no time changes, no bridge, no second subject. Just a repetitive four bar instrumental intermission between verses that works to give us time to digest the message this song was created to share with us - albeit at a few different levels of intensity. This song goes for honesty - the message is never allowed to be clouded. This is what makes it a subtle work of genius.

Ten green bottles hanging on the wall. Like the challenges that life throws at us, don't expect things to stay the same, for nothing in life is static. Expect a bottle to fall!

giovedì 1 febbraio 2018

Wind, wheelie bins and recycle bins.

As I write this we have no power – fortunately this laptop has a battery. It says it is 81% charged. We’ve just had some very strong winds. This means that wheelie bins blow over and recycling that is not somehow weighed down goes everywhere. For some reason all this shit tends to blow onto our property.

I looked out the window, as I had some lunch, to see that out section was covered in other people’s shit. And I mean shit! And I mean covered! I grabbed our bin, which was stored away safely, a shovel and a pair of rubber gloves. One idiot (incidentally a pastor of a strange church) had wrapped virtually nothing in his bin. I picked up an unwrapped woman’s sanitary pad, lots of toilet rolls (that unwashed hands had touched after a shit), unwrapped stale sandwiches, meat chops, cat food wrappers and much, much more. I cleaned up our end of the grove.

I’m not looking out the window, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the pastor’s bin has blown over again. I had originally moved it away from the grove, up a track – I don’t give a fuck if it misses an empty, anyway a lot of his shit is now in my bin. I threw another neighbour’s recycling bin in between some shrubs – it’s empty now anyway.

Okay, things do blow over. We have been warned of impending strong winds. This should make people think of what might happen to their bin full of unwrapped shit. I mean, do you want all your neighbours to see your used sanitary pad? I certainly don’t want to see or deal with it. People should be responsible for their bins that they put out on the street.

Then Shelley rings our landline. I can’t answer it, so I hop in my car to drive down the road to use my cell phone (bad coverage at home). I see the Low Cost Bins guy coming up the grove and wait patiently for him to pick up a bin, as there is not enough room for two vehicles. A guy comes up to him and starts talking. This wanker is blocking me in but he just ignores me and chats on. It takes a bit to upset me these days (remember I was a teacher in a low decile school) my I think this is very rude and inconsiderate.

Here's a closeup.

I think this guy is a rubbish truck driver because he’s too much of a moron to get a better job and he probably feels sorry for himself. He was probably a right little shit at school and stole other kids’ lunches. I hope he has a shit day, every day, for the next few weeks.
I hope The Curmudgeon is alright up north. I hope no outside chairs have blown over.

Oh, and The Curmudgeon sent me THIS, which I thought was really funny!

It's February already!

I'm speaking with my Italian friend this morning so I don't have much time. Then I've got a rehearsal with a singer friend whom I'm doing a duo set with Saturday week. I'll be on guitar and violin. I've been cutting big branches off trees on our property and have established a huge pile of branches on our drive. I think it's time to get in touch with Bin Hire (my old mate) to get a bin before I cut anymore.

There you are, all up to date.
Ciao, ciao.

This was a 'quick post' from Richard's Bass Bag.*

* the original bass bagging site