On Ten Thousand Hours

Like the grand old Duke of York, Malcolm Gladwell had ten thousand hours. Gladwell’s hours were the time you needed to devote to an activity to master it. It was originally applied to violin players, and thence to everyone. And now it’s back. Because someone has said it may not be true. No shit. This morning’s Guardian ran a piece on a new study that apparently contradicts it. It doesn’t, of course, because there’s nothing serious to contradict. That and what the real issue is here, that most thorny of questions: how talented are you? Continue reading

Sybarus in context

This is an edited extract from the prose work that will accompany the release of Dancing with Architects … It concerns ambition, intention and luck. Hopefully it will make some sense as it stands.

The opening to I, Sybarite is how every musician and artist wants their career to begin: to simply explode in the consciousness of the audience. No warning given, no real preparation possible. To just suddenly be. It’s a great contrast from the album’s opening track, Praxis. I’m guessing my rationale for putting Sybarite as track two was to confuse those who knew me and expected me to hit the ground at a full gallop and surprise those who didn’t know me from Adam. Continue reading

Bringing Sexy Back (to cricket)

Just when you thought it was safe, here’s yet another piece about the cricket. You know, the World Cup we actually won. And no, it’s not about the overthrows, DRS or any of that, it’s a piece about one of the plays and misses of the tournament … that’s right, the cricketarists …

It is law that the electric guitar is the sexiest instrument on earth, bar none. As a rule, however, cricket bats fall into the category ‘other’. Cricket just isn’t sexy (though that doesn’t mean that cricketers can’t be). Continue reading

Dancing with Architects – the return of the sybarite

And so, with an almost delicate flash of stick across toms, a track I recorded 24 years ago roars back into life. Since it was recorded in 1995, as part of the set that made up the album Dancing with Architects, it’s been loitering with intent, waiting for its turn to re-occupy its rightful place in the world, scaring the bejesus out of unwary guitarists. While the original album was recorded in a week, this version, complete with real drums and an extra guitar solo, took rather longer to prepare. Continue reading

Crisis? What crisis?

This is piece I wrote just before my (ouch) 50th birthday. I just bumped into it again and thought it was worth a read.

‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I reasoned as a child. But when I became a man, I put aside childish things,’ so wrote St Paul in an email to the Corinthians. In a little-known coda, he carried on: ‘and when I reached middle age, I said to myself, what the hell were you thinking? And that’s when I reformed The Apostles.’ Continue reading

A second chance?

And the plot gathers pace. And as the pace gathers, so the complications begin. Making a list of people I’d like to have been able to duet with/battle with/trade solos with/thunder along to my tracks with is relatively easy, as, it appears, is persuading them to say yes. Persuasion is the wrong word, perhaps. I ask, they say yes, I’d love to. There’s already a roster of great players, known and unknown, who want to play with Pete1995. And that’s the wierd thing. They’ll be playing with the me of 23 years ago, but being ‘produced’ by the me of now. This is quite odd. Continue reading

Dancing with Archeologists

Several years ago, in what now appears a different age (geologically speaking, as I was underground most of the time), a student asked me one of those questions. You know, the ones where you say ‘sure,’ as they are leaving and then, as the door shuts, you look at yourself. Sternly. ‘You said what?’
You said yes. Continue reading

The wisdom of the ancients

There is no more eloquent testimony to the miracles of modern gerontology than the Rolling Stones being on tour. Well, some of them are – and the truth is that few but the cognoscenti would even notice if the 76-year old Charlie Watts (who once allegedly punched Mick Jagger for saying he was ‘only my drummer’) were to lay down his sticks. To most people, the Glimmer Twins are the band.
Continue reading