Al di Meola full transcript

This interview happened in two sections, as we were cut short by unforeseenness at Ronnie Scott’s, though it’s not the best place to interview someone, in the band room behind the stage. Al and I finished off over Skype while he was in the Ukraine a couple of days later. The xxxx indicate places where I couldn’t even guess what lay beneath the digital crackle. As with so many guitar players, Al was a most generous and patient interviewee, and I enjoyed our chat immensely. Continue reading

Serendipity – and full circle

Picture the scene, if you will. A trio of long-haired muso types are crouched in a cellar, soldering irons in hand, as they make lead after lead after lead, threading together the great looms of cable which will form the nervous system of the studio into which this cellar is slowly metamorphosing. Every lead has to be numbered at each end, and tested thoroughly before being encased in the various tubes designed to ferry them from control room to vocal booth and isolation booth. They’re a real pain to take out and fix once in place, so you tend to install a few more than needed, just in case. Continue reading

Balance

Parkinson’s is a strange condition, in some ways it’s best described as a ‘but more so’ disease. It’s like getting older, earlier, but more so. It’s like being stiff after vigorous exercise, but more so. It’s like being drunk, but more so … it’s like being alive, but more so. Don’t worry, I’m not about to take the path of ‘it’s the best thing that ever happened to me’ least resistance, as if praising it could make it better. It’s shit. Utter shit. But I can, and will, suggest that it amplifies life in certain strange ways, and the way in which it goes about its business can be instructive. It does micro/macro exceptionally well, because with Parkinson’s, little things can have wide-ranging consequences. Continue reading

Irene Ketikidi – Martial Arts & Magic Tricks

This may seem like a rather tortuous way to go about things, but I thought this album, Martial Arts & Magic Tricks deserved some proper attention. Personally, I don’t see the point in just saying ‘awesome’ over and over, so I’m going to be hyper-critical. I do have good reason, I think. Firstly, this is the first time I’ve bought an album by a grand-student … allow to explain. Irene Ketikidi was a student of (amongst others) the rather good Martin Goulding who was a student of (amongst others) me. So I was particularly interested in what she did, how she did it, and what she sounded like. I must say on the whole I was impressed. Continue reading

Hands off?

Parkinson’s is a funny old thing. One of the difficulties of living with it, as with other chronic conditions, is summed up by that hoary old piece of advice: don’t let it define you. The irony is that the more you try to take it on, to resist that definition, the seemingly inevitable slide that follows on from that moment when, on diagnosis, you move from suffering to suffferer: that is, you become no longer a person with this wrong or that wrong with you, but a neatly pigeonholeable nameable condition. Continue reading

Enough already …

I wrote recently about my disillusionment with the modern way of giving, noting en passant that sponsorable feats are ‘subject to worthiness inflation, that is, to justify sponsorship you must come up with ever more wacky or onerous tasks. It won’t be long before there’s a charitable foundation for the children of people who’ve died on fund-raising trips’. Well, this may have been a joke of sorts even though it was based on observation of people doing frankly stupid things for charity, but today I discover that one American, Richard Swanson, died after being hit by a truck while attempting to dribble a football to Brazil for the opening of the World Cup, to benefit a football charity. Continue reading

One for the scorebook

The scorebook is something of a sacred object in cricket, a fetish, even. It records without prejudice the bare facts of an innings, its degree of accuracy dependant entirely on the skill and attention to detail of the scorer who wields the pencil. Many club scorers are women, imitating early modern publishers’ wives such as Sarah Griffin who kept the order books spic and span while their less literate husbands got on with the messy grunt of moveable type. Continue reading