Retirement (at last)

Today is the first day of my official retirement (from teaching). So far it has consisted of nothing but phone calls to HMRC to sort out tax state pension and national insurance queries. I’m wondering what I should do next. Look for employment? Go self employed? Take a break and sort out the long list of jobs that require doing around the house?

Meanwhile, I’m still deleting school files and shredding school documentation. Looking forward to creating some music. At least I don’t face a 7.45 a.m. to 5.45 p.m. day with added marking when I get home – big smiley 🙂 .



Retirement (from teaching)

Just five working days left now before I retire from teaching. I don’t know what I’ll be doing next, I’ll need to find paying work but I intend that whatever I do, I will have time for playing in a band. Hopefully, something proggy and with a broad sound palette. To start: perhaps some jam session attendance?

Photograph of Dale Warner in Born sinners LA club, Swansea 1985.
It’s me in Born Sinners @ the LA club, Swansea 1985ish.

My Ibanez Blazers

I paid a visit to Cardiff today and tried a PRS SE guitar. It was very nice if a little ‘toppy’ (though that may have been the Marshall amp I tried it through). I couldn’t be sure if it was as good as my pair of Japanese ’81 Ibanez Blazers. I plugged the guitars in when I got home and also A/B ed them against the Vintage AFD and the Yamaha SG1000 that I have been using to practise,  just to see how they fared.

Conclusion: When I begin selling gear after I retire from teaching, I’ll be keeping the Ibanezes and selling my other electric guitars. The Blazers have a lower action and ‘faster’ neck than my other electrics and have both a ‘rib cutaway’ and an ‘arm bevel’ that my other guitars lack.

I’m listening to more and more ‘Prog rock’ though I’m not sure that’s a good thing 🙂 and hoping to find/establish a suitable band to perform with. I wish I’d kept the third (pictured left below).

Photograph of my 3 '81 Blazers, all in a row.
3 ’81 Blazers, all in a row.

John Mitchell

Photograph of John Mitchell. Copyright: Cheesestring. Source: Wikipedia.

John Mitchell. Copyright: Cheesestring. Source: Wikipedia.

Please take what I say below with a pinch of salt.

I’ve never been a prog rock fan. When I was studying for my A levels, most of the sixth formers were raving about Yes and Genesis and I remained unimpressed – all of the changing time signatures and key modulations annoyed me as did the (generally) pretentious fantasy inspired lyrics.

However, I recently saw (an old) youtube video of It Bites performing, with John Mitchell handling the guitar and vocal duties, and was an instant convert.

I bought the excellent Frost*‘s “Falling Satellites” yesterday and loved it. I also had the opportunity to pick up the It Bites “The Tall Ships” album but didn’t – a huge mistake as I later found out it’s deleted. I must have a copy as it includes the excellent “Ghosts”.  I’m also looking to buy the Lonely Robot album.

And so, I am now something of a Prog rock fan and actively seeking prog rock albums and seriously considering buying tickets for Prog rock concerts. What a revolting development! 🙂

John’s studio: Outhouse Studios

The Printed Word

The title page of Robert Greene’s play Pandosto — published in 1588 and providing a model for Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (1611?) — has some wonderful phrases which, incidentally, have a universal application to much fiction. This ‘pleasant Historie’ is claimed to show that, although Truth may be concealed ‘by the meanes of sinister Fortune’ yet by Time in […]

via The printed word — Calmgrove

Jewels of Paradise

Donna Leon The Jewels of Paradise Arrow Books 2013 (2012) Biographers are akin to stalkers: they remorselessly research the background to their victims, obsessively familiarise themselves with their subjects’ feats and foibles, and lurk around in their vicinity hoping to pick up tidbits of information to feed their fascination. So do historical researchers, and so do fiction […]

via Stalking the pages of history — Calmgrove

A reading list

I thought I might just list the books I’ve read since my father passed away in November, to see if I (or anybody else) might identify a thread through them. In chronological order:

  • Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights
  • Richard Burton – A Thousand and One Arabian Nights
  • Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre
  • Richard Matheson – I am Legend
  • Jane Austen – Mansfield Park
  • Jeanette Winterson – Oranges are not the only Fruit
  • Nigel Warburton – Philosophy The Basics
  • Dave Robinson and Judy Groves – Philosophy A Graphic Guide
  • Charlotte Bronte – Villette
  • Jens Zimmermann – Hermeneutics A Very Short Introduction

I also began and gave up on:

  • William Golding – Lord of the Flies
  • D H Lawrence – Lady Chatterley’s Lover

And dipped into:

  • The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy

I’ve also discovered that I’d rather read a book than surf the internet and that I’m not keen on reading via a Kindle or other similar device.


Hope 2017 is being kind to everybody.

Jane Eyre book cover:


I watched a fascinating documentary on Sky yesterday concerning the history of the Fabergé jewellery company. The beauty of the pieces made for the Romanovs is incredible and I watched entranced. That is, until I learned of the fate of the Romanov family and the subsequent actions of the European and American rich who purchased items from the estate / state and from the (starving and then penniless) Russian aristocracy for small amounts of money. I simply cannot look at these items in the same way anymore.

Fabergé Moscow Kremlin egg. Copyright Stan Shebs - source wikipedia.
Faberg̩ Moscow Kremlin egg. Copyright Stan Shebs Рsource wikipedia.