Ursula

Visiting Cheltenham and Gloucester yesterday, I found that Waterstones (once bereft of any) has several Ursula K. Le Guin novels and short story anthologies available. If I could have afforded, I’d have bought a copy of everything I did not own already. However, with funds for just a single book, I chose “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters & The Compass Rose” – an anthology of UKLG’s short stories from the 60s to the 80s.

Once again, I am reminded of just how beautifully crafted these narratives are. Some begin midway in their chronology, some near the end, some come to a conclusion, most seem to beg a sequel as their endings hover in mid-air but all are filled with the exploration of ideas. These are ideas that UKLG seems to explore as the narrative is written.

In my pre-teens to teens, I loved Rosemary Sutcliff. Now, in my fifties, I love UKLG. I’m still a massive fan of Joan Aiken (amongst others) but I love the themes of UKLG’s work: trees, what it means to have rule over other people, the fundamental differences between democracy, oligarchy and anarchy, what it means to be human, communication and interpretation, temporal shifts and relativity (list to be continued) …

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Taylor guitars

I have just returned from a trip to Bristol and tried several Taylor guitars at PMT. Thanks to Thom for the information and help. I must admit I wasn’t particularly impressed and I tried a 614 and an 800 series (£2000 – £3000). They had beautiful finish and attention to detail and great construction with first class materials but I found the sound quite dull and flat played acoustically and very bright playing through an amplifier.

Perhaps it was my playing but I find the Faith guitars much better tonally. Of course it’s just my opinion and other people will think the complete opposite. I haven’e played many Taylors in the past.

I was given more great advice on mandolas and bazoukis at Hobgoblin. Shall certainly be buying one in the next couple of months.

Photograph of PMT music store, Bristol.
Photograph of PMT music store, Bristol.
Hobgoblin Music, Bristol
Hobgoblin Music, Bristol

WildWire

Have just returned from taking number one son back to University in York. Took the opportunity to visit the wonderful Wild Wire guitar store in Selby and to demo a PRS Angelus with a view to buying. Specifically, this one: What a fantastic instrument, beautiful woods, well balanced tonally, quality finishing, just awesome. Here’s a photograph of the back (from and copyright the Wild Wire web site):

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It’s even more impressive in the flesh. Still umming and ahhing over it.

Also visited Red Cow (a truly fantastic folk instrument shop with very helpful owners) and tried a Faith all solid trembesi guitar. Faith produce such quality instruments at such a low price point. Was also demo’ed a mandola and I think I need one to give breadth to my playing. Listening to a guitar all night can be quite fatiguing.

 

Dacw ‘Nghariad

Having completed my arrangement of the “Skye Boat Song”, I’m currently working on my arrangement of this beautiful traditional Welsh love song. My first in DADGAD! Because I’m trying to move the rather simple bass-line about a little (whilst keeping the intervals logical) it’s rather less Welsh-sounding than I’d have liked. In fact, to me, it’s sounding rather Renbourn-esque. As I become accustomed to DADGAD, I’m sure I’ll revisit it after it’s completed and make changes but for now, I’m enjoying the challenge of DADGAD. I still have the challenge of learning to sing it of course.

 

The Bigger Picture day

Fantastic day spent with Dr. Maria Hayes, Blanche Rowen, Guto Dafis, Heulwen, Holly, Jordan and Nathe at the Bigger Picture business training. So much to take in and it was essential that I heard from people who are already working as musicians talking on a business level. Lots of advice, information and good practice tips. All organised by Blanche at Trac-Cymru.

Thanks to everybody involved.

Bigger Picture

I’m off to this even today: https://event.bookitbee.com/6295/the-bigger-picture-y-darlun-mwy/.

The course includes:

•    Looking at the career pattern for creative self-employment
•    Deciding when and how to go self-employed
•    Time management and work options
•    Business basics
•    Money – National Insurance, tax, keeping and submitting accounts
•    Marketing and networking

I’ve been very much looking forward to this first step in my musical rebirth since I first found out about it. Which post again tonight.