Monthly Archives: January 2021

End of January 2023 round up.

Does what it says on the tin really. If you were expecting something exciting newswise I am sorry I have to disappoint you.  I keep plodding on mostly so far. This year the only change is a regular exercise regime that I have started mostly to avoid ceasing up and hopefully to reduce pain too. I am into my second week so far and its been slightly hard going to be honest.  I did expect it to be  and one unexpected but useful byproduct is a slight mood improvement. Not huge but enough to notice particularly at this time of year when for me personally its always a huge struggle even at the best of times.  You can do a lot of useful exercise routines with no extra equipment needed.
I may consider some equipment. Weights would actually be useful as my upper body strength is a bit lacking now in particular and I am getting on a bit now so maintenance is more important than it used to be. Simple tasks like typing can cause me problems so I often type standing up now.  

 Amazing news with different vaccines popping up like mushrooms which is very helpful. A bit of  light at the end of the tunnel then.  I note that a few friends and acquaintances are noticeably feeling the strain and admitting to it.  I cant imagine how we will all react when we start getting let out to play again. How comfortable are we going to feel in some of those old familiar places where we all nestled together spaying our germs willy nilly in all directions? I am really not sure how I will be feeling about it at all at present. I have lead an almost cloistered life in the last 3 months particularly. My social skills are fading somewhat too, though I have never been good at small talk at the best of times. I feel what  extra skills I had in gained in this  department are fading fast though lack of practice. 

My car sits idle most of the time now too. The last long run  was to London in December and I must now consider if it is worth keeping  in the longer term?  It has served me well and did a lot of millage to gigs over the last 5 years, but it like me has been in almost semi retirement since 2020 of course.    I shall be sorry to see it go though as it has served me very well over the years as a faithful servant transporting me and Vicky to gigs many and various.  I suppose all this nostalgic stuff  is exacerbated  by a lack of fresh input? The world seems very small just now though. 

Brexit complications continue to snowball for folks buying stuff from the EU with all sorts of extra costs on items that are unpredicted.  I am flat broke so at present its not likely to have much effect on me at present though.  Hopefully that will all sort itself out in a while though,  

Other stuff include replacing tuning pegs on my main violin which are all pretty much knackered. My woodworking skills are frankly  minimal but I can just about manage a bit of chiselling and filling. So far so good though and its quite a visceral thing that brings some satisfaction when one achieves a useful result.  I still have a lot of stuff thats not needed here. Telephone extension cables and similar. A  Car boot sale perhaps when such things start again?  One day and we can dream can’t we. 

One of my minor musical projects is to make more use of the dulcima. I have used it in a small way on a couple of recordings but I have not really got to grips with its potential yet. Its tone is wonderful but not easy to integrate with an ensemble. 
It can be dominant or simply  disappear  into  a wash of sounds.  It can be  mysterious and  ethereal  or crude and homespun in equal measure at times.  That is its magic.
I dont think I have manged to capture its essence to any great degree.


Can we ever say more than we did our best?

Can we ever say more than we did our best?  I am not sure we can really. I am mired in gloom today and not really sure why. The sun was out on a crisp winters day.  I took a brief trip to the shop to collect from the amazon locker.  Came home and tried to work on some project stuff but I couldn’t get motivated at all, though I did start a lyric and a couple of ideas for a tune or possibly two.  Its the first week of my extended exercise routine and I think its helpful.  I need to keep fairly mobile now if I can. Otherwise if I ever play a gig again I will  keel over from exhaustion before I even get started. Its a very clear, very cold night heer in Bedfordshire and you can recognise a couple of the major constellations.  the universe continues perfectly well without my interference of course 🙂  Everything feels so strange as we come close to the first anniversary of   restrictions brought in for Covid-19 in the UK where at the time of writing we are on our third lockdown which will be in place until at least spring judging by the way things are currently going.  Some days go well enough but today  has been hard for me. I would like to talk to one or two absent friend but they have passed beyond the orbit of this world now. Its hard going.  I dreamt I was playing a gig with the full line-up of the Delta Ladies with Vicky martin at the helm  in some big edwardian pub or other. Its seems like another world now to be honest. So on waking ity was disappointing to know that that’s pretty much all gone now.  Vicky was a pretty much irreplaceable force of nature and whilst I did attempt to carry on it  we could not quite make escape velocity in the end.  Plus lockdown finished everything  pretty much in March of  2020.   2021 has started and I feel exhausted mentally and  I feel I am beyond the point  where I can try and pick up the pieces again to be honest.  I do not expect there to be anyone riding out of the shadows to pick up the baton now. I am not even sure if I can actually cut it live now frankly.  It’s now nearly one year since the last Delta Ladies gig in a small pub in reading called “The Retreat”. Remaining members of the band have also had fairly serious ill health  to contend with too.  Its possible there may be a grand finale at some point. But there needs to be a  new road or else there is no road to travel now.

It’s  a pretty low ebb for me now. I really need be mixing with people but the current situation makes it impossible of course.  My fairly paranoid internal dialogue is increasingly difficult to block as well.  I am creating music and trying to keep going.  One day at a time is as good as it gets though.  From here onward is obscured to me assuming there is a going forward from this point as nothing is guaranteed in this life.

I send out my musical messages in a bottle  into the either and wonder…

So can we ever say more than we did our best?


When I’m 64 …..

So how did that happen?  Apparently physics may have been involved and the gradual progress towards entropy and the heat death of the universe, though time as we understand it may well be an illusion when viewed through the optics of modern relativistic science of course.

 I honestly had not considered what to do next.  I have managed to achieve  more that I expected in many ways and I am relatively happy with that. Even with out covid-19 putting obstacles in my path at this point change would still be necessary. I spent around 17 years being heavily involved in live music as a performer as well as my own solo work. That all stopped completely in February 2020 when I played my last last gig, apart from a guest appearance as part  of the invisible folk club ensemble in late summer.  That was enjoyable but pretty much a one off though. So its been hard to try and keep positive about anything really. the unexpected deaths of two close friends have knocked the stuffing out of me. Hopefully spring will lift me a little when it comes. 

I am very sad that there is to be no EU musicians visa and that the reason for this is we are told is  because of  the need to control our borders.  Presumably that’s to stop us Brits  from being able to escape fortress “little” Britain  🙂

  At the time of writing Donald Trump has left the White House and Joe Biden is just arriving. Strange days indeed. 


More January 2021 thoughts

So due to the various problems that I’m having with my back and joints I am now resorting to dictating more than typing and unfortunately there’s not much I can do about that

It’s been quite disturbing to see there is reports of the police behaving aggressively in relation to their perceived notions of breaches or lockdown especially as it is quite clear that mostly interventions have been wrong and overzealous.
The  notion that it’s unsafe for example to exercise your dogs in an area of open countryside where they may actually not be other people for as much as 300 m or more.We also have government ministers trying to defend the indefensible.

Mostly due to their own incompetence and lack of understanding of the fundamentals of the situation.

Here is a recent solo piano work, which is a jazz/classical crossover. its played on a Yamaha Piano, but just unfortunately not the one shown 🙂 its  a bit moody and maybe a little weird but hey its me so what do you expect. 

I am quite upset set at present and also so trying to avoid falling into a fairly major depressive relapse. The notion of no reasonable social contact for potentially another 9 to 10 months is really  hard to deal with.
Personally I do actually believe that unless it is the degree of reasonableness people will cease to comply with any restrictions. For people like myself the days pretty much merge together and I do try and use this time to do something productive as much as it is possible to do so. Other difficulties which occur are not merely due to isolation but for example in my particular circumstances the only person I see day to day is my partner and I’ve only had face-to-face contact with two or three other people in the course of nearly a year unless you include the occasional encounter with a shop assistant.
Looking at the number of deaths in the UK from covid-19 I can imagine a scenario where it does actually hit 200000 Mark it certainly I think going to be well in excess of 100000 even if there’s a miracle.
So it makes you wonder what’s next martial law perhaps it still won’t make any difference because the Gene is already out of the bottle. I’m not really too sure what what the future is likely to bring at all for me personally. 80s I’m going to have major problems with my mental health soon if I’m not careful as I’m getting near the limit of tolerance on many matters.
Jotting down my random thoughts in this fashion is is quite satisfying as I’m not taking as much as I would be if I was actually typing thank goodness. It has been a hard couple of years though and it really doesn’t look as if it’s going to get any easier.

Back to lockdown again

So the second week in 201 and we are back in a national lockdown as predicted to be fair as there could be no other outcome realistically. So its introspection central here again. Today I have not ben outside the flat, but I did get out into the countryside yesterday which lifted my spirits for the day. Today though was not so good. I have been working on a recording of a new song and it was a bit exhausting to get it done.Ii am not sure  how well its worked to be honest. Due to personal circumstances I have not done so well as I hoped although I now have all the resources I ever imagined I would or could possibly need.  Some how it seems I have arrived at the port of destination but the ship I hoped to meet there is not in the dock. Its cold and it’s winter but the sky’s been beautiful today at least with the distant tree line on the hills hinting of some new adventure in more normal times. But at present that’s not very likely.  My fellow travelers are gone and I am here like a reluctant hobbit spirited back to the shire after a grand adventure but finding nothing is the same anymore. And of course the pubs are still shut. 

There is a lot of anger about the present restrictions and many people are beginning to feel that that nothing will make any difference.  The first vaccinations  will not be completed until March or possibly April. So restrictions could well be quite severe for a while. How ever it will make very little difference to me now personally now due to the events of the last couple  of years which have left me out on a limb socially and in most other ways as well.    

January comences

So I have recorded and mixed my first tune for 2021 and it’s now online. Today I have somehow managed to pass the  day without really doing anything remotely useful.  I feel a little bit burnt out somehow. I am not dealing well with the current situation and mostly my social interactions are fairly casual ones. But they are now pretty much gone. I chat with folks on line a bit and that’s pretty much it. I am sleeping a little too much now as well and the mornings come and go with me somehow in an almost comatose state. Some time wasted on Facebook  and the news which is always mostly grim of course. I have the best intentions to get a bit of exercise and so on but suddenly its early afternoon and then in a flash the light fades and we are  of the fact that it’s January. The Month I was born.  I really dont know where we go from here. I will plow on with musical adventures whilst I am able, but a lot of my cohorte of musical collaborators have dropped by  the wayside and stayed behind or moved on to a different journey on  a path that we do not know or yet to follow on.

I have a head full of memories, and some strange ones that are not for sharing but they seem to be on permanent replay at present. A rather disturbing phenomenon to be honest. I am not too sure how long that is going to carry on but I suppose its been triggered by the circumstances forcing my mind to fall back on its own resources so I doubt it will stop anytime soon.

I wonder what things will be like this time next year? Best try and live in hope if we can. Its not always so easy to keep looking for the sunny uplands.

Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.’

(Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 2)