Sunday, April 22, 2007

A new axe swings...

I have returned from my tour of regional Victoria having eaten too much margarine, drunk too much instant coffee and listened to too much golden oldies radio. Believe me, I am ready to resume the rock. For my week-long roadtrip I grabbed a handful of CDs on my way out the door but unfortunately several of the covers did not have the actual discs in them (a nasty habit of mine that Mrs squid does not approve of). The result? I had working copies of The White Album, Astral Weeks and Squid Ink's underrated, limited-release bootleg John Barleycorn Must Live (nobody responded to my hilarious suggestion that we name it Hinny's Democracy so I'll chalk that up as a loss).

Needless to say the comparison with these classic albums was somewhat humbling and, as already been pointed out here, listening revealed a legion of errors (and I'm not talking about George's playing on While My Guitar Gently Weeps). But I felt we stood up well to some pretty stiff competition. To my mind Crossbreed and Mrs Bun rocked the house while, lyrical slips aside, Hinny had a certain something. I, it seems, need to work a little harder at coming in on the right beat (or at least on a neighbouring beat). Back in town and facing some work-life disappointment that I won't share here I resorted to retail therapy and went guitar shopping. After some serious road-testing I settled on the pictured axe, an Epiphone Jorma Kaukonen Riviera Deluxe, with some rather ostentatious gold pickups, dual humbuckers and an attractive Bigsby vibrato that I fell for hard but will probably seldolm use. (check out a review here)

It was sold to me by a lovely fellow at Gallins who had questionable underarm hygiene (as my nostrils saw it anyway) but a great passion for guitars. Came with a fetching professor-ish tweed case. It did mean I broke one of the foundation rules I set for myself (never buy a guitar with an autograph on it). Amusingly, I have never been a fan of Jefferson Airplane - that may now have to change. My favourite moment of the day came whe I sought Tedium's sage advice. 'He's a guitar nerd, he will know if this is a good move,' I proclaimed to my brother-in-law.
I called him, feeling slightly guilty about the public nerd slur. 'Hello,' he said. 'Sorry to bother,' I said, 'Am I interrupting anything important?'

'Not really,' he said. 'I'm just downloading some Windows updates.'

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Charming Moments

Charming moment #1

Sitting with Paddy listening to the recording of the now famous "John Barleycorn Must Live" show. We chuckle as, in order, I fuck up, Silky fucks up, crafty fucks up and then in a burst of collective inspiration the three of us fuck up at the same time. After the warm chuckle subsides I turn to Paddy and ask "How do you stand it?" and Paddy replies cheerily "Well, I like you guys".

Charming moment #2

I text Silky to see if he can make rehearsal this week or is in regional Victoria as warned. The reply comes back:
Yep. Driving 2
echuca + listning 2
Barleycorn bootleg.

I see he spends his time as wisely as I do.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Been A Bad Boy

I am quickly developing an unhealthy obsession with Keith Moon.

This compulsion to honour all things Moon began many years ago when I was watching a video clip for the single ‘Who Are You’ featuring the band in the studio recording the song. Moon's headphones were gaffer taped to his head so that he could drum without them flying off. That is awesome.

But my obsession truly developed when I was taking a rest in the front bar of the Town Hall Hotel one recent sunny afternoon. The bar was running the DVD of The Who live at the Isle of Wight Festival and the fresh-faced little impish figure, pissing off Pete Townshend with his ADHD-style antics, launching into some outrageous percussive intro to some song certainly caught my eye.

Moon didn't use hi-hats. How cool is that! He just didn't bother with them. He had two kick drums and used them to lay down the rhythm of the song while his hands are filling the sound with what basically is a mammoth drum solo lasting the length of the set.

And he hit his drums hard. I sit at the bar sipping my tasty Coopers Red absorbed by the spectacle and I watch as Moon goes and bursts the head of one of his kick drums. He and one of the roadies are repairing the drumkit onstage as Townshend vamps for a minute or two. Rock and roll.

It's heading up towards thirty years since his death and I'm only now catching up but damn I really like his drumming.

Here is ‘Heaven And Hell’ — The Who's blazing opener from the Isle of Wight concert:


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They could tell I was square and bitter about it...

A large part of the Squid Ink philosophy rests on a firm belief in empirical research and primary evidence. It is this part of the philosophy which fuels this post. Not only did two accused people in separate trials specifically choose not to have me on their jury but two people accused of growing cannabis in separate trials chose not to have me on their jury.
They were both from very different ethnic backgrounds and different parts of Melbourne, the main thing they had in common was having their day in the county court on the same day I showed up for jury service.
I was largely relieved not be chosen but interested by the information that two (which seems a fair sample) cannabis growers thought me less than ideal (although one waited until I stood up, walked to him, looked him the eye, walked to the jury box, handed my bag to the dude and had bent my knees to sit on the comfy looking jury chair before issuing the "challenge" as instructed by his very young and pert solicitor).

Sorry to all for this post's lack of relevance to the band.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pay Misty For Me

I am always keen to put my money where my Hinny is. This is well known.
To this end, on sunday morning I was walking with purpose through Federation Square having just run around in a circle with 10,000 other people when I spied an unlikely scene.
Did my eyes deceive me or was a woman standing by herself with a donkey looking towards Flinders St station. As a big donkey fan I made a direct line for her and encouraged by her welcoming smile began patting the donkey with quite some vigour.
During the course of the pat I learned the donkey's name was Jimmy and he and his handler were from the Victorian Donkey Shelter, the only one of its kind in our fair state, the place to be. They had come to town for some children's thing later in the day. I asked if they had mules and they do....six.
My heart raced
"Do you have any hinnies?"
Her eyes widened and her smile grew. I began to tingle all over. "We had some hinnies...when we first opened...but not anymore." I hid my disappointment by bombarding her with hinny related questions ("can you tell the difference on sight between a hinny and a mule?" "I can't but others at the shelter say they can"...intriguing). Soon youngsters approached looking to pat Jimmy having seen how a man does it and I bid Jimmy good day and made off in search of rehydration.
Bouyed by the encounter I sought out their online presence and have sponsored a mule, Misty (pictured above), on the band's behalf.

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