Thursday, July 26, 2007

Uri thinks ink!

In just a matter of hours Uri Geller has responded to my plea for advice — from his Blackberry no less! He even left his number and asked me to give him a call! Inspired by Uri's words of support, which I include below, I am now prepared to tear up the stage at the Barleycorn Hotel on Saturday night. I also resolve myself to writing a song about the great man. Right now I am visualising a packed Barleycorn and a feel-good vibe. Let's get it on!

Uri's message:
Hi Silky forget the spoon bending its not important, you want to start becoming a positive thinker a person who will be motivated and inspired to allow the most amazing lyrics to flow into your mind, when I want good things to happen to me I visualise it entering my life. You sound like a nice individual and if you wish you may call me. Just make sure its between 10am and 10pm England time. Much energy Uri 4411(rest of number obscured by me to protect Uri's privacy) Uri Geller from my BlackBerry

An open letter to Uri Geller...

A few years ago, I was in Thailand doing all of the stupid things that young men do (riding motor scooters on heavily potholed roads wearing no helmet, no shirt and no shoes in a country that has a mediaeval health system, drinking too much beer and lying in the sun). The place I was staying had a small library of books. Inexplicably I was drawn to one of them even though it had lost its dust jacket and was unlabelled. When I opened it, the book was Jonathan Margolis' classic biogography of Uri Geller: Magician or Mystic.

I started reading for a lark, only vaguely recalling the spoonbender of yore from images I'd seen on telly in my childhood. Very quickly I was obsessed by the Geller story and the man himself. When we departed for a remote Thai island the next day I had no alternative but to steal the book, thus guaranteeing myself some bad karma (but more on that later).

Fascinating facts about Uri include:

  • He received his powers from a UFO during a close encounter when he was young.
  • He claims to have worked for years for Mossad and for American intelligence agencies during the 1970s, using his mind-control talents to work for the annihilation of the Warsaw Pact dictatorships.
  • Uri makes most of his money as a consultant to mining companies (many in Australia). He is paid millions to fly over the earth in a light plane using his mind powers. Interestingly he doesn't identify areas where there are resources and instruct them to dig, he looks at areas where they believe resources may exist and tells them not to bother. He uses his powers to detect that nothing is there, saving them the cost of exploration. If Uri's track record wasn't so strong this would seem like the greatest scam in the history of grifting.
  • His nemesis is the magician and skeptic James Randi, aka The Amazing Randi, who believes Geller is a fraud. The pair have been locked in bitter conflict for decades. Randi is able to mimic many of Geller's feats using conjurer's tricks.
Here's the letter, which I have sent this day. I shall keep you posted as to a response.

Dear Uri,
Hi! My name is Silky-D, I am a long time fan of yours from Melbourne Australia. I am writing to you after recently seeing a profile of you on cable television's biography channel. In the program you were shown answering fan mail while riding on an exercise bike in your delightful and impressively large home. It was suggested that you take pride in answering all of your fan mail. The thought of getting a message and maybe some advice from you is very exciting!

I first got to know you through the Jonathon Margolis Biography. I found it at a backpacker hostel in Thailand and got so hooked by your story that when I left the next day I stole the book in order to keep reading it. I was troubled by the obviously immoral nature of my action but felt compelled to keep the book.

Funny thing is… A week later I had just finished the book and was in Kuala Lumpur when a thief broke into my room, stealing my backpack and taking the book as well. An accident? Somehow I think not. I am convinced the universe wanted me to read the book. When I had finished, the book was ready to move on. I hope the Malaysian thief who claimed it got more joy from your story than he did from my tatty Lonely Planet guide and counterfeit Seiko watch.

I play in a rock band called Squid Ink. We are just starting out at the moment and are about to record our debut album. We have a blog at Here is my question. I would like to write some songs for the band but feel artistically inhibited. Do you have any advice as to how I might unlock my inner creativity? Could you please use your powers to visualise success for my bandmates and me?

Also, I'd like to do some spoonbending as part of our stageshow. I've seen other people doing it on television, can the skill be taught? Or are they just charlatans who are performing a pale imitation of your all-too-real powers?

your in anticipation,

Friday, July 20, 2007

A More Interesting Name Than The Tote...

Some study notes for the upcoming Barleycorn hotel gig.

John Barleycorn, of the song, is a fictional personification of barley and its uses for making alchoholic bevarages. During the course of the song about him many nasty things happen which parallel the life of barley as it goes through the process of making alchohol.

I have been reading the Jack London novel "John Barleycorn" in preparation for the gig and include this quote from the first page after Jack had just unexpectedly voted for female sufferage as he thought women would vote for prohibition:

"But I thought you were a friend to John Barleycorn," Charmian interpolated. "I am. I was. I am not. I never am. I am never less his friend than when he is with me and when I seem most his friend. He is the king of liars. He is the frankest truthsayer. He is the august companion with whom one walks with the gods. He is also in league with the Noseless One. His way leads to truth naked, and to death. He gives clear vision, and muddy dreams. He is the enemy of life, and the teacher of wisdom beyond life's wisdom. He is a red-handed killer, and he slays youth."

Clever stuff.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

John Barleycorn Must Relive

Our gig at the Barleycorn approaches quickly.

Saturday the 28th of July will see us at the Barleycorn Hotel 177 Johnston St Collingwood. The mighty fine 7 Day Fools will no doubt be headlining that night so there are two good reasons to come along.

The mammothly successful badges that everybody liked so much last time? Yes, they'll be there so that makes it three good reasons to come along.

Silky's new Marshall AVT, Tedium's new Fender Hotrod and my new Tech 21 will all be making their stage débuts so there are a few more good reasons to come along.

And, of course, the audience will be treated to some hot rock. So who needs the other reasons!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Teacher aid...

It's taken a year of mangled riffing but I'm starting to think that maybe not being able to play the guitar might be a medium-term impediment to being in a rock band. After a lengthy period of reflection I've decided there's nothing for it but to bite the bullet and get some lessons.

Anyone out there know a decent teacher? Whilst this is certainly a general cry for help, I'm thinking more specifically of regular blog contributor Gigglewick, who has boasted before of her husband's deep roots in Melbourne's guitar scene and who offered very helpful, if slightly late, feedback during the search for the golden amplifier last month.

What am I looking for, exactly? I've noticed that when some people play guitar they appear to hit notes in an organised, almost premeditated, fashion. This observation has alerted me to the existence of scales. Also I'd like to know why some chords sound better together than others and why these magical combinations always seem to elude me. In short, the whole 'music' side of this being in a band thing. I'm in your hands, people.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

God of thunder

I have replaced the charred remains of my old bass amp with this cute little thing. It can provide “Richter-measured rumble” apparently — always comes in handy.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Birthday sails by...

In all the hullaballoo of exciting new gear and exploding old gear the first birthday of this here informative blog, and also of the band in its current line-up, has just floated by un-noticed.

And so, I would like to note it here. Happy anniversary, Ink Spots, it has been a pleasure. I promise that by next birthday I'll have learned all the songs. As we head towards our terrible twos I look forward to the day when we can stand and walk on our own.

As I understand it, which as always is to say imperfectly and with little research to back me up, the first anniversary is usually associated with a paper gift. Which, I guess, makes it kind of ironic that all I have to offer is a virtual comment. How postmodern or something…

If I'm not mistaken — and Wikipedia is frankly no help on this count — the current incarnation of Squid Ink was born on June 27. This means that we share a birthday with both Helen Keller and Ross Perot.

I may be blinded by emotion here but it's been a rich experience.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Amplifier Modulation/Frequently Modulated

There has been a dearly upheld precendent set early on in the life of this blog to keep readers abreast of equipment turnover within the band. I cannot let the side down.
I was excited to hear on the radio on Friday that Manny's were having their end-of-financial-year sale and decided the time had come to update my trebly piece of shit Fender twin that has been dogging me now for over a decade.
Unlike Silky's dedicated wanderings I nailed early my price bracket and options. It came down to the Fender Hot Rod range or the Vox AC-30 single speaker re-issues. As you can see I went Fender (Hot Rod Deluxe) but chose the one with the Celestion Speaker over the classic Jensen speaker not because it was $150 cheaper, which was nice, but, happily, because I liked the sound better… but there was barely anything in it. Also, I liked the green leather much more than the tweed.
The AC-30 excited me no end as I sounded, to me at least, just like Paul Weller. But I decided as I was trying to get away from treble the Vox may annoy me in the band environment.
Already I think there is a big improvement in the volume of the high strings, which tended to fall away with the twin meaning I had to rely on a second, louder, distortion/gain pedal to be heard during solos. This may still be the case but I think the situation is much improved.
The nice man who sold it to me (complimenting my Fender Bronco will get you a long way) also runs a studio in Thornbury ("who doesn't?" you may ask and the answer is "those who have studios in Yarraville") where Casey Rice works… it would be cool to have a big name producer but the studio costs $500 a day without Casey so I reckon it may blow our non-existent budget.

Now does anyone know anyone who wants to buy a Fender Twin? Trust me, the tone is as warm as toast.