Thursday, 30 December 2010

You write a better one, then!

Some time last year I heard this on Guy Garvey's excellent Sunday night show on BBC 6Music. He played it all year and some of this year and I bought the album (and heaven knows, I'm tight!).

I reckon it's the best song written in maybe thirty years, excepting only some of Elbow's stuff.
How this chap could be nominated for an Ivor Novello award and be robbed of it, is an indictment of the general state of British music and the tone-deaf idiocy of those who set themselves up as judges of these things.
I can listen to this time and time again. And there are VERY few songs I could honestly say that about.

Right now in Britain it's also rather apt. Our snow left yesterday and today our water pipes thawed too.

The Leisure Society 'The Last Of The Melting Snow'

Monday, 27 December 2010

Isaac Guillory: Blues Is Just A Bad Dream/ Swinging Little Guitar Man

The Hi-Fi will wait, but.....

Sure sign that I'm without much to do. I'm learning how to share stuff via these cyber instruments.

My love of music is no secret, but I have been so delighted to find everybody I love to listen to on you-tube AND...a way of sending the pleasure to everyone who drops into the blog.

This is the remarkable Isaac Guillory, a guitarist of spiritual enormity. I saw him twice, live and I still can't forget those performances.
Where most walk on stage and tune up tediously, he would walk up already playing his first number. I never heard him play a dead or a bum note. His Martin Jazz guitar just sang. Precision, inventiveness, staggering technique and a clear, distinctive voice set him apart and still does despite his tragically early death a few years ago.
I have a friend who also plays and sings. He met Isaac several times and said he more or less gave up guitar after hearing him play.

If the sheer quality and craftsmanship here doesn't make you cry, you're dead!
Please enjoy.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Everything's relative

I've been thinking about and looking at Hi-Fi lately. Little else to do in this freezing weather.

Now I always had an interest in developments in record playing systems, since attending Radio Shows and Audio Shows in London with my Dad when I was a nipper. I well remember being treated like royalty when entering the hushed surroundings of the Quad room. Quad still exist and in fact still repair their earliest equipment if you send it to them.! You wouldn't get that service from Technics or Sony!

Being a bit of a tub thumper, I am only interested in British Hi-Fi, especially as it's still something we actually DO and do better than anyone else, too.
When, in 1982, I decided that it was time to get myself a decent system, I went off to Rayleigh Hi-Fi and settled on a beautiful Rega Planar 3 turntable and RB250 arm, an A&R Cambridge A60 amp and a set of very punchy, stylish Mission 700 speakers. It cost me £503, cash, speaker leads thrown in, I still have the bill.

I built a very substantial brick and blockboard structure at one end of my living room to stop extraneous vibration and set up what was to be the most astonishing experience in music pleasure. And I do like my music.
Alas, a couple of years later I got hard up and sold the outfit, lock, stock and barrel to a friend of a friend for £495. You wouldn't get that kind of resale value from Japcrap either!

So, in my random thoughts and researches into what is now around I wondered what £503 would be equal to these days. Astonishingly, it seems that is equivalent to £1320! What, I wondered, would that buy me of today's "good buys"?
What a surprise! I could buy a Rega P3-24 turntable and RB310 arm, a suitable cartridge, a Rega Brio 3 amp and Rega RS1 speakers. The modern equivalent of what I bought back in 1982 when Rega only made turntables.
But, interestingly, I would also have enough left of my modern day £1320 to buy what is now apparently considered essential, a Phono stage, some gizmo that punches the tiny signal from the stylus to the amp. A Rega Fono would do the trick and I would still have change from my £1320! In fact, I'd have £50 change, Hmm, upgrade the cartridge, maybe?
Needless to say everything is very much improved on the standards of 1982, so I'd be getting much better quality, plus a fourth bit of very high tech for even more performance, for effectively LESS than I spent back in 1982!

Of course, living, as I do, in a mobile home, there isn't the slightest chance of my ever having this set-up since if one dog walks across the floor the whole thing shakes, so a half-gram tracking weight on a top-end Hi-fi wouldn't stand a chance, but it is an interesting comparison. And proves that not everything today is necessarily expensive, it just sounds it.

If I wanted to buy my original stuff back, say through ebay or a top dealer, I find that I could buy the deck for around £150, the amp for maybe £50 and the Missions for around £50 also. So £250 to get the same as I had in 1982 for £503. Not bad and an absolute testimony to British Hi-Fi's quality and durability.

My cousin has just started working for Rega. I shall become a nuisance!

Meanwhile, I have an ancient Connoisseur Craftsman III deck that my Dad put in a heavy cabinet years ago. It's equivalent cost today would be £340. About the same as a P3-24.
In its day it was very well thought of. I wonder if it still works. It's in the garage somewhere.
Sorry Dad!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

FPF changes hands

Anyone who has trawled around the blog might have clicked on the panel on the left about FPF Models. I started this with an internet friend, Steve Francis, about 18 months ago to supply slot racers with accurate scale model body shells which they could motorise and use at their clubs, open meetings, etc.
Well, we built up about 12 models in the range, but neither of us has the time or, frankly, the inclination to market them properly by going .com and all that stuff.

So, I have decided to sell off the masters to recoup some of my time investment in those 12 patterns.
The bulk of them will go to a company starting next year called Slotcarman, who will keep the website and just market it more thoroughly, using Steve to keep on the moulding side. I will be still making new masters and superdetailing the existing ones.
The Sprite and Midget masters are going to Penelope Pitlane's Steve Ward and the Lotus Elite, my best, I believe, is going to Graham at GP Miniatures, who will do his usual thorough job of kitting that model.

This is a thoroughly satisfactory result for all concerned and, I hope, for all the customers, potential and existing.

The new owner will be looking into making Ready-To-Run versions as this seems to be a popular side to fine quality models, which FPF certainly are, as are PP and GP Miniatures.