Tag Archives: Diana Stones CD

Busy and ups and downs and around about

 

It’s been a fairly busy few days, 4 gigs in a row and a bit of website stuff to sort out for the Delta Ladies.  Plus I am working on a  new tune or two and have now managed the basic track for a new song. The lyric is incomplete at present, but I have the main part and  the chorus. It’s a funny thing but although I am quite competent technically I occasionally get a bit of a block and for get whats possible. I try to keep the focus on the musical aspect and not the production part, but you can get blown off course.  The almost limitless options in terms of production on even the most humble demo home studio really does mean its just a matter of your own creativity. You can’t really blame the gear anymore.  I remember saving up my penny’s when the first Teac Portastudio 144 appeared and having great fun with it over the years. It was very simple but gave good results. In those days you had to actually worry about head room and signal to noise big time.  Now all that’s pretty much an irrelevance, just make sure you record to -4db as peak and you are sorted.  I think you had to have more of a sense of adventure then to actually make something special.

The next big deal for me was when I got my Korg W1fd. I had had various keyboards before but this was my first workstation that I could build up complicated arrangements on.  It also had a real time sequencer, so that was a great leap for forward for me.  Before that I had a couple of Korg analogue synths (one was the Monopoly), but I never really got the full potential out of them. I then got a Yamaha Piano and started learning Piano as opposed to keyboard playing.  One thing I regret selling though was a not particularly good fretless bass, I could play it a bit and even used it on a few recordings, but lack of space and funds caused me to get rid of it in the end. It’s fun playing a bass. Maybe I will get another one some time 😉

View from the stage Millfield Theatre

Another regret is that I never did master sight reading music,  but I had been playing by ear for a long time.  I started working on it about ten years ago, but I am still pretty crap at  it. I can do lead sheets fairly well though.

I am dyslexic, and I wonder if the 2 things are related.  Still that’s life I guess and I wonder if I would have been inspired to do the other stuff if I had been playing by the rules.  Its interesting that many iconic songs have been created by people who have inherent musicality but have not had any formal training. Of course the reverse is also true at times.

I sing, but I am never happy with my voice. Not much I can do about that really. But I shall still keep singing.  My musical tastes are very eclectic, so the stuff I create and write is very wide ranging. That keeps it fun though not everything works of course. I first picked up an instrument about 1968 I guess and my first instrument was a Harmonica. I never really got much out of it, then I attempted guitar which was a bit more successful. Then came the violin which was difficult. So difficult that I gave up after 6 months or so. But  about a year later I thought I would  have another try. I got a slightly better instrument, which I still have in my collection and spent about 18 months fighting with it, but this time with more success.
Day jobs of many different flavours and finally a 13 year dabble in IT databases websites and programming whilst being a Civil Servant at  which point various problems caught up with me, and I ended up leaving a stable job and leaping in to the void. I seem to be still here but I can just about keep my head together on good days. At other times I don’t  do that well but I do better than others in my situation.

I very rarely played live until I joined Elephant Shelf  (now defunct)12 years back at the tender age of 48,  But I have done about  1500 gigs, so I have a bit of live experience under my belt now.

Elephant Shelf band, Catford, London UK 02.12.11
So that’s me, the depressive dyslexic and often cripplingly shy  person who strangely finds one’s self performing in front of the public.  Occasionally I even tell jokes on stage, but once the lights go off I am soon back in my shell.

The way the world is now,  is there is a lot to concern me, but I can’t write protest songs with lyrics that anyone can understand. I am not going to save the world with a song, but I might know some folks that can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happens after you wake up wake up

It’s the perfect moment when you finally realise that absolutely nothing seems that important anymore. First you have ambitions and perhaps some of these you will achieve, but often its really the struggle to get there that’s the fun part of brings satisfaction, but then once you get there, your looking to the next mountain to climb.

So what happens if one day you suddenly think, what’s the point in striving because there is ultimately nothing except finding another challenge at the end?

 

Well, I suppose that after you lived long enough it/s going to happen. Having written and recorded about 400 different songs and musical works, the rot seems to be setting in somewhat. I still enjoy creating stuff and playing it too but gone are the days when I had sufficient of an obsession to come home from work and spend hours recording stuff. Granted it’s a much quicker process now as in days of old tape required much more planning re overdubs, and managing tape hiss and just good old fashioned getting it right, which becomes a lot easier with practice of course. Listening to old demos from 25 years ago can also be a bit of a shock. A sense of the familiar laced with dread.

 

I still have not managed to get my own rather quirky stuff into a live environment that often but a few tunes have made it into regular live incarnations though they are very rather different from the first quintessence on tape or CD.  I am still very ambivalent about my voice although I have been singing live for the past 7 years or so regularly.

Rather than writing this at the moment I should be getting on with my next project which I have sketched out a brief musical outline for, but I seem to be finding jolly good reasons not to get started.  I have always got bored quickly, often so that my concentration goes just about at the point where I should be putting the final polish on something.  I remember my school reports saying something a long the lines of could do better or tends to daydream or is easily distracted and yes that seems to still be the case. I don’t think fundamentally our persona changes that much really. Sometimes when things come too easily to us to start with we give up when challenged I suppose.
I did have copies of my school reports lurking somewhere but I can’t find them now frustratingly as I think that they might be fun to revisit.
I am writing this the morning after doing a spot at the Arundel Festival, which was great fun to do and did not require too much effort. Arundel is somewhere that I remember from trips out as a child and its funny to be going back there now. We regularly gig in that area so its very familiar now.  I enjoyed the drive down through the countryside equally as much as playing the gig too. Just the right amount of sunshine and not too much traffic either.

 

Try being over 50 and having mental health issues. Then try and get a job with a mental health charity

Try being over 50 and having mental health issues. Then try and get a job with a mental health charity as you have exactly the skill set required then wait for them to not even bother to contact you although they say they run a guaranteed interview scheme...

Legislation does no good even those supposedly in the business of helping people with mental health issues discriminate against the very people they are supposed to be helping.

I suspect a lot of these Charity’s are run by 30 somethings who have never had any issues in their life. I think I may have to expose some of these people.

Any one from Mind Sane or any of the other lot care to contradict me…

Ever get really tired

Really Really tired, like when everything is just too much effort? Yep me too. Its been a difficult time over the past few months and nothing seems to have worked out on a practical basis. Every idea I have had for scratching out a living has been a complete flop and I don’t know if its simply that I am not good enough at what I do or just a sign of the times. I do feel a little bit a drift now though.

I tried reducing my anti-depressant meds dose to see if I could get a little bit more motivation but that only makes me irritable and makes my concentration worse, and its looking more and more like I  am going to end up filing in and office somewhere or worse to survive and the thought is rather dispiriting after all the effort I have put in to everything else, particularly over the last 2 years or so.

The main thing is I can’t work the way I used too,  my  mind wanders and after a a couple of hours I have just drifted away.
Deadlines get me stressed and my mind go’s completely blank plus there is the worry about money which is becoming more and more pressing all the time too.

I played at a garden party yesterday in my ‘Delta Ladies’ incarnation. We had a great time and everyone was enjoying it and we sold some albums too, only another 112 and we break even 🙂 The house was in Lonesome lane.  For the first 40 minutes of the set my mind was just completely absent, I played OK but basically on auto-pilot, by the end I was feeling more normal thank goodness though. The thing is in previous work that I have done apart from powerpoint presentations you could not do it terribly well in an altered state of consciousness, though that did happen a few times I have to admit.

Here are some pictures taken by my good friend Ralph Stephenson.