As I remark to Dave late on in the day, one thing to be said for ‘flu – it keeps you interested. Today is a sort of blocked up, croaky day. At least now I sound as ill as I’ve felt for the last few days. People respect that, otherwise they turn on you – “stop going on about how ill you’re feeling. Prove it – sneeze or die or something”.
Watch it, or I’ll go gastric on you. You wouldn’t like that.
Much of the day is spent in ditherment. I remark to the P that I have to send something to Puffin, who are on the Strand, and that it hardly seems worth bothering the postal system, and he offers to take me there. I’m a lazy slob, and, uh cough so I concur. Also, I had something from Thomann delivered to his house (I wasn’t sure that I’d be in), and it’s blocking up his house, so he’s quite keen to be rid of it. He gives the impression that he’ll be a while, so I use the opportunity to shave off the Everest-climber’s beard that has been accumalating on my face over the last week and a half.
The thing about such growths is that you take off the top layer and then go in and shave the rest off. I’ve done half the top layer when the P calls from outside. I do what I can to even it out (not very well, as it turns out), but what the hell, I’ll be in to reception and then out again, a couple of seconds, so what the hell.
I go into the reception of the building where Penguin is and contrary to my prediction I have to fill out a form stating my name and business, then a guard lets me through these turnstiles, then up to the fifth floor and I have to wait in a queue at another reception. Very nice offices, very lovely building, exactly the sort of place you want to be seen if you are clean shaven in patches, almost bearded in patches and variously furry in other patches and dressed in the sort of careless way one does dress if it’s just you and the Lurgi at home. I drop the package and leave and no one bats an eyelid, but there seem to be an awful lot of funny things where I just was a couple of seconds ago.
The box at my father’s is indeed a very big box. I can see why he wanted it out of his house. And now it is in mine. And it’s a very good thing: A seven-guitar guitar rack.
Now I know what you’re thinking, anyone who needs a seven-guitar guitar rack is more urgently in need of having his hands sliced off and fed to guppies pour encourager les autres not to be so … ugh. And I agree that it’s a tad Rockist, but will actually come in useful. I’m not a collector, as I always tell people, I’m an accumulator. I have an accumulation of guitars. And guitar cases of course. I can keep the guitars in the cases, but then I keep tripping over the cases. I can put the cases away, but then I have expensive musical instruments lying all over. I could, I suppose, put the cases away with the guitars in until such a time that I want to play one of them at which point I take it out of the case and put the case away and then when I’ve finished playing I could retrieve the case, put the guitar in it and then put the case away again, but the problem with this is that… well… it wouldn’t happen.
And then you pat me gently on the hand and say “John, the problem is not the seven-guitar guitar rack. The problem is the seven guitars”. And I say “Ah.” And if you are The Bean, you say “No, not ‘ah'”.
Phil and Janet come and pick me up at 6:30 and we go off to the Vortex for the October visit to Pirate Jenny’s. This time I’m taking the Godin/VG88 combo to pretend to be an acoustic guitar. Everywhere there are the wonderful road works that are making life such a pleasure for us.
We get to the Vortex and set up and soundcheck and then when the soundcheck is done I go downstairs with it to the gallery to tweak the patches. I find a nice 12-string one, for example, for Phil to use on the songs that he plays on. I am so distracted by this that I miss the first set (Katrina Rublowska).
I reassemble my gear during the break. It’s quite a quiet night, partly because of the Tube strike (which started at 8:00 and goes on until the same time tomorrow) partly because the Vortex has been closed and there might be some doubt about it, and PJ’s has changed its night from Monday to Tuesday.
Des does a few (including Stupid People) and then we’re on.
I think what makes it difficult is that everything (getting on, changing guitars, getting off again) seems to take ages. There’s a long wait before the first song, for example. And then there’s the at-arm’s-length-ness about the VG88. Apparantly it sounds alright out there, but even the best patches (and I’ve checked them all) sound quite plastic in the foldback. And I can’t hear the bass. Moan Moan, grumble grumble. Besides, I’m sitting right next to the P.A. and if I wanted more bass in the foldback I could have given it to myself. For the first half of The Laughing Song I use a completely horrible sound.
But it’s fun as usual, despite my petty carping. We’ve done Set-with-new-songs-in-it at the Vortex, and now the Autumn can begin in earnest.