Friday, 27 November 2009

Straynotes at The Forum

Andy will provide the caption. Meanwhile here are the Straynotes at The Forum with Paul on bass and special guest Hugh Stanners on accordion. Andy may have had an inkling but his appearance took Paul and me by surprise and made the evening very special.

Even the arrival of the fire brigade couldn't dampen things: we really were on fire.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Dragon Hall

So on Monday it was the mediaeval Dragon Hall. The first time I've played there (although the ubiquitous Andy probably has) and the first with new bass man Paul Fitzgerald. It was also the first time I've played on the same bill as a Chinese dragon dancing display. Lots of people were snapping away while my camera was stuck in my bag. I gave our card to at least four photographers who each promised me pictures of the event. So as soon as they arrive...

Meanwhile here are some pics of the Dragon Hall by day.

And then tonight we play at the Forum.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Expect the unexpected

'Expect the unexpected' was the phrase my eleven year old brought back from school the other day. Whatever the day had really been about was overshadowed by the fact that the kids didn't have to wear their school uniforms. To me the phrase translates as 'Be prepared!'- the scouting motto. To this end Andy and I have been digging out the Christmas tunes (and jokes- Yule love this one... just kidding) in case of playing at store promotions. We haven't had that kind of gig since the credit crunch began but one never knows.

One surprise is being asked to play for Adrian Ramsay's election campaign launch at the mediaeval Dragon Hall next week. It has to be said, Adrian has a good chance of unseating the incumbent, former home secretary Charles Clarke, in the general election. Charles has certainly taken him seriously enough to demonstrate a sudden interest in local issues. If Britain is going to get its first Green Party member of parliament next May then it will probably happen in Norwich South.

This will be our first gig with Paul Fitzgerald on double bass and will make a useful warm-up (no disrespect, Adrian) for a more public performance in Marzano's at the iconic Forum in Millennium Plain on Thursday. The shops stay open late on Thursdays and, given that there are only so many shopping days left before Christmas, there should be a few people about for that show. So many of our gigs involve being musical wallpaper. I'm not complaining - we take our wallpaper very seriously, especially the musical kinds - but it's great to really perform once in a while and on Thursday night we'll be kranking out the klezmer in ways only an acoustic trio can. If you can make it down, expect the unexpected. Mazel Tov! Jonathan.

Friday, 13 November 2009

In the studio

Yesterday Jonathan and I went back into Ashwood studios to mix 7 tunes we recorded last July. Despite my anxiety about going into the studio, something that has come through years of sound engineers telling me red is black, we had a really productive and positive time. Thanks Sotos! Sotos made light work of our head sratching, ear splitting problems and I am hoping the master copy will sound great too.

I forgot to take my camera along so I have drawn a picture for you all to look at of Sotos hard at work at the mixing desk (yes, thats what it is). As you can see I haven't paid as much attention to my drawing skills as my guitar playing.