stevelawson.net

Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



30 somehow…

December 30th, 2002 · Comments Off on 30 somehow…

So here I am, 30 years and two days old. And feeling every bit of those two days over 30…

Anyway, the rest of my birthday was fine – went to a party at Hoda’s in the evening (Hoda = lovely chap who works for Ashdown, throws good parties, and is a top chum), which was great fun, especially as Oroh was there (Oroh = fab bass-playing talkathon, and top chum). I hadn’t seen Oroh in ages, so it was great to be able to catch up.

The rest of the last few days at home has been split between sleeping (I’m heading towards an almost aged-felinesque sleep pattern – today, got up at 1!!), watching episodes of ‘Phoenix Nights’ on video, and sitting up very late watching the current late night trinity of The Office, Buzzcocks and I Love The 80s – all fine viewing, though it does mean we’ve been going to be after 2 each night, and The Small Person is working today… it’s fine for me sleeping in til 1pm, but not when she has to be up at 8…

Anyway, the office tidying has begun, finally – so far that means I’ve put away some CDs, and thrown out a couple of boxes of old flyers from past gigs. Oh, and taken lots of cups to be washed into the kitchen (next jobs – tidy kitchen and check cat tray).

The California gig list is just about complete – promoter-Dan has done the most amazing job on getting all these gigs, in such varied places and with varied lineups. It’s going to be so much fun!

So what’s on for the rest of the week? Some teaching, more tidying, sort out my tax return thingie, arranging the specifics of my trip to the states (accomodation, travel in and around CA, getting money changed up, etc…), and sending out more copies of ‘Not Dancing’ for review and radio – it’s been kind of slow, due to the CD coming out in the middle of the Level 42 tour, but I need to kick it into gear now…

right, off to do some tidying!

Soundtrack – lots more ‘Bright Sized Life’, India Arie ‘Acoustic Soul’, some unreleased Andre LaFosse MP3s (very good indeed), and ‘Southern Hummingbird’ by Tweet (Missy Elliott protege who’s quite good, if a little rude at times!)

Tags: Uncategorized

They say it's your birthday…

December 28th, 2002 · Comments Off on They say it's your birthday…

…it’s my birthday too, yeah!!!

HappybirthdaytomeHappybirthdaytome
HappybirthdaydearmeHappybirthdaytome!

Thanks very much for the birthday emails – very nice, even those of you that thought it was yesterday, for some reason… :o)

It’s been a very fine day thus far – got up about 10 past 1pm, opened my pressies (loads of books and the Phoenix Nights video) – watched Phoenix Nights (very very very funny indeed. Peter Kay is a genius), then…. tidied the house!! That classic birthday celebratory tradition… :o)

So, I’m 30, and loving it. I no longer trust anything I’m told by mere children in their 20s, people obviously without the experience required to offer advice on anything. People who are 30, however, are brimming with the perfect balance of wisdom, whilst still retaining so much youthful vitality and energy. Which reminds me, it’s time for my nap…

What were those books, I hear you ask… Frank Skinner by Frank Skinner, The Benn Diaries by Tony Benn, Radical Then, Radical Now by Jonathan Sacks (the chief rabbi), Like Water On A Stone (the story of Amnesty International) by Jonathan Power, Some Luck by John Bird (the story of the Big Issue)… I’ve got so much fantastic reading material for this year, it’s fantastic! Along with the ones I got for Christmas, I’ve got about a years worth of great books… all those things I’ve been meaning to read for ages are going back on the shelf, I’m afraid…

Found out the other day that I share my birthday with none other than the lovely Sid Smith, King Crimson Biographer, on-line diarist, and delightful geordie chap. Must’ve been a good day to be born, though I suspect Sid was born a couple of years before me… If you know Sid as well, do wish him a happy birthday – we’ve exchanged birthday emails, which was nice… :o)

Just had a look at the main forum’s page of talkbass.com which lists all of today’s birthdays of the members – lots of birthdays, but no-one else who’s 30.

So for the rest of the day? Well, I’ve just watched one of the heats of World’s Strongest Man – back when I was a kid, it was seriously one of the highlights of the TV year for my brother and I to sit down and watch Geoff Capes competing in this most bizarre of competitions. It all comes flooding back, so I think I’ll watch the next heat in about half an hour… Geoff Capes, incidentally, now keeps budgies and lives in Lincolnshire… so there you go – stay of the weights, kids, they’ll only lead down to a dark (yet brightly coloured and feathered) place…

Soundtrack – for the last couple of days, I’ve been listening to Prefab Sprout’s ‘Steve McQueen’, Patrice Rushen’s ‘Straight From The Heart’, Theo Travis’ ‘Heart Of The Sun’ and Pat Metheny’s ‘Bright Sized Life’ – marvellous music all round.

Right, off to catch the next heat of World’s Strongest Man… grrrrrrr

Tags: Uncategorized

Christmas time, no mistletoe, no wine

December 26th, 2002 · Comments Off on Christmas time, no mistletoe, no wine

…just a very relaxed day, watching TV and videos, cooking and eating nice food and not doing very much at all!!

Went to church in the morning, which was fun and chaotic in the usual style of Christmas day services, came home and started our now traditional pattern of eating one course every three hours throughout the day. Started off with soup and garlic bread. That was after opening the pressies – I got a couple of books (Rich Hall’s autobiography, and Vanishing Footprints, subtitled ‘native voices speak’ it’s a book of gorgeous photos of indigenous people from around the world, telling their own story. Beautiful), the new Eddie Izzard video , Circle, which is very good, especially the hour and half of his Paris show, in French. The set from New York is very funny, but he comes across as slightly out of practice with standup, having spent so long in hollywood… and some other bits ‘n’ bobs.

Dinner was nut roast with a homemade spicey tomato, red pepper, mushroom and onion sauce, steamed veg and jacket potato (mmmm, delish!!), followed by watching the Izzard vid…

Oh, we watched Christmas top of the pops – was it worse than usual or am I just nearly 30??? 80% of the stuff on there seemed to be teenage girls dressed as hollywood hookers, singing out of tune. What on earth has happened to the record buying public??? On ‘I love 1984’ last night, there was a bit about the soul/jazz revival of ’84, with some talking head or other mentioning that it was a backlash to the rubbishness of pop at the time. Here’s hoping that something similar happens to end the reality TV horse-shit that seems to be taking over the charts. for the two biggest selling singles of the year to be Will Young and Gareth Gates is just nonsense. It’s not even like they sold because they were lowest-common-denominator catchy pop tunes – I’d rather see some PWL pre-fab crap there – they are there purely because of the exposure and media manipulation of the Pop Idol TV show. The songs themselves are sub-Barry Manilow bland MOR holiday camp bollocks. Grrrrrr.

Here I am listening to Theo Travis – outstanding saxophonist, playing original, moving, music, beautifully written and played and selling a few thousand copies, as opposed to the millions shifted by the losers. No, I’m not expecting Theo to start selling millions (he’d have to bland-out for that to happen), but it’d be nice if radio in particular, and TV programmers started to give some air time to quality music regardless of formatting and dull stylistic constraints…

Right, rant over.

I’m knackered at the moment, thanks to having taken the small persons car out of the drive with the intention of getting it valeted as an extra christmas pressie, only to have it stall on the road, and then have to try and push it back onto the drive, failing miserably but pulling lots of muscles in the process, then having to tow it back up with my car (which didn’t like that at all – I’m lucky I didn’t wreck the chassis!!). My muscles are aching like anything, and my shoulder is bruised from trying to push it.

Now it sounds like I’ve had a pain-filled misery-christmas, complaining about pop-nonsense. Not true. I’ve had a marvellous time, very relaxing. The Office is being repeated nightly at the moment, and is outstanding – Ricky Gervais is one of the most talented comics to emmerge in this country for quite a while…

Soundtrack – currently Theo’s album (see above), I’ve also been playing the MINIDISC of Theo and I playing together from Monday a lotl; I bought ‘Acoustic Soul’ by India.Arie for the Small Person for Christmas, and that’s excellent, really enjoying that, and I finally bought ‘Steve McQueen’ by Prefab Sprout on CD (very cheap from www.101cd.com ) – one of my all time faves…

BTW, Evil Harv can now be reached at evilharv@evilharv.com should you have any questions about all things eville… his evil blog will no doubt emmerge soon… :o)

Tags: Uncategorized

Festive Felicitations

December 24th, 2002 · Comments Off on Festive Felicitations

….Not being quite as creative as the Aged Feline, I’ve just posted an end of year round-up thingie in the news section on my site, read it there if you want to and if you haven’t received it by email already…

Aged Feline says thanks for all the emails (and I’m wondering what kind of people I’m writing for, who would email Christmas wishes to a cat… :o)

Soundtrack – Joni Mitchell – ‘Travelogue’, Duke Ellington/Ray Brown – ‘This One’s For Blanton’ (Ray Brown’s death was one of the saddest days in the bass world this year – a true, bona-fide 110% legend of the instrument), Bruce Cockburn – ‘Nothing But A Burning Light’, Incognito – ‘Positivity’, and the minidisc of me and Theo Travis from yesterday, which is fab…

Tags: Uncategorized

Strange things afoot…

December 22nd, 2002 · Comments Off on Strange things afoot…

…I was just handed this by a 10inch tall furry four-legged chap that wandered into my office, I’m assuming it’s for you lot…

very strange…

Feel free to email best wishes for the season to
theagedfeline@steve-lawson.co.uk

Tags: Uncategorized

Curry, Theatre and the run up to Christmas

December 22nd, 2002 · 3 Comments

The Deep 2 Deep curry was great fun – organised by Wulf (and yes, he has brothers called Magnus and Leofrick…), 6 of us went out for curry. a fine time. Is having curry ever not a fine time? Wulf also had a CD of his bootleg of the Bass Centre clinic that I did with Michael Manring last month – not bad quality, so I’ll see if I can clean it up in Soundforge and put some of it on the website… We’ll see…

Anyway, Saturday was a great day too – not-at-all-evil-Dann proved his not-at-all-evilness by inviting me to the theatre to see The Play Wot I Wrote, at the Wyndhams theatre near Leicester Square (has evil harv ever taken me to the theatre? I think not… proving his evility) Anyway, the play was brilliant – lots of marvellous physical comedy, top gags, Morcambe and Wise routines (that’s the major theme of the play)… all great stuff. Why don’t I go to the theatre more often? It’s great! I really ought to… there’s new year’s resolution number 3 (the rest will be revealed at new year…)

Anyway, theatre followed by dinner with Dann and his not-at-all-evil family. Then home.

Also started reading Further Along The Road Less Travelled again – what a great book – a fantastic followup to ‘The Road Less Travelled’, sort of a bringing together of thinking on physcology and religion… fascinating stuff. I do like the way Scott Peck’s mind works, and will have to work my way through the rest of his stuff in the next year (Resolution #4?)

Found another cool 80s computer game on line – this time it’s Bomb Jack – not as addictive as the Helicopter Game (I’ve now got about 1760 on it, and the addictiveness of it is testified to by the thread that has been going on in the Miscillaneous forum at www.activebass.com about it!!

Today was the St Luke’s Nativity at church – always a pretty anarchic affair (particularly a couple of years ago when it was re-written to reference psycho half way through, Norman Bates having become the inn keeper!!!!) – the kiddies were on top form, and a fine time was had by all.

Then home to do the Christmas Food Shop. Asda was packed (shouldn’t have gone there…)

Soundtrack – a bit more of Gary Peacock/Ralph Towner, then the new Joni Mitchell CD, ‘Travelogue’ which is a series of orchestra + voice versions of her back catalogue. Her last album was her doing a load of standards with a couple of her own tunes thrown in which were the best tunes on the CD, heralding the way for this. It’s gorgeous, lush, sumptuous and a slight shame that there’s no new material on it at all. Very lovely indeed, and beautifully packaged, with lots of Joni’s paintings on the sleeve. And now I’m listening to Beauty And The Beast by Jez and me, which is also very good – you can download it from the MP3s page on the site, if you like, as a christmas pressie from Jez and I. It’s not available anywhere else…

Tags: Uncategorized

Clocks go winding down…

December 20th, 2002 · 1 Comment

Is it just me, or does everything just slow down in the run up to Christmas (or ‘holidays’ as most americans seem to have euphamistically rechristened it)? I’ve got lots that I really ought to be getting on with, but can’t get motivated at all… I really need to get working on my tax self-assessment (oh yeah, Steve, they really want to read about that, you loser…), and could do some other admin stuff, tidy my office, practice, learn more about the Echoplex (and there’s much to learn), but instead I cuddle the cat (OK, that’s worthwhile, I’ll give you that), surf the net (the usual suspects – talkbass.com, activebass.com, thedudepit.com, level42webdigest.com, ashdownmusic.co.uk, modulusguitars.com, krimson-news.com and other stuff from my links page…)

then I play the helicopter game (got 1768 today), followed by Chuckie Egg, followed by something to eat, followed by more cuddles with the cat, followed by some washing up (to assuage the guilt… hang on, harv, I’m I making up words again??), and here I am…

Tonight is the Deep 2 Deep Christmas curry – lots of cuddly bassists and some of their partners having curry and talking nonsense. What fun, I’m very much looking forward to it.

Before then I need to get to the vets to buy more cat food (of the renal variety), and maybe pick up a jar of coffee as well somewhere along the way (which means a trip to Asda as none of the little shops near us stock cafe-direct or clipper… question, is it worse to buy fair trade coffee from a multinational, or multinational coffee from a corner shop???? Oh, the moral maze in which we find ourselves!!!!)

Anywa, I guess even in writing this, I’ve convinced myself to get off my sorry ass and do SOMETHING – probably visit the vets, as that’s the most pressing thing…

BTW, a tip for last minute pressies – www.sendacow.com – an infinitely better idea that piling yet more crap that nobody needs into your relatives ‘presents to give away again next year’ cupboard…

Soundtrack – an interesting musical day. Started with Prince, ‘Sign Of The Times’, both discs (good stuff), followed by a CD by a group called Pocket, featuring a student of mine on bass. Interesting stuff – the guitarists are usually ‘free’ players in the LMC sense of the term, but this is their ‘tunes’ album – got a bizarre nursery rhyme quality to it that I’m not sure if I like or not, but Chris’ bass playing is very good… And now I’m listening to ‘Oracle’ by Gary Peacock/Ralph Towner; this is the first of their duo CDs, and I know the second one much better (A Closer View), but just about everyone I speak to prefers this one, so I’ll give it a few spins and see what occurs… :o)

feel free to send chivvying messages to me throughout the day, encouraging me in a polite and friendly way to do some f-ing work!!!!

Tags: Uncategorized

What a day for a daydream…

December 19th, 2002 · Comments Off on What a day for a daydream…

Started the day taking The Aged Feline to the vets. No easy task when the Small Person’s car wouldn’t start… Anyway, got there, Aged Feline is just fine, brought him home, and discovered that he loves beef flavoured cat food more than chicken… obviously tackling whole cows has previously precluded him indulging this little love of his…

After that, was teaching, all fine, and doing some more sorting out of gigs in for California in Jan (or rather, Dan was doing all the work, emailing me to say ‘is that OK’ and I emailed back saying ‘yes, that’s fine, you’re fab’ or words to that effect. (lots more CA dates on the gigs page…)

After that, set about posting info about those dates all over the place, taking time to play the Helicopter game for 10 minutes in between…

Posted off today’s orders, cooked dinner (veggie fajitas – ingredients – 3 onions, one leek, one courgette, one green pepper, large handful of mushrooms, 4 large tomatoes, two fresh chillies, handful of fresh coriander, tumeric, cumin, mild chilli, cayenne pepper, thai spice, tomato puree and quorn pieces. Serve with salsa and plain yoghurt in a flour tortilla… :o) practiced a bit, then found a downloadable version of chuckie egg and had 10 mins playing that… It’s amazing how no matter how good computer game animation gets, Chuckie Egg or Manic Miner, or Horace Goes Skiing will always capture my imagination in a way that Lara Croft or Mortal Kombat never will… I’m so not into computer games, except for nostalgia… :o)

anyway, time for bed

Soundtrack – three CDs today, Moby ’18’ (first time I heard this I thought it was a bag of poo. Giving it a second listen, it’s much better. Played it three times today), Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ – fished this out to do a couple of the tunes with a student yesterday – recently voted best album of all time in Q. Well, that’s bollocks, but it is rather good. And finally, Lewis Taylor’s first album – a much more realistic proposition for the title of greatest album of all time. Outstanding, marvellous, cantsayenoughgoodthingsaboutit. Get it, if you haven’t already. It’s a masterpiece. He’s got a new one out, I’ve not got yet. Must investigate.

Tags: Uncategorized

More news on the aged feline…

December 18th, 2002 · Comments Off on More news on the aged feline…

Well, no more fits or seizures thus far from the little fella, and we’re taking him to the vets tomorrow morning… finger’s crossed he’ll be fine.

I’m my official capacity as his administrative assistant, I’ve been tending to his material needs – following him around with bowls of food, administering snuggles when required… He seems to be rather happy with the situation, though I need to talk to him about a pay rise…

Last night I went to the Kashmir Klub – the best acoustic music venue in London. Tony Moore who runs it has done more for live music in London in the last few years than just about anyone, and the quality is usually pretty high… Last night, the attraction for us (me, James from Deli, Si and Heli Jones) was Cathy Burton, who went down a storm at Greenbelt this year. She was pretty good. I do wish that more acoustic singer/songwriters would give some thought to the arrangements of their guitar playing – why do so many people seem to be happy with just strumming obvious chord shapes all the time??? It’s like band-in-a-box in terms of the inventiveness factor. It doesn’t take much to make the guitar part sound like it’s meant to be there, rather than just being there for something to do with your hands. Listen to Martyn Joseph or Bruce Cockburn, or Jonatha Brooke and you hear some masterful guitar work that can only add to the impact of the song. So often, fine songs are delivered in a rather limp way due to the unimaginative arranging…

anyway, rant over…

Today has been a teaching/admin (on behalf of me and aged felin) and blobbing day – neuralgia attack last night is only just wearing off (nasty pain down the left side of my head and face) after taking lots of vit B12…

Also, I registered a couple of new domain names for this site – www.stevelawson.net and www.steve-lawson.com – just in case people either a) don’t know what .co.uk means, or b) type the wrong thing into their machine (I can’t get stevelawson.com, as that belongs to a man with a big hammer who sells houses…)

Teaching again at 7 tonight.

Soundtrack – listening to ‘Not Dancing…’ a lot over the last couple of days, and enjoying it immensly I’m pleased to say. Also had Living Colour’s ‘Biscuits EP’ on in the car last night – must be 7 years at least since I last heard that. Very fine it was too.

Tags: Uncategorized

Link 182

December 17th, 2002 · Comments Off on Link 182

First up, a couple of sites you might want to have a look at, if you’re wanting to kill some time before doing all those things you really ought to be getting on with…

Fly The Copter – is a java game, and is rather addictive…

world’s dullest blog – you thought you were already reading it. Think again.

While we’re on the subject of ‘blogs, check out George and Gemini’s cat-blog at catchat.org – marvellous stuff!

Pacman – Ben Castle’s website, aside from having all the musical info you need about the man (which you really ought to check out), also has a java version of PacMan on it…!

What’s been happening? Well, The Aged Feline had another fit/seizure at 2.30 this morning. It’s really really traumatic to watch, as he seems to be in such pain – we’ve got a vets appt. for tomorrow, and I spoke to the vet yesterday, who said that it’s probably either blood pressure related, or to do with oxygen startvation… either way, it’s pretty worrying, and really distressing to watch, knowing that all you can do is cuddle him until it goes away (following him being sick and crapping everywhere)… weird thing is, he seems fine about an hour later… Still, I’ll be keeping a close eye on him today, checking in on him during the day… I’m hoping he’ll come and sleep down here in the office, in front of a toasty warm fire… we’ll see… I’ll have to tempt him with some quorn or red pepper (fave aged feline snacks…)

Last night was the Last Orders Christmas Curry – which was great, and all the more remarkable as Last Orders doesn’t really exist any more, and I haven’t really been involved since August 2001… It was, in its heyday, the rather groovy late night cabaret/music/comedy/nonsense show at Greenbelt, headed up by top comedy writer James Cary (Jam). Last night was me, evil harv, Jam, Jude and Andy Turner. A fine evening was had by all…

Latest news seems to be that the PPP/PFI/Part privatisation of the tube is going to cost a heck of a lot more than leaving it in the public sector… no shit, sherlock! really? what a surpirse, considering all the other PPP schemes have ended costing the government shedloads of cash for shoddy end results. Good lord, has it taken them this long to realise what a total balls up the whole PPP thing is???? Just visit any PPP hospital, and see the fine wallpaper in rooms with too few beds, and lifts that won’t fit a bed in… Why did we vote for these fools??? New Labour, Old Tory… Go on, give the Lib-Dems a go next time, I dare you…

US tour dates for January are coming along nicely – another one confirmed for San Luis Obispo this morning… I have fairly unfavourable memories of SLO from my last visit there, namely because I went through it on my way from Sacramento to Big Sur!!!! (a detour of about 250 miles!!) having been told to head down 5 to Highway 1, but not realising that I was looking for a road to connect the two, not actually the point where they met (over a hundred miles south of where I needed to me..) – I was very late for the gig, which turned out to be fine after all, but did leave me with a bit of a stigma attached to the name ‘San Luis Obispo’… :o)

Soundtrack – yesterday, was listening to Squarepusher ‘Go Plastic’, crazy drum ‘n’ bass insanity – Tom Jenkinson AKA Squarepusher is a fab bassist, although there’s no live bass on this album at all… great stuff. Since then, been listening to Drastic Measures by Michael Manring – his first ‘great’ album (his first two albums have got some fine music on them, but this is where his ‘voice’ emmerged, beautifully produced by Steve Rodby) – a very very inspiring album, which I spent some time last night playing along with…

In the car last night I put on ‘Steve McQueen’ by Prefab Sprout – which is always a bad move, as it means nothing else will get a look-in for weeks. What an unbelieveably perfect album in every way imagineable!!! Great songs, great lyrics, fantastic production (Thomas Dolby), remarkable sounds and arrangements. All round magic. I’m planning on doing a coupe of solo arrangements of tunes from the CD… who knows it they’ll work… Maybe I should do an all-covers CD… :o) Any suggestions for things I should do? feel free to email them, or post them to the website guestbook (Evil Harv, control yourself…)

The rest of today? some playing, some accounting, meeting Simon Jones for lunch (nice man), and er, that’s it.

Oh, nasty news from this morning – a woman tripped over outside the house and broke her nose!! Blood everywhere, I got a knock on the door asking for frozen peas, which I fetched, along with a chair for the woman to sit on before the ambulance arrived. Poor thing, hope she’s OK…

Tags: Uncategorized