Category Archives: Blogs

Remember Live Aid?

I was on You Tube and came across this performance by Queen, seems an age but it is judged as the best performance amongst all the artists who appeared that day on both sides of the Atlantic, I can’t disagree with that, plug plug I have a channel on You Tube as well 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/user/brandyandcoke?feature=mhee

Advertisements

How to make a guitar …. the Gibson way.

A few years ago I visited America and was fortunate to see Graceland and then the Gibson guitar factory in Memphis. The girls in our party went off shopping which left me in peace for a few hours. As well the guitar factory in Memphis there is a Rock n Roll museum which absorbed me for about 2hrs you get a pair of headphones and a kind of Star Trek type gadget so that whichever particular piece of history you looked at music from that time was played through the headphones, cool.

But the Gibson factory was something else, I play guitar, to what level I will let my neighbours argue over 🙂 so this was a great place to immerse myself in. It was a guided tour and our guide had some good stories to tell about the various rock n roll stars who visited the place. The one I liked as a certain very well known guitarist of one of the biggest Rock n Roll bands of the era visiting and just pointing to each guitar on show that he liked, he ended up with 12, then left his entourage to pay the bill.

So how is a guitar made? With care and precision, we were told that you could, at one time, get a slight seconds Gibson guitar, there might have been an imperfection somewhere so you got a great discount and a great deal. Some new owners took over and stopped all that, each guitar that left the factory had to be perfect, no seconds allowed, pity I might have come home with 12 guitars 🙂

Our guide started off with a supermarket trolley load of ‘bits’ as he called them.

A wider view of the factory.

The many ‘bits’ laid around.

The guitars take shape.

Then of course meticulously sprayed.

Now they are something more recognizable.

Then the finished articles, but before they get to this stage they are checked, by hand, we saw a woman with a pair of gloves on who had been doing this job for years. She checked the paintwork by moving her hands over the guitar body for blemishes or other imperfections, remember, no seconds. We never saw them being strung, or at least I didn’t so maybe I missed that bit.

One of the many variations of Gibson, Gibson Les Paul and Epiphone guitars in their shop.

I had to be dragged out screaming from this shop my wife came back and said no you can’t have one 🙂

The nearest I’ll come to actually having one of these I think, although the guy in the shop offered me a very good deal, including shipping to the UK, just a pity my wife came back before I could hand over my credit card LOL.

 

 

Arise Sir …. no but I have an award.

I have been nominated, by Le Drake Noir for an award and its the 7×7 Link Award.

But there conditions attached which have taken me a while to work out but I think I have done ok, well I did try. So thanks to Le Drake and here are my adherence to the conditions.

1. Tell everyone something about yourself that no one else knows.

Answer: I am going to be a granddad yet again, hopefully October.

2: Link to a post of your own, you think fits the following categories: The Most Beautiful Piece, Most Helpful Piece, Most Popular Piece, Most Controversial Piece, Most Surprisingly Successful Piece, Most Underrated Piece, Most Pride-worthy Piece.

And now my nominations in order they appear on the list above.

morezenow Summer Loving Happened So Fast

DonInMassachusetts Don In Massachusetts

Angela Shella So Glad You Exist

Daniel C Doolan Wildlife in the Lough, Cork

Customtripplanning Back Street Wanderings

Bucket List Publications A Million Dollar View

scousepov Oil, shit, and fish and chips

So once again, thanks Le Drake, it does give a lift to know that your efforts are not totally ignored.

Toads, not frogs, Toads.

A while back now the City of Hull celebrated the the life and death of one Philip Larkin. A poet of some renown and also Librarian of the University of Hull, he became a Professor in 1982, he died in 1985, (a little more about him here)  Of Philips poems two were named Toads and Toads Revisited and to commemorate his achievements, artists, school’s, colleges and other organisations were asked to design a toad of their own so that they could be placed around the city.

What seemed at first to be a crackpot idea turned out to be very popular indeed, in fact one such toad was damaged, (Punkphibian, more of which later) by whom we know not, but such was the outrage that the said toad was repaired in next to no time and calm was restored. Eventually these toads were auctioned off for charity even though many people wanted them to be a permanent feature. Many people spent many hours designing their own toad, it really did capture the imagination.

Each toad had its own name some may be obvious others not so, 40 toads in total scattered around the City of Hull, some in the centre, others in the outlying areas all now in private hands. To give you an idea as to what all this was about I’ll start off with what many regarded as the star of the whole lot, and being right in the centre of Hull meant it got a lot of attention and at times too much attention as someone took his hair, but it was soon restored. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls I give you Punkphibian.

Cute eh? 🙂

and a side view. I’ve no idea who chose the names, maybe the artist who designed them, but there were all certainly popular.

Kiss Me Quick this one was called and was housed in a Prospect shopping centre (mall).

Labyrinth on my back, colourful don’t you think?

Lobelia Toad, this one sat in Queens Gardens a haven of greenery in the center of the city.

Reflective Colours toad, quite like this one myself.

Intricate art work.

Cool man 🙂

And the Larkin toad itself.

I think you get the idea now like this one is called Tannery Toad as was situated outside what was a tannery. This link here give a news item on the toads by the local BBC, as it is there have been calls to do something similar in the future, as I said at first the idea was ridiculed, then people became quite fond of them and eventually were sad to see them go. If my memory serves me right Mr Punkphibian went for £3,500, Lobelia Toad fetched the most £3,600 all for charity.

Another coastline of Spain. Costa Del Sol (Part 2)

As I mentioned in the previous post the sun did return, not a lot of it but it did reappear sporadically. Torremolinos has a long promenade and when the weather is good its bars and cafes make for wonderful walk. Mind you there will be company, thousands all have the same idea but that seems to be feature of the Costas, people just stroll up and down, sometimes stopping off for a meal or a drink, or try to find a bench and just sit in the sun, relaxation I think its called.

If you walk far enough you will come to the next place along the coast, Benalmadena. A similar place to Torremolinos and another gathering point for many Brits. What these places also have are parks usually beautiful parks, we tried to visit the one in Torremolinos but we were early and it was closed, well it doesn’t open so early in a winter I should say. But the one in Benalmadena was open and its called Parque De La Paloma. Its a haven for wildlife and, if you know about these things, cactus.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but is it cacti?, cactus?, catcuses? goodness knows but there are quite a few variations, I’ll stop rabbiting on and show some pictures.

Yes this is a cacti? cactus? whatever but some more pictures follow.

I will state here and now I know nothing about these things, (flowers?) but they look mighty threatening should you fall amongst them, prickly doesn’t come into it.

As you can see there is a whole area dedicated to this species and up to now all I had seen throughout my life is one cactus in a pot on its own.

I think that’s enough of these plants, would you believe I never felt compelled to touch one the whole time I was there? No chance 🙂

But the main feature of the park were the animals, my main fascination were the peacocks, but we also saw cats, goats and emu’s. I was hoping that the peacock would open its feathers so I could see for myself what I had seen in pictures so many times, the beautiful plume. Well I kept my distance and this peacock was not playing ball with me.

Nope.

Nope.

Well at least I can see a glimpse of those feathers.

Even the Emu wandered what I was doing, or was it wondering if those feathers would show?

Then damn it, it opened its feathers but turned its back on me, I’m sure he? she? was playing games with me.

But then the peacock started to turn around and I started to wet myself in anticipation.

Yessssssssssss.

And yesssssssssss again 🙂

This was just awesome but for some diversion I’ve messed about with this last picture, see what you think.

A bit different 🙂

And finally.

But that peacock made my day, I had been following the thing for quite a while, gave up and went to the cacti, then came back. Came across the emu at some point but the peacock was my main focus and my perseverance paid off. I did mention we tried the park in Torremolinos but it was closed, the main road nearby lead up to a bridge so I walked up and managed to take this picture.

Shame it was closed, looks an interesting place, maybe another time, who knows?

Another coastline of Spain. Costa Del Sol.

For many traveling British people visiting Spain the vast majorities head for the coast or Costas. The main ones seem to be the Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, Costa Blanca and Costa Del Sol basically one long stretch of Spanish coastline with many sandy beaches and coves. The big advantage over windswept Britain is the weather, sunshine, and at times a lot of it. Plus the fact that from the 1960’s onward many of the coastal regions of Spain have been transformed from what were fishing villages and small holiday/vacation resorts for the Spanish, into multil story hotels and bars to cater for the British invasion.

On the one hand the money the British, and other nationals, have brought to the region has enabled jobs and investment in infrastructure, as to whether the Spanish feel the same way is another matter only the Spanish themselves can answer that one. Looking at some old pictures of the Costa’s coastline I can see that many places were unspoilt wilderness and hardly anything else. But the following pictures are from the Costa Del Sol and the resort of Torremolinos.

We decided to take a winter break to get away from the snow and the ice of the UK, which was fine, for the first day. We landed, hazy sunshine and mild weather greeted us, but not for long. The next day, and for the rest of the holiday storms lashed the coast and instead of the ice and snow of the UK we had the cloud, wind and rain of the Spanish Costa’s. You win some you loose some we made the most of our stay by going on a couple of trips, Blanket Trips.

What? Basically its a trip where you have a sales demonstration lasting a couple of hours or so and many products are shown to you that you may order and have sent to you when you get home. They tend to be products aimed at the older generation to help them with their ailments like special wool blankets, mattresses, housecoats, slippers, gloves, an assortment of wearable items to help with the old age problems of aches and pains. You don’t have to buy, just sit through the spiel and get a drink in the process, and when its all over you are taken on a tour with a couple of hours to explore the Spanish countryside, all free. So Torremolinos is a large holiday/vacation resort but during the winter season many places close down so it is sparse compared to the summer and even more so after the thunderstorms struck. (Click on the pictures to get a larger version).

Hazy sunshine and calm, at first.

But slowly the cloud increased, this is the main beach area obviously and in a summer would be full of people enjoying the sun.

Then this happened, but it still provided some photographic opportunities and a different perspective from the sunny beach type thing.

Despite the gloom I was quite excited seeing what was happening around me in the place due to the absence of the sun. The seagulls had the beach to themselves and this flock took off as they noticed me getting a bit too close, it was an awesome sight.

I would have thought that these were perfect conditions for surfers, but I didn’t see any. There was a strong wind and the waves did come crashing ashore, at times it blew me about, but seeing those seagulls dancing in the air and seeming to relish the conditions certainly made up for any lack of sunshine.

A bustling resort, deserted, the above picture but one is just a small stretch of the whole area and the one above is the beautiful boating harbour which is like a mini town of its own complete with shops and bars. The sun did return, eventually, but that is for another time.

Hull – England – UK

Addendum: First posted 15th January 2012.

Hull? Kingston Upon Hull to give its full title. Well for a little background here are some pictures of Hull, a city on the east coast of England, about 200 miles from London and in what is normally called the North of England. A port, and once a fishing port of importance but that’s all gone now, overnight ferries take people backwards and forwards to Holland and Belgium all the year round and an airport, Humberside is not far away.

Surrounded by rolling countryside of the county of East Yorkshire and a historical link to many pieces of English history, not least the Civil War between Parliament and The King, Charles 1st. The pictures are mainly of the city centre and the house of one William Wilberforce, a local MP who was instrumental for laws helping abolish slavery during his lifetime.

Hull City Centre

Hull City Centre.

Princes Quay.

Hull Marina.

Posterngate, one of the streets of the old town.

Statue of William Wilberforce, MP for Hull many years ago.

Part of the Wilberforce house.

More rooms of Wilberforce House.

Beautiful house.

Holy Trinity Church in the heart of the city.

Beautiful interior.

Holy Trinity again.

Hull in the height of summer.

Good work by the gardeners.

A little shade from the summer heat.

I have other pictures and at some point will post those pictures.