Category Archives: photos

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.

 

 

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.

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.

Liverpool – England (2)

Addendum: Originally posted 18th February 2012.

The first part was rather rushed, so I apologise for that, we have grandchildren sleeping over and my attention wandered somewhat. But this second part is much like the first, pictures/photos and an explanation. Liverpool was a vast port catering for the Atlantic Ocean trade of luxury liners transporting their passengers to the USA, of which the Titanic was one such ship. But all that has gone now but the docks area has had a massive investment program to make it into a very cosmopolitan shopping and eating place.

Other things have also changed since the early days of The Beatles, The Cavern being one such place. The original was cellar, heaving with bodies dripping in sweat and dancing to the music of various groups, including The Beatles. But it seems the original Cavern was not very health and safety friendly so it had to go and a ‘New’ Cavern was constructed, I believe using the original bricks and style of the old, but with modern features, not least air vents and fire escapes.

What has not changed is the history of the place and its place in music history you can always go to Wikipedia and get far more information than I can give suffice to say it made, along with Hamburg, The Beatles as we knew them.

The Cavern Club (not to be confused with the Cavern pub close by)

And of course memorablilia.

R.I.P. John, your place in history is secure along with the others.

And of course there are plenty of places to indulge in Beatle stuff of all kinds.

And finally.

I have more pictures, when I sort them out, so maybe a Part 3, who knows?