Tag: Saxaphone

Just musing.

Hi! I’ve just noticed that I’ve had 1,000 views of my blog! I’m a celebrity!

However, this will be my 103rd post, so I’m an unknown. 🙁

If you don’t follow me on Twitter let me tell you I’m loving my Kung Fu class. I’ve got my kit and I’m not afraid to pose in it!

It’s a pity the Beth couldn’t keep it up, it’s really spiffy. Don’t know that she’d have loved the last class though, swapping punches so your arm collides in defence/attack with your partner’s. It soon starts hurting and doesn’t stop!

Grin and bear it, it’s good for practice and it toughens you up.

I’m aching still though. And I’ve got bloody friction burns on my arse from all the sit ups! Again! All good though.

My sax lesson has had a positive turn around as well. When I went this week I had a few of the things that I have been struggling with come together. Then he turned the page to a new chapter and it was a checkpoint. Instead of learning something new it is three set pieces supposed to consolidate your learning to date.

As usual sax-sensei Pete pointed me at the new stuff and told me to have a go. It was for a complete change, a lot easier than the previous exercises. I didn’t do it perfectly, but for a first time, sight reading as I went along, it wasn’t too shabby.

I was quite pleased with myself, then he told me that the pieces were from a grade 4 exam! (Or level 4, I forget.)

The point being, these are pieces on which the student would train for months before an exam and I did a reasonable attempt first time out of the bag!

Not trying to blow my own trumpet here (if anything, my own sax) just saying how surprised and delighted I was.

Then he said now we’re at chapter 17 you can move on to ‘100 best tunes book’ or some such. Learning by playing songs, some of which I will already know, rather than by bending my mind around hideous exercises. If you recall, that was what I said I was going to leave my lessons to do in my last blog. So that it going swimmingly.

Here is something I found that seemed to be begging for the title ‘Ships Of The Desert’

Also on the pictures front, here is that Sisters of Mercy/ Merciful Release logo that I want as a tattoo

Groovy, or what?

Perhaps you have to love the band.

I’m currently enjoying a long weekend. I was off Thursday, in Friday, now off Saturday, Sunday and Monday! Bloody lovely.

On the subject of work, I have been moaning lately about being sent into the freezer all of the time. The place at which I work has the contract picking and delivering to the Iceland stores, so it’s not too unexpected that I would work in the freezer now and then. In point of fact I’ve been in there that often that I don’t even mind it that much.

However, what does piss me off is all the other pickers from grocery getting out of doing it by bringing in a sick note. This means the few of us who haven’t got a medical exclusion are always being sent in, whilst the others laugh at us. Everyone knows the job is for Iceland, that part of your job is working in the freezer and that most of the sick notes are bullshit, but nothing was being done about it.

Apparently if you are not fit to do your job that is reasonable grounds for dismissal, yet the company let it slide.

Anyway, because of it, I was in the freezer all but three days out of six weeks.

In the end I’d had enough. I went storming into the office and had about four different managers, up and down the chain of command, over it. (When I said I’d been moaning about it above, I meant at home and on t’internet, I’d just gotten on with it at work.)

They said that there was a review of the sick note situation coming up and the people who were laughing at me would be laughing on the other sides of their faces! And for once it looks like they may have been telling the truth!

The union rep said yesterday that they were going to refer all the sickies to the company medical review people and if they were found to be medically incapable of working in the freezer they would be given four weeks notice! HAH!

Yes, I am gloating.

They’ve all been keen enough to take the piss out of me and let me do the dirty work for them. As I said to one of the managers, I don’t want special treatment, I just want fair treatment.

There are an awful lot of sphincter’s twitching at work now. There is about to be the biggest incidence of miraculous recovery since the bible stories!

On the down side to this week, I’ve tried to register with the driving agencies around town and they don’t want to know!

Bugger.

If I haven’t escaped before, I’ll risk taking a temporary job in August. That will give me a few months experience.

Still, overall, it’s been a good week.

Later

Buck.

New Year!

Momentous milestones! We’ve all made it into 2010, it’s my first blog entry of the year and my one hundredth entry on MySpace.

Welcome to the new century!

I thought I’d summarise 2009, as pertains to Wendy and me, but first let me tell about last night.

Our neighbours, who, in fairness, rarely hold parties, told us they were having one on New Years Eve. Fair do’s again, if you can’t party in the new year, when can you?

Then they said they’d hired a DJ! A feckin’ DJ! Ours is a block of three houses, this neighbour is the one in the middle, so to all intents and purposes is in a terraced house. And they were hiring a DJ.

So we expected loud, and as they are into their cocaine, we expected it to go on a bit.

Happily Wendy’s brother, Peter, invited us around to see in the new year. This was welcome as Wendy gets really stressed out about noise nowadays.

We set off to Pete’s and Emma’s (his wife) at about eleven pm. (The ability to jump in the car whenever we feel like and the feeling of moral superiority are the best consolations for not drinking!)

We came home at about half past three, and next door were still at it! We went to bed by four am, and the music was only quiet, but because they were all coked up they were unaware of how loud they were being every time they went outside for a fag.

After a fitful sleep we got up at twelve noon and they were still going!

Respect to the quality of the product, but shit!

They started to disperse before one in the afternoon, now all is quiet.

We are tired and a bit miffed with them, but in the small mercies column, it’s only the fact that my day off happened to fall today that stopped me from having to get up at ten to five this morning.

OK, whinge over, back to the review.

Let me paint a word picture of this time last year; I was working in the De-kit department, I was still paying for training towards my HGV class II license having already failed the test two or three times, I was training in Taekwondo and Kung Fu but was having to decide between them because we were so poor, Wendy was still a volunteer at the Citizens Advice Bureau and we were unmarried.

Phew, how times change!

In January I passed my class II, to the relief and surprise of many. Then over the year I set about the class I (articulated lorry) training and tests. Many tests. There was the moment of high drama when it looked like we had run out of credit and I still hadn’t passed, then miraculously the credit card doubled our limit unbidden. (God bless those unscrupulous bastards!) Finally, in July, I passed.

The relief has never been so great! £ 5,615 to get both licenses. Worth every penny just to be free from the terror of having to take one more bloody test. Then from July to now I have been strung along by work that they would employ me as a driver. Five months!

On the subject of work, in January we in the de-kit department heard a rumour that we were being kicked out and being replaced by agency workers. This was dismissed by the management. We took unofficial industrial action and in the end they came clean that everything we’d heard was true. Thanks for the graft lads and screw you.

Back to order picking then for the rest of the year in ambient and, although they’d sworn it would not be the case, in the freezer.

Our works then is managed by lying bastards who’ll tell you anything to keep you sweet. Which is why I am applying for every driving job I see and not waiting for them to sort me out.

Wendy decided that 13 years was long enough as a trial and wanted to get married, which we duly did. We were still poor (still paying for the driver training, Wendy still unemployed) so it was a cheap and cheerful affair. That was fine by me, but it later transpired that Wendy wanted to make it something of an occasion.

Forgot to mention, Wendy was plump at the beginning of the year. She saw the wedding photo’s above and went on a diet for the best part of the rest of the year, losing three and a half stones! Go Wendy!

This is her now.

We took a week’s holiday in Scotland for a honeymoon, paid for out of everyone’s kind gifts of cash at the wedding. That was lovely.

I had a walk on part as an evil eco-bastard in the Gardeners World peat special. They asked me at the flower show if I used peat based compost, to which I replied that I just  used the cheapest as I am poor. They aired it!

Ho hum. Evil Bucky.

July was a double celebration for us, I finally passed the bloody HGV test and Wendy got a paid job with the C.A.B. as a trainee debt advisor, her favourite subject.

That was bloody splendid. I didn’t have to run up any more debt in the truck training (once you’ve started you can’t afford to stop until you’ve passed and have a means to recoup your outlay) and Wendy was raking in some decent cash. Huzzah! We could start paying off debts rather than accruing them.

Shortly thereafter I ran afoul of a speed camera. Bugger.

In the martial arts sphere I had to give up on the most expensive one (Kung Fu) early on in the year but by November, when money was no longer such an issue, I realised that I’d backed the wrong horse.

I want a martial art that will win fights. At a Taekwondo lesson they said to me that I was supposed to do this spinning whip kick and land it with my back to the opponent so they couldn’t score points off a return kick to my chest armour. Land it with your back to your opponent! That is a quick way to get a knife stuck in your back on the street.

That was the moment I knew that however much I liked kicking people in the head, it wasn’t a serious martial art. I gave it up in November, and will be returning to Wing Chun Kung Fu on the 12th of January.

The other highlight of this year was remembering a teenage ambition of learning to play the sax. The good thing was we were finally in a position where we could afford for me to indulge my whim.

Note also the winklepicker shoes. Suddenly finding yourself with expendable income is such a nice feeling! It took some doing, mind, it wasn’t gifted. A few years back I had to stop drinking, Wendy had to prove herself worthy of a really demanding job. We are reaping the rewards of our effort. By all the people who go on holiday every year, own their own homes, have savings etc, we would still be deemed pretty damn poor, so I’m not boasting, just saying for us this is solvency and bloody welcome it is too!

We are into 2010. Wendy is going great guns, her diet has paid off, she’s up to speed at her job (she’s bagged her man ) and she’s a happy bunny. I’ve got loads of stuff, have cleared a load of debts and am clearing more. I have my licenses and have applied for jobs (including driver in the T.A.) and I reckon this will be the start of it.

2010. By the end of it I will be a professional driver and, with the cash that comes with it, we will be able to be debt free and minted!

This is going to be a great year.

You heard it here first.

Buck.

This an’ that (innit!)

Hi, I’m enjoying a long weekend off work. I was off Thursday, in Friday, off Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Bloody lovely! I’m just waiting for an email from the National Lottery and all will be perfect.

The one blight on my well being is my poorly thumb. I dropped a pallet container door on it at work. The door itself is only light, you could pick it up with one finger. It is five foot tall and tubular steel and it fell over just as I was reaching to pick the one beneath it up. It cracked me across the quick of my thumbnail and sweet Jesus did it hurt. I was hopping around for a couple of minutes, swearing and laughing, unable to believe it was hurting so much!

For that much pain you want to be sticking a limb back on, not fannying around with a small bruise under your nail. The lack of street cred was crippling. Wendy said I’m a big baby. Thanks for the support there, wifey. It woke me up and I had to go and ice pack it (and neck some ibuprofen) at two in the morning.

This has a knock on effect on the comfort of my saxing. Yesterday my saxing was as painful to me as it is to those who hear it. It’s my right thumb, the one that takes the weight of the sax and holds it forward in position.

Poor Bucky. I’ve known suffering. Wendy was banging on about the time she broke her arm and had to try and sleep with four steel rods drilled through the bones in her arm. Small fish compared to a bruised thumb. But we men don’t like to make a fuss.

No point is there? It always gravitates to ‘ I was in labour for thirty six hours’, anyway.

The saxing is progressing apace, despite the suffering for my art and the withering lack of sympathy I endure. As I said on my Blogger blog (will have to pick one or the other soon, it feels like I’m developing a typing stammer) Pete, the sax sensei, isn’t giving me chance to master one chapter of the book from which I’m learning, before he’s turned the page onto two new chapters. I’m always playing catch-up. He said he’s pushing me because he thinks I’m capable.

Little consolation as I spend an hour murdering new notes I can’t read, and times I can’t do.

Hey ho, it means I should get up to speed quicker, just harder.

Finding his way down to Baker Street…

Which is another point, all the bloody sax bits I’ve been looking up from pop songs seem to be played on alto sax’s. Dammnit!

The floor! I’ve finally got around to lending that forty five degree angle cutting device off Wendy’s brother, and whilst by no means perfect the job became do-able as the colonials would have it. Look:

I never said I was a floor laying woodwork monkey, OK? For me that’s pretty damn OK.

I have been obsessing over my sax of late as you are doubtless all too aware, to the exclusion of my martial arts. I got to thinking, in one of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, there is a vampire, Otto, as memory serves.

Stick with it, I am going somewhere with this.

I have read the self-proclaimed intelligentsia saying that the Pratchmeister’s works are allegorical in their themes.

Otto had taken the pledge and was staying ‘dry’. No more blood for Otto. Obviously that is an allusion to the T.T. world of abstaining alcoholics. So far so bloody obvious. But he then went on to portray Otto as totally fixated on photography (to give it a comic twist, flash photography -light being something of an issue for vampires-).  His point was, and mine may eventually be, that the single minded obsessive energy that Otto had previously focused on drinking (blood) was now being channelled elsewhere.

We’ve got there in the end. My question is, rhetorically, has Pratchett expressed a truism?

Is this why I have been so focused on my martial arts, and now am single minded in the pursuit of sax mastery? Is it just something to do, now that I no longer drink?

Not that I am concerned if it is, just wondering is all.

On the subject of martial arts, I had a moment of epiphany last night. Keep it to yourselves, but I have finally decided that as soon as I get my driving job, and therefore have more money, I am quitting Taekwondo and going back to Wing Chun Kung Fu. (The style which Bruce Lee was taught.)

It’s not a decision lightly made, but I want a fighting martial art. Which should be an oxymoron. Sport martial arts, especially where you do all the head kicks (which I love *sob*) but are buggered if someone goes to punch you, are not what I want. Some might point out that it’s taken me eighteen months to work this out, but previously I was planning on doing both.

Now I realise if I’m working sixty hours a week, two late nights is enough time away from home. Also now I’m saxing I just want a practical, down and dirty, fight winning martial art. Learning Taekwondo just so I can show off when the fight is won seems like too much hard work.

There is still no change with the driving. Still waiting on the new trucks, so I can have an old one.

Right, that is about it. I’m all up to date, going to get some grub and start the saxing!

Later,