Tag: Saxaphone

Like, so down with the kids, me.

Hi there, I’ve not been posting because nothing much has been happening.

I’m getting better at the sax (but as I had never knowingly played a note or read one before a month ago, up was the only way I could go).

I’m still not sacked or driving, so work remains a status quo. There are movements in the right direction, they have the new tugs at work now (the units used solely for moving trailers around the yard) so the rest of the fleet shouldn’t be too far behind. As soon as they get the new rigid trucks I’ll be in the office asking for the keys to one of the old ones.

I’m hoping that when I go back off this holiday they will be there.

As for this holiday, I booked the weekend off months ago, when I was still in dekit, not knowing if I would be off for it or not as I would be changing rota’s when I moved into the warehouse as a picker again. Turns out I was off this weekend anyway, so I cancelled the holiday. Then they said ‘what are you doing taking those days off? You should be on a different rota.’ So I had to fight to keep on the rota they had initially given me, saying that I’d booked holidays around the days off on that rota, and had cancelled the holiday for the weekend I needed for my grading. They let me stay on my first rota.

I realised a few weeks ago that I would not be getting a day off on any of the days my classes were on this week (the last week before my grading on Sunday) so I booked from Monday off. That would have given me four lessons in which to cram. First lesson yesterday, at a place with which I am not familiar. I went on to the website, or rather tried, and it said something about an error with the server. Balls. Then my headache kicked in again, so I spent most of yesterday afternoon on the bed with a sleep mask on to keep the light out of my eyes. Then a good portion of yesterday evening as well for good measure. Finally started to clear about nine or so.

Today woke full of beans. Website still down. Remembered I had one of the chaps mobile number from way back. I sent him a text asking if there was a class tonight (not been to this one) if so what time and where. Eventually got a reply, joy!

So to cut a long story to a smidge less than interminable, I went and by some miracle actually found it (!) but when sah bum nim Caroline arrived she said that Grandmaster Loh was off abroad coaching one of the Scottish lads who was in contention for a medal in the world championships so the grading was off until the twenty first of November!

Marvellous!

Still, it made me go. I have been letting it slip as my current obsession with all things sax has been side-lining it.

Today, whilst I was off, I went to Ikea, that Swedish vision of hell on Earth. I had to walk around two miles of displays to find the section I wanted (hard flooring) only to be redirected to their warehouse/ dungeon. The item I wanted was right by the doors into the building/ exit. I had to wait ten minutes for them to open, then it took me another thirty to find this one bleeding item.

I only wanted a pack of that slot together wooden flooring. A single solitary sodding pack. The entrance hall carpet is getting old and dirty so Wendy wants it doing in the same wooden floor effect as the front room. I’ll give it a go tomorrow. First time, but how hard can it be? It’ll be a nice surprise for Wendy when she gets home from work. Either that or it will be roaring merrily in the chimnea, smashed to bits.

So, to summarise, I’ve not been blogging because I’ve been too busy saxing, suffering, or waiting for something to happen one way or the other. And, for the last two days, I’ve been Twittering! Yeah, down with the kids and the standards! @TheGoodBuck if anyone’s interested.

Well time to go, Wendy needs to get to bed.

Live long and prosper,

Buck.

Sax and bugs, not even dole.

The nasty enervating illness I have been labouring through is waning. To prove that every cloud has a silver lining (and that where there’s a will there’s a platitude) it seems to have sapped my will to worry about work. If I get sacked I’ll just have to deal with it, at least I’ve got a week off, paid. And if I’m not sacked I didn’t have to work through that nasty cold. It was weird, I didn’t have a runny nose, or anything much except a little bit of a cough and tired eyes, but I just felt so weak I barely felt able to stand up. That and a temperature. Bad, but brief. Three days, and I was on the mend yesterday.

Which reminds me, I need to swab out my sax mouthpiece now, in case it’s possible to reinfect myself!

The sax is coming along apace. I have two books; "Learn as you play saxophone", and "A new tune a day for tenor saxophone." The former is the one my sax-sensei Pete teaches from, the latter is more challenging. Both want me to read music and play at the same time in chapter 1. That really is challenging! Pete asked me if I had any musical experience, I said I could play the triangle but subsequently confessed I could not read music. He said it was alright, that people often learnt as they went along, but I sensed an inward sigh.

I think I’m doing well though. In the space of a week I’ve gone from blowing like mad and being pleased I got something that sounded like a note, to expecting to hit each note of the middle (damn, lingo breakdown! Not sharp or flat, the middle bunch of notes! Damn , damn, damn!) octave, and worrying about keeping to 4/4 or 3/4 time!

(You go girl!)

Wendy, whilst appreciating the rate and degree of my improvement, is less than ecstatic about my practising. Hearing someone try over and over to get the right time and notes of ‘Chanson de nuit’ and ‘Au clair de la lune’ whilst you are trying to have a quiet chill must be irritating.

Did I mention the soundproofing was a flop? The egg-trays are apparently an urban myth, they give you wonderful acoustics, but don’t stop next-door from appreciating them. Genuine sound insulation relies on density and thickness. I briefly examined a professional soundproofing site, worked out that one wall of a soundproof box would cost around £500, then gave up. I have resorted to the old standbys of a thick pair of socks down the horn, and practising my fingering without the mouthpiece in (on top of the hour’s blowing). The socks are, at best, a token gesture. There are that many holes in a sax that the horn is just the final projecting bit.

I’ve taken to sitting in the hall upstairs, with all the bedroom doors, the bathroom door and the front-room door downstairs shut (so there is at least two walls between me and next-door, and a door and double glazing between me and the outside world) with the airing cupboard door open, playing into that!

It’s still really loud, but it’s the best I can do. I’m also trying to train next-door into realising that it is only for an hour, and at set times. This should help. The worst thing about having someone making a racket is the feeling of helplessness, not knowing how long they are going to be at it. If  you know they are going to be having a party until 1am, at least you know that it (should) be quiet after that. It’s lying in bed at 1245, music booming, grinding your teeth and whetting your axe that is detrimental to your chi.

Not that I would practice at such a time, I was thinking along the lines of 12.30 am -1.30 pm on 2-10 shift, 5-6 (pm) on 6-2.

I’ve been up nearly two hours and I’m not overcome with illness. I’ll go and get some grub and if I’m still OK I think I’ll have a workout. My next Taekwondo grading is in four weeks (if I’m not sacked/ can afford it) and I’ve been remiss through illness this last week.

Later,

Buck.

Sax

Gawd bless the internet and all who sail on her! Last time I (briefly) owned a sax I don’t think I even got a proper note out of it. I sold it to buy a motorbike. Priorities.

This time around, twenty years later, I have t’interweb! Straight on to YouTube where there are posts on how to wet and fit your reed, embouchure (how you hold your gob, if you’re not down with us saxophonists) and which buttons make which notes.

I was giving it all a go today. First impressions are: by god it’s loud! Obviously it’s a lot to take on board, and it’s really tricky, but not impossible. I was stringing together a couple of notes at a time and I’ve been practising fingering the sequence B,A,C,G,F# (never thought I’d get to use that on my keyboard) D, B (I think).

I’m loving it.

It’s been a splendid day off; Wendy’s mum and dad have been staying with us but they’ve buggered off to Wales for the weekend and it’s lovely to have the place to ourselves again. I had a good Taekwondo work-out this morning, sax in the afternoon, and chilled ‘twixt and ‘tween. Lovely.

I’m going to have to price up a soundproof mini-room tomorrow. Apparently making a big box lined with egg trays reduces the sound emissions to a whisper. (According to one source on the never-wrong internet.) I can get the requisite 140 foot square cardboard egg trays for about twenty three quid, but I will have to find the price for that much plywood/ hardboard and sixty four foot of 2"x2".

Really I suppose I should research further the efficacy of the proposed project before I commit to further spending.

I’ve re-applied to our local music shop to set up a starter of  four, hour long, lessons (after Wendy thoughtfully tidied the tutor’s name and ‘phone number into the bin).

They way I’m progressing I’ll probably have mastered it by then!

Anywho, just to say I love my sax!

I have a new obsession. In the old days that would have meant ‘flavour of the week’, but as the driving and martial arts have shown, I can stick at things now. OK, so the Russian has slid off the radar for the moment, but that is a lifetime’s commitment to learn (well, it is the way I go about it!). And it is just a whim. Hmm, better not go there with that argument, everything I do is on the basis of a whim or impractical desire. Some yuppie shop was flogging it’s elitist tat with the slogan ‘Desire, aspire, acquire’. That is how my life goes!

As I’ve said before my teen dreams were to be a black belt, play the tenor sax, and ride a really nice Harley chop. When the telly sells you these dreams they don’t mention the years of graft you have to put in to get them. Harley is pure cash, that isn’t quick or easy to come by (not legally, anyway) the black belt requires years of work, training your body to react without conscious volition in ways that are practically impossible for the untrained, and the sax is the work of an afternoon.

(I think there may be a bit more to it than that, actually.) You can see the Matrix’s  appeal, you want a skill set that requires years to learn, but can’t be arsed moving off your sofa? Just upload the programme and hey presto, "I know Kung Fu."

Reminds me of an advert where they were exhorting people to save, quoting a survey that said ‘**% of people wish they had saved’. Of course they do, so they could spend it now, but it was the spending it now, then, that means they didn’t save! Stupid bloody thing.

This is why I have issues with inane adverts and misleading ‘news’ reports. Back to me seeing further than other men, again. I refer to the quote that some Noble prize winner made ‘ If I have seen further than other men, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants’. I prefer to think of it as ‘I have seen further than other men because I am surrounded by pygmies.’

Which is doubly negative, as it says I’m no great shakes, but the common herd is bovine. Contemptuous of self and society. I may adopt that as my motto! This is not to say the people I know are morons, but the people at which this stuff (against which I rail) is aimed must be. The Jeremy Kyle crew.

Well it’s getting on, and every word I type takes me further from Buddha, time for bed.

Buck.