The Nine Dwarves

“Conscience makes cowards of us all” says Hamlet; of course we all say stuff like that after a shandy or two, but mayhap Mr H, the old prince that he was, might have had a point.

On the other hand he might have been talking a load of old rowlocks; and, on the subject of which; Be Welcome Gentle Reader, and read on…

So 2013 it is, then.

Different so far from the late and unlamented 2012?

Not so as you’d notice just yet. Although we will be at a new place this week; if you are near the Golden Lion Hotel in Leyburn, we are joining in their singaround on Wed  9th Jan.

This week has been a very busy FG week, mostly with recording. The house is still set up as a recording complex and we have been very busy recording more tracks for the new CD’s and also battling with mastering. There can’t be many Acoustic Chums who don’t want to make a CD, even if it is just to annoy relatives with at Christmas, so you are probably aware that mastering is the dark art of making sure that all the tracks on a CD sit comfortably together, are loud enough (but not too loud) and sound good on hi-fi systems, in the car, on the iPad in the netty or wherever your listening fancy and device take you[1]. So we have been mixing, remixing, testing, and trying harder than ever to get a representative, clear and professional sounding sound. I think we are nearly there too, thanks to Cubase, Wavelab, Audacity and a lovely German lad called Bootsy, who makes some very good free VST plug-ins that Acoustic Chums may be interested in dropping into Audacity and playing with – it can make your songs sound radically, yet subtly different. All good clean fun.

This year, my contribution to the cultural life of the musical community is going to be a dictionary of terms. In this leaned tome, you will be able to check that the words and phrases we all bandy about with gay bandyment mean what you thought they did – and usually discover that they didn’t.

Here is a taster of a few of the entries:
Acoustic: any instrument that will plug into a PA to make it much too loud.

Ballad: a song with a minimum of twelve verses, but not necessarily a tune.

MC: Someone who is on the stage a hell of a lot more than you are

Unaccompanied: everyone else has buggered off.

Unplugged: just a small PA

Any contributions to the Acoustic Musician’s Dictionary are of course welcome.

This week and we and the Wrinkly Roadies (aka the Relicular Roadcrew) for Darlington Folk Club. This was our first visit to the Club in its new home at The Copper Beech Pub, following the closure of the Arts Centre by the Council. We are very pleased to report that not only is all well in the new venue, but things seem to be going from strength to strength. A cosy back room is a pleasant venue, with a nice stage area, no PA which we quite like, and lots of folk in to play, sing and listen – and of course join in. This seems to be going very well and is well worth a visit. George Armstrong was on MC duties this week, and made a very good job of it too, balancing the night well and keeping things going. Have a look at the pics, by the Viscarated Visionaries themselves.

As a result of the generosity of some of the kids this Christmas, and their perspicacity (inherited of course) in giving us some gift vouchers from a well known local music store, it was natural enough for us to turn to t’internet to browse their new fangled website and gaze upon the wonders within. We wanted some studio reference headphones, the better to hear my mistakes, and found some, after a struggle with the search tool. The winter sale page didn’t work, but doggedly, we went round the long way to find the details on a rather empty site. Wow! That looks expensive, even for studio cans. A quick Google to other suppliers, the ones we didn’t have vouchers for, revealed prices up to thirty quid less. That sounds odd, a sale price £30 more than the competition regular cost. No matter, there is a button you can click on to ring the store for a better price. Oh. It doesn’t work either. Ok, find the phone number, pick any of the numbers on offer and ring. Interesting idea in this day and age that the store price is cheaper than the net, but there you go. We rang the store and explained that on the website it says to ring and ask for a better in-store price.
“Does it?” Says the voice at the other end.
Good start.
“I’ll put to through to a department that might help”
She did, and they couldn’t, although the hold music was good. They didn’t have the headphones, didn’t know if the other branches did, and wouldn’t do a price match.

Great.

So we went to out chums at Soundware in Newcastle, who did a great deal on a pair of KRK 6400’s, cracking flat response headphones that have already revolutionised our monitoring and made the whole thing more comfortable, accurate and easier on the ears.

And their website was up to date too.
Dreamy and SoSo are two of the Dwarves that you may not have heard of. Doc, Sleepy, Bashful and the rest of the first team, you will be familiar with, but Dreamy and SoSo were always on the subs bench. They never got picked for the first Seven, not for a Lunch Box picture, a Disney feature, or even as the answers to a pub quiz question. This led to inevitable frustration and jealousy. Eventually they were sacked for trying to poison Happy with a Bob Martins dissolved in half a pint of Tetley’s . They were given their P32 ½’s[2] and told to find new work.

Which they did.

They now work for a local music store.

One does the website and the other mans the telephone.

And as the Folk Club of Fate gets ready to welcome the 2013 Bright Hopefuls of Destiny, I notice that the regulars are practicing their welcoming expressions of bored indifference.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] Within the bounds of good taste, of course.

[2] Like a P45, but a bit smaller

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