Hi Times

This edition of the blog could not be complete – or even started – without acknowledging the passing of one Mr. James Monteith-Towler. Better know to all and quite a few sundries simply as ‘Jimmy’, he was the slightly taller half of acoustic rock power duo jiva. The other half being his slightly shorter other half; Val.

jiva (no capital letter) was a well known feature of the acoustic circuit, specialising in a distinctive gentle blend of harmony, gentle guitar and humour which became their trademark.

That and a few other things.

Like only wearing black and purple. One day we were round at the jiva gaff, and The Jimster announced he was hot and needed to freshen up – he was going to change. He disappeared upstairs to re-emerge a few moments later dressed in an identical black and purple outfit.

Then there was the little matter of Taylor guitars. Nothing wrong with a little bit of obsession – ask any axe murderer, but the j twosome certainly had a sizable dollop of it when it came to Taylor guitars. Their collection was (is) impressive with real top of the line special editions, some lovely, lovely instruments – one of which I owned for a while. They visited the factory regularly and even ploatted (?) their troth within the hallowed halls of the Taylor factory.

Then there’s the little matter of perfection. Jimmy was a perfectionist in everything. Countless hours of research before purchasing the latest hoojamaflip for recording or web design. The songs polished ‘til they squeaked, the meticulous everything was a hallmark of the Tinklemeister.

Then, illness, borne typically with humour, followed by inevitable decline, and this week equally inevitably by the end, at home with Val.

Why such a long eulogy?

Jimmy was our friend.

Tinkle on Jimmy.

Be Welcome, Gentle Reader and read on…

This week the FG leviathan has rolled on. We are busier now that when I was at work full time, so when I actually had to do some work this week I was completely shattered. However, lots of playing was also fitted in, as well as the usual admin. FG requires a great deal of this – especially as we want to stay on the right side of the taxman. I am aware that many Acousticians, Magicians, Physicians (although what they are doing singing is anyone’s guess) and the like regard payment as a back pocket exercise.

Fair enough, nowt to do with me.

Unfortunately, we have a lovely shiny website, with all our contact details on it and a gig list that stretches from here ‘til doomsday; so really, it’s more sensible to play a straight bat.

And oddly enough, I think we prefer straightish bats anyway.

This unseemly concern with the fiscal over the creative is unusual; but we’ve been told several times lately to put our prices up.

Up?

Blimey.

A lovely lady who is in charge of vast swathes of the North East for a certain organisation, said that she would promote us round her branches, but that she was going to double the fee.

Eek.

A couple of places recently have offered us gigs with folding money attached.

Gulp.

If it goes on like this, we’ll have to learn to play.

This week has been a round of organisations and halls, mostly doing our ‘Water’s of Tyme Show’. We’ve done a sing-along as well, with a room of little old ladies singing filthy words to some of the songs.

And still we are working on the show for next year.

Or at least we were.

We are off next week to another hall for another group and the contact rang up this week to confirm everything was ok.

“Oh, did I mention” she said, “it’s our Christmas do? It would be nice if you could…”

So next year’s show has again taken a back seat while we dust off Rudolf (please don’t snigger like that, it isn’t nice), wax down the sleigh (I’ve told you already) and of course sorting out all those blasted dwarfs – they get everywhere.

Hi……. Hooooooooooooo[1]

Let me introduce you to the town that I call home.

Many people have the wrong idea about Stanley. They see it as a run down hell-hole with low aspirations full of unemployed ne’er-do-wells[2] with an innate talent for sponging from the state.

That’s not fair.

They don’t all have the talent.

If you walk down Stanley Front Street, admiring the chewing gum pavement art, you may well be greeted by an indigene autochthron, who will employ the traditional Stanley greeting:

“Give me your wallet, and I won’t hurt you”.

It’s considerate, you have to admit.

And it’s not the fault of the place.

Stanley has a pool of people who work very hard indeed to make the place better, promote a positive image, create a better place to live. Some are on the Town Council, whom we have been impressed by, because they do stuff. Not talky-talky stuff, but stuff.

Simple stuff, like pick up litter, or drunks or expired ne-er do wells[3].

And it makes a difference.

Not that they get a lot of thanks.

They do, however, get a lot of people calling them names.

There is a website, of which you may have heard. It’s called FaceAche, or something like that. It allows one to set up a page and lots of people who have time on their otherwise unoccupied hands can log on to said page and mis-spell their views about people who are trying to do something nice.

Which is one reason why the place has a bad rep.

So let’s turn the corner. Or at least hit the indicator.

So:

Litter pickers, talker-uppers, helpers, funders, facilitators and triers: we say – ‘Thank You’.

No sure what that has to do with the price of acoustic eggs, but there you go.

And as the last trumpet sounds we cock an eager ear to hear the echoes return from the distant mountains…

…Hi Hooooooooooooooooooooo

Until Next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] As a matter of fact we don’t do that one. I was going to say there’s a little matter of pride, but then I looked at the rest of the setlist…

[2] Most are ‘neer-do-owts’

[3] They get recycled into baseball caps, which is a glorious irony.

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