Drum Practice – June 16th, 2019

Back to a full two hour session this week.

Weather wise, it was pissing it down when I left the house this morning. Then it stopped for a bit. Pissed down again. Then eventually stopped for good. Mercifully didn’t get too wet. Who’d believe it’s the middle of June, eh? Blow me!

Another small mercy. No train complications or anything. My 11.21 train was running and on time.

This week I took my over-ear cheap pair of Sennheisers with me. YES! Cheaper Sennheiser headphones do exist and they work just as well as the ones you’d pay hundreds for – I would think – I’ve never DARED invest more than £50 on a pair of ‘phones. I didn’t pay this much for these Sennheisers. Only about £20 and I’ve had them several years.

So, took the over-ear cans so I didn’t have to use the amp to play my mix of tracks that I practice playing along to at home. I had been missing the opportunity to play with them on the actual kit. Just hadn’t been very successful with setting up the play along at the rehearsal room right. ANYWAY, this week – fab! I needed the over-ears to get the ratio of hearing the tracks playing but also hearing myself playing in time (or at least TRYING to play in time) right. Got the sound levels right right off the bat and started playing along once I had the kit set as near as possible to my liking without wasting too much time on that. Must have been a kid in before me, as the snare was nearly on the bloody floor it was down so low. Lol. Snare was waaaay down, but the hi hat was higher than normal. Go figure *shrugs*

I just…got on with things this week. Just got on with business, like. When I am playing along to songs, I don’t do fills or crashes, because usually the fills and crushes and things are on the backbeat or on a separate time signature to the rest of the song. That I am now finding a bit frustrating. I want to start getting coaching on how I start to do that. I feel I really, REALLY need a lesson right now. Now, I THINK the Kelly Jones tour takes a small break for about 10 days or so after tonight’s London gig and Cherisse said to me she might be able to squeeze a lesson in…but it might not happen. So…I may be another month off having another lesson, which will just…kill me. Lol.

I think if she doesn’t do any tutoring until mid July, I might have to book a 90 intensive session just to feel like I am getting back on track properly.

In the mean time, next week is booked and ready to go, but looking ahead…July could be a bit iffy for practice. My Race For Life 10km event is on July 7th. I’ll be far too knackered after that to think about a practice session. I may think about altering it to the Saturday that week and maybe shortening it to just an hour. We’ll see. The other weekend in July that will affect things is the weekend of the Trevor Horn gig. I’ll be leaving for Glasgow at about 5am on the Saturday (July 27th) morning and won’t be back in London until 6.30am on Monday – so that knocks out any chance of anything for that weekend. UNLESS! I find a place in Glasgow I can practice in! Oooh…there’s a thought! We shall think on with that one!

I’m halfway through playing back practice. It doesn’t sound too bad. But I am just craving for some incremental advancements in tuition right now. But I felt fairly good this week. That’s the crux of it.

P.S. I meant to say. I walked 11km today. I was absolutely KNACKERED when I got home. When I was listening to my recording of my practice…I fell asleep! Lol. Maybe I am getting some musicality to my playing? Lol. I wish!

Here’s my drum practice mix I play to…

In Dreams We Are Helpless

I have been sleeping-in lately. Demanding dreams from my subconscious. Every night before I fall asleep, I pray that I’ll dream. Good dreams. Dreams that once awake and I have even just a fraction of lucidity of the dream, that it’ll turn to fruition.

This morning I had dreams.
In the first I was with Jim and Charlie. And we were sitting around, chatting and laughing. I cannot tell you how much I wish for that to be real! Or to continue to dream it over and over again every night.

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The other is a VERY rare occurrence (dreams of Jim – with or without Charlie – are rare enough these days). My mum. I couldn’t tell you the last time I dreamed of her. But this one will haunt me.

It was loaded with metaphor and symbolism. I had been contacted by what appeared to be government authorities and/or health professionals. She was meant to be in care…but she wasn’t. She was on her own in this remote, desolate place completely unfamiliar to me.

She was roaming around outside. I’m not sure how I was seeing this as I was, but these people were showing me video footage of her. Like…CCTV footage…but this place was so remote. Maybe it was being recorded from a drone? I don’t know. Certain things in dreams make no sense.

I digress. She was roaming around outside. Working. Walking around finding weeds and rubbish. She was carrying some kind of tool. Not a light thing. And she look as she did when I left in 2016. Thinner than I have ever seen her in my entire life. When I went home in 2015…I hadn’t seen her for eight years and she had became a shell of herself. I had never, ever seen her so thin. I don’t think she had been that thin since she was a child. The shock of it stunned me for days. It took days for me to get my head around this woman who looked like my mum but was waaaaay thinner than my mum had ever been was indeed my mum!

I digress again. These two people – a man and a woman – showing me her on the monitor (I sensed I was watching live footage, or very recent recorded footage…mere hours old) were saying “She won’t rest. She’s doing too much. She just wanders and wanders.” And I am sitting there thinking “habit of a lifetime, guys. She’s been like this since time immemorial. All the years I have known her.”

Even in 2015/16. Up and down like a yo-yo. Endless retorts of frustration from me “PLEASE SIT DOWN! I’M HERE NOW. PLEASE LET ME GET THAT FOR YOU!” Over and over. Every day. A person too used to being alone. Too used to just having to get up and do it herself. No one else there.

I’m watching her on the screen…and she just looks lost. Really lost. I’d never seen her look lost before. Determined. Focussed. Busy. Pre-occupied. Happy, even. But never lost. Never confused. Never unsure. Somehow still happy though.

Happy. But tired. And lost.
I awoke feeling further away from her than ever.

Limbo is hell.

Telly Tomorra

One last plug here. Well, it *is* my blog after all.

Fifteen To One, Channel 4 – starting tomorrow and on Thursday and Friday (May 22nd, 23rd, 24th) at 3pm BST – I’M ON THE TELLY quizzing, like. Check it oot, if you’re around.

As you can see from the pic on day one, I was bloody tired, hence the red eyes. Good make up job though. The make up artist who was making me look human knows Wendy Forbes.

It’s a small world…

Slow News Sunday Summary – May 12th

Well, it has been quieter than ever on the SM front this week. Having said that, Mr Kerr has increased his interactivity on FB ten fold this week! Well, it feels it anyway.

And it’s very welcome. His posts are always so…I dunno…enlightening. I suppose that is the optimum word.

He can post some funny things. Give the fans a giggle. Then express something quite profound. He also has me looking at things deeper, questioning things, pondering others.

And sometimes I am going through low periods and little internal struggles. And it may lead me to question things he says. Doubt him. Or feel he’s being too frivolous, too simplistic in his viewpoint…but ultimately he is always giving me positivity and hope and sometimes even brushes off some of his incredible self-belief on to me…which I will ALWAYS be thankful for.

His post this morning? Talk of getting back on the road and gigging (sandwiched between talk of John Lee Hooker, blues music and its working class roots). I mean…geez…SSOOOO welcome! But it comes with a modicum of panic.

My passport expired on Tuesday and it is going to cost a minimum of £230 to renew. Yes, Australian passports are shit expensive! Even more expensive for us expats, because £100 is added to the cost for processing the application overseas. And if I want my leave to remain document transferred to the new passport so I only have to carry a single passport (I didn’t get it transferred last time and always had to carry both my old passport and current passport with me), then that’s yet ANOTHER £100 on top! £230 is just a ballpark figure…the actual charge is dependent on the exchange rate of currency on the day it is processed.

Apart from that…one word…SKINT. Like, really skint. Impending bankruptcy kinda skint.

So, yep…the drumming lessons feel ridiculously frivolous right now. But…well, I’ve started now, right?

Anyway…mustn’t dwell. The only hope is that this bloody golden carrot of money coming our way will arrive soon. There is still nothing concrete about it yet. Perhaps July is now the new hopeful timeframe of something arriving. But it is just wishful thinking still at this stage.

But! It is fantastic to hear Jim talk of getting back on the road. And it’s good to feel a bit more of a presence from him on FB. Perhaps he is now getting itchy feet and a bit bored so he’ll be on a bit more? Even a small mercy like that is so SO welcome to me.

Please, Sir. Say you’ll be around a little bit more? 🥰😘😘😘🥰

Slow News Sunday Summary – May 5th

This week in SNSS

  • Sir talks cinema and “sphericals”
  • Cherisse in Lisbon
  • Sarah on her Mahalia Jackson project
  • The Anchoress finalising artwork on album two

A couple of posts from Mr Kerr this week on going to the cinema and catching up on musical delights (or possibly lack thereof). He spoke of seeing the film Wild Rose. All that uplifting stuff in which someone with dogged determination and an overabundance of ambition goes from the streets of Glasgow to the Grand Ole Opry to become country music star goddess.

Sometimes I do believe he thinks we can ALL just do it, you know? Which is a great attitude to have…until you become disillusioned with all the people you feel who are not on a par with you and then it feels like it can lead to some inverted snobbery. It is how it can make me feel a lot of the time. You know…all I’ll ever be is a fan, a spectator, a cop out, a failure – not a doer….just some pathetic under-achiever, or even non-achiever.

Anyway, I run the risk of this becoming a diatribe.

Maybe if I’d had Jim’s “sphericals”, lol, I’d have felt able to achieve SOMETHING? Rather than feeling a constant “oxygen sapper”?

I digress.

The “sphericals” references today’s post in which he discussed Billy Sloan, their lasting friendship and their mostly matched up music tastes, apart from a recent unfortunate disagreement about new work from Mr Springsteen.

I also dare say at this point that Mr Kerr has a HUGE propensity for the ability to “dish it out, but not take it”. Yes, Siree! But I will go no further with that, and metaphorically bite my tongue until it bleeds.

The crux of the post was him actually admitting that maybe…just maybe, he can jump the gun AND be too quick to pass judgement sometimes! As much as I try to remind myself constantly, Jim Kerr *is* but a man and is susceptible to faux pas just like the rest of us mere mortals.

Cherisse is off on a short break in Portugal before she has a busy couple of months touring around the UK with Kelly Jones. I shall miss my tutoring. I am really getting into this drumming stuff! But I will practice, practice, practice! in the meantime.

Sarah has been in the recording studio working on her project to bring to the world the gift of musical mentor and inspiration, Mahalia Jackson. I, for one, an excited to hear what’s to come of this venture of Ms Brown’s.

The Anchoress is continuing on putting together the final touches of album number two. A test pressing came her way a couple of weeks back, and just this last week she has been at record label, KScope, working on the artwork for the album.

And that’s it, in a nutshell. Nothing else to report…

Until next week,
Roger – over and out!

Photo courtesy of The Parietal Eye

What Stirs The Soul And Practice Makes Perfect

I awake to the beginnings of Sons And Fascination playing in my ears this morning. I’m sure it was that strange percussive sound that did it. A LinnDrum? I’m sure it must be some kind of drum sample. I’d ask Brian, but you know…always worried I’m a pest (I can hear Jim shouting “you don’t care about whether you’re pestering ME!” – that is where you are wrong, Mr Kerr! I always care. Far too much, probably.)

It’s by the by and will now show me up to be the true pest I am once I share this. Full of typos, hence the stream of consciousness. Composed whilst thinking about how the song was making me feel being awoken by it this morning…here’s the result shared on the SMO FB visitor wall.

As a side note – and I am sure Cherisse won’t mind me mentioning it as it is only to do with my continued opportunities to practice drums until I get a kit – I can book a rehearsal room that I have my lessons in for an affordable cost and get an hour’s practice in!

To practice on an actual kit will make ssooooo much difference. And although it still doesn’t mean I can practice on an actual kit EVERY DAY, it will mean I can get an hour’s real practice in (on an actual kit) every Saturday or Sunday (weekends will work out the cheapest for me, with Saturdays being the most convenient).

It’s a few stops down the train line just before you get to the busier stops of London and means I can get a return train journey on the line for as little as £6 on the weekend (and during public holidays).

The place was offering a free hour of rehearsal space during May, on a Monday or Friday. So I looked into what’s available this bank holiday Monday and I can have a room for an hour for free. Nearly all the music rehearsal rooms have drum kits in them, so I can just go on in and practice! I am ssoooo excited about this!

Also, kind of gutted it means I won’t have any actual lessons with Cherisse for a while (Kelly Jones tour and all that). But I have homework and things to work on and practice with and I am dead, dead excited to learn.

So my first solo practice hour is costing me all of £6! How cool is that?
Here’s to many more hours behind the kit. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻