Saturday, August 29, 2020

Cold Hard Shoulder.

I've written about Ben Atkinson before. I first met Ben a year or so ago, and then was fortunate enough to start working with him shortly before lockdown. We've become good friends, and share interests in music, theatre, technology and the arts.

During lockdown, Ben spent time in his home studio and recorded a number of songs he wrote during the past ten years. While Ben's main interest is in country music, and he has run a weekly country music radio programme for many years, the songs he recorded have eclectic influences. The topics, ranging from lighthearted digs at local government through to the tragedy of war, reflect Ben's life, interested and view of the world around him.

Ben asked me to record some guitar parts for this album, and I am honoured and priviliged to have made the final mixes. We had a lot of fun recording my parts - a few laughs, some great food and lots of sweat - it was a terribly humid evening when we went into the studio, so forgive any bum notes as I had a tough time keeping the guitars in tune.

Ben is donating all profits to the NHS. The album was launched last night, and is available as download, on CD, and even vinyl.

Thanks, Ben.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Camping for Boys.

I've always loved camping. As a kid I was a Cub, then a Scout, and finally a Venturer. My dad was a Scout Leader, and I was lucky to go on some of the Scout camps when I was only a cub. 

It's been a long time since I've done any real camping. In fact it was the turn of the millenium - a mate and I went bush for a week while the world wondered whether the Y2K bug would destroy civilisation. We had no electricity, did much of our cooking on campfires, and had a wonderful time.  There was no internet on phones, no real phone connection anyway, and hardly saw another person. We talked, listened to some music on the car radio, and just chilled.

It was a wonderful week.

I have recently been thinking about a weekend my Dad and I went camping when I was young. He'd promised to take me away, but when Friday rolled around he wasn't feeling well. I think I might have pushed him a bit, but we went and had a fabulous time. I remember being up bush, with our tent. He let me wear his commando style hat, which thrilled me no end. The most vivid memory I have is waking up in the middle of the night. I got out of the tent, and dad was sitting by a huge, roaring fire. It was completely dark otherwise, and silent, and we sta on branches and watched the flames. We probably spoke, but so many years later I have no idea what we spoke about. I just know I felt safe, and comfortable, and at peace.

Why has this memory popped up now? I have no idea. But it pleases me to recall that weekend.