Tuesday 4 March 2014

Lent begins tomorrow.

I used to keep Lent abstinences religiously (pun). But for the last 5 or 6 years I haven't felt up to it. However, this year I very much want to make the effort so as from tomorrow there will be no alcohol consumption for 6 weeks.

Here are photos of some of our evening meals over the last fortnight. That sort of indulgence will also be coming to a halt for the next 6 weeks.

Remarkably easy to dissect.

A Haggis from Largs

Pot roast sirloin done the Clement Freud way with no oil and a very high heat

Mussels in tomato sauce

My new tipple - frozen pre-cooked and shelled mussels - cheap and you just warm them up.

Fish stew and Chris Mullin's excellent diaries

Coq au Vin from the frozen food specialist, "Cook", who have a new branch in Glasgow.

Golden Teacher at Oran Mor:

Last week went to see my favourite band, Golden Teacher, perform at Oran Mor in Glasgow. Brilliant.

Bongo update:

Plodding away at the bongos and at the Samba drumming classes. But for the last few weeks I feel that I have made little progress: mainly because I don't feel the rhythms.

I'm not sure what the connection is between "natural talent" and "feel" and whether the one can compensate for the other but I value "feel" and simply have not had a sensation of "unity" with the bongos which I suspect is a prerequisite for (if not the same thing as) "feel".

But how do you acquire "feel". The route I've been taking is to listen to loads of Samba/Bossa Nova music and practise, practise, practise. But to no obvious avail.

However, a bit of a Eureka moment today. I had taken the bongos off their stand and held them on my lap so as to tune them ie tightening the skins by using a spanner to turn some bolts on the side of the drums.

The stand bereft of bongos.
Out of curiosity I then placed the bongos between my knees and played a few patterns - what a difference. It was a completely different playing experience. For the first time I really felt that the bongos were part of me.

For the next 35 minutes I practised and felt completely energised. The reason that I'd never tried this before was that it looked horribly uncomfortable and so I invested in a stand. In fact it wasn't uncomfortable. A mystery!

John Peel Substitute:

Like lots of people of my generation (mostly men), I still miss the John Peel radio show. He died in 2004. Well at last I have found a completely adequate substitute:

Optimo on Rinse FM:

It's only on once a month and is 2 hours of ultra modern electronic music mixed up with really obscure records from the most unlikely corners of the world plus blasts from the past and some odds and ends thrown in for good measure. The programmes can be downloaded for free and played again and again.

The two DJs who make up Optimo

Can hardly wait for next month's show.

Here's one of the great discoveries they dug up from Thailand.

Paradise Bangkok Collective 

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