Sunday, December 14, 2008

Doctor Who: This car's a sod to drive

A nice Jon Pertwee out-take from the Five Doctors. "Oh ****! Sorry this car's a sod to drive at the moment"

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I just did piano grade 2!

Well I just sat my grade 2 piano exam today. I've been playing for almost exactly 1 year, and did my grade 1 approximately 6 months ago. I was feeling that I'd bit off a bit more than I could chew.

Grade 2 was MUCH harder than grade 1. One of the most difficult things about grade 2 is the scales, you have to play them simultaneously with both hands. I thought I'd mastered this, but my nerves got the better of me in the exam and I butchered the very first scale I was asked to do. This was F Major, and about 3 or 4 notes into it I realised that I'd run out of fingers on my left hand. I forced myself to bodge my way through the rest of the scale.

I made a few more silly errors on my scales and arpeggios, and there were two instances where I stopped and asked the examiner if I could do it again. Hopefully that didn't cost me too many marks. Fortunately B minor harmonic (which is a sod to play with both hands) went really well.

I was then asked to play the 3 pieces. I started with A:3 "Bouree" (L. Mozart). That generally went OK apart from a few notes I mangled up in the first couple of phrases.

The next piece B:3 "The Bee" actually went remarkably well. I find this a very difficult piece to play because it is fast and the ending is a bit fiddly. I always thought that if I messed up a piece it would be this one, but amazingly it turned out to be Bouree I messed up - the piece I was most comfortable with.

The final piece was C:3 "Garage Sale". This is a piece that does nothing at all for me, but I chose it because it's easy. Why are the "C" examination pieces always so naff? I wonder if anyone ever chose the godawful "The Temple by the Sea".

The sight reading went pretty smoothly this time. I didn't have any problems with it. It was in a simple key signature and was in 2:4. The aural test was pretty straightforward too.

On the whole I think definitely a pass. I'd be pleased with a merit, but I think that a distinction is totally out of the question primarily due to my massacre of F major at the beginning.

Below are some vids of me playing the 3 pieces. They were recorded on the same day of the exam. The dynamics aren't too clear in these videos. Please rest assured that I was giving the piano a good bash in all the "forte" bits, but the piano's volume is turned quite low so it's hard to get much light and shade across.


The Bee

Garage Sale

Friday, December 05, 2008

Jamaican Doctor Who

"It looks to me like big trouble for Dr Who". This video featuring a Jamaican dubbed version of Doctor Who is really funny:

"You don't look like no Dalek to me" gets me every time.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bungle's Twanger?!?

Oh my giddy aunt! I can't believe this video. That's my childhood ruined. The things you can find on YouTube. This video is very funny, yet slightly disturbing at the same time.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tom Baker regeneration - my piano version

This is something I've been gradually working out on the piano and managed to get it in good enough shape to post it on YouTube. This is my own version of the Tom Baker regeneration music from the 1981 Doctor Who story Logopolis (originally composed by Paddy Kingsland of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop).

I'm a huge fan of early '80s Who, particularly the style of the production of which the music in an integral part. For me this is probably the most memorable scene and musical score of the entire series which is why I wanted to have a go at my own version.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I got my grade 1 Piano!

Well I got my grade 1 piano! I wen't to my piano teacher's house and picked up the certificate this evening. I did pretty well - I scored 127/150 - a merit. I was only 3 marks away from a distinction.

Here is a transcript of my marks and examiner's comments:

A3 - "This was in a suitably lively tempo. Dynamic contrasts were effective and vivid. The R.H. fingerwork was strong (a couple of semiquavers aside). Although balance between hands was sometimes uneven (L.H. tended to dominate), this was characterful". 26/30.

B2 - "You judged the tempo well. Dynamic variations were mostly convincing. There was a slight hesitation before the second half. You recovered promptly and projected something of the mood here". 25/30.

C1 - "Opening staccato patterns were crisp and even. Fingerwork was largely even and strong, aside from fleeting exceptions in stave three. The dynamic range was appropriate. Another well prepared account". 27/30.

Scales and arpeggios - "Your scales were prompt in response and mostly even. Arpeggios and broken chords fared similarly (depite some uneveness in L.H. patterns)". 17/21.

Sight reading - "You started accurately. There were subsequently stumbles and rhythmic errors. You kept going, giving a clear outline". 15/21.

Aural tests - "Small slip in "B", otherwise assured". 17/18.

Additional comments - "An impressive start to your piano playing - well done today!"

Thursday, July 31, 2008

2008 Nicola Bryant calendar: August

Yes folks! It's August - and as usual Nicola's here to brighten things up a bit. I hope you'll enjoy the latest installment. I actually nearly forgot to do it. Phew! That was close. Only four months left. Will I run out of material? I hope not, but I might be scraping the bottom of the barrel soon. I wonder if I could book Nicola herself for a photoshoot to keep me going until December...

INSTRUCTIONS: Just click on the above image to open the larger 600x600 version in your internet browser. Then right mouse click to save to your PC. When you've done that just make it your desktop wallpaper. Bingo! You now have some saucy pics of Nicola to keep you company throughout 2008!

Monday, July 28, 2008

New banner

For absolutely no reason at all I can't resist buggering around with my "DrGaz" blog banner now and then. Depending on what date you read this it may or may not be at the top of the blog right now! Otherwise here it is below. I was going to do a major overhaul, but got bored and decided to leave it for a rainy day. Instead I just adulterated the existing version - messed around with the colours and bunged in a few more random images.

Just for the hell of it, here are some of my old versions:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Photo of the day: One hell of a view

This was the view from my window for the last 4 days (click to enlarge). It's Nice in the South of France. Please excuse the my dodgy Photoshop job - you can clearly see that it's a composite of 5 photos. I have to say it wasn't exactly the cheapest 4 days of my life, but to wake up to this every morning for a just a few days made made me forget about my wallet entirely.

Monday, July 21, 2008

DrGaz's Music: Maybe Next Time (on piano)

Here's my piano version of Ritchie Blackmore/Rainbow's "Maybe Next Time". There are a couple of slight mistakes (I still haven't managed to play the whole thing perfectly). This is the first guitar solo. I also have a guitar version that you can watch here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Photo of the day: Metal Mushrooms

Some mushrooms... and they're made out of metal.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Photo of the day: The Bike of DrGaz

Earlier today I stopped off on the nice new cycle bridge on the way to the library. This is my bike - it's held together with bits of sticky tape. It's been so windy today - it was really blowing a gale when I took this photo. Cambridge is generally quite windy, which as a cyclist drives me mad as it makes pedalling really hard work.

I dropped of 3 piano music books at the library. They were a week overdue and I had to pay around £4.50. An unbelievably huge fine! I though library fines were pathetic. It doesn't seem long since I recieved fines to the order of 5p and 10p for much more serious offences.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Photo of the day: Green stuff

I left a plant pot full of water on the balcony two months ago. It is now full of green slime (see photo). Maybe I will post another photo of it in a few weeks time so that you can see how this stuff develops

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Photo of the day: Grand piano

This photo of the day is hot off the presses - taken less than an hour ago. It's the grand piano in chapel of Churchill College, Cambridge and I was bashing it this evening. My piano teacher organises a bi-annual "adult pupils' soiree" there and I went along and knocked out out a couple of tunes.

It may seem from looking at the photo that no bugger showed up, but that's just the angle I took at it. There was actually around 40 -50 people in the room. I played "The Old Cuckoo Clock" (one of the pieces I did for my Grade 1 last Saturday) and my own piano version of "Maybe Next Time" by Rainbow. Here is a link to my guitar version of the song. I hope to make a video of my piano version soon to put on YouTube.

This was a seriously nice piano to play - so expressive. Yamaha certainly know how to make them. As good as my digital Yamaha Clavinova is, I fully understand that there's absolutely no subsitute for an acoustic piano. One day I will have one. One day...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

My Grade 1 piano exam was today!

Today was the day, folks! I had my grade 1 exam this morning.

I arrived at the examination centre about 20mins early, and announced my presence to an old dear seated behind a uncomfortably low desk with an "ABRSM" sign next to it. The previous candidate (a piano grade 7) was slightly ahead of schedule, so she told me that I could start slightly early. I was taken upstairs to a practice room where I warmed up for a few minutes on a digital piano - a really dreadful Kawai. Playing that thing made me feel good about spending the extra money on my Yamaha Clavinova CLP-240. As I sat and played a few scales, a young girl blasted hell out of trumpet in the ajoining room in readiness for her exam. I filled in a slip of paper stating what pieces I would be playing and was soon led back downstairs into the sound-proofed exam room. I was eagerly met by my examiner - a young chap, who was very friendly and enthusiastic which put me at ease.

After a few seconds where I was allowed to get used to the piano I was asked to do some scales - D, Am and G. They went smoothly enough. Then it was contrary motion (both hands playing a C scale beginning at middle C and working outwards). Then I did some broken chords and arpeggios. I made a small mistake on the first arpeggio because I started playing it as a broken chord. I apologised and did it properly (hopefully I didn't lose marks).

I then played the 3 pieces. They went really well from what I can remember. The only mistake I made (a very minor one) was I played a D instead of an E on one of the repeating "tick-tock" phrases of "The Old Cuckoo Clock". I managed to continue playing through the mistake and made no further ones.

Then came the dreaded sight-reading test, and he chose me one that was in D Major, so there was loads of F#s and C#s to contend with. I think I got the whole thing about 80% correct as far as the notes were concerned, and around 70% correct as far as timing. My dynamics were sadly lacking. I noticed afterwards I should have played some of it loud (forte) and some soft (piano) I hope they don't mark me down too much

The examiner then took the driving seat and I had the aural test. This was pretty easy and over in a minute or two.

The whole thing went so quickly. It was scheduled for a duration of 12 minutes, but it felt more like 5 or 6. Overall I think I did pretty well, but I think I have to wait a few weeks for the results.

I'll go for Grade 3 next I think.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My Grade 1 piano exam is tomorrow!

Tomorrow's the day, folks! I will be having my Grade 1 piano exam in the morning. I'm sure that most people doing this exam are usually about 7 years old, but I can't help feeling a tiny bit nervous. I know I can pass it with my eyes closed, but I still want to do well. A distinction would be nice, which means there's little margin for cock-ups.

I couldn't resist Googling my piano examiner, and I found a few web pages with photos & biography. He's quite a young chap and has excellent credentials - educated at Oxford, plays the organ on BBC Songs of Praise. I wasn't too sure what a piano examiner would look like - I was expecting some very straght-laced Victorian type - all suited and starched collars, so it's much less intimidating to know that they're just normal people like you or I.

Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 Nicola Bryant calendar: July

Here's July's installment of my Nicola Bryant calendar for your enjoyment...

INSTRUCTIONS: Just click on the above image to open the larger 600x600 version in your internet browser. Then right mouse click to save to your PC. When you've done that just make it your desktop wallpaper. Bingo! You now have some saucy pics of Nicola to keep you company throughout 2008!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Photo of the day: Platform 2

"What the hell is going on?" I hear you scream. That's three "photos of the day" in one week! This is absolutely insane. A sheer triumph of quantity over quality. This was taken last night at about five to midnight while I was waiting for a train back to Cambridge after a few beers in Royston.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Photo of the day: Phone box

Here's another "photo of the day". That's two of them in two days folks! This is an impulsive shot of a phone box I took on the way home this evening that I have Photoshopped within an inch of its life.

I have a strange affinity with phone boxes. They are of course British icons and design classics, but I think my obsession with Doctor Who probably has something to do with it. It's a shame there's not a few more Police Boxes around too.

If you have nothing at all to do and want to read up on the history of British phone boxes, then is an excellent place to do so. There's a secton on Police Boxes there too.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Photo of the day: Down the docks

I happened to be in the London docklands today (Royal Victoria Dock). This is a view down the towards the dome and Canary Wharf. Such a beautiful day and it was very peaceful down there. I really like the rows of preserved cranes on the dockside.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Horror Dream Diary: The Man In The Chair

This nightmare is one of the most frightening that I’ve ever had. I dreamt that I awoke in the middle of the night to find that I had disturbing visitor to my bedroom. The next morning it actually took me a while to get my head around the whole thing because it was difficult to work out if it was dream or reality. You could say it was a “dream within a dream”. I actually had this one in 1996 when I was an undergraduate, and I always meant to write it down, so finally here it is…

When I awoke in the dream the house was dead silent and the room was drenched with moonlight that came in through partially drawn curtains. The window was open and a gentle breeze fluttered the curtains. My bed was in a corner and I lay facing the wall. As I turned over and reached for my spectacles I saw that somebody was sitting at my desk. All I could see was a pale bald head above the back of the chair.

I sprang for the bedroom door. It was jammed but I got it open without too much difficulty. On the landing I switched the lights on and calmed down before returning to my bedroom. The chair was empty so I put it down to being a bad dream.

I closed the window and went back to bed. Later that night I awoke a second time. The window was once again open. I looked over at the desk and saw the same bald head. I froze and stared at it noticing that it was embossed with a thick network of pulsing veins.

My bedroom door was jammed solid and opening it required all my physical strength. I glanced back at the desk and saw the chair slowly turning towards me. I got out of the room before I saw the face.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

DrGaz's new image

After many months of searching for a new pair of spectacles frames a decision has finally been made. It's gonna be a pair of DKNY 5548s in colour code 1062 (pictured). I "discovered" them in a shop in Cambridge a week ago, and decided to write down the model number and shop around for them (they were priced at £150 in the shop). I found one company on the internet that sold them for £70 in the correct colour. However I decided to check Google Maps to see where they were based and it turned out to be in someone's back garden in Dorset. I had absoutely no luck trying to find them anywhere else, so sadly I ended up going back to the original shop and paid top dollar for them. I tried my hardest to knock them down they would not budge on the price at all. It was a shame that Vision Express didn't stock this model. If you ask for a discount at Vision Express the nice people there will knock of 30% before you can finish the question.

Well that's £150 spent on just the frames! If you wear glasses yourself you will probably be aware that the expensive part is the lenses. Sure you can get the cheap ones, but if you have eyesight like me or my good friend Mr Magoo then the last thing you want to do is buy the bog-standard lenses. They will make you look like a nerd and you will have abolutely no hope of ever pulling a woman. The worst pair of cheapos I ever had was when I was 16 years old and the lenses measured 12mm thick. Therefore, I always go for the highest quality pair of frames and lenses I can afford. I am still shopping around for lenses, but I'm going to have 1.9-index Zeiss ones (glass) which are the highest spec currently available. The best price I have had for them is £350. Ouch!

I paid £450 for the spectacles I'm currently wearing. Most people who knew how much they cost me thought I was clinically insane for spending so much money on a pair of glasses, but I think it's insane to save a few quid on something so important that you wear all day every day. This pair have lasted me 10 years. Thats 12p a day.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Royal Mail Hell

Again this not exactly "hell" - but pretty bloody irritating...

During the last 12 months for various reasons I've had cause to send a total of 5 letters by the unbelievably crap Royal Mail "Recorded Delivery" service. Four of those letters have disappeared into a black hole - two about a year ago, and another two about a fortnight ago. I sent the mail by this method because I specifically wanted to know that it had arrived, so what exactly is the point of Recorded Delivery 80% of your post goes missing?

Fortunately what I had sent was of no actual value - it was just boring but important stuff (changes of address to banks etc) that I wanted to guarantee would get to its destination. After the first two went missing I went to the local post office (the same one I sent them from) and spoke to a miserable git on the counter about the service. He was surprisingly defensive about the whole thing ("not my fault mate" etc) and shoved a couple of forms at me. I explained that it wasn't worth me bothering to fill them in just to claim back £2 worth of postage, and then left.

Another recent annoyance is that a book I sold on eBay went missing recently. Two years ago a £30 John Lewis gift voucher (again sent by recorded delivery) that I also sold on eBay vanished.

Bloody annoying.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

2008 Nicola Bryant calendar: June

Here's the June edition for you... Enjoy...

INSTRUCTIONS: Just click on the above image to open the larger 600x600 version in your internet browser. Then right mouse click to save to your PC. When you've done that just make it your desktop wallpaper. Bingo! You now have some saucy pics of Nicola to keep you company throughout 2008!

Friday, May 30, 2008

IKEA hell

Well my current situation is more mildly irritating than "hell" to he honest....

In summary: I ordered a bookcase, chest of drawers and 2 x bedside cabinets from IKEA, waited 2 weeks for it to be delivered. Unwrapped it all and they had the following problems:

1) Bookcase backing was broken.
2) Two of the drawers on the chest had horrible scrach-like marks on the front, and a horrible mark on the front.
3) The quality of everything is generally shite.

I didn't want to wait another 2 weeks for replacements which would probably just have their own defects of some description, so I thought I'd just keep them and demand a discount. Although the defects don't look pretty, the one on the bookcase can be masked by the books, and we'll just have to live with the markings on the drawers.

So I phoned customer "service" where "Dave" gave me the email address of the department who deal with this kind of situation. I sent them an email and some photos. I then waited...

and waited...

A week later and and still no reply. So I rang them and asked them what's going on. I was speaking to "Susan" this time who informed me that a character called "Darril" has definitely got my email and will definitely phone me tomorrow to sort it out. Guess what? "Darril" didn't bother ringing the next day. I rang them back a couple of days later and "Pam" tells me she'll chase everything up and phone me back later. Later comes and still no phonecall from the helpful Pam.

I do want a discount, but it's not all about money - it's more about why I should put up with this crap quality and crap customer service. Why should I just allow myself to be fobbed off by them? So methinks I'll have to get a letter of complaint sent out to them. But here's the catch.... you won't find a single postal address for IKEA HQ on their website!

I've found what seems to be an authentic address on a messageboard which I'll try out.

It's bloody annoying, but nothing compared to the aggro I'm currently having with Vodafone and Barclaycard. I'll tell you about them another time. I simply don't have the strength to even think about those bastards right now!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Gaz on the keys: More tunes for Grade 1

Here are two more tunes I'm working on for my Grade 1 piano exam in July. They are "Allegro in F" by 5-year old Mozart and The Old Cuckoo-Clock by N. Bachinskaya. They still need a bit of work as far as I'm concerned, especially the Mozart one which I only just learned over the last few days. I keep buggering it up half way through as you will see if you watch the video. I'm all fingers and thumbs. AAAArrrrgh!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gaz on the keys: Andante (for grade 1)

Here's a video of me playing Andante (a tune by some geezer called Henreich Friedrich Enckhausen). I'm going for my Grade 1 piano exam in July 2008 and this is one of the 3 pieces I've selected to play. It's quite short, and this is because I'm playing it without the repeats. You are not supposed to bore the examiners with repeats, you see.

The other things that have to be done in the exam is scales. I've learned all the grade 1 scales now (C, D, F and G major, and D and A minor). D and F major are quite fiddly actually. I also have do some arpeggios which are pretty easy and broken chords which are not too difficult. The hardest bit will be the sight reading test. This is where they give you a few bars of some music you've never seen before and you have to play it. Grown men have been known to turn to jelly under these circumstances. I hope that I won't be one of them.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2008 Nicola Bryant calendar: May

Well it's been a bit quiet around here latetly hasn't it? I 've been a trifle busy of late and simply haven't had any time at all to do this blogging mallarkey. Does anyone read it anyway? Somehow I managed to find time to do the May edition of the calendar. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it. Someone? Anyone?

INSTRUCTIONS: Just click on the above image to open the larger 580x580 version in your internet browser. Then right mouse click to save to your PC. When you've done that just make it your desktop wallpaper. Bingo! You now have some saucy pics of Nicola to keep you company throughout 2008!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

2008 Nicola Bryant calendar: April

INSTRUCTIONS: Just click on the above image to open the larger 580x580 version in your internet browser. Then right mouse click to save to your PC. When you've done that just make it your desktop wallpaper. Bingo! You now have some saucy pics of Nicola to keep you company throughout 2008!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Photo of the day: Hong Kong

Well I just happened to be in Hong Kong the day before yesterday, and had a bit of time to look around before I flew back. This is a photo I took at Victoria Peak. I took the Peak Tram up there which travels up the side of the mountain at a ridiculously steep angle. At the top there are amazing views of the place. It's a shame it was a bit cloudy on the day I was there. Hong Kong is a great place, but I couldn't really do it justice with a mere few jetlagged hours at my disposal.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Photo of the day: On the train

Ah, the joys of having a new portable telephone. It's got a mini camera on it too hence the above photo (or should I say image?) It's nice to have this gadget and I also quite like the idea of the in-built MP3 player. However, I have to admit that I am strugglling with the concept of going about my daily life and trying to listen to music at the same time. As much as I love music, I can generally only do one thing at a time, and walking down a street trying to focus on the music means I will only bump into things. If I decide to concentate on my walking and coordination instead I find that I'm just vaguely aware of some bloody irritating noise in my ears. I suppose continuous entertainment just isn't my thing.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Photo of the day: Show me the money

As I'm still rather busy (even too busy to tell you all about my new Yamaha Clavinova CLP-240), here's another photo of the day. It appears that I'll be shortly fleeing the country with a bit of cash on the hip. Lovely Jubbly!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Photo of the day: Waiting room

Waiting for a bus. Ah, that lovely aroma of urine and disinfectant...

Friday, February 29, 2008

2008 Nicola Bryant calendar: March

Well here's the March installment. I almost didn't get around to doing it this month... I'm a bit busy at the moment!

Just click on the above image to open the larger 580x580 version in your internet browser. Then right mouse click to save to your PC. When you've done that just make it your desktop wallpaper. Bingo! You now have some saucy pics of Nicola to keep you company throughout 2008!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Photo of the day: A big heavy box

Well it's finally here! My digital piano (Yamaha Clavinova CLP-240) finally arrived in the huge (and extremly heavy) box you see in the photo. Fortunately the nice people from the shop humped it upstairs for me and I then spent a couple of hours putting it together. Assembling it was actually quite hard work, especially disposing of the mountain of cardboard and foam that was left over.

I'm afraid that I'm far too busy playing it to write any more details right now, but I will reveal all soon (or maybe I'll just tell you about the piano). Suffice to say it's really really bloody good. I am quite amazed by the sheer quality of the instrument. Those Japanese really know what they're doing with this kind of thing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Photo of the day: Guitar practice

I was trying to figure out Ritchie Blackmore's guitar solo in Rainbow's Gates of Babylon (click here to listen to the original). This is something I've tried doing a number of times over the last few years and given up. I've always wanted to learn it because it is one of my favorite pieces of guitarwork of all time! It is an extremely complex solo. It has unusual scales and phrasing, and I find it very difficult to pick out the notes when listening to the original recording. In other words it is a sod to play!

I decided to I'd pull an MP3 of it into Audacity and slow it down to try to make sense of the bits I am struggling with. So far this experiment is working quite well and I've worked out quite a few bits of it. In fact I think I'm about 70% of the way there now. I'll hopefully do a backing track and record it up on Garageband and post a YouTube video soon. The photo shows my PC with the original track slowed right down on Audacity. The laptop is my trusty Mac with Garageband on it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The piano has been ordered!

I ordered a piano a few days ago! Well a digital one anyway. Of course I'd love an acoustic, but this is much more convenient for me at this present time; headphones... USB interface... different instruments... doesn't weigh a tonne etc... you get the picture.

The model I have ordered is a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-240 in Rosewood. These digital pianos have a "graded hammer effect" which means that the keys are weighted like in an acoustic piano (heavy at the bottom and lighter at the top). They also look pretty good as they've tried to make the cabinets look more like acoustics. I was going to get one on ebay, but I just couldn't find what I was looking for which wasn't miles away. Therefore, after lots of homework and a few trips to music shops I finally ordered one from new.

I was blown away by how the thing sounded in the shop, and can't wait for it to arrive next week. I'm looking forward to resuming my lessons! I've had about 5 or 6 lessons so far, and haven't had one since December. I decided to stop them until I get a piano because much as I enjoyed the lessons, I thought it was a bit pointless continuing unless I could practice. Anyway it'll finally be here soon and I'll have to get to work on it as I think it's the deadline for applying to do Grade 1 next month.

Here's a video of some bloke playing the same model Clavinova that I ordered:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2008 Nicola Bryant calendar: February

It’s time for the second instalment of my Nicola Bryant 2008 calendar, and this month Nicola is looking particularly foxy. It’s the 24th anniversary of Nicola’s debut as Peri in the Doctor Who story Planet of Fire, so what better way to celebrate than with a few saucy screengrabs of that infamous bikini scene!

Make it your desktop wallpaper, and don’t forget to drop by next month for the March instalment. If you don’t want to miss it, you can always sign up to my mailing list! I promise not to sell your email address to marketing companies.

INSTRUCTIONS: Just click on the above image to open the larger 580x580 version in your internet browser. Then right mouse click to save to your PC. When you've done that just make it your desktop wallpaper. Bingo! You now have some saucy pics of Nicola to keep you company throughout 2008!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

DrGaz's Music: Maybe Next Time

This here is my humble attempt at the mighty Ritchie Blackmore's "Maybe Next Time". This is the first part of the song. There's a mid-section and a more technical end section. I will try to finish them off soon. I've already learned most of the guitar bits, but I need to complete the backing track on Garageband before I can post it in its entirety.

Ol' Blacky is definitely my favourite guitarist, and this song is probably one of my favorites of his. It should really be played with a slide, but unfortunately I can't find mine. That may not be a bad thing as my slide playing is pretty dodgy.

If you would like to hear this in better quality than the iTubes offering above, click here to download an MP3 version.

INSTRUCTIONS TO DOWNLOAD MP3 FILES: Right-click on the "Download MP3" link and click on "save link as".

Thursday, January 10, 2008

DrGaz's Music: New guitar tunes.

Here's a couple of new experimental ditties that I recorded by plugging my guitar into the computer:


Download MP3

Basically I recorded a couple of clean guitar tracks on Audacity then transferred them individually to Garageband on the Mac. A bit of a pain in the arse doing this way, but I had no option because I currently only have a jack line-in to the sound card on my PC, and no such connection on the Mac. I really need to get some music composition software for the PC tomorrow. As good as Garageband is, my PC is much more powerful.

I had to use a metronome on Audacity to get the timing right, then when I transferred the tracks to the Mac I replaced the metronome track with some drum loops set to the correct tempo. It feels pretty weird trying to record riffs in cleantone when they are intended to be distorted in the final version. However are some nice guitar effects you can add in Garageband (distortion, echo etc), but listening again to Gazrock!, I think I may have overkilled on the reverb and echo. I was trying to get a really heavy sound, and although it sounded OK on my headphones I thought it sounded a bit distant and woolly through the speakers. That said, my current speakers are a bit crap anyway so maybe it's not so much of an issue. Please post a comment if you have decent speakers and tell me if it sounds any good! LET US ROCK!

Twiddly Tune

Download MP3

This is another little test (recorded using the same method as "Gazrock!"). It's half finished and I may have another bash at this one because I quite like it. I may even actually tune my guitar if I redo it! Maybe it'll go on DrGaz's Party somewhere (that is my um "album" I might do one day).

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Above is a quick "photo of the day" shot I took earlier of my guitar.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Organism Consciousness

This is another one of my experimental weird sketches done over the Christmas period when I was a bit bored one day. I know it’s a bit wacky, but don’t worry – I’m not on drugs or having a nervous breakdown or anything (or at least I hope not). This drawing follows the same rules as my Mechanics of a Damaged Mind drawing I did a few months ago. I am of course referring to the “make it up as you go along and just draw anything that pops into your head” rule. I drew this one in pencil instead of pen, the idea being to try to create a bit more texture and a 3D feel that my Mechanics pic lacked. I also added some highlights to the big swirls afterwards using an eraser to try to make them more 3D.