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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Wee Wave

BanjoPappySm.jpgI KNOW I'M ALWAYS COMPLAINING how busy I am, and I know that's considered very bad form on a blog, but dammit, it's the truth. Fact is, lately, I've been too busy with other things even to write an "I'm too busy" complaint. I'm transitioning between jobs - moving internally from one division to another - and having to balance wrapping-up one set of work with reading-up on some completely different technology. So I'm swamped - but not just with work, also with home. We're in the midst of renovating, of upgrading the family pile to Bearded 2.0. We have no flooring, no carpets, no downstairs bathroom, very nearly no kitchen, and quite soon none of our old furniture. The house is currently swamped with all of the old stuff and a mountain of new. Second huge dumpster has just been delivered, this one to be filled with kitchen and bathroom fittings, residual carpet, and with old and irredeemable furniture and appliances. Probably the garden too, since we're digging-up all the trees and clearing-out the homesize forest they've become. Everything, it seems, must go.

Blogging, as they say, will be light in the continuing weeks, and I do apologise. You may console yourselves, ever so slightly, with the knowledge that being attentive to the needs of the Xenoverse is not the absolute last thing on my mind: my poor banjo has suffered far, far more neglect during the past month. I haven't lifted it once, not since I moved it upstairs to the bedroom to ensure it wouldn't be thrown away by a vengeful family.

I love my banjo, though I play it very poorly at novice level. I ought to devote at least half an hour each day to practise, but have never been able to do so for one reason or another. Drives the fambly crazy, practising rolls over and over; horrifying renditions of "Duelling Banjos" or "Jesse James" or "The Ballad of Jed Clampett". Teaching myself to play Scruggs-style rather than Clawhammer, all from a couple of music books and some tabs fetched from the internets. It's hard. Made more complicated still because - like Ziggy - I plays it left-hand, so all the instructions and the diagrams are upside-down and arse-over-tit. And yet despite that, despite my total lack of skill and tin ear, despite my short, chubby, clumsy Boss Hog fingers more suited to two-fingered typing than three-fingered picking, despite that I can't change chords without looking or in anything under five seconds; despite all that I love my banjo. There is no form of recreation that can compete with the learning and the playing of a musical instrument for sheer pleasure and enjoyment, or the feeling of wellness it inspires in the player. One day, perhaps, I may even play decently: but who cares? Not me.


Anonymous stephenesque said...

Now THAT'S what I call shameless ;-)

1:39 PM  
Blogger Whisky Prajer said...

Burl Ives standing in for Boss Hogg is pretty shameless, too.

Thanks for reminding me why I don't want to get started on the bathroom renos ... just yet. So Scruggs is your musical muse? I would have taken you for a Béla Fleck man, myself. All the best with all that.

3:37 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

I began with an honest-to-goodness Boss Hog, then had an image in my head of Ives playing a banjo, could only find Ives playing guitar, but liked the photo in the bath better. Anyway - it was the fingers that were important.

As for Fleck, I'll need to look him out. My familiarity with real banjo pickers is extremely limited, seeing as how I'm allergic to most country music. Always on the lookout for recommended talent. But yeah: Scruggs is something.

6:47 AM  
Blogger DarkoV said...

"One day, perhaps, I may even play decently: but who cares? Not me." Nor do we, your faithful readers. Or, at least we don't care as long as you're not podcasting your twangy runs for us to guard our ears. At that point, opinions may be changed.
Frankly, I can't think of a better musical instrument to accompnay oneself with when confronted with mass domestic renovations. Only the musical saw comes to mind and that is a good choice of instrument as it does double duty as musical and (de)construction tool.
As this domestic enterprise project goes along, please do keep notes. Each man's foray into home improvement is accompanied by journies of the relationship kind that are biting/touching/diminutive. It's kind to pass on these moments to all interested parties.

12:14 PM  

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