Graham Higgins Illustration - Literate Graffiti Dept.


February 26, 2010

26-2-10 Buckets Of Mail

A couple of evenings ago my mail software began a delivery of what turned out to be 391 old mails. I put it down to whimsical software, a leaky pipe at the server, One Of Those Things. Set about clearing them from amongst the old unsorted mails and another 370 began flooding in. As I cleared those out another 370-odd showed up in the loading-bar and I stopped them, hoping that it would all be OK in the morning.

Currently as long as the Mail window is up I get batches of 50-70 every few minutes. A pattern has emerged, we’re working through every mail I’ve received or sent over the past three years and as I type we’re up to February of last year. I feel like The Site Administrator’s Apprentice, mopping up as the  dogged server empties buckets of mail into my lap.

I presume that eventually we’ll get to whatever new mail I should’ve received over the past couple of days so as I type I note each new incoming batch and clear it (March 2009 as I write).

[Friday evening]…and I’m relieved to report I’ve arrived at current mails, status quo restored. I’m not a reflex Luddite but if I were, this would be why. Nowadays military bombardments are intitiated and economies crash thanks to software inelegance: human error rendered in binary code and running intercontinentally at computer clock-speed. ‘Oops, wait a minute…’ is an era in digital time.

Never abashed at the occasional homage au fromage I’ve filled time during mail-dumps to practice Till There Was You and A,You’re Adorable on the ukulele.

Picked uke has a pretty music-box sound for some songs I probably wouldn’t do otherwise. Sounds Of Silence is another (Me’n’Julio and Mother And Child Reunion are obvious strummers); As Tears Go By is another though no-one would mistake my rendering for even late-period Marianne Faithfull and The Stones original is plainly an embarrassment even to themselves.

On the bus to have my blood-tests on Wednesday, picked up the Metro free paper where Dave Gorman is interviewed.

“The country tilts at an angle and my pub quiz trivia fact is that, looking at the proper lines of longitude and latitude, Edinburgh is further West than Cardiff”

Say wha…? What a different idea we’d have of this island if it routinely appeared on maps tilted, as the man says, at an angle. Did the original cartographers make it sit up to save paper or to make it resemble the silhouette of Britannia?

  1. How strange email servers are. I think mine empties itself whenever I fetch the mail with Outlook Express. But I suppose there may be a secret cache lurking somewhere in the BT Yahoo universe, waiting to resend it all if it gets bored with recent epistles.

    When it comes to Terrible Old Songs, I have to report that I am currently working on ‘Daisy Bell’ with the small guitar. Having found a nearly-right melody line on the web and nearly-right chords on another site, I’ve been trying to bash it into something that seems comfortable. I now want to make it sound suitably bicycle-y and tinkly.

    Comment by Sue Jones — February 26, 2010 @ 10:54 pm
  2. Daisy Daisy was one of the first tunes I tried on the reso guitar, where the banjo-tone suited it well. Most of the melody comes from a lot of pinkie-action on the top two strings, 3rd fret, and you only need C, F and G with an incidental G7.
    I often find fully-tabbed arrangements confusing, especially when they record picking patterns you’d do or alter anyway. Given the chord pattern and a few clues about additional notes or characteristic riffs I can often produce ‘a’ version, which is more satisfying than reproducing ‘the’ original. That’s the genius of ‘Anji’, that it’s recognisable through anyone’s half-decent attempts at it. See also Doc Watson’s ‘Windy and Warm’.

    Comment by admin — February 27, 2010 @ 7:40 pm
  3. I’d mugged up the chorus like that myself, in C and with very simple chords, but I’m now in G, which works much better when the verse is added. It’s easy enough in my usual sort of pom-cha-cha style with no fancywork. But I am also having a go at picking out the notes of the melody line alone (from the dots, as I have never mastered tab). No chords just single notes. This requires a lot of concentration as it is a new departure for me, but I occasionally get through a whole verse and the chorus without coming off the rails. At which point I feel I’ve Achieved Something. (And next try it goes pear-shaped immediately, of course.)

    Actually, the melody as I’ve got it would fit nicely on the uke: it uses all four top strings but doesn’t go lower. Then you’d have it in what? C instead?

    Comment by Sue Jones — February 27, 2010 @ 9:07 pm
  4. My impulse to pick this one out came from John Fahey’s recording. I was smitten with his playing from first hearing: a couple of eerie bottleneck pieces from ‘The Transfiguration Of Blind Joe Death’ on the first Transatlantic Guitar Sampler. There were two of those; I’ve long lost my vinyl discs but I wish they were rereleased. The first Fahey LP I bought was The Yellow Princess, still a favourite when I have a vinyl phase.
    Now I use the familiar chorus as an in and an out of one of my songs, ‘The Great War’, also prompted by the sound of the steel-body reso.

    Comment by admin — February 27, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

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