There has been a sudden burst of music videos on my YouTube channel. I thought the extra time “home alone” generated by the pandemic would allow me to get my music going again, but somehow that didn’t really work out. I’ve played a bit and I even posted a couple of songs early on, but mostly there was always something else grabbing my attention and creativity … until this week.
The proximate cause was starting to use my balcony. Dubai is a desperately indoor kind of place mostly and I miss my garden in Africa. There is so much fine sand in the air that if you don’t use a balcony regularly it’s just covered in dust. Working full time it just never seemed worth the bother, but working from home has changed that. Now I enjoy sitting outside for ten minutes and sweeping the floor has become welcome physical exercise.
The knock on effect of this has seen me taking the reorganization of my indoor living space one step further. I converted my dining table into a home office some months ago, and cleared space to do some arts & crafts work. Now I realise that I don’t need a conventional sitting room at all. So I’m throwing some stuff away and creating 4 working corners with the home office in the middle. So one corner is for music and I got my valve amp out. That led to upload no 1
That one is in standard tuning and I had my line6 set to simulate a 12 string guitar sound. No particular reason. Because I haven’t been uploading at all regularly, I’m not trying to practice these songs up and get a polished performance. I’m afraid the enthusiasm of the moment will pass and nothing will get recorded at all. So I’m just being spontaneous and impulsive. I have a music stand with a clipboard and some bits of plasticine to hold my phone at roughly the right angle. Then it’s just press and go.
If this becomes a regular routine then I can think about working songs out a bit more, but increasingly I’m drawn to the spontaneity of the “live-stream” idea. I’ve been trying to get closer to that with my linked in posts on my Revit work. It’s nice to have the long blog-posts summarising work over two weekends, but I’m also enjoying taking screenshots of what I’m doing “right-now” and giving people a bit of a feel of my weekend progressing.
Next day. Evening came, and I was sitting over the other side of the room with my acoustic guitar. Open G now, and using my brass slide.
Around sunset next day I decided to take the guitar out on the balcony. Elvis / Willy Nelson song. I’ve messed with this a few times and never quite got what I wanted. This take is pretty rough, (forgot the first line, hit C# instead of C) but no time to get faint-hearted about this. One take and upload. Let’s be honest about it. The next para is what I wrote on LinkedIn … forgot to give it a title in my haste, but corrected that just now.
Mid winter in Dubai, so it's cool enough to sit out on my fifth floor balcony and do an al fresco take on a song I haven't played for months and which I haven't yet cracked. But I quite like this version of the punch line which just came to me tonight.
I can never really come up with an exact arrangement. I'm always messing with the timing, phrasing etc so it always needs to be a fairly robust riff I can improvise around. Applies to both guitar and vocals.