Friday, November 25, 2005

Lazy git!

Ok ok ok!! New post! Sorry, I feel a long one coming on (no jokes please!)

Firstly I really wanna say sorry to anyone who's been diligently checking here over the last few decades in the vein hope that I'll one day put finger to key and provide more enlightenment and joy in the form of one of the longest sentences I think I've ever written that didn't have a comma or a semi-colon in it anywhere!

And BREEEATH, and relax...
(I wish there was an emoticon thing on blogger, don't you?)

Well I'm sat here wearing many layers, typing on frosty keys and I can see my breath in front of my face. Those of you who saw In the Attic will know that my boiler went KAPUTT! some days ago (yes, in a German accent smart arse!), and it's around zero outside so the house is not very warm at all! (The plumber is coming again tonight with yet another part to try - I really hope it works this time!)

Speaking of In the Attic, I couldn't help popping in to say hi and bye on Wednesday, and I'm glad I did - it was really good to see everyone, I was starting to miss them. Just wish I had something prepared to play. I don't think I'll be able to make the Christmas special on 17th Dec due to work commitments, i.e. I have a gig. Very sad about that :-(
Oh by the way, good work Alisha - loved the logos you did for In the Attic and Basement Jam. They were simple, bold, and had continuity between them. Top hole!

Well I've spent a fair amount of time over the last week or so chatting via Yahoo!IM (which is by far the best instant messenger IMHO) with Jessica late afternoon (hi Jess!) and Claire 'Bum-face' Eliza late at night on AIM (which is, by comparison, positively primative, but perfectly good enough if it means I get to chat with such a lovely girl as Claire).
I think most are aquainted with Jess, but if nobody knows of Claire (my mistress) you should ALL go see her blog and force her to write more. I haven't heard her sing or play yet, but something tells me she may well take our radios by storm one day. Fingers crossed :-)

This will embarrass her (yesss!) but I think it's so cool that there are young people with such great taste in music (which is weird to say 'cause that means I'm judging other people's tastes, which I cannot and must not do) but I'm sure you know what I mean.

In case you don't, I mean it's great that good music - that is good songs; true, passionate lyric writing and quality, heartfelt musicianship, combined with great production - has reached through all the chaff that's out there clogging and clouding our ears, minds and radios, and being sold directly to this age group. Even the old stuff that's so popular at the moment is being quantized and remixed and reinforced. Now sure, bring stuff up to date, but why suck out the unique and amazing groove and [insert James Brown grunt here] that this music has, and make it all stiff and samey? The guys that made those records, such as the Funk Brothers (if you haven't seen the film, do so!) et al were hired and head-hunted because of the unique way they could make a record sound and feel. How DARE somebody today just remove that soul they injected into them.

Young people like Claire give me hope that we won't always be subjected to the whinings of good looking but otherwise talentless nob-ends, written for by big fat queers who already own half the songs in the Top 20 of the last two decades.
There IS REAL YOUNG TALENT out there, and it's everywhere. Excellent songwriters with PERSPECTIVE and PASSION, gifted singers with SOUL who can SING A TUNE and COMMUNICATE, musicians with GROOVE and FEEL, producers with ORIGINALITY, programmers with IMAGINATION, mixers with EARS! (hallelujah!) and DJs who'd play it all if only they weren't glued to the corporate playlist and completely unaware of these artists because the record companies won't fucking sign them! In fact if the people who have the power to bring on this talent, the A&R men (not many women, weirdly enough) had EARS (and BALLS) themselves, the radio and tv would be a very different place.

Woops, small rant there - sorry! Hehrrmmm....

Anyway guys/girls, you're both gorgeous - thank you for the long chats :-) Best of luck with everything Claire x

Still, on to tomorrow. I'm playing golf with my good old school buddy Simon in the morning, down in my old hometown of Bournemouth, in Dorset, southern England. It's going to be around 4 degrees, but will feel more like -4 with the northerly wind, so I'm gonna wrap up in my skiing thermals and hat! Wish me luck ;-)
Then tomorrow night I have a black tie dinner to go to, for which I have no black tie, no shirt and no evening jacket! I may well get shoo'd out of the pub!

Please keep the comments and giggles coming in, you're all wonderful and interesting people and I LOVE YA! hehe

Bye for now, Stuee xxxx

P.S. Here're another couple of pics for ya.

The first is of a shield bug, sat on my mum's lamp in her house in France

And this one's a light bulb, but a view we would never get with the naked eye

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Hi all! How's things? Hope you're all mighty fine and, most importantly, smiling! And if not, why not try it now - for me, for you, for everybody? :-)

I sometimes get a feeling that someone I know and love isn't having such a great day, so I send them an SMS (text) with just a smile and a kiss - :-) x
It's amazing how many times they call me later that day to tell me what a profound effect it had on the way they were feeling - be it about themselves, their work, the argument they had earlier on, whatever.

So SMILE people, you never know what a difference it will make to someone you see during your day. You may just be buying a newspaper, or getting on a train, passing a stranger, or even looking IN THE MIRROR! Smile :-)

So many times I'll be in a shop, buying whatever. I approach the counter to pay for my goods, and the person serving tells me the price (at least I assume it's me they're talking to, they don't make eye contact). I make some comment about not quite having the right money, but will this do? They grunt and hand back the change. I bid them farewell and smile, but they're not even looking at me.

I can't help thinking that however discontented they are in their admittedly mundane job, how much happier and rewarded they would feel if only they would allow themselves to connect, if only for a fleeting moment, with the person they were 'serving'.

Sometimes I make an extra effort to catch their eye, and if you try you can make them smile, or blush, or even giggle. I try to be complimentary, cheeky, even rude - just to get them to react, to come out of the deep apathy they seem to be so stuck in just for a second; and once they have I can see the difference instantly. They seem flattered, grateful, awake! And I know that even if it doesn't last beyond the next indifferent, rude, superior customer, I have made part of their day brighter, and mine, and maybe it'll rub off on someone else who really needs a smile.

I'm ranting a little now, but living in England can make you a little sad sometimes. To be honest I don't know which is better - to be in America where everyone smiles but you can never be sure who's being genuine, or to be here in UK, where at least if someone is miserable you know they are being straight up! lol

I'd better go, before I really get started.

Meanwhile, here's another piece of my music - all made on my PC this time. It's just a very rough idea of what will come when I can record it properly - the orchestral strings were rushed and the sounds are crap, the guitar had cheese-wire for strings, and there's no tune. But hopefully the fairies that appear at about 1:30 will make you SMILE x

Love 'n' light, your Stuee xxxxxx

P.S. And if that doesn't do it for ya, maybe this will! It's me, exceptionally drunk, still going strong at 7.?? am, on the morning after a bachelor party... If this doesn't make you giggle, you have no soul :-)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Hi all :-)
I just noticed that a few people have sent some really nice comments about my song 'Circles' that Rachel & I performed In the Attic last week, so I thought I'd post the lyrics... well my lyrics. Rachel has a really good idea for some of her own, so when we record it they'll be different.

Also, here's a link to the backing track for it - so you can hear how I should've played it!! lol
(best to right click and 'Save target as...')

It's weird, my hands just turned to weird goo in the Attic. I think it was because I'm not really a guitarist and Pete was sat right behind me... no pressure then!


Look to yourself for some inspiration
Separation between what is real and make believe
And keep your judgement clear

You talk to yourself, must be great conversation.
Put your face on, quick, before the truth gets away
And someone sees your fear

It’s so easy to say, “Yeah, who cares anyway?”
And I’m getting stronger but the days seem so long
And I don’t feel ready

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my friends in the past:
If you don’t play to win then you’ll always come last
But although I’m aware it must come from within
I just don’t know where to begin

Look to yourself for some motivation
Aspiration is all that I need to pave the way
And take me far from here

It’s so easy to see contradictions in me
But why should I worry or say that I’m sorry
When I don’t feel ready?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my friends in the past:
If you don’t play to win then you’ll always come last
But although I’m aware it must come from within
I just don’t know where to begin
I just don’t know where to begin
No I still don’t know where to begin.


Eye candy

Well after my last brain fart, I thought maybe some images would sooth the mind, so I've uploaded a few of my photos for you to see. Unfortunately, most of my best stuff is on film, and my scanner is packed away. One day... :-)

I don't pretend to be any good at photography, and I don't have very good gear, but I love the feeling I get when I've captured something of the feeling of a place or event in a still - it's very rewarding.
Anyway, here a just a few that I like...

This flower is a Bird of Paradise in Sydney, Australia

This was taken down the river from Fowey in Cornwall, SW England. Such a beautiful place - so tranquil...

...I was there late this summer on a long weekend with my cousin Nicola (pic) and her friends. Such lovely people; none of them knew me but within a couple of hours I felt like part of the crew. Thanks guys xxx

This is the lake in Glomel, France where my Mum & Dad used to live.
Fishing, canoeing... it's so beautiful there; fond memories

This one just makes me melt. It's my friend Simon's new wife Sophie, taken after their wedding in August. They'll thank me for telling you it's a borrowed baby! lol

I particularly like images that, to my mind, illustrate something about life and how we live it.

I love photographing animals. They have a special kind of nonchalance rarely found in a human subject. They sit there, completely unerred, and unimpressed by the presence of the camera - just being themselves. I think it's my inability to behave naturally in front of the lens that makes this so intriguing to me.

This is a seagull I met in Sydney earlier this year. I was there playing the Sydney Opera House with Vanessa Mae

And here are a couple of wasps taking on water. They mix it with cellulose from chewed wood to build their nest

The last couple illustrate my love of macro photography, whereby if you get close enough to something you can no longer see what it is.
This premise holds another key to a happy life - objectivity. The ability to stand back and look at the whole of your sitiuation, if only for a second, can help you make sense of what's happening.
It proves that without objectivity things start becoming abstract... that is to say that what you feel or think, can, if you're not careful, end up being based entirely on fiction; stuff you have derived from no verifiable truth; pure assumption; at worst, even your imagination.

[You don't half talk bollocks sometimes Stu! - Ed]

Oh sod off Ed! If that's too deep for ya just look at the pretty pictures ;-)

It's actually a close up of a wicker lamp shade

Well I couldn't find the other macro one I wanted to post, so here's another bug. It's a cranefly, but in England we call it Daddy Longlegs. I believe in America the Daddy Longlegs is something quite different - a spider with a low hanging body - this is an insect...

There. Well hopefully I'll get some sort of prize for posting the most random blog of the day or something! More sense next time I promise.
Meanwhile enjoy the pics and happy blogging!!

Love 'n' light, Stuee xxx

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's all good... :-)

Howdy y'all! Wassup? Hope you've all got something to smile about :-)

Well they say the only thing that remains constant is change, and I have to agree. And somebody once said to me that everything happens for a reason.
It's this little cherry that has kept me going through some pretty low times in my life - but in order to place so much faith in something as ambiguous and vague as that, I believe one needs to see proof - at least once!

For me, it was when I was a jobbing drummer ?? years ago, and I was booked to work in a 5 star hotel in Dubai for 6 months. What an opportunity! It was playing jazz 4hrs a night, 5 nights a week for good money (£400 per week - that's about $700 at today's exchange rate), and with free use of all the facilities - multigym, pool, golf course, etc., etc.
I planned to come home some £10,000 ($17,500) richer, with a great tan, new physique, and having become a much improved jazz drummer to boot! I even got as far as tying up loose ends in my life, friends, job, etc. I went to the doctor for vaccinations against cholera, yellow-fever, polio, tetanus, typhoid (mostly needles in the arse!) and started the anti-malaria pills. I had a horrible reaction to one of the jabs - must've been a mini episode of yellow-fever or something - I collapsed & fainted in the street, got taken home in a cab and put to bed, where I spent the next 6 hours with a terrible fever, sweating buckets and feeling like I would surely die.
About 2 weeks before I was due to fly, I got a phone call...
The agent had fucked it up (excuse my French, but there's not other way to put it), and the trip was off. And just to rub salt in the wound, he hadn't signed the contract, so we couldn't get a penny in compensation either.

I was gutted. Totally crushed.

A few days later at the drum shop I where I worked, I was talking about it with my good friend and local drumming guru, Paul Beavis, and he told me, "Stu, everything that happens, happens for the best reasons. You just have to keep the faith. Something will come up." And with that he smiled and left.
I liked, trusted and respected him so I thought I should give it a try, but I didn't know where to start. And I didn't really know what he meant. I mean, how could all this disappointment be a good thing?!

Well, it must've been within a few days of when my Dubai trip should've started when I got a call from the very same Paul Beavis, asking me if I would cover some work for him as he was going on his first family holiday in 11 years. I regularly deputised for Paul, so of course I said yes like I always did, but it wasn't until the next day I discovered it would be playing 4 shows with Toyah Willcox - Toyah was quite a big star in her own right in the 80's having had several hit records and a large cult following, not to mention having appeared in Quadrophenia and umpteen other films and TV shows, and is still a much liked celebrity today, so I was made up to know I would be playing for her! My first gig for a famous person!
Anyway to cut a long story short [Yes please! Ed] I played the shows, and after the last one, Robert Fripp (Toyah's husband and guitarist from King Crimson) came over to me smiling and said, "Oh dear, looks like Beavis is out of a job then."
From then on, I was Toyah's drummer and we toured several times, including a trip to Belize to play for the British Combined Services, and it enabled me to leave the drum shop and go professional as a full time musician.

Everything I've done since has been in some way linked to that. This isn't my CV, so I won't list the stuff I've done - that wasn't the point of this story - but suffice it to say I've realised and surpassed many of my ambitions.

The moral? Keep the faith! A lost opportunity is sometimes just a different door opening.

And this works for love, too. I got hurt more than I thought was possible some years ago, and it changed me into somone I didn't like at first. But having worked through that (with much help from people around me) I'm now glad. It made me who I am today, and when I meet my future wife, it'll be the new Stuee she falls in love with, not the old one I tried for so long to hold on to.

So thank you Paul Beavis, I owe you a lot. Not just for giving me a break, but also for giving me something more than that: something I could take with me and use, and share with others.

I hope something in this will inspire something in some of you.
I love you all, so it's ok to love yourself too :-)

Keep smiling, your Stuee xxx

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Dogs!

Well it's Tuesday now and I have a date this evening... I'm going to the dogs!
I've been to horse racing meets quite a few times before and really enjoyed it, and not lost too much money either, but never been to greyhound racing. Plus I'm extra excited because I'm going with a girl. Yes, me - with a girly! (Sorry Jessica, but she's a little more local than you darlin' xx)
She's called Amy; she's a student teacher 10 years my junior (at 23) so much nearer my mental age ;-) And she makes me laugh out loud. I'm usually a bit reserved, and it takes a lot to get a belly laugh out of me, but Amy can do it with a word - AND she's gorgeous! Watch this space... (I'm 34 in January (19th) and I think it's about time I had a girlfriend, don't you?)

My mum phoned last night; her and my dad are moving back to England after having lived in France the past 11 years or so. I'm glad, it'll be great to be able to see them more easily, and I know my nieces (picture from a couple of years ago) will be well chuffed to have their other grandparents closer to hand.

Here they are - Lexy (Alexandra) and Bailey...

I've got some more recent pics of the girls now; I'll put up when I get them off my camera. For now I've lost the teenie-weenie USB lead - oh why can't everything be Bluetooth?!

Anyway, Wednesday I'm hoping to be able to pop in to the Attic for a cigarette and a cuppa. I haven't any more tunes to play as yet, because I don't have a guitar anymore and it's kinda hard to write without one! I'll have to start saving...

A drumming gig on Wednesday night, yippee! Two in one week :-) It's just a local blues band, but it's drums! :-)

Then we're recording with Rachel on Thursday at Oceanic - that's downstairs from the Attic in Pete's studios. We're doing a new song of Rachel's, and one of mine too! It's the one I played on the acoustic guitar in the Attic. Can't wait to see how she sings it. I really do love Rachel's voice, have done since I first heard her sing when she hired me to play on a demo about 3 years ago.

The first one I ever did was a track called Beautiful Invisible, and as soon as I heard the first few chords, then the melody and Rachel's voice, I knew we would work well together, and hopefully for a long time to come :-)

Meanwhile I must wash some clothes, have a 'sh_t shower 'n' shave', and beautify myself in any way possible to look good for my date tonight. Any plastic surgeons in the house?!
It's so not fair: Girls can wear make-up, wigs and corsettes; pad their bras, lengthen their lashes, firm up their bums, and many more tricks I'm sure I don't know about, but if I stuck false pecks down my shirt I think she'd run a mile!!

Hopefully Amy likes scrawny men.

Right, I'm off. Wish me luck!

Love 'n' light as always, your Stuee xxx