MUSiC/WORKSHOP: Hofner Congress neck fix, Pt 3.

Am I getting back on track? Dare I hope so!?

After routing off c. 4mm, sanding.

My quest for a set of four screws (the originals removed and, it appears, lost!) to re-attach the base-plate of my Titan router ended in compromise. I found a set of four screws whose pitch wasn’t identical, but that fitted, albeit possibly damaging/reconfiguring the threads. Still, it allowed me to use the damned thing!

My neck support jig, and methods of clamping the neck, proved something of an issue. How clamp the neck so it won’t move and yet access it all for uniform depth routing? In the end this proved nigh on impossible. I did my best, and routed to a depth of c. 4mm, removing all the gouges and tear out.

Looks pretty flat. I’m happy, I think.

When routing with the jig supporting either side of the base-plate failed to produce the cleanly uniform surface I’d hoped for, I set up a flat sanding surface. As per the pictures. Hopefully this has some over the issues? It certainly looks nice n’ flat now.

Interesting neck ‘archaeology’!

All this work has revealed some interesting neck construction: the neck itself appears to be to piece, with a slightly odd kilter spline running, slightly wonkily, roughly down the lateral centre. This three part construction then joins to the heel, with a two-faceted joint. I’m the pic above one can see the junctions of these four parts. Note also a large-ish hole. what was this for? Fretboard positioning, perhaps?

Two more holes. One filled, the other not.

At the headstock end of the neck are two more similarly sized hole. One is empty, the other filled with a wooden dowel. I used a knife – an ‘x-acto’ blade, as our American cousins might have it – to mark the top end of the neck, where the nut will sit.

Finally removed the tuning pegs.

I took the tuning pegs off. To facilitate the sanding of the neck. Due to the amount of material removed from the neck the sanding process has flattened a small area ‘biting’ into headstock territory. How this might affect the rebuild of the headstock – reattaching the plastic plate, etc . – remains to be seen.

Heel area details…

In the photo above, a number I originally read as 1968 might actually be, read the other way up, 3961! What I took to be an eight can be seen at another point on the underside of where the neck projects over the arch top, below.

Some of this four digit number has disappeared, the neck length being shortened somewhat at this end by the removal of so much depth at a point where the neck tapered to a pretty thin area. But it’s pretty clear that the first digit is a 3, not an 8!

Thanks to Steve for drawing my attention to this!

Next I need to build back the list material somehow. Then I’ll need to rout out a channel for a truss rod. And for this I’ll need to establish neck length, or how long a truss rod (and fret-board) I need.

Got a busy drum-teaching day today. So I’ll either do this tonight, or over the weekend. Need to order the truss rod from Stew-Mac, State-side, so the sooner that’s done, the sooner I can progress this whole neck repair.

MUSiC/MEDiA: Phil Lynott, Song For While I’m Away, 2021

This is great! A decent documentary about the late great Phil Lynott. I’m always flabbergasted when I’m reminded that he died aged just 36. A truly tragic waste.

But let’s not dwell on the morbid darker side. Even more stunning is the fact that in such a relatively short life he and his musical partners in crime left us such a rich legacy.

From the eponymous debut of 1971, through to swan song Thunder and Lightning, 1983, Thin Lizzy’s discography is littered with fantastic music. And Lynott’s solo albums are worth having as well.

As a child my first musical ‘crush’ was for Status Quo. But the first band I got properly into, such that I started buying their albums, was Thin Lizzy.

Lynott and Downey, a dream team.

Rather ironically, but entirely predictably, it was hearing Whiskey In The Jar, on a cassette compilation loaned me by a friend / thanks Heidi – that started the lifelong love affair.

The irony being, as conveyed in this doc’ (and elsewhere), that Whisky was an accidental and unintentional hit. A bit of a joke in the studio – rockin’ up a trad’ ‘Oirish’ folk song, for a laugh – that wound up catapulting the band into the spotlight.

The next phase en route to stardom didn’t come easily. Eric Bell, one of the original core trio, left, disillusioned with the miming pop culture and struggling with his own daemons.

Lizzy then reinvented themselves, adding their famed twin guitars to the permanent duo of Lynott on bass, vocals and chief songwriting duties, and superb drummer Brian Downey. Lynott and Downey had met at school, and played together in several bands prior to the advent of Lizzy.

Probably my favourite Lizzy album?
Ah… those were the daze!

For me this next era, Lynott, Downey and guitarists Scott Gotham and Brian Robertson, is the ‘golden age’ of the band. Between 1974-1977 they released five albums, all of which – Nightlife, Fighting, Jailbreak, Johnny The Fox and Bad Reputation are solid gold classics, in my view.

But as alluded to above, after the flash in the pan ‘one-hit wonder’ aberrant success of Whiskey In The Jar, they were in danger of sinking without trace. But luckily for them, and all of us, The Boys Are Back In Town, and the album that spawned that second hit, Jailbreak, cemented their success.

Robertson left (can’t recall if quit or was fired?) during the Bad Reputation period. And from that point on their was a continuing cast of changing characters on second guitar, from former occasional band mate Gary Moore, via Snowy White, to bouffant haired shredder, John Sykes.

Lizzy’s 71 debut. What a cool cover!
I really love their early Eric Bell era stuff.

Some post classic quartet albums, like Black Rose and Chinatown, are still great, featuring some sublime tracks, such as Sarah (#2!), Dancing In The Moonlight and (?). But Renegade and Thunder And Lightning, which might for other lesser bands be high water marks, aren’t Lizzy’s greatest.

So, this post has morphed from a review of the biopic into a brief overview of Lizzy, from one fan’s perspective! It also makes me realise I’d like to re-listen to the whole Lizzy/Lynott catalogue, and post reviews of all the albums. Like I’ve already done with Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, and one or two others.

But to return to the core subject… it’s nice to see and hear Phil Lynott being so fondly remembered, and recognised for the great musical talent he had. As music biopics go, this is good. Very good.

I especially liked that they aimed more at his ‘sensitive side’, and not the dumb rocker thing, which has occasionally blighted other Lizzy/Lynott related media. Emer Reynolds, the lady who made this film, has said herself: ‘I was interested in something a bit more nuanced, that would focus on the poet, the songwriter, the man behind the image.’ *

Oi troid really hard to foind da photo on the left of this image, as a stand-alone…

To conclude: Phil, not believing in a spirit world, I realise you can’t hear this, but no matter… I’m Still In Love With You!

* I forget now where I found this quote; some online Irish newspaper article, Oi t’ink?

Here’s another fab pic of Lynott from the very early days. Love it! Just wish I could locate a better quality version.

MUSiC: Time, Louis Cole, 2018

I bought my copy of Louis’ Time on CD at his 2019 solo gig, at Heaven, London. Like Louis I was flying’ solo! Anyway, loved the gig, and listened to the CD on my drive home. Driving out of London, after midnight, with Weird Part Of The Night playing!? Fantastic.

Cole’s music is an interestingly eclectic mix: there are trashy keys sounds: brash, almost rasping, sometimes evoking the disposable riffs of electronic dance music. Thankfully there’s also a nice big dose of raw funk. But it’s also unashamedly pop. Albeit a weirdly maverick kind of pop. And as well as the high energy brash-trash edginess, there’s the balladry, with cloud-banks of soft pillowy ‘pad’ type keys parts.

For me it all adds up to a heady and compelling mix. The album itself kicking off with the anthem to small hours freedoms, In The Weird Part Of The Night. This very upbeat track is followed by the midtempo funk of When You’re Ugly, a kind of sibling loner/loser anthem, pairing very nicely with the opener.

Everytime and Last Time You Went Away are another pair, but this time of spookily sparse synth/vocal ballads. And split up by an intervening quartet of more varied content. From the brief soundscape of More Love Less Hate (which he uses as backing at gigs to a pretty beatnik spoken recitative piece), to his collaboration with Thundercat, Tunnels In The Air.

The last named above is my least favourite track. The midtempo stuttering hip hop vibe of Phone is much better. And Real Life, with guest Brad Mehldau tickling the ivories, one of the albums several more excitable hi-energy numbers, is also much stronger. Freaky Times and Trying Not To Die also partake of the spirit of youthful zestiness that characterises much of the album. The latter, like Real Life, benefitting from a virtuosic jazz piano solo, this time from guest artist Stu Hamm.

Amidst these tracks we also find the wonderfully titled After The Load Is Blown, a soulful downtempo ballad. But Cole has saved the very best till last. Just as the album opens with two of the strongest numbers, so it ends on two of the best: the absolutely sublime Things, and the haunting ultra mellow closer, Night. Louis played both at the more recent big band gig I saw, also placing them in close proximity within the set. And I was transported to a blissful place, high up in the aether.

Whilst Time is not a totally consistently brilliant album, it’s still pretty astonishing. Especially as it’s essentially the work of one still very young man. And the best stuff is off the scale.

Tunnels is the only track I regularly skip, but several others – Things and Night in particular – I’ll often listen to repeatedly. They’re both mesmerising and highly compelling. At his more recent Earth gig (he’s played Heaven and Earth, I like that!) I bought a CD of his earlier Music CD album. I’ve yet to really give it a proper listen. Only the track A Little Bit More Time, from Time, sounds at all like the older stuff, which I’m yet to get to grips with.

But all in all, Time is 14 tracks from a very creative and interesting contemporary young artist. Cole’s work helps restore my faith in humanity, in our rather oppressively hyper-capitalist era of dumbed down to the max wallpaper ersatz muzak. In an age of karaoke opium for the masses, Louis Cole is refreshingly idiosyncratic.

Maybe not for everyone – my wife’s not keen, refusing to accompany me to either gig! – but, for me, essential. Hence five out of five.

MUSiC/WORKSHOP: Hofner Congress, neck fix, Pt 2. or Further Guitar Repair Misadventures, aka A Pain Of A Neck

The neck this evening.

Well, I had hoped to do this yesterday. But yesterday became today. Anyroad, I did get around to removing the rest of the fretboard. And, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, what a pig’s ear…

What the hell happened here!?

The surrounding pictures attest to the carnage: first, the fretboard wood simply refused to separate cleanly from the neck. Second, despite trying to use the chisel co-planar to the joint, it occasionally dug in and gouged out neck material. Third, the section which is ‘flying’ our above the arched top, that whole came away and took the substrate – aka the neck – with it. And fourth, in several places whole chunks of neck ‘flesh’ came away. It’s become a kind of leprous zombie type neck, shedding material hither and yon.

The green tape/arrow is where the scratch-plate locator pin-hole is/was.

One area where the latter occurred is around the locator pin-hole for the scratch plate. I can understand that that hole weakens wood around it. But why the chunks on the top of the neck?

I think what I’m going to have to do is take the entire neck down a tad, one way or another, whilst ensuring it remains both flat and ‘true’. Then I can add a laminate layer.I’m thinking a nice pale bear white wood, maple, perhaps?

The flying bridge section of the neck. More ‘flaying’ than flying.

Then I can rout out a channel and set the truss rod in place (adjustable end at the headstock), and finally fit a new 22-fret fingerboard.

Looking down the neck one sees some serious steps, where material has come away.
Held up to the light one can see all the chisel gouge marks.

MUSiC/WORKSHOP: Hofner Congress neck fix, Pt 1. Starting work …

Here she is, looking fine. Don’t want to trash her!

One of the scariest things on a project like my Hofner Congress is simply getting started. As long as I put it off, I have a nice looking if purely ornamental instrument. But for some reason I’ve been feeling compelled to dive in. And today I finally took the plunge.

I’d already removed the strings, the day I got it back home. But with plans to put a dual-action truss-Ros in the neck, and evidence of previous neck reset attempts, I figured I had to get started sooner or later. I decided sooner would be now.

Tiny screw on the back, going into the heel. Note gaps, both horizontal and vertical!
This much larger screw was buried under some weird filler material.

Rather amazingly, after removing the pick guard plate, and taking off a small screw on the back, or to be more precise the very ‘base’ of the heel, and another much larger one going through the heel into a neck support block in the body (I had to gouge out a load of filler), the neck itself came off surprisingly easily.

This neck joint came apart really easily.

This suggests to me that a neck reset was very definitely needed. I masked off and cleaned up all the surfaces inside the joint. I also discovered a year, 1968 (the year Teresa was born), written in pencil on the heel of the neck.

Removing the neck revealed this pencilled year.

This is very intriguing, as the guitar’s serial number, and the personal testimony of its previous owner, who bought it new ‘over sixty years ago’, date the guitar itself to 1958. That’s a full decade earlier. It could be that what I read a a ‘6’ is actually a 5. But it sure look more likes 6 than a five to my eyes.

Scraping crud off the joint makes the year, 1968, clearer, somewhat surprisingly.

Does this possibly mean this instrument got a neck reset or replacement when it was just ten years old? I’ll have to see if I’ve still got the previous owner’s contact details, and ask him.

There is further evidence, in addition to the pencilled 1968, such as the fact that the heel of the neck seemed to be about a millimetre or so shy of actually sitting flush, as can be seen in the pic about five images above. And on the back of the guitar, in the corresponding location, was a thick layer of dried goop. Glue, intended to fill the void?

I intend to fine tune this joint, and re-assemble and re-set it properly flush. This previous bodge will have added, along with the concave neck bend, to action issues.

Neck joint separated, surfaces cleaned. Looks okay!

Anyway, I felt the neck removal went surprisingly well. Much better and quicker and easier than I’d expected. I then removed nut, and decided I’d try and get the fretboard off as well. I kind of wish I hadn’t attempted the latter. This phase really didn’t go well. At all.

I’d seen numerous YouTubers using an iron, running it over the frets to soften the glue that holds the fretboard in place. I then tried to get a painter’s palette knife into the seam between neck and fretboard. However, there was no gap in this joint, anywhere.

I also removed this plastic headstock veneer.*

* The Hofner logo and three dots are formed by off white material that filled indentations on the back of the plastic headstock veneer. These remained attached to the headstock, whilst the plastic itself came off relatively easily.

But, like an idiot, I waded in to the fretboard removal anyway. And for my pains the finger-board began to separate from the neck, splitting in numerous places as it did so. Nor were things opening up neatly along the seam of the glue joint. Aaargh!

In the end I wound up using a sharp chisel, to simply hack away. I had hoped, as many YouTubers seem to manage, to pry the fretboard off intact, in one nice clean go. So I could reinstall it later. But I sir-ee, that simply wasn’t happening!

I finally stopped for the night, before going too far, and trashing the neck irretrievably. I’ll hopefully remove the rest of the fretboard tomorrow or Tuesday.

The wood on the fretboard looks and feels a bit like some timber I’ve got from old tables and chairs, which I was told is rosewood. It’s hard, fine grained, and brittle. It isn’t coming away along the junction with the neck. So however it was shaped and glued, it was shaped very well and glued down too good to allow easy removal!

Perhaps I needed to apply more heat, via the iron, or more steam? But I didn’t want to affect the overall neck and/or fretboard integrity with too much moisture. After a period of repeatedly using the iron on the frets, and a few of the latter simply falling out, I removed them all.

Fret removal, and abandoning any attempt to save the fretboard intact, made removing the neck – using the chisel – a lot easier. I only wish, quite apart from wishing it had come away easily and intact, that I’d taken measurements of fret positions before embarking on such a destructive course. But as I hadn’t intended to destroy the fretboard, I hadn’t deemed that necessary.

Aargh! Precisely the kind of butchery I desperately wanted to avoid.

Look at the mess I’m making! And sadly there’s lots of little bits, chips and scratches, getting caused to both neck and, alas, even the body, as I work. I’ve forced myself into the situation of having to either buy or fabricate my own fretboard now.

But given how easily the fret wire came out – I could literally remove it with my fingernails! – and the neck itself came away from the body, the neck itself and the joint were in bad shape anyway. And let’s not forget the major underlying reason for all this fiddling; the concave bowing of the neck, as it was when I bought the guitar.

How she looks now. Neck sans fretboard; messily applied choc’ spread!?

The neck as it was also had a zero fret, which, for some reason, I really dislike. So I may modify this guitar such that when I’m done, it not only has an adjustable truss-rod installed, but it also doesn’t have the zero-fret.

So I need to order a truss-rod, and either ditto for a new fretboard, or make my own from scratch. I’d rather buy one for now. So that fret spacing (and perhaps even fitting?) are already done.

HOME/DiY: Workshop – Plane handle #4 (or is it 5, or…. er?)

Aaargh! My oak plane handle is way out of whack, and won’t align with the plane in any useable way. I consistently make this same mistake (amongst many others).

Marine ply prised apart for re-gluing.

So I rewatched Paul Seller’s plane tote handle video. And one of the first and most fundamental things he mentions is laying out and drilling the hole that secures the handle with a long rod. First! I’ve been leaving it till last. And it never works. Perhaps some folk could do it. But not me, it seems.

Put some Frog tape in the channel, to keep glue out.

So I guess the oak handle will go in a spares box, for potential use on some other future project. And instead I’m trying to make one from some marine ply. And this time I laid out and drilled the main hole first.

Glue added…

As I type this the newest handle is gluing up. The block of marine ply turned out to be two blocks glued together. And they were coming apart. So I pried them fully asunder – this is after I’d drilled the main holes and done a lot of shaping with rasps and files – and now they’re gluing up again.

… tape removed.

Watching Shutter Island – bonkers! – whilst waiting for the handle to glue up.

Gluing up the two halves.
Clampus maximus.

When the glue has ‘set up’ as they say across the pond, I’ll continue shaping this latest handle. Probably mostly with sandpaper from this point on. I hope this umpteenth attempt comes good.

HOME/DiY: Workshop – Oak Plane Handle #1

Funky shapes!

Today I was dumb enough to try fixing a couple of broken plane handles I made a while back. But, of course, after cutting and cleaning them up, and then re-gluing them, they just broke again. Wasting time/energy. Balls!

So after failing to repair those, I bit the bullet and grabbed a little block of oak I had laying around. It was a bit too thick. I got around that in a rather convoluted and silly way. But ne’er mind! I got around it.

I made forlorn attempts at fixing these.
Tricky shapes to clamp! And the glue joint failed anyway.

Part of the foolishness in thinning this new oak handle to the right dimensions was that I did so after cutting out a rough handle shape on the bandsaw. Oh, and the latter is all out of whack, yet again. Despite my most recent set up, which included putting it on a trolley, to lessen the impact of moving it around on the alignments. So that’ll need seeing you yet again. Arse!

Once I’d got the basic shape, and thinned the resulting handle blank to roughly the correct dimensions, it was rasps and files a-go-go. I have to confess, rasping oak and other hard woods is peculiarly satisfying. Even the aromas the oils in the wood give off are enjoyable.

Wood is so much more beautiful than plastic.

Teresa insisted I shut up the workshop and come inside. And I was happy to comply, as it’s getting durned cold out there. The freezing concrete floor makes my feet feel like two iced lollies. So I brought the blank and a plastic ‘original’ inside, along with mucho sandpaper, and set to finessing the shapes.

This also is peculiarly gratifying. I spent ages sanding with various grits, whilst watching old Top Gear, n’ Grand Tour highlights. As you’ll see in the pics, I’ve left more wood on the base. This is where all my other handles broke. So I figure I’ll shape any such handles I make from now on, and even drill and major holes, etc, before finally cutting this part down to size.

I love the colours and the patterns in the grain.

At present the top ‘horn’, that comes back over one’s thumb when holding the plane, is, like the base, thicker than the handle shape I worked from. But I actually quite like it as it is. So I might leave it that way.

The last thing I did, in order to see the wood colour and grain better, was rub a tiny bit of veg oil into the handle. I reckon it looks rather lovely! I’ll finish it off as soon as I next get a bit of time.

HOME/DiY: Greenhouse Gap Filling

Tatty frames need tidying, and gaps filling.

It’s getting pretty cold out now. But I was out working on the greenhouse again anyway. Filling in the little gaps between the opening windows and other glazing.

One of the ten little wooden ‘fillets’ in place.

On the ‘front’ face, or the side facing into our garden, there were six such gaps. Four on the little stained glass frames either side of opening windows, and two either side of a non-opening one.

More gaps to fill…

It was quite easy to do these. I just hope, held in place by glue and friction fit alone, they last alright. It was certainly quite satisfying cutting and fitting the wood, and seeing the gaps gradually disappear.

Another one filled.

Some of these filler parts fitted beautifully, and sit very flush with the surrounding elements. Others less so. But all in all I’m pleased. It’s another small but significant step towards completion.

This one’s not an opening window.

On the neighbour’s fence side, it was harder to do these in-fills (unless I went into their garden; and I didn’t want to do that today). I wound up doing it ‘blind’, so to speak, from inside the greenhouse. But there are only four on this side, and they were fairly accessible. So it wasn’t that hard.

On the neighbour’s fence side.

As can be seen in many of these photos, these new bits need sanding and painting. Indeed, the whole of the greenhouse needs sanding, filling and painting. Much of the old original paint of the many recycled window frames that comprise most of the structure are peeling and flaking.

Also on the same side.

But now, at long last, the bulk of the structural stuff is complete. And even most of the final minor tweaks are done. If I can sand and paint the unpainted and rough sections, and seal the few remaining cracks, that’ll be good enough for this year.

Oh dear… the door’s all out of whack!

And speaking of such remaining tasks, even after what I did today, there’s still quite a bit to do. Sadly despite all the efforts I put into keeping the doorframe square and getting the door in position so it closed neatly, either I balls-ed up massively, or stuff has shifted. Whatever’s the cause, the door doesn’t shut properly, nor is it even square or aligned with the frame. Hey-ho! Quite how I’ll deal with this I’m not sure.

There are still a few little seams that need filling.

There are also, as alluded to already, numerous little gaps such as the one pictured above. Some, like the above, are only parts of temporary fixes anyway, to be replaced with glazing in the fullness of time. But others are part of the structure, and need filling somehow.

But with the door shut (kind of!), and all the windows closed, it’s still a lot warmer inside the greenhouse than outside. So the edifice works as it ought to, despite all the little ‘leaks’.

MUSiC: Louis Cole live, Earth, 2021

Wow! A live gig!?!?

First off, a big thanks to Guy Snape for coming out to see the gig. I’d have gone on my own (again!). But it’s so much nicer to share an experience like this. We drove down, and parked for free not far from the venue. Poifeck!

After a bag o’ chips and ages queuing, we checked our coats, I bought an older Louis Cole CD, and we promptly got in another queue, for some beers.

With unaccustomed brass neck I jumped the queue when the opportunity presented itself. And then it was just a matter of standing around, right up front, by the stage, awaiting the performers.

Not great pics from my old iPhone! The empty stage, before either act performed.

First up was Genevieve Artadi. She performed with two other ladies; all three sang, one of the others playing a little keys. The bulk of the music was played off a laptop. GA is a real babe, but her music, especially in this karaoke format, does absolutely nothing for me (I’m not really much of a fan of knower, either, tbh).

I feel bad even saying that! And I suspect Louis would probably deliver a quick and very hard n’ sharp kick in the jaffas, if he heard me or anyone else say such a thing! But it just didn’t connect with me at all.

There was another long wait – about 30 minutes or more – before Cole and co appeared. Billed as a big band, there was a seven-strong horn-section, two female backing vocalists (GA being one of them), keys, bass, and Louis, on vocals, keys and drums.

GA’s set was delivered in front of a video screen, the three ladies dressed in skimpy tight spangly gear, bouncing about a lot. Nice! Cole’s set dispensed with the screen, but found the entire group in ‘skellington’ onesies. So both sets had aspects of stagecraft in addition to the music.

Another pretty duff phone snap!

As a drummer, and lover of live music, I find DJ or karaoke type music culture strangely flat; lacking that spark of energy that comes from the live in the moment interpersonal interactions of real musicians. And usually it also sounds (as well feeling) very different.

Last time I saw Louis Cole it was a one man show, at Heaven, under Charing Cross. It was excellent (and I bought Time whilst there). But I preferred tonight by immeasurable orders of magnetite!

The set was superb, mostly intense and high energy, but with occasional very moody ballad moments. I was particularly overjoyed to hear full on live large band versions of Thinking About You, Things, Drive and When You’re Ugly, etc. His ‘viral sensation Bank Account was in there, as was a high-energy rabble-rousing F*ck It Up, which was the only tune they did twice, the second time as a show-closing encore.

Weird Part Of The Night, Blimp and one or two other YouTube faves (Drum Solo, for example) were notable by their absence,. There were several other tunes off of Time, whose names escape me now. But all told it was a terrific set. Just a pity they didn’t have a spare tune in the tank for an encore.

I grooved my ass off, in my own peculiar way, as did a great deal of the audience. The vibe in the room for Louis was fantastic. And I was pleased and gratified to see Guy apparently enjoying it all a great deal as well.

The venue is great; the size of the room was perfect (in the Goldilocks zone, neither too large nor too small), the sound was great – at least it was where we were (I’ve noticed some folk saying the sound where they were was lousy, in comments in my YouTube vid) – the staff were friendly and efficient. Although that said queuing for the bars was purgatory!

Driving to and from London and parking for free very near the venue all worked out just peachy. What a great night out!

MiSC/HEALTH & WELLBEiNG: Insomnia, Dreams, Art, Health… and much more!?

Misc: Thoughts, 15th Nov, ‘21. Gonna go a bit stream o’ conch on this one!

Very poor nights’ sleep. Appalling headaches. Multiple doses of co-cocodamol ineffectual. Head-ache, or top of spine/base of skull-ache? Physical or psychological?

Eventually fell asleep round 3+am, only to wake around 5am from kaleidoscopically psychedelic dreams of cartoon based anxiety! Some character, like an offshoot of my imagination (or a facet of me?), as a paranoid genius psychedelic cartoonist.

A whole showreel of this stuff plays out visually, rapidly and intensely, in my mind. Very much in ‘the mind’s eye’. Way too complex and rapidly evolving to be captured or replicated. Very very VERY powerful stuff! Alarmingly so.

Got me thinking and worrying about illness, most specifically psychological or mental health. And relation to modern diseases, from Covid to ‘bi-polarity’, & my current medicated self: adalimumab, citalopram and co-codamol…


I’ve been off the citalopram anti-depressant about a week. Through my prescription lapsing/laziness. Are the whirling visions/headaches symptoms of addiction and withdrawal?

Feel like I must get these meds, my script rather urgently, today!

The bonkers psychedelic cartoon dream thing of this morning was incredible. I kind of wish I could harness the talent or power of what I was imagining. But it strikes me as a forlorn hope. As it was a maelstrom of multifaceted divergent weirdness.

It was like a combination of r crumb, that Zappa clay-mation guy (name? why is the name Travis Bickle coming to mind… that’s the Taxi Driver nutter, right?) and Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animations. But also totally unique. Part of the idea was that it was totally uncorked, unrestrained, (out of control?); so wild and varied as to bewilder and frustrate categorisation …

And there were disapproving antagonists, who ‘belonged’ to a fuzzily ill-defined community. The psychedelic nutter artist was like that aspect of me that simultaneously doesn’t want to be caged by definitions and yet seeks approval for the depth, range and intensity of its evolving ‘visions’.


This was some seriously powerful shit! That had (has?) me properly freaked out! What’s with all this psychedelic maelstrom stuff? When I’m straight… what’s the deal with my neurological-biochemical psychological set-up right now, that it’s suddenly gone so intensely hyper and volatile, and, frankly, a bit scary?

Writing all this down puts me in mind, I knoweth not why, of that saying about folk being ‘scared of their own greatness’. An idea I’ve always poo-poo’ed (that brings to mind a Lord Melchett scene from Blackadder Goes Fo(u)rth!), but that seems apt to my mind in context of this mornings Krakatoa of mental and physical weirdness …

I took a lateral flow test yesterday, cause I’ve been coughing, had a sore throat, and have these clanging chimes of doom headaches. But, as ever, it came out negative.

On the one hand that’s good. But on the other, I feel something is definitely amiss. Mentally, or physically. Or both!? But then again, perhaps not!?!? I suppose that’s the mystery of life! One really never quite knows exactly what’s happening, or what it’s really all about…


If I could capture the powerful range of expression in the art I dreamed about. But making dreams real? Or believing what one dreams to be either ‘a messsge’ or ‘sign’… is it not oft said that that way madness lies?

At one point the somewhat enraged frustrated ‘artist’ character in my dream says ‘what do I have to do to win your approval?’ Which touches on another deep well of psychological angst!

I’ve been kind of opting to ‘go with the flow’ of life lately. Is it just laziness? Or is it also, at least in part, a fruition of a process that I feel has bought me the hugest degree of inner peace and happiness I’ve known in years?

Surrendering to ‘what is’, and not hankering plaintively after what imagination – or other mirages of the mind; whether that’s my own mind or society’s – sometimes suggests, has, or so I’ve been increasingly believing, really helped change me from a mass of quivering jelly like neuroses to a reasonably calm happy individual…

Well… here-endeth-the-musings… for now at least!