Rock & Roll
‘What a piece of work is man’ says Withnall in his Hamlet monologue at the end of the greatest film ever made. I like the concept of ‘a piece of work’. No matter how un-confident you are, if you have an idea for something – making a record for example, then if you see it through and complete it to the best of your ability, you’ve succeeded. You transcended doubt and self-belief has triumphed. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. I also like the notion of escaping in impeccable craftsmanship. There’s a lot of it in Japanese art and philosophy.
Sam and I are building a 5-watt valve amp for Lee. I suppose that’s an example of a piece of work. We’ve nearly finished the cab and it’s very satisfying – everything done by hand. We’ve got the website up and running for our amp building business. We’ve designed three great-sounding amps, all with the same robust construction – hopefully we’ll find a niche – hartleyamplification.com
We rehearsed at The Golden Lion last week. WAKA had very kindly got the upstairs room all ready for us, with the PA all set up and ready to go. I’m running the open mic night there the 14th Feb and I’m DJing (Northern) at Gig’s birthday bash on the 1st March. We’re doing a warm-up for our Salford gig at the 160 cafe on the 16th Feb.
I went up to the ranch earlier and picked some kale for our Sunday dinn. We’re also having my potatoes, parsley and rhubarb. I’m not doing too badly with eating clean food – when I do eat processed food, I can certainly taste the difference. I had a frozen pizza from Aldi last night and it tasted like cardboard.
What a view from the top of the field – bitter cold, but hauntingly and starkly beautiful. My brother Michael came up last week and brought his bow and arrows. The bow is a modern recurve one and I realised for the first time that I shoot a bow left-handed. I’m avidly researching archery for a novel. The differences between the traditional English long bow and the ancient recurve bow used for centuries across several different civilisations is fascinating.
In the book I jokingly introduced the concept of Infrequently asked questions (as opposed to FAQs). I noted that I’d never been asked anything about anything by anybody, so I asked myself my own questions. ‘What’s your favourite guitar Stevie?’
‘What are you listening to these days Stevie?’
‘Well, funny you should ask. Of all things, I’ve been listening to a Maria Callas number – Norma from Casta Diva by Bellinin – it’s exquisite. I don’t know why, because I’ve never liked opera before. Maybe it’s from listening to the intro of Faithless’s Drifting Away, or maybe it’s because it’s beyond anything I could ever create myself. I’ve also been going back to my R&B roots and listening to the likes of Neighbour Neighbour by Jimmy Hughes and Cry before I go by John Lee Hooker. I’ve just bought Irma Franklin’s excellent Hittin on Nothin