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Saturday, January 19

A Range Of Distractions

There were many activities today. Firstly, I was woken up when a friend of mine got to Paddington station. I wasn't sleeping in the station at the time. I was sleeping in my own bed in my own house. However, he rang me, as agreed, to tell me that he was leaving Paddington. This would, in theory, give me the time to get out of my own bed, get to the Reading end of the station and pick him up in time to bring him to my house for recording fun.

In reality, the taxing night before - taxing in sleep terms, rather than morally or indeed, taxationally - meant that my ability to awaken was totally reduced and so I didn't make it out of my bed for a good slightly-too-long. However, when I rang him to let him know I was on my way to the station, he was comfortably inside the coffee shop and, thus, ideally placed to pick me up a cheeky coffee to have for when we got back to mine.

The purpose of his visit was to record some music. After the studio was reassembled, the piano being the element that needed reinstalling, we set about this task. Largely, it's a task that's about him and involves me listening and pushing buttons. However, most of the songs he writes seem to get me as the guess bassist, which is a bit of a joke since I don't play bass.

There used to be a joke when I did a couple of open-mic music jamming sessions in a small pub in Edinburgh, when I picked up the bass, that I'd exclaim "I don't even have a bass". The truth is, though, I do have a bass. It's a Precision Bass copy - the Precision bass being one of Fender's very specifically standard bass guitars. Indeed, it felt like a sign when I met the bassist from the Robbie Williams CDs (not in a showbiz way - he's a session musician who I once happened to strike up a chat with in King's Cross Station) and he told me that his bass was a Fender Precision Bass. It wasn't a sign, just a good bass. There's no point to this story about basses.

Recording was fun and then we had a subway. In between the recording was the quick 10 minute mixing session and mastering took a further ten. Anybody who worked in the music industry would scoff as such utter contempt for how to turn recorded music into beautiful soundscapes. I've no idea how to do that, so I didn't bother.

I drove my friend back to London as I had to go there myself to pick up a large TV. By this, I mean a 32" widescreen, not Lily Savage.

The TV went in the car and, since the location of the pickup - the house of the people who sold me their TV second hand - was near my sister's house, I thought I'd drop by. I don't think I truly had any idea of who would be at the house, but I had an hour to kill before my gig, so I reckoned anyone at the house would probably be good company for an hour. I hadn't grasped that my sister was out of the country and that my niece would be being looked after by her grandparents. Two of my nieces grandparents are, of course, my parents. However, I actually ran into the other two.

This proved to be a very positive encounter. I spend some time with my niece - the two year old child I've seen a handful of times in her life - and she proved to be on good form and very affectionate and appreciative of having her Uncle Ashley around. I also had a nice chat with my sister's parents-in-law, whom I'd only met once previously. Overall, it was a good way to spend an hour.

Then I went off to my gig, which was a fairly poorly attended thing in a small barn in a posh part of Surrey. It was a fairly uninspiring reaction I got, but I was in a comic mood and I made myself amused. I felt slightly ill-fitting with some of my material, but such things occur when you've not gigged to often for a bit and you're getting back into the spirit of the thing.

Returning home, late, I chatted late into the night with my housemate. Then I retired to my bed. Job done.

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