Today was making music day, and what a restorative racket it was.

Making music is a great way to clean out the synapses. For me, it’s a connection with something that goes to my core. Sometimes I do not give sufficient attention to the extent I miss it when it’s not there.

Earlier in the week, I was thinking about FX pedals when I read this piece at The Sobriety Collective.

It says ‘It’s easy to start feeling like you, not the drugs, are the problem. You’re not.’

I get where this view comes from, and what they’re trying to say here. The idea of drugs being an ‘extra helping of self-loathing’ is a true one, I think. A useful analogue (it occurred to me as I packed my practice bag) is thinking about booze in particular as a sort of FX pedal. It takes an existing signal and alters it, and in different ways depending on which dials are doing what (dose, scene, setting, so forth).

It is difficult at the least to get a handle on what your brain is really doing and thinking when you are putting drink in it. One of the reasons I have kept drinking for so long is because it so reliable at tuning out the noise. A pedal I have needed to get the sound I want.

So, going for a ‘clean signal’ is a useful way to hear what’s going on more clearly. For me, certainly, though, those feelings of anxiety, and alienation, and other associated mental health problems, do not simply disappear when I take substances out of the equation. Yes, they’re much more manageable, but they’re still there.

One might easily question one’s own contribution.  ‘If not the drugs, then, well, what is it?’ Yet that falls back on the self-blame that TSC correctly counsels against. In which case, if it’s not you… what is it, the ways you’re doing things?

No straightforward answers, really. There is music though, and that really, really helps. 1-2-3-4!

E is for Excellent!

Being of a certain demographic, I was delighted, but delighted, to discover that there may be a third Bill and Ted film in the offing.

Part of me will forever value the concept of the transformative powers of rock to align the cosmos. Universal harmony achieved through study, and bodacious fretwork.

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter have made the probably unnecessary and yet entirely non-non-non-heinous decision to take up their axes again, prompted by a script from original writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon.

The enthusiastic crew discuss the plot and their reasoning in detail in a clip available via Entertainment Weekly.

Keanu Reeves notes that if their sole legacy to mankind was the phrase “Be excellent to each other”, that would be pretty good. A sentiment with which I concur most heartily.

This week’s sesh was back on the positive productive side, with a faulty tuner battery identified as another source of the bad vibes (alongside the terrifying yet-undiffused spectral rage of the drama teacher). With our singer entertaining a proper illness and out of action, we took time to tweak our knobs in search of optimal volumes, tidy some of the older songs we’re using to tune and warm up with, shave off some redundant choruses here, halve the length of an intro there…

All very satisfying. With about 10 minutes left, we all decided to just jam something off a chord set we had sitting about and came up with this epic heart-breaking brand new song out of nowhere. We left a-buzz.

This week, I was happy to get further to grips with the distortion pedal, which sat rather nicely with some extensive reverb off the amp. Anyone might think I had been listening recently to the Night Beats.

I just love that kind of 13th Floor Elevators thing, as ver Beats clearly do. I am somewhat chagrined to have missed them on their current tour of the UK. They were round our manor on Friday and I had a prior engagement reading Mr Men stories. But yeah, new album Who Sold My Generation out shortly to get excited about

And a 1, 2, 3, 4!