Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Yeeha Geetar!!!

Being an only child I have had a lot of practice amusing myself... seeing as there have been very few others. Mainly, I like to name and decorate things, basically I like to create an experience opposed to just running the motions.

Recently, with the inspiration of Guns 'n' Roses' Slash (Yes, I'm reading yet another autobiography about drugs and rock n roll) and his emphatic description of playing the guitar... an enthusiasm that could not be denied rose and decided to reside with me. I tried to ignore it but it insisted and so I bravely asked my friend "not to laugh" and whether he would help me to "learn how to play the guitar"... 6 days and 4 numb finger tips later I am considerably worse at touch typing but better at guitar.

Here I would like to serve "mad props" as Randy Jackson would say to Emma Baker for lending me her guitar... Benjamin... I have since learnt that's his name.

As when I was 10 and inspired by the X-men cartoon series to create my own family of mutants I left my guitar progress report laying around and someone else discovered it. I would just like to take this moment and verify when I say I was creating my own family of mutants I wasn't creating real mutants... I was just drawing some pictures detailing and left them laying around.

To keep myself amused and my acquisition of a new skill on track I began keeping a guitar progress report. For your viewing pleasure please see below... please note I refer to the guitar as Brett, the pick as Jermaine and when you start applying your body weight's worth of pressure to the steel guitar strings it feels like razor blades are stuck in your finger tips. Apparently the pain will go but the callouses will come later...

My long nails that I had to sacrifice for the sake of my art

String marks on my finger tips... this is not normal!!!

My swollen fingertips after my first sesh of sticking blades in my finger tips

The view when I lay down at night... my hand drawn chord patterns

Apparently my guitar progress report is amusing to more than one person so I have decided to publish it here for your viewing pleasure even if it's just for one other person...

Larissa's Progress

Feb 23rd -->

Brett, Jermaine, Larissa = Present

C Major = Average, 3rd finger is giving attitude, muting thumb = roobesh
D Major = Mint, 2nd finger slid onto fret
E Minor = Absolutely flippin mint
G Major = Good
- Fingers building resistance :-)

Feb 24th -->

Benjamin aka Brett, Jermaine, Larissa = Present

C Major = Much better but pretty much still roobesh, 3rd finger needs strength, muting thumb = roobesh
D Major = bit of cheek
E Minor = Still flippin mint, old faithful
G Major = OK

- Need to stretch fingers and get used to spacing them out
- Fingers feel discomfort rather than pain so much
- Numbness increasing
- Finished practice as fingers seemed to not be able to hold down any note in the end
- Very twangy and muted

Feb 25th -->

Benjamin aka Brett, Jermaine, Larissa = Present
C Major = Memorised chord and yeah boy, nailed the chord
D Major = YAY! good, snagging a little, 2nd finger has attitude
E Minor = Nailed, YAY!
G Major = YAY!

"I knew Brett would come to his senses"
- 3rd finger still a bit weak
- Finger resistance even better
- Holding notes
- Getting somewhere!!!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Why didn't anyone tell me London was a hole???


The above thought has come into my mind time and time again since I moved to London 2.5 years ago.

1. When I moved into an area where I would see someone get mugged on the tube in front of a full carriage.
2. Living next to Arsenal stadium
3. Moving into an area where a drunken man in a wheelchair felt up a dancing Elizabeth Taylor look alike at the bus stop... This all occured to the sweet sounds and fat bass being played by the guys running the phone unlocking booth... a tent with a giant marijuana leaf on the back of it... I think they sold more than unlocking phones
4. Moving into that area
5. Then moving right next door to maximum security prison Wormwood Scrubs
6. When one of the prisoners faked a seizure and his friends hijacked the ambulance that was going to the hospital next door
7. Our landlord evicted us for letting rats in through the window
8. Walking in a neighborhood where you feel comforted knowing that you'll be at the mental institute soon.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

All that glitters is not gold

Hello again!

Since I've been involved in performing one way or another since I was 7 I've always been mindful of the concept of fame and celebrity... I don't want this to be perceived as I have sought fame or idolised the idea of being a celebrity I've simply been fascinated by the mechanics of it... namely the smoke and mirrors.

So I've been reading "Scar Tissue"... the autobiography by Anthony Keidis, lead singer of the Chilli Peppers. Mucho grazi to my Misty Moo who left this read behind for me... Thus far it has been an autobiography about a drug addict... the singer in a world famous band is just the backdrop to the story. He frequently refers to going to Hollywood and downtown LA to score drugs... and it's not like he shies away from describing the characters and dare I say urchins and unfortunate souls that roam these streets... "Rewind" you might say... "urchins and unfortunate souls roam the streets of a place known for its sunshine, dream factories, fame and fortune?" A resounding YES!!!

To some of you this may be well known and perfectly obvious but I was speaking about my recent visit to Hollywood and it's walk of fame to my friend just yesterday and she was astounded to know that Hollywood as well as some of its sorrounding areas... Beverley Hills even is the dodgiest place... No word of a lie.

First of all the Walk of Fame is a road with hundreds of stars in the pavement honouring actors, musicians and personalities. Celebrating these celebrities is such an irony and in stark contrast to the people who actually walk these streets... take away the tourists and you're left with a variety of homeless, mentally ill, abused, drug driven, affected people... it's astonishing and once you're over the shock it's sad... sad that this is what some people call life and then that we finance and support an industry that covers up this reality with stars

The shock dwells for a while because you are sorrounded by polar opposites... symbols of affluence and actualities of despair. The two seem to co-exist... except one party is fast losing its existence. Aside from the fancy Chinese and Kodak theatres with their state of the art neighbours such as the two story H&M the remainder of this walk... when you look up from the sidewalk... comprises of tattoo parlours, sex shops, dodgy restaurants and trashy tourist shops with as many bongs on display as souveniers. I wonder what the celebrities think when they make their way to their stars... even if the locals are shipped away on the days when the stars are certified they can't hide them forever.

Once we had braved the dodgy characters... some of who take advantage of the hollywood draw card by dressing up as celebrities for photos... we jumped in our car only to pass one of the locals twitching out, yelling at one of the other personalities not on the street but warring in his mind... embodied in one person was the battle between the double standards that exist not only in that neighbourhood but our world.

And it's not only Hollywood where this exists... you can not just blame the dream machine that is Hollywood... or even America...

I was working in the homeless shelter this week and was setting up the beds on the stage for the homeless to sleep... and once again I was struck by the co existence of double standards as I cleared the space of ITV scripts and dragged props around the stage including a couch and food and even an electric scooter. There's a real irony about having to move the objects which were a replica of life to make room for real life... even more ironic that to one group food was just a prop whereas to another group in the same space food was something that they needed to beg for...

After all my observations... what's my point? I think this entry is long enough so I'll spare the further details but to improve a situation you must first recognise it... much like this entry is the start of my blog... it's a start... one which somehow we should act on.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Lets start at the very beginning...


Welcome to my first ever blog entry. Somewhere between the U.S. of A. and unemployment a blog and the Twilight saga seemed like a really good idea. My recent travels to the states imparted many experiences and life lessons to me... to put it politely. The Twilight saga proved to be a guilty pleasure that once started could not be stopped so it wouldn't surprise me if this blog turns out to be the same...

I was about to embark on a travel log but thought better of it when I wrote about my first day in San Francisco and realised that my blog entry was more like a lonely planet guide... enough said... my characteristic restlessness wouldn't let me continue. Please stop by regularly and leave some words of encouragement!!!

Much Juv, Lelle