a shred of talent


I gave up school trumpet lessons… and within a week (with help from Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show) fell in love with a certain kind of musicality – that is, one that was based on a shred of talent. Meanwhile my best buddy and neighbour Andy Lee, dressed in his Harrington and two-tone trousers, was bringing round his latest finds – a mixture of ska, electro and some honkingly abysmal pop-shite that I would politely acknowledge while he waxed on about his latest girl-find. To me, Adam & the Ants were a mere novelty act; Ultravox had a likeable portentiousness but were really for poseurs, and my appreciation of Human League was numbed by the fact I watched them on TOTP playing keyboards with one finger.

Tonight, it’s no longer 1981. I’m rehearsing with the Toy Orchestra; a band championed by HL’s founder Martyn Ware. I play with one finger, concentrating really hard – my remaining fingers tucked in so I can see the keyboard properly. Any aspirations I had for adding stage choreography to the mix have been shelved ‘cos it’s too hard just playing the Casio SK-5, one finger at a time.

After nailing ‘Up Above the World So High‘, the last remaining track from the band’s forthcoming album, Brian plays a selection of priceless Youtube clips, which remind me why it’s so important to promote a meritocracy.

Check this one out…. (Carlos Santana shreds with Eric Clapton)

I couldn’t watch it all, because I was crying and holding my belly … it hurt so much.

Maybe the impact will diminish on repeated views?

Further shreds are available for inspection. I was taken by the Pastorius one (partly because it reminded me of my Claude character doing his tribute bass solo Aurora – “a hard bop in an 11/8″ – in Stan’s Lurid & Insane) but it made me go and look for the Jaco original, which is pretty impressive.

A burgeoning music scene in Brum forced a dilemma last week when I’m invited to join two groups of friends to two separate club nights in the same venue – King’s Heath’s Hare and Hounds. The Kindle girls heading for Friendly Fire Reggae night, the mto boys next-door at The Sugarfoot Stomp. I chose the latter, which faltered a little but picked up in style in time for the Kindlings return.

When Kindle met the Toy Orchestra

Kindle (here pretending they’re not a theatre company) open their new show, Eat Your Heart Out, @AE Harris in just over a week. It promises to be spectacular, food oriented collaboration which will demonstrate more than a shred of talent.

The Modified Toy Orchestra will perform a reduced set at Capsule’s 10th anniversary party on the 19th December. I’ll be playing one finger at a time.


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