It’s getting better all the time

Another raft of festive bank holidays over with. Strange concept, like the Banks work really hard and need extra special time off. Saturday night, “family time”. You reach an age where you genuinely are not bothered about going out on a Saturday night. Maybe 5 – 8 pm would be tolerable but I don’t even really miss that. Tonight I’ve done Lego towers and a garage, a few stories. Now it’s time for “Britain’s got Twats”. Unbelievable. When I was a kid in the 70’s most of these fuck wits would have been branded with dreadful politically incorrect names, jeered off stage and prodded with sharp sticks.

The great British public, reveling in humiliation and degradation. Who watches this garbage, aside from Billy-No-Mates me not going out on a Saturday?

Then up pop the loathsome chirpy Ant and Dec, perpetual fixed grins, tacky pointless banter, amiable accents. The hopeful and the hopeless, dishing out their best to millions of sofa surfers. Repulsive. Reminds me of the Running Man, except nobody gets chopped up with a chainsaw.

Now I have been advised that my ramblings and outpourings are pointless and I should not be venting opinions but rather drafting technical documents on instrument repair or reviewing gear – bite the hand that feeds you I reckon, or something like that. Show you how to do a re-fret, now why would I do that??

I never understood the concept – some bloke doing a vintage amp review on Youtube – “Best ever amp this one, amazing, just listen…” Compressed, digitized, whizzed across the ether and then decoded and listened to on something no bigger than an Oxo cube and about the same quality.

Surely it’s like watching an advert for the best TV ever on your crappy old screen.

Whereas you can silently tune in to this column and find out what’s really happening on the street……… Look out for my next publication “Knock on Wood” for sparkling wit and repartee, discussing the highly topical and controversial subject of Rosewood and CITES and then let me know what you think.

Delusional I maybe but also apparently VERY negative. I have a regular visitor to the workshop, let’s call him John, who considers my puerile outpourings way too negative and challenged me to write something positive and upbeat. Yeah right.

I thought about this for a while and concluded he was barking. We play Blues, wallow in melancholy and minor keys. Bad to the bone. Middle class white boy Blues it maybe but we think we know what it was all about and how to suffer.

Looking for inspiration I considered comedy. Nothing’s funny unless there is a loser, Rigsby or Homer Simpson maybe, ridicule, somebody getting whacked, suffering misfortune or abuse. Tom & Jerry. Itchy and Scratchy for the enlightened – dreadful events, slap stick violence – makes me really laugh.

Positivity. I did have a germ of an idea but it slipped in to one of the many voids in my head. Bloody annoying as I cannot fully recall and struggle to find inspiration without taking my natural stance sliding in to doom-mongering.

So to the positive aspects – I can hang around a guitar shop all day and play all sorts of great guitars. Life now revolves around full time instrument repair to maintain body and soul and all the bits and bills attached.

This proves challenging in many respects and is highly varied in terms of repair works commissioned and different guitars to be worked on.

Most enlightening are the customers. The workshop has traded for nearly three years and it has been a most pleasant experience, dealing with people who, by and large, are appreciative, interesting, complimentary and genuine folk, of all ages and walks of life. Many are talented musicians.

This contrasts starkly with a previous life where the biggest problem was always the clients, the majority of whom were arrogant, obnoxious and avaricious – testimonials were very thin on the ground in those days.

So there you have it – a very happy little workshop, with a guitar museum attached and all the exhibits are available for sale.

People wander in and dream, some even pick up and play. I don’t mind if they never have any intention of buying – well I do a bit, but let’s not dwell.

Then there are the young kids who cannot believe they can plug in and play a proper real vintage Strat’, older than their Dad, or maybe a Les Paul and that daft git behind the counter doesn’t mind – course I don’t otherwise you wouldn’t be invited to play. Big experience, they love it. The best one’s are the twelve year old types with their Dads, big smiles, leaving the shop with dreams and pocket money plans.

There’s the odd one who pisses me off, checking the price of strings on his phone against Amazon and decides to buy on-line to save a nicker. Or typically “can I buy a pick for 80p and pay by card ? ” No – fuck off.

Generally however customer relations are good and the workshop thriving, so now you know where to come for fretwork, electrical work, Bare Knuckle Pickups, set-ups, refinishing…… and vintage guitars.

Just round the corner we now have PMT joining in the local guitar melee. Hopefully this won’t impact too much on other local specialists. However it is highly encouraging to realize that a relative corporate giant is still expanding with new bricks and mortar outlets, taking on very real overheads and commitment in this age of on-line retail and the shrinking High Street. They are very much a destination retailer for musicians and must surely bring greater footfall and business to all local shops with an interest in guitars.

That was bland – how did I do John??