A.J. Walker


GarageBand Doodling

Still very much at the base of a big learning curve. Hoping that playing around on the computer with my guitars and the microphone may mean that I finally get around to putting some songs of my own together. That is the aim anyway. In the meantime I had a quick mess around with it today and used the same format as before ie drum track, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and vocals. Not great but every time I use it I should learn some more. That's what I hope at any rate.

'Oh My Sweet Carolina' by Ryan Adams - with my apologies to fans.

Tuesdays Are the New Sundays at the Angus


After a couple of weeks without going out, partly due to Covid, I was relieved to get out to this week's open mic at the Angus. After running it a couple of times on a Sunday it had been decided to move the 'mic to a Tuesday night. It was thought that there was a good chance there would be more people able to make it – a lot of the crew that regularly turn out for John Witherspoon's night attend the Jacaranda on a Sunday. The first Sunday event was run by Mike Blue as John was booked elsewhere, and there was only me to play, and on the second one there was just two of us in addition to John (me and Mark Lacey). Definitely a good move to change the day.

It was going to be interesting to see how many people turned up, and who from the usual Keystone/Belvedere regulars would turn up? The answer turned out to be: nearly everyone.


Having a 'few' more there it meant I wasn't first or second up after John. Nope I was eighth up: and not even last. I guess that counts as a very successful night. There's a lot of familiar faces in the photos including Ollie, Guy, Liam, Bert and co. All top people and performers. Great to see the Angus open mic getting the number of people it deserves. Tuesdays are definitely better than Sundays (despite being a working day). The sound system in the Angus is fabulous for these events and it is a great place to play; oh and they have real ale on too (I was on the Beartown 'Bluebeary' for the evening).

It was another warm one so I was unusually without a jacket again and wearing my old Wilco T-shirt from the '
A Ghost is Born' tour (2004). I definitely make my T-shirts last (or to be fair I just flog them to death). Unfortunately I couldn't exactly channel Wilco with my playing. Everyone played three songs and so did I with two of my usuals 'Oh My Sweet Carolina' and 'You Couldn't Get Arrested' – and a new one for me, 'Please Stay' by Warren Zevon. Definitely need some more practice with that one, but it was great to give it a run out in the wild. Next time it'll be better. And it was nice to hear people singing along with You Couldn't Get Arrested.

The T-shirt may be dying but it's okay because 'A Ghost is Born' - at the Angus 12.07.26

I hope to be there next time. It's fortnightly not weekly so thankfully we won't have to battle the heatwave this coming Tuesday. Small blessings, Tuesdays are the new Sundays: it's official. Oh, and this coming Tuesday what's on at the Angus and who will be facing the forecast mid-30C heat? Yep it's only John Witherspoon himself for a launch of his new single 'Shame' – Ollie Felton will be supporting him (not entirely sure whether that means playing some songs too or just spraying water at John at regular intervals).



At the Bottom of a Learning Curve

This weekend I strung my Squier Telecaster for the first time in many years. I'd also bought a Focusrite Scarlett Solo so that I could connect my microphone and guitars to my Mac. I've never really used GarageBand not having the connection before. It's a bit daunting and will take a bit of hands-on playing around to learn about everything I'll need to jot some songs out. Hopefully it'll help me get around to writing some new songs. We shall see.

Garageband interface

So yesterday I recorded a wee song, 'Please Stay' – a short and very poignant song from Warren Zevonesque. Haven't played along with a drum track since I played with some mates back in the early 1990s. It was nice to do.

Within a few hours of playing around I managed to record this with the drum track and playing my Takamine 363 and the Telecaster – will be nice to play around with the electric guitar again. I played the acoustic first (along with the drum track), then recorded the vocal track before finally playing the Tele. Wonder where it will get me in the end?

The exercise bike was not used in the recording of the song.



A Gig Missed and a Homage

Hardly left the house since I tested positive for Covid last Thursday and of course in that time, in fact since last Monday, I have not been out for a pint. That's fine – if unusual – but tomorrow I had a ticket for the Felice Brothers at Leaf on Bold Street. As I am unable to now have two successive negative tests before the gig I've had to pass on the ticket to another fan. Gutted. I'll have to find another gig another week to replace it. But it'll be hard to get one I'll look forward to as much – I've currently only got the Frank Turner gig in October booked. We'll see what I can do.

Still I've managed to finish a book I've been reading for a while – and one I've owned for years. It is a signed copy of '
Homage to Gaia' by the fascinating scientist, James Lovelock. It is a absorbing story of a brilliant guy. The vast majority of the book was quite a read and told with aplomb. It read like an Asimov version of a polymath scientist capable of developing insightful ideas and A-Team style devices out of whatever he could find in the kitchen, whilst mingling with the great and the good (and not so good) of science, politics, and business. I only felt a little non-plussed by the chapter towards the end about his love for (and sex) with his second wife – in his seventies. I've nothing against love or sex, but the chapter just didn't really sit well within the rest of the book. He's 102 now and still with us: as is his Gaia theory. The book was published in 2000 and I won it in a competition. Out of interest I had a quick look on Abebooks to see if there were any signed copies out there for sale. And flippin' heck there were two. It must be the most expensive book I've read…

Flippin' heck.

Half way through the year and it was my fourteenth book. I'd only set myself the target of twenty for the year on Goodreads so I'm well on the way to that and beyond. I've had a great mix of reads; both fiction and non-fiction, with non-fiction from Alice Roberts, Richard Ovenden, and James Lovelock, and fiction from authors including Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, HG Wells, Gareth L Powell, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. That's not a bad list of authors. Now what will the second half of the year bring?