5/4/12 : RIP Jim Marshall
RIP Jim Marshall - my VS100R has served me well - 15 years and counting!
24/3/12 : Recording and writing
After taking some time off at the start of 2012 we've been back to the practice rooms writing new songs, which is all going to plan! We've always been very slow at getting songs ready for recording, and then even slower at actually getting the recordings finished - which is why we've only managed to release two EPs in three years (!). This year though we're determined to have an album ready (if not actually released). We have 10 unreleased tracks in various states of being half recorded or just about written but not recorded yet. Last night I was recording concertina and vocals for one of them and I'm quite excited about how it's all going.
We've also started booking some gigs, though we won't be doing as many this year so we can concentrate on recording. We're excited to be playing at LeeFest again in the summer, and excited to be supporting Laura Gibson at The Lexington next month. We also played a one-off electronic gig at the Wonderland club night. Jonny Drumsticks was away in Spain so we played a set with drum machine drums programmed by me - we played a few of our usual tracks plus tried out two new ones 'Smoke' and 'Stars Are Ripe' and also played a couple of old ones - 'Up For Air' and 'Disappear'. It was good fun to try out the songs in new ways, and good to play electric guitar again - but I think we'll stick with real-life-Jonny rather than robot-Jonny.
20/3/12 : Gambia video diary
While I was away in Gambia I made a video diary - it's ongoing at the moment (as-in, it's taking me ages to edit all the footage!) but here's a video diary playlist of everything so far...
15/2/12 : Africa
We took a bit of time out in January as I was off to Africa for a month with some of the Wonderland Crew (we run a club night in London Bridge together). Nine of us took a trip to the little village of Madina Salaam in The Gambia, down in the south-west corner of the country. This is where Wonder Years is based - the charity that the Wonderland club night has been raising money for over the last few years, and the charity to which all our profit goes directly. We paid for our own flights and spending money but took with us the thousands of pounds that has been raised thanks to people buying tickets to our events. We then spent this money via the charity on a number of important projects including paying entirely for the foundations and lower walls of a new school building and the completion of building of staff houses for the teachers to live in. We also bought materials for us to repaint the existing school buildings, build paths, run jewelry making workshops and other craft workshops and set up and start a self-sustaining necklace making business.
We also of course got to help out with other things (we made some teaching aids for the school, fixed some old laptops for their office, took new photos of the teachers, and my friend Ian even gave a few English lessons!) and meet the villagers and staff - we met so many great people and made loads of new friends. Oh, and we found time to go to the beach and swim in the ocean of course too ;-)
It was an amazing trip, and it really made me realise how the money raised by the club night does make a big difference. And of course, if anyone else wants to take a trip to the village, we highly recommend it! Email me if you are interested and I'll try to persuade you to go!
You may also be please to know that while I was there I avoided re-writing all the band's songs to include bongos, though I did write a new song with lyrics based around campfires - I recorded a demo of it last week but we've not worked on it as a band yet. I think it might be a good one though!
So now it's 2012 and we're all back to rehearsals - we're going to concentrate on writing and recording this year and aim to get an album written. We have four new songs we've started recording and six or so new songs we're in the process of writing. We're excited about them - can't wait to get them recorded and ready to play to people. Mark.x
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