Random Play by Graham Reid


He bangs the drum

There are signs on Santa Monica Beach of the dos and don’ts: at the bottom of the list is “no percussion instruments”.

I’m down with that.

Tub thumpers are annoying, intrusive and seem to have endless time on their hands. They can bang away for ages -- just like some group did at Mission Bay on Sunday. They seemed to start just after we sat down for a quiet lunch in a bar across the road. If I had a hand-gun . . .

I’m sure they were much appreciated by passers-by (who could at least just pass by?) because when one seemingly shapeless piece ended there was scattered applause. I don’t know who they are but I spotted some of them later and they were wearing matching t-shirts. I guess they were their gang colours.

For the record there are only two good drum solos in the world: they are this one (because it’s short, to the point and meaningful) and this one because it’s mad Ginger Baker at his polyrhythmic peak (and it sort of tells a story.)

After that? None more.

And there is never a good percussion session to be had in park - unless of course you are doing it yourself. For innocent civilians, drumming is like having someone else’s pork scratchings shoved in your face and being told that you should just enjoy it and get in touch with your inner piglet or something.

That said, I have three adult children, all of whom are fine musicians and one of them is . . . Yes, an excellent drummer. He doesn’t do solos.

Of course when I die and if they choose to play at my wake (And Your Bird Can Sing lads, an extended version inna Hendrix-style) he will be perfectly entitled to do a drum solo.

That’s one I would really like to be around for.

Banging My Own Drum : On Wednesday night at 5.30 there will be a free glass of wine for you in the Auckland Central Library in advance of me speaking about my travel book The Idiot Boy Who Flew at 6pm.

It will be an illustrated and hopefully amusing talk about travel writing, and particularly the complex title story of my book (the only story this month which includes a flying Catholic saint, man-boy love and the late Dalvanius?).

It is free and will be all the better for you being there, so do stop by -- although they tell me bookings are advised (Ph 377 0209)

In that regard, many thanks to those who took the time to vote for my book in the Peoples’ Choice awards section of the up-coming travel writing awards. If you still wish to do so -- and you only vote once, this isn’t Afghanistan -- you can vote here. Just scroll down and click the link beside my book and send the e-mail that comes up. Simple as, bro’.
Again, sincere thanks to those who have already done so.

And more free stuff? At Elsewhere I have just posted album reviews (with music tracks and clips) of everything from the excellent new Midlake album and a beguiling Underworld compilation to the recent Lyle Lovett and some new jazz -- and a consideration of that album of “Japanese punk jazz” (her description not mine) by Miho Wada. Oh, and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs!

There’s also an overview of Daniel Johnston (here for Laneways) and a terrific box set of psychedelic music from San Francisco in the late Sixties, essays on the great Timi Yuro (who?) and an Essential Elsewhere album by Little Feat, plus DVD reviews (In the Loop, the artists Gilbert and George, and a very funny cult flick about Elvis in a retirement home) and some book stuff. And I am regularly expanding My Back Pages(encounters with musicians) for your amusement. The Quireboys from London (does anyone else remember them?) were terrific fun.

All that -- and more -- at Elsewhere. Enjoy.

The giveaways for subscribers -- CDs, DVDs and concert tickets -- will be done soon so if you want to subscribe, it’s also free, then go here quick-smart.

And that’s the end of my annoying tub-thumping.

Graham Reid is the author of the book 'The Idiot Boy Who Flew'.

(Click here to find out more)

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