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Archive for September, 2010

I’ve just found out that Gerald Roberts (who I play with in the Acoustic Mosaic Trio) has just appeared in a documentary about the terrible recent earthquake in L’Aquila. Apart from being a fabulous exponent of the nylon string guitar, Gerald is by day a lecturer at Birkbeck University, specialising in earthquakes, volcanoes, and all thing earthy. . . !

Fault Line Living

Fault Line Living

Check out the video on this page >> or see more about the Fault Line Living experiment here >>

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Here’s a strange little project I’ve quickly knocked up.

I’ve had the following elements (both found in skips here and there) hanging around for a little while now. . .

As Autumn hits here in the UK I was clearing the garden up a bit and realised I could really do with a shovel to help me clear rubbish from in between various beds, bushes etc, but that I could use whilst both kneeling down, and in some pretty confined spaces!

So, combining the two items below (with the help of some long bolts, a bit of hammering and angle grinding here and there) and voila. . . a useful large bladed shovel, yet with a very short handle:

Found objects

Found objects

Combined elements

Combined elements

Side view

Side view

The shovel blade needs a bit of cleaning up / rust removal just to make digging a bit easier, but apart from that it works seamlessly. It’s a curious little item, but then so is most of the stuff I now possess!  Remember the mantra – never throw anything away!!

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Here is a shot from a King Alfred’s Cakes gig we did in the St Albans Town Hall this weekend:

King Alfred's Cakes play the Assembly Rooms, St Albans

King Alfred's Cakes play the Assembly Rooms, St Albans

The event was the Big Project, and was an introduction to a new arts initiative for my area, entitled Creative St Albans.

The sound in the room was very nice, if a bit etherial! We seemed to go down well however, and we certainly had a very nice time playing there. . .

Our next gig is this coming Friday, upstairs at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. . . onwards and upwards!!

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A few photos. . .

I’ve just received these great shots from a photographer who was taking pictures at a recent soul band gig I did a few weeks ago…

Get in tune, damn you!

Get in tune, damn you!

Hmm, barre chords!

Hmm, barre chords!

They make me stand at the back!

They make me stand at the back!

Nothing much to remark on, just liked the lighting etc  (many thanks to the  excellent Martin Thomson for taking/supplying them!)

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Here’s a little template that I use all the time in The Shed…

120 degree template

120 degree template

It’s really useful for welding legs / support structures together – I used it in the making of the legs for my Heavy Metal Flute stand for example, to make sure the legs were arranged at just the right angle.

Click here to download the 120º template >>

Here’s my preferred way of using the template:

  1. Print it out on a sheet of A4 (or any size that suits)
  2. Spray Mount this (or use sellotape etc, whatever works best for you!) onto a flat board, sheet of metal, bench surface etc.
  3. Find a way of fixing the items you want to join together, directly onto to the template. I tend to use largish metal ‘U” staples to fix round items (banging the staples astride the items into the surface of the supporting board), or using heavy weights to hold the bits and pieces down (I have made my own set of weights by filling a old tin cans (of a variety of sizes) with concrete)
  4. Then, with the items held firmly down to the template, simply weld away!
  5. The template obviously gets destroyed in the process, but who cares – simply print another one out!

I’ve also got a 90°  template that is also really useful – if anyone has a need for one at a specific set of angles, let me know and I’ll knock one up for you!

90 degree template >>

90 degree template

90 degree template

Hope they are of use? Although they are PDFs, they should be editable in most illustration programs such as Adobe Illustrator etc.

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So I have just returned, both weather beaten and sun burnt in equal measures, from the fabulous long weekend  that is the Towersey Folk Festival!

Not only was it a marvellous few days of music, company and the occasional drink, but it also saw the first true use ‘in anger’ of the steampunk tent flag.

I have to say that, considering it was its maiden voyage, things went incredibly well. It all went up ok, even managing to stay up in the terrible wind and rain of the first couple of days. The guy ropes held it really steady, both of the turbines worked really well, and the whole top arrangement gently turned to face the wind as and when it saw fit!

The lighting rig (well, the small colour changing LED light I had rigged up for night time help in re-finding the tent) worked ok for a couple of days, but that aspect needs some tweaking to allow it to be turned on and off from the ground to preserve the battery life.

Here are a variety of shots I took of the flag in all its glory:

Steampunk flag looking moody!

Steampunk flag looking moody!

The Flag and Lantern

The Flag and Lantern

A view up the pole

A view up the pole

The Creator and his child

The Creator and his child

All packed away safe and sound

All packed away safe and sound

In addition to the flag, I am also very pleased with the stempunky lanterns (which you can see here and there in the pictures) I found to accessorise with it (amazingly bought from Morrisons for only £2 each!), and which I equipped with a couple of expandable aluminium poles as supports.

These also complemented particularly well with my crazy ‘belisha beacon‘ lantern. … This was not strictly my idea, but based on an idea a friend of mine had. I added some copper trim and a copper and iron stand to mine of course, but the warming glow that comes from this (generated by a single single tea light placed inside) is really stunning. I hasten to add I did not steal the beacon itself, but found it in a skip where it had clearly been left by the Council!

Glowing Orb of Joy (in daylight)

Orb of Joy (in daylight)

As dusk falls (note the copper base)

As dusk falls (note the copper base)

Glowing Orb of Joy, full glory!

Glowing Orb of Joy, full glory!

So, all in all, a very fun and successful camping experience – I can hardly wait until next year!!

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