The truth was in in them...
A curious by-product of the band was 'The 'd' files'. Once we started to gain wider recognition we started a newsletter which I felt could be more than just that. We gave them out free at gigs and posted them to our ever-growing, international mailing list. Contributions were invited from all and sundry with the promise that everything (!) would be printed. and so another adventure started up. The original 'd' files were cut and paste photo copies (Computers. Us? Hahaha) but gradually became more and more sophisticated as time went on. Ian Rushbury and Yvonne Cook were tireless in their labours to realise the project and get it off the ground. Eventually the commitments of the band became greater and the frequency of release decreased. A (very) finite number were produced containing articles, jokes, letters, art, adverts and recipes among other things. So please enjoy the representations soon to be included on this site.
Do you ever marvel at old Science Fiction films and TV programme's which portray a future in which everyone cruises around on pollution-free, silent space-scooters, and, where there is no traffic congestion, or better still, a future where people can teleport themselves by energy matter transfer a la Star trek? Well, fellow Spearheads, the future is here and it doesn't look much like that does it?
Reality dictates that we have to endure endless traffic jams, smog, fumes, road rage, etc, and the nearest we have got to the space-scooter ideal is over a century old and called the bicycle. Strangely, the venerable velocipede is silent and pollution free, so at least fulfills some of the design criteria for a futuristic personal transportation device.
Enough ranting about my obsession with bicycles as the keeper of most of Druidspear's PA equipment, not to mention the mountain of gear required to convert my viola into a miniature BBC Radiophonic Workshop, I have a major transportation problem of my own. the problem is thus (A) I don't drive, and (B) i don't have access to a tardis or teleporting machine, despite years of working on time and space travel in the back shed. As a consequence, it is necessary to rely on more conventional technology - namely the hi-tech TOA Black Cab. It is possible to move a truly amazing amount of gear in one of these vehicles which seem to have a Tardisian capacity to swallow large objects. In order to achieve the transportation of the kit from A to B, it takes some serious bargaining (A 50p tip usually does it) as the driver always makes some comment regarding the fragile nature of the suspension on these glorified horse and carts.
Well it seems I have epistled enough for this month - the next time you see a Black Cab with the suspension bottomed-out and travelling at 10 mph, just think to yourselves, "there goes Professor firestick"
See you all soon.
The Thoughts of Professor Firestick.
Hello again Spearheads! This summer has been great fun as far as the band is concerned, the high light for myself being the weekend spent at the 'Oak Leaf Circle Camp' at Bridlington in North Yorkshire in late July.
Due to the lovely Jayne being on holiday, we roped my mate Andy "l love roads, me" Thorpe (an exile from Oldham) to play rhythm guitar - which he did with aplomb. Armed with a hired Spearmobile we steamed up to Bridlington, foregoing our usual 'point it Northwards' navigational system in favour of Andy's encyclopaedic knowledge of Britain's highways and byways.
On arrival, it was immediately apparent that all was not well with the weather - the fields looked more like rice paddies than the more typical British grassy vista, and when setting up the stage we discovered that the huge lean-to edifice in which the gig was to take place had a corrugated iron roof with the properties of a colander.
Within minutes, the stage floor was a mass of small puddles, and with all that electricity stuff around, there was only one thing to do - carry onl Despite my being convinced that we were going to die in a magnificent flash of blue light, the gig went down a storm, with excellent sets from Stormcrow, Golden Apple and Esbat Music (apparently some weird lot from Birmingham called Druidspear were also quite good as well).
Following a cacophonic finale with all of the musicians who had taken pa t jamming 'Walking the Dog', Andy and I found ourselves somewhat inebriated and performing acoustic murderings of rock classics in a dimly lit marquee full of similarly affected revellers, while a spectacular storm raged outside. In what was reminiscent of the band playing on as the Titanic sank, water was rising from underground as fast as it was pouring in through the marquee roof, soaking us from both ends at once. The music carried on, until an inability to continue playing without collapsing into the quagmire stopped the proceedings in the early hours of the morning.
Since Bridlington, the fun has continued, as has the evolution of the Frankenstein which is my sonics outboard. The afore-mentioned thing is now in its 8th incarnation - hopefullyI have finally got it right this time, although Heliotrope informs me that there are some new developments afoot ln the 'Electric Shed' which may cause a major rethink in the future.
Before I sign off, I'd ljke to say thanks to everybody who has made the summer so memorable - we all look forward to seeinq you at future gigs, etc
Take care and keep on rockin'!
See you all soon.
A couple of weeks-ago, Heliotrope and myself were attempting to sort out the ever-increasing clutter in the 'Aladdin' cave which we refer to as "The Electric Shed". The quantity of accumulated junk had reached such a magnitude that is was seriously interfering with the progress of our various projects which currently range from re-building a 1960's Honda motorcycle through to attempting to unravel the mysteries of time travel... come to think of it, if we could crack the latter,the old Honda would not need to be restored, as it would never have rusted or worn-out in the first place!
The reason for the shed having become seriously overloaded with junk is my fundamental principle which dictates that almost anything which is worn-out must have at least some component parts which may have a use in another appliance in the future. For instance, the fuzz box which Mr Rushbury uses to make his bass sound like Barry White after a night on the Bourbon and cigars has, at its, heart, the amplifier from a broken 1970's transistor radio which was lying around the place awaiting its turn for recycling for some years or so.
A recent reincarnation of a bit of hoarded junk caused unforeseen amusement for Heliotrope and myself. Out pet feline, Bruce, has an electric cat flap which is actuated by a small magnet worn on his collar, and a few days ago the old beastie was howling at the back door unable to effect an entry as the collar magnet had fallen off.
As an emergency measure (until we could procure a replacement item) we improvised using a somewhat more powerful magnet from a 2 inch transistor radio loudspeaker, which was dutifully attached to Bruce's collar. Following his evening meal he went out through the cat flap, returning about an hour later, and this time failing to effect entry as a result of a large baked bean can being firmly stuck to his collar!
On that note, I had better sign off,
See you all soon.
Hello Sonic Surfers, Since the last issue, I have spent a month and a bit out of commission following an operation of a detached eye retina. (Thanks to everybody down at the Midland Eye Centre for your care and kindness.)
During the recovery period, I discovered the black hole which is daytime television and this lead me to two possible conclusions with regards to the nature of the beast:
(1) The service is kept severely sub-optimable by government decree in order to force unemployed people to search for an escape ...work.
(2) Daytime TV is produced by the managers of NHS mental health trusts in their spare time in order to ensure a steady flow of depressed and demoralised patients through the door.
Enough of this conspiracy nonsense! My favourite bit of TV hell was a programme entitled 'Change That', in which tatty objects were transformed by a team of crafty types into ...this is the good bit ...objects of a different but equally tatty nature. A fine example was a knackered old green filing cabinet which was miraculously transformed into a knackered multicoloured and bejewelled filing cabinet which was worthy of Dale Winton's boudoir - wow!
Had the TV crew bothered to search out the 'Electric Shed', Heliotrope and myself could have effected a major transmogrification to the point where the filling cabinet would no longer be recognisable as such. It would have made an ideal core container for the MKXIV energy/matter converter stage for our own proposed time machine - failing that, I could have used it to construct the Go-cart which I have promised to build for the young lad. On the subject of Go-carts etc., if anybody out there has an old lawn mower engine which they no longer want (or any old small petrol engine), please get in touch with me.
With that appeal for componentry I will bid you all farewell for the present.
See you all soon.
Hello again, Spearheads once more it is time to put the professorial quiil to paper and come up with my regular contribution to the 'D files'.
As a result of my recent divorce, I have had to part with almost all of my domestic appliances as 'spoils of war'. The resultant reduction of my house to the dysfunctional level has carried Heliotrope and I to start searching for affordable replacement items and a couple of nights ago it resulted in my musing over the possibility of creating a Grand Unified Domestic Appliance (Gr.U.D.A) which would perform ail the basic domestic tasks.
Sitting down with a blank sheet of paper, a bottle of Taylor's tiniest port and a head full of crazy ideas, the Gr.U.D.A concept rapidly became a 'might have been as it became apparent that the contraption would end up resembling a giant Dalek with a requirement for several megawatts of power and would probably fill the entire volume of the modest terraced house it was designed to service in the first place....oh well, back to the search for more conventional solutions to cooking and cleaning. Come to think of it, perhaps I ought to search for a butler who would work a twenty four hour day for eight bob a week!
Meanwhile, back in the electric shed, the Mk.IVa effects pedal board is under construction - this promises to expand the range of sounds which may be extracted from my Viola, so listen out for more out - landish sonic booms at gigs in the near future - bring your ear protection and get ready to rock!
See you all soon.
This month's subject is dear to my heart - DIY, or CAP (Can't Afford the Professionals) as Heliotrope and I prefer to call it.
It seems hard to believe that until the mid-196o's there was no such thing as a specialist DiY store and even wallpaper shops were virtually non-existent. At that time, as far as I can recall, there was only one T.V. programme dedicated to the subject, this effectively being the chronicle of the complete modernisation of a derelict Victorian terrace house which was performed and presented by the archetypal early 196O's DIY guru, the wonderfully named Barry Bucknell.
On the subject of expert's names, I have always found it somewhat amusing that DIY/CAP is always populated by earnest characters with names like Clive, Colin Trevor or Barry.,. but that is another subject.
Ever since I was a teenager with serious spots and what seemed like a case of terminal dandruff - (which, incidentally, I finally cured with a mixture of two parts 10O1 carpet cleaner ("cleans a big, big carpet for less than half a crown," as the T.V. advert of the time said), to I part 'Dettol) - I have been into CAP.
Initially, I had to learn the black art of motorcycle mechanics in order to keep a succession of ancient motorbikes on the road without recourse to spending money, which could otherwise be wasted on beer and chasing hopelessly elusive women. As a student, this became quite profitable and I was able to fund my social life by performing miracles on other peoples' bike engines (this usually involved replacing hopelessly worn-out parts with slightly less worn-out components obtained from scrapheaps).
On purchasing 'Prof Mansions' (a totally wrecked house in Bearwood) the CAP ethos entered a new phase in which the object was to transform a gaff, which had effectively auto-demolished over a period of 95 years, into something fit for human habitation. This took a decade to achieve!
When I decided to indulge the fantasy of playing the viola in public at the ripe old age of 35, once again the CAP principle had to be invoked. To cut a long story short, one day, an invitation to have a studio jam with a blues band was forthcoming (the band in question was the excellent T's Basement which was fronted by occasional Spear musician, Pete Holder). At the end of the session, I was asked to be guest musician the following Saturday, so with minimal expense and maximum volume in mind, a heap of broken amplifers, knackered effects pedals etc. was acquired, and these were repaired/adapted. By the way, I hadn't a clue what I was doing (in true CAP style).
Over a fairly short period a plethora of fully functioning (but differently functional to when it was manufactured) equipment was conjured up, these days, this lot being the basis of the 'Spear PA rig and my sonic surfboard. As a result, the band is pretty well equipped, yet we can still afford to have a life (i.e., beer, curry, fags etc,).
Before I sign off, here is a true bit of Profs DIY lore, as usual happened upon in extremis. A couple of years ago, a filling in one of my teeth decided to fall out on Good Friday Bank Holiday. With no dentist available, within a matter of twelve hours or so things started to feel decidedly abnormal, so as a temporary solution the tooth was carefully cleaned and then filled with rapid setting 'Araldite' epoxy glue. The taste was unimaginable for about 2 hours (strangely it tastes exactly as you would imagine feline pee) but things were OK until the Tuesday when my dentist had quite a job to remove the stuff to carry out a proper filling - by the way he reckoned it was the first time he had encountered a DIY filling!
On that note, I'd better sign off,
See you all soon and Keep Rockin'
The 'd' files on the web...
There were a number of regular features within the 'd' files page, 'the druids' cartoon, Ian Paul Rushbury's look at life from a Druid's perpective (as above) and Stick With It, the thoughts of Professor Firestick. Enjoy.
For the future, who knows, there may even be an 'e' version of the files. We are going to keep 'old' pages of interest, rather than just update them and dump them. The first of these archive pages will be the previous version of the home page.
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