Fighting Fit

When he was only 17, Bruce Lee wrote in his diary … After 4 years hard training in kung fu, I began to understand the principle of gentleness — the art of neutralizing the opponent’s effort with the minimum of one’s own energy — which must be done in calmness, without striving.  It sounds simple, but the actual application was difficult.  The moment I engaged in combat, after exchanging a series of blows or kicks, all theory of gentleness was gone.  My only thought was that, somehow or another, I must beat him and win.  My instructor, Professor Yip Man, would say, ‘Loong, [Bruce’s Chinese nickname] preserve yourself by following the natural bend of things, and don’t interfere.  Never assert yourself against nature.  Never be in frontal opposition to any problem but control it by swinging with it.’

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The ‘Salmon Pink’ Myth

Few things in the vintage guitar market are as confusing as the custom guitar colour often referred to as Salmon Pink.  To understand why, you have to go back to Fender’s paints of the 1950s and 60s and realize they were also the automobile paints of the time.

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Los Angeles, May 1997

The first ever New Labour government had just been elected in England.  On my TV, a Richard Branson impersonator with a gurning grin and a wife with a mouth like a letterbox were glad-handing the peasants near the entrance to Downing Street.  The scene cut back to a weasely-looking man blowing kisses to the crowd and a fat man trying desperately to look like he could move in time to music.  For the time being, I was better off here in Los Angeles, thousands of miles away, in the New World …

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Now That’s What I Call Bass!

Here’s a page to dip into — a selection of great bass lines spanning almost fifty years of popular music — with clips to view of them captured on record, video or in early performance.  Though many of them are ‘old’ they’re still relevant and well worth watching.  All of them had some influence on me.

But not only have they influenced me — and that’s why I begin with Evelyn King / ‘Shame’ from 1978.  Then hear how it was deconstructed to create the 1999 UK Garage hit Artful Dodger / ‘Moving Too Fast’  Check out these first two clips back-to-back and hear if you agree …
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Folk Tale

There’s an Armenian folk tale that tells of a man who had a bass guitar with only one string, which he used to play for hours on end — always holding his finger in the same place.  For seven years his wife put up with this note in the patient expectation that her husband would die of boredom.

But since that never happened, one evening she  remarked gently, ‘I’ve noticed on Bruce Thomas’s videos that this wonderful instrument has four strings, and he moves his fingers up and down.’

The husband stopped playing for a moment, sighed, and replied, ‘You are a woman long of nasal hair and short of understanding.  Of course he moves his fingers up and down.  He’s still looking for the right place.  I’ve found it!’

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