Thursday, September 02, 2010

Still Crazy After All These Fears........Blog #6

Blog #6
"Still Crazy After All These Fears", wasn't that a Paul Simon hit?

As usual, plenty to report. As I ended the last blog's upcoming intentions, I did indeed visit the largest saxophone shop in UK, down near Brighton at Crowborough. Jules one of my Sax forum mates, works there, so off I headed from home base at Christchurch, (Dorset) I always say this, just in case the Kiwis think I'm back in NZ.
200 Saxophones and can try them all!
Getting to Crowborough on public transport was not so easy from Brighton. I got on the city bus at 1pm which took forever to get to Crowborough, then I found had a 40 minute walk, getting there only an hour before closing. I had come to try out mouthpieces and Jules was very helpful in suggesting various options so I started trialling alto mouthpieces.

I returned with Jules the next day (a Saturday) who brought me this time from Brighton so I had the whole day for trialling and browsing in the sax shop. Choosing  mouthpieces can be a daunting task, especially with such a huge variety to choose from, however I think I chose well.

This is my new Yanagasawa metal mouthpiece for the Soprano

This is the Alto American Ottolink Tonemaster 5.

Having satisfied myself I then, with these mouthpieces, I then went around trialing various saxophones, from the interesting to the more/most expensive. I tried Selmers, Yamahas, Kelworths, Paul Mauriats, and many others, finally trying the Rampone Saxophones from Italy. And wow did these saxophones impress, not only in looks but the sound was so pure and easy, they for me really are the Ferraris of the saxophone world.

This Rampone copper body one piece sax was a total joy to play, when I win the lottery this would definitely be on my list. Amazing how my choice of new mouthpieces sounded so different on each of these top line saxes, so getting the perfect combination is quite an ongoing search as one also need to test different reeds as well.
This is how to mute a saxophone by putting it into this special case and inserting your hands inside the case, not something I would enjoy using preferring the full sound and moving around when I play.
It's not often you see 9 baritone saxophones in a row!

So now with new mouthpieces I took to the streets of Brighton, with great results like "move on. we have a gig here outside this comedy club......mate" I stood on the corner of Churchill Square and spotted my reflection in a street window, and waited till someone with camera skills came along (also one that spoke English as this is not so common in the tourist areas like Brighton.

Alto version......

 Soprano version.....You can also see the Norweigian guy talking the photo!

I did some busking in the famous Brighton Lanes and spotted these interesting murals

Brighton is also famous for the Pier and its holday attractions, I'd also say it's batting way above the UK average for beer consumption, to which I contributed a little, though Brighton was memorable for me as the place I tasted Harry Ramsden's Fish and Chips, quite good I thought for a chain of fast food restaurants.
Why do the Asians do this - look at the amazing water and waves and give it the V for victory!
These were Indian people, well dressed ready for paddling???? weird!

So after all this crazy stuff I though I'd better get into the act and travelled to London to try my hand
busking on the Southbank. I have to admit it wasn't exactly a screaming success, though I did learn a lot. I played on Greyfriars Bridge for 20 minutes battling the strange looks and was photographed at least 200 times, all for the staggering amount of 20p in my hat.

I then headed to the proper performers place on the southbank by the London Eye. A local breakdancer encouraged me to go on after he had finished and to use his crowd to start my act, so on went the clown face, got ready and when he stopped I launched into my playing - pretty instant dispersal of the crowd - maybe I could be employed at football matches or to disband riots or to clear the streets of political marches, as I was extremely effective.
So I headed to the Millennium Bridge and had fun with passersby.

So this blog comes to a close, apologies for the delay in getting this one up, computer problems before Christine arrived, then showing her around England and Scotland, plus rather poor Wi-Fi connections in the wilds of Scotland all blocked the blog.

Hopefully now I can catch up, plenty to report and no doubt plenty still up ahead!

Stay well and safe and use your creativity at every opportunity!

Ka kite ano
Next blog will be about touring Devon, Oxford and up into the York area. 

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