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A Great New Year

Welcome back people, it’s 2010 and another great year is upon us.

Firstly I’d like to thank all our faithful readers who’ve been supporting this site over the last 16 months since Street Musician went online and wish all our visitors, new readers and fellow bloggers a great new year and a very prosperous one at that.

2010 is definitely going to be an explosive year for Street Musician and there’s plenty of good stuff in the pipeline for our readers to get stuck into over the next few months.

Although I’ve only posted a couple of articles over the last few weeks since we updated our look, there have been many changes going on behind the scenes that should help secure the long term future of this blog and I can happily announce that we are ready for the new year ahead and it’s time to relax and get on with some great new posts.

Street Musician 2

What’s Been Going On ?

In case you haven’t noticed, the last few months have been mostly been taken up by my efforts to start a new business on and off line selling these amazing handmade goods and instruments shipped all the way from South America by my family who have been out there for many years.

I’m happy to say the business has been going pretty well, in fact so well that I haven’t had time to concentrate on the really important things in life like blogging and playing guitar.

Neglecting my blog and guitaring skills has been really killing me over the last few weeks, and while I have seen my ideas grow from mere thoughts into the reality of a real life street business, a virtual shop and an EBay shop, the ridiculous amount of hours I have put in to the project have left my guitar and vocal skills weakened and my blog virtually unnattended. The whole time this has been going on,  my brain has been focused on work, but I’ve been dying to get back to what I really love doing.

Fearful of the toll this neglect would take on my blog stats, I’ve been surprised to find that my readership and daily visits have actually increased by a modest percentage without me posting anything for weeks. Alas, the one thing I could not avoid was the hand of god Google slapping me back down to a PR2 for a festive Christmas present.

Google Slap

Google’s Christmas Present

Nevermind, it was expected and to be honest didn’t really bother me as I was still happy to have gained a good few readers without a single keystroke. You just can’t keep a good blog down.

Street Musician 2

Over the past few weeks, the harsh reality of spending thousands of hours creating a physical and virtual business whilst trying to live a family life has left little time for much else. Every time I thought I might just get a few minutes free, something else has always come up and taken the last few hours out of the day. There’s nothing worse than having the potential to do something good, but not having the time to do it.

I’m glad to say that the Christmas rush has now past and the most important parts of the business are in firmly in place. With with not much left to sell and the post festive season slumber closing in, it is time for me to take a breather and concentrate on the many other things I have been meaning to do over the last few months.

Video Lessons

One of the things I have been planning since this blog started is to post video guitar tutorials, covers and lessons to get my readers playing some great songs from the likes of Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Metallica, David Gray, Chili’s, Coldplay, Muse, Nirvana, Slayer and just about everyone else I can think of.

Last year I set up my makeshift green screen in my studio to do just that and recorded a few raw videos to test them out. They were o.k but I ended up getting sidetracked again and never quite got round to finishing and editing them. I’ve got a better set up now and am going to give it another go once I get my arse in gear and get back to playing properly. Hopefully we should get some good results in a few weeks time and I’ll actually bother to edit them this time and put them online.

Keep a look out because once I’m back on track, I’m going to be covering just about every song in my gig list over the next year or so.

Busking for Charity Challenge – Pledging for Change

Another thing I’ve been promising faithfully to do over the last few months is promote an excellent social network site  called ‘Pledging for Change‘. The aim of the organisation is to provide positive help and support for ethical businesses, charities and non-profit organisations who aim to make a difference in the world, no matter how small. I’ve been challenged by Karren, who runs the site to find 100 musicians who are willing to give up a little of their time to busk for charity or a good cause every now and then.

I’m pretty sure there’ll be a good few musicians out there who will be willing to give it a go. Nobody’s asking for miracles, it only takes a few people out there to make a difference and a very small amount of money can change lives.

It’s a great network and the challenge should be good fun once it gets going.

I was challenged ages ago but because of work committments I’ve not yet had the chance to put any time into it, so it’s time to get on the case.

I’ll be doing a post on it in a few days but if you want to take a look before hand, head on over to www.pledgingforchange.com and see if you’re the type of person who can make a difference in the world.

Give a hand up for thousands of charities and sustainable businesses for a sustainable future

More on that coming very soon.

I’m also hoping to do a bit of busking for charity myself over the next few months once I get back into it, and hopefully we should be able to promote a few good causes and hear some good music at the same time.

Get Fixed, Get Fit and Get Married

I’m getting married in a few months time in July and thanks to my back problems, Christmas, months of building, chopping, writing, selling, sawing, freezing, hammering, eating, drinking, getting soaked and willful neglect, my fitness levels are at an all time low and it’s time to sort my back out, shed some pounds and get fit again.

I’m nearly 6ft 4 and used to be 12 stone 10 when I was at the peak of my physical fitness. I didn’t have an ounce of fat on me and could kick the head off a horse . Now I’m 16 stone 3, getting porky and can barely make it up the stairs without having a heart attack.

Fat Bloke

No, I’m not quite that bad, yet !

To boot, I don’t know what the hell’s been up with my knee for the past few weeks but it feels like someone’s taken a hammer to my femur and pulled out the cartilage. I’ve been dealing with it for weeks and have been having real trouble just doing the usual things people take for granted, like standing up for instance. It’s funny because I’ve never had knee trouble before and I haven’t got a clue when or where it started.

It feels a bit better than it did before Christmas but it’s beginning to look like it may turn into a long term problem and is going to take some serious rehabilitation before I can train on it. That suits me fine cause my back is going to take even longer to sort out before I can get back in the gym or slog the hell out of the new punch bag I got for Christmas.

I know there is only one type of exercise that’s going to sort me out in this condition and that is Pilates. I hate to say it because I used to think that Pilates was for grannies, but the science behind it is what works and many of the world’s top athletes and performers also use Pilates as a way of keeping fit and recovering from injury. Anything else will just completely wreck me nowadays and if I push myself even slightly over the edge I could easily end up frozen solid and stranded on the couch for the next few months as has happened to me many times before.

A few years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing something as soft as pilates to get fit and would just go out on a massive exercise rampage whenever I felt like getting fit, but in the end that is what wrecked me, being reckless with my own fitness.

I’m not going to let that happen again. I’ll be doing a few posts on pilates and the other things I get up to once I get back into it. Hopefully, within a few months I might be able to get back to the Kung Fu and Thai boxing.

These are dangerous goals for me, not because of the martial arts themselves, but because in the past they have ultimately led to the destruction of my back and my downfall on several occasions in my life. I’ll also be filling my long empty health section with some other useful stuff, advice and tips when I get the time.

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The Stag Do

There’s going to be my stag do on the books in a few months time and I haven’t got a clue what’s going to be happening for that. If I want to do more than just hit the pubs and clubs getting slaughtered for three days, I’m going to have to get fit for it. I’m hoping to get some action out of it like skydiving or a surfing weekend or something decent like that, but in my condition there’s no way they’ll let me on a bus, nevermind the plane. If I’ve not got myself sorted out and rock solid by then, I’m going to be left sat on the sidelines while all my mates are catching waves or jumping out of planes. There’s no way I’m going to let that happen.

Then again, there’s always Amsterdam !!

Smiley

Busking

Whilst I’ve been slogging it out there in the street, battling the worst and wettest weather in the UK since records began, and then when that died down, braving the coldest spell since 1969, apart from it being a complete nightmare and having an evil time due to the weather, I’ve also had the pleasure of whiling the hours away whilst being entertained by a wide variety of  musicians and entertainers sporting their skills in the street and along the way I’ve met some great people.

The best thing about selling in the street all day is you get to see loads of different buskers turning up and doing their stuff one by one. Some are good, some are bad, some are bloody awful and some are truly excellent.

I’ve met saxophonists, flutists, guitarists, jugglers, harpists, banjo players and loads more over the last few weeks and they all have their own story to tell.

Southern Banjo Buskers

These guys were cool

Hopefully over the next few months, as I venture out more into the street, I’ll be taking my own guitar, laptop and web cam out with me and bringing you some videos and interviews from a few of these weird and wonderful people. As I’ll have a street stall to film from, I should be able to take a few vids of myself busking aswell.

Should be fun.

Gigging

This year my aim is to get the blog back on the right path, let the e business run itself, sell some stuff in the street, get my skills as a semi pro musician back and get out there and do a shed load of gigs.

Gigging and busking a couple of times a week, a bit of street selling, two web businesses and a guitar blog should give me enough freedom to chop and change between them over the course of the year and give me a solid base to promote my work as a musician. I should also be able to work on my blog and business at the same time, do a bit for charity and teach some of my readers how to be better singers and guitarists. It all sounds like a good plan, but none of it is going to happen if I don’t pick up that bloody guitar and put the time in. Only an effective plan will give me the time to do all this without my fiancee leaving me at the alter.

Reviews

Last but not least on my list is my reviews section. I’ve had them in mind since this blog started and hopefully as I thrash my way through everything I’ve been mentioning above, I’ll make some time to review a few guitar and other music related things that come my way. If you have anything out there you’d like me to review over the coming year, just drop me a line, send me the stuff to review and I’ll give you my honest opinion. You never know, if I like your product, you could make millions.

Street Musician 2

So there you have it, my life’s plan for 2010. The one thing that people who know me will tell you is that I have a lot of big plans and weird ideas and I’ll often bite off more than I can chew, but in the end I’ll always get there. It might take a whole lot longer than I thought and go way off schedule, but if I promise I’m going to do something, then sooner or later…I sure as hell am going to do it.

Have a great year and stay tuned, it’s all coming this way.

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