27-Jul-2014 45 Years On

Posted July 27th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

We promised things would get back to normal and, sure enough, they did… albeit with some additions (some more welcome than others).

Normal for jiva is being out and about playing pre-booked gigs… less than two or three is a quiet week. The past six days have seen us giving four 60-minute performances plus one at 80-minutes (two spots) and one 120-minutes (again two spots).

On the two lengthier performances we were able to take our Bose L1 Model 2 system out and, as always, it was exquisite – filling the spaces (one a village hall and the other a sports centre) effortlessly with crystal clarity and the same comfortable listening level from stage to the far wall. It’s inspirational to play through such a wonderful system.

Mind you, our smaller, AER cube system is no slouch either – we arrived for a care home on a sweltering day and were asked if we could play outside – it was such a lovely day, and we played in the shade in a courtyard/garden area. Ralph, our diminutive AER Alpha, did a wonderful job of sending great sound to all and sundry (outdoors and indoors too as most of the windows were open).

Oakfield-Park-PrudhoeThe 120 minutes of performing was at the Newbiggin Music Festival on July 26th – a very special date for us. It was on Saturday July 26th 1969 that we first met at 2:30 in the afternoon, playing tennis in Prudhoe… we never dreamed that 45 years on we’d be up there on that stage loving every minute of it. We had planned that July 26 was going to be an “us” day this year, one dedicated to spending a whole day away from everything and heading off to somewhere to just be… but, when the opportunity to play at the festival came about, we decided that the “us” day could wait a while. A good decision, a good one indeed.

It will come as no surprise to friends and regular readers of this blog that we’ve recently taken delivery of more tech gear to upgrade our inventory – Val is now the proud owner of a black Samsung Note 10.1 2014 edition and we also have a new portable digital recorder, the Zoom H5… both are serious pieces of kit and Jimmy has already devoured the manual for each device, so we’re looking forward to getting to grips with what they can do.

All is obviously well on both the music and gadget/tech front, so what could possibly be unwelcome? What cloud could spoil such a perfect sky?

Drains, that’s what! It seems that since we had our yard block paved the old drains have decided to start showing their age and following some emergency unblocking it would appear that we have a few too many cracks in too many places (heck, we even got to see the video footage taken while they had a camera bunged down there doing a survey). So, it’ll be a four figure bill to get it all sorted – ah well, so be it… it’s only money, and you can’t take it with you when you go. Extra gigs, web design projects and Val’s temping all help towards the cost of these blips.

The coming week is a sort of countdown comprising

  • three days temping
  • two web design projects moving forward
  • one care home performance
  • and hopefully zero unpleasant surprises…

There’ll also be SWAP-NE (Song Writers And Performers – North East) meeting number 10 and Jimmy’s birthday the day after – and we might find time to squeeze in a folk club visit but, then again, we might not.

At the end of the day we can honestly say, as always, life is good.

45 years and counting…

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

20-Jul-2014 The Purple Spider

Posted July 20th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

spiderpodiumIs it a bird?… Is it a plane?… Is it… Superman?…

Nope, none of them.

It’s a spider, a purple spider at that… in fact a Spiderpodium… a Breffo Spiderpodium… that’s what.

Remember last week we told you of an order from Amazon that got lost in transit? Well, the Spiderpodium was one of the three items in that lost order. Amazon Customer Services were, as always, vey helpful and very prompt; they immediately ordered us a replacement and had it shipped first class (would that the customer services department from all companies were this helpful and efficient!). Now, what exactly is a Spiderpodium? We’ll come to that later.

In the meantime we’ll fill you in with a brief summary of what else has been happening around here.

Val spent four days temping in Morpeth, which left Jimmy moping around the house on his ownsome. He did manage to get his teeth into more video editing, and so the backlog has dwindled slightly. He also caught up on some website updates that had been agreed at one of the previous week’s site design review meetings. He found time to read a little, but didn’t get down to much guitar playing or writing… it’s amazing how plans for the music things don’t often turn out on schedule – ah well, that’s the Muse for you.

But scheduled performances? Ah, that’s different. They do happen when planned – and the week’s plans included a care home performance and a slot at a local (is 50 miles local?) festival. It was our seventh visit to this particular care home in 18 months, and we were told of a plan being hatched for more jiva performances elsewhere (but were sworn to secrecy on the details for now)… ooh err. The Dorman Festival (the festival previously known as Folk At Natures World) saw jiva performing for the eighth year in a row, indoors this time as the heavens had opened earlier in the day making the outdoor stage/marquee a definite non-starter. It was quite an experience where we were greeted by acquaintances from way back when, caught up with some of our musical contemporaries and witnessed a fascinating mix of performers covering a wide variety of genres and styles.

The Spiderpodium was much in evidence for the Dorman’s Festival – you see, well, it’s actually a holder for a tablet (the electronic display type as opposed to the take three times a day medication). It attaches to the dashboard air vents of the car, and its purple spidery legs hold the device (in this case, Val’s Note 8) at just the right position without obscuring the windscreen at all. So now we have an 8-inch satnav running TomTom… cool stuff, and it even looks great when we take the Note 8 with us and just leave the giant purple spider crawling out of the air vent… arachnophobics should look away now…

… we did warn you…

… click the pic to look more closely through the window at the dashboard…

… be afraid, be very afraid…

… do not scroll further down this page…

… click the pic to see the air vent spider in greater detail

… and beware of the jiva Honda Jazz.

The coming week promises to be more ‘normal’ – no temping and six scheduled jiva shows around the region.

Life is good, as always.


Jimmy & Val (jiva)

13-Jul-2014 What A Grey Day

Posted July 13th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

Weather-wise it certainly is grey, dark clouds and rain…

It’s been an odd week with the focus somewhat shifted from our music, although we did have one performance in Consett. We’ve had a website review meeting for two projects (lots of work coming out of each one, and little time to do it), we’ve commissioned a window cleaner (at last), had blocked drains cleared with just a little bit of digging up our block-paved yard, a visit to the dentist, a difficult time with a mobile phone contract (now sorted, we think, through sheer doggedness and persistence and being adamant and not shouting down the phone), an order from Amazon now officially lost in transit… and a short timescale design job completed.

Heck we even found time for a social outing – we headed off to the home of Steve & Carol (Fool’s Gold), where we were treated to a scrummy meal, and whiled away the hours trying to put the acoustic music scene to rights… did we succeed? Nah! Of course not, but it’s always fun trying. Thanks you two!

Next week sees more dentistry, Val temping, a social get together and alternative theatre visit… the week being rounded of with a care home performance, a slot at Dorman’s Folk Fest and a visit to the Runcible Spoon to scout out the lie of the land before our gig there later in the year.

Gosh! I think the sun might actually be peeping through the clouds.


Jimmy & Val (jiva)

06-Jul-2014 A Flea On The Dog

Posted July 6th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

Life is short, the world will carry on without us – in the grand scheme of things we are all insignificant… so let’s not beat ourselves up with what we have or haven’t done and what we may or may not have achieved. Rather, let’s be realistic with our expectations of others and also our expectations of ourselves.

Ouch! That all sounds philosphical and foreboding but, in reality, it’s not.

HourglassTime: There are only 60 minutes in each hour, and there are only 24 hours in each day, 7 days in each week and 52 weeks (plus 2 or 3 days) per year. We each have a finite amount of time on this Earth and are therefore limited in how much we can cram into that lifespan. Every minute spent doing one thing means there is less time available for other things – time lost or wasted cannot be recovered… to try and catch up on what you missed (or what you didn’t do) means taking that time from something else and, remember, there is a limited amount of time – and, importantly, the time available grows less every day, every hour, every minute.

When you get to the stage where you realise that there’s less time left than the time you’ve already had, you may well start to reflect on how best to use the remainder – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a To Do list (or a Bucket List) but don’t get too hung up on forward planning every little detail, otherwise you’ll have even less time left for the actual doing and living and sharing and enjoying.

Rather, sketch out the things that are important to you and your loved ones… put those things at the top of your To Do list, and regularly spend time on them. It’s liberating to think this way, and it’s exhilarating to actually do it.

Must stop now… I’m going to dust off that guitar tutor book.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)