23-Nov-2014 Situation Normal

Posted November 23rd, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva


Having reported a non-working phone line… it has magically righted itself. Strange, but good…

Strange in that we’ve not changed anything, fiddled with sockets or plugs or cables or any such stuff – it may be that since we logged the fault BT may well have been doing something somewhere and found a fault and fixed it. We’re not complaining – far from it… indeed we’re really pleased.

Good? Why good? Well, apart from the obvious relief that communications with the outside world have been restored, the timing couldn’t have been better. The day after we cancelled the scheduled engineer visit we got a call asking if we could do a short notice booking and, as luck or chance or happenstance would have it, it turns out that they wanted us the very afternoon that BT were to have come a-calling! We’re already booked to play for them in December at their Christmas do, but could we possibly squeeze this one in too? Yes indeed, we could and we did.

We count ourselves very fortunate to be able to go out performing as often as we do. It’s wonderful to see smiling faces, and tapping feet and some dancing too – and we usually have a good chat and maybe share a reminiscence or two over a cup of tea and a biscuit… a good time had by all. The government and health services keep telling us that five portions of fruit and vegetables per day are “good for us” – well, we can honestly say five portions of jiva shows per week are even better!

So, five care home performances, an evening class at college (with very time-consuming homework to do as well), a website design makeover, long-distance international web design and tech tuition, and an evening meal with Jimmy’s son meant that we were ultra busy – situation normal then.

Having been out of sorts for quite some time, we’re pleased that things are getting back in the jiva groove… and, on the subject of groove, the coursework for the Newcastle College songwriting course has pushed us into writing outside our normal parameters – with some surprising and interesting results, some good enough to keep while others are best left to decay on the shelf as a tick in the box for “Yep, completed that assignment – phew!”. We’ll probably be giving exclusive previews of some of them here on the blog, so be afraid… be very afraid.

Situation normal, life is good… not a SNAFU in sight.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

16-Nov-2014 Hello – Is Anyone There?

Posted November 16th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

You know how it is – things are picking up, everything’s going smoothly… and then… without warning some irritation crops up to try and spoil your week.

We’ve had a great time, things are almost back to normal (could you really class jiva as normal?). We were out Monday to Saturday (five care home performances and an evening class at college), more bookings coming in for 2015 (look out Scotland, we’re coming back!), Jimmy’s new computer almost tamed at last, and a bit of laptop and printer troubleshooting done… yep sounds pretty much the typical jiva week.

And then, and then, on Saturday morning the phone rang, and then it didn’t. Hmmm… it seems that when calling our home landline number some people have been experiencing some difficulty; sometimes an American-sounding voice saying that the number is unavailable, or a recorded message announcing that the line is disconnected, or just a solitary beep, or nothing at all. Hmmm… we checked it out by phoning home from our mobiles and sure enough it didn’t work. However, we can make outgoing calls OK, but can’t get incoming ones. Fibre broadband is working well, very very well. So we went through a process of elimination, disconnecting wireless handsets, unplugging wired handsets, but nothing helped.

BT-faceplateNext up, call our providers, PlusNet. After a 15-minute wait we hung up and submitted an online fault ticket and headed off for our last performance of the week, hoping that the fault might be fixed, or at least a response to our fault report. Nope, nothing! So, it was back on the phone and, after a 20-minute wait, Jimmy finally got through. Thankfully it’s a free 0800 number. Then there followed a 50-minute session where they called back on Jimmy’s mobile and tried all sorts of tests on the landline, with Jimmy following instructions to unscrew the faceplate from the socket, plug and unplug various bits of gear, disconnect and reconnect the modem, try different handsets, try no handsets, screw the faceplate back on, go through the whole process again. And at the end of it all came the conclusion, yes there’s definitely a fault.

Initially we were advised to call in a local third party handyman to check our wiring but no, we didn’t want to do that. They suggested that BT would charge us for coming out to look at it and no, we weren’t having that either… BT had installed the faceplate and the fault didn’t show up in testing with the faceplate off but, as soon as the faceplate was screwed back on, the fault appeared again irrespective of whether anything was actually plugged into it. We therefore convinced them that the faceplate, or some wiring to the faceplate was to blame – ie, before any of our own wires or equipment are even attached. BT fitted it, no-one else has messed with it, nothing else has been installed since then, no extensions, nothing… so BT can come out fix whatever is wrong with it. But, of course, next week is another well-booked week for jiva, so we’ll have to wait until Friday (our first free day) for the engineer to call.

Apologies to anyone who has been attempting to reach us on the landline number – do try the mobile number(s) shown on our websites and business cards etc, or the usual email address jiva@jiva.co.uk

Hello – is anyone there? Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

09-Nov-2014 Lighten Up

Posted November 9th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, chill out, call it what you will… in short, lighten up.

Avid readers and jiva afficionados will recall that, since September, we’ve been attending classes at Newcastle College – following the demise of the Vocal Coaching class after only one week we’re now both doing Songwriting. It’s been quite an education (pun intended) and we’ve been involved in class collaboration, writing to a title, ghost song writing and writing for other people… that’s a lot to pack in, particularly when the work has to be done to very tight deadlines. Add to that the pressure of fitting homework around a heavy gigging schedule and heavy colds and man flu and you can appreciate why we’re feeling exhausted… exhausted but somewhat exhilarated too.

Y’see, we’ve found ourselves doing stuff that’s outside what you might expect of jiva – there are new songs with titles such as:

  • The Answer Is Yes
  • No More No More
  • Finding Your Way
  • This Life Will Be The Death Of Me
  • I Wanna Be Free
  • Taking A Bath
  • Past Times
  • It Might Never Happen
  • Feel The Pain
  • TV
  • The Bevin Boys
  • Killing The Music – Lighten Up

Although at the start we would never have thought so, some of them will find their way into the live set and also onto an album! Here’s the latest example:

We may well preview other tracks exclusively in future editions of the blog prior to official full recording and release.

Life is… what it is… lighten up.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

02-Nov-2014 Solitary Confinement

Posted November 2nd, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

Taking a look back at the jiva diary for last week we see… nothing… absolutely, nothing. It all started with Jimmy’s man flu the week before, and Val was struck down a few days later – we’ve both started on the road to recovery but, like a double dip recession, we’ve fallen back again. So we’ve kept ourselves to ourselves, alternating between bursts of computer activity, a little bit of songwriting, some attempts at trying out our voices, and lots of rest.

We did manage one trip out – we had to do the weekly Tesco shop, so ventured into Newcastle on the way. That was mostly uninspiring with most shops and streets heaving with hordes of people – but we did squeeze in a visit to GuitarGuitar to thank them for their invitation to a Taylor Guitars Roadshow (which, unfortunately, we had to miss!). We asked whether anything special/new had come up at the event, but there was nothing that took our fancy… except… except… a hollowbody Cocobolo T5. What a beautiful guitar – Val spent more time playing it than Jimmy did (that must be a first) but, as we don’t have £4,000 just hanging around, common sense prevailed. At least for now.

Life is goo…


Jimmy & Val (jiva)