Posted by: docdenbow | October 5, 2013

I Really Irritate Myself Sometimes

I’ve got some time off work coming up. It’s time that I’ll be able to spend indulging myself. You know a bit of *me* time. Of course there are things that I have to do around the house and things like that, but I’m sure I’ll have ample time to do things that I want to do. Things just for me. You could say I want to do some things that will make me a little more positive about life, the universe and everything than I have been feeling recently. Because of my nature I very often annoy and frustrate myself by my own actions. Take playing guitar, for example. I’ve owned a guitar and a good one at that for more than 30 years and to mind I still can’t play. Sure, I know the chords majors, minors, 7th’s and a few more besides. I can struggle my way through a few songs, but basically I’m rubbish.

I don’t have perfect pitch, but I’m not cloth eared either. I have all my fingers and they all move okay. My hands are small, but probably bigger than those of @TraCeyLambo my Twitter friend (if you’re on Twitter follow her), and although she talks her ability down, as far as I’m concerned she can play better than I can ever dream of.

So what point am I get at here? Hmm, tricky….let’s see if I can explain.

@TraCeyLambo has certainly got musical ability, more than me for sure, but that’s not the point. On her website she says…..

“I love music, it’s a huge part of my life. I like all sorts, but mainly heavy blues, classic rock, and metal. I also try to play, and I would love to play better… but like most people, work and life gets in the way. I had years of childhood piano lessons, and now I play guitar, bass and keyboards.“

I suspect that the piano lessons have been a huge help to her. Presumably she can read music and understands scales and the way chords fit together. I bet @TraCeyLambo understands harmony and has perfect pitch (I’m really beginning to hate her now!) I could go on and on about her guitars, amps and all that sort of stuff. I could do, but that would be pointless. The major difference between me and @TraCeyLambo when it comes to music is that she actually practices, knows how to practice and didn’t pick up her first guitar and expect to become a virtuoso in 15 minutes. Most reasonable people know learning anything new is a slow and incremental process and that becoming a half decent guitarist takes time and dedication. Yeah most reasonable people. This Denbow can grimace, pose, look pensive, look bluesy and give you just about any guitar based look you require. I’ve practiced that. Yes I’ve practiced all of that bollocks when I should have been actually learning how to play.So what now? Do I just give up and be content to be able to *sort of* be able to play guitar or do I want be able to be able to say “yeah, I play?”

I want to improve, I want to learn, I want, I want, I want……………

Is there any point? I’m damned nearly 55. Never played in a band. I don’t know anybody who would let me anywhere near their bands. I know nobody I could have a *jam* with. No one to show me little licks and tricks. Oh woe is f*cking me! Bleat, bleat, bleat. Whinge, whinge, whinge.

Get a grip. It’s not that long ago you used to play constantly is it? You bought “Total Guitar” religiously. You’d play along with the CDs. You learned to play “Apache” note perfect (ok it’s not much, but……) You’d got the first bit of “Lazy” sorted. You could play the riff to “Walk This Way.” You could even play the solo out of “All Right Now” (ok badly, but you had a go) You were getting somewhere, you were coming on in leaps and bounds…..then you more or less stopped dead overnight. Twat! That’s you all over isn’t it? Huh? You throw yourself headlong into something and burn yourself out. I’m amazed you’ve kept this bloody blog going as long as you have. All of this *I’m a writer* bollocks….you really want to pack this in as well don’t you? Just like everything else you do.

Shall I make a list you dumb bastard? Well we’ve had the guitars. You can’t play and you own 3, a pedal board and 2 combo amps and now you’re on about buying another one! A dinky little electro acoustic. What goes on in your head? Then there’s the cycling. The sodding cycling! You used go out with your mate. Went bloody miles. 20 or 30 miles at a time! Yeah you enjoyed that. Bought a lot of kit to wear. You quit that though. Okay so you did have an epileptic fit while you were out on the bike and went arse over tit into some bushes and then proceeded to p*ss yourself. I understand why that may have put you off, but I bet it was just convenient for you to quit you snivelling little bastard.

The novel! Oh please! How long I have I heard this one? Nearly 15 f*cking years, that’s how long. You started again, writing it. Tippity tap, tippity tap. 8,000 words in barely 2 weeks barely a month ago. An abscess up your arse and now you seem to have packed that in. What’s wrong with you? You start things off, but never ever see things through. Is it because you’ve an attention span like a goldfish? That’s your excuse isn’t it?
“I get bored!”
Bollocks you do! You’re scared of failure aren’t you? You won’t put yourself heart and soul into something and finish it because you always want a get out clause. Prick! I can hear you now,
“@TraCeyLambo is a better guitarist than me because she’s put more time in. I’d be better than her if I tried!”
Oh, f*ck off and try then! You don’t want to put the time and effort into anything because if you do and you’re still sh*t then you think people will laugh at you and take the p*ss. Well they won’t. People are nicer than that. You aren’t though. You’re quick to laugh and belittle people. Yeah, it’s dead easy to be a critic, not so easy to produce something. Finish your novel – I dare you. You won’t because in your heart of hearts you know you can’t write and it’ll be sh*t. That’s what you think isn’t it? And when it comes to the guitar, forget it you’re a sausage fingered w*nker! Oh aye, you’re tone deaf as well! Tosser!

Listen mate, I know I’m being tough on you, but sometimes a bit of tough love is necessary. I think you could do pretty much anything that you set your mind to. You’re not thick, you’re healthy and I don’t want to give you a big head, but you’ve got a lot going for you. I don’t think you can quite catch up with @TraCeyLambo on the guitar, but if you work at it you might be able to catch up a bit. For God’s sake you bought that Zoom Studio thing, it’s still in the box. Learn how it works and bloody use it. There’s loads of Justin Sandercoe videos on YouTube, he’ll teach you to play, he’s good like that. In fact learn songs all the way through

Then there’s the writing. You’ve written about 75% of an Alan Bennett style talking head monologue. You think it’s pretty good, don’t you? Finish it then! Even though it’s an old woman doing the talking you could read it out to get a feel for it. You know just do it, it’d be a bit of fun. First and foremost finish it you moron! Finish that before you go on to your *Novel* that I’m p*ssed off hearing about.

One thing at a time, one day at a time.

Ciao For Now




  1. I think there is a difference between practicing guitar and learning to how to play a tune. Both are completely different exercises, but most people simply want to play a well known tune, and expect it to sound perfect without actually training themselves to play guitar properly.

    I do practice, but I practice scales, minor and major pentatonics, blues scales and chords, and all kinds of shit, which is very repetitive and probably boring, but it’s not boring to me… I practice them over and over and over, because all that practice makes learning and playing tunes easier.

    Being able to read music isn’t a major advantage, most rock tunes aren’t available in that form anyway. I learn from Tabs and from listening to the original tune, maybe also watching the original player on YouTube.
    I don’t watch tuition vids like the one you sent me a link to, because I can’t follow them. To many words in those things, and I find them complicated. I guess what works for one person doesn’t work for others. I prefer crumpled pieces of paper with little dots on.

    I am only a hobby player. I have no ambitions to join any bands, and I don’t have an ambition to be better than you, or anyone else.
    I don’t think you should be driven by wanting to be better than me, maybe be driven by your own desire to be able to play 20-30-40 tunes right through.
    I play because I enjoy playing, and if you are better than me, that doesn’t depreciate my enjoyment. That should work vice-versa, just do it for yourself.

    Playing piano is a huge help, not only because piano chords and scales are also found on a guitar… somewhere! Having piano lessons also taught me the value of repetitive practice.
    Put the foundations in place before putting the walls up and the roof on.
    I have never had a guitar lesson formally, I have had little tips from friends. I think lessons are good tho, at least you meet people in the same boat, and you might make friends and jam between yourselves.

    Finally, stop kicking yourself for not doing things, you’re a nice guy, so stop hating yourself, life’s to short for all that. Have fun, and just do it!

    Anyway, I’m off before you hate me more lol

    TL (Saz) xox

    • You’ve hit the nail firmly on the bonce. I have always wanted to be brilliant. Brilliant at anything, not really fussed what, but have never put the effort or practice in. I have learned the odd scale but as I’m a bit of a dummy never quite worked out til recently what to do with them!!

      That’s my trouble, I was taking the p*ss out of myself in the bits in bold. That’s the sort of thing I’d say to a whingey whining dork who expects everything to come his/her way easy. When I first had my precious Ibanez I wanted to be Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy) and quickly mastered the excessive drinking and fag smoking, but completely disregarded the “learning to play” bit. Jeez, I’ve finally realized that I did it the wrong way round!

      Because I find it next to impossible to pick up stuff of records (!) I need YouTube lessons to get me going and will stick at it these days to learn what I can. The scales I’ve been practising, the good ol’ pentatonic ….. I’m getting there.

      Now I come to the *fanfare* NOVEL!!!

      This has been a “project” that I started in a semi manic frenzy in 1999. I was writing at a rate in excess of 2000 words a day. I had two little kids, a job and a borderline drink problem at the time and have been saying ever since that I’m going to finish it one day. It’s damned near 15 years later and 4 chapters into a rewrite I’m struggling. I feel that I should just shut up talking about it and simply finish it. This is where I genuinely wonder whether it’s as good as I think it is….and that is holding me back. Crisis of confidence type of thing.

      The daft thing is I’ve already written about 4 chapters of the “follow up” novel!

      Definitely the Brian Robertson syndrome is repeating itself!

      Anyway, thanks for having a read and taking time for your epic comment and if you Les Paul is now just a copy, it’s nowhere near as good as my 1977 Ibanez Les Paul Custom!


  2. I own a guitar, wanna start a really bad band. I also cannot sing. I reckon we could easily steal a semi final place on X-Fuckoff-ter. All day long. PS. I know 3 chords and the opening to smoke on the water as played by everyone who cannot play guitar.

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