Fun with editing – John Mayer’s Gravity – my ideal version…

Tissues at the ready… I’ve been working too hard this year and haven’t had much ‘me’ time. Sucks, eh?

It’s been a great year work wise – business is booming, and we won the Alcohol Concern Zero Alcohol Awards People’s Choice Award for The Alcohol-Free Shop.

But, all that work, combined with Bea being off work with a hernia and slipped discs, means the year has flown past without taking time to do much personally.

So this weekend I’ve been having fun with Adobe Audition and Premiere Pro. I’ve never used either before properly, so it was a good learning experience.

Sometimes you hear a song and instantly fall in love. I love it when that happens.

That happened to me with John Mayer’s Gravity.

I heard it for the first time about five years ago and it was love at first hearing.

I’ve no idea how many times I played it that first week, but it was a lot.

The whole song is wonderful, but the guitar solo in particular is beautiful. Understated, elegant, almost simple – although try playing it like he does. The tone of the guitar is perfect.

And then there’s the live versions. My favourite is the one from the Nokia Theatre in LA which he released as a video and album.

It starts with the subtlety of the album version but builds into a guitar solo that would put any player to shame. It reminds me of Prince’s guitar on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

The only problem with the live version – and it’s a big problem for me, is a dreadful bum note at the end. It’s painful. Really painful. And it’s not even a necessary part of the song – it ruins the pace of the performance.

Credit to John Mayer for the lack of ego in not fixing it in post-production as most would do… but I wish he had.

It also has a pretty tedious beginning (Sorry John!)

So I decided to make my own edit.

I cut the beginning off, added in the guitar solo from the album version into the live version (complete with some background crowd noise), and cut the guitar out at the end that contained the bum note.

After I did the audio, I decided to try to sync it back up to the video.

Obviously, with a new guitar solo, there’s some duplication of video but I’ve tried to mix it around a bit.

It’s my first real project with Adobe Audition and Premiere Pro so I’m pretty happy with the results.

It’s been a fun project over the weekend. It’s given me a break from work, allowed me to test myself, and to learn something new.

And – best of all – I now have a version of Gravity that I really love 😉 and I hope you enjoy it too!

ps. Hopefully the video won’t be removed but I guess it’s possible. There’s plenty of other John Mayer videos (including the original versions of this track) uploaded by other people so fingers crossed…

The original album version is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VBex8zbDRs

The original video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBFW8OvciIU

My video is at https://youtu.be/Pd3FCynuMKA

David Bowie – no words

David Bowie’s death has rocked me in a way I can’t explain and could never have expected.

I’m not going to add to the countless articles written about him. If you care enough about him to read one – and I’ve read many – you already know what he means to you and why.

And I’m not even sure I could at the moment.

So I’ll just show you this. I’ve mentioned before I’ve been trying to decide on a tattoo for years. This was just so obvious. I know many others will get the same but that doesn’t bother me.

Thanks for the music and the encouragement to be myself David.

RIP x

David Bowie Tattoo

Blackstar Tattoo

9th and 13th – the sound of possibility

This post is, in some ways, a follow-on to my last one – a three-minute guide to relationships.

We all know, but try our best to ignore, that life is fragile and unpredictable.

One minute we’re here, and those we love are. And one minute we, or they, aren’t.

And for most of us we’ll never know when that last minute will be.

And it’s the same with what we do with our life. Where it takes us. What we ended up doing. Who we end up being.

Most of us probably do our best to script our lives, but it’s a fool who thinks we have much genuine control. There are simply too many variables. Too many outside influences.

But isn’t that what makes life so great? Who would want to know the future? What would be the point of living if we knew what was going to happen?

It’s the unknown possibilities that make life exciting. And it’s why we must take chances – risks, even – whenever we can.

Stuart Maconie presents a radio show on BBC 6 Music on Sunday evenings called the Freak Zone.

It is, by design, a mixed bag of music.

Sometimes I really enjoy listening to it. Other times it drives me crazy and I have to switch off.

The worst piece of music I ever heard was a few years ago.

Someone, I forget the artist, had recorded some music and put it on a loop of analogue tape.

Then played it, non-stop, until the tape, inevitably, degraded.

The result was a very long track of the same piece of music, repeating again and again, progressively falling to pieces. In the end it was simply noise – and then silence.

It was a really nice idea. An interesting exercise in entropy.

But I didn’t want to listen to it. At least not for so long.

I was in the bath and my iPad wasn’t.

I toyed with the idea of getting out of the bath and stopping it. But, no, wait, surely it will stop soon? No one would play this for so long. Not even Stuart Maconie on The Freak Zone.

But it didn’t stop. For what felt like hours. It was like a CIA torture programme.

The prospect of trying to drown myself entered my head (no, not really).

But sometimes Stuart plays songs that transform my life.

A few months ago he played 9th and 13th, a piece written by Jonathan Coe, a novelist and writer, with music by Danny Manners. I was washing up at the time and at first I was only half-listening, but I quickly stopped what I was doing.

I just stood there. In the kitchen. Listening to it. For about 15 minutes.

When it ended, I wasn’t quite sure what had just happened. But I knew it wasn’t going to be the last time I heard it. And I’ve heard it quite a few more times since.

It led to a brief chat with Jonathan on Twitter and he seems like a really nice approachable man. I didn’t realise the piece came from a CD, of the same name, but once he told me I ordered it. It’s really nice.

But 9th and 13th is the clearly the stand-out piece. To be fair, it would be hard to top it.

Fundamentally it’s about life, the choices we make, and the impact they can have. How the smallest decision can have the most wide-reaching effect. No-one, certainly Jonathan I’m sure, is claiming the concept is new but the execution is sublime.

I hope you’ll make the small decision to listen, and I hope it affects you anywhere near as much as it has affected me.

It’s nearly 17 minutes long. But worth every single second. If you can sit down and give it the attention it deserves, I really don’t think you’ll regret it.