Joanna is Calling

burning_pianoFirstly, I must point out that the photo to the left has no bearing on this post.  Well, very little; please disregard the fire and storm trooper pianist.  It was in fact the fourth result in a Google Images search for ‘piano’, therefore: amusing.

After 15 years of tinkering in my home studio and the unavoidable knowledge that time is passing me by at an alarming rate, I have decided to learn the piano.  Properly this time, not keying in random four note chords into Logic and hoping quantisation will do the rest.

I very nearly didn’t bother, worried that the sudden realisation that, with a bit of time and effort, I could sit in front of those black and white keys and know what I was playing, might cause me to slip into a great depression.  Mentally torturing myself for not having started at an early age while my piano-playing dad finally admits he wished I’d done so.  In reality, however, I have never, until now, had the urge to learn, nor the passion.  And my dad certainly isn’t the pushy parent type.

So, I’ll try and keep any aspiring musicians reading this blog up to date on my progress.  I begin this journey (ouch) with some basic knowledge of the keyboard and a couple of little riffs I’ve picked up along the way.  My next step is to purchase an 88-note piano this coming weekend and book my first lessons.

One imediate recommendation I have is a chap called Andrew Furmanczyk who has some fantastic lessons on YouTube.  Check him out, I’ve been through the first six or so and he’s already got me playing some simple scales and has taught some very useful theory: http://www.youtube.com/user/Lypur.

Google Found Me!

Well, after much deliberating over whether or not it was worth bothering at all with this blog – knowing that primarily my mother and, well, there’s no two ways about this, myself are the only ones reading any of the posts – I today check my stats to find that I’ve received some traffic from Google.

Granted, one was from some no doubt folically-challenged chap wishing to relate to knuckle-dragging Wayne Rooney by bashing the eternally uninteresting search term ‘Rooney hair loss’ into Google.  Several Facebook addicts also seem to have found their way here via the search monolith, so, whilst they’re unlikely to develop the same feelings of misplaced lust for my blog, it’s nice to see that WordPress are obviously taking their SEO work seriously.  And you can’t scoff at that, when you consider I haven’t had to lay a penny down for this blog.

Goodbye Recession, Hello Kefalonia

As I sit writing this on our Palagos Bay balcony with the early evening sun casting a syrupy golden blanket across the surrounding mixture of terrain – lush green mountains, empty roads and a turquoise widescreen vista of sea meeting sky – it’s satisfyingly difficult to remember the recession-torn country we left behind three days ago.

This being the third time we’ve visited the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia, it’s no secret that my girlfriend and I have fallen in love with the place and would heartily recommend it to anyone fancying a week or two of work-free bliss.

This time, we’re staying in the pretty town of Skala, the second most popular touist resort. And it appears we’ve fallen on our feet with this week’s accommodation: Pelagos Bay. Run by Billy, a man I struggle to draw any comparisons with previous foreign hotel owners (or anyone, for that matter), from the very moment we arrived we have been made to feel completely at home. Pelagos’ motto, etched across the back of the bar: ‘Arrive as strangers, leave as friends’ is rather fitting.

That last sentence was an uncomfortably one as, usually, I like nothing less than having to converse with fellow human beings during my holidays, preferring to keep myself very much to myself and my iPod earphones firmly in my ears. Billy, however, seems strikingly adept at removing the quiet indignation us Brits seem to hold onto so dear with his outwardly forthright yet not at all brash personality. He also posesses the often underrated ability to remember each one of his 40+ guests’ names and can regularly be found propping up the poolside bar of an evening, drinking as heartily as the rest of us. Quite a character. He’s even had George Best to stay, although he claims he had no idea who he was until he popped the question and received the fabulously Best-esque ‘You know Pele? Well, I was the Irish Pele.’

Anyway, after today’s extensive road trip, I have to recommend three must-visits if you’re planning on coming to Kefalonia. Myrtos beach ranks among the top ten in the world and it is simply stunning, with an almost ethereal bluey-green sea and mile-long beach hidden away in a deep alcove. Google it, it’s breathtaking.

Secondly, Assos, for it’s unspoilt village and a quiet coffee by the crystal clear waterfront. Shame ours was soundtracked by some British prat who wanted everyone within a five mile radius to hear about his intentions to buy a holiday home in the island’s capital, Argostoli. Wherever us Brits go, we always manage to bring the tone down just a little, don’t we?

Lastly, Fiskardo, which is located at the northern most tip of the island. A favourite with the likes of Johnny Depp and Nicholas Cage, it oozes upper class pretentions and houses many a super yacht complete with champagne quaffing toffs. Don’t let any of that put you off though, as it is a truely gorgeous little port with some eye catching pre-earthquake ruins. It’s also where the photo you can see of my girlfriend, Lindsey, was taken. We couldn’t quite pull off the I-want-everyone-to-hear-how-many-houses-I’ve-got jargon, but we gave it a good go.