Bath Guitar Festival

Bath Guitar Festvial














In July I taught for a week at The International Guitar Foundation (IGF) in Bath. It was the first time I had taught (or been to) an event organised by IGF. The festival runs for two weeks with courses offered in many styles: classical, flamenco, solo acoustic, singer-songwriter, blues, rock, jazz etc. The courses are run by top names in each genre and there are concerts every night given by teachers of the courses and by invited artists.


I was teaching the Flamenco course and taught sample pieces and falsetas in the following styles: Tangos, Soleares, Bulerías and Fandangos de Huelva. We also covered the following techniques: alzapua, picado and the different types of rasgueado and when to use them.


I would highly recommend this course for anyone wishing to spend a week or two away indulging themselves in all things guitar. There are students of all ages and levels and a great atmosphere for learning the style you have signed up for and also opportunities for jamming with students on other courses and finding out what they have been learning.


The material I taught on this course will be available on my workshop page shortly. I will be building this section of the site up soon to include sections on technique, harmony and arrangement.


I also got to meet some great people. I had long admired Tristan Seume, an acoustic Guitarist who composes great melodic compositions. I think there are many Guitarists out there who have technical prowess and can play cleanly and extremely fast but it is becoming more of a rarity for these Guitarists to compose beautiful compositions. Tristan does exactly this. We hung out on campus and, naturally, in the pub at the end of the campus entrance and are now starting a duo, adapting some our solo compositions into pieces for two guitars and also composing some new material specifically for the project.


Another great artist I had the pleasure of meeting was Thomas Leeb. I hadn’t heard of Thomas before (I’m not sure why as he seems well-known and all over the magazines) and it was great to discover his music. His course is very popular and gets sold out each year. I sat in on one of his classes and they are very well organised and scored and he covers some great material.


…I aslo met a great sound engineer (and musician) by the name of Stuart McClean. Stuart has a sensitivity not found in many engineers and has plenty of experience of recording guitars. He is currently producing a project I am invloved in – more details to follow in a separate blog.

Christmas Carol the Musical with Paul Daniels

Christmas Carol the Musical with Paul Daniels

I spent the Christmas of 2006 at the Lowestoft Theatre performing a version of A Christmas Carol The Musical. We were a small band in the pit but the music was great and we had great accommodation on the beach.


Paul Daniels played the part of Scrooge. He was excellent and an absolute pleasure to work with – always on form and a genuinely nice guy. The lovely Debbie McGee was ever present by his side promoting the show whenever possible.


Paul told me one evening about his time on television and how he often dreaded the day when his show would be axed. The show carried on for a number of years and he often wondered what the feeling would be like when it came to an end. When the news finally came he said the overriding feeling was one of relief. It was very stressful, he said, having to come up with new tricks every week and keep the show fresh. The longer the show ran, the harder it got. He also spoke about the pressures of television and said that he started wearing a wig as he was so conscious that television personalties have such short life spans and that there is always a younger “next big thing” just waiting to jump in your shoes. He then recounted being asked by a female journalist, rather condescendingly, why he had chosen to start wearing a wig. He said he couldn’t believe that a woman sitting in front of him with false nails, false eyelashes, mascara, foundation and dyed hair could be so judgmental about his decision to wear a wig!


On the last day Paul invited the whole cast for lunch at a waffle restaurant. It was a very pleasant lunch with Paul recounting some of his early experiences on the road. The waffle became a standing joke and a number of lines in that evening’s show were given the waffle treatment, such as “stop waffling on woman”, “waffle load of rubbish” and “that was one waffle nightmare I had last night”…


I found Paul very modest, humble and pleasant person with many an interesting story to tell about his many years in show business. I hope I have the chance to work with him again sometime.