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TECHNOLOGICAL FRUSTRATIONS...

The USB 3 to USB 2 adaptor that I ordered on the internet yesterday arrived this morning. I breathed a sigh of relief as this little piece of equipment is vitally needed to connect my Mac Mini computer with the Zoom audio interface. The socket on the Zoom unit is, (i think,) a Thunderbolt 2 whilst the socket on the Mac is a Thunderbolt 3. I presumed that the adaptor would solve the incompatibility problem.


Well, I got another sharp lesson in the way computer companies make their money. When I tried to insert the plug from the adaptor into the Zoom unit, it wouldn't fit. After scratching my head for a minute I thought I'd try to check if it would fit the Mac socket, which it did. Which means the little bit of wire attached to the adaptor has a Thunderbolt 3 plug on the end and not a Thunderbolt 2. Therefore the female socket on the other end of the adaptor must be a Thunderbolt 2. And to use it you need to buy a separate Thunderbolt 2 cable to go between the adaptor and the Zoom unit.


So I had no choice but to order a Thunderbolt 2 cable from the internet. I'd already paid £49 for the adaptor and now have had to pay another £30 for the cable I need to work with it. This new studio rig, with all the necessary peripherals, is costing me more than my old system already.


As a result, I may have to postpone John Spence's visit to connect the system together tomorrow. It will all depend on what time the Thunderbolt 2 cable is actually delivered. Hopefully, it will arrive before noon but if not, we'll need to look at doing something on Friday instead. So frustrating!


On a more positive note, I travelled to Leeds this afternoon for a meeting with Ian Haydock at the Clothworker's Hall at Leeds University to check out plans for the November album launch/concert.


Present at the meeting was Dan Merrick who is in charge of the venue and who gave us a lot of interesting ideas for possible future live streaming events from the venue. (Watch out for a potential series of 'Nelsonica Salons,' perhaps some time next year if it all comes together. These would be small, very intimate events with an audience of 30 or 40 people where I could present some of the more left-field or experimental sides of my work and discuss topics of related interest from film to art and literature. The Salons would be streamed on the internet for anyone interested in attending them in the 'virtual realm,' so to speak.

This is just one idea bubbling up at the moment but quite exciting and challenging. I'm going to give it some thought and see if it feels like something I could achieve.


All looks good for the November 9th album launch but the main problem at the moment is finding a day when Gordon White and Andy Newlove can get together so that Andy can show Gordon how my live equipment is set up.


My live gear is not a typical guitar into an amp with a couple of pedals type of rig. It's a fairly complex digital system using three processors and a big, three-tier pedalboard, looper, channel switcher, guitar synth unit, extra delay and so on. It can be a bit baffling and even I can't explain where all the cables need to go.


I've relied on Andy, (and Pete Harwood before him,) to deal with all that sort of thing. Plus, of course, I'm using virtually a different guitar for every number in the set. I think it was 15 guitars last year. That's a lot of instruments to tune and swap over on stage. Probably too many, but...I'm afraid that I don't make things simple for my guitar techs.


I don't need to use all those guitars in a live show, of course, it's crazy, but they're all quite beautiful and I enjoy bringing then out from my studio for fans to see and enjoy. And this year there will be at least three guitars that I haven't used live before.


The nice thing with guitars is that they can take on all kinds of shapes and colours, unlike, for instance, a clarinet. And those different shapes and colours inspire different approaches in terms of playing. Perhaps that's all part of my art education past. The visual aspect has always been tremendously important to me. Also, it helps the visual aspect of the performance itself and takes some of the focus off the fact that there is just one person on stage.


Typing these words in the enforced silence of my studio I'm suddenly aware that I haven't been able to record any music for the last few days due to the ongoing restructuring of the studio. I'm getting itchy fingers and the urge to lay down some new tracks but all that will have to wait for some time yet.


Once the equipment is finally up and running there will be the inevitable 'learning curve' whilst I get to grips with the Cubase Pro 10 software and start to feel more comfortable working with it. It presents me with a very different methodology to what I've been used to for the last 20 odd years or more. Perhaps at 71 years old this year I'm taking on a challenge too far, but I can't quite grasp that number. In my inner self, I feel like a young man, it's only the physical wear and tear that betrays me. Comes to us all, sooner or later I suppose.


Well. there you go and here go I...


© Bill Nelson 2020

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