My favorite show of the moment is a British delight called The Detectorists – now on Netflix. It is an amazing slice of life piece, with Pnin-like victories for simple and simply charming folks with the interesting and quirky hobby of metal detecting.

I recall Ricky Gervais making a statement several years ago about 2 or 3 years being the maximum life span of a good TV show. And that’s with the 8 or so episodes expected of a BBC show. Contrast that to the 7+ seasons most US shows squeeze out and consider the value. American TV is focused on franchise development and delivering the familiar (see Top 40 Music) ad nauseam. These BBC shows, however, leave you desperate for more.

So what’s better? Knowing your trite sitcom character so well that you can practically predict her monthly cycle as she pines for the elusive heartthrob, or diving into your imagination and wondering what the future holds for Lance.

Seeing how Ricky Gervais has brilliantly revitalized his David Brent character in the past year suggests that the entertainment industry doesn’t have to make the big cash grab all at once – iron hot or not – but then, where’s the artistic value in being patient?

New Duds

We hope you like the new site. We are renewing our focus on music – particularly upcoming performances and releases for sale, though your favorite independent Pope Street projects like Skateboard Heroes and Mad Science The Card Game are stillĀ here.


So… I haven’t been writing for a couple months. A few things have come up, but mostly I’ve been barely making music or doing much else that’s physically creative because of a shoulder injury. Ah yes, the lovely rotator cuff – great for chopping wood, but when you strain it… oh boy. I haven’t slept on my left side in three months.

No new gear to post about. No Crown XLS or ebayed Dearmond. No significant progress on Touch, or any of the other new writing/recording bits. But as the swelling and aching slowly recedes, I continue playing away at some new bits. Yes… soon…

Starfire Special

The key to my guitar tone efforts in recent weeks is, of course, my current favorite guitar. I am very much favoring a Korean-made Guild version of its own cutaway Starfire model. It is semi-hollow with American-made Dearmond pickups. I know I have raved about this short-lived line of gems made during the period when master luthiers from the Providence Guild plant were helping establish a Korean manufacturing plant and ended up turning out value-priced masterpieces that often outperformed their American-made counterparts.

For this style of guitar, you can have your gold 335 from Musicians Friend. I’m going to keep my Starfire Special from ebay. Actually, I have two of them now. Red and Black. So I can pretty much match any outfit.

Instrument Gumping

At the risk of getting Gump-y in listing my instruments (you know, like the shrimp guy in the movie), I feel I should add to my list from a couple posts ago. In addition to all the stuff I mentioned already, we have a vintage clarinet (wife’s), two trumpets (each of the boys has one), a bugle (one of the boys), several recorders (multiple owners), a Williamsburg flute thing I got when I was very young, and a flutophone. The clarinet is a classic and I hope someone starts playing it again. It’s no professional clarinet at guitar center, but then what is?

Marching on

I have a friend whose son is in a marching band. This is something my Manhattan High School without a football team lacked. Maybe that’s why they fascinate me so much. Especially when I learned about the massive competitions some of these bands participate in. The competitive vibe may even top that of overbearing horror-moms painting their 5 year olds up like pole dancers to vie for some plastic crown in an airport Hilton.

Not saying I’d like to participate. Not even admitting I shopped color guard flags at wwbw a little. It’s just… neat. at least for the uninitiated.

Old tunes

I’ve been having excellent luck lately finding old CDs by bands I used to love (bands most people have never heard of) on ebay for cheap. In some cases I am 15 or 20 years late in getting some perspective on the direction a particular artist followed (or where they came from) but who cares. Good tunes are good tunes and I am all about getting back into records again (not just singles shuffling on an ipod).

Gear Gear Gear

I think I’ve been working on my guitar tone more in the last 6 months than in the prior 15 years. Pedals and modelers and all kinds of little nuance elements to craft something big and brash and bold and bango. Sorry – too many Bs, I know. But there are just so many cool options these days. Sure, some of the gearheads take this stuff a little seriously, nearly braking out into fisticuffs over misstepping about the chip in a particular vintage pedal and the like. Geeks will be geeks.

Still, it’s pretty cool that a pedal can create a reasonable model of a classic like a Hiwatt or something similar. Very cool, and far more satisfying than cranking the autotune.

Scratchin’ at the edges

Every once in a while when I’m working on a tune in the home studio I think about having some fun with DJ style scratching. I’m not exactly ready for the s4 trakor or whatever, but I’ve been pretty lo-fi. Maybe something a little more credible than fingernails on a lenticular card from the cover of a Disney DVD would be cool.



I have a lot of instruments. Too many guitars, sure. A piano, a couple of cheap kid’s keyboards, a nice electric piano. I’ve got a dulcimer, a melodica, two ukuleles, about a dozen harmonicas, and lots of percussion. I even have a homemade bajo from a kit with a hexagonal wood body and soundboard. I’m not much of a banjo player, but then again, it’s not much of a banjo. Some days I do think it would be nice to have a good Fender fb58 banjo, or something along those lines. Really get my bluegrass on.

Some day.