Christmas Gremlins29 Dec 2020Christmas Gremlins For some of our members, Lemonrock went eerily quiet for a day.No, it wasn't because of Christmas, or lockdown.A software upgrade caused many older Apple devices - iPads, iMacs and iPhones - to crash when accessing our site. The main pages that were affected were the home page (gig guide) and the page to reset your password.The Elf in charge of these changes says he's very sorry but what with all the extra workload this Christmas and sanitising every bit of every byte in the computer, including the parity and sanity bits, some things just didn't get tested properly. A likely story. I reckon said elf was seen with his own big bag of booze slinking out of Tesco when he should have been running regression tests back in the grotto. Can't get the staff.The 'ead of ElvesPhoto courtesy of TripAdvisor
Surprise Yourself21 Dec 2020Surprise Yourself Nothing pleases me more than finding a new band or singer who rocks my world.A few years ago, I bought Francis Rossi's (Status Quo) album, "One Step at a Time". One backing singer stood out for me, and I re-listen to the album often, just to hear her voice. Absolutely captivating. Spine-tingling. Alive. Special.Her name is Amy Smith. She's from Liverpool, which says a lot already.If you can't afford the luxury of buying Rossi's excellent album, then listen to Amy on this Pink Floyd track on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac_DWFHfQPIHappy Discoveries Everyone.Machttps://smile.amazon.co.uk/One-Step-Time-Francis-Rossi/dp/B0037M5XE6
Goodbye, Mac x3 Dec 2020Goodbye, Mac x It was summer 1992. Thirty of us, all with guitars, were sitting inside a barn at the back of a pub garden. We were a newly-formed acoustic guitar group - not a group that would go out and play on the same stage together - heaven forbid - but a social group who had one thing in common: playing the acoustic guitar.The man in charge was Nick Holland, who I had met the previous year at an evening class. Nick just seemed to know everyone, and had managed to persuade the pub landlord to let us have this slightly rickety old barn every Tuesday evening, as long as we bought drinks from the bar. It seemed like a good deal.Some people would bring photocopied lyrics, or sheet music, to share with their fellow guitarists. I gave a half hour talk on songwriting one evening, using a borrowed projector, with transparent slides. There was no Microsoft PowerPoint then, no electronic screens, no laptops. There was no Internet. It was a socially cohesive experience, where we taught each other all about the things that we loved most about music, and how to play it on guitar. To hear us all play along together - all 30 of us - was a sight and sound to behold, and it wasn't always in time, or tuneful. But it was fun, and we met up each week for many months.One evening, a friend of Nick's turned up, a guy in his fifties with a moustache. I remember him poking his head around the door into our little stables room, all of us on our plastic chairs, playing the same song that someone had suggested, a huge noise of strings and voices. This chap looked around the room with interest as we played, and for a minute, said nothing. And then, when we came to the end of the song, he couldn't contain himself. He laughed, and laughed with joy. He was taken aback. Nick was with him. The man said, partly to Nick, and partly to us guitarists: "Oh my God, this is amazing. I have never seen anything like this! Fantastic. What a great idea! So many people!" He chuckled happily, and off he went.We saw him again many times after that, and he even took part in our club, showing us how to play rock and roll riffs on the guitar. He was amazing. Confident, dexterous, passionate. Over the next few months, we would sometimes meet in the bar inside and have a chat about music. It turned out that he and I had the same name, and so we used to make a joke of it: "Hello, Mac!" I would say, and he would say "Hello Mac!" and we would both look around and say that there was a terrible echo in the room - that kind of stuff. Mac MacLeod was the original Mac from St Albans. He was a professional musician, a songwriter, and had travelled the world with his music. Many said he was the finest finger-picking guitar player they had ever seen. In the 1960s, Mac was friendly with Donovan (Leitch) and the two played together; in fact, they had a reunion concert in Oxford in the early 2000s. Mac helped Donovan to achieve an honorary award at a ceremony in St Albans cathedral in November 2003.I was lucky enough to have known Mac for a few years, as our paths crossed. He was a gentle man, with a great sense of fun. I asked him once about his name. We had both decided, early in our lives, to call ourselves "Mac" instead of by our first names. I'm glad he was Mac too. We had fun having the same name. I'm so sorry that the Real Mac has gone. I learned my first ever rock & roll guitar riff from Mac MacLeod, and will never forget that, or him. Rest in Peace, Mac.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_MacLeod(The other) MacLemonrock Editor
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