– photographs and messages from inside the Sausurrean Bar –

Category: my music

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Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

La grande expérience

The French word ‘expérience’ means both ‘experience’ and ‘experiment,’ and I am quite fond of the overlap of meanings, because sometimes great experiements are totally also great experiences, and the other way around, non? Mais oui! If you’re thinking that I might be using this introduction to talk about the possible discovery of the Higgs particle you are mistaken, however – although if its discovery holds true then that is surely one of the great discoveries of the decade.

I was tempted to write ‘of our age’ – a term more lyrical and also a lot more vague. And whose age, anyway? Mine or yours? Mine is 33 right now, but rising steadily (and hopefully continuing to rise for a long looong time). And aaaanyway. The grande expérience of the title is not, by comparison, all that grande. It just feels a bit like one, since it entails deconnecting and reconnecting a lot of familiar habits and movements and brain-hand-coordination shortcuts and well-worn tracks.

If you’ve met me – and if you pay attention to these things (which not everyone does, and if you don’t, fair enough) – you might have noticed that I am very definitely and rather strongly left-handed. I did, however, and for reasons I cannot recall, learn to play the guitar the ‘right’ way around, and while I have no problems learning all sorts of chords, playing more intricate rhythms is oh-so-frustrating and challenging and feels impossible … and as skills progress that divergence of fluidity and adaptability becomes ever more apparent.

This is where the experiment comes in… .

I’ve maintained for years that I really only need one guitar, and certainly only one six-string guitar, and if at all then I would, once my skills are advanced enough, maybe, possibly, eventually acquire a twelve-string. But not a second six string, no sir.

Well, let’s relativise that to … one guitar … for each hand, ok?

I invested some of the money I made selling things on paypal (my collection of Status Quo CDs is apparently now making someone in Arizona very happy, I am pleased to say) in the cheapest-yet-decent left-handed guitar I could find*, and it just arrived – and its certainly okay for the purpose I acquired it for – trying to see whether or not I have the diligence, patience, and skill to essential re-train both my hands into doing the opposite of what they’re used to doing, and whether the (hopefully) added agility regarding rhythms offsets the loss of chord changing swiftness and ease. I expect it to be a rather frustrating experience, really … but I’ll see how it goes! And if I end up realizing that I’d rather stick to what I am used to … then that’s a fair enough outcome, as well. If you never try, you never know! I’ll keep you posted! :-)

* I also invested about a tenner into a flute, because how hard can it be? Small children learn to play it. And a krix. Actually, I initially only wanted to buy a krix. Ooops? For science!

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Sooo, the Pegasus Awards!

Congratulations to all the nominees for the Pegasus Awards 2011! To all my fellow nominees, I should say, even though that feels very strange. But, you know, its true! I’m honestly chuffed to be on that ballot with you all! I’ll snag a printed copy and hang it on the wall (I did it with the 2008 one, so…). :-)

I’ve been getting emails asking for a complete recoding of the Evil Eyeball, and since I used to have it online for years and it only went away with the re-design of my website in April*, mostly because it didn’t really quite fit anywhere, I’ve put it back up for now, so that people who’ve never had the (dubious :-)) pleasure of hearing it live can make an informed choice.

So, both an mp3 recording and the lyrics can be found right here, and a) please, please really only vote if you’re a filker, since it’s a community award, and b) may whoever wins, you know, win!

*along with my awkward comic series about soccer world cup tickets, of all things.

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

The Shadow of the Past

Words & Music: Sib Machat, 2010.


  • – I watched the first season of the BBC show Merlin, which tells stories from the life and times of Arthur, Merlin, &c before Arthur becomes king, and when Uther still rules over Camelot. Things are a bit different in this rendition of the Arthurian legend than they are in the versions most commonly known today, and by the time I stopped watching (sorry show, but you really could not hold my interest – such nice costumes, such terrible writing) there was still this big mystery of what precisely had happened at Arthur’s birth, and what caused Uther to hate magic so rabidly. My idea is probably more twisted than what they came up with, but I couldn’t help think it all a deadly menage à trois.
  • – To make this song work, you need three people to sing, really. Soprano for Igraine (Arthur’s mother), alto for Nimueh (a sorceress at Uther’s court), and a tenor or basso for Uther (Arthur’s father). I know Igraine gets short shrift, but she’s, you know, kind of dead … .



Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

The Banks of the Lethe

Words & Music: Sib Machat, 2008.


  • – In Greek mythology the Lethe was one of the five rivers of Hades, and everyone who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness.


Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

A lullaby for dreamers

Text: Sib Machat, 2002
Music: Mich Sampson, 2002


Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

The evil eyeball
Or: Sauron’s Take on Lord of the Rings

Text & Music: Sib Machat, 2004


  • – Based on the “Lord of the Rings” books/movies. More the movies. This is – as you have most likely guessed from the title – Sauron’s point of view of things.
  • – Insert banter and other nonsense as desired. Contains spoilers.
  • – I play it in Capo III
  • – for best effect, sing this song with lots of outrage and grandstanding going on!
  • – Listen to a 2006 recording of The Evil Eyeball.