Tag Archives: Guitar

July 29th 1974

“Bought Amp – Took it back – Broken”

Hahahahaha… I knew this entry was a few days after the purchase of the guitar.

Meaning the guitar was used for a couple of days WITHOUT any amplification. Christ my band was eclectic wasn’t it?

I can surprisingly expand on this entry, my memory somewhat secure by what happened next.

No, I did not turn the amp “up to eleven” and blow it up. It was faulty when I brought the damn thing home from Whitwams.

When I say “amp” please do not conjure up a huge Marshall stack or anything will you? This amp was no bigger than a box of cereal and used batteries as a back-up power source! It SCREAMED “Made in China”.

I think there was a point where I decided I was being told something about this whole ‘guitar purchase’. That something appeared to be “it was a waste of time & money

So, I can remember that when I took the amp back – a return journey requiring a bus ride to Shawford and then a train from there into Winchester station – I also packaged up and persuaded Whitwams that I’d like to return the guitar too, which, to my utter delight at the time, they agreed to.

The band doubtless split up on the back of this decision, but somewhere in Surrey Eric Clapton doubtless let out a big sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that his ‘guitar god’ crown was no longer in danger of being stolen from him.


Leave a comment

Filed under 1974 Diary Entries

July 27th 1974

“Got Electric Guitar from Whitwams £8”

For eight quid you just KNOW I got a top quality electric guitar don’t you?

This entry would seem to suggest that “the band” was still together and that rather than me being unable to play the piano, I had decided that I wanted to progress to being unable to play the guitar instead.

Regular readers will doubtless be aware of my virtuoso prior ‘experience’ with a guitar and have obviously been wondering when I was going to use those mad skillz to ‘go electric’.

Just as the boos rang out at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan first plugged in, I am sure similar responses were heard throughout Fair Oak in 1974.

Whitwams was a store in Winchester that I frequented quite a bit in the seventies. It first opened in 1909 as a purveyor of pianos and sheet music and by the time I started frequenting it, it had progressed to selling all kinds of musical instruments on the ground floor (including ‘top quality’ guitars) and records and tapes on the first floor. I seem to remember enquiring about a job there once… maybe my diary will fill me in on that later?

Astonishingly Whitwams is still going. Not, I hasten to add, in its original format or location. It now specialises in audio/video sales & installations and presentation equipment. I’m sure it continues to thrive because it has always maintained an excellent reputation. Kudos to a company that is now over 100 years old!

1 Comment

Filed under 1974 Diary Entries

December 25th 1973

“Crismis Day – Got a guitar”

Evil child that I was, I always hunted for – and invariably found – my wrapped Crismis Christmas presents many weeks before Santa’s big day. Of course, as a result of them being wrapped I was not always 100% sure of the gifts inside but the size and shape of the packages was usually a giveaway.

However, I can honestly say that my parents genuinely surprised me with this guitar. (I later found out Dad had hidden it by hanging it inside one of his work suits, itself inside a suit hanging bag, at the back of their wardrobe)

This guitar was a half-sized model which – rather than learning to properly play – I instead posed with in front of whichever mirror I could find. Yes, I would adopt clichéd poses with it. Yes I would pretend I was a rock star and mime along with hits on it. I’d be a liar if I said otherwise.

Dad – with some considerable hope – also bought me Bert Weedon’s Play in a Day tutorial book in the vain hope that I would actually read it and learn how to properly bang out tunes on the guitar.

Instead I merely limited myself to bashing out the opening chords to Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” – or *ahem* variations thereof – imagining myself to be a kind of folksier Richie Blackmore. I also taught myself the irritatingly repetitive riff to Cream’s “Sunshine of your Love” as well as “the Status Quo riff”

Not whole songs I hasten to add, just the riffs. I could amuse myself for hours by doing this, as well as wildly improvising, creating noises with the strings (by rubbing bottles, pens and any other implements to hand over them) and messing with the tuning knobs. I was practising to be an avant garde savant.

As time progressed it was inevitable that the guitar would fall into less and less use. I remember that when I left home and moved into my first flat the guitar had become more of a repository for record label promo stickers than anything I picked up and played. I think the thing got damaged during – and was consequently thrown away – my next house move.

Years and years later – in the early 90’s – a girlfriend of mine decided that I needed a guitar so likewise bought me one as a Christmas gift. Again it was a nice surprise. This time the bonus was a complete set of guitar lessons with a local teacher. I opened the guitar bag and hefted this – now full sized – instrument out, popped on the strap, stood up and…..immediately played “Smoke on the Water”. This wasn’t going to end well.

It didn’t. The girlfriend & I broke up before I had the first lesson, and as she was paying for them I didn’t feel it prudent to push the point during our break-up negotiations.

Thus, the world can squarely blame her for England not having a “second Nick Drake” to fawn over.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries