Last night was the first of a four-Thursday residency in The Purty Loft by Hamlet Sweeney & The Handsome Strangers (of which I am Handsome Stranger No. 1 ;-)). On the way out to the venue in Dun Laoghaire we stopped into a garage and I picked up a box of Cadbury’s Heroes – miniature versions of popular Cadbury’s chocolate bars – for half price. This competition product to Mars’ ‘Celebrations’ contains Bournville and the addition of the dark chocolate brings the Heroes collection up a level in my estimation. It brings a maturity and gravitas to the box, like the plain licorice or ‘the bobbly ones’ in Licorice Allsorts…or the coffee Revels.
I was just giving a guitar lesson – working on Regina Spektor’s lovely songs ‘Samson’ and ‘The Call’. ‘Samson’ is a beautiful, wistful piano ballad that offers a fresh perspective on the familiar bible story and it was interesting to figure out how to play it on guitar.
‘The Call’ was a different challenge again, it being scored for orchestra. It actually works well with slightly unconventional Bb (6x056x)/ Eb (x6506x) chords I like the sound of. The F chord, when it arrives, is scored strongly and, though I would often cheat on F, the way it’s used in this song means that the full barre chord is best. It strikes me that the F barre chord is possibly the meatiest chord on the acoustic guitar: it requires the most physical strength to play properly and so has a pent up power that’s not as present in its jangly neighbouring chord of E.
Before she left, my student told me to go and look up a duo called ‘First Aid Kit’ singing a cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’. Great harmonies – what @hamletsweeney would call ‘kitchen table harmonies’.
I was going to try and link the dark chocolate to the melancholy streak in the best songs and art. The link is that I was eating mainly Bournville as I listened to the beguiling First Aid Kit girls, Hamlet and the others having scoffed most of the other varieties!