Funny Old World

People often have a lot to say against public transport in London, and it’s easy to see why. It’s expensive, it’s often late, it’s susceptible to breakdowns almost as frequently as they suspend it for maintenance work. In summer, particularly, it can be almost unbearable, yet many of us are possessed of a singularly British reluctance to show to anyone that we object to the sweaty fellow who insists on holding the handle and pushing his armpit in your face. It’s passive-aggressiveness without the aggressiveness.

That said, there are few things that make a person appreciate the relative merits of British public transport more than trudging back home in the rain from a station in the Austrian countryside because the next train isn’t for another 90 minutes. I now feel I can make that statement with some degree of confidence.

The music in this hotel has moved from the sublime to the ridiculous; I thought the apex of strangeness had been reached a few nights ago when our ears were treated to the dulcet tones of Bavarian yodelling, but earlier today I found myself listening to something that seemed to tug at the memory. The tune sounded familiar but I couldn’t place the words, and then I realised: the song was You’re The One That I Want from Grease – in German. Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I’ve become far too accustomed to hearing English music on foreign radio that this took me completely by surprise. To me, this was tantamount to seeing The Simpsons or Scrubs in German (which, incidentally, have both been on the TV this week)!

I created a new page for links to groups and people with whom I’ve played – at the moment there’s only the UCLU Jazz Society and Thames Youth Orchestra, but I’ll be adding more to it soon. Until then – farewell!


It All Adds Up

Microtransactions seem to be many businesses’ preferred method of enterprise these days. There’s WordPress of course – I just spent about £12 for a bit more space on here and the ability to upload audio files (an integral tool for the jobbing musician). Several video game companies do the same thing, offering extra content (or sometimes, arguably, content that should have been available when it was released…) for download to those who feel like paying a little extra online. Hell, the boys persons at Steam have based their whole business model around cheap, online transactions. It lends a certain level of choice and customisability to a lot of things, and I expect to see a lot more of it in the future.

As I mentioned earlier, I forked out a bit of extra money for the ability to upload audio files, so expect to find some sound clips up here soon to give you a taste of what you’re getting yourself into if you hire me or one of the bands. It might have to wait until I get back from Austria so I can format them all properly, but I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Hooray, progress! What a wonderful thing.

Also, whoa, a huge bumble bee just buzzed its way in here. Let me just show it out. Ciao!

I’m On A Boat!

Sadly, despite the excitement of the title, my brief foray into nautical travel came to an end a few hours ago. We visited a lake here in Austria today, surrounded by very Sound of Music-esque mountain views, and took what turned out to be a bit of a hike around it to the other side before taking the boat back to where we started. I like to think that all this walking is doing me a world of good after two years of university took its toll on my metabolism, but I fear that may be a hollow hope.

The Hampton Court Beer and Jazz Festival is drawing near, and though I will sadly be away for much of it, I have no qualms in suggesting that others should head on over and make a day of it. With a line-up including the James Taylor Quartet, the Brand New Heavies and (a personal favourite of mine) Size Nine, and an enviable selection of beers, ciders and other drinks, it promises to be a ludicrously good day out. I might try and make it for the Monday. While you have your wallet out, you might as well buy tickets for the London Jazz Festival in November too.

Attempts at Being Clever

So I had a crack at putting in a simple comment-to-email text box on the Contact page, so people can put in a message request for any of my services (or perhaps just to see how I’m doing) and have it go straight to my email inbox so I can get back to them. Alas, I’m still a website-design greenhorn and all I managed to do was create a big text box with ‘</br>’ inside. Any suggestions would be welcome, but I think I may wait until I get back to England and see if I can download some sort of plugin to my laptop to make things easier.

It occurs to me that I should find a way of advertising my other online ports of call on here too – but for now, I’ll just say that if you fancy following me on Twitter, you can probably either search for my name or my username (DonMassimo).

Until next time!

Wilkommen nach Gundersheim

As you can probably tell from the title, I can’t speak a word of German, which is making this holiday in Austria rather trying. It’s a bizarre feeling being almost the only one here who can only understand a few words, and even then only when they’re written down. I’m far more used to dead languages, I suppose.

Also, there are a lot of flies.

Still, it’s a rather nice reprieve from city life. As those of you who are taking an interest here can tell, I haven’t been doing that much work on the site in recent weeks – that’s because I’ve been busy trying to sort out a few accommodation mishaps for the upcoming year in London. Thankfully, everything at last seems to be coming together so it’s rather pleasant to be able to come and sit out in the sunshine here in a valley near the river Gail. It helps that certain members of the family have been here before and know the people who run the place of course.

My brother’s shortly to give me a short tutorial in writing drum music, something that has frequently eluded me when I arrange music. Even for piano and guitar parts I can generally get some notes down on the page, but drum music has been somewhat a mystery to me for quite some time. Here’s hoping that will now be a thing of the past.

I’ll see if I can do some work on the site over the next week – it’s not hugely easy to get Internet access with no laptop in the middle of the Austrian mountains, but I’ll see what I can do.

Things Going Down

Just a quick update on the progress of the site (for those of who can’t actually see what’s changed):

  • Changed the theme. I’ll probably be mucking around with this a bit more in the future, so don’t be too surprised if you come by and it looks COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the last time you were here.
  • Added a few new pages: About Max, The Musician, The Bands, and Contact. The Musician and The Bands give you a basic run down of what you’d be getting if you were to hire me or a band. If there’s any more information you’d like to see there let me know. Contact will look a bit prettier in the future when I can figure out how to get one of those snazzy contact boxes.
  • Pictures have…not happened much yet but that will change soon. Ditto things like recordings of music I’ve done so you can have a listen if you so wish.
  • Ideas for a few more pages include Upcoming Gigs and Associates, where I’ll link to other sites like Max Holloway’s, the UCLU Jazz Society’s, etc.

That’s about all from me. Catch you soon.


Next stop, the Internet

Nice hat.

It is perhaps a curious thing that I should decide to go the whole hog – business cards, website, all that jazz – ostensibly overnight, but here we are. You get handed a fellow musician’s card at a gig and you start thinking ‘Hang on, this is exactly what I should be doing.’ And so, to this.

Over the next as-yet-undetermined length of time, this paltry blog will become the hub of Max Fagandini, musician and band leader – so watch this space.