ses­sion shenani­gans

The stu­dio guitarist’s guide to hap­pi­ness and per­sonal ful­fil­ment, as re­galed to us by Mitch Dal­ton This month: Y is for Yule

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO - For more on Mitch and his mu­sic go to: www.mitch­dal­

By the time you read this the Season Of Goodwill will have come and gone. Christ­mas will be over, too. See? Who needs Michael McIn­tyre, Box­ing Day Cy­berDeals or Tesco Value Crack­ers when you have this fes­tive frol­ic­some feel­good col­umn with which to fill your flip­pers?

The point is that I may write this with im­punity. It’s 2017 and you have clearly sur­vived De­cem­ber’s mince pie based bun­fight. You may well be read­ing this within the cheery walls of your lo­cal branch of Re­late. You might be con­tem­plat­ing the snowy land­scape of your new year di­ary. You could be cal­cu­lat­ing the odds of your TV Li­cence, Car In­sur­ance and Road Tax all fall­ing due si­mul­ta­ne­ously in Jan­uary. But you got through it. Some­how.

Let’s re­view the ter­ri­fy­ing or­deals that you, a Sea­soned Santa Shred­der, have just with­stood. I have rated each ten­der cut of this veni­son en­riched Win­ter Work-aLand in a handy cut-out-and-keep Hu­mil­i­a­tion and Em­bar­rass­ment In­dex. Or H/E for short! 1. Christ­mas Al­bums. Th­ese are tra­di­tion­ally recorded in July. De­spite the in­con­tro­vert­ible wis­dom of my fa­ther (“Bri­tish weather con­sists of six months of Win­ter - and six months of bad weather”) it is part of plan­ning reg­u­la­tions that they are recorded dur­ing the warm­est three days of the year. Or Sum­mer, as some folk al­lude to it. Of­ten, the artist may in­sist that an ef­fort is made to im­merse pro­ceed­ings in a jolly Xmas sim­u­la­tion, a kind of Ar­ti­fi­cial InSan­ta­na­tion, if you will. For a re­cent Kylie al­bum we ar­rived in Ch­est­nut Roast­ing Ter­ri­tory (or An­gel Stu­dios if you pre­fer) to be greeted with a fully-fledged Hol­ly­wood ’40s-style make­un­der. Sleds, rein­deer, life-size toy sol­diers and lash­ings of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cally neu­tral white pow­der be­decked the en­vi­rons. The lady seemed happy enough and smiled an­gel­i­cally through­out pro­ceed­ings.

H/E In­dex - Low. 25-35%. 2. Christ­mas Com­mer­cials. This is the time of the year when those im­pe­cu­nious folk at your favourite mul­ti­ple re­tail out­lets dis­cover that mir­a­cles re­ally do hap­pen. I re­fer to the an­nual dis­cov­ery of £2-3 mil­lion down the back of the sofa in H.R. and the ne­ces­sity to blow it all on a mega ad cam­paign be­fore the ac­coun­tants get wind of said bud­get balls-up. That is surely the only rea­son­able ex­pla­na­tion for the sud­den book­ing to ac­com­pany a post­hu­mous Andy Wil­liams in a dig­i­tally re­mas­tered re­work­ing of The Christ­mas Song with full orches­tra, singers and sleigh bells. At 8am. Now that’s a proper Black Fri­day. How­ever, the de­ci­sion is but a sim­ple one. Just say yes, chil­dren. After all, the money’s the same, or bet­ter. John Lewis, M&S and Lidl. The Three Wise Men Of Mar­ket­ing.

H/E Rat­ing - 15% (be­cause no one will ever know). 3. The Christ­mas Party. Mu­sic Pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies in­vite their writ­ers to th­ese al­co­holi­cally su­per­charged bashes. The twist is that you will be asked to play for the as­sem­bled throng. For noth­ing, of course, in grat­i­tude for the priv­i­lege of split­ting half your roy­al­ties with them. Em­bar­rass­ment po­ten­tial is lim­it­less, from the mo­ment a gui­tar is thrust into your paw and the in­vi­ta­tion is­sued to “Come and sit in - how about Johnny B Goode? D flat’s a great key for my voice...”

H/E Rat­ing - 100%. 4. Christ­mas TV Spe­cials. Ev­ery Light En­ter­tain­ment show mounts its own Xmas vari­a­tion. It re­quires al­most no cre­ativ­ity or ex­tra ex­pense. It’s suf­fi­cient to lob a few bits of tin­sel, a rent-a-tree and a 5. Christ­mas Con­certs. Th­ese may go un­der the aliases ‘Christ­mas Cracker’, ‘Christ­mas Carol Singa­long’ and, since the time of their break-up, ‘The Abba Trib­ute Show!’ The good news is that you will be re­quired to par­tic­i­pate in but half the show. You will be af­forded the lux­ury of lis­ten­ing to some sea­sonal melodies be­fore un­leash­ing your best Slade, Ge­orge Michael and Boney M riffs upon a mer­ci­fully in­dul­gent au­di­ence. But

you lis­ten to some sea­sonal melodies be­Fore un­leash­ing your best slade, ge­orge michael and boney m riFFs!

San­ta­cen­tric pre­sen­ter at the set, stand back and in­tone “...the last in the present series...from ev­ery­one here...see you in 2017...”. Cue the dry ice and roll the cred­its.

My favourite is The Songs Of Praise Christ­mas Spe­cial. We record this on the same day as The Big Sing. In Septem­ber! It re­quires both a mid-af­ter­noon set re­build as we Deck The (Royal Al­bert) Hall; and clair­voy­ance on the part of the guests, as the pre­sen­ter en­quires how they spent Christ­mas this year.

H/E Rat­ing - 0-100% (the 100% should you be cap­tured in vi­sion). they knew what they were get­ting.

When you re­turn to your place you will dis­cover a Santa hat placed upon your seat. You swal­low your pride, don it in a dis­play of goodwill and es­pouse the thought that you Wish It Could Be Christ­mas Ev­ery Day. As well you might when you sub­se­quently re­ceive The Abba Out­fit they’ve asked you to wear later in the month. H/E Rat­ing - 565%. Joy To The World!

Mitch Dal­ton: Our hero is full of Christ­mas cheer!

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