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Andy Long Bass Player

Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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October 2017

Focus live in Cardiff

I first heard ‘Hocus Pocus’ by Focus in the mid 70’s. My dad had bought the ‘Moving Waves’ album, unusual for him as he was a rock and roll fan but I think he enjoyed Jan Akkerman’s guitar. I played the album to death. I’ve always loved the band but never been to see them live.

last night (19 October 2017) I ticked that box in Cardiff as band founder Thijs Van Leer, classic line up drummer Pierre Van Der Linden, together with guitarist Menno Gootjes and the most recent member bass player Udo Pannekeet brought an outstanding set to the Globe.

They did not disappoint. The musicianship in this line up is absolutely jaw-dropping. An incredible set of blistering jazz/prog/rock. Fantastic soloing and unstoppable energy. Most of the band’s material is instrumental and I don’t always remember the titles, but included in the set were ‘Sylvia’, ‘Harem Scarem’, ‘Round Goes The Gossip’, ‘House Of The King’ and a few new tunes.

Favourite for me was the epic 23 minute (or more) ‘Eruption’ and of course an elongated and frenetic ‘Hocus Pocus’.

A few pics here, they are not great as I was not close to the stage, but enjoy!

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The Strawbs live in Cardiff

Two amazing sets from the Strawbs at the Globe in Cardiff last night (7th October 2017).  It’s been a few years since I last saw the Strawbs and that was the acoustic set back at Swindon Arts Centre.  Such a prolific band, so many great albums and a wonderful pedigree of musicianship.  The line up these days alongside Dave Cousins features Chas Cronk and Dave Lambert, the wonderful Tony Fernandez on the kit, who I have seen playing with Rick Wakeman on several occasions and a very pleasant surprise for me in the shape of Dave Bainbridge (Iona) on the keyboards.

The set opened with a track from the new album ‘The Ferryman’s Curse’, the track ‘The Nails In The Hands of Christ’ is a strikingly beautiful tale, I bought the album last night and it really is a cracking piece of work.  The set included a couple of other tracks from this album, plus lots of the classic material including ‘New World’, ‘Round And Round’ and ‘A Glimpse Of Heaven. The set closed with the classic ‘Lay Down.

Here’s a few pics

Theology For Life: my degree course

For a lot of years now I have really wanted to take one some kind of formal study in theology, just for personal development reasons rather than any desire to use that training professionally.  For a whole host of reasons it has been difficult to find a course that I considered suitable, I was not keen to go through my own denomination, I feared that avenue would be in conflict with my screaming liberal tendencies and would likely be skewed in a particular direction.

That being said it’s impossible to find any course that’s not skewed in some direction or other and it seems like whichever way you go you’re going to have to take from it what you can.

My nephew Ed now works for the Church In Wales and he has recently been asked to be a facilitator for the ‘Theology For Life‘ course which comes from St Padarn’s Institute, the educational facility of the Church In Wales. When Ed asked me if I was interested I agreed as it was the kick start that I needed to get into study.

Theology For Life is a part time study course designed around small group and individual study. Each year has three terms made up of one module each.  It is a course that you can take as far as you want to, two years will give you a Certificate, a further two years gives you a diploma and if you complete six years in total you will graduate with a BA in Theology and Discipleship from Trinity St David’s University.

I mentioned earlier about courses being slewed and this one is unsurprisingly very Anglican.  The first module is called ‘Exploring Anglican Worship’ and with me never having been an Anglican it’s already a steep learning curve, but it looks interesting.

At this rate I could be a graduate before I’m sixty!

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