Blog Archives

Photos and (unusually) a landscape painting!

It feels like I haven’t used my camera in a while, but I have been occasionally wandering the streets so here are a few pics.  The last image is my watercolour painting debut!  I’m new to painting and have followed a guide from a book – this was my first effort at “going it alone” and using the techniques I’ve learnt.  I’ve set up a new drawing/painting area on the blog and you can see it HERE.


Marketing genius, this multi-coloured band wandered the streets gathering the drunken masses liked the pied piper and led them straight to the door of Matt and Phreds where they were playing that night.


Their other bike was a Harley I’m sure.


A great shop window display.


The urban jungle looming.

Back Turner

Back Turner Street 

Derwent Water

Watercolour of Derwent Water

Casiotone and Piano Lessons

Three nuggets of noise for the price of one! As we meander into 2014 here are a few bits I’ve recorded today.  First up is just for fun, a piece completely recorded using a Casiotone 405, direct from 1983, complete with fake wood finish, loads of switches and dials and dodgy crackly outputs, but nevertheless still good fun to mess around with! I picked it up from Gumtree as a bit of keyboard history – see this great WordPress blog on Casio history HERE.  I set one of the auto beats (with A.V. – Accomp. Variation), played a few chords and then soloed over the top.  Cheesy I know! Vintage “synth” ….. 🙂




Also here are two piano pieces I’ve been playing in my lessons recently.  First up is Petite Petite by A. Goedicke.  The most difficult part of this one for me, apart from playing the correct notes, is making it exciting.  There [should be] a lot of dynamics and vibe to it, but it has been a bit of a struggle.  Here is my effort:

Petite Petite (A. Goedicke) 


Second up is “Night journey” by Gurlitt.  Technically this shouldn’t be difficult, but (and this is where my problem is!) it needs a good control of pedal to sound right.  Being a drummer, I’ve spent years of big fat stomping with my right foot.  This recording shows I need to practice pedal more and more, it’s a big sustain mush at times.  I like the piece though and in the interests of throwing out a tentacle, here it is.

Night Journey (Gurlitt)

Lots more practice for me…..

Happy New Year to all!

Heaton Park

Before I move completely away from the subject of street art, I just want to focus completely on street art.  Or more accurately, some pictures of mine that have been used in an article on street art on the website “Mancunian Matters”.  Somehow these pics were “spotted” and I was asked if they could be used so I’ve ended up with three pics up there; two from the River Irwell heading out of the city and one of “Ridelow” lurking round the back-streets on the northern quarter.  Good article and other pics.  Here they are: –

After treading through the concrete jungle for several months, we decided it was time to escape to find some green.  A quick tram journey later and we found ourselves at the gates of Heaton Park.  It was great getting out of the bustle of the city centre for a while (especially as now its Christmas everyone has gone completely mental to buy anything and everything).  Here’s just a few pics, some left natural and others modged with Tentacles-style.


Grass, field, few stalks of trees, bit of light shining down on the lot


A tame squirrel – considering these are all taken on a fixed-focal lens my only method of zooming is moving closer to the subject


Deeeez Nuts


Why such a long face? (and weird colours you may ask)


Twigs and moss posing


Hazy Day

I went a bike ride today along the River Irwell past Salford Quays.  I’m not going to get very fit riding my bike because I keep stopping to take photos! It was nice though, a strange kind of hazy day.  I battled my way back through the city centre which seems to be getting very excited that Christmas is a month away.  I was so exhausted I had to buy a German sausage from the markets to keep the energy levels up 🙂  One thing I have noticed about Manchester is wherever you go, there always seems to be a view of the Beetham Tower, so I think whilst I live here I’ll try to capture it from as many places as possible.  Here are a few photos.


River Irwell heading out of the City


A random spot on the river completely covered in Graffiti (notice Beetham Tower in the distance)


The same vandalised spot.  It was so bright and colourful it actually looked quite nice!


Another view along the river, scribbled in with the aid of Photoshop


Shopping crazy, looking down Exchange Street.  Again, the Beetham Tower looming in the distance.

Route map

In true geek style, here is the GPS track of the route!

I have a few pictures from London I hope to post soon and have also been working on a new track.  Its a bit of a genre-jumper, so its taking a while to put together.  I’ve even managed to get some crunching rhythmical guitars from my keyboard.

Wine Tasting is Time Wasting

I walk past a sign every day which advertises “Wine Tasting”.  For some reason I cannot help but read it as “time wasting”, although I’m sure the people inside may think differently.  Inevitably, I walk past and then end up beer tasting instead.  A slight tangent, because this is not the subject of the thread.  I took a Sunday afternoon stroll around Manchester camera in hand and took a few snaps, I didn’t manage to get the epic streetscapes I wanted, but instead a few bits of street art caught my eye.  So here they are.


Here cometh the truth.


iPod and Dr Dre Beats? Pah! You need a proper speaker system (inside Trof)

The Corn Exchange

Looking up towards Selfridges – the blue sky representing the winners of the local derby that day 🙂

This and That

The lunchtime curry canteen I’m assured I have to try (closed!)


In the quest for research, I had to google “D7606” and it seems its the artist that did this.  Check out their Flickr page HERE fantastic stuff.  Interestingly, the Snowdon picture features on the same page with the “signature” telephone boxes, but on the photo I took yesterday they seem to have been removed!?  Its a conspiracy!


More street art.


Completely out of style with the rest of these, I just wanted a pic of Ramona enjoyed her courgette after their epic day of transportation here.  Fish in a barrel… indeed it was.  Taking pictures of fish is difficult!

Loads to learn on photography – I seem to notice all my mistakes when its too late and I’m back home on the computer, but I’ve hoped to capture a bit of the vibe around here.  Hopefully much more to come.


The NQ

Here’s a quick mess around dedicated to my new home, the Northern Quarter in Manchester.  As with most Bucket of Tentacles uploads, I try and get a basic couple of bits down and then just improv over to top.  Dedicated to perfection….. I think not sar!  A bit of an experiment with programming drums and the Novation Mininova.

The NQ


I can’t wait to have a good wander round the city with my camera in hand, but the quick pic from my phone will have to do for the moment.  There is some fantastic street art around here, and lots of buildings full of character……

Next few tasks ahead are find myself a new piano teacher (why do so many not respond?!), record a few new piano pieces and then move into a warped next phase of BoT!  And of course, get Viktoria up here with me 🙂

Ode to Birmingham


No where near as dramatic as it sounds…… With preparing for moving, I don’t have a huge amount of time to do any “proper” writing and recording, so here is a short moody piano improvisation (which yes, I know is not an ode!).  I had an idea with the left hand and just went for it, so excuse dodgy timing and notes! I recorded this on video camera so you get an ’email received’ bling bling somewhere towards the end, and a creaky piano chair!

Bonus Noise! After i got my new job, instead of cautiously saving money for the move, i instantly went out and bought a Novation Mininova. It has lots of buttons and switches for editing rather than pages of indecipherable menus, so is great fun to play with. Really nice bit of kit.  I can even justify the spend as I’ve just sold my Roland V-Drums which i owned for ten years.  I’m very sad to see them go, but we must move on.  So here’s a couple of messy video camera recordings of electronic type noises just to get me used to the buttons.  I’m looking forward to using it properly in some pieces.

A bit of junglist drums and low pitch rumblings (i may try and develop this into a full piece)

Just messing with the arpeggiator

For the record, its been unusually hot in the UK this week – 30 degrees.  Even playing piano has been hard work.

My only fan:




Recently i found myself looking after a bearded dragon called Roy.  When faced with such a situation, there is only one appropriate course of action – record a quick d’n’b snippet in his honour.  So just for fun here it is!

The lyrics go…. “Roy the Bearded Dragon” 🙂

Not so early morning…..

I’ve not been recording much music recently, just practicing or thinking that i should be practicing.  I have been enjoying taking photos though, and have been to Saltwells nature reserve again today and got these shots below.


An impressive piece of graffiti.  Nice vibe.


Probably the strangest tree i’ve ever seen


Same tree, different angle.  90 degree branch!


Evil undergrowth


A different day – sunshine in Clent

I’ve also been working on the first Bucket of Tentacles EP!! I’ve uploaded most of the songs before, but have selected my favourites and have been preparing some artwork – all for my own personal indulgence of course!  I’ll hopefully be recording the final song for it soon.

Early Morning…..

I emerged from bed on this fine Sunday at 7am and slipped into my best fleece, jumped on my bike and hit the road at 7:30am armed with a slight headache and my camera.  Here’s the results: –


Cradley Heath High Street with not a car in sight, so i had to go for a retro feel.


Just a log and a tree really, but it must be art when you look at it from a funny angle!


A distant view of St. Andrews Church in Netherton.  And a horse.


There are some fabulous metal sculptures in Saltwells nature reserve.  This is one of them.


Old engine house close to the Netherton tunnel.


The brick wall in the engine house. 


A modern art tree.  Quite a common sight in Dudley.

I’ve also finally downloaded photos from my phone so have uploaded a few to the GALLERY