Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wikileaks and mandolins

Wikileaks is coming out of the closet and into the mainstream more every day it seems. I read a lot. I think it takes a lot of reading to formulate informed opinion. Fortunately in the last 12 months or so I've managed to digest more novels than I have in a long time and that tends to lighten my view of the world. Or at least I hope it does. I really enjoy reading for pleasure. No fall knitting yet. Sad face.

I thought this piece was insightful and useful in balancing what might not occur to one if only main stream media outlets are being heard on the topic of Wikileaks. For a guy with the attention span of a gnat, I know others will be quicker to leave this type of information behind. I'm a supporter of the efforts of Wikileaks and any other checks and balances imposing themselves on the rich and powerful.

I'm surrounded by a culture of fear and I think the threats are as much from within as outside our borders. At the very least, these are very interesting times to live in, especially if you're a curious sort like I am.

I've left this place dormant this fall as I attend to my shop and the back log of work there. I tend to completely drop the ball through the summer and enjoy family, friends and the great out doors while the warm weather persists. This summer was a fine example, but the shop was in shambles and once again I do my business no favours by ignoring the needs of my clients and placing my own luxuries ahead of them. There must be balance here somewhere, but it very often eludes me.

So the shop is almost civil now and in the last couple of weekends I've managed to assemble an old mandolin. It was a gift from friends that celebrate a good purge of worldly belongings once in a while. I happened to be standing in the right place at the right time.


Like most of my conservation work I've learned to do as little as possible, preferring to leave history in full view. Functionally it's a passable playing experience, but I fear the structure is not up to the stress of those four double courses. I'm in love with the tone of the thing. The instrument if full of holes, literally and creaks and moans as it is tuned up, but it's so giving and open. A brilliant bit of folk art and a wonderful example about how it's not always all about the new and shiny things that are most valuable. I'm very grateful to have had opportunity to meet this old gentleman.

I've been shopping already, but will have to wait until the new year to pull the pin I think. I've narrowed the wish list to this one that seems to suit me well enough.

Next on the list is to remake my electric guitar. I've got a five way switch, some two position control knobs and a spiffy new single coil pick up to add to the two humbuckers already in place. This should create many, many new tone options for the hopelessly curious.


So many buttons, so little time.


  1. the number of musical instruments you require is well defined as a universal law described by the formula i = n+1 where i is the number of instruments you require, and n is the number of instruments you currently have. There is a very similar formula for bicycles too.

  2. Am I being a bit hoardy? I do fantasize about playing fiddle tunes with Manon on guitar and me on mandolin. Too bad she's growing up an moving away! Sad face.