Heralding Another Moodle


Another Friday, another ‘Artist’s Corner’. Once again the inspiration for this week’s masterpiece comes from the marvellous Moodle Army Challenge from Haylee’s Aloada Bobbins.

This week the challenge was to ‘Blow your own trumpet’.

I don’t have a musical bone in my body. I own a five-stringed electric guitar. I’ve modified it from the usual six-stringed instrument through a dedicated lack of maintenance and care, which has taken me several years to perfect.

I sometimes still like to strum it but aside from muscle memory enabling me to remember how to play the first few chords of Green Day’s ‘Basket Case’, a perennial favourite from my teenage years, I can’t remember how to play very much at all.

I sometimes think I would like to learn to play again, but to what end I’m not sure. I’m unlikely to be headlining Glastonbury anytime soon.

Or ever.

And if I can’t play the guitar, I certainly can’t play the trumpet.

But I can blow my own ‘metaphorical’ trumpet rather well.

I know what I’m good at.

Which is no small amount of things.

For example I can differentiate between the various remote controls which form part of my TV viewing experience these days.

I can usually put together flat-pack furniture on my own, even when the instructions advise that two people should be involved.

I can cook a mean boil-in-the-bag rice.

However, one of the things in this world that I’m less good at is drawing.

But I’d never let something like a total lack of talent and ability stop me from doing anything.

And so here is a picture of me blowing my own trumpet:


And here is Green Day with the aforementioned ‘Basket Case’:



Guitar Hero

James Proclaims (4)

My imitation Fender Stratocaster only has five strings. The ‘high’ E snapped about five years ago and I haven’t bothered to replace it. It’s also out of tune.

I’ve had it since I was fifteen, which is now a scarily long time ago.

Back when I was in secondary school I was briefly in a band.

Well, my mate and I used to meet up and attempt to write songs. He wrote the music, because he could play the clarinet, whereas I couldn’t play anything. He wasn’t going to play the clarinet in the band though. He was going to be our bass guitarist. I think, to be fair to him, he did eventually learn how to play the bass. I was going to be lead singer and lead guitarist, despite having no discernible talent at either of those things. I sometimes still sing in the car when I’m on my own. I never mastered more than a few chords on the guitar.

What I could do was write the song lyrics and this I did in abundance. Had we managed to secure the services of a drummer, had I actually learned to play and had I been able to sing in tune, who knows what could have happened. I’d imagine you’d all now be humming along to our back catalogue, which would include hits like, Toxic Hairspray, Stress-head and Dorset Farmer.

We seriously had a song called Dorset Farmer

But my favourite by far was called Car Sick.

It’s the only one I can remember some of the lyrics to, so I’ll share the chorus with you now. It went:

Because I’m car sick

Gonna spew everywhere

Car sick,

Mum’s going spare,

Car sick,

Are we nearly there?

Car sick,

Gonna spew everywhere

When I tell you that the three verses of the song were every bit as poignant as the chorus, you’ll recognise that we had a surefire hit on our hands.

Alas the lack of musical talent did get in the way and while the dream of being a rock star lasted for most of the latter end of my secondary education, it did die shortly afterwards. However, I could never bring myself to part with the guitar. I did sell my amplifier in my early twenties, for what was, in the end, an evening’s beer money (which is a bit ‘rock and roll’ if you think about it…)

My guitar now mostly leans against a bookcase in the spare room, unused and gathering dust. Occasionally though, I do feel moved to pick it up and strum the chords to Green Day’s Basket Case, which is the only song I can remember how to play.

Such a moment happened this week.

When my beloved discovered me strumming away on an unplugged, five-string, tuneless, electric guitar, she shot me a look of affectionate pity.

“You’re very cute,” she told me, “but you are an idiot…”