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Chips From The Editor's Workbench

Article from Making Music, July 1986

Joking apart, this one-off practical column makes the rest of the magazine look quite serious.

Every musician needs a hubby. Mine is typnig. Recreational pastimes are very important to the musician as they can improve his mend and sieve him moony. Whether you want to build your own equipmount or simply relax, hubbies are great. Here's some we can recommenf.

Did You know that shoes and guitar straps are made from the same animal? Yes. It's called 'A Leather', and great herds of these vast beasts roam the countryside, unless they are dead, which is when they're cut into small pieces and used to manufacture footwear.

This is a surprise to me. I always thought Leathers were about 18in long and 3in high and, once gutted and sheared, had their entire carcasses turned into one boot. Just shows you don't know everything, hobbiecrafters!!

One advantage here is that since a shoe is already dead, it doesn't annoy anyone to kill it again and make a strap from it. So with that moral dilemma safely away, lets go.

First remove any obstacles from inside the shoe — stones, scraps of paper and be on particular lookout for a pink, fleshy thing with five knobby lumps on one end. To test the response and suspension factor of the shoe/strap material interface, drop the broguish item from a height of four pink fleshy things. If it does not bounce, break, spill, yell loudly, rupture or turn into a pinky/greeny gas and ooze through the floor, it is safe to assume you have not taken too many hallucinogenic drugs and are ready to turn into a bathroom... er... proceed. Sorry.

Remove the laces and put them to one side. Then later you can lose them and torture yourself mentally, knowing that you put them somewhere. Soak the footgear overnight in a solution of distilled water, sodium bicarbonate and three litres of Greek olive oil. This will reduce them to A&R Man consistency — wet, bubbly, and difficult to get hold of (known in the trade as Slipper-y).

When your clogs have dried, use a Stanley knife, or if Stanley's out shopping, a Harvey knife, to separate the soul (tough underbelly of the Leather) from the upper via neat, ½in cuts.

Espadrilles, slingbacks, creepers, sneakers, sabots, pumps, moccasins, slip-ons, and casuals can pass straight onto the peeling stage. Brothel creepers, winkle-pickers, doc martins, stilettos, platforms, Cubans, wedgies, waders, wellies and gumboots must be further softened by roasting in a lemon and ginger wine sauce at reglo four for three hours. With saute potatoes.

Next the shoes must be pressed flat by, say, lifting the corner of your house and slipping them between the bricks and foundations for a couple of hours.

Then, with great care, remove the protective foil wrapping from a fresh scalpel blade, insert it into the holder, and gently slice away the cellophane packing from the axe you bought at the hardware shop. Use this to lay about the boot with violent strokes until it is rendered roughly into even strips.

Hack the sole in half and rub at one spot with a pencil until you have worn a neat hole through (about 16 days). These will make your end pieces to slip over the strap buttons on your guitar.

Now merely follow the simple weaving guide below to produce a fabulous, home-made strap you can truly be proud of. "I made it myself," you can boast to any friends who visit you in hospital.

How to make a pair of old shoes into a handy guitar strap

A link belt can be made easily and inexpensively. Approximately sixty links are required depending upon length of belt.

Above is shown a sample link. In as much as it is shown full size, it can be used as a pattern for tracing the outline on leather.

Below — When the weaving is completed for the plaited belt, it should be pulled from each end to straighten out the weave correctly.

Learning another language can be jolly useful in the cosmopolitan world of rock and rule. And it's fun, too. Here's a few phrases that well known musicians use, and a translation into English.

"I use their gear religiously."
I pray that it doesn't break down when I walk on stage.

"I want to be taken seriously as a musician."
I can use both hands on the piano.

"I'm getting more into jazz these days."
Did you know guitars have tone controls. Look, I can turn mine down.

Driving is a wonderful hobby for musicians because it brings you into contact with lots of interesting people, and what they have eaten. But it can be dangerous. Here is a good excuse to practice at home. It might get you out of a frightful scrape one day.

Hello officer, gosh am I glad to see you. We were just finishing our Ministry of Defence charity gig when the news came through about a nerve gas accident in Godalming. Unfortunately, all the Min of Def staff were worse for the celebrations so we volunteered to rush these specially formulated relaxant drugs over to the afflicted City at very high speed, and to inoculate ourselves orally with them before entering the danger zone. Yes, it does smell sweet, doesn't it.

The Puzzle Page

If it takes four men and a dog three months to come up with the name Sigue Sigue Sputnik, how long will it take one record company and £4million to come up with a plausible excuse for killing them.

Imagine the entire population of Scotland has just been given a test for musical ability.
(a) How many people will be on the list before Lulu
(b) Name them (you may write on both sides of a billboard poster)

Ask the bass player his name, scribble it on a piece of paper, tear it up in front of him, then challenge him to remember it. Whatever he says, tell him it's wrong, and try again. See how long you can keep him guessing what his own name is.

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Casio SK1

Publisher: Making Music - Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

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Making Music - Jul 1986




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