Thursday, 14 July 2011

Hard Shoulder

As around .0000001% of the world knows, last September I released my second album of acoustic fingerstyle guitar tomfoolery on the public at large. Obviously, in such circumstances, the thing to do is to get oneself onto the touring/gigging circuit and make people aware of its existence. After all, success in the music biz is only around 10% having a good product out there, the other 90% is down to letting people know about it.

All well and good, then. But, as everyone knows, the best laid plans of mice, men and acoustic guitarists oft go awry and in January of this year I began getting pain in my left shoulder. Worse still, it all felt very familiar and I knew what was coming…

Anyone heard of a condition known as 'frozen shoulder'? The medical name for it is 'adhesive capsulitis' and it works its evil magic by gradually paralysing the shoulder joint and rewarding you with a bolt of very serious pain every time you try to move your arm. Not good for playing guitar, then.

To make matters worse and to illustrate the bitter irony of the situation still further (I'm not after sympathy here, honest) I'd had it before in the other shoulder back in 2003 and so I knew that it's effectively a very long slog in terms of recovery time as the condition can last between eight to 18 months.

There's nothing doctors can do except offer sympathy and any painkillers you choose. I chose Tramadol, because they worked last time, but despite the fact that they numb the pain quite effectively and allow you to drift off into sleep, they also have nasty side effects – even more so when you stop taking them.

It's now July and I'm only just getting most of the movement back in my arm (it never fully returns) and experiencing little or no pain and so it's time to get back out there. Taking seven months off sick when you've got new tunes to play people is nothing short of a disaster, which is why I've chosen to re-release 'Arboretum' on my own label and kinda start all over again.

So, as I type, the album is being pressed onto those silver shiny discs that some of you might remember and at the same time being delivered in digital form to all the usual outlets on the internet. There are even dates in the diary, starting with a gig at this year's London Acoustic Guitar Show at Olympia. Sunday 11th September on the Acoustic Café stage at 2.30pm, to be precise.

Now, with a seven month lay-off behind me, the only thing I have to do is get back to practising like a maniac to restore the strength in my left hand and arm – and trying to remember all the pieces!

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