The blues.

When most people think about the blues, they think about the south and by south they mean southern US. Well, I live in South Africa and nobody here likes the blues. Especially not the more gritty styles. When they talk about the blues here they mostly mean jazz, which is fair enough - there are a lot of good jazz musicians here.

I remember when I was at a gig one time and the lead singer, some chick in a kimono, opened with, "Who likes the blues?!" I sat at the bar, drinking my 5th or 6th drought of beer and thought to myself, "Nobody does. And you sure as fuck aren't about to play it." They went on with their completely soulless Son House cover and I just continued to get drunk.

If you can't tell, I am not an agreeable person. I don't like musicians. Most of them seem like they're pretending. I know that's pretentious but... even in punk circles, everyone wants you to join their fucking club. Man, the reason I play this music is because I don't like you and I don't want to be in your club or talk to you or for you to think that you have any fucking idea how I feel. I'm tired of that circle jerk.

You go on, you play your stupid song, you fuck off. That's my philosophy.

I've decided to restring my slide guitar.

About 8 years ago, I bought my first guitar. It was a black bodied, maple neck, Tanglewood Seagull I got second hand off of Gumtree. When I went to pick it up, I asked the seller to play it for me because I didn't know how. I was so embarrassed. I still hate buying instruments because I hate having to play in front of people in that setting. In any case, I went home with a guitar that to this day is still my favourite. We've been through a lot together. I've converted it to a slide guitar and back a number of times. I've installed pickups in the sound hole and ripped them out again. I've stabbed it with a knife and burnt it with cigarettes out of frustration.

When I was a kid, I learnt how to play a drum kit (saying "drums" sounds too general, it's a drum kit). That's the only instrument I've had lessons on. I wasn't very good, mostly because I am shy. I never had much confidence and that affected the way I played. I would rather people think I was bad instead of playing my heart out and proving it. In any case, I did play in a few school plays and on one occasion, before the Wizard of Oz was about to end, I hit an impromptu drum roll that drowned out the little girl playing Dorothy. I don't know where that came from. They told me not to do it again. I was secretly proud of myself.

Since then I have taught myself (with limited success) how to play guitar, harmonica and a little bit of piano as well. I have also dabbled in saxophone, accordion and mandolin. Slide guitar and harmonica are still my favourites. I played harmonica in a hard rock band for about 2 years and got to play in front of crowds of people. It was intense. I am extremely introverted and so as the crowds grew larger, I would drink more and more to drown out the anxiety of performing. I was eventually asked to leave after I got so drunk at one gig that I started throwing my harmonicas at the drummer, stole the rhythm guitarist's microphone and knocked over the keyboard. I was secretly proud of myself.

That left me with a minor drinking problem and the more I drank, the less I played. I use to play every day. It was like a form of meditation for me. I collected different instruments so that when I got sick of one, I'd just pick up another. When I play, it is like I am watching myself play, like my hands just move without me thinking. I love that feeling. It gets me out of the relentless cycle of anxious thought and allows me to just be in the moment. But I have neglected it over the past year. I used to think that as long as I kept playing, eventually stuff would just work out. I always wanted to play for my dad, for him to come to one of my gigs. I thought eventually he'd have no choice - he'd see me on TV or on YouTube or something. In March, he died. I haven't picked up an instrument since then. I felt completely defeated.

Today I have decided to restring my slide guitar. I broke a string about 8 months ago and never restrung it but it feels like now I need it more than ever. I must put the bottle down and pick the steel up again.