Eleanor Rigby’s itchy trigger finger


I’m not rewriting it – it still says what I want it to say.

Originally posted on VinceT.net:

All the lonely people
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

I was reading an interesting piece in a local arts magazine earlier today

the title of which was something along the lines of: what do all teenaged mass-killers have in common?

In summary – they were male

and they were

on prescribed psychiatric medication

In fact, the piece was a thinly-veiled, single-issue opinion piece that psychiatric medication is a


The piece started with the wrong question.

It’s not what mass-killers have in common… It’s what non-mass-killers have in common.

The murders of 26 people in Newtown, CT understandably caused a shock-wave of introspection and hurt. Such a shock-wave, reinforced by our polarized, special-interest-bred social and political discourse, very quickly descends into the blame game.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.


People without guns kills a lot less…

View original 1,164 more words

Like Taking A Gun


[Originally published June 2nd, 2011]

[and again on December 24th, 2014]

Lots of people taking sides on who shot who, why they pulled the trigger, were they right, were they wrong…

At this time of peace, I keep getting drawn back to this meditation, written in response to an atrocity in Syria, but applicable to so much happening in our world right now


It’s like taking a gun
and pointing it
in your brother’s face
Telling them
unless they stop
you will pull the trigger
Wasting life
to make you feel better
to make you feel like
you are getting
You become those them
becoming you
face down on the ground
for the sake of scant borders
Like taking a gun
and pointing it
in your brother’s face

Words, Music – Vincent Tuckwood
Performed, recorded, mixed and mastered at Monkey68 Studios, Waterford, CT.

Vincent Tuckwood is a story-teller working in fiction, song and verse. His novels are EscalationFamily RulesKaraoke Criminals, and Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? His records are Turquoise Cyan SapphireWriter’s Flow – Music For Writing,  Grope, and Sparse. His poetry is collected in Garbled Glittering Glamours.

Meet me in the silence

Meet me in the silence
in the stillness
in the breath

This moment
where I’m open
you of welcome made

Meet me in the melody
familiar tone
coda and twist

Meet me in the lyric
its story fickle
universally made

Meet me in the silence
where music swells
song, breath and being

Meet me in the silence
where you and I
we merge

Vincent Tuckwood is a story-teller working in fiction, song and verse. His novels are Escalation, Family Rules, Karaoke Criminals, and Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? His records are Turquoise Cyan Sapphire, Writer’s Flow – Music For Writing,  Grope, and Sparse. His poetry is collected in Garbled Glittering Glamours.

Is there anybody out there?

The reality for most independent musicians is that each record is a commercial still-birth by any reasonable measure; people just don’t prioritize the purchase of music

[I don’t know that they ever did at the local level]

and perversely that seems even more the case with people we love and who love us – while I often give people free copies of stuff, very few of the people I know have ever purchased one of my books or records

[those that have are a blessing for sure – and have my love]

I gave away any and all expectations as to commercial success when I released Grope, and have maintained that stance with Writer’s Flow and Turquoise Cyan Sapphire. I feel better for having done so, and find I’m better able to enjoy the music I’ve released without the internal dialogue of commercial judgement.

Does that mean I’m immune to self-doubt? No way. The sense that

no-one’s listening

is ever-present, as it has been since I first started telling stories. And that voice can be very, VERY loud sometimes.

Right now though, I’m in a good space – lots of projects on the move – more beginning to emerge from the deep well of my subconscious. And I am lucky to have a day job that keeps food on the table.

I am a commitment to produce and promote great music.

Yet I have friends who are putting their heart and soul into producing GREAT music

[and, yes, #IBuyMusic]

who are suffering greatly from the manifest apathy of their audience, both known and unknown. I wish there were some way for me to change this, but aside from sharing their music and urging others’ to buy, I don’t know what else I can do to move the reality we all face.

I’m not someone who does well with intractable problems – and I wrestle with this one every day – any and all ideas welcome :)


Vince Sig 131x89


Readings that count – The Journey by Mary Oliver

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations-
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver (b. 1935)

Running Stuff: Bare those feet!

Over the course of the summer, I’ve been in training for my 2nd degree karate black-belt test

[two weeks from now :) ]

which has entailed digging out of a deep, slothful hole – last year was a write-off in terms of fitness. Running has played a large part of my return to fitness and, as ever, I’m enjoying the process as well as the benefits.

A couple of years’ back I shared a number of videos that helped me improve my form and stamina.

If you read the post, you’ll know that, for the past few years, I’ve been wearing Merrell barefoot shoes for running – and most of the time casually – originally to address the lower back pain from which I suffered

[which turned out to be all about posture, some of which was foot balance]

Fast forward, to this last weekend, I was feeling a little twinge in my knee when I ran, so thought I’d step back into my ASICS running shoes (with cushioning) to give my tired legs a rest – they felt great on the run

[where I still focused on not striking with my heel]

so I wore them again on the next. But both yesterday and this morning, I woke up to a nagging lower back pain which I knew all too well. Also, I noticed some aching in the outer edge of my feet.

So  today, I went back to my Merrell’s and ran a longer distance while maintaining pace. And my back feels fine.

[though I’ll be monitoring closely for the next couple of days]

It’s amazing how something so simple as cushioning and heel-lift can show up in my back so quickly – and the fact that I knew what and why was reassuring. I’m interested to see how my back reacts to being back in the Merrell’s.

I am a commitment to earn my 2nd degree karate black-belt!


Vince Sig 131x89

About a song: Rough Diamonds from Turquoise Cyan Sapphire

I woke up today to a request to share some of the background to Rough Diamonds, track 7 from Turquoise Cyan Sapphire. So, here goes…

Rough Diamonds was originally written and recorded in about 1998, and started off with that main picked guitar riff

[for those playing along at home, it’s my ES-335 fitted with Seymour Duncan P-Rails playing that part throughout the TCS version]

once again, the riff is a function of my broken hands, so lots of drone strings – though it’s possible now to play it with the barre, it loses a whole lot of that certain something.

The original demo featured Ruth on vocals, though at that stage in my song-writing journey I hadn’t quite twigged about changing key to suit voice and, as a result, Ruth

[who happens to be a trained opera singer – here she is on Pepperbox]

takes the main chorus up an octave  – and it does something very special to the song.

As a result, I seriously doubted my ability to perform Rough Diamonds to its potential – it doesn’t stretch my range, and I can’t really project it hard – and I put it in a time capsule: “songs I will never sing”.

Yet, that guitar riff kept coming back. And I couldn’t stop it.

As I headed into recording Sparse, I began to play with the song, trying different keys, tempos, treatments; all the time coming back to the original key, though the tempo changed. I ended up putting an acoustic treatment as a bonus track with the download of Sparse

[and you can definitely hear me reshaping the song]

While I love the original version of Rough Diamonds, I would dearly like to have a time machine to take my current tracking, mixing and mastering skills back to that younger me. All of my early demos are way too slow and, as a result, lumbering. No matter how good  Ruth’s performance was, the musical backdrop didn’t help!

So, when it came to producing the version that’s on Turquoise Cyan Sapphire, I had a couple of references and a pretty clear idea of what worked and what didn’t.

Musically, the riff remains prominent, though here, with the toms, it takes on something of a Radiohead-feel. The original demo had a lot of guitars in lots of directions, and I kept that spirit alive here, doubling the bass during the link-chorus, putting some stabs here and there, and some angular rhythm guitar in the verses. This also has the benefit of pulling the song closer to the “nearly blues” spirit of Turquoise Cyan Sapphire.

In the main chorus, I took a different tack – adding horns to keep things fresh, and also to allow the picked riff to return clearly, as well as the prominent echo on the vocals

[which had been on Ruth’s original take]

The original demo had a beautiful, structured guitar solo by my former band-mate John Matthews, and I decided not to try recreating it myself; instead, I turned to my daughter Elise and together we wrote the simple but effective trumpet solo that’s on the final version.

Not much else to say about the music, aside from that the Sparse treatment

[work-in-progress as it was]

reassured me that I could sing the song, and that in doing so, less would be so much more.

Lyrically, Rough Diamonds is a song about survival; in this case, living through psychological manipulation and interpersonal politics. I know what and who it was written about, but that’s not important to anyone but me, myself and I.

What I hope the song offers is the hope/belief that, even when people seek to undermine us by persuading us to undermine ourselves

[in this case, in the guise of “trying to help”]

we can emerge stronger for the experience; as strong as diamond.

Even as I wrote the song, I knew there was a higher level of interpretation – at the societal/political level, Rough Diamonds was also a statement of hope/belief for those activists for change; in the lyrics, this is represented by the shift from “you/I” to “we”.

In essence, Rough Diamonds was the emergence of my offering to the world:

Keep going

I think this fundamental core is why the song still hits me so deeply; it’s among a handful of favourite songs I’ve written.

They won’t believe what they have done
When you pull them from the earth
Rough diamonds
Catch the sun

Enough writing, have a listen, read the lyrics, let me know what you think!


Vince Sig 131x89


You are you and I am me
And we could break so easily
When they’re kicking us in shape
And we can stand and take
Their taunts and fears and crap complaints
They can’t stop us
It’s their weakness

You know what’s strange
I’m half-and-half
I forgotten how to laugh
At the same time
I feel 10 feet tall
6 feet wide
I have got a smile inside
They can’t stop us
We are rising

We could bend until we break
We could fall to our knees
Take all that we can take
We are stronger than we think
But when they get in your head
It’s tantamount to rape

They looked for blame and they found us
Though they cut and they run
They will find they have not won
They won’t believe what they have done
When you pull them from the earth
Rough diamonds
Catch the sun

See the sun and the moon
You’re catching them in your eyes

From Turquoise Cyan Sapphire, released 28 July 2015
Instruments, voice – Vincent Tuckwood
Trumpet solo – Elise Tuckwood

Written, performed, mixed and mastered by Vincent Tuckwood at Monkey68 studios, CT, USA.All rights reserved, Vincent Tuckwood – 2015.


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