All posts by Vince

Vincent Tuckwood is a story-teller working in fiction, song and verse. At any given point in time, he’s proud to be a father, husband, son, brother, cousin and friend to the people who mean the world to him. He is the author of the novels: “Escalation”, “Family Rules”, “Karaoke Criminals” and “Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies?”, as well as the 2010 poetry collection, “Garbled Glittering Glamours”. His screenplays are “Team Building” and the screen adaptation of Family Rules, “Inventing Kenny”.

About a song: Tequila In The C Field from Grope

I remember the night, the last party of the summer, once camp had emptied of campers; counselors left behind to either pack up and leave, or stick around to put the camp to bed for another season.

We gathered up the hill; music, good friends – for many of us, 5 or more summers under our belts. My brothers and sisters, this last night we would spend together.

And Henry – ever Henry – so lucky to have had this last summer with him. We talked at length, my brother and I, and maybe for the first time, he let his guard down fully, an open honesty that I hadn’t realized had been missing to that point.

Even the most sublime people hold their darkness.

We drank tequila, Henry and I, lots of tequila, raising a toast to brotherhood under the starlit darkness of the Catskills’ night sky.

Later, sitting alone in the C-field, as the tequila fought back, I watched the horizon dance to invisible fingers, as if it were a massive organ; distant party music the soundscape to my blurring vision. Obliterated, I slept under the stars, and dreamed of carnivals.

Years later, jamming with a friend, I came across an exultant, discordant chord sequence, kind of grungy, kind of poppy and, as those chords sat with me in the next few days, it seemed they reminded me more and more of those grinning, dancing trees; midway music drifting across the black night.

I remembered tequila, the highs and lows of that night, the sheer being-in-the-moment of love, laughter, and everything it means to be human.

All of it, within me and without: Tequila In The C-Field.

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89

TEQUILA IN THE C FIELD – VINCENT TUCKWOOD

You
You are turning inside of me
you are laughing and joking
Joking and hoping
You are one up on me

You are winding me up
Chilling me down
You are grinding me with your teeth
You can smile and I’m laughing
But it’s all too brief

You
You are churning inside of me
You are cutting and slicing
Dicing and biting
You are puking up on me

You are pissing me down
Winding me up
You are grinding me with your teeth
You can smile and I’m retching
But it’s all too brief

I can’t focus
Your words are turning me green
The trees are grinning at me
Bending over
Laughing

Copyright 2014, Vincent Tuckwood

 

Something of a milestone… I guess

My post a couple of days ago – Cognitive Dissonances: I love great music… – was my 500th here at VinceT.net.

It’s a milestone, I guess, and another sign of those two words I just posted about

Keep going

Though I’d been blogging for many years as my corporate alter-ego, BadConsultant

[who is officially drinking a margarita on his private retirement island, though was kind enough to leave his knowledge management database for our use]

I started the blog here as I began to transition out of my corporate shape, knowing that writing, music, philosophy and life journey were all going to need an outlet.

My first post was in January 2009, almost to the day that I decided to leave my employer of nearly 20 years

[though my exit didn’t happen until nearly a year later]

and, even though it was a Coming Soon post, it’s interesting that I wrote

What do I know about this blog? I know that I want (and intend) it to be a place for anyone to come to get rejuvenated, strengthened and set better to handle tomorrow than they were to handle today.

6 years later, it seems that’s still what I aspire to offer. Which is comforting

[to me at least]

and I hope you find at least some of those benefits from reading my stuff.

I actually didn’t get posting for real until mid-2010, as I entered the physical, mental, spiritual detox phase of reshaping myself.  In those early posts, I see my self-enquiry, I see the battle I went through to re-establish my identity

[to myself more than anyone else]

I don’t often look back, so am often surprised to see what I’ve written about myself and my life. It’s fairly recent history, and I was surprised how some of the scar tissue is still sensitive today.

If 500 posts is truly a milestone, then I should really do some milestone-y type stuff:

  • 500 posts
  • Ave. 111 posts per year
  • Ave. 1 post every 3 days

[much higher than it feels sometimes]

  • Around 14,000 views
  • Ave. 28 views per post

[a stat that’s pretty consistent across the years, whether I posted more or less in a given period]

All of which makes me feel… what is it? Good? Happy? I don’t know, really. I know that the blog has been a fairly constant way for me to reflect on what’s happening with me and my life, to test some of my art, and keep you updated on where projects are going.

Somehow, along the way

[bear in mind, I’m still surprised and humbled to find anyone reading my stuff, even more so if they enjoy it]

I’ve welcomed around 300 subscribers. Thank you for being here, for reading and listening, you have my love!

Aside from the stats above, it’s interesting to see the number of visitors per year increasing over time, and the number of Likes per year increasing alongside. Hopefully, such trends will continue, and open the door to more comments/discussion – the one area upon which I thrive – and am saddened doesn’t happen so often here

[a function of my decision not to post about click-bait type subjects, I guess]

One thing is clear from reviewing the journey – when I write, people read. When I write more, more people read more.

[that’s a lot of more!]

So, I guess I’ll just

Keep going

Here’s to the next 500 and beyond – I’ll see you on the page!

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

Stay or move forward? I say Keep Going

It happened again. I caught myself in Facebook messenger, typing

Keep going

this time to encourage someone to continue pursuing the spark of poetry kindling in their heart.

A couple of weeks ago, it was to reinforce a young song-writer in her decision to begin journaling as a route to lyrical release.

Last year, it was to support a friend while her partner was in long-term hospitalization

[something our family knows a bit about]

Before that, it was as I opened my heart to a friend carrying the loss of their child so heavily in their shoulders and down-turned face.

Before that… Before that… Before that…

Keep going

Each time, knowing I meant it; mean it. There is one thing I will always offer to the world: the encouragement for folk to keep putting one foot in front of the other, take a step forward no matter how hard.

Sometimes it’s through a hug, sometimes through the speaking of hard truths, sometimes through offering the open space that allows the flood to come forth.

Keep going

These two words thread through my experience as an artist, professional, father, husband, son, coach, mentor… Through life in all its infinite patterns

[it’s why I do what I do at WritersUnblocked.co]

These two words that sat within me throughout my broken hand years. That kept me sane when the compromise of my corporate shape threatened to break me. That helped me find love, peace and trust in the embrace of family and friends.

Keep going

In each moment, we face the decision: stay or move forward?

Of course, the world – embodied in our hyperbolic media, self-serving politicians, power-hungry military-industrial-elite – wants us frozen in place, fearful of daring even open our eyes to a path forward. Closer to home, those who love us too often hold us back for fear we may fall, that we may become lost to them; their love becoming the barrier to the step.

The deck is stacked against us, yet decide we must: stay or move forward?

While I may be a drop in a very large ocean, I am a commitment to these two words, and all they imply

Keep going, keep going, keep going

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

Cognitive Dissonances: I love great music…

Everyone is wrestling with the new musiconomy. The music industry

[a creation of the mid-late 20th century, let’s not forget]

is following a business model that is no longer dying, but has been dead for years

[you know that the corporate halls of Warner Brothers, EMI, Sony, etc. just STINK of necrophilia]

and a common lament is the pittance that artists and songwriters earn from streaming services.

While, objectively, this argument is completely valid, I think the issue is far from ‘per-stream’ rates, instead it is with an audience of listeners who are not willing to pay for the music they consume, either directly or indirectly.

 

For whatever reason – false humility, misplaced gratitude, insincere flattery – very few musicians are willing to point the finger of blame at the audience.

I will.

Such ungrateful listeners will be the death of the music they claim to love so much.

It is, perhaps, the greatest of cognitive dissonances: “I love great music, so I will act in a way that great music can’t be made.”

Yet, as with all cognitive dissonances, it is perhaps the last hope for musicians, that the audience is willing to transcend easy and cheap, and willing to subsidise the conceit and creation of the next waves of great music.

When “thank you, please make more”, is more prevalent than “screw you, I got mine”.

Until that happens, though it saddens me to say, musicians can expect to fund their audience’s listening pleasure for the foreseeable future.

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

Day 3: The silliness begins to kick in…

Well, today was Day 3 of our being cabin-bound for winter storm Juno

[you know, the storm that didn’t happen, because New York didn’t get hit so hard… despite the fact that we had nearly 3 feet of snow, drifting to 5 or 6 feet in places]

and, when the kids shouted for the umpteenth time that we should go out and play in the snow, I proposed an alternative plan. Here’s what we did instead of the usual,  for a little while at least…

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

From the VT vault: Tokai Super Edition VS-80

Every so often, I take a hard look at the gear I’ve accumulated over the years, with an eye to whether it might be better placed with someone else

[though, in reality, I seldom actually get rid of anything!]

So it was that I spent some time revisiting my first ‘proper’ guitar, a 1985 Tokai Super Edition VS-80.

Tokai Super Edition VS-80

Though my first ever guitar was an Encore Stratocaster copy

[black, with white pickguard which I subsequently swapped out for a black one, and painted the pickups black]

my Tokai was the first I bought with my own money – the stereotypical working of weekends and school vacations to earn the money – based upon a review in Guitarist magazine

[still one of my go-to sources of gear info and reviews]

There’s very little information online about the model, so I thought I’d drop some here for folk who may be looking.

It’s a pretty cool guitar, Made-in-Japan S-type, mahogany (I think) body – it’s heavier than my Les Paul! – with a figured maple cap and medium C-profile maple neck, medium jumbo frets.  The tremolo is Tokai’s own locking unit, a bit of a pain to restring, but fairly stable

[though I rarely use a whammy bar, to be honest]

Tokai Super Edition VS-80

As for electronics, it has twin humbuckers

[proprietary to Tokai, I think]

with coil split on a push-pull tone pot. The secret weapon is a boost on the third push-pull pot, which offers up to 20 db

[as I recall, though it may be 18db]

of boost, more than enough to push any clean tube amp channel into gritty overdrive.

Tokai Super Edition VS-80 Headstock

I haven’t played it much since the early-90s, when I began to add other guitars to my collection. Spending time on it the other day, I was reminded how it really is a great guitar – top-of-the-line for what was a budget line with a great reputation to this day. The neck pickup is nothing to write home about – unless using the coil split, then it has some spank – but the bridge is nice in both HB and single-coil modes.

As far as I can tell, Tokai lost their way

[and reputation]

when they got pulled into the hair-metal madness – before that, they’d built a strong brand for copying Les Pauls and Strats on a budget. I think the brand was always more popular outside of the US.

As my first guitar, the Super Edition holds such a sentimental weight for me – I can still remember waiting for it to be delivered from

[I think]

Peter Cook’s guitar shop in West London. The box arriving, opening up the hard case, the smell of it. I learned my basics on this guitar, before I lost my hands for 15 years. While I wouldn’t use it live now

[I have several much, much better axes]

it’s still nice to play once in a while, and has aged well. Interestingly, when I think of making my own guitar, it usually ends up looking something like this one

[though I’d definitely swap out that floating trem for a fixed bridge]

which to me at least feels like a subconscious nod to how much the Tokai meant to me at the time

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

ps: Let me know if you like this stuff, I have a couple of other rare guitars which I’d be happy to share with you.

 

Subconscious, luck or intuition?

I was just checking in on iTunes to see whether Grope was now available

[it is, now sitting proudly alongside Sparse]

and, for the first time, I looked at both covers side by side:

Record CoversIt may just be me that sees it, but the physical orientation of my body and guitar on Grope mirrors the branches on Sparse pretty closely. Do you see it?

The two photos are completely unrelated.

The branches on Sparse are in my back yard, captured on a very cold day while mixing the record. The cropping was thanks to Rob Edmonds, who designed the front cover, and overall graphic concept for the record.

The saturated picture of me on Grope was taken by a friend, Pam Strollo, while I played at an Anne Castellano & The Smoke

[new EP ‘Bridge To Nowhere’ just being released]

gig – it’s from a much wider angle picture, but the cropping happened when I uploaded that picture as my header at ello.co and, as soon as I saw what their process had done, I just knew it was the Grope cover.

Processing the two covers happened a couple of years apart, so there was no conscious effort to make them similar in any way. And yet here we are: subconscious, luck or intuition?

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89