DigiTech Brian May pedal

DigiTech Brian May pedal

So there I was the other day innocently browsing the World Wide Web looking for a suitable, compact treble booster pedal for my guitar setup when I stumbled upon the news that DigiTech are to release a Brian May pedal in their Artist Pedals series of effects pedals.

I found elsewhere online a list of the seven tones that this pedal will offer:

Model 1: “Keep Yourself Alive”
Model 2: “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Model 3: “Tie Your Mother Down”
Model 4: “We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions”
Model 5: “Crazy Little Thing”
Model 6: “Brighton Rock”
Model 7: “Winter’s Tale / Deacy”

and the photograph comes from Brian May’s website.

Press Release

DigiTech is developing the Brian May Artist Series Pedal as Queen continues its latest tour. With a musical career spanning three decades, Queen founding member Brian May is a world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, producer and performer. Brian has penned 22 Top 20 hits worldwide. His unmistakable tone has been sought after for years by guitarists around the world.

Now, working closely with Brian May and under the watchful eye of legendary recording engineer and producer Eddie Kramer, DigiTech is recreating seven of Brian’s classic, signature tones by applying its proprietary technology called Production Modeling™. The Brian May Artist Series Pedal furthers DigiTech’s philosophy of developing products designed to supply guitarists with the best sounding, most creative tools possible.

“Working closely with Brian, legendary producer Eddie Kramer and the entire DigiTech R&D department, we have employed our Production Modeling technology ensuring absolute accuracy in duplicating Brian’s tone,” stated David Rohrer, DigiTech Market Manager for Guitar Products. “Now guitarists can either use Brian’s seven presets to recreate his classic tone, or just use them as a starting point to create their own sound. It is a very powerful and flexible pedal that will rock the world.”

DigiTech’s breakthrough Production Modeling is being used to reproduce the studio and live guitar sounds, including effects and processing, of Brian May. This includes modeling the speaker cabinets, microphones and microphone placements, pre and post effects, and the recording engineer’s production magic. Every aspect of the signal chain has been considered and recreated, resulting in completely accurate models of Brian’s tones.

Commenting on working with DigiTech to create his new Artist Series Pedal, Brian May stated, “I’m very happy to be working with DigiTech on this project and Eddie Kramer…”,

(Source: DigiTech Press Release, 11 April 2006)

Also in the pipeline, according to the clogged-one’s website, is an affordable treble booster pedal, and a book co-written with Greg Fryer about Brian May’s setup (guitar, pedals, amps, six-pence, etc.)

How exciting!

Big Brother

Glyn from Big Brother UK.
Welsh housemate Glyn — an absolute star!

I have to say, I’m loving this series of Big Brother. I didn’t intend to get into this series, but … it just happened!

I watched the first show, watching the housemates enter the house, with our lovely next door neighbours, Ian and Yvonne, a couple of weekends ago, while Jane was away on one of her work-related jaunts. And then, well, I just kept watching it after that.

Back in the day, while we were living in Inverness, the first couple of series of BB were great. They were interesting and entertaining, and for a newly married couple they became sort of our surrogate friends in a way.

Then things got weird and Big Brother became the crazy, smack-head brother that you don’t talk about who’s locked away in some maximum security penitentiary. I guess. I didn’t enjoy those series, and so didn’t watch. After all, I can get any amount of contrived freakshows whenever I like, just by closing my eyes. Because, that’s how good my imagination is.

For example, just now when I closed my eyes I could see Godzilla dressed as George Formby, standing on top of an Aga cooker reciting the Highway Code to a room full of Stormtroopers from Star Wars, just before Simon Cowell from X-Factor walked in carrying a vacuum cleaner pretending to be Mr Stay Puft from Ghostbusters.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Anyway, this series of Big Brother looks fun. A better balance of fun and eccentricity, psychological observation and mind games. I’m delighted that Glyn is coming out of his shell a bit; disappointed that George walked today; and really pleased that Pete, who has Tourette’s Syndrome, is turning out to be one of the most normal and likeable people in the house!

I’m delighted that BB’s decision to put Pete into the house didn’t turn into the same disaster that befell Blue Peter after their decision to feature Joey Deacon on their show in the 1980s — in order to raise awareness amongst children that there was so much more to so-called disabled people than their outward physical appearance. That SO didn’t happen.

The very next day, if I remember correctly, almost every boy in every playground the length and breadth of every United Kingdom started to pick on the weaker, slightly smelly kid in the class in exactly the same manner: by pointing at the afore-mentioned weaker kid, placing their tongue in front of their teeth, smacking their wrists, and honking like geese while shouting “Joey!!”

Sorry, did I say “the very next day”? What I meant to write was “for the following twenty years…”!!

That was my genuine fear while I watched Pete — the second housemate to enter the house — burst into the BB house like a whirlwind. Bonnie (pronounced ‘Bonn-uh’) even asked him what he was on. As if BB would have allowed someone to get off their face on narcotics before entering the house!!

Big Brother: Twenty minutes until you go live on air.
Contestant: Okay, thanks for that. I’ve just got another line of crushed up Dequacaine lozenges to snort, and another jar of herion to ingest!
Big Brother: Okay dokey. You enjoy…!

It’s clearly not going to happen.

Contestant #1: How was your journey to The House in the limo?
Contestant #2: Limo?! I arrived in a spaceship from Planet Crack, pulled by giant orange giraffes…

But it seems clear to me that that is not going to happen: Pete isn’t going to be victimized and made a mockery of. (Comparisons to R2-D2 and Keyop from Battle of the Planets aside!) It is rather affirming just how many people, when interviewed, say how much they love Pete. How much of it is his nature, and how much of it is to do with his response to his condition, I don’t know. But it’s good to see that as a nation we’ve grown up a bit in the last twenty years or so, and a bit more accepting of people who are … whispers a bit different.

Besides, Russell Brand on Big Brother’s Big Mouth is arguably more bizarre and left-field that any of the housemates could ever be. And long may that remain.

Progress on the book

Photograph of my desk
A nice clear desk, set up for writing about Mahjong, with a library of Mahjong books to my left, and the two monitors: book text on the left screen, update log on the right screen.

This morning I made good progress on the edits for the Teach Yourself Mahjong book that I’m revising. I hate doing things in bits and pieces — 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there — so it was good to have a good few hours run with the edits. At the moment it looks like I’ll have around 55 revisions, which includes writing two new chapters.

Rather frustratingly, we’re off to Edinburgh again now. Since starting my job I’ve not spent a single weekend in Cellardyke: there has always been something to attend in Edinburgh. I’m quite exhausted, to be honest, and physically quite weary from all the travelling.

However, since it’s for Jane’s birthday party with family and friends it will be great fun. My sister Jenni and her son Benjamin will be coming up for it too, which is great. I’d better go, there are roadworks on the Forth Bridge this weekend … joy!!