Five Things #134

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. One of my goals for the year has been to read more and so far so good! 15 days in and I've finished reading my second book. The Courage To Be Disliked is a short book that explores the psychology of Alfred Alder through conversations between a philosopher and a youth. A lot of Alder's theories are a little counter intuitive but the conversation format used in the book made them easy to comprehend. It's one of those books that I wish my 16 year old self could have read!

  2. Talking of new year's goals, if you have any habits (good or bad!) that you want to keep track of, check out Tally: The Anything Tracker. I've been using it to track various habits that I want to enforce, as well as how much coffee I've been consuming and have found it very motivating. The app is well designed and looks great which is a nice bonus too.

  3. If you're willing to tolerate "strong bloody violence", I recommend you add Narcos Mexico to your watch list on Netflix. As per the original Narcos series it's very good! Can't wait for series 2.

  4. "When starlings flock together, wheeling and darting through the sky in tight, fluid formations, we call it a murmuration" - This is a really beautiful collection of photos.

  5. Without doubt our brains are amazing things. Which makes it all the more enjoyable when we catch them making mistakes. Read this tweet and watch the video... Be warned, the tweet definitely contains a rude word and depending on your interpretation the video might do too.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #133

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. I had a good chuckle watching this. Poor lady!

  2. "To be in the top 1% takes a combination of luck and magical talent. But to be in the top 5%, one in twenty, is mostly about choices." — Food for thought for the new year!

  3. "We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun." — I really love this quote from Stephen Fry. Austin Kleon expands on it in this piece.

  4. I just finished reading Moneyland by Oliver Bullough. An eye-opening read about how the super-rich hide their money to wield power and avoid taxes. What a world we live in! I highly recommend you read it.

  5. John Malkovich is a special type of human.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #132

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. A follow up piece on a story I shared in a previous Five Things on Jered Threatin, the wannabe Rock Star who tried to trick his way to stardom. I really, really hope all the attention he's gotten from this doesn't work out in his favour.

  2. Another fantastic episode of the Reply All podcast. Starring a small town in Wisconsin, a local politician who's well out of his depth and a massive corporation looking for somewhere to put a massive factory. Everything you need for a great story... apparently!

  3. Are you an ethical consumer? I've been thinking about this a fair bit recently, and I'm not sure I can answer that with a solid "yes". As a user of Amazon Prime I've developed the terrible habit of every now and then ordering a thing, then an hour or so later ordering another thing that I've realised I need and then the next day ordering another thing, all with next day delivery. I hadn't stopped to think of what has to happen in the background to fulfil these disjointed mini shopping sprees. Something to improve upon in 2019. — Yes, You Can Be an Ethical Tech Consumer. Here’s How.

  4. Was 536 AD the worst year to be alive? It doesn't sound great: “A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night — for 18 months. […] Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved.”

  5. 🎧 Sigur Rós have added another hour of ambient music to their Liminal mixtape.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

PS. I’m going to be taking the next couple of weeks off. Five Things will return on the 8th January 2019. Have a great Christmas and see you in 2019!

Five Things #131

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. According to Spotify's end of year stats, in 2018 I listened to 33,152 minutes of music, 75% of which was "non-mainstream" (compared to the average listener) and my most played artists were: Nils Frahm, Poppy Ackroyd, Radiohead, Metric and Ólafur Arnalds. Here are my most played 100 songs from the last year, be warned it's not the most musically cohesive playlist! If you're a Spotify user you can check out your end of year stats at spotifywrapped.com.

  2. A fascinating piece with a great title: A Yacht, a Monet, a See-Through Piano: The U.S. Collects on a Fugitive’s Shopping Spree

  3. How the hyperlink changed everything — I really like TED's Small Thing Big Idea series that this video is a part of.

  4. Advice everyone should follow: If you have work to do, hide your phone!

  5. 🎧 Jean-Michel Blais' album II (Deluxe) has been getting a lot of play at Farley HQ in the last week. It's a beautiful album. If you only have time to listen to one track, I'd recommend Nostos.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #130

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. This charming little video might change how you think about small talk.

  2. A great insight into Malika Favre's creative process and how show approaches her illustration projects. If you enjoy the video definitely check out her Instagram.

  3. A really interesting piece on how social media (primarily Instagram) is influencing architecture. It's a little sad to think of everything as just another backdrop to a selfie but if it gets people more interested in the world around them maybe it's a good thing? — "Could our obsession with capturing and sharing also represent an opportunity for innovation? Shouldn’t architects be welcoming a platform that encourages people to look more closely at their surroundings?"

  4. “Few exercises help clarify your thoughts better than writing” — I totally agree with this quote, and everything else in this piece on the benefits of Selfish Writing.

  5. I'm 100% in favour of phone free concerts.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Gift Ideas For Drummers (2018 Edition)
drum-practice-by-ross-farley.JPG

If you have a drummer in the family and you’re in need of a little inspiration as what to get them for Christmas or their birthday then this post is for you!

This is an updated version of last year’s Christmas gift ideas post. Most of the recommendations are the same, but I’ve made a couple of tweaks and added some new suggestions.

I haven’t included any drum kit or cymbal recommendations. If you’re planning on buying any of these big ticket items I’d recommend visiting your local drum shop. You’ll get a far better idea of what you get for your money in a drum store vs buying online. The staff at most drum shops are drummers themselves so will be well placed to give you solid advise based on experience. A big shout out to Soundattak in Colchester, my drum shop of choice!

So here it is, my drumming gift guide for 2018…

  • Evans RealFeel Practice Pad
    The 12 inch pad is my personal favourite as it fits on a standard snare drum stand (if they have a drum kit, they'll have one of these already). If you think they might prefer something a little more portable the 6 inch variation is a good shout.

  • Evans RealFeel Folding Bass Pedal Practice Pad
    If they already have a practice pad, they might like Evans' Folding Bass Pedal Practice Pad for working out the feet. They'll need their own bass drum pedal to go with this, but if they have a drum kit they'll already have one of those. This pad makes working on foot technique easy for those times when practicing on a real kit isn't possible.

  • ACS Pacato Hearing Protectors
    Musicians are notoriously bad at looking after their ears, with many forgetting that they only get one set which will have to last them a lifetime! With that in mind, and though not the most exciting gift, a pair of earplugs that are designed for musicians make the perfect stocking filler. Also a gentle reminder that they should protect their hearing!

  • ACS Custom Moulds
    Hearing protection but for the more serious musician! ACS Custom Moulds are (as the name suggests) moulded to the ears, providing far better protection whilst preserving the quality of sound. I use ACS PRO20s, which are excellent.

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Studio Monitor Professional Headphones
    The Audio-Techica MX50 headphones are a little on the expensive side but well worth the price tag if you ask me! I use these when practicing on my electric kit or playing to music on my acoustic kit. They're versatile headphones and the sound quality is excellent.

  • Vic Firth Drumsticks
    Every drummer has his or her favourite type and brand of drumstick. If they've been playing for a while, this might be a tricky one. A safe bet are Vic Firth 5A American Hickory Wood Tips, these are super versatile and even if they're not their preferred stick, they'd be a useful addition to their stick bag. Personally, I use Vic Firth 55A American Hickory Wood Tips. These are very similar to the 5As, but a tad thicker. I'm surprised more drummers haven't tried them as they are great drumsticks!

  • Vic Firth Brushes
    A set of a brushes is a must have for any drummer and the Vic Firth Steve Gadd Signature Wire Brush are a great choice. If they're good enough for Steve Gadd, they're good enough for anyone! Brushes are primarily used in jazz but also great for playing quieter songs and gigs.

  • Meinl MSB1 Stick Bag
    I'm always surprised by how many drummers don't have a stick bag! Save them from a lifetime of misery (and looking thoroughly unprofessional!) as they endlessly search through their rucksack for the right drumstick or their earplugs and grab them a quality stick bag.

  • Dixon Speed Wrench Drum Key
    Most drummers will already have a standard drum key... or like me, hundreds of them scattered between various jacket pockets and backpacks. But I doubt many have one of these Speed Wrench Drum Keys. They'll be thanking you the next time they need to change a drum skin!

  • Drum Books
    I'm a firm believer that you can never have too many books. This is as true for drummers as it is for normal humans! I've already written a post on this so won't repeat them all here, but here are a handful of favourites. Jost Nickel's Groove Book and Fill Book are both fantastic, some of the ideas are a little advanced so this isn't really suitable for beginners. Stick Control is a must have for all drummers of all abilities, it's a classic. Benny Greb’s The Language Of Drumming is a great all rounder for all abilities. Mark Guiliana’s Exploring Your Creativity On The Drumset is another more advanced book, but a great choice for drummers looking for ways to push their drumming to the next level.

  • Drum DVDS
    Benny Greb's The Art and Science of GROOVE is hands down the best educational drumming DVD. Benny is a master educator and drummer. I doubt it's even possible to make a better educational drumming DVD. For the more advanced drummer, Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons For The Modern Drummer Part 1 and Part 2 are also very good.

  • Sonos One Voice Controller Smart Speaker
    This is a more general recommendation for any music lover not just for drummers. I absolutely love my Sonos One speakers, so much so that I now have three of them dotted around my home. The sound quality is fantastic and I love having the option of having the same music playing throughout the house or in just one room. Sonos Ones are more on the expensive side so if you don’t think they’ll care about the “smart” functionality, the Sonos Play:1 speakers are also very good and a little bit cheaper.

If you have questions about any of my suggestions, let me know in the comments or drop me an email. If you're a drummer and have your own suggestions, please do the same!

Five Things #129
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Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. I'm only 30 minutes into this but Tim Ferriss' podcast with the drummer Dave Elitch is really good. If you're learning any instrument you'll get a lot out of the first 30 minutes at the very least. I'm sure the remaining 1 hour and 40 minutes will be just as good.

  2. If you like board games check out Ravine. I played it for the first time yesterday and it's a lot of fun. It'll be a fun game to get in time for Christmas. Here's the trailer.

  3. Prepare to have your mind blown: The Shepard's table illusion.

  4. Two videos exploring writing and mixing music on an iPad Pro. I'm really hoping Logic Pro will come to iPad in some form soon. Please Apple, please!

  5. Do you need to work long hours to get a lot done? Charles Darwin didn't think so!

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #128

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. A interesting video exploring how much music is worth.

  2. If you use Instagram you're probably familiar with the term Influencer. Influencers are people with large followings that make a living touting various products to their fans for very large sums of money. Often without revealing their endorsements have been paid for. What a sleazy business.

  3. A great headline: Scientists unravel secret of cube-shaped wombat faeces and an even better opening paragraph: “Of all the many mysteries that surround the common wombat, it is hard to find one as baffling as its ability – broadly acknowledged as unique in the natural world – to produce faeces shaped like cubes.”

  4. I don't think I really appreciated the genius of the London Tube Map. Fascinating video.

  5. An amazing collection of images: Earth’s Wonders Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.