Face the music (or not)

Not long back, I had a break of several weeks from playing the guitar. I don’t get that much time to devote to practise anyway. Really just a few minutes at the end of the day at the moment.

I’d been butting heads with a couple of tricky pieces (for me anyway) and so decided to park it for a bit and do something else. Watch films, clean the car, load some ammo, God forbid, even just sleep. Anything but go over and over the same troublesome musical phrases.

After my break, I’d been quite concerned that what I’d learned would have evaporated or that I’d have to backtrack several months in order to catch up.

Weirdly, I found the opposite to be true. I went back fresh into what I’d been learning and, instead of getting to those knotty bits in the music and falling over, I found that they pretty much just trotted out as though I’d been doing them for decades.

This is apparently something well known to musicians. Not just retained muscle memory, but an entirely different function of the human brain; it seems to go on working on problems in the background.

I guess that’s why it’s often better to sleep on a difficult decision or other issue that you can’t resolve by stressing about it and getting nowhere.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that I did sod all practice and then woke up one morning and found I had the hands of David Russell, but it was an important lesson that sometimes you’re just meant to leave something be and allow it to percolate.

After all, music is meant to be fun isn’t it?



October bullet order arrives

Well, they’re here folks. Everyone’s bullets (and other bits of equipment) arrived safely yesterday. I’ll be sending it all out on Monday/Tuesday by ParcelForce.

A new list has been opened right away and we’re taking orders for that now. Why not mail: jon@jdruns.com and see what we can do to keep you shooting?

We can get most things reloading: bullets, brass, tools, dies, gunsmithing kit and cleaning supplies. Just send us a message for a quote.

The Siege of Jadotville (Netflix)

I’d had this film on my watchlist for quite some time. When I finally got round to seeing it, I wondered why I had waited so long. It is, quite simply, excellent.

I think part of me was expecting it to be depressing because it had “siege” in the title and sieges don’t often end well. What transpired on screen though was a fascinating tale which, had it not been based on true events, would have had me shaking my head in cynical disbelief.

“The Siege of Jadotville” is the story of 155 men from the Irish Army ONUC who served as peacekeepers in the 1961 Katanga conflict. These are the real guys:

Netflix pours a ton of money into making original series and films. They, and others like them, have ramped up the quantity of available viewing material to saturation point, so it’s essential to pick and choose a bit or you’d never be away from the telly.

This film told the story which really should have come to light much sooner. The Irish Army unit concerned did not go home as heroes and were vilified as cowards upon their return from the Congo because of a lack of transparency or any kind of support by the politicians who sent them over there in the first place.

In 1961, the United Nations sent what was meant to be a body of peacekeepers into what turned out to be a far more dangerous situation than they had predicted. The Congolese had, in the past, welcomed the Irish Army to act on behalf of the UN because they were regarded as entirely impartial and thus ideally suited for the job.

Unfortunately, on this occasion the Irish soldiers, led by Commondant Pat Quinlan, were sent to a less than ideally situated barracks, right in the firing line of several thousand French mercenaries hired by vested interests in the country.

I won’t say any more about the plot, but if you like military adventure stories or true-event drama than do watch it. It’s an amazing tale.