Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The studio and the commander

I have mentioned before that Hazel and Peter are musicians. Peter is also a record producer and as he informed us last time we were there

"you don't need a great big orchestra and a recording studio to make music now, its all done on a computer"

With that in mind his plan was to build a small studio room in his house and continue his recording work in France. Well, the state of the housing market in the UK put paid to that and has put their extension on hold, so Peter decided to erect a temporary studio where the garden shed was. When we arrived building was at a frantic pace as some musicians were expected the following week and the 'studio' (still looking very like a garden shed) had no roof or soundproofing. Still, where there is a will there is a way and over the next few days the 'studio' was soundproofed with an old mattress and some polystyrene trays from Herman's herbs, the electrics were connected and we arrived while Peter was trying it out with another neighbour we call 'the commander'. The commander runs some nearby gites and in his previous life held a very important and responsible position in the transport industry (something that you are made aware of early on in your acquaintance). The commander also likes singing and I must admit I had imagined him doing some light classical songs, so I was a little taken aback to hear his renditions of John Denver and the like emanating from the 'studio'. (The trouble with a studio is that although the singer hears the backing track those outside don't, so what you hear is the bare vocal with all its imperfections!) Anyway, it seemed to work, apart from the fact that the studio had no air conditioning (and it was 36 degrees at this point) and still no roof, and you couldn't run the pump for the swimming pool at the same time as the recording equipment (so as it was like a sauna you could not stand more than 5 minutes in there at a time). After his 'session' the commander had a beer and lamented about the fact that his 16 year old son couldn't communicate with him any more.

The following day we were planting our trees on the land when Peter and the commander turned up in their cars, each containing some young lads, who were obviously musicians by their indie and underfed look. (In fact, they looked just like most of the students on the arts courses at work!) The lads were pleasant and polite, and looked a little bemused (but then they had spent an evening with the commander after driving 10 hours from Calais). I imagine they were struggling to cope with the reality of the situation! They were promised a recording studio in France, with its own pool and what they got was a shed with no air conditioning, and the company of a John Denver impersonator. I bet it was never like that for Sting!

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