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Out of Tune

Well what a fantastic week I've had. For one thing I've learned to sing.

Bet that surprised you and you're probably thinking, “What's Paul up to now? Is he trying to catch fish by singing to them?”

And it sort of surprises me too; I'm not really much of the singing type, I mean I've never spontaneously burst into song before. My sister does. She often enters a room and announces the fact by singing a line of some song or other, and then looks you straight to see if your impressed. If you're not used to this sort of thing it can catch you off-guard and you may forget to mention that you might have just heard an angel, despite hearing anything but. But that's not why I've learned to sing (notice how I say “learned to sing”, past tense, like it happened all at once, which it didn't of course; it took an evening); I'm not likely to burst into any room and start the conversation off with a few lines of song. Only crazy people do that (Charlotte).

You see I've been learning to play bad guitar, and I'm quite good at it. Ever since Mike Connor taught me “My Dog Has Flees”, which goes something like:

“My dog has flees,
my dog has flees,
my dog has flees…”
ad finitum, which is quite moving, for a while, and I've had a hankering to really get into it. I actually think it would be a wonderful thing to do, let's face it, the way I live, camping pretty much most of the time, it could turn any evening into an event.

But playing the guitar is not easy, even bad guitar, which is my speciality. And on its own sounds a bit flat, dull even. The same certainly can't be said about my singing. Incredibly I sing the really high notes, and so these are the ones I practice, I'm sure when you hear me – and you will by the way – it will bring a tear to your eye, like it has mine.

Of course getting the feeling for merging bad guitar with my personal singing voice is difficult to accomplish, and it's not suitable for any of the songs in the “Absolute Beginners Guitar Course”, so I've discovered. This is not surprising of course, since no one else has exactly my tone or guitar technique and so I can't be expected to sing someone else's songs from the heart. So what's really needed are songs of my own. Beautiful songs, moving songs, songs which reflect my life and experiences.

In short I'm going to sing songs about fish.

I'm already working on the first one: “My fish is bigger than your fish” which is bound to be a huge hit. And I'll quickly follow this up with, “I've got a six inch zonker waiting for you”, which may in fact make me famous. Especially with the ladies, who like that sort of thing.

I've been looking for a change of direction; contrary to what many people think, I do work – I'm a Flycaster, which is a difficult job, long hours, no overtime, no sympathy, and I even give lessons. And then there's Sexyloops which is another job in itself and one that may finally begin to turn over a profit. So I work very hard, I can tell you, but once I've released, “Smell my waders”, a punk song, I fully expect not to have to work again, or in fact be allowed to.

So what else have I been up to? Well I went night fishing with the Wakatipu Flyfishing club. I didn't sing to them – I wasn't a singer then – but even so, we did catch fish. I may in fact join this club and I've never joined any flyfishing club before, but the purpose of this one appears to be having fun and catching fish, both of which are noble things.

Enjoy the rest of the week,

Paul Arden (Flycaster and now, Singer)

Message to Sean: when you fly over to join me next month, be sure to bring some cymbals.

This week's Vortex has been brought to you from the back of the Red Herring...

about to launch into song

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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