Passed my LGV theory test

Yay! That’s another hurdle surmounted in my quest to get my LGV (formerly HGV) licence. I passed my LGV theory test today.

The theory test is in two parts: the first part is a multiple choice test of 35 questions. I got one question wrong (same as my motorcycle test when I did that three years ago); the second part of the test is one I’d never done before – the hazard awareness test. When I sat my car test in 1989 there was no theory test and when I did my motorcycle theory test three years ago there was no hazard perception component part to the theory test.

The hazard perception test comprises 14 video clips, each of which portrays various developing hazards in a driving situation. These developing hazards must be identified in order to score points; the earlier a hazard is identified, the higher the score – up to a maximum five points per clip. I managed to score 66/75 in this part of the test, so it all went pretty well.

Next is the practical stuff. Got to sort out some lessons somewhere locally.

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Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday today. There are now approximately 20 living British veterans of that conflict and it makes you realise how quickly time goes by. In twenty years time the number of World War 2 veterans will be dwindling as sharply, and that is a strange thought for the members of my generation, who grew up with grandparents (or in my case my father) who had fought in World War 2 – all that first-hand knowledge of the true horror of total war will be forgotten, and I say that not as a pacifist (for I am not a pacifist), but as someone who feels that war is sometimes a necessary evil.

I accept that the whole of World War I was a completely futile exercise in murdering a whole generation of young men – an absolute travesty and a tragic blot on human evolution, caused by a string of 19th century dodgy alliances, nationalism and imperialism. Those who died in the Great War should not have perished for such pointless causes.

World War II, on the other hand was a necessary war, given the international community’s failure and the failure of the old Entente Cordiale nations to put a stop to the rise of Adolf Hitler. Had Hitler been dealt with in the early 1930s, when he started to flout the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, he may well have been a mere footnote in the history books. Unfortunately, only the United States, Great Britain and our allies seem to have learnt from this lesson. The United Nations seems determined to go the way of the League Of Nations.

To view World War II as a war that shouldn’t have been fought demeans the lives of all those soldiers and civilians who made the ultimate sacrifice to save us from tyranny. Whilst I respect a pacifist’s point of view on principle, I completely disagree with it. Pacifism only works when everyone is a pacifist, and such a viewpoint ignores the reality of human nature and is, consequently, wrong. I would dearly like to hear a pacifist’s view of how we should have dealt with Hitler.

Trip to Ashford and BAiT gig at the Jailhouse, Coventry

I attended a meeting regarding our new company website in Ashford, Kent today. I left home at 06:40 this morning to ensure that I arrived at Ashford for 10:00 and decided to go by motorbike, so that I could avoid any holdups on the motorway. In the event, I arrived at 09:30. The meeting lasted a couple of hours and than I headed back home. The journey was okay, but I did get a battering from the wind when I got to the M6 and the heavens opened for the last ten minutes of the journey. Fortunately, I was back in time to prepare for this evening’s gig at the Jailhouse, Coventry.

We (the band) arrived, as requested, at 17:30 in order to set up and sound check. In the event, the headline band failed to show up for a couple of hours, so we had to wait for them to arrive before we soundchecked. As the first band on, we soundchecked last and all the mixer settings were just right when we took to the stage. Again, we suffered from poor vocal monitor mixes, but at least we weren’t deafened on stage this time. The gig went well, despite a recurrence of guitar (and this time bass) technical issues. We really need to get the bottom of what’s causing these problems. All in all though, a good and fun gig, which made up for the gig we had at the Colosseum.

The second act on, Leni Ward, was a solo singer / multi-instrumentalist, who I thought was very good. We spoke for quite a while after we had both finished our sets and it sounds like she is really going to develop her act to incorporate piano, harp, backing tracks, and the like for her future gigs. I told her about the Jon Anderson gig I saw recently and how I was impressed with what he managed to do with a MIDI guitar, a keyboard, and some pedals. Look forward to seeing her again when she’s developed this aspect of her act.

A gig best forgotten

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Yesterday evening’s (or rather this morning’s) gig at the Colosseum, Coventry will definitely be best forgotten as soon as possible. What could go wrong went wrong.

We were supposed to be headlining the gig and were initally told to turn up at 20:00. Between the guy who booked us quitting his job and the new guy taking over, this changed to 18:00, with the consequence that the second band (from London) had set up and were having an extensive sound check by the time we arrived. We were told that we’d get a soundcheck later on, but this failed to materialise – it was already getting quite late (after midnight) by the time we got onto stage.

All this would’ve been fine, except that we had the monitor mix from hell on stage, with the upshot that we couldn’t hear a damn thing to pitch to – just a wall of noise. Poor Ash (the guy flying the sound desk) did his best to make the best out of a bad situation, but was doomed to failure without the full soundcheck. Our music contains rather extensive harmonies, and we really need to hear each other (or at least a pure note from an instrument) in order to be able to pitch correctly.

And then… during the fourth song (around then anyway) a string broke on Chris’ Variax guitar. No problem he thought, as he reached for his spare Variax, until it transpired that his spare one has developed a fault and simply wouldn’t play, so we had to stop the set mid-way through so that he could restring his guitar.

So, at this stage, we’re probably not singing in tune with each other, key harmonies are being missed out because we can’t hear well enough, and technical faults are starting to plague us. Whilst Chris restrung his guitar, I asked Ash to knock out all instruments in our monitor mix, which improved things very slightly for the last three or four songs.

I got home at 02:00 and by the time I’d had a shower, dried off and got into bed it was close to 03:00.

A gig best forgotten as quickly as possible.