Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Dick Clark, sometimes refered to as the World's Oldest Teenager, had a minor stroke this week, but expects to recover. He's 75. So thats how old he is. Having a stroke shows he doesn't have some Dorian Gray-esque picture hidden away. Clark is a survivor though. He was involved in the late '50s payola scandal that helped sink his fellow early rock and roll DJ/promoter Alan Freed, testifying before Congress in 1960 but never charged with any wrongdoing, and managed to ride out any damage the association might have caused to become a major figure in US tv production. His Wikipedia entry provides more detail on his career.

I was doing my weekly "bug the guys at HEL and Long and McQuade" routine today when I had an interesting surprise. Hutterites in a musical instrument store! Hutterites are a conservative German Protestant sect who immigrated to Western Canada to avoid religious persecution in Europe for their pacifist and communalist beliefs. They live in large communal groups, refered to as colonies, and live via farming their communally owned land. With the dark jackets, pants, and hats of the men, and old fashioned skirts and head coverings for the women some folks unfamiliar with them might be reminded of the Amish. Hutterites however do not eschew modern technology in the fashion of the Amish. Hutterites use electricity, motor vehicles, and modern farming methods while living an austere personal lifestyle.

But things are obviously changing, at least in this part of Western Canada. You see them in Saskatoon far more frequently than you would 20 years ago, and in a far wider range of places. Presumably this "liberalisation" has something to do with the fact that they don't largely shun the modern world. It must be harder and harder to justify many limits on personal lifestyles when other elements of modern life are used. A 2 way radio in a tractor presumably makes it harder to claim a personal radio for personal enjoyment is wrong. And like other such movements, such as the Amish, some young Hutterites decide that they aren't willing to accept their traditional lifestyle anymore and leave their home colony to join the mainstream of society.

And speaking of my visit to HEL I had a pleasant time trying out several models of Parker Guitars from their Korean made line, albeit acoustically. I played a PM10,, a PM20, a P36, and a couple of P42s. They were all interesting guitars to play, but of them the P36 was the one I liked the most. Parker's attempt to produce a Fender Telecaster style guitar the example in question had a neck that really appealed to me, being very comfortable and fast to play. I think it won soundwise just a little bit over the others, although there was some minor fretbuzz on the B and high E strings on the lower frets, although it probably would go away with a bit of tweaking and wouldn't likely be noticeable in any case thru an amp. The weight of these Parkers appeals to me, as I tend to find I like a lighter guitar for comfort reasons. The body shapes of course aren't for everyone but I don't mind them.

Living in a city the size of Saskatoon is good if you're a guitarist. Not only are there several musical instrument stores, there are also a wide array of instruments to try, and often several examples of each one. Of course one disadvantage these days is the sheer range of instruments available. Even the low end stuff, made in such places as China, Indonesia, and even Canada, is quite playable, especially compared to the cheapies of previous eras which wer a lot more hit and miss. So a potential buyer is likely to find something he or she likes, but may face option anxiety trying to decide which of several suitable instruments is worth buying.

No comments: