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Rust never sleeps! Featuring Mr P's battle with the forces of nature, financing an evergrowing vintage guitar collection, and adventures with Dexter, our errant jack russell.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Eek! Where did the Summer go? Aint I been a busy chap! Figgy has been well, but needs a clean. I seem to spend my whole time wrapping stuff, whilst Dexter runs off with the packing tape. Bo is in LA, so I guess lots of stories to hear about when she returns.

She sent details of a radio show hosted by Steve Jones of the Pistols. To listen to Jonesy
go to: http://www.indie1031.fm/listenlive.html

I have been trying to do a Spring clean, which started back in March of this year and still have not scaled the dizzy heights of the attic - I should be finished by Christmas. I will make an attempt never to hoard anything ever again. Guitars are easy to see (and hear) but I have boxes of ephemera and junk, awaiting sorting.
I will return!

Sad news, the death of Johnny Ramone, last week and today I learned that Brian Clough has passed away.
I loved the way Johnny played his Mosrite, slung so low, his arms actually grew another ten inches to accommodate the length of his guitar strap. For reasons best left unsaid, I played 'Poison Heart' in his memory even though I don't think Johnny played on the number.

I like Brian Clough for being so 'Brian Clough'! You may not have agreed with his views, but his record speaks for itself. He is sure to arouse polemic feelings and will be the topic of fierce debate in every pub this Tuesday / Saturday - prior to the game.

He sure knew how to deal with a pitch invasion!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Bo compiled a lovely operating manual for the Figgy - which although in Japanese text - has super illustrations. She made a colour cover with a plastic sleeve and had it bound. It's a work of art! What I need to do is work on an English version - as if I ain't got enough projects to finish!

The next task is to replace the speakers in the door, this means I might as well fit the central locking devices at the same time. I'm not moaning, but the last car had everything - including the electric powered kitchen sink. We seem to get lazy, even when it comes to opening a car door. Apparently the speakers deteriorate to such a poor state, that replacement is the only option. There's a lot of helpful advice on the AutoSupply forum website, with comments and tips regarding fitting.

Due to the speaker shape and size, a spacer is required for aftermarket replacements. This has to be constructed from appropriate material. I shall enjoy making these and perhaps ask a colleague to fabricate a batch for sale to other Figgy owners. The guy in question - Pat Daw - is a talented designer and constructor, (he fabricated all my designs for the Mud Dock Cycleworks). Pat works in a wide range of materials, so perhaps something exotic - shame as they will never be seen!

Came home today to find Dexter had mooched about and found his doggy toothpaste - he then settled down to the lunchtime Archers and devoured the tube. You don't get that happening everyday in Ambridge! Also, Dexter's photograph has found fame in a couple of Tokyo Guitar shops as "The Dog with Les Paul". He has no agent as yet and remains unsigned - but the pooch has talent and will go far.

No guitars this week, as I have to reluctantly purchase a new mobile phone. I've had mine for three or four years now and it has nearly given up the ghost. I complained bitterly to a Nokia salesmen, only to be informed that this model is no longer available (and no doubt - not trendy). Just another example of today's endless throwaway consumer culture. Advertising types call it 'product evolution'...... which is ad-talk for built-in obsolescence.

But nothing could stop me and my quest for consumer goods, so I splashed out on some new tools including a rather spiffy solder sucker. Also thanks to Eltham Jones (Sound Control repairman) for a lovely new multimeter. As I remarked to Bo - we live in exciting times!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

On removing the front seats and noticing the surface rust, I reached for the wire wool. The rust had started to form on the bottom of the brackets. So this was dealt with and the brackets resprayed using smooth finish Black Hammerite spray. The central console was removed and cleaned along with the gear knob, drinks holder and ashtray. the ashtray was rusted and filthy so I took it apart and soaked the rusted parts in Jenolite. Dismantling the ashtray took 5 minutes - reassembly took much longer due to the fiddly nature of the springs (which hold the lid securely), this is a labour of love, so be warned!

Every thing was cleaned, oiled and polished before carefully reinstalling. The carpet was cleaned and then left to dry before refitting. At some point in mid summer the underside of the chassis will be steam cleaned and recoated to prevent rust from taking hold. Next job, is to replace the worn out speakers with new units.

Tom sent us a fun link for the perfect picnic to pack in the car . And what does one eat when day tripping in a Figaro? Why Hello Kitty Bento of course! The Japanese have delightful boxed lunches called Bento. These usually consist of some type of rice and sushi creation, lovingly prepared and crafted - and super yummy!

Everybody is now familiar with the art of Sushi, so could Bento boxes soon be swinging from every trendy Wendy, on their way to work? Just as Lunch boxes were big in 1950's American suburbs, Bento boxes are huge in Japan, (the Japanese receptacle is smaller and much neater) some being giving on birthday's as Omiyage, (presents). My favorite must be an aluminium oval shaped box featuring Sho and Chuu Totoro, from the Studio Ghibli classic "My Neighbor Totoro", by the great Hayao Miyazaki.

Finally received the other Yamaha SG yesterday, after a two and a half hour telephone conversation with Parcel Force. It took three days to cross the Atlantic and a month sitting at a sorting depot. After numerous telephone calls in the style of Victor Meldrew, I managed to locate a line manager and 'requested' immediate delivery, this 'request' was done in the style of Margot Leadbetter! The guitar arrived one hour later!

Happy Birthday Orynthia
Nice to see Orynthia and friends on Sunday. Nice to speak, (to Tom) of Bristol City's vital 1-0 win at home v QPR. And good to see last Saturday's goal provider Scott Murray scampering up the wing to place the ball at the feet of Christian Roberts, who slipping his marker - found the net. Poor Ian Holloway, could only hum 'Good night Irene'! As I enjoyed watching the goal, I remarked to Bo that I was even faster, than the Scotsman Murray - in my heyday.
She replied that now I'm more like Brian Glover, in the film Kes.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Work so far on the Figaro involved removing rusty engine parts and hose brackets, including a rather sad battery tray and it's components. After the rust was killed, all parts were sealed and resprayed prior to fitting. Next, came solving the problem of water pooling in the wheel well of the boot. Figgy's are soft top convertable's, (the roof folds back into the boot). In time, the sides of the concertina type roof shrink, allowing water to penetrate the seals and leak into the boot area.

Due to the design of the body shell, water can also penetrate under the carpet. So after removing the seats, (and more rust removal and respraying) all traces of interior rust were dealt with and the floor pan liberally coated with WD40. On removing the central console, I discovered a brand new Figgy part still in it's original package! Oh the joys of motoring!

The rear wheel arches are beginning to rot in two places. This needs attention before more damage occurs, so taking a drill with a wire brush attachment, the problem area's were dealt with, chasing back the rusty areas to good bare metal. After coating the rear wing interior with Waxoil, I decided to take the car to a body shop. It was decided, that car filler is not satisfactory and the best solution would be to weld a piece of metal (into the arch) and respray. I'm waiting on the paint to be matched - so more exciting body repair news to follow!

Last Sunday, we visited our friends, Paul and Eve, who have just moved to Dursley. It was our first real outing for the Figgy. All went well - except for the in-car CD player - which enjoys doing a musical impression of that versatile funny man, Norman Collier (a 17th century English comedian, reknowned for his uncanny ability to produce eggs live onstage, as part of his act).

Caught Dexter the dog hanging from the letterbox this morning with today's teeth marked correspondence, strewn around him. This happens if we don't employ the medieval drawbridge and portcullis, fitted to prevent the little terror from shredding the mail.

Regarding guitars, one of the Yamaha SG2000 guitar's arrived today, from the USA. An ultra rare Left-handed model with a beautiful Tobacco Sunburst finish. Plays like a dream - well it would if I could stop the dog from howling! This is probably, the most important Japanese electric guitar ever made. Endorsed by Carlos Santana, and used by many UK players in the mid-70's, notably Bill Nelson, John McGeoch and the late Stuart Adamson.

A much better guitar than a comparable Gibson Les Paul of the same era (in my opinion). These models are a joy to play. Surely one of the most underated electric guitars of all time!

Also thanks to Tom, (tomory's world) for the sad news of the demise of guitarist John McGeoch. NME Page on John McGeoch. Although he is best remembered for his work with the Banshees, I loved his sound on the Magazine album 'Real Life'. What is it about Scottish guitar players, SG2000's and an untimely death?


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Figaro Car
Manufactured in Japan by the Nissan Car company, a total production run of 20,000 were offered for sale. The idea being, you contacted Nissan and put your name down to apply for one. Demand outstripped supply, so the company decided to make three productions runs over a period of two years.
I first came across the car, whilst visiting Tokyo and instantly fell in love with it. It is part of a small family, the other members being the Pao hatchback and the bonkers SCargo delivery wagon! The first Figgy's started turning up in the UK some time ago.
Some were sold by enthusiasts, others by dodgy car importers who would put poor Arthur Daley to shame. I spotted this Figgy around Christmas of 2002, (whilst on my way home) got chatting to the couple who owned the car and asked, if they ever considered selling it, give me a call. Bo, (my partner) has always wanted one, so a year on, we get a call, asking if we are still interested. One week later - Figgy is nestled in BS3!
I must admit - we got it for a song. There are a few repairs to keep my spanners and wrenches busy, but nothing anybody with a little automotive knowledge and common sense can't fix. Spares seem in supply - but at a price, so the mantra is ' Auto pleasure through economy'. If those inventive auto-mechanics of Havana can keep those 50's gas-guzzling iron dinosaurs from Detroit running, (whilst the US Congress, continues a trade embargo) I'm sure I can keep this little car running sweetly.
There are lots of help in the form of websites and forums, etc. One of the best, being Jack Walshe's Figaro owners site at www.iobjects.co.uk/figaro. Being a complete novice, I've found his help and advice invaluable. Bo printed out a manual which is also very useful, albeit in Japanese! Work has commenced with enthusiasm and gusto, whether it continues - remains to be seen.

Dexter the dog is in fine fettle. His latest trick is to sneak into the bed, whilst we slumber and make his way up, under the duvet and place his head on the pillow. I awake blurry eyed, in the morning, wondering why Bo has such a cold nose!
Top of this months 'Dexter's Dog-toys' are the humble Tennis ball with the pink Gilbert, (don't ask) running a close second. His favorite television viewing seems to be the BBC's drama 'Gunpowder, treason & plot' although the More Than insurance advertisement featuring Lucky the Dog always gets a rapturous reaction.
Bo recently acquired an Aibo, the robot dog from Sony. It's just as nutty as Dexter, but a bit more vexing. Both creatures seem to tolerate each other with Dexter happily bonding with his new artificial chum, but he will keep pinching the poor robot's training ball and hiding it.

On the Guitar front, the 'window shop' or website is nowhere near completion, (cos I keep changing the design!). Everything is in place, but indecisiveness rules the day. I'm awaiting a couple of old Yamaha SG2000's, from the US. A superb, (if forgotten) guitar made in the mid 70's. I first heard one, watching Magazine at the Colston Hall. I recall John McGeoch used one. I still remember being in awe of the sound on hearing the opening guitar lick from 'The light pours out of me'.

Helped source some guitars for the band Franz Ferdinand. They also used them in a promo, presently in post production. Got a call from Steve, (who describes himself as the Steptoe of the music trade). 'C'mon over for a chat,' says he. On arrival, a guitar case was pushed into my arms. It contained a mint National Glenwood - made of 'Res-O-Glas' and shaped like a stylised shape of the United States. Nice to see an pristine example in White, the most popular colour being red. It came from the Late John Entwistle's collection...........which was nice.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Hi,
And as Jim Reeves said "Welcome to my world!". Unaccustomed as I am, (to public blogging) I will try and introduce you to the delights of maintaining an imported Japanese car, the wacky world of vintage guitars and amplifiers, much to the despair of Bo, (my partner) and the thought processes and needs of Dexter - a two year old Jack Russell terrier.

The main topic of the site, revolves around the maintenance of an old Japanese sports car.
The car in question, (a 1991 Nissan Figaro) although in nice condition, has a few cosmetic issues which with any old car - need to be resolved.

I also have a passion for old electric guitars, amplifiers and associated ephemera. At present, this "hobby" has consumed much of my time and sanity - something my analist and I, both agree on!
Here, you will meet Guitar shop owners, Brian and his concerns about Internet dial up speeds and Steve who enjoys the forgotten art of wrestling Fender Twin amplifiers. No names will be changed to protect the innocent!




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