soundCHECK 332 – January 28th 2016

Remember what you were doing back in July 2009? I was writing my first soundCHECK column. Alas, the time has come to let fall the final curtain. To embalm the body and bury it with trinkets. To fling old father soundCHECK on the smouldering scrapheap pyre. No more, dear reader. No more.

“The aim of this new column is to try and capture the happenings of North Devon’s aspiring bands, and to tell you where and when you can see them,” parped the sanctimonious, dewy-eyed opening gambit of column number one. You can decide whether or not soundCHECK’s mission was accomplished, but for me the journey has been even more enjoyable than when I drove to the supermarket at 31mph to procure some gluten-free aubergines for dinner while listening to Sail Away by Enya at an anti-social volume with the windows down. People on the street were looking in a way that suggested they wished they could be more like me.

Over the last six-and-a-half years I’ve submitted 332 columns; 332 affronts on the English language. That amounts to around 140,000 words, give or take. Or to put it another way The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkein. Or The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger followed by Philosopher’s Stone by popular novelist and local girl Katie Hopkins. That’s a lot of words and makes me want to do a panic attack ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD TYPEWRITING MACHINE.

British people are not much good at saying goodbye. Admit it. It makes you feel weird when someone bids farewell with too much confidence or too much emotion. So I won’t linger in the doorway. But I suppose I should say thank you to my readers. Both of them have been extremely patient over the years. Thank you to The Journal for giving me the opportunity and sticking with it. And most importantly thank you to all of the bands, musicians, artists and promoters that have made this such an easy and fun gig.

Our local music-makers provide a soundtrack to life; a much-needed creative outlet that emboldens the region, liberates us from the tyranny of the mundane and provides a blissful release for the occasions when life is about as fun as writing your own obituary. Go to local gigs. Support local bands. You will end up in heaven.

Please talk to anyone else but me. For real this time. jharper[at] | @testforpulse

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