i cannot deny that frustration has become my middle name over the past few days, none of which can be attributed to cycling. at all. in any way whatsoever. this exasperation is entirely down to the larger of my two drumsets, the tuning of which is driving me nuts. part of the problem is, of course, and one that will be recognised by almost any drummer out there, that i need/want the drums to sound exactly the way they sound in my head (if you catch my drift). and part of that is conditioned by that which i hear on records and youtube videos. therein lies the essence of the problem. for the sound of recorded drums has been filtered through a set of probably very expensive microphones before having the original signal modified in oh so many ways as it travels through an equally expensive mixing desk.
meantime i'm sat in the upstairs spare bedroom with a drum key altering drum head after drum head in apparently all the wrong ways. a bicycle that refuses to shift into the big ring is childsplay by comparison.
however, in the search for someone else's solution to the problem (isn't that what everyone does?), i came across a video of steve smith playing a rather smart looking sonor vintage set atop what appears to be a pile of storage bins in the middle of some industrial building. there's no doubt that the microphones surrounding said kit cost a lot more than i get for pocket money, but both the drum sound and the playing are close to exceptional. so much so, that i must have made serious inroads to the viewing figures listed under the video. similarly, there is one of steve gadd (all good drummers are called either steve or bill) on a relatively new yamaha set surrounded by even more expensive microphones which, once again, is addictive to watch.
even if i were to separate the act of drum tuning from the joy of watching both these videos, it would still be an exercise worth repeating, despite both gents' playing never diminishing on each replay. i must assume that aurum press must have been experiencing similar emotions when preparing this latest publication from author giles belbin. beautifully and colourfully illustrated by daniel seex, around the world in 80 days does exactly what it says on the cover, providing 80 brief snippets from cycling's history that could conceivably be read at the start or end of each day.
i'd imagine that was the very premise on which the book was published.
you see, only a matter of a couple of years ago, in 2015, aurum press published a book by the selfsame author and illustrator entitled a year in the saddle: 365 stories from the world of cycle sport. and as far as i can see, every one of the stories in 80 days has been lifted from a year in the saddle. and try as i might, other than the copyright notice referring to 2015, i can find nothing in the latest book that states or implies that this is the case.
of course, this in no way diminishes the validity of the contents, illustrations or text, but if you've already purchased a year in the saddle, you need not bother with this more recent edition.
the book begins with an ending, a chapter entitled, 'the death of fausto coppi' and proceeds to entertain with chapters such as 'maurice garin is born', 'first paris-nice gets underway', 'louison bobet dies', 'fiftieth edition of paris-roubaix' and even 'brits conquer the first bordeaux-paris. the accompanying illustrations by daniel seex are worth a book all of their own (though since this is their second outing in print, i do hope aurum press don't take me at my word), combining a strong sense of graphic design with acute observation of many of cycling's principal stories.
if this would be your first approach, at £12.99, it is a worthwhile purchase, one that ought to retain your interest for more than just a year or so. otherwise, these are not the stories you're looking for; move along now...
if you'd like to see and read what it's all about, aurum have kindly presented me with two copies to give away. let me know (email@example.com) on what day fausto coppi died and the senders of the first chosen correct answers will each win a copy. remember please to send a postal address.
tuesday 28 february 2017..........................................................................................................................................................................................................