Christmas has been and gone like a wraith slipping through your letterbox, emptying all your pockets and squirting lard down your throat while you sleep. Fat fucker. You quietly aid your demise by casually dissolving your liver and kidneys at periodic intervals throughout the over-long holiday season.

Gone are the days of festive child-like surprise and glee. The must-have-now society has put the boot into that notion long ago. Grabbing bastards.

“Save your pocket money”, “Wait until Christmas”. Yeah right – why bother? The want is right now. Easy credit, flash the plastic, pay-day loan or get your soft Mam to tip over. Gran’s are even better.

All the vicars must be going bonkers – it’s not about money don’t you know. We’ll not dwell on the historical alternative story. Had my share of nativities.

I sold a Rickenbacker to a vicar once. He paid by cheque. Said not to worry about it clearing as he was a vicar, albeit in plain clothes. Gave his address as some vicarage, but guess he would do that. Not sure what the moral is here but a priest may not have got away with it so easy.

Anyway, Virgin Birth? I had a mate who created, cloned, whatever the technical term, Dolly the Sheep. Great bloke. I never met Dolly though. He reckoned older women in their ‘60’s were the perfect surrogate mother. Maybe the old Christmas story got lost in translation and they really were medically light years ahead. Who cares?

At this point, a percentage of you switch off enraged and unfollow the Facebook page. It happened before, something to do with dogs I recall. I hate dogs. Probably down to getting attacked by a pack of Dingos when I was six. Only wanted my ball back. Nasty critters.

So the season of goodwill has withered. Back to normal thankfully. No more bonhomie. Being nice to people, relatives you’ve forgotten. Don’t wait until you are on your deathbed to tell people how you feel. Tell them to fuck off right now.

Certainly not much bonhomie around just now as we all drown in a monstrous wave of endless Brexit argument. I wonder what all our glorious politicians would have done over the past two and a half years, if not for this? Value for money? Result?

Traditionally the beginning of the year has always proved fruitful in Guitarworld – but it seems things are seriously on the wane. Sales have fallen off a cliff. Small stores are folding, big corporations overstretched, burdened with debt and seriously struggling. There will be a few casualties mid-February, the time when all the VAT, collected between September and Christmas needs to be tipped over to Customs & Excise – you do not want them on your case.

The rumour mill is rife with big guitar store chain failure on the horizon. I hope not, nobody benefits. We may not sell many but we repair and set up loads, many of them bought in Guitaropolis down the road.

A no deal Brexit will likely see VAT and duty imposed on all used guitars bought in the EU, so there goes another source of supply. Complain to your MP about that one. CITES won’t get any easier.

Gibson, masters of re-invention and fiddling about are re-launching their Golden Era models, all to vintage specs, having finally realised what players want. Their CEO James “JC” Curleigh, no guessing what the “C” stands for, unless he performs miracles – though that may be stating the obvious and could possibly be an essential part of the job description – James slated small guitar stores for poor sales, stating they were dirty, dated, sexist and located in 3rd rate locations, run by fossils.

Cheeky fucker. I doubt any small store can afford a re-fit and move upmarket after entering into one of Gibson’s Draconian dealership contracts. Robo-tuners my arse. What a complete twat, from the fashion industry, Levi’s – say no more.

My humble little shop is in a second rate area, fossil maybe, but not a dead fly to be found. We believe in treating all our customers exactly the same, contempt is carefully measured out in equal portions. I wouldn’t stock new Gibsons if JC begged me on his denim-clad knees, fuck wit. However, there’s good business making fresh-out-the-case new Gibsons play properly – it’s certainly never been attempted at the factory. Imagine buying a brand new car and the salesman saying “I wouldn’t drive that Sir, it needs servicing first…” and of course you lose money the instant it’s off the forecourt – same with guitars.

I can’t vouch for the quality of new guitars sold Stateside. Maybe they just ship all the crappy ones overseas.

If you want a good used vintage Gibson guitar, check out some of their discontinued models. They often wrapped up production when it was realised costs were higher or sales impacted the regular lines. Gibson ES 333, Firebrand 335 S, SG Zoot Suit. The Zoot Suit is a fabulous guitar, carved from laminated Birch sheet – no way could Gibson sustain the price in a guitar of such quality and of course I just happen to have one in stock.

Come and check out the new shop and workshop and ask for some of our in-house vintage derisory comments. They are free to all.