A glorious scorching red hot poker of a summer. Records broken again. Temperatures hover around 3o°. Reaches a staggering 45° in my flower bed in front of the shop, built like a blue brick kiln. Absorbs the heat.

Not many shops with a flower bed, good for the bees. Don’t get me on insects. We’re running out. How many did you scrape off your windscreen this summer? Not many I reckon. We seriously need bugs. The Thai’s are partly to blame. They eat them. Honestly, I don’t mind trying stuff but that’s just fucking weird, absolutely not necessary in the 21st Century. Like they’re starving.

I like sitting in the flower bed, whittling away at necks, sanding bodies, watching the ants, that sort of thing. But it was just too hot. You could see the ants, dead suspicious, muttering “Bet that fucker’s got a magnifying glass…” or something similar in ant-speak.

Having a nerdy moment, I double check the temperature with a second thermometer. Of course being a guitar workshop we are always conscious of the temperature and humidity and keep the proper instrumentation for measuring such factors. Impressed?

Don’t be. We can’t control temperature or humidity, just comment

“Fuck, it’s hot! I’m sweating me tits off, open the door!”, or “Turn the heater up, it’s freezing you tight bastard”

It’s a system of control that seems to work and nothing made of wood has warped or split yet, we’ll not discuss Shoebox here, despite the temptation.

I remember temperatures like that in Cuba. “Stay indoors or you’ll shrivel up and die, Gringo”. Good advice given in broken English. They dished out cigars to everybody all the time, whether you smoked or not, that was odd. A holiday diet of Caipirinhas, sugar rush, head ache. Not sure why as it obviously should have been Mojito’s but I’ve seen some proper rum soaked basket cases, so I didn’t complain.

Fascinating place. Beautiful dereliction, slowly and elegantly crumbling away, rolling in to the sea. The USA will fuck it up. They could never get them first time round. They will do it differently now. Probably death by sprawling theme parks and Days Inn. I cannot fathom how anyone could manage to preserve such an air of decaying decadence and charm. To be fair, like a typical tourist, I’m only referring to Havana here.

Graham Greene must have loved it. I searched out Lamprilla Street – Our MExcellent!a. Hoover salesman. Excellent ! Sort of book that makes you want to see the pitch first hand. Greene was a troubled soul. Interestingly did a stint of journalism in Nottingham, don’t think he liked it much. Should have stayed in Cuba.

Made the mistake of flying Cubana Airlines. What a nightmare. Aeroplane quite clearly made up of spare parts. Mis-matched seats, like an old Ford Escort, furry covers. Warning signs and exit doors in odd languages, not even a hint of Spanish. Achtung! on one side, Acil çıkış, on the other. Makes the Turkish Onur Air look like Air Force One.

24 hours late out, 18 hours late back. At least it got back. Turns out they only have one plane. Keep it running like a 1950’s Cuban fridges, except this crate has just a few more moving parts to worry about.

It always amuses me at airports. You board some big shiny cylinder, reminiscent of a giant sarcophagus and think they’ve just wheeled it out especially for you, all washed and polished, just for your holiday.

Truth is that fucker’s in the air 24/7 nearly – don’t even think about it.

So back to the heat wave. Is it the start of Global Warming? Or just an inevitable natural cyclical change that we are stuck with for the next 200 years?

Trump doesn’t believe. The Orange Bastard pulls out of the Paris Agreement and then decides he just might seriously warm up the planet by provoking Kim Phat Phuk. That geezer looks like he’s made out of pastry. Surely the two most odious figure heads on the globe.

I suppose I need to throw Putrid in there somewhere too. I remember Georgie Markov and the Poison Umbrella as a kid. Great name for a band! Sounds way better than something as obvious as Elvis Costello & the Attractions. Poison Dart Umbrella, a lot more James Bond than Novichok on your door handle. Nobody really makes an effort anymore. Shoebox says “Give the laziest man the hardest job to find the easiest way”.

The Orange One has finally realised the good old USA may now be in range across the Pacific for a pot shot. His rhetoric reminds me of the Hell & Damnation speech given buy Samuel L Jackson, shortly before he wastes that bloke in Pulp Fiction.

Except this is the real world Donald, not the movies.

Scarier than DT is the fact that millions of Americans voted for him. Piece of paper, X marks the spot, but it’s no treasure map leading to a pot of gold, more like a crock of shit.

Global warming – I do my bit, underground tank, rainwater harvesting – I’d need to flush the bog until I’m 500 to get my money back but it’s not all about money, is not our fair planet worth it?

I installed solar panels to save a bit more of the world. That’s a 25 year pay back profile. I’m not claiming the Feed in Tariff on moral grounds, I do have a few morals I keep in a bag for special occasions. HM Gov can stick the tariff up its money grabbing arse. They still charge me VAT on all this planet saving kit – grabbing, thieving bastards. Where’s the justification in that? Doesn’t matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in. I think we covered that in an earlier missive.

I don’t know why this green stuff costs so much. It’s all old technology, we’ve had solar panels as long as Velcro and there’s nothing high-tech about a buried plastic tank and pump.

We like being green-ish in the shop, environmentally aware, call it what you will. We even save up all the old strings and frets in a bin in the workshop, there’s a ton of stuff now. All for the scrap man. Recycle or be damned. There will be a competition at Christmas. Guess the weight of the bin and win a super prize – seriously it will be good.

There’s a slow scramble for alternate energy sources, most of it motivated by financial investment plans, but doing good all the same. Not really in the interests of huge energy corporations like Shell & BP, EDF, the power companies. I’m sure they would much rather use up all the available fossil fuels, bleed the planet dry, before moving on.

I bet they own most of the alternate producers and associated plant by now. Stealthily buying up solar panel and battery factories and wind turbines. What great inventions have they bought out and buried in a deep hole? Just keeping them on the back burner till they’ve wrung the last groat out of the Earth and the burner’s gone out.

Civilisation can scrape by without many things, but not electricity.
And Mr Tesla, Elon Musk, just where does he get off? Eco-Battery Baron, but thinks he has the right to whizz his car off in to the cosmos, parking a piece of space junk forever. Twat. That’s just obscene from any angle. Wasteful fucker.

The focus should not be on recycling but curbing consumerism. Stop buying crap you don’t need. Just how many brand new shiny guitars need to be produced in the world every day? Guitars don’t wear out, styles have never changed in the mainstream. Designs are dictated by ergonomics and basic physics. A few tweaks, a set-up, a new pot’ here, eventually a fret job. Most home players will never get through a set of frets. If you do, take a look at the Workshop, we can fix it.

In the grand scheme we need alternatives but should be encouraged to use less, insulate, put on an extra jumper, re-use stuff, shop local, reduce transport mileage. Do your bit for recycling, by a vintage guitar if you’re minted, or a used one. You never own them, you’re just the custodian for a time. We’ve got plenty to choose from.

In the UK and Europe it won’t be the cold that gets us in the end but the heat, we are just not geared up for it. Assuming Orange Bastard doesn’t blow us all to Kingdom Come.

I’ll be alright though, hiding underground in my rainwater tank like Mad Max, clutching a rusty Trussart Custom Guitar, just biding my time…