Thursday 10 January 2008
Leafblower: the scourge of English suburbia
My life as a gardener doesn't usually have much overlap with my life as a musician, but I do have one horticultural song.
One November morning I was just getting some recording done in my home studio when my next-door-neighbour started up his blasted leafblower. I'm not a big fan of leafblowers at the best of times ... they don't seem to serve any purpose except to move debris from one place to another, turning your problem into someone else's problem. They stir up a whole load of dust and crap into the air, and waste a lot of energy in the process. They also seem to make the most godawful irritating whining noise which for me is on a par with someone scraping their fingernails across a blackboard.
On this occasion I got incredibly cross with my neighbour. Not only did he spoil my recording, because a sensitive studio mic will readily pick up that kind of noise, but he spent a pointless half hour blowing all the leaves out of his garden onto the public highway, where they immediately got messily redistributed by passing traffic. What is the point?!
In fairness to my neighbour he's not the only person in the street who does it. There are a lot of leafblowers in this area, and a lot of people who are selfish and thoughtless enough to blow their garden debris out onto the street, where it blocks the drains and obstructs the pavement. Then the council have to come round with a lorry and collect it all up, and we wonder why our council tax bills keep going up.
Anyway, I had to channel my anger into something positive, so I wrote a song about what I'd like to do with that pesky leafblower.
To my surprise, the song became a minor hit on internet radio, and people still write in to the DJs and request it. I've done a few different versions and remixes, most notably in collaboration with the great Phideaux Xavier.
And now someone has been kind enough to make a video for it!
So here it is, and I hope you enjoy it (click the play button under the vid to start it). The tree images were filmed in Alaska, a very long way from my English garden.
Leafblower (Crazy Paving Mix)
Guitars: Phideaux Xavier
Video: Bob Nisbet