Monday, March 30, 2009

Great Ideas: Grolsch Guitar Strap Holder

These two pieces of minor-key music memorabilia were retrieved from the stage of San Francisco's Great American Music Hall after a Tindersticks gig on 15 March.

A British roadie, on-hand for helpful observations, pointed out that the plectrum is of a type available at pretty much any music store "for pennies." But that was kind of missing the point: thanks to an accident of circumstance, this particular piece of grey plastic had become more valuable - at least to me.

However, the other item is definitely the more interesting of the two. Originally a seal from a traditional ceramic Grolsch bottletop, musicians the world over use these little pieces of rubber to help keep their guitar straps fixed to their guitars. (This isn't so much of a problem when straps are new, but as they age the leather ends become softer and more pliable, and therefore more prone to coming unfixed).

Of course, you can buy much more elaborate metal or plastic devices to lock your strap in place but, like the aforementioned plectrum, this version is both cheap and easy to get hold of.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hero Worship: MacGyver

Forget your A-Team movie ideas, cancel that rubbish Knight Rider rehash (oops, too late), and please don't give these geeks any more reason to discuss what kind of helicopter should be cast in the title role of an Airwolf remake. Instead, it's time to stock up on chewing gum and get your Swiss army knife ready. That's right kids, a real hero of Eighties television is returning: MacGyver.

The only mystery is what took him so long. Despite his occasional use of non-ecofriendly ingredients (that pesticide, soap flakes and tile cleaner smokescreen in season one, episode 16, for example), his improvised gadgets introduced a whole generation of impressionable youngsters to the principles of recycling. And it's probably no coincidence that, as they've grown up, a thriving subculture has emerged surrounding the MacGyver-esque use of household objects in all kinds of DIY gizmos and projects, as exemplified by the Maker Faire, and magazines like Make and ReadyMade (the latter even features a monthly competition called the MacGyver Challenge).

So welcome back, Mac - at last, the world is ready for a sustainable action hero.