Stuff I'm Digging: Hannibal

Stuff I’m Digging is just a way to talk to you guys about something I’m enjoying at the moment. This might be guitar-related, or music-related, or it might just something cool that I like and want to share.


I’m really late to the Hannibal party. I admit, I was a bit of a snob about it: “Pah! Hannibal as a TV show. What’s the point?” That sort of thing.

I was very wrong.

Hannibal is fantastic.

Of course you’re familiar with the films (maybe even the rubbish prequel). You may be familiar with the books (the good one, the other good one that’s much the same as the first good one, and the rubbish ones).

The TV show is different. And yet seems very true to the spirit of Hannibal Lecter.

The series showrunner, Bryan Fuller, famously said, “Every director who comes to the show gets the same lecture: We are not making television. We are making a pretentious art film from the 80s.”

And it’s beautiful to look at. And to follow. The lines between dream and reality are brilliantly blurred and you’re never sure if something’s real or just some bizarre nightmare.

Apparently, my patronage comes too late, though. It’s cancelled. There are only three series of Hannibal (I’m just at the end of the first). I’m too late to make a difference but I can, at least, urge you to go check it out on DVD or streaming.

If a horrifyingly surreal, aesthetically beautiful, wildly disturbing, police procedural show with psychological scheming and deception sounds like your cup of tea, go. Go now.

Hat-tip to my brother for getting me in. 

As Seen On TV

A little while back, RTÉ* visited Haze Guitars with a view to filming something of how an electric guitar is made. The piece was intended for a segment on News2Day—a news show for younger viewers.

They asked some questions, I talked a lot, and they filmed some stuff. Much editing fitted my ramblings into a piece on Monday's show

Many of you with children on mid-term break spotted me on your TVs (and kicked off a minor text/email storm—thanks for that). For anyone else who might have children wondering about luthiery, you can watch online for another while.   


They thankfully edited out the time when they asked a question, so fundamental that most guitarists never even think about it, and I panicked and just spouted gibberish for thirty seconds. Phew!

I'm off to change all my stationary to read, "As Seen On TV".

* For international readers, RTÉ is Ireland's national broadcaster. 

Sky Arts Guitar Star

Sky Arts is running their own guitar talent competition. If guitar stardom sounds like your cup of tea, you might want to check it out.

We’re on the hunt for amazing undiscovered guitarists to take part in a huge new talent search, and the winner will get to play on the main stage at Latitude festival this summer in front of 40,000 people. The competition is open to any age group and any genre (be it rock, jazz, classical, blues or anything else) and closed auditions will be filmed in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Dublin in April.

You can find out more at the Sky Arts' Guitar Star page and at the application video on YouTube.

Throughout the process, they’ll meet and be mentored by some of the biggest guitar stars in the world. The semi-finalists will hone their act in a recording studio, where they will work with a global guitar legend to perfect their sound.
— Sky Arts Guitar Star

If you're a less rubbish guitarist than me (and I'm under no delusions, you definitely are), maybe you'll want to look into this. It sounds like it's going to be a show format that we're already familiar with—just with guitars—and some of the stages and prizes sound interesting. 

The initial 'qualifiers' seem to be based on posting a video so I'm hopeful that means we'll avoid the schadenfreude that plagues the early stages of some TV talent competitions. It looks like contestants will have to work in genres other than their 'usual' each week so I think there's potential to hear some good players stretch themselves if this is handled well. 

Bassists need not apply, though. Bummer.