i have inadvertantly ended up with two drum sets, where once there was only one. it did honestly happen by accident, at least in my little world it did.
the satin maple drum workshop kit i have owned for the past ten years or so, has acquitted itself particularly well, but there's no denying that its jazz influenced sizes have been challenged on more than one occasion, something that played a small part in there now being two sets of drum cases in the spare room.
notionally and historically my proclivities lean towards the jazz side of music making, and in an ideal world, i'd be playing every friday and saturday evening in a piano trio with my highly tuned drumset. however, jazz is not traditionally built around ear-splitting volume and thus the bass drum is a highly portable, convenient and quietly sonorous 18 inches in diameter. but this is islay, an island with a modest population of just over 3,000 people few of whom have any particular interest in jazz. granted, ceilidh music survives every bit as well with such a modestly proprotioned bass drum, but on the occasions when i have been required to play free's alright now, that bass drum has been rather lost in the melee.
so, on receiving an e-mail one evening from a drum store of repute, offering a shop-soiled 22" drum workshop bass drum for around a third of the new price, i'd have been rather insolent to have passed on the opportunity to own it. suffice it to say, that very drum now resides in a suitably sized case at the bottom of a growing column of drums. you see, not only was the sound from this new acquisition more than impressive, despite my feeble right foot, but its vintage marine pearl covering is, quite simply, to die for.
which not unnaturally led to thoughts of ordering a pair of matching toms. so i now own a small satin maple jazz kit and a somewhat larger, gene krupa tinged vintage marine pearl drum set.
the question is, however, which one do i favour? in truth, the larger edifice has yet to be imposed upon an adoring islay public, though the bass drum did see the light of day at the recent lagavulin islay jazz festival. i know, i know, despite being the owner of a specifically denoted jazz set, i opted for the larger alternative, played quietly. but it was new, shiny and particularly visually impressive, so cut me some slack.
however, the question as to which will find greater favour may depend a lot on what and where i'm asked to play. many of islay's venues are compact and bijou, favouring the smaller kit. and as every musician knows, the entry door is always as far from the stage as possible, so carting the larger drums may not win them too many brownie points. but oh, the sound. so any likelihood of your finding out which i prefer will have to wait a wee while.
in that sense, exactly the same as rapha's new reversible jacket, now that you come to mention it.
it's very much a visual state of affairs, as trying valiantly to describe the colour combinations to the innocent bystander is something of a conundrum. to quote from rapha's website, the options are: mustard/dark blue, dark olive/mustard and dark blue/dark olive. the option under review is the mustard/dark blue, but let me explain just what that entails.
the principal and arguably more pragmatic side in this case, is the mustard. more tactile in constitution than its darker alternative, the mustard side features a zig-zag quilted pattern with merino-blend cuffs and a lightweight primaloft insulation between outer and inner. it seems very likely it has inherited at least its quilted design factor from last year's rapha/raeburn thermal jacket. it bears also a zipped left chest pocket and two zipped and decently sized hand pockets. perform the reversible trick when no-one's looking, and the dark blue alternative is of a smoother and shinier fabric. this side features a zipped internal pocket on the right, accessed adjacent to the full length, two-way front zip.
both chest pockets act as internal options whichever colour is facing outwards. however, thought the navy side offers the trademark rapha hoop on the left sleeve, it has no hand pockets. in fact, this way round, there's really only that hidden chest pocket for unfettered cargo carrying. bulky items need not apply, though an ipod or smartphone would give little cause for concern. however, since this jacket forms part of rapha's 2014 autumn/winter city riding range, i figure there might be more than just the occasional crevice on the bike for carrying anything larger. i know there is on the taurus.
both sides are treated with a durable water repellency (dwr) coating, so while it's not waterproof, it will shrug off light rain showers with confidence. though the medium jacket reviewed is a particularly close and comfortable fit, there is a healthy degree of stretch built-in, should you have need of occasionally wearing office clothes underneath. i paired it with a rapha merino crew-neck t-shirt on occasion, as well as a rapha/raeburn henley top and a fred perry, brad wiggins merino jumper.
the insulation properties are pretty darned good, maintaining a comfortable temperature when cycling even on chillier mornings. the light weight plays well to its and our advantage; there's little more annoying than wearing bulkier garments when commuting than has been the case during a weekend in the company of the pelotonese.
the pocket arrangement notwithstanding, i haven't quite made up my mind which side i prefer. the mustard option wins hands down when considering on-the-bike visibility, but i can see the navy option being more pertinent in several business situations.
i'll get back to you.
rapha's reversible jacket is available in the above noted colour options in sizes xs to xxl at a retail cost of £190.
tuesday 14 october 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................