Sunday, March 26, 2006

The marvellous community of classified advertising is a rich mine of opportunity for a writer. Classie Corner has been a lot of fun as well as hard work. At one stage I was writing nine columns a week for APN News and Media papers in Queensland and New South Wales. That may not sound much but the extra stories, each of 350-400 words, on top of a tough week on a daily newspaper meant I had to keep a sense of humour. This reprint dates from April 2001.
JUST when a boy feels the first stirrings of manhood he often lies in bed at night thinking of the gentle curves of one of nature’s most revered shapes.
The Fender Stratocaster certainly pulls the right strings for boys young and old.
It may be just a shape for most of the population but the fanatics can recognise the subtleties of sound between the models.
They can pick new from old and a US-made Strat from a Japanese one.
Such a bloke walked up to Coffs Harbour guitarist Mark Wray after a gig this year and asked him to put his Japanese-made Strat lookalike Squire back in its case.
"You are playing with a top-rate perfromer, you need the right guitar; I want to give you one,’’ the man in is mid-40s told Mark.
The man returned with a Fender ’68 reissue that Mark, perhaps a little hurt that his "reworked’’ Squire received a snub, describes as beautiful – "I love it".
The patron was a pastor with the Glad Tidings Church in Long Beach, California, where Mark played on tour with Coffs Harbour gospel singer Kate Spence.
The gift was just one highlight for Mark during the west coast tour from the Mexican border to Canada.
Kate, with a gospel album, Nations Turn and See, and another contemporary "crossover’’ offering, Captured, under her belt, is "really going well’’ both in Ausralia and overseas, says Mark, who has backed her for less than a year.
Mark lived in Coffs until he was 18 then spent four years in Sydney, selling guitars with the really cookin’ (his words) Mall Music at Dee Why and playing mainly cafĂ© gigs.
He returned to the mid-north coast about nine months ago for just a visit.
"I thought there wouldn’t be much happening here musically for me but I liked it, hooked up with Kate and things went really well,’’ he said.
"My style fits really well with her and I can come up with ideas that she rides along with.’’
Mark, who met Kate at the Christian Life Centre, expected a trip to Melbourne.
Despite his commitments, Mark, 22, still finds time to teach and advertises in the Checkout Classifieds.
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