Photos of readers

This is the last reader photo I have in the tank, so now’s the time to send in your quarantine photo or its equivalent (two photos max) and a brief caption. Thanks!

Now, today’s reader is Grant Palmer, another one of our musical readers. His captions are indented:

This is a photo of me wearing my daggiest clothes whilst I play the trombone. I was forced into retirement because of cognitive impairment and frequent and severe dissociative events. I also regularly lose my balance. I was a thirty-year veteran of the Australian Army. I am now in preventative isolation and have been since 17 March.

Because of my medical issues I took up musical therapy and decided to learn the trombone after a 25-year hiatus. I study the trombone at the Newcastle Conservatorium (NSW Australia). Whilst I will never be a professional musician, I enjoy the challenges it poses and the effect it has on my mental and neurological health. When I go on Semester breaks I experience a decline in my health.

I am also the oldest student in my year. I do get a bit disappointed with the acceptance of my younger peers that they can never change things for the better. Despite this they think people like Greta Thunberg are awesome so there is a certain degree of something going on in their heads. So like an old man yelling at clouds, I get a little frustrated with their meekness.

We have gone completely online at Uni. It works well for some subjects, for example musical theory where you work individually, but in music where you have to work collaboratively to produce live music the online aspects fail miserably.

The other photo is my Assistance Dog – Starlight. Starlight is named after the nickname for medics in the Army we used to use on our radios. I could not do University or even go to the shops without him. He keeps me alive. He is the only living thing I have been able to touch since isolation started apart from a nurse for a vaccination and an exercise physiologist.


  1. Teresa Carson
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Your dog is beautiful, and I hope he fully appreciates all the private concerts he is privileged to attend. I hope isolation ends soon for you and everyone else.

    • Grant Palmer
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      He sleeps though most of it. When I play in bands and orchestras he has his own set of Mutt Muffs. He sits in the middle of five trombone and nine saxophones with his head phones on and doesn’t move an inch. He is fantastic

  2. Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    You can almost see the worship pouring out of that dog toward the camera person. Sweet dog.

    • Grant Palmer
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      He has a beautiful temperament. He is very good at keeping me calm

  3. GBJames
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Quite a story. And quite a nice dog!

  4. boudiccadylis
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I play the violin and I have been curious, more so lately, how you get a specific note.
    Example I know where the A is because I have an A string. Do you have such locators?
    Service dogs are a wonderful way to make life better. I’m pleased that you have on.e

    • Grant Palmer
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Hi Boudiccadylis

      • Grant Palmer
        Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        The are seven positions on the slide. The horn is tuned to Bb and when the slide is at its shortest it will play a Bb the next note upwards you play in this position is an F and then another Bb then a D then another F then an A then a Bb etc. The higher you go the closer the notes get together. So like a violin adjusting the position on the slide alters the frequency the sound wave you produce. Each position is a semitones higher or lower. But because of a few bits and pieces on frequencies of sound waves the progression up the register means that the F will not be played in the exact same position as the Bb, neither is the D or the A etc. A reasonably competent trombone play like myself will have a range of about three and a half octaves from the Bb below the bass clef stave. Hope that explains it clearly

        • boudiccadylis
          Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Nicely, thank you

  5. merilee
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Starlight is gorgeous! What breed(s) is he?🐾🐾

    • Grant Palmer
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Hi Merilee. He is a Labrador

      • merilee
        Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Lovely, with a little grey appearing on his muzzle.

        • Grant Palmer
          Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          He is only two. Premature greying

          • merilee
            Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            Sweet boy😍

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting story. What was your career in the Army if I may ask.

    • Grant Palmer
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Artillery Officer

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. Very few on this site with any military, let alone a career person. I was a lowly enlisted type in the Air Force for a few years long ago.

        • Grant Palmer
          Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          No such thing as a lowly enlisted type in my book. It is a partnership. If you don’t treat the digger well and with respect and listen to them they wont follow you out that jump door

          • sugould
            Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink


  7. Glenda Palmer
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Grant and Starlight – rock stars!!

  8. merilee
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Does Starlight sing along?

    • Grant Palmer
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      He sleeps

  9. Mark R.
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Trombone…phew, that seems like a very hard instrument to learn. Like learning a fretless instrument, you need to have a really good ear. I played guitar and bass for a number of years; much easier to learn as you “know” when you’re playing an A or an A#. Keep at it, I’m glad it helps with your medical conditions.
    Your dog is a cutie and I love his name; may you both have many years in each other’s loving company.

    • Grant Palmer
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Thank you

  10. Posted May 28, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely doggie! I love labs. Used to have a chocolate lab and a rottie. I hope you get back into the swing of things in the not too distant future, Grant. In the meantime, virtual hugs to you both!

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Awww Starlight is such a cute yellow dog.

  12. Posted May 29, 2020 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    Great picture of Starlight. And he looks perfectly named, too. I’ve always thought of the trombone as a difficult instrument because few amateur trombonists (at least in my experience) manage to attack a note without making a fluffing sound. (That applies to some pros, too. The lead trombonist in our local orchestra should take some lessons from Jack Teagarden or JJ Johnson.)So I admire your courage.

    • Grant Palmer
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      The list goes on Urbie Green, Joe Alessi, Ian Bousfield, Paul the Trombonist, Trombone Shorty, Szeged Trombone Ensemble I could go on forever. If you want to listen to 21 of the worlds best ever trombone players look for an album called Twenty One Trombones

  13. amyt
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Hang in there Grant. Would love to see and hear a video of you playing your trombone.

%d bloggers like this: