Monday, June 21, 2010

Musical Scorer

In the words of Willie Nelson: “The life I love is making music with my friends”.
Thankfully, this is how I have spent the last three days. Since the England football team flatly refuses to offer up the slightest shred of inspiration, we have had to do it ourselves and although I am bound to add a certain bias, the band sounds great.

Fabio Capello could learn a lot from the balance of our team. It has strength in depth, a perfect mix of youth and experience and an unconquerable spirit.

This is how we line up:

Joey Love – The goalkeeper of the band, a safe pair of hands, the rock upon which we build our squad.

Gary ‘The G-man’ Page - The towering, hard-tackling centre-half who can deal with whatever you throw at him; tubular bells, washboard, mellotron, a box full of broken dominoes suspended on elastic bands. A bit like John Terry but not a total bastard.

Jokeman Tennessee Slim – The marauding full back, takes care of his defensive duties but isn’t afraid to show some flair and audacious footwork as he sweeps into the attacking third of the bass guitar fretboard.

Piss Whiskey – A naturally attacking player, there were some raised eyebrows when he was asked to play out of position as the holding midfield keyboard player but has been a revelation in pre-season with his perfectly timed interceptions.

Hannah ‘The Flame’ Peel – The creative midfield playmaker, blessed with the effortless grace, poise and elegance of Zinedine Zidane. Never a bad pass, she reads the game fluently in any position on the musical field of play.

Velvet Hands Arnold – Our Steven Gerrard figure has excelled after being given a ‘free role’ in the team. Previous band formations had constrained his attacking potential by playing him out on the musical left wing. A proven match-winner.

Like Brazil in 1970, Holland in ’74 or Creedence in ’69, to play with a team of this quality, in the form of their lives, is a blessing for any aspiring singer/goalscorer and I pledge to give everything I can to bring about a historic victory.

Match Schedule:

Leeds Brudenell Social – July 4th
Newcastle Cluny – July 5th
London KOKO – July 8th

Latitude Festival – july 17th

Monday, February 22, 2010

I have moved

Dear all,

I have moved my musing to a new, spruced up website:

See you over there...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I shall be released

It’s not like it was in the old days.
And by “the old days”, of course I mean about 18 months ago.

A lot of people have asked me as to the release date of my new record and bless them for showing an interest. My answer has always been vague: “soon”, “when the time is right” and “2010” are my most common responses.

You see the whole concept of a release date - or a release for that matter, is something akin to an echo from a bygone age. What does it even mean? Have I been keeping my new album captive in an abstract prison of song until the moment is deemed perfect to issue it forth into the world like a startled dove from a magician’s trouser?

The idea of the specific release is to set a promotional timetable: it always used to be at least eight weeks to allow your press, radio and possibly TV people to get the album into all the right hands and to grease the right wheels so that for that all-important week of release, the record has an effective media presence.

Then BANG! We have lift off. Media saturation translates into impressive sales figures which, in turn yield a high chart placing, enhancing the reputation of the artist which maintains the profile of the record. Platinum discs and shiny awards are imminent. In short: we have a hit.

At least that’s the best case scenario.

The more common occurrence is an eight week spell of desperate scrambling by PR and pluggers to get anybody “important” to give a shit about the record, maybe a radio re-mix of the lead single by a big name producer and all at a cost to be stacked against the impending success of the record.

Then BANG! We have meltdown. A clutch of moderate, yet unenthusiastic reviews and the absence of a significant national radio playlisting result in poor chart showing for the first week and complete disappearance the week after. The record is dead, the label cuts its losses, drops the act who never makes another record ever again.

I have been making records for a decade now. So many bites of the cherry. I don’t really understand how I have been allowed to continue for so long given my phenomenal lack of commercial success. What I have come to believe is that the honesty of music might just stand a chance against the tried and tested bullshit of the machine. Not a great chance. But a chance nonetheless.

So my new record: Let The Hard Times Roll (which, incidentally, I believe to be my finest work to date) will be available the very moment it has been manufactured. No strategy, hidden agenda or politics. I will take to the road, sing my songs and spread a little joy/sadness. Global domination is not the objective but may prove to be a pleasantly surprising side-effect.

Who knows? Who cares?
Something will happen and it will be fine.

Let the hard times roll.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


ok so nobody writes a blog any more.
we all do that twitter thing.
but really, 140 characters?
has our attention span become so feeble?
i say if a point is worth making, it's worth labouring.
y uz 1 wrd wen u can uz 1,000?
here we are, english speakers, blessed by the rich history and evolution of our mother tongue and all its origins.
the descendants of those whose well chosen words changed the world, wooed the ladies, reduced the hardest bastard to a quivering wreck with a well aimed turn of phrase.
i'll admit, there is merit in the need to be concise; i enjoy 20/20 cricket but it's nothing compared to the ridiculous glory of an ashes test.
abe lincoln's gettysburg address is famously short but nonetheless, a powerful and stirring call to arms at a time when the union craved nothing less.
but the gettysburg tweet would have read:
"4 score and 7 years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty. now let's not fuck it up."
my fear is that as we encourage ourselves to communicate with fewer characters, we end up communicating with less character.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

hello stranger

Holy shit, I am one inconsistent individual.

If I had a spin doctor, I’m sure we would explain this away with terms such as “enigmatic” or “force of nature”. The truth is, I am a fortress built on a foundation of strawberry jelly; unstable and slightly ridiculous.

I can remember that one week when I wrote a blog pretty much every day. Loved it. I was unstoppable. Then I stopped. For no particular reason.

I wonder if this is me picking up the habit again.

Probably not.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

i'm a loser, baby

Something I am very good at is losing things.

I wrote some notes and observations on some pieces of paper and it was my intention to use this opportunity to pass these on to whoever might be interested. So now, of course, I have lost these pieces of paper and am left wondering whether such words of insight will ever return to me.

I lose things all the time. Mostly, I think it springs from chronic absent-mindedness. I will often park my car outside houses having forgotten the fact I have not lived there since the mid nineties. I lose clothes. I don’t mean socks (although, obviously these are lost on a daily basis) but jeans, winter coats, 3 piece suits. I find it hard to believe I go places and leave without my jeans. If this were the case, I imagine I’d remember the trouserless journey home.

I recently discovered that I had lost a guitar. And to entrust me with my own passport is just irresponsible on the part of Her Majesty’s government.

And once lost, most items will never resurface.

At home, this is not such a problem. My wife, Emma has skills enough for the two of us when it comes to organisation. But I am always amazed at how well I can get things lost by myself in the confines of a small car. It is my belief that with a long enough touring schedule, I could return home with nothing more than the shirt on my back – possibly not even that.

So maybe I could put my gift to the use of mankind. Maybe nuclear waste could be disposed of cheaply by giving it to me and telling me to look after it for a month on the road. A week later and it would be lost beyond the wit of any Geiger counter.
The only flaw with this is that the shit and chaff that you would throw out anyway, that’s the stuff that sticks around. I can lose a $20 bill in a second, but the business card of a Tennessee Honda dealership has crossed the Atlantic four times in the bottom of my bag.

Maybe that’s fate telling me I need to get a Honda. And If I hadn’t replaced so many lost items and dropped so many banknotes , maybe I could have bought one.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

studio diaries 2 - the perfect storm

Tonight I drove out to my little home-from-home studio and the sky was lit up by a distant electrical storm. Every few seconds another bolt would illuminate the clouds throwing light all around for the briefest moment. It was quite beautiful. I felt like a storm chaser driving headlong into the eye of a tornado or something.

I arrived at my destination and it wasn’t even raining. I opened the place up and switched things on before a light rain started. By the time I had made a coffee and settled into my comfy chair, it was lashing against the windows. I had listened to about four seconds of last nights recording when the room exploded with light and sound before falling into blackness and after the desperate pop of indignant loudspeakers cut off mid sentence, silence.

Well, not the silent kind of silence. More the raging lightning storm versus the drum n bass synth riffing of an errant burglar alarm kind of ear-shreddingly loud and irritating silence.

But the dark was certainly very dark.

I navigated by the light of the frequent lightning strikes to a box of matches and a vanilla candle (I would like it to be known that the reason for the presence of a vanilla candle is not because I believe in the power of aromatherapy to help create a calm, nurturing environment in which to build something beautiful. I took on the lease for this building on a day when the wind was blowing from the south. When the north wind blows, or for that matter, on a still day, the 120 yard proximity of the local refuse and recycling centre becomes distinctly apparent. It doesn’t take a great deal of new age hippyism to conclude that the smell of vanilla is more pleasant than that of several tons of household waste on a hot day.) By candlelight, I waited a few minutes before shutting down the already dead electricals and locked up again.

By the time I got back in the car, it had stopped raining again. The storm had already moved on to inconvenience someone else. The burglar alarm timed out and switched off and just then, the silence became pretty darn quiet.

I ruined it by starting the engine and driving home through fresh puddles.

The thunder is now rolling somewhere out over the English Channel. I guess tomorrow, I’ll go and see if everything still works. I suppose tonight ranks about as close to a near death experience as riding a bicycle or wearing shoes but it felt like a minor adventure for me. And I get a night off. Result.