Thursday, August 31, 2006

Accidentally on purpose...

Playlist
Simple Minds – Neapolis
Talk Talk – Laughing Stock
Christopher O’Riley - True Love Waits
Mott the Hoople – All The Young Dudes
Billion Dollar Babies – Battle Axe
Ultravox – Systems of Romance
The Alice Cooper Group – Best of 1971-73
Frank Sinatra – My Way
Glenn Gould – Bach Preludes and Partitas
Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus

My mum’s birthday today – so uptown to buy some presents – finally decided on three books– Joanna Harris’ “Gentlemen and Prayers”, Umberto Eco’s “The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana" and John le Carré’s “The Constant Gardener” and a CD, Frank Sinatra’s album “My Way” which my mum used to have in LP format back in the 70’s when she was younger than I am now....

In the evening, out to Loanhead with Anne to join my mum and sisters for a few drinks and some pizza, quiche etc specially prepared by sister Pam who’s visiting from London...

Here’s my immediate family, captured by Anne...



The drink was flowing though I wasn’t partaking and, as usual, Pam entertained us all, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not but always much to our delight...

Frank Sinatra went down a treat followed by a Bach disc I’d given to my dad a few years back...

Pam was tidying out a few things the other day and found some of my dad’s old home videos which she and my mum watched with much hilarity – especially the bit right at the end where he’d accidentally (on purpose?) taped himself naked in the mirror on board a cruise ship in the mid 90’s...

Some man...

Rather disturbingly, Pam reckons my Dad has possessed one of Sheila's two dogs...

And, on that note, Happy Birthday mum...

Highlight of the Day : Family get together

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A slow day...

Playlist
Haydn – The Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross
Messiaen – Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jesus
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Eratzreal Acoustic Demo
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul
2001 A Space Odyssey OST
James Jamieson - 13 Songs

To HMV today and bought Thom York’s “The Eraser”...

An interesting album...

More like recent Radiohead than I’d expected...

At home, listening to music and watching “Coronation Street”, “CSI” (two episodes) and “CSI: New York”...

A slow day....

Forgot to mention - yesterday had lunch with Meg the Black Cat's ex-mother, Julia and old friend Juanita who is over from New Zealand for a few weeks in the UK with her mum and who made a flying visit to Edinburgh to meet up with us again...

A nice young lady who has left her beau, Scott, back in NZ - soon they are off to Australia for a new life...

Ah - a new life....

Highlight of the Day : Almost a new Radiohead album

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mr Gripe, the Gripe Man from Gripe City....

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal Acoustic Demo
Morrissey - You Are The Quarry
Mogwai - Mr Beast
Maria Callas - Legends of the 20th Century

I have no need to gripe really as I am, all in all, quite a lucky soul...

But by Hades my left arm is now unbearably effing painful as I await the call for my shoulder op - likely date early October...

My broken ankle continues to give much gyp at most times - and yesterday it gave way as I was climbing some stairs, causing me to keel over...

And my six awaited CDs have still not arrived. I've checked the seller's feedback on e-bay and it seems he is not in England as his description says but in fact is located in the former Soviet Union...

I can't even remember what the CDs are...

Tonight - two lots of dishwashing, one each pre and post evening meal, two episodes of "Coronation St" from last night, followed by internet pish, followed by a run through the "Ersatzreal" based proposed set for my September gigs, followed by a great double bill of "CSI" a linked story which started in Miami and concluded in New York...

Updated the diary and then bed accompanied by Haydn's "Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ on the Cross"...

Mine might have been "Where the fuck are my fucking CDs?" - that's if "CDs" counts as a word....

Or "When will my broken ankle not hurt?"

Or "Jesus Christ my arm is very sore"....

Sorry Jesus...

Yours

Mr Gripe, the Gripe Man from Gripe City....

Highlight of the Day : Griping on the internet when billions have it worse than me...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Plus ca change...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Eratzreal Acoustic Demo
Grand Funk Railroad - Live 1971
Simple Minds - Best of 1979-1982 (CD-R)

Went for a stroll uptown at lunchtime today and was going to go into the Ron Mueck exhibition at the Art Gallery on the Mound but left myself with too little time to obtain full value for money for the proposed entry fee, so I'll leave it for another day...

Also, funnily enough, found myself in FOPP but once again was able to restrain any urges to buy. I'm still waiting on the arrival of 6 CDs via e-bay....

Recently in my sights has been the new box set by American improv band Tortoise, by whom I have nothing at present and I figure this would make a good introduction...

In the evening, met up with Anne and we enjoyed a meal at The Golden Dragon on Castle Street. This used to be called The Dragon's Castle and I think we once ate here around 25 years ago...

Other than the name, it's not really changed. The food was good, but pricey...

But we were saving £50 tonight - ok probably £50 that we wouldn't have spent - but, due to my connection with their manager, we had secured four places on the guest list for tonight's T On The Fringe gig at the Ross Bandstand in Princes St Gardens for Simple Minds - right below the castle....



Support came from the rather poor plodding bad black music oriented retro Glasgow band El Presidente who included the song from the recent Daily Record TV adverts in their set...

The crowd enjoyed them though - Hmm, I'm just so not up-to-date, man - perhaps in a sweaty nite club somewhere I'd have enjoyed them more - but an outdoor gig whilst it's still light is a difficult one to pull off....

By the time Simple Minds came on, we'd been standing for over two hours and while it had darkened quit a bit, it was also starting to become distinctly chilly. We were there with chums Tracey and Kris. Kris is young enough to be our son and had never heard any Simple Minds until tonight. Tracey was a fan of there "hits"...

We, however, are fans mainly of their early period before they really made it big - the experimental electronic period - "Reel to Real Cacophony", "Empires and Dance", "Sons and Fascination" and "Sister Feelings Call"...

In those days, they were fresh and interesting - before something just happened to their music and it went all pomp and circumstance on us and garnered a worldwide stadium audience...

Notwithstanding this, we saw them at the Usher Hall a few years ago - guest list again (hey we did used to pay to see them in the early 80's - and they also used to rehearse in the same disused cinema as my band Capital Models did) - and at that gig I'd really enjoyed the energy and the recognition of so many hit songs which seemed to come alive again in that particular live setting...

Tonight though, the sound wasn't that great and the set list was somehow flat until towards the end. They never strayed further back than their 1982 breakthrough album "New Gold Dream"....

You might think from the above that I didn't enjoy the gig but I did really...



And there were a few sights to see in the crowd...

After we said our farewells to Tracey and Kris, we walked along Princes St, caught a bus to where Anne had parked the car, drove home, had some coffee to warm us up and watched "Scotsport SPL" until we'd seen Hearts v Inverness....

Hearts are joint top of their league while, after yesterday's 3-0 defeat at home to Gretna, the mighty Queeens have resumed their rightful position at the foot of theirs..

Plus ca change....

Highlight of the Day : The Minds, man... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Please remove all jewellery...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Ersatzreal Demo
Mozart - String Quartet : "Dissonance"

Spent most of the morning listening back to the demos recorded yesterday and last month re the new album...

Worked out a set-list for the next set of gigs which will probably feature these ten songs each night from the new batch of fifteen...



We were waiting on a call from my sister Pam as she was due to arrive around 1:30 and we were to collect her from the airport..

She finally touched down a little late due to various reasons including the recent terror alert stuff - people just not realising that you can't take lipstick or indeed lighters into the cabin...

Pam was on good form as we drove from the airport out to my mum's in Loanhead. Playing second fiddle to her non-stop chat was Mozart's "Dissonance" String Quartet being broadcast on Radio 3 from the Edinburgh Festival...

At mum's we had a light lunch and chatted about this, that and the next thing, including Pam's annoyance that my other sister Sheila, who's just been on holiday for six weeks (she's a teacher), hadn't been visiting my mum enough...

And we took some photos...



Just after four, ironically, Pam and mum left to go to Sheila's for Sunday tea (my mum goes there every week for tea, while I hardly see her from week to week - perhaps Pam should be having a go at me?) while we headed back into Edinburgh to Anne's mum's (as we do every fortnight) for a birthday tea with her extended family...



Families, eh?

It had been Anne's brother, Keith's, son, Craig's, (are you following this?) 20th birthday a few days ago but he'd been larging it up on Ibiza at the time, so we had a birthday cake for him today (he got back yesterday)...

Other nephew/niece (sorry i can't find a collective term for nephews and nieces) Ollie/Kitty were performing as well as ever - Ollie showing off his Scrabble prowess and Kitty her ever-expanding vocabulary, and a good time was had by all...

Later on as Anne, her mum, Craig and I sat talking, the conversation inevitably turned to Hearts' recent exit from the Champions' League (all three are season ticket holders)....

I opined that Aguar and Brellier, who were sent off in the first and second legs respectively of the third round qualifier, ought to be fined by the club for not knowing the rules of the game...

Each received a contributary yellow card for stupid offences, Aguar rolled the ball away from the opponents at a free kick while Brellier received similar punishment for wearing an earring on the pitch...

I think if you're being paid £1,000s a week, you really ought to familiarise yourself with the rules of the game...

Craig reckoned the refs were applying the rules to strictly - but frankly, you're either wearing an earring or you're not...

After giving Craig a lift home, I updated the diary whilst listening to the new CBQ songs again while Anne caught up on her evening's viewing...

Highlight of the Day : Another flying visit from Sister Pam

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Remember the Coop (2)...

Playlist
Martin Tielli – We Didn’t Even Suspect That He Was the Poppy Salesman
Martin Tielli – Operation Infinite Joy
Impossible Songs – Border Crossing
Reid Anderson – Abolish Bad Architecture
The Alice Cooper Group – Best of 1971-1973 (2CD-R)
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Erstazreal (15 Songs)

Up at 6:18 and spent the first three hours of the day listening to music and surfing the net, whilst enjoying a cup of coffee...

Then watched the 1973 Alice Cooper concert DVD I bought a couple of weeks back – selecting the “Concert Only“ option...

Spurred on by this I compiled a 2CD set of the best of the original group, mixing the tracks up from their five albums from 1971 to 1973 and cross-fading etc...



This is one of my favourite past-times...

A bit of a stramash in the kitchen pre breakfast (Coffee & Croissants) as the loose fitting for our new hose sprayed water everywhere....

All cleaned up now though...

Then while Anne surfed the net I mucked around on the acoustic and came up with four or five possible song sequences...

In the afternoon, Anne went to Tynecastle for Hearts v Inverness (a crushing 4-1 victory for the JTs) and I picked up the guitar and recorded my last song “The Angels Took Her Soul” to add to my work in progress for the next CBQ album, “Ersatzreal”...

Then I worked the sequences from earlier up into song structures and ended up with four new pieces. I wrote some lyrics in my usual fashion and, bob’s your uncle – four new songs....

I know this makes it sound easy, but it wasn’t really...

“He Thinks Of You (He Wonders Why)”
“Another Piece of Cake”
“No Concrete Idea”
“The Little Man (Unfortunate)”

...are the current titles...

In the evening, we watch two episodes of “CSI” from April and then, prior to “Match of the Day”, I let my Executive Producer hear the new songs...

Anne liked “He Thinks Of You (He Wonders Why)” and “No Concrete Idea” immediately but felt “Another Piece of Cake” is a bit ‘quirky’ for me and she doesn’t like the lyrics. As for “The Little Man (Unfortunate)”, she thinks this doesn’t go anywhere and there’s too much humming – I explain I’m going to fill those gaps. I also agree to a rewrite for the cake song...

Highlight of the Day : Four new songs...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Incompetence, laced with dishonesty and corruption..

Playlist
The Nau Ensemble – The Eternal : Variations on Joy Division
The Tubes – Goin’ Down
The Tubes – Remote Control
Flash – In the Can
Girls Aloud – Chemistry
John Adams – Harmonium
John Adams –Shaker Loops
John Adams – The Chairman Dances



You might think “ok we’re at war in Iraq and Afghanistan and man, those Israelis and Arabs, when are they going to give it a rest? And what is it with these ‘home-grown terrorists’?? But, you know, overall, hey, we’re doing not too badly here in Old Blightly”...

In reality, things are even more bleak than you might think...

You may recall our great getting very drunk on champagne night around six weeks ago which was very kindly provided by a firm of Fund Managers. These are the one group of people to whom I listen re what’s really happening around the world and, today, I received what must surely be one of their most pessimistic posts yet – you can read the whole thing here – please do have a read...

It certainly cheered up my day.....

At lunchtime I bumped into brother in law Bobby in FOPP and recommended Lambchop to him....

Hope he likes them..

I bought nothing – I’m expecting 6 albums from e-bay....

In the evening watched an old episode of the “The Simpsons” before driving to Jaipur of India to pick up our Friday Night Takeaway...

Back home, “Coronation St” was followed by a new comedy, “The War at Home” – a little reminiscent of “Married With Children”, then two more episodes of “The Simpsons” – from the much feted ”new” series on Channel 4 – which was released in 2001!!

Thankfully, they got rid of the annoying “Halloween” episode right at the start...

Still great though...

Then I listened to Girls Aloud’s “Chemistry” album in anticipation of their appearance as guest hosts on “The Friday Night Project”...

Alarmingly, only Cheryl, Kimberley and Sarah appeared but reassurances were given that the group has not split up – their greatest hits set is due in October, though I’d rather see a fourth album first...

This was the last in the series and was pretty entertaining all round – we saw Justin Lee Collins the other week when we were in Cuba Norte with Alan Brodie and James Jamieson...

“The Edinburgh Show” was next – this was the usual embarrassing BBC pish re the Edinburgh Festivals with non-entity no-clue presenters and rubbish guests – Russell Brand, king of the fringe??? Talentless.

Big Brother has a lot to answer for...

Ended the day, surfing the net whilst listening to some John Adams compositions...

The picture today, which looks like a nice blue planet, much like our own, is actually a multiexposure collage of all the pics I have of me performing during the fringe - obviously it has been much treated - and I hope you like it...

Now to buy some shares in Poundstretcher and BAE...

Highlight of the Day : Relaxing in front of the TV with my family...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

WPOD...

Playlist
Gordian Knot - Gordian Knot
The Tubes - Goin' Down The Tubes (2CD)
The Bad Plus - Suspicious Activity
The Tubes - Wild West Show Live in London

Today at lunchtime I bought a DVD of The Tubes Live in London in December 2004, the show which Anne, Alan Brodie and I witnessed on the tiny stage at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow on the same tour...

I was going to buy Thom Yorke of Radiohead's solo album too but chum Gary had passed me a DVD with "The Top 60 Albums of July '06" on it and I thought it might be on there...

In the event, when I tried to access the DVD, the PC wouldn't recognise it. Very frustrating. Webmeister Craig says the PCs goosed again...

Goddammit!!!

Anyway it did recognise the Tubes DVD and I watched part of it tonight including a very informative interview with lead singer Fee Waybill - very good indeed and no doubt Anne, sister Pam and I will watch it when Pam visits from London next week...

I'm just thinking that most people will no longer remember The Tubes or even have heard of them in the first place...

Their loss...

Suffice to say they once headlined at Knebworth above Peter Gabriel and Frank Zappa....

I was there...

Highlight of the Day : Reliving all my Tubes experiences...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Good and evil...

Playlist
King Crimson – USA
Beethoven – Cello Sonatas
Miles Davis – The Best of Seven Steps
Frost – Thru The Eyes of Love
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Best of CBQ 1996-2006
Rush - A Farewell to Kings
King Crimson – DGM Sampler
Impossible Songs – Border Crossing

Relaxed in front of the TV tonight watching the start of the Hearts v AEK Athens game and leafing through the latest edition of Wire magazine...

Then packed up the guitar and stuff and headed into town to the Beanscene for 8:30...

It was noisy tonight, my last of five Fringe gigs for 2006...

Sound checked at 9 and went on at 9:30 with John and Ali from Impossible Songs arriving right on cue, just as I was about to start...

Young chum Kris and his mate Nick also showed up and so I succeeded in playing all five gigs to at least a few people I knew or who’d actually heard my music at some point before...

While I was playing I could feel my mobile vibrating in my pocket as Anne sent me texts to update me on Hearts’ Champions’ League demise...

Probably enjoyed this night the least of the recent shows but if you play in a café I suppose you have to expect people are going to be chatting – but do they need to chat quite as loudly as one American lady and her gay friend – at least they quietened down when their giant plate of nachos arrived....

Other distractions included the very loud smoothie making machine at the bar...

But I shouldn't get hung up on these - I played a good set, an American couple actually appeared to be filming me at one point; a lone young woman sat nursing a coffee and seemed to be listening to every word of my songs, making frequent eye contact; another girl sat in the corner reading her book and tapping her toes; and I knew that John, Ali, Kris and Nick were behind me all the way...



On balance, it was a good gig - and I know I've been spoiled over the last couple of years by the attentiveness of the regular Out of the Bedroom audiences...

So that’s it now till late September...

Then, hopefully my shoulder operation in October and, after that, get down to recording the full band version of "Ersatzreal"...

After a good chat with John and Ali, I headed home. Driving the new car tonight was good – when I’m on my own, I probably have the stereo too loud...

Back home Anne gave me all the sad tales of how the Ref robbed Hearts etc etc but, at the end of the day (footie cliché there), I think Athens would’ve gone through even without an alleged corrupt ref on their side...

John and Ali gave me a copy of their new album, “Border Crossing” and I finished the day listening to it (great stuff) while I finalised my latest spree on e-bay which will see six new CDs popping through the postbox very shortly...

Highlight of the Day : Another fine gig from Mr CBQ...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New, improved....

Playlist
Allan Holdsworth – The Sixteen Men of Tain
Haydn – Symphony No 93
Robert Fripp – Love Cannot Bear
Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
Grand Funk Railroad – Thirty Years of Funk
Norman Lamont – Waveforms (Live Performance)
The Frost – Thru The Eyes of Love
Dvorak – String Quartet in D Major

Picked up the new car this evening – a new, bigger engined, fuel injection, diesel, sport, version of the old car and Cloudland Blue instead of Dark Black...

At lunchtime I’d visited HMV to possibly purchase a CD to christen the stereo but to no avail. As I drove home from the garage we listened to the radio – Radio 4...

Back home, an excellent evening meal of pork medallions in a mustard sauce...

I ran through the set for tomorrow night after washing some dishes...

Then Anne got her first chance to drive the car as she gave me a lift in to Princes Street for a Waveforms performance by Norman Lamont in the large church at the west end of Princes St...

A superb performance from Norman, well structured and also quite varied. I sat in the front row and let the sounds wash over me. Very relaxing indeed....

I enjoy this type of music much more than singer-songwritery and I feel inspired to get my Loop Station out again and follow up last August’s CBQ soundscape recordings issued as “Through the Day”....

I caught a bus home and Anne had texted me, firstly to say Queen of the South were playing extra time at home to Kilmarnock, and then to say Killie had won 2-1 – damn it!!!

Then a further text to say Queen’s Park (3rd Division – 4th really) had beaten Aberdeen (SPL – 1st really) on penalties!!

Anne loves football and so won’t be at the gig tomorrow as Hearts Vs AEK Athens is being beamed live from Greece...

Back home again and we watched the episode of “CSI : Miami” from earlier in the evening, before I updated the diary whilst enjoying some tasty Dvorak which I’d seen earlier at HMV but have already....

Highlight of the Day : A new car...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Like father, like son...

Playlist
King Crimson - The Power to Believe
Robert Fripp - Love Cannot Bear
Various - Recent Tracks By People I Like (2CD-R)

Tomorrow we will pick up the new car and so, tonight, we took a drive in the Black Seat Ibiza which we've had for nearly three years and which caused us so many problems for around half of that time - but we still like it...

One of the reasons we took a drive was that it had half a tank of petrol left in it and, since we'd paid for the petrol, we might as well use it...

We drove round the Forth Coast to North Berwick via Granton, Leith, Portobello, Musselburgh, Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Aberlady and Gullane...

It was a lovely night and as we arrived in North Berwick the sun was going down...



We walked along the front and I took a couple of shots of the bass rock - this is the better of the two...



...I like a "big" sky...

Then we walked around the town looking for somewhere to have a drink or a coffee but found none of the bars to be that inviting...

We ended back at the harbour where, earlier, we'd watched the sun go down and I took a few more shots...





Over in the distance on the second of these two, will be the rock under which my dad's ashes were put just over three years ago...

I never realised he loved North Berwick so much until we were talking about him a few months ago with my mum. It seems when he was a teenager living in Glasgow, he visited once and fell in love with the place...

My family used to come here for day trips when I was a boy - and I love it here too...

We drove home the fast route and the Black Seat Ibiza sits in the garage now, with just a quarter tank of fuel....

Highlight of the Day : A late evening trip to North Berwick... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn...

Playlist
Aimee Mann – The Forgotten Arm
King Crimson – DGM Live Sampler
Eels – Shootenanny!
Frank Zappa – Shut Up’n’Play Yer Guitar
Nine Horses - Snow Borne Sorrow
Tin Star - The Thrill Kisser

Slept till 8 after last night’s drinking...

Breakfast at home again, then I spent sometime uploading pictures from yesterday and mucking about with them...

Here’s a multi-exposure of the 50 or so pictures from both the gig and the family do at Maureen & Keith’s (the highlight of which by the way was Maureen’s daughter Abby’s chocolate brownie cake thing – mmm mmm)...



Amended my set yet again for the last of my Fringe gigs coming up on Wednesday back at the Beanscene, Nicolson Street (9:30 though I don’t expect you to be there)...

Then played it through before setting off with Anne to see about getting a new car...

By 3:30 we had bought one and we’ll take possession on Tuesday...

It’s Cloudland Blue....

On the way home from the purchase we stopped off at Compass just along the street from where we attended the wedding reception last week. I had a strawberry flavoured Belgian beer. Very tasty!!

In the evening a Chinese takeaway makes up for the fact that we had no lunch due to lengthy negotiations over the car...

Then a taped "CSI New York" from MArch and, while Anne watched "Corrie", I played a few different songs thinking I might bring them into the set - though I probably won't...

First "Match of the Day 2" of the season - Man U and Chelsea are rampant...

Highlight of the Day : A new car...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A family affair...

Playlist
Eels – Shootenanny!
Alice Cooper –Billion Dollar Babies
Allan Holdsworth – Against the Clock
Halloween Alaska – Too Tall to Hide
Yello – Flag
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Sospiri : Orchestral Collages
King Crimson – DGM Live Sampler
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Best of 1990-1995
Sly and the Family Stone – Best of
Johnny Cash - American IV
John Coltrane - Crescent
Moulin Rouge OST
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark
The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Up at 5 and outside it was misty...

We breakfasted at home...

On the site “DGM Live”, there are many King Crimson and Robert Fripp recordings available for download, but, due to some unknown fault on my PC, I am unable to download any of them...

However, I have sourced free samples on another PC and sent them to my home inbox and somehow, from there, I can save them to the hard drive – computers eh?

So this morning I spent some time forming around 10 or 11 downloads into an album, cross fading tracks etc etc...

Sounds good...

Then I rehearsed the set for the Queensferry gig this afternoon...

I drove down there for 1pm and the rest of the crew turned up around 1:30....

Mist threatened from the northern shore but came to nothing...



We had a particularly quick set up and I started my performance around 2pm as planned. Another very enjoyable outing. Here's a pic...



I stayed to watch Fraser Drummond’s Confushion before driving back home as I was due at Anne’s brother Keith’s for a family get together "anytime after 3”...

I debated with myself as to whether I ought to just drive there but decided instead to take the bus. And so my journey, door to door, lasted around 1 hr 20 mins instead of what would have been a 20 minute journey by car..

Here are (left to right) Anne, her sister Jane and her brother Keith - all pleased to see me of course...



While I had a few drinks, nephew Ollie and niece Kitty had a good time with the rabbit, Cottontail...



The food and drink were plentiful and we ended up getting a taxi home around midnight along with Anne’s mum after she, me, Anne, Keith and his partner, Maureen, had sat around the table discussing terrorism, socialism, books, films and i-pods and various other stuff whilst listening to, amongst others, John Coltrane, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell and The Beatles...

Highlight of the Day : Another enjoyable performance where I hardly had to consult my music...  Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

Rainy day, quiet night....

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Fringe Set
Alice Cooper –Billion Dollar Babies
Eels – Shootenanny!

It rained almost all day today...

We had a quiet night in tonight with an indian and a bottle of French Red...

After last week’s disappointing Taj, we ordered from a different source and were pleasantly surprised...

Watched “Coronation St” and ran through tomorrow’s set, slightly tweaked from last night’s...

My third Eels album in a week arrived via e-bay, “Shootenanny!” – very good indeed – I like Eels – to listen to, not to eat though...

Finally got confirmation that the proposed gigs in Princes St Gardens have been cancelled due to lack of funding...

Not to worry...

Brought my "Pictures of the Day" blog up to date, adding around 40 shots from April to August - ok, so not quite pictures of every day but, you know...

Highlight of the Day : Some tasty lamb dish from a different takeaway...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Reunion....

Playlist
Eels – Souljacker
Eels – 22 Miles of Hard Road EP
Grand Funk – Thirty Years of Funk

The third Beanscene gig tonight and I had a great time...

At least one person had come along from last Friday’s Nicolson St gig as a guy sitting near the front with his own bottle of Red wine and a large plate of nachos asked if I had enough songs with me tonight for an encore...

No encore tonight though as there were time constraints on the set due to staff rotas or something. The communication leaves a little to be desired....

They wanted me to go on at 8, after I’d mailed people to tell them 8:30 – meaning anyone coming along on the strength of my mega-marketing campaign would most likely miss the entire set...

I stood my ground after some “negotiations”...

Tam Coyle from Luna Records was along tonight (on his birthday) to check me out before heading to Nicolson St for the set up there and then to meet up with the other head honchos from the label to see a band Tam’s thinking of managing...

The set was slightly different from last Friday and I’ll change it again slightly for Queensferry on Saturday – if people are along more than once, I don’t just want to play exactly the same songs in exactly the same order every time...

Also in the audience tonight were my Creek cohorts Stuart Cobley, Craig Sutherland (who’s also my webmeister at Crispycat) and, for the first time in a long time, Alan Brodie....

Craig and Alan were with their respective partners, Amy and Penny, two lovely ladies – and Anne came along tonight too – I think more in hope that people she’d not seen for a while would turn up than anything to do with the music...

Honorary members of the Cloudland Blue Quartet, James Jamieson and my nephew and co-writer of “The Crocodile Song”, Andy Wilson were also there – the latter looking particularly handsome – he’s now the house DJ at Maddogs nightclub in George St, playing there six nights a week – that’s his job – nice one....

Tonight was the first time for over two years that all six CBQ’ers (me, Jamie, Andy, Alan, Stu, Craig) had been in the same room together...

After sitting around chatting, Anne, Jamie, Alan, Penny and I went on to Cuba Norte for a few drinks...

When we emerged around midnight it was chucking it down with rain so we took a slight detour on the way home to give Jamie a lift...

A very enjoyable evening out...

A strange phenomenon occurred tonight too – for the first time in a very long time, possibly the first time I can remember, I wasn’t nervous in the least about performing...

No doubt the nerves will return though...

Highlight of the Day : The CBQ/Creek Reunion....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Beyond comprehension...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet - Acoustic Fringe Set
Tom McRae - All Maps Welcome
Nine Horses - Snow Borne Sorrow
Grand Funk Railroad - Thirty Years of Funk

Another day of good music today..

The Tom McRae album is a recent (overlooked-by-the-great-British-public) gem which I've not listened to for a good while...

In the post today, three little parcels of fun...

David Sylvian's last album, recorded under the name Nine Horses with his brother Steve Jansen (also ex-Japan) and Burnt Friedman (German electronica "star") plus a long list of guests, this is a move back toward the mainstream in comparison with "Blemish" but, since it's Sylvian, not too close to the mainstream...

The first of my two recent Eels purchases is next - Souljacker (the 2 disc version, no less) - which I've not had a chance to hear yet, because I've been listening to...

A three CD Anthology of Grand Funk Railroad for whom I have a big soft spot - huge in America in the early seventies, barely heard of in the UK - hated by the critics - loved by the fans - and some great rocking tunes...

I have most of GFR's CDs already but around a third of the tracks on here are new to me, and that's worth the e-bay price for the set...

Other than that, a trip along to the Haymarket Beanscene to see Ian Sclater play a set (I'm there tomorrow night)...

His between song banter is excellent and funny and it was good to hear the songs we worked on for what ended up being nearly a year, finally making it into a live setting....

Back home, I decided not to rehearse my set, having listened to some recordings earlier in the day, and instead continued with some David Sylvian and Grand Funk...

Ha - that name - I used to love seeing all the "funky" students who used to come into the shop, pick up the records we had in stock by Grand Funk and wonder what they might be like....

I had to tell them it was heavy rock and probably beyond their comprehension and, "oh I have some old Donald Byrd records over there under Jazz"...

I hated those stupid, funk searching, students...

Highlight of the Day : David Sylvian

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Out on the bridge...

Playlist
Peter Gabriel - Ovo
Cloudland Blue Quartet - The Acoustic Ersatzreal
Phil Manzanera - 6PM
Eels - Bright Lights and Other Revelations
Peter Gabriel - Miss
The Fountains of Wayne - Out of State Plates

An unbelievable 22 years ago today since Crispy the Kitten was born - I remember like it was yesterday...

Meg the Black Cat's unofficial birthday is 22 March but we don't know exactly how old she is - we hope she's not as old as she might be....

Phil Manzanera's "6PM" arrived today. A 'nice' album - and one which features other Roxy Music alumni Brian Eno, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson along with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and Robert Wyatt, once of Soft Machine...

Lovely pasta for tea tonight, created by the lovely Anne, then the dishes, washed by me, then a set run through, then "CSI : Miami" and "CSI : NY" both 'live' rather than on tape, then another listen to Phil Manzanera as I updated the diary...

An offer of a slot at South Queensferry on Saturday afternoon came in by e-mail today - an unexpected delight - I have a prior family engagement but will make the gig if I can play early enough - it's from 2 till 6, open air at the Two Bridges Hotel and also features at least three SQ acts, Impossible Songs, Norman Lamont and Tommy Mackay - all in all, eight 'turns' will each do half an hour - I'm hoping to be on first or second...

It's a benefit to draw attention to the South Queensferry Arts Festival, which takes place in September.....

...when I'll be doing more gigs at various Beanscene Cafes....it's the new Out of the Bedroom....

Highlight of the Day : An unexpected invite....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hit and miss...

Playlist
Trevor Rabin – Enemy of the State OST
Peter Gabriel – Hit (and Miss) (2CD)

Two episodes of Coronation St tonight, yet another soap bride deserted at the alter…

Anne asks why there can’t for once be a wedding in a soap where nothing goes wrong – to which I reply, it wouldn’t be a soap if that happened….

A “CSI NY” from March on video followed by “Law & Order” from May…

Listening mostly to Peter Gabriel today – went back to FOPP and bought the two disc set as predicted…

Not as mad as it seems as several tracks are different versions from those I already have on the original albums….

Although the collection’s called “Hit”, I notice the second disc is called “Miss”. It’s probably the better of the two due to its unfamiliarity quotient…

No CBQing today whatsoever…

A day off, if you like…

Highlight of the Day : Peter Gabriel

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mostly music day...

Playlist
Eels - Blinking Lights and other Revelations
Fountains of Wayne – Out of State Plates
Heutling Quartet : Mozart – String Quartet No 15 K421
Alban Berg Quartet : Bartok - String Quartet No 6 in D Major
Medici String Quartet : Beethoven - String Quartet in F Major Opus 135
Medici String Quartet : Beethoven - String Quartet in A Minor Opus 132
Dido - Life For Rent
Dido - No Angel

Didn’t wake till 9:30 and listened to the new Eels CD...

I was so impressed I bid for two more albums on e-bay (I already have three others)...

I’ve also just bought a Grand Funk box set and an album by Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera...

Breakfast was the remains of yesterday’s lovely bread, toasted, plus coffee and fruit juice...

Listened to more Eels and also the great Fountains of Wayne...

Then, influenced by a flyer I received in the post for a November concert by the Takacs Quartet at the Queen’s Hall, I listened to a quartet each by Mozart, Bartok and Beethoven – the three which will be in the programme in November...

And so, while Anne worked really hard painting all the woodwork and the canopy around our front door, I typed pish on the internet and listened to classical music...

Then I ran through my set for Thursday...

Late afternoon, we went to Anne’s mum’s for tea...

Back home, I worked out the chords and wrote out the lyrics for two Dido songs, “White Flag” and “Here With Me”, two of my absolute favourite songs of the last five or six years...

And did some ironing...

Highlight of the Day : Just listening to music...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It’s all about having the idea first....

Playlist
Television – Marquee Moon
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Best of CBQ 1990-1995
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Best of CBQ 1996-2006
Fountains of Wayne – Out of State Plates
Eels – Blinking Lights and other Revelations

Up at 5:30, feeling not too bad today after what is now three weeks of this strange infection – it’s similar to a thing I had in 2002 which ended up lasting for three or four months...

Wrote up the diary for last night’s gig which I really enjoyed and was so buoyed with enthusiasm for my music that I listened all the way through the two “best ofs” I’ve compiled thus far, 1990-95 and 1996-06...

Got sucked in to the Sick Things Alice Cooper fan site reading through the message boards and finding out stuff I didn’t know, about a man (and, originally, a group) I’ve followed since the summer of 1972...

Anne finally woke up and we went out for brunch, not breakfast, but brunch today around 11...

Here’s Anne walking round from the place we park the car, to Patisserie Florentin....



A shabbily dressed but posh young man was in with his small child and asked for a plain croissant, heated up – even going as far as to ask if the heating process involved a microwave and being relieved to find it’d be carried out under a grill...

When the croissant arrived and he pulled it apart in readiness to feed it to his child, he called the waiter over and said he’d made a mistake, he didn’t mean to have it heated and could he have a cold one instead...

If I could have rolled my eyes any further back in my head I would have...

This is why I cannot deal with the general public – the main reason I gave up my record shop after seven years of stupid questions and general pish (not literally of course!) from people...

We walked down to Stockbridge and bought some lovely bread from Herbie’s Deli and a lottery ticket (jeez oh – one number again – but the day we give up on 5 15 19 29 33 46 is they day they all come out)...

I thought about buying the last Eels 2Cd set for £5.99 from Oxfam – but the box was all horrible and sticky and that put me off....

We drove home and I worked out my setlist for this week’s Fringe gig – 7:30 on Thursday evening at the Haymarket Beanscene – then had a quick run through before giving Anne a lift to her mum’s. Hearts v Falkirk today...

Inspired by Sid Smith’s visit to Edinburgh this week, I headed to the Botanical Gardens, scene of the great getting drunk by drinking champagne all night fiasco of a few weeks ago, to check out an exhibition by Robert Ryman...



Mostly this was a collection of white paintings, but I liked what I saw – might do one myself if I can find an old tin of Dulux lying around..

The discussions re the merits of the work from my fellow visitors was very entertaining – as was the comments book at the door – in which I saw Sid’s....

I thought I’d left a witty comment by drawing a square and writing “very white” but I was disappointed when, looking through the book, I found that quite a few others had done the same before me...

Art eh? It’s all about having the idea first....

Had a stroll around the gardens and took some pics of the impressive foliage and blue sky....



....then drove to Leith Walk and had a look in a new shop I’d heard of, “Elvis Shakespeare”, a 2nd hand book and music emporium. Nearly bought Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” for £3 but didn’t – no doubt I will return at some point, as I then did to Oxfam in Stockbridge and bought the Eels CD....

Then to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (which, coincidentally, was originally set in the buidling where the Ryman exhibition is at present) for a look around, a drink and wee bit of coconut cake out in the garden at the rear of the building...

There’s an interesting piece on the wall as you go down to the café – it’s the names of everyone the artist (who’s name escapes me) has ever met. It was started in 1990 and is “ongoing”....



Art eh? It’s all about having the idea first....

On the way home, I noticed a small sports car in front of me and, for a couple of miles I was driving along behind John and Ali from impossible Songs...

Back home and bad news on the footie front as Queens went down 1-0 at home to St Johnstone, while Hearts could only managed a goalless draw against Falkirk...

I went and collected Anne and we stopped by Tesco on the way home, for the odd combination of petrol and beans...

We were going to a wedding tonight – a guy Anne works with...

Anne had decided she’d take the car as she didn’t want to be hung over tomorrow...

We met up with the others at the King’s Wark bar in Leith. I got chatting with one of the guys, Chris, and we found we had a mutual liking for, amongst others, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys and Goodbye Mr Mackenzie – he seemed impressed I’d toured with the latter in 1988 and once recorded a single with their guitarist, “Big John Duncan”, ex of the Exploited...

We finally arrived at the reception at 9, having been invited “anytime after 7” and proceeded to have a great time. I wasn’t too drunk but did quite a bit of dancing, much to my ankle’s delight. Star of the night was “Jane Doll” who has certainly got some “moves”....

I was even to be found singing The Proclaimers’ “500 Miles” at the top of my voice at one point – so it must’ve been good – cos I hate the Proclaimers....

Home at 1:30, after a packed day...

Highlight of the Day : Actually enjoying a wedding reception

Friday, August 11, 2006

Almost sunk, then buoyed...

Playlist
Various Composers – The Splendid Rebirth of Italian Music
Adrian Belew – Side One
Adrian Belew – Side Two
Peter Gabriel – Hit
Television- Marquee Moon
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Fringe Set No 2

Today, I finally bought the album “Marquee Moon” by Television. When it was released in 1977, I bought the singles taken from it (“Marquee Moon” and “Prove It” - both in 12" format) but never the album...

It’s great....

I was on the brink of buying Peter Gabriel’s 2CD set “Hit” (and may still do so) but, on checking the jukebox I found I had all but two of the tracks already – and so programmed the album into play and listened to it at no extra cost....

When I got home from town, the postie had delivered The Fountains of Wayne’s double compilation CD “Out of State Plates” which I’m looking forward to hearing...

I had a quick run through my latest Fringe set, recorded it and burned it to a CD to listen to in the car on the way back into town – I still can’t sing too much and so I listen instead, in order to “practise”...

And so, my second Beanscene gig tonight...

Things were looking a bit bleak when it became clear even the long-suffering Anne wasn’t going to turn up!

She was out with her friend Michelle and a few others and texted to say she was having such a good time she’d just stay where she was and I could join them there after my set...

I was feeling pretty dispirited before going on as, although there were quite a few people in the place, not one person I’d told about it was there....

Then Mr Craig Harding introduced himself. He bought one of my tapes back in 1993 and had recently Googled me and found my website...

Craig was up for the weekend from Macclesfield to take in a few shows on the Fringe and, would you believe, CBQ...

I was buoyed...

I started the set and most people were chatting away and not paying much attention but, by the third song or so, everyone seemed to be listening intently...

I really enjoyed playing tonight and I think I won the audience over – I finished my set and they were calling for more. I explained I could only play for 30 minutes, but they insisted on an encore...

The management said it was fine by them...

But of course I only had ten songs with me – so I took the opportunity play my newest song for a second time...

After the set, I sat with Craig to chat. He was accompanied by his friend Nicola and her sister Helen – who once played a nurse in “Coronation Street”!!!

How cool is that?

Nicola especially liked “The Crocodile Song”, which I’d brought back into the set tonight, and asked me what it was about – I explained about writing songs around lines from books and how I’d got “crocodile I am, and crocodile I shall remain” from Mauriac’s “The Knot of Vipers” (Le Noeud de vipers) and built up the rather sordid tale of the song from that line...

The line is near the top of page 61....



There is nothing better as a musician than to meet people who appreciate what you’re doing. Especially on a night like tonight, when I was feeling like just packing it all in and retreating to the studio for the rest of my days....

Craig, Nicola and Helen left around 10:30 to catch a show at the Pleasance, and I gave them each a “Best of CBQ 1996-2006” CD for having taken the time to come along all the way from Macclesfield (obviously all the other shows they were seeing at the Fringe were a side issue)...

Then I drove down to meet up with Anne and her friends, had a drink with them and, around midnight, we headed home...

Highlight of the Day : A really enjoyable gig – and meeting someone who’s been in Coronation St...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Where does the time go...

Playlist
Caravan - Canterbury Tales
Deep Purple - Made In Japan
Various - A Brief History of Progressive Rock 1968-1979
Steve Hillage - Live Herald
Anywhen - The Opiates*

What did I do today?

Nothing much....

I ran through the new set for tomorrow night - without much singing as I'm still suffering from this strange affliction...

The new song sounds like it was written by someone else - but I like it a lot...

Since Anne is out with friends tomorrow night and I am performing, we ordered an Indian tonight rather than our usual Friday night pig-out...

I'm afraid I must report it to have been very disappointing - most of my vegetable pathia went in the bin....

Then a visit from our neighbour Fiona and her second eldest daughter, Gabriella.....

Fiona's husband, Pietro has recently undergone major heart surgery and has just arrived back home from hospital - we were glad to hear he is dong well...

The reason for the visit was that Gabby needed to use our computer to print something....

She's 24, very attractive and a buyer with a fashion chain, jetting off to Milan and Barcelona as required - tomorrow she's supposed to be going to Amsterdam but with the new clampdown at airports announced today due to suspected terrorist plots to blow up planes, perhaps not...

When we moved to this house Gabby was just 5 years old and we've watched her (and her brothers and sisters) grow up. When I look at them now, they remind me of how old I am and how quickly time passes us by...

While Gabby was on the computer, we had a good chat with Fiona - she always has all the gossip about the neighbours. There are people who've been living around here for years, to whom we've never spoken, and some we do actually know...

I refer to our neighbours as variously:-

The man with the beautiful daughters (the daughters are long gone but the man and his wife remain, receiving visits every so often from the daughters and their children)...

Vera (her husband is very proud of his garden. They have two sons, both now gone from home)...

The students (one of the student's parents owns the house - three Irish girls share it)...

The people on the house where the man who went under our floorboards used to live (they do a lot of sunbathing in their front garden and have two small children who like Meg the Black Cat - the previous owner went under our floor when I accidentally flooded the kitchen) ...

The strange couple who sometimes argue and of whom the man once slammed their front door and smashed their window (they have a young daughter who also likes Meg the Black Cat)...

The people at the end (they have an indeterminate number of children who also like Meg the Black Cat)...

The nutters at the end (they are always shouting and swearing at each other and fighting - their children look like Dickensian street urchins and are sometimes seen crying)...

Candy’s mum (Candy is a cat who was once an adversary of Crispy and is now an adversary of Meg the Black Cat - Crispy was never a friend to children - but she was our baby) ...

Cameron (actual name Kamran I think - he sometimes partakes of one of those big smoke things you see in exotic bazaars in films set in Egypt or Turkey) ...

Fiona and Pietro (they have three grown up kids and a teenage son who used to be a bit of a handful but is a fine young man now. They also have a small barking dog and used to have a rabbit, who I looked after once when they were on holiday and who bit me - I liked her despite this, but she had a terrible life)...

The nice couple at the end (a nice young couple, he smokes drugs in the garden apparently - they have a small constantly crying child who is not yet old enough to be a friend of Meg the Black Cat)....

The sandwich lady (just moved in - she owns a sandwich shop and has a big house for one person but has a lot of "men friends" visiting - just visiting, mind)....

The lady whose husband died from motor neurone disease and whose son was once a peeping tom - according to Fiona anyway (she always seems so sad - her husband was a good man) ...

Moira and Ian and their two nice kids (the taxman and his lovely wife - he sometimes plays the bagpipes in his house - their son plays tennis in the street at Wimbledon time - just as I used to do outside my mum and dad's house in the 70's)....

The Hearts fan and his Canadian ladyfriend (Fiona advises she's just been diagnosed with breast cancer)...

Mrs Boag (former owner of Mrs Boag’s cat and oldest resident around here - Fiona thinks Mrs Boag is a bit mad but she seems like a nice old lady to me) ....

The cycling couple and their daughter (always cycling here and there - very eco-friendly although they do have rather a large car to carry all their bikes at the weekend)...

There you go...

After Fiona and Gabby went on their way, I watched Alice Cooper Live at Montreux - a great concert - 90 minutes of action (unlike the Hearts game last night)...

Then a bit of Newsnight and then bed...

Happy Birthday today to Alan Brodie - wonder when we'll see him again - he's just too elusive...

Highlight of the Day : Alice Cooper Live in 2005...

*for five years I have laboured under the misapprehension that this was an album called "Anywhen" by The Opiates - until today when I Googled it and found that it's the band (from Sweden) who are called Anywhen - a very good album by the way...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Remember the Coop....

Playlist
Miles Davis - Relaxin'
King Crimson - A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson (2CD)
Pink Floyd - Wish You were Here
Alice Cooper - Live at Montreux 2005

Off to Murrayfield tonight for Hearts v AEK Athens, but not before I'd bought the two Alice Cooper DVDs I'd been thinking about buying...

"Good to See You Again Alice Cooper" is a film set around the triumphant Billion Dollar Babies Tour of 1973, when the group were the biggest on the planet...

And "Live at Montreux 2005" from the latest Coop tour where his four piece backing band were on fire...

To quote from a fan's review on Amazon, "Considering the fact that ALICE COOPER was 57 years old at the date of this recording, it is astounding just how good he sounds right from the first note of 'Department of Youth', to the very last of encore closer 'Under My Wheels' . This is a top vocal performance and his presence on stage is still massive. One thing's for sure when you watch this DVD, the man himself is still enjoying every minute of his life as the world greatest shock rocker."

And so off to the game...

Good - especially the nerve-wracking 2nd half. I thought Hearts just might sneak the win but oh dear...

Two corners to Athens in the first two minutes, set the scene...

It was backs to the wall for almost the entire first half for the Jam Tarts...

They came out fighting in the second though and went ahead after an hour through a great goal from Mikalaunus...

A couple of minutes later though - Bruno Aguar(??) was sent off. The Ref gave him the yellow straight away re throwing the ball away - but I wonder if he would have if he'd realise the player was the same one he booked in the first half...

The bottom line though, was 2 bookings (second one PARTICULARLY STUPID when Bruno knew he was on a yellow) and he deserved to walk....

And so backs to the wall again as shot after shot rained in on the Hearts goal...

Then a heartbreaking finish (no pun intended) as Athens grabbed two goals in the last couple of minutes of the game...

All things considered, AEK were far superior to Hearts and even if Hearts had one 1-0 they were facing a pasting in Greece...

It might be different now though as the JTs need to play a 1-1-8 formation in Athens to score as many goals as possible (and win by at least two clear goals)!!

To Anne's mum's for coffee and a scone after the match before heading home, watching the pundits' end of match review and then some vintage Cooper before bed...

Highlight of the Day : Alice Cooper Live in 1973

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

'Mon the Queens...

Playlist
Philip Glass – Koyanaquatsi
Genesis – Foxtrot
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Palmer
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Fringe Set

A visit to HMV at lunchtime and I swither over two Alice Cooper DVDs but end up buying neither – probably will soon though...

Back home and the throat’s closing up again so no singing tonight. Instead I listen to the CD of the Fringe Setlist songs I recorded a couple of weeks ago while I update the programme for Friday, three songs are changed, including the debut of the new one...

Arsenal vs Dinamo Zagreb – I fall asleep during the first half...

Awake again for CSI Miami – only just – and then the last in the series of “Grumpy Old Holidays”...

Footie results come through and Queen of the South have beaten Clyde 4-2 in the CIS Cup. My mum’s uncle was once a director of Clyde so I sort of support them too, but not as much as Queen of the South – they were 4-1 up at half time..

Great stuff...



Highlight of the Day : A superb win for Queens in the CIS Cup... Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 07, 2006

A bit of an iffy pitch...

Playlist
Erik Satie – Piano Music
The Bad Plus – Motel
Yes – Close To The Edge
Gentle Giant – In A Glass House

Lovely pasta for tea followed by two episodes of Corrie, between which I played the new song and made some lovely coffee – although Anne reckoned it was a bit strong...

Sent out some invites to Friday’s gig at the Beanscene in Nicolson St (9:30 pm - see you there I hope!!)...

Then ran through a potential set...

I played ten fine songs on Saturday night but I have a squad of eighteen (nineteen now after yesterday’s writing spree) and will be making some changes...

Actually, having looked at the list again, there are five which I won’t play at all...

Tonight’s set wasn’t quite there yet and the voice is still a bit iffy re the continuing sore throat (18 days and counting)...

Finished of the day with the highlights of Hearts v Celtic...

Highlight of the Day : Anne’s cooking...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Time travelling...

Playlist
Arvo Part – Fratres
Return To Forever – Romantic Warrior
Robert Fripp – Soundscapes For Orchestra
Michael Rother - Esperanza
Various - Aware Records Ear Snacks Vol IV
Various - The Greatest Hits of 1972
The Bad Plus - Motel
Weather Report - I Sing The Body Electric
Moving Sounds - Thinking About
Various - Now That's What I Call Music January 1972 - April 1973
Magazine - Secondhand Daylight

Rubbish sleep last night and so up at 4:50...

Some quiet listening, Arvo Pat’s beautiful “Fratres” along with “Summa for Strings” and “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten for Strings and Bell”...

I keep the last 100 CDs I’ve bought/acquired, on a shelf in the living room and so, every so often I bring those recently relegated by the advent of new acquisitions upstairs to join the main collection...

And so I end up also listening to return to Forever and Robert Fripp while I waste more of my life doing stuff I really don’t need to do...

While trawling the blog to ensure I record in my Red Book of CDs (Started in 1985, listing chronologically my entire collection - 4,400) I decided to copy into an excel spreadsheet for analysis, all the albums I’ve been listening to since starting to record my daily playlists back in April...

Counting Cloudland Blue Quartet, which accounts for around a quarter of my overall listening (such narcissism), my top thirty artists over the last three and a half months have been:-

Cloudland Blue Quartet
Alice Cooper
Yes
King Crimson
Neal Morse
The Bad Plus
Brian Eno
Pet Shop Boys
Mathilde Santing
Miles Davis
Reid Anderson
The Blue Nile
Emerson Lake & Palmer
Pink Floyd
Andrew Hill
Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers
Brad Mehldau Trio
David Bowie
James Jamieson
John Coltrane
Dar Williams
Electric Light Orchestra
Freddie Hubbard
Golden Earring
Grand Funk Railroad
Isaac Hayes
Lee Morgan
Shadow Gallery
The Church
Tool

Which gives an insight into the fact that I like listening to myself, am somewhat stuck in the seventies and enjoy both prog rock and jazz...

We went to a packed Patisserie Floretin for breakfast and, when we came out, the weather had taken a turn for the worse...

Stopped off at Anne's sister's on the way to pick up some Hearts FC related item for her brother, then back home, where Anne surfed the net and I looked through the twenty or so notebooks of, erm, notes which I have, on the look out for anything interesting...

I found a lyric I wrote around 2000 or so which was used by my old chum Stewart Robinson on one of his Peri Urban tracks back then...

Wrote some chord sequences, changed the lyrics ever so slightly and, hey presto, another new song for the next album - title : The Angels Took His Soul (And Put A Smile Upon Her Face)...

Took Anne round to her mum's, as they're off to see Hearts v Celtic, then went back to the house to refine the new song...

I'd phoned my mum earlier and arranged to go out for a quick visit while Anne was at the footy. She's in good spirits despite having fallen in her garden the other day, giving herself a black eye!!

What a shiner...

I am glad to hear that she's not lost her confidence to walk around (as can so easily happen when an "elderly" person starts falling over) but she does need to be careful...

We had an hour together before she was due to head off up to my sister Sheila's. Then I went back to Anne's mum's to pick Anne up - I didn't know the score but it had been 0-0 at half time when I'd left our house to go to my mum's...

I'd predicted 3-0 for Celtic based on the sucessful, yet rather lack lustre performances of Hearts so far this season...

As I walked into Anne's mum's house I realised from the atmosphere I'd been wrong - a glorious 2-1 win for the Jam Tarts - should've been 3-1 as a perfectly good goal was disallowed for offside - in fact 3-0 because Celtic scored their goal from the move immediately following the goal being chalked off...

A quick visit to Tesco for something for the tea and then home, where I tried to remember how the new song goes, before watching Coronation St...

Then I compiled a list of hit singles from 1972 and 1973 that I liked - using the great chart source, www.everyhit.co.uk...for no other reason than I like looking at a list of good records from those years - there's definitely something wrong with me...

Ended the day buying a couple of CDs on e-bay, my first for a while - Nine Horses (David Sylvian) and a 2CD compilation by Fountains of Wayne...

Tasty...

Highlight of the Day : Another new song takes shape..

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Butterflies...

Playlist
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Best of CBQ 1996-2006
The Violet Achers – End of Part One
Vivaldi – L’Estro Armonico

Up at 6:30 after a particularly bad night sleepwise – still not too bad swallowing – but still coughing...

Updated the blog for yesterday and printed out programmes and finished off covers for the CDs for sale tonight and printed the discs then put them all together...



At 9:15 out to Patisserie Florentin on my own to pick up some croissants and bring them back...

Anne had to stay in the house in case the postman brought her Hearts Season Ticket...

Back home, I made breakfast and we waited for the postie...

Some spectacular butterflies made their way into our garden and entertained us...



The postie never came – so at noon I took Anne to Tynecastle and dropped her at the end of an hour long queue for a voucher for tomorrow’s game against Celtic...

I went and bought a couple of shirts and something for our lunch and then headed home...

Anne called around 1:15 or so and I drove back along the road as agreed, to pick her up...

Back home, lunch and then I tried a run through of the set for tonight – of course, I just couldn’t not rehearse...

First few songs my voice broke a few times but it wasn’t too bad and, wonder of wonders, I managed the entire set without words or music in front of me – I’ll still take them along tonight though...

I was really tired now, feeling worse than I have all week and my throat was tightening up again, and so went for a sleep....

Woke again around 4:30 to be told Queen of the South were being beaten by newly relegated Livingston FC - final score 2-0 - here we go again...

Got packed up and, before heading into town, went to check the e-mail from the promotor to ensure I'd not forgotten anything...

Norman Lamont had mailed me to say you can't sell your own CDs at the venue...

On the way in, Anne wondered why I get so Leeds United about these stupid wee gigs, making up CDs and programmes and sepnding so much time preparing everything - I ought to just drive in and turn up, play and get off home...

That is why she's my executive producer...

The soundcheck was fine, other than the usual paranoia about a perfectly in tune guitar being out of tune...

As on Wednesday when I checked the place out, the audience was "small but appreciative", and it was good to see old friends Julie and Stuart whom we'd not seen for ages and Ali from Impossible Songs was along too - she offered to do backing vocals at some point - that would be interesting - I've never had a "backing vocalist" before...

Mr Sclater was in the audience too as was Bill Philip, both of whom were at the house gig a couple of weeks back in Lasswade...

Despite all my anal retentive preparation, the set went well and my voice was fine although afterwards while chatting, I was coughing a lot - must be some kind of virus I've got as I've had this before a few times over the last four or five years, sore throat and coughing and catching my breath but no real "cold" symptoms...

And so it's all over until Friday when I play the "busier" Beanscene up at Newington...

Here's a pic Ali took on her Blackberry type machine thing - I've treated it slightly...



On the way home, we stopped off for an Indian takeaway, no starters though, as it was too late in the evening for a big meal. Very tasty..

Forgot to get a lottery ticket today but, as usual, no numbers (lucky for me!!)

Highlight of the Day : Ten song set at the Beanscene

Friday, August 04, 2006

Herring night...

Playlist
Jackie McLean – Capuchin Swing
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Fringe Set

Almost imperceptibly, I began to notice late afternoon that I was beginning to be able to swallow without very much pain and so I hope that my throat is on the mend...

I still have a pretty bad cough though...

So once again no rehearsing for me today although I did listen to the songs...

I’ve been offered more gigs in September at Beanscene cafes and I’m contemplating the possibility of playing not only Edinburgh but possibly Glasgow and St Andrews too...

An early evening drink prefaced our first ever visit to Le Café St Honoré for a delightful pre show dinner, comprising an appropriate hot smoked herring salad, a chicken dish for Anne and Steak avec des Pommes Frites pour moi...

Topped off with a bottle of French House Red and some sparkling water – formidable!

We walked up over the Mound to George IV Bridge and down on to Victoria Street. The Festival has barely started and already the streets are hoaching with tourists – what a great atmosphere on a warm sunny night...

We went into the Bow Bar and ordered a couple of halves of strangely named beers from tiny breweries which are part of the Bow Bar’s Beer Festival...

Tasty...

And then back up the street to the Underbelly – a disused Government or Council Building which springs into life every August for the Fringe – over 80 shows are being presented in this complex...

Richard Herring’s new show “Ménage a un” was superb – he’s really honed his stand up over the last year and the fact that very little of the material has been aired on his excellent “Warming Up” blog, made it all the better...



I urge you all to get a ticket and make the show the success it deserves to be...

We emerged from the warren of little theatres down along from the Grassmarket and walked back round and up Victoria Street – everywhere was so busy and Edinburgh looked beautiful in the gathering gloom as we made our way back down the Mound to Princes St and the bus home...

Walking down from the terminus, we saw at least three foxes scampering around the neighbourhood. I like foxes...

We rounded off the night with some truly dreadful TV on Channel Four - why isn't Mr Herring on mainstream TV???

Highlight of the Day : Richard Herring’s Best Show for a couple of years...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Heaven knows...

Playlist
Miles Davis – The Best of the Miles Davis Quintet 1965-68
Miles Davis – Sorceror
John Coltrane – Coltrane’s Sound
Cloudland Blue Quartet – The Best of CBQ 1996-2006

Invited a few people along to Saturday’s gig via e-mail (the Crispycat mailing list) and Myspace – it’ll be interesting to see if anyone turns up...

I am struggling now to be fit in time – with two days to go, my throat’s as bad as ever and it’s hard to catch my breath without coughing...

So absolutely no singing tonight...

...and hardly any talking as Anne was out to see “The Break Up” with her friend Michelle and came home proclaiming it “good”...

Meanwhile I stayed in and spent time designing the inside cover for the new Best of CD I will try and sell at the Fringe gigs...



I’d wanted to go along to Out of the Bedroom but just didn't feel up to it...

Tomorrow night we’re going to see comedian Richard Herring’s 2006 Fringe Show and I’m looking forward to that and hoping I’m feeling a bit better by then...

Highlight of the Day : Pretty miserable day today (despite the scorching weather)... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Casing the place...

Playlist
Brian Eno – Thursday Afternoon
Neal Morse – One
Neal Morse - Testimony
Cloudland Blue Quartet – Acoustic Fringe Set
Miles Davis – The Best of the Miles Davis Quintet 1965-68

The bastarding cold continues. Thanks for the various suggestions I’ve received as far as remedies go...

After tonight there are just three days until I have to sing...

With yesterday’s multi exposure collages, I seem to have stumbled a cross a possible new direction for my artwork...

A couple of experiments with collections of existing photos and I’m beginning to get the hang of how many I need and the similarities there needs to be between them in order to create something cohesive like yesterday's “Sunday Morning” one....

I am honoured that Sid Smith, the man who runs the official King Crimson/Robert Fripp website, DGM Live, advises he’s now using this particular picture as his screen saver...

Here's every "sidey-widey" (as opposed to "uppey downey") photo from our weekend in Luing back in May...



Tonight I went along to the Haymarket Beanscene to have a look re my gig there on Saturday evening....

Mr Ian Sclater was also there, having had the same idea (he's also playing at this venue later in the month)...

Tonight's singer was Simon Pollitt, very polished and professional in his delivery and I was buoyed by the number of slow songs he played...

There is a small PA which is ideal for voice and acoustic guitar and, last night, a very small but enthusiastic audience...

I had to point out to the manager, however, that the wrong impression regarding my music might be being portrayed by the advertising hording outside the venue which bore the epithet “Cloudland Blues Quartet”...

After Simon's 30 minute set, as Ian set off to check out the Nicolson St Beanscene, I drove home and watched with Anne, the second half of Hearts’ game in Bosnia. One of the worst 0-0 draws I’ve ever seen. By the 73rd minute, the referee had awarded 50 fouls....

But who cares, Hearts are through and we’re off to Murrayfield on Wednesday to see them play AEK Athens...

After the game I went upstairs and ran through my set, filming it for posterity, complete with much coughing and spluttering re the continuing cold, cough and sore throat – a film most definitely not for public consumption but, possibly, similar to one of consumption...

Highlight of the Day : Possible New Artworks...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Multi-exposures from Mr Grumpy...

Playlist
Various - The House That Trane Built
Miles Davis - The Best of Seven Steps 1963-64
Morse/Portnoy/Gilbert/Bissonette Yellow Matter Custard
Neal Morse - One
Neal Morse - Testimony
Yello - Flag

A quiet night again as I tried to rest my sore throat for the upcoming gigs....

I can't believe how long this cold is taking to go - although it's now just morphed into a horrendous cough and a razor blade sore throat...

The throat pain goes in waves from "moderately sore" to "excruciatingly sore"....

So I rehearsed 80% of my set without singing...

To cheer myself up I watched a "Law & Order" on video, "CSI Miami" live and "Grumpy Old Holidays" which we've been watching now for around three or four weeks but I don't think I've mentioned it before...

Like its predecesors, "Grumpy Old Men" and "Grumpy Old Women", I find myself agreeing with almost every single observation that's being made...

I am Mr Grumpy....

Before posting this, I was trying to think of a picture to brighten things up, so I compiled a collage of 100 covers of albums I like...

However, after hitting the "collage" button, I experimented with the button marked "multi-exposure" and was presented with the picture below, which I think is rather good....

A prize to anyone who can tell me the names of at least five of the albums whose covers have gone into the creation of this outstanding piece of modern art...



Inspired by this discovery, I then created another multi-exposure work using all the pictures I took on Sunday morning as I drove to Patisserie Florentin and back - and here it is...



I like it..

Highlight of the Day : Any five minute period where my throat wasn't too sore...