Spotlight on Career Longevity panel at XpoNorth with, from left, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Jean Butterworth, yours truly and panel moderator Suzanne Miller (Help Musicians Scotland)

THE alarm goes off at 6.30am – we need to be on the road to Inverness by 7.30am in time for my panel session at XpoNorth.

We’re on the road a couple of minutes early and have time to stop in Perth for some diesel and pick up some breakfast to eat en route.

We share the drive to Inverness and arrive at Eden Court theatre in good time.We bump into few folks we know then I meet Suzanne from Help Musicians Scotland who’s chairing the panel discussing career longevity in music.

Soon we’re joined by fellow panelists Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai) and Jenn Butterworth and chat a little before heading for the seminar room.

There’s a full house for the session which goes great then we grab some lunch.

Once done, Margaret and I go round Inverness with posters and flyers for my show at the Tooth & Claw later in the year (26 September)

XpoNorth has put us in a hotel just under a mile from Eden Court – we drop the car, check in then go back for the XpoNorth opening party. We have a few drinks and catch up with folks.

Onwards into town to catch some of the showcases and first stop is PenaHotel to see Hamish Hawk followed by Shears.

Next stop is the Tooth & Claw where we catch Folda from Edinburgh who’s electronica-based stuff is pretty good.

Finally we head for Mad Hatters to see Mark McGowan who I programmed at Balmaha’s Braw Weekend a few years back. Good to see he’s still at it and in fine voice despite some technical guitar problems.

We’re getting hungry and drop into a fast food place where we have the most uninspiring and tasteless grub ever then a taxi back to the hotel where there’s a bottle of red waiting….