Friday 24 March 2023

King’s in Kirkcaldy – great venue, great crowd, great fun 🙂

UP at a decent time to get on with finishing off a batch of guitar earrings and badges for the merch table at tonight’s show…and a leather luggage tag I wanna try out.

I still have a wee bit of rehearsing to do for tonight’s show and then get al the gear packed up and loaded into the car for an early afternoon getaway.

We’re met at the venue by booker Scotty and sound/lights man Lewis and we’re soudnchecked and all sorted out in no time. I nip out int he rain and get a pizza while Margaret sorts out the perch table then we eat in the dressing room upstairs.

Support Ken Morton puts on a great show and by the time I take the stage there’s a full house, including some folks I’ve not seen for near on 30 years!

Another alcohol-free show for me – that’s five-and-a-half weeks off the bevvy and counting – and I think my abstinence is paying off.

There’s lots of chat and pix round the merch table after the show and we give Catriona and Will a lift back to Doune…a grand night 🙂

Thursday 23 March 2023

I MANAGE to get some bits and bobs out the way before my first guitar student of the day arrives.

Once the lesson’s done I spend some time in the studio until it’s time to hit the school in Balloch for a few hours with the folks there.

There’s an hour or so to get some more work done when I get home – my guitar student is coming a little later today which gives me time to catch my breath!

I have some merch to get finished before tomorrow’s Kirkcaldy show and some other ideas I wanna try out…suddenly it’s late and I rush back into the house to make beef in black bean sauce….

Wednesday 22 March 2023

MARGARET drops me at the station in Milngavie at 8am…and I jump a train into the centre of town.

First stop is McDonalds for breakfast and wifi where I spend an hour or so catching up on emails and socials etc.

Next, I hit Central Station to ‘retrieve’ our train tickets to London for the blues wards next month. Despite having the booking reference and my credit card, the machine won’t give me them…says my card isn’t the card the tickets were booked with. Granted, Margaret did the booking but it’s a joint credit card..must be some difference in the cards that I’m unaware of. Gonna have to wait for the time being.

I drop into see Sandy and Manny at Love Music, then wander up to the opening of the new Assai Records’ shop on Sauchiehall Street.

The PRS (Performing Rights Society) event at the city halls doesn’t start ’til 2pm so I stop off for some ramen at Wagamama. Over-priced and extremely disappointing. Lesson learned – I’ll stick to Mikaku on Queen Street ar Ramen Dayo in the West End.

The PRS event is good and it’s nice to catch up with folks…then Margaret picks me up and we head for home.

I have a radio phoner interview on the Letty Rock Show (KFM107fm) out of Kirkcaldy ahead of my show in the town on Friday..then I make some arancini for dinner with the left over mushroom risotto from last night.

Tuesday 21 March 2023

STRAIGHT into the studio to finish tidying up and getting everything prepped for David B coming up to record some songs.

He arrives bang on time and we grab a coffee before setting up some mics.

We get a couple of songs down then take a break for some lunch.

After a rough mix he heads off and I get busy with some of the stuff on my to-do list….a set list for Friday’s show, a meal plan/shopping list for the coming week and deal with a load of emails.

Next job is badges and some bits and bobs of merch that need made for Friday then I knock up some mushroom risotto….

Monday 20 March 2023

Good to get out for a paddle… 🙂

FIRST up this morning is a Zoom session with one of my guitar students.

Then, while the paddleboard in inflating I tidy up the studio a bit for my pal David who’s coming to record some songs tomorrow. There’s a PA and a cross trainer in the live room that all needs put away!

I ready to go when Fiona and David roll up and we have a grand couple of hours on the loch. It’s pissing rain, but the water’s calm and it’s nice and peaceful out there.

After lunch I get back to the studio, edit some video and then work on some of the MIDI/tech set up before prepping for tonight’s livestream into my Wildcats’ Facebook group.

There’s another Zoom guitar session then it’s straight into the livestream. Oooffft!

Sunday 19 March 2023

Still some pizza dough left from earlier…so we venture out into the cold for more!

IT’S Mothers’ Day and Catriona, Will and the kids are coming for a late lunch…pizza in the garden.

After breakfast we go outside and put up one of the gazebos. A few big rips have appeared in the canopy so there’s a few repairs to be done.

I ball up the pizza dough and prepare the pasata, mozzarella and various toppings then get some work done.

I’m busy in the studio when they all arrive…so shut up shop and wander back to the garden.

We have a great afternoon of chat and pizza and when they all head for home I go back to the studio to work on some video from last week’s show at the hall.

There’s some dough and topping left from this afternoon. I don’t wanna waste them so we have more pizza…and there’s an extra one to go in the fridge which I’ll reheat (in the air fryer!) for lunch tomorrow 🙂

Saturday 18 March 2023

AFTER breakfast I can the guy that I’d asked about making the power supply for my pedal board and explain I’d rather order the Cioks system I researched yesterday.

He’s absolutely fine about it…maybe even a little relieved that he’s not gonna have to try and find a way to for a square peg in a round hole. Regardless I wanted to tell him direct rather than rely on my email. I get the stuff ordered and clean out my paypal balance…the credit card is already maxed out!

Then I get back onto the Quad Cortex patches and set up my presets to streamline the live operation of things and get used to it all before Friday’s show in Kirkcaldy.

I’d planned to go for a paddle today but it’s pretty dreich and I’m pretty busy in the studio. I look at the wind forecast and re-schedule my plan ’til Monday.

There’s some music to transcribe into guitar tab for one of my Zoom students. it’s a bit of a pain working out exactly what I do on the guitar and I’ve been trying to find a way of using MIDI…I started ‘fixing’ it all on the Mac Mini the other day so carry on my mission until it’s time to go to Betty’s/

We have a lovely evening and head to bed when we get home.

Friday 17 March 2023

I make an impulse response for the banjo and see if that helps the sound….

I SPEND the morning setting up the PA in the studio live room and tweaking the patches on the Quad Cortex.

It all sounded good on Saturday’s show, but there’s a few improvements that might make it even better. Once done, I get Margaret over to sit in the live room, listen and give me some feedback. We’re happy with the results although the plugged-in banjo needs some more attention.

Maggi arrived for a coffee then we have lunch and I go back to the studio. Although the banjo has. magnetic pickup and impulse responses (IRs) are meant to work more with piezo pickups I decide to give it a try and create a set of IRs using the banjo and upload them to the Quad Cortex. The result is good!

I’d asked a contact down south to look at a power supply for the Quad Cortex and my wireless transmitter so I don’t have to lug around ‘wall warts’ and find two available power outlets…his quote is quite expensive and the planned hardware is gonna be too bulky for my compact pedalboard. I duo some research and find for not much more outlay I can use a Cioks DC7 and a set of jumper cables to combine power outputs to do the job…plus there’s more outputs to spare as well as a USB socket. I email the guy and suggest him trying to squeeze his work into a smaller box may be a little more trouble than it’s worth.

None of the MIDI stuff in the studio has been working properly sinceI copied everything over to the new Mac Mini. I decide to delete all instances of software instruments, drivers and libraries and start afresh. There’s a lot of downloading and re-installing…and it’s looking promising.

I nip to the local pub to catch the last of my pal Tom Urie’s evening set…and at £6 for an alcohol-free beer I’m not unhappy to have been a little later than usual!

Back home Margaret’s got dinner ready and we chill and watch some telly for the rest of the night.

Thursday 16 March 2023

I SPEND the morning going through the Bartok Thins video footage from Saturday. I plan to edit one song for them and they can do as they wish with the rest of the footage.

The Manson Glass stickers are still ‘in production’ and I attend to that while editing the video. I get a good part of it done before it’s time to go to the school in Balloch for my Thursday session with some of the kids.

On the way home I stop off to pick up a free cross trainer that was posted on our local buy/sell/swap Facebook page. It takes a bit of manhandling to get to int eh car but we manage.

I’m home with five minutes to spare before my young guitar student arrives. He’s making good progress 🙂

Once done we unload the cross trainer an stick it in the live room at the studio. Nowhere else to put it at the mo’! The batteries are flat and one seems to have corroded a bit…but some further investigation reveals it can be mains powered and I happen to have a suitable adaptor in the cupboard 🙂

Next, I finish the video edit and send a Dropbox link to Bartok Thins…suddenly it’s 9pm and Margaret’s got dinner ready back at the house.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

STRAIGHT into video editing – the files are pretty big and there’s a fair bit of archiving, backing up and swapping drives to be done.

In between times the materials to make the premium black/gold stickers for Manson Glass packaging have arrived. At last. The folks I order from invariably contact me after I’ve ordered to tell me something or other is out of stock…it’s usually a bit of an inconvenience, but this time delivery has taken weeks longer than anticipated.

I get the first batch of stickers running then take. walk to the post box, then onto Fiona’s along the road to drop off the key for the hall.

The loch’s like glass and I;d love to go out for a paddle but too much to get through today.

After lunch I continue juggling the video editing with sticker production. By late afternoon I’ve got five songs done and reward myself with a walk up the loch side in the passing rain.

I’m home just in time to help Margaret unload and put away the shopping then I make a beef and broccoli stir fry.


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