Saturday 25 November 2017

Weirdy beardy action at Strathblane Village Clubtrathblane,Balnefi

AFTER a lazy morning I do some last-minute online promo for tonight’s show at Strathblane Village Club and print off the list of advance ticket sales .

I make a big pot of veggie black bean soup – a bit of an experiment after last week’s effort using soaked black beans and a smoked ham hock. This version only takes an hour rather than the four or five of the last batch!

There’s a lot of gear to get ready – not just the usual instruments and stuff, but also the PA, some extra lighting and a backdrop as well as tablecloths, tea lights and other bits and bobs to help ‘transform’ the village club into a ‘venue’.

We have some of the black bean soup which is good, but not as tasty as the ham hock version then I pack the car and Margaret gets all the merch ready.

We stop in at Glengoyne distillery en route to pick up a couple of banner stands, a bottle of cask strength to give away and a good supply of 10-year-old to give folks a courtesy arrival dram.

We start setting up the room about 4.30pm and it’s a bit of a stress-fest trying to get everything in order before doors open at 7.30pm. The PA’s being a pain and not wanting to link in stereo but I find a work around and overall we’re pleased the way the new remote mixer works.

Doors open on time at 7.30pm and the room has been transformed. The whisky starts to flow. There’s a fantastic crowd in and I have a blast playing two 45-minutre sets. Not sure if it’s the music or the whisky – or maybe a combination – but the place is jumpin’ πŸ™‚

There’s a fair amount to strip down after the show but with the help of some of the Village Club folks we leave the place as we found it and roll up home just after midnight. We’ll unpack the gear int he morning!

With Connie – lucky winner of a bottle of Glengoyne Cask Strength πŸ™‚

Welcome drams courtesy of Glengoyne

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Saturday 21 October 2017

Buena Vista Sofa Club…three in a row for Estonia…amazing shows…thank you!

NOT too much panic this morning…I get some emails and admin done as well as the last minute promo for tonight’s show in Rakvere out the way before we pack our bags.

We take everything downstairs when we go for a late (10.30am) breakfast then check out and grab a taxi to take us to the bus station.

I nip onto a shopping centre to get some insoles for the boots I wear while playing…my feet have been killing me the last few days and they might help cushion the impact while I’m stomping!

I’m back just in time to load the gear onto the coach and we’re off…two-and-a-quarter hours to Rakvere and the coach is less fancy and more cramped than yesterday’s luxury coach. Doesn’t stop me sleeping most of the way though!

Club owner and promoter Eduard and his soundman Ants meet us and we go straight to Buena Vista Sofa Club. Its another great venue with a first class sound system. We have a coffee, set up and soundcheck…then Eduard takes us on a quick tour of the town and on to our hotel. It’s 4pm…we’re being fed in half an hour and a car will pick us up at 8.30pm.

We settle in then go downstairs to the restaurant where we have a couple of monster-sized beers and a nice meal. We’re just finished when Eduard appears. There seems to be some problem to do with accommodation…we;re not sure what, exactly, but its something to do with some Russians wanting to stay somewhere else…so he’s wondering if he can move us.

That’s OK by us, so we get our bags and are driven to accommodation at the theatre which is as good – if not better – than the original place.

I had an urgent message for help form a musician whose two websites I built and maintain….she’d in New Zealand on tour and thinks she’s had her email hacked. I advise her its more likely that her address has been used as a reply address by spammers – a fairly common thing these days…a bit of a pain, hut it usually passes and doesn’t pose any security/privacy threat. But she’s binned her email and started  a new one which has implications for both her websites’ contact details/contact forms etc. I reconfigure everything and let her know some other things that may be affected by the email change….

There’s time to chill for a while before driver arrives to take us to the club. Doors open at 9pm.

We’ve just had a big meal..and there’s more food and drink backstage!

Backstage there’s enough food for an army…especially considering we’ve not long had a meal. Beer aplenty, some weird-ass Estonian liquor from soundman Ants…

I hit the stage at 10pm sharp for the first of two 45-minute sets…there’s some folks we know in the crowd and the place goes crazy. I manage to speak to as many folks as possible at the break then hit the stage again. We have a fantastic night and a lot of fun. This has been the best Estonia trip ever…even if it’s  2am and we have to be up at 6am for a bus to Tallinn, then on to Latvia. Hell yeah \../

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Friday 11 November 2016

FUNNY being back into the early morning routine of cleaning the fire, chopping wood and stuff before breakfast…already feels like we’ve been home for a month.

The diary’s full of things to get done – mostly small jobs – then I put out a news release about by forthcoming Creative Conversations event with the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) a week on Wednesday (23 November, 6.30pm) at Glasgow’s Hard Rock Cafe…info here.

I have a music consultancy meeting and a Music+ mentoring session needing set up then I start trying to figure the sync problem between our phones and laptops…I really need to have Margaret’s phone tho’, so I put it on hold for now.

It’s book club tonight and I still have half of Mornings in Jenin to go. I start off thinking I’ll just skim the rest of the book, but I can’t help slowing down to read it properly…it’s a really good, thought-provoking book set around the Palestine/Isreal conflict.

The book’s read by the time we make dinner then head along to Fiona’s where we discuss the book briefly and then get on with the important part of book club – wine, food and chat! Next book is The Good Guy by Susan Beale – physical copy available here….or Kindle edition here.

It’s after 2.30am when we get to bed….

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Saturday 6 August 2016

One of my photos from the Three Lochs Rally – click the pic to find out more and see my photo gallery at G63.scot

One of my photos from the Three Lochs Rally – click the pic to find out more and see my photo gallery at G63.scot

THE alarm goes off at 7am and I shuffle through to the living room to check the weather. It’s cloudy πŸ™

A quick check of the onljne weather forecasts and I see it’s gonna be overcast all day – so no point in heading into Glasgow to do the photo job I’d hoped to get done.

I’m still feeling crap – all blocked up, coughing, sneezing and spluttering – so might not have been the most productive photo shoot. Back to bed for another hour or two.

I have some merch orders that need sent out today so while Margret sorts breakfast I driveΒ down to the post office in the village.

I pass a few vintage cars on the road and remember someone mentioned a rally at another local village, so after breakfast I grab the camera and head out to take some snaps for a wee photo feature at G63.scot

Back home I find my laptop hard driveΒ is full. Again.

I archive a bunch of stuff to free up some memory and make a note to try and organise all the backups and archives when I have time then select some images and do a wee write up for the local news/features website.

I’ve been meaning to create some kind of floating button on my website to link to my daily blog (the one you’re reading right now!) for ages…I make up a wee graphic and tinker with some .php code and manage to make it happen – doesn’t work very on mobile devices tho’…needs more investigation.

We’re hosting the local book club tonight so while Margaret’s busy in the kitchen creating a range of snacks I tidy up and we wait for our guests to arrive.

There’s some discussion round the book we’ve read – Alan Cumming’sΒ Not My Father’s Son – before the next book is selected (Elephant Moon) and a date and place in the diary for our next meet. Of course these book club nights are as much about wine and food as they are ‘the book’ – and we chat about all sorts of stuff. Arthur’s brought a bottle of malt which the pair of us manage to finish by the end of the night.

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Monday 30 May 2016

Brilliant night playing the Hardtail Blues Club, Heather :-)

Brilliant night playing the Hardtail Blues Club, Heather πŸ™‚

WE’RE worried about bank holiday Monday traffic jams and check out our hotel before 9.30am…but need to find some breakfast.

There’s a Sainsbury’s nearby and despite my moans at the price and the time it takes to be delivered to our table, it’s pretty good and sets us up for the drive to Heather (pronounced as in heathen, rather than the plant).

Typically there’s no traffic problems and we arrive early afternoon, load in to the venue then make our way to the B&B we’ve been booked into a Β few villages away.

I’d planned a wee rest, but decide instead to out the time to good use and start a wee bit of work on a pal’s website…nothing spectacular, just some added functionality to help them implement some ideas.

There’s a 5.30pm soundcheck and the venue is a brilliant room at the back of The Crown. Soundman Andy – aka Shakes – has the rig and lighting all ready to go and the soundcheck goes like clockwork. The booker Simon brings us some grub and we get ready for doors.

Opening act Thomson plays some good stuff then I hit the stage for two forty-five minute sets….and a lot of beer, whisky and sweat. Venue, sound and audience are awesome and we have a fantastic time.

After loading out there’s time for a couple of drinks with folks before we head off. Think I’ll be sore in the morning!

Opener Thomson plays a great set....

Opener Thomson plays a great set….

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Friday 22 April 2016

Beer! Martyn, Macca,Kenny, Stuart, me and Jamie have a great day out in Paisley :-)

Beer! Martyn, Macca,Kenny, Stuart, me and Jamie have a great day out in Paisley πŸ™‚

AN early-ish start after a late night…Martyn drops by first thing and we head to the coffee shop for breakfast with Stuart. We’re off to Paisley Beer Festival πŸ™‚

After a hearty plate of grub we jump in Martyn’s van and head into Glasgow, After a brief stop at Martyn’s office to pick up Jamie we roll up at Paisely Town Hall where another pal Kenny meets us. Time for beer.

Next book club read...

Next book club read…

We spend the next six hours or so sampling from the huge range of ales then head off for some grub and a quick pub stop before Louise picks us up.

I’m dropped off back home in time for our local book club get together…after a year’s hiatus, we’re getting the group going again. While ‘the book’ is the catalyst for our get-togethers, it;s mostly about food, drink and chat. We don’t need much excuse to party around here! We do choose a book for our next piss-up….The Amber Keeper. Watch this space.

We roll back along the lochside sometime after 1am. Phew…that’s been a fair shift today!

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