Thursday 22 November 2018

Splendid night at King Tuts 🙂

WITH the car loaded with gear for tonight’s show at King Tuts we make our way into Glasgow early.

I drop Margaret off then go and set up camp in McDonalds for coffee and wifi to get some work done and last minute online promo etc for tonight’s gig.

There’s some merch to take to the post office then I park up in the city centre, go to the bank then hit Ramen Dayo! on Queen Street for lunch. I’ve missed this place – and the ramen is not only streets ahead of Wagamama or any other UK ramen place, but also great value. Tonkatsu miso black garlic ramen….jeez…it’s wonderful.

There’s a few other things I need to get done then I go and pick up Margaret  and we fight the traffic jams on our way to King Tuts. Gig rep Nick and engineer Chris – who’s done my sound a few times before – are ready and waiting as is my pal Andrew who’s opening up the show.

After soundcheck we have some dinner then relax in dressing room until doors open at 8.30pm and Andrew kicks things off at 9pm.

I’d been worried about the number of folks who’d said they were coming and messaged me earlier to say they couldn’t make it…I needn’t have worried. There’s a good crowd in when Andrew plays an extremely good half-hour opening set.

Folks have been arriving steadily and there’s more than a hint of enthusiasm in the air when I hit the stage for the next hour or so. A  bust string a couple of songs in doesn’t cause any problems and, if anything, brings the crowd even closer….and a steady stream of whisky fuels my performance nicely,

It’s a great night all round and after catching up with folks round the merch table we load out and  roll up back home just before 1am….

Absolutely fantastic opening set from Andrew Robert Eustace

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Monday 3 September 2018

Great presentation from Jay at the MU’s ‘How to Win Friends & Influence Promoters’ session…

MARGARET drops me in Milngavie and I walk to the station and jump on a train into town.

My meeting isn’t ’til 11.30am, so McDonalds is my office until then and I get artwork done for – and oder – a banner stand for the local community trust.

En route to my meeting I drop a poster for my King Tuts show (22 November) into Love Music then meet Derick for a coffee and a chat about all things live music.

Next stop is the Scottish Music Centre for a How to Win Friends & Influence Promoters session run by the MU (Musicians’ Union). It’s being delivered by our pal Jay – house promoter and Night & Day in Manchester..there’s a great turnout and everyone finds it really useful and informative. Nice to catch up with a bunch of folks too.

Once done, Jay and I go for a coffee then he hits the station for the train back to Manchester and Margaret picks me up.

Back home, I get a little more work done then we meet Betty and Joe in the local pub for dinner.

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Friday 27 July 2018

IT’S nearly 11am when we wake up at Jon and Maggi’s.

I’m feeling a little rough, but a shower helps and Jon’s got bacon rolls on the go when we get downstairs. Maggi’s off to meet her sister in Edinburgh how she got up and into town in time to catch her bus I’ll never know.

A few mugs of coffee later I’m feeling right as rain. We say cheerio then stop at Achilles Heel on Great Western Road. Margaret’s delighted with the shoes she got there a month or two ago, but is getting pins and needles on one foot and wants some advice.

Stef and the folks in the shop are brilliant and offer lots of advice,make a few adjustments to her shoes and suggest if there’s no change they’ll work out some kind of exchange. Amazing service.

Next stop, Costco for some shopping and a late lunch,t hen Chung Ying, Tesco and home.

There’s a fair bit of work and stuff to catch up on then we make a batch of burgers for the kids coming tomorrow.

I get some more work done while Margret prepares pinchitos for dinner then we relax for a while in front of the telly and have a much-needed early night.

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Thursday 30 May 2018

Fantastic Negrito…nothing short of…erm…fantastic!

I DROP Margaret off, take the car to the garage for a service then walk into town to find some coffee and wifi.

After a few hours work and a coffee I walk up to Geoge Square and sit in the sunshine and do a little more work before dropping into the Scottish Music Centre for a blether with my pals there.

A quick visit to GuitarGuitar Digital then I pick up some sushi and a bottle of water.

The mechanic calls to say we need two new front tyres, new rear discs and pads and the radiator grille is completely gubbed. The radiator grille and front bumper assembly will have to wait..we don’t even have the cash for the essential work but it can’t wait.

I’m waiting on a response form the lawyers in New York dealing with my visa petition. I emailed them a new itinerary and extra contracts on Monday which was a holiday for them, called them (and left a voice mail) on Tuesday and finally got an email saying they were ‘busy catching up after the holiday’ and would respond tomorrow (ie: Wednesday – today). So far, nothing.

I meet Margaret at the garage then we hit Costco for a coffee and a bite to eat…we’re on the guest list for the Fantastic Negrito show at King Tut’s tonight.

Nice to see a good crowd in for the show…and lots of folks we know. Highway 491 kick things off, folllowed by Blue Milk the Fantastic Negrito who absolutely kills it. Amazing show.

It’s almost 1am when we roll up home – a pretty good night out 🙂

Highway 491 kick things off at Tuts…

…ably followed by Blue Milk.

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Monday 7 May 2018

First live show in a while for yours truly…nice to be back on stage 🙂

AFTER the routine stuff I nip across to the studio and run through my set for tonight’s show at Broadcast in Glasgow.

It’s been a couple of months since my last show and I need to make sure I’m match fit. I manage to remember the words to everything then pack the guitars, banjo and other stuff.

We take advantage of the sunshine to get a few bits and bobs done outside – Margaret re-pots our indoor tree and I cut the grass and do some strimming. Best get these jobs done before the rain comes back!

Load in at Broadcast is at 6pm and soundman Darren does a fine job soundchecking. Doors are advertised for 7pm, but everything gets pushed back a half-hour..there’s a good crowd in when I kick things off just after 8pm.

Next up is Serious Sam Barrett and James the Fang – it’s nice to see Sam, having played a show together in Stamford a few years ago. The pair play a nice mixture of roots and Americana peppered with some folk influences from this side of the pond.

J D Wilkes closes the night with a slimmed-down Shack Shakers backing him and plays some old Shack Shakers favourites and old and new stuff from his solo and Dirt Daubers sets.

A grand night and brilliant crowd –especially for a Monday night.

…Serious Sam Barrett and James the Fang…

J D Wilkes and the Legendary Shack Shakers close a fantastic night at Broadcast

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Saturday 21 April 2018

Martin, Mark and Ken giving it large on stage at Martin’s birthday bash. Great night.

I’M just finished breakfast and getting on with some work when my pal Martyn calls to see if I’m covering a Music in Hospitals event in the village this morning.

Nope. Never heard of it and the woman organising hasn’t been in  touch…and there’s zero publicity info anywhere. Martyn;s been roped into filming the event and the ten minutes originally stated has now evolved into him having to be around for three hours or more. 

Normally I’d have taken a camera and done a wee photo feature, but the fact that the organiser hasn’t bothered letting us (or anyone else, for that matter) know indicates there is no perceived value in website or our social media coverage so I don’t bother. I do go down to see Martyn tho’ and we have a good wee blether.

Back home Betty and Joe ave stopped in for a coffee and to see the new kitchen. They;re closely followed by Catriona who takes Margaret into Glasgow to meet Les (Margaret’s sister). I’ll drive into town later and met them.

I get some bits and bobs sorted out and prepare a pork loin for the smoker tomorrow.

It’s after 5pm when I meet Margaret – Catriona and Les head off home and we nip into the west end for some grub at Dumpling Monkey before going to our pal Martin’s 60th birthday bash at the Queen Margaret Union.

We have a great night catching up with lots of pals and folks we haven;t seen in a while. Martin is music professor at Glasgow University but currently on a three-year sting at Turku University in Finland – a city we know well.

Pre-party food at Dumpling Monkey – great food and amazing value 🙂

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Monday 16 April 2018

I manage to reinstate the accidentally reformatted FlashAir card…

A 6.45am call from a courier with a delivery gets me out of bed…

No bad thing, really, as Margaret’s gonna be in Glasgow all day today and the kitchen folks are coming around 9am to start ripping out our cranky old kitchen.

After breakfast I tidy up some more stuff in preparation for the kitchen chaos and am already out in the office getting some work done when the guys arrive. 

I get them sorted out then back in the office embark on my first priority job – fixing the Toshiba FlashAir wifi camera card that I stupidly reformatted in the camera on Saturday resulting in the loss of the wifi functionality.

The Toshiba software won’t run on the latest Mac OS that runs on our laptops…and the big Mac in the studio is running an OS that;s too old so I had to try and find another way. Despite fruitless searching online – all pointing to reformatting the card using computer software – I mess about and fix things by accident. Re-setting the card and using the default wireless key to reconnect to the iOS app.

Next, I have a story to prepare for publication on the G63.scot website later in the week.

I put together a makeshift lunch – avocado with tuna, spring onions and sriracha mayo – in the office then get busy with my dreaded tax return.

I’m about a third of the way thought when  the internet drops out and I realise the guys working in the house have turned the electricity off. A wee warning  would’ve been good!

Anyway, a few hours later, the tax return is done and submitted electronically. Phew.

King Tut’s announce my Glasgow show on Thursday 22 November and put tickets on sale here.

I have a  bunch more stuff to do then we head along to Betty and Joe’s – knowing our kitchen is out of order for the week, they’ve very kindly invited us along for dinner 🙂

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Friday 13 April 2018

Passionate Friends – just the second reunion since they split in the early 80s…

FRIDAY the 13th! All starts fine – I go out with Margaret on her ‘couch to 5k’ training run and she does well considering both knees are now giving her a bit of pain.

We’re planning on getting her some decent shoes later on in Glasgow, so hopefully that’ll help.

I spend some time in the studio and feel confident that there’s three songs so far with potential.

Work on the new kitchen starts on Monday and the fitters will need access to the loft to vent the cooker hood. The loft’s full of shite.

I enter the big black hole and chuck down a carload of cases, boxes and other crap we don’t need – enough to clear a path from roughly above the kitchen to the eaves.

After lunch we shove all the stuff in the car and make for Glasgow via the dump. Margaret can’t find her glasses, so I guess i’ll be on driving duties after our evening in Glasgow.

En route to town I get a call form PRS for Music – the company that looks after, distributes and pays performance royalties for songwriters. I received a good payout this quarter due, I thought, to back claims for live shows in France and some music used in recent TV shows and documentaries. Alas, there’s been a mistake. A big, huge, fuck-off mistake affecting most members and I’ve been overpaid by nearly £1000. Problem is, the payout was advised earlier in the week and as soon as it hit my bank account it was spent. We’re in no position to pay it back and while there may be an option to let them claw it back from future payouts that’s not a particularly attractive option either as we rely on the PRS royalties as part of our income stream and cash flow over the course of the year. Bottom line is, I would not have made the now irreversible decision to spend the money the way we did if we had known.  Not good.

In between times a note comes in asking if I wanna do a show with my pal J D Wilkes and Th’Legendary ShackShakers at Broadcast in Glasgow on Monday 7 May. Great. So it’s not all bad! Tickets here.

Anyway, we hit the running shop and Margaret gets some advice and some shoes, hit Costco for a cheap dinner then make our way to the Hard Rock Cafe for the Davie Halley (Glasgow drummer who died a few months ago) tribute night.

Our pal JonZip is playing with his old band Passionate Friends. Davie was their drummer way back when and they were signed to MCA and managed by a certain Mr Harvey Goldsmith. The great, good and survivors of the last few decades of the Scottish music scene are out in force and there’s a great lineup of music. 

It’s magic to catch up with so many old pals some of whom I haven’t seen ion 15/20 years. We settle down beside our pal  and compere for the night Tom Russell and his partner Jean.

I’ve an all day stag do tomorrow, so we bail just after 11pm and are home for a dram before midnight.

Grand to catch up with so many pals and, of course, JonZip 🙂

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Wednesday 11 April 2018

Artist Dave Mach ‘in conversation’ with our pal Rab Noakes. Fantastic event.

MARGARET drives to the village after breakfast to get stuff to make lunch for some pals passing by later…I get busy with my accounts in the office. Looks like my PRS royalties this quarter could save our (financial) ass.

When Margaret’s back I accompany her on day two, week two of her ‘couch to 5k’ regime.

Next, into the studio for my daily songwriting effort. Was gonna do a process/progress livestream this morning but better leave it ’til tomorrow. I’m a bit tight for time.

Jane. Tricia and crew – all eight of them – arrive just after 1pm. They’ve been on a walk over the Conic and ready for Margaret’s lentil soup, stovies and brownies. They hang out for an hour or two then wander off.

We make for Glasgow to pick up the flooring for the kitchen – the fitters start work on Monday – and Margaret’s got tickets for For Fact’s Sake..a new BBC comedy series being prouced at Pacific Quay.Doors open at 6pm and when we get there a few minutes after we’re told ‘sorry, the studio’s full’. Even when you;ve successfully applied and been allocated tickets, there’s small print that says ‘first come first served’ and apparently folks were queueing outside from 3pm. Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

I remember our pal Rab is hosting an ‘in conversation’ event with fellow Fifer, artist Dave Mach at a gallery in Queen Street where he;s been working on an installation. It started at 6pm and we didn’t RSVP as we’d already committed to the  BBC thing (obviously the BBC didn’t!) but we decide to stop b y anyway. The gallery folks are very nice and welcome us with open arms…Margaret gets a glass of red and we join the audience in the packed gallery.

Rab does a fantastic job steering the chat and both he and Dave provide non-stop interesting conversation. For me, anyway, this has been a much more interesting event than being in the audience for a BBC comedy. Every cloud and all that 🙂

We’re home by 10pm, crack open a beer and a bottle of red and watch a movie about Steve Jobs and Apple.

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Thursday 29 March 2018


Click above to watch the video for Glasgow Blues Players…visit the website here.

I MANAGE to get a few things done before breakfast so that after my fruit, yogurt and porridge I can go straight across to the studio.

The guitar part of a new song idea I’ve been working on is coming together and almost ready for some melody/lyric stuff, but I need to work out a format/structure.

Once I’ve settled on the riffs, I record them in ProTools thinking that I could cut the guitar part up into samples and the it into Ableton Live (my trial version). That’d kill two birds with one stone – let me mess around with structure/arrangement ideas and help me get my head round Ableton Live with a proper project.

The Mac in the studio is too old to run Ableton, so it’s running on the laptop in the office. I swap locations and mess about for a while, but I don;t really know what I’m doing. This is going to be harder than I expected. No surprise there.

After lunch  I embark on the first lot of paperwork from the lawyers in the USA for my O-1 visa application. The sooner I get this all underway the better.

There’s a couple of PRS for Music members’ fund visits to set up for next month, so I get that struck off the to-do list too.

The sun’s still shining late afternoon so I go for a walk up the lochside and livestream to my Facebook page and profile. Kirk from the Glasgow Blues Players website has uploaded the video he made when he visited at the weekend, so I share that about a bit.

I stop in at Betty and Joe’s on the way back then get on with some mailing list stuff for the local community trust. 

It’s late when I start cooking dinner..and it turns out disaster! One of the worst meals I’ve made. Rather than sticking to the tried and tested airfryer tofu we’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks I decide to try my own method. It didn’t work.

Ah well, it’s still edible…just not enjoyable. A beer helps.

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Tuesday 27 March 2018

Lunch at Yippon Sushi in George Street – good value and in my top two or three for sushi rolls.
Click the pick to visit their Facebook page

MARGARET drops me in Milngavie and I jump a train to Anniesland where I grab a roll and sausage and walk along to Gartnavel for my six-monthly eye hospital appointment.

My slot isn’t ’til 10.20am and I;m an hour or so early – but it means I get the routine eyesight check and dilating drops in good time.I’m also sent to have a scan done on the back of my eyes.

The girl who examines my eyes is quite happy with things, but wants to chat with the consultant – Dr Williams – about attempting to come off the steroids  I’ve been putting in my eyes every other day for the last 13 years.

We’ve tried coming off them many times in the past but as soon as I do the uveitis flares up in a few days. The consensus is to try again – especially as there’s no imminent touring. I’m slightly nervous about the support process as it’s broken down int he past but I’m assuredI;ll be seen if there’s any problems.

I’m done soon after 11am and wander along Great Western Road. It’s be a few hours ’til my vision’s back to normal and Margaret’ll pick me up in town mid-afternoon.

I stop at Lupe Pinto’s to pick up some masa harina – a special kind of ground corn maize that’s been treated with lime water and ash – that’s essential for making corn tortillas. I’ve been making soft flour tortillas  for our tacos recently, but the corn versions is healthier, lower carb and tastier.

The McDonald’s and surrounding shops are all closed as that section of Sauchiehall Street is closed following last week’s fire, so instead of redeeming my card for a free coffee I end up in Starbucks which is a nice – albeit pricier – change.

Betty was telling me about a new sushi place called Yippon Sushi in Glasgow and the review she showed me promised good food at a good price. By  using the ‘zoom text’ and my reading specs I can just about see my phone, so check to find out where it is and wander along to check it out.

I grab a box of prawn tempura rolls and some miso soup, find a table and….yes, it’s great, Fantastic, even. In my top three (or maybe even two) of sushi rolls…the top being a place in New York I like.

Margaret picks me up around 3pm and we stop at Chung Yong, Costsco and Tesco for shopping and fuel then hit Aldi for their value Nespresso-compatible code capsules which are half the price of Nespresso’s own…maybe not quite as good, but 98% there. The ristretto variation is best.

After putting away the shopping back home I get some work done in chasing some TV use of my music with MCPS, tackle a few other jobs then make a  batch of tortilla dough using the masa harina – it’s pulled pork tacos tomorrow, but we’re having chilli tonight so a good opportunity for a dummy run in case it doesn’t work out.

Making the dough is a lot quicker and easier than with flour…and when it comes to making the tacos, the resulting dough works well with the tortilla press which proved a disaster with the flour dough.

The test batch we have with our chilli works well…a million times better than shop bought and we both reckon their much nicer than the flour equivalent 🙂

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Sunday 25 March 2018

Krik and I hit the lochside for some chat, pix and filming. Photo: Kirk Lothian/Glasgow Blues Players

LOOKS like a nice day.

After breakfast I tidy the studio and try and set things up to be conducive to my intended routine of spending an hour every morning – right after breakfast – to play guitar and work on new ideas.

For too long songwriting and playing have been in the lower reaches of my priority list and only reached later in the day or evening when I’m usually burnt out,

Kirk – who runs the excellent Glasgow Blues Players website – is coming to visit and rolls up early afternoon. We talk music, photography, video, social media and all sorts over coffee then he spends some time shooting some interview footage and taking some pix.

The afternoon flies past and soon it’s time for a final coffee before he hits the road.

I spend some time messing with beats in Ableton Live then go back tot he house for dinner.

I’m aware that, as na artist, I’ve never really got behind Spotify – and the other streaming services – so resolve to fix that and spend some time researching ‘best practice’. I really need to focus on building my Spotify followers and making better use of the platform…I begin by spreading this link.

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Friday 23 March 2018

Question Session 03 at the CCA. A good day out.

ANOTHER jaunt into Glasgow – today it’s for music industry event Question Session 03 at the CCA.

We register in time to catch the first session on publishing – our pal Duncan’s on the panel. We catch up with him and a few other pals up afterwards then grab a sandwich before I go to a panel on the importance of TV, radio and the media. Margaret bunks that one and gets on with writing up the minutes from last night’s community trust meeting.

Another panel from the Cultural Enterprise Office then we nip out to get some stuff done, returning for some more stuff – I go to a session on using Ableton Live’s wavetable synth to create sounds for and entire recording. It’s more geared to electronic/dance kinda production, but interesting – I’m always keen to look at ways of collaborating and pushing the boundaries on my music.

Margaret’s been to a session on funding, but nothing new to change our views!

Time for grub and we nip down the road to Non Viet – amazing food and value…I have chargrilled squid with mango salad to start – Margaret has spring rolls…then I have a big bowl of Pho and Margaret has a plate of mixed chargrilled meat. Fantastic  and a real treat.

Back at the CCA there’s a final session on the future of music – there’s no real insight here, but some interesting chat.

We’re home soon after 10pm, chill for a while and have an early night.

Fantastic grub at Non Viet 🙂

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Saturday 3 March 2018

Hicks play a fine opening set

WE CHECK the weather and roads situation first thing. I’m nervous about getting into Glasgow and really hope we don;t have to cancel tonight’s show.

Things look fairly positive and after packing the gear and merch we hit the road just after 11am – a good few hours earlier than we would normally leave for the city. I need to know in good time if there’s gonna be any problems.

Luckily the road to Drymen has been cleared and although still a bit dicey, someone has ploughed through the eight foot snowdrifts that blocked the road last night. We take the less exposed route through Balloch and hit the road.

All’s good and we get to Braehead in time for some lunch. There’s still time to kill, so we go and check out a kitchen place in Hillington called Kitchen Depot that someone recommended to Margaret. We’re immediately impressed by the family-run firm and the girl we sit down to talk designs with is amazing. Looks like we’re gonna go with this! Dunno where the dosh is coming from tho’.

Next stop, the Hug & Pint. We load in and meet the guys form Hicks who.re doing the support slot. Soundman Ross is excellent and soon we’re all soundchecked and upstairs having a beer and some fantastic grub.

Advance sales are pretty good and the place slowly fills over the half hour between doors opening and Hicks taking the stage. They play a cracking set, then it’s my turn.

I have a grand time and it’s a great crowd…luckily there a fair amount of walk ups, especially as a fair few ticket holders don’t show. The bad weather must still be scuppering folks’ plans.

We’re loaded out and back at Jonzip and Maggi’s before midnight. Maggi’s made a big pot of chilli…we eat drink and chat…another 4am shot.

I really enjoy playing at the Hug & Pint

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Friday 26 January 2018

John Coletta is joined on stage by ex-Thrum singer Monica Queen

IT’S a beautiful day, so right after breakfast I grab a couple of cameras and nip along the road to take some photos for a web project I’m about to embark on for a local pal.

Once done I wander back and dump the photos onto the computer – I’ll check ’em all out later/tomorrow – then have some lunch.

Back in the office I use Google’s data highlighter to mark up the product/merch pages in my online store in a similar way I did with the gig/show pages earlier in the week. Data highlighter’s categories are pretty limited at the moment, but this will grow, and as it does I aim to use it to give increased visibility to all I can online.

There’s a wee bit of work on the October/November USA tour booking to be done along with some preparations for my O-1 visa application and some folks Stateside needing a heads-up on the plan.

We’re off into Glasgow to see my pal John Coletta at Oran Mor this evening. En route we stop to pick up some prescription stuff at the chemist then Costco too return a punnet of mouldy blueberries and grab something to eat.

We arrive at Oran Mor just after doors time (7pm) and Sam Kelly & the Lost Boys open the show bang on 7.30pm. Good band, but all covers..they go down well tho’, and are a good match for the John and the Humpff Family Revival whose set mixes familiar old stuff with some new material and a guest appearance onstage from singer Monica Queen. Teaching Jeasus is a highlight of the set.

After a quick chat with various folks we know we hit the road home for a snack and a wee dram.

Sam Kelly & the Lost boys open the show at Oran Mor.

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Friday 25 November 2017

Rab Noakes and Emma Pollock…their songs together – and Rab’s rendition of Girl from the North Country with Roddy Hart – were my highlights of the ‘Concert for Stewart’ 🙂

OFF into Glasgow early..it’s icy and snowy. Brrrr…..

I drop Margaret off then hole myself up in McDonalds for a coffee and free wifi. I get a bunch of work done while I drink my coffee and manage to send a 150+ meg video file I’ve been working on in just a few minutes. Impossible from home broadband!

The extra order of  ‘Dave Arcari’ Glencairn glasses and whisky tumblers is ready so next stop is the manufacturer in East Kilbride to pick ’em up, We sold out the first batch in just a couple of weeks, so hopefully this’ll keep orders fulfilled both at tomorrow (Saturday) night’s show in Strathblane and also from my online store.

I’ve some other bits and bobs to do then pop into Chem19 studios to see Paul for a coffee.

Once I’ve met Margaret we pick up tickets for tonight’s ‘Concert for Stewart’ (Cruickshank…radio and music champion who sadly died a couple years ago) then head to St Luke’s & the Winged Ox for some grub before the show.

Lots of pals to catch up with before doors open then we enjoy a night of varied and mostly excellent music…my highlight being Rab Noakes’ rendition of Girl Form the North Country (one of my very favourite Dylan songs) with Roddy Hart.

It’s icy underfoot when we leave, but Margaret gets us home safely and I tumble into bed.

Davie Scott, left, and Duglas Stewart (far right) kick of the Concert for Stewart in style

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Saturday 11 November 2017

Great crowd at Broadcast 🙂

MY website’s still getting messed up by the malware or whatever…seems to have injected a script that’s still hanging around. I think it may be ‘hidden’ in the database.

I escalate by efforts to rid the site of the infection and cross my fingers it’s gone this time. I leave the website in maintenance mode with a holding page until I’m sure we’re clear.

After breakfast I start making a big pot of black bean soup. I’ve had the black beans soaking overnight so drain them and replace the water, bring it to the boil and add garlic, onion, green pepper, salt and pepper – then in goes a smoked ham hock and some olive oil. It needs to simmer away for four or five hours.

Ivor drops by to pick up some CDs has a coffee then I carry on with some work in the office before packing the gear/merch for tonight’s show in Glasgow.

Mikey was meant to be here by 1pm but it’s after 3.30pm when he arrives, so it’s straight into the car and off to Glasgow.

Load in and soundchecks go great – engineer Jim is on the ball and opening act Hicks are all set to go soon after doors open. It;s nice to hang out and chat with our Left Lane Cruiser pals before the show.

Hicks play a grand set then I take the stage. The place is rammed right up to the front which is nice and there’s an electric atmosphere. Then Left Lane Cruiser close the night with a spectacular set.

Broadcast is one of our favourite venues, but their ‘evacuation policy’ of herding folks out as soon as the music finishes so the place can be prepared for the following club night is terrible. Same thing happened at my album launch show on 1 September. Not only does the venue insist the merch table is hidden away at the back in a poorly accessible spot, folks are herded out with little or no time to buy merch. I make my feelings known to the bouncer and the sound engineer. Ozzy – Left Lane Cruiser’s tour manager isn’t happy either. Regardless, we all do pretty well on sales…but it could be so much better.

After loading out we have a drink with everyone in the dressing room then head to KaKaLock for some grub. Home before 2am!

Left Lane Cruiser play a blinder…

Time for a drink in the dressing room before we head off.

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Wednesday 11 October 2017

Great to catch up with our pal Catfish Keith

OFF into Glasgow first thing. I drop Margaret off then go and install myself in McDonalds for a coffee and wifi.

Actually, it’s two coffees as I’m in the place for three hours! I get a lot of work done tho’…and decent internet speed. Lots of upcoming shows to get online and poster art to send to the printers.

Then it’s off to the Money Shop to change some currency – much better rate than the bank or post office – then off to Costco for some shopping and a hotdog.

I pick Margaret up then we head into town and I pick some mail before killing an hour or so at Braehead. We’re off to our pal Catfish Keith’s show at the Glad Cafe, so no point going home..and hence the reason for us both coming into Glasgow today.

We decide to eat at the Glad Cafe and I’m particularly delighted to find an Asian-themed restaurant space called Nanika…that wasn’t there last time we were here (albeit two years ago when I played a show at the venue)!

Fantastic pre-show food from Nanika at the Glad Cafe

Margaret has the best katsu she’s tasted with a side of her favourite enoki mushrooms – I have salt and chilli tofu with a steamed pork belly bao bun. Amazing!

We catch up with Catfish before doors open…it’s great to see him and we’re glad we’re home for his visit to Glasgow. From 1993 until eight or nine years ago I booked his Scottish dates and handled all is UK and Ireland tour promotion/publicity…then my own gigging moved up a gear and we’ve been on the road – ironically often in the USA – when Catfish and Penny have been here. We did stage a show in the local village hall (where I recorded my new live album) for him a couple of years ago…and we’ve stayed with them in the USA when I’ve been playing in Iowa.

Anyway! It’s a great show and the venue/sound is fantastic…we loved it when I played there a couple of years ago but it’s never been available on the dates we’ve needed for subsequent Glasgow shows. Hopefully we’ll visit again soon.

It’s also great to catch up with some folks we know that are in for the gig 🙂

Afterwards we hang out for a while with Catfish and Penny putting the blues/music world to rights and resolve to have a proper get-together before too long.

We say cheerio, pick up a bag of chips for Margaret (unusual for her to be hungry this late…must be all the red wine 😉 …and drive home. I’m on long overdue driving duties tonight – been a great night out 🙂

A fine show from Catfish Keith at The Glad Cafe – one of our favourite Glasgow venues.

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Thursday 22 September 2017

Live session and chat with Ross Macfadyen on Celtic Music Radio…

A BUSY day today…lots to get ready for the next couple weeks’-worth of shows and we leave tomorrow morning.

Once the daily emails and other routine stuff’s out the way I pack a couple or guitars for tonight’s live session and interview on Celtic Music Radio 95fm – but first we’re off to Edinburgh to take part in an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) course that Lesley‘s (my sister-in-law)  running with her pal and NLP guru Sue Knight.

The course has been running all week and there’s still a couple of days to go. Lesley’s invited us along for lunch – prepared by Sue’s extremely talented partner, cook Dan – and also to be part of the afternoon’s training session. She’s also asked if I’d play a coupla songs for the course participants.

The course is being held at Lesley’s pal Vicki’s house on the edge of Edinburgh. A spectacular setting and great learning environment. There’s a dozen folks on the course and we meet them all over a fantastic lunch then spend a couple of hours taking part in the afternoon sessions. What a nice bunch of folks…and an insightful afternoon.

Once we’re done we head to Glasgow, grab a snack then make our way to the Celtic Music Radio studios where I spend more than an hour chatting and playing some live tines on Ross Macfadyen’s Thank Folk it;s Friday show. Great fun and great to catch up with Ross. There’;s a wee Facebook live clip on my Facebook page.

It’s after 11pm when we get home…a dram and a wee bedtime snack follows…then zzzzzz’s. Busy couple weeks coming up.

Great afternoon with Lesley (front right), Sue (middle back) and lunch by Dan (back right) and meeting their NLP students at Vicki’s (front middle)

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Friday 1 September 2017

Lucy opens the Glasgow with an awesome set…everyone loves her 🙂

RELEASE day for Live at Memorial Hall!

I get a bunch of stuff done online and pack up a bunch or orders that have come in before we need to head into Glasgow to meet Lucy who’s opening the shows tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday).

Elvis at Kelvingrove

Lucy’s train from London gets into Central at 1pm and we get there just in time then hit Slouch for some lunch.

We have a whistle-stop tour of Glasgow taking in Kelvingrove Art Galleries and the People’s Palace then get to Broadcast to load in just before 5pm.

Sound man Max is ready and waiting for us and the sound checks go smoothly leaving us time to go to Nanakusa next door for some grub before doors open at 7pm.

Lucy kicks things of just before 8pm and plays an absolutely fantastic set. Everyone loves her 🙂

I’m on at 9pm and hit it hard as I can – fuelled by plenty of whisky from the crowd – for 75 minutes or so. The 10.30pm curfew means we don’t have much time to chat with folks after the show and it;s a bit of scutter trying to sign merch and get our gear packed up. ile putting the music world to rights. Great day and night 🙂

I have a blast for 75-minutes at Broadcast…pic courtesy Alistair Mulhearn Photography.

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Friday 28 July 2017

Glasgow Calling – Strummerville Foundation fundraiser at McChuill’s….

UP early  – Margaret’s going to a funeral in Dundee and I’ve got a big list of stuff to get through before we go to Glasgow for tonight’s fundraising show for the Strummerville Foundation.

My main task to to get things set up so we can, hopefully, open up preorders for the new album net Friday (4 August). There’s a lot to be done and I manage to get a fair bit done by the time Margaret is back from Dundee and we have lunch.

I pack the car and we head for Jonzip and Maggi’s where we’re staying tonight. We sit outside for a while and then have some grub before loading in at McChuill’s in town. 

THere’s four bands, two DJs and a fair bit of setup before doors open at 7pm.

A band called Shane kick things off and are followed by Sweet Vendettas with the DJs covering the changeovers. I’m up next then The Zips close the night. I’m a bit concerned that my lack of Joe Stummer/Clash songs might not be the best way to win folks over, but the crowd is brilliant and I have a blast. Amongst the throng is a guy from my year at school who I hadn’t;t seen in over 35 years…we make lots of new pals 🙂

Back at Jonzip and Maggi’s we have more grub…it’s nearly 5am when we call it a night!

The Zips play a blinder and close the night

Sweet Vendettas are second band on…and a hard act to follow

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

A good night at the SAY Awards longlist announcement

WE BOTH hit Glasgow early.

I make my usual stop at McDonalds for coffee and wifi and get a bunch of stuff done, including getting the four track Live EP up on Bandcamp.

We’re also delighted that our pal, London-based singer/songwriter Lucy Zirins will be my special guest opening the Glasgow show at Broadcast on Friday 1 September and Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, on Saturday 2 September.

I get Facebook events set up for the two shows and get the ball rolling on spreading the word.

I have mail to pick up in the centre of town so park up at the People’s Palace and enjoy a walk through Glasgow Green. I check out a few things int he city centre, pick the mail, deal with some other and pick up a wrap and walk back. Just as I get tot he car a huge bird shite lands on my left leg, Uuuurgh, Luckily the People’s Palace toilets have hot water!

I eat my wrap then go to pick up Margaret via Tiso’s where I get some advice on walking footwear. My walking boots have soles in both soles and are pretty worn – they were a bargain a year or so ago at about £60 but even so, I’m surprised the soles have worn so fast. The assistant in Tiso’s confirms my thoughts that the wear is down to the amount of walking on tarmac and we come to the conclusion that a shoe with a sole more suited to tarmac, trails and paths might be a better choice. I can always get a new pair of boots later on for the more serious hill walking.

Downside is, as usual, we’re skint! I get Margaret and she’s adamant we should go back to Tiso;s and get the shoes, so that’s what we do. Then we pick up some shopping and make our way to the O2 ABC for the Scottish Album of the Year longlist announcement. IT;s a good event and there’s a load of folks we know. Nice to catch up. The live music from Steve Mason, Admiral Fallow and Mungo’s Hi-Fi is disappointing. We like all three and were looking forward to seeing them, but the performances are lacklustre and lacking in any dynamic…we hang around for the longlist announcement and listen to a bit of Mungo’s Hi-Fi’s DJ set then head for home.

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Saturday 15 April 2017

AFTER a pretty lazy start to the day I start work on putting together a downloadable EP of some tracks recorded at the live album recording show that aren’t going too be on the vinyl or CD formats of the album.

There’s nothing wrong with the tracks/recordings, it just wasn’t possible to fit them all on the CD or double vinyl, so I think I ca put them to good use as a free promo download incentive for folks to join my mail list and also to trail the album. Might even be good for some radio promo too.

There’s a number of ways I can set this up and I pend a while planning out the best way to work it.

I don’t get far, tho’ as I end up spending two hours trying to work out what’s wrong with my online store after a customer emailed to say they couldn’t buy a shirt! For some reason my t-shirts aren’t checking out properly…but CDs,vinyl and other items are all OK. Weird.

After much poking about, it looks like a WooCommerce update has stopped variable products from inheriting the ‘parent’ product’s shipping class. My solution – for anyone affected by the same problem – is go into each variation and set the shipping class manually ie: choose the correct class rather than the ‘same as parent’ option.

I’m glad the customer took the time to let me know there was a problem rather than abandoning their purchase…I’m also glad I only did the update last night, so hopefully haven;t lost too many orders from folks giving up.

Our pals Barbara and Thorsten have finally been able to move into their new house nearby and have invited us along for a drink. Haven’t seen them in a while and it’s nice to catch up. Thorsten’s done an amazing job building all the insides of the house.

It’s quite late when we get home and make some dinner then watch Big Gold Dream on the iPlayer – a documentary film about the independent post-punk music scene in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Definitely worth a look, but – like most of these things – focusses on the ‘chosen few’ and funded by Creative Scotland. Some things haven’t changed.

I find it frustrating that Scotland’s funding/support networks consistently support individuals or specific acts – often the same ones on an ongoing basis – rather than building resources and creating opportunities that all musicians/songwriters can use and tap into…

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Saturday 25 March 2017

A good crowd of us at Smoke BBQ – and good food, although not a patch on my own smoked stuff, even if I do say so myself 😉

A HEAP of stuff to be done this morning.

I have to re-list some of the gear I have for sale online with revised prices. Time’s getting tight on vinyl and CD production for the new album and I need to shift the gear and get some cash in.

There’s a community lunch on today and although we’re heading into Glasgow we’re gonna take a daunder along to the village first. We have a bowl of soup and catch up with some pals.

It’s a lovely day and nice to get a walk and some fresh air.

We’re not long home when Catriona arrives. We’re off into Glasgow for the afternoon evening – Margaret, Catriona and Lesley are having cocktails and a girly afternoon, then we’re meeting Matty and his pals for his birthday get-together.

I’ve got some stuff to get done then we all hook up at Smoke BBQ in West Regent Street. It’s pretty good and I enjoy my ‘brisket plate’ although there’s not much evidence of smoke and the burnt ends are anything but…still, it’s good.

After we’ve eaten we all wander up to the Howling Wolf for a drink then Lesley goes to the station and I drive Margaret, Catriona and myself back home where we chat over a few drinks before bed.

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Thursday 2 March 2017

Ivan Hall Barrientos’ session is one of many highlights at Glasgow University’s introduction to the music industry event

INTO Glasgow early. Again. I drop Margaret off then take the car to the garage to have the underbody cladding fixed and two new tyres.

Margaret will pick the car up later, meantime, I’m off to a music industry day at Glasgow University which kicks off at 9.15am. As I walk from Maryhill, hunger makes me forget the carb-free stuff today and I pick up a roll and sausage with black pudding at the Kelvinbridge Cafe.

There’s a good turnout for the event which kicks off with welcomes from UK Music’s Jo Dipple, Fiona Hyslop (Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs)  and event organiser Martin Cloonan.

A panel session gets things underway, then Martin is ‘in conversation’ with our pal Paul Savage of Chem19 studios and the Chemikal Underground record label – he’s worked on my last four albums and is about, I hope, to tame the recordings that come from Saturday’s live album recording show.

A keynote from DF Concerts’ Geoff Ellis is followed by lunch where I talk over my recording set up for Saturday with Paul. I’m keen he gets the best possible raw audio files. A few other music biz pals join us at lunch then we go back to the main event for three more sessions – Leo O’Brien discussing the role of PPL, a  music production masterclass from Ivan Hall Barrientos then a songwriting workshop with Carla Easton (Teen Canteen/Ette). All really good stuff.

The whole thing is followed by networking/drinks where Margaret joins us and we catch up with lots of pals for a few drinks before saying cheerio to everyone and heading for the Hanoi Bike Shop for dinner. I’ve still got a voucher Catriona and Will gave me at Christmas 🙂

After a fantastic meal we make our way home and crash. Gonna be  busy few days coming up…

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Tuesday 14 February 2017

A wee smacker for Valentine’s Day on our walk up the lochside….

IT’S VALENTINE’S Day – we swap cards but, as agreed, no presents. In saying that, after givin spiralising a whirl with the wee manual gadget I bought last week Margaret did buy an electric spiraliser as a mutual gift. A half-price bargain on Amazon.

A spiraliser, for those who haven’t caught on yet, is a gadget that turns veg into spaghetti-like strings for salads, stir-frys or carb-free ‘zoodles’ – spiralised courgette (zuchinni) that is a remarkably good substitute for pasta!

In the studio I do (very) rough mixes of a couple of tracks recorded at Friday night’s show then take them to the house to check out. There’s definitely potential, so we discuss ideas, logistics and possibilities…as well as, of course, the economics of putting on an special show to be recorded for a live album.

At lunchtime we test the new spiraliser on some mooli (daikon radish) and carrot which I warm in a  spicy peanut sauce. I tried it last week and despite the sauce being a bit wet (or ‘runny) it was good. Today’s sauce is thicker and has more chilli and…Margaret likes it!

We get some more work done then go for a walk, stopping in at Betty and Joe’s to help get their Skybox and Firestick working on the new wifi network. Once done we carry on our walk then stop back in for a coffee on our way back.

Thanks to Betty’s help and enthusiasm, we decide to set up a live recording show at Buchanan Memorial Hall…we need to move fast as time isn’t on our side and when we get home Margaret checks availability and books for Saturday 4 November. It will be a special gig! And I’m especially happy that, as well as helping out on a technical (audio/video) basis, my pal Lee is gonna come and do a short warm-up set.

Tickets will be extremely limited and are available here.

Continuing our low-carb efforts, I make basil, lemongrass and lime tofu with cauliflower rice. My carb intake today has been one slice of wholemeal toast and a can of lager. While I could cut them out, I’m not sure that it’s necessary to be ‘carb-free’…my aim is simply to cut down on sugar and carbs and see if there’s any difference.

Click above for info/tickets for the upcoming ‘live album’ show!

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

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Monday 13 February 2017

Leaving the lights of London behind as we fly back to Glasgow…

OFF TO London…but not so early as to have to catch the red eye.

My meeting’s not ’til 2.30pm, but my flight from Glasgow to London City leaves 1/2-hour late which means I have to rush across London to get to Musicians’ Union (MU) HQ so’s not to be late. I get there bang on time.

The baldy wee fud next to me on the plane ignores the announcement to stow away laptops and table as we prepare to land…then he ignores the stewardess’s polite request to put it away. I’m torn between telling him myself and saying nothing to see how long it’ll take him to put the computer away. He doesn’t. And of course by the time we’re on the ground it’s pointless saying anything anyway.

I can’t help wondering how someone can have the arrogance to behave like that. Is he stupid? Was he hoping to start a fight? Ass-hole. I resist the temptation to smack him in the pus for being such an arrogant wee shite once we’re off the plane! Anyway…

The meeting was called at late notice to deal with some urgent business. It’s dealt with quickly and we also manage to get through a few more important issues – we’re done just after 5.30pm and it’s been a very positive and productive afternoon.

I don’t have to rush quite so much on the return trip and have time to stop off en route to pick up a  sashimi salad to eat at the airport. For all it’s convenience, London City airport has a crap selection of food available…and what there is, is incredibly over-priced. 

I panic as my bag’s pulled aside at security. Maybe they’re gonna confiscate my sashimi…there’s likely a wee bottle of soy sauce in there. The security guy says “you have liquids!’…I look back quizzically and pull out the sashimi salad box. Nope. I rummage about again. Turns out there’s a wee bottle of hand wash in the bottom of the bag. It’s been in there for years and goodness knows how many airport security checks it’s gone through unnoticed!

I apologise as he runs a check on the wee bottle, bags it up and gives me it back with a smile.

The flight back to Glasgow is quiet and I sleep most of the way. I tighten the cap on the miniature of malt and slip it my pocket to enjoy later…better not drink it on the plane ‘cos I’ve to drive home.

It’s nearly 11pm when I get home and share a bottle of red with Margaret then head to bed.

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

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Friday 10 February 2017

Awesome night at the Hug & Pint thanks to Jamie (Little Fire), left, and soundman Doug 🙂

GIG day today – so first task is printing out set lists and getting some last-miniute online and social media promo out.

We’re also gonna try recording tonight’s show and I spend a while gathering an assortment of mics, cables, splitter boxes and other stuff along with the eight-track recorder.

I’m just about to pack the car when Joe shows up to measure our front door to see if their old canopy could be put to good use. I finish packing then there’s time for a coffee and a blether. Joe heads back along the road and we head for Glasgow.

The Hug & Pint is – along with Broadcast, King Tut;s and the Glad Cafe – one of our favourite Glasgow venues and I;m really looking forward to tonight’s gig.

Soundman Doug is ready and waiting when we load in – he’s done my sound a few times in the past and always been great. We’re set up in no time and Doug goes way beyond the call of duty in helping us set up to record the show with minimum fuss…he plugs in his laptop, has loads of good ideas and soon we;re soundchecked and back upstairs enjoying some amazing grub. The food at the Hug & Pint is amazing too!

My pal Jamie – aka Little Fire – who’s opening the show arrives just as we finish eating and is all set up and soundchecked by the time doors open at 8pm. 

There’s a good crowd in for Jamie kicking things off and he plays a wonderful set. So glad we managed to sort a show together after years of talking about it!

I do a quick Facebook Live from backstage and sink a wee dram before I start my set. The place is pretty packed – a nice mixture of old and new faces 🙂

After load out there’s time for a drink then we make for home, stopping off for a haggis supper en route. That’s fucked the low carb efforts of the last few days!

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

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Wednesday 1 February 2017

The Live at Five team at STV….

NOT too an early a start…but we still need to get to STV’s studios in Glasgow soon after 11am.

STV is starting to feel a little like a home-from-home. Innes comes to meet us in reception and Murray and Dot are on the studio floor getting everything ready to pre-record my two songs for tonight’s Live at Five.

Given the name of the show, it does seem a little weird that the music isn’t live – but it’s only recently it’s been  pre-recorded…the first couple of times I was on it really was live. No problem for me, but a little nerve-wracking that a broken string or some other technical mishap could really fuck things up.

My two new songs – Givers & Takers and 1923 – are both recorded in one take and before we know it we;re packing up, chatting with the crew and then off for some shopping.

There’s some stuff to be dropped off at Betty and Joe’s and we stop for a coffee and a quick chat then head home.

Not only have I to deal with a load of social media stuff around the STV show going out at 5pm and tomorrow’s gig, I need to sort a set list, rehearse, re-string guitars, print ‘forthcoming gig’ postcards and sort all the gear to record (audio and video) tomorrow’s (Thursday) Edinburgh show.

We take a break to watch Live at Five in between times…then it’s suddenly 9pm and I embark on the black pepper tofu for dinner…

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Pre-record of two songs for tonight’s Live at Five show on STV

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Saturday 28 January 2017

Facebook livestream from the car…a bit cramped, but we pull it off! See the result at http://www.facebook.com/davearcarimusic

AFTER a late breakfast, Matty heads off and I get the stuff together for my 2pm Facebook livestream.

I’ve bumped my gums often about how our broadband at home;s so slow we can’t do a Facebook livestream from the house, yet a mile or two up the lochside  in the middle of nowhere – I can get a fast enough mobile signal.

Of course, it’s pishing with rain. We expected that, so my plan is to do the livestream from the car – so we’re gonna need at least one light, something to mount it on and a support for the phone/camera.

I’d planned to put the back seats down and sit on the ‘floor’ but there’s not enough headroom, so I rejig my ides and decide to sit on the back seat, with Margaret filming and relaying questions/comments from the passenger seat. Gonna be cramped.

I spend a half-hour before we venture out spreading the word about the livestream – a healthy live audience, comments and other interaction all help boost the all-imoportant traction.

The prep is worthwhile as all goes to plan and I mange not to fall out the open car door and into the loch! My whole right hand side is soaked as the wind is blowing the rain off the loch and into the car.

I play a brand new song – called 1923 – chat about the upcoming Scottish shows and Wednesday’s scheduled guest slot on STV’s Live at Five, respond to comments and chat and close with a rendition of Bring my Baby Back. You can watch the replay on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/davearcarimusic.

We’re cold and wet when we get back home and have some lunch…then I hit the studio to work on the edit of the new ‘intro to Dave Arcari’ video. I get a wee bit lost in time and dash back to the house – we’re off into Glasgow to meet a pal from New York for a drink..then we’re meeting other folks for some grub. It’s all go.

After a couple of beers at Brewdog with Siouxie and her pals we hit the Hanoi Bike Shop for ’round two’. The food is, as always, amazing but a mix up means Margaret’s main comes a good 1/2-hour after everything else…the staff are very apologetic tho’ and offer a very generous discount. We love the place, people and food and feel a bit bad complaining, but they are totally understanding.

IU’m not sure what time we roll up back home, but we’ve had a grand night out with opals old and new 🙂

First stop Brewdog – and a few drinks with our pals Siouxie and Deborah

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

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Friday 20 January 2017


Scottish shows info/trailer video…click above to watch!

THERE’S a note in the diary that the episode of Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks featuring yours truly is airing on ITV tonight. I spend a while spreading some ‘hints’ around Facebook, Twitter etc.

With an upcoming session of STV’s Live at Five – Wednesday 1 February, 5pm – I run through the new songs I’m planning on performing and rehearse a few more for good measure.

Mikey arrives mid-afternoon – he’s coming through for the night so Margaret can deal with his accounts and get his tax return done in time.

I’m planning a Facebook video ad to promote the upcoming Scottish shows – but before I can make the ad, I have to create the video…just a short piece to camera.

Half an hour back in the studio with some minor editing and I have a wee clip to upload along with the gig dates/info. Although it’s destined to be an ad, I upload it now to get some traction before throwing some cash at an ad campaign.

Betty pops round with info for us and we have a drink and watch Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks – despite her questionable (but understandable) pronunciation of some of the place names, the half hour show is a fatastic depiction of our area…and the closing segment with Margaret watching yours truly playing Loch Lomond outside the local coffee shop has survived the threat of the cutting room floor!

After dinner we chat and I set up the Facebook video ad. Rather than promoting (or ‘boosting’) single Facebook events, we’ve found we get much better results and more bang for our buck by having an ad direct to a landing page on my website. And video ads have a much higher success rate than standard ads on Facebook 🙂
 

A quick search found the above clip from Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks online! Click the image to watch the segment featuring yours truly 🙂

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

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Tuesday 10 January 2017

I have a productive one-to-one meeting at Google’s Digital Garage event in Glasgow…

WE HEAD into Glasgow early. Margaret’s got stuff all day…and I have a mentor meeting with Google.

I drop Margaret off then stop in McDonald’s for a coffee. Nothing to eat ‘cos I’m skint!

My Google meeting is part of Google’s Digital Garage event….a one-to-one mentor meeting about reaching a niche audience online.

My idea was to park a few miles away and walk to the Mitchell Library, but I’m running late and there’s no ‘free’ parking with a few miles…so I park up in Berkeley Street and use the Ringo app on my phone to pay for my parking.

I get into the library and find registration where I run into my pal music journo John Dingwall. He;s here for a seminar, so we chat until he;s called in…and I wait patiently for my one-to-one. For nearly half an hour. No matter, tho’ – the receptionist realises and apologies profusely for having me wait then introduces me to an extremely helpful and knowledgeable lady called Ekaterina who runs though my website and comes up with a bunch of things I can do to boost my search engine rankings. We have a good, interesting chat..and it’s important to point out that she isn’t a Google employee, she’s a freelancer and, as such, giving impartial, good advice 🙂

One of the things I should be doing more is using my name – Dave Arcari, I guess! – and my music style – alternative blues or alt.blues – in more blog posts and throughout my website. I’ve a busy few days ahead, but will get her ideas put into action over the next week or so.

There’s probably still time to get some great tips from these folks – check Google’s Digital Garage out here.

I’m pretty happy until I go outside and find a parking ticket. On investigation, I must’ve put the car’s reg wrongly into the app and got a digit wrong. FFS. Hopefully I can appeal.

Next stop is the Scottish Music Centre where I drop off some posters for my upcoming Glasgow show at the Hug & Pint on Saturday 10 February…I say hello to everyone, have a quick chat with Sace, then go on my way.

At Love Music I drop off some posters and check CD/vinyl stock –some sales cash comes my way too, which is more than likely to save my ass!

The shopping – Costco, Tesco – before picking up Margaret and heading home.

We unpack the shopping then I wander along to Betty and Joe’s who have asked me to do a wee job for them… a glass or two of wine later and I walk home.

Dinner. Parking ticket appeal. Whisky. Email. Early night….I have a 7am call for filming in Glasgow tomorrow…

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Wednesday 23 November 2016

Chatting onstage at the Hard Rock Cafe with Dougal Perman for the Scottish Music Industry Association's 'Creative Coversations' event.

Chatting onstage at the Hard Rock Cafe with Dougal Perman for the Scottish Music Industry Association’s ‘Creative Coversations’ event.

ANOTHER early start…a beautiful clear blue sky but freezing cold and the car takes a good while to defrost before we head into Glasgow.

A warning message on the dash tells us there’s some kind of airbag problem, so after I drop  Margaret off I nip into McDonalds for a coffee and free wifi and call the garage…kinda hoping they might be able to have a look but the auto electrician’s not in ’til tomorrow. Jeez, yet another journey into town.

I get some work done while drinking my coffee. My task lists in Asana – our favoured to-do list/project management app – are almost up to date…but there’s still shitloads to do. I should really be learning some lyrics for Saturday’s unplugged show in Kirriemuir. I rarely play cover versions, but this is a different kind of show and before playing my own stuff, I’m planning to kick off with a set of covers  – all influences on my own music/style but it’s been so long (30 years in some cases) since I played most of them, I have no idea of the words!

Instead, I sort out a PRS for Music Members’ Fund (PRSMF) visit with a grantholder who’s in hospital later this afternoon…I do annual visits for the PRSMF which amounts to little more than two or three days’ work a year, but it’s nice to play a part in helping folks who’ve hit hard times or bad luck.

Although I’ve been experimenting with Facebook ads and boosted/promoted posts for a good while now, I’m getting the feeling that Instagram is catching up fast. I have an image I created a few days ago to use in a test Instagram campaign which I take some time to set up now. I guess my evaluation will come up in this blog soon.

Margaret’s had a few days doing supply teaching which will, I hope, help tide us over a lean gig schedule over the next few months and has inveigled me into taking a guitar into the school and playing some songs for – and chatting with – the kids. I wasn’t sure if they’d dig my stuff, but I needn’t have worried…the kids are magic and we have a great half hour.

Next stop, Soul Barber Room for a haircut…first time things have worked out in ages to let me have a haircut at my favourite barbershop and Scott doesn’t disappoint, He and Lisa are the best barbers I’ve ever been to.

Then it’s off to the hospital for the grantholder visit before dashing into town to the studio for a Music+ session. En route, tho’, an email comes in from my student apologising he can’t make it…he’d forgotten about it and made other plans. Grrrrrrr….

That takes the pressure off time-wise, so we pick up some bits and bobs then park up and make our way to the Hard Rock Cafe for a Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) event which sees me in ‘creative conversation’ with SMIA chairman Dougal Perman. There’s a good crowd in and the event goes great…chatting with some folks afterwards indicates the audience found it interesting and informative. The whole thing’s been filmed so will, no doubt, be available online in whole, or part, sometime soon.

It’s after 9.30pm when we leave and decide to grab something to eat on the way home…we plan to stop at KaKaLok on  St Georges Road, but on the way we spot a new place called Satu Satu and give it a try. Good call, Margaret – it’s brilliant 🙂 We love the friendly atmosphere and no-frills authentic Malaysian/Asian fare – my squid ho fun with black beans sauce is great and Margaret enjoys her generously served beef with ginger and spring onion.

Then home for a wee dram and bed…gotta get the car into town to the garage early tomorrow 🙁

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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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Wednesday 15 June 2016

Event organiser Pat Byrne is also one of the writers collaborating with songwriter Jim Byrne on  the Ten Writers Telling Lies  project

Event organiser Pat Byrne is also one of the writers collaborating with songwriter Jim Byrne on the Ten Writers Telling Lies project

WE’RE going to see a show in Glasgow this evening, so decide to kill as many birds with one stone as possible and head into the city early to make the most of the trip.

I drop Margaret off then hit a McDonalds for a sneaky breakfast, coffee and free wifi. I get a couple hours’ work done then leave before outstaying my welcome by too long.

Next stop, B&Q…then the Chinese cash and carry, Tesco and Costco before picking Margaret up just after 2pm.

We have a few more things to do through the afternoon before we make our way to the Siempre Bicycle Cafe beside Kelvin Hall underground just in time for our pals Jim and Pat Byrne’s Ten Writers Telling Lies show.

The cafe is a nice space for an event like this and there’s a good crowd in. Jim has collaborated with ten writers who’ve written pieces inspired by songs they’ve collaborated on – the evening starts with five of these writers reading their work. Now if anyone had told me I’d enjoy spoken word/poetry/prose I’d have said a big ‘no chance’...but I found myself being drawn into each section and really enjoying it. I guess I never really entertained the idea of listening rather than reading, but why not? Especially when it’s the writers themselves delivering their work. It was enlightening and inspiring.

The first half closes with Jim and friends performing the songs relating to the first set of stories. Magic.

After a break the same format second half is just as enjoyable. There’s another chance to see (and hear) Ten Writers Telling Lies at the West End Festival on Sunday afternoon (2.30pm at Tchaiovna House of Tea).

My only complaint is that the kitchen was closed and we didn’t get the chance to sample the cafe’s interesting looking menu….we’d planned to eat there but I have to make do with a few bottles of Birds & Bees ale. Margaret’s driving 😉

We’re starving by the time we leave, but it’s getting too late to think about going anywhere for a sit-down meal. Margaret suggests a chippy….oh well, we rarely eat that kinda stuff so what harm can it do just this once? I enjoy my  haggis supper and the remains of Margaret’s chips on the way home but can’t help feeling I’m gonna suffer in the morning…not because of the beer, but because of all the deep fried goodness!

A large dram when we get home should help my body break down the fat 😉

Jim Byrne and friends perform the songs that inspired the stories and poems....

Jim Byrne and friends perform the songs that inspired the stories and poems….

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Saturday 11 June 2016

A fantastic finale to the Hellbound Train tour :-)

A fantastic finale to the Hellbound Train tour 🙂

WE have a lazy morning – recovery, I guess – at Lesley’s and after breakfast and catching up with some online stuff we pack the car and make our way to Glasgow.

It’s an easy load in at The Hug & Pint and nice to see engineer Doug who’s done my sound in the past in various Glasgow venues.

We’re set up and soundchecked when Lee arrives and gets set up…we have some grub then wait for doors opening at 7.30pm

The Hug & Pint used to be the Roxy 171 – and the Liquid Ship before that. With each reincarnation the venue has got better and now it’s the perfect space for a Dave Arcari show…not too big, monster PA, great engineer. Oh, and the food and beer is great too!

There’s a great crowd in, Lee plays a blinder and I have an amazing time playing, fuelled by the great crowd and maybe some beer and whisky too!

Lots of pals and folks we know in for the show and once we’ve packed up there’s time to hang out for a few drinks. A great finale to three hectic nights’ gigging.

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Tuesday 7 June 2016

Margaret is in the control room/gallery with Mark while I play some songs for Live at Five.

Margaret is in the control room/gallery with Mark while I play some songs for Live at Five.

ANOTHER early trip into Glasgow – my six-monthly appointment at the eye hospital, then on to STV.

We get to the hospital early to minimise the chances of being late for my 11.15am call at STV – I get seen early, but have to hang out a while for the consultant. Still, we manage to get to STV on time and soundman Mark meets us at reception,

After setting up we grab a coffee then record three songs. Seems odd that the music section on Live at Five is pre-recorded, but it’s a lot less stressful than playing live on the show’s previous incarnation, The Riverside Show, mostly because I was always terrified of breaking a string and having to stop mid-song (the guitars go horribly out of tune when a string breaks)!

It’s another sweltering hot day and I sweat like hell in the studio. By 1pm we’re done, packed up and head off to pick up some shopping on the way home in good time to watch the programme go out live 🙂

You can see it on the STV player – two new songs…one at 29 minutes, 45 seconds, and the other at 40 minutes, 45 seconds!

Lots of midges around when I go outside to light some charcoal for the grill, but they’ve subsided a bit when I start grilling the burgers for dinner.

There’s so much to do in preparation for the Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow shows..and also the Hellbound Train video premiere on Friday morning (11am, via my Facebook page!). Oh, and the EP release on Friday too!

It’s 1am before we even think of shutting shop…and we’re both knackered. There’s a busy few days ahead too…

With some of the Live at Five technical team

With some of the Live at Five technical team

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Thursday 26 May 2016

Nice to catch up with folks at the Digital Parade/BIMA 'Future of Music' session in Glasgow

Nice to catch up with folks at the Digital Parade/BIMA ‘Future of Music’ session in Glasgow

AFTER some more rehearsals of the new songs for this weekend’s shows down south I deal with a bunch of EP pre-orders…and orders for the new Hellbound Train t-shirt.

Next job is to get a holding page up for another website I’m developing for some local folks…then it’s onto the final phase of PR and promo for the upcoming EP launch shows in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Most of it’s all done, but there’s always more!

We head into Glasgow in the afternoon where I have a much-needed haircut appointment in town..haven’t had a haircut since the start of December and with shows this weekend I don’t wanna be using a tub of hair wax per show!

Once I’m done at the haircut shop we make for the west end where we park up close by the Record Factory for a Digital Parade/BIMA event ‘The Future of Music’. We’re given a warm welcome and a wristband entitling us to a free bar…plus some grub after the discussion session. Margaret’s driving 🙂

There’s not many familiar faces in the room when we arrive, but as we get closer to the session start time a good few folk we know come in and we catch up over a few beers.

The session is a little light, but brings up some interesting points…especially promoters’ use of Spotify to evaluate an act’s potential audience.

We chat with some pals over moe beer and grub after the session then make our way back to East Loch Lomond…I should really be packing guitars and merch etc for an early start in the morning. Instead I pour a large dram and we discuss some of the things touched upon at the evening’s session.

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Monday 16 May 2016

Limited edition Hellbound Train shirts...coming to my online store very soon!

Limited edition Hellbound Train shirts…coming to my online store very soon!

AFTER a bit of a late start I get the news releases written for the Scottish dates – Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow…plus the Ayr in-store – around the release of the Hellbound Train EP.

We make our way to Clydebank where I take Margaret to the hospital – she has an appointment for ‘a procedure’ and will be sedated. Once she’s taken they say it’ll be three or four hours and they’ll call me to come and get her.

So…off I head to McDonald’s. My plan is to have a sneaky burger for lunch while drinking coffee and using the free wifi for an couple of hours to get some work done, hit the post office, pick up a t-shirt order from the east end then be back at the hospital in good time.

I’ve only just sat myself down in McDonalds when the phone rings. Looks like the hospital number. I panic a bit…but nothing’s wrong…Margaret’s done, dusted and in recovery. I can get her in an hour. Jeez – I only left her 1/2-hour ago!

I guzzle my lunch, get all the news releases emailed out, wait in a queue in the post office and hurry back to the hospital. All went fine, no problems and Margaret’s feeling fine if not a little dozy.

We drive over to Kenny’s at T-Shirt Cat and get the shirts, drop by Peitro’s deli for some Italian sausage (the best!) then Costco, Tesco and the Chinese supermarket. Another stop at B&Q and M&S in Bishopbriggs then finally we head for home.

It was meant to be a cloudy day, but it’s been great weather and even after dinner when the sun’s gone down it’s a nice evening so I go for a stroll to make sure I get my 10,000 daily steps as directed by the fitbit.

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Thursday 12 May 2016

MY call time for Scrotal Recall isn’t ’til 3pm, so time to get some work done this morning before we head in to Glasgow.

I have some work to do on the G63.scot website and a bunch of merch orders to parcel up…some Hellbound Train pre-orders to go in the ‘to be sent out on…’ pile, and some orders for current merch as well as an Amazon consignment.

Margaret’s got a short 1.30pm meeting in Glasgow so I drop her off and find a McDonalds for coffee and free wifi where I finish off some bits and bobs of work I didn’t have time for before we left. Half an hour later I go back for Margaret and she drops me at the Scrotal Recall production hub in the east end.

The location isn’t that clear from my call sheet, but we eventually find it and I’m still in good time. I get my paperwork out the way, progress to wardrobe where I’m asked to change out my red shirt into a bright yellow alternative I have in my bag. Jeez…it’s a bright coloured shirt  glad I’ve got my RayBans!

Filming is at the Barras a short walk away. There’s quite a few folks I know on set which is good..and it;s nice to meet a whole bunch of new folks. It’s a wrap just before 7pm so I call Margaret and walk into the city centre to meet her.

I’m pretty done in when we get home and uncertainty of my finish time meant no dinner was planned so it’s a quick bowl of pasta and a beer, catch up on some work and emails then we flop in front of the telly.

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Monday 25 April 2016

WEF_launch_PatAndJim - 1

Nice to catch up with our pals Pat and Jim at the West End Festival launch.

ANOTHER panic to get some stuff done before I get down to the village to take some snaps of cars taking part in the Scottish Malts rally. This is the first stop on the first day!

I get there and set up a vantage point to grab some pix of the cars driving into the village then run up to the car park for more pix and some video vox pops with drivers..all for the G63.scot webzine.

Back home, though, the rally stuff needs to wait – I need to get my photo feature from yesterday’s Balfron 10k road race online and banded about.

As soon as I’m done we jump in the car for Glasgow. We’ve to pick up new glasses from the optician in Milngavie..I have new reading specs. ‘Clic’ frames that come apart in the middle and have a neck/head band. Only one step away from the dreaded ‘spex on a  chain’, but I can only afford one pair and it’s a desperate attempt to keep them handy. I hardly used my old readers ‘cos they were always in the other room…or out int eh office…or in the studio. Always in the place I wasn’t!

Next stop, post office to get a bunch of poster packs and tickets off to venues, record shops and other outlets then onto Costco and Tesco for some shopping.

I drop into the Hug & Pint with posters and flyers for my show there on 11 June before we head off to the Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens for the real reason for our trip into town…the launch of the West End Festival. The Hug & Pint show is part of the festival.

There’s drinks and some grub, but we stick to the booze as next stop is Hanoi Bike Shop which we booked earlier on. Just as well, ‘cos the place is mobbed. Catriona and Will gave me a voucher for the place – my current favourite place to eat in Glasgow – at Christmas. Put to good use tonight 🙂

We’re home soon after 10pm but no chance of an early night – too much work to catch up on after skiving all afternoon and evening!

Mmmm....dinner at my favourite Hanoi Bike Shop :-)

Mmmm….dinner at my favourite Hanoi Bike Shop 🙂

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Tuesday 12 April 2016

The State Bar house band in full flow....

The State Bar house band in full flow….

I MANAGE to get a few things off the to-do list before a courier drops off a garden seat/swing thing that Margaret ordered from Amazon the other day at a bargain price.

She’s always wanted an American-style porch swing, but our house doesn’t have a porch or any reasonable way of adding one, so this is the closest we’ll get for the time being.

We open the massive box and find – as usual when something is a ‘bargain’ – there’s a million ‘bits’. Anything that could be separate is…millions of different sized screws, nuts, blots, spring washers, normal washers…and as many bits of metal and material. This is gonna take a while to build.

The rain comes on and postpones our swing-building until, probably, tomorrow.

Meantime, we get some more work done. I’ve got a bunch of posters and flyers to be packaged up and sent to various venues/promoters then we drive down to the village, drop the poster packs at the post office, leave the car and jump on the bus into Glasgow. It’s the State Bar’s 20th anniversary blues jam tonight.

We drop into Nanakusa for a quick dinner then into the State Bar where Martyn and Louise have commandeered a table. It’s gonna be a busy night, so good to get a seat!

Although we’ve been to a few things in the downstairs room over the last few years, this is the first time we’ve been to the Tuesday night blues jam since we moved out of Glasgow nearly seven years ago. We used to live at Charing Cross just a few blocks away and it was regular mid-week haunt for us.

It’s nice to see State Bar main man Jason and catch up with house band members Al Fleming, Sandy Smart and Tim Clark as well as regulars John Beattie, Callum Ingram and loads more fellow musicians and pals amongst the packed house. There’s lots of other folks it’d have been lovely to chat with too, but the place was so busy it wasn’t gonna happen.

Kenny and Lottie join Martyn and Louise and I at our table and we have a grand night of music, beer, whisky and chat.

Louise has an early-ish start in the morning and has opted to drive so we pile into Martyn’s van for a ride home. A grand night out.

Great company and chat with our pals Kenny, Al, Lottie, Martyn, Louise and Margaret

Great company and chat with our pals Kenny, Al, Lottie, Martyn, Louise and Margaret

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Thursday 31 March 2016

STV's 'Dave Arcari special' on Grassroots Music is shown at 8.30pm...Uk folks can watch it on the STV Player – click the image to watch.

STV’s ‘Dave Arcari special’ on Grassroots Music is shown at 8.30pm…UK folks can watch it on the STV Player – click the image to watch.

CHECKING emails and Facebook before I jump in the shower I see Trossachs Search + Rescue are launching a defibrillator location app this morning.

That’d be a good story for the G63.scot webzine but, as usual, no-one’s thought of telling us. Not that we have any ‘right’ to know, but I’m at a loss as to why local business and folks with events etc aren’t interested in what usually amounts to good free publicity at G63.scot and the resulting social media.

I send an email to the organisers to get the times/details which leaves me little time to get organised but  get there and get some pix and the story.I run home, post the story and pix then dash to another local event to do same.

After lunch I spend some time sorting out the domain name transfer and web hosting that I started last night but got bumped midway through by the power cut. When it’s finally sorted I put a holding page up for my client and let them know we’ll be working on the website design and content over the next few days.

An email from STV tells me the Grassroots Music ‘Dave Arcari special’ I was interviewed for yesterday is going out tonight! I hastily spread the word via Twitter, Facebook and any other way I can think of.

The show is broadcast at 8.30pm and as well as the interview, there’s five live songs from STV’s archives – Good Friend Blues, Devil’s Left Hand, Still Friends, Got Me Electric and Homesick & Blue. UK folks can see it here – I’m gonna try and sort something out so overseas folks can see it soon though 😉

A good cross section of material. I’m pretty happy with the interview – a few cringeworthy bits from me and it’s always pretty hard to watch yourself…but overall it seems pretty good. Lots of nice social media feedback too.

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Wednesday 30 Mach 2016

Shooting an interview for STV's Grass Roots Music with Paul Hughes...watch this space for transmission date.

Shooting an interview for STV’s Grass Roots Music with Paul Hughes…watch this space for transmission date.

ANOTHER Glasgow day…I drop Margaret off, take some merch to the post office then hit McDonalds for breakfast and wifi.

After an hour or so’s work I go and pick up some bits and bobs we’re needing fromS tables then make my way into town where I’m filming an interview for STV’s Grass Roots Music programme. They’re planning a ‘Dave Arcari special’ to be shown sometime in the next few weeks (watch this space!).

I meet show host Paul Hughes and the film crew at the Clutha where everything’s set up and ready to go. Paul’s a good guy and right into music, so it’s an easy chat and good fun too.

Interview in the bag, I head to Costco for a hotdog and shopping before picking up Margaret and heading home.

I’ve a website job to get busy with for someone…but first I need to sort their web hosting and have their domain name transferred from another company. I get halfway through and in the middle of intricate and crucial name server and IPS tags when the power goes down. FFS! Why is is always when I’m (a) doing something important and (b) when I’m up against it time-wise?

Margaret points out that it’s probably because I’m doing either or both of these things most of the time! And folks get annoyed ‘cos it interrupts their telly or computer game. Grrrrr……

We change our dinner plans and Margaret cooks a pot of pasta on our wee emergency camping stove. AT least the power didn’t go off mid-way through cooking a implicated meal!

Luckily the power’s only off for an hour or so. When we’re back up and running, I try and rescue the work form earlier…it;’ll be 12-24 hours before I know if the power cut’s screwed my efforts…

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