Saturday 24 March 2018

Aisha Malik gives a winning presentation for Shakti Women’s AId at the Your Place, Your Priorities event

AN unusually early start for a Saturday – there’s a public vote on some local grant applications under Stirling Council’s Your Place, Your Priorities project and the rural applications event is in Callander.

There’s no applications from our area on East Loch Lomond which is a shame…our village hall could certainly have found some projects worthy of an application up to £10,000. Anyway, the closest application came from some of our friends’ in Drymen…and our pal who runs the local MugStock Festival has an application in, so we want to show some support.

The event kicks off at 10am and we’re a couple of minutes’ late…but that’s made worse when we’re told there’ no parking spaces left at the and are redirected to alternative parking which adds ten minutes to our driving and another ten or more minutes’ walk.

We arrive just as registration for voting is being closed…and there are a few understandably angry folks behind us. This is when we start to see the problems with what on the face of it, was a good project idea.

There’s 49 (actually, 45 as some folks withdrew or didn’t show) presentations to sit through and high percentage are from the Callander area..we immediately sense these have an unfair advantage as there’s such a strong local turnout…other folks have up a 60-mile round trip. And if that hasn’t put them off supporting any of their local applications, the lack of parking and subsequent closure of voting registration will certainly work against them.

Judging by the presentations, the applications are all good and deserving causes…but putting the applications from across such a wide geographic area in the same bag..and up against each other is questionably not the fairest way to distribute grants,

I find myself getting annoyed with the folks that don’t ask questions about the projects per se, but instead use the  chance to ask a question to pick holes, or expose what they think are shortfalls in the project…and one question in particular is a shrouded racist remark from a plummy sounding audience member which really gets our back up.

Furthermore, the lack of any ‘sector’ definition means important social causes are pitted against needs of local amenities and, in some, cases, areas that should already be the council’s domain.

Democratic? In theory, yes, but in reality? But that’s a criticism of the project/process and in no way aimed at the applications – all of which are well presented on behalf of deserving causes and needs.

Eight projects successfully make it though the vote…including Callander Primary School, Callander Youth project. Sadly, nothing to benefit any part of Stirlingshire  west or south of Aberfoyle.

Some worthy awards tho’ – in particular Shakti Women’s Aid which provides specialist support services to black minority ethnic women and children and both Trossachs Search & Rescue and Killin Mountain Rescue…all of which got my vote.

A little jaded – by the process, not the winners who are all deserving causes – we drive home, get some work done then go for a walk, dropping in to see our pals Betty and Joe on the way back.

Back home – having been inspired by the Ableton workshops at yesterday’s Question Session 03 event in Glasgow – I download a trial version of Ableton Live 10 and experiment putting together some beats on my laptop. I think the ‘big Mac’ in the studio is too old and long in the tooth to run it..but if not, I’ll give it a whirl int he studio at some point.



Monday 18 July 2016


Beach huts at Elie…memories….

UP early. I have a PRS for Music Members’ Benevolent Fund meeting with a grantholder in Fife at 11am.

It’s a good couple of hours’ drive – and one of just a handful off annual meetings/visits I do each year for the PRS for Music fund.

After my meeting I decide to take a drive to Elie – holiday destination for four or five years between the ages of seven and 11 and where, on my last holiday there, my uncle Archie bought me my first bike and I learned to ride. I remember the bruises on my shins from the pedals well and that entire holiday like ti was yesterday. It’s just five or six miles further and the sun’s shining

Indeed, my first stop is through Elie and right to the end of Earlsferry to the ‘Toblerone’ houses (properly called Glover’s Wynd) where we spent that holiday. I spend an hour walking from there along the beach to the Ship Inn then back along the main street with memories flooding back. I stop and  gaze at what used to be the Golf Hotel where we spent a fortnight for three consecutive years when I was seven, eight and nine….wander up to the sports club and the pavilion which is still there – now a more sophisticated refreshment stop than the old cafe 40-odd years ago…and sadly missing the jukebox on the right that I can hear playing in my head when I go in to use the toilet.

I drive home with memories still swirling round my head, stopping off in Stirling to pick up a burger press – a  more practical one than the one in our hall cupboard – and big pack of cellophane ‘papers’ in preparation for the burger making frenzy we’ll be having in advance of Margaret’s 60th birthday gathering next month.

Back home I have a nap then venture outside to spread some weedkiller.

I make dinner– lemongrass and basil tofu…using the new tofu press – then clear the decks of tasks that popped up in the diary while I was away. There’s a nice wee interview/feature on Americana UK here…hopefully they can sort the typo in my name!

Tuesday 22 March 2016

ANOTHER day in Glasgow…a couple of PRS visits (the first of the year) and some shopping.

The visits are pretty much routine. I visit PRS for Music Members’ Benevolent Fund grantholders once a year to see if there’s anything they need and check their circumstances haven’t changed. There’s only a handful of grantholders in my ‘patch’ (Scotland and North of England) so it only amounts to about three days’ work a year…but it’s very worthwhile.

So if you know any PRS members who are needing a bit of help point them to the fund’s website – or tell them to contact me!!!

In between times I grab a coffee and get some work done online, and once all’s done I get some shopping, pick up Margaret and we head for home.

There’s some stories to work on and I’ve found a wee bug in my new website which means anyone buying stuff form the shop on mobile needs to have their device in horizontal/landscape mode to avoid problems adding items to the shopping cart.

There doesn’t seem to be a fix for it, so I add a wee note on the shop page toe xplain the process until I find a solution.

Deadlines are looking for the the new EP release…although not ’til June, I need to get artwork finalised urgently and get the promo machine moving….