Thursday 14 September 2017

Urbancroft at work…top secret film project 🙂

SOME last minute promo for Aberdeen…ticket sales have thankfully picked up. A combination of some targeted Facebook and Instagram video ads and a nice wee preview in the Press & Journal.

There’s a lot of photo, video and other backups/archiving needing done. Some is a;ready on an external drive, but it all needs rationalised before backing up and archiving.

I get some of it done before the Urbancroft Films team – Martyn and Jamie – arrive for a top secret filming project. We do a bunch of interviews around the house/office/garden then some filming on the lochside.

We’re done by about 7pm and all tidied up and the guys head off.

I deforsted some burgers earlier, so get a chimney-full of charcoal lit and Margaret makes some coleslaw and prepares some runner beans she picked earlier.

We watch a documentary about Queen (the band) on the BBC iPlayer then have an early night. Aberdeen tomorrow (Friday)!

One of many cutaway scenes….

…and another.

Friday 11 August 2017

Waiting for the movie to start…

A RELATIVELY early start and we leave Ponnie’s and Eastbourne to make our way to Ashford.

We get there with plenty of time to spare and go for some lunch…but as we get to the international rail terminal I get the booking papers out and Margaret realises we should be at Folkestone for the Eurotunnel. No idea why she thought we were leaving from Ashford!

She gets a little flustered but here’s plenty time and it’s only another 10/15 miles, so no need to panic

We get t Folkestone and through security and passport controls in good time and soon we’re driving through France on our way into Belgium.

The festival folks have booked us into a hotel about four miles from the festival site but we don’t have a name or address so we make our way to the site and find the booker, An, who makes us most welcome and gives us all our passes and info…as well as the hotel info.

Joe Dirt on the big screen.

The festival starts this evening, but no live music. Instead, a drive-in movie, so we drop our stuff at the hotel where we’re welcomes with a Belgian beer and then make our way back to the festival site.

Margaret’s done all the driving so far, so I go easy on the beer and am happy to drive back after the movie. There’s loads of cars arriving for the drive-in…many of them very cool old American cars.

We have burgers, popcorn and watch the movie – Joe Dirt. I think the film’s pretty crap, but Margaret enjoys it and these kind of events are more about the whole vibe and sense of occasion. The film is secondary!

Back at the hotel we have a glass (or two) of wine and snack before bed….then zzzzzzzzz….

At the drive-in…burgers and wine before the movie

We leave Ponnie’s lovely seafront flat in Eastbourne and head for Belgium

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Click above to watch Whisky in my Blood at Glengoyne distillery 🙂

THERE’S a few wee things to edit on the Whisky in my Blood video I shot at Glengoyne distillery yesterday, so it’s straight into the studio to get the final version done and rendering.

I have some photos to sort out too and then a load of emails to deal with. The to-do list is bursting!

Once the video’s finished rendering (…or ‘processing’ or whatever the hell it does that takes so long!)  I start it uploading to Facebook via Margaret’s laptop in the house.

I go to the office and do some work on next month’s single release…Givers & Takers will be the single from the forthcoming Live at Memorial Hall album. The album is out on 1 September…and the single more imminently on Friday 14 July. I don’t want to do too much on it until the iTunes pre-order is live, but need to have everything ready to send out as soon as it does – news releases, radio/promo, website landing page etc etc.

Back in the house I see the video has uploaded to Facebook, but there seems to be some kind of technical hitch. I’d hoped it would be on my page at midday, but that;s not happening now. Plan B – I start uploading it to my YouTube channel.

I have a live phoner interview with fm1fm radio and have a nice on-air chat for half an hour talking about my music, forthcoming gigs and releases then it;s lunchtime.

Back at Margaret’s laptop, the video has uploaded OK to YouTube, so I give Facebook another bash and leave it churning away.

In the office I do some work on a website I’m developing for the local hall – the place we recorded the live album. A venture into the house for a coffee and I see the video has, at last, uploaded to Facebook – I do a bit of sharing round social media and stuff then decide I should make a short edit and trailer for Instagram.

Plans for a wee walk and some fresh air are scuppered by monsoon-like rain accompanied by thunder and lightning, so I stay put int he office and work on the hall website ’til dinner’s ready sometime about 9pm.

There’s a few things to prepare for tomorrow – I’m dropping into a school in Milton to play a few songs for the kids and need to gather some gear together. the rain’s stopped when I go across to the studio, but the midges are out in force!

Friday 10 March 2017

30+ songs mixed in two days at Chem19 studios with Paul Savage 🙂

ANOTHER early start to get to Chem19 studios for the second day of mixing the live tracks recorded last Saturday.

We go more than halfway yesterday, so the pressure’s off a bit – but there are some alternative takes and technical issues on a few tracks we need to resolve.

Both Margaret and I really like working with Paul – not only is his knowledge, technical ability and empathy with what we’re doing second to none, he’s such good company too 🙂

With a break for lunch – steak in pepper sauce from the catering can along the road – we’re done by 8pm. It’s been a long, but not laborious day, and everything is sounding promising. We take home 30-odd mixes which we need to sort out over the weekend…we’re going back on Monday to have the mastering done.

Normally we wouldn’t have the same person (or even studio) doing the mastering, but Paul now has a solid understanding of the project and the needs of the various formats we’re planning. He and the studio are also available, so we can keep the project moving and it makes sense at every level.

It means we need not only to listen through and check all the mixes, we need to decide formats (CD, vinyl etc) and what tracks will be on each – that’s gonna be a lot of discussion and juggling…and there may be technical considerations to take onto account too.

We stop for some shopping and get home sometime after 10pm, by which time we;re ready for a drink!

After we eat we decide to watch Lost in France, a movie about the Chemikal Underground label and some of it’s bands – which co-incidentally includes Paul and his wife Emma (Delgados) – re-visiting a trip from the mid-1990s to play a show in Brittany. We love it – available on Curzon Home Cinema – the app is available on smart TVs, Amazon Firestick etc…

Sunday 28 August 2016

Been a great weekend with everyone at Thunder in the Glens....

Been a great weekend with everyone at Thunder in the Glens….

WHEN I get out the shower and go downstairs Joyce has breakfast on the go – mega fry-up for everyone.

Once we’ve eaten I stick some of the photos from yesterday in a web gallery – see ’em here – then we pack the car and head up Cairngorm to see the bikes and chill for a while. Despite having been in Aviemore many times, I’ve never been up to Cairngorm. It’s a great wee run and an amazing spot.

We say cheerio to everyone and make for home, stopping in Perth for a few bits of shopping.

We’re home soon after 5pm and get unpacked and tidied up. I do a wee bit work then make pepper beef noodles.

Once we’ve eaten we wander along to see Betty and Joe, enjoy a couple of glasses of red then home…

Saturday 27 August 2016

Will and Joyce roll into Grantown on Spey

Will and Joyce roll into Grantown on Spey

WILL knocks up chilli pancakes with maple bacon for breakfast then he, Joyce and Mike get ready for the Thunder in the Glens hideout.

Our plan is to catch them on the way out of town, but we miss them, so we head out to Grantown on Spey and watch everyone roll into town There’s a great atmosphere and we hang out a while then make our way back to Aviemore and a late lunch at the Mountain cafe.

Back at the house I go through the day’s photos then have a wee rest before the grill in the garden’s fired up and we crack open our first beers of the day.

It’s after 9pm when we make our way back down town to the Cairngorm Hotel and enjoy a few drinks…the music has been pretty middle of the road. Mostly cover bands and folks aren’t paying much attention – I guess this is a social event for folks to meet up and chat rather than listen to music.

We bump into our pal Jake and catch up then wander back to the house for  a wee nightcap. A  great day out 🙂

One of my favourite pix of the day....

One of my favourite pix of the day….

Friday 26 August 2016

Quick selfie from Will before we hit the town centre for Thunder....

Quick selfie from Will before we hit the town centre for Thunder….

ONCE again the garden’s like a scene from The Hangover after last night;s cookout – bit of a tidy up job to do before we head to Aviemore for Thunder in the Glens.

Lots of other stuff to do to. Margaret’s making rhubarb pies for the coffee shop. She hoped to make an extra one for tomorrow’s flower show, but there’s not enough rhubarb. Meantime, I tidy the garden, get some work done and look out a photo to enter i not the flower show.

There’s lots of stuff to pack for Aviemore too…food, drink another stuff. We need to drop off Betty and Joe’s car port/shelter too…glad we got it down last night.

I’m still pretty hangover when we hit the road and Margaret drives all the way. We roll up at the house Catriona and Will have rented for the weekend.

Catriona, Will, Viv, Mike and Joyce are already there and have the frill fired up in the garden.

After eating we hit the town centre and catch some live music, loads people and bikes and a magic firework display. Awesome 🙂


Friday 27 May 2016

First live show in nearly four months...I manage to last the pace!

First live show in nearly four months…I manage to last the pace!

HAVE to be on the ball this morning. Quite a lot to get done before we hit the road south for this evening’s show at the Dubs in the Middle Festival near Evesham.

We fire through all the work needing done before we go, Margaret makes a couple of apple and rhubarb pies for the coffee shop and I get the gear ready and packed.

Meantime, Margaret sorts the merch, I take the pies off to the coffee shop and run along to Betty and Joe’s to drop something off.

We’re a little later leaving than we planned and it’s nearly 7pm when we check into our hotel then dash off to the festival site, load in then have a snack and a beer until it’s time to get set up.

Dubs in the Middle is a cracking family-friendly festival with an emphasis on…VW vans and campers. There’s a great atmosphere and I fire through my hour-long set….I’m pretty knackered by the end of it though – having not played a live show for nearly four months I’m not used to the physical workout. All the rehearsals in the world don’t prepare you for the live thing!

We’re back at the hotel before midnight and open a bottle of red and relax. Something tells me I’m gonna be sore in the morning!