Thursday 15 March 2018

Fun’n’games at the Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

FEELING a bit ropey this hangover – more my balance is all funny and I’m a bit dizzy.

A shower and breakfast later I’m still feeling odd, but no time to worry about that ‘cos all the gear needs sorted for tonight’s show in Edinburgh.

I get some more bits and bobs done and have the decks cleared in time for a phoner interview with Cara for an upcoming feature in fRoots magazine. We chat for a good hour or so then we hit the road to Edinburgh.

First stop is Les’s flat to drop off our bags and take her with us to the Voodoo Rooms. We’re all loaded ina nd ready in time for my 6pm soundcheck with engineer Keith.

We have some grub – ace burgers all round – then Mark who runs a Lothian events page arrives to do a wee video interview…see his page and the video here.

My photographer pal Jim, who I haven’t seen for 20 years has been in touch to see if he could take some pix. There’s time for a quick catch up before I hit the stage for the first of my two 45-minute sets.

There’s a good crowd in. Don’t think we’ve ever sold so many advance tickets for an Edinburgh show and by the time I start my second set the whisky’s flowing.

After the show there’s time to chat with folks round the merch table and catch up with some pals who’re out for the show.

We’re back at Les’s flat by midnight – eating and drinking red wine.  Maybe gonna regret all this in the morning…but it’s fun!

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….

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 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 🙂


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