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.

Friday 10 March 2017

30+ songs mixed in two days at Chem19 studios with Paul Savage πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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…

Monday 25 July 2016

Phew. Despite all the setbacks we manage to get the Helsinki – Tallinn Ferry. Time for a beer. Or two.

Phew. Despite all the setbacks we manage to get the Helsinki – Tallinn Ferry. Time for a beer. Or two.

THE alarm goes off just before 2am. Three hours’ sleep…uuuurgh.

After a quick shower we pack the car, drive to Glasgow airport and checkin with KLM – looks like we’re good to get the guitars in the cabin…if there’s a problem they’ll check them at the gate.

It’s just after 5am and I’m getting hungry so I go find a coffee and a pulled pork sausage roll. Odd breakfast!

Our bags are checked all the way to Helsinki, so when we transfer at Schipol we only have to lug the guitars, my effects case and Margaret’s bag. We just have an hour to get off the plane, find the gate for the Helsinki flight and hot foot it. It’s a long walk, but luckily there’s trolleys.

The Helsinki flight’s full, so the guitars are checked at the gate, so at least we know they’re on the right plane. Sure enough, when we go to baggage reclaim, the guitars show up – but our two big bags don’t.

After a queue at baggage services tor report the missing cases we make for the train station and take a half-hour train ride into Helsinki centre. We realise that our bags being lost could be a blessing in disguise – guite how we’d manage to carry everything I don;t know…although we do have a folding trolley. In one of the lost cases!

At Helsinki station we follow the sign for taxis. None to be seen. We hang around for a while, but time to get to the harbour for the ferry’s tight. Margaret goes back into the station – no info desk, but someone at a burger shop says we need to go too the other exit. We pick up a cab, Margaret clearly tells the driver we’re going to Tallinn and need the Tallinn Terminal. Twice.

We don’t recognise the terminal, but the driver assures us this is correct. But it’s not. We’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, not a taxi in sight and half an hour to get to the ‘other’ terminal which is, at best, a good 20-minute cab ride away. If we miss this ferry we’re in deep shit!

A girl at the Viking Line desk the terminal calls us a taxi which rocks up. We have twenty minutes – the time of the journey – to get there, buy tickets, and check in.

Somehow we make it and collapse in a seat on the boat with a beer. Phew!

When we arrive in Tallinn a taxi takes us to the bus station where we board a bus for the two-hour bus ride to Parnu. The driver’s a bit of a fud and directs us to take the guitars on board. But there’s no place to put cases/bags/anything and we don’t want to take up extra seats on a busy bus. Eventually he reluctantly opens the boot and lets us – and a load of other folks – put our bags etc in. He just couldn’t be arsed!

I sleep all the way to Parnu where we get a taxi to the Yacht Club, check in and enjoy dinner and drinks outside as the sun goes down…it’s just after 10pm.

Someone from Tallinn airport calls to day our bags are there, but as KLM does’t fly to Tallinn, we have to arrange for the bags to be taken to Parnu. No way! Margaret tells them in no uncertain terms, so they get onto KLM and call her back to say OK…the bags will be sent (by taxi!) to us in Parnu at KLM’s expense.Β They should be here by morning.

In some perverse way, our bags getting lost has been a benefit….we would have had a nightmare trying to hump them along the way. Now if only we could have sneaked into that taxi too πŸ˜‰