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 🙂



Tuesday 28 March 2017

We set up a bunch of shots at the hall to (potentially) use on album artwork…

BACK onto the album artwork first thing. I’m trying to get the ‘special’ elements of the design built in  trial version of Photoshop CC before it expires on Friday. My ‘old’ version (Photoshop CS5) is good for everyhting else.

I’ve consigned the illustration of Memorial Hall to the bin – a whole day’s work unused, but not wasted as it gave me other ideas that, I think, are better.

All the new songs for the album are registered with PRS for Music, but I need to log the recordings/performances with PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd)  and also apply for an AP2 licence form MCPS/PRS for the manufacturing of both the vinyl and CDs.

As an MCPS writer member, I need to have an ‘exclusion’ for my own label (Buzz Records) so I don’t have to pay royalties on my own music – otherwise I have to pay them then wait for them to be re-distributed back to me minus MCPS commission/admin fee. 

I think I set up the exclusion when I joined, but to be sure, I decide to call MCPS. Let the saga begin.

Trying to find a phone number is the first hurdle. Nothing online or anywhere – event for members, which is pretty shocking. I eventually find a number on a third party website and speak to a girl who says I haven’t set up an exclusion. To do so, I need to print out and complete a form, get a letter from my bank manager or accountant to say that Dave Arcari and Dave Arcari t/a Buzz are the same entity then post it off snail mail. Jeez. 

I point out that this is a bit ridiculous as they have past paperwork indicating Buzz and myself are the same thing…and a query to PPL will confirm. She puts me onto another department where, after hanging on hold for ten minutes, tell me there’s no other way/

Also, it’s harder than it seems – I do my own accounts and anyone that’s tried to call their bank branch, let alone their ‘bank manager’ (they don’t even exist these days!..customers tend to have faceless account managers will know that there are no branch numbers and everything’s handled centrally.

Having now wasted an hour or more I have no option than to try the bank route. The central number is for ‘direct banking’ and when i eventually get to speak to someone they tell me they can get a letter…but they need to instruct folks in India who type it up (yup, really!) and send it direct. Should be with me in five to ten business days.

Then then the exclusion needs to be set up before I apply for AP2 licence…all before we can go to manufacture, And time’s tight. What a fucking carry on – no wonder folks don’t bother with physical product these days – I could have the whole fucking thing on iTunes and other services before the exclusion is even set up!

While on the phone I’ve been developing ideas for a logo for the local community trust which I email off to our pal Joe before I go and see him and Betty to set up their new iPad.

Once we’re done I head up the lochside for a walk. I need some fresh air to clear my head before dinner and a trip to the hall to take some photos for potential album art.

All goes to plan at the hall – I set up the camera using Margaret as a model then we swap places and she re-frames as necessary and directs my movements while firing off as many shots as possible. It’s after 11pm when we get home. Time for a much-needed dram.

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 🙁

Thursday 15 September 2016

Be Charlotte is a highlight of the night at PRS Presents....

Be Charlotte is a highlight of the night at PRS Presents….

TOP priority today is to get a start on Gilbert’s website…I’d like to have something for him to see by Saturday – and we head off to Edinburgh for the night mid-afternoon.

I pull out the stops and manage to get a first version of the site in place then deal with a couple of things for the upcoming US tour.

We get to Edinburgh late afternoon and have a snack at Lesley’s before making our way to Electric Circus for a PRS presents… event.

Be Charlotte kicks of the live music, followed by Holy Esque then Fatherson – there’s time to chat with pals during the changeovers and we have a great night. All the acts play great sets, but Be Charlotte is our highlight…a magic night out.

Back at Les’s we have more grub and a few glasses of red while we chat the rest of the night away…

...Holy Esque play a great set too

…Holy Esque play a great set too do Fatherson. Great night at Electric Circus

…as do Fatherson. Great night at Electric Circus


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!

Thursday 24 March 2016

The spinach pasta turns out good...pretty green!

The spinach pasta turns out good…pretty green!

NEED to bite the bullet today and get everything prepared for the Hellbound Train EP release (10 June).

First job is to get everything registered with PRS/MCPS and PPL. I already registered Good Moonshine (aka I Went to America) and Travellin’ Man as these have been part of my live show recently.

Checking them out before I add Hellbound Train and Pearline, though, I see that I Went to America – the ‘otherwise known as’/other title – has a publisher’s name beside it. I assigned a bunch of instrumentals and a few songs to them, but this ain’t one of them! I call my pal Duncan at MCPS for advice and he recommends I amend the share splits and it should sort itself out.

Once done with the PRS/MCPS registrations I move onto PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) which collects and distributes the record company/recording owner’s royalties as well as the performers’ royalties. All yours truly in this case as I am the label,publisher, writer and performer of all parts…other than drums on Hellbound Train which come courtesy of Paul Savage (Delgados).

Once all that’s done I upload the master audio files to my aggregator (the modern equivalent of a distributor) along with all the metadata – basically info on the song, writer, IRSC (International Standard Recording Code) codes and other stuff to make sure the tracks are identifiable in the wider world and royalties etc (hopefully) all go in the right direction.

Time for a break, so I make some pork gyoza for lunch and put together some spinach pasta dough for tonight’s dinner.

While cover art was finished yesterday, I need to pull together a digital booklet to include with iTunes downloads…adds a little value and is an incentive for folks to download the full EP rather than just a few tracks. iTunes has very strict guidelines/criteria for digital booklets.

Sometime after 8pm I’m ready for a beer and finish up for the day. Almost there with the EP prep – just a coupe of pages to finalise in the iTunes booklet which I’ll upload tomorrow. That’ll give me 11 weeks to get a good lead in to iTunes and the other download/streaming services and the PR can start next week. Still need to decide if any physical promo is needed or we can do it all online…

I rustle up a tomato sugo with chicken and the spinach pasta turns out good….

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….