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 🙂




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 🙁


Friday 11 November 2016

FUNNY being back into the early morning routine of cleaning the fire, chopping wood and stuff before breakfast…already feels like we’ve been home for a month.

The diary’s full of things to get done – mostly small jobs – then I put out a news release about by forthcoming Creative Conversations event with the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) a week on Wednesday (23 November, 6.30pm) at Glasgow’s Hard Rock Cafe…info here.

I have a music consultancy meeting and a Music+ mentoring session needing set up then I start trying to figure the sync problem between our phones and laptops…I really need to have Margaret’s phone tho’, so I put it on hold for now.

It’s book club tonight and I still have half of Mornings in Jenin to go. I start off thinking I’ll just skim the rest of the book, but I can’t help slowing down to read it properly…it’s a really good, thought-provoking book set around the Palestine/Isreal conflict.

The book’s read by the time we make dinner then head along to Fiona’s where we discuss the book briefly and then get on with the important part of book club – wine, food and chat! Next book is The Good Guy by Susan Beale – physical copy available here….or Kindle edition here.

It’s after 2.30am when we get to bed….



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