Monday 3 September 2018

Great presentation from Jay at the MU’s ‘How to Win Friends & Influence Promoters’ session…

MARGARET drops me in Milngavie and I walk to the station and jump on a train into town.

My meeting isn’t ’til 11.30am, so McDonalds is my office until then and I get artwork done for – and oder – a banner stand for the local community trust.

En route to my meeting I drop a poster for my King Tuts show (22 November) into Love Music then meet Derick for a coffee and a chat about all things live music.

Next stop is the Scottish Music Centre for a How to Win Friends & Influence Promoters session run by the MU (Musicians’ Union). It’s being delivered by our pal Jay – house promoter and Night & Day in Manchester..there’s a great turnout and everyone finds it really useful and informative. Nice to catch up with a bunch of folks too.

Once done, Jay and I go for a coffee then he hits the station for the train back to Manchester and Margaret picks me up.

Back home, I get a little more work done then we meet Betty and Joe in the local pub for dinner.

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Wednesday 4 April 2018


An impromptu song at last year’s Red Rooster Festival caught by Bopflix Films’ Chris Magee. Click to watch!

MORE things than usual to be dealt with before breakfast…lots of emails and some stuff for the local community trust.

After my porridge I allow myself a bit of the cornbread I made yesterday…my first attempt and we’re amazed at (a) how well it worked and (b) how good it tastes! It’s on the menu as a compulsory side for all future BBQ.

I accompany Margaret on the second session of her new fitness regime – I;m impressed at her enthusiasm and determination despite the rain.

In the studio I do a Facebook livestream as part of today’s songwriting studio session. Keen to give folks an insight into my songwriting process/progress and get some feedback as the new song develops. It works well and there’s lots of interaction and enthusiasm. People seem to like it 🙂

After lunch I get busy with some stuff in the office, taking a break when Betty and Joe drop by for a coffee. Then it’s back into the studio for some more guitar noodling…and some banjo.

The rain’s off, so time for a wee walk. Been having problems with podcasts stopping and restarting at the beginning and thought it was because of the lack of signal, but the podcasts are downloaded to my iPhone. Research suggests it could be a short in the earbuds’ cable making the phone think the earbuds were being unplugged and therefore stopping the podcast…just to start again when it thinks they’re re-connected.

That figures, as the problem is always when I put the phone in my pocket. I wiggle the cable/connector and sure enough, the podcast starts, stops, resets…time for some bluetooth earbuds methinks.

Back home I see Bopflix Films has released a video they made of me playing an impromptu unplugged song at last years’ Red Rooster Festival. Bopflix‘s Chris Magee filmed my Blues Kitchen Sessions in London a few years ago and is a master of the ‘single shot’ video shoot and he’s done it again with this wee video. I really like his style. See it at the top of the blog or click here.

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Saturday 24 March 2018

Aisha Malik gives a winning presentation for Shakti Women’s AId at the Your Place, Your Priorities event

AN unusually early start for a Saturday – there’s a public vote on some local grant applications under Stirling Council’s Your Place, Your Priorities project and the rural applications event is in Callander.

There’s no applications from our area on East Loch Lomond which is a shame…our village hall could certainly have found some projects worthy of an application up to £10,000. Anyway, the closest application came from some of our friends’ in Drymen…and our pal who runs the local MugStock Festival has an application in, so we want to show some support.

The event kicks off at 10am and we’re a couple of minutes’ late…but that’s made worse when we’re told there’ no parking spaces left at the and are redirected to alternative parking which adds ten minutes to our driving and another ten or more minutes’ walk.

We arrive just as registration for voting is being closed…and there are a few understandably angry folks behind us. This is when we start to see the problems with what on the face of it, was a good project idea.

There’s 49 (actually, 45 as some folks withdrew or didn’t show) presentations to sit through and high percentage are from the Callander area..we immediately sense these have an unfair advantage as there’s such a strong local turnout…other folks have up a 60-mile round trip. And if that hasn’t put them off supporting any of their local applications, the lack of parking and subsequent closure of voting registration will certainly work against them.

Judging by the presentations, the applications are all good and deserving causes…but putting the applications from across such a wide geographic area in the same bag..and up against each other is questionably not the fairest way to distribute grants,

I find myself getting annoyed with the folks that don’t ask questions about the projects per se, but instead use the  chance to ask a question to pick holes, or expose what they think are shortfalls in the project…and one question in particular is a shrouded racist remark from a plummy sounding audience member which really gets our back up.

Furthermore, the lack of any ‘sector’ definition means important social causes are pitted against needs of local amenities and, in some, cases, areas that should already be the council’s domain.

Democratic? In theory, yes, but in reality? But that’s a criticism of the project/process and in no way aimed at the applications – all of which are well presented on behalf of deserving causes and needs.

Eight projects successfully make it though the vote…including Callander Primary School, Callander Youth project. Sadly, nothing to benefit any part of Stirlingshire  west or south of Aberfoyle.

Some worthy awards tho’ – in particular Shakti Women’s Aid which provides specialist support services to black minority ethnic women and children and both Trossachs Search & Rescue and Killin Mountain Rescue…all of which got my vote.

A little jaded – by the process, not the winners who are all deserving causes – we drive home, get some work done then go for a walk, dropping in to see our pals Betty and Joe on the way back.

Back home – having been inspired by the Ableton workshops at yesterday’s Question Session 03 event in Glasgow – I download a trial version of Ableton Live 10 and experiment putting together some beats on my laptop. I think the ‘big Mac’ in the studio is too old and long in the tooth to run it..but if not, I’ll give it a whirl int he studio at some point.

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Friday 23 March 2018

Question Session 03 at the CCA. A good day out.

ANOTHER jaunt into Glasgow – today it’s for music industry event Question Session 03 at the CCA.

We register in time to catch the first session on publishing – our pal Duncan’s on the panel. We catch up with him and a few other pals up afterwards then grab a sandwich before I go to a panel on the importance of TV, radio and the media. Margaret bunks that one and gets on with writing up the minutes from last night’s community trust meeting.

Another panel from the Cultural Enterprise Office then we nip out to get some stuff done, returning for some more stuff – I go to a session on using Ableton Live’s wavetable synth to create sounds for and entire recording. It’s more geared to electronic/dance kinda production, but interesting – I’m always keen to look at ways of collaborating and pushing the boundaries on my music.

Margaret’s been to a session on funding, but nothing new to change our views!

Time for grub and we nip down the road to Non Viet – amazing food and value…I have chargrilled squid with mango salad to start – Margaret has spring rolls…then I have a big bowl of Pho and Margaret has a plate of mixed chargrilled meat. Fantastic  and a real treat.

Back at the CCA there’s a final session on the future of music – there’s no real insight here, but some interesting chat.

We’re home soon after 10pm, chill for a while and have an early night.

Fantastic grub at Non Viet 🙂

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Thursday 26 May 2016

Nice to catch up with folks at the Digital Parade/BIMA 'Future of Music' session in Glasgow

Nice to catch up with folks at the Digital Parade/BIMA ‘Future of Music’ session in Glasgow

AFTER some more rehearsals of the new songs for this weekend’s shows down south I deal with a bunch of EP pre-orders…and orders for the new Hellbound Train t-shirt.

Next job is to get a holding page up for another website I’m developing for some local folks…then it’s onto the final phase of PR and promo for the upcoming EP launch shows in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Most of it’s all done, but there’s always more!

We head into Glasgow in the afternoon where I have a much-needed haircut appointment in town..haven’t had a haircut since the start of December and with shows this weekend I don’t wanna be using a tub of hair wax per show!

Once I’m done at the haircut shop we make for the west end where we park up close by the Record Factory for a Digital Parade/BIMA event ‘The Future of Music’. We’re given a warm welcome and a wristband entitling us to a free bar…plus some grub after the discussion session. Margaret’s driving 🙂

There’s not many familiar faces in the room when we arrive, but as we get closer to the session start time a good few folk we know come in and we catch up over a few beers.

The session is a little light, but brings up some interesting points…especially promoters’ use of Spotify to evaluate an act’s potential audience.

We chat with some pals over moe beer and grub after the session then make our way back to East Loch Lomond…I should really be packing guitars and merch etc for an early start in the morning. Instead I pour a large dram and we discuss some of the things touched upon at the evening’s session.

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