Sunday 19 August 2018

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Not music, not food..the new bowel cancer screening jobby testing kit!

IT happened as soon as I hit 50. Then again a few days after my 52nd birthday…and sure as hell the day after I turned 54 (last week). The NHS bowel cancer screening jobby card.

Except it’s not a card anymore, it’s a wee plastic thing. A good thing as there’s only need for one ‘sample’ rather than the three that the old cared called for. You still have to find a way to catch the jobby before it’s contaminated by hitting the lavvy water tho’.

It’s always made me laugh that some folks can catch a jobby on a handful of bog roll. Mine would need two hands and even that’d be taking a chance!

Anyway, I decide now is as good a time as any, so my first job of the day is…erm…a jobby. I won’t go into any details, other than say it’s lot quicker, easier and less involved than the old method.

Onward I go…and after breakfast I spend some time on the USA bookings/tour for October into November.

There’s a few gaps to be filled and some things to be chased up. I also need to move all the info from the rather clumsy spreadsheet I used into a new database…I think I already explained my need to move away from the cumbersome a sluggish booking system I built using TapForms to something a bit slicker .., and the possible solution I found called Airtable.

I update add to the info as I start building the Airtable booking system and I have to say, it’s looking pretty good. I need to explore more of its features and sharing/collaboration.

The day is spent working on the USA stuff then I finally get out for a walk before it’s time to make dinner.

I do the tofu for the black pepper tofu in the air fryer…and it;s the best yet. Definitely better not to use frozen tofu int he air fryer as the different – more spongy – texture soaks up the oil and marinade rather than coating the tofu cubes…

Thursday 22 February 2018

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SOME more USA contracts to sort out then I coax Margaret into the studio to help me fine-tiune some of the patches I’ve programmed into the Fractal AX8.

Because my guitars (and banjo!) are so loud acoustically, it’s hard to judge precisely what;s coming out the speakers. The PA is set up in the live room and the AX8 DI’d as it would be in a gig situation.

I stay in the control room with the AX8 hooked up to the computer for easier editing and Margaret goes through to the live room. Let noise commence!

We work our way through the patches, tweaking EQ and some of the slapback delays, then go through each one to get the output levels of each patch and instrument as consistent as possible. We know we’ll rarely, if ever, be able to give the engineer a sound that’s perfect for the room/venue, but if we have it as close as possible to start with it’ll make his/her job much quicker and easier.

Over lunch we discuss progress . Margaret admits she was sceptical about moving away from the existing pedalboard setup, especially at the cost of the Fractal AX8…but she’s quite blown away now that she’s heard the difference. The proof of the pudding will be tomorrow (Friday) night’s show in Aberdeen…and also next week’s Edinburgh and Glasgow shows.

I rehearse my set in the afternoon then pack the great ready for tomorrow.

In the office I do a bit of last-minute online promo for the Aberdeen show before calling it a day and heading back to the house.

Dinner, wine and a documentary about Australian rock and AC/DC.



Saturday 23 April 2017

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Matty and his pal Jo after the race

UP early (again!) – we’re off to Balfron to watch Matty run in the 10k and I’ll take some pix for the webzine

I had trouble parking when I went along last year ‘cos I left it a bit late, so we leave in plenty time so Matty can get registered without having to rush.

I get some pix of the start then we have a good half-houyr to wait for the the first runners to get back…zero-carb breakfast is kicked into touch with a roll and sausage!

Matty turns in a respectable time and comes in 28th place which is great. I get some photos then we head hime.

The afternoon is spent selecting some pictures and getting a gallery up on the webzine – see them here.

We take some time out and listen to the test pressing of the first of the four sides of vinyl for the live album. Main focus is to listen for locked grooves, skips or intrusive noises. There’s one weird noise that we’ll check the other (four) test pressings and see if it’s there too. There’s a few minor noises that we’ll compare over the discs but I think it;s down to static and ‘surface noise’ – test pressings tend to be a little noisier than the final product, for although they come from the same metal stamper, the pressing is usually done manually and doesn’t have the same pressure or consistency as the mainline pressers.

I make a tofu green curry for dinner then we take a walk to Betty and Joe’s where we catch up over a wee glass of red.

Saturday 22 April 2017

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Wide Days’ keynote – Olaf interviews Music For Nations chief Julie Weir after lunch at the Usher Hall

FEELING rough again this morning…I blame the late night chips. My belly’s not used to the carbs these days!

We get the bus into the centre of Edinburgh and meet up with some of the other Wide Days speakers and folks. Olaf’s taking us all on a bus tour. It’s a good networking morning and another chance to catch up with folks.

The bus tour includes a stop for a walk up Calton Hill which blows away most of the cobwebs then we roll up at the Usher Hall for coffee, drinks and lunch on the stage, Once we’ve all eaten and chatted, Olaf interviews Music For Nations head Julie Weir who we met yesterday..then there’s a tour of the Usher Hall and a whisky tasting. A great way to round of the event.

We get the bus back to Lesley’s, pick up the car and head for home.

Matty – who’s staying the night – arrives at the same time.

The vinyl test pressings for my forthcoming double live album have arrived. No time tonight to check ’em, but we’ll put aside a couple of hours aside tomorrow to ensure that all’s good before the main manufacturing run. Exciting.

Test pressings for the forthcoming double vinyl live album…


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