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.



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.