Monday, 4 December 2017

Paper Cuts

Yesterday I bought some paper-cut images by Chop Pop who spent two years recreating scenes from Camera Obscura's video for "Let's Get Out Of This Country" in order to create an alternative, paper-cut version:


Some images will be for sale on-line soon. All proceeds go to fund research into Sarcoma.

As I type the second instalment of this will soon be broadcast:


And there are only two episodes left of Best Laid Plans on Channel 4. Yikes.

"The 10th Duke" is another preview track from "Hamilton Mausoleum Suite".


It features a string quartet drawn from the Scottish Festival Orchestra and an opening chord borrowed from Stravinsky:
"Early in the compositional process, Stravinsky devised a chord which stretches from D4 to E5 to A6. One day while he and Dushkin were having lunch in a Paris restaurant, he sketched the chord on a napkin for the violinist, who thought the chord unplayable, to Stravinsky's disappointment. On returning home, however, Dushkin tried it out on his violin and was surprised to discover it was actually quite easy to play." 
This is from Wikipedia but I first read about it in Alex Ross's book "The Rest Is Noise". (Sometimes I like tackling books that are beyond me.)


You can pre-order "Hamilton Mausoleum Suite" here.

And here's a wee stocking-filler idea:



Go see this...

 



Talking of films; idea for entirely fictional domestic film scene:

INTERIOR. DAY. A KITCHEN SOMEWHERE IN GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

 7 YEAR-OLD GIRL:
DADDY YOU SHOULD GO TO THE GYM MORE OFTEN..

47 YEAR-OLD DADDY (WHO NEVER GOES TO ANY GYM):
WHY?

7 YEAR-OLD GIRL:
SO YOU CAN GO ON NINJA WARRIOR UK.

Maybe cut to:

INTERIOR. NIGHT-TIME. 47-YEAR OLD MAN IN WHEELCHAIR, SPECTACLES ASKEW, WEARING AN OXYGEN MASK AND AN ILL-FITTING MUSCLE SHIRT, IS BEING WHISKED DOWN A HOSPITAL CORRIDOR TOWARDS AN EMERGENCY ROOM....

FADE TO BLACK.















Saturday, 25 November 2017

Tune in...

...to BBC One Scotland on Monday (or i-player afterwards) for the start of a three-part history of the Scottish police. And not just because I did the music.


I highly recommend this:



I caught up with James MacMillan and Micky Flanagan (no not in the pub - keep reading) on their respective Desert Island Discs podcasts. Best radio programme ever.

Did I ever mention that time I watched James MacMillan conduct my orchestral arrangement of a tune apparently hailing from St Kilda while Craig Armstrong... - oh I did. (Well. It's not like it happens every day.)

I've discovered Marc Maron's show on Netflix which is extremely groovy.

This week I spoke to some composers at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. I talked them though my showreel.



No one fell asleep. Go me.

You can still pre-order "Hamilton Mausoleum Suite" here.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Cantata For No Voices

"Cantata For No Voices" is a track from my "Hamilton Mausoleum Suite" which will be released on 26th Jan on CD/LP/Digital. The players are John Davidson (cello), Emma Connell-Smith (viola) and Sharron Griffiths (harp) from the Scottish Festival Orchestra:



On Feb 19th, 2018 there will be a live premiere of the suite - in the Mausoleum itself (yikes!)

Tickets disappeared immediately but if you lost out and you are near Glasgow; on Jan 11th a short film about the project will be shown as part of the Blueprint night of short films at GFT.

You can pre-order the album here.

In other news, "Murder On The Orient Express" was diverting fun. And I dug "Battle Of The Sexes". But way out in front with 2 thumbs, 5 stars and a big wet kiss was:


Even better than the first one. Full of love and fun. We should all be like Paddington. Thank you, Michael Bond.

Armistead Maupin's "Logical Family" doesn't disappoint. Here he is on a brief meeting with Tennessee Williams:

"...so we shared the joint for several minutes, talking about nothing more than the moon in the sky. I did not try to introduce myself or be one of those fans he had fled. I knew he would prefer the kindness of a stranger."


The Vaselines were great at the CCA on Saturday, of course. Rock n roll n innuendo.


Here's a new article on William Eggleston.

(Buy me a pint and I'll tell you about the time I met him).

Right - I am away to write some more music for this:





Monday, 30 October 2017

"To Francis from Glasgow..."


On Friday I travelled through to Edinburgh for a Q&A event with the great Armistead Maupin. He was brilliant, of course. Us punters could have listened to his chat all night. When they opened it up to questions I asked, now that he had completed the Tales Of The City novels and written his memoirs, if there were going to be any more stories. He said - yes a contemporary Tales Of The City series had been commission by Netflix and Laura Linney (brilliant in Ozark) would be involved (cheers and claps ensued). I'm in.


When he asked for a selfie how could I refuse. (kidding)

On Sat I saw La Traviata. Another belting Scottish Opera production.

Image result for scottish opera, la traviata

Last week I saw a preview of Downsizing.



High concept - sure (fancy retiring to a community where everyone is 6 inches tall including you?). But also kind of great. Review ends.

On TV I've been digging The End of the F***ing World (Très stylish, snappy and watchable) and also Ken Burns's Vietnam doc on BBC 4 (here's a good New Yorker piece on the man himself).

In other news you can pre-order my "Hamilton Mausoleum Suite" on CD/LP/Download here.



In Music-For-TV-World, 3 episodes of "Best Laid Plans" have been transmitted. 7 more to go. I'm off to compose myself.



Wednesday, 18 October 2017

"A Proud Monument To Wealth"

Thanks to The Skinny Mag for premiering this short film about my "Hamilton Mausoleum Suite".


It was shot by Mark Boggis and directed by Charlie Francis. 


You can pre-order the album on CD, limited heavyweight LP or Digital Download here.

In other news "Best Laid Plans" (for which I provided the music) has just kicked off a 10-week run on Channel 4.
(that's not me in the photo)

I saw a preview of Daphne recently.


I thought it was great - beautifully shot and Emily Beecham was amazing.

I watched the George Michael doc on Chanel 4. He sure entertained a lot of people. His story about the circumstances of his performance at the Freddie Mercury tribute show was pretty incredible.

I've finally cracked this open after putting it off. I'm going to miss these characters...


Keep in touch. x

Monday, 9 October 2017

Hamilton Mausoleum Suite

"Tranquil with blissfully arranged strings and an emotive cinematic lift" (Vents Magazine)


"Sarcophagus" is taken from my new album "Hamilton Mausoleum Suite".

Featuring soloists from the Scottish Festival Orchestra, it will be released on 26th Jan 2018 on LP, CD & Digital.

The musicians are:

Violin – Justine Watts
Violin – Stewart Webster
Viola – Emma Peebles
Cello – John Davidson
Harp – Sharron Griffiths

The music was inspired by - and recorded in - the wonderful mausoleum in Hamilton, Lanarkshire in Scotland.

Alexander the 10th Duke ordered its construction as a family burial vault. He was eventually interred in an Egyptian sarcophagus on plinth in the mausoleum which was finally completed in 1858, several years after Alexander's death.

"Hamilton Mausoleum Suite" can be pre-ordered here.

You can join my mailing list here.




Friday, 22 September 2017

It's September Weekend in Glasgow...



Last night I saw Beethoven's 9th Symphony performed by the BBC SSO at the City Halls in Glasgow. It was amazing.

In another rare live cultural outing I saw the powerful plays "Eve" by Jo Clifford and "Adam" by Frances Poet at the Citizen's Theatre. Yay for the rights of transgenders, asylum-seeking refugees and transgender asylum-seeking refugees - and for skilled playwrights to tell their stories.

Last week I caught "God's Own Country". If James Herriot wrote Brokeback Mountain. Not really. But it was beautiful; skilled, nuanced filmmaking.


This looks interesting from Bob. Speaking of which I caught Paul Greengrass introducing "Forever Young" on Desert Island Discs as a song for parents and their children and...well...let's just say I'm glad I wasn't wearing any mascara.

Talking of songs I am running an evening class in Songwriting at Glasgow University from Sept 28th. For those whop have never written a song, want to write better songs, or want to get different perspectives on songwriting. Info and registration here.

Tinkety-tonk, old fruit, and down with the nazis!