Sunday, 29 May 2011

Thomas Muir, Dick Gaughan, Allen Ginsberg, Renaldo and Clara

I was roped in to a gig as part of the Thomas Muir festival in Bishopbriggs last night at the lovely Fort Theatre. The great (and very personable) Dick Gaughan headlined. I have a lot to learn about Muir but Adam McNaughton's song, as performed by Gaughan to a mid-set standing ovation, is a good starting place.

Today I saw Bob Dylan's four hour cinematic offering "Renaldo & Clara" at Glasgow's beloved GFT. A rare showing on the big screen and I had the best seat in the house. I loved it. 1 or 2 folk walked out (it was not reviewed favourably on release). But I think it is a wonderful, dense roller-coaster ride, laced with sly, warm humour. Much cool footage. Great editing. Allen Ginsberg struck me as a good sport. And the music....

No Bob Dylan in the next blog - I promise (it's hard to type with your fingers crossed behind your back).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Bob is 70

What to say? Well, not much. I can't sum up what both Bob and his music means to me. And I am not on a big mission to convert anyone. When people say he can't sing; that he never could sing - I kind of know what they mean. I disagree, but I know what they mean. I know that nothing I say is going to change their way of thinking.

When other people try and sum him up it usually bugs me. The phrase "There's Bob Dylan and there's everybody else" probably comes closest, but that doesn't exactly pin him down. Then again he seems to have spent his whole career trying to avoid being pinned down.

Anyway. Bob is 70.  If you are interested in a gem of a live performance from 1975, read this blurb below (I pasted it from here.) and then click on the video link.

^ Johnson, Tracy, Encounters with Bob Dylan: If You See Him, Say Hello, Humble press, 2000. ISBN 0-9647009-2-1. Cf. story "1975: Abandoned Love" by Joe Kivak. "On a Thursday night in July 1975, I headed out to see Ramblin' Jack Elliott at The Bitter End in New York City ... Their first song was 'Pretty Boy Floyd,' with Bob singing harmony and his guitar buzzing right along. Then Jack started 'How Long Blues.' After the first verse, he looked at Bob in a way that seemed to ask him to sing a verse. Bob simply shook his head and mouthed something inaudible. When the song finished, however, Dylan began strumming his guitar. But since it was still buzzing, he asked Jack to trade instruments with him. At that moment, everyone in the room was in a trance; it's not every day one gets to hear an impromptu Bob Dylan performance in a tiny club. After a couple of lines, we realized he was performing a new song, with each line getting even better than the last. The song was 'Abandoned Love,' and it still is the most powerful performance I've ever heard."

Happy Birthday, Bob. Thanks for everything.

(What do you mean he probably isn't reading this!?)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Brazil and "Gothenburg 2"

Well, Teenage Fanclub's trip to Brazil was rubbish. Amazing people / gigs / food / hotels / caipirinhas. What a downer.

Here is a wee video I took of us walking onstage in Sao Paulo.

And here are some photos from my Facebook page.

Thanks, iphone 4.

In 1973 Sergio Sa made a beautiful album of songs in slightly wonky English under the name Paul Bryan, slightly wonkily called "Listen Of Paul Bryan".  Carey and Tracyanne from Camera Obscura turned me on to it.  S'wonderful. Here is a wee clip of Sergio Sa singing a snatch of "Listen" live:

I picked up a couple of Sergio Sa LPs on this trip, though I can't see either of them beating "Listen Of..."

I've been lucky enough to get to Brazil on three occasions. It just gets better and better. This time TFC played Sao Paulo and, for the first time, Rio. Lots of bouncing up and down, singing along and a couple of stage invasions. Golly. Lots of l-u-v in the rooms.

Ah, memories.

(dissolve to......Several moons ago I played some solo (!?!) shows. Crazy. I remember supporting Los Hermanos in, I think, Londrina. Maybe 800 or 1000 people there for the main support. And there's me, Joe Bloggs, with my acoustic guitar; on first to the potential bafflement of everyone in the vicinity, including me. Help. I decided to start with: "I see trees of green / Red roses too / I see them bloom / for me and you / And I think to myself..." and it seemed like 800 or 1000 people went, "WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD!!". My immediate thoughts were a potent mixture of Beautiful! and Thank f*ck for that...)

I love Brazil. But let's not forget who has the better football team:

In other news -  I made a wee promo video for "Gothenburg 2", a track from my instrumental album "Maculate Conceptions" recorded during TFC's European tour last year. Here t'is:


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Smartphone betrayal, dizziness, Billy Connolly and political apathy and...zzzzz

I've done it. I've crossed over. I got one of these. BlackBerry served me well. I can't type on this gadget. What was I thinking? Well - I was probably thinking about the apps store, Hipstamatic Cameras and that kind of thing. Gee how shallow and fickle. Any suggestions for good iphone 4 apps - lemmeknow. So far I have not downloaded Angry Birds.

This song came into my head today. Isn't it a beauty?

Billy Connolly once said, "Don't vote - it just encourages them". Well I did vote today, but I can't help thinking Billy has a point....

I contributed a song to this compilation.

Laura Cantrell in Edinburgh tomorrow. Yay.

Brazil next week with Teenage Fanclub. Yay! Here's my favourite Brazilian song:

Right - that's your whack.

Monday, 2 May 2011

More Baloney

Pyschoville is back on the TV this week. Yay. 

En passant, another comedy show I dug was "Summer Heights High" 

Just read that writer and star Chris Lilley has a new project "Angry Boys" airing soon. Yay.

What else? Today's barbecue was fairly disastrous: chicken drumsticks at turns undercooked and carcinogenic. O well.

Recent listening: Taxi Driver soundtrack and "Vindaloo" by Fat Les (video makes me smile: I think it's the Max Wall impersonator more than anything), Hubert Parry's "Jerusalem" (I am still Scottish, btw, in case anyone was wondering) AND.......... Laura Cantrell's recent Bob Harris session - 3 days left to listen.

This week's dilemma - BlackBerry Torch or i-phone 4?