Monday, 26 December 2016

Boxing Day Blues

I hope anyone reading this had a nice/happy/merry christmas.

I got a Billy Connolly DVD, a ticket to see Scottish Opera's production of Philip Glass's "The Trial" - and this. So I'm happy.

Me and my wee girl had a kitchen dance to...

It seemed an appropriate tribute; celebrating a talent for button-pushin' bullseye-seekin' pop. From what I've been reading about George Michael it seems he had a big heart. And his music sure entertained a LOT of people.

While we're at it, this came on the radio and I was struck by how integral the tambourine part is...

Norman B tweeted thus. RIP, Rick.

What a year.

I loved the Christmas Eve programme dedicated to Alan Bennett's Diaries on BBC Two.

I'm looking forward to Inside No 9 - The Devil Of Christmas, and the new series of Sherlock.

And finally, Esther: take it or leave it but here's my tip for two hours of stonkin' cinema...

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

"Eunice, come and do a somersault in order that we may have comic relief"

I am reading The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie. Then I want to see the film with Maggie Smith. I wonder if Santa is reading this?

I enjoyed Toni Erdmann.

Great performances. I didn't know what was coming next. And it stayed with me for days.

I also dug Paterson.

Exam question. Does:

(1) Jim Jarmusch have a Lynchian sense of humour?
(2) David Lynch have a Jarmuschian sense of humour?
(3) None of the above?

Got my ticket for Bob Dylan in Glasgow next year. Eek.

I saw Cosmico by CJ Lazaretti at a Blueprint screening (GFT's quarterly night of Scottish short films) and *loved* it.

Yesterday I attended a board meeting of New Music Scotland. Its nice to be onboard a board. Especially this board. The Scottish Awards For New Music are happening in March 2017. Info here.

"The Lost Songs Of St Kilda" was Classic FM's album of the year. Hooray. Another excuse to post this collaboration with Julie Fowlis.

My website has had a minor update.

For this who can watch it I will leave you with 22 mins of Teenage Fanclub at BBC Scotland's Quay Sessions - here.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Teenage Fancub Winter Tour - Tick

Me and Harry Pye have our eye on you.

Well that's Teenage Fanclub Winter tour done and dusted. What larks.

GPO and 'The Stiletto In The Ghetto', Dublin.
Mushy peas? No. Pickled onion? No. Oh, OK.
Windows in Temple Bar, Dublin.
First book condemned by the local priest...burned in front of her home.
Norman's back among the shy, retiring people of Dublin.
Crown-da-bout, Larne. Some puns are so worth repeating.
Best picture of the sea ever.
Funny if you're Scottish. But not very.
Last time I was here the Bay City Rollers were onstage.
Norman's back onstage at the Barras.
Last gig of the tour (kind of).
The Mighty George, ABC soundcheck.
Gerry and Norman discussing the price of fish from Aberdeen.
Waiting to soundcheck at BBC Scotland for The Quay Sessions
Quay Sessions set list
You can catch highlights of our Quay Sessions show for BBC Radio Scotland (recorded Wed 7th Dec) here.

Teenage Fanclub tour Europe in February, winding up in London on 26th Feb, and then Japan and Australia in March next year. Keep checking for News...

I need to think about getting this album finished and ready for release next year:

Feel free to share.

(Link to mailing list here.)

Toodle pip! x

Thursday, 1 December 2016

From Portsmouth to Cambridge

Overheard in a hotel lift in Birmingham:

"I've got duvets coming out my ears."

Teenage Fanclub Winter exploits continue. Good to be playing again.

In Portsmouth me and Norman visited the HMS Victory and Mary Rose exhibitions. Both brilliant.
Decided not to climb this.
Felled by a French musket.
Unlike in the movies apparently up to 8 or more men had to help steer the ship.
Below decks.
The Mary Rose Exhibition is amazing - this snap doesn't quite do it justice *cough*
A lovely Iranian woman in this shop (below) melted my heart when she saw my plastic laundry bag was ready to fall apart and she produced a sturdy replacement. Wee unprovoked acts of human kindness can be balm to the soul.

Meatball panini made with love.
Portsmouth show was splendid, then we scooted off to Brighton.

Best ever photo taken of Brighton Beach.
A Brighton landmark that I don't know the name of
I believe we debuted "The First Sight" from the new album in Brighton. Our excellent distributors Republic Of Music were out in force. They tempted us to a tapas lunch the following day off - which led to...

One more pint of Ghost Ship and I'd've been under the host. Much to his likely consternation.
Some Santas on a racecourse.

Birmingham rocked. And so did my balti in this curry house.

(King shrimp if you must know)
Then on to Cardiff. I've been playing wth TFC since 2000 and I don't think we've been to Wales in that time, though I did play the old Barfly with Laura Cantrell many moons ago.

Somedae canna spell Ronald.
Some Welsh butter a few days ago.
Onward to Nottingham. Great Monday night audience. And the Wagama katsu curry wasn't the worst.

This Brian Clough photo was not taken at our show.
Then...Bristol, where we kicked off our most recent bout of activity on the 3rd of September. Nice to be back.

(En route I watched this amazing doc about Fair Isle in Scotland. Recommended.)

We came on for a second encore but everyone had left.
"Oh the Bristol chandeliers..." - och please yourself.
Splendid mash. Didn't spot any emu burger sausages.
Bristol was another fine show with a lovely audience. Only regret was not getting to visit the Bernie Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Cambridge show last night was dandy. Nice to see former TFC sticks man Brendan O' Hare along at the gig. If he was thinking, "I wouldn't have put that fill there", he was too polite to say; just full of compliments and kind words.

Norman's back in Cambridge
In other news...

The Rogue Orchestra asked me to write something for them. More in good time.

And my 15 second harp piece was performed as part of a recital-lecture in Southampton the other day. Here it is again:

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Hello Portsmouth

First off I am *delighted* that BBC Loops made a (very) short film about my next music project. Who cares if they can't spell "Macdonald". Feel free to share...

So. TFC's Winter tour of UK/Ireland kicked off in Inverness.

Nice to catch up with family and to see Julie Fowlis and Edwyn Collins - both on great form.

Amazing gaelic singer alert.
(Julie sang on my piece on "The Lost Songs Of St Kilda", of course.)

Then it was on to play for the good people of Whitley Bay (From Inverness to Whitley Bay - is that a Mark Knopfler lyric?), which reminds me; I am working on a new song to the tune of Charlie Pride's Crystal Chandeliers:
"Who leaves an overhead chandelier light on,At ten past twelve in Whitley Bay...?"
Might give Norman a co-writing credit.
The finest fish & chips in Whitley Bay
Roker Beach where Lowry used to paint apparently.

Thence to Sheffield. Nice people. Fun show. Reassuringly adequate Wagamama.

In Manchester I paid a wee visit to the Lowry gallery.

A day off in Leeds = Nando's and Strictly.

Next day, a few hours before soundcheck, I took the train to the Salts Mill, Saltaire. Beautiful environment, Lots of David Hockney gubbins. I think my favourite part was the constantly changing display of iPhone/ipad drawings that he had sent to pals.

Get Well Soon Card
iPad pictures - the arrival of Spring 
'Tennis' was faxed to the gallery by David H in LA and pinned to the board one page at a time.
(He still never blinkin' wrote back about this but!)

Norwich rocked. Here is a sample of our post gig dressing room listening:

London rocked. We gave this song a bash for the first time:

Pam Hogg told me to "F*** off" in when I kidded her that her beautiful coat was a bit Showaddywaddy (ah, banter), and Harry Pye presented me with a new pair of socks.

Portsmouth tonight.

You can join my mailing list here.

Keep on dancing'...

Monday, 14 November 2016

14th Of November Already

L-R: Stewart Webster (violin), Justine Watts (violin), Sharron Griffiths (harp), Emma Peebles (viola) and John Davidson (cello). Hamilton Mausoleum, 11th Nov 2016.

Last week I had an amazing couple of days rehearsing, then recording, new music with soloists from The Scottish Festival Orchestra in Hamilton Mausoleum, Lanarkshire. More about this project in good time. Hashtag excited.

Sad at the passing of both Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell. I always loved Willie Nelson singing "A Song For You".

"And when my life is over, remember when we were together,
We were alone and I was singing my song for you"...

I just read this. Hope I have time to visit Las Meninas next time I am in Madrid.

Vegetarians look away. I just made a thing with Italian sausage, frozen peas, garlic, onions, olive oil, dods of fromage frais and mascarpone, drop of milk, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and yon bowtie pasta. Yum. De nada.

As I type TFC hit the road again tomorrow(eek). First stop Inverness. All dates here.

Talking of gigs; some great footage of Bob in '66 here:

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Peter Capaldi For President

The wonderful Jackie Kay tweeted that her 86 year-old lifelong socialist mum said: 'don't let Trump spoil your birthday love he's not worth it'.

On Sunday I went to the BAFTA Scotland Awards. It was a great night and not just because Stephen Bennett's wonderful "Dunblane: Our Story" (for which I provided the music) won an award:

Me trying to steal Stephen's BAFTA before jumping in a taxi and cackling off into the night.

...but also because when I met Dr. Who and told him about my pal Gavin and his son Rob who are both huge fans, the following occurred:

I'm enjoying Transparent, looking forward to TFC's UK tour kicking off next week and preparing to do some interesting recording which I will prattle on about in due course....

This piano piece reminds me of TFC's recent US tour - I listened to it a few times as we drove between east coast cities, taking in the the colours of Autumn.

If you get the chance to see "Loving" I recommend you do.

Over and out.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

It's November

Farewell, October.

The rest of TFC's US tour was FUN x 3.

Nice to meet Tom Strong artist Chris Sprouse in Cleveland.

...and to meet Kim Fowley's producer Matthew Smith in Detroit.

Sam Evian were great to tour with...

I didn't manage to visit Taco Bell and no one ever said, "You betcha", to me even once. But other than that America did not disappoint.

A set list
Didn't taste this
Political activism in Madison, Wisconsin
Korean food in Madison, Wisconsin
High Noon Saloon
Some clown in our dressing room
State Capitol, Madison
We called by the old 'hood in Chicago for tacos - it was closed...
...this wasn't. (#yum)
Not Starbucks
An American tree
Another one
The best shrimp linguine in Ferndale, Michigan.
An LP I didn't buy
Add your own caption
Accidental photography
More American leaves
Nice sign.
Sam Evian
Pride of Brooklyn
Pride of Canada

Hallowe'en was fine - the scariest thing about it was my ukulele playing but let's not get into that.

I am looking forward to the BAFTA Scotland Awards this Sunday.

Erm, that's it.