Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Ho Hum, Another Tuesday...

Can I have yesterday again please?

It't not that often that I get to watch James MacMillan conduct my arrangement for string orchestra & harp with Craig blinkin' Armstrong, among others, observing from the periphery...

Some music yesterday.
...and also to witness beautiful works by Armstrong, MacMillan, Rebecca Dale and C Duncan being rehearsed and recorded.

James MacMillan, moi, Craig Armstrong, Rebecca Dale and C Duncan.

Bat-eared master of diplomacy Bobby Goulder expertly produced. The Scottish Festival Orchestra played beautifully. There was a great spirit in the room and we finished ahead of schedule.

It's all for a special project that I can't tell you about right now.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Laura Cantrell On Vinyl

How beautiful are these?

Available at all good record stores - or maybe from the lady herself next week. Laura tours UK from next Monday, 2nd May. Click here for dates/tickets - see you in Glasgow..

I saw Louder Than Bombs. I dug it: intelligent, unrushed, show-don't-tell filmmaking.  Well written. Good performances. Nice way to spend a Sat evening at Glasgow's GFT.

And I spent a nice Sat morning and afternoon spectating at the RSNO Composer's Hub Workshop. Fascinating to watch composers, conductor and orchestra working together to refine the performance of new pieces.

Here is a wee 5 minutes With interview that I did recently.

And here is a tomato and mozzarella risotto recipe which I can thoroughly recommend.

And here's a wee landmark - 3k plays for this:


Thursday, 21 April 2016


For the first 10 minutes or so I thought I might get a headache. By the end as I was walking out of the cinema part of me felt I was still in the film (it probably helped that there were a couple of policeman standing in the street). And a couple of days later I keep thinking about it. "Victoria" is pretty my humble opinion. First time I have noticed a cameraman (rightly) getting first credit at the end of a film.

"Tales From My PRS Statement Part 2" ... Ages ago I recorded an instrumental ditty on my 4-track which ended up on a BMX Bandits album. For want of a better title I called it Evel Knievel. Well, it seems it pops up in a TV show programme called "When Richard Hammond Met Evel Knievel". Too crazy.

Remember the amazing Laura Cantrell tours the UK soon:
I've spent a good deal of the last wee while arranging something for 20-piece string orchestra and harp which is something I don't get to type very often. More specific boasting about that soon.

Sad about Victoria Wood. Sad about Prince.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Return Of Laura Cantrell

Psst....Make sure you have the brand new Laura Cantrell vinyl LPs "Laura Cantrell At The BBC" and "Not The Trembling' Kind" (first time on vinyl) on your shopping list for Record Store Day...

Laura tours the UK very soon. Live dates here.

So if you want a dreadful family holiday with bad food and terrible weather, don't go to Gran Canaria.

A cafe con leche and an ensaimada last week

While I was away Gideon Coe played "3 4 5" from this album on his 6music show. So yay for that.

Last night I saw this:

Powerful. Great performances. The trouble with going to see a film like this on your Jack Jones is that you can't discuss any ambiguities or interpretations with your fellow viewer. But it was V.G. After Rust And Bone I reckon I'd watch anything directed by Jacques Audiard

Just got my PRS statement. What fun to see that a Xmas song I wrote for a production library CD a couple of year ago popped up in an episode of Coronation Street in December last year. That's the holiday in Gran Canaria paid for. (Just kidding...)

Great to see some L-U-V for TFC. Shows should out quickly. Come September let's hope we can remember how to play our instruments.

I enjoyed the Red Note Ensemble's event at the Hug And Pint last night. Thanks to John Cage, I'll never look at one of these...

...the same way again.

I am working on a musical project that I can't tell you about, but it's not all that often that I get to arrange for 20-piece strings & harp. Hashtag mysterious.

Toodle Pip, as John Cage might write.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Truth about Zaha Hadid, Sempé and Me

Farewell, Zaha Hadid. 

You made some beautiful buildings and Glasgow is fortunate to have one of them.

I thought this was a moving tribute:

A few years ago my infant son was walking by the side of the Riverside Museum on his way to the temporary sandpit at the front of the building. I took a photo which The Herald newspaper subsequently printed as their Picture Of The Day:

As I was taking the photo I am pretty sure the wonderful Sempé flashed into my mind, i.e. the composition made me think of something he might draw for the New Yorker:

I wrote to Zaha Hadid and received a gracious reply from her "scheduler":
"Thank you so much for taking the time to send us the newspaper clipping of your amazing picture of Riverside Museum. Ms Hadid will be delighted to see this!"

I also wrote to Sempé and, after a while, received an email:

"We received well the letter that you sent...and showed it to M. Sempé who thanks you for the letter and your picture."

I think I am going to start pretending I have a colleague when it comes to sending emails. Might make me look a bit more professional:

"Dear Amazon, Francis Macdonald thanks you for your purchasing suggestions. He was grateful to receive them..."


Here is a New Yorker article that talks about Hadid's Riverside Museum on the banks of the River Clyde.

Au revoir.