Friday, 23 June 2017

"An eccentric treasure for those who like this sort of thing"


So I went to London for meetings...


...culture...





...cuisine...

The best hake and cauliflower gratin in Soho... 

The best pollo alla milanese in Soho
...and to get my portrait painted with Harry Pye (read Harry's blog here)...



Here is a new video by Gordon Beswick for "We Love Mike Love"...



And here's what The Arts Desk has to say about "Bonjour" - our new album, released July 7th via Republic of Music distribution:

Francis Macdonald & Harry Pye Bonjour (Shoeshine/Republic of Music): 

"...a funny record, in both senses; old-fashioned, poignant, likeable and offbeat. Macdonald is a dab hand with sweet melodic easy-listening indie numbers such as “Isle of Capri”, “Paul In Vauxhall” and the Beach Boys parody “Mike Love Fan Club”, while Pye contributes spoken word anecdotes that are perfectly written, clumsily delivered and gripping, especially “I Made Him Smile”, his account of the two times he met Lucian Freud. An eccentric treasure for those who like this sort of thing."

You can order it here...



Monday, 19 June 2017

Simon Cottrell

Today I attended a moving service for Simon Cottrell at Maryhill Crematorium.

Simon died suddenly a few days ago. 47 years is no age.

I got to know him when he and his great mate Zac and me backed Laura Cantrell for some UK/Eire shows a few years ago.

He was a good bassist and harmony singer and he was a lovely, mellow, fun, sweet-natured person to be around.

(I also worked with Simon and Zac on some recordings for a film soundtrack for composer Max Richter. I can't remember if we did one day or two in a studio in Glasgow. We were looking forward to seeing the final film but Richter's work was subsequently given the elbow so that Clint Eastwood could do the score...)

After one run of Laura Cantrell gigs, Simon and I were driving the hired van up home to Glasgow from somewhere in England. It was quite late at night. Rainy and dark - somewhere in the midlands.

Simon pulled over when he saw a man next to a parked lorry on the motorway hard shoulder, waving and seemingly in distress. We got out of the van and walked up to the man who told us in a kind of daze that he'd just found out that his daughter had died. I didn't know what to say or do but Simon instinctively threw his arms around him and held him saying, "Oh you poor man".

We waited until company arrived - the police and also the lorry driver's employer - then continued our journey back up the road

Simon leaves Jana his partner of 10 years, his son Woody and other family and friends.

What can you say.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Barcelona, Orleans, Bordeaux, Porto and Nimes - thanks for the memories

And we're back.

Teenage Fanclub just played a run of shows in good ol' Europe.

BARCELONA - ah, the splendid Primavera Festival. I caught up with some pals, experienced Sleep for the first time and visited the Picasso museum.
Soundcheck
Gig
ORLEANS - first time here.



I loved how at the venue they laid out dining tables and served lunch after soundcheck. They cleared the table away for the punters and then laid them out again for dinner after the show. Band, crew and venue staff all sitting together to each and drink. Egalité and Faternité right enough. Our guitar tech George proposed a fitting toast to the chef.


BORDEAUX - beautiful city.

I took in Le Miroir d'Eau:



I also visited the Museé des Beaux-Arts for a a bit of soothing, cultured meditation. I hadn't reckoned on the Miracle of Saint Justus or Mozart Dying.
!?
!?!
Ah, that's better.
PORTO - loved it. The old city sprawling down to the Douro River. Fresh seafood and 10 year-old port. Laundry hanging out of windows two floors above posh-ish restaurants. The dark, soulful eyes of seemingly every other portrait in the National Museum Soares dos Reis. There's a kind of invisible melancholia lurking, threaded throughout the place. And don't get me started on the custard tarts.

Here's a wee taste...



And another...



The gig was fun too.


NIMES - another beautiful, historic place where I'd never been.




We drank mojitos and got a recommendation for a restaurant - L'Écusson - where the owner served his pal's wine. Local knowledge is the best.





I visited the Museé Des Beaux-Arts (surprise!)...





...and discovered that if they ever make a film of about Jonathan Richman, they could get Rubens' Francesco Marcelliano de Barea to play him:


...and Roddy Frame could play the young Liszt as painted by Jean Vignaud...


Gig was good too.


On the return flight I caught upon with Better Call Saul.

Back home I watched Howard Goodall's Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution (recommended) and Dr. Who (family viewing).

Last night I watched "Billy Connolly Portrait Of A Lifetime".

Billy is a hero and this was a lovely watch. I was *so* chuffed when two pieces of my music popped up: "20 Sep" played when Billy visited his John Byrne portrait in the People's Palace in Glasgow; and then I gasped when some notes from "Antoine Duhamel" started up as Billy visited Dali's Christ Of St John Of The Cross at Kelvingrove Museum (that piece was named for the man who created the soundtrack for Franco-Glaswegian curio Death Watch - but that's another tangent). A snatch of Teenage Fanclub's "Broken" was in there too. And I was a bit of a puddle by the end. I do love Billy.

This is me since yesterday.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

I Heart Europe

Oh - hello. I didn't see you there!

As I type Teenage Fanclub are about to head off to play festival and club shows in Spain, France and Portugal. I picked the wrong week to give up paella, cheese and custard tarts. Queso sera...

We had fun at the CCA earlier this week.


Norman even tuned up for the occasion:


I recommend this:


...and this (you don't have to like football or support 'the hoops' to enjoy it).

Here's a wee poem you might enjoy.

Remember my album with Harry Pye - "Bonjour" - is released on Shoeshine in UK/Europe on 6th July:



Pre-order it here.

Irivne Welsh has some succinct voting advice.

...à bientôt!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Awards Schmawards


Last night I attended the Royal Television Scotland Awards in Glasgow.

The Dunblane documentary directed by Stephen Bennett (for which I provided the music) was nominated. It didn't win but I was chuffed for other winners including Louise Lockwood (Director Of The Year) and Jonathan Seale (Editor) - and the great Billy Connolly. Billy received the RTS Scotland Award and sent a nice filmed message of thanks from Florida.

Robbie Coltrane and Gok Wan were in attendance but neither of them approached me for a selfie. Weird.

I remember Gok Wan being a good guest on Desert Island Discs a few years ago. He tells a beautiful story about his parents - his dad in particular - accepting his sexuality.

More recently if you haven't heard Liz Lochead on the same show - I highly recommend it.

Did I mention Bob Dylan was amazing in Glasgow last week? Well he was.

Films I have dug include:



and



and



And finally, Cyril?

And finally, Esther....

I've been doing music for a new ad but I can't tell you who for. Wish I could give you a lidl clue.

x


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

I Feel Like A Record That's Scratched

Those nice people at Clash magazine have premiered a new video by Gordon Beswick for "I Feel Like A record That's Scratched" - a track from the forthcoming album "Bonjour" my me and Harry Pye.

When Harry sent me the words, the music seemed to flow quite easily.

This track features Kevin Eldon impersonating Richard Attenborough in Brighton Rock...



Pre-order now on CD/LP/Digital (get some songs right now on i-tunes).

I liked The Handmaiden.


I discovered a smashing piece by Messiaen thanks to C Duncan on BBC Scotlands' Classics Unwrapped here.

I've watched Episode 1, Series 1 of Line Of Duty. No spoilers!

I am writing music for a top secret TV project.

I've got my ticket to see Bob Dylan this weekend.

Em...please, Father, that is all I can remember.

Voice of Priest: "Say two hail marys and make a good act of contrition."




Wednesday, 26 April 2017

One of the groovier things to happen to me lately...

So Tucker Martine did a great job producing the last Camera Obscura album "Desire Lines".

A few months ago on Wikipedia I discovered that Tucker's father wrote my favourite Elvis song. (!!!)

Here is an article from a couple of years ago (scroll halfway down) where you can see what I had to say about the song. (Harry Pye had asked me to write something about Elvis).

Here is a lovely wee piece about Layng Martine writing "Way Down" and Elvis recording it.

Earlier this year I played in Portland with Teenage Fnclub and invited Tucker along. We didn't meet up because he had an early start the next day but he sent me a nice text saying he had enjoyed the show.

Today I received something in the post...



How groovy is that?

Thank you, Layng, and thank you, Tucker!







Saturday, 15 April 2017

Hail César!

Hola.

I've just had a holiday in wonderful Lanzarote. César Manrique is my new hero.


Holiday reading: Maigret's Failure.


If you have 4 minutes to spare, here is a short film about "Bonjour" - my new album with Harry Pye:



You can order Bonjour on CD, LP or Download here.

And for those that can access it, here's a link to "A Family Divided" - a powerful documentary made by Steadipix for BBC Scotland. It tells a pretty amazing story. I was glad to provide the music.

Teenage Fanclub are coming to Spain, France and Portugal in June. Live info here.

Besos. Hasta la vista.



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Teenage Fanclub in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and NY

OK so first of all, I'm proud to have provided the music for this powerful documentary, transmitted on BBC Scotland on 11th April:


And you can still order "Bonjour" - my album with Harry Pye - here.

So the Teenage Fanclub world tour bandwagon rolled on to San Francisco. 


We stayed in a groovy hotel....



...encountered The Ghost Of The Tenderloin...


...and ate good, inexpensive Vietnamese food.




On the day of the show I grabbed a diverting wee hour in SFMOMA.















Our show at the Great American Music Hall was a tour highlight. Great, great audience. Nice to catch  up with some old pals after the show.


Britta Phillips opened for our US west coast shows and was great.
Norman's back in Frisco (I know - nobody calls it Frisco. I'm a rebel).

Onwards to Portlandia, I mean Portland. Purty drive.
A post shared by Francis Macdonald (@francismacdonald) on



String Bikini.

"Unless your childhood sucked...'
I had a great visit to the Portland Museum Of Art.


Ask me anything about Rodin (- don't, actually).




I especially loved some of the American photography exhibits...






left-handed cellist...


I'm going to start wearing my tie like this.














I believe this work by Jeff Koons influenced the artwork for TFC's "Thirteen" album.
Orange Words In Neon



I enjoyed speaking to Scott McCaughey after our show and hearing about the Young Fresh Fellows' experience recording with Rufus Thomas. And Ivan from The Rosebuds who toured with TFC many moons ago hung out too, and recommended I visit the Morgan Library and Museum in NY (see below). I invited Camera Obscura's producer Tucker Martine to the show and he came along but we never got say hello. I would probably have bored him with my jabbering how his dad wrote my favourite Elvis song (you read that right).


If you fancy some tasty BBQ in Portland -  I know where to go, btw.

Twas, onward to Seattle, hometown of our excellent guitar/keyboards stand-in Michael Lerner.

A post shared by Francis Macdonald (@francismacdonald) on



I forgot to put Frasier Crane on the guest list.

It was a lovely fresh day in the city. I ate a disappointing omelette and a nice coffee; a legendary burger and a tasty tamale.







Vancouver rocked. 


We played the Rickshaw Theatre (an ex-Chinese kung film theatre, apparently) and I got some laundry done. AND I scored a tasty Katsu curry.

Thence to New York. Brooklyn to be more precise.

I suggested we repair to a characterful Italian restaurant of which I had fond memories from another visit, some years before, with Camera Obscura. Our waiter told us it was the oldest family-owned restaurant in New York. So there.



I defeated the spaghetti & meatballs once again. Go me.

Show was great. Lovely final audience for the final show of our tour.


Camera Obscura's old trumpeter Tim Cronin forgave me for my forgetting to get him guest tickets (hashtag 'oops').
 The Night Of Joy is a groovy bar, btw. It does what it says on the tin.

Next day I got some huevos rancheros, a wee visit to Strand Books, Manhattan and then on to the luscious Morgan Library and Museum.
















A few hours later, we flew home.


Thanks, y'all.