Tuesday, 24 January 2017

"It'd Be Quite Nice If I Could Have A Motorbike, Or Even A New Pair Of Socks"

The title of this blog is taken from The Monks Of Pluscarden, a chapter from "Daunderlust - Despatches From Unreported Scotland" by Peter Ross. It is a great read - funny and affectionate and moving. If you like Scotland or are in any way interested in the country and its people - I highly recommend it.

Here's a piece of music I like by Toru Takemitsu, played by The Scottish Ensemble...

I am loving The Sound Of Musicals presented by Neil Brand. Neil is my new fantasy dinner party guest. He can sit next to Billy Connolly.

Here's a film I recommend...

Social Media Tip: follow Pam Ayres on Twitter.

I've written an orchestral piece of music that I can't tell you about yet.

Tinkety tonk, old fruit, and down with the nazis.

Monday, 16 January 2017

café au lait... schnitzels...paprika crisps...carajillo...jellied eels

Whoop! TFC are hitting up Europe next month...

Ticket links, etc. here

Loved this. 

Sometimes the right book lands at the right time. Shostakovich - jeez.

I wonder if anyone recommends another Julian Barnes book that I should read?

Amazing film alert...

I'd be surprised if you missed the Sunday Herald Trump Inauguration TV preview from the Sunday Herald written by Damien love (cousin of Gerry) but just in case:

Sherlock didn't tie me in emotional knots or leave me frustrated that there was too much of this and not enough of that - I just lapped it up as great TV.

Quoting from their website "CinemaAttic is the platform for Spanish, Iberian and Latin-American cinema in Scotland." I went along to a screening at the CCA and - ay caramba! - it was great. There was animation from Argentina, a documentary about lesbians in Cuba - but this was my favourite:

Funny and heartbreaking and beautifully shot.

In my experience a lot of short films can manage to feel slow and overlong; a good idea dragged out when a snappier, less heavy-handed approach would be just the ticket. But CinemaAttic seem to have good quality control. I'd head along again on Feb 10th but, as above, it looks like I will be in Copenhagen with a bunch of Fannys...

Approaching 9k plays for this which is amazing...


Monday, 9 January 2017

Impossible isn't French

Someone kindly sent me Robert Forster's "Grant & I" from Australia (inexplicably unpublished in the UK).

I loved it. Honest and clear-sighted. Funny and moving. A great story well told.

I fell for the Go-Betweens when they joined Teenage Fanclub for some shows in Spain in Nov 2000 around the release of The Friends Of Rachel Worth - still my favourite of their albums. A few years later we played more shows together in Spain, finishing up in Bilbao; one of their very last gigs. They were amazing live. And yes, Robert, with regard to Page 317 - we sure do remember Grant devising a new cocktail called a Go-Between. That whole run of dates is a golden memory. I barged into your dressing room after the last show and said," Everybody gets a hug", euphoria being the mother of uninhibitedness.

Despite their songs generally being co-credited a la Lennon-McCartney, Robert and Grant rarely wrote together. But here's one song from their last album where they did collaborate:

When Grant passed away Keith Bruce at The Herald asked if I would write an appreciation.

Now I am reading The Noise Of Time and lapping it up. I've got a lot of listening to catch up on but this is one of my favourite pieces by Dmitri Dmitrievich

I saw Napoleon at the good ol' GFT (thanks, Eugene). Six and a half hours including intervals. Epic and cinematic and stirring with sprinklings of humour throughout. A great thing to experience. And it starred Gene Clark.


(Wee joke there.)

Talking of stirring: nice tomato and mozzarella risotto recipe here.

Say, after Japan and Australia, Teenage Fanclub are coming back to the US/Canada in March.

The 5 of us against you.
All confirmed dates are here.

Au revoir.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

It's January...

Happy New Year.

I am looking forward to Teenage Fanclub shows in Europe, Japan, Australia and beyond. All confirmed activity is *drum roll* here.

I enjoyed Sally Wainwright's "To Walk Invisible" - and Sherlock, of course (Mark Gatiss was brilliant on Desert Island Discs a while ago too). And West Side Stories which reminds me I must rewatch this...

I am going to have to find a new cake recipe cos I've beaten this one to death. Any suggestions?

Robert Forster's "Grant And I" continues to be a hoot:

   "...cowards run in our family..."*

   "Grant shared a flat with Jack Davidson, a laconic, chain-smoking (non-filter, forgotten the brand) Scottish artist who I once unthinkingly asked if he'd done any portraits lately. For him to reply, "Nah. You written any symphonies lately?"

   "I would never do vision-inducing drugs before a performance again."

Still processing this...

My New Year's resolution is to finish and release this project...

And off he waltzed...

*(I don't think Robert came up with this but it was skilfully employed...)