Friday, December 15, 2017

The Christmas Dress

I have allowed myself to be talked into (or emailed into) singing one of my Christmas songs tonight in Brighton with Asbo Derek. Stealth persuasion gets me every time- very crafty. To get my revenge, I've requested that they learn the backing vocals in the hope that the resulting cacophony will disguise the fact that I will forget the words. I always do- fear of forgetting the words means that I forget them, even though I don't forget the words of any other songs.
Call it seasonal amnesia, of even Milk of Magnesia if you want to.
On Wednesday, I remembered seeing Christmas attire in Primark on the way back from the Mike Flowers gig at the 100 Club, and I popped in to buy a Santa dress. Three ferocious shoppers were acting tactically and whipped the dress almost out of my hands as soon as I thought about picking it off the rail. Beaten, but not defeated, I rose at 7 a.m. yesterday and went to Stratford first thing, tumbling into the doors of the Stratford branch and heading straight for the red-and-white things. They only had enormous ones, or an extra small. I bought the extra small, and rushed into another shop to try it on. It took me ten minutes to escape from its red woollen clutches and rather unwisely I snaffled it and then went straight to work before I could regret it.
Oh dear. I look like a complete twat in it. It is far too short, far too tight and makes me look like a mutton dressed as an elf.
Who cares! It's a stupid enough thing to travel all the way to Brighton to play one song that I don't know the words of, with a group of people who probably won't have learned the backing vocals anyway.
In some ways, it makes sense of the whole years' wonderful nonsense!
Brighton, here I come.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Shanne Bradley

Yes- her name is Shanne Bradley, not 'unknown woman', and she formed The Nipple Erectors and auditioned Shane McGowan to be in her band. She was one of the first punks and saw The Sex Pistols play at St Albans Art College in 1975.
Just thought I'd mention it.

Mike Flowers Pops

Went to see Mike Flowers Pops last night- what a fantastic night! I couldn't find their best ones on Youtube so have substituted an original for now: Beautiful Balloon and The Candyman were arranged and played exquisitely with perfect collision of sentiment and pure emotion. What a thing to pull off! Loungecore rules!
Pix: The Choir from Windsor (supporting); Karina; Karina plays the saw; me, Shanne and Karina.
Danced until I dropped with Andy and Jaime round the side, where we could hear the brass section in all its glory, and watch the keyboard players glowing with delight.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

In Support Of Musicians Against Homelessness

I’m playing to support @Musicians Against Homelessness #MAH2017, please text MAH to 70004 to donate £3 to Crisis and help homeless people in the UK this winter.
I wrote this with clear lyrics that a child could sing and understand. Thinking about those people in the camps, as well as the people on the streets in our cities, towns and villages. How have we allowed this to happen?

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Hull O'Rileys

This was the last gig of my tour and the first for Vic and Subway Sect. I was all set to feel rather sad because I've had such a great time on the road for the past few months. At first sight, the venue was like a sort of youth club- and it is indeed a boxing club part of the time. It had a bit of a feel of Whitley Bay Ice Rink about it.
Mick, June and Laura had come to pick me up, and when we went in, Subway Sect were sound checking and Mandy was setting up the merch stall. Andy, the promoter, had bought a kettle for £3.00 especially for Vic, who only drinks tea. This was a good move, because that's what I only drink too, so the omens were positive from the start. The DJ was Doodlebugnuggets, who did the Furley and Co. gig in the summer and who has immaculate taste- a smattering of Northern but lots of good other stuff (many thanks for the Mixtape link from Furley and Co.
The place is huge, but has perfect sound. I couldn't see the audience, but was heartened to have people join in with The Sea, and indulge in a bit of encouraging heckling here and there.
Afterwards, I realised that Ian Damaged and Duncan had come down (Damaged Goods has a warehouse in Hull) with a bag of Chefs CDs.
Subway Sect took to the stage, Vic had s sip of tea and off they went, in their inimitable way. Mark is playing guitar at the moment, and I was extremely impressed by his ability to scratch his nose mid-solo without losing a beat, carried by the sustain on his guitar. As the band hotted up, Mandy started dancing and soon we were all at it- even Richard Cundill, although he pretended he didn't want to. I understand Ian is a rare dance floor visitor too, but there he was, and in fact there most of us were, using energy we didn't realise that we had, Laura too, all with big smiles on our faces.
We sat down for Hand Job, and nobody but me seemed to notice Vic asking Kevin if he was going to play it on the organ.
It was a right laugh, and they deserved the encore they got after getting so many lazyboneses to their feet. I only wish I had remembered to take some of the curry they had offered with me at the end of the show. All I had to eat was a poppadum, and by lunchtime the next day I was starving (don't even ask about the 7 a.m. train back to work, the visiting lecturer who had to cancel at the last minute, and all the other worky things).
Off they went to Sunderland, Newcastle and Manchester (they hadn't booked the train tickets yet, I believe). I hope we get to do some more gigs together next year, because it's been a good laugh to gig with such great people. Maybe some song writing, perhaps.....

Friday, December 08, 2017

Christmas Eve Airplay

Something to listen to on Christmas Eve! Big thanks to Ralph's Indie Show xxx
Review of Hull O'Riley's to follow (what a larf), been very tired due to travelling straight form Hull to Stratford for lecture yesterday, transferring ProTools files today (lot of swearing at the computer by Jono did the trick!), working on the doc with Gina and copious watching of NCIS this eve.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

O'Riley's, Hull Tomorrow

Last gig of the tour tomorrow which is sort of sad in a way, but it couldn't be with a better crew- it's a support slot with Vic Godard and Subway Sect, and although a mega-cold is looming on the health horizon like a wall of huge clouds, I'm shoving it to one side until next week.
Almost all the spare time I have has been spent writing lectures and doing other University based stuff; sometimes recently it's seemed as though the weekend is a distant concept that only other people have. I thought song writing would cease to happen but it hasn't and it's managed to carve out a tiny space in bits of spare day that used to be filled by watching TV or going to the shops for a bar of chocolate. I almost fell off a cliff when the Apple computer upgrade deleted all the Notes and in spite of trying to get them back (they had saved to a Yahoo account and weren't on the hard drive) almost all of them are missing and the rest consist of the titles only. Goodbye to them; I will just have to think hard about the information that was there, and how to recreate it. It's not the biggest disaster in the Universe.
As usual, this blog posting is being written when I should be doing something else. Everything's packed for Hull but I'm lecturing this afternoon. Kettle on for coffee, than I'll rev up the brain cell that is functioning, and get to work.
Toodle pip!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Article in the f-Word

This has just been published in the f-Word; Katy and me sat in her flat and had a talk about song writing one morning. We have often discussed ideas for songs with groups of friends as a song-circle, and we still meet up when we can even though Katy now spends a lot of time in Poland. Each of us has an entire album of songs inspired by our conversations, and it's been a great way to support our writing.
We did a gig together at The Lexington a few weeks ago (and Honey Birch played as well) and this chat happened some time around then. Big up Cazz and Jane for this!

Saturday, December 02, 2017


An Amazing Singer

This is Bridgette Amofah, who came to the University of the East on Thursday to talk to the Professional Practice students about her life as a singer and song writer. She graduated from the University of the West a few years ago and has worked as a solo artist, sung with Brian Ferry and is now singing with Rudimental. It was a completely inspiring talk and the students loved her. The vid shows Bridgette singing one of her own songs in 2013:

Stratford Nativity

It was only there for a few hours, but Saint Nicholas was watching over the Nativity Scene with one of his reindeer on Thursday in Stratford.

Friday, December 01, 2017


I'm writing a fantastically defiant hymn (or rather herm), to sing every morning, a bit like school assembly but just me and the birds out there in the frosty dawn. I've nicked the melody from a song called Don't Mention their Hands that was written for a musical pantomime version of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus over a trillion years ago.
There are post-it notes all over the table and the best thing about a private song is that you can sing whatever the hell you like, as loud as you like and as often as you like.
Ha ha!😀