Do you like goalkeeping dogs? Minty cake? How about excellent hospitality? You should think about a visit to Kendal.
Remember Wendy who buildingified herself at Mama Stones? Well Jonty has done the same. “All I know about is building and music” he told me, so what did he do? He renovated an old butchers shop, bought the cafe next door, hollowed an extension out of the rock, built a stage and decorated it just way he likes – with a big bar, a motorcycle and a bust of Elvis. The result is Bootleggers, a quite excellent place to make music.
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Everyone comes to a gig via their own route. You might have just broken up with someone, maybe you had a great day at work, maybe you miss someone, maybe you want to party, maybe you want to talk to no one and be miserable.
As well as that everyone has their own relationship with the music. Is this song uplifting or depressing? Is that song about relationships with others or our relationship with ourselves? What does it all mean? Your favourite song may be someone else’s least favourite. Continue reading »
Should all artists be good raconteurs? Just because you’re comfortable communicating using music doesn’t mean you’re comfortable communicating using words in general. In fact maybe you started to communicate using music exactly because you struggled to communicate like everyone else does and you felt isolated.
That’s what sort of happened with me. Then one day I find myself in front of a radio voice asking me to pick my ‘weirdest story’ on live radio. I’ve heard other people do this well, but my mind is blank, the question is too generic to fire any particular weird story synapse. Why can’t this question just piss off? I’m a songwriter, not a clever story slash witty comment conjurer. Continue reading »
God I love this job. Tonight a massive crowd sang all the songs back at us, and I shared the stage again with Tom McQ. Continue reading »
I must admit I wasn’t totally convinced it should be me who hands her the ring. What if she gets confused as to who was asking the question?
I do love how there are just no two days alike on tour. That’s partly because if you’re gigging at this level you don’t control very much – you get what you’re given – which is different every time.
Here in Exeter we had to wait until 10:30pm for the diners to finish before the fans who had come to the gig could get in. Some had been waiting outside for ages, one was heavily pregnant, some sacked it off and went home. Everyone was apologising to each other. Continue reading »
I can count on one hand the number of songs that have utterly ripped my world apart in my adult life. I’m not just talking about “wow that’s my song of the year”. I mean full-on, powerless obsession – there when you wake up, with you all day and keeping you awake all night.
I have a theory that whenever a song is stuck in your head, the best way to rid yourself of it is to sit down and put it on repeat, no matter how embarassing or irritating it is. This might sound like the last thing you’d want to do with Michael Bublé (depending on your preference), but bloody hell it works. Your brain is saying “You may not like that you like this, but you DO like this. So stop lying to yourself, and listen to the goddamn track.” With its desire sated, it moves on. Continue reading »
It stopped me dead in my tracks when I turned up to the pre-gig ‘team meeting’ in a pub off Charing Cross Road to find 15 people sat round a large table. Band, management, booking agents, press agent, promoter, distributors and label (my own not a different one) were all there, with online PR guys and radio plugger sending apologies.
I couldn’t help myself, and I do apologise, but I had a proper Wonder Years moment. The internal narrator took over – “it was at that moment that I realised things would never be the same again”. Well, at least not for a year or two. Plans are afoot. We’re definitely moving up a level, more about that later. Continue reading »
It’s amazing how quickly things become routine – we turned up at the Apollo like it was just another day at school. Could I ever get used to this kind of gig? Surely not?
We bemoan some artists for losing the ability to relate to others normally, when their normal is so extremely perversly different to ours, and when it’s us that put them there in the first place. We scream when they sing, and with our words and actions we tell them they are more important than other people. They adapt to their new surroundings, just like evolution has taught them. I’m not making my own tea, someone else does that…
The real problem, as it tediously always is, is weakness in the face of the corruptive influence of power, status, money, and all that crap. It’s the same reason we always end up with rubbish politicians. If only people didn’t believe their own hype.
Or is the prime minister’s life worth more than mine? His decisions certainly have bigger consequences. Is it more tragic if Shakespeare dies a young man, never to write his greatest works, than some other young guy destined to make his living thatching roofs or ploughing fields? If so does that make our Bill more important? Either way he needs to be humble if he wants a roof over his head and some food to eat.
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Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat after a nightmare about singing in front of a large crowd? The idea isn’t exactly a relaxing one right?
But since when have social interactions ever been relaxing? There’s always an invisible barrier of awkwardness as we grapple to find the right words for a situation, be sufficiently funny or clever, and hide the bits we don’t want people to see.
I don’t mean to brag, or set myself up for an epic fall, but I am very very good at handling tequilla. Something the rugby lads I met at my last Ed Sheeran gig were keen to test again tonight by laying out 6 shots for me as I came off stage, with 5 minutes left til chucking out (hopefully not chucking up) time. Continue reading »