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Someone kindly sent me Robert Forster's "Grant & I" from Australia (inexplicably unpublished in the UK).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

Monday, 26 December 2016

Boxing Day Blues

I hope anyone reading this had a nice/happy/merry christmas.

I got a Billy Connolly DVD, a ticket to see Scottish Opera's production of Philip Glass's "The Trial" - and this. So I'm happy.

Me and my wee girl had a kitchen dance to...

It seemed an appropriate tribute; celebrating a talent for button-pushin' bullseye-seekin' pop. From what I've been reading about George Michael it seems he had a big heart. And his music sure entertained a LOT of people.

While we're at it, this came on the radio and I was struck by how integral the tambourine part is...

Norman B tweeted thus. RIP, Rick.

What a year.

I loved the Christmas Eve programme dedicated to Alan Bennett's Diaries on BBC Two.

I'm looking forward to Inside No 9 - The Devil Of Christmas, and the new series of Sherlock.

And finally, Esther: take it or leave it but here's my tip for two hours of stonkin' cinema...

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

"Eunice, come and do a somersault in order that we may have comic relief"

I am reading The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie. Then I want to see the film with Maggie Smith. I wonder if Santa is reading this?

I enjoyed Toni Erdmann.

Great performances. I didn't know what was coming next. And it stayed with me for days.

I also dug Paterson.

Exam question. Does:

(1) Jim Jarmusch have a Lynchian sense of humour?
(2) David Lynch have a Jarmuschian sense of humour?
(3) None of the above?

Got my ticket for Bob Dylan in Glasgow next year. Eek.

I saw Cosmico by CJ Lazaretti at a Blueprint screening (GFT's quarterly night of Scottish short films) and *loved* it.

Yesterday I attended a board meeting of New Music Scotland. Its nice to be onboard a board. Especially this board. The Scottish Awards For New Music are happening in March 2017. Info here.

"The Lost Songs Of St Kilda" was Classic FM's album of the year. Hooray. Another excuse to post this collaboration with Julie Fowlis.

My website has had a minor update.

For this who can watch it I will leave you with 22 mins of Teenage Fanclub at BBC Scotland's Quay Sessions - here.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Teenage Fancub Winter Tour - Tick

Me and Harry Pye have our eye on you.

Well that's Teenage Fanclub Winter tour done and dusted. What larks.

GPO and 'The Stiletto In The Ghetto', Dublin.
Mushy peas? No. Pickled onion? No. Oh, OK.
Windows in Temple Bar, Dublin.
First book condemned by the local priest...burned in front of her home.
Norman's back among the shy, retiring people of Dublin.
Crown-da-bout, Larne. Some puns are so worth repeating.
Best picture of the sea ever.
Funny if you're Scottish. But not very.
Last time I was here the Bay City Rollers were onstage.
Norman's back onstage at the Barras.
Last gig of the tour (kind of).
The Mighty George, ABC soundcheck.
Gerry and Norman discussing the price of fish from Aberdeen.
Waiting to soundcheck at BBC Scotland for The Quay Sessions
Quay Sessions set list
You can catch highlights of our Quay Sessions show for BBC Radio Scotland (recorded Wed 7th Dec) here.

Teenage Fanclub tour Europe in February, winding up in London on 26th Feb, and then Japan and Australia in March next year. Keep checking for News...

I need to think about getting this album finished and ready for release next year:

Feel free to share.

(Link to mailing list here.)

Toodle pip! x

Thursday, 1 December 2016

From Portsmouth to Cambridge

Overheard in a hotel lift in Birmingham:

"I've got duvets coming out my ears."

Teenage Fanclub Winter exploits continue. Good to be playing again.

In Portsmouth me and Norman visited the HMS Victory and Mary Rose exhibitions. Both brilliant.
Decided not to climb this.
Felled by a French musket.
Unlike in the movies apparently up to 8 or more men had to help steer the ship.
Below decks.
The Mary Rose Exhibition is amazing - this snap doesn't quite do it justice *cough*
A lovely Iranian woman in this shop (below) melted my heart when she saw my plastic laundry bag was ready to fall apart and she produced a sturdy replacement. Wee unprovoked acts of human kindness can be balm to the soul.

Meatball panini made with love.
Portsmouth show was splendid, then we scooted off to Brighton.

Best ever photo taken of Brighton Beach.
A Brighton landmark that I don't know the name of
I believe we debuted "The First Sight" from the new album in Brighton. Our excellent distributors Republic Of Music were out in force. They tempted us to a tapas lunch the following day off - which led to...

One more pint of Ghost Ship and I'd've been under the host. Much to his likely consternation.
Some Santas on a racecourse.

Birmingham rocked. And so did my balti in this curry house.

(King shrimp if you must know)
Then on to Cardiff. I've been playing wth TFC since 2000 and I don't think we've been to Wales in that time, though I did play the old Barfly with Laura Cantrell many moons ago.

Somedae canna spell Ronald.
Some Welsh butter a few days ago.
Onward to Nottingham. Great Monday night audience. And the Wagama katsu curry wasn't the worst.

This Brian Clough photo was not taken at our show.
Then...Bristol, where we kicked off our most recent bout of activity on the 3rd of September. Nice to be back.

(En route I watched this amazing doc about Fair Isle in Scotland. Recommended.)

We came on for a second encore but everyone had left.
"Oh the Bristol chandeliers..." - och please yourself.
Splendid mash. Didn't spot any emu burger sausages.
Bristol was another fine show with a lovely audience. Only regret was not getting to visit the Bernie Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Cambridge show last night was dandy. Nice to see former TFC sticks man Brendan O' Hare along at the gig. If he was thinking, "I wouldn't have put that fill there", he was too polite to say; just full of compliments and kind words.

Norman's back in Cambridge
In other news...

The Rogue Orchestra asked me to write something for them. More in good time.

And my 15 second harp piece was performed as part of a recital-lecture in Southampton the other day. Here it is again: