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Posts Tagged ‘live music’

I have been thinking about gigs, specifically what makes a gig successful – one thing led to another and I started pondering the various experiences I and others have had with venues and promoters.

I see a lot of online conversations about the responsibility of the artist – to bring lots of people, to sell tickets, to put on a good show. What about the venue’s responsibility? What about the promoter?

Let’s be fair. A good gig won’t happen in a vacuum. You need a decent act, a decent sized audience, and competent support from the sound person, bar staff, door people.. there’s an awful lot of responsibility being dished out there. The artist is not the only beneficiary of a good night – if the venue and the artist both do their jobs, the artist should see some increase in exposure (I’m not getting into pay to play here, and I am assuming all gigs discussed here are paid) as well as their fee. The venue should see good footfall, and strong bar takings, while the promoter should gain an excellent XP boost, as well as their fee. This should be a win-win-win for everyone, yet all too often it’s not.

So how can venues and promoters work with the artist to put on an excellent night? Here are some suggestions:

Don’t miss easy promotion opportunities. And don’t leave all the promotion up to your artist. Seriously. I cannot say this enough times. All that happens is that the artist fills the venue with their fans and friends, but they don’t get any new fans, and if it’s the wrong demographic, the venue doesn’t get any new customers. If the venue and the promoter pull their weight, it looks good, and as an added bonus, you get more people. Remember folks, more footfall is more bar takings, and potentially more people who decide your gin palace is awesome even when you don’t have live music on. I will say this again, in case it has not sunk in enough. EVERYBODY WINS.

Also, the easy stuff. Does the venue have a blackboard? Put the artist’s name on it when they’re performing. People walking past on the street, drawn in by the sound of the music will (and this is crucial) KNOW WHO PLAYED. Then if you have the same artist back, you may well draw in some of these people, who became fans. Put posters up – you don’t need many but some well placed posters before and during the event tell people who is playing. You don’t leave your beer pumps unlabelled do you? You don’t say to customers “ah, no, you must guess which beer it is you like from these unlabelled taps”. So why leave your entertainment unlabelled?

Don’t leave your artist out of pocket. Yes, some people are willing to play for exposure at the start of their careers. Unfortunately, your landlord called, and regrets to tell you that he does not accept rent in the form of “exposure”. Neither can you pay your gas, water or council tax bill with it. If you really can’t afford to pay your artists, because it’s a charity gig, or you are just poor (rethink your business model, see above, and label your beer taps), then at least cover a free ticket in for a guest, travel expenses, and maybe a beer. There are many forms of pay to play – the most ubiquitous is when the artist has to travel to reach you (costs money), to play a set and then receive no pay, so that they are out of pocket for doing the gig. Let me tell you this right now, it does not matter whether they are booked to play three songs or thirty songs. They still travelled, lugging kit, and they still gave up their time. Don’t make them pay to do it.

Communication, communication, communication. One of my biggest bugbears is this: I see an advert on social media, or receive an email soliciting acts for an event. It does not have to be a large event (where I could perhaps understand the problem of trying to respond to several thousand requests), it can be a small neighbourhood thing. I follow the instructions to apply to play, add in a personalised message, and generally spend some time sending out a really nice application. Nothing. Radio silence. I eventually find out I was not selected by the event happening. Or by hunting out the line up if it’s a slightly larger event. Please, if you run events, contact the unsuccessful. Make it a form email if you have to, I don’t care if it’s impersonal, but at least let people know.

Let’s assume I have been successful. For some events, the organisers will get right in touch, send a rider form out or request some promo material. Great! But some let you know you are playing and then send out no further information until a week before the event. Now I’m the sort of soul who preps my set list well in advance, so you can imagine how frustrating it is to not even know the set length until we’re practically tripping over the event. Plus, I don’t drive, so I have to factor in travel arrangements. If the organisers aren’t contacting the acts, there’s a decent chance they also aren’t promoting (see my first point) so it’s a double-dastardly bit of badness.

The thing is, it’s not that hard. It just involves being a little bit organised and timetabling things sensibly. But the difference it makes, to the artists at your event, to the punters attending, and to your image as a promoter/venue/organiser is almost incalculable. The devil’s in the details.

Hire decent staff. I shouldn’t even have to say this. I played a large venue last year where the sound guy was awful. I was horrified at how bad he was, because the venue has a better reputation than that, but he accused me of not knowing how to plug Loopy McLoopface in, repeatedly, his every word implying that I had no business being on stage with equipment. Then, when faced with the actual cause of the problem (his failed DI box), he did not apologise. Instead, halfway through my set, he added some exciting whalesong (despite my free trial of this, I have decided, regrettably, not to include it on the next album) and then lost my sound completely. For a song and a half.

fs_suck_knob

Cartoon by Far Side, not by me, I’m not that talented!

What should have been an incredible set was definitely coloured by this guys incompetence, and it took me a while to get over the disappointment. At another venue, I had sexual innuendo flung at me (rather like a monkey flings faeces) by a sound tech who not only behaved completely inappropriately, but had turned up drunk. Fortunately, these events are few and far between, but they stick, like the aforementioned faeces, and the impact on the organisers isn’t complementary.

If you want to keep artists coming back and willing to work with you, have a zero tolerance policy to incompetent and unsafe staff in your venue. And if you, or the staff you work with, have prejudices against any group of musicians (women, people of colour, Nickleback), leave it at the door. Your job is to put the best night on you can. Treat your artists with respect and they will (generally) do the same for you. If they don’t, then of course, feel free to show them the door.

That’s all for this post, folks, but if you think of something that I missed, feel free to add it in the comments!

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I realise this is a loaded topic and I am opening a can of worms here, but today I’d like to discuss a subject close to my heart: diversity in the music scene.

As I say, this is a controversial thing to bring up, but I think in this day and age, it’s important to discuss whether we truly feel that the music industry, and especially the local grass roots scene, is diverse enough.

Before I start, I would like to be very clear that the people with whom I network are a lovely bunch. If diversity is lacking in a lineup, it’s not deliberate – I don’t believe that any promoters or organisers around York are deliberately excluding anybody.

So, with disclaimers out of the way, my thoughts.

I don’t believe there is enough diversity in the local music scene in York, and this is disappointing for a number of reasons.

Look, I get why the higher up music industry is still having issues. There are entrenched ideas going back decades that are hard to shift – a lot more minds to change and a lot of work to do. But there is absolutely no excuse at local level. Most local shows are put on by much smaller networks, in a local area, drawing on a pool of talent easily accessible via social media. There is no shortage of musicians keen to play.

For some reason though, I’m looking at lineups around York at venues I frequent and in the singer-songwriter genre, by far the most prevalent act is guy-with-guitar. I’ve seen entire nights of just one gentleman with a guitar after another. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good guy-with-guitar as much as the next person, but it does get a little dull if that’s all that’s on the menu. Punk, rock and indie all show the same pattern – it’s all groups of lads, followed (but not closely enough) by bands with a female vocalist.

Where are the women? There must be female bassists, drummers and guitarists – I know because I went to college with some – but I’m not seeing them out on lineups – not nearly often enough. Female singer-songwriters are out there too, but again, not seeing them often enough. In fact, I have seen requests to play on facebook chats where the lasses are passed over for the lads. There tends to be a first come, first served policy with these types of gig recruitments, and it’s easy to miss the one female voice posting amidst all the lads clamouring for a spot.

So why is this the pattern? (And I fully expect it may not be the theme where you are, dear reader, so I am definitely keen to hear about scenes who are managing to get the balance right)

I have some theories (that it’s a demon?)

  1. Women are not networking the way the men are. This on its own may have reasons: lack of confidence, not hanging out in the same circles, not being as likely to be recommended (the lads have a bro pact and recommend one another to promoters and organisers, or like working together so tend to pick one another over a less well known female alternative)

  2. There are statistically fewer female acts in York, so they just aren’t coming up as often. This is probably true, but questions should be asked as to why. The local colleges all have strong diversity schemes aimed at drawing women into the music business, and I see dozens of women busking in the city centre, so why aren’t they playing more venue line-ups?

  3. Some promoters don’t view female performers as important or deserving of a spot on the bill. This is a controversial suggestion, but sadly may be true. It may be an unconscious bias, but I believe it exists just the same.

  4. Women can feel threatened by trying to slot into the male-dominated environment and may have their confidence undermined by men telling them how their kit works, or assuming they don’t know their instrument, or assuming they don’t take it seriously. This can result in them deciding that gigging is not for them and so you lose another performer from the scene.

Assuming local promoters would like to be more diverse in their lineups, I have some suggestions to help things along.

  1. Look at your lineup and ask yourself how many different types of people are represented. Not every lineup has to look like a rainbow flag, but at least try to get a few women in there. If you live and network in an area that is not very culturally diverse, it will be harder to get diversity reflected in your acts, but just about everywhere has a roughly equal ratio of men to women, so your gender diversity should certainly be present. If your area lacks lots of solid female acts, then recruit from further out and show the women who come to the show that they too could be up on stage, doing that thing.

  2. If local female acts put on a ladies-only showcase, please don’t feel threatened and start calling them out for sexism. Go to the show, and talent spot for your lineups!!! The only reason female showcases are still needed is because of the aforementioned lack of diversity. If you start giving women slots, and evening out the ratios, there won’t be a need for it anymore.

  3. Reach out to local acts via social media and start building connections. Then, when you need acts for a lineup, you already have a feel for who is gigging regularly, who is reliable and who will really bring that extra spark to your night. Please don’t be the dude who passes over the hard-working woman who shows on time, knows her own kit, plays well and pulls a crowd, for your mate who routinely rocks up late, doesn’t have his own leads and fumbles his way through his set. And yes, I have seen this happen.

  4. Don’t make women feel threatened, patronised, or lectured. I had a sound engineer tell me I could take my kit off on stage. I had another engineer tell me that I didn’t know how to plug my kit in – when his DI box was at fault. I have a thick skin, but women just trying to break into gigging may not have, and this may result in them never attempting to gig again.

  5. If you do a facebook shout out to fill a lineup, be extra careful not to overlook the female voices requesting to play.

  6. If it’s a paid gig, pay women the same as the men. This SHOULD be obvious, but we only have to look at the BBC to see that apparently (and sadly), it isn’t.

I realise there is far more to this than what my mere 1000 words or so has covered, so please, leave me comments – what is your scene doing well? Where can it improve? How can we make the local music scene more diverse for everyone?

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So I have a big gig tomorrow. Not Wembley, though I will play it as though it is. It’s big because it’s an entire evening of just me. I’m not the support, I’m the ONLY.

It’s a little intimidating, if I’m honest. I have a modest opinion of my own ability, and the thought that my random musical musings might entertain a room full of people for nearly three hours is a little too outlandish for me to believe. But someone believes I can, or they would not have asked me. I must believe I can, deep down inside, or I would not have agreed to it!

As I have sweated over set lists during the last few weeks, it led me to ponder about writing them. What makes a set list good, bad, effective, or just downright boring. Some artists don’t bother with them at all. I have seen a number of people wing it based on the mood of the crowd, or their own particular whimsy. I don’t even wing it for an open mic! I approach set lists the way I used to approach compiling mix tapes – with care, consideration and a lot of listening to beginnings and endings of songs to make sure they work in sequence.

I have concluded it’s a dark art, for a variety of reasons:

Every crowd is unique

I still remember, with crawling, cold horror, a gig I played at a local rugby club. The friend who had booked me (and knew full well that at that time, my repertoire was limited to sad, navel-gazey songs about death and breakups) swore blind that I’d be adored. The reality was a Friday night crowd who wanted a living jukebox. My friend and my wife both applauded each song but they were the only ones. The crowning moment for me was the gentleman who approached me at the end and said “You’ve a lovely voice but you made me want to slit my wrists”

Then there have been the crowds who have loudly applauded my originals but sat stonily through covers, even though I thought it would definitely be a “covers” crowd. You can’t always predict. Very experienced artists can adjust the set on the fly (see “winging it”, above) but I have never been one of those…

The length of the gig matters.

Long gigs can be hard on the voice, so it starts to matter where the more vocally challenging material goes in the set. Short gigs give you less time to make an impression, so you need to pull out your showstoppers. Decisions, decisions… My ideal length is probably 40-60 minutes, so I can really go for it without having to worry too much about stamina.

Variety is the spice of gigs…

A set will rapidly become boring if you group songs with similar themes, keys, chord progressions and styles. Because I have a bad habit of writing sad songs, I try to sandwich them between happier songs and mix up the keys and styles to keep the set interesting. I also have an unfortunate habit of writing songs using arpeggios. More of my set writing is about keeping songs apart than putting them together!

Banter – the bane of my life

Some people can play a 30 minute set and only do 5 songs, filling the remaining time with witticisms, wry observations, audience participation and stand up comic action. That is not me. I lack the gift of the gab. I try not to be averse to one liners and small talk, but on me it just tends to look like I’m trying too hard. If I’m very comfortable with the crowd, it might spontaneously happen that I tell a joke, or engage in some light banter (cautiously, and only under appropriate circumstances and wearing suitable safety apparel), but it doesn’t happen often enough for me to depend on it, so I allow a straight 4 minutes per song and do more songs per set than other people seem to. No-one has ever accused me of being boring though, so I’m going to assume it’s all good.

set list planning

Set list planning

So what’s the secret? I try to follow the old rule about writing a story. I have a opening song (usually a really easy one to play and sing that acts as a warm up) followed by a faster, happier one to wake people up. I make sure I know how the set is ending – generally with a vocally powerful, climactic number. Then I fill in the middle with songs, keeping them varied in terms of key/progression/style. Sprinkle a few covers in if appropriate (or vice versa if doing a mainly covers set) Allow an extra song as en encore, just in case. And then I throw it all into an iTunes playlist and check it works.

That’s my method. And although I nearly packed it in and put all my songs into a hat to draw out randomly at tomorrow’s gig, I’m not brave enough for that yet. Maybe next time…

(If you find yourself passing along High Petergate, York, tomorrow evening from 8pm, do call in to the Eagle and Child for an acoustic evening with me and the aforementioned set list! Entry is free and they go a fabulous selection of gins! *hic* )

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Here, live and unedited, in all it’s glory, warts and all, is the full video of my set at the Duchess on Friday 22nd April. I was there in support of Vinnie Whitehead, who was recording his live acoustic album. Also playing, BingersUK, with loopy, loopy madness. It was an exciting night!

The setlist looks like this:

1. Rubbish Fairy Tale
2. Burn
3. Windmills
4. Numb (a cover of the song originally by Linkin Park)
5. Silence of the Stars
6. Scarlet Casanova
7. Learning to Fly

It’s unedited to keep the feel of the live gig, so there are some sound issues – some exciting whalesong feedback halfway through Silence of the Stars that knocked out the monitors for Scarlet Casanova, but live sound is unpredictable, so it’s all good, I still had a great night! Anyway here is the video… Enjoy!

 

casee duchess

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On Sunday evening I did one of my favourite things. I went to a little pub on the outskirts of York, and I played music to a small but very appreciative audience. They were the best kind of audience – the active listening variety – rarely found in most pubs these days, but this was no ordinary event – this was Vale Radio’s FAB Folk and Blues Club.

FAB gig1

The event is young, it started only a couple of months ago, as a result of the radio studio for Vale Radio being too small to accommodate a full band. At best, on a Monday night, the FAB Folk and Blues show might be able to fit a trio into the studio, but that was all. So the idea was born to have a night in a local pub, in the function room, where larger bands could be recorded live for the show.

It was to one such night I found myself invited, and it was marvellous. The pub in question, the Cottage Inn, has a large and acoustically beautiful function room that they kindly allow Vale Radio to have for no charge on a Sunday night. The audience, briefed on what to expect, are quiet, supportive and attentive. In short, it’s the ideal gig environment for folk/blues/country/singer-songwriter artists. In addition to the main attraction (this time it was Itchy Fingers, a 5 piece from Lincolnshire) a variety of local artists are invited to play acoustic short sets of 3-4 songs a piece. There’s also generally a raffle for the prize of a CD or two donated by the artists.

Here’s the thing. The audience was painfully, pitifully small. Will the night survive? This was the third time the event had run (it runs every other week) and yes, it might get bigger, but to survive, it needs to get bigger at a drastically increased pace. The room is free because the pub uses takings on the bar, but if there are fewer punters, there are less takings.

I have found myself pondering this more and more of late. Local live music is such a brilliant thing, so why does it struggle? I have some theories:

Firstly – and I am guilty of this too – musicians rarely go out to watch other musicians perform. We’ll watch people on at the same gig as us (although in some cases even that doesn’t happen, I have seen bands arrive in time for their slot, play and then leave) but rarely do we go out for an evening for someone else’s gig. It’s the old adage about how a carpenter never has shelves. It’s something I’m trying hard to remedy (I plan to be at the Flora Greysteel album launch later this month for example), but it needs to be part of every musician’s schedule. We learn so much from watching others perform. We see what works, what doesn’t work, what makes us respond as members of the audience. So it’s a win-win; supporting local events and musicians while also helping us to develop our own skills. If you are a musician who doesn’t go out to watch others perform, I highly urge you to fix this.

Secondly, people want to hear stuff they know. Pubs will pay an absolute premium for a band to come and do two hours of covers. Show me a pub that’ll pay anyone for two hours of original material and I’ll dig out my collection of rocking-horse poop for you. People coming out for a drink on a Friday or Saturday night tend to have their interests limited to: drinking, talking, trying to pull, singing along with the jukebox/band, more drinking. If this seems jaded, well, I’ve seen it night after night in pubs around York. Yes, there are audiences for good quality live acts doing originals, but there are bigger (and thus more lucrative) audiences for human jukeboxes.

Lastly, for many people, even people who are passionate about live music, sometimes the allure of a night in with Netflix, a duvet, and those famous brothers Ben and Jerry, is just too much to resist. Yes, you could go to see a live act perform, but it’s raining, you have your slippers on and look, the cat has gone to sleep on your knees, so you couldn’t possibly go anywhere just now.

Here’s the thing. Use it or lose it. Live music is good for the soul. It gives you something to talk about (that anecdote about the folk singer who treated us all to a 25 verse epic about a violinist and his sweetheart,and the subsequent death, calamity, fairy infestation, jealous violence, romance etc that went on until the venue owners flashed the lights and cut the power is still going strong in our household…). You may discover an artist whose work really speaks (sings) to you. Your support in turning up to that gig may be the spur that causes the artist to write their next album, or book their next gig. Because let’s face it, we write and perform for you.

This is our life blood. Help us keep live music alive.

Thanks for reading, I’d love your thoughts on this!

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*insert obligatory apology for my crapness here*

Just pretend it’s there. That’s right. I did apologise. Honest.

I know it’s actually been months since I blogged, and believe me, I feel very guilty about it. I’ve been up all night every night flogging myself with soggy lengths of year-old spaghetti and kneeling on Lego. However, there’s only so much of that anyone can do, and besides, exciting things have been afoot, so I am now back in the blogging game.

What news, I hear you cry? Well, I completed FAWM with 14 brand-spanking-new songs, many of which will be coming to an album near you this summer 🙂 Watch this space for an album title announcement just as soon as I’ve figured it out!

I supported the marvellous Everlate at a gig at City Screen’s Basement, and got reviewed! Kindly too, which was a relief!

But most recently, and it’s the thing I really want to talk about today, I played at a most fun gig at the weekend, and I’d like to take a moment to write about the superb bands that I had the immense privilege of sharing the stage with…

Picture the scene. A balmy Saturday evening in York. The temperature has crept above 10 degrees so people are out in their finest summer gear, there’s a frisson of warm(ish) weather excitement in the air. An old, wonky pub with questionable decorative accoutrements and the friendliest landlord in the world. And a lot of musicians packed into a tiny, hot room, sound-checking songs about creepy hotels and how their “friend”, “Kip”, can bugger off. No audience yet but we could already tell something special was brewing…

There was a queue when the door was opened, people took their places, and the mayhem and merriment began.

The first act, Tang, a solo singer-songwriter with bagloads of talent, treated us to thoughtful acoustical musings about getting over love gone wrong and one that really struck me about risks, life and death, and the thrill so many of us seek that is ultimately self destructive. Clearly an accomplished musician, he had both an unassuming air and bags of stage presence, (and the best story behind his stage name that I’ve heard in a long time – if you happen to see him play live sometime, I urge you to ask him!) I really enjoyed his set, and felt that he set the tone for the musical excellence that earmarked the evening.

The second act was me. I never really review me, so suffice it to say, no rotten vegetables were flung, people applauded, and I wasn’t flung from an upper floor window with vigour, to be followed by my keyboard, in a crashing mess of blood and despair. And thus, it was a good night. Special mention does have to go the the audience however – the first audience in the history of the song “Feelings” to sing the missing expletive, and with such gusto, that I feared I might fall off my stool with laughing and could barely play the song. Well done, you all rocked totally!

The third act was We Are Ship. I love these guys. Aaron and Steve pretend to be a bit crap, but the reality is a polished, intelligently hysterical double act who harmonise beautifully and produce songs that make me think of Tom Lehrer or Flanders and Swann. Very smart humour and very tight delivery. I urge you to see them live at once. And if they have no gigs scheduled that you can see, well, pester them on Facebook and offer them gigs. You won’t regret it.

Headlining the night was five piece The Savoy Ballroom. I had no idea what to expect before arriving at the venue, but the soundcheck gave me an inkling. And what an inkling. Macabre, cheery songs about the devil, circus fires, dastardly hotels and sinful men, delivered with panache, expert musicality and infectious exhuberance. I’m given to understand that their last gig, like, EVER, is on the 16th May (Basement, City Screen) and frankly, I’m gutted. To quote Alanis Morrisette: “It’s like meeting the band of my dreams, and finding out they don’t plan to continue because they all have, like, lives and shit”. Or something.

Special mention must as always go to our sound engineer, Dave, without whom nothing would have been able to happen, let alone sound so lush, and One for the Road’s Craig who organised the whole fantabulous evening. Ok, I’m gushing now. It’s time to stop writing!

So yes. That was my Saturday night. It rocked. It rocked so hard, the woman in black got scared.

Next week: How I spent my weekend, the perils of goths, and why cats are awesome. Catch you later!

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“And in this drought, the words like water flood the plain”

I’m a bad, bad blogger.

Not a mere day late. No. Not a couple of days late.

Five weeks late.

FIVE WEEKS.

I’m hanging my head in shame right now. I know you can’t see it, but trust me, I am.

So what has been going on that’s been so important that I’ve ended up sadly neglecting this for weeks?

I wish I could say that I have some wonderful, life-changing reason. Alas, the only reason is just life.

The first week, back in mid October, I was enjoying a rare break between work assignments. I spent the week trying to get on top of mixing projects but it all took longer than I anticipated.

The following week I started a full time, five month contract. So basically that first Monday, by the time I’d returned from my first day in the new role, I was doing a good impression of a cabbage crossed with, well, another cabbage.

Since blogging from the vegetable patch wasn’t really the intention, that was that week completely out of the window.

And somehow, since then, the days and weeks have blurred past like the view from a high speed train window. I feel like I’m waking, working, eating, sleeping, rinse and repeat, the steady, coma-inducing rhythm of the nine to five working life (or in my case 8:30 – 4:30, but really, those are just details…)

As someone who has been steadfastly self-employed, bohemian in outlook and freelance in working style, the five day a week working grind has come as a shock to the system. It’s not that I’m workshy, not even remotely. It’s that my pattern of working does not match the traditional working day.

In the olden days when I was working 3 days in an actual “job” and doing music the rest of the time, my week was divided. Mondays through Wednesdays I’d be up and on the bus sometime around 8-8:15am, do a traditionally “officey” working day with a lunchtime stroll in the middle to break up the grey with some much-needed green, and then my evenings would be fairly quiet unless it was an aikido night. On a music day (Thursdays and Fridays) I’d get up at the same time. But instead of going to work, I’d mooch upstairs, and then spend closer to 12 hours ambling between jobs. A couple of hours of writing, an hour or two of mixing, a leisurely lunch and run some errands in town, some music admin in the afternoon, a touch more writing, perhaps prep a singing lesson or two.

I might not finish until 6-7pm, or indeed if I got into a really strong rhythm I might just keep going all evening. But I got so much done.

I hadn’t realised until my current job just how valuable my time autonomy is. In my current position, I can only go for lunch for half an hour, from 1pm-1:30pm, each day. No time for a stroll in a green campus. Even my tasks feel monitored and measured. It’s not that my team are unpleasant, far from it, it’s just that the work ethos is very different here.

As a consequence, I’m feeling worn very thin after only a month in post. My only time for music is evenings and weekends and I’m rarely awake enough in the evenings. I’m not getting the lunchtime breather that has been so essential to survival in other jobs.

What can I do about it? For now, not a lot. I’m applying for permanent part time roles that should still give me enough time and thus energy for music. I always said I’d only do things that would help me further my musical career, and since this is only five months long, I can be putting money away, which is in itself, an excellent step forward to having a better work/music/life balance in the future. But it may mean I’m a little flaky about the blogging and the writing until early next year.

I hope you can all forgive me, and I hope you’ll all still be here when my life slows back down to a more normal pace!

Still, I do have some fun things to share with you all. Firstly, Tom Mallow of the Cultural Review, interviewed me recently about Tales from the Undertow. It was a fun interview to do – we chatted on Skype for an hour, with tracks from the EP played between chunks of chat about gay marriage (or as I like to call it, “marriage”), the role of the internet in the music industry (and whether U2 made a massive gaff inflicting, er, I mean, giving their new album away on iTunes), early music notation and other stuff and nonsense.

Anyway, I’ll let you decide for yourself what you think of it all..

What else, what else…

I have done some writing. Nothing that’s ready to share yet, but some. Mixing and re-recording of Quantum Ghostlands has continued piecemeal. I’ll get there but it is needing to be tackled one bar at a time, quite literally.

Oh yes. Gigs. I have some. Three in fact before the end of the year. So, in the order in which they are occurring:

1) MNDA Fundraiser, Fulford Arms

MNDA gig

When: Saturday 22nd November

Where: Fulford Arms, York

Cost: A donation of an amount you think is fair, which all goes to Motor Neurone Disease Association. It’s for a good cause.

Is there a Facebook event page: Why yes! You can find it here.

 

2) Sing for SASH, the Golden Fleece

Sing for SASH poster

When: Saturday November 29th, 9pm

Where: The Golden Fleece, York

Cost: Free, but please make a donation to help homeless teens.

Is there a Facebook event page? Not specifically, but you can support SASH on Facebook here.

 

3) Vinnie’s Acoustic Night 

When: 19th December 2014

Where: Lendal Cellars, Coney Street, York

Cost: Completely free.

Is there a Facebook event page? Will this do?

The same chap who runs this, Vinnie Whitehead, also puts out a monthly podcast, and recently released his second Butter Side Up podcast which features live performances from myself and several other acts from York and the surrounding areas. There’s some great stuff on there, it’s well worth a listen if you like your acoustical marvellousness to be acoustic, and, well, marvellous.

On that note, I am going to sign off and get this published. It only took me five weeks! Please forgive me, and I hope the added content makes up for it!

 

 

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