I have been immersed in my day job a lot lately and I look sadly at my huge keyboard that takes up most of my room and the electric guitar which isn’t even mine, gathering dust. Never have I not picked up my instruments even vaguely so I don’t know whether it is because I’m working longer hours (which is true), I am more social (not sure) or simply because I have been concentrating on other things (maybe- I have been doing a a few videos for other people lately and the process takes a lot longer now I have a more powerful video camera). However, I am at a wall at the moment. A very kind person who has been able to help me all through my life has offered to provide mixing and mastering money for Good Fortune, Bad Weather which is great news for me and my writing partner David Baron. I have a number of songs I just want to get out there. I was intrigued to watch Guy Chambers on ‘Secrets of a Pop Song’ on BBC 2 trying to write something poppy with Rufus Wainwright.
How do I write a hit song Guy, please?
I am prepared to work as hard as I can so I can chug forward like a wheezy old train that cannot resign, with no obvious passengers or takers for the ride. But you know what, it’s never that obvious but if you brake and take the train off the tracks you know it’s never going to get going again. But in the comedian Stewart Lee’s words and I paraphrase ’It was never that great but never THAT bad to give it all up…’ to the imaginary estate agent “I think it was worth persisting with, some people really like it”. Here he is talking about living in the countryside…
I have spent some of my time this month seeing and hearing some incredible things. The first of which was this. I managed to grab the last show of ‘Pina’ by Wim Wenders a documentary on Pina Bausch in the cinema on my own. I knew I would never be able to see it in 3D without grabbing the opportunity. I have never been to the cinema on my own but it was really worth it. Here is a clip of my favourite scene:
Musically I saw a fantastic violinist/ singer/ artist Bobby Valentino who I loved at the 12 Bar and The Dogbones at the Lexington were amazing. I also caught up with Jeremy Bernstein from Woodstock who was over for a couple of days. He did a fantastic gig at the Windmill in Brixton. Many thanks to Tim for having us.
I also so Seb Roachford drumming with Pamelia Kurstin playing Thermin after the band Snorkel at Cafe Oto in Dalston. Never have I witnessed such an intriguing amalgamation of sounds and what I thought was how musical it was. There was so much variation in the soft and light dark and hard and I never hear that much at the moment. I would love to lace my songs with the atmosphere I heard that night. I just don’t know how. I am looking into some unusual old gear that is cheap and idiosyncratic and seeing what I can find. With my limited budget, it is in some ways a blessing and other ways a handicap. I wish I was an engineer and had all my days free to experiment. I have been reading up on Laurie Anderson again who invented a lot of her own instruments. However, I appreciate it so much when I hear it. Frank Byng and his label Slowfoot really are really out there pushing the boundaries.
I met Zac Alford that night for the first time. I am so honoured he plays on my record. He came after his show where he is drumming for Glee. He only caught Seb Roachford and Pamelia Kurstin’s set and we talked a bit to them after the show. They really are fantastic artists and truly talented people.
I am very excited as I am going to Latitude Festival this week end. Near to home so don’t have to camp and a guest list pass, wow I can’t believe my luck. I know kind of know or have a mutual friend of two bands performing The Duke & The King and Crystal Fighters and last week I met a dancer performing in something called Electric Hotel so I’m excited.
I went for a job once at News Corp. I didn’t get the job – it was to be PA for the Editor of the Sunday Times Review. It was an interesting interview. I never forgot it. I came from the Guardian which was a lovely friendly place and kind of messy in a good way. Here there was a fountain in the office building. It was far more corporate. I was interviewed by an American who implied that celebrity had crept into journalism and it was who you were rather than how good you were that got you the job(which is exactly the time I decided against trying any further to get into this industry). She also said no journalists were in house really so all I could see were sub editors. Anyway she said that the News of the World would go to extreme measures to get a story and that despite being owned by Murdoch they were all in competition. Anyway, the printing press is on site and she said they would get the pulp from the Sunday Times and try and piece together and find out what story the Sunday Times were leading with. Isn’t that amazing. They told me all this in an interview.