Thursday, November 29, 2007

From A All The Way Back To A

Many years ago (1987 ish) I was sitting in a pub in Stanmore with my friend Andy Hewitt. I mention this seemingly banal experience because without this event, and my friend talking loudly about the music industry, I would never have met Mike. Mike overheard Andy talking that day and went on to manage my band. We became good friends too. Because I met Mike that day, it was possible two years ago for Mike to think of me when he needed someone to go out on the road with the Pet Shop Boys.

And so the adventure began.

Because of that day I have travelled to something like 100 cities in 25 countries. I've written songs in the back of trucks in Denver; had close encounters with prostitutes in Montreal, a large snake in Miami, party people and pirates in Salt Lake City, drunk Germans in errrr Germany and Stella Artois in Belgium. I've seen where they make Volkswagens in Germany, where they race horses in England and watched the sun come up over an Austro-Hungarian hill fort in Serbia. I've bought coffee for the England football team doctor in Skojpe and ukuleles from the state fair in Phoenix.

I've had dinner and close encounters with popstars, made new friends and (yikes!) started Blogging. I've pushed scenery around, dressed up in white forensic suits, operated follow-spots and got to travel in a tour bus.

I've sold t-shirts to people of most nationalities (except in Macedonia where I didn't sell a single one!!) in tents, stadia, theatres, foyers, swimming pools, corridors and the plain old open air, all over Europe, Canada and the US - as far west as San Francisco, east as Bucharest, north as Bergen and south as Miami.

It's been a blast, and now it's over.

On the plane back from our last gig in Romania the monitor engineer Seamus passed me his iPod Video and urged me to watch an episode of Pets. I did and it was very good ("So you are saying that Gog is a dog, or a hog and Magog is a fog"). As the credits rolled a name flashed by my eyes. I had to do a double-check, but there it was. Clear as daylight.

Sound by Andy Hewitt.

Of all the things in all the places at all the times.


But then that's me all over.

Whatever next?!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Me Tube

Back safe from Bucharest, more on that later. In the meantime here is my first ever appearance on

This is a compilation of clips from the SECOND TUESDAY event.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

That Was The Week That Was

In no particular order:

1) I was coming off the tube at Aldgate East with Alex when I spotted a familiar face framed by white hair. He was carrying a camera and peering down the Tube tunnel, researching a new book or programme? It was the unmistakable features of Dan Cruickshank, I was almost tempted to ask for an autograph, but decided that TV Presenter-worrying is not really my style. He has the most fantastic voice.

2) I was in the ex-Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street (it's now called something utterly unmemorable) pottering about. I spotted that there was a band setting up in the music store in the basement. I was just pondering sauntering down to check them out when, amidst muted screams they began to play. It was Wet Wet Wet!

I ran out of the store.

3) I went to Paris with Peachy. Despite cold, strikes, a broken train and a very heavy bag (get a wheely case!!!) I had a relaxing and enjoyable time. The champagne was chilled, the hotel trendy, the food wonderful and the company perfect. Paris genuinely feels like a home away from home now, just a small shame that my friend P couldn't join us, despite living in Paris, she was in England for the weekend.


4) Went along to the 10th Anniversary of the Blue Acoustic Cafe at The Horn last Wednesday. Strange evening of crazy cheering audience in the first half and crazy cheering table football players in the second half. Had to sneak out early as I didn't feel too good, but great to see Kris, Sean, Bill and plenty of familiar faces in the crowd.

That's the week that was. This weekend features a trip to Bucharest with the Pet Shop Boys. This is definitely, finally, for sure the last gig with them ever. Well alright the last gig this year anyway. I won't be spending my birthday in Moscow after all, so next week there will probably be a big PSB retrospective.

Please check out my tunes (see below) and let me know what you think.

Lots of love,


P.S. Check this out, very silly:

Monday, November 12, 2007

3 New Mixes on MySpace

I've uploaded three new mixes of songs to my MySpace profile, please go and check them out:

Obsession is a new acoustic arrangement of an old song. Lightkeeper and Vulnerable are remixes of songs I recorded specially for the Guitarist song competition.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wot A Laugh

I played at the Montague Arms in New Cross on Thursday at a new event of art, music and poetry called SECOND THURSDAYS. It was hosted by Frog Morris and the atmosphere was friendly and eccentric. The bar itself has a plethora of eclectic knick-knacks, mostly of a boating nature. Any place that has a Penny Farthing as a railing and a huge model boat over the bar gets my vote any day.

I did a small set first a the main act had pulled out, playing songs from my Lullabies album.

Next up was Frog Morris doing his excellent stand-up routine, I greatly enjoyed his new take on the Spanish Armada and the poems/songs The Angry Badger and I Was The Pig Semen Delivery Man were familiar favourites.

After Frog we had a debut performance from Fred - Sweden's guitar playing answer to David Beckham. He'd never performed on his own before, and it showed, but he won the audience over with his perseverance and pluck.

Then it was the turn of Victor Mount, with his guitars, kick drum and violin!! He kept forgetting the words to the songs and then interrupting his own performance to tell anecdotes. Very funny.

Finally I took the stage again to play a selection of my other songs and the evening was over. It all went very smoothly and the venue is a really fun place to play. Looking forward to the next on on December 13th.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Liquid Piano and the RAF

I've been working the last four days at Music Live in the Birmingham NEC. I've been helping to promote and sell a guitar accessory product called the Facelift. It's been fun, but hard work and I'm pretty shattered today. As is traditional at these events a fair amount of alcohol and frivolity is involved. My favourite experiences were listening to a pianist and singer in the lounge of the hotel. I'm always amazed by anyone who can make a piano sound liquid and organic and they certainly did that, I was highly impressed.

I also enjoyed meeting a couple of guys from the RAF who were on some sort of blag trip, seeing how far they could get and how many missions they could accomplish without any money. They were funny and articulate guys who actually gave me heart for the future of our country and armed forces, even though they were very, very, very drunk indeed. I bought them a round of whiskies and never had to fork out for another drink all evening... not sure quite how they did it. Regards to John the bar manager too, lovely chap who's knowledge of drinks and generosity knows no bounds.

I also went to try and see my MySpace friend Elite play last week. It was at the Cross Kings which I've played at twice myself, so I was looking forward to going and hanging out. One thing I failed to spot the three times I've been there now is that there are two stages!! One is downstairs and that, of course, was where Elite was playing. So I nearly missed her altogether, fortunately she decided on a whim to play the upstairs stage too, so I got to hear two songs after all. I was so embarrassed I sneaked out.

I've not touched a guitar for four days, as it was the last thing I wanted to do after being bombarded by music of all kinds for four days, but I'm playing at the Montague Arms this Thursday so I'm practicing hard again. I'm reminded of Andy Summers of The Police, who reflecting on rehearsing for their Synchronicity tour said: After two weeks we sounded like a school band, after four a college band... it took us nearly 6 weeks to sound world famous.

This Thursday's gig is hosted by my friend Frog Morris and should be a lot of fun, see below for details.


P.S. Thanks to Peachy for her comments on the previous version of this post, interesting views, about which I couldn’t possibly comment. Ha ha.