Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's All Just So Unwrong

I had great fun yesterday afternoon. I was taking part in an afternoon of music, poetry, art and comedy hosted by Frog Morris at the Sun & Doves in Camberwell. It was part of a big month-long extravaganza loosely co-ordinated by The Guy Hilton gallery.

The afternoon didn't get off to the best start as Frog hadn't got a lead long enough to allow his Mac to be plugged into the PA. So he left to go to buy one and fellow performer Theo Morris took the opportunity to tune the Stylophones (!) with his friend Tom. Eventually Frog returned with a lead that was almost long enough, and with the aid of a table and a chair managed to get the laptop connected. The entertainment then kicked off with Theo Morris, (occasionally accompanied by Tom on Stylophone and air guitar, and Frog on vocals) performing songs about a goose, an overly large sofa and an angry badger.

The main event of the afternoon was Frog and Mark Quinn's Unwrong quiz. This is a great fun event in which there are no right or wrong answers and the audience are encouraged to submit surreal or funny answers and prizes are given out liberally. I tried to get into the surreal mood by answering all the questions in white pencil on a sheet of white paper, but I think I may only have been sabotaging my chances of winning a prize, as they couldn't read my answers. I did somehow manage to win two prizes over the afternoon, including writing the question for the answer "Sombrero" for which I wrote, "What is the saddest hat?" - Sombre-ro.. geddit?! Okay, so I'm no comedian... just as well that I was playing music then.

My real contribution to the afternoon was three sets of my own songs, starting with All I Want Is You and a new version of The Chosen One (which I will be recording next week). The second set was longer with Do You Want To Dance, Obsession, Lightkeeper and I Need Your Love. Since this was an art and comedy event, I also performed my Summertime Sing-a-long song - It's Summertime - which went down very well, with adults, bar staff, children and fellow performers all singing with gusto!! Thank you all so much for joining in.

More tunes from Tom, Theo and stand-up from Frog and Mark followed and the quiz answers became steadily more drunken. Towards the end of the afternoon I think Frog had a bit of a break-down as he decided to not be outdone by previous performers at these events. As the audience watched in horror he stripped to the waist, produced meths, cigarettes and large kitchen knives and then proceeded to stand on a chair blindfolded threatening to gut a small fish!! Common sense finally prevailed and with the help of his fiancé and three random small children he was talked out of it and ran crying from the pub! We hope he recovers okay.

Well this was certainly a different and entertaining afternoon, and if you fancy joining in something similar do check out Second Thursdays at the Montague Arms in New Cross, where Frog, Theo, Mark and myself are regular performers. You never know quite what might happen.

In other news one of my songs has been playlisted on IAC's Pretty Darn Good radio station and the new recordings are proceeding well. Also, do check out my brother, Haydn, playing drums in my Dining Room.

Love to all,


Thursday, March 20, 2008

A New Look

A few weeks ago I had great fun doing a photoshoot with music photographer Kris Gruber. It was very enjoyable to hang out with him for a couple of hours and getting used to being in front of the lens again. It was freezing cold, and I only had on the jacket and t-shirt that you see in the pictures, but we managed to surpass the vision I had in my head for the pictures, so I was very happy.

Getting the disc with the pictures spurred me on to redesign the website, so please head over there and take a look:

My music has stepped up a level in recent weeks, with radio play, better gigs and new songs on the way so it's great that the website can match up to that.

Talking of gigs, don't forget that tonight I'm playing two sets at Finnegan's Wake in Ealing Green (W5 5QX). This is a great venue, and although the weather is supposed to be lousy tonight, I can assure you that it will be well worth the trip. So come along and hear me in the flesh.

More songs, more pictures and just generally more... on its way.


COMPETITION: A free CD with tracks of your choice (my tracks that is - cheeky!!) to anyone who can work out where we are in the pictures.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Goodbye Old Friend - II

I was never quite sure how it would work out when I realised that the guy who wanted to buy my old mixing desk was in Slovenia... but somehow it did. After about 30 emails and much tooing and froing we made it and the package left my house on the 12th and arrived in Ljubljana today at 3pm. Check it out here on the FedEx site.

I've had it for at least ten years and it's seen valiant service with many live acts and a few recordings across London, and now it has a new lease of live in eastern Europe. I'm hoping I might get to visit it some day.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Three Chances To See Me Play

There are three great chances to see me perform songs live coming up:

Tonight! 13th March
3 songs acoustic floorspot at the wonderful Duchess Bar in Battersea Park - 8:45pm
The Duchess, 101 Battersea Park Road SW8 4DS

Next Thursday - 20th March
Full acoustic set and extra songs in the round at the sublime Finnegan's Wake, Ealing Green - 8:30pm
Finnegan's Wake, The Green, Ealing, W5 5QX

24th APRIL 2008, 8pm
A full acoustic set at this new central Hendon venue - great for all you North London folks.
Manning’s Bar, 73-75 Brent Street, London,NW4 2EA

Plus, a fourth way to hear me play is to check the new podcast

Have fun, and see you all at a gig soon - or drop me a comment!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

DARE8 - The Lullabies Podcast

Okay, here it is, podcast number two. This one features the three songs I recorded for my Lullabies From The Wheels Of The Bus* project. You can download fuller versions of these songs from my website (see link above), and if you like any of the tunes please do spread the word and link to this blog or to the podcast.

DARE8 - The Lullabies Podcast

You can now subscribe to my podcast now by using this RSS link.

Once you have listened, then open your diaries and make a note to come and see me play on 20th March at Finnegan's Wake on Ealing Green.


* Many thanks to Alex Staiger for the title of this project, and the album artwork.


I have been tagged by (the highly readable, and ever so slightly addictive) Having My Cake to write down seven strange facts about myself...

The rules are as follows:
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
5. Leave a comment on their blogs so that they know they have been tagged.

Okay... not sure any of these are weird, but hopefully they are random.

1) For years I couldn't spell vacuum. I just refused to believe that a word could have two "u"s next to each other.

2) When the book Communion came out I became very scared of aliens invading my house. I couldn't even look at the cover it spooked me out so much, although ever the gluten for punishment I bought the sequel too.

3) I have a (these days mild) phobia about using the phone.

4) I once came second in a fancy dress competition with my brother (in 1977 at a Queen's Silver Jubilee party) dressed as St. George and the dragon.

5) One of my songs has been played on BBC Radio 1 (by DJ Steve Wright). My first band was called Air, we still get confused with the French band of the same name - although since we formed in 1986 we kinda beat them to it.

6) My surname means naive and innocent. In the book of Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is described as a callow youth.

7) I have been onstage with the Pet Shop Boys (in a white forensic suit wheeling a huge wooden cut-out of Neil Tennant's head during a very literal stage show for the song You Were Always On My Mind).

Which leads me nicely on to the fact that I'm recording a new podcast this afternoon... this time featuring the three tunes from Lullabies From The Wheels Of The Bus. Stay tuned - should be on-line by about 5pm.

Oh yeah, and I tag, Peach, Vi, Nobby & Me and Clarrisa - although it's a kinda soft tag, as I don't actually mind if you want to be tagged or not - your choice.


P.S. My song Vulnerable is play listed on two US radio stations: Radio KWSS 106.7 FM in Arizona, USA and Paridize Radio - do swing by their sites and put in a song request... thanks!!

P.P.S. I hope the photograph is suitably random for you. Hee hee.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ealing. Sober. Excited. Finnegan's Wake.

It's a fair old trek to Ealing Broadway from Crystal Palace, but well worth the trip. Thursday night saw me making said journey to appear at a showcase at Finnegan's Wake on Ealing Green. It was a really fun night with a small (but attentive) audience and three really good other acts. As seems to be the case quite a bit these days I was on first, but really enjoyed playing All I Want Is You, Obsession, Vulnerable, Do You Want to Dance and Lullabies. Although I had intended to play Home, but I had a mental block and couldn't actually remember the chords?!

Up after me was Rebecca Cross, who had actually come over from San Francisco to play (which is actually the biggest trek any of us had). She played a very soulful and enjoyable set. She was followed on stage by Victoria & Jacob, who have an eclectic mix of acoustic guitar, xylophone, melodium and sleigh bells. Victoria has a great vocal style, and their set was mesmorising and sparse.

Finally Jack Stafford took the stage sporting a fantastic moustache (the facial hair quotient on stage was very high, with my goatee and Jacob's full beard) and played a very entertaining and clever set. He'd come from Amsterdam, and Victoria & Jacob were from Cambridge, so we really were a far flung crowd.

Not only were all the artists great performers and entertainers, but they were also thoroughly nice people, and we all had a great evening despite the small crowd. Many thanks too to Tristan who did the sound and hosted the evening.

I'm working on two new tracks this week, and hoping to get another podcast recorded on Tuesday this week. Stay tuned!