Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Manning The Bar

Last Thursday I tramped up to Mannings Bar in Hendon with my guitar to play a set. I had been looking forward to this gig for a while as it was the first time in a bit that I'd had the chance to play a full set. The venue itself is a small stage and PA in the bar and myself and the other act were well looked after by George who hosted the night and did the sound. Initially it was myself and two bands but one act had pulled out so my set got even longer. They had been hoping to stream the concert via the internet, and I excitedly texted a few people I knew to check out www.theshowliveonline.com but in the end they couldn't get the streaming working so nothing got broadcast. Shame, but they should have it working for next time so that will be exciting for my far-flung listeners, plus I have a copy of the video on the way to share with you. My set went pretty well from what I could judge and I felt confident to include Vulnerable, which I only tend to play in more intimate venues. The new song The Fool I Am got a second airing too, check out the post below to hear a rough version of this tune.

My full set was:

All I Want
Do Your Want To Dance?
When The Snow Fell In Denver
The Fool I Am
I Need Your Love

The act after me were Skeleton Gun who had schlepped all the way down from Manchester for the gig. Despite the lead singer having a cold (and them having to beg, borrow or steal a few instruments, including my guitar) they played a great set. The singer was so on form that at one point in their set I found myself standing next to the bass player and drummer at the bar! They were good lads and even put up with me telling my Ian Brown story again (well the lead singer was wearing a t-shirt saying "I Happy Slapped Ian Brown" so what can you expect?!).

Looking forward to the next gig now, and the video from this one, so I can enter the YouTube world once again.

Love to all,


P.S. Thank you sooooo much to all those who came down to support me... I owe ya one!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Go Or Stay

I've written a new song, which I've been battling with for a long time. It's got the best melody I think I've ever written and it's taken a long time to get a structure and a set of lyrics that match. I think I've managed it, but why not come down to Mannings Bar tomorrow and be the judge yourself. Btw, it's actually not about anything at all, but rather an example of a song which is just about strong writing. Having said that I'm hoping it will resonate with people's lives if they've ever had to make a decision.

I'm still trying to decide what to call it... the choices so far are Go, Go/Stay or The Fool I Am... any preferences?


Go if you want to go,
Stay if you want to stay,
Just don't expect me to be waiting here endlessly.
Life is a mystery, to everyone including me,
I don't pretend to know the rules,
Just don't take me for the fool I am.

They all let me down,
My body that is failing me, the words escaping me,
They crumble to the ground,
And lie there soundlessly.

But I'm never tongue-tied
I've always got something to say,
But not today so...


It all drags me down.
The decades of misery that stained indelibly.
And left their mark on me, there for the world to see.

But I know my own mind,
Surely I'm okay if you're okay, thanks but not today so...


Go. Stay. Go. Stay.

I don't know what I've done.
I just know someone has to pay, but not today so


Stay if you want to go,
Go if you want to stay,
You know that I'll be waiting here endlessly.
Life is a miracle it created me it created you,
I don't pretend to know the rules,
Just don't take me for a fool,
I don't pretend to know the rules,
Just don't take me for a fool,
I don't pretend to know the rules,
Just don't take me for the fool I am.

(D. Callow 2008)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Random II

I saw some Ostriches today in a field near Chesham. They are quite amazing creatures from a different time and space, they used to be dinosaurs dontchaknow. They can make the most amazing sound by inflating their necks - it sounds a bit like a didgeridoo.

Near Death Experience
I cut through a live power cable. It went pop, like someone popping a crisp packet. It burnt a 2mm hole in my metal clippers. The RCD in the house fuse box tripped. I didn't feel a thing.

I'm doing a remix of Radiohead's new single Nude. Lots of people are doing it. I think it's kinda cheeky that they charged us 79p per track to download the individual stems.

I've put my name forward to appear on Tom Robinson's unsigned band podcast and show on BBC6. My friends Wayne (Fit & The Conniptions) and Victoria & Jacob have already been played. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I will be at The Duchess in Battersea Park tomorrow night to do a floorspot. Come along from 8.30 and join in the fun. Mine's a Guiness.

Love to all,


P.S. Two new songs on the way too!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Live in North London

Next gig:

24th April 2008, 8pm
Manning’s Bar, 73-75 Brent Street, London,NW4 2EA

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sign Me Up!

I've been working hard on new mixes and songs for my demos this week. Finally I feel that they are completed enough for public listening. I've also produced some artwork to go with them, so I hope you enjoy the whole experience. As I'm hoping to use these demos as part of a package to get gigs and management / recording companies interested so I WOULD APPRECIATE SOME FEEDBACK!! Lay it on me... anonymous posters can do it too... your thoughts are very useful to me as I'm very close to these songs and sometimes I really can't hear them... anyway, here we go.

I Need Your Love
This is a song that was on my very first Air demo!! But it's evolved a bit since then and with a bit of multi-tracking I've come up with something in-your-face, yet fun. I hope! Stick with it as there are good bits all the way through to the end. Check it out, and don't be shy with the volume:
I Need Your Love

Another song with a few versions kicking around, but I'm really trying to display a range of ideas and sounds, so I'm pushing this sparse version again. The ticking clock is actually a metronome, and the clinking sound just before the vocals come in is ice in a glass of whisky (really). Ideally I'd love someone to pay me to record all these tracks with real drums, they would sound so much better, but in the absence of that (or until I save up enough cash myself) then the Garage Band drums have to suffice.
Raw Obsession

Minneapolis Hungover Tired Awake
A more recent song that I've tidied up for public consumption and added a little percussion. Let me know what you think. Btw, can you spot the references to the Pet Shop Boys in this tune?
Minneapolis Hungover Tired Awake

That's it for now. I really hope you hear something you like, and if you fancy helping me out then please tell your mates, download the track to your iPod and generally pimp me around. Thank you!

A few gigs coming up soon too:

7th April, TBC
The Sun, Clapham Common
Open mic spot

24th April 2008, 8pm
Manning’s Bar, 73-75 Brent Street, London,NW4 2EA
An unplugged night at this North London venue.

11th May 2008, 8pm
Cross Kings, 126 York Way, London, N1 0AX
Featured slot at this wonderfully eclectic open mic night

26th June 2008, TBC
The Duchess, Battersea Park
A full set at the prestigious Duchess Showcase night

Love to all,


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

If They Were Looking Down, What On Earth Would They Make Of Us?

Another busy and somewhat surreal few days. On Sunday I played a floorspot at a night hosted by Brett Gowlett at the Cross Kings. It was entertaining in several ways, firstly I managed somehow to hook my guitar onto the wrong hole in my strap so it was hanging about 20cm lower than normal. Of course this doesn't sound like much, but when you are used to it being a certain position it makes it a bit more interesting than it should be to get your hands to go to the right places. Anyway, I think I got away with it.

Immediately after me there were two female stand-up comedians asking us to "flick our bead for Jesus". not me personally you understand, but the fellow girls in the audience. Their images of Jesus as a pin-up hunk are etched in my mind!! After them was a series of other performance artists and poets who swam in a paddling pool, recited strange poems (and a truly hilarious version of There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly) and recited weird and wonderful facts about the world! Needless to say the usual gaggle of white male middle-class singer-songwriters who performed in between were somewhat nonplussed. Brett is hosting another evening at the Hobgoblin in Islington on the 7th April if any of this takes your fancy, I'm hoping to play there too.

On Monday I went to see the Barbican's current art exhibition - The Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, which is supposedly a museum of art as curated by visiting Martians. In fact it was a really enjoyable and absorbing modern art exhibition, which has been rightly praised by critics and public alike. I felt very glad to have seen it on a quiet day as I took the time to view every piece and was really taken by it. I don't think I've ever seen modern art in such an accessible and thought-provoking context, so I can't really recommend it enough.

Last night I sat and watched a video tape of Level 42 live at Wembley. It reminded me of a time way back when my friend (and my brother's best man) Andie, who was friend's with the band, threatened to get me an audition as their new guitarist. He was deadly serious, but fortunately it never came to pass. I was immensely relieved as I was scared shitless at the thought! Anyway, the video brought back loads of memories, and served once again to reinforce my belief that you should never let keyboard players sing!!

Currently I'm still working on a new recording, but I'm confident it will be finished enough by the end of today to get an airing. I'm also off to see my friend Jack Stafford play at the Troubadour tonight if anyone is at a loose end.

Okay, that's enough ramblings for now - back to the recording desk.