Slightly weaker than the impression
3rd October, 2016
sometimes i forget that i have a ‘blog’ . I seem to spend a lot longer than i would like to on a computer these days - its crept up over the years and now too much shopping, corresponding and general information comes from within this thing in front of me. When i’m done with it i look forward to reading a book or writing in a notepad, or indeed speaking with other humans. That is not to say i don’t enjoy writing - i do, and I should do it more often.
The ‘My Secret is my silence’ tour was great fun and a real success - sold out shows in Glasgow, London, and Leeds and healthy turnouts everywhere else. I mention this only because originally we were going to play one show to mark the anniversary in Glasgow and even then weren’t sure people would want to hear an album that was a low key release a decade ago. The fact that we managed a 13 date UK tour was a testament I guess to the albums appeal. The band I play with, my ‘solo’ band if you want to call it that, are all pretty spectacular musicians. So it is always a really good concert experience for everyone. Even though both Andrew and Lucci are involved, it is a totally different environment & experience to Idlewild - i suppose personally speaking with 'solo' work there is more room for me to explore my tastes for acoustic music, Jazz, improvisation, and just generally musical areas where Idlewild don’t venture too often. Idlewild is much more of a rock band set-up, and much more widely known and popular than any of my solo work. Still, I prefer neither - i like both equally for different reasons.
my book ‘Instrumentals’ came and went - people seemed to like it. It certainly looks nice, and the printers did a great job. There are less than 100 left on the pledge site, and I have a box of 40 which i will sell at the last few shows of 2016. Now I will need to start working on the next book - ha!
Harry Potter almost passed me by completely when it appeared, i mean i was aware of the phenomenon, but didn’t pay much attention to it - Maddie, Idlewilds monitor engineer was/is a major fan and we watched the first film together on a tour bus once, and had occasional chats about the books. Cut to 2016 - I have an 8 year old son, and he and his friends are all about the Harry Potter universe to the point of obsession. I’ve read several of the books now (aloud though, which does not have the same impact as reading them to yourself) and we’re getting through the films, which become darker and more sophisticated as they get on. Last night we watched ‘The order of the phoenix’ - how scary and nightmare inducing is Voldemort? - when i was 8 screen villains were not this scary. Darth Vader was as bad as they got, and he wasn’t so bad - his breathing problems always made him seem flawed, slightly weaker than the impression he tried to emulate. Voldemorts problems are obsession with immortality and ultimate power (similar to Darth’s) but at the moment it feels like he will get away with them both. Apparently the films get even scarier from now on, so i might wait a few years until I watch the rest. It’s all really good though - a real imaginative universe for all ages. I can see why it’s so popular!
The elephant house is a coffee shop on George IV bridge in Edinburgh. It was a bit of an idlewild hangout back at the start - 1995/96 - we’d all meet there and chat about our newly formed band and the songs we were going to write over coffee and hot chocolates. It was JK Rowling’s hangout too, a place where she did quite a lot of her writing - this would have been the same time she was writing Harry Potter, before she was published. I remember the place was always full of writers, or people writing - essays for university, poems, postcards home, song lyrics - and books, books that were to become some of the most popular, widely read books of all time……
I’ve been thinking about Edinburgh a lot recently. I never really lived in the city for that long (1995-1997, and then again for 2001) but it’s an evocative and nostalgic place for me always and magical looking, particularly at this time of year. I wrote a song ‘Waverley steps’ about missing Edinburgh. At the time i was living in New York city and I remember sitting in Washington square in Greenwich village, on a park bench and it was autumn, thinking about walking up those steps from Waverley station and emerging into the bustle of Princes street with the Castle in the background. I was already in an amazing city - one of the worlds most exciting, and yet I was sat thinking about another,older one. One that i knew more and where I felt more at home. There’s probably a few good metaphors there