Hey there, I’m the Pictish Trail. Thank you for tuning into my blog.
If you’re new to me, i’m pretty much a human who plays music. That pretty much covers it.
So i’ve put together this brand new website. I thought i’d tryyyyy something a bit different, but maybe it’s just the same as a million other websites, featuring chubby men with beards. For my continuing irregular series of blogs, I’m going to attempt to do this spoken-word thing, or provide some sort of audio content, alongside a typed-up version. It’s an experiment, so it might not last … but i wanted to try it out, mainly cos sometimes reading stuff on the internet can be a bit tiring. I don’t know about you, but my laptop screen is a constantly buzzing rectangle, that burns into my eyeholes for up to 12 hours a day, constantly trying to distract me from reading more than two consecutive paragraphs with web-links mid-sentence and pop-up email notifications every five seconds. I decided, by having some audio - which you can choose to listen to while reading it, or have on in the background, or download and listen to with a steaming hot mug of Horlicks - might make all the “news” a bit easier to ingest.
And also, in all seriousness, i thought it’d be good thing to do for the blind.
In the background you can hear some instrumental stuff that i've had kicking about on my laptop. Hopefully future blog recordings will prompt me into putting more new music out there. Ooh.
At the moment, i’m at my sister’s place in Edinburgh, having a cuppa tea and sorting through a month’s worth of missed emails, and catching up on accounts. Y’know - good ol’ creative shit. I’ve managed to see a few shows on the Fringe - i’d highly recommend Josie Long, Conor O’Toole and Robin Ince's shows. Mmn.
Anywaaaay - I should stop pissing about, and get through some admin. This particular blog entry has been a long time coming. To be honest, I’ve kind of been avoiding it, cos i wasn’t sure how i could encompass all my thoughts on Howlin’ Fling - our Lost Map Records festival, held on the island of Eigg last month. The whole weekend was just phenomenal, and the most perfect end to the first year of Lost Map. Every aspect of it - the music, the people, the weather, the atmosphere, the food, the boozin’, the dancin’, the craic. It was the best. It’s a difficult thing to sum up without getting a bit poetic (pretentious) or emotional (sappy).
If you want to dip your toes into the love-fest, there’s been a bunch of great reviews, and a heap of photos posted online, too - i’ll put links at the bottom of the blog. Our pals at Forest of Black are currently working on a video of the event, which i’ll post up as soon as it arrives.
Before I go any further, i need to do some THANK YOUS. I can’t really express my appreciation enough for all the hard work that everyone put in to make the weekend happen. Having said that, I realise it’s incredibly boring when someone reads out a list of platitudes directed at people no one else really knows.
First and foremost, I wanna give a big shout out my peeps on Eigg - big love to Sarah and all the Boden family; humungous hugs to Maggie & Wessy and the Eigg Community Association; fist bumps galore for Lucy & Eddie who were a huge help with the ferry sailings; mad props to Greg, Brendan and Dean for sorting out the firewood; extra honourable mention to Dean for getting into his pants to sort out the water supply; Donna the Piper, big up yo’self for dealing with all the recycling bags; high-fives to Saira & Katrin (Eiggy Bread), Dan (Hebridean Larder) and Stuart (Galmisdale Café) for providing amazing catering; cheers to Phil & Clare for the emergency cups o’ tea; thanks to Ben and Joe for the backline and beautiful hair; thanks to George, Paloma, Gary, John, Chris, Colin and everyone else who helped us erect the marquee and build the stage; thanks to Tasha and all the Eigg volunteers who joined in, too; thanks to the Kirks for keeping the shop open, to the doctor, all those that provided accommodation and everyone else on the island for being really patient, and entering into the party spirit.
Now for the non-islanders! Endless thanks to Kate Canaveral for all her hard work. Also our fellow Lost Map pals, Malcolm Jack and David Galletly, too - it’s great to be part of such a fun, excitable, energetic and attractive team. Thanks also to the Lost Map crew - Randolph’s Leap, Rozi, Insect Heroes, Seamus, Tuff Love, Kid Canaveral, eagleowl and Monoganon. I love you all. Thanks also to Kirsty and Laura for organising our volunteers, and while i’m at it, thanks to the volunteers an’ aw! Matthew Ferrie organised all the PA equipment for the weekend, and it was easily the best sounding event i’ve been involved with - which is in no small part due to the stalwart efforts of Robin, Sam and Paul on the sound-desks. Jonah’s indestructible marquee was perfect as always - thanks for all your help, man. Austin & Jess from Where The Monkey Sleeps went to gargantuan efforts to make sure everyone was fed, and, along with all the island catering, made incredibly tasty meals. Raise the roof for Sam Hunt at Homecoming Scotland, and to the folks at Creative Scotland who gave us some funding. Raise a dram to Ronnie and the Sheerwater crew who took everyone across.
Standing ovation, please, for all the musicians and DJ's that played - there were no diva strops, no crazy demands, no djembe solos. It was totally perfect.
I must have missed a million people out. I guess this is indicative of the kind of event it was - there was so much help from everyone. There’s nothing like putting on a great party with your pals.
Ah - the dolphins! A round of applause for the dolphins!
I’m about to head off to the Green Man festival, which - despite the fact it has no dolphins - is easily one of the best festivals in the world. It’s my favourite, in fact. I’m playing a Pictish Trail set with my band of Eigg-men - plus new recruit Suse, from Tuff Love - on the Thursday, in the Far Out Tent. I CANNOT BLIMMIN' WAIT. It’s the last full band show i’m doing this year - apart from a show up in Arisaig on the 6th September, actually, but i don’t have full details of that yet.
After that i’m doing a few appearances with James Yorkston - 24th August in Edinburgh, and 26th in London. And then later in the year, i’m doing a European tour with Tuff Love and then a Xmassy tour around the UK with my old recording buddy, Sweet Baboo. Go to the ‘SHOWZ’ section of this site for more details on all of that.
I’ll leave you with the news that i’m starting work on recording the next Pictish Trail album at the end of this month, which i’m excited about. I won’t go into details just yet, cos there’s not much to tell you … and this audio blog thing has been long enough already.
Thanks for listening / reading. There’s not been many jokes in this one. Sorry.
Now close your eyes, lick your lips. Good night.
PS. Oh oh oh! I have just remember a little PS. We've done a music video for the song Long In the Tooth, and it was directed by Ryan Eddleston at Howlin' Fling. We did it during the afternoon - jumped into the back of the pick-up truck and drove around. So yeah, watch that - it's being shown exclusively on thepictishtrail.com