Welcome back to thepictishtrail.com. I hope you’ve supped up the dregs of your warm milk, and dabbed the corners of your creamy mouth, because it’s time for Blog #2. You can choose to read this blog, or listen to it using the SoundCloud link above - perhaps before you go to sleep so that it permeates your dreams.
Today’s the big vote in Scotland. I’m fully in support of independence, and I really hope it happens for us. I guess we’ll see the results tomorrow morning. There’s been a lot of talk over the past few months about this debate, and I don’t think there’s anything I can add to it. I think I would have liked to have seen a third option on the ballot paper, though. Not ‘Devo Max’ … no. I would like an option for Scotland to be invaded. Invaded by somewhere like Iceland. The people of Iceland are clean living, got lovely hair, and they like a good hot thermal spring bath. Iceland should come over here, ransack and pillage, and give us a bit of a salty-soap detox. But that option isn’t on the ballot paper, so i’ve gone for ‘YES’ instead.
It’s been a fun month, though I’m feeling pretty homesick. I’ve not been on Eigg for two months, cos i’ve been gigging and writing and recording and eating across various locations. Not only am I homesick, I think i’m actually sick. My throat is killing me - the past few morning’s i’ve woken up feeling like i’ve scrubbed it with a cheese grater. Covered in nettles. I’m feeling ill because I was drinking whisky FULL PELT at the weekend. I’d been playing a Pictish Trail full band set at a wedding, which doesn’t happen all that often - but was great fun. I got to do some DJ’ing at the end of the night, too, with my pal Bart from eagleowl. I love DJing with Bart. He turns into a wee ginger monster when he’s on whisky, though, and the marital party were plying us with the stuff. We were asked to close the night by playing the bride’s favourite pop song from her iPod … but Bart was insistent on the last song being ‘Got Your Money’ by Ol’ Dirty Bastard. The fact that he’d played out this exact track about 10 minutes previously didn’t seem to deter him. Thankfully I managed to push him off the decks before he hit play.
Anyway, aye - a fun month. Green Man was fun. Big fun. Cheers to everyone who came to see us play - was enormously exciting to play in front of such a full tent! We arrived on site about 30 minutes before we were due on stage, so were inevitably quite sweaty and flustered. For some reason I thought it was a good idea to serenade the crowd in between songs with a rendition of Mulligan & O’Hare’s haunting religious ballad ‘The Day The Donkey Derby Came To Town’. I normally reserve that song exclusively for those in the North-East of England. I was just trying to buy time whilst tuning my guitar. Apologies if I baffled anyone. Apologies also to anyone i inadvertently bruised whilst flailing my fat limbs to Caribou.
Right, back to admin. Despite the best advice from my dietician, there’s been a lot on the Pictish plate, of late. Went down to London last week to start recording some new Pictish Trail songs. I feel a bit self-conscious talking about them, cos it’s going to be a LOOOOONG time before they see the light of day. If you’ve been to my Facebook page, though, you might have caught a glimpse of who i’m working with. It’s going really well - we tracked three songs in three days, which is exactly the start I had hoped and dreamed for. It’s got me geared up for the next session, which is mid-October. I enjoy this approach to recording - spreading out small sessions over a long period of time. It means the actual recording process is really intense, and instinctive … but it also gives you time to reflect on the recordings in between sessions, allowing you to prepare for any edits and changes you want to make. For me, having this long gestation period is the ideal way of working. Unfortunately, it means you’re going to have to wait a fair bit before you hear any full songs, though. Soz.
Now i’m back in Edinburgh for the week, and getting ready for some gigs - i’m playing Stirling on Saturday, as part of a Lost Map showcase with Rozi Plain, Rachael Dadd and Tuff Love … and then i’m down in London, singing as part of James Yorkston’s full band show on September 25th at Dingwalls, before going off on tour around France. I’m taking Tuff Love with me, as well as my Eigg-man drummer Brendan - with Kate Canaveral on tour manager duties - so it’s a bit of a Lost Map road-trip. If you’re from Saintes, Paris, Dijon or Colmar, come and see us play! If you have pals over in Saintes, Paris, Dijon or Colmar, tell them to come and see us play! If you fancy treating yourself to a French holiday, come over to Saintes, Paris, Dijon or Colmar and see us play! The dates & venues are all listed on the SHOWZ section of this website.
Another month, another video - and if you go to the video section of the site (or the bottom of this blog post) you’ll see the new promo for my song ‘The Handstand Crowd’, which was filmed up on the isle of Eigg over our Howlin’ Fling festival weekend, by my pals The Forest of Black, and is a teaser of sorts for a longer film which is gonna come out at the beginning of next month, hopefully. Have a look at that. See if you’re in it. You might be in it. You might be in it getting all pissed up on booze and smoking a fag. Or you might be the person who is lying in a ditch. If that is you, if you could have a word with yourself, that’d be good.
OK. No time to tell you to buy tickets for the Lost Map Hallowe’en Party, or Kid Canaveral’s Christmas Baubles, or even Insect Heroes album launch … i’ll talk to you about all that next month, when there’ll be a clearer sense of desperation in my voice due to lack of sales.