It’s a Sunday. We used to always to go to church on a Sunday. 11 o’clock, every week, for an hour. Although it felt much longer than an hour. I stopped going when I was 15, and the intervening years of Sundays have usually been replaced by hangovers. Which is a sort of penance in itself, i suppose.
I don’t have a hangover today. I’m thinking about all those years of going to mass, though. Mostly the sharpness of smells. That potent mixture of mustardy incense, Dad’s honking 80’s aftershave, and the eye-watering stench of stale urine from the obese lady who always sat in the pew in front of us. Poor woman. It’s funny how the memories of smells can take you back. Smellories. Smemories.
I’m back up on Eigg. Back in the caravan, at last. The fire is roaring, the wind outside is blasting, and I am heaving huge sighs of relief. Been away for the past couple months, on the mainland, doing meetings, attending gigs, making plans, doing label stuff. Eating inordinate amounts of orange-flavoured chocolate digestives. It’s been a busy time. And it feels good to be back. The change is immense. I sleep better, I eat better, I even get out for a walk from time to time. I feel gooooooood.
What have I been busy doing on the mainland? Working on my Lost Map label, mostly. One of our bands, Tuff Love, just had a record come out - and it’s been really well received, getting tons of play on radio, coverage in the press, and the band have had some packed out live shows, too. On top of that, there’s a fantastic new album from Rozi Plain coming out in May, and i’ve been immersed in getting that ready, as well. All of this requires meetings. And lots of them, with lots of different people. Industry people. Chatting and planning. Channing. Having cups of tea. Channing some more. There’s a bit of me that thinks I coulda done all this channing via Skype, from my caravan … but it’s important to be there in person, I suppose. If the Tuff Love launch parties hadn’t gone well, and I hadn’t been there, I would’ve blamed myself for not working hard enough. Plus, I woulda missed some great gigs.
That’s most of the channing done, now, though.
Inevitably, what with all this Lost Map stuff, Pictish progress has been a bit slow. I’ve had only one day in the studio so far this year, recording a new song. I’m due to start recording again in about a week, though, before heading out on tour for a string o’ dates with my good pal, Josie Long. We’re playing Mull, Skye, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stockton and Kendal. Some of you might remember that I did a tour with Josie a few years ago … over 4 years ago, in fact. Touring with a stand-up comic is quite nerve wracking. Folk tend to want to hear jokes, not plaintive ballads. BUT it’s good to have a challenge, and Josie’s audience tends to be quite a broad minded, cool bunch, so it’s not too intimidating.
Anyway, just wanted to check in and say hello. I’m trying not to do too many live shows at the mo’ - but there’s a few festivals that have been confirmed, i’m doing two shows with Rozi Plain up in Elgin and Aviemore in May as part of the Spirit of Speyside festival thing … and there’s the Deershed Festival in July. There’s one or two other festivals confirmed too, but i’m not allowed to say just yet. So, aye, come along to the Josie Long shows if you fancy a blether, or a spot of channing.
Right, I best be off. Thanks for the smemories. Smell you later …