29 August 2005

The Festival run of gigs petered out last night with a Houdini Box gig at the Three Tuns that did nothing for anyone – equipment problems, indifferent audience, no-show musicians. I arrived at it after some angry words at home about my commitment to honouring engagements like this when I’m not feeling well and other people don’t bother. Often nights that start off badly like that turn into good ones when you get a good audience response but last night wasn’t one of them.

Although the Festival had its moments, I’m not sorry to see it over. I need some distance from gigging now to rebuild the enthusiasm I had for it. Time to explore the options for both recording and for making new music with my looping equipment.

Of course before that there’s the South Queensferry Arts Festival which I’m helping to organise and which will consume more and more time until it starts on 9th September.

Free mini-album!

Stories_my_killer_told_me_350

Free to download - Stories My Killer Told Me: Five surreal story-songs from my Edinburgh Fringe show.



  • I Am Not The One For You
  • The Ever Open Door
  • New Eyes
  • A Forest Trail in Autumn
  • The Portobello Slam

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6 thoughts on “29 August 2005

  1. It’s a dilemma. Playing live. You feel you ought to. But, at this level, what real good does it do? Wouldn’t we be better to stay at home working on our music? But then how do people get to hear it, if not by buying our CDs when we play live?
    I know you will have a reasoned argument to come back with – and I look forward to it as always Norman!!

  2. Hmmm
    You said it yourself – how do people get to hear your music if you don’t play live? Radio is hard to get onto and doesn’t translate to CD sales unless your CD is in Virgin and HMV. There are thousands of mp3 sites – which ones do you join and how much promo do you need to do? I view the CD as the next step in building interest from the audience to you, with the live appearance usually the first step.
    But there’s more to it than that – positively, I enjoy very much playing live to an audience, if there’s even the slightest level of interest out there. There is a different level of quality in the music when (a) musicians are listening to each other and (b) an audience is listening. I don’t know about you but when I’m playing at home to myself and something good comes out my first reaction is ‘I wish someone had heard that’.
    The balance to be struck, at all levels of the music business from ours to the professional, is how much crap are you prepared to put up with to get that time with an audience? Some nights 20m on stage can be good enough to balance 4 hours of crap before and after. Some nights it can’t.

  3. A big question is do you want to make music or do you want to make money?
    Can the two be compatible?
    Why, for example, K T Tunstall and not any of the good singers and writers from OOTB – say Lynsey Hutchison?
    It’s surely not luck…it’s a combination of self belief, hard work and contacts and being in the right place at the right time.
    Lynsey certainly has self belief in spades and works hard at her music…
    I read an interview with K T in the paper on Sunday (strategically placed PR re her new single out yesterday – what chance you or I being interviewed and appearing in print the day before a release – oh, sorry, yes, we’re NOT signed to Sony). In the interview, the story seemed to be as follows..
    Adopted
    Well off understanding parents
    Driven individual
    Not interested in getting a job
    Believing her music was great
    Went to London for two weeks to sleep on someone’s floor after spending years playing songs on the streets or in pubs
    Took a collection of phone numbers she’d amassed over the years
    Spent two weeks phoning them all
    Got a publishing deal
    Signed to Sony
    Got an album out
    Big PR push
    Last minute stand in on Later
    Album sales took off
    Festivals, hit singles etc etc
    That sounds easy doesn’t it??
    Am I missing something?

  4. Sorry – to get back “on topic”, I too very much enjoy playing live but, frankly, everything involved with doing it, other than the actually playing live bit, is a complete pain..but there is very little that compares with the feedback from an audience…

  5. ‘That sounds easy doesn’t it??
    Am I missing something?’
    You’re missing the crucial elements:
    – the number of KT Tunstalls that made the same efforts but didn’t make it to the publishing deal or the Sony contract or ‘Later’. Hundreds, if not thousands, to one
    – from our point of view, the impossibility of being 20 again. At 25 she was almost off the radar of the music industry. And if KT doesn’t serve their needs by producing a second hit album, it’ll be ‘Bye bye KT, and by the way you owe us £x hundred thousand.’

  6. Once again, I tip my hat to you Norman. Truly, you are the voice of reason…
    OK I’ll never be 25 again but I’ll also never owe anyone £100,000…I hope!!
    We’ll never be younger than we are today…

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