Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Web 2.0 Cave In

I appear to have gone and joined Facebook.

I'm not quite sure why having resisted it for so long, but I guess it's best to be inside the tent pissing out than the other way round. Or something... Got a message from someone I went to school with and is now in America so that was nice. I'm way too polite and reserved to go "please be my friend!", especially to folk I was in the pub with last week but say hello if you're so inclined. First name Chris, second name Hynd, I'm up there on the interweb for some, most or all to see. I'm not arsed about all the chicanery and tomfoolery you can put on your profile so mine will be resolutely spare. Hmm, I might form a band and call it Resolutely Spare...

This blog hasn't been updated in ages so I'm not sure if anyone's still reading. These past few months I have been mostly working, watching the telly, making my way through The West Wing complete series box set, slipping and cracking a bone in my right elbow and going to London for New Year. Stay tuned for more exciting happenings. Probably.

Friday, 19 October 2007

That Post-Gig Exhilaration (wot you read about)

I've been meaning to talk about last weekend, I haven't got round to it yet, I will do so tomorrow. I bet you can't wait!

In the meantime, I'm just back in from seeing Battles at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh. They don't get any worse I can assure you. An hour and a bit of exhilarating, driving, rocking, pounding, grooving sounds from 4 of the tightest musicians you're ever likely to see. Magnificent is a word that just about does them justice. I took a heap of photos, here's 4 to be going on with now, you can see the rest as per usual on Flickr.

Battles 29

Battles 24

Battles 22

Battles 16

Monday, 8 October 2007

Take Me Out To The Ball Game...

Ah, October baseball. The drama, the excitement, the glory, the Red Sox and Yankees marching on inexorably towards an American League Championship Series match-up... Well, at least half of that is true as my Red Sox have taken care of their part of the equation and the Empire pulled their series against Cleveland back to 2-1 to the Indians with 2 to play. It's gonnae happen innit? I'm hoping for a repeat of 2005 rather than a repeat of 2004 (although in 2005 the Empire led 3-0 before the Red Sox won 4 in a row to go to the World Series, I'd take something less heart-stopping this time please!) The Red Sox cost me a trip to the fitba on Saturday, I kinda got caught up with their game against the Angels on Friday night and somehow managed to stay awake until Manny Ramirez hit his game-winning home run. I was down to get the 11.12 train to Kirkcaldy to catch a lift up to Peterhead. As I woke up and noticed that it was the back of 11, that plan kinda went out the window. Oh well...

Still, another 3 points and a clean sheet. Splendid.

But, Manny!!!

So that's what I've been up to, such is the life of a single bloke with a bit of disposable income and so can hurl some spare cash at cable TV subscriptions and internet TV subscriptions. Oops... I've not been up to much else, work has been stupid busy these past 2 weeks, but it'll die down for the next 2 as the powers that be are on a wee break. Gives me a chance to go on a break too, as I said a couple of weeks ago, I'm off to London on Thursday afternoon for 4 days, taking in Nottingham on Friday and Brighton on Saturday. Looking forward to it immensely, mainly as it'll get me oot the hoose for a few days and away from the hassles of work but also as it allows me to catch up with some good folks in these cities, always a great thing about getting away. Here's hoping for a non-repeat of the biblical floods that wrecked my planned trip to Brighton in July, flooding not only the south coast mainline but the concourse of Victoria station too. That was a fun morning.

Anyway, London! Nottingham! Brighton! Yeah!

Sunday, 30 September 2007

King Creosote / Emma Pollock

Excellent gig tonight, well I guess it was last night now going by what time it's telling me it is. I do like the Queen's Hall as a venue, like everywhere in Edinburgh it should really have more bands on, but that's a story for another occasion.

Emma Pollock is so much better with a band, I've seen her a couple of times each solo and accompanied and her songs sound a whole lot better accompanied, fleshed out, fuller, warmer and her set, albeit only six songs, was delightful. I've had a wee rant about KC and his band on these pages before, but he really was terrific - focused, rocky (Pictish Trail especially seemed to enjoy wigging out on Twin Tub Twin), gnarled and, at times, quite, quite lovely.

Here's a couple of pictures. The full set can be viewed on my Flickr page. Some are a bit blurry, apologies for that.

Emma Pollock 02

Emma Pollock 09

King Creosote 05

King Creosote 14

Pictish Trail 07

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Chris's World Tour Of England

OK, so here's the deal. I have some time off in October, there's a league football-free weekend to be taken advantage off, I thought I'd do that and go on my travels once more. I'll be basing myself in London, but will be taking in a couple of other towns too, here's what the rough itinerary is looking like at the moment:

Updated plan -

Thurs 11 Oct - leave Edinburgh, arrive London. Set up shop in the Jerusalem Tavern in Farringdon and await folk turning up;

Fri 12 Oct - train up to Nottingham, meet up with folk and go to indie club;

Sat 13 Oct - back to London. On a train at 10.30am. Ouch. Train down to Brighton, likely to arrive around 2ish. Meet up with Jenny, possibly James if Bradford aren't in the Super League Grand Final and hopefully Tom and Reb if they're around;

Sun 14 Oct - Either a train back from Brighton or, if I came back the previous night, probably a lazy day before going to see Mark Eitzel at the Luminaire in Kilburn;

Mon 15 Oct - lunch with Kelly somewhere near Angel tube before getting the train back up the road.

Sound good? Who's in?

"You wouldn't say zotland would you?"

No, but I do pronounce it "coz-la". It's just the way of the accent. So there.

Kelly was in the house this past weekend. As always, it was great to see her and hang out with her for a couple of days. We met up on Friday after her conference and went for tea at the Mosque Kitchen. It had been a whole five days since I was at the Mosque, I had missed their veggies/rice/daal combination that much. If you're ever in Edinburgh, head for the Mosque and a cheap curry for your tea, you won't be disappointed.

John joined us and after a couple of drinks at Black Bo's we headed to the Bongo Club to see Rachel Unthank and the Winterset. I had caught them at Green Man, but as I was sitting at the back of the field, they didn't really register with me all that much so I thought it was only fair to see them from a better distance and without the threat of rain in the air. And I really enjoyed them, warm, homely, folk tunes, both Rachel and sister Becky are natural presences onstage and their cover of Robert Wyatt's Sea Song was quite, quite brilliant. We met up with my work pal Sean afterwards and after some good drink and good chat, got a cab back down the road.

Kelly, for some bizarre reason, foregoed (is that a word? Fuck it, it is now) a trip to the Fife Riviera to see the Rovers on Saturday ("that's just weird" opined FitbaJohn quite correctly), preferring to spend her time at Camera Obscura before putting in an afternoon of shopping. In hindsight, perhaps I should have joined her as the Rovers put up a listless performance against Ross County losing 2-0. I hotfooted it out the ground in order to get back to Waverley Station for 6pm and to meet up with K and the visiting Pamela from Glasgow. Pamela took one look at me and said I looked "scunnered". It's fair to say that the events of the afternoon left me in such a mood. However, that was soon put to one side as the three of us spent a delightful few hours in each other's company. It was particularly nice to see P once more, it's been a while what with one reason and another. There's nothing I like more than an evening like that, just hanging out with great folks and chatting away. P had to get back to Glasgow so K and me got back to the flat at a rock n roll hour of 10.30pm.

K's train on Sunday was just before midday so I got her up to the station and made sure she didn't get lost in Waverley. Having got to the right platform, we said goodbye and as is usually the case the time had gone by too quickly. Good friends are always something I want to be a big part of my life and it can be difficult when mine are spread around the country like they are. I think of them all a great deal and how I wish we could be a little closer geographically but I know it's not to be. However, it seems to work and I know I'll see folk at regular intervals during the year.

The rest of the week has been spent mostly at work and then on the couch catching up with TV after a long day. Lucky Luke are playing in Glasgow tomorrow night at Radar Mark's Drunk At The Pulpit club night. If it was tonight, I wouldn't have been there having put in nearly 8 and a half hours of solid achievement today and left in a bit of a daze after a busy afternoon. I'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow and whether I'll make it along the M8. I'd like to for Mark and to see the great Lucky Luke once more. We'll see though.

Monday, 10 September 2007


It was a funny old weekend. My sleeping patterns recently have been, for want of a better word, fucked. There have been nights where I've pretty much seen every hour on the clock at some point or where I've taken a couple of hours to finally drift off. Thursday night was particularly bad for the former, by around mid afternoon on Friday I was somehow getting by, almost running on fumes. The right thing to do of course would have been to get in from work and not lie on my bed and have a nap for an hour and a half. Oops...

So I did nowt much else on Friday night. Saturday was one of those league football-free days because of the Scotland game, because of the afore-mentioned fucked sleepness, I didn't get much done that day either, preferring to laze about on the couch with sport on the telly and I really didn't have the energy to do anything but that. And it's frustrating as I don't know what's keeping me awake (here's where Kelly will chastise me for drinking too much diet coke at nights! It's not that...) - the obvious question to ask is "are there things on your mind?" And the answer is "nothing more than normal". I think back to the night I got back from Green Man and the, frankly, magnificent 12+ hour sleep I had that time. Riches indeed... Maybe camping in the rain in the Welsh countryside surrounded by bongo-playing fuckwits for 4 days and nights is the way to a good night's sleep? Answers on a postcard...

You'll see below I managed to get out of the house to see Devon Sproule and Charlie Parr (and Chris Garneau, who, it's fair to say, was a bit lacking in the old dynamics department) last night and it was good to see John and hear the tales of his trip to London and Brighton. You know it's not a good sign that the gig promoters are expecting a crowd when you walk into a usually all-standing venue and see tables and chairs laid out on the floor, which was a shame as those absent missed a good night. As I said earlier, Charlie Parr was the star of the evening, haggard and grizzled, maybe not your complete blues guy archetype at times but with songs of real quality. I was pleased that the photos I took turned out they way they did. My previous camera was pretty hopeless when it came to gigs so it's nice to have one that appears able to do a job in lower light while also avoiding using the flash. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I know I always enjoyed taking photos of bands (the best one of which was a picture of James Canty of the Make-Up at King Tuts, I managed to capture his pretty intense facial expression quite well. Alas, I think it's gone, swept away in a left behind box in the parentals' clear out when they moved house earlier this year).

I digress slightly. Tonight I hope to sleep, and every night for the foreseeable future. Kelly arrives on Thursday night for a visit from London and is staying over from Friday (note to self: do the bloody washing up, and move those CDs from the living room floor, and hoover the rug. Hmm, can ye no just stay a couple of more nights in yer hotel K? No? Oh well...), the weekend appears to be taking shape, just need to get the Saturday night plans sorted after I return from another hopefully fruitful excursion, 3 points safely secured for the Rovers, to the Fife Riviera. But yeah, please let me sleep, I think I could do with it...