(this is a blog i wrote yesterday, Thursday 25th April – i’ve only been able to upload it today …)
Hullo. I’m on a train.
It’s my second today. I’ve got a third to look forward to when I change at Wolverhampton, en route to Coventry – where i’m playing tonight with James ‘Jimmy’ Yorkston and Seamus ‘Shimmy’ Fogarty. We’re approaching the end of our UK tour, now – and it’s been braw fun. Certainly the most drunken batch of dates i’ve had in a while. That’s saying something, given that earlier in week comedic boffin Robin Ince described me on live radio as a “bearded dipsomaniac” – and he’s not even seen this tour. I’ve redefined the term, Robin. I think publicity for future incarnations of this show should come with an 8.5% proof declaration, a unit rating, and an health warning to pregnant members of the audience.
Look, here’s a picture of JY acting all drunken.
Why has it been so boozey? Well, i think it’s because of the very nature of the show – 3 of us take it in turns to sing a song, and occasionally join in on each others with harmonies and *light* playing. So, basically, once you’ve got your song done, you’ve got 2 songs with which to sit back, drink up and sporadically throw in some sozzled accompaniment. Sometimes this results in an heartbreaking, cracked falsetto harmony … and other times it manifests itself as a free-form synthesized trumpet solo (usually towards the end of the night, right enough). The copious amounts of locally sourced real ale just give you that extra bit o’ courage. It’s been going down really well, too – the show, that is. The ale is a given. We’re all selling a lot of merchandise, at least – which is always a sign of a well received performance. Thinking about it, perhaps these are pity purchases. I foolishly left Eigg with only one pair of clean trousers, and have had to wear them all month.
I’ve cleaned them, though. I’m not a total tink.
Anyway, I’ll be sad when this tour is over, as i’ve really enjoyed my time with Jimmy and Shimmy. I won’t have long to wallow, however, as it’s only a few days until i’m back on the road again. I’ve got a juicy punnet of dates with fellow Fence Collective members Kid Canaveral at the beginning of May – two shows in Wales and one over in Ireland. These are gonna be different beasts from the shows i’m currently doing, as they are full band performances with my pals from Eigg on backing band duty.
In fact, Ben, Joe and Brendan joined me onstage at the recent Fence Records Home Game event, ‘Gnomegame’. It was a fun weekend – thanks to everyone that bought tickets, the artists for playing, and all those that helped with the organisation. I’m so proud of us Fence lot, particularly our current clutch of acts on the label – between Seamus, Rozi, Kid Canaveral, Randolph’s Leap, eagleowl and Monoganon we’ve got a strong and yet diverse roster, and i’m honoured for Pictish Trail to be part o’ that, too.
I’m currently working on ideas for our next event … but i’ll reveal all that later on. In the meantime, i’m excited about a summer of live shows with the Eigg boys. Tickets are selling like bits of paper with my name printed on them for the Pictish headline shows i’ve got lined up later in the year – including Edinburgh (Liquid Rooms, 24th August) and London (The Lexington, 6th October). We’re selling tickets for the London show through the Fence site, and almost out of the £6 early bird ones – so i suggest grabbing them soon before they go up in price.
You can see all the listings for upcoming gigs on my GIGZ page.
Anyway, before I sign off, I wanna tell you about a new series of Fence Records releases. We’ve just completed our Buff Tracks series of 3 E.P.’s, and there’ll be another 7” series to come later … but for the time being, i’m gonna kickstart a batch of releases on postcard. Yes, postcards. Doing a 7” single release is great – but it’s getting to the stage where we’re having to charge at least £5 per copy, which feels like quite a lot to pay for 2 songs (that’s why we crammed 4 songs onto our Chart Ruse / Buff Tracks series, and slowed ‘em down to 33rpm).
So, aye, postcards. They are collectable wee buggers. You can stick ‘em on your wall, or in a book; you can send ‘em off to loved ones / prisoners, or pretend you’ve received them from loved ones / prisoners; you can carry them home without getting them crushed or fold-creased like a poster; you can use them as make-shift coasters for hot beverages on antique furniture. Postcards.
What can’t you do with postcards? Well, you can’t play ‘em on a record player. Actually, i suppose you can – but the resulting scratchy wails of distortion will sound like an industrial gloom metal remix. And we’re not that kind of label. Not yet.
However, you can put a download code on a postcard. And that’s what we’ve done. HOORAY. Now, there’s no escaping the fact that the digital format is a bit disposable … but, at least with the postcard there’s a physical reminder that the songs exist – a nice bit o’ artwork, that you can display in which ever way pleases you the most. It’s better for the environment, and it’s most cost effective for label/artist/fan. Aye.
Leading by example, FNC-POSTCARD-001 is by myself – the Wait Until Postcard EP. The song ‘Wait Until’ features on Secret Soundz Vol.2, and this EP has 8 (!) different versions – standard issue album version, supple cleavage radio edit, two live versions from a caravan on the Planet Eigg (one electronic, one acoustic), and remixes by Sam Willis (from WALLS, Kompakt), Jonnie Common, Seamus Fogarty and Kate Canaveral. The remixes are particularly good – they each transform the song into a different thing altogether.
You’ll be able to get ahold of the postcard for £1 at my upcoming shows – or £1.50 (inclusive of postage) from the Fence site in May. I’ll post a picture up of it next month.
Oh shite, that’s Wolverhampton now, i think. Best sign off.
the pictish trail xx