A couple of years ago, friend and occasional musical collaborator Purple Stuart had a 40th birthday - probably his only one, I’m guessing - and asked me to perform live at the celebratory bash. I resurrected a track of mine from 1997 that he’d expressed a liking for and ‘tickled it up’ with some extra bangs and whistles. It’s the original JC vocals though - my voice was knackered for a couple of days afterwards.
Additional vocals are by Emmeline May.
Whenever I’m in a large, empty and private space I always think I should record a music video. And I’ve been trying to overcome my inertia by producing more material, too. So when I had an art college studio to myself for an hour (after posing for a life drawing class) I used the costumes I’d brought to pose in and my tablet to record some footage to toy with. I’m very pleased with the result and, of course, now I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
With the Edinburgh Fringe beginning, this song from Eccentronic’s show “Neurovision” seems appropriate.
My best wishes to all those doing the Fringe this year. Particularly good wishes - and my apologies - to those who took the trouble to come and support Eccentronic in Brighton but for whom I wasn’t able to return the favour. For instance: Puppetgeist (https://www.facebook.com/StickybackTheatre)
and James Bennison (http://slapandgiggle.co.uk/?page_id=738).
Other acts I’d thoroughly recommend are
Tomás Ford Stop Killing People (http://tomasford.com/)
and Paul “Mr. Twonky” Vickers (http://twonkey.blogspot.co.uk/).
Eccentronic’s new video, putting the Midlands at the centre of the map!
Birmingham (where I’m actually from - I was born in Solihull but grew up in neighbouring Brum) has been the butt of jokes for many years. “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Shakespeare had had a Midlands accent?” and so forth. Of course he did. So in the show Neurovision we tried to emulate the success of the Harlem Shake, the Macarena and Gangnam Style - all catchy international dance crazes that celebrate urban and suburban districts.
In the live performance, we always went way over the top - climbing over the audience and standing above them roaring, waving a huge Nottingham flag (and in Edinburgh, when the Nottingham flag was stolen, waving a huge white sheet with THIS IS NOT A FLAG emblazoned on it). This fed into the show’s themes of how easy it is to slip into nationalism. There’s no such scepticism in the video, though; it’s a genuine celebration.
Famous Midlanders omitted for time:
Roy Wood, Ozzy Osbourne, Meera Syal, Richard Hammond, Julie Walters, Noddy Holder, John Oliver, Ruby Turner, Frances Barber (I had a great photo of her, too!), the Teletubbies, Bejamin Zephaniah, Murray Walker, Bill Oddie (not born there but associated, as were JRR Tolkien and WH Auden), Chris Tarrant, Toyah Wilcox, Jasper Carrott and Jacqueline Hill (although Doctor Who fans should appreciate that Delia Derbyshire did make it into the video).
Myself and the very dapper Mr. Tristram Oaten, AKA Namtao, were having fun throwing some samples between us. We made the mistake of feeding them too much vitamin C, or something, and they grew into this strange blossom.
There isn’t much to say about this! I enjoyed working with the starting premise that it should resemble the music produced by a certain electronic music act whose work I appreciate.
As ever, it then wandered off in its own direction; I’m not a strict musician who insists on overly disciplined conduct from my pieces. They’re allowed to roam free, although have spent most of my month calling out for it and trying to herd it back into Soundforge, ready to be taken to Soundcloud. Er.
Written for Eccentronic’s show “Techno Prisoners”. The version in the show makes more specific political references but this demo version seems unpleasantly timely.
A gentle piece, based on a theme by Mike Nudd. It was developed, re-composed and performed by Kate Page and myself.
I’ve signed off on the master for my new album! I finished the album in July 2012, so it’s marvellous to have it all slick-sounding ready for release by Antigen within the next couple of months. Just the two Eccentronic shows at the Brighton Fringe to get out of the way first. (http://eccentronic.co.uk)
Bob Humid at Fat Of Excellence (Cologne) was doing the business to my, er, jams. (http://bobhumid.de)
As a bit of extra fun, I’ve been toying with a tablet drawing gizmo. The first is inspired by an image I saw by Sue Morgan (http://www.suemorgan209.co.uk/). It’s called “Low-Hanging Cloud”.
A less-successful image is “Snow Suicide”.
These were a bit bleak, so I thought I’d give both characters happy endings. Hence “Carried Away”.
And, er… I couldn’t think of anything much for the snowman, so I decided there was actually a bird under his hat.
Someone suggested that the hair-drier could have been set on ‘cold’ which would have been even better.