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We are on tour with the mighty Tunabunny. Currently there is a picture of some pillows.
Somehow we’re in first class seats again on the train home. Apart from Steph of course. She knows her place. Not that she’s missing much. A complementary bag of unsalted crisps, an apple and stuttering wifi. Oh yeaaaaah! As Andy Miller would say. There is an egg and cress sandwich waiting for me in Preston. How the other half live.
We are exhausted. Recording is hard work for us. It sounds so easy. Write some songs. Record them. Release them. The reality is a producer’s voice in your headphones calmly saying “one more time” for the fifteenth time before uttering the dreaded words “let’s take a five minute breather”.
So the album isn’t finished. We head south empty handed. 10 days was not enough. 11 days was still not enough. Three quarters of the new Shrag album is 350 miles away in South Lanarkshire. So it’s nearly there. Andy says it’s missing the ‘icing’. But that sounds a bit twee. I’ve still got screaming feedback ringing in my ears so I shouldn’t be overly concerned with such things.
Shaun Gargleblast’s dog paid a visit today. Shaun came too. His dog was a lady cocker called Pippa and Steph was convinced that she hated me. She didn’t. She loved running through puddles. Dirty bitch. I like Shaun a lot. And Pippa too.
Last night was not that successful. I dropped my iPhone in the bath and burnt my middle left finger on a sizzling hot plate. If I had less things on my mind this might have bothered me. My iPhone is now entombed in a tub of Sainsbury’s ‘basics’ rice and I had to cut down on my virtuoso finger tapping for today’s session. But then again I had a great evening in Glasgow with my girlfriend and an amiably pissed up Russell. I’ve come to the conclusion that Glasgow is one of my favourite cities on this island of ours. If they could sort out that weather problem I’d be all over it.
Steph just came to first class to get some free coffee.
When we left Andy Miller today he said it had been ’emotional’. I don’t think he was joking. I like Andy Miller a lot.
One day soon we’ll have an album. Sorry it wasn’t today.
Ok, well we’re doing an extra day with Andy tomorrow. And then will be returning to Hamilton as soon as we feasibly can/Andy is next free, in order to complete the record. I had these visions of sitting on the train back to London, staring out the window at the wind turbines and mountains and all that outrageously beautiful scottish/cumbrian scenery and listening to our new record with my headphones on and feeling happy and like everything was ok and possible and all that…but even though that isn’t going to happen, it’s still ok. and possible and everything. The songs are already sounding bigger and more exhilarating than we deserve and despite the discrepancy between our plans and the reality we wouldn’t want it any other way. We feel bad to Jerv and Sean who are putting out the record cos we all made this big impressively structured plan for the year in terms of release dates etc and it looks like that is gonna be fucked with now, but them being them means they are being wonderful and understanding to us, obviously, and we are the luckiest group of morons in the world ever
We are sat in our posh Glasgow apartment now, talking about what we have learned. learnt.learned ? Is our blog american. Anyway as Steph just announced to us: “Next time, we should just remember: ten days is not enough for anything.” This is generally true. nothing is ever enough for anything
Steph and I have spent the last 20 minutes trying to sing our songs to each other in various different global accents. We suspected we may have been bordering on racist so we stopped, and now Steph is whispering sweet somethings to her new boyfriend in the hallway while I lie back and think of Hamilton.
oh, and btw RESULT!!!!!!!, Andy Miller has finally cracked and is now saying “dirty bastard” on a regular basis, though he has developed his own unique version of it where he suddenly just shouts “DB!!!!” in a big Scottish brogue when for e.g. bob says something like “those duvets in the halls of residence were shit. Every night I was poking out the bottom”. As Russell and Sean both said, we’ve TOTALLY GOT HIM NOW
so glasgow is pretty and like gotham again, and the accent is hot, as ever. weirdly we’re in first class on the train again tomorrow; pallid fake meat, inter-band bickering, and delusions of grandeur await.
you can’t do 14 songs in ten days
so tired and buzzed
feel like I’m vibrating
we’ve left the student flat
now in some swanky apartment in central glasgow
we got a tele
watching some annoying woman talking about art
she looks like she’s been to a ton of indie pop gigs
only wears pink
two days left…..
we won’t finish on this trip unless we can somehow bend time
but we will finish
and i think it will be good
I’d do this forever
that moth never showed up again
obviously acquiesced to my higher power
While the groop do their groop vocals I thought I’d share our thoughts on Alanis Morrissette’s Ironic.
I know, topical reference point. We know that comedians have been and done this before us. But we heard this song last night in the Bay Horse, the only pub in West Hamilton without a pentagram on the wall.
We decided to give “Ironic” proper analysis, taking each situation presented to us by Alanis on it’s own merits and marking them out of 5, 1 being not ironic, 5 being… Ironic (we then quickly abandoned the scoring system realising that things are either ironic or not, and slightly ironic doesn’t really exist).
I was hoping that through this analysis we would discover more ironic situations in Ironic than are popularly believed to exist within the song.
Here are our findings:
An old man dies after lottery win
Not ironic – sad
It’s a black fly in your chardonnay
Not ironic – racist
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
Not ironic – travesty
It’s like rain on your wedding day
Not ironic – unlucky
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
Not ironic – philosophical
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Not ironic – belligerent
Mr play it safe was afraid to fly etc. (dies on first flight)
Not ironic – self fulfilling prophecy
A traffic jam when you’re already late
Not ironic – late
A no smoking sign on your cigarette break
Not ironic – idiot
It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife
Not ironic – just not ironic
It’s like meeting the man of my dreams and meeting his beautiful wife
Not ironic – Slag!
We are the most prepared we have ever been for a recording yet there are things you only find out about yourselves until you’re in the studio.
For instance, I’m often slightly late to the beat. I see this as an extension of the lateness I commit on a nearly daily basis to my understanding workmates and my more beleaguered band members.
With work, I don’t call in if I’m going to be ten minutes late, for that is my normal time of arrival. They get a call when I think I might be later than late. I became a manager so I couldn’t sack myself.
I’m not the manager of our band though, so I could be sacked. (Actually, we do have a manager who keeps sacking himself. His name is David and he is our manager even if he says he isn’t).
I know I infuriate Shrag with my lateness. I know this because they told Marc Riley during our 6music session as they regaled him with stories of my legendary lateness. I forget these stories. Boring.
But I do remember I nearly missed the beginning of our second song for Riley as I wanted pictures of me doing a funny face next to a painting of Riley and Mark Radcliffe they have hanging in the 6music corridors. What a funny guy I am. Dickhead.
(Pierre, if you’re reading this, can you send me that picture? I’ll Blog IT!)
So Andy Miller, our producer, has spent a lot of time staring at threads of sound on his computer moving my bass around until it arrives on time. Even though we are talking in nano-seconds my pride is a little hurt.
You start to wish that you could be a full time band having day long rehearsals for weeks before recording. Or some such nonsense.
Last Saturday in Glasgow, Bob and I met up with John Mckeown from The Yummy Fur and 1990s. He gave us a great pep-talk, something along the lines of “producers always want things to be perfect, so what if it speeds up at the end – it’s a fucking rock n roll song! That’s how we like it!”
If you didn’t already, re-read that quote in a Glasgow accent. See how comforting it is.
And so I think, so I’m no Bootsy Collins, what the fuck, I’m not at work. I’m 37. Doing this is a fucking treat.
I will consider wearing some Bootsy-style star-shaped sunglasses at our next gig.
I had a dress down day today.
When you wear casual clothes
you become lazier.
If I wore a tracksuit all day
I’d get nothing done.
It’s like wearing a baby grow.
Adults should wear adult clothes.
Dressing like a giant toddler is not attractive.
Getting it all done in the time is gonna be difficult
But when you’ve worked hard at something
you got to keep working hard till it’s finished.
So, whatever it takes
It will get done
Andy Pyne likes to eat really late at night.
He’s making us dinner now.
We are hungry.
Hopefully, this is a link to a video of Maya and Cat from Butcher Boy who came in to the studio this afternoon to add strings to four of our new songs. They had only been here for 5 minutes before launching in to this practice run through and it was already sounding great.
They were done and dusted in two hours. I, however, have spent four hours trying to upload this video.
So we did a photoshoot, and we injured the photographer in the process (he told us to take off our shoes and throw them at him while he took pictures and one of them got him in the head. I think it was probably Steph’s pointy heeled ones cos it actually drew blood). Brian the photographer was very stoical however. he didn’t really even flinch. He made Steph and I put a little bit of eye makeup on the boys. I never thought I’d see Andy Pyne in mascara, but there you go. We ponced around with flowers and dirt and climbing on plant pots for a bit and then came home and Bob got the internet to work in our flat, which felt like a major victory. Also I made dinner for everyone and it was the best meal Steph has ever eaten. But then she has been living on those packets of sainsbury’s basics savoury rice (27p) for the last week. Why do they put milk in them
Andy Miller described the stage we are at now with recording – with all the live tracks down – as ‘the icing’. It’s a good analogy but not for the reasons I thought initially. I thought it made it sound like the fun, easy part. It is sort of fun but also a bit scary and certainly not easy. I guess icing a cake can be a very painstaking and intricate task, especially if you want a big coy Disney princess in a flouncy bridal gown and tiara with slender arm outstretched made out of icing perched on the top. Which we do. We have a lot to do and we’re worried we’ve not booked enough time, meaning we might have to book more, which is ok I guess. In any case it’s so encouraging to see how THOROUGH Andy Miller is, the man is impressive and already the tracks are sounding pretty…exciting. I guess we’ll see what happens over the next few days.
We’ve got Maya and Cat from Butcher Boy coming in to the studio this afternoon to record some strings for us. I’m excited to meet them properly and to have real strings on our songs. It’ll prolly be nice for Andy to have some real musicians in the studio for a change.
We decided we were just gonna call Andy our drummer ‘Pyne’ to differentiate him from producer Andy but it hasn’t really caught on.