Stuff and nonsense

Well, it’s the day before I set off to Oxford, guitar in hand, to make some more of the ideas in my head into songs, and to make those songs into an album. This is the fifth album that I’ve recorded, but it feels pretty different to any of its predecessors, for a lot of reasons, many of them obvious. It’s going to be seriously hard work over the next few weeks, I’ll be playing most of the instruments and arranging and writing the whole thing, some of it on the fly. I’ve got a bunch of string players, accordionists and so on pencilled in, a collection of nice guitars to play, and a list of singers that I want for backing vocals. It feels like my magnum opus, haha.. we’ll see. Wish me luck.

In other news, part two of my European diary is now up, and it can be found here. Enjoy. There’s also some kick-arse photos from the j’Est show in Moscow here. The next few installments, including the worst day ever, will be up as soon as I have time to get them written up.

On the touring front, I’ve got a lot of supports being confirmed at the moment, which is good for making new friends. I’ll be touring with The Automatic in October, and I’m playing a show in London with Dashboard Confessional on Tuesday next as well. There’s more to come later too, keep your eyes peeled. I’m going to be pretty busy all the way through the rest of this year, and then the album is due for release in early January, so it’s hardly going to drop off then. I think I’m going to take a holiday in December. Much deserved, if you ask me.

Finally, I was particularly struck by the wisdom of this article, and by the awesomeness of the new Johnny Cash record. Just thought I’d share.

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Clean Clothes and The Mother Of All Showers

Just got back to Winchester from tour. Apart from a brief interlude here just before I went out East, I really haven’t spent much time here at all in the last few months. I’m fucking exhausted at the moment, and there’s not much let up on the way – I start pre-production for my album on Wednesday, and go straight from that into recording until the end of September, when tour starts again. Thus I have decided that the rest of today is for TV, an awesome shower, some food, maybe even a bath as well (oh the decadence). Then tomorrow I have to start checking that I’ve finished writing all my songs. Fingers crossed. It’s a little strange to look ahead over the next few months and see so few gigs – it’s been a hectic year so far. Well, I guess it won’t be long before I’m out on the road again – October to be precise.

Also, the diary of my last trip will be up as soon as I can get it finished, which might take a little while. But it will also be awesome. Watch this space.

EDIT: I’m such a ninja. Part one can now be found here.

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Phrasebookery

I’m in Riga, at my old mate Andzs’ flat. I got back from Moscow the day before yesterday and then had an excursion to Vilnius, Lithuania, for a show. One of the more weird things I’ve discovered on this trip is that, contrary to what we were told by pretty much everyone in Latvia and Finland before our departure, Russians don’t really drink that much at all. Certainly the kind of Russians who come to shows, at any rate. The English contingent were drinking them all under the table with ease. So when we got back to Riga and had a night off (last night) it was decided that we should get wrecked in style. With the help of some Tequila, a lot of beer, and a vat of vodka and coke, we fulfilled our mission in spades. This morning (sic) I woke up with very little memory of the end of the night and a piece of paper in my back pocket with the Latvian for ‘we are poor sex tourists’ written on it. I’m not sure I want to remember.

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Priviet (or something)

Yup, currently in Moscow havign a blast. I’ve been through Latvia and Finland thusfar, and also played last night in St Petersburg, had a great time. This country is certifiable, but in an adorable way. Jamie’s got my back, and my camera, which means that the diary I’m planning for this trip is going to kick arse.

The other thing to mention is that Gabby Young, who I toured with extensively, has had some really shitty news. My thoughts are with her, I’m sure she’ll be a-OK. Das vi Daniya (or whatever).

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Toil and Peaceful Life

Just finished an uber-stretch of shows and am now back in Winchester enjoying the first of a mammoth three days off. Thanks to everyone who came down to shows, as ever, it was fun, if tiring. Thanks also to Rachel, who accompanied me to a bunch of the shows filming for a little documentary piece thing. It should be great. And big up to PRE and SOFS for our little mini-tour… FREEDOM!

I’m off to Eastern Europe on Thursday, which I cannot wait for, it’s going to rule. Expect another diary report. Jamie’s coming with me again, possibly with a video camera this time. Mayhem awaits. Oh, and Room Thirteen have put up the next two installments of my French diary now, which you can find here. Enjoy.

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Writers Wanted

Always fancied yourself as a journo? Really? Christ. Want to get some stuff up online anyways? The good people at We Want The Airwaves Back are looking for new writers, reviewers and so on. Sample work should be sent to Ed (of Pizza Express fame, natch) at this email: thecaptain@airwavesback.com.

I am killing time in Birmingham, oh joy.

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My New Career Highlight

So there we were, Tiernan (off of TV’s Public Relations Exercise), Ed and myself, in Leicester, looking for somewhere to go eat. We decided to hit Pizza Express in the town centre, and walked in on them doing a photo shoot for a new publicity / advertizing drive. We enthusiastically offered our services, eager to prove our love for all things pizza express (and tempted by their offer to pay for lunch, as well as the general hilarity of it all). So the long and short of it is that we were the centrepiece models for their new advertising campaign. Look for us on a billboard near you soon.

In other news, part one of my French tour diary is now up online through the wonderful people at Roomthirteen.com. You can find it here. The rest will follow shortly. Also, for anyone planning on coming down to the Barfly show in Camden in August, I’d advise buying tickets as they’re starting to go pretty fast. Which is nice.

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The Day Of Rockoning

In Leicester chez Public Relations Exercise, preparing for the trip to Manchester today. I don’t know what it’s like where any of you lot are, but the hot weather just majorly broke here and it’s raining, lightning, thundering like crazy. Awesome. I feel like I’m in a Lordi video or something. Anyways, tour is going well, great shows in Salisbury, Bracknell, York (and NOT Leeds, sorry) and Nottingham (to name a few) recently. Many more to come, and let’s not forget the filming shenanigans that will be going on from Monday to Friday next week (Birmingham, Glasgow, Huddersfield and Exeter).

Two more quick things. Firstly… Underground music scenes survive through cooperation and communication. The whole principle of punk / hardcore was that we can’t and shouldn’t rely on other people to do things for us. But it is important to share information about venues, promoters, bands, labels and so on. If people do a good job then word should be shared, and if they suck then likewise, so that people can build reliable networks. So, for example, the guys who run Salisbury’s Dirty Boots night are great, they do things for the right reasons and are to be highly recommended. Conversely, the show in Nottingham last night went well despite the efforts of the promoter. He totally fucked the show around (because he was on holiday?!), and I’m reliably informed that this isn’t his first misdemeanour. So here’s me doing what I consider is right by “tha scene” and advising bands against working with Striking West in Nottingham.

Finally, after months of me giving him shit and badly covering his songs, my friend Jay, a.k.a. Beans On Toast, a.k.a. the finest songwriter in London, has finally got a myspace page. Listen and weep.

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Robb Maunoury

I received an email yesterday from a guy called Dan. Dan’s been down to a lot of my shows in the past, both solo and with MD, usually with his mates Tom and Robb as well. Robb was tragically killed in a car crash on 16th June this year. Dan mailed me to let me know that at his funeral, he was carried in to ‘Romantic Fatigue’ and carried out to ‘Living The Dream’.

I’m not going to try and make this my tragedy. I met Robb a few times and he seemed pretty cool, but I didn’t know him well. I just wanted to post this to say that I’m utterly blown away by this, it kind of makes everything worth it. And more importantly, that I’m sorry for his friends’ and family’s loss. May he rest in peace.

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Unintentional Haircut

Lexapalooza on Saturday was a great success. Everyone was cool (with one notable exception, who were utter cunts, but I won’t name names), I got to play some songs with Adam Killip, which was nice, and a good time was had by all. I was pretty out of it by time I left, I have vague memories of being in a taxi with Adam with some random guy, playing him songs together. Who knows. Even got my haircut, quite drastically, whilst wasted, which was a nice surprise. It doesn’t look to bad actually – there’s a photo floating around the forum for those who are interested.

More shows coming up around the UK, and my next Eastern European jaunt is getting firmed up too, which’ll be fun. The big news to talk about right now is the show at the Camden Barfly on 8th August. It’s going to be quite an important show for me, so gather your friends and head down. As an exra incentive, I’m going to be recording an album version of “The Ballad Of Me And My Friends” that night, so everyone needs to go to my Myspasm, learn the song (or at least the bit where people sing along) and then we’ll commit it to tape that night. Fun.

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