As the curtains close on 2018

As we wind up for 2018, it’s always a good time to look back before we look forward.     There has been so much going on this year, personally, professionally and just generally.   We’ve had a new little daughter; Nina Siena, who is a ball of pure innocent love that has the most perfect little face.    I enjoyed being off for a month when she was born (as it coincided with the World Cup and also with a freak heatwave here in Glasgow that was unheard of previously).

Some of the less important stuff.

MUSIC

  • Erland Cooper
  • Flohio
  • Shame
  • Puma Blue
  • Little Simz
  • Oscar Jerome
  • Phoebe Bridgers
  • Skinny Pelembe
  • Angelo De Augustine
  • Sunflower Bean
  • Moses Sumney
  • Slowthai
  • Mahalia
  • Tom Misch
  • Tune of the Year – Pick Up by  DJ Koze / Tints by Anderson. Paak

Gig of the Year – Slowthai / Kojey Radical @ The Great Escape

Album of the Year – Sum of all your Parts by Fatherson or Songs of Praise by Shame. 

TELEVISION

  • Marvellous Miss Maisel
  • Love
  • End of the F**king World
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Kominsky Method
  • The Bridge
  • The Missing
  • Little White Lies
  • Atlanta
  • American Crime Story – Gianni Versace
  • Killing Eve
  • BodyGuard
  • The Deuce

BOOKS

  • Benjamin Myers – Gallows Pole
  • Boy at the Door  – Alex Dahl
  • His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet
  • Timbuktoo – Tim Burgess
  • Iron Ambition – Mike Tyson

We also made a trip to Venice which was a Christmas present for Joan, it was such a nice trip we decided to go back this January coming.  With Nina.

Some of the not so good stuff include, Brexit and Family / Friends Funerals.

 

 

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Festival Season is Over. . .

Thats the festival season over for another year for me.   I was quite late in getting to festivals, mainly because I was normally more interested in going on holiday around the summer months and so missed out on them.    Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to be able to visit some of Scotland’s best offerings as part of my job in music.

I’ve came to know Belladrum quite well – The Tartan Heart Festival in the glorious highlands of Scotland.   A nice family vibe with plenty to see and do, a real feast for the senses all around with some great bands through the years.    We’ve also been lucky enough to be able to give some live opportunities to some of the young artists we work with on the music project.

We’ve also become regular visitors to The Great Escape in Brighton, another wonderful festival that is actually overwhelming with the amount of talent and bands on offer everyday, I’ve saw some incredible bands and music industry panels at this festival.   An absolute gem.

This year I managed to secure some tickets to take the family (Joan, Amélie, Leo, Nina and Myself) to Electric Fields in Drumlanrig Castle Estate down in Dumfries.   This felt like a much smaller affair but with some excellent acts and a real cool family vibe and we met some absolutely lovely folks there enjoying the festivities.   I hope to go back next year.

Patient Parents

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Its been a very different couple of months for us.   Since the birth of Leo we’ve been busy learning and relearning all the things we had forgotten since Amélie was born.   Its somehow the simple things that you forget about, the broken sleep, the number of things you have to remember to take with you when you leave the house, how difficult it is to fit a hat on a baby, creeping around at night and getting dressed and undressed in complete darkness.

Its been trying for all of us.   Joni is getting back to normal and managing to firm up a type of routine that will suit herself and the children, it doesn’t help when they are both out of sorts at the moment as they fight off a nasty cold.    I’m now back at work.  I miss them all.  Everyday.

As we approach Christmas, we have been trying to keep a lid on things and try to stay as patient as we can as parents.   Its been a difficult time for Amélie to adjust to a new member of the family, so she has had moments of extreme tantrums and odd behaviour.   I try to keep a cool head and be the gentleman / father that I’d love to be, but its difficult and sometimes I say things I don’t really mean, and instantly regret it all.    I long for the day when we can all be peaceful and patient with one another.

 

 

My Son, Leo Francis.

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Like when my daughter Amélie Sofia was born, it seemed a good time to take a similar photograph.   Our lives as a family have changed in so many ways,  we have grown in patience for each other (sometimes) and learned about how we parent our children, we have learned that we are both firm but fair parents.   We have also learned that we like to offer opportunity but be mindful not to forget those who have nothing.   Amélie is now at nursery and learning so much every day.   Young Leo is about to embark on a very exciting journey of life, we are so happy and we see a new destination of challenges, different challenges.

He is a beautiful little boy, and will grow into a man with standards and a moral compass that we can only hope to influence and build with him, I hope to shape him into a better man that me, that will be my ultimate goal.   As for Amélie I hope for her the same, that she is strong woman that will be there for her Brother and Mother.   I have no doubt that she will be a smart young woman who will be an excellent Mother one day, just from the way she is interacting with Leo at the moment.   She is an excited big Sister.

So, back to nappies and all the exciting nights of limited sleep.

Here is the one below of Amélie (nearly 4 years ago)

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Commonwealth Games and Other Short Stories.

Its been quite a while since posting anything really, well except the frequent 140 character tweet, random Facebook post or mildly humorous youtube clip, so I thought it was about time I did a proper catch up.   This is really for me to mark time, and simply take stock, but its cool if you’re interested too.

So, I’ve just returned from taking Amélie (now two and a half years old) for a wee walk around our neighbourhood and now enjoying the smell and taste of a 12 year old Highland Park complimented by warm string sounds on the fantastic new album ‘Lights in the Sky’ by Peter Gregson.   Its a good time to post something.

// Commonwealth Games

Firstly, the Commonwealth Games have now left the wonderfully proud city of Glasgow.   What an excellent time we had.   We were lucky enough to catch the rhythmic gymnastics on day one, and then see my good friend and colleague Louise Mather compete for Team Scotland in the weightlifting.   Over the two weeks of the games being hosted here, we managed to get out to see loads of great events during the festival that surrounded the sporting events.    We visited the newly refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow Green, and some events further out in the city.   Some of the best bits were; Remember Remember, Rachel Sermanni, James Grant, Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival, James Yorkston, Errors, and Admiral Fallow.   And all for free.

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// Music Plus

Many of my closest friends and even family members often ask me that dreaded question everyone who works in music is terrified of, “So, what is it that you actually do?”

Over the last year, I’ve been more involved in the national music mentoring project that I work on as a coordinator.   Through hiring someone else to take on most of the admin side of the project, it has allowed me more time to do some of the actual mentoring, and throughout the year I’ve come to realise that its that part of the job that I love the most.   Hearing the music and ambitions of young people becoming something.   Offering advise and a helping hand.   Listening to problems and difficulties whether music related or not.   Its been a great time of learning for me as well as the talented young people I work with.   I have the unique opportunity in my job to programme some excellent events and workshops and have the privilege to have met and worked with some wonderful people throughout the last few years of doing it.

“So, what is it that you actually do?”, Did I not answer it?

// Two Men on a Boat

Another piece of work I am proud of taking part in was the recent album by Findlay Napier and Chris Sherburn.   I was asked by Findlay if I would be able to design the artwork for the album, and the theme was all based around a boat, well the album is called ‘Two Men on a Boat’, so I used the photography they had from the recording sessions and turned it around for them.   I was proud to see the final result, and the album is great too.

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// A Beard?

Yes, I had given into the trend and decided to grow a beard.  A belter you might say.   It didn’t go down as well as expected with family and friends, Joni didn’t mind it, Amélie liked it i think, and I loved it.  So its off just now for the summer holiday to Kefalos in Kos we are preparing for, but I’m sure it will be back in time for winter.   It turns out I shave more when I have a beard too, mainly to keep it tidy and be absolutely sure that people understand that its a BEARD, and i’ve not just been lazy with my shaving routine.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 22.32.54 // Two Wheels

Lastly, I’m still keeping up with cycling to work everyday, its a 15 mile commute (return) so it keeps me fit and saves me a fortune on bus fares.   I also love the way cycling makes me feel, I have more energy, I can go at my own pace, I feel the sun on my face and the rain on my back.   Also, over the last few months I’ve been exceptionally lucky.   I’ve won a track pump from the Glasgow Bike Station, and a Tokyo Bike.   Both are very handy.

Well, nearly lastly. .  We’ve also started listening to vinyl at home.  I can highly recommend it, it keeps you in the same room and forces you to listen and not watch TV or skip tracks on your CD or iPod.    I’ve also began reading a great book on the early days of soul called ‘Sweet Soul Music’ by Peter Guralnick.   We’ve also been really enjoying the TV series of Fargo.

Oh, and I’m voting YES in the Independence Referendum.

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 Until we meet again. . .