Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Blair's Blues- A Diary: Christmas Review

Blair's Blues- A Diary: Christmas Review:   Without doubt 2012 has been the best year of my life to date. Took charge of what I wanted and took the plunge moving to London, to ...

Christmas Review

Without doubt 2012 has been the best year of my life to date.

Took charge of what I wanted and took the plunge moving to London, to sleep in a kitchen temporarily (still there 8 months on!) and play the bars, find the people and fill my head with wonder! Thats what Ive done.

I found my 12 month plan (laminated and stuck on a speaker). The plan ended with "December 2012 - Industry Interest", well I don't know if they are interested in me yet, but I'm still writing, gigging, meeting great people and enjoying it so I am still interested in them.

I have a new job within Aquaterra now as a community fundraiser for the Charity. Last Saturday was my the first event, I organised a music concert to raise money for children with learning disabilities and Autism. I sold out the Camden Head raising over £500 for Charity with awesome acts Kainee Boi Set, The Solace, The Nearly Man, Dr Napalm and his Infernal Ukulele and as I organised the event I even put myself on. The Camden Head was one of the first places I played when I came to London and also one of two places I played with Dexter Strangeways, so I seem to have some weird pull to the place.

Been a really great year; hard but beautiful. Meet some very special people and others that are not even worth mentioning so as someone said "Focus on the shards of Light"

Next gig Upstairs at the Brixton Ritzy 20th December here's the link....

Brixton - The Ritzy - December 20th

Merry Christmas to Y'All, looking forward to a rocking 2013!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A teaspoon of honesty.

Still sleeping in a kitchen in central London on a matress,

Still playing as much as I can all over zones one and two and occasionally three,

I got off the booze completely for a few weeks leading up to my 30th but have been 'wet' ever since,

Found a noir crooner called Dexter Stangeways, rehearsed on a Thursday played a gig at the Camden Head on the Saturday. Same night we went to Kilburn and ended up filling in for a band, playing our second gig at the Good Ship.

Im in the right place, but i still remember how good some things were.

This is Dexter Strangeways, im stage left and out of view, (I wore a really nice suit and everything!)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Post Jubilee

Been gigging crazy! Played a great bar in Chelsea called the Coopers Arms twice, a decent bar in Clapham called the Gigulum bar; which had an awesome sound rig when the music was going through the cd player, (sub woofers in the chairs, felt like being in a Jacuzzi!) but when the live music went on they switched the sound to go through two tiny speakers that just weren't strong enough, so you couldn’t hear a word anyone sang. Played a completely acoustic gig in Battersea (no electric just me and acoustic) which went really well and they have asked me back to play this friday and are giving me a few quid for the service. Chaos theory put on a great night at the Wilmington arms in mount pleasant, well advertised and attended, definitely want to work with those fellas again. I  did play a shocker at the library bar in Angel; it was the last day of the wet bank holiday, terrible pa, incredibly unreceptive crowd but on the plus made a friend in the sound man Les, who used to be neighbors with Elvis Costello, (he didn’t like him). I decided to go back the next night to play so as not to black list the bar in my head, the place had a great vibe this time but too many bloody musicians and i didn’t get to play. Did see some good acts though, the “yess mess” were great with a home-made drum kit (the snare was an upside down colander) and a man who i cant remember his name but who had a stand out voice, very Jeff Buckley esq. 
My plan is to get my electric guitar down from my parents when i pop up at the end of the month, and get my three piece rock band together in July. Thinking of an Elvis Costello, bluesy, smiths cross over thing, with words and punchy drums, YEAH! but this idea will surely change as all of mine do.
So all good in the big smoke, and some lovely old dear went down the river in a boat and made a lot of people very happy, so it’s not just me having a good time! Big kisses XXX

Monday, 7 May 2012


Its been a while since I’ve last blogged this have been partly due to my huge life change. Im now living in london with Pystol Pete in the heart of Covent Garden.
Since being here for about a month I’ve played two open mics in Camden, one in Leicester Square and had a half an hour set in Chelsea. My friend Slim recorded four of my songs at his Studio, that are now uploaded to my sound-cloud
I’ve meet Dave Elvis and the Cosmic Troubadour on the open mic circuit, felt lonely walking round leicester square (while pete was away in singapore on “business”) only to be cheered immensely just by walking past Gary Numan, saw Justin Lee Collins drinking down the end of the road in a wine bar, and got backstage for New order at Brixton Academy, who were brilliant even without Cookey. 
Funding all this is the internal transfer I got to head offices, where i have my own desk, free coffee, a window! and bank holidays!!!! 
As I expected London is full on with loads of very busy people being cutting and quick but also in this dirt there are gems and I’ve already meet some really cool people.
It’s intense, expensive and never stops but its also endless, fascinating and stepped in history and history being made all the time at a fast pace.
Much love on this rainy bank holiday monday , (and i’m not writing this from work).

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Classic Fm saved me from Madness!

Got the London Job! Starting Monday 2nd April, leaving Bath after ten years of service on the last Friday of March! Been really enjoying spending time with all my mint mates and have been playing more nights for Bristol's own Mark Venus. Played Marlow’s bar for the second time and meet Fergusson Elliot, who blew me a away play playing irish folky songs on a greek bouzouki with a loop station! Has to be seen to be believed, a very slick performer. 
I got a review from the online magazine the Note when I played the Urban Wood last week. It was a good night and Brian Ingliss took a good picture of me in full fury! Heres the review
Im playing the Pilgrim Inn this Thursday and the Cross hands on Sunday. Written a new song, too early to tell if its any good at the moment but i’m thinking of debuting it live this week, its called “Cry into me”.
I thought sleeping on a friends sofa for the last month would have stressed me out but it hasn’t. There is a secret though....Classic Fm. With headphones on loud, I can sleep through drunks, babies crying and scaffolders. Try it.
Im having my farewell to Bath leaving Party on Thursday 29th, starting in Lambretta’s bar at 6pm and ending in Moles (probably) where it all started! Everyone is invited.
Maximum love to all

Saturday, 18 February 2012

All Change

Blame it on the moon; blame it on my approaching 30th birthday either way I have rocked my apple cart.
I’m moving to London to give my music a proper go, and if it doesn’t work out at least ill know I tried and can hopefully avoid becoming a bitter old man saying “I could have made it”.

I’m trying to get an internal transfer to one of our London gyms and my mate has a flat in Covent Gardens where I can crash until I find a place of my own. I’m not saying anymore this week, better blog to follow next week.

Bye for now


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Break on through to the other side...

Lots of lovely people turned up for the Curfew Gig on Wednesday. Mark Venus did a great job with the sound and flow of the evening. I’ve been offered a full evening from him at the Curfew on Friday 13th July and also several ‘Artist slots’ in his venues round Bristol, starting at Marlow’s bar at the Thistle Grand Hotel this Saturday at 8pm.

I had a massive weekend with Pystol Pete (AKA Pete) in London town, which involved…
Danish, French and Polish people,

Indian, American and Italian food,

Belgian, German and Japanese beer,

Downing a glass of wine with a blind girl,

Seeing a tramp play the carpenters through a traffic cone,

Getting out my depth talking advanced football chat watching Chelsea play Man United,

Dancing a lot and very badly,

Listening to more Jazz than is advisable,

And waking up every morning in my clothes

Unfortunately Roots Manuva was disappointing. He had a really bad sound at the Roundhouse, and I couldn’t hear his poetry, shame.

Love to all x 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

"If It Ain't Stiff It Ain't Worth A ..."

Started off the week designing posters and flyers for my upcoming gig at the Curfew. Im rehearsing a half hour set, mainly originals with a couple of covers to make it palatable for the audience.  
Wednesday night I played an open mic in Bath. The football was on and a lot of musicians were wanting to play so I played a late one, going on past 11pm. On the bill was a local poet, a duo from Cirencester, (who were gigging no stop round the country anywhere they could), a rocker with a big voice, and a student who scatted sax solos over his songs. I went on after the rocker and over sang my set. I felt uptight, I need to somehow practice centering myself.
Had a car service that cost a lot of money which reminded me of last years plan of getting a few paid cover song gigs every month alongside playing my original music. So next week i’m back to convincing pub landlords and landladies that paying me to play "All the best hits from the 60‘s to present day" is a great idea. Wish me luck.
Thursday night with Scott resulted in him laying down some relaxed atmospheric organ, Fender Rhodes and bass on ‘Sad Stories’. The focus is still to have a four track release available to the world by Spring.  
The song I have been listening to mostly this week is Elvis Costello-I want you, an awesome song writer. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Monday 16th was the most depressing day of the year, statistically. The radio kept banging on about it in every bulletin so by the end if you wasn't feeling at an all time low you weren’t normal. I was a bit gnarly but no more than usual, I think...

I then attempted to play an open mic with a cold...

In spite of not being in the mood for winning over strangers in a big city I left for Bristol straight from working a 8 hour shift at the leisure centre of dreams stopping for petrol at the nearest garage, breaking into my last tenner.
Sticking to a long tradition of mine I got mildly lost and ended up parking where I had to pay. I now broke into my last fiver at a kebab shop, buying a can of coke (i didn't want) for change. I then promptly over paid the parking meter.
Walking to the venue in the persistent rain, i heard half a dozen police sirens, saw a super sized family about to have a fight, and tripped over the kerb.
Getting into the venue I used my last shrapnel to buy a half of lager and surveyed the lack of activity. The bar lady informed me the sound man and the host were always late.
After waiting half an hour, sending nonsense texts to friends to look busy, I threw in the towel and drove home, and I'm sure a speed camera went off.

I worked on ‘The Dunes’ session from last week at home. It ending up getting a bit too “urban” somehow. I bounced a track with a few ideas to Scott and we a had another session on it at his studio this week. Scott played in an interesting rhythm on his V drums, and we laid down a real bass take. Hopefully the song will eventually reveal itself to us to what it wants to be.
Decided to to have a go at making a video of one of my new songs ‘Sad Stories‘ at home. I filmed myself playing it acoustically in the shed. I got the colours right and got a good sound from my mic but unfortunately, (as pointed out by my girlfriend), I got a bit too into it and looked mental. So no link supplied. I will have another go in the future.

Been offered a 30 minute slot at the Curfew Pub in Bath from Mark Venus on Wednesday 1st February, so if your about people it would be lovely to see you.

Statistically next week will be a better week.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Midweek Maracas

Monday I had day off from the mad world of selling gym memberships and spent it round Scott’s studio. I expected nothing and got something. We recorded a guide piano and vocal for ‘The Dunes’, and rewrote the middle 8. Scott was not happy with his piano part but I bullied him into laying it down as it is in the right ball park and it means I can develop ideas for it in my humble home studio, and we will record all the parts again anyway.

Had my first live outing of 2012 at an open mic in Bath. The compere was playing when I entered the bar, he was in his late 40’s with a ruddy complexion, tracksuit bottoms (no socks), and an ear ring. He stopped singing the song (he was half way through), carried on looping the chords on his guitar, and started to talk (/shout) over to me...

“Good evening, looks like with have another musician in the house!” (I was carrying my guitar)

“unless that’s a sub machine gun!” ( It looked like a guitar )

I nodded his way and turned to the bar to order a ….

“ SO! going to come up here and play us some songs?” (I nodded, feeling eyes on me from all around from the bar), I nodded again, there was a long pause then I was about to say...

“Great we are all looking forward to hearing them....HEY MR TAMBOURINE MAN!”....and he was seamlessly back in.

Cruise ships were built for this man.

Two mates came from work, one is actually an x work colleague and lives in Japan, I was very impressed with his effort. I played three of my own songs and had a fairly nice time, especially when the compere jumped on stage and started rockin’ his maracas, (not a euphemism)

My tickets arrived for Roots Manuva at the roundhouse. Really looking forward to a London trip, hopefully also going to see some live jazz and achieve a hangover.

Much Love

Saturday, 7 January 2012

New Year Hi-Resolution

Very busy at work, as you can imagine all the people in the true spirit of their saviour’s birthday have committed the cardinal sin of gluttony and now need to repent by joining a gym and coasting on a cross trainer to early march (then cancel their gym membership for another year)

This week I have been listening non stop to Brahm’s 2nd Symphony in the car traveling to and from work. Its a bit dangerous as the ending is so powerful, (when it eventually comes after at least three deceptive cadences) it makes me close my eyes! Only briefly so please don’t panic and report me to the DVLA.

My you-tube exploration of ‘electro’ has included Boards of Canada, RÓ§yksopp, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Plaid, Venetian Snares and The Knife. The pieces of electronica that moved me most this week were Squarepusher- iambic 9 poetry, Plaid - New Family, and Boards of Canada - Julie and Candy. Always in the back of my mind is a hope that some process of listening to brilliance will diffuse into me but I know its mainly sweat with a bit of vision,(for most mortals anyway), that is going to result any decent work. If anybody has any pointers to an other great music please comment.

Started trying to read up on synths again and tinkering on logic with with a new track called ‘Cracks’. Printed the user manual for the Yamaha's 80-v (thank you to the work printer), and been dipping into ‘How to make a Noise’ by Simon Cann. Feels like im stumbling in the dark most of the time but im having go. Meeting with my mate Scott Fitzgerald on Monday to work on the 4 track ep for Spring.

Love to all

blair x

Sunday, 1 January 2012

into the stream

into the stream (demo 1/1/2012)

Happy New Year

Right, it nows all under one name, my own.
This years either going to be the end of the world (north korean's fat son pressing a button he wasnt supposed to) or a good year of music for me. My glasses are in focus, my guitar in tune, and im ready to roll.
I'm finishing my four track ep at Scott Fitzgerald fancy home studio. Its going to be a sparse, poignant marriage of acoustic songs and restrained elctronic (hopefully). Im still building on getting more paid 'cover song' gigs and doing a few open mics to get me going again, the next one is going to be at Mr Wolf's noodle Bar in Bristol, this Tuesday (3/1/2012). I've also started a new sound cloud-and uploaded another version of 'Into the Stream' on to it.
Big fat new year love to all
Blair x