Hi folks, so, a wee heads up regarding the book. The majority of the first batch, not including the books sent out, had multiple printing defects. The company admitted fault and did a reprint which arrived today. Sadly, this 2nd run is faulty as well. Almost every book has a fault. I was gutted the first time but this is just an extra big hoof in the tatties! I was willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt given the current situation and the fact that they may be understaffed. The faults in the 2nd run however are due to sheer incompetence. I don’t want to drop the company name just yet as I’m currently waiting for them to confirm that I’ll be receiving a full refund. Fingers crossed!!!! This has been a total nightmare and I can only wholeheartedly apologise to those of you that are still waiting for your book to arrive. We’ve been in touch with another printer and the book will be getting redone in the next few days. I’ll send it out as soon as it arrives. Once again I am very sorry for the wait!!
Well Xmas is coming soon……it is and it isn’t. Time is so flexible and warped just now that Xmas could literally be round the corner…..go on….have a wee peek?!? We’re already heading into the weekends – end having just shaken off the previous weekends end! I’m not gonna try and punt stuff with birthdays and xmas in mind. I’m just gonna let you know what’s coming, what’s already available, and if you feel like it, you can buy stuff for yourself, or loved ones because it’ll make everyone involved feel happy. At the very least it may cause a distraction for a minute. At the minute doing something nice for someone, showing that you care and that you’re thinking of them is incredibly important.
So………Here’s what’s available just now.
Tune Commissions – If you’re looking for that extra special gift for someone, why don’t you think about having a tune written for them? Commission Package – Tune written; Tune typeset with personal message; Recording of tune on multiple instruments. If you’re interested then you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have some new merchandise in the pipeline which will also be available from my shop very soon. I’ve been working with a designer on bringing some of my tune titles to life through illustration. So, keep your eyes peeled for further information.
I’ll also be working on a serious of EP’s over the next while. This is something I’m excited about as this will be music and production born of the situation that we have found ourselves in.
Last of all…….a special thing…….too early to say. Something that will be joyous. Something luminous!!!
Anxiety dreams are draining! I imagine that during this strange and uncertain time, we’re all having them. Our minds will be working in over drive, trying to process the reality of the situation and how it effects life moving forward.
I woke up this morning feeling disturbed, confused and full of sadness. I had a ‘What if?!’ Dream. What if I’d made different choices from secondary school onwards. I had created an alternate timeline! The disturbing part was that I had lived most of my life in this timeline, as me now, a musician, during a pandemic, about to have a kid and full of uncertainty about the future. I was away on tour somewhere. I was hating everything. Hating playing music, hating being away…….hating everything about my work environment and the life I had. The flight home transported me into an alternate reality. I was dropped off in a different home. It was so unfamiliar and disturbing. The sights, smells and atmosphere were not any that I recognised. As I moved from room to room I felt more and more aware that I wasn’t where I was meant to be. I saw pictures of people that I didn’t recognise, rooms that smelled of cigarettes and a ghostly atmosphere as if I was a Watcher, observing from an ethereal plain. It was haunting! I ran out of the house, into the street. I was in a delirious state of panic. That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t home. I wasn’t where I was meant to be. I ran into a shop and asked the people where I was, they replied, ‘England’, to which I screamed……‘England!’. I ran out of the shop and took my phone out to call Kevin, my screen saver was of a freckly, ginger kid…….this was my son…….the photos in the house, they were my wife and 3 kids!!!!! Where the FUCK was I?!?!? I started to think about how big the house was. If I had a big house in England, with a wife and 3 kids then I wasn’t playing Bagpipes for a living. Not only was I realising this shocking new reality but I was also heart broken for the one that I’d left behind. I ran round the streets looking for a pub to settle my nerves and gather my mind from melting down the back of my neck. I entered through a small door way with clouded glass……..I awoke. It was like I had stepped back into my own head.
Now none of this is that shocking. It’s not a horror filled dream. I wasn’t battling unimaginable monsters, my teeth weren’t falling out of my head, I wasn’t in a haunted house. These are all dreams triggered by general anxiety, we all get them. The dreams that cut me the deepest are the ones that involve real people, people that you know and love, past and present. These are the ones that leave me feeling drained and full of great sadness. They can be a stark reminder that you should really appreciate what you have or that you should find a way of making peace with the loss of loved ones. I have a lot of hang ups attached to people that I’ve lost. Regrets that I didn’t spend enough time with them, didn’t see them before they passed or didn’t tell them the things I needed to tell them. These are the ghosts of our past, the lingering, unresolved emotions. These are the things that haunt us.
So, some of us may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety, emotions and stress, causing our brains to go into panic mode. We should perhaps just slow down, take a minute to breath deeply and appreciate what we have. The life we have, our Health and the loved ones that we’re trapped in our houses with!! We can spend our lives letting the question, ‘What if?!’, torture us, or, we can open our arms and embrace what the universe has gifted us!
Peace oot!! X
Disclaimer – this is not an anti – English dream, or an anti – having a wife and 3 kids dream, or an anti – anything dream. Just my brain reminding me to appreciate what I have by putting me in a situation that is the complete opposite of where I am. Although you can tell what may have been seeping into my head that helped the design of this dream.
I hope you’re all surviving out there?! These are uncertain times in which we’re navigating. I am one of many, many people that have recently lost most, if not all, of their work for the year. The ongoing situation has effected gigging, touring and teaching. It’s turned our wee world upside down, creating financial strain and robbing us of the ability to create and share with each other. We’ve had to find new ways of working, most of which has involved moving our work online. This has led to us having to learn skills that may be completely alien and way out of our comfort zone. It’s amazing to see so many fellow musicians facing these challenges head on and finding new ways to traverse these murky waters.
There is a massive positive side to all of this. Some of us have been able to spend quality time with loved ones. It has shone a light on how little time our hectic lives allow for us to do so. This time together will hopefully strengthen bonds and perhaps allow us to rethink how we go about our lives moving forward. Working from home, through the use of technology, can provide a way for us to enjoy the best of both worlds……. eventually.
I’ve managed to create a flow and a pace that I feel is more in balance with my mental health and well being. I’m spending most of my time working on tune writing and building music! It has become my main workload, which I am very grateful for. It’s not the worst way to be spending this time. I’ve been writing tune commissions for people, this has allowed me to work on my writing and push myself in different directions. It’s important when writing music to use musical devices to help discover new melodies, whether it be playing around with time signatures, keys, intervals or space. I’m very fortunate that I can be learning whilst working. Sometimes we forget to do the former, LEARN! I’m sure we’ve all learned to do things that we didn’t think we were capable of?!
I’ve found time and energy to spend on the many things that get swept under the carpet. We don’t always find time to give to our own music, to our own passion projects. So, I think of this as a wee gift within the darkness. A moment to focus on the things that have been sitting on my shoulders for a long time. It has granted all of us that freedom. The freedom to experiment, find sound, create new melodies, enjoy silence, search for common ground in others, find new musical connections and dive deep into what drew us into this world in the first place……..the music!!
One of the things I’ve found myself working on is a tune book. It’s something that I’ve considered for a while but never had the time, or the headspace to get into. To be honest, this blog was supposed to be a post about the tune book……I’ve found myself on a wee detour………ach well! I was encouraged by Davie Hunter, not long after lockdown began, to get on the case. Well, I’m now very excited to let you all know that the book has finally gone off to print. This wasn’t an easy journey by any means. I definitely underestimated the time and effort that goes into putting a book together. I had the tunes written out of course, but in a million different formats……..different sizes, spacing, fonts etc. They were all over the place! I did come close to pressing the eject button a few times. Instead of driving myself to the brink, I decided to ask for help. Yup, I reached out to some friends and asked for help. Another thing which I think we sometimes forget to do……simply ask for help. You’ll be surprised by the fact that people really do want to answer the call. So, I made contact with my pal and fellow Perthshire born musician, Patsy Reid! Patsy is a genius, a monster musician, composer and an incredibly beautiful person. She was quickly appointed editor in chief and soon began work on the layout of the tunes. We all have different ways of writing out music. This can vary between musical genres and also between instruments. I needed someone to help me make some crucial decisions! Patsy has been invaluable throughout this process. I cannot find a way to thank her enough. I imagine I’ll probably be on the rounds for the rest of our days…….that I can do! There are others that went above and beyond. Of course, Davie Hunter. Davie is responsible for the overall design and layout of the book. He has become the go to guy, especially within the piping community. He’s produced books for the Gordon Duncan trust, Fred Morrison, Roddy MacDonald, Ross Ainslie and many others. I also had three of the piping worlds finest, John Mulhearn, Ross Ainslie and Lorne MacDougall, on proof reading duties. Marissa Waite was the technical wizard behind the setup of my online shop. She sorted out my website so that I could take pre orders. Marissa is a creative force! Not only is she a giant when it comes to web designing and technical stuff, she’s an incredible musician and master bodhran player! Then there was Brother Paul Jennings. Paul very recently relocated back to Scotland after a ten year stop off in the US! To say we missed him would be an understatement. Since he’s been back we’ve toured together, laughed together and snored together. As well as being an incredible drummer and Olympic snorer, he is a great photographer and videographer. The pictures on the cover of the book were taken by Paul, for that I am incredibly thankful! I’m just sorry that he didn’t have a more photogenic subject to work with! A big thanks also goes out to Susan Whyte and Jacky Pankhurst. They both helped out with all of the blurb in the book. They turned the ramblings of a clown into some sort of sense…..I hope! All of these incredible people, these immensely talented people have helped bring this book into the world!! And of course, last but not at the bottom of the pile of importance are all of the folk that had the faith to pre order the book. You helped turn a thought into reality. Thank you to you all from the bottom of my heart!
If you’re interested in knowing more about these extraordinary human beings, you can follow these links and check out their work………