Friday 19 September 2014

It’s the morning after the referendum vote, and Scotland appears to have a democracy hangover. Let’s hope that the right-wing parties in Westminster don’t exact too terrible a revenge for Scotland having the audacity to hold democratic power, even if it was only for 15 hours yesterday. We can be proud of our 84.6% turnout, and I’m especially proud of our young people (including my own children) who engaged wholeheartedly in the process and voted overwhelmingly to hang on to that power of self-determination. It was nothing to do with being Scottish: it was about returning power from an elite to the population. We’ll get there eventually.

On Monday night I was in the great company of Adrianne Greenbaum, Michael Alpert and Lev Atlas doing this.

Sunday 31 August 2014

I’ve just had the Estey reed organ out of the cellar to prepare it for active service with Adrianne Greenbaum in a couple of weeks. I’ll be playing the Dundee, Glasgow, Ayr and Giffnock (!) gigs of this tour (despite not being even slightly Jewish, as far as I know). And hooray, some ConCal gigs are coming up in a few weeks, and next summer, so I’m getting myself into music planning mode, which I’d pretty much forgotten how to do. I’m hoping that the Stodart square piano will be ready for its first outing by October 3: fingers crossed.

Given the political news this week, perhaps it’s time for the Yes campaign to start its own Project Fear. Fear of living in a country where Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are taken seriously as agents of change. Fear of the UK opting out of European human rights legislation, or even of Europe altogether. Fear of further restrictions on civil liberties and on justice as a result of a faraway terrorist threat. That’s all pretty scary. And that’s before we even start on the NHS, inequality, restrictions on immigration, or any of the rest. A Yes vote would make another future possible.

Oh, and we have CD copies of Spring Any Day Now (click on ‘next’) back in stock. It’s quite good, you know …

Friday 8 August 2014

It’s nice to be revisiting our Purcell disc after such a long time away from it – if I say so myself it’s sounding rather good. It’s so diverse that I’ve still no idea about a running order: I’m just listening to it on shuffle. Alison and I are going to sit down and listen through properly on Sunday to see what we think.

There’s a US classical music magazine that when you put an album out, reviews it, and before publication offers you the chance to become its cover star when the review appears by buying lots of advertising. This is fair enough really: the concept of advertorial isn’t exactly scandalous. But the review that we were just sent for our Hume disc includes the unfortunate phrase ‘Walker’s excellent emission’. It’s almost worth paying $3000 just to see that in print.

If you’re in Scotland and haven’t decided to vote Yes yet, please read this.

Here’s the view of Loch Lomond at the end of an after-dinner bike ride on Monday night. 19 miles to the loch along canal, old railway line and river, then just time to hop on the train at Balloch and be back for an early bedtime.

looking up the loch from Balloch

Saturday 2 August 2014

I’m not often grateful for a day of torrential rain, but today it meant that I could get on with a job which is at least a year overdue, and make some serious headway into the first edit of our Purcell’s Revenge album, recorded last April. So far there are 21 tracks done and just 2 to go, so with a bit of luck and some more rain, I might be in a position to start putting together a running order by tomorrow night.

Next Sunday I’ll be appearing on Clare Salaman’s Early Music Show on Radio 3, with some Concerto Caledonia-minded thoughts on How to be HIP: that’s Historically Informed Performance rather than 1950s youth culture.  As you can imagine, Clare and I have plenty to talk about so I think I might have made a bit more sense than I usually do when a mic is put in front of me. As a childish statement about the BBC’s political bias and the pathetic current state of its News & Current Affairs, I decorated said mic before leaving the studio. Also next Sunday on Classic FM, we might just find our way into Catherine Bott’s programme too.