Media · Music

Francis Macdonald – Hamilton Mausoleum Suite

Fellow fashion victim Francis Macdonald has a new classical piece coming out very soon and here he is on the front of the Arts section of The Herald last Saturday…there is a picture not dissimilar to this on Francis’ blog (linked from here under “Cool Stuff” below.  Between “Zoella” and “Plain or Pan” – who’s not eclectic?)
“Scales from the Crypt” though? And I don’t think “reincarnation” is quite the right word.
But I shouldn’t be too hard on The Herald – I’m a little in love with them today as they’ve sent me a free Kindle Paperwhite after I entered a giveaway a couple of weeks ago.
Joking aside, it gladdened my heart to see this recognition for Francis. I’ve known him for a long time and have an idea of how hard and assiduously he’s worked as a musician, label manager, artist manager, impresario, songwriter and composer in many genres for many years.

Francis MacDonald Teenage Fanclub Glasgow Herald


The cover art for Hamilton Mausoleum Suite, which will be released on Francis’ label on 26 January.  Or Friday.  It’s going to be a big deal, I think and hope.

Francis MacDonald Hamilton Mausoleum Suite


First World problems…

The Guardian the final Berliner


The final Berliner format Saturday edition of The Guardian, which will become tabloid from tomorrow, Monday.
Worrying about the shape of a newspaper is such a first world problem. Privilege needs to be checked. I could never understand why there couldn’t be quality writing in a tabloid format, then a journalist explained to me few years ago why tabloid size and shape aren’t amenable to long or densely argued articles. Although it made sense at the time, I’ve completely forgotten the gist of her explanation…
I’m sure everything will be fine even as “that pinko comic that you read” becomes more comic sized.
This has been my first blog post in ages, at least, since last October. Nothing bad has kept me away, apart from a natural antipathy to sitting at a computer and laziness…life has gone on at its usual intriguing pace, every day something delights or engages me.
The lack of posts drives the webmaster crazy, quite rightly. Sorry Chris.
To that end, although I don’t do New Year resolutions, I’m saying here that I will aim to post something every day from now on. There’s always something amuses or enchants me.
2017 was a great year, effectively a gap year which has allowed me to look around and breathe for awhile. A gap year in one’s late fifties is tremendous, I wouldn’t have known what to do any younger – and at least I paid for it rather than fawning parents. Lots of good things happened.
I’ll be starting a new job in a couple of weeks, so to an extent fun time will be curtailed. I have, however, learned more about what I consider to be fun in the last year and have also learned a much clearer form of self-determination.
A few weeks ago I had the dream of all my teeth falling out into a cupped hand. This is supposed to be a very common dream, although I’ve never had it before and no-one I have spoken to about it has had it either. Apparently it symbolises looking forward to a change…
My old dentist Alison gave me these casts of my teeth a few years ago. Truly one from the Bumper Book of British smiles, a real knocked over graveyard full of 1960’s choppers.


Dental cast Stuart Ferguson


The millennial and the baby boomer…


Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Michelle Hanson
Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Michelle Hanson


Normally I’m much too selfish to feel sorry for anyone else…but I found the article here from Saturday’s Guardian very poignant.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett (youngish) and Michele Hanson (oldish) compare notes on their lives; what was, what is still to come.

I’m kind of glad I’m not even youngish any more.

But a beautifully written article.


The Sunday Post quiz

The Sunday Post Quiz - the best way to eat an egg

The Sunday Post quiz was (and may still be) a feature in the paper where workplace teams were invited to participate in a general knowledge quiz, each correct answer generating a cash payment for a nominated charity.

I came across the scan below of the said item for publication date January 12 1992, which shows that a week or two before, a team of four intelligent, sensitive and frankly handsome men from the Virgin Megastore in Argyle Street, Glasgow had been the contestants.

In the heat of the moment, I remember we did a great impersonation of the Provisional Wing of the Village Idiots’ League – it’s funny how the answer to a question like “what’s the best way to eat an egg” just eludes one when the pressure is on – still and all, with constant help from the Sunday Post man (as in, he gave us most of the answers,) we made £37.50 for Nordoff Robbins, or Nordoff Collins as the Post had it.  But they spelled my name wrong too.

Good to see from the splash ad that Tandy were still banging out dual auto-reverse cassette decks for £149.95.  That was a fortune then.  I worked for Tandy in Edinburgh for a few months in the early eighties and it was a unique retail environment, shall we say; God knows what the customers thought.

Media · Music

Pop Art and ARTPOP

Andy Warhol: Power Pop and Politics

It was good to be in the first pack (see above) to see the Andy Warhol “Pop, Power and Politics” exhibition which opened at the Scottish Parliament building on 5th October.

Was that a flash of civic pride I felt?  That our “rainbow parliament” could host such an exhibition in Edinburgh?  There are about forty works on show, the power and politics part of the shows title represented by Warhol’s paintings of various world leaders, living queens and dollar signs…but my favourite was the big self-portrait shown below, with Matt Wrbican, the archivist of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Andy Warhol self-portrait with Matt Wrbican

It’s a small but well presented exhibition (notwithstanding the reflective glass on most of the paintings) and yet another reason to be proud of the city of Edinburgh.  That it is housed in such a wonderful building as the Scottish Parliament is a bonus.

Enric Miralles’ building remains impressive inside and out (is that the civic pride again?)  The Scots can piss away the money with no heed of budget better than anybody (compare the Edinburgh Trams project,) but this was worth it.

Scottish Parliament building by Enric Miralles

Meanwhile, another great artist has unveiled her new album sleeve; Lady Gaga has worked with Jeff Koons to produce the sleeve of ARTPOP (I think the capitalisation is correct) a mere fifty-seven years after Richard Hamilton coined the phrase “pop art.”

Hopefully the music will live up to the sleeve in boldness and invention; Gaga’s last album Born This Way was a disappointment after the heady joys of The Fame Monster and had one of the worst sleeves ever…

Lady Gaga ARTPOP with Jeff Koons