Gareth Goes to Glyndebourne

I watched the first episode of Gareth Malone‘s latest exploits on BBC2 last night. In Gareth Goes to Glyndebourne, the ever-charming and delightfully enthusiastic Gareth follows the now-familiar pattern of taking a bunch of ordinary working-class kids and introducing them to a whole new world of music and singing, in this case by getting them to perform in a specially written opera at the world-renowned Glyndebourne opera house.

Yes, we’ve seen similar stuff before, and in the hands of almost anyone else it’d be quite boring by now, but somehow Gareth Malone manages to keep our interest. A great deal of this has to be due to his infectious passion for singing and his refusal to give up in the face of the kids’ initial indifference. It really is lovely to watch, despite a certain predictability. I’ll be glued to the remaining two episodes and to whatever Mr. Malone comes up with next.

Stealing Jenni’s First Gig

Stealing Jenni

Last night was our first gig, courtesy of Camden Calling. I’d been extremely nervous but as it turned out I needn’t have been. There were one or two fluffs but essentially we did really well. It was Jenni’s birthday, too, so before we started there was a cake, bubbles in lieu of candles, and a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday To You’. We played all six of the songs we’d decided to cover, the audience favourite being our slow, acoustic version of Britney Spears’ ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’, which went over very well indeed. The best news of all is that we’ve been asked to play again, which was my criterion for judging the evening a success, so I’m very pleased. A huge thanks to Alexis and Camden Calling for having faith and putting us on unauditioned.

You can find the complete set of photos here.

Gigs At Two Venues

OK, now I’ve got this site moved to a new host I can start blogging again properly. So last Tuesday my friend Jenni and I headed for the Underworld in Camden to see friends The Veil playing. Neither of us had seen them live before and I have to confess we were both suitably impressed. If Goth/Metal is your thing, give them a listen.

Once we were done there we headed over to Monto Water Rats to see The Quotes. Jenni had seen them before and had given me a copy of their album, which I really like. They were excellent live and a thoroughly good time was had, especially as we bumped into Ruth, who we’d met before at an SCA event.

An honourable mention also goes to Lux Lisbon, who were also on at Monto’s. Tight, poppy, good looking. Well worth seeing again.

Guitar Lessons

I’ve been playing the guitar for many years, on and off, but really not improving very much. However, getting back into making music recently and having a gig lined up are forcing me to up my game. To that end, I have an initial assessment with a local guitar teacher tonight. Handily, he also teaches performance-related stuff such as building a repertoire and singing harmonies. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to help me push my playing to the next level, and if I can gain something useful between now and our first gig I’ll be very happy.

Feeling Better

This morning I woke up feeling much, much better and more awake than I have for some time. I really hope this is the beginning of the end of my recent bout of insomnia, with which I’ve been boring the pants off the world recently.

Another plus is that tonight I’m off to see my friends Lord Byron play at the launch of their single, which all of you will, of course, buy immediately. I know I may be viewed as just a tad biased but they really are very good indeed, as well as being genuinely nice people. If you want to support an up-and-coming band, this is the one. At least until Stealing Jenni get going properly! 🙂

First Proper Gig

My friend Jenni and I decided a while back to get together to perform some music. A rather silly discussion between ourselves and my fiancee Jenny produced the name Stealing Jenni. Nick, Jenni – see? Anyway, we’ve been rehearsing and have now secured our first proper gig courtesy of the fine people at Camden Calling. It’ll be on 19th May at the Enterprise, Camden, starting at around 7pm. If you’re in the area, do please come along and see us and the other fine acts on the bill. It’s all in a very good cause.

A Facebook page and MySpace page are currently under construction, although I’ve taken the liberty of linking to them from the sidebar already. There’s not a lot there yet, but do visit them regularly if you want to know what we’re up to.

Six Decades of Music

I’ve just realised that my music collection contains recordings from every decade since the 1950’s, which I reckon isn’t too bad. I recently bought an MP3 player big enough to contain my entire collection and I have to say that it’s a wonderful thing. Having access to all my music all the time is just fantastic. Money very well spent.


This month’s Folkcast podcast is available now. If you like good music (and who doesn’t?) go and grab it now. There’s an excellent selection of stuff, including a song by an artist who’s new to me, Ruth Theodore. The great thing, I discovered, is that her album, Worm Food, is available as a free download. What more could you ask? Good music for nowt. Check her out and support her if you like what you hear. The same goes for all the other artists featured this month, of course.

Death Magnetic

I bought a copy of Metallica’s new album, Death Magnetic, yesterday. I’ve only listened to it once so far but I’m very impressed. It’s the best album I’ve bought for a while. It hearks back to the band’s earlier sound, which is rather like being hit repeatedly in the face by a load of spanners in a velvet bag (in a good way!) but retains a thoroughly modern feel. Solid, powerful riffs, some damn fine tunes and nice changes of pace. If heavy metal is your thing, give it a try.

FolkCast July ’08

This month’s edition of FolkCast is now available. It’s a special tribute show, after attacks on the Woven Wheat Whispers music site brought it down so many times that it was decided, very sadly, to abandon it. There really are some unpleasant people out there, people who seem to delight in destruction and in spoiling other folks’ pleasure for their own amusement. I can only hope that, somehow, they get what they deserve.