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An open letter to the PCC and Closer Magazine


Closer Magazine – Repugnant and Irresponsible.

Yesterday, whilst fuelling up the car, I spotted this headline on the front of Closer Magazine.

Skinny and pregnant, or not... and fat.

I often find myself aghast at the filth pedalled by red top magazines in the vague guise of journalism and reportage, but this one I couldn’t just let lie, so here’s what I’ve sent to the PCC and here’s hoping that some action is taken.

Dear PCC,

I hope this finds you well. Spotted the headlines and pictures detailed at

It’s clearly highly irresponsible to a) portray the woman on the right as someone who is showing a “tum” and implying that she should lose weight, and also to encourage slimming/dieting when pregnant. It’s also sensationalist and clearly a dangerous thing to pedal to young impressionables. I’m reporting this to you if only on the basis that it flouts the following from your Code Of Conduct: Read more…


Like a Music Industry Conference, But In Your Computer!


Tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday, music industries website New Music Strategies and the web-brilliantness team at Amplified are working together to deliver a collaborative, online event about music and the music industries.

Amplified by Amps

For those of you know know the NMS and Amplifiedteams, you’ll know that I have quite a few conversations with them on that there Twitter and I am hugely pleased to say that for tomorrow’s project I’ll be working with them.

The event will go something like this; opening with a 10 minute video of a music industry worker saying something interesting, followed by a round-table discussion. Simultaneously, there’ll be an open chat-room, and we’ll be bringing in conversations from the chat room while the discussion is happening. Moreover, the whole shebang, videos discussions, chat-room activity and conversations will be archived for use later. What’s really interesting about this for me is that the team are asking people to continue the conversations on their own blogs, websites and on twitter  … as Steve Lawson put it,

“People need to process, to talk things through in the ‘coffee breaks’ and perhaps to go and blog their thoughts, to add to the weight and value of the overall conversation.
We want the conversation to be wider,
the output to be more easily sharable,
and the end result to be easy to access as an archive.”

So, time being of the essence, this will be happening four times over the next two days, 4pm and 8pm (GMT) on Tuesday the 21st, and Wednesday the 22nd of June, with the 4pm slot being run from Leeds, with Laura Kidd, Andrew Dubber & I. The 8pm slots running with Steve Lawson et al from Nashville.

It’s been in the pipeline some time. You can read about it a little more here, here and here, but if nothing else, if you are into music, and the business of music, make yourself free at 4pm and/or 8pm for the next two nights.

See you there.

It’s Oh So Quiet…


A few people have emailed and tweeted with me recently asking why I’d not been around as much over here on this blog, some people even asked if I was well and healthy. I appreciate the concern, but worry thee not… I am alive and well.

I’ve been working a lot on the Hope and Social record Sleep Sound and touring and promoting the record too, but also I’ve had my head down working on a piece for me MA in Music Industries. We were asked to write 5 blog posts (on the, and to re-draft them for submission as one 3,000 word piece. Even with a redraft (from the blogs that went to make up the draft, below), I was still over my word limit a bit, but here’s what I’ve been writing about.

The Democratisation of Music Distribution – Everyone can distribute their music… this is a good thing vs this is a bad thing, this is a new thing vs this is an old thing. Not the first time I’ve written on this subject.

Everyone Else is Doing it So Why Can’t We? (or… The Democratisation of Music Production) – not dis-similar to the above arguements but from a slightly different perspective.

The Death of The Music Industry A bit broad this one. Not sure I really got to the crux of my argument but it was the first subject I attempted. I’m still learning like. [grin]

Piracy and Policy – I find the idea that policy is made by and for the small percent of musicians who make millions, as opposed to the millions of musicians who make hundreds and thousands a huge cultural anomaly. I’ve discussed this a bit here

Beyond The Text – Meaning Outside of The Music – How do the wider activities of (particularly our social-media aware) musicians give a context and meaning to the songs they write and the records they make.

Quite a lot of words there, sorry.

There’s also been the blogs going up on the Hope and Social site about the recording of the album… but I can take very little credit for that… as I’ve been in tour, work or scholarly modes…

No rest for the wicked mind, there’s another one due in in a week or so. So rest assured that I will be “going dark” in a Black Hawk Down stylee for the rest of this week… at least. But I’ll be back.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts on those blogs please do chime in on the comments, here or over on the pages. It’s really useful to us doing the Music Industries MA in our studies, and for H&S as a band.

Hope and Social – Sleep Sound review by Oliver Arditi


All of us who are part of Hope and Social were genuinely moved to find this review by Oliver Arditi over on his blog. There’s an excerpt below but follow the Read More link to get the blog in full. Better still, have a look around his site, read about his Monday Musical Musings and his reviews of other schtuff… not least his review of Steve Lawson‘s 11 Reasons why 3 is Greater Than Everything.

We’re overjoyed with this review. Not only is it elegantly written, but it really feels like Oli really gets what Hope and Social are about here. It feels like a step forward for us. So Oli, hats off, thanks and it’s my round. See you at a show sometime soon we hope.


Here’s the review:


Hope and Social - Sleep Sound (alternative rock) Hope and Social, 2011, DD album, 42m 50s, £name your price I remember at school my art teacher exhorting the class to stop drawing tiny pictures in the corner and to cover the page with bold strokes, to step out and give voice to whatever it was we wanted to express. Well, there are no bushels on top of Hope and Social’s light: they fill the canvas; they are bold; they are bright colours and big gestur … Read More

via Oliver Arditi

Gary Stewart Tour – Pt 1


It’s been a busy old time finishing the Hope and Social record this past few weeks and no sooner than we finished making that than Gary Stewart picks me up to head to Bristol, Bath and beyond for a tour of his stuff.

We arrived in Bristol yesterday and after checking in with Zak (Gary’s mate and member of…), we had chance to rehearse a cover that we’ve put in the set, an old favourite of mine “Nothing Ever Happens”

Nuala Honan

… then on to our first night show at the Golden Lion with a set at “The Lions Den”, a weekly night hosted by Nuala Honan who treated us to a gorgeous welcome, and then two fine sets, first from the guitar/Uke wielding Lori Campbell who was talented, humorous and audience involving… (you know how I like a proper Performance). Here’s a video of her in more reflective/serious mode…

…followed by our hostess Nuala Honan who knocked us out with her voice, her directness and a fab cover of

Here’s some of Nuals’s music, though I’d suggest you follow her on Twitter really. ;)

One of the great things about coming out and do stuff with Gary is that (even if only slightly) it’s a different world to that which I’m used to occupying with Hope and Social and we do get to do a whole load of interesting stuff. This afternoon we played at Songs From The Shed, hosted by the lovely Jon Earl. His shed has been graced by the likes of Roddy Woomble, Alabama 3 and more but today it was the turn of Gary Stewart and Friends (which is the name we seem to be going by on this tour). The shed is amazing!

The Shed - Songs From The Shed

The video’s should be up in the next few weeks but meanwhile, here’s a little hide and seek with Gary Stewart.

Open Mic

Last night we had a cheeky Open Mic session at the Left Bank Centre, of which the highlight was Jez Hellard. Gladly today we bumped into him busking in Bristol town centre. Here’s his ace harmonica playing.

and last but not least, we’ve been record shopping today. ELO and Phil Collins picture disk for me… considered this Duke Ellington box set but was a bit short of cash…. next time.

Now, onwards to Bath!

Live at Leeds 2011


Honour Before Glory bt Bart Pettman

Had a lovely time at the Live at Leeds Unconferenceyesterday meeting new people and seeing familiar faces.Also I was doing something I’ve not done before; moderating a panel. I’m not used to being a moderator so big thanks to Whiskas and Carl for give me the opportunity and the challenge. I’m used to being the yawper, not the person encouraging the yawping… Seemed to go ok mind.

On the panel were Tony Morley of The Leaf LabelJay Kerr from Ditto Music and Al English of Nine Minute Records and Youthmovies, who were all great, insightful and forward thinking… and they let me have a wee bit of yawping time too. [grin]

Ones to watch and not to miss

Just had a scout at what’s on via the Live at Leeds timetable and wanted to post some recomendations… So if unlike me you’re not trapped in an underground studio with no natural light today, here’s what I’d be going to see…here we go..:

2PM at Holy Trinity Church – Sam Airey
4.30 PM Stylus (Leeds Uni) our mate Arthur Rigby and the Baskervylles.
6PM at Holy Trinity Church – Bear Mask
8PM at the Brudenell – Honour Before Glory. Great, good people, top tunes.
9-30PM MINE (Leeds Uni) – Dinosaur Pileup and… if you can be in two places at once…
10PM at Leeds Met – Pulled Apart By Horses

A Hawk In The Rain


I’m a neglectful friend

Due to working so very hard on getting the Hope and Social record finished, I’ve totally failed to plug this until now (I’ve failed tpo do much else to be honest… eek), but there’s some beautiful music being made by (amongst others) H&S’s Simon Goff, and Cassis Birgit Staudt (with whom Ed and I have been working on a film soundtrack with)… it involves the chaps from Lantern Music and if you’ve not already heard A Hawk in The Rain, here’s something to be going on with while you read further.


This project is part of Simon Goff‘s major project at BCU (where I am studying my MA in Music Industries) and as he’ll tell you, it’s been a huge learning curve. If you want a read of the whole AHITR story, it’s all on their blog. For me though it’s become regular listening, and it’s beautiful, so I’m going to ask for your help.


The important thing though (and I appreciate that I’m springing this on you somewhat) is that they’re still a wee way short of their kickstarter target. They’ll get it, I’m in on this shortly too, but if you do like the tunes and want to help the AHITR chaps make their art, hop over to their Kickstarter page and bob a fiver in the tin… say like in the next 50 minutes… that ok?


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