News, and other observations

The OA: oh sweet Jesus no


posted Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Netflix has announced they've cancelled The OA.  For Christ's sake.  What are they thinking

Let me be clear.  I love Netflix, but watching anything made by the channel is often a completely subreal experience.  Despite terrific production values, and being able to attract big name talent by offering them more creative control than they'd ever get with most networks, and clearly having the budget needed, most of their stuff is really just plain... well, weird, and overwhelmingly unrewarding.  I mean look at Stranger Things.  I mean people rave about it, but.. well, you don't have those people as friends, do you. 

The OA was consummately creative; brilliant, original, beautiful.  Truly original storytelling, of a truly original story.  I can see how it was challenging for studio executives, given it was nonlinear, difficult to summarise, impossible to characterise; and nigh on impossible to interfere with, since you'd have to at least pretend to understand it first. 

I'd love to believe that Netflix is better than this, that it's all the sort of meta-meta marketing element for the next series/level of the show that you dream of marketing people being capable of.  But I've worked with marketing people; they're not.   I doubt you could explain to them, what I mean...

Somebody buy them out, for God sakes

Disappointed, Wellington

California Tapes release date - 1 September 2019


posted Saturday, August 03, 2019

At the end of 2018 - during a lull in recording, while Emily was changing dresses, Rob was summoning the tardis and Bob was learning the next 8 bars of the solo - Project Feijoa put a small satellite into orbit around Neptune (it's in preparation for a trip we are thinking about). Today, we released The California Tapes to streaming.  This is the most complicated thing we've done since. 

The California Tapes will be released on 1 September 2019.  It's on all streaming platforms.  iTunes pre-release is 14 August.  Hallelujah

Music in the Glen. Or rather, in Baobab...


posted Friday, August 02, 2019

A huge thanks to Yanick and all the staff at Baobab for putting on the inaugural Music in the Glen gig in Newtown last night.  A great night had by all, etc.  Also thanks to all the folks who turned out to watch.  It's a thing: we'll be back on 29 November.  If not before...

Race for the Sun. That's what it's called, apparently


posted Thursday, July 18, 2019

Gillian and I have been working not very hard on our debut album for an awfully long time, and awfully hard for not a very long time.  She tells me we're going to finish it, it's going to be great, and it's going to be called Race for the Sun. It's going to feature four songs, three which I've enscribed especially for the occasion, and one by a young, up-and-coming-songwriter from these parts, one Andrew London.  It's called Emily Bay and it's a belter, folks.  We're gonna try and not mess it up.  You won't have heard of Andrew; he's new and has no profile around the Wellington area.  Natty dresser, though. 

We may or may not just get this puppy out in time for our tour of Nova Scotia and New England in October & November this year (we're also playing in Oregon). I've heard of Nova Scotia; it's bloody miles away, and Gillian tells me it's warm and extremely modern. 

This is amazing.  Not having had my name on a recording for nine years, shortly two of the buggers could be finished.  Mixed blessing; all those recordings I've not had my name on have sold like hotcakes. 

Unbelievable as it may seem... The California Tapes is finished


posted Wednesday, July 17, 2019

OK, so I suck at updates. But I'm still alive.  And tonight, however incredible it seems, we finished the last of the masters for the new Project Feijoa album, The California Tapes.  I wrote the first of the songs (Jesusita) in California on a Greyhound bus on 17 September 2009 (I keep meticulous notes), so if we take a month to get the thing onto streaming, it'll be exactly a ten year project.  Of course, I haven't been fully committed to it for every day in between.  Other things have at times seemed important; just not recently, when I began wondering where the years beginning 201.. had gone. 

Oddly, as it became (quite recently) apparent that Tapes might actually be finishable, I've often found myself thinking back to the Scottish summer of 1995, when (- wait: I just used Scottish and summer in the same sentence; let me backtrack.  Between about April and September 1995, I finished and wrote up a PhD, which is to say, I spent those months actually doing it, as opposed to climbing and playing music in the Scottish Highlands and occasionally getting absurdly drunk at pointless conferences in appalling concrete-and-brick eyesores in various parts of England, which is what I'd previously been led to believe a PhD at a Scottish University actually consisted of). 

Yeah, anyway.  Did I put all those brackets and full stops in the right places?  My point... yes.  I haven't worked as hard on anything since 1995, so I hope you like it.  If you do, most of the credit is due to Emily and Rob; but buy it for God sakes, because the royalties are due to me. 

Say it ain't so


posted Friday, July 12, 2019

I just heard something incredible.  From the horse's mouth, as it were.  Mark Knopfler is apparently giving up touring.  Something to do with being old or something.  Marky!  Nooooooooo

Go watch any of the recent vids posted from the '19 tour and tell me this is a man who needs to hang it up.  If you ask me, he's goin back SOUTH on some of those old songs. 

Seriously, this is a man who's been showing us all what it's about for 40 years - the art of the picture-in-a-song and how to use the guitar when you're painting that picture.  Ain't but maybe 5 other guys who've ever been able to do it. 

Mark, stop this nonsense.  You got it more than ever dude

A lost art: John Mayer in Auckland


posted Sunday, March 24, 2019

OK, so you might think that I was bound to think this show was great, being a huge fan of John Mayer.  But no, actually, I was terrified it might not be great.  He's one of my favourite songwriters and one of my favourite guitar players and I knew what I wanted out of this.  He's also done stuff I don't love, he plays blues which I don't love, and at big concerts like this you just never know what you're gonna get. Even big, big talents  can get drawn into the twaddle of modern R&B pop - that sort of warbly pastiche that's on top of everything - and John has skirted around the edge of it.  Tastefully, that's the point; he knows just where to stop.  Or so it seems from his records.  But I'd never seen him live. 

So what did we get?  We got... the lost art of rock music.  For two stunning sets.  Terrific songs, great band (actually if anything too many cooks in the guitar department, you don't fly to Auckland to a John Mayer gig to hear somebody else play guitar), but more to the point, John Mayer in the front.  He's the whole package, this guy.  And rock music?  Not dead, thank God.  On the strength of this, he might be saving it all by himself. 

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