#onesongaweek

One song a week, for the whole of 2012.

Week 42 – ‘Fishing’

Above the water, week 42 has been busy:

Below the waves, week 42 has been even busier…

Monday:
Meeting at 12. Had a swordfish salad (I wasn’t paying)! Rang around and confirmed lots of people for the onesongaweek live show. Went to see Ed Sheeran on the third night of his residency at Hammersmith Apollo. Awesome, but took a dark turn after I lost a game of Jenga, mixed wine with beer and visited Mcdonalds on the way home.

Tuesday:
Went to bed at midnight after being sick. Got out of bed at 8:30am having not slept a single wink and been sick a few more times. Went to the Doctor. Return of the stomach ulcer? …Here’s some Omeprazole.

Wednesday:
Marginally better. Found the energy to drink some soup and wasn’t sick at all. Started working on the song and did a load of admin stuff behind the scenes.

Thursday:
Woke up early to go back to the Doctor for a check-up. Stomach recovering but for some reason my pulse has a resting rate of about 50 so I’ve been told to go for one of those ECG things just to check I’m not dying. Came home, thought a bit, had some more soup and recorded the song.

Friday:
Woke up and made a few tweaks to the song. Proof-read the blog and uploaded it. Started thinking about week 43, week 48 and week ??.  Planned rehearsals/wrote a set-list for the live show in December (this is going to be the most organised gig of my entire life)!

 

 

The Blurb:

This weeks song is a collaboration with a remarkable chap called Davey Macmanus – who is the singer and songwriter in one of my all-time favourite bands, The Crimea.  He’s also a nurse and aid volunteer who has spent a large chunk of his 2012 living in Africa trying to make people’s lives both happier and more bearable.  To top if all off he writes songs that I couldn’t even write in my dreams.

I remember seeing ‘Lottery Winners on Acid’ on Top of the Pops back in the day and it struck a real chord with me, which led to me buying the ‘Tragedy Rocks’ album and falling head over heels in love with it.

I’ve been lucky enough to play a couple of shows with The Crimea over the last few years and decided to chance a speculative approach back in January about doing some work together. Long story short, Davey sent some ideas over with a lovely email and I got to work…

Instead of talk about this weeks song and how it all came together I’d like to talk about teddy bears and royalties.

I’ve been keeping up to date with Davey’s work in Africa (through his blogs and an ebook) and since returning in July he’s been talking about a new charity (yet to be named) that’s in it’s infancy.  This is where all the royalties from this weeks song will be going.

Also, I wanted to draw your attention to ‘The Teddy Bear Appeal’ – something Davey posted on Facebook recently:

Aim:
Collect 200 teddy bears and send them to vulnerable children and orphans in Diepsloot, South Africa in time for Christmas.

When I was in Deiplsoot I realised that these kids needed hugs, love and affection, As there is no one to give this love I figure a teddybear can perform this role, when I was there I was saddened by a teddybear I found being burned alive on a pile of stinking rubbish on a street corner, It inspired the photo-diary Death of a Teddy Bear. When I was a kid my Mother knitted me a Teddybear Davey Crockett and it stayed with me through the years of discovering the world, I was lucky, I had a loving family and all the comforts of the Western World, but I still needed that teddy to hold me tight sometimes…

Please send unwanted/old teddybears to this address:

Teddy Bear Appeal 320 Lister Court Nightingale Avenue Harrow Middelesex HA1 3GJ

 

Favourite Lyric:

“Because you make my heart go 90 miles an hour.

Love is not the same without you in my corner”

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Week 41 – Clouds

Friday morning – 01:37am.

I’m sitting in the same chair I’ve been sitting in all day and I’m not going to move until I’ve finished this blog. Deep breath…

There’s so much going on that, as ever, I don’t know where to start. First things first I’m feeling a lot better which is good news. Thanks again for all your truly heart-warming messages (and I really mean that). There are no cats and no women in my life at the moment but you’re doing a grand job of filling the void.

Right, enough soppiness and let’s get back to the land of #onesongaweek… and WHAT a week it’s been.

Remember week 30’s blog? No, me neither – I had to google it. Either way I told you that I’d been working on a song that needed finishing and it’d been giving me a bit of a hard time. Truth be told the hard time continued for about 11 weeks (on and off) until Tuesday morning at around 2am when my luck changed…

Readers of #onesongaweek it gives me great pleasure (understatement of the century) to report that a healthy, baby chorus of a song that will almost certainly not be called ‘Issues’ was born to 3 proud parents… one of whom doesn’t know about it yet! More on that soon.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the next 11 weeks. Here’s a little list of just some of the things to look forward to:

  • Writing a song with you lot (some great ideas sent into onesongaweek@mail.com already. Keep them coming)!
  • A song about football (sort of) that I wrote at 5am the other week and I’m trying to get a rap on!
  • A live show (on December 20th – put it in your diaries and sign up the mailing list for early-bird ticket news).
  • Collaboration with Ryan Keen (the song’s written but he’s currently on tour with Newton Faulkner!)
  • Something with Mark Grist (no ideas for this yet. Maybe he could get involved in the song we’re writing together? Would you like that?).
  • A new website (which you can ‘BETA test’ before it goes live by clicking the image below – let us know what you think).

It’s hard not to get really excited about everything and I’ve probably been guilty of spending a little too much of week 41 living in the future… With that in mind I had intended to piece together the football song or perhaps tackle ‘Standing On Your Street’ but then an idea fell out on Tuesday evening and I felt obliged to persevere.

 

The Blurb:

For some reason this weeks song feels like it should have been on the You, Your Cat & Me EP, which might be why I’ve grown to love it over the last 4 or 5 hours (I wasn’t sure this afternoon)!

I had been worrying about the lyrics a lot (standard procedure) right up until the recording of vocals but I feel like it’s all come together nicely. If nothing else there’s a strong element of truth to every line in this song… Some days I do feel a bit lost and some days I feel shorter than I used to. I’m constantly staying awake, waiting for the sun to call and most days I lock myself away, thinking of things to say and writing them down. They do say you should write about what you know, though I guess there’s some poetic licence in the choruses – my house really is warm but my diary is far from empty (not complaining)!

Production wise it’s been a tough one. I wish I was a proper producer (with a black leather chair and everything) but until I have a few thousand pounds to spend and lots of years to learn I’ll just have to keep plodding on. Needless to say I’ve given it my best shot and if I didn’t like the vibe then I wouldn’t have posted it… I just can’t help but wonder how incredible it would sound if it was produced by Cam Blackwood (massively talented Scottish producer who produced my first record)!

I’m going to keep this part of the blog nice and brief and get to bed I think… It’s now 2:30 and I’ve still got a list of tweaks to make on the song first thing tomorrow. Then I’ve got to deal with website, press release and merchandise stuff… and then get stuck into recording this song I can’t stop thinking about.

 

Favourite Lyric:

My favourite lyric is one of the following:

‘My house is warm and my diary’s empty’ or ‘There’s not a cloud in the sky when you’re nearby’.

It’ll be much more fun if you pick your own favourites though… Here they are (on my nice, new lyric-whiteboard).

Week 40 – Start Again

As you may know last week was a bit rubbish (to put it mildly).  My best friend went to sleep for the final time and then I woke up with tonsillitis.  Painful as it all was I took some consolation from the fact that it was my birthday next week and at least this hadn’t happened then – things could only get better.

And they did… for a while.  Monday and Tuesday came and went without a hitch and Wednesday descended into a mad scramble to finish the song and tidy my house before my birthday arrived in the small hours of Thursday morning.


I almost managed it as well.  The song was 90% finished and the house was 50% tidy.  My brother and his wife arrived at about 1am and we did what brothers do best (play FIFA) while his wife tidied the kitchen (bless her).

2am and we began the 3rd and final game of the night, having won one and lost one.  We went 1-0 up nice and early and my arms started to itch.  I thought nothing of it and played a lovely through ball over the top.  2-0 (Danny Welbeck) and my legs had joined in.  ‘This is weird’, I thought, before spraying the ball out wide to Valencia.  30 seconds later and it’s still 2-0 but I can no longer concentrate – everything itches.  What’s going on here then!?

FIFA stopped and the panic started.

After a bit of googling and a call to NHS direct it became apparent I was having a ‘moderate/severe’ allergic reaction to Penicillin –  the drug I’d been taking for 6 days since being diagnosed with tonsillitis.  My chest was tight, my lips had gone really pale and about 50% of my whole body was covered in rashes and little bumps.  Here’s my stomach.  Pretty, isn’t it?


I’ll spare you all the ins and outs but the next 6 or 7 hours were some of the worst I’ve ever had.

My lowest moment came the following morning, after I’d gone to bed feeling slightly better (having had my last contact with the emergency doctor at 6:30am).  I woke up at 8 to find that that I wasn’t over the worst of it (like the Doc had said).  I itched my way out of bed and staggered down the high street towards the Doctors…

After a Macdonald’s breakfast, 50mg of prescribed steroids and some antihistamine tablets I went back to bed (at around 10am) and managed to sleep for a couple of hours before waking up and feeling much better.

The rest of the day came and went.  I spent the afternoon with my family and we went for Tapas before I went out in the evening for some birthday drinks.  The doctor had told me not to drink alcohol but I figured I was over the worst and one or two wouldn’t hurt.  Trouble is, it’s never one or two is it?!

I felt pretty ill and pretty itchy when we got home and it didn’t take me long to figure out that I was an idiot.  Both Google and the state of my arms, legs and chest confirmed that alcohol stops the steroids from doing their job.

Good thing about alcohol, though, is that it makes sleeping a lot easier so after drinking lots of water and necking another antihistamine tablet I drifted off to sleep.   I woke up around midday this morning, tired and hungover… but no longer covered in rashes and not feeling like I was about to faint.  Result!

 

The Blurb:

Finally, here’s the song…

 

I don’t have a lot of energy left to talk about the song itself, but that’s probably for the best…

It’s about a girl I was with a few years back.  It only lasted 3 or 4 months and I always knew she wasn’t the one – but I started writing this a few days afterwards when part of me was still convinced I’d let a really good thing go.

Nothing bad happened… I just didn’t try hard enough to make it work.  She’d been trying her hardest but I’d been fully preoccupied with me and my guitar.  Standard.

This week I’ve been playing around with a few different ideas on the production.  There’s now a piano version of the song, a guitar version of the song and also a ‘dancy’ version of the song.   This (final) version seems to take a little bit out of each one and meet somewhere in the middle.

Right now I kind of like it, but it’s late and I’m tired.  My back is also starting to itch. Fetch me my sword (my antihistamines)! x

 

Favourite Lyric:

I like quite a few of the lyrics in this song.  Here’s some of my favourites…

“My body’s still here but I’m miles away” – Self explanatory.

“I trod on your skirt so you trod on my ego” – True story. On a night out in Guildford.

“You were trying to reason, I was trying to rhyme” – Often the case. I’m good at avoiding reason.

“Late nights, long days. This love will never ever go away” – Probably my favourite lyric. Maybe because of the relevence it has to my life right now.  Music, music, music.

Week 39 – ‘One Last Time’

I’m writing this in a bit of a daze to be honest.  It’s been a rough week.

Right now I’m lying on the couch with a hot water bottle up my shirt, a mug of lemsip in my hand and a golf ball stuck inside my throat.

At this moment in time I don’t really know what’s happening with the song.  I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday bawling my eyes out and then the tonsillitis arrived.


I hope I can find the right words in the next 24 hours or so… and then I hope the Penicillin works quickly enough for me to be able to sing them.

Before I go back to bed I want to say thanks for all your kind words this week.  Literally hundreds of emails, messages, comments and tweets.  I didn’t quite know what to say and I still don’t… but she’d be well chuffed – always did love the attention…

RIP Jemima – love of my life and best thing in it since 1994.  Without you there would be no ‘You, Your Cat & Me’, amongst so many others.  Sleep well xxx


Hopefully the song will be up in a day or two.  As ever I’ll be posting updates on Twitter.

Finally, look at last weeks blog if you haven’t already – especially the bit about us writing a song together.  If you’d like to get involved you can send your ideas/lyrics/titles/monologues to ‘onesongaweek@mail.com’.

 

Updated – Saturday: 22:21

The last 30 hours or so have been a blur, since the drugs kicked in and I found the energy to pick up a guitar.

I’ve slept for 9 of them and worked and cried my way through the rest.  Curtains closed, pouring my absolute heart out and worrying that it’s all just not good enough.  What a fucking stereotype!

Here’s the song:

 

Blurb:

If you’re wondering what all the fuss was about – Jemima was my 8th birthday present.  I came home from school, shut my eyes, held out my hands and saw this little bundle of fur staring up at me.  Back then I had no idea she’d be such an important part of my life.  She’s been there through everything – The one I run to when shit hits the fan.  The one I write songs about when I’m single.  The one directly responsible for my biggest selling record to date (and all the t-shirts I keep having to pack up and send out).

For most of this week I’ve wished I wasn’t a songwriter doing one song a week.  When your work is your life and your life falls apart there’s no escape.

Still, part of me thinks it’s a good thing.  I know myself pretty well and that’s why I made the decision (hardly a conscious one, dosed up on Lemsip and Penicillin) to ‘go there’ – in order to come out the other side and feel a little bit more philosophical about the whole thing.

I can’t say it’s worked yet… but give it time.

 

Favourite Lyric:

I Miss You x

Week 38 – ‘Moments’

Week 38 has been just how I like my crosswords. Fun and easy.

I’d decided to spend my weekend trying to eat and sleep more so it was with delight that I accepted a couple of free tickets for the rugby (plush seats – at Wembley). I took a packed lunch and apparently the game finished 9-9. I came home… and week 38 began.

Actually, week 38 first started around 18 months ago – back in 2011, when I received a Facebook message from an enthusiastic young singer/songwriter from Suffolk. His name was Lewis Mokler and he said he wanted to be the next Ed Sheeran. I remember trying to be as polite as possible. That was that.

Fast forward to week 32 (or so) of and my friend/photographer Gio was talking about an enthusiastic young(ish) singer/songwriter he’d done some work with – who might be fun to pull in for onesongaweek. I’m sure you’ve already guessed his name – Lewis Mokler.

Lewis has spent the last 18 months gigging relentlessly and released his debut album (#fingertips) earlier this year. Not only is his work ethic astounding, his attitude and general loveliness mean he’s climbing the ladder at a rate of knots and so it was a pleasure to get together and have a go at some writing.

Lewis arrived on Monday morning in his little red car (called Pam-lar) and immediately offered me a prosthetic arm. I turned it down but ushered him inside for a cup of tea instead. After a Monday of writing together, a Tuesday and Wednesday of recording on my todd and a Thursday of vocals, mixing and mastering, this weeks song is released on time and in tune (I think). There was even time to give Lewis a quick lesson in FIFA on the playstation.  As is standard protocol he made a public apology for losing by more than 5 goals!

Before we hear the song I’m pleased to inform you that last weeks ‘3 step plan‘ to sort myself out seems to be going well (even if the iPhone shipping date has been delayed). I went to see the nurse today and she said I was fine but gave me a prescription for sleeping pills.

Zopiclone – it sounds like something out of Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

 

The Blurb:

‘Moments’ consists of a few parts.

The verses (which I wrote over a year ago and never found good homes for), the middle section (which I wrote for another song but ended up changing) and a brand new chorus written by myself and Mr. Mokler on Monday.

In one sentence – this weeks song is about being young/having fun, with a bitter-sweet love story in the verses.

It’s been a blast to record – from the acoustic to the bass guitar, from the vocals to the electrics that kick- off in the middle section. It’s tested the limits of my humble little home studio (which still consists of just one laptop and one microphone) but I’m reasonably happy with how it sounds. If I can do this in a few days at the end of my living room then just imagine how good someone who actually knows what they’re doing will make it sound on the album in 2013!

Before we leave week 38 behind to talk about something else – I’m delighted to announce that Lewis has invited me along to play some songs at his London show on October 2nd (two days before my birthday)! I’m on quite early (7:45) but if you’re in town it’d be lovely to see you. Tickets here.

Goodbye week 38.  Hello week 39, 40, 41 or 42 (that depends on you guys).

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I keep getting messages from people wanting to give me song ideas or send me lyrics and poems to use in onesongaweek – so we’re going to (try and) make that happen.

Here’s another ‘3 Step Plan’.

  • 1) You send in your ideas to ‘onesongaweek@mail.com’
  • 2) I read them all, have a think and pick a theme/topic.
  • 3) I play around with some ideas and then Together (through Twitter, Facebook and maybe Youtube) you help me piece them together into a song.

Needless to say I’ve never tried anything like this before so I haven’t a clue how it’ll go… but why not join in and find out?  From you I would like:

  • Song titles:
  • Song ideas (concepts):
  • Lyrics (they don’t have to be perfect!):

When the time is right (maybe this week, or next week, the week after or the week after that) I’ll complete phase 2 and we’ll start planning phase 3. Capiche?

 

Favourite Lyric:

“My head keeps turning, turning
and there’s a fire burning. burning,
And this little heart of mine,
is gonna get it right this time.”

Week 37 – ‘Holiday’

Recently my entire life seems to have become a series of to-do lists – which is good in the obvious sense of proactivity but bad in the sense that I can’t dedicate more time and energy to certain things –  ‘This weeks blog’ (item 4 on todays list) being one of them.

Week 37 has been rather forgettable to be honest.  I spent most of it being under the weather, trying and failing to write songs and generally hating life.  As you’d expect it’s the songs that bug me the most and right now there are 3 or 4 crackers that I can’t quite seem to finish – and it’s driving me piano loco.

I think a lot of it comes back to looking after myself better – when I eat and sleep well the songs come easier, as does my general zest for life.  I’m not saying I’d like to go on a full detox over-night and start hitting the gym every morning but I do need to start taking my body and it’s health more seriously.  The problem is that I’ve never been very good at eating or sleeping and I’d consider myself an expert in smoking and staying up late.

I’ve said all this before (it’s hardly rocket science) and that makes it even worse.  I hate myself for running away from the problem and that state of mind won’t change until I turn around and look it square in the face.

With that in mind I’ve devised a simple, 3-step plan:

  • Step 1 – Pre-order my first ever iPhone.
  • Step 2 – Get organised.  Eat, sleep and feel better.
  • Step 3 – Receive iPhone and live happily ever after.

Step one has already been taken care of and phase 2 has begun.  Feeling better already.  Let’s move on to the song…

The Blurb:

Needless to say, ‘Holiday’ is about a holiday romance.

If you haven’t been on holiday and fallen head-over-heels in the space of week then I feel a little bit sorry for you.  Let me explain…

Everything is better on Holiday – from the food, to the weather, to your parents banter.  Everything’s just a bit more special when you’re in a foreign country and don’t have to get up for work the next day.  No-one knows why.  They’re just the rules.

Romance, similarly, is on another level.  It was just over 3 years ago and I was only in Spain for a week but I still remember it so well.  From the awkward meeting at Cabo Roig, to the cute Irish accent I kept imitating, to the seemingly impossible pool shot I fluked which sealed the deal.  Amazing.

We kept in touch for a while and always said we’d meet up but we never did.

The funny thing about romance is that you can put the word ‘holiday’ before it and things change.  Meaningless encounters become significant, 5/10’s become marriage material and picture-postcard memories become distorted over time.

Maybe it’s because we only pack the best bits of ourselves in to the suitcase or maybe the sea air messes up our brains?  Either way I’d do it all again in a heartbeat and I could really use some sun.  Take me back to holiday?

Fat chance. Maybe next year.

Favourite Lyric:

“I left my head on the flight
You’re in my mind but you’re out of sight
I left my heart at the beach
You’re in my mind but you’re out of reach”

Week 36 – ‘Summer’

First things first, the August EP is now on iTunes.  About time!  Here’s a link

Last weekend was good fun.  I played football on Saturday afternoon and put in a solid performance (for at least 10 minutes).  It’s been a while since I did any proper exercise – another thing to add to the to-do list…

After a quiet night on Saturday I woke up at 7am on Sunday to go to the Paralympics – which was fun.  We watched swimming inside the aquatic centre (the hottest, most humid place in the world) and went for a wander round the Olympic Park…

After narrowly avoiding the horse-shit that littered the walkways (true story!) we walked past a kiosk where you could have your photo taken with the Paralympic torch.  I’d never seen a Paralympic torch before, let alone had a photo with one, so I popped inside and cheerily explained that I’d rather not pay £50 for 6 photos when I could just take one on my phone and be gone in 30 seconds.  Somehow it worked!

On Sunday evening I went straight from the Olympic stadium to Camden for the iTunes festival.  The Roundhouse is one of my favourite venues and it was nice to drink cider and meet some good people.  Highlights include:  Nandos before/after, Ed Sheeran‘s encore (watch it on iTunes), bumping into/having a wee catch up with Gabs Aplin, Alfie HT and Ryan Keen and finally playing table tennis at the after-party while trying to hold a beer.

When I arrived home in the wee, small hours of Monday morning I got an email saying a chap called Colin Murray had bought a song – week 34’s The Other Side.   I entertained the idea for a few seconds before deciding there were probably hundreds of Colin Murray’s in the world and that this was clearly just someone with the same name as the guy who presents Match of the Day 2 and various other Radio 5 live shows.  Either way it was 4am on Monday morning and I’d been up for 21 hours.  Time for bed.

I woke up when the phone rang around 11am.  It was my manager Andy who told me to have a look at the BBC sport website.  I had no idea that @onesongaweek was on Match of the Day 3!  You can watch it online here – but basically it’s just a 15 second clip of the song and a 2 or 3 minutes of Alan Hanson and Dion Dublin taking the piss out of each other!

Turns out it was the same Colin Murray (from Match of the Day 2 and 3) who bought the tune.  I dropped him an email – top man.  Maybe I’ll pester him about some ‘goal of the month’ music before the season’s out…

The Blurb:

This weeks song is called ‘Summer’ and true to form – it’s a little bit late.  I was playing around with a different song up until Wednesday evening but then an idea fell out of nowhere (while I was in the bath – awkward timing!) and I spent most of Thursday trying to piece it all together.  It’s not been an easy ride but here we are – 6 ‘final’ mixes later… at 03:09am on Saturday morning!

 

As the first line of the song suggests – it’s about summer.  We’re now in September and after waiting months for something to smile about the last few days have been fantastic!

The song is also about life and my current situation.  This whole onesongaweek thing can be bit of a thankless task at times and there have been a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns.  At the time they feel like the biggest ups and downs in the world but when you look back they don’t seem as defining.  ‘Summer’ is about how after 36 weeks I’m really starting to feel like we’re getting somewhere…

Anyway – it’s late and I’m off to Devon tomorrow morning to play a gig in someones living room.  Here’s a twist on the ‘favourite lyric’ section:

Favourite Lyric(s):

Week 35 – The Detective

It’s 3:24am on Friday morning and I wish I could think of a more interesting way to start the blog than by quoting the time.

I can’t believe week 35 is set to be the final track on the August EP (which should be up on iTunes early next week).  That means summer’s almost gone and we’re 2/3 of the way through #onesongaweek.  Crikey.

There’s so much going on that I don’t even know where to start – but that’s probably for the best.  Some of it’s really boring and some of it’s really exciting.  I won’t tell you the boring stuff because you’d get bored and I won’t tell you the exciting stuff incase it doesn’t happen and I look stupid.  Let’s just move on…

I can and will tell you that Reading and Leeds festivals were both a lot of fun last weekend.  It was great meeting you all and AMAZING to see so many ‘You, Your Cat & Me’ t-shirts knocking around.  Here are a couple of photos.

Before we move on to week 35 I’ve been getting a lot of messages from some of you guys and girls who’d like to help me write a song – so we’re going to try and make that happen.  Start searching your brain for concepts and lyrics (and write the good ones down!) and we’ll let you know how to get involved soon.   FYI: It doesn’t matter if you’ve never written anything before!!

Without further ado…

 

The Blurb:

It’s been a bit of a ‘week 28‘ scenario in the sense that everything happened at the very last minute.  I was playing around with an old song (Breakfast On My Own) yesterday morning when I started whistling a random melody and picked up a guitar.

Much like week 28 at the time of writing this I’m still not entirely sure what I think of it – but who cares!?  This is #onesongaweek and there are no rules and regulations.  Besides, August has been a good month so far… maybe we’re due a shocker?!

On a serious note I’m pretty sure it’s not a shocker.  Whatever the case it’s a nice way to round off the month and I’ve learnt a lot from it.  For starters I’ve tried to branch out with the lyrics this week (less of the cutesy boy/girl stuff in the verses) and I’ve also tried to push my voice outside of it’s comfort zone a little more.

Recording wise it’s yet another #onesongaweek HQ (my living room) production.   The whole thing is built on acoustic guitar, whistles and a vocal but I’ve also added splashes of piano, harmonica and percussion (me playing drum-brushes against my legs).

Favourite Lyric:

I like the 2nd verse.  It’s pretty self-explanatory…

“You talk the talk
But don’t ever say nothing.
You can’t walk the walk and then walk away
When you don’t like something”

…and some of the chorus lyrics:

“Take all the pieces and spread them out
We’ll play detectives and we’ll hunt for clues”

Week 34 – “The Other Side”

It’s 3:30am on Friday morning and I’m due to leave for Reading (and then Leeds) festival in less than 6 hours.  Crikey.

Week 34 – and our story begins on October 9th 1991 when my dad took me along to ‘The Abbey’ (a football stadium) to see Manchester United play Cambridge in the 2nd round of the Rumbelows League Cup.  The game finished 1-1 with United going through on aggregate and after all the singing and shouting we drove home (via Macdonalds) with smiles on our faces.

I didn’t know it at the time but playing up front for Cambridge was a chap called Dion Dublin and less than a year later he signed for Manchester United.  Shortly afterwards he scored a last minute winner against Southampton and became my favourite player for at least a week (kids can be so fickle)!

Fast forward to June 2012 and we’re in the thick of #onesongaweek.  England are still in the Euros and week 21‘s football song has just been featured on the same BBC 5live show as Chris Kamara – who’s interview happened to mention that Dion Dublin was now a keen drummer and saxophonist.  Interesting.

The power of google led me to Dion’s website and I spent a while reading all about a new percussion instrument he’d invented called The Dube (it’s kind of like a cajon, but better!) before using the ‘website contact’ form to chance an approach about working together.  Long story short a nice lady called Clare was interested enough to pass my message across and the rest, as they say, is history.

Dion first came to visit #onesongaweek HQ in July and during a banterful few hours we established that he was great with rhythms but not so hot with melodies – he’d never even sung, let alone written a song before.  Therefore the task was simple – to  write a song together and get him singing (as well as tapping) on it.

To be honest I never doubted it would happen.  There are only two things you need to be able to write songs and Dion has both in abundance:

Ideas and Cojones.

So here it is.  Week 34 – written by myself and Dion Dublin less than 48 hours ago and featuring the big man himself on backing vocals!

 

The Blurb:

Dion came over on Wednesday morning and after a leisurely start we eventually stumbled upon a riff/first verse idea.  The lyrics kept changing but the chords and melody were solid which meant we could plod through to the chorus and get a vibe for how it all felt.   After an hour or so of pacing around my lounge to no avail we relocated to the car-park and sat in the sun with a Ukelele.  Like many other onesongaweek tracks – that’s where the chorus was finally born.  God bless my car park.

We celebrated by kicking a (flat) football around for a bit and I recited stories of former glory (like the time I scored 63 goals in one season of cub football and the time I scored a first-time lob from 45 yards in an U17’s cup final) only to have them (and my claims to be ‘a bit like Teddy Sheringham’) laughed off.  Ouch!!

We then spent the afternoon recording guitars, percussion and Dions (first ever!) vocals before he toddled off to meet Dave Vitty and I sat down with me, myself, I and my laptop to piece it all together.

On the whole this week has been a lot of fun and I wanted that to come across in the recording.  I love the drums in the chorus (entirely Dion’s idea!), the guitar riff in the intro and middle section… and I couldn’t resist putting a splash of accordion and even some stylophone in there towards the end.

It’s now 4:30am and I have to be up in about 4 hours but I’m not really in the mood for sleeping.  It’s been a cracking week, I made Dion Dublin sing for the first time ever and in just over 12 hours I’ll be onstage at Reading festival.  None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for this ridiculous #onesongaweek idea.   God bless my-car park.

 

Favourite Lyric:

I really like the first verse.  These are the first lyrics that arrived on Wednesday morning…

“And when i’m lying in my bed
Still a mile away from sleep
There’s all this traffic in my head
Running over you and me”

I also quite like this lyric in the chorus.  They do say you can tell a lot about someone from the state of their bedroom…

“So come and tidy up my life”

Week 33 – ‘Know Who We Are’

It’s 2am on Friday morning and here’s this week in a (rather large) nutshell:

Monday came and went.  I was supposed to be writing with Alex Davies (from Eliot Minor – remember them?) but it got cancelled so I enjoyed a much needed day of rest and house-tidying.

On Tuesday morning the lovely Orla Gartland came all the way from from Ireland!  We met at the tube and headed straight to Nero where I questioned the sauce inside my ham and egg panini and she questioned the masculinity of my drink (a Caramelatte with cream).  I told her to fuck off and she took it rather well.  The ice was broken.

We spent most of Tuesday writing a duet called ‘Here With Me’.  It was fun and easy and the song was awesome.  We boshed out a demo and sat down on the couch to watch My Transexual Summer (#transsummer), with week 33 safely in the bag.
At half 10 or so we sent the song to our respective managers and received a swift reply.  They apologised for throwing a spanner in the works but said they weren’t aware the song might be a duet and that unfortunately this wasn’t a possibility.  Needless to say this was news to me (and Orla)!

As frustrating as it was the whole thing was perfectly understandable.  Orla has only had one single out thus far (a fantastic one at that) and so management were being very cautious about her next ‘publicised’ steps (and rightly so).  So what happens now?!

We were asked to consider changing the song from a duet into a solo tune but that was never going to happen.  Some songs are duets from the start and can function no other way – this was one of those.  Back to the drawing board then…

Over a cup of tea and some trash TV we decided we’d write another song tomorrow that wasn’t a duet – one that would be fine to use in #onesongaweek.  Tomorrow came and less than an hour later and we’d all but finished it.  No need for the drawing board after all!

We spent Wednesday re-writing lyrics and recording vocals before Orla toddled off for dinner and I headed out to play back-to-back gigs in Soho and Shoreditch (both of which were good fun).  I got back at about 2am and sat up mixing until 5 (I was drunk).  Needless to say it sounded GREAT!

Thursday started well enough (at around 11am) as I pieced the vocals together and bounced down a first, rough mix before heading to Sainsburys for supplies.  Shortly after I came home (at around 4pm) it all went wrong… again!

The powers that be still weren’t happy with the song because both our voices featured throughout and therefore it was still considered a duet – so I was sent a list of things I had to change.  Surely not?!

After a mini freak-out on my part (being told what to do with my own song didn’t sit too well with me initially!) we managed to meet somewhere close to halfway and Orla’s voice DOES feature on the song.  In actual fact the enforced removal of her voice in the first verse has turned out to be a great idea – really adding to the ‘slow build’ vibe we’ve got going on!

I can’t tell you how happy I am that it all came together.  It would have been weird rushing to put someone else’s voice on a song I wrote with Orla so a massive thanks to her and her people for getting into the #onesongaweek spirit.

 

 

Blurb:

I’d like to use this weeks blurb section to follow on from last weeks blog and thank you for all your help.  There have been some incredible initiatives to spread the #onesongaweek gospel but my favourite idea so far has to be that of the lovely Mel‘s.  She tweeted me to say she’s been spreading offers of a free tea or coffee if people check out #onesongaweek for the first time.  How cool is that?!

In other news I’m delighted to announce I’ll be performing at Reading and Leeds festival next weekend – alongside the wonderful Danica Hunter (from week 13).  I think we’re doing the Friday in Reading and the Saturday in Leeds… but i’ll tweet/facebook some more concrete details as soon as I know!

Finally – we’ve had a little competition running this week (to win some goodies and a set-list from the ‘1/2 way thru OSAW’ gig).  After 150 entries on Facebook and Twitter we’ve randomly selected not one, but two winners.  Congratulations to Michael Shepherd and to Becky Moore.  Get in touch through the usual channels and we’ll get your prizes sent out.

Favourite Lyric(s):

“Summer’s gone
it’s cold in the mornings
the lights still on
you always used to turn it off
and I’m no good
at getting up in the morning

Found my head
sat by the window
made this bed
you always used to keep it warm
and i’m no good
at getting up in the morning

Autumn leaves
tired of the evening
roll up my sleeves
you always used to sort me out
i’m still not good
at getting up in the morning”