Monday, April 06, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new


Today is the (un)Official Paul Haig Day…..and to mark the occasion I have elected to resurrect the blog and make two posts and for the first time ever post some MP3s for you enjoyment.

Can I have a woo and a hoo! Please?

Whilst contractually this might cause me problems with one of my employers I thought it was worth the risk.

If you’ve come simply to enjoy the work of Mr. Haig then scroll down to the next post.

I did initially try to combine these posts into one but in the end this simply detracted from the overall value of the enterprise.


The world of blog is littered with hundreds of excellent music sites covering just about every possible genre you could think of. Each of these sites share one thing in common……passion. A passion for the subject matter they cover. Whether obscure sixties show tunes, Bollywood hits, or the latest indie darlings the writers display a sensitivity enthusiasm and insight towards their subject matter than can often be lacking in the mainstream press. 

Personally my CD collection now has discs by Arcade Fire, The Eames Era, Vandeveer, These United States and various other fantastic bands that I might not have found were it not for the sterling work these people produce on a daily basis.

I salute and applaud these efforts on two levels, firstly as a music fan but secondly as a shareholder in an independent label.  

Whilst the Major labels cling to their outdated business model and struggle to adapt to the world of digital download the majority of the independents have embraced the advances of technology. Many of these smaller labels, like my own, now have dozens of bloggers that they forward advance copies of future releases to in an attempt to garner some publicity which in turn will hopefully drive sales. By allowing bloggers to post tracks in advance of their release we are aware that sales may be reduced but feel that the longer term benefits of doing so outweigh the short term loss.

In contrast the major players seem to prefer to hide behind legislation and fire off threats of litigation to protect the copyright of their artists body of work. The net result is that fantastic bloggers like The Vinyl Villain get to the point where their inbox is groaning under the weight of DMCA notices and they begin to question if it is worth carrying on.

To VV and everyone out there writing about music……it is.  Contrary to what the DMCA people believe Blogging didn’t kill the radio star and the Buggles were off the mark too because video didn’t either.

In a show of solidarity I’ve posted this little release for you. It’s the first single from The Strike Nineteens, released by one of the labels I’m involved with and came out in January this year. Sit back, relax and have a listen. I hope you enjoy it and would be delighted to receive your comments….good, or bad.


The Strike Nineteens - Delicate

All hail the man they call Haig.

Ok here goes…..whilst I am no authority on the life and times of Paul Haig I do appear to own too many of his releases for it to be a coincidence so it must be fate.  As such I am delighted to add my tuppence worth to the first (un)Official Paul Haig day and salute his support of the music blogging world.


Paul came to prominence at the tail end of the 70’s fronting Edinburgh new wave outfit Josef K. In keeping with a band named after a character from a Kafka novel they produced a string of intelligent guitar pop classics for the coolest label in town, Glasgow’s very own Postcard. As with all things Postcard around the beginning of the 80’s this ensured they were feted by the music press but ultimately failed to translate this adulation into commercial success. Whilst label mates Orange Juice & Aztec Camera moved on to major label success (of varying degrees) Josef K. departed the scene in 1982 after one album. Who said punk rock was dead?


Switching from guitar led tracks to all out embracing of the synth records were released throughout the 80s on a variety of labels without the elusive “hit”. He didn’t really come to my attention until 1988 when the majestic Heaven Help You Now single was re-released and found its way into my collection.


This prompted me to spend more time than was healthy browsing second hand record stalls for other Haig releases and resulted in a copy of the 1983 Rhythm Of Life album being filed away in the Davenelli collection. In addition to working backwards through his catalogue I also looked forward and snapped up Flight X and the album Coincidence v. Fate in the early nineties.


The 90s closed for Paul with the album Memory Palace finally seeing the light of day. This was a dramatic collection of songs recorded with another Scottish maverick, the late great Billy MacKenzie.


Paul Haig continues to write, record and release music to this day and is undoubtedly something of a national treasure and the coolest man ever to hail from Edinburgh

Paul Haig - Born Innocence 

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Death Or Glory


Visionary or just a crazy mixed up kid?

We’d all love to fly but how many are prepared to take the necessary risks?

Too few I say.

Life is a game and you only get one shot. That’s the beauty of it.

I suppose that’s also what keeps many of us from taking the gambles required to be all we can be.

Rather than aim for the sky we accept the mediocrity of the hand being dealt without trying to improve the odds.

Don’t do it.

As I near my forth decade I understand fear and no longer shy away from it. I've seen and felt far too much to worry anymore.

I’ve taken some risks, perhaps more than would be considered sensible, but as my old dad used to say “you can’t win the raffle if you don’t buy a ticket”.

Sometimes it is more exhilarating to twist instead of playing safe and sticking.

Why not try it next time?

You might like it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Don’t Fear (I’m Not Alone)

Of all the feelings one encounters in life; fear is perhaps the most transient, which makes it all the more illogical.

As a child I feared many things…

The dark
Imaginary monsters in the closet
My parents

As I reached my teens my fears altered.

By this time my main fear was not getting good grades and wondering what to do with my life but rather being spurned by my peer group. My consciousness was enveloped by making sure I had the right sneakers, liked the right bands, and had the correct brand of jeans.

And obviously I still feared my parents.

By my twenties they shifted once again.

Now I was concerned with finding the right apartment, job and lover and making sure my friends could be relied upon.

And I still feared my parents.

As I hit 30 I found myself without parents and separated from my siblings by geography.

It was shortly after this time that I reached an epiphany. I realised that there was no point in worrying anymore and that a life lived in fear was a life not lived at all.

So I sit here today having:

Tendered my resignation,
Signed the new contract,
Packed the trunks,
Booked the plane tickets,
Obtained the necessary visa.

I know I should be scared, after all this city is the only place I have lived as an adult. I am destined for a country that I haven’t even visited never mind lived in. But none of this matters as instead of fear I feel only elation. I feel fresh, sparkling and ready for the new challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hope And Despair

Ok I don't usually do this kind of stuff but you all know I love music and few bands have had as much of an impact on my life as the marvellous Orange here goes.

Vinyl Villain (VV) has cooked up a new little wheeze which I like and feel is more than worthy of support and appreciation.

For those who don't know. Orange Juice were an early 80's band who signed to the seminal Postcard label run by Alan Horne. Fronted by the fopp like Edwyn Collins the band went on to enjoy a modicum of success on the Polydor label which peaked (sales wise) with Rip It Up hitting the top 10. forward 25 years and the impact they had on the music scene is still very apparent. Sadly though time has made it considerably more difficult (and affordable) to track down some of their rarer releases and this is where VV comes in.

In a bid to raise much needed funds for the charitable trust (Quarriers) who care for his godson he has decided to make his entire vault of Orange Juice rarities available for a bargain price with the proceeds being passed directly to Quarriers.

Full details of the offer and a full listing of the tracks available can be viewed at his place...

Whilst further information about the work of Quarriers can be obtained here...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bad Case Of Loving You

I simply could not ignore this story and let it pass by without comment as it raises a number of moral questions.

To save you the trouble of reading the story here are the (ahem) highlights...

A young model (18) is stabbed to death outside her home following a night out. After an extensive police investigation a man is charged and put on trail for the crime. He enters a plea of Not Guilty and the case begins.

Faced with significant DNA evidence from the prosecution the defendant explains this away by confessing to having sex with the young woman after finding her corpse simply saying that he had "taken advantage of the situation"

Now it might be me but can anyone else spot something wholly wrong with this picture? By my calculations the defendant obviously believes that murder is wrong whilst necrophilia is socially acceptable.

The world truly has gone to shite.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pissing In The Wind

Just had to share this with seems that my ability to irritate remains intact. I received the following comments today about a post dating from around 18 months ago. Sadly the "writer" of the comments did not feel the need to leave their details and chose to publish them anonymously. Hohum! As for being medicore....I've been called worse. If only this had been my 419th post the circle would have been complete.

"Your comments here really do leave much to be desired. A writer who is worth his onions does excellent research,am afraid what i have found here is really nothing more than mediocrity. It's such a shame i found this crap out two years after the global xchange Your comments about Nigeria defeats the very essence and reason for the exchange. This is not about Nigerians bringing physical aid to Scotland, it's about working in various capacities to understand the challenges and shortcomings of the human person; be it in Scotland or in Abuja, and channelling some energy and positive learning into making lives better. Nigeria might be poverty stricken like you so delightfully pointed out, but what's more, it doesn't have as much homelessness, alcoholism and drug addiction that is quite rampant in Scotland, particularly Glasgow, neither does it have your high incidence of knife crimes which Glasgow has since become renowned for. Scotland is the HIV capital of the UK isn't it? But you know the best part of this whole issue? Nigeria stood up to the English and took back it's nationhood. Remind me, isn't Scotland still at the disposal of the English? Aren't you still a colony? Oh and just incase you are getting all riled up, Holyrood is a sham and a joke; England's indulgence.I rest my case."

You know there was a time when I would have responded in kind and entered into a mud slinging competition. However, the knowledge that Glasgow is currently preparing to welcome the Commonwealth Games in 2014 whilst Abuja is not will do for me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Certain People I Know

There are billions of people in the world.
In our lifetime we will meet but a tiny fraction of them.
Occasionally we will encounter someone quite unlike our self.
Someone markedly different in a number of ways.
They will most probably be healthier, cheerier and altogether happier than you or I.
They will generally remain positive regardless of the trials and tribulations their life throws at them.
They seem to glide along without friction.
By being this way they enrich the lives of those around them.

Should you be fortunate enough to meet one of these incredible individuals….do not fear them.
Befriend them and treasure them, for they are rare.

This post was inspired by the words of Charles Bukowski and the actions of a certain person I know and whose friendship I cherish.