Brum Beat

I’m back in the second city and feeling slightly elated for some reason, my daughter is here [that always helps] and the new band too. We’re playing at the Hare and Hounds and my memory is flitting around the past. I seem to be growing increasing nostalgic for Birmingham, I’m going to the game tomorrow which might have something to do with it.

I’ve driven down with most of the gear in the back of the Volvo, the car that … Read More >>

Radio Radio

Since I last wrote here I’ve done a couple of radio chats on BBC 6 Music with Rob Hughes in his Parallel Universe the most recent being Thursday 19th Feb [you can hear it all on the listen again feature]. I also did a live piano rendition of ‘Sometimes I feel like a King’, the title track from the new album during which my headphones almost fell off mid performance. I just about managed to keep them on for the … Read More >>

Hey Manchester

Hey! Manchester first caught Alan Wilkes – aka Vinny Peculiar – playing solo at the Star and Garter in 2004. He was orchestrating technical problems to panic the sound man. The Smiths’ Andy Rourke was DJing (terribly) that night. Later, he and fellow Smithsonian Mike Joyce became Vinny’s backing band, while Bonehead, ex-Oasis, also played with him, somewhat bizarrely.We’ve put Vinny on three times: for our first ever gig, with Jens Lekman at the Kings Arms; at our monthly night … Read More >>

The Blue Poppies of Ambrosia

I am setting up my gear in a Preston rehearsal room on the third floor of a Victorian mill and as these places go it feels almost civilised, there’s even a kettle and a couple of chairs. I haven’t mentioned the new band, hastily christened The Blue Poppies of Ambrosia [and imaginatively credited on the new album] because until last night they only properly existed in my head. Now we have rehearsed I’m pleased to report that things seem to … Read More >>

Works Christmas Night Out

Here we go again it’s the works do put off till after Christmas on a freezing Wednesday night along the curry mile. The schedule is the same as last year, The Albert Pub [traditional Irish, Guinness, proper], a curry [Sangan, naturally] and an early night [none of that night clubbing nonsense, just act yer bloody age son!]. I turn up first in my new car, the one I need to tell everyone about, [look at the boot, loads of room … Read More >>

Jelly’s Last Jam

On Sunday I played a gig at Moho Live which is around the back of Affleks palace in Manchester’s northern quarter and owned by the guitar player from Embrace, who wasn’t there but is a very nice man by all accounts. I park directly outside the club after driving three times around the one way system. After a complicated but ultimately successful sound check I loiter in the corridor between the gig and the toilets [god it’s so bloody loud … Read More >>

The Madhouse

I’m playing The Madhouse but I’m not exactly sure where it is I say to Brummie Dave who rings me just as I’m setting off for Rosliston in the middle of a wet grey Saturday afternoon, he says he’ll Google it and that he’ll see me later. He doesn’t make it in the end but he’s married with children and prone to any number of last minute hiccups. I blame the sat nav for my directional ignorance; one can get … Read More >>

Sun Comes Up

The end of week that wasn’t, not the week when anything gets done, finished or boxed off, more the week of getting there eventually. All be it very slowly indeed still I will it’s just a long time coming. I won’t bore you with details, it’s really nothing more than I’ve already mentioned.

It’s taken me all week to recover my sense of routine and day to day bleariness after spending a very decent amount of time on cloud nine … Read More >>

Welfare Statement

Last time I wrote this up it felt down, this time I’ll try and compensate and move off in the opposite direction. Earlier on I spent a pleasant gossipy lunch hour catching up with filmmaker Alison Surtees in The Kings Arms, Damian Morgan also turned up and before we knew it an hour had passed. Alison is going to be making a video for the new single ‘Uniform’; – we are still very much at the ideas stage, you can … Read More >>

I’ve started and so I’ll finish…

Islington Mill is a nice enough place, its home to Salford’s alternative arts community. Ting Tings hang out there or they used to togther will any number of small business crafts folk. The other day I was asked by Andy ‘tiger’ Woods to play a few songs at their Christmas open night sale, I said yes, as one does, but it was pretty awful. I just wondered around making an exhibition of myself and nobody gave a toss. Sometimes these … Read More >>