Welcome to the weekend.
I guess all things must change.
I just sort of periodically hope that this doesn’t apply to all things. Y’know?
There is one thing in particular that I didn’t dare contemplate would change any time soon. Just because it would be so, well, wrong. But it has changed. Or will be changing. And I have mixed feelings about it.
Because, from September, Pete Tong will no longer be welcoming us to the weekend.
The thing I love about radio generally is how it gets in your head. It moves in with you and follows you around the house – though not in a creepy lodger kind of way. In a comfy chum kind of way. Or a learned chum kind of way. Or a groovy, energetic, well-connected, Will Make The Effort To Go Clubbing For You chum kind of way. I like that guy. All these guys. And, as any entrenched Radio 4 listener will tell you, these broadcast backdrops to your life can become part of the very fabric of it – the mucking about with of which is potentially upsetting.
Witness my month of measurable grief when Mark and Lard split. Those bastards left me all alone. With Steve Wright.
Now, the Radio One Friday evening schedule has been as much an irrational comfort to us as any nerve-steadying shipping forecast or gentle willow-crack heart-warming conjoured by cricket coverage. Just knowing it’s there is nice. It makes it Friday. Pete Tong makes it Friday. Moving him is like, I dunno, moving the Today programme to a timeslot after everyone’s gone to work.
My mixed feelings about his sacred show being moved are as they are because jolly good taste-setter and all-round radio poppet, Annie Mac, is swapping slots with him – he takes over the Mash-up slot at 9.00 on a Friday evening, and she will be booting up the weekend for us at 7.00.
Now, we’ve famously loved young Maccers’ little electro-beat show from the beginning. Even memorably starred in it once. ..Slash, momentarily wrecked its credibility. She is, I guess, as worthy a successor to the Essential Selection as you could wish for really – in fact, hearing bits of her sitting in for Zane Lowe this week, I can’t help feeling that most of the country would feel pretty happy about her being on the wireless every night of the week.
..But, isn’t the Mash-up’s music more of a 9.00pm thing? More quirky and varied; Pete’s slick grooves just feel more early evening chic, somehow.
Ah, well. I shall tune in to both and be thankful for each show’s different comfort appearing out of the unique funding of my license fee. Hadn’t planned to redecorate my Fridays but we shall bravely adapt. And really, you couldn’t wish increasingly legendary status on anyone more deserving than the blessed Maccers. So toot that air horn someone.
..if even the most immovable things can yet be moved, when least expected, upsetting everyone’s comforting frame of reference… could that even include something as ludicrously unlikely as the blatant unfinishedness of Momo:tempo’s debut album? More even than that, it’s wanton ignominy?
Surely not. Some things DON’T change.
..Unless this weekend does what it’s supposed to.
Pips, sirens, beats – “Welcome to the weekend.”
It’s 7.00pm on a Friday as I type now and Pete is kicking things off noisily around the flat. I’m sipping a cream soda but plan to turn it into a G&T; shortly, to go with my aim of actually working up something cool and definite for the album artwork tonight.
You see, I’m working to a bit of an actual deadline on all this now. Stalwart, long-term TC Peach supporter, Jamie Lee, has become so insensed at the number of years he’s had to wait for an original recording from said obscure artist, he’s promised some kind of record store rage if he returns from his family’s extended break in France at the end of the week to not find a preview copy of The Golden Age of Exploration sitting on his mat.
Thing is, as one of fewer long-term fans than I have digits, Jamie represents a percentage mailing list loss I can ill afford. True, he’s hardcore – he doesn’t count Chaser or Beyond the storm as legitimate albums and claims to have been therefore waiting since 1997 and Worship the system for a proper pop record from me. But he did direct my first pop video – Thunder in the hills, which for my hair alone should never make it to YouTube – and does genuinely seem to actually like the music itself.
For this reason, I am entrusting the first ever preview listen of the whole new tune fest to him – to tell me straight what he’s been prepared to tell me in the past. Namely, when he thinks I’m embarrassing myself.
Think about it. I need someone to do this. I can’t see anything about The Golden Age straight anymore. I have no idea if I’m some mad Victorian barron, spending a fortune on an elaborately inept invention that high society will have to humour me about, even as it titters in ever-more to-my-face ridicule about it. I need someone to hear this rubbish and warn me off.
I already know it’s a music album bereft of proper credibility, in Essential Selection or Mash-up terms. It’s too much of a process of exploration – partly hence the name – to be undone and made ‘cool’ by a berk like me.
Yet, is it still legitimate? I think – no, I suspect, – it… is. But I could do with at least someone else thinking so too before I press the button on a thousand hard copies of the blasted thing.
Brekkers with Gel in the Cali this morning saw us lingering an extra ten to chat music. I shared with him my inordinate excitement – eclipsing quite predictably the reasonably full-on workload in the Typo studio at the moment – about doing something I’ve dreamed of for years.
Putting real strings on a piece of music.
Yes, this is very normal for many musicians with a budget, but this week I could hardly contain my Bless Me enthusiasm at finally getting a simple little CD in the post for three tracks to have a cellist and violinist session on.
I spoke with Simon the cellist tonight and his solo work on Identity and Duality respectively is all but done. And frankly, I can’t wait to hear how this makes these two distinctly thoughtful chapters of the new album sound.
But more than this, I’ve decided to put my hand in Momo’s pocket for something rather special to end the whole long-player with – strings on Waiting is a bit like being on holiday, the album finale. It’s such a sun-drenched kind of refrain, it would just be such a classy way to leave the musical moment. If any potential listener can get through all the fannying around and stupid shenanigans before that, anyway.
Sadly, I have to wait until the end of the month before the violinist is back from holiday. But I am fully prepared to. I AM SO EXITED.
Gellan, on hearing this, was a total mate and simply said he couldn’t wait to hear it all.
I don’t know. I’ve operated in such comprehensive musical obscurity, unable to pull together all my musical experiences and explorations before now, the idea that me and my natural naffness might make a record that can almost stand up in the arena of credibility – or even get a couple of people to listen to it – well, that seems too much to imagine. Doesn’t sound very Real World to me.
I’m getting one or two more people around me give me that look. That look that I’d get just very occasionally from a single very timely person, telling me that they totally loved what I’d done. Just when I was about to give up.
Bloody thanks, single timely person.
Like that one lass running across a field to me just as I was leaving another essentially-empty gig at a small local music festival, some dozen years ago. Or that one bloke asking for a CD just as I was packing up from a sparce show at The Gardening Club on some nameless Wednesday. Like, thanks. For sharing our madness, just when I was on the cusp of sanity.
But now I’m getting more unhelpfulness. The sort of little things that I am powerless to resist.
Simon’s growing interest in it from one cello session. The affection from Gel, Zo and the Thinking Juice gang about it. The sudden online airplay from one unknown DJ last month. The out-of-the blue contact from a young chap last week saying he’s ‘never been more excited about waiting for a new album’ than since discovering it. Mark the drum’s fantastically encouraging excitement about forming the live band for it. John the horn’s professionally experienced keenness this week to stay involved and do more sessions.
It.. it sort of feels like I should still, insanely be doing this. I told Gel I couldn’t really put all this out there, but I’m… darn it, it’s out there. I’m feeling it.
Now. I realise that all that this massive response so far adds up to is just a tiny group of positive friends sincerely wishing me well and a couple of possible random nutters, I know. Yet, tiny world as this may be, it’s very nice. And it’s been steadily increasing my tempted sense of excitement.
Don’t get me wrong – this record won’t be properly right. Take heart – remember that I simply don’t know what I’m doing enough. I am, lest we forget, just some chap making music that’s not very hip, simply to please himself. And that’s not going to change, of course.
So you won’t have to redecorate your life’s frame of reference any time soon, I shouldn’t think.
But it’s all rather good fun, isn’t it?
So, after a week of bending my head around website structures and pitch strategies and brochure copy and emailers of news, I am staying at the Mac and shipping in the pizza and turning up the dance music tonight, to see if I can make a credible brand for The Golden Age out of the print making session that the creative superforce Sarah G-H kindly helped me with in her studio a couple of weeks back.
Then I have two days to wrap up all the edits, sessions and unworking bits of Momo:tempo’s debut album musical creative, in order to actually, definitely, possibly complete it.
I guess all things, even this, must change eventually.