Today’s podcast takes the listener to America. You will listen to Angela’s – Claudine’s and Ian’s anecdotes of travelling in America. Of course there will be laughs a’plenty during the hour conversation: Go to: Texas SanFrancisco Hot Springs And New Orleans Listen to the Podcast: More About Claudine Earth Tree Healing Multi-instrumentalist/Composer Claudine West… via Random […]
“If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.” John Barrow
Stranger things have happened. things nearly didn’t happen… but…I’m an improv inspired kind of bird. Go with the flow. This ideal is not shared by all. Which is why…..
12th Feb 2017 was the day Strange Currencies shot a the music video for ‘American Saviour.’ Paralleled with a pseudo documentary of ‘the making of’ to rival others .. should be released in the summer. With a story line and undertones of Cuprinol. This dip into politics may cause ripples with nipples. A few conti pad giggles.
With a self financed tiny budget, (500 x 50p and a mars bar mini) the kindness of The Acacia Centre volunteers fancy dressed to impress, sausage and chip cobs(naps, buns, rolls to non locals), orange face paint, raspberry sauce and more wigs that Donald’s closet. Began a day of filming. After ditching his initial script in comparison to The Cure For Insomnia running length of 87– 10 mins in ‘cat years’ ;-0. A barrage of hissy fits ensued the day before. (A lesson about better communication, planning, prepping and making sure minutes are written in future with things!) PP Johnson (band vocalist) overcame what can only be described as…. a fucking flid and directed. #evidence below. Yet again I’ll quote this sunshine… “If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.” John Barrow
A word from Director PP Johnson:
“I feel at this stage that I might have to go into more of an explanation as to why I didn’t want to make this video initially. In light of a pretty damning blog, it’s now become important to me that people understand my side of this particular issue. I guess I’d have to say that I was the architect of my own downfall on this one. Basically, I pitched the idea for the video a couple of months back and we all agreed that we should do it. We’d been looking for a concept to hang a music video on for a while and so this seemed as good an idea as any. So we greenlit the project and everyone was happy. Fast forward a few weeks and new jobs for both myself and the band manager plus an album recording that was well under way meant that I started doubting our ability to produce a quality piece of work in such a short space of time. So… I went to my bandmate and the manager with my concerns and suggested that we either postpone the project or shelve it altogether. This suggestion was met with a fair amount of resistance and I was told that we were definitely going ahead and “I shouldn’t pitch projects if I had no intention of going ahead with them”. Suddenly one person was less happy. 😉 Anyway, life and work began to take priority, as they tend to do. Production meetings didn’t happen and communication on all sides became almost non-existent (due to individuals not replying to messages and various important sporting events). During that time a script was written and some pre production work had been carried out (admittedly not as much as I’d had liked but that’s on me). Come the eve of the shoot and I was a very frustrated bunny indeed. We were on a ship which seemed rudderless and heading for stormy waters, and I seemed to be the only one that saw it. After numerous tense phonecalls and a (now very public) meltdown from your’s truly, it was decided that we would change the project in order to try and turn the project’s weaknesses into a strength. Ultimately a new concept was born and the shoot went ahead. Upon reflection, I still feel that I was right to feel the way I did but I am grateful that we were able to turn potential tragedy into (fingers crossed) triumph. My actions in the build up to the shoot were those of a man who was being forced to do something against his will and it garnered the appropriate response. So there it is, the story from my side. Hopefully to be concluded in the summer with the release of American Saviour: A Cautionary Tale.”
So….after a winter of ‘Toblerones’ and turkey. With pre menstrual bloat, some virus illness shite that the flu jab possibly caused. You can imagine my surprise and horror at being directed with speaking parts! Bear in mind.. an E in ‘A Level’ Drama happened for a reason with me! I mumble and can’t remember lines or prompts, or act.I can barely function as a non musician at times. So genuine uncomfortable madness.. Fanks!
With the sort of pre match bitch diva fits that potentially split bands up and ruin friendships and prompt the band manager to consider leading a meditation with monks tour with backing band ‘Satans Minions.’ By the power of Greyskull.. no one died. A punch up did occur. Filming completed.
What won this Shoot was : Wait for it…Team work, yes where no ‘i’ belongs. Resilience, imagination, ripping off others ideas and persevering seeking the bigger picture. What one watches in hindsight though the looking glass in years to come. Becoming a coffin dodger is a daily Pac man challenge.
Big thanks for last minute leads, Angela Barker, who is also the manager who fortunately for some only used the boxing gloves ‘acting.’ Stepping in to the Trumpalumpa ‘Ronald Gump’ character. Notts Drag Queen, Madam Tesstickles (Steven Newbury) for the ‘Vanessa Theresamay’ hilarity. Talented true divas and excellent hilarious performances. The DJ’s, friends and families at Acacia Radio for giving us their time, featuring and letting us use their building and props. Kendal Louise Turley, who I first met in 2009 while recording an Idolins album at Confetti Studios, Nottingham. Joe our cameraman. Both very cool and talented folks.
Watch behind the scenes footage
Here are some pics. To follow…. hopefully a music video and making of documentary 😉
I became rather fixated Baywatch wise too…..
Oh yes we made it! The mid-season break for us is the opposite of a writers strike. With a 2 week break over the holidays and New Year. 2016 had killed my Banjo. (A new Hercules triple whammy guitar stand purchased for out of its case protection) catching up with sleep, countless games of drunken ‘New market’ and ‘Cards Against Humanity’ and indulging the sick horror of human nature when prompted. Arse sitting whisky a go go was a luxury. When the over indulgence ended and the toilet rolls depleted, the detoxes began. Armed with a Garnet stone for creativity. 2 New Age albums ready to go in 2017. I began more work on the backing tracks for the new album. Plans as of this blog are: Making Monsters by Strange Currencies. It’s useful to lock ‘oneself’ away during the darkened months. I don’t get ‘SAD’ I get ‘Gutted’ =’ Godforsaken Unadulterated Traumatic Tedious Exhausting Darkness’
Pumped up with extra vitamin D complexities. Strange algae and red berry concoctions downed inspired by some doctor on my face book feed turned. Ones PP into rainbow bright droplets of strange waz. After a fleeting though of knowing now what I didn’t then ‘should I have not done ‘normal’ day jobs and dedicated myself to music full time when younger with gigging. Not drank, smoked, got stoned and let my shyness and rage rule too much.’ But then again I wrote and recorded loads. https://bogwoppit.bandcamp.com/ So not time wasted. But you see now. As my only left addictions to crisps and chocolate fade after getting some dietitian help. I looked at my video reflection on facetime last night and thought no no NO!
I’d hoped for a quiet return to the day job into 2017. https://strangecu.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/into-2017-strange-currencies/ This was marred by it not being quiet. Organised chaos where everybody pulls out the stops to help out. I like my NHS job. It is rewarding when you can help make a difference….. and never boring. I might ache from running about miles of corridors after ‘slothing’ on my hols. Regret purchasing the ‘on sale’ £21 walking shoes that basically shit. I’ll stick to my Nikes and shoes for office/ meeting days. Luckily my trouser still button up and I can bend over without splitting my britches!
I regress… So plans in motion for a video for American Saviour. Really.. Really soon. The album is taking shape over evenings and weekends. Got some late January gigs with Strange Currencies. The 30 min set has been chopped and honed. Last year we tested various songs; have buried the ones that got less reaction from the people ignoring us on stage. We’ve got a set that we like playing more now.
Big thank you to Andrew Neil for some inspiring advice and opportunities via his Facebook feeds.
We’ve had a lot of fun on Acacia Radio http://acaciaradioaw.weebly.com/ Big thanks to Ian Hales, Shaun and Lucas Jackson. Interviews and live songs without swearing of to many FCUK ups. I even shocked myself doing Xmas songs with enthusiasm. I was even in a good mood and excited! Little Donkey and Jingle Bells all the way baby! https://www.facebook.com/strangecu/videos/1136161273172057/
The last time I dressed as Santa ended up being my last gig. I quit the band that I’d cofounded and put so much creative effort into a decade earlier. So the curse of Xmas jumpers… Only time will tell 😉 Jesus seriously doesn’t want me for a sunbeam.
Doing the amount of gigs we did from July 2016 https://strangecu.wordpress.com/gigs/ (as well as a full time day job and recording an EP.) At times the enthusiasm to play live after a long day was hard, tempers were tested, moods low. Well there were times when I just wanted to walk away and quit. As did PP Johnson. But. Then we’d have a good gig. The bad gigs when we played to the bar staff or crowds with their back to us were atypical of the growing expectation for musicians in the wrong venues to be background noise or karaoke with a guitar. There were nights after a long day I was tired and questioning, full of PMT and just want to cozy up with the Walking Dead. Resilience gets one through. The drive to achieve and surprise myself is strong like the force. My strumming fingernail has still not recovered and I’ve had to resort to more plectrum usage when used to my usual finger picking style. Evolving….
I love technology. Xmas also produced make over app fun! (My zombify pictures of Ange over xmas didn’t go down too well!) But putting her Dad who had fallen asleep and provided an opportunity… Alan in make up and wigs did!
Then I went blond
Then we went to Harry Potter World
The end…..of 2016
Onto the album Making Monsters
I’ve just bought a £23 self-assembly blues cigar guitar. I’ll be indulging along with the sitar to use on recordings this year. It’s very easy to get caught up with loops when in studio. American Saviour began as a mess about around the punch line. ‘Ride The Pony’ That Ange (My Wifey) and I were going to do for a piss take. We have some tracks nearly ready such as ‘Stay Down Kid.’ Originally a riff from one of my own ‘Sonic World’ reworked. I’m quite excited about Gypsy Disco. In Your World is a loopy starter for ten. The first batch is nearly there for final vocal takes. ‘This Girl’ is a haunting piano ballad. ‘Automatic’ is currently a bone of contention. The song ‘Making Monsters’ is near. There is a new song ‘Mantaray’ that I’ve done some vocals on. This may end up on my next solo ‘Claudine West’ album though. There is a duet under the working title ‘Twosome’ about to be written. I’ve initially recorded a backing track and submitted some lyrics and concept ideas that may well be scrapped. I imagined a dark ‘Islands in the Stream’ around obsession and blame, about a lover and bit of a motherFCUKer that loses the plot and murders the man she is having an affair with. We will see what the next few months produce. PP Johnson has been producing lyrics and ideas. I do love the writing and recording process. Big Thanks again to Angela Barker. Who organises, manages, drives, rodies, networks, gets the sh1t, gets the drinks at the bar and much more. We are not easy Divas 😉
We spend the end of 2016 watching the winter sun setting in Portsmouth. Its rather lovely sat on a beach with a cup of tea readying for new musical adventures…