Stages new and old…

This is a stage. In a cave. You can see the steps leading up to it on the right hand side of the picture and the stage itself is a flat surface between the two pillars in the centre. The acoustics are incredible and I imagine the many soloists and vocal groups who have played there sound amazing. But it wasn’t always a stage. Mostly it was and still is just a cavern in a cave. It took imagination and initiative to see a stage there and make a concert happen. Some musicians don’t want to invent stages. They want to wait until the old stages open again. There’s nothing wrong with that. But others are looking for new ways to play, places to play, new stages on which to perform. Maybe this example can help.

One-way systems

Our very modern problem means that we are now being told how to navigate our way around even the most ancient public spaces. Which highlights the need to do the opposite in our private endeavours when we have the chance. It doesn’t always have to be against the crowd, but by the time we are lowered into one of these graves, it would be nice to at least be able to say that we didn’t allow what others said we should do influence the way we did things.


Everybody needs a break. As Christy told us – ‘climb a mountain or jump in a lake’. But rather than them being the highlight of our year, the thing we look forward to most, maybe it might be a better idea to sort out the rest of our lives in order that we don’t crave them quite as much?

It’s complicated!

‘Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s’. So says Joe Hunt in his recent adaptation of Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – Baz Luhrmann’s spoken word song which in turn was based on a 1997 essay by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich. And while it’s impossible to be sure of the exact percentage – there is no doubt that the results of our choices do not always follow directly from the choice itself. There is an element of chance involved, as well as an element of the results of the choices others make around our choice. That doesn’t make for a good story though. Bill Gates once said that he and Steve Jobs will always get too much credit, because otherwise the story gets too complicated. Because if you were to forensically go into all the choices that had to be made and all the people who made them in order for big technological breakthroughs to happen, you

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Peter Green

Song 44 of the Teenage Theme Night Sessions was one of the few instrumentals of the Sessions so far. You can see it here – Adam Hunter playing some tasty electric guitar on Carlos Santana’s version of Black Magic Woman. And I loved it – the angle of the video reveals a drum kit in the background – a laptop on the desk – it looks like a room where Adam quite possibly spends a lot of time – practicing, working things out, crafting his chops and his sound. All the things that a teenager into music should be doing. And we had a bit of craic when it was posted because I said it was a Fleetwood Mac song and Adam thought it was Santana’s. And I was reminded of being young and hearing the Kylie Minogue hit The Locomotion in 1987/88 and my Dad telling me that it wasn’t her song at all – I’m not sure that

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Farewell Theme Night #27…

So another Theme Night is consigned to the past. It was the most ambitious one yet in many ways, but was great fun putting it together, and the reaction has been just fantastic – thanks so much to everyone who contributed so far, and here’s one last reminder that if you still wish to contribute towards the costs of making the show, you can do so here. You can see all the videos from the show here, including the entire show, and a special one just posted – Joe Hunt and Vanessa Byrne’s Everybody’s Free to Wear a Mask. And indeed if you want to take a trip down memory lane, you can look back at all the videos from past theme nights here. As always with these shows, so much time was put in by so many, and I’d like to once again acknowledge everyone who contributed. Thanks to the 17 people who got involved in the theme nights

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We’ve made it now…

…said one of the unsung heroes of last night’s show James McManus as we battled to delete and block the scam artists who were flooding the comment feed of the show with fake links. They were trying to extract money from people looking for places in which to watch the show – I really hope they didn’t succeed with any of you. I bring this up because I know some of you had trouble getting in to watch the show as a result. If you did part with any money please contact your bank ASAP and they will advise you. This was of course completely illegal but there was nothing we could do about it at the time except to try and limit the damage by trying to get rid of the comments as they appeared. Anyway it was a small setback on a night that loads of you seemed to really enjoy. Thanks so much to everyone who tuned

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Two men badly in need of a haircut, a shave and a night’s sleep. And as Luke said to me last night as we signed off on the last few bits and pieces of the epic project that was the making of Theme Night #27 – we may be mad, but at least we didn’t sit on our arses just because we had no gigs! He’s probably right on both counts, but we are far from the only ones with no gigs, and definitely far from the only mad ones – and so I’d like to thank everyone who put so much into this show, all done with a smile and in the spirit of fun, community and making the best possible music and art with others. A special mention to Kris Manulak who is still working on the last few bits and pieces as I write having worked all through the night. Like putting out any piece or work,

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Some positive words…

Two days to go so hopefully you’ll forgive another blog about Theme Night #27 – there’s not much else going on in my head these days! I did read two excellent articles about the current state of the music industry in the last 24 hours however. The first one is very well-written and details clearly how difficult the current times are for musicians – explaining how the virus makes it incredibly difficult to do what we are best at – bringing people together. It emphasises the need for supports for musicians at the current time. The second one is similarly realistic (and hence downbeat) throughout but does end on a more positive note – and indeed the upcoming theme night is very much in the spirit of the last paragraph of this article. I have had so much help in putting this show together. From so many people (105 at the last count) – most of whom are out of

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An interview is all about the person being interviewed. A good interviewer knows this, and doesn’t always stick to the script of prepared questions, especially if she feels the conversation is naturally going somewhere more interesting. An inexperienced or less skilled interviewer sometimes makes the interview about themselves, but this rarely produces a good outcome for anyone. This is true in the fields of journalism, recruitment and entertainment. We decided to include a couple of short interviews with regular theme night and teenage theme night participants in next Thursday’s show. To let you all get to know a bit better some of the performers you are used to seeing on stage and online. And while they were too short this time to deviate too far from the script, if you enjoy them we might try some slightly longer form interviews in the future.