Monday, December 21, 2020

Tom's Christmas story and song...the top ten 2020 Lockdown Laments and a link to all 33

This is a wee story from my childhood...and a daft new song called The Bernard Matthews Turkey Breast Roast for Two Blues. Remember - Santa WILL make it through.

In April this year I began writing and recording on video songs which were inspired by, or squibs against Covid, lockdown, some of the crazy politics we were being forced to undergo, and life in my adopted home of Shetland. All kinds of incidents, some now forgotten, crept in: the Belgian llama whose blood was going to heal us. Neil Gaiman's flight to Skye. The obsessive buying up of camper vans. People making ventilators at home. And of course, the Trump saga.

There are - and the one above is the last for 2020 - 33 in total. A double album! They vary in quality but on the whole, I think they've been and remain useful. Occasionally tuneful and funny. And angry.

Feel free to dip in and out, select the ones you're most interested in, or ignore. The link to my YouTube channel is...

If you want to start with the top ten most popular (on YouTube, not counting Twitter, IGTV and Facebook views) , here are the YouTube links and some explanations, with dates...

10: Tell it to the Taxman, 30 April. Inspired by the spectacle of multimillionaire tax exiles offering advice and guidance to the NHS. And by the whole "raise charitable funds for the NHS" thing: the NHS is NOT a charity. As the song says, and as the poster of Aneurin Bevan proclaims, "It's a publicly funded entity, free at the point of delivery." Charitable funds are for extras, like toys in playrooms. The Government needs to fund the NHS centrally and properly. Recorded on an iPad Pro using Studio Mini XL (full technical details at the end).
9: Good Omens (Neil's a Runrig Guy) 19 May. The story broke of author Neil Gaiman's bizarre flight from New Zealand to Skye, where he planned to self-isolate, in the wake of various domestic problems and with Covid raging. Sensitivites were, to say the least, aroused. His collaboration with Skye-raised director Douglas McKinnon on the enormously successful TV series Good Omens remains much celebrated. I was going through a lock-down imposed beret period at the time. Blame Richard Thompson.
8: Russia Today 27 July. One of several songs about The Man Who Would Be President Again But Isn't Going To Be. With the precedent set by our own dear Alex, would a slot open up for The Donald on Putin's propaganda TV channel, Russia Today? And other nebulous insults.
7: Six Metres Away 28 June. As we all got used to lockdown, the phenomenon of quarantined love/lust/romance raised its, ah, head. Suddenly we were all Zooming, but using it for social or romantic purposes had its problems. And how did you kiss somebody in real life if they had to be six metres away? Random shagging was not just out of the question. It was downright illegal.
6: Stuck Inside Murano Street With the Lockdown Blues Again 29 September. Students back at colleges and universities for the start of term or fresher's week. A breeding ground for infection and mental health issues, furious and worried parents, and all kinds of shenanigans in students flats. Murano Street is one of the biggest University of Glasgow halls.
5: And God Created Midges 14 August. Not strictly a Lockdown Lament, more a perennial question: why did God create midges? Proud that this was aired on the Fylde Guitars electronic newsletter. It's played on a 1979 Fylde Orsino.
4: I Have Cut My Own Hair 16 June speaks for itself, really. With barbers out of bounds - I've always hated having my hair cut anyway, but want it short - I bought a Remington Quick Cut HC4250 set of clippers (the curved ones) in March and have used them ever since. Best £40 I ever spent. Varying results, but mostly acceptable I think. Though not in this case perhaps.
3: There for You (The Corona Christmas Song) 20 November. Intended as an extremely sinister song indeed. Spoiler alert - it's written from the virus's point of view. My wife much prefers There Will Be Other Christmases and of course there is is the story and song that kicks off this particular and very long post. Always felt that the "Christmas amnesty" was a mistake.
2: Four Seasons Landscaping (Rudi's Anthem) 8 November. The US election had the whole world in anguish and expectation. This was like something out of Morecambe and Wise, and really finished any credible Trump claim that he in any way "won". I have another song about Rudi, but I'm waiting for the legal proceedings to start properly. Against him.
1: Person, Woman, Man, Camera TV 23 July. Runaway winner. Concerning a loser. This was the famous Trump interview when he was accused of having memory loss issues. For what it's worth, medical opinion in our house diagnoses severe learning difficulties.

Technical details: Guitars - Fylde Orsino, Vintage V660, Harmony Monterey, Selmer 222 (my first guitar, got for my 11th birthday!) Breedlove Passport, Pignose electric. Keyboard: Casio SA-75. Amp: Marshal AS50D.

Mostly recorded on an iPhone 6s with a Røde M1 microphone through an iRig Pro interface. Last couple of videos were done with a Zoom Q2N video camera on wide setting (I'm not quite that fat). Edited on iMovie. Multitracks were Studio Mini XL on an iPad Pro, edited using Audio Hijack and Fission.

And if you've enjoyed any of this stuff, maybe you could think about a small donation to homeless charity The Simon Community's #GiveHopeAtChristmas campaign. Thanks. Make of Christmas the best you can, and let's hope for a much better 2021. 

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