Today’s little known Vicar story - “The Mysterious case of the Hotel Cleaner who knew my name” comes from The Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver. I had left my room on the first morning and was about halfway along the corridor in my jetlagged semi-soporific state, when the cleaner greeted me with a breezy “Good morning, Mr Sanderson”, just as I climbed into the lift. It was not until I had reached the ground floor (for my morning breakfast with an un-named guitarist of my acquaintance and his sister) that it began to bug me “How on earth had she known my name”…I hereby name our latest addition "The Orifice" (joke on The Oracle from The Matrix). Now we will find out if she has a sense of humour. Solutions on a postcard please.
My inbox has been filled with an e-flurry, seeking my thoughts on the ongoing “photography makes concert impossible for artist”, “unprofessional artist leaves stage in huff”, “selfish musician robs fans” dramas. These are, in my view, nothing more than the most recent occurrence of an inevitable tension caused by the laudable attempt of artists to operate in the marketplace while being free of its values. The marketplace dictates that live music is a commercial relationship: the audience pays money and is entitled to a set quantity of entertainment (which evidently must include encores). In an alternative world, the money is necessary to fund the costs and work required, but this is not a commercial relationship about quantity, but an opportunity to participate in bringing a quality into the world. If one seeks to set a standard for live music performance (something which cannot be done without the active participation of the audience), and the actions of the audience mean that the artist cannot honourably continue at the standard which he expects of himself, what would we have him do? Muddle through and play badly? This would not only be a denial of everything he stands for, but would mean that [...]
Anyone wondering about the background behind The Vicar will probably enjoy this - an updated version of David Singleton's bio : A very English maverick, Singleton delights in the story of a speech he delivered recently at a Cambridge reunion - and the fact that this unexpected honour had less to do with his contribution to Philosophy than fond memories of the single "Lazy Bugger" he released as an undergraduate. Ever unconventional, his first home was a hand-built 38 ft boat. And his next musical release - recorded in the studio he founded, The Mobile - was the infamous "Record that could Change every Time You Played it" (vinyl single due for re-issue on Record Store Day 2015). On some playings, a guitar solo may appear. On others, not. Sometimes, a telephone voice may sing. Other times, not. Such variable play music has now, of course, become a staple of computer games. That record, along with his production work on 'Show of Hands', 'Sunday all over the World', 'Frame by Frame' and 'The Great Deceiver' was the start of a long-enduring partnership with Robert Fripp. In 1992. they co-founded the label DGM, which they still jointly own, and which has [...]
To stream, or not to stream: that is the question: Whether it serves music better to suffer The slings and arrows of outraged fans, Or to take arms against a sea of vested interests, And by opposing end them? I am loathe to dip my toe into the cesspool that is the discussion on streaming. A myriad bloggers on one side, disenchanted artists sinking gently in the middle, and a large stinking pile of unfulfilled promises and vested interests on the other. Surely there is nothing more that can be said. And yet. And yet. Much has changed over the last few weeks. So let us, Dear Readers, triangulate around some interesting new landmarks: 1) The recent revelations about the Sony contract with Spotify, as published on the verge website. 2) Universal’s recent posturing (possibly egged on by Apple) that free streaming on Spotify is damaging music. 3) The recent “cleansing of Youtube” of King Crimson material, which has led many fans to feel that they have been robbed of one of the potential ways of spreading the word about their favourite music. Let us begin with Sony’s Spotify contract. Much was unsurprising. Sony receives vast advances, which they may, [...]
David Singleton's has been posting in his online diary about the stresses of juggling music prodution, music management, and the creative life of The Vicar. The first part of the challenge is simple and exciting. I simply have to adapt to being one of those superbly efficient paragons who achieve more every day than us mere mortals (and there I was thinking I was doing reasonably well already). A new “executive assistant” has appeared in my life, and is “executively assisting”… The nagging doubt at the back of my mind is “artistic space”. This does not admit of workflows and delegation. It is the ‘inner child” or the “seeing eye”, and has to be lived. Or, expressed in a more practical way, a month ago I was living the fourth Vicar novel. I knew the plot, the characters were alive in my head, I could set pen to paper, enjoy the dance and see where it might lead. And now? Even if I stole the time (always possible), the work would feel like a fraud. It is not currently real in the same way. Or a different, musical perspective. Many of us music lovers, lead our hectic lives and squeeze [...]
Safely back from Japan and Canada, my first time north of the 49th parallel. Seems that his Hairyness (sorry, his holiness!) designed this trip specially so that I would staying in each country just long enough to almost adjust to the jetlag before moving on and repeating the endless sleepless nights. What I wouldn’t give to go to bed and not wake up at 3am, all alone, unloved (fill in your own sad adjectives). Thanks all those who came to all the talks. It is my first time in Japan since the last Vicar interview tour in 2013. The Vicar would tell you that “There remains something wonderful about the people, the quality that everyone brings to their work: the way that your tea is served, your bed is made or you are welcomed to the hotel.” Yawn! Much more important is the sushi, the hi-tech, and the strange obsession of grown women who want to dress up like schools girls. What’s that about?!
I am living my own personal version of "changing rooms". There is that slightly nervous moment each time you arrive at a new venue, and are shown the possible spaces for your talk. I have already described the "space between two doors" at Brighton - this was followed by the "Harold Pinter" room at the Hackney Empire....a possible cameo for Vicar Chronicle: Simon, the promoter, told me that there was one available space, the Harold Pinter room. He took me up to the upper level...and then through the door marked "gents toilets". My heart began to sink. We were in a small lobby, about one metre square. Surely not here, I thought. Simon looked slightly confused, and then pushed on the next door, which took us through to the toilets themselves, complete with a row of urinals. I know most Vicar fans are men of a certain age, whose bladders, like mine, may be getting a trifle weak, but a talk in the toilet...!!! Simon looked a little embarrassed and announced that the Harold Pinter room had vanished. It was as if we were living in our own Harold Pinter play. We circled several times, before he remembered a fire [...]
Thank you to all who attended the appearances in LA, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and Seattle in April - we are planning another visit to the States in October, and some UK dates in between. Please contact us if you have a burning desire for a visit to your city/town/village/loft. Some of the best events were those added by brave volunteers who threw their hat into the ring. David Singleton, creator of all things Vicar, is also doing talks at Universities and colleges on 'The Uneasy Marriage between Music and Business' - the fault-line which provides so many plotlines for Punk Sanderson and The Vicar. Lots of chances to get involved.
David Singleton is doing a series of speaking engagements in the US telling you everything you ever wanted to know about The Vicar but were afraid to ask. Dates are still being added, but we have Cambria 21st April, San Francisco 22nd, San Jose 23rd, Sacramento 27th, LA 28th, Seattle 1st May. Watch this space, or The Vicar Facebook page for updates, venues and timings.
As most of you would seem to have already noticed, we have begun the soft launch of Be The Singer and #IamTheVicar. Be The Singer is our very own organic, fairtrade, no-artists-or-songs-murdered-in-the-making version of the X Factor (The V Factor, as we are calling it) and #IamTheVicar is a photo competition for your photos of The Vicar - "the man who isn't there". Given that we are not going to the press until the official launch at the start of next month, the response has been incredible. You are all really wonderful (but you know that already). Keep it up. Keep sharing and let us know if there are any bugs we need to fix!
You'll never believe the tongue-lashing that I've just been given over the lack of blog postings this month. It was ... well ... quite fun actually. Because - heavens be praised - it wasn't from The Vicar, which would be ULTRA SCARY - we're talking turn the amp up to fifteen and let it feedback out of control. No. It was from his new PR/Social Media specialist, who is, well, a SHE. I'm not going to be all sexist and tell you what she looks like, because we all know that if "she" was a "he", I wouldn't bother - but she is no way as scary as The Vicar (although I suspect she's got quite a temper on her). And yes, I know you're all going to point out that she gets what she wants because here I am tapping away. Well - obviously! DUH! So watch this space, there should be regular updates this year. Starting first thing Monday! P.S. And as everyone involved with The Vicar has to have a silly name, I hereby name our latest addition "The Orifice" (joke on The Oracle from The Matrix). Now we will find out if she has a sense [...]
I admit it (even though I've done it already). I, Punk Sanderson, agree that this new website is maybe slightly better than my trusty old one (although I still miss the scrolling underpants). So can you please now stop sending your emails to The Vicar with all your gushing "it's-so-purrfect" praise - which just pisses me off, as really what you mean is that my old site was a load of old s**t. (Isn't this great, I'm filling his Hairyness's glossy new site with swear words. Perhaps I could add a few more like...well maybe not actually, as I don't want to get fired, Not just before Xmas). Anyway, in case I do get the push and never speak to you all again, Have a Happy Xmas and I hope next year brings me everything that you want.