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Reflections on War

 

 

Gary Miller's Blog

May 26 2015

Live on Freies Radio Wueste Welle

Now available as a FREE download from my Bandcamp Page - the complete 38:30-minute recording of my live interview and session (including 2 songs live + 1 preview track from 'Mad Martins') on Freies Radio Wüste Welle 96.6, Tübingen, on 15th May 2015.

 

To download, just click the BUY NOW button and then enter zero in the payment box (or, if you wish to make a small contribution, name your price.).


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May 26 2015

Tuebingen, 14th-18th May 2015

On 14th May 2015, I flew to Tübingen, Germany. The trip had originally been planned for me to accompany my erstwhile friend and long-time collaborator on various creative projects, Dr. Keith Armstrong. Unfortunately Keith was forced to pull out at the 11th hour, due to an extreme family emergency, so I ended up making the trip on my own, and 'flying the flag' for both of us in Keith's absence.

Keith has been unstintingly and unselfishly organising official exchange trips to and from Tübingen, on a twice-annual basis for about the last 3 decades, as part of Tübingen's twinning with Durham City, in the North East of England, and I have made a number of trips with Keith to Tübingen over the years, as well as taking part in several exchange events in Durham, all as part of the twinning process.

 

As with previous trips to Tübingen, I was ensconced in the apartment at Langergaße 18 for the duration of my stay...

 

My trip included a performance at Club Voltaire, as part of the town's annual Literary Festival. My set list was specifically tailored to represent the history and culture of Durham, and therefore included such songs as 'This Village' (inspired by Sherburn Village, where I grew up, 3 miles/5 kms east of Durham City), 'The Durham Light Infantry' (a tribute to the working class men, who made up the fighting force of this famous Durham regiment), 'The Colliery' (a tribute to Durham's coalmining industry), 'Easington' (about a Durham 'pit village', which had one of the region's last remaining working collieries, until it finally closed in the 1980's), Keith Armstrong's wonderfully personal lyric 'My Father Worked On Ships' (which I had set to music, as a song, for The Whisky Priests 1995 album 'Bleeding Sketches') and the great Tommy Armstrong's (Durham's "Pitman Poet", who lived 100 years ago) magnificent 'The Durham Lockout'...

 

Whilst in Tübingen I was also interviewed live on air, and performed a couple of songs, at the town's local radio station Freies Radio Wüste Welle. You can lsiten to the full interview and songs and download it for FREE from my Bandcamp Page here..

 

I attempted to capture some of my thoughts and experiences during the trip through the following piece of 'poetry'...

 

Tübingen Refrain

Taking a lonely flight to Stuttgart
To fly the flag all on my own
Without my poetic twin
My true noetic kin
Yet feeling your earthbound spirit, Keith
Full of northern soul
Soaring through the clouds with me
So I would not be alone

Eating obligatory asparagus
Courtesy of Christoph
While my mind recalled vague poems
With the punctuation missed off
First-time views from castle walls
Lizards dancing on hot stones
I was feeling the foundations
Of this country’s solid bones

Trudging miles in the pissing rain
Guitar in hand, bold thoughts in head
Along the route of the Steinlachallee
Where the river winds a tuneful thread
To Freies Radio Wüste Welle
Ninety-six point six
On the edge of town
Way out in the sticks

Thinking this would be a lovely walk
On a glorious sunny day
And though these shoes aren’t made for walking
I’d not have it any other way
My shirt is soaked with rain and sweat
But I’ve made it here at last
Now my songs and croaking throat ring out
During Matzel Xander’s broadcast

Strolling by the Neckar
Rowboats gliding gently by
Reminds me of the Wear
Beneath a Durham sky
Letting the lilting birdsong
Carry me away
Until a jolly punter’s dulcet tones
Catch me in mid-sway

Ah, that would be Klaus Hipp
The delightful ’Neckar Caruso’
Prompting his passengers in mid-punt
To crave just one Cornetto
Romantic ice-cream thoughts
To the tune of ‘O Sole Mio’
Licking nuts and chocolate chips
To Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’

Standing by the statue
of composer Friedrich Silcher
Taking instructions by osmosis
for the story of a Miller
Thinking about the book
I was so wanting to write
To lay to rest the last eight months
In a tunnel without light

Sitting under the ash tree
Munching a vegan baguette
Outside Café Im Hirsch
With Carolyn and Margit
Then drinking in the Boulanger
With Tibor, Frank and Mike
Discussing the Lindisfarne Gospels
And thirty years of the Miners’ Strike

Taking a coffee with Otto Buchegger
Outside Café Primer Express
Watching the Tübingen girls go by
Daydreaming about sex
Then talking of Vienna
And how we both love it so
And wishing I could relive
Memories of long ago

Then it’s back to the airport
Time to say goodbye
To friendships I’ve rekindled
Beneath a Swabian sky
But I know it’s just a short while
Until I come back again
Singing arm in arm with Keithyboy
Our Tübingen refrain

(Gary Miller)


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May 24 2015

Tippin' The Wink 'The Devil's In the Detail' (featuring Mick Tyas)

Tippin' The Wink 'The Devil's In The Detail', featuring Whisky Priests member Mick Tyas, is now available on CD and download from The Whisky Priests Bandcamp Page.

 

Click here to order.


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Apr 14 2015

Mastering 'Mad Martins'

Today and over the following 2 days, I will be travelling up to Slate Room Studio in Pentcaitland with Mad Martins producer Iain Petrie, to oversee the mastering of the 50-track triple album by experienced mastering engineer Garry Boyle. It's very exciting to finally be at this stage!


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Dec 04 2014

'Mad Martins' will be a TRIPLE CD!

I am excited to announce that the forthcoming 'Mad Martins' album has now been upgraded to a triple CD (previous plans were for a double CD) of around 50 tracks with a current provisional track listing as follows:

 

DISC 1:

INTRO (ISABELLA MARTIN):
01. THREE MAD MARTINS (Prophecy)

WILLIAM MARTIN:
02. A POEM ON THE PLACE OF MY BIRTH
03. THE LEAPING SWORDSMAN
04. GOD AND AIR
05. WILLIAM MARTIN'S DREAM
06. IN DREAMTIME
07. WILLIAM MARTIN'S INVENTIONS
08. THE DANDY HORSE
09. ON LIBRARIES
10. JUST AN INOFFENSIVE WIFE
11. THE PHILOSOPHER'S CURE FOR THE CHOLERA MORBUS
12. MEDALS
13. A DESCRIPTION OF WILLIAM MARTIN
14. WILLIAM, YOU WERE REALLY SOMETHING
15. REFLECTIONS

 

DISC 2:

JONATHAN MARTIN:
16. OF MY CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH
17. IN THE NAVY
18. SHOOT THE BISHOP!
19. MUSINGS ON THE MADHOUSE
20. FOUR BARE WALLS
21. ESCAPE 
22. THE LIFE OF JONATHAN MARTIN
23. MY 'LIFE'
24. BALLAD OF THE INCENDIARY
25. JONATHAN'S DEPARTURE FROM MARIA
26. MARIA'S TESTIMONY
27. A DESCRIPTION OF JONATHAN MARTIN
28. AT THE ASSIZES
29. MADHOUSE MARTIN
30. CHARLES DICKENS ON JONATHAN MARTIN (Part 1)
31. A PAINTING FOR CHARLES
32. CHARLES DICKENS ON JONATHAN MARTIN (Part 2)

 

DISC 3:

JOHN MARTIN:
33. JOHN'S SONG
34. PICTURE THE SCRIPTURES
35. THE PLAINS OF HEAVEN
36. LIGHTNING STRIKES
37. SEARCHING FOR THE WATERS OF OBLIVION
38. THAT'S ME!
39. FACING-BOTH-WAYS
40. A THIN VENEER
41. I SAW THE SIGNS
42. IN MY HANDS
43. THE PAINT AND THE PAIN
44. JOHN MARTIN'S DRAINAGE SCHEME
45. A LETTER FROM JOHN MARTIN
46. WICKED OLD WORLD
47. EDWARD BULWER-LYTTON ON JOHN MARTIN
48. PANDEMONIUM
49. AT ANCHOR

OUTRO:
50. THREE MAD MARTINS (Epitaph)


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“The feel of Gary Miller’s lyrics carry traditional sensibilities. His original lyrics are as appealing as the melodies to which they’re set.”
Al Reiss, Dirty Linen, USA.