In which our hero sings about love and reads a poem from the heart of a besotted young man

Last Valentine’s Day I played a wee gig for Lady Alba at the Old Hairdressers. I sang some songs and read a poem given to me by a young man in the audience. So, pretty much what I said in the title above. Hope you enjoy the video!

 

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Happy Belated Everything Day!

Happy New Year! Merry Christmas! Happy Hallowe’en! Happy Martin Luther King Day! Merry Decimal Day! I hope you enjoyed Pancake Day! Happy Valentine’s Day…

…aye, so, I haven’t updated in a while. In fact, since the last time I posted, I’ve:

Been to America

Started a new record

GIGGED

Photo by Chris Scott

And a bunch of other stuff. But since I mentioned gigs, wouldn’t you know it, you can actually rewatch one of my recent gigs right here on The Internet! I recently played an anti-Valentines show for Lady Alba at the Old Hairdressers. If you want to watch it, just click right flipping here. My set is from about 26:00 to 46:00 if you feel like skipping.

Even if you’ve heard me play all of my songs before, I’d recommend it just for the bit where I read a member of the audience’s love poem to Cat Hepburn. It’s pretty special.

Til next time! (which hopefully won’t take like five months)

Shambles

x

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My Journey to Yes

I have tears in my eyes. Tomorrow I’ll make one of the biggest and most important choices I’ll ever make. With this choice, this vote, I have the chance to change the country that I live in. To change it for the better. I have the chance to help make it a safer, fairer, and more prosperous place for generations to come. For my children, if I’m ever lucky enough to have some. When I cast my vote I’ll be doing so in the hope that I can wake up in a world where I feel optimistic about the future – instead of one where a sense of defeat or even dread is the norm; afraid of what another government I didn’t vote for is going to do to its people. People it clearly doesn’t understand. My vote for Yes is a vote for hope. For change. For a chance at a better world because whatever happens, wouldn’t we be fools not to take a shot at making things better? It’s a huge decision. The world is watching us to see if we’re about to make history.

But that’s not why I’m greetin’. I’m not overwhelmed at the enormity of the situation or the power that we have (real power, by the way, for the first time in a long time). It’s because this journey has been one of the greatest things that I’ll ever be a part of and it’s nearly over. I’m honoured to have worked with people like National Collective, Yes Scotland, and Radical Independence. These are hard-working, dedicated, tireless, and inspirational people. I’m so, so grateful for the chance to have been a part of this amazing Journey to Yes.

Because that’s what the past two years have been to me. See, I’ve been Yes since before the question was there. Since I was a wee boy and I referred to Margaret Thatcher as “the bad lady”. Since I heard the explanation that Tories were a party dedicated to looking after the rich and have never seen a damn thing to refute it. Since I learned about the UCS work-in and realised that incredible things are possible. Since I first read the words of Jimmy Reid. Since I realised that we are trapped in a system where we either help deliver a Labour government (something they rely on, which has allowed them to move further away from the left) or we get a Tory government we didn’t vote for.

So my journey to yes isn’t a metaphor for how I arrived at the decision. I’m living my journey to yes.  At every rally, every gig, every debate with friends, strangers, colleagues. Every tweet that I tag #indyref. Every time I’m inspired by the amazing people around me. For me it’s the journey to the day that we vote to achieve our independence. The journey as I’ve known it is about to end. A new one is about to begin. We’re so close. Vote Yes.

Photo courtesy of Clair Donachie / Documenting Yes

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Things I did recently and photos of me doing them.

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival Launch 01 September 2014

Oooooooft. It’s been a busy auld time.  I won’t apologise for not updating in a while because if I did that every time I didn’t post for a while then I’d have to apologise every time. Cause that’s what always happens. Have I forgotten how to write? Possibly. Perhaps it’s because my brain is fried. Why? Well…

I’ve been busy playing lots of Yes and Pro-Independence events.

It’s not long now until the people of Scotland make a huge decision about the future of our country. If you’ve got no idea what’s been going on in the referendum debate then you’ve either been living in a cave or you’re the British mainstream media. HAAYYO! With the 18th growing ever-closer, there are Yes and pro-indy events cropping up all over the place and I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to be a part of some of them. Most recently I played the Radical Independence Rally on Buchanan Street and the final National Collective Glasgow Session before the referendum.

My best bit was when I forgot how my own song started just as the TV guys got their camera set up. It’s a good thing I’m not called Reliable Miller.

It’s really exciting and inspiring to see so many people turn up to events like this, engaging with political debate and discussion (and on a Monday night no less!). Whether you’re Yes, No, or still undecided, it’s amazing to see people so actively involved in trying to create a better future for Scotland. There’s just over a week to go though so I’ve still got time to squeeze some more Yes events in! Tomorrow (Thursday the 11th) I’ll be performing at the Yes Pollok Campaign Base and on Friday you can see me at Oran Mor for Radical Independence’s International Rally. I hope to see some of you there.

I met one of my actual heroes.

As you can see, he was really excited to meet me.

This week I was at the Govanhill Baths for a talk on Independence as part of the Festival of Ideas. It was a really interesting evening with a great panel and although I’m already a definite Yes, I really enjoyed hearing some of the different opinions about the future of Scotland. Not as much as I enjoyed meeting the panellist in the photo above though, one of my all-time heroes, Billy Bragg! I obviously had to shake him by the hand and, of course, take a selfie with him. I reckon the sound of Billy Bragg saying to me, simply, “selfie?” will never leave my brain. My favourite thing here is that it looks like he’s taking the photo.

I played the launch of this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival Launch 01 September 2014

Although Acute Cartoonhand is said to be a very serious condition, I’m staying positive.

Have you ever played a gig in a big gold room? I hadn’t until last week when I played the SMHAFF 2014 Launch. It was pretty special so it was. They have a really exciting programme of events coming up in October that I really urge you to check out. The guys are SMHAFF have worked really hard on it and I’m honoured to have the chance to be involved with such a great project. There’s a stigma around mental health issues that really needs to change and events like this make it something that’s easier to talk about. It’s a really positive and empowering thing and I’m proud to be even just a small part of that. Check out their website for more information about what they do and what’s coming up in October.

So…that’s why my brain is fried. But it’s fried in a good way. I’ll have some exciting news for you soon, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, let me leave you with this short video of Christopher Walken making a really bad joke. It’s totally Christopher Walken.

Hope to see you at a show soon! Til next time.

Shambles

x

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Mixing pop and politics, ask me what the use is.

Photo by Simon Baker

It’s not long now until the Independence Referendum and it’s no secret that I’m a Yes voter. Aside from banging on about it fairly regularly (not too much, I hope) on my Twitter (and down the pub) I’ve played a good few events now in support of the Yes campaign. Most recently I appeared at the Festival of the Common Weal, as part of the National Collective showcase and I’m performing at the opening of the Yes Pollok base this Friday the 11th of July. It was an absolute honour to be involved in the Festival of the Common Weal, and inspiring to see so many people positively engaging with the independence debate.

I know a lot of people are scared about what independence would mean for Scotland but I honestly believe it will allow our country to become a better, safer, and fairer place to live. In fact, I have trouble writing about it sometimes because it feels so obvious to me that independence is the next step for us. Talking about why we should be an independent country feels like talking about why we should be nice to each other or why people should be able to marry who they want. I imagine writing down the reasons and people saying, “well, aye, obviously”. At a basic level I believe that as a nation we should be shaping our own future and making our own choices. We have a rare chance to create a better future for our country and I believe that we have to take it.
I know that isn’t the case for everyone though. I know not everyone feels that way. If you feel differently to me, feel free to talk to me about it, and ask me why I’m voting Yes. I promise I won’t just direct you to a list of my #indyref tweets. I’ve got Twitter, Facebook, and of course you can e-mail me at shamblesmiller@gmail.com. I even have one of those daft anonymous Tumblr things. You can also just get in touch to tell me that I suck, or to ask me if my hair is really as thick and lustrous as it looks, or to ask for free stuff. I promise I’ll (almost) always reply. Bob Hoskins, may he rest in peace, was right: it’s good to talk.

In other news, I’ve got some gigs coming up. As well as my performance at the opening of the Yes Pollok base on Friday, I’ll be playing a wee gig at the Roxy 171 on the 29th of July. Keep your eyes peeled for news about my headline show at the 13th Note on the 17th of August though. I’ve got some special plans for that one. Hope to see you guys at some of these shows, and keep your ear to the ground (or the Internet) for more news!

So to recap: I’m voting Yes, feel free to give me your chat, I’m playing some gigs, keep your eyes peeled, and keep your ear to the ground. But most importantly, you have a nice day. You deserve it.

I’m away up a tree to see if I’m there.

Til next time,

love Shambles

x

 

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