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



Another year of trying to think up titles for these things…

I got this t-shirt for my birthday. Uncanny, isn't it?
I got this t-shirt for my birthday. Uncanny, isn’t it?

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday (to me)! Now that I’ve sobered up from last weekend, it’s time to get myself back into gear for the new year. I played my first gig of 2014 in the 13th Note last night, with some brilliant support from Chrissy Barnacle, TigerHoney, and Josephine Sillars. I had a blast and I already can’t wait for my next gig, which sees me heading back to Inverness on the 25th of January to play at the Market Bar. I canny stay away from that place!

In other news, I’ve got a new music video in the works, and if you keep an eye on my Twitter over the next few days, you could get your face in my new video! All will be revealed shortly…

In the meantime, I recently uploaded the full video of my performance of Confessions that I did for Occupy Sound last year. If you’ve always wanted to hear a break-up song featuring a David Bowie impression performed in a tunnel then this is the video for you.


Towards the end of 2013 I was lucky enough to be featured in a few end-of-year lists and podcasts, including my old pal Scottish Fiction’s top 25 EPs/Singles of the year, the Edinburgh Man end of year podcast, and the Fried Gold Music podcast! There’s lots of great music to be found there, so I recommend wrapping your ears round that lot if you haven’t already.

Thanks for reading, I’m looking forward to seeing your lovely faces in 2014. Perhaps I’ll see some of you at Brew at the Bog this year?

Til next time,

love Shambles


Beans on Glasgow

Hello folks! You’re looking lovely today, as are your mums! You might wonder why I’m complimenting your mothers; it’s not mother’s day yet, after all. It IS on Sunday though. Which is also the day I’m playing a gig with Beans on Toast!

You might have seen/heard me talk about this chap before. There’s a story I tell all too often, so I’m going to break with tradition and, well, not tell it again.

What I AM going to tell you is that you should bloody well come to this gig on Sunday. It’s at the 13th Note and also supporting will be Dave Hughes and Daniel versus the World. It starts at 8pm and it’s £5 on the door. That’s not too steep for a night of braw music now, is it? Mr. on Toast is an excellent singer-songwriter and his songs are immediately likeable, so I’m banking on this being more than enough to convince you to come along:

The sweetest-sounding song about cocaine I’VE ever heard. Come along on Sunday to hear more of the same great songwriting. And if you DO come, I might even stop telling that story. I mean, it was funny at first but COME ON MAN, get a GRIP, how many times? Seriously.

So I hope you’ll come along and see us play songs at you. Bring a mum!* All are welcome.

Til next time,

love Shambles x

*preferably your own mum

Quick! Go! Stuff! Now!

(Note: This post will work a lot better if you read it in the slightly frantic, hurried tone I’m writing it in. In my head. Enjoy!!)

Hi folks! You look great, I look like a fancy hobo, you know the drill. This is going to be kind of a “remember those things I mentioned?” post, by the way. LET’S GO!

Remember that review in Pornography for Cowards that I mentioned? Here it is!

Braw. I was right pleased with that. Even quoted the lyric I’m simulateously most proud/ashamed of. One more than the other. I’ll let you guess. Sorry for the image quality by the way, my scanner hates me, but I’m still on good terms with my phone camera.

Remember those gigs I mentioned? Here’s what I’ve got on the horizon in Glasgow at the moment:

I’m also going to be playing a couple of shows with Dave Arcari in June, along with Jim Byrne. Exciting!  They are:


Remember I mentioned something about a podcast? Well, on twitter anyway. And, y’know, in life? It exists now! Dude on it sounds like me and has a name that sounds like mine. Weird. Check it out here!

Lastly, remember that FUCKING HUGE CUPCAKE I never mentioned before? The one a certain lovely lady made for me? Remember I mentioned it in my head? Here it is!


That’s all for now folks, gotta go, take care!

love Shambles


Soundcheck #5 – Just Goes To Show…

In the week of writing the following article, I played three gigs, self-censored, hung WAY over and went “oh…right”.

Gig #1: In the basement of a bar with a silly name. I knew almost nobody was coming to see me, I assume partly because they’d never heard of it and the door charge was a bit steep. I was also nursing an horrendous hangover.

Gig #2: Not, as I first thought, in a little inn somewhere in deepest Ayrshire, but outside in its lovely beer garden. On a sunny day. Near a stream. Free entry. For charity.

Gig #3: In the 13th Note, one of my favourite Glasgow venues, sharing the bill with my partner-in-crime Andrew Lindsay and the excellent Julia Doogan. Judging by the event page on facebook it would be well-attended, partly thanks to the student discount on the door, I expect.

Let’s start with Gig #2. (Hey it’s my article, I’ll mess around with time if I want), one i’d been particularly looking forward to: a chance to stretch my wings and play to people who had never heard me before. Outside of my own comfort zone, my city. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the venue I was confronted with an obstacle to my performance. Several, short obstacles, running around with their faces painted. No, not carefree midgets: they were CHILDREN. As I understand, songs with stories about a man who once shat in a washing machine and the effect of too much alcohol on the libido aren’t entirely suitable for kiddies, so I was forced to drastically alter my setlist. I cut half the songs and replaced the remaining expletives with radio-friendly alternatives, like “flip” and “pretty”.
As a result, I was extra-nervous. Also, not many folk were listening. It was early in the day and to be fair, I was only really needed for a bit of background music. I made some silly mistakes and never really got comfortable on stage. I was glad when it was over. An experience gathered and a lesson learned.

Now Gig #3 I was REALLY looking forward to, as I love the 13th Note and I knew I’d be able to fill my set with as many expletives as I liked. While it was a good gig with some great musicians who all performed brilliantly, it wasn’t as busy as was anticipated. But hey, who really wants to go out on a rainy monday night? You’d miss The Bill, or something. Some of the folk who did attend however, were guilty of the crime I mentioned in my last edition of this column, and as for my actual set, I think it went down well, judging by the reaction afterwards. Onstage however, I didn’t get much back from the audience and the atmsophere felt a little stilted.

Oh dear...

Finally, the dreaded Gig #1. A gig which I knew almost nobody was coming to. A gig in a basement with mirrored walls and leopard-print seats. Hungover as FUCK. The only gig I’ve ever played where I didn’t have a drink before, after or during my set. Minutes before I was due to go on there weren’t even enough people in the room to allow me to dedicate each song in my set to a different person.

Fine minutes before going onstage, the crowd was getting pretty rowdy...

One minute to go. A friend shows up! And he’s brought his friend! My audience has doubled! I shake their hands warmly and take to the stage just as the other acts return and take their seats along with their respective friends and girlfriends. I’ve gone from playing to four people to a respectable crowd. My songs go down great. People laugh in the right places and any talking is relatively quiet. The atmosphere is exciting and my incredibly hungover between-song banter even stumbles towards coherence and the odd laugh. I leave the stage and immediately sell a few CDs and badges. Folk shake my hand and tell me they enjoyed my set. Afterwards the promoter tells me he’ll give me a gig anytime I want one. So #1, the one that looked like a surefire disaster turned into one of my best gigs of late. I even had enough money to buy my missus lunch the next day. I had provided for my partner, and with music no less! All thanks to a gig almost nobody came to.

It just goes to show, you should never judge a gig by its cover.

This article originally appeared on Stereokill.net.