Tag Archives: Will Young

The X Factory

I’ve watched a couple of episodes of this season’s X Factor. I really don’t know how to follow that sentence, haha.

I was in a bookshop, one of those temporary bargain ones full of all the books you don’t need and probably don’t want either. There was an X Factor book in there, one of the ‘my story’ books for the winner. I was talking to my friend about this and saying that I had a problem with it. He agreed saying it was just another way of making money out of the brand. But I had to explain that that wasn’t what had annoyed me. It was the fact that a book had been made at all. I know there are lots of books out there that are probably not that deep or meaningful but the physical object that is a book is, for me at least, a very important thing. A sacred thing. For a start, it has no technology. It’s made of paper. I know that’s an obvious thing to say but take a look at our lives. At any point of the day, at work, in the pub, at home, someone will be on their laptop, iPad, phone. They’ll be texting or shopping or blogging. People have started reading books on a tablet or computer and that’s cool if you want but to have this tangible thing that will perish in the rain, or get dog-eared in your bag is more individual, more beautiful to look at and more precious. The book is old fashioned and has thrived. If you lend it to someone, you don’t email it to them, you place the actual thing in their hand and it has had your fingerprints on it. That’s an amazing thing. So when I saw ‘The X Factor – My Story’ it wasn’t just that it was fleecing people out of a few quid, it was also an insult to one of the most loaded objects of our times.

I wrote another X Factory email a while ago:


And in the spirit of that post, here are some bands you may not have heard of, but should investigate instead of watching the X Factor:


School Of Seven Bells



Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.






I Am Kloot



Jean Michel Jarre



The National



The Imagined Village



Martyn Joseph



Kings Of Convenience







Will Young



Gary Barlow



Leave a comment

Filed under General


There was a period where I recorded with a guy called Bill Mudge a few years ago. We worked on three songs, two of which came out rather well, in my opinion. I believe Emergency, however, was the best of these.

It was quite an effort to get it all together. My memory is that I did the guitar, singing and some kind of click track which I then took to Bill, Perry, a drummer we knew, and (I think) Mark, a bassist I only met for the day of recording. The drums and bass were recorded for all three tracks on one day, I’m sure. I am still particularly pleased with their contributions to this track. The bass especially is played in a way that subtely glues the verse to the bridge to the chorus without ever becoming obtrusive. I remember quoting a Will Young song to Bill, saying that on one of the verses of whichever song it was, there was subtle piano harmonising with whatever Will was singing. Whatever we tried in order to simulate this it didn’t work but the compromise was that Bill added a tiny little piano motif that occasionally recurs in the second verse and colours it beautifully. With all of this in place, there was a big space for a guitar solo, a solo I knew I wouldn’t be able to satisfactorily do myself. I therefore asked my friend Arthur to do one for me. He graciously agreed. I gave him literally about the first six notes of what I wanted, which are exactly what is played on the track. The rest is him using his intuition to turn it into one of the most magical moments on any Coosticks song. Once he got it to me, he told tales of sore fingers and a lot of effort to pull it off but I clearly remember listening to it for the first time and being full of admiration and gratitude at how fantastic it was and more importantly how apposite it was to the track. On listening back to the track, I’m very pleased with the vocals too. They have, for my taste, a perfect mix of emotion and they aren’t perfect which I always prefer. I like there to be a mixture there of confidence – singing the right notes, basically, and vulnerability – the little cracks in a note or subtleties in pitch. There’s a lovely quality to the vocals here which I’m glad has survived intact.

There is also a video to accompany this song. I animated it soon after the track was completed. It’s another thing I’m rather fond of although given more time I would have made it a little more grand. I’ll put it on YouTube soon so you can decide for yourself.

People have said Emergency has a Sixties quality, sounds a bit Beatle-like, is a bit psychedelic. I can’t really hear any of that. I find it very hard to be objective about it as I’m so fond of it. It’s one of our best recordings yet and a testament to the guys playing on it.


Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Guilt, E Song, Stickers…

Apart from the massive guilt I’m feeling (was I a Catholic once, somewhere, in a past life) about many things (not least that pencil I stole from my boss’s desk in ’93 and because I lied when I was seventeen), I am positive and hopeful tonight. Mikey sent me some Coosticks stickers that he made for me and one now adorns my black acoustic (who I keep thinking I should christen Gertie for no good reason). It looks strange on there but lovely too – thanks Mikey, owe you one, or more!

I’m attacking the E song again tonight, can’t wait.

Mr Hudson, Hope And Social, Will Young, Blur, Lisa Hannigan, Glenn Tilbrook (one n or two?) – all truly great at Glasto, probably repeating myself here but what the hey…

Leave a comment

Filed under General, Music

What we’ve been doing…

Well, I’ve been responding to some music briefs which need very quick turnarounds and lots of ideas which seems to be taking up all of my time, so the electro pop song I’ve almost finished is in ‘almost-limbo’ until these briefs are done. Also I’ve been to the Isle Of Wight Festival and really enjoyed Ultravox and Ladyhawke but was absolutely amazed at how stupendously brilliant Will Young was. Great performer, humble and fun, with a great sense of humour, not taking himself too seriously and really belting out great songs. Let me write one for you Will, I’ve got one that’ll suit you perfectly!!

Also weddings and babies imminent so we are busy!!

Leave a comment

Filed under General