Saturday, 29 November 2008

London show announced for 29 January

Just to let you know about a gig I'm doing on 29 January 2009. Hear Twisted City live plus some brand new material.

Tickets are very limited - Buy yours online now!

CHRIS SINGLETON AND BAND, LIVE AT THE TROUBADOUR
263-267 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 9JA - buy ticket.

29 January sees a full-band show by Dublin singer-songwriter Chris Singleton. Chris' music is a mixture of three classic Bs - Beatles, Bowie and Bolan - and his recent album 'Twisted City' wowed critics. He's been described as 'one of the most promising songwriters to emerge this year' by Clash Magazine, and the Irish Times reckon he's making 'some of the best pop/rock you are likely to hear this or any year'. His show at the Troubadour promises to be a corker. At the show you'll be able to pick up a limited-edition EP which features brand new tracks, which Chris and his band will also be playing live.

Joining Chris on stage will be vocalist John Gibbons (Razorlight, The Killers), guitarist Stelios Kalisperides (Shalamar, Jocelyn Brown), bassist Zane Maertens (Pearl Kaufman, Nestor Torres) and drummer Ben Woollacott (formerly of The Veils).Chris' "Twisted City" is available as a free download for a limited time only - you can get it now at http://www.singletonmusic.com/freealbum.

Tickets to this gig are very limited - buy yours online now.

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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

New Chris Singleton songs

A quick note to let my devoted following [sic] know that I've put 3 new tracks up on my Myspace page, www.myspace.com/chrissingleton. These are

Lose It
Bad Ambitions
Let Me Out


and I hope you like them (despite the quite awful Myspace compression).

Unlike my last album, 'Twisted City', my new stuff has a lot more musicians on it (I'm not, hardy har, playing with myself quite so much).

The first two tracks feature the velvet backing vocals of John Gibbons; the third features the soulful sweetness of Jane Fraser. On bass for 'Lose It' and 'Let Me Out' we have the one and only Zane Maertens; the prince of precision, Ben Woollacott plays drums on 'Bad Ambitions'. Our electrician Peter Rollinson, who is also a damn fine trumpet player, is the boy behind the brass on 'Bad Ambitions'. I'm on the vocals, axes (guitars) and keys.

Do let me know what you think of the songs by posting a comment - I'm interested in hearing what people make of the new stuff.

Also, please excuse the silly adjectives employed above to describe my musicians - I went to see Leonard Cohen the other night and he introduces his musicians with such hilarious flair that I felt compelled to use some of my own daft phrases in this post. Apologies to all involved.


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Friday, 7 November 2008

The luxury of daft ideas

I read an article in today's Irish Times by a guy called Turlough O'Sullivan. He's the director general of Ibec, the Irish employers' representative body. In the article, he complains that "Ireland simply cannot afford the luxury of public service" and calls for cutbacks and dramatically reduced headcount in them (in the light of the current recession).

This got me thinking about the quality of Ireland's public services. Or lack thereof.

Let's be clear about this: Irish public services, by comparison with those of most other European countries - including some much poorer ones - are pretty awful. Let's take some examples. There is no free healthcare. Going to see a GP will cost you 50-60 Euros. Seeing an ear consultant (and I speak from experience here) can involve a waiting list of one year. Dental care is inordinately expensive (so much so that in the light of the economic downturn, people are starting to view it as self-indulgent - and I have that information from a dentist). There is still no train to Dublin airport (and rail travel between regional towns/cities doesn't really exist). A letter posted from outside Ireland will take about 5 days to be delivered, after it has arrived in Ireland. There is no underground in Dublin, and the two tram lines there don't even connect. Buses are infrequent and the capital still doesn't have an integrated ticketing system.

I know I sound like one of those annoying people who's lived outside the country for too long, and maybe I've become said irritating type, but whenever I come back to the country I really am shocked at how poor the public services are. The contrast with Ireland's nearest neighbour, the UK - a country not renowned for the quality of its public services - is unbelievable. British public services start looking incredibly good once you've come back and tried to use the Irish ones.

Which brings me back to Turlough O'Sullivan. He is clearly having a laugh when he uses the word luxury in conjunction with Irish public services. There is absolutely nothing luxurious about them.

There is an obvious counter-argument to his recommendations of cutbacks: investing in quality public services, its staff and associated infrastructure can create jobs, and thus spending, and thus economic growth. Not to mention an improvement in the quality of life.

But I think the real reason why O'Sullivan likes the idea of cuts in our public services (and for the people who run them) is because people like him don't use them. I would suspect that he can afford a very nice health insurance package, generally travels by car instead of public transport and pays extra to courier mail when he needs quick and reliable delivery of it. These kind of people are not best-placed to make sweeping pronouncements on services that they don't use, and which other people rely on.

Ultimately if Ireland wants to be the modern country that its political and business leaders have been waxing lyrical about for quite a while now, it needs proper, sustained investment in its public services. What it definitely can't afford is cutbacks - or the luxury of daft ideas.


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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Goodnight and Good Luck

03:57. I'm hoping that by the time I finish this post, we'll have a winner. I am jacked. Still, this feels a lot better than 2004 and 2008, when I was jacked and unhappy.

Been instant messaging my good friends James and Amy throughout the night. They live in Australia, and they are cheering Obama on too.

An interesting aspect of this election is the amount of electronic commentary going on about it. People are staying up all night and writing Facebook status updates on it. Or instant messaging each other. Or writing fairly bad blogs about it (sorry).

That's it! He's won. Incredible. We've got a black leader of the free world. Who seems like a nice guy. And I can go to bed.

Goodbye Mr Bush. You could co-exist peacefully with a fish, but that was about it.


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Ohio for Obama - and Mormons for McCain

2:56. Well it's looking positive for Obama with, it seems, Ohio in the bag and positive noises coming out of Florida. Unless the Republicans have some 2000-style dirty tricks up their sleeves, it's looking okay for the skinny kid with the funny name.

I'm hoping they call Florida for Obama soon so I can go to bed. Utah, where the Mormons live, has just gone to McCain.

I admit this hasn't been the best live-blogging ever; I've just emphasised how much I want to sleep for the past few posts. On the plus side, I've managed to mention Mormons in a post - that's a first for me.

We've moved from beer onto tea now and it is waking us up a bit though.


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Uncheerful Republicans

It's 02:10. I had a power nap and a sip of beer and I awoke just to hear David Dimbleby say he's off to look for some 'uncheerful Republicans'. They are apparently uncheerful (is that a word?) because Fox News, that bastion of truthful reporting, has called Ohio for Obama. But Dimbleby has said that Fox News isn't good enough for the BBC to consider the state called (good on you David), so we are reserving judgement here on the couch.

All the pundits on the Beeb are now talking like Obama's won the election. But as David has pointed out, we don't know if Obama's won any swing states yet.

Maybe some chickens are being counted?


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My eyes hurt

Ok, so it's 1:45 and my eyes are starting to hurt a bit. I'm trying to live-blog the US election because it's meant to be a historic night. Yawns abound right now in North London though, and eyelids are drooping. Not because it's dull, but because, well, it's 1:45.

As things stand, Obama leads by 103 to 49 electoral college votes. No swing states really have entered the equation yet though.

I think we'd all be quite keen on going to bed really. So hopefully our man will win. We've got mini-bottles of champagne (ok, cheap sparkling wine) standing patiently by in the fridge which we will crack open if Obama does the business.

Incidentally, my girlfriend thinks this blog is a bit dull and I shouldn't be posting it. Sorry. But is 1:45 in the morning. Did I mention that?

Just read over it again and I agree with her. It is dull. Oh well.


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Waiting for the man

Well, I thought it only appropriate to write something. It's 12:37 and there are three of us on the couch (no, this isn't one of those blogs). We're all glued to the TV and very much hoping that the good guy wins the US election.

Of course, who the good guy is depends entirely on your political viewpoint, but for us it's Mr Obama. I like him because as Bruce Forsyth pointed out on last week's Strictly Come Dancing (my girlfriend makes me watch it) he sounds kind of Irish - Mr O'Bama to you.

Anyway we're all rooting for him, and this is why:

1) We liked the typeface on his campaign materials - great logo, nice slogan and a tasteful use of colour.

2) He's not George Bush.

3) He doesn't pronounce 'terrorist' like 'tourist'. I like to travel and I'm fed up of this war on tourists. Ryanair have been very active on that front.

There are more profound reasons why we want him to win - he'd probably do a better job on world peace, the environment and the global economy, and hopefully won't go starting illegal wars on spurious grounds - but right now, we just want him to win. Fingers crossed.


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