Singing in an accent

I don’t like it when people affect accents when they sing. They should sing with their voice not someone elses. I guess there are exceptions to this, if you are doing a character, but aside from that I think putting on an accent, especially an american one is bad. This is one reason why Kate Nash annoys me – when you hear her speak she is very public school but as soon as she sings she’s a cockney. What’s going on there. Mike Skinner (from The Streets) is another interesting one. He is from the West Midlands but he raps with a London accent, apart from the odd word (like “dance” in “Let’s Push Things Forward”).

Some people argue that singing with an accent is natural and makes it easier to sing. I don’t agree, it’s just habit. This is what Joni Mitchell has to say on the subject:

I find a lot of black affectations irritating. White singers sounding like they come from deep Georgia, you know? It always seems ridiculous to me. It always seemed to me that great singer – now we’re talking about excellence, not popularity – but a great singer would sing closer to his or her own speaking voice. (from here)

Selling Songs

I can’t exactly work out why but I feel quite uncomfortable when I find out that songs by people I like are written directly about very personal events in their life. Today I was reading the lyrics for I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain by Tim Buckley which was written about his son Jeff and his mother. On the one hand they are really great words, but I feel really uncomfortable that he puts this song on an album and uses it to sell records.

Another example is Brick by Ben Folds Five, which is about when his girlfriend had an abortion. Again, I love the song, but I just feel that it isn’t appropriate to sell this song to make money and get recognition.

It’s not that I don’t think you should write songs about this stuff – quite the opposite in fact, I think you should write about things that are personal to you. Also I don’t have a problem with people selling their songs normally.

Regina Spektor is a really interesting example of someone who writes songs with really good stories but they aren’t based directly on her life. I am sure she uses her experiences to write, but it’s (at least) one step removed. She says:

“I think that it’s more exciting to use my imagination or explore other people’s lives rather than sit there and write about my own rather limited life,” she said. “It’s much more gratifying to me.”

She admits, however, that songwriting is a very personal art, and that over the course of time it would be impossible to write music from a completely objective point of view”

I don’t know, maybe I am just being hypersensitive or something. I guess it’s similar to people who sell their diaries and autobiographies. Feels like selling your soul.

Busking tonight (21st November)

So the plan is to do more busking on here tonight about 8ish. Might be some special guests. Pop in for a few songs if you want, but please don’t feel like you have to hang around all evening if you get bored. I am still having fun even if no-one’s watching!

Ustream has been playing up a bit today so we might end up using something else, but in any case it will just appear on the right of my home page.

If you watch through ustream it means you can go in the chat room too. Here

This is my notes of songs I can play (big version)
Songs i can play

The ones on the right are things I should be able to play. The ones on the left are ideas/things I used to be able to play then forgot!

It will be nice to see you…

Busking Online

That was fun!

If you came on here between 8 and 10pm on the 14th november you would have seen me trying to busk. Rudi was meant to turn up but he didn’t get here. Greg also made a quick appearance at the end!

It would be really good to see some other people use ustream – let me know if you have any ideas.

i might do it again next week…


I have been going busking in my lunchtimes for the last few weeks. It has been really fun. I am not trying to make money really, but practice performing in front of people without getting nervous, and just enjoying myself.

Today I got moved on by some community wardens. They were nice enough about it, but they said you need a license to busk here, and the council don’t like giving them out. They suggested I tried busking on the tube, but you need a license to do that and they are not currently issuing them.

So that makes me a bit stuck. If I get caught again I could be fined and have my guitar taken away. Not really sure what to do. I want to keep playing at lunchtime but not sure if I can. I need somone with a nice warm shop who will let me perform to their customers!

Radiohead Victoria Park 25th June 2008

Saw Radiohead last night for the 4th time. Bat for Lashes were supporting and were really good.

It was a bit weird at the beginning as it was still light when they came on, and the atmosphere was a bit flat for some reason, but it soon picked up. We seemed to be in the best part of the crowd. It was like 40,000 people standing still and then the hundred or so where we were going mental which was good.

Thom was pretty entertaining too. The crowd were so into it that people weren’t just singing along, they were actually singing the harmonys to some songs. Radiohead fans are pretty sophisticated.

People singing along is one thing. Singing once the band has stopped playing is pretty impressive too, but this crowd was singing once the band had left the stage. 40,000 people singing Karma Police, with no conductor and no instruments is pretty amazing.

Here’s the set list:

01 Reckoner
02 15 Step
03 There There
04 All I Need
05 Lucky
06 Nude
07 Arpeggi
08 Myxomatosis
09 The National Anthem
10 Faust Arp
11 No Surprises
12 Jigsaw Falling Into Place
13 Optimistic
14 Videotape
15 Everything In Its Right Place
16 Idioteque
17 Bodysnatchers

Encore 1:
18 House of Cards
19 The Bends
20 Bangers ‘n Mash
21 My Iron Lung
22 Karma Police

Encore 2
23 Go Slowly
24 2+2=5
25 Paranoid Android