Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It is finished....

On of my other "jobs" is as musician and singer/songwriter  (been doing this for years and if you google "Bogle Band" you will be able to hear the podcast of the making of our new record.
Links to 20 odd years of touring and recording and a life spent on the fringes of the Christian music industry.) 
I also occasionally take producer/engineer chair on other folks records - which is always nice: Vangel, Donna B etc etc etc.

News however on the latest project - it's cool - it's wonderful - it's amazing - it's brilliant..(you're getting the idea by now right?_
Erika and Eliza Bonnars Album is finished "To Sing a Love Song" and it has been sent off for mastering and general distribution on an unsuspecting public.
This little bit of vocal loveliness will be out on itunes in the not too distant future.

Look out for it.
Heck - buy it - it'll do your soul good.
I'll post an MP3 next time.

God Bless


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

...Oh Shag...it's Dora the explorer

Today I have some time off and - instead of burying myself in paperwork or writing songs in the studio for my A&R people - I am sitting, horrified, beside my 3yr old nephew watching "Dora the explorer".

This vapid, primary coloured shite is what passes for semi educational and fun programming for the under 5's these days ... and it is a nightmare.

I'm baffled by what the programme makers are promulgating as an aspiration for 4yr old females. There are certain barriers to what I presume is a fanciful notion that Dora (the explorer..) will turn a generation of little girls and boys into amazonian eco warriers.

To wit:

1. A relationship with an adult male monkey is just not suitable for 4 yr old females - they cannot "just be friends".
2. Crocodiles do not need rescued, should not be cuddled nor should little girls jump into the water beside them to frolic.
3. The social work department would lock up any parent who allows their child to wander aimlessley in the jungle as Dora does week on week.
4. Dora likes to light little camp fires in the middle of forests then she just walks off and leaves them smoldering - she should work for the Greek government.
5. Dora is always ready to help her animal friends - thus disturbing the fragile eco balance of any system she finds herself in - great swathes of recently extinct rare species attest to Dora's finely honed biological knowledge - forget the greek government she should work for the americans. 

Why not simply give Dora some heroin, a needle and be done with it.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Being needed

Funny how your perspective changes over time. 

22yrs ago when you wanted to go to medical school it was kind of expected that you would show interest and willing by engaging in some medical related activities. So after spending weekends and summers working as a care assistant with handicapped kids, I washed up on the shores of a tiny district general hospital in Greenock. 

(I can't believe it 20yrs! - sounds like the days of sulpha drugs and tincture of gentian violet of course it wasn't, anyway I digress...)

In these days - with a bit of training - they would let you take blood, perform blood pressures and "clerk a patient" in to the ward.
Anyway, one day the registrar of the particular "firm" I was allocated to actually gave me own "pager" so the more junior staff could get a hold of me to see interesting cases (but also save them all a bit of work!) 
This was big big thing in my life at the time - I was 18 and here I was being part of the process of saving lives - I had my own "pager"and this meant I was needed! The hospital at night, the drama of cardiac arrests, the white coats running down bright corridors it all felt so very exciting and dramatic.

What on earth was I thinking...

Trudging out to the 15th call out of the night tonight, I found myself yearning after that feeling again, wishing for the enthusiasm  and wonder to make it all worthwhile - money is nice but it's nothing compared to that feeling you get when you're not tired and not stressed and not responsible for every minute detail of every interaction you get involved with. 

In other words:when you're young and you literally "know-not-what-you-do". You want to do it all the time!
Why is it when you "do-know-what-you-do" you want to do it less?


God Bless,


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Singing on the stationary bike

One of the ways you KNOW you are heading for the big 40 is when your 6-pack becomes a 2-pack and things just don't work the same as they once did...like your liver (2 glasses of wine and I have headache) and your bowels - can you hear me say bran flakes -YUK- in the morning.
You also (and in my medical opinion this is a genetic thing) start to look at home fitness equipment as a real possibility.

Although it is charming to go to the gym to watch the 20 somethings bounce up and down to the latest europop it just begins to feel creepy and...well...wrong.

Anyway, my wife persuaded me to buy one of these instruments of torture and it has been lurking in the bedroom for  about 6 months. About 1 month ago I realized - as my suit trousers refused to fasten - that it was time to do ...something - and so, for the last 2 weeks the cross trainer (so called because it crucifies you at level 10) has actually been in use!

I have been grunting and puffing away in my bedroom in a hitherto unheard of fashion - the neighbours must think that either I've been guzzling the Surgery Viagra or that Jo is getting my Christmases and Birthdays out the way for the next millenium.

I have  one problem ...(well I have many, many problems actually but this is the one I'm complaining about tonight). I get a bit of asthma. It would appear that my asthma is exercise induced so the old blue inhaler has been getting a using!

But tonight I discovered a secret - which seems to work for me (your own mileage may vary!!) - singing on the stationary bike! (or the cross trainer but it didn't sound so poetic). 

I have been trying really hard recently to be "fully present" during all of the things that I do (It's a kind of hippyish idea of concentrating on what you're doing and with whom - but in a BIG way...)

No more worrying at work about 'the next job" before finishing the one I am engaged in, no more feeling guilty while I'm watching TV with the kids that I should be in the studio working on some project or other - I could go on and on about this (and probably will in another post) so it's a thing I've been working on.

So there I was tonight grunting, puffing and wheezing away and listening to some old Keane and Bruce Hornsby tracks on the ipod when i found myself singing along, top of the voice, performance volume stuff too!

- and man I was there.
- right in the middle of the music and the motion
- really present in the moment.
- and do you know what -  my wheezing just vanished - I felt I had lungs full of fresh air and all my worries about the coming (horrendous) week just slipped away.

So here's just one thought about asthma, exercise, worry and strife - try singing on the stationary bike!

God bless, 


Thursday, October 18, 2007

A different sky

20 something years ago and a latitude or two north, a few longtitudes east, my brother Bob and I looked up at a perfect night sky and wondered at the boundless milky way and the billions upon billions of stars shining down on us standing on a beach in St Andrews.

Last night we stood under that same sky with that same ageless light shining, pulsing and - yes - twinkling down.

It it came to me with absolute clarity - a veritable alcoholics moment of lucidity that, although 20 yrs had passed and we had each seen the other passed, failed, passed again and qualified, registered, married (with children), saved lives and lost them, experienced triumph and loss and all manner of pain and joy I realized - but for these a few latitudes and the odd longtitude - it was the same sky - and I was so thankful.

God bless,


"Dr's to be" ...20yrs on

I can't believe it's been 5 years never mind 20 years when this lot were first filmed by the beeb as medical students, fledgling docs and struggling registrars/new consultants. 

It was kind of cute to see the change in the central protagonist's family and facial hair - they kind of mirror my own (except for the fact the bastard still has a full head of hair!) 

I was struck though by the enormous changes in the NHS - from being a job for life and a vocation for its staff - it is fast becoming a sifting ground for the private health industry.
From the personal, interested responsible practitioner (who cost a bob or two) you now have your scans and tests read from a glorified call centre in budapest - with zero accountability if it all goes T's and A - but it's cheaper.

Thing is: Dr Findlay is what the people want, what we think we pay for... but we don't and it seems we wont. Our fascination in the uk for all things american are heading us swiftly down the road to their health care model as well - good luck being sick and poor in Britain in 10yrs time!

God Bless,


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Richard Dawkins

As a man of faith I have spent an inordinate amount of time feeling pretty cheesed off and fed up with this guy. The god delusion seemed a pretty one note show (that's the note...) and our current scientific knowledge so ludicrously inept in the face of the wonderful complexity of a single atom that I was left wondering what the point had been in writing it in the first place!
I had a huge problem with his arrogant, passive aggressive bullying of poor messed up fundamentalist christians in small town america. I got further annoyed at his moral cowardice in not also approaching the more radical examples of other world religions with his camera teams and hectoring tones (- but I realized he wanted to keep his head on his shoulders, so could just about forgive him that one).

All of this, until I visited his website and viewed the numerous clips of his discussions with people just as erudite and whose grasp of language is at least his equal. To these he is polite, allows them to have their say and - more amazing still - seems to take an interest in their  replies - this is hardly the same guy who revels in pushing the fundies buttons.

Faith is all about personal experience and no one humans personal experience can ever be the same as an other. 

The debates on the site - sadly never screened - were mutually respectful and informative. The problem with the athiest vs religion debate is the gross intolerance you see between protagonists. I read on Digg etc and other blogs scathing ugly, arrogant tones adopted by both sides, the anger swells but ultimately no-one is further forward - Richard's producers could have helped move the debate forward and gone some way to calming vistas of bitterness and intolerance had they simply shown more of a reasonable Richard speaking with reasonable men and women.

Lets have less anger and recrimination please - what is not being talked about is that "religion" with a capital R has very little to do with the intensely personal, experiential and spiritual quest that motivates some (not all) of the religious people you may meet.

In my country where religious freedoms are being eroded, churches closed, it is increasingly socially unacceptable to espouse any kind of a faith. 
It is, as "it is" and our society in the UK moves forward with a generally (if you believe what you SEE rather than what you are TOLD) moderate and inclusive tone.

To claim, as some do, athiest and deist alike, that the worlds many ills can be laid at the door of a particular and personal belief system is facile and ultimately pointless. The universe simply is as it is and the best we can do is to try and get along in it - but I would much rather we got along in it in love rather than in anger and in accord rather than discord.

To finish - I was reading a really cool blog the other day - greta christinas weblog - and she spent pages and ages going on about how anger against religion was such an important stance for athiests  - boy, she was indeed angry, incisive, explosive and absolutely determined to make anyone of faith, or spirit - doubtful, guilty, upset and generally take on all the bad feelings she had had while she had written it.
Because that's what we do with anger and pain, we want to share it, we want others to feel it and it works...

But as a motivation and a goal - I'm sorry - it sucks.

God Bless,