The Plucky Haggis [Original Acoustic + Covers, Solo Artist]
New Originals! Valentine’s! HNY!14 Feb 2021New Originals! Valentine’s! HNY! Having waved ‘good-riddance’ to an awful 2020, COVID and all it robbed us of, it's time to cautiously look forward, hope for better; though many may grieve those left behind, let's determine to be more, kinder, caring, generous, thoughtful, and productive (it's Chinese New Year of the OX too, after-all)! Plucky's killing 2 New Year's with one Blog as well as...Two New Originals added to my You Tube Channel, to start 2021 on the right foot! Song 27, ‘Divine (Heaven’s Way), needed to be profound, acknowledging the passing of Plucky's 1st ever Superfan March 2020. Celebrating her life & Christian faith (as 4 surviving Uncles & Aunties, and as many Cousins - the result of very faithful Grandparents & siblings.Song 28, ‘Promises’; is a collaboration co-write between Superfan Ellie Valentine fae Aberdeen, who wrote the lyric from personal experience & challenged me to write a tune for it. We both adapted the lyric slightly, to encompass, highlight key elements many of us can sadly identify; especially so, for those losing 'pandemic' loved ones. Although the song stands alone, we're keenly aware how much more difficult, apt, & widespread the sense of grief, hopelessness, distance, & isolation, is magnified!Yet, life moves on, and the best way we can respect another’s life (now past), is to live ours well!2020 was also extremely challenging for me as a musician (as it is for all in the arts & hospitality), and busking fast became my KEY, almost only, income. Huge shout-out for ALL the regular & passing support I received in Bletchley, Bedford, and Northampton, collectively you truly saved ‘my bacon’! Alongside my Autumn tour. Fortunately, in some respects, I’ve been living on a shoe-string since leaving FT employment May 2014, to pursue this late career. Prior to last, I'd been able to subsidise expenses from my savings, but 2020 needed to be my 1st unassisted year; solely/predominantly living by live performance (public & private gigs – supplemented by busking, with a few bits & bobs; filming & local cash jobs). Arguably bad timing!YET Ironically & Incredibly, I genuinely achieved & survived MY 1st independently financial year, ‘solely’ by performing music during a Global Pandemic! With a total of 128 Street-gig days (busking) between May 15th & Dec 24th, and less than 20% of total income coming from SE Gov support & alternative cash work. Really looking forward to another year of 'Street Work', just as soon as this Easterly Beastie 'does one'; roll-on Spring sunshine & smiling faces!!.Apart from writing new material; I’ve been able to refresh/ hone/ practise; Plucky’s Full 200+ Repertoire.. again, no mean feat considering that equals over 12 hours of music & lyrics end to end! YEAH BABY!Lastly; in this next full year, I hope to take a very significant step forward, assuming the ‘stars agree’; to engage a producer & recording studio, and ‘officially’ release a song or an EP. And possibly see it CHART! So, to such an end, I'm campaigning for additional support, which, alongside busking (hopefully paid gigs), aim to accomplish my goal before Spring/Summer '22. Meanwhile, I continue to live significantly more frugally than most; passionately & pluckily pursuing, what may prove to be, my final lifetime challenge, making the most of all this journey brings.YEAR NINE 'officially' starts at the beginning of March; when I set-about learning guitar, to performing publicly prior to May 2012 ending. IF 'my goal' floats your boat & you can spare some 'change', consider the link, drop at a busk, or contact me directly; PayPal.me/goPluckyFinally; My biggest disappointment this year, was hearing Glastonbury had been cancelled for a 2nd successive yr., therefore Plucky's stage debut there, is looking increasingly unlikely! Hard enough to see what we in the music business can salvage re Gigs/Festivals etc., given ALL the ongoing pandemic uncertainty. Still, I trust we'll eventually find our way out of this ‘storm’, for everyone's sake!Continue to; Stay safe, remain positive, slow to anger, considerate, tolerant, respectful, generous, kind, and forgiving.THANK YOU! Cheers! Plucky - tphx
Life, lemons, lemonade; 80+ busking gigs!4 Oct 2020Life, lemons, lemonade; 80+ busking gigs! Windier, cloudier, wetter, colder, darker.. Ay up me Pluckers, visitors, & friends, without doubt it’s been a particularly tough summer for everyone, despite good spells of warmth and sunshine, and it's going to be a longer tougher winter too; especially so for those involved in Entertainment, Creative Arts, & Hospitality! So gird-up yer loins!.On the busking front: Jun. saw marginal improvement on May. Then Jul. surprisingly surpassed all expectations! Followed by an abysmal Aug., which saw a degree of retrenchment & too many blustery wet weeks (only 12 busk days). Sep. on the other hand delivered many good &/or profitable days. One doozy breaking my previous remunerative record for a single session: in Aberdeen £100+. Not to mention the added Primark gift card for £10 (pic); icing on an early birthday cake! Lush!Prior to Abdn’s delightful boost; Northampton took me by surprise, the 1st day BJ told everyone could now go out wearing face-coverings in shops etc. Fri 24th Jul. Unfortunately, these two superb days remain outliers; the following Fri in N’ton I struggled to make £10 (in 3 hr!). LOL However, these ‘red letter days’, give an inkling to what may be possible post-covid, and certainly make up for 'performance slogs' yielding poor results; linked to minimal &/or negative engagement. I have had some ‘mares! But then, they too, are outliers somewhat – thankfully!In contrast of course, there’s been several individual generous, appreciative, and understanding 'customers', which truly turnaround any day; always humbly, hugely, heartily appreciated. If that’s you – THANK YOU!Plucky’s busking tour this year, was significantly shorter than previous yrs, partly due to COVID uncertainty, alongside the difficult practicality clearing ‘our’ mother’s flat in Abdn - 1st availability post lockdown/s we were legitimately permitted to do this, since her passing end of March, was Sept.On route, I narrowly managed to doorstep Bletchley, before driving onto Carlisle, then Perth, Aberdeen Thu & Sat, and a Newcastle session prior to returning home. There’s always 'a few' who just don’t ‘get what we do’, as IF our lives aren't tough-enough! All we ask/seek, is a little space & tolerance, a degree of empathy, a moderate amount of interaction &/or appreciation, and acknowledgement many citizens are delighted, encouraged, & benefited by our performance and presence. Trust me, if they weren’t, most of us would definitely do something significantly more profitable and rewarding instead!Finally, ALL of Plucky’s Worthy Originals now have a Full Lyric added to ea. song via YouTube Info. Until recently, this wasn’t av. to me, so it took a while to add all 26. Trust it improves viewers experience & lyrical appreciation.Given Xmas 2020 appears to have been effectively &/or largely cancelled, my next quarterly update, probably won't have much to say when we catch-up in the NEW YEAR. We have a lot of ground to make up Nationally & Individually. Fallout of Covid-19, GOV Lockdown/s & additional Measures etc., will take many years to unwind, a generation perhaps; we all hope the worst is behind us.. it may well be for some.. but for most, it really isn’t. Ergo, please continue to be kind and respectful of one another; emotional, financial, and mental recuperation & restoration will inevitably take substantially longer to fix,'Til we 'GIG AGAIN' - have as lovely; an Autumn, Christmas, and Covid-free, Caring, Sharing New Year - as is possible! See you on t'other side my lovelies.Cheers! Plucky - tphx
Post Pandemic Plucky Busking the wave5 Jul 2020Post Pandemic Plucky Busking the wave As soon as BoJo started to release 'us' from 'lockdown', I was out busking in Bedford Town Centre, strutting my 200+ Rep.; barring a doz. crimbo toons & a few others. Great relief to be BACK!The photo is a still from Tim's video of me playing a cover of Ralph McTell's Streets of London at Pigeon Square, Bedford; av. now via Plucky's Tasty Covers.To date, I've already sang, performed, played, and busked my way through THIRTY+ days on the street; Bedford, Northampton, & Bletchley/MK these past 2 months; having written-off ALL of Mar, Apr, & half of May - kiboshed by Covid & 'lockdown'! All told, there's probably too much 'ground' to make-up for all the losses. Sadly, most town centres WILL not recover, even though they're presently limping into life on significantly lighter footfall - making it all the harder for any of us to make ends meet; won't stop me trying mind!On the upside, I've been greatly encouraged by the generosity of some, which, when combined with a tangible increase of complimentary comments - proffers in me, a degree of optimism! Confidence for any performer is everything - assuming the rest of the basics are in place of course! And it's to this end, that performing LIVE is significantly more enjoyable this year, despite the lack of ears; underlining self-improvement made during winter months, and stretching my repertoire past the 200 marker. Rewarding hard work, resulting in enhanced audience appreciation. Yeah BABY!!As pubs start to reopen (Eng. 4th Jul), there's a long way to go before music venues and live gigs become common place again; sadly again, many will not return. The Arts & Culture sector has never known such pressure.. and it'll require 'our' collective creative ability to counteract this impending & costly result. Which, 'til recently, was worth c. £11 Billion a year to the UK economy, generating a further £23 Billion, employing over 360,000 jobs, and benefiting many more (like me!). For folks at the start of their musical career (8 yrs for me); 2020 may inevitably be toughest 'ever', therefore your support has never before been more vital, valuable, and valued!So, IF you meet 'us' performing on the street 'for you', please consider demonstrating some appreciation, even if it's not dropping coin.. each passing wink, nod, wave, applause, acknowledging contact, or subsequent social media follow, like, etc. goes a LONG-WAY to affirm our contribution. I personally love when someone spends 5 min. engaged with me & my performance, or stops a minute to chat. These experiences are often the highlight of a session - and one, that may add to your day too! ;)Brighter NEWS: Despite a backdrop of cancelled gigs, festivals, closed venues, and the future of Live opportunities heavily restricted for the foreseeable; I'm still earmarked for my debut Glasto performance & MC duty, now 2021 WTS! Obviously a lot can scupper present anticipation & excitement, however, it truly motivated me this winter past, and expect it'll do so again! :)'Til we meet somewhere, continue to stay safe, remain covid-aware, be kind, tolerant, and support one another through strange & socially awkward times. CHEERS! Plucky - tphx
Troubled Times ends Treble Dose of Quarters14 Apr 2020Troubled Times ends Treble Dose of Quarters Obviously ‘everything’s’ changed, since signing-off my last update here, after an exciting Towersey Festival, that filled me with hope & expectations for 2020; (like Performing & MC'ing @ Glasto 2020 & returning to Towersey - both CXLD). BUT the ‘New Ground’ we find ourselves in now, is unprecedented & unchartered water; up Covid’s Creek without a proverbial 'progressive pandemic-paddle'. ALL very sad for our industry indeed!Here however, is Plucky’s quarterly highlights & low-points: Plucky's Great British Buskin' Birthday Tour 2019, was surprisingly successful! So I planned to do a Spring Tour. I covered over 1200 miles in 15 days, managed to busk in 8 Towns & Cities; Northampton, Carlisle, Stirling, Aviemore, Aberdeen (twice), Dundee, Newcastle, & Leicester. Missing a few due to bad weather & visiting loads of F+F.Something Special from Superfan, Ellie (pictured above, others in Photos)! This amazing hand-crafted Plucky gift encompassed ALL Plucky’s Worthy Originals, c/w photo & title wrapped Werther’s Originals, personalised packaging, with a poetry related card encompassing lines from ‘Ready For The Future’, and detailed thoughts on over half my songs. Take That surely never received such an encouraging & flattering gift!Unfortunately, UK experienced one of the wettest & windiest (stormy) winter’s – severely curtailing busking opportunity. So, I concentrated on perfecting performance of Song 26; ‘Apocalyptic Pause’, which I uploaded on YouTube in Feb. But never expected Plucky’s 1st RAP to be quite so ‘prophetic’, or being so painfully & forcefully imposed upon us: “So we start again, embrace the pain, diminished cash, modern man on pause..”! Full lyric available via video info.: Apocalyptic PauseAs winter progressed, and storms stymied busking opportunities, I turned my attention to achieving a Full Repertoire of 200+ songs & prep for SPRING! Who knew! YET, it delights me to tell you, in the Eight short years I’ve achieved it. Although, spinning-up & mastering this many from memory is a continuous challenge! lol Full list of songs & a-z Rep. can be found here, Facebook Page, and via my Website.Sadly, ‘old mother Haggis’ slipped into the afterlife late March.. following a bad bout of pneumonia Christmas/NY, followed by an extensive recovery process. She’d’ve been 80 late Apr, and fully engaged with, and loved, this new-found passion of mine for writing & performing live. Early Feb. I was able to spend several quality days with her, after a secondary low point; perhaps singing my new song AP (among others) was just the pick-me-up she needed.. she certainly made extraordinarily good progress for a while, from a very frail position.We/family, had much to be grateful for; time to say farewell, share love, thank, and wish her well. And managed to have family members at her bedside, which sadly many were deprived (of late). UKGov restrictions, distancing, personal responsibility for others, prevented me attending her short funeral in Aberdeen; with services prohibited, graveside attendance strictly curtailed, largely devoid of comfort, companionship, & human touch.However, from 500 miles away, I sang my song; Hurts To Say Goodbye, as she’d often requested (the only thing she'd specifically requested, at her funeral). So I posted an updated YT link with full lyric, on my personal FB timeline, while I played/sang it privately, ‘til the salty water dried. Sharing & honouring her life in this way, with friends commenting via social media (in addition to family), was surprisingly fulfilling & comforting. Mum was far from perfect, yet a very remarkable & strong woman who had suffered much at the hand of others, and perhaps subsequently & additionally by her own; aware of her weaknesses, she held a strong Christian faith, and loved her family to the end. ‘Twas just her time! R.I.P.Finally, looking ahead gig wise & busking, it's obviously still extremely difficult – (esp. while we're in lockdown). I haven’t followed ‘the herd’ on-line, nor signed-on for benefit, and don't have accounts to justify HMRC Self-employment Income Support Scheme. BUT I do hope when the walls of restriction start to fall (as they must), I find solid performance opportunities, increased engagement, tolerance & respect, warmer appreciation, with continued community care & benevolence. Perhaps folks will prefer to use PayPal rather than dropping cash a while, which they can easily do via my mobile. We’ve all gotta believe that while the road to recovery & restoration may be long and hard fought, we'll make the most of those years ahead of us, if we're spared.Stay strong, safe, and share kindness becoming of humanity, from a shared & common position of humility; respect, and love one another. Cheers! Plucky - tphx
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