New Singing the Faith Plus front page


Dave Webster has done a lovely job refreshing the front page of Singing the Faith Plus. Thanks Dave!

A Greyhound of a Girl abridged for radio

That’s the sent button hit on the completed abridgement of Roddy Doyle’s A Greyhound of a Girl – about “the sort of ghost every child should have in their lives”. The five episodes will go out on Radio 4 Extra as part of The 4 O’Clock Show in the w/c 29 October. In the meantime, another review of the book.


Roddy Doyle abridgement for BBC

It may appear that I’ve gone to ground since May – but no. It has been a busy summer and it’s not letting up – which is all good.

I completed a re-write of a radio play; am working on a book for MHA (updating the history book I compiled for the charity’s 65th anniversary); have much to do for the Singing the Faith Plus website; and am currently working on an abridgement of Roddy Doyle’s novel for younger teenagers – A Greyhound of a Girl.

Greyhound is a lovely book about ghosts, dealing with death, and the close connection between generations of one family. Frank Cottrell Boyce says that Doyle is “one of the best writers of dialogue there has ever been”. So no pressure there!

Church of Scotland General Assembly media

May proved busy, with editorial work for housing and care charity MHA, shooting and editing for the Church of Scotland diaconate and the annual gathering of the Church of Scotland General Assembly in Edinburgh.

With friend and highly experienced broadcaster Douglas Aitken, we produced daily updates on proceedings for the Church of Scotland website – providing balance, accuracy and (crucially) brevity!

Meanwhile, I also sent audio press releases down to Radio Forth for circulation around the Independent Local Radio network in Scotland, and produced a full-length CD of extracts from the week for use by the many volunteer producers of religious programming on Independent Local Radio across the country.

New audio production page

Have just added a new page to the website, highlighting the option of audio press releases for organisations. Examples available for download.

Church of Scotland Diaconate DVD

Delighted to be shooting in Garthamlock, just outside Glasgow, this past week – as part of a DVD project for The Church of Scotland Diaconate.

Garthmlock is one of those many communities hidden from the view of those of us who dash unthinkingly between Edinburgh and Glasgow on the M8.

A large housing scheme, tucked right behind the strangely metallic Fort shopping centre, Garthamlock boasts a fine, modern church building – a real asset for the whole community. The day we were there, we enjoyed spending time with the Sunnyside Special Needs Club – a great group of people – funny, warm, welcoming. It was a privilege to be there.

Music for new Brian Wren hymn collection

This week, I signed contracts with Hope Publishing in the States, to include a number of my settings of Brian Wren texts in his forthcoming new hymn collection.

Brian remains one of the most challenging, prolific and accomplished English-speaking hymn writers around – represented in most major church hymn books. It is always a pleasure to have an opportunity to set his words to music, and very nice to see some of my efforts coming into print – not least because I find myself in the company of another musician for whom I have real respect, the impressively prolific Dan Damon.

Brian shares a website with his partner, Susan Heafield: Praise Partners Worship

Examples of my tunes can be seen here and via Brian’s website.

Church of Scotland Moderator Easter interview

The Right Revd David Arnott, Moderator of The Church of Scotland General Assembly

I’ve just distributed the Church of Scotland Moderator’s Easter Message to Independent Local Radio stations (ILR) across Scotland. (Download here as an MP3 file.)

With just one email, it’s possible to reach thousands of listeners across the country, courtesy of the many volunteers who give their time to produce a wide range of religious programming for ILR. The Bauer Group, for example, (which owns Radios Clyde, Forth and Northsound, among many others) has a reach of around 10,440,000 listeners. Radio Forth alone has a reach of 100,000 listeners – that’s two and half times the circulation of The Scotsman.

A good message too – that the Church is only really the Church when it’s genuinely and practically engaging with local communtiies and the world. (See my comments about the Kirk’s new Go For It fund.)

Church of Scotland Go For It Fund

Priority AreasI’ve been editing a new booklet that heralds The Church of Scotland’s Go For It fund. The fund, which draws together three existing fund/committees, supports a wide range of amazing locally-based intiatives in communities right across Scotland. It’s been good to have a chance to tell stories of projects already well-established – from Hot Chocolate in Dundee – working with young people in need of some guidance, advice (and hot chocolate) – to choir-based inclusion projects in Glasgow.

You get a strong sense that this is where the Church gets real – and realistic.

Finding Transwonderland on Radio 4

My BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week abridgement, Finding Transwonderland by Noo Saro-Wiwa, will be broadcast in the first week of 2012: 2nd – 6th January.

A good week for Singing the Faith Plus

It’s a good week when you finish a piece of work for the BBC and learn that the stats  on the website you edit “are fab”. Really – it doesn’t take much to make a home-worker cheery.

Inspired by John McGahern

The Irish writer John McGahern was introduced to me recently by a friend. His Memoir is at times harrowing but fundamentally life-affirming: a powerful read (and, in part, an account of what inspired his evocative novel, Amongst Women).

I’m now dipping in and out of a posthumous collection of his non-fiction writing – Love of the World. In a piece entitled “A Literature without Qualities”  he warns against writing on the back of “a handful of acquired certainties”. Instead: “In a world governed by the desire for total control, the writer must be the caretaker of the possible.”

Check John McGahern out.

In the meantime, my own news is that work for the Singing the Faith Plus website means that, with Advent not yet started, I’m currently sourcing material for the lead up to next Easter. Not sure whether to feel smugly organised or simply depressed.

Saro-Wiwa Book of the Week

A new Radio 4 book abridgement – Looking for Transwonderland by Noo Saro-Wiwa. It’s great to be so busy at the moment Continue reading

New website up and running

Singing the Faith Plus is a new website designed to support and complement the new British Methodist hymn book, Singing the Faith.

We went live last month and feedback so far has been positive. Continue reading

Off to Shetland

Another DVD for the Methodist Church in Scotland and Shetland coming up. The last time I was in Shetland, we flew to film on the most remote, inhabited island in the British Isles – Foula. Continue reading

DVDs online

A sequence of short DVD pieces made for the Methodist Church in Scotland back in May are now online on their website. My favourite – an overview of a lively club for kids in East Kilbride. Such a cute closing shot. (And the narrator’s not bad!)

Venetian Navigators – BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

Venetian Navigators book coverMy abridgement of Venetian Navigators by Andrea di Robilant began on Radio 4 this morning. Produced by Kirsteen Cameron, whose choice of music and reader (Sam Dale) has added to the episodes a good deal of atmosphere. It was a trickier task than usual but satisfying. Continue reading

Singing the Faith Plus

Happy to have had my first official day on an interesting new contract: with the UK Methodist Church again but this time coordinating content for a new website – Singing the Faith Plus. Continue reading

Never Let Me Go

(Not a Valentine’s Day greeting.)

To the film of Kazuo Ishiguro’s book on Saturday night. To my surprise, I didn’t cry – though it’s bleak viewing, only made bearable by a beautiful central relationship. Continue reading

New contract

Can’t say too much yet as I’ve not signed on the dotted line but I interviewed on Tuesday for a great third sector contract and made the grade. It’s a project with real potential and, uniquely in my freelance life, will bring together my writing and management skills with my musical knowledge and experience. Can’t wait to get started.

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