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#WhateverWednesday A Moment of Clarity at the Passenger Gig

Frankie Av

Last night my sister-in-law and I took my son to his very first concert in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. We’d been trying for a while to get tickets to go see Passenger, and as a first concert, I think it might have blown my boys mind. It blew my mind and I’ve been to some amazing concerts! But, what started as taking my son to his first ever gig, became a moment of self-realization, and for that reason alone, last night is one of the best gigs I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.

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The thing about Passenger–Mike Rosenberg–is there is always a message to his music. I’ve always felt his music means more than just the beat, tempo or lyrics, and seeing him live proved that even more. The energy Mike has on stage is amazing. He never stops moving, plays the guitar like it’s part of his anatomy and sings like his heart is melting. Even his explanations for the lyrics and his amusing–sometimes sorrowful–anecdotes between songs tell me that Mike really means what he sings about.

There is emotion, amusement, tragedy, energy, amazing arrangements and just pure awesome on the stage of a Passenger gig. There is passion behind the lyrics, true meaning behind the words. His songs are not written with the express intent of gaining fame or money, but to send a message to all who might listen.

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But there was one particular part of the show which really resonated with me. He introduced the song Twenty-Seven with a short explanation of why he wrote it. At a time when he was low, fed up, tired and frustrated about his career, he wrote Twenty-Seven to cheer himself up, and to remind himself that if you are passionate about something, don’t be discouraged. Do whatever it is, and do it from the heart. Don’t listen to those who might discourage you, because this is damaging to a creative mind.

The words he used last night were along the lines of feeling frustrated about getting nowhere, about feeling like you are doing something for nothing and no one is interested. As a writer, I often feel this way. There are times I’ve sat and cried frustrated tears and wondered why the hell I waste my time with writing books and blogs and make vlogs no one really looks at.

Often wonder why I bother, or sometimes why I even try. Yet I do it because I want to convey messages, too. I want to spread joy, amusement, my love of people, of animals, of good music and great stories. I want to raise awareness for those in need, want to fight for this world and everything which lives upon it. I want to tell folk how a stupid toy pony can make my day, or how my book sold a single copy and put a smile on my face for a week. I do it because I enjoy it, I love making people smile, and because it means something to me and others.

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I wish I’d had my camera running at that moment last night just to remember the exact words Mike said. When I got home I wondered if he said them in another concert so I searched and found the video below, but with slightly different wording. The message is still the same, still means something. So while there are times I get tired, low and frustrated about the lack of interaction or interest, Mike is right–keep doing what you love, no matter what, and I intend to. 

If you ever get the chance to see Passenger live, do yourself a favor and grab tickets and go see him. Amazing!

Passenger Official Site

Twitter: @passengermusic

Facebook: Passenger Facebook

YouTube: Passenger YouTube Channel

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

 

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#WhateverWednesday And They’re Off!

Frankie Av

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NaNoWriMo started yesterday and I think I’ve made a pretty good start considering I’ve worked two consecutive 12.5 hour night shifts these last two nights! I have almost 5000 words written and plan to write more after I upload this blog.
What I love about NaNoWriMo is not just the writing, the goal setting and the planning, it’s how fired up all my writing friends are. How their imaginations are creating an explosion of ideas all over the writing forums and groups. There is excitement in the air, a real buzz of creativity and everyone is enjoying themselves!
Of course, we are only into day two, but that excitement never really fades. Some might get disheartened at times, maybe stuck a little, probably frustrated, but the excitement of writing a novel in 30 days wins out in the end!

Even though I am sleep deprived, even though my mind is working slower than usual, and even though I am getting distracted by almost everything today, I set a word count goal and I intend to meet it. So I will go make yet another coffee, stretch my body out a little, maybe fire up Spotify to keep me company, and then write ALL the words 😀

Good luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo this year! I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi  MALEVOLENCE

#WhateverWednesday The Dragon Gets a Surprise!

Frankie Av

My husband was acting all suspicious last night before I went to work. He had this side-smile he usually gets when he is plotting something and disappeared not long before I left for work. To say I was intrigued is an understatement. I knew he was up to something, but he didn’t give me so much as a hint as to what he was scheming.

Then, after about an hour of wondering and worrying where he was, I got a call from him. He was on his way home, and he had bought me something that I’d been wanting. Now, there was only one thing that I’ve been moaning about for a while now, and it has been my poor old laptop, Midway.

Last week, Windows 10 updated three times on Midway. The last one was on Sunday and it all but killed my lovely workhorse. Afterwards, Midway took over an hour to switch on and in the end I had to force close the damned thing. When he finally did boot up, half the programs were struggling to run and I was so angry! Looking at social media, I am not the only one to find their laptop completely mucked up after this update. There are a lot of angry Windows 10 users out there!

But this was the final straw for Midway. I use him so much his keys are scratched and the letters have worn off. His memory is slowing down and he struggles with some of the things I demand of him these days. I’ve had to dive into his code in order to disable some bad processes which rendered him useless. In all, Midway has been on the way to laptop heaven for a while now.

So, my husband went out last night and picked me up a new laptop!

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It is a Hewlett Packard Pavilion, and so far, I love it! It has those lovely slim and flat keys I’ve been desperate for since my old Macbook died a few years ago. It has a lovely 15.6 crystal clear display. It’s a quad core processor with 8 gig of RAM and 1tb HDD which will take me forever to fill up!

All of my tech has names so they are easily identifiable. Instead of; “Can you switch on the silver Dell?” or “My bigger netbook is not working,” I just say,  “Midway’s not working,” and folk know exactly what laptop or piece of kit I’m talking about. The reason for this is the fact I have so many bits of tech for different things. My main powerhouse is HAL, the desktop in my office. Midway is my writing laptop and workhorse. SAL is my smallest netbook which I use in bed. Wraith is the netbook I use when out on the go. Pegasus is my tablet PC with digitized screen which I use for drawing. HUD is my 12” portable dvd player. The list does not include my external HDDs and older tech, which I keep after upgrades for many reasons. If you are into Sci-fi, I’m sure you can see a theme…

I’ve decided to name this new laptop….Atlantis! Most of my kit is named after something in Stargate Atlantis, and this laptop will be the first I’ve named after the show title. A new book to write, a new NaNoWriMo starting soon, a new laptop to kick start everything!
Last night, my friends said I’m a spoiled bitch…but I just think I have the best husband in the entire damned world 😉

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WhateverWednesday Scores of Scores

It has been a strange week so far. I haven’t even had my laptop on for two days, which is unheard of! It is usually on up to sixteen hours a day! Our heating system has finally been renewed and the workmen are gone, but now we have to decorate the house after ripping up carpets and floors. We also have to re-paper the walls after removal of old radiators, as well as get yet another workman in to quote us for new windows. So, it’s going to be a busy week.

Anyway, I know I gave Wolf’s Rain a right bashing the other day, and while I have not forgiven the awful ending, I have to say how much I love the OST. There is one song in particular which I have had on repeat since I heard it in one of the final episodes. I love it so much, it is now added to my Emergence playlist.
The composer is Yoko Kanno who is well known, respected and much loved in the anime industry for scores of beauty and heartache. Her talent is not wasted on Wolf’s Rain. It provided a score which underlined the harsh and dangerous journey the wolves took throughout the show. One song in particular, Shiro: Long tail’s is just a gorgeous composition.

Another of the songs is Heaven’s Not Enough with vocals by Steve Conte who also did the title song, Stray. Again, it is a haunting song and heartbreaking. This is the one I have placed in my Emergence playlist. It is so beautiful.

So in the end Wolf’s Rain wasn’t a complete loss.

I have so many original soundtracks, every one of them invoking different emotions and I find them so helpful when writing or drawing to enable me to concentrate while stirring my imagination. I couldn’t choose one favourite if I tried, but here are some of my favourite tracks which make it into many of my creative playlists.

1) Advent Children: Divinity I and II by composer Nobuo Uematsu. I use this one often when drawing or painting. It helps that this is from what is probably my most favourite film of all.

2) Caleb Leaves – Marco Beltrami score for the movie Knowing.
This one tears the heart out of me and I use it when I am writing a particularly sad scene. When watching the movie, this song always reduces me to tears as it lends to the scene so well. The slow build to a father’s grief is almost unbearable. It is a great writing song.

3) Flynn Lives – Daft Punk for the film Tron Legacy
This song is so powerful. It builds and builds into a gorgeous crescendo which makes my heart soar. I use this song and others from the OST for various things. Plus, it is one of my all time favourite films and soundtracks.

4) Oblivion – M8 with Susanne Sundfør on vocals, for the movie Oblivion.
I absolutely LOVE this song. I use it when painting and drawing and occasionally when editing. This is from another of my favourite films and soundtracks.

5) Baba Yetu, by Christopher Tin for the Civilization IV video game. I find this song so uplifting, so happy and just a perfect piece to use when creating and editing.

6) Che vuole questa musica stasera by Peppino Gagliardi, used in the movie The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This song is one of my very favourites. I think one reason is that during the scene in which this song is played, we get to see a nonchalant “Superman” eat a sandwich while his partner gets chased around a river XD No, seriously though, it is a beautiful piece of music and lends itself to many of my creative outlets.

Electric Romeo, and Serenata by Immediate Music. This is one of my favourite score orchestras. These guys are amazing and I have listened to them for years–as well as their lyrical band, Globus. Their songs are powerful, ranging from uplifting and joyous to sad and heart wrenching. I listen to their music during many projects.


This is only a tiny, tiny fraction of the music I use while writing and drawing. There is so much great music out there, from epic scores to silly ditties which can help bolster imagination and bring scenes to life in your mind. If I had the time, I would show you all my music faves, but that would take a very, very, very long time!
F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE