Stephane Grappelli and Mike Batt at CTS Studios, 1983

Dear Snark-Interested Bloggees,


Just an update re SNARK. I think we all know by now that PledgeMusic is, at least in the short term (and unless it gets rescued) up the Swannee. Most folks who pledged (by pre-ordering their copy of the album/merch/experience etc) won't have been charged on their card. If you HAVE - (Apple Pay is one that WAS apparently taken) - do get in touch with Pledge Immediately. If you just used a credit or debit card you can rest easy. If you prefer to negate the transaction just in case, you still have that option.

Anyway - so I'm continuing on what seems to be a longer-than-anticipated trek to get this BLOODY ALBUM made!

In anticipation of getting it made eventually, I have started cutting together a "dummy" version of the show using backing tracks from the original album interspersed with midi signals taken from my orchestra score (I use FINALE software to orchestrate and it plays back the score. I can assign samples to the midi sounds to approximate the orchestra and rhythm. I won't be issuing it like that but it does mean that if I have a star cast member in town, who can only make a certain date I'll have a backing track to work on, which will be at the right tempo and in the right key. The midi orchestra will never be heard on the final record. When we get funded, I'll add the real orchestra and it'll all sound lovely!

I can also do all the backing vocals (which are mostly me, stacked up like I always have done (plus some friends who identify as female) so that no time will be wasted when the dosh shows up.

This approach means I will creep up on the album gradually, like a Snark that happens to be looking the other way, or a Fumious Bandersnatch that has nipped out for a fag and is having a little kip on the way back to its nest.

All this is of course rather boring and it would be so much better just to run into the studio in my usual way and PLAY THE BLOODY THING in a week or so. But - it IS actually quite good for my soul to be chopping this template version together. My son, the brilliant singer-songwriter LUKE BATT (also known in Recordland as "Superheart") is helping me as engineer/programmer on a "day here and a day there" basis. I will probably do what I did on the very first album before my star performers were added one by one, and that is to sing it all through, myself, so they know what to sing and where.

So that's where we are. Why does EVERY project (or nearly every one) turn out to be so long-winded and uphill? It seems to be the story of my life. I am heartened by the fact that the ones that have taken the most effort and given me the most grief are the ones that often end up being the greatest successes, either artistically or commercially. Ideally both, but not always.

Lots of love


PS - The picture with myself and Stephane Grappelli taken in 1983 when we were making the first album, is to remind me to tell you that we are technically able to transfer his solo work off the old album, onto the new one. Same with George Harrison’s guitar solo. Hooray!