Back in ’91 when I left school, I applied for three universities – Middlesex and Leicester to do performing arts and Salford to do Popular Music and Recording. Middlesex and Leicester didn’t even invite me for interview, but Salford did, and I went down to Manchester to check it out. I drove down with my schoolfriend Martin, as Ocean Colour Scene were playing in Manchester that night, so we went down, spent the day mooching around record shops and comic shops in Manchester, I did the audition, we went to see OCS, slept in the car and went back to Berwick.
The audition went terribly – not because I played worse that usual, just because I was rubbish, and didn’t really deserve to even get an audition. Still, the guys conducting it managed to stifle a laugh. The upside was that OCS were outstanding. Those of you who didn’t hear their first two singles will find that impossible to believe, given that they peaked there and by the time their first album came out they were already past their best. But they were fantastic.
What’s this got to do with today? Well, today I was back at Salford, giving a masterclass for their students! haha! fantastic! It was a hell of a lot of driving (410 miles round trip), but a lot of fun to do – the students asked a lot of good questions, and seemed to enjoy it (if you were there, feel free to post a comment here!) – It’s great getting paid to talk about music for a couple of hours, and hopefully give the students some food for thought on what it takes to become a professional musician. Those kind of sessions can go either way, and get deep into the mechanics of playing, or be all about the stuff of living as a musician. This was more the latter, with a few questions about Ebows and looping thrown in. All in all, a fine way to spend the day!by