Ditching Social Media, Anxiety, Mental Health Apps and The Inner Critic

After removing social media from my life during the last two years, I’m slowly but surely reducing anxiety and my distractability. It used to be that I would read a paragraph or two in a book… my mind would wander and I’d realise I’d read several more paragraphs without a clue what it said. That doesn’t happen all that much any more. Result.

Looking for alternative dopamine hits

I still get bored and want to get rid of that boredom, and I’ve found myself recently clicking through YouTube and some other forum sites. I get a little hit of dopamine and a false sense of community and connection (I’m still a lurker – I don’t really engage in commenting as my inner critic will happily continue to assert that what I have to say is neither useful, witty nor pithy – what a bitch!); I can feel that old, familiar, background lure that I used to get with the big three (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) so I’m not out of the woods yet. read more

On Being Organised

Lighthouse, beach and sea at Tweedmouth

At the start of the year someone said to me they thought I was the most organised person they knew. Which was very nice of them, thank you kind person.

After that, it totally went to my head and I had an idea back in May to do a post on being organised, or, rather, how to be organised, and I’ve been scribbling notes and putting it off and self-censoring ever since. It bloomed into a 4-post series, and then started to evolve into a book outline, which just wasn’t appropriate – dammit, Jim, I’m a composer, not an author. I don’t have time for writing books, especially not those that have been written before, by people much more qualified and experienced than me, in much more organised (yes much lol) ways. So what was I adding? Not a massive amount, certainly not any that warranted the level of off-hours brain space. Said brain is like a dog with a bone sometimes. read more

2018 Midsummer Review – Birthday, Panels, RTS Award, Feature Film Music, and Books Devoured


I turn 39 in a few days. Is that a prime number? Looks like one (*looks it up* Ok it’s not). Last one before the big 4-0, which I’m very much looking forward to – it’s amazing to think I’ve lived this long, considering how much of a klutz I am.

Coming Up: PRS Panel –  How To Place Your Music in Film and TV

I’m on a PRS (Performing Rights Society) Panel about getting your music placed in Film and TV @7:50pm on Thursday, 19th July at DINA in Sheffield. Doors open at 5pm; there are two panels about Managing your PRS Account and the Yorkshire Music Forum; and then I’m on with two other specialists. read more

Scientists Know The Music You’re Imagining

piano by Christopher Farmer Flickr

Isn’t science just flipping marvellous? (Just so long as some hegemonic search engine or social media site doesn’t read my mind and steal my IP, that’d be just great, ta)

Mind-Reading Music

There is not a day that goes by that I wish technology could read the musical thoughts flitting through my mind and transcribe it as quickly as I think of it.  But this isn’t such a pie-in-the-sky wish as I thought! Neuroscientists have predicted what sounds a pianist was thinking of in their head. Chuffing heck. read more

Don’t wait for Creative Inspiration to Get Work Done

Glowing brain

Inspiration – it’s a fickle beast. We all know that. Sometimes I’m inspired, sometimes I’m not. Still have a deadline though, still need to get paid. One of my big priorities and motivators though is also to enjoy the experience as much as clients will (hopefully) enjoy the music I’ll compose for their film or play. Though it’s quite a nice bonus, that feeling of creative inspiration, of having ideas spring into mind as if from outside of us, isn’t really a prerequisite to said enjoyment. read more

Why I Quit Twitter (and you might want to, too)

I’M A QUITTER. A serial quitter. I like quitting things. Things I’ve quit: coffee, owning a car, dyeing my hair, wearing high heels, most recently some social media including twitter… I quit because I get a kick out of it – a sense of clarity and relief. Maybe it’s my catholic upbringing (you know, all about the suffering and sacrifice, that religion). It’s tired cliche, but it’s a cliche because of its universal truthiness. It’s as if an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and that, finally, now I have time to concentrate on the more important things in life. read more

CLARITY IS KEY. You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what it is that you want in the first place.

Handwritten music manuscript

What story do you want to tell? How do you want to feel?

I made a really useful little pdf, a guide to helping directors get really clear when they brief* their music composers.

Subscribe to email updates and you can download it for freeeee.

It includes all the practical, useful, simple questions I always try to get answers to from any brief I receive, for any kind of media – film, theatre, television, animation, games, library music…

I work with the same people a lot (Red Star, Third Angel, Slung Low), which is pretty awesome mostly because they’re all groups of brilliant, creative, interesting people to work with. Part of the brilliance and awesomeness is that we’ve developed a shorthand for talking about music and the briefing process has become sooo much easier, simpler and quicker over the years. read more

Music for The Homeless: ‘The Key’ from The Department of Distractions

Update 6th March 2018:  ‘The Key’ raised a grand total of £61 for Crisis and Emmaus charities for homeless people. The track is still available to download, but if you want to donate directly to these or any other homelessness charities, please do!

The Department of Distractions was joyous fun to work on; the walks between digs and the theatre were quite saddening.

There’s a man sleeping rough in an underpass on the way, so for a week I passed him twice a day. He sleeps on concrete slabs, next to a busy dual carriageway, sandwiched between two concrete pillars and surrounded by pigeon droppings. read more