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You Say You Want A Resolution

"I can't believe it's a year since I failed to become a better person" was a popular meme on my Farcebook feed as 2017 dawned.

In much the same way as New Year's Eve is always a disaster or at best an anti-climax, New Year's Resolutions are doomed to fail. The pressure is simply too great. Blue Monday - the day when most of us crumble - has become as much a regular fixture of the annual calendar as Christmas.

According to The Sun (spit) "A study from University of Bristol found that 88 per cent of people who make New Year's resolutions fail - while the NHS reckon only one in ten of us will be successful". Fucking hell, The Sun - 88% failure and one in ten success is THE SAME FUCKING THING YOU TWATS.

Nevertheless, virtually every single guide to being more successful / happier / comfortable in your own skin etc says that swapping bad habits for good ones and setting goals is the key to success. The problem is most people choose goals that are unrealistic and doomed to failure.

With that in mind, I thought I'd embark on a year of manageable, bite-sized challenges of exactly one week.

I'm kind of making up the rules as I go along, but essentially the deal is:

Declare one new resolution at the start of each week and post it on the interweb so people know (which makes it more tangible and harder to back out of).

Old resolutions can by carried over / extended, but the new one has to be one I've not done before in 2017 so that by the end of the year I've got 52 individual resolutions.

Since they're only a week long, the success rate should be high, but because there's another one coming along in a jiffy, failure is not the terrible morale-crushing tragedy it might otherwise have been.

Got the idea?

Here's how it's been going so far:

Week 1:

No alcohol
No caffeine
Walk to and from work every day

Week 2:

NEW - No Nicotine
No alcohol
No caffeine
Walk to and from work every day

Week 3

NEW - No buying anything
No nicotine
No alcohol
Walk everywhere

Week 4

NEW - Attempt the Evening Standard crossword every night
No nicotine
No alcohol
Walk to and from work every day

Week 5

NEW - 20 sit ups a day
NEW - stick something on eBay every day
No nicotine
Walk to and from work every day

The biggest personal achievements have been going the whole of January booze free (full disclosure - had a thimble of whisky at a Burns' Supper and a complimentary brandy at a meal on the 31st to celebrate making the end of the month) and now a month without vaping or smoking. Giving up vaping is much easier than giving up fags so I'd recommend that as a stepping stone to anybody struggling, although not drinking is probably the real secret here.

The two weeks without caffeine were difficult - but I've managed to keep consumption to much lower levels than previously and almost always restrict it to mornings only.

Walking to work has been a revelation. Much easier than I thought and infinitely more enjoyable. It's a great start to the day and I've been listening to some interesting and fun documentaries from iPlayer radio on the way which makes it good for mind and body. More difficult is walking further afield or home if I've been out late. I've used public transport about ten times in total this year and saved about 100 quid. On the downside I've got a massive bruise on my left heel and can barely walk.

The not spending anything for a week malarkey was the hardest. It would have been easy to cheat and pre-order a Tesco delivery for arrival mid-week but I went for the harder option of doing it properly. The first few days were okay but got harder when I ran out of milk and had porridge made with water for breakfast. By the weekend I was having studenty meals like rice and tinned tomatoes. Social situations were awkward so a special shout out to everyone who bought me alcohol-free beverages during this period. Also the long walks were harder when I couldn't buy a banana or coffee to perk me up on route. Quite a nice sense of stoic martyrdom when I finished that one though.

Haven't quite decided what to do for Week 6 yet. Any suggestions (keep it clean)?
Poor old Live Journal, exactly a year has gone by here I am simply dumping another list of gigs wot I done for some kind of misguided notion of posterity.

Anyway, many thanks to all the wonderful and talented people who made this lot happen ...

22 January – The Beatless @ Paper Dress Vintage [guitar/bass/singing]
23 April – The Band Who Fell to Earth @ Paper Dress Vintage [singing]
12 May – Keith TOTP @ The Islington [guitar/bvs]
21 May – Keith TOTP @ The Windmill (Gracetonbury) [guitar/bvs]
27 May – The New Royal Family @ The Gunners (Bingo Master’s Breakout Karaoke set) [shouting]
24 June – Menaces @ Paper Dress Vintage [bass/guitar/singing]
8 July – Keith TOTP @ The Islington (with Joanne Joanne) [guitar/bvs]
23 July – Luxembourg @ Stevie & Susan’s wedding in a hotel in Hayes [guitar/bass/bvs]
20 August – Fleetwood Slack @ Paper Dress Vintage [shouting “Tusk!”/kazoo]
1 September – Keith TOTP @ Totally Acoustic, The King & Queen (acoustic set) – [banjitar/bvs]
6 September – Keith TOTP @ The Windmill (with Shotgun Jimmie) [guitar/bvs]
8 September – Rebekah Delgado @ Genesis Cinema (Nick Cave screening) [singing]
10 September – Keith TOTP @ The Eight Bells, Hadleigh [guitar/bvs]
15 October – Keith TOTP @ The Islington [guitar/bvs]
15 October – Luxembourg @ The Islington [guitar/bass/bvs]
28 October – Dom Green’s Fright School @ Paper Dress Vintage [spooky singing]
16 December – Keith TOTP @ The Gunners (with Fightmilk & Paul Hawkins) [guitar/bvs]
17 December – Thamesmeerd Christmas Panto @ The Lexington [singing/mucking about]
31 December - The Band Who Fell to Earth @ Paper Dress Vintage [come and find out!]

Other showbiz dates of note:
18 August – Thamesmeerd Omnibus screening at Hackney Film Festival
27-28 August, Menaces album recording
13 November – Parkinsons Movie screening at Doc’n’roll Film Festival

International Man of Rock - gig log 2015

Not a bad run of gigs this year ...

17 Feb - Keith TOTP - Surya (supporting the Indelicates)
7 March - The New Royal Family - The Pipeline, London (Rik Mayall Tribute gig, with Tenpole Tudor!)
20 March - Keith TOTP - The Monarch, London
(21 March - Indelicates guitar recording sesh)
17 April - Part1 - St Vitus Bar, New York, USA
18 April - Part1 - St Vitus Bar, New York, USA
20 April - Part1 - Gooskies, Pittsburg, USA
21 April - Part1 - Old Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia, USA
22 April - Part1 - Home Sweet Home, New York, USA (Bjork in audience!)
7 May - Keith TOTP (acoustic set) inc Never Kissed A Tory vocal, Totally Acoustic, The King & Queen, London
9 May - Part1 - Warsaw, Poland
5 June - Part1 - Helsinki, Finland
6 June - Part1 - Rock Bar Monttu, Pori, Finland
19 June - Quango - Paris, France
18 July - Papernut Cambridge, Betsy Trotwood, London (Guest vocals on Slag to Love)
4 August - David Barnett, Allison Arms, Glasgow (Never Kissed A Tory impromptu acoustic gig)
19 September - Keith TOTP, George Tavern, London
26 September - Keith TOTP, Lexington, London
26 September - Part1, Power Lunches, London
2 October - Keith TOTP, Nambucca
10 October - Part1, DIY Space, London
23 October - New Royal Family (Karaoke gig), Bingo Master's Breakout, The Gunners, London
31 October - Dom Green's Fright School (guest vocal on Sweet Transvestite), Paper Dress Vintage, London
6 November - Quango, Stag's Head, London
11 December - Pop Out Yule Stars, Paper Dress Vintage, London
16 December - Pop Out Yule Stars, The Islington, London
16 December - New Royal Family, The Islington, London (with Medium Wave)
31 December - Keith TOTP, Cardiff, Wales (supporting The Blood Arm)

Total gigs played: 27
Bands played in: 7 plus solo
Countries played: 5 (7 if you include Scotland and Wales)

Recording and releases: Member of guitar orchestra on Indelicates' Elevator Music.
Overdubbed bass on various Part1 tracks although I don't actually appear on either of the records reissued this year.
Recorded guitar / backing vocals / handclaps for new Keith TOTP album to be released in 2016.
Live VHS video of Part1's Philadelphia gig released by AfraidoftheBasement.com
Honourable mention: New Royal Family appear (briefly) on soundtrack of The Parkinsons movie!

What I've learned about being a boss

It’s a year since I became a boss. I’ve gone from barely being able to tie my own shoelaces to looking after a team of ten of the best analysts in the company. There have been tears. There has been laughter. It has been tough but very rewarding. Here are four things I’ve learned (or “learnings” as idiots might call them):

Praise goes down blame goes up

In most jobs I’ve had there is a tendency for mistakes to be passed downwards. This is particularly true in my current workplace. The blame for poor decisions from on high results in the person at the coalface taking the stick. Not only is this unfair, it doesn’t actually get to the root of the problem and thus leads to recurring headaches. I am responsible for the work my team produces. So if mistakes are made – and where they happen it’s usually down to people being overworked or inadequately briefed – those mistakes are ultimately my fault. Conversely, when things go right it’s essential to acknowledge the contribution of the people who actually do the hard graft.

Respect has to be earned

I cringe at the memory of a senior colleague informing a junior member of staff that she should have more respect for her superiors. This is an outmoded and dangerous attitude. You can’t force respect. Trying to do so is likely to have the opposite effect. I try never to ask people do something I wouldn’t do myself, despite the fact they are often much better than me at many things. It’s also important to acknowledge your weaknesses. People who think they know everything are usually the most hazardous.

Sometimes a wrong decision is better than no decision at all

Many of the headaches I’ve had in this company and others have been due to the inability of those in power to make a timely decision. Procrastination means trivial issues can snowball into serious problems. Recognising concerns and nipping them in the bud is essential. Often in retrospect I’ve realised I could have handled something better. It’s almost always possible to come up with a better solution with hindsight. What’s important is that the problem has been addressed rather than ignored.

You’re only as good as your team

I’ve had a pretty good year at work. I’ve had a lot of successes, praise and even won an award. But I’m under no illusions that none of this would have happened without the efforts of the entire team, who are unstintingly brilliant. As one of my colleagues told me: “It’s easy when you’ve got all the best analysts.” They may have been joking, but they were right.

Spend! Spend! Spend!

Back in the glory days of LJ I did an experiment for at least a couple of years where I tracked all my spending over the month of May. For no adequately explored reason I thought I'd try that again. Here goes.

1 May

Drinks with work buddy at Red Lion = £12.78
Round of drinks + Thai food at Pineapple = £17.85

2 May

Coffee at Kentish Town Bean place = £1.90
The i = £0.50
Farmers market rip off:
Tiny loaf of bread = £1.95
Chilli cheese = £3.67
6x free range eggs = £2.00

Bottle of Pinot Grigio = £5.99
2x "luxury" yoghurt = £4.00
Buffalo mozzarella = £2.10
Sparkling water = £0.47

Sun 3rd May
4x cans lager = £5.00
Nikki toilet visit = £0.20

Mon 4th May
2x ice creams = £4.00
Oyster top-up = £4.00

Running total 4th = £66.41

Tues 5th May
Nothing = £0.00

Weds 6th May
Snickers bar (oops!) = £0.65
4x pints milk = £1.45
Cheddar = £1.45
Warburton's Thins = £1.00
Bananas = £1.06
Blueberries = £2.00
Raspberries = £2.00
2 x jars of pesto = £2.58
2 x tins of tomatoes = £1.10 (rip off)
Mayonnaise = £1.50
Discount coupon = -£1.50

Running total 6th = £82.50

AND THAT IS AS FAR AS I GOT DEAR READERS! For the next day we had an acoustic gig with Keith TOTP, an election "party" and the crippling comedown that followed the realisation that we faced five more years of our Tory overlords. So I ran away to Warsaw for the weekend, but that's another story ...
Last month I went to the United States of America masquerading as a musician with cult anarcho-punk deathrock legends Part1. That's cult as in "not very well known outside a very niche sub-culture". But still - America right? I mean, sure, it hastened the Sex Pistols' demise, drove Bernard Butler bananas and broke the spirit of pretty much every other band who'd ever crossed the pond apart from The Beatles, but at the very least it was going to be something to blabber on about on LiveJournal.

Of course the trouble with anarchists is that organisation is not their strong point. And the leap into the unknown was not helped by the fact that we'd been advised to delete any and all contact details of anyone who might actually know what was going on in order to foil Mulder & Scully or something. We'd also been instructed to fly separately, a point I refused to accede to since anyone who knows me will be aware that two things that strike fear and terror into my heart are (a) flying and (b) being alone with my own thoughts for any longer than is necessary. Particularly when the biggest news story of the day was of a depressed pilot who had just flown his passengers into an Alp.

That's Ireland that is!

Consequently Jake (singer) and I arrived at JFK to be met by absolutely no one and spent an hour or so wandering around wondering if the whole escapade was some kind of elaborate hoax. Although I was one of two members of the four-strong band who was actually in possession of a working phone, I had no useful numbers, nor did we even know where we were staying. Just as we started to run out of finger nails to chew off Mark (guitarist) arrived, full of apologies, and took us to our digs in deepest Brooklyn via the "scenic" route. I'd always thought Brooklyn was an area equivalent to, say, Camden or Brixton. However, it's massive - it's more like saying "South London" - and we must have spent close to an hour trying to find a bar or restaurant. The only bars were nail bars or hair salons and although there were dubious takeaway places galore, sitting down to eat did not appear to be high on the list of priorities of the residents of our adopted hood. Eventually we chanced upon an "Applebee's" - think Aberdeen Angus Steakhouse crossed with a Wetherspoon's populated by characters from a 70s Blaxploitation movie. I actually rather enjoyed it, particularly when our "hostess" - not to be confused with our "waitress" confusingly - hollered "Gee, you guys have ACCENTS!" Not as thick as yours love. Anyway, a rather pleasant evening was had by us and the staff must have been very taken with those quaint olde worlde accents of ours because they even staged a highly authentic "bar room brawl" between two large gentlemen who played the parts of gangsters in an impressively convincing manner.

The Three MustGetBeers

Somewhat optimistically I'd brought my running gear with me and set off on a jog around the block the next morning in order to try and get my bearings. But all I got was confused that the Broadway, Lexington and other familiar street names I chanced upon were most definitely not the ones you see on the telly. Unless you're watching The Wire.

Riding on a Subway Train - Jake and drummer.

On my return we were at last joined by our errant drummer who had been staying with what I'll diplomatically call a penpal and we all toodled off to meet our American record company, Sacred Bones, situated in a much trendier part of Brooklyn in an abandoned warehouse that reminded me very much of the old Playlouder offices. Their boss Caleb looked like a cross between Alan Moore and Rasputin. I liked him a lot. Even more so when they took us out for dinner at a trendy French restaurant. It was almost like being in a real band!

Dejeuner sur le concrete. Rasputin not pictured.

In retrospect it was probably a mistake to start drinking 12 hours before we went on stage but we really had no idea our American live debut would start so late. The gig was described as an "after show" but not in the usual sense that it's a party after a big gig, with perhaps some live entertainment. No, this was an aftershow in the sense that we had to wait until after the show that was actually on that night had finished and we could hi-jack the venue, an unsalubrious joint called the St Vitus Bar replete with skulls, where the VIP wristbands were emblazoned with SATAN SAVES. You get the idea.

The glamour of life backstage.

Chaos reigned in terms of logistics with soundman, stage manager, promoter and assorted other personnel all volleying the blame between them, though I don't think any of them meant any ill will. They all had a lot more to worry about since our gig was just one of dozens taking place across the City - a bit like the Camden Crawl with less personal hygiene. The language barrier didn't help. Plectrum is not a common word in America it transpires. Nor did anyone have a satisfactory explanation for why the bass guitar I was eventually given was held together with masking tape. Still, it's punk rock, right? Who needs things like tuners and cables? We eventually crawled on stage at about two in the morning. Or 7am UK time. I was very tired, but we played what I thought was a decent, if ragged set. The audience was disappointingly muted, though. I'd had dreams of playing the Star Spangled Banner and stage-diving into an adoring crowd. Instead we limped off to a polite ripple of applause. Mind you, there were a handful of genuinely enthusiastic punters. "Man you guys are awesome! I've waited 30 years to see you live!" I felt a bit mean when I confessed I'd only been in the band for 18 months and had no idea about the rare early demos they were quizzing me about.

Still, not a disaster by any means. And we could write this one off as a dress rehearsal since Saturday night was going to be a return to the same venue and was bound to be better organised, right kids?
Ho ho ho!

So here we are viewing several, Christmas morning is upon us once again. Which means it's time for the traditional Christmas un-socking in (almost) real-time (Caveat: I had a sneaky Christmas run to the next village and back first) ...

So without further adon't, let's unsock!

A bottle of festive Newcastle Brown, as drunk by shepherd's everywhere! Way-aye!
An Oral-B Pro-Expert Cross Action (or "Toothbrush" as we used to call them! "Removes up to 90% of plaque in hard-to-reach areas!" Since cleanliness is next to holiness!
A jar of piri-piri stuffed olives! In memory of our Lord's sermons on the Mount of Olives, or whatever it was he did there, presumably!
Some Christian Dior Fahrenheit shower gel AND deodorant, to represent the two different types of perfume the Three Wise Men brought to the baby Jee!
A shaving brush! Reminding us of the preponderance of beards in biblical times. Much like Dalston these days.
The traditional Christmas apple and orange! Something to do with Prince Albert probably. Or was it Bob Scratchit?
Some chocolate gold coins and a real gold (coloured) coin - representing the gold brought by the more generous of the three Magi!

Didn't we do well? I hope Santa is equally generous to you all my dear friends.

22nd January - Keith TOTP, The Monarch
27th February - Part 1, Boston Arms (Another Winter of Discontent Festival)
7th March - Animal Nitwits, Buffalo Bar (Nuisance)
22nd March - Part 1, Green Note, Brighton
29th March - Keith TOTP, Deptford
3rd April - Quango, Hackney Oslo (supporting Howler)
11th April - Part 1, Archway Tavern (Dead & Buried)
2nd May - Keith TOTP, Monarch (Her Parents farewell gig)
9th May - Part 1, Paris (Unpleasant Meeting Festival)
24th May - Part 1, The Dome (Scumfest)
20th June - New Royal Family (Redux), Bingo Master's Breakout (karaoke gig)
24th June - New Royal Family, Buffalo Bar (Rik Mayall tribute)
4th July - Quango, Power Lunches
31st July - Quango, Macbeth
9th August - Part 1, Blackpool Rebellion Festival
16th August - Quango, The Gunners
13th September - Keith TOTP, The Windmill (Gracetonbury)
14th September - Keith TOTP, The Lexington (supporting Dream Themes + Davros!)
3rd October - Part 1, Helsinki
4th October - Part 1, Tampere
28th October - Keith TOTP, Guerrilla gig at Filthy's
29th October - Animal Nitwits, Guerrilla gig at Filthy's
31st October - Keith TOTP, Buffalo Bar
31st October - Dom Green's Fright Machine, Buffalo Bar
8th November - Famous Cocks, The Pipeline (Antlib Convention)
27th November - Keith TOTP, Buffalo Bar
13th December - Part 1, Gravesend, Red Lion

Schiele Take A Bow

As with just about anything of note in my life, my interest in Egon Schiele can be entirely blamed on Adam Ant. "I'm a friend of Egon Schiele, I'm a friend of Mr Spock" he fibbed, on his song Friends, a drab outtake from the flawed but brilliant debut album Dirk Wears White Sox. Admittedly, me and most other people of my generation would only became aware of the song - and by extension Egon Schiele - when he (Adam, not Egon) reworked the tune considerably as a bouncy discoed-up b-side to his unlikely 1981 Christmas hit Ant Rap. With me so far? Good.

Schiele is best known for being Gustav Klimt's unruly protege, getting booted out / quitting the Vienna school of art, possibly having an affair with his sister, certainly getting up to a bit of hanky panky with a 14 year old, cavorting with prostitutes, going to jail for indecency, getting married twice, painting lots of brilliant, vividly visceral pictures of ladies flashing their naughty bits, surviving the First World War and dying. All by the time he was 28. Phew.

His better known works, often reproduced as prints and postcards, are as familiar as Sunflowers or the Mona Lisa. So my gast was well and truly flabbered this week when I discovered that there are no Schiele pieces on permanent public display in the UK. I still can't quite believe this is true. (Hang on, okay no "major works" apparently). This knowledge has made me particularly grateful that I made the effort to run to the Belvedere in Vienna on the Keith Top of the Pops / Blood Arm tour of Europe a few years ago, while the rest of the minor indie celebrities were nursing hangovers the size of the city's ferris wheel.

As you can gather I was pretty blooming excited when I found out that London's Courtauld Gallery was hosting a major exhibition, especially as I was having it off this week and my plans for some kind of an adventure had come to naught. So excited in fact that I got there a bit early. "I'm afraid the exhibition doesn't open until tomorrow, sir!" Hey, at least it got me out bed, right kids?

When it did finally open, I was there, along with a curious mix of mostly young studenty types and retired couples. I guess they are the demographics most likely to have a Thursday afternoon in October free. The show is titled "The Radical Nude" and, as you might expect, focuses on some of the juiciest work for which he is best known: emaciated self-portraits in contorted, Christ-like poses, and various prostitutes, girlfriends and relatives hitching up their skirts. Given the looming horror of war and the fact that Sigmund Freud was hanging in the same circles, this obsession with sex and death is hardly surprising.

The works are mostly charcoal drawings with unorthodox washes of green and purple watercolour accentuating muscle and bone. Often the only colour is red; accentuating the lips, nips and lips again of the various ladies. Many of the works on display are still disturbing now so it's easy to imagine the rumpus they must have caused 100 years ago. One of the joys of the exhibition is listening to the reactions of the public. "I knew I didn't like Egon Schiele!" harrumphs one old fossil, "I'm going downstairs!", while his wife titters. I guess this is probably the first time he's seen female genitals in a while.

It's remarkable that a few sketches from a hundred years ago can still rouse such strong feelings. I don't know whether Schiele is a wicked child abuser or a champion of feminism (arguments have been made for both cases) but his skill as a draughtsman, in particular his mastery of line, is undeniable. He never used rubbers (no sniggering at the back please), nor did he try to disguise errors, instead incorporating these mistakes, so that hands occasionally look like tangled claws.

No doubt his pal Sigmund would have had a field day psychoanalysing the fact that Egon's self-portraits depict a skinny, twisted wreck, while his female subjects are, if not always beautiful, then at least usually bold, confident and defiant. Indeed, the look suggested by the women in one of the most famous pictures, the self-explanatory "Two Girls Embracing" is not so much "come hither" as "fuck off, you're not invited".

Several of the pictures are signed along two different edges, hinting that the works could be hung and viewed from entirely different angles. This provokes the curious spectacle of a gallery full of people tilting their heads to 90 degrees. Many exhibitions claim to be head-turning. This one really is.


Scotland the Brave

I have very mixed feelings about the referendum. Head says no, heart says yes, etc. Not that it matters since I don't even get a vote. Still, I've got a 100 pound bet on it being No, so I reckon I'll be happy whatever happens.

Meanwhile, here's two genuine messages I sent to the campaign leaders yesterday. They still haven't got round to replying. I expect they're a bit busy right now.

Dear Alistair Darling

As we reach the closing crucial hours of this historic campaign I feel it is up to every Scottish citizen to lend their weight to your noble cause.

Please therefore accept this sincere offer of my pop band, the New Royal Family's much loved composition Scotland The Brave (a modern twist on the old classic) as our contender for the official anthem of the BETTER TOGETHER campaign.

The song was composed way back in 1986 when I was just a naive schoolboy at Brechin High in the county of Angus, and yet it was not properly recorded until I had made my fortune in London, with the help of fine fellows and ladies from south of the border (and an American, but that's not particularly relevant to the argument I'm trying to make here). This combination of Scottish and English talents I think symbolises more perfectly than even JK Rowling's impassioned ramblings, the great things that the Scots and English have achieved together, and can continue to achieve if we just put our differences aside and stop squabbling about oil.

Indeed, the lyrics today are more relevant than ever. "SNP propaganda (SNP!)" we chant, before delivering the sucker punch "Like living in a verandah" - an indictment of the fairy tale economics of Alex Salmond and his Tartan Tories.

It is thus with great pride that I make this humble offering to the BETTER TOGETHER campaign and hope that, by uniting the forces of your functional grasp of macro economic policy and our catchy singalong, we can continue to reap the combined benefits of the United Kingdom.

I tried to send an mp3 but the form wouldn't let me, so here's our simple but effective video on YouTube:

Please let me know if you'd like an mp3 or CD version. If you're a vinyl man, you'll have to wait for our Greatest Hits, due next year.

Whatever the outcome, I hope our song raises a smile!

Lang may yer lum reek, Darling!

Yours in excited anticipation

David Barnett

Dear Alex Salmond

As we reach the crucial closing hours of this historic campaign I feel it is up to every Scottish citizen to lend their weight to your noble cause.

Please therefore accept this sincere offer of my pop band, the New Royal Family's much loved composition Scotland The Brave (a modern twist on the old classic) as our contender for the official anthem of the YES campaign.

The song was composed way back in 1986 when I was just a naive schoolboy at Brechin High in the county of Angus, struggling to pass my O Grades despite Mrs Thatcher's attempt to weaken our hardy Scots bones by her Great School Milk Robbery of just a few years earlier.

Yet the lyrics today are more relevant than ever. "SNP propaganda (SNP!)" we chant, in probably one of the earliest namechecks of your great party in song form, particularly in the 80s when no one took it seriously. "A third world country, flushed down the drain" we predict of the fate that awaits us if we continue to be dictated to from Westminster, pointing the finger of blame at the "Sassenachs (who) don't give a sh**".

It is thus with great pride that I make this humble offering to the YES campaign and hope that, by uniting the forces of your fine oratory and our catchy singalong, we can at last throw of the yoke of more than three centuries of English oppression.

An mp3 is attached, or you can watch our simple but effective video on YouTube:

Please let me know if you require a CD version. If you're a vinyl man, you'll have to wait for our Greatest Hits, due next year.

Lang may yer lum reek, 'Eck!

Yours in excited anticipation

David Barnett (A Scotsman living in London)