Well this is actually the first time we’re using anything other than social media to update you on how things are moving in Grapefruitland! After a bit of a shaky start, I (Mr. Paulo) like to think I have got to grips with the art of using Facebook as a promotional platform. One good thing about it is that you know you have to make it sweet and snappy as readers can only see the top part and have to click on ‘read more’ to go any further. To be honest, the reason I’m looking at means other than Facebook to update your wonderful selves is that I know that only a small proportion of the updates actually appear in followers’ newsfeeds. Otherwise, I’d just use Facebook as almost everyone I know that’s interested in us uses it. Anyway, I shall do my best to remember to keep it on the shorter and sweeter side here as well.
So…. Hopefully by now those of you who use Facebook should know that our next gig is on Friday 11th October at what we think of as our ‘home,’ the fantastic Rising Sun Arts Centre in Reading. I recently found out that we’re headlining the night to boot. The promoter for this one is The Big Untidy, who have produced a press-release about the night in which they talk about us in the most glowing of terms. We’ll be there in all our shining glory for that gig; and our amazing guest musician, Helen Cuthberson-Reid, will be delivering some deliciously lilting clarinet. This’ll be the first time you’ll get to hear new song Being Happy played by the whole band; and we’ve now also developed the arrangements of Don’t Ask Me What I’m Thinking and A Knife and a Bowl so that Will is involved: you’ll get to hear these new arrangements on the 11th as well. Following that, our next gig is on the Saturday of the following weekend: the 19th October. We’ll be among the 60 or so acts playing on that day as part of the Oxjam Reading Takeover, an all-day charity event spread across six Reading venues. Our venue will be the Global Café: we’ll be playing from 6.20 to 6.50. Favourites of ours Jack Cade and the Everyday Sinners; The Polysonic; and Jewels & the 1-Tom will also be playing at the event –hopefully not clashing with us. See the Upcoming Gigs section of our website, or our Facebook page, for details of all of this.
We don’t have anything booked for further into the future as yet, although there is a possibility we’ll be playing on the 2nd November. I think that in general, though, our strategy is going to be to play a bit less often than we have been, at least in Reading. Trusted savants advise against playing too many gigs: I suppose it makes sense that the value of one of your gigs increases the less often you play. So far, we’ve always accepted almost everything that’s been offered; but now that we’re fortunate enough to be getting quite a few good offers, it’s definitely time to be a bit more selective. Maija is anyway struggling at the moment to find the time for the busy gig schedule. So from now on, the focus is going to be on the quality rather than the quantity.
Things are also changing a bit in terms of personnel. We’re really excited to have started working with dancer Sharon Lawrey, who is now fully signed up as a member of a band. Hooray! Having a dancer in the band clearly breaches music scene conventions a bit, although it is not unheard-of; some eyebrows will no doubt find themselves being elevated in an upward direction, but the Grapefruit spirit pays no heed to such things. Sharon makes an indispensable contribution to our live act, giving graceful physical form to the music. The other recent change is James’ decision to take a break to think about whether he can find the time in his busy schedule for the project. Hopefully he’ll be ready to make a definite decision in a few weeks’ time; and say whether he is going to have to desert us, in which case we’ll face the hard task of looking for another bassist capable of matching James’ standard…. On the more positive side, our work with regular guest clarinettist Helen is blossoming very very nicely; and we’re hoping to get her playing on more than just one song soon.
In terms of work towards release of the studio recordings… well, there is still some way to go! A few months ago, I naively thought that once the recording and mastering were finished it would just be a case of getting the artwork done, CDs printed up, registering with digital outlets and job done! Ha ha… having read up on it, I now know that with that approach you’ll only ever be selling you stuff to mates. To be in with any chance of generating wider interest, it turns out, you need a deeply rigorous and boring publicity exercise months before the release, in which you make long lists of publications, reviewers, blogs, radio stations etc. so that in most cases they can delete the email or throw the CD in the bin! Of course, you’ll still probably be only selling to your mates anyway, but that’s what you have to do just to have a remote chance of getting any further. And a pre-requisite for such a publicity exercise is a video; and that’s the big focus at the moment. Since it’s become pretty plain that Clear Water is our best song in the eyes of our audience, that’s what we’re working on. Hopefully all the filming should be out of the way by the end of October and then I can start the editing: I am praying that this isn’t going to be too much of a headache, but maybe that’s my naivety talking again!
So what was that I was saying about short and sweet? Oh dear… well, I suppose there was always going to be a lot to say in our first proper newsletter! It goes without saying of course how grateful we are for the support of all of you, our fans… we shall continue to put 100 per cent effort in to thank you, giving it everything we can in our gigs and in our future releases! Things are going well and progressing all the time: the recent radio play on BBC Radio Berkshire was a really important milestone (should have pointed this out further up actually, shouldn’t I?)…. Onward we march… or roll?!