That’s A Copy? Right?

I have just discovered this latest story about Ed Sheeran being sued over similarities between a song he wrote called Photograph and a song by someone called Matt Cardle called Amazing.


Ed is being sued for 20 Million dollars.


As a singer-songwriter myself I find myself drawn to this story. It begins as many stories have before it… someone writes a song, someone else writes a different but similar sounding song, but does well with it… someone decides it must have been copied and files a lawsuit.


The laws seem to work on certain assumptions that I inherently disagree with. Here’s why.


When I was at school I studied music at GCSE and one day, during our GCSE composition module, I was sat at my table, busily writing out crotchets and quavers for my composition “Steel Alley”. A friend of mine was sat at the piano with our music teacher, going through his own composition, and our teacher was playing what he had written down to make sure his notation was correct. On hearing his melody leap forward from the piano, I cheekily quipped “ a bit of a do, a bit of a do… we’re going to a bit of a do…” I sang this quietly to the theme of the 90s Sitcom “A bit of a do” which was a sitcom on the telly starring David Jason and Gwen Taylor, and instantly our music teacher and I recognised it… but my friend did not… this was the thing… my friend had never watched that program… he came up with that same melody and phrasing completely on his own. Did it sound like it? Yes. It was exact. Did he copy it? No. No he didn’t.

We joked about how we wouldn’t be able to hear that melody now without thinking about the words I had just sung and my friend sarcastically thanked me for my “spoiler” moment… but I saw first-hand how it is utterly possible to compose the same tune as something that already exists *without* prior knowledge of hearing that tune.


In Eds case I do not see how anyone will be able to prove that he had definitely heard Matts song before composing Photograph. If a song sounds like another song, it does not prove that it was copied. Unless there is some connection between those two professionally that I am unaware of.. I can’t see how A) It will stand in court or B) How it has taken this long to surface… So I’m guessing this is a rogue accusation with no connections between the parties.


Music is a palette of colours that are organised to form a soundscape using structures and phrasing like any language. In fact, that is a good comparison to use I think… Art and music.

If two musicians use a C minor chord in their song have they plagiarized? No. That would be like saying you copied me because we both used red in our paintings.


If a melody or section of melody is similar, then the equivalent in Art might be to say that the paintings are of the same subject… for example a sky scene… both paintings have sky in them, both use blue, and white, and paint clouds… has one copied the other? No. are they similar? Probably.


This leads me to the next bit… If sounding similar does not prove it is a copy, then… who cares?


The person who is not making money… that is who cares.


Musicians do not “borrow” or “steal” music from each other as the norm in my opinion. Musicians use the same palette of colours to paint their songs with, and sometimes similar paintings are created, sometimes, as in paintings, bits of paintings might seem to be exactly the same, but as a separate entity, both are works of art in their own right, and neither can be assumed to have been copied of the other.


Plagiarism *can* exist of course when the two parties are connected beyond doubt… maybe 2 colleagues who have worked together… that is very different and is more like a divorce than a plagiarism case. Maybe it is a direct stealing of someone’s lyrics? Again very different despite the similarities, it is far easier and accepted to accidentally compose a similar melody from the restricted range of the musical language compared to the intricacies of written text and the countless thousands to one odds it would be to write something that “happens to be exactly the same lyrics for a whole verse”… Then, it is much harder to deny that a copy has taken place and as such of course should be treated differently but I digress…


On this occasion I am focusing on Matt’s allegation, and from listening to both tracks, I only see 2 paintings that look a bit similar and both have some sky in them… other than that, I really think Matt is clutching at straws for his own reasons *if* my guess that they are not connected is true.

I do not know either way of course… Maybe they are connected somehow? Maybe this is one of those record company things where someone manufactured the song so hard that it got re-worked or something… A lot of maybe’s and I guess the case will reveal the truth in time so I won’t rule out that as a possibility but I have to say, my experience of Ed so far has been very positive, and I rightly or wrongly believe that he sits and writes his own songs diligently, and that if he *thought* a song sounded like another he would have taken it further away, not copied it… just like most other musicians would… which is why I think he hadn’t heard it at all. I can speak from my own experience though, and as a singer-songwriter, I strive to compose something unique as my default. and Ed does not come across as the “shit I’m running out of songs” type to me.


Yes I know I’m not a copyright expert… as ever I am just exercising my whimsical thoughts and I will learn much from watching what happens with this case… but I expect it to get thrown out, as it should. I was rather hoping to learn a great deal from the recent Stairway to Heaven case too but isn’t it funny how that has all gone very quiet now? Hmmm. ;)

Anyway… I happen to have my opinion, on something I do not have all the facts about, but I felt compelled to say my piece because, well… I don’t think the songs are similar enough to warrant anything other than an “oh yeah”. Fundamentally, it is a different song, it is not *exactly* the same, and I for one am perfectly happy for both songs to exist, one happens to be more successful commercially, being the driving force behind the others allegations I suspect.


“Excuse me waiter?”


“I’m afraid I’m suing your chef…”

“You are? Why is that?”

“This meal uses exactly the same chicken and aubergine ingredients that I used for my own dish I’ve made for years.”



You see?

You can’t sue someone for using red. That’s fucking stupid.




Kill Bill

What follows is a made up version of what I believe might be said if the terrorists of the world ever sat down to negotiate with the leaders of the western world. Although fictional… after writing it and before posting it I have to say that it feels truer than it ought to do. It is a short story designed to highlight the ridiculous position the modern world of politics has gotten itself into.


“Oh my word you are different to me… I *hate* you.”

“You must believe in the same things I believe in or else nasty things will happen to you, your children, and your children’s favourite teddy bears.”

“I hate you so much, I am going to convince someone to blow themselves up next to you.”

“That’s it now. Anyone who even looks like you, is having a retinal scan and their dental records keeping on file on WOPR, and if you so much as look at me or anyone like me a bit funny, I’m going to kill you, your children, and your children’s favourite teddy bears, until they are dead.”

“You have killed innocent people on our streets because we are free and therefore we must die.”

“You have killed innocent people on our streets because a select few idiots have decided to attack innocent people in your streets and therefore you must die.”

“Yes but you killed people on our streets and did not declare what we would need to do to be able to have you not killing people on our streets.”

“Yes well you didn’t ask. We’d like you to stop killing people in our streets.”

“Really? Well we’d rather like you to stop killing people in our streets too.”

“But we’re not scared of dying in the streets… just so you know.”

“No and neither are we… but we would rather like to get on with some shopping. If it’s all the same to you.”

“Well your shopping has nothing to do with us. We just struggle to tolerate you thinking in a different way to us.”

“Well we struggle with that too. You seem to like killing people.”

“You seem to like killing people too.”

“Oh no that’s not right! We like to make people feel like they are always about to be killed… that way, there is much less shouty business.”

“Oh I see. Well we think that when we die, we reach a more amazing place… more amazing than a mall even. It’s pretty special. They do nice food and everything.”

“Sounds nice! We think a bit differently to that. We think it’s all about making money while you are here and using any methods to manipulate everyone to make them buy what we want them to buy so that we can sell you these missiles.”

“Oh yes. Thanks for those. They came in very useful. We traded them in for some explosives and got a great deal.”

“You see! It’s all about business in the end!”

“Do you have your catalogue handy?”

“Of course! Here’s the latest in missile technology… fully equipped with cameras so that you can see which street it might go off in.”

“Excellent. How much are those?”

“About 2 oil fields.”

“Fantastic. I shall have my people sort the details out with your people. Would you like to buy some Teddy bear’s?”



Here’s an idea…

Just stop killing people.







Make It Happen

Time for another update!

I find myself part-way along a brand new journey. For a while now I have been trying to network and catch gigs which are not so much paid, but are gigs that I’m using as music therapy to get myself back out into the land of the living … Where the focus is my health and energy levels rather than attempting to make a self-employed living at this stage.

It started off slowly and of course as offers didn’t happen too quickly at first I lost a little faith and found myself at a small point of despair for a while. Since then though, I have received loads of trickling offers of little performances here and there, and the simple fact that I have managed to do each little gig so far has kept me motivated and enthusiastic to get out doing more. The wheels are finally turning.

I’ve got one 90 minute gig under my belt, despite not having the energy, and that in itself was a really big achievement. I know I can’t do that very often… It made me poorly and that’s fine now and again… But to do one of that size really pushes the energy boat out and is as rewarding as running a marathon to someone in my situation.

I’m finding that doing 45 minutes is about the optimal for me at the moment. When I finish I feel exhausted, and have to recover for a day or two, but it feels manageable. The result of a two 45 minute set meant a recovery of nearly 5 days. That’s not very conducive to getting better, really.

The scenario I find myself in is a strange one. Since September I have been self-injecting an immunosuppressant called Humira. The results of that have been levelling out, so that now my tummy is working better than it has for a year, and although not perfect, is at least in a position for me to cope alongside it running at about 80% well compared to 20% 2 years ago. The Humira has definitely made a difference there. The side-effects though, are that Humira tends to tire me out. When I inject it, I feel like a tranquilised rhinoceros. I last about an hour or two at best before being fast asleep. I sleep through all alarms and awake with a sore leg but feeling refreshed a good 12 hours later. I take it every 10 days and still feel a little dip on day 9 so may be taking it even more often once reviewed… but this does make sense… My immune system, the thing attacking my tummy, is a very strong one. Before being ill with Crohn’s I was actually very well *all* the time. Days off work were only ever toothache related before all this. The everyday tiredness is one of a few side-effects of the Humira in that since September I have felt a level of fatigue that is double what I was experiencing before taking it. Joint pain and back pain fluctuate so that some days I need to take Tramadol and others I don’t, but fatigue is the last symptom in the chain of Crohn’s… and it is a real shame that the drug I take has this effect as well, doubling up the fatigue level. I could be taking this for a very long time… and so as of right now, I really do not know when I will start to feel an improvement in my fatigue levels. Some good news, is that I’ve been found to be low in Vitamin D and Folic Acid… (my tummy just doesn’t pull the stuff from food like yours does) and thanks to our wonderful GP service I am not able to get these extra supplements until April 7th, which is a big deal, as a lack of these things has a direct result of “Knackereditis” as well. I’m hoping with these supplements that I should start to feel a new level of energy… and it is at that point when I will know I have a better chance to start thinking about making a living again. As things stand though the best description currently is this. I feel like a car battery. I plan to do a thing, wind myself up to start the engine, get there, do what I need to, but my battery runs out after the first few turns of the key. My engine slowly dies, exactly like a car engine that starts fine, and then tails off into an unhealthy cough before an almighty silence… Then I have to recharge my battery with carbs and sleep for a day or two, sometimes more before I can dream of turning the key again. That’s me in a nutshell at the moment.

The good news is I am in the half of the Venn Diagram that allows my stomach to function a little more normally, even though some things still cross over from time to time. It is the better of two evils… to have a slightly better tummy but to be more tired all of the time. Even better news though, is at least I am back in the game, and that is what it’s all about after all, regardless of which symptom is holding me back today.

The amount of opportunities that have arisen since my Facebook plea a while ago have truly been overwhelming now that some time has passed and more people are aware that I’m trying to get back out there. Even though most things are on a voluntary level, the reason I am taking them on if I can is to maintain this momentum of having things to work towards, look forward to, and to have gigging as a form of stamina building and musical therapy for me. You have to understand, that we’re not just talking about gigging here either. I’m talking about even getting out of my house to get to the shops. I have to use a trolley to lean on just to do my big shop and a guy of my build should be throwing trolleys around the aisles not resting on them.

Energy should never be taken for granted… I can tell you!

My yardstick is the walk into town from my house. On a better day I can do the walk slowly and get there without stopping, but I need to rest when I get there before doing what was planned. On bad days I get to around Westgate bridge and simply have to stop as my tummy feels like someone is stabbing me and my bum is so sore that I have to call a taxi to take me home rather than do what was planned. This changes by the day.

Despite all that I’m gigging again and loving every minute of it, because every gig is like soul food for my batteries! It’s hard, granted, but I honestly believe I will never complain about hard work ever again, thanks to being forced to have so much time off, and so to be able to sit here and write a blog about how amazing it is to be gigging again really is a huge deal to me.

The excitement of waking up and not knowing what emails are sat awaiting you is extraordinary. What opportunities sit in the inbox today I now wonder daily… Is it a gig? Is it a mentor meeting with a brew with an ace hard-working musician? Is it an offer of radio play from the album? Do I have a Paypal notification that means I have to set an alarm tomorrow to go and post out my spanking new album to someone lovely?

It’s utterly uplifting and is getting me through this limbo period more than I could have ever dreamed.

And so to the next announcement, which is a happy accident relating to all things networking and volunteering, that has really inspired me, thanks to that simple old tactic… of saying yes to everything. I am delighted to announce that I am now the new official CD Editor at Leeds Music! :D

Many who know me have recently seen a journey of sorts into the land of writing in one form or another, whether it is as a blog, a diary, a CD review or another long-winded soppy Facebook message that thanks a million people again for the third time. My fingers seem to be happy at a keyboard, and my mind adores running away with internal monologue, and so for me I think this is a perfect fit. In terms of my health it is actually a great distraction from the symptoms to be able to focus on writing for a while even though I feel uncomfortable. I am incredibly delighted to have such an opportunity, within a group of lovely and hard-working volunteers which means that I will have the chance to hear SO much local new music, and have the chance to objectify what I hear in such a way as to give the review reader an accurate feel for what to expect from a record. Putting it simply… This is bloody exciting!! It’s something I can take at my own pace with no finances or pressures to worry about, and is also something I try to do really well… Helping people, free of charge. :D

I guess the important thing is that at least now I am able to say yes to things, and even though I cannot hope to do everything I am saying yes to, at least I am getting out and about and creating a little momentum, which in turn is keeping my health in check to a fashion. It’s a case of hoping people understand that even though I’m attempting to get out more and do more things, that it doesn’t automatically mean I’m well as such… it just means I’m refusing to let this beat me, and attempting things anyway. It does get a bit weird when people ask me how I am, that I simply can’t say yes I’m OK… But I am now able to say… I’m getting there. For someone who has been struggling for over 2 years now with this stuff… That is a ginormous leap forward, and is liable to make me write blogs like this, that highlight my gratitude for the good things in my life.

I hope I am going on about it less and less, and also hope that people don’t get too sick and tired of hearing about stuff when I do feel the need to be honest… It’s quite tricky when half “How are you doing?” questions are intended to be short questions and you know it’s not going to be a short answer… So I am also grateful for people’s patience. It is very easy to forget that not everyone lives on my wall, and not everyone sees how I struggle when I do get home and my body shuts down… leaving a scenario that feels like I’m not sure how much of yesterday’s episode of neighbours I’m in need of re-running before today’s episode. Silly… but that about nails it.

So thank you. Thank you for being understanding, and for wanting me to take part in everything and for offering again and again knowing I likely have to say no… I’m saying yes more often now… so your patience has been worth it. Please do keep asking! ;)

It seems that my patience has been rewarded too. My second announcement is an absolute belter. I have been asked to support the wonderful Antonio Lulic and the fabulous Nizlopi at Unity Works in Wakefield on May 7th, voting day. You likely know who Nizlopi are… if you don’t they are a wonderful duo who have some serious kudos and an amazing underground following after they released a highly successful song into the charts a few years ago called The JCB song.

Most will be aware that I am very good friends with Antonio as it is and so having us three particular acts on the same bill really is a dream come true for me. I feel giddy beyond belief in all honesty, not only because I’m a little star-struck… which of course goes without saying… but I am just so overwhelmed that such a lovely set of guys have given me an opportunity like this. I feel completely humbled and am looking forward to putting on a professional show and getting my harmonica out to play alongside Antonio just like the old days. Gigging with friends is one of the most amazing feelings ever. I can’t wait! *If* you don’t know who Antonio Lulic is… then feel free to watch one of my finest chums being amazing on this handy video which was on the telly!

And there we have it. A little update with some positives to look forward to, and a big dollop of thank you very much. :D

Happy Easter folks! xx

Ryan Mitchell-Smith


Heaven’s Below

Ah crap. I went and got thoughtful again after a Facebook post earlier and someone went and mentioned writing and now this has happened.

To put it another way… I was feeling thoughtful and the result of one of my responding Facebook posts made me want to delve into things a little deeper.

Today I realised that I believe in Death. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a Heaven; however I do hope I’m very wrong about that. I do believe though, in Death, and that to me is a very different thing altogether. Death is defined by all who contemplate it in our own minds in such a way as to assist us in dealing with what for many scientists is simply, D’ end.

Zip. Dead. Nowt left. No consciousness, just a heap of dead matter taking up space transferring its eternal energy into its surroundings.

Sadly this is what I *think* happens.

But wait… there is a great deal more to it than that.

Death to me is something that I am not scared of. I am terrified of my life ending, don’t get me wrong… But I am not scared of Death, because Death to me is a state of existence where to be unconscious does not necessarily mean to be without feeling. Crumbs. I’d better explain.

When I was 19 years old I was happily going about my life when this big nasty disease called Cancer came along and struck my father down for a second time in five years. When I was 14 he had managed to get through the last major operation and despite losing 3 and a half pints of blood on the operating table, he survived and got a little bit more out of his life for a small time. He managed to gig again, to live again, and to take control of his uncontrollable circumstances. As a non-religious family growing up I watched my dad do this… not with the aid of faith… but with the aid of his family and himself.

To his and my Mum’s credit he decided with her at a very early stage not to have my sister and I baptised so that we could decide when we were old enough to choose our own path and faith system in life. He encouraged debates and the bringing forward of our own opinions right up to the day he passed away. In the same night we might see Songs of Praise and then a Bill Hicks video later on… It really was a liberal and open-minded upbringing.

Even so, I couldn’t bring myself to discount anyone else’s theory or opinions on the matter and that is something about me that has never changed… it’s a no brainer for a start. People who believe in something tend to be happy people.

But when 19 arrived and things were put to the test I was resolute in my feelings… My father passed away earlier than was foreseen due to major surgery fuck-ups which didn’t give him a chance in hell of recovering the second time round. I witnessed my father struggle in excruciating pain for months whilst he dwindled to 4 stones in weight and didn’t have the strength to feed himself. He was dignified to the last but his circumstances unravelled in most part due to the mistakes that were made and the series of tragedies that he endured.

I could never have witnessed all that pain and ended up believing in a God of any kind… because it was too cruel. I learned so much because I had to from my dad passing away, but I even remember distinctly at the time, that I had an anger towards faith and religion that took years to digest and become at peace with. After some time off I returned to work at Tesco and someone asked me if I’d thought about God maybe 2 weeks after he’d passed. I could have ripped their head off. I smiled and walked away calmly.

After that I wrote diaries to myself and filled books with writing trying to comprehend why I had to learn such a painful lesson at the cost of my Father’s prolonged pain and could never see the final lesson. I could have learned every single thing I did learn from his death without the tragedy and amount of pain that he went through. I know this because I have done now… many times over. You don’t miss someone any less because they died quickly and without pain.

And so the huge questioning began. It took years and years and only in my mid-twenties did I start to see the point that it didn’t matter anymore and that being patient with myself meant I would come up with my own interpretation of things over time.

To that end I now have a very open-minded belief system which is contradictory, self-protecting, and allows the concurrent existence of everyone else’s beliefs.

The post that started all this was a video I shared of Stephen Fry and his response to being asked “If you theoretically did meet God… what would you ask Him or Her?” I felt much the same as Stephen did only he put it so wonderfully well. The general theme being that he would question God and ask why He gives children bone cancer? Why be so cruel? This in turn resonated with me and my old feelings of 17 years ago.

One response to my post made me continue into what I believe about spirituality. This is the post as-is:

“I believe I’m on a similar page regarding the spiritual side… it’s what refrains me from believing that there is no chance that a God exists… so I say it very carefully to myself… I don’t *think* there is a God… but I don’t *know* that there isn’t one, and as such I shall respect all who choose to believe that there is. All I do *know* is that when I play my harmonica, I feel as though my dad is stood next to me… i can smell him, and feel his spirit next to me. I don’t *think* there’s a Heaven… but this feeling of his being with me still has never gone away and so I stopped asking the question because it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I feel him with me, and that is enough for me. I feel lucky that I have those feelings, and for once in my life… don’t have the need to forensically question them. Over time my image in my mind’s eye is of a musical chord which is always being played. Whilst I’m alive, I hear all the notes of everyone I love and share my life with… my dad’s note was a dominant one… and the chord changed character when he left… when I pass away… I feel like his note will join my chord again… and that in death we find a resolution of some kind of that nature… a harmony that once heard… lasts forever… whether it is being sung or not… In death i *hope* we hear the full piece of music and feel that connection of not having any holes anymore… and feeling at home. Safe… with the ones we cherish. Xx”

I have deliberately left it as I typed it because I felt it captured what I think really well and shows what I mean when I refer to “Death”. So yes… Today I realised that I believe in Death, and that I *hope* death is a form of existence where we resonate as spirits floating around the eternal cosmos as harmonics of our former selves, drawn to the notes of the people we loved when we were alive, but unaware of anything, except a sense of completion and of being at home in the arms of your protecting mother and father and all those you love, only as a piece of music that never ends.

I went on to say in the following posts that I *hoped* that if indeed I am wrong, that if I do make it to the Pearly Gates that maybe He or She might allow me to spend some time on some kind of naughty step before letting me get in. Whatever happens from here-on in.. I *want* there to be a naughty step in Heaven, if there is one. :)

So that is why I am not scared of Death. If what I *think* happens is true, and we know nothing about it, then so be it… but I now have my image to hold onto, as all humans do, that allows me to cope with that potential emptiness, by filling it with music and hope while I am alive.

On the other hand… I am utterly scared of HOW I might die. It just takes one chicken nugget going down the wrong way after all. How fragile a thing we are… but how amazingly strong and resilient we are also.

Human beings are amazing.

Controlling religions and not thinking about it for yourself are not so good.

One thing I really clicked with in that Stephen Fry video extract was the remarks about believing in a God who orders His or Her subjects to worship them. I’ve never sat well with that side of religion and even now at Carol concerts I cringe to see the money involved with Churches and Chapels being so royally endowed with Gold whilst people struggle in third world countries with famine.

The thing is *all* religions have their ugly sides and sadly the ability to control the many by the few has been extorted for many centuries to the point where we now have a percentage of people in this day and age who do not think as such, but act purely on others commands under the disguise of faith. In turn, the many seem to label and misrepresent the few to add to the chaos and not understanding therefore diminishes World tolerance. What is also worrying is that our media then add fuel to the fire and make uninformed people angry and ergo dangerous. It’s not the most ideal scenario to have throughout the World to be honest.

One thing we can do to counter-act this I suppose is to ensure that we continue to think for ourselves and to share good practise by always asking questions and always exercising tolerance and patience towards others. You don’t need a belief system to make that work… it’s called Human Nature.

Regardless of media, we all need to remember that no-one knows everything, not even the immense Mr Stephen Fry, and that as long as we go about our business being good to one another, not because your God says you should, but because YOU say you should… then one day all this shit will be over, and at least no one can pin anything on you.

Heaven’s above? Nah. I reckon it’s below us right now. I know more people who are alive than who have sadly passed from us and that right now there are more people on this Earth that I love than there ever could be in a Heaven of any description. Last Sunday night, at my album launch with all my friends and family in the same place… THAT was heaven… Even my dad made it along.


Ryan Mitchell-Smith




Rustle Stamp

I thought it would be silly to put one of Russell Brands videos through a thesaurus to see if it made any more sense than usual… here are the results…
Original transcript: 5th Jan 2015

Without self-change

Without an essential spiritual change

We can’t alter

Systems because

Because the manifest World

The material world

Is a reflection of a

More sublime

Less palpable realm

(like) we have manifested this reality

The bloke there before

Said it didn’t he?

Old Russy fart face guy

We are manifesting this reality

And it comes from thought

And from inner frequencies

Without altering this self-centred frequency that Krishnan Mur’hu refers to

We can’t have real change


That’s where I think spirituality is important

Now religion became institutionalised

Which is another way of saying


It’s rituals became about the maintenance of the apparatus of religion

As opposed to

It’s function

It’s function to enhance the connection between man and God

And man and one another

We need to return to systems that create stronger bonds between us.


And here are the same words again, only put through a thesaurus:

Devoid of identity-adjustment

Minus a critical angelic conversion

We can’t modify

Organizations for the reason that

For the evident Planet

The pertinent ecosphere

Is a replication of a

Further exalted

A reduced amount of profound space

(similar) we retain expressed this representativeness

The chap at hand previously

Stated it acted not he?

Ancient Russy Guff phizog fella

We are revealing this certainty

And it derives from notion

And from inward incidences

Lacking varying this identity-adjusted incidence that Krishnan Mur’hu denotes to

We can’t devour tangible alteration


That’s someplace Myself mull over unworldliness is imperative

Straightaway faith converted long-standing

Which is an additional approach of declaring


It’s ceremonies converted approaching the preservation of the tackle of conviction

As divergent to

It’s role

It’s job to augment the construction concerning fellow and Deity

And male and solitary extra

We must to benefit to structures that produce tougher promises concerning us


A silly experiment I know… I was a little bored but I found it interesting that the second version didn’t sound that ridiculously different to the original… Maybe Russell should consider simplifying things a little? Just a thought.

Ryan Mitchell-Smith

Right Turn, Clyde.

So it’s come to it at last. I can’t hide from the inevitable any more than you can stop yourself from using your shampoo before your conditioner. It’s taken some digesting I can tell you… but it is time to announce that due to my health, I have had no choice but to leave my wonderful job.

It is no-one’s fault… I’ve just been seriously unlucky, but this is a game changer. I didn’t plan on being poorly for any length of time, however I cannot avoid the fact that I have Crohn’s disease and that it has not gone into remission for 2 years. The medication means I now inject myself with a strong immunosuppressant which totally neutralizes my immune system, meaning I am going to be poorly more often and the side-effects alone have slowed me to a crawl. Having a boss as such has simply become unworkable, and having me as an employee is equally as unworkable.

“Ryan can you just?”

“No.. loo.. sorry.”


“Ryan have you got a minute to just?”

“I can’t I’m afraid I don’t have the energy today.”

I had over 14 months off work in the end, and that is not fair to them. My employers were and will remain utterly outstanding. They supported me through thick and thin and exercised an amazing amount of patience in a situation which was quite simply impossible to manage. They did everything they could for me, and I will appreciate that forever. In my case though, something was always going to give as long as this flare was active. Although hard to accept, this direction is a blessing in disguise, as it is clear that I need the means to work under my own steam when I am well enough to. I will clearly need some support for when I cannot work (like now)… If only this bloody disease would go into remission, I might actually have a chance of surviving as a self-employed Swiss army-knife musician. What is even harder to accept is whilst currently being ill I now have absolutely no security whatsoever, and I have had to come up with and initiate a plan to try and ensure that I succeed in this rather forced-upon venture of going self-employed due to my bad health. I don’t have any choice. It’s this way or no way.

I’ll be applying for whatever benefits I can to help support me when I can’t work. Right now is the single most important time in my life when I am going to need this Government of ours to finally chip in and do something for me for a change. I’m dubious how this support journey will pan out, if I’m honest.

As I walk gingerly into my place of work for the last time to hand in my badge and keys I realise what a journey the last 7 years have been. I walked in as a bouncy ex-teacher ready for a new challenge. I leave, with a small piece of my heart being left behind. I’ve tried, in my fashion, the hardest I possibly could to succeed at every request, whether it was a huge concert or putting up a poster… I did everything with the same level of attention to detail, and I met some of the best professionals I’ve ever had the pleasure to work alongside. It was my dream job… a unique way to teach from the back-seat, and face a brand new challenge every single day. Before that job, I’d never made a music video, or played drums in an orchestra, or met One Direction, or put my hand in Ed Balls pocket, or donned a Trilby to sing Jamie Cullum.

I’ll take all my amazing memories with me… but what I can’t take is the students.

As the Music Technician I “served” the students at the school in a unique way to say the least. I shall miss all their personalities and shall miss their graduating and will miss seeing them meet their full potential in front of my very eyes. I shall miss them terribly, and dearly hope our paths will cross again one day so I can see how right I was about how ace they are and are going to be.

The people in my department though are friends. I shall miss working alongside them on a level that is hard to put into words. When you’ve mutually fought together for a common aim for so long, and witnessed the talent and skill involved in how they teach and carry themselves… It’s easy to see why they influenced me as peers as much as they have done. They are quite simply, the best people I know at what they do… In fact, I think they’re the best in the business.

A Reverend who whispers when all other teachers shout? A jazz specialist who jokingly tells his students to leave his class if they don’t know who Jimi Hendrix is? A workaholic cellist who inspires more students than soft mick with his comedy? It’s a team to die for… and I probably would’ve, to be honest.

I was really sad for a long while when the realisation had set in that my illness has changed my life. I promise everyone though, not least myself, that I will make the best go of it that I possibly can. I have to think that eventually I’ll be much better off health-wise, especially once I’ve organised a working scenario that I can manage. I am terrified of what awaits around the next corner but, health permitting, hopefully I’ll be able to pay my rent once my projects start taking off. It’s going to be hard work. Well I laugh in the face of hard work. So bring it on.

The first and most obvious thing I can do at least is to hope that the album I’ve spent 2 years painstakingly making, might now come to my rescue and help me bridge the gap to the life of a gigging musician. When I started it I had no idea that one day I might need to rely upon it to pay my rent. I hope when it is released that lovely folks might help me out and share it around and talk about it a bit to get a bit of a buzz going. Hopefully the album will deserve the support I hope it will get… I’ve certainly put the effort in, and recorded it during the positive moments when I’ve felt up to playing guitar for half an hour here or there, but it’s no accident that it’s taken 2 years either. Apart from being slowed down by my health it simply has to be done right. I want to earn my money, and so I’ve tried to make the album as good, polished and catchy as possible to help it sell itself. So far I think it is going really well, and it is sounding exactly as I wanted it to. I just hope people enjoy it more than anything, whether they share it or not, my priority with all my songs will always be to hope people hum them and tap their feet a bit.

What’s the plan, Stan?

Time to get positive.

So I’m starting a small company, which is designed to catch music projects and hopefully provide me with a plethora of different jobs and opportunities to network and even throw jobs out to other people too. I’ve called it Resolution Music Services, and the focus is to provide services to schools and individuals such as workshops, peripatetic teaching, Cubase workshops, and also other project work like remixing, writing for publications, rescuing recording sessions, mobile recording, session work and transcription amongst a few other project ideas. When the site is ready I’ll promote it and get leaflets chucked around and ask then for people to keep ears open for any opportunities going about and to share my company details around a bit to drum up some business, if people are willing to help me out that is ;)

This will support the main job which will be as a gigging musician, and that means getting back out there and building up my stamina again. I have spent a year and a half indoors playing my guitar when I can, and so have developed my intended set and cannot wait to get this new angle aired to be honest. I just need my energy levels to get anything like normal again and I’ll get going. At the moment the side effects are making walking around hard through joint pain and fatigue but thankfully I see the specialist again soon. Right now I can’t play a whole song without putting the guitar down halfway through as it’s too tiring. To get gigging again regularly is the dream. I just hope my luck starts to hold out for a bit so I can make a go of this, but you make your own luck so I’m determined that nothing will stop me.

I also need to plan an album launch, but I’m terrified I’ve been out of the scene for that long that not many people would come along. I need to ignore that and have some faith, but it’s going to be hard. I may need some help if I decide that I need a few musicians to rehearse up a few songs with me. It depends on my health again, but would anybody be up for a gig with me playing my songs I wonder?? Get in touch if you fancy it!

I’d need some pretty big favours too to get help enough to organize it. I’d need a PA, lighting, videoing, recording, a project manager, support act/s, a promotions team, oh and a venue!

Right now it seems WAY too big to achieve such a big launch. I do have an alternative route… I could simply do a solo gig, maybe with the odd guest getting up with me, and focus on the right venue but do a lower key event without all the baubles.

What I need to do either way is try to get some promotion going on the radio and suchlike, and organise some interviews to start letting people know about it.

It is maybe a month off being finished completely, possibly less as only one song is left to record and two others just need the vocals doing… I can almost see the finish line, but I’m not rushing this. Like I said… It has to be *just* right.

So I guess I’m destined for a different journey. I did not see this one coming, but it’s one of those accept and move forward things that I *hope* will eventually benefit my health. It’s time to improvise, but that’s what I do.

Right turn, Clyde.

My first priority, and I do know this, is to get better. I need some time to get back to something like my former health and right now it’s just not there. I do hope I get better sooner than later. I’m going to battle on recording if and when I can, and finish off this album at my own pace, and hope beyond all hope that when I release it at long last, that it gets well received, supported and shared around a bit.

Fingers crossed.

Here’s to a fresh start.

Here’s to making it work.

Onwards and upwards!


Ryan Mitchell-Smith


Taken from my Live Journal: New Years Eve 2005-2006

What a night. Apart from the obvious drawback of not having Alice there to join in the fun and games, this New Years Eve was amazing. This Christmas generally has been stunning. Christmas Eve gigging with Dr Blue was fantastic. Boxing night gigging with Antonio was just brilliant, but New Years Eve. It was all about New Years Eve. Antonio had gone up north and had claimed to be spending New Years Eve on his own at his home in London. I thought it a little weird and wanted nothing more than Antonio to be here with us as the clock struck midnight. As it turned out, at about 6 ok on New Years Eve, I’m on the phone to Alice in Ireland, and there’s a knock on my door. Antonio is the surprising figure on the other side, and my heart jumps into my mouth as I jump up and down still holding the phone. He arrived in good time and arranged secretly going to a meal that Elly and Jharda and Woo-Ha were organizing. All very hush hush. I continued to try and get everyone in the same place at midnight, which was O’Donoghues at midnight. We managed it. Me, Ant, Matt, Jharda, Rik, Fee, Jim, Lloyd, Meg, and Rosie all jumped up and down and gave big hugs at midnight in the back room of O’D’s, which was totally our room. We then started to get silly. I started necking vodka red bulls, and I rang Alice, at 12:01, and got through first time! Better than last year!! I got very very very very very very very very very very very pissed. We stayed at O’D’s till about half 1-2ish, but by then we were joined by Elly, Woo-Ha, Andy, Gnome, Rik, Laura, and possibly other people who I don’t know. So 16 people trekked back to my house, where earlier I’d cleaned and prepared glasses and drinks and set up my vodka and red-bulls. I smoked a bit and at approximately half past 2 I lost recollection of all memory.

I do however have an account of what transpired:

  1. We all started playing guitar. Antonio did a version of Hallelujah which I shouted over and totally ruined.
  2. Antonio then played some blues, and in my pissed state, I managed to do a solo over it, in the right key with a few fluffed notes, but then at the end, I played 2 notes next to each other gradually slowing down, until I finished on the right one, and then in a timely fashion, I fell off my chair.
  3. Jharda then took a video on her phone of me rolling my arms around shouting the words “Rock ‘n’ Roll”, it then panned to Lloyd, who was looking at me, thinking how much I reminded him of his friend Mark. It then panned back to me as I screamed “Shamone Mutha” then the video ends. Oh Dear.
  4. Then Jim went to the door with Lloyd for some fresh air. I discovered that the door had been opened and I proceeded to run out into the street, stop in the middle of the road, turn left, run full tilt up the street, I then ran into someone’s garden and tried taking a piss on their front door. Jim tried to stop me, but I got free and ran to someone else’s door and pissed on theirs instead.
  5. I lost my brand new 256MB USB flash drive.
  6. I smoked more.
  7. I went to the bathroom and opened the window at speed.
  8. I tried closing my window incorrectly and broke it leaving a wide 30cm opening at the bottom as it stuck.
  9. I wrote the words “MUTHA FUCKA” on my bathroom mirror using Vaseline.
  10. Rik (fawn) went around my house writing the word CUNT on my walls in navy blue insulating tape. I found 4 instances the next day.
  11. Antonio went around after Rik and removed the top bar from the C of CUNT so now everywhere said the marvelous and now much treasured word “LUNT”.
  12. I hid in the scullery.
  13. I fell into the scullery.
  14. I fell over and kicked Gnome in the face.
  15. I ate something red.
  16. I fell into the scullery.
  17. Matt threw his mobile phone at me and it hit me in the chest, winding me a little, at which I disagreed with him that it was a good idea and we had some sarcastic cross words.
  18. I fell over, and landed miraculously in the scullery.
  19. I shouted things.
  20. I regained some consciousness and remember telling people at half past 6 that I was going to bed.
  21. I shouted for Lloyd after realizing 2 things. 1. I was upside down. And 2. I couldn’t untie my shoes.
  22. Lloyd rescued me by untying my shoes.
  23. I discovered to my dismay that some fiendish acquaintance of mine had written the word CUNT on my bed. The full length across, in huge letters, in navy blue insulating tape.
  24. I fell asleep.
  25. I woke up.
  26. Matt made me a coffee and threatened to open my curtains.
  27. I told matt to fuck off.
  28. I looked at the clock. 2pm.
  29. I got out of bed and found the word “LUNT” all over my walls.
  30. I found a tissue version of the word “LUNT” on my video shelf carefully torn.
  31. I went downstairs and found my kitchen cupboard handle broken.
  32. I discovered my new hat was missing.
  33. I discovered my USB flash drive was missing.
  34. I discovered my house was VERY messy.
  35. I spoke to Matt on msn and apologized for being a big grumpy head and for telling him to fuck off.
  36. I apologized to Ant for being a grumpy head too.

We are talking folks about a mammoth victory of a new years eve. I would not change any one thing of what happened, other than Alice being there of course. It was godlike in proportions and hilarious! Although I lost about 4 hours, and a full roll of navy blue insulating tape, it was simply the best New Years Eve I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a few corkers.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ry xx