Tuesday 31 December 2013


Quote TS Eliot 
"Last year’s words belong to last year’s language,
And next year’s words await another voice."
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And to know the place for the first time." 

We play out our lives in real time, one day, one place, one heart, hoping to reach others.

Life is not linear
And Art is about mystery.  P. Keightley

Thomas Eliot (1888 – 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and "one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927.  He attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945).[2] He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.

Music photography 2013

Miles Kane
Music photography 2013 
I have had some fun gigs this year. Miles Kane had so much energy at the O2, Kris Drever and Eamon Coyle provided first rate folk tunes, Neil Young was memorable, Finlay MacDonald and Chris Stout played fine jigs and reels at Celtic Connections, LA female rock band Haim had strong vocal harmonies and great fun rock tunes at SW3, and best of all Peter Gabriel with his mesmerising voice and meaningful songs at the new Glasgow Hydro.

Django Django
Kris Drever and Eamon Coyle provided first rate folk tunes, 

Music Photography

Sometimes at gigs something magic happens…. the audience is really up for it, as are the musicians on the stage. It is as if it all comes together in that one time and place. And it is at these rare gigs that I am able to get a good position and shot unobtrusively for the entire gig – and I am not restricted to those ridiculous 3 songs grab (which I know matter for the bigger stages). The trouble with restrictions is it creates a ‘manic’ grab for photographers while it can be an adrenaline rush. It means all a photographer can capture is those head shots, perhaps more if they are lucky. .

 I am not sure it’s the best situation for portfolio images or a quality photoshoot. 


 I took some photos at a gig several years back and realised I had a talent for capturing the right moments and occasionally even an image with something a little bit magic. Music is my motivation - from Mozart to pop to folk and shades inbetween!  I grew playing Joni Mitchell and Bach.

In recent years I have attended some magic gigs and I have posted here about my top ever gigs.

Finlay MacDonald and Chris Stout played fine jigs and reels at Celtic Connections, 

Pauline Keightley Photography
Music and Portrait Photography
Emeli Sande, Celtic Connections, Edinburgh Festival,

Sunday 15 December 2013

X Factor UK 2013

It is hard to judge what impact the tv show X factor (and other reality shows) may have had on the music biz today. Some contestants have gone on to highly successful careers after the show – notably boy band One Direction, Olly Murs, Darius, Leona Lewis and from Britain’s Got Talent Susan Boyle.  Oddly most of the most successful graduates of reality tv shows were the runner ups. I am not sure what that tells us about the voting public or of the music biz??  

I notice this year that judge Louis Walsh has used words such as – hard working and musical about the contestants. I assume to give the impression this is not about a quick fix superstardom at all – but rather an opportunity for those who have already put in hard graft. After all I am certain The Spice Girls and Westlife were also put together bands only behind the scenes back then. 

There are few live music shows in tv and with so much recording going on and I am sure the live style of these shows is here to stay.  

Talent singing contests went on in ancient Greece, so I’d say the format is here to stay – while it does need to evolve and change, I like my books serious and my tv light and slightly trashy! Mind you I do enjoy those American Tv DVD drama series such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and more.   

The winner 2013 Sam Bailey has been given a support slot on Beyonce's tour. All about the live gigs these days. Nicholas MacDonald, only 17 and from Scotland, was the runner up. this year.

And PS - I enjoyed Elton John and Gary Barlow on their pianos as they sang a world exclusive song Face to Face ,... but what happened to Kate Perry's singing, it was totally off tune!

My Favourite Musicals

I went to see The Lion King musical  by Elton John & Tim Rice) recently, which was very good and great effects and all.  I was asked what my favourite ever musical is. I answered Westside Story (composed by Leonard Bernstein) which I do love for its energy and songs. But later I thought my top musical may be Cabaret (composed by John Kander)  I saw the film of the Cabaret musical in 1972.

I grew up playing musicals on piano – from The Mikado, South Pacific to the Sound of Music – which I loved to sing.  Most of these musicals were composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. 
Gilbert and Sullivan wrote some of the best musicals which were great fun to play and which I saw on stage several times. 
In more recent times the biggest stage musicals have been composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I saw The Phantom of the Opera in Edinburgh’s playhouse which was a top rate musical with wonderful songs.  

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. According to The New York Times, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."
Richard Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music down to the present day, and have an enduring broad appeal. Rodgers was the first person to win the top show business awards in television, recording, movies and Broadway—an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony – an EGOT.
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.  Gilbert, who wrote the words, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds for these operas where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion—fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, and pirates turn out to be noblemen who have gone wrong. Sullivan, six years Gilbert's junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humour and pathos. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber, is a British composer and impresario of musical theatre.  Several of his musicals have run for more than a decade both in the West End and on Broadway. He has composed 13 musicals and he has won 7 Tony Awards, 3 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, 14 Ivor Novello Awards, 7 Olivier Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. Several of his songs have been widely recorded and were hits outside of their parent musicals, notably "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" and "You Must Love Me" from Evita, "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and "Memory" from Cats