Wednesday, 16 December 2009

An Artificial Light Polaroids

Throughout the shooting of my new film "An Artificial Light", which still hasn't wrapped, I've been taking Polaroids when I can for my exhibit in Ki:lau. Here are a select few as a sneak preview.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Auld Lang Syne

I've recorded a version of the traditional scottish ballad/poem "Auld Lang Syne". It was recorded for the next annual Ki:lau christmas charity CD available from the Coffeeshop at somepoint in the next two weeks. If you can't wait I've got a link that only lasts a week and you can download it along with the Katerwaul entry "December Doesn't Hurt". (Can you see what we did there? Cheeky fuckers that we are). Any way get it from here CLICK ME ASSHOLES!


Saturday, 28 November 2009

Maybe Next Time Things Will be Different

31st January 2010, the day after my birthday, will see the opening of my first solo exhibition since my Masters show in 2005. The as yet untitled show will be based around my recent Katerwaul artwork and photography. My new film "An Artificial Light" will also steak a lot of interest on the walls of Aberdeen's leading Coffeeshop & Art Gellery; Ki:lau.
Editing on my current project is going well but I've still to shoot a couple of more scenes. Instead of sitting on my hands I've started i
nstead to edit what I do have and its looking great. I thought I'd post up some of my recent poster work for both "An Artificial Light" and my soon to be released collaboration with Shaun; "emily". As usual feedback is more than welcome.

No doubt I'll fill you in with more details on my show as they make themselves known.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009


This is the new film by Writer Director Shaun Hughes released under our film collective; FACTOTUM FILMS. I don't want to spoil it but I think its brilliant. The film features a brand new score by me. I played all the instruments that include; Guitar, Bass, Drums, Music Box as well as vocals (although they don't feature in the film). The one instrument I didn't play was the violin; that was supplied by the chirpy Louise Mackie. I got her in one day to just play single notes and heaps of horrible noises. It was a homage to the Joker's theme in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" and the end scene in Scorssese's "Taxi Driver", an almost atonal pedal note that delves into chaos. I love writing film scores for Shaun!

Shaun asked me, as well as writing the score, to come up with a 70's style jazz song for a dance sequence. So I wrote a piece inspired by some Nina Simone, Nick Cave and Vincent Gallo. Its called "Unrequited". I wanted to write lyrics that tied in with the film but came from the two female character's point of view at the same time coming across as a generic 70s love song. Shaun decided to cut the vocals as the lyrics were deemed distracting and almost too literal, a view in which I agreed entirely when seeing it in context. But here are the lyrics for those that are curious and give a shit.

"Rest with me
I'd rather be here
In the breath of morning light
Than part form your side.

Suckle me
And tend to all my fears
Reality wont fade my dear

Cradle me
Cradle me
Cradle me
Cradle me in your arms"

I plan on fleshing out this 2 min song into something for my solo album which hopefully will be underway by the new year.

Back In Action & Ready For Danger

Hey its been a while. We must catch up. So here's the run down of the past five (fucking, shitting hell has it been that long??) months.

Katerwaul: It was a pretty busy Summer. The album; "Here There Is No Why" was released on 22nd June. Our launch night was a huge success. It was held in the quaint little coffee house "Kilau" on little belmont street in aberdeen. Ashley Park and memebers of Y Change Costume treated us to a Musical Banquet. We then went on to promote "Codes In The Clouds", a Kent quintet on the amazing "Erased Tapes" label. They were touring to promote their album "Paper Canyon" which is out now and is fucking stonking. We played with them at the Tunnels in Aberdeen on the 22nd June and then in Glasgow's 13th Note on the 23rd. They were top notch guys who were a lot of fun to play with and we had some great banter. I talked to Stephen about possibly doing a wee video project for them and discussed with Ciaran about singing on a remix album for them. Its all speculation at the moment but who knows what the future holds??

After that we managed to kick back and have a well deserved break. We've played a couple of gigs since but with our schedules in life being so erratic at the moment we're just going to see how things go before getting back to things full time.

In the Mean time you can grab the deluxe edition of art work from Blurb here

Tim Courtney (Musician): For one night and one night only I came out of singer/songwriter retirement to play close friend Mark McCabe's leaving gig in Art Gallery, Project Slogan. This was a great fun evening and I even aired a couple of new songs. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet but I've decided once I have some time I'm going to start recording a solo Album. Yes that's right I'm very egotistical like that.

Tim Courtney (Filmmaker): "An Artificial Light" is well and truly under way. My laptop died a horrible death upon the first day of shooting so excuse the lack of hurrah when principal photography started. While my laptop was off line I decided to start a production diary so I'll see if I can get some pages scanned in if I get my geriatric scanner working with my shiny new debt laden Macbook Pro.

After going through casting hell I managed to start filming a month behind schedule and its safe to say this is the hardest production I've ever had to put on. With Pamela my leading lady moving away weeks after we beginning shooting we've had to really move things along very quickly. But now Pamela's parts are all in the bag and most of Davy's scenes also finished, all we need to do are some external shots with Davy and the opening scene with a little boy. One problem though, I'm still a little boy short to film this. More news on that to follow.

Tim Courtney (Human Being): On a personal note; myself, my girlfriend Rae and best buddy Topher went to the Philippines with my folks in Sept. Now normally the weather is great that time of year. But as everyone has been made aware, with all the GREEN campaigning and comparing of carbon footprints and hemp ASDA bag for lifes, global warming is starting to take its toll on the lesser countries that just don't really effect us so why should we care? type places. Well we were in one. Having dodged one Typhoon already we arrived in a wet and windy Manila. We spent most of our time wandering around shopping malls or walking through the hot rain. Rae and Topher took a while to adjust to the staring and general alien feeling of being and Ethnic Minority (now you know how I feel). Me and Topher got a few nice pics that I'l l have to get my lazy ass into gear and get them onto my new laptop and onto my blog. But no doubt you can see some on Topher's lovely flicr page here.

Rae spent a couple of days in hospital on a drip which was nice as I got away from my nagging Father and got to watch some cable TV away from the rain. Then another Typhoon hit just before it got really hot and sunny then wet again and then we left. Despite not sounding like it we actually had a great time and its always great to see my Family and be a part of an ethnic majority for a change.

A few days later after we were in the safety of our environmentally naive country a massive Typhoon hit destroying my Grandmother's home and killing many people. I shat my pants a little as my parents were still out there at the time but luckily non of my family were hurt.

So... there's been rock and roll star-esque touring, accoustic singing and song writing, typhoon dodging and filmmaking hell. All squeezed into five months. That aint too bad.

Tim Out!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Here There is No Why Special Edition

On the 22nd June Katerwaul will be releasing their/our first full length album entitled "Here There Is No Why". To mark the occasion we are having an album launch in Kilau Coffee Shop and Art Gallery on sat 20th June. Kilau have agreed to rent the space out to us to perform along side the amazing Debutant and the equally talented Kathryn Sawers. Get in touch via the Katerwaul myspace if you want tickets. There are only 60 so best be quick.

As per usual we are releasing a special limited edition version of this album. The images above are pages from the book. Also enclosed is a recording of a live stripped down set at Kilau. There will be a standard no thrills version for the people who just don't give a flying shit about visual art and just want to own the CD and hear the onslaught of David Milne's awesome production. For every one else there's Bit Torrent.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Remember Me As A Time Of Day

Remember Me As A Time Of Day from Tim Courtney on Vimeo.

A tragic accident links the lives of three people in a compelling narrative style. Will is dealing with the distance forced between himself and his children through a joint custody battle, while Ryan and Louise are in the early stages of a new relationship. All their lives are transformed and fragmented indefinitely.

This was finished at the end of 2006. A collaborative effort between me and Shaun. This enjoyed screenings at "Rushes Film Festival" and the "Peacock Visual Arts Film Showcase". I'm starting to archive older work now online but it takes really long to encode these videos.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Sound Of Burning Letters

The Sound Of Burning Letters from Tim Courtney on Vimeo.
Another Depth Of Field test video to feast your eyes apon. This time I've edited the footage to the piano track "The Sound Of Burning Letters". This does not have vocals recorded yet and is just an MP3 demo Dave sent me to test the backwards reverb sound I wanted for it. I'll go into greater detail about that some other time.

The purpose of this exercise was to get images as close as possible to looking like super8 or super 16mm footage. I want an almost in between look for "An Artificial Light". In this exercise I almost used the concept of light to tie in all the images. I may use some of these ideas in the film later on too.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Around four years ago Shaun & I challenged each other to write a script for one another that we would Direct as solo projects. I wrote a film called "Register", about a man coming to terms with his new life outside of prison after years behind bars, a film for Shaun to direct. In return he wrote "Emily", a story of a family torn apart by the abduction of protagonist couple; Robert & Alice's only daughter, Emily. "Register" proved too ambitious a film to make on our no string budget, and thats when we co-wrote "Remember Me As A Time Of Day". A film with the similar theme to "Emily" around the death of a child.

I am proud with what we achieved with "Remember Me", with the film being screened firstly at The Belmont Cinema as part of a Peacock Visual Arts film showcase of local talent. Shaun got to participate in a question and answer session on our methods of work. We then took it to the Rushes film festival soon after, where it was shown with other films around the globe. Shaun and I sat after the screening answering questions by the audience. Mostly on how we filmed what would be come an infamous sceen involving a child being ran over by a car. The key of course was never to show the impact and to let the mind fill in the grotesque balnks.

After almost a year in development Shaun and I decided to make "Emily" as a co-directed piece. We got Jack from Peacock in after an amazing screen test where he held a knife to my throat rather convincingly while Shaun was safe behing the camera. I got Kate in after impressing me with her underplayed performance in my stage adaptation of Woody Allen's "Melinda and Melinda". Adam, because I liked the look of him. Not that I'm homosexual but I think he is a very attractive man, and I liked the Idea of breaking something beautiful for this film. David Falconer came in as sound man and provided us with all the camera equipment and sound gear. His knowledge and bag of tricks became priceless and I think I'll never make a film without him. Richard who we worked with on "Rememeber Me" devoted hi lighting talent. After securing Sophies house for all locations the shoot went smoothly and without hitches. We started editing whithin days of wrapping up. Then our personal lives imploded.

It started with Shaun going through a messy break up. I won't go into details but it was enough for us to shelf the film for a long time. As soon as there seemed to be a light coming at the end a very long and dark tunnel Laura and I also broke up. A saga that saw me move out and sleep in a friends spare room for nine months. But now after returning to editing and getting all the sound in order here it is. My first true labour of love; "Emily"

There is no word as to any screenings. We've unfortunately missed a heap of this years deadlines. But enquieries have been made and hopefully you'll hear of them here.

I hope you enjoy the film and one day hope it was worth the work, wait and heart ache.

To every one who helped out; to Jack for his commitment, to Kate for her hard work and help with make up effects, to David for all his advice expertise and advice, to Richard for the lighting on minimal resources and heated film disscussions and ideas, to Sophie and her family for their hospitality, to Adam for getting bruised and cut and all the commitment that is key to this films every success. And I would personally like to thank Laura because even though things had not worked out as we had planned you were always there through every film I have made up until "Emily". To all of you, thank you.


Emily from Tim Courtney on Vimeo.

Dof Adapter

Dof Test Kilau from Tim Courtney on Vimeo.

This is some footage I shot just to try out my new DOF adapter for my new JVC GZ HD-7. For some reason FCP wouldn't let me output this in all its 16:9 glory. Instead its a squished 4:3 version. The magic bullit effects are a little heavy handed but it gives you an idea of the depth of field I can achieve with it.

Friday, 20 March 2009

An Artificial Light

It is a beautiful summers day. The sun has dried out the field discolouring the grass from moist green to a dry brown. There is a family picnicking in the middle of the field. Mum and Dad are enjoying a glass of wine while their son runs around playing with a model aeroplane in the field. There is a stoned wall that divides the field into sections and in one corner there is a huge tree. It is the main feature of the field and although it is the height of summer the tree has not yet sprouted new leaves. The boy runs along the wall making flying noises. He stops by the tree as a man with an old white gym bag approaches. He gazes at him with great curiosity. The man slows to a halt looking quizzically at the young boy. A wide-shot shows the two characters staring at each other for a few seconds.

The boy stands silent.

JONATHAN (cont.)
What’s your name?


Hi Benjamin, I’m Jonathan… That’s a nice plane.

I’m not supposed to speak to strangers

I realise that. I was always told the same when I was your age… Believe me in today’s society I’m just as scared of you as you are of me…

Benjamin continues to stare curiously at Jonathan. There is an uncomfortable silence between them. Neither seems to want to move away from the tree.

JONATHAN (cont.)
What kind of plane is that? It looks old.

It’s a spitfire. It’s from the second world war.

Its nice. You interested in the war?

A phone rings from inside Jonathan’s trouser pocket. He doesn’t answer it, he doesn’t even flinch as to not alarm the boy. It stops ringing.

What’s in the bag?

This bag?

He gestures to his Gym bag. Benjamin nods.

Nothing much. A table-cloth, a birthday card, some cinnamon, cutlery, a book and a t-shirt. Oh, and some toothpaste.


You wouldn’t understand

Benjamin’s parents can be heard calling for him in the distance. He runs off, without saying anything, not even acknowledging Jonathan, away to his Mother and Father.

Jonathan pulls out his phone and sits on the root of the tree. He holds the phone to his ear. A voice mail can be heard just enough to be audible.

Its me Isobel… I read your note… I’m really sorry… I know… there I am apologising again… I know how much it doesn’t help… but…

The voice gives off a huge sigh before eventually Jonathan clicks the phone off. He puts it back in his pocket and looks out into the distance. He takes a deep breath to stop his emotions getting the better of him. He sets the Gym bag out in front of him between his legs. He pulls back the zip and starts sifting through the contents, and true to his word he unearths all the items he spoke of to the boy.

This is the opening scene of a new film I have written. I've been busy doing location photography and sourcing actors. Which is hard. As the story unfolds we see through flashbacks what every item in the bag means to Jonathan and what impact it has on his relationship with Isobel.

This film is a relatioship study. Questioning fate and the notion of true love.

I got the Idea after discussing film projects with Shaun, moaning about my lack of original ideas, when Fionn Regan's song "Put A Penny In The Slot came on" the first verse inspired me to write this film.

"I apologise,
seem to have arrived,
On what items in my bag from your house.
There's cutlery,
a tablecloth, some Hennessy,
And a book on Presidents deceased.
I'll have them fed-exed to you,
It was a strange thing to do,
I hope we can still be friends.
Ah, it was not me,
but someone else, you see,
Twisting the steering reins.

Put a penny in the slot and make an
artificial light shine,
Leave go. Mark old and line."

Get in touch and I'll email the script to those interested.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Katerwaul's Glasgow adventure

As usual with going to glasgow, it rained. The whole car journey down it rained. I amused my self by watching the IT crowd on my ipod because the view from my window obscured by condensation and Nick and Sam had the likes of Deacon Blue blasting out of the speakers. I couldn't hear a word they said and I'm not sure they could hear me. But we got there safely. We puled up at the Belgrave Hotel on great western road about 3pm. Its a great place to stay. Me and Nick checked into our rooms and were pleasently surprised with the huge beds, flat screen TV, computer with internet and free wifi network and a Swedish sauna style ensuite. I waited for Rae to arrive and marvel at it beauty. She did so an hour later and Marvel she did.

At 7pm Rae and I met Daveheart and Graham for dinner in BLOC, our venue for the evening. We were told not to show up till 8pm because they served food till then. So we took advantage of their two pizzas for eight pound offer which was accompanied by the biggest side order of curly fries known to man or even God for that matter, seriously. While I'm on that topic why is it that curly fries taste so much better than normal fries or chips? Does everyone else agree? What is it in the curling process in the potato that brings out that crunch and flavour?

By 8:30 we were hauling our equipment into the bar and setting up. There is no stage in BLOC, just an area where they've cleared a table away by jamming into a window alcove. The first band kicked off at nine. "State Of Affairs" kicked off with what I can only describe as singable, lovable feel good rock. If Evan Dando sang for Foo Fighters and collaborated closely with Dave Grohl on songwriting duties. The crowd loved it. This made me and the others very nervous. Especially since the last out of town gig we did in Dundee didn't go down well and resulted in the only time so far we've been berated online. But when state of affairs came off it was time to sepperate the men from the boys.
Setting up seemed to have an air of history repeating itself. In Dundee I had a problem with the Amp I was borrowing in that the clean channel malfunctioned resulting in me doing the gig in nothing but distortion. Which fueled the fire for berating us on the local forums. I plugged my guitar in and what do you know... the all too familiar sound of warm dirty distortion laughing in my ear asking me "what you gonna do now?". Fortunately for me it got sorted out. And we played pretty well. The only real sketchy moment was when during the build up at the end of "December Doesn't Hurt" cramp hijacked Nick's arm a few bars early causing him to break into a random splurge of drum hits and symbol splashes in an obscure time signature. We went with it and played random notes resulting in what I like to call "free form jazz". And thats exactly what everyone else thought. Then we stopped for a bars rest before entering the heavy ending riff. I thought to myself "wow, maybe we should do that all the time." Nick, the perfectionist that he is, beat himself up most the night seeing it as a catastrophic error on his part. But to be honest if he didn't he wouldn't be the great drummer that he is. Constantly pushing for perfection not knowing just how great he actually is. I was proud of us that night and it was topped off by going home with only thirty copies of our CD out of eighty. It was great to see Adam Florence from :( an old school mate of Graham and Sam's. It was particularly nice to see Beth, Andy and Graham who had moved to Glasgow over two years ago. And for Kirsty, Graham's long serving girlfriend to finally have us play in her own back garden.

After a great gig with thanks to Sam and Jamie of 45 a-side records it was off to ABC for some dancing then some scoobie snax on the way home. So to end I want to inform you all on the scoobie snack. Its a Burger bun with a Burger, Lorne sausage, two potato scones and a fried egg wedged between it with some tomato ketchup as the moist maker. I didn't participate in this as I had already had some fish but Graham, Sam, Dave and Nick all had one. Every one finished theirs of but Sam who set his a-light and sacrificed it to the God of the Clyde.

Happy Birthday Nick & Tim

"In The Absence Of My Presence"

I understand its been a while since I last blogged, and I'm very sorry to all four of you who actually follow it. I've been very busy for the past three weeks. First of finishing "Catalyst Of Everything" wasn't as straight forward as I made out in my last post. Oh dear God no. For a start "The Sound Of Burning Letters" was dropped and replaced by "In The Absence Of My Presence", a full band re-working of the piano track of similar title on "Prologue".

Why the sudden change? Well I was pretty happy to go ahead with the original plan, that was until our producer Dave(heart or cool pants as Rae likes to call him) thought it a better suggestion to put a track that we actually played live on sampl
er CD. After the whole point in the sampler is to raise awareness of the band and what we do at shows. One thing we do not do is wheel an antique piano onto the stage for the sake of 5minutes. Albeit 5minutes of heart wrenching moaning while Graham, Sam and Nick get bored watching the audience in some sort of odd roll reversal.

Thats not to say that "In The Absence Of Prese
nce" is without its emotional content. Oh no. That would not be the Tim J Courtney way of lyric writing. In fact this song is probably the most personal of songs I have ever penned. Just over two years ago I found a lump on my left testicle. If the word testicle offends you I suggest you stop reading now. We've all made ball jokes, and yes balls are funny, dicks are funny but the prospect of loosing them is the scariest thing next to dying from cancer. And I had to experience the fear both of at the same time. One in three people in Britain will have a cancer scare of some sort and I well and truly got mine, its safe to say I shat my fucking pants.

I have never before been so scared in my entire life. The only people I told were Laura (my longterm partner) and Shaun (friend/film collaborator). I didn't want to tell my family because I didn't want them to worry them unnecessarily, even though the pessimist in me feared the worst. Phoning the doctor for an appointment was hard but actually speaking the words out loud to my doctor really hit home what I was going through. I got an embarrassing feel from my doctors cold hands and the nod she gave me made me want to cry. Suddenly I was a nine year old boy who'd banged his head and feared having to get stitches again, but the twenty something male in me held it together barely.

I was booked in for an ultrasound scan at the hospital a week later. The irony in that being that ultrasound scans are most commonly used for checking on new life not determining whether they may loose one. I arrived at the hospital with Laura and Shaun, a nurse told me to follow a blue line from the lobby all the way to a waiting room. When my name was called I followed another blue line to the Scanning room. I lay down on the table and I went through the most underwhelming experience of my short life. Not only was I scared I was going to die, but a man wiped the coldest blue gel on my stones and started scanning them with what looked like supermarket pricing gun. All the while being observed by medical student before she got a hands on tutorial of how to use the machine. I'm afraid ladies and gentlemen the coolest man in the hospital is NOT the ultra-sound guy. They nodded and shook their heads, pointed at the screen, ummmmm-ed and ahhhh-ed before eventually telling me that I had to wait a week for results while they were checked over by the doctor and my GP. Bastard.

A week went by pretty slowly. I remember being really down and one argument I had with Laura at home. We were both feeling the stress and can only apologise to her for that. Although we are separated now she was the one th
ing I would miss the most. The prospect of missing out on living my life with the person I loved dawned on me but who was I actually angry at? I remember going into work and locking myself in the toilet to cry. I didn't get a lot of alone time at Laura's house so the toilet was the only place I was ever granted the oppertunity to be a big girl. I remember the day I went to the doctor and got the results. Another doctor, another student observation session. I was given the all clear. Thank God for that.

Months went by and It wasn't until I was looking after Shaun's house I sat down at his piano, played and Am, an F then a G and wrote "In The Absence Of My Prsence", the letter I would have left for Laura had the news been different:

"I learned that today I could die.

I'll be the presence of absence in the absence of my presence.
Please kiss me before you lay me down by the river.
Follow me along the blue line for the answers.
Our memories are an old shoe-box of polaroids.
Please kiss me before you lay me down to rest in the ground by the river.
Poke me so I don't sleep.
Make the bed around me so I don't drown in these tears."

Me and Laura are still friends after a long and complicated break up. But my fondest memory of her was the nights she would come round to my flat and bug me. We'd stay up all night talking curled up on the living room sofa. We'd poke each other saying "poke poke" if the other would begin to fall asleep. There are other references in there that I think should always be kept private, other wise It won't be as personal to me.

In reading this I hope that "Catalyst Of Everything" succeeds in being an unlikely concept CD of love and tragedy.

Thank you for reading.

You can download "Catalyst Of Everything" or get it from 1-up in Aberdeen or avalanche records in Glasgow.
Download "The Beat That My Heart Skipped"
Download "In The Absence Of My Presence"

Friday, 9 January 2009

Catalyst Of Everything

With the date for the new album pushed back even further we 've decided to appease fans by releasing a taster, free sampler CD single entitled "Catalyst Of Everything". It will feature "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" and "The Sound Of Burning Letters", the new album's piano track. Anyway with new releases means new artwork oh yeah!

This is one of a series of illustrations I've been working on for the past few weeks. This will feature as the sampler's sleeve art. There are many pretentious ideas i could point out but for the sake of not boring you fuckers to death I won't unless you ask about it.

"The Beat That My Heart Skipped" was my last featured post so I don't need to go into great depth about that. But "The Sound Of Burning Letters" is a song not heard at any shows. This is a song I wrote on a cold evening in flat. My Roland electric piano really didn't do the tone of the song any justice so it was hard to really picture the full scope of the piece. It wasn't until I recorded the song with Dave out at his house in Inverurie. There he has an early 20th century antique of an upright piano. We set up mics all around the piano, inside left and right, at the pedals and a couple of mics to the left and right of the room. This gave us options to blend the close mic sound with the natural sound you get from miking a room. I gave Dave a few tracks to listen too as to my ideal piano sound and with a mix of revebs and EQs he's really hit the mark in my eyes.

Here are the Lyrics before the song has been committed to the album, enjoy.

"The Sound Of Burning Letters"

Every night I sleep to the sound of burning letters
The sign of the life I've lost
What can I take before things are getting better?
And how much of myself will it cost?

And now the curtains are falling
And the clouds are forming

Every morning I wake to the sound of dying retrospect
One more attempt at a fresh debut
Trying to keep whats left of my self respect
I don't need these pills like all the cowards do

And now the curtains are falling
And the clouds are forming