About Songs Heard on Fast Trains

Posted in SHOFT on Saturday 30th October 2010 at 12:00am

Songs Heard on Fast Trains grew from the occasional posts about music on my main website, Lost::MikeGTN. I'd wanted to be a bit stricter about contributing my thoughts and views on music, and a pretty fantastic year in 2010 where I regained my interest via some inspirational musicians, podcasts and individuals seemed the right time to do it. Consequently in mid-2012 when the site seemed to be giving people entirely the wrong impression and generating lots of tiresome background babble, I decided to stop. I'll probably do something else, somewhere, sometime... You shouldn't expect rational, balanced thought from these reviews which I'll keep around for historical interest - it was only ever going to about what I liked to hear and how I discovered it. I had a policy of not writing about things I didn't care about or which I disliked, because I just didn't have the energy or resources to do this alongside being enthusiastic about the good stuff! Even then, I was much too old to think of myself as some sort of would-be music journalist! Given that it's a collection of personal views it is also fairly inconsistent, repetitive and contradictory - but you'd expect that from a blog, surely? I listen to a tremendous amount of music while travelling around the country on trains - hence the name I chose for the blog, and the premise that many of the articles and reviews here were about music, travel and place - for me always a strong connection.

So who are you?

I'm Mike Newman, known all over the internet for some long-lost reason as 'MikeGTN'. I ran a cassette label called Traumatone way back in the early 1990s which established links with similar operations in the US, Canada, Europe and New Zealand long before the internet made it easy to do so.

But aren't there already enough Scottish music blogs?

It remains no secret that a lot of the music I listen to emanates from the vibrant and ever-surprising network of Scottish musicians, but interestingly one of the things which generated the most irritated correspondence was this point. This was never a 'Scottish music blog' - it was a blog that often wrote about Scottish music. During the course of it's life, it also covered or touched on music from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Japan, the USA, Canada and the Republic of Ireland. However, since the mid 1990s I've spent a lot of time in Scotland, listening to local music, supporting local bands and spending my cash on their releases. So, I did tend to err towards this in my writing. There are a lot of Scottish music blogs of course - some of them rather good too - and I didn't intend to or expect to replace those - this was only ever just one listeners view. A lone voice from the southern wilderness perhaps? I've linked to what I think are the best, most interesting blogs over there on the right of your screen. But most importantly, what Songs Heard on Fast Trains never set out to be was a Scottish Music Blog. It's was a blog about music I like, and for many years now music from north of the border has been an incredibly important part of my personal musical landscape.

Will you listen to my band, or can I shout at you about something?

In the past I've been pretty shy about my internet presence, but given I'm imposing my opinions on others it seems a bit churlish to hide. You can contact me here via this blog, or find me on Facebook or more occasionally Twitter. I probably will listen to things you send me, but just now I haven't an outlet to write about it.


I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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