As part of our inspiration series, we meet Friend of FINDRA Ziggy who is a musician and artist working from home in his renovated schoolhouse in the Scottish Highlands.
Hi Ziggy and can we start by asking you where you live and what you do?
I live in the rural West Highlands of Scotland and I spend most of my time making music or building music making machines.
I spent my early years making music and sound installations in a collective called FOUND and won a BAFTA for creating a moody, egotistical robot musician called Cybraphon. From there it was a bit of a frenzy of releasing records, touring, art exhibitions, making more weird machines, co-writing a Teenage Fanclub song and writing kids songs for the BBC.
How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
Always, but I would say more so in recent years because of where I live.
What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?
I did a music tour right across China once – form East to West. Not sure if it was my favourite as it was calamitous, but certainly memorable. We stayed in a yurt at the top of the Tian Shan mountains then took a two day train journey through the desert to Kashgar that has been in the news recently.
How do you make find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities i.e. work and family?
I don’t really manage it to be honest. I’m terrible at balance.
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
Chris Watson. You’ve probably not heard of him but you’re very likely to have heard him. He records the sound of nature and wildlife for a lot of documentaries you’ll watch on TV. Another great sound recordist is Ludwig Koch. There’s a good BBC radio documentary about him.
Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?
Always. Cycling and walking has helped me immeasurably.
What is it about cycling and walking specifically that you love?
It clears my head. If I’m struggling with something to do with my work I’ll either walk or cycle and it is sure to solve it in some way.
When did you discover FINDRA?
My mum is a huge fan. She bought me some items then I visited the shop in Innerleithen.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Be careful what advice you listen to.
On writing this blog, what do you feel is the key motivational or inspirational message you would like to highlight to our followers?
Move to the highlands!
A pal of mine recommended Dear Joan and Jericha, a comedy podcast by Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine in which two agony aunts dispense disdainful sex and relationship advice.
You can find the podcast here for some absurd, filthy and downright rude advice in response to people’s personal dilemmas (you have been warned).
My favourite poem is A Night In by Liz Lochehead, one of my favourite Scottish poets – and I was her dancing partner at a ceilidh on Iona once!
Darling, tonight I want to celebrate
not your birthday, no, nor mine.
It’s not the anniversary of when we met,
first went to bed or got married, and the wine
is supermarket plonk. I’m just about to grate
rat-trap cheddar on the veggie bake that’ll do us fine.
But it’s far from the feast that – knowing you’ll be soon,
and suddenly so glad to just be me and here,
now, in our bright kitchen – I wish I’d stopped and gone
and shopped for, planned and savoured earlier.
Come home! It’s been a long day. Now the perfect moon
through our high windows rises round and clear.
FAVOURITE PIECE OF MUSIC
I would pic Marble Machine by Wintergaten. This amazing music contraption uses metal marbles to play music and was built by Swedish musician Martin Molin.
The video went viral on YouTube a few years ago and now he’s building a new one to take on a world tour. He documents the build with a weekly video. I’m not sure how the guy finds time to sleep. Mesmerising.
Winterhgaten – Marble Machine