Welcome to March 2023. Here at Big City Productions in Vancouver BC we’ve already had snow, ice, sleet, hail and rain. We hear that spring is just around the corner so here’s hoping it starts soon!


Tim had just launched a new Songwriting and Music Production Service with his co-producer and songwriting partner Andy Cooke. Full details are available here.

  • There’s lots of reasons to write a song and we can help you do just that. 
  • We have lots of experience and work in many different musical styles. 
  • You might need some encouragement and coaching to help you make progress. 
  • You might want somebody to do the whole thing for you – to write and record a song according to your needs and present you with the fully finished article.

Get in touch by emailing and let us know how we can help.


The Exiles is a collaboration between Tim and lyricist Alan Millen. They write songs about the football team they support, Newcastle United. They have recently completed their new album ‘Wor Flags Waving’ slated for release on July 14th 2023. It will be available on all the usual platforms – Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon etc. They’ve recorded three previous albums that commemorate various memorable moments and personalities in Newcastle United history – The First Eleven (And Three on the Bench) (2003), …And 50,000 In The Stands (2007) and At St. James’ Park (2012).


The title song from the new album by The Exiles celebrates the joy and excitement of Newcastle United qualifying for the final of the Carabao Cup. It was written and recorded during the first week of February 2023. You can see the video here.

There’s also a video for the song French Day. In February 2013 Alan Pardew’s January transfer exploits swelled the number of French players in the Newcastle first-team squad to nine. The Toon Army paid tribute to Newcastle’s growing Gallic contingent by hosting their first ever French Day at St James’ Park. The French national anthem La Marseillaise reverberated around St James’ Park before kick-off and the famous Geordie music hall song ‘Blaydon Races’ was sung in French. The fans wore all manner of French inspired costumes and there were even cancan dancers at half-time. It’s all commemorated in the video for the song which you can find here.



Christian Brägger from the Swiss news publication Tagblatt was sent a preview of the song ‘Fabulous Fabian Schär’ from the Wor Flags Waving album and was moved to write this piece below. Thanks to Alan Millen for the English translation.

FABULOUS FABIAN SCHÄR – A Newcastle song champions the footballer from eastern Switzerland

Fabian Schär – Lad from Wil celebrated in song.

How footballer Fabian Schär became the subject of a song. The fans who worship him. A rather unusual story.

Appreciation of a special kind came Fabian Schär’s way a few days ago. A regular member of the Newcastle United squad since 2018, the 31-year-old central defender is currently in the form of his life. There’s no denying that he played poorly in the match against Portugal at the World Cup, but illness was a contributing factor on that occasion. On a club level, however, his team, the Magpies, boast the best defensive record in the Premier League and are sitting in fourth place at the time of writing, thanks in no small part to his play.

Newcastle United supporter Alan Millen, a resident of Canton Zurich since the late 1980s, has been thus inspired to write the lyrics to a song recognizing Fabian’s contribution so far this season. Love for Newcastle United has been passed down to him over the generations. Three CDs of songs for and about fans of The Magpies have been released to date in partnership with Canada-based musician Tim Readman, the result of a “black-and-white striped” collaboration that came about through the Internet. Together they are The Exiles. 

The songs of the Exiles explore the experiences of fans in northeast England and the history of the club. NUFC legend Alan Shearer, for example, has also been the subject of an Exiles’ song. The geographical separation between the two songwriters means that live appearances are impossible. Nor is their undertaking about making money. Now it’s Fabian Schär’s turn for a tribute, in the form of the song “Fabulous Fabian Schär” and an accompanying YouTube video. 

“It’s a feel-good song that describes Fabian’s popularity and heritage,” says Millen. “Fabian doesn’t yet know it exists. It’s wonderful to see him playing so well for my club. He’s a very popular player, with a strong following among female fans, too.” Millen also praises Schär’s all-round calm manner and cool-headedness on the pitch, whether playing for Newcastle or Switzerland. Alan’s grandson has a Swiss national team jersey with Schär’s number 22 on the back.

Christian Brägger

16.02.2023 / 05:00


Tim continues with his songwriting residency at Eighth & Eight at Massey Theatre, New Westminster. In March he played at a showcase featuring artists and performers who have been creating in the rehearsal and studio spaces  as part of the Community Nights project. There were various presentations and performances including music, dancing, and visual art. Tim played two brand new songs – Get Started Again and Heavens Have Opened – written at Eighth and Eight and talked about the process of writing the songs and inspiration behind them. The project re-starts after Spring Break.


A 1999 recording of the oldest Newcastle United fan anthem is matched with video from the weekend of the 2023 Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London. The recording is from the CD “In Black and White” by Tim Readman and Fear of Drinking. 


Les Barker was a poet, songwriter and comic who performed extensively on the UK’s folk scene and across North America. On hearing of his recent death Tim posted this:

“So sorry to hear of Les Barker’s passing. I had the privilege of booking a couple of USA/Canadian tours for him. Also will never forget the night Fear of Drinking, Les and The Arrogant Worms did a show together at the Folk Alliance in Memphis TN in 1998. It was mayhem! When The Arrogant Worms toured the UK in 2006 Les came to the show at Buzz Comedy Club in Sale, Cheshire and took us to a great curry house afterwards. Not many people make me laugh like Les did. He was a brilliant bloke, a marvellous poet and performer and a true old school football fan. He’ll be sadly missed by all who knew him or saw him do his thing.”