August 17, 2011
Made a monster
Trick or treat skank master flash
I don’t suppose you know me
Ninety two years old
Two world wars
Scars you cannot match
The Vikings came by
Raping and pillaging my high street
No smoke without fire
No cause without effect
Dredged from the very barrel we all like to indulge
Every once in a while
In blank screams
And blacked out cars
Sprayed in blooms of thick red panic
The flowers retract
The shadows slink back to their pillars
The sea goes out
The fire laps upwards and back into the spark
The street breathes a sigh
The clock’s hand wobbles and clanks back a second
At a time.
Took us apart
Piece by piece
Nailed wooden doors
Nailed wooden windows
Broken head height lamp shades
Tagged concrete coffins
The undead, slumbering to action
Rising from their graves
We buried them here
Under the cover of dark
Whilst the world looked away
Rainbow flooded skies
Saying “ooo” and “ahhh”
In all the right places.
Made a monster
And now the roll call sounds
Town criers on their boxes
Kill them all
All of them
But I want to know
How can you kill someone
If they are already dead?
March 4, 2011
Well, my absence I would liken to the image of waiting for a good wave.
Which never turned up.
So off the back of an unbearably bad few months I find myself, back at the mac, trying to adjust my truth radar into something I can actually type without being fed to the dogs. Maybe that’s my problem. I would like to think that I do take on board what my friends say about me, and if I can have an honest good hard look at myself and say ‘yes, you’re right to say that about me, guilty as charged’. But I’m not rolling over on everything, otherwise you just end up being a mug. And to be honest I have felt more like walking this last month than I have ever felt in my whole life. Like, staring at a desk, contemplating my forty hour week, mushed like pulp into one endless cycle of walking to and from my car, staring at a screen, writing emails, dealing with unreasonable people, imposing grey walls sucking my soul dry, seeing the daylight come and go without the pleasure of even..
walking in the sunshine.
But enough about me and my doom. Let’s talk about…
About time someone did something exciting with guitars. I mean,what is this decade going to be remembered for? Beginning with a celebration of vapid, computer tuned, candyfloss soulless bs that appears to be marketed as music?
Some of the arts are maintaining their dignity.
And so my time this last week has been distracted by the following…
And that’s it for today – I’ll try to be a little more on it for March. I guess there are times in your life where you just need to take stock and adjust your ambitions, or look at your options and work out if it’s really possible for you to slam a door behind you. I had my mid-life crisis early, I peaked and made a record. I certainly don’t want to drift into another one but my goodness lately..
I am eyeing up that shiny red Ferrari.
December 12, 2010
Whenever I mention the fact I’m in a band there are always two standard questions people ask. Firstly, who do you sound like? In order to put you in a box, work you out, relate and if needs be claim a ‘oh i love that kind of thing’ or ‘oh, I’m more of a Dubstep man/woman myself’. Secondly, if they are interested (and a few are!) they tend to ask
So, how do you write your songs? Is it music first or words first?
So I got thinking about how I write songs, how my band writes songs and thought I might muse upon it a little. The first song I ever wrote was called ‘Bluebell Sophie’. I didn’t know a Sophie, she merely existed in my head as a 13-year-old princess with blonde hair who would one day turn up to school and set my heart on fire. I wrote words and music. 3 chords probably. My fingers struggled with the G chord on the guitar. It was probably in E. And as such, I’ve always grown up combining the two. Words and music together. It’s interesting to imagine how some of my hero’s – like Michael Stipe come up with melody, seemingly without touching an instrument. Feels alien to me. I like the comfort of my guitar. Not as a prop or penis extension, as a thing that helps me emote when performing. A thing that I’ve been used to associating my creativity with.
I’ve made 3 studio albums in my life and almost without exception the songs on them are a collaborative effort between me and musicians. Usually with the strong influence of a Producer. I suppose one of the reasons this current climate feels strange is that it’s almost gone full circle, back to the days when teams of songwriters wrote for other artists. I always feel it’s better if a musician can write their own stuff. It’s less puppet like, despite there being some very talented puppets out there. Most indie/rock bands would claim songs start as idea’s. That’s true for my band iko. Often one person starts a riff, begins a chord sequence, we ride the wave of it until we’re standing on both feet feeling comfortable. Sometimes you’ll patch ideas together. Sometimes, because the atmosphere is right, the wine is flowing and you feel good you can write brand new songs in the studio.
With the recent release of all The Beatles songs on itunes it did occur to me the reason they were so special. Not just because in many instances they were the first to do something… I’m assured at the time, no one had ever written an album like Sgt Pepper. No, for me the thing that sets them apart is that every single one, firing on all cylinders created the greatest most prolific collection of songs in the history of music. And yes, Lennon and McCartney were central to that – but when your shy, retiring guitarist can write a song like ‘Something’, well. No one else is going to hold a candle to you. Even Ringo contributed. Sure he’s rock’s clown like kicking boy, but he was 100% involved, sculpting, driving, creating and writing histories greatest pop and rock songs. Any dismissal of Ringo is pure jealousy.
And I suppose it’s obvious but they are hard to escape. I’m currently trying to write a piano and voice piece for film and we had to stop midway though – our verse was just to close to ‘imagine’. Their legacy makes it very hard to remain original.
I do think there can be an appreciation of all styles of songwriting. I was at a friend’s wedding a few years ago and we sat watching people on the dance floor, whilst the cheesy wedding dj rolled out the greatest hits. There are things written to be danced to. Robbie Williams’ Rock DJ as an example. Not a song I own, or even like that much, its derivative nature annoys me as did the man at that time because I just saw him as someone who’s voice I didn’t particularly like.
But at that wedding, it did strike me how incredibly clever that tune is.
The children’s show squelch at the start, the terrible spoken word rhymes. And then ‘whack’ chorus. Huge, sweeping the dance floor aside.
Pummeling you until your head and feet are swaying. Fists clenched. Perfect disco pop crap. And how many people have had an amazing evening dancing, slightly drunk with family members to that song. Sure, sit at home, glass of wine, analysing its artistic worth. Fail. I appreciate it was probably written and produced as a collaborative effort but you see what I’m saying.
In its context, there’s not a lot better. Hence why Gaga, Beyoncé, ABBA, Madonna and Micheal Jackson continue to crush the competition.
I don’t know if there’s a science to it. Most songs should and do come right from the heart. The ones you remember the most always come from there. And strangely it’s a very personal thing to do, and yet its universal appeal makes that feel ok. If you stop and ask yourself the question why am I letting everyone in on how I feel? you’d never write. And I think more people should write songs than they realise. You might not think you have a great voice or can’t play an instrument. It’s all about baby steps and just having a go. I’m sure that’s how most of the greatest song-writers have done it.
November 18, 2010
THIS… (Ginger, Sporty, Posh, Baby and Scary) is girl power…
November 7, 2010
So last night a saucepan fell off our sideboard at 2am, forcing me to grab the metaphorical baseball bat (my iPhone) and head downstairs. I then lay awake for a whole hour debating with the lady on the other side of my bed how a saucepan can simply fall off the sideboard. I’m telling you now, it’s the last time I’m watching Paranormal: Fact or Faked ever again. I mean, I’m partial to the thinking behind poltergeist activity being an extension of emotional trauma, into the physical world. I’m unconvinced ghosts are dead people messing from beyond the grave. But I’m not in denial of a spiritual background to weird happenings in …. er…. my kitchen.
It’s happened once before and it turned out to be our neighbours cat. Talking of which… two doors down from us live a collection of organically treated mentalists who insist on letting fireworks off in their TINY garden every year without fail. You don’t sell matches to pyromaniacs. Why sell these people small rockets that have consistently every year nearly set fire to my roof ?
Things on my radar this week …
Moral fibre optional.
The soundtrack is outstanding
That is all for tonight.
October 28, 2010
Been finding solace this week in memories. I think it has something to do with November.
Something about the air turning colder, the nights drawing in. I think you waste a lot of time when you’re younger obsessing over the fact that everyone else is having a jolly good time. Like you mustn’t miss out. And then as a working adult you look around you and ask the opposite question can’t we all just cheer up and have a good time? Everyone else is miserable, I should be too. Dammit the whole game involves chasing your tail whilst others chase theirs. We also live in a time where we OBSESS over the individual. So much so that everyone ends up being the same. The pursuit of individuality is a complete waste of time. We even sit at our laptops spewing quasi intellectual bs to try and convince each other that we really are of value.
Been getting into Nikita. Absolutely no idea why.
Ever feel like a target market?
I am extremely excited about the prospect of the event below. For those of you who have never visited the fine city of Exeter it’s a fabulous gig. One of my first ever proper gigs as a musician (playing it) was supporting this very loud three-piece from Teignmouth called Muse. I hear they went onto great things. Although I shan’t mention Matt’s checkered trousers he clearly bought from a stall in Totnes, around the same time as me. Ah the early noughties.
Yes I’ve been doing this a frikkin long time and yes, no need to remind me who’s ahead of the game. They’re lovely boys though. I don’t name drop. Apart from just then, cause lets face it everyone in Devon has at some point been in a room with either Muse or Chris Martin. Anyway here’s the promo…
http://www.nme.com/news/la-roux–3/53614 yeah- I’m bored of you too.
Bonfire night without you
Practice what you preach
I’ll go if you go
Strangers in a big city
You know, the usual self obsessed doom and gloom.
Remember remember the 5th of November.
It’s etched on my brain.
October 14, 2010
Sometimes, when I’m at a loss for words. I just type.
This is one of those nights
People will come and go
From your life
Like a badly paced play
From the wings
Please exit stage left
The love of your life
In my attic
There is a box
For heart tapes
Yes your name is on one
Of course it is
What did you expect
A blank canvas?
No, it’s there
In big black marker pen
The default soul mate
I lack the ability to cry
I fend off cobwebs
I drop every other plate
I will make the grade
If it kills me
I am currently away from my desk
I will be back on the 25/12/2010
Swaying over head
Casting my shadow
My ambitious shadow
I don’t keep the tapes here
The place is too dusty
Exactly how far is too far?
If we go all the way will it matter?
It’s only skin
In my attic
There is a box
For heart tapes
It takes time to fully feel the after effects
If you call back in the morning I’m sure she’ll be there
Phone in hand
Head tilted to one side
Speaking in tongues
Some people struggle to love themselves
Others have trouble stopping
I cannot for the life of me remember
How I ended up here
Before my Grandad died
He told my Dad
There was nothing left unfinished
He left this world
As he lived it
If I turn out to be half the man he was
I will be near-perfect
In my attic
In my rib cage
There is a heart
Try to align with it
When you’ve put her to bed.
October 2, 2010
Suzanne Vega on vinyl was my 1980’s.
Was it that she looked a little like Carrie Fisher?
my other true one love aged 7
She’s deadly important from a female point of view.
Sharp words, beautiful tone. Substance over style.
Did not use her looks to make you listen.
She just made you listen
She made me want to write songs.
Sure, years later, Billy Corgan would make me want to turn my guitar up reeeeeeeeeeeeally loud.
Suzanne though, is a song writers song writer.
Hotter than an intergalactic space princess from planet Alderaan?
More talented than a decade of let me show you my breasts and move like this and see if you’ll buy my record misogynistic bullshit.
See? I wasn’t lying about the StarWars thing. Apologies to my cousin Chris though, who is wearing red and white striped socks with his Spiderman slippers.
September 24, 2010
September 16, 2010
Everyone’s life is hard. That’s not much of a secret. Is anyone’s life harder than the person behind the desk at a gas petrol station>>?
I mean music’s hard. But nothing saps the soul like a little neon light. I consider myself well incubated. We might even be “generation neon” for all I care. When you leave a city I don’t think it’s just the fresh air that relaxes you. It’s the NATURAL LIGHT.
So on my car stereo this week spinsss……………
High Violet – The National
Burial – Untrue
This town needs guns EP ( freakin lush)
I was born on the minor side.
Plus, there is beauty in being miserable. Just ask …
rest in peace
I wrote under this light…
See… *click on it*
Ok then, to lighten the mood. Something funny to end on.
I’ll write again when I’ve finished laughing at this…
(poss never then) ………………… joke
In return I’ll attempt to splurge my brain on here every few days.
“Do you want a VAT receipt with that?”
“No, I’m good thanks”.
“Ok, Forty Eight pound fifty please”