Thursday, 24 February 2011
Thursday, 17 February 2011
... No. I can't do it. That is one bad joke too far.
I'm doing my first ever compere gig on Monday (21st) at the Jericho Tavern. I'm looking forward to it. I've often wondered if I would be any good at this kind of thing, and someone has decided to put their night in my hands. Pressure? Sure, but how else will we find the answer to this question?
I guess the closest I've ever come to compereing is when me and my best friend from primary/middle school David Savage used to make our own tapes. We would do various things like come up with stories we would act out. Or news items, which consisted of children's author Sheila Lavelle trying to read out the news while Bill Murray tried to have sex with her. We were about 7 or 8 years old when we first did this particular story. It was a recurring theme of our tapes.
We would also do our own version of Top of the Pops, in which I would be the presenter and David would perform. It was a little bit like 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' in that I would come up with an artist and song title off the top of my head and David would have to perform it. The one that sticks in my mind is when I came up with the idea of Cliff Richard singing a song called 'The Vomiting Song.' Well, what really comes to mind is when I made David be Cliff Richard do 'The Vomiting Song II,' the first lyric of which went 'The vomiting is getting worse and the people are dying.' I'm not entirely sure why I remember that as well as I do, but I do. I wonder if I still have those tapes somewhere?
Anyway, we stopped making those tapes about seventeen or eighteen years ago now, so I haven't done any compereing since then. I'm kind of nervous about it, but excited too. I'm actually really looking forward to it. It's a three act gig and I'm gonna be doing about five minutes of poetry and rambling before each act, so it should be pretty fun. Not too long for people who've turned up for a gig to get bored (a problem I've had doing music gigs before), but enough time for me to do my thing and (hopefully) make an impact.
I'll let you know how it goes.
UPDATE (24/2/11, 11:54am): It went really quite phenomenally badly. I sort of don't want to write about it tho.
Friday, 11 February 2011
Now, I think about music quite a lot anyway, so it makes sense that I should think about it when I'm ill.
I've been thinking that it's quite odd that the new, self titled, James Blake album is seemingly, subjectively speaking, a pretty boring album, yet there is something about it that is absolutely captivating me. It's one of those albums where if I'm not listening to it, I often find myself thinking about it, or running through songs or running over certain parts of songs from it in my head. It's deceptive simplicity seems to harbour real soul. I'm becoming a little addicted to it.
I would probably be becoming totally addicted to it, if it weren't for the new Joan As Police Woman album, The Deep Field, which I am also really digging right now. I'm not really sure how to describe it in a way that won't put a lot of people off, so just check it out because, well, I think it's pretty great.
However, I haven't always been thinking about it in the same way as I usually do.
Last night, when I couldn't sleep for being ill, I noticed that the two sides of the lead as it goes into the plug for my Macbook look like a bit like faces. I turned them into characters; one I called 'Harry the happy lead' and the other I called 'Charlie the simpleton cyclops' (oh yeah, one of them only had one eye). I then decided we were going to form a tribute band. As there were three of us, I figured we should be a tribute to The Jam, even though I don't like The Jam. This is the sort of sacrifice I am willing to make for friends. Of course, it turned out that they don't like The Jam either, but now we were committed to the idea. It was decided that I would have to be Paul Weller as a) my name is Paul, and b) neither Harry or Charlie could play guitar. I pointed out that I can't play guitar either, but they said it would be easier for me to learn on account of the fact that, being as they were two sides of a plug lead, neither of them had arms. To be fair, they had a point.
Now, I don't know if you know what it's like to be in a band with siamese not-quite-twins who are joined at the back of the head, but I can tell you it's pretty tough. Arguments started about which side group photos should be taken from. They would always have to be in profile in a shot to get them both in, but both prefer their left side. Also, having a body like a very thin plastic snake, they couldn't quite work out how one could play bass synth (no arms = no playing bass) and drums at the same time, as they both argued that they needed the same segments of their body at the same time. I tried to see if these were problems that could be ironed out in rehearsals, but they were having none of it. This tribute band was doomed.
Do you know what it's like to be ill and awake at gone two in the morning when you've just failed in an attempt at forming a tribute band with two sides of a plug lead for a band you don't even like?
I'll tell you.
Not good at all.
Being ill means that sometimes I can bring myself to do little more than eat soup and watch things on YouTube. The problem with this is that soup only lasts for so long, and I get bored of YouTube, mostly because I have a little voice in my head telling me I'm wasting my time.
However, all the things that aren't a waste I either can't do or can't concentrate on. Currently I feel utterly hideous from the shoulders up. The rest of my body feels okay, but a little tired because all the energy seems to be going to my head to tackle whatever the hell's in there. This means I can stand up and/or walk for about half a minute before it feels like my body is becoming a cocktail stick that I'm trying to balance a tennis ball head on.
Oh, except for the fact that because my tonsils are sore, I've spent a lot of time reflexively swallowing air, so when I'm sitting down I feel like a tennis ball balancing on a balloon.
In short, it's crap.
I also have the concentration of a... a... a thing with very little in the way of concentration. So I can't do any college work, which is annoying because it would be the perfect time to do it, if it weren't for the fact that my brain seems to think that things like "James sent the letter the next day. He couldn't remember what he had written in his drunken state last night, but he was sure that he still felt the same feeling as what he had written, so he didn't bother to reread it and trusted himself to have stated his point of view in a manner that, while not necessarily appropriate, got his message to those concerned across." somehow constitute decent literature. Stupid illness brain.
Anyway, these things combined mean that I spend a lot of time just sort of sitting around doing nothing at all but thinking (I just wrote that as 'thingking.' Jesus...).
Normally I would put a list of hilarious and ridiculous things I've been thinking here in an effort to amuse you readers, but I can't actually remember what most of what I've been thinking about is.
So this morning I have mostly been thinking about thinking, or more specifically trying to remember what I've been thinking.
I think this is possibly the most pointless way to spend time there is, which doesn't exactly make me feel better, but hey, at least now I can say I've done something with it, even if that is just to make you lot read about it.
Thursday, 10 February 2011
When I woke up this morning I couldn't speak. My throat feels like someone set fire to it while I was asleep and my head feels like there are people trying to make bombs in it, only they're not very good at it and the bombs keep exploding.
I hate being ill. It totally impedes my ability to do anything. I bought some soup today. That's the extent of my abilities. I spent an hour writing something in this post which I realised was awful and deleted. I tried doing some college work, nothing doing. Everything that came out of these fingers was garbage. Garbage that had to have a spelling correction every three words because my ability to type has also left me.
So, knowing me as well as I do, I should be a big moaning pile of self loathing and misery right now.
BUT I'M NOT and the reason I'm not is that today I found out that I have had a poem published in ABCtales Magazine, so I am feeling pretty damn happy as this is the first time I've been published (by something I'm not involved in). ABCtales is a writers forum site that I put stuff on sometimes to try and gauge a reaction. I was actually starting to wonder why I bothered with that site as it seems about as useful to me as writing poetry on stones and throwing them into the sea, or at least it did until I was asked to have a poem included in their zine.
The poem they've used is "5 Minutes With The Beatles" (which the editor of the zine appears to have felt the need to change to "Five Minutes With The Beatles." I'm not really complaining about it, I just find it a little odd), which is strange as it's a poem I had sort of forgotten about, it's one I hadn't performed or even thought about performing for months, yet that's the one that the guy specifically asked for. Funny how these things go.
Check it out here http://stores.lulu.com/abctales It's available as a physical purchase or a free download.
Friday, 4 February 2011
You lot, sarcastically: "Oh, that really narrows it down, Axl. Har har har."
Shut the fuck up.
Now, you know when you watch a film or tv programme and someone knows they're about to be killed but first the person who's going to kill them makes them dig their own grave?
Why do they do it?
If I knew I was going to be killed, I sure as fuck wouldn't be forced into digging my own grave by the person who was going to kill me. What are they going to do if I refuse? Kill me? Hang on, aren't they going to do that anyway?
If I knew someone was going to kill me, I would make my death as much of an inconvenience to them as possible. You want to kill me? YOU can fucking well dig my grave, you dick.
So, I watched 'Come Dine With Me' earlier and this absolute cock-end called Brian said "I thought we were having Greek, but it's lamb. Where's the mint sauce?" Earlier on in the week, he'd criticised someone for having a French menu with no French food because he recognised what the food was. Which begs the question, what the fuck? What does he think people eat in other countries? Was he expecting some sort of boiled tortoise? Or maybe slow roast unicorn? Or maybe some exotic six legged, twelve titted animal he'd never heard of because it doesn't fucking exist?! Jesus, the fact that someone can be such a total fucking imbecile in this day and age quite frankly astonishes me.
Yeah, that's right. I just wrote a blog post about 'Come Dine With Me.' I'm embracing my getting-old age, yeah?
And now 'America's Next Top Model' is on and Tyra Banks looks like she's wearing some sort of remodelled high class windbreaker.
I sound like a grumpy old man?
Sorry, what part of "I'm embracing my getting-old age, yeah?" don't you understand?!
Thursday, 3 February 2011
So, somehow I forgot to put on here how I'm sort of the editor of a magazine now.
It's a zine I do with two other people (my friends James and Sarah).
What we do is come up with a theme, give that to writers, and then give what they write to illustrators who draw up artwork to go with the poem or short story they've been given.
Anyway, the first issue's been out since about mid-December, and we're working on the second issue now, which we hope to have out in mid-March.
The print run for each issue is 100 copies.
We've had a lot of very positive reaction, but frustratingly that hasn't translated into sales. Yet. I think we've sold just over half of the copies we printed up.
I think this is, at least partly, due to the fact that we made a free pdf download available simultaneously. I think for the next issue we're thinking we'll only do that when we've sold out of physical issues. We do, after all, live in a world now where people seem to feel they are entitled to obtain someone else's work for free, so if that option is there, then that is of course what people will go for.
We're thinking of charging for the pdf while physical copies are still in stock, just in case people really don't want a physical copy that much. Shame, but that's how it is nowadays. God, saying that makes me feel old.
Anyway, please check out our zine over at http://fermentzine.com/
It is something that we are incredibly proud of.