(Slight Return), Multimedia and vanishing horizons

In case you hadn’t guessed, (Slight Return) is all about the music. I tried to weave the stuff I was listening to into the stories, I tried the make the stories reflect the moods the music put me through. The 7″ fiction components used music as a gimmick. The Spotify playlist to accompany it was an afterthought, but came about when I started thinking of the collection as a kind of multimedia experiment. A fairly basic one, granted, but I thought it might be interesting to listen to the songs and see what I wrote about them.

 

 

I then started thinking about how I was going to promote this. Initially, I thought maybe I could get a small publisher interested. I tried, it didn’t work out. So I went the indie publishing route again instead. And in some ways that’s better I think because I can whack extracts of the book up wherever I want, stick videos alongside them, it’s pretty much up to me what I do with it. The promotion stuff, meh, it won’t reach many people. But you know, I’ve decided I don’t really care. My only real ambition for years has been to be writing and be read by someone, somewhere. Yeah, of course, it would be nice to be able to make a living from it. The reality is that not many people do. Ok, so why should that stop me? Using a music analogy because, hey, it seems pretty apt, there are a ton of bands and artists I love who have very limited or no commercial success. They still go out and play, they still record and release music. They do it because they love it, they do it because that’s what they do. I can’t stand those capitalist definitions of success that our celebrity consumer culture throws up: people on X Factor who say “I don’t want to be singing to a pub with four people in it, I want to be on stage at Wembley in front of hundreds of thousands”. Why? What difference does it make? You’re singing aren’t you? People are listening?

So yeah, I’m writing, the odd person is reading what I’ve done. What difference does it make? I’m going to keep doing it because when I’m not doing it I don’t feel like me. I get the odd nice comment, the odd bit of constructive criticism, the odd snide remark. All good, all cool. It’s nothing I haven’t already told myself. As a bloke approaching middle age I could be spending my time out there on a golf course and banging on about my handicap. That’s not my thing. Sticking sentences together is my thing. Some people may want to read those sentences about as much as I want to hear about the birdie they got on the sixth hole, or about as much as the distance they ran around the park this morning (again). And that’s fair enough. You don’t have to pay any attention, I don’t mind.

I do wish I had kept this blog a bit more current, I do wish I had kept in the indie game a bit more over the last five years. What can I say? Life got in the way and it took me much longer to get this collection done than I thought or planned. I dropped off the face of the earth a little bit. My bad. Hopefully that won’t happen as drastically again. In the meantime I’ll just keep talking to myself here and working on the next thing. Hey, it’s what I do…

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Track of the Day – BABY STRANGE – Motormind

My pick of the day on Real Rock & Roll. Probably the best track I’ve selected so far…

Rock And Roll

Baby Strange 2

What do Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, The Ramones and 50’s rock and roll and doo-wap have in common? They all come together as influences on Baby Strange records, that’s what. An indie/rock band from Glasgow, they are absolutely one to keep an eye on. Their debut album, released last year, is a bit of a classic. Check it out, it’s called Want It Need It.

They also have a shedload of single only releases in their back catalogue. Not bad for a band that’s only been going since 2012.

My pick for today is ‘Motormind’ which is a new release from them, made available a couple of weeks in advance of the EP I think it’s going to be on. It’s brilliant.

Follow Baby Strange:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/babystrangemusic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BABYSTRANGEX

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Album Review – RON GALLO – Heavy Meta

Rock And Roll

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It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a sucker for two things: a clever name (either band or album), and something a bit weird. This ticks both boxes. Heavy Meta came out earlier in the year, and I’ve only just discovered it which is a bit of shame as I could have spent the last couple of months listening to it. Better late than never though, right?

As well as having the best folkie fro since Tim Buckley, Ron Gallo has produced one of the most interesting records I’ve heard recently. It mixes a 60’s garage band sound with a bit of classic rock and a punk ethic. It’s a bit difficult to place in terms of genre, but based on the vocals and guitars, let’s go for halfway between The Cramps and the B52s. That’s probably about as good as anything else I could come up with.

The…

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12 Albums

I’m only here really because I saw the 12 Album challenge thing on Facebook and I thought I’d have a crack at it. But I didn’t want to put it on Facebook as I bore people on there about music enough. So I’m putting it here, just so it goes somewhere.

The idea is to name 12 albums that have stayed with you. Not necessarily your favourites, but the ones you keep coming back to, or that played a big part in your life. So in no particular order:

Suede – Suede. Because it was the first album I bought while at university and it completely changed my musical tastes. Before then I’d been into metal (and Grunge) and they opened up the whole world of indie music for me. Admittedly, that meant I spent a few years lost in Britpop but I won’t hold that against them.

The Smiths – Singles. Is a compilation a bit of a cheat? Maybe, but I’ve listened to this at least once a month since I bought it about 20 years ago. Probably the best band ever.

Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town. Everyone thinks of Springsteen as being a bit of a dull, middle of the road pub-rock singer. And sometimes he is. But this album is just superb. On it he’s like a small-town, blue-collar 70’s version of Bob Dylan. It’s proper haunting. I listen to it all the time and I don’t care who knows it.

John Frusciante – Shadows Collide with People. The songs on this record have the same effect on me as crack cocaine would. When I listen to them I listen to them over and over to the exclusion of everything else. I don’t know why. Probably because Frusciante is a genius. He even made the Red Hot Chilli Peppers worth listening to.

Nirvana – Unplugged. I know, Nevermind is a masterpiece. But I listened to it so much for so long. I didn’t ruin this one for myself as much and so I still go back to it a lot more often.

Jeff Buckley – Grace. Just one of the best and most original records ever recorded. Such a shame he never really did more. Seeing him live is one of my favourite memories from my student days.

Portishead – Dummy. In the same week I bought this I also bought REM’s Automatic for the People, and Nirvana’s Nevermind. What a week that was.

The Lemonheads – It’s a Shame About Ray. Criminally underrated band, and this is their best record. It’s just full of perfect, though slightly wonky, pop songs. Wonky is good. I like wonky.

INXS – Kick. Just because when I was a teenager everyone had this record. It got played at every party and you could dance to it without looking like a dick (or so I like to think).

The Misfits – Collection. Another compilation, but all their songs sound the same anyway so I reckon I can get away with it. Not much in terms of melody or tunes or musicianship. It’s basically just sheer energy, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

Radiohead – The Bends. Better than OK Computer for me. Everything just came together on this record. And Thom Yorke was the coolest man alive for about 6 months when this came out. I bought a leather jacket and a pair of trainers that were the same as the ones he wore in the video for ‘Just’. Oh dear.

The Prodigy – Fat of the Land. It just hasn’t aged. I listened to it the other day and ‘Breathe’ sounds like it was recorded last week rather than nearly 20 years ago.

 

Metal Machine Music

skylarkShort post because it’s late, and I’m tired, and I have work tomorrow, and I need to shave my head before I go to sleep…

Issue 1 of Skylark Review is now out and my story ‘Metal Machine Music’ – a fictional tribute to the best/shittest album Lou Reed ever produced – is in it. For which I feel duty bound to tell you it’s surely worth £7 of anyone’s money. (That’s £7 for the other stuff in there and you’ll get my story as a mandatory extra).

Oh, and I’ll probably be reading something, maybe ‘Metal Machine Music’, maybe something else, at the launch event in Cardiff on 16th October.

100% / Serpents

Very very very short post – so short in fact I had to stick three ‘verys’ into it to pad it out, as well as this explanation which is also now padding it out…

Ok, so my story ‘100% / Serpents’ is now on the brilliant Drunk Monkeys website as I mentioned about a week ago. You can see it by clicking here: 100% / Serpents on Drunk Monkeys.

Also, while you’re on there, check out the Cathy Ulrich story ‘Bitter Tea’. In fact, check that out first, it’s better than mine: Bitter Tea.

That’s all really. Step away from the blog, nothing else to see here on the blog.