Ben Winch

writer / rocker

High Times

This feels “once in a lifetime”. But really, what isn’t?

October 27th 2017

Exciting times: not only were my family’s summer travels in mainland Europe a success, but I’m writing more and better than in 20 years and my first solo EP as Light Traveller, Same Stars Shine, is officially “out”, available through various online streaming and selling platforms (Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Deezer, etc) and sounding and looking roughly as I envisaged.

Of course it’s slightly ironic that my first new music release since 2010 arrives at a time when I don’t have a guitar (it’s in storage in Australia) or a band and would sooner write fiction than perform music, but thems the breaks, I guess. Learning how to use Reaper (my first roughly industry-standard recording software, and significantly more complex than my old Tascam 8-track) and to rock convincingly with a MacBook and a Telecaster has occupied most of my attention for the past two years and it may be time for a change. That said, there’s plenty more where Same Stars came from, not least the Light Traveller album Falcon Falling which I’ll try to finish mixing when I can bear to look at Reaper again. (A recent hard-drive crash which destroyed my music-file system and led to Reaper crashing every time I loaded it for two days did not whet my appetite for sound production, and reminded me just how far I feel out of my depth at times when working with computers.)

Meanwhile I’m now a temporary member of the members-only London Library, easily the quietest place I’ve found to work in London and just possibly the best place to write that I’ve found, period, at least since 1997 in Tasmania. Three days a week I commute there, usually with just a packed lunch, pen and notebook, and find a private corner, taking down forgotten volumes off the wall-to-ceiling shelves when I get tired. It’s great! No computer means no distraction, and it’s so much more enjoyable to write by hand than to stare at a shiny screen. Out of this habit, my first entirely new stories in over a year (apart from two entries in the NYC Midnight flash fiction competition: “Figment of the Air” and “Pawn Takes King”) have emerged, and I’m confident I may have a book’s worth of such stories by the time I leave in November. They’re significant-feeling, hefty stories too, unlike anything else I’ve written. This feels like a breakthrough! I thank Hand Drawn Heart for showing me the way.

With all this action my online writing has slowed down, but I’ve still had time for the following since my last update:

Hand Drawn Heart

Book reviews

Music reviews

As to those travels in mainland Europe I mentioned, over the summer my wife, my stepsons and I spent four weeks in France, Catalonia and Denmark. Best, for me, was a medieval house in the hillside village of Vieussan, Languedoc, with a clear river in the valley and the rocky peaks of the Massif Centrale behind us, though cycling through forests in Djursland was also a highlight. I’m hoping to get homesick (just a little!) before we return to Australia in February – maybe a little London winter will help me. So far London is nothing but motivating, except the poor air-quality. Maybe that’s why Djursland seemed so beautiful – my lungs loved it! And overall, as usual when I live in a big city, I’m reminded of how hard it is to live without access to open spaces. I only wish we had longer here, so that I could be glad to go back to Australia. This feels “once in a lifetime”. But really, what isn’t?

Massif Central, France

View from the Massif Centrale

Same Stars Shine @ Bandcamp

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