Slow and Steady
From little things big things grow
July 31st 2017
I’m starting to adopt a routine in London, but it’s not enough: I need more structure. Most days I ride through tree-lined streets to Hackney, sit outside a café, write, then take my laptop to a library and key in the results, work on web stuff, mix music. Meantime the summer school holidays just started – traditionally seven weeks of teeth-gnashing and struggling to get anything done. Hopefully our travel plans (Spain, France, Denmark) will help save my wife and me from despair, but they won’t make either of us work quicker. When we get back in September I need to commit to something more fully – a longform project (hopefully fiction), or simply a dependable workspace where I rock up every day as if to a straight job. For now, though, the main aim is survival.
The two biggest events of the month were: (1) the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Competition, and (2) a solo trip to Manchester.
For some reason I’m not sure I fathom, returning to Manchester moved me; I left feeling real love for the place, and as if, should I ever need to, I could once again make it my home. The calm of it: the leafy streets and parks of Didsbury and Chorlton; a late summer evening in the Peak District; even the city centre seemed peaceful after London. But also, just to return to such a familiar place – a place I’d wondered if I’d ever see again – was fascinating, and haunting.
Creatively, the trip was also a success, since I spent a day with bassist Chris Layhe jamming (mainly Bunnymen songs, since Chris is Liverpudlian, but some originals too) and talking music and making plans for Chris to come to London in September and record with Jerry Kandiah at Old Street Studios. Basically it’ll all be sparkling guitar pop, which is where Chris’s and my tastes overlap. Over the past year or so I’ve recorded an album’s worth of Shadow History songs (stuff I wrote up to twenty years ago) and I’m hoping Chris’s multi-instrumental prowess will be just what they need to make them shine.
Meanwhile the Light Traveller EP, Same Stars Shine, is on schedule for a release in September. Only problem is how to promote it?! For now the plan, such as it is, is just to keep writing and building a readership, with the hope that I can lure readers into becoming listeners. A long-shot maybe, but since I’m not even travelling with a guitar (the first time I’ve been separated from my axe in years) I don’t see another option. General increased internet presence seems my only weapon. To this end, in the past month I’ve published the following:
- “Wounded Pride”
Getting my pocket picked in Neukölln, Germany.
- “Iron Stool”
For Raoul Bowel life was foul.
- “Stepfather Challenge”
Why would anyone want to have children?
- “Retiring Not Retired”
Being unemployed is not the same as being idle.
- Juan Rulfo
The Golden Cockerel
- Marvin Lin
(classic album study)
- Lol Tolhurst
- Viv Albertine
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys
- Jesus & Mary Chain
Barbed Wire Kisses
- The Chameleons
What Does Anything Mean? Basically
(doom stoner metal)
- J Dilla
Production’s about to slow down while we visit mainland Europe, but I’ll be back with a vengeance in September. Till then!