As should be apparent already to regular readers, I get sent a lot of CDs these days. Here are just some of them:
That’s about a third of the albums I’ve been sent to review in the last year – the third that I’m actually interested in keeping, naturally. The others will be migrating their way to second hand shops some time in the new year.
I’m quite astonished at myself, really – if you count pieces pending publication, I’ve written well over 200 pieces of music journalism in the last year. Crikey.
As the above isn’t really a very creative photograph, you can have a bonus shot from the gig I went to last Sunday (I know, I’m too good to you):
That’s Ash from Southampton pop-punk band Not Advised, who is probably most unimpressed by me not only capturing a great gurning moment, but plastering it on my review of the show at The Dreaded Press.
There’s an interview with the band, too. Not my normal cup of tea, music-wise, but a damn fine live act and a lovely bunch of lads to boot.
I remember being that full of enthusiasm once – perhaps if I hang around young musicians more I’ll rediscover the secret!*
Writing about music
I’ve pre-empted some of my music hack news above, but it’s been a busy week nonetheless.
Work continues to gather for The Dreaded Press, which is great news – I’m immensely chuffed that tomorrow (at very short notice) I’m interviewing the infamous Ginger, frontman of The Wildhearts and pathological side-project creator. Which is going to be awesome.
Hey, my interview with David Yow went live, in case you didn’t notice. I’m rather pleased with it (though Morrissey’s lawyers may be less so) – here’s a teaser quote:
“That’s the thing â€” I can handle eating nothing but baked potatoes and baked beans for a week, if that means that every night I get to get totally f*cked up and sleep with some slut who I never met before and will never speak to again, y’know?”
That last one is a bit of a cheat, in that I know Ben of old (local chap, lovely fellow, very tall, Cornish, mad), but his band are doing the brave new “start your own label and go it alone” thing, and I think it’ll be interesting to talk about the hows, whys and wherefores.
Still waiting on the replies from Henry Rollins, and just entered into negotiations (read as “pleading begging emails”) to arrange an interview with Bob Mould (HÃ¼sker DÃ¼, Sugar) some time early next year.
Writing about books
Haven’t actually done any reviewing of books this week, having been instead concentrating on actually reading books instead, which has been very pleasant – I’d forgotten what it’s like to read a book by choice.
However, it appears the note-taking habit is now thoroughly ingrained … so my ARC of Stross’s Halting State is now festooned with post-it markers, as has become my tradition. I think I’ll probably review it anyway – it’s a strong novel with some good talking points, and it’s not like there’s any shortage of places to publish it.
Writing about other stuff
Also minimal. My excuse here is that I’m still doing the self-tuition thing with XHTML and CSS, which is a slower and more frustrating process than I’d like. But hey, when was learning something worth knowing ever easy, right?
Books and magazines seen
Only one confirmed literary arrival this week, namely my latest assignment for Vector in the form of Swiftly by Adam Roberts**, which I’m pleased about – Roberts is a challenging read, but that’s half the appeal for me. Although this is one of his works that bolts on to a literary classic – in this case, Gulliver’s Travels – which leaves me in a bit of a bind.
Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve never actually read Gulliver’s Travels (though I know a fair bit about its content by inference). Methinks a trip to Project Gutenburg is in order if I want to do this one justice.
There may be more titles that should have arrived this week – if the “you were out” red card from the Post Office is anything to go by – but as it’s the (allegedly) festive season, I can’t go and check until tomorrow because they’re busier than usual. Selah.
Another high-velocity week has hurtled by. As much as I loathe [the holiday that shall remain nameless], I’m looking forward to having some downtime just so I can recover from what has felt like twelve months of relentless acceleration. Having discovered that my mother now has wi-fi at her house (w00t!), I should be able to finish up a lot of back-burner stuff in time for the new year.
Of course, we all know the saying about best-laid plans, so I’m not going to make any bets just yet. If I can just get some fiction writing done and develop a pre-emptive stock of Friday Flash I’ll be a happy man. Anything else will just be gravy. Mmmm. Gravy.
And talking of gravy, my tongue pines for the taste of cumin and other Eastern spices, which means I should be making tracks toward the Temple Of Culinary Delights and make my obeisance at the altar of The Friday Curry.
So have a good weekend yourselves, ladies and gents, and stay warm. Hasta luego!
[* Or get arrested on suspicion of more dubious motives, maybe.]
[** For which the rather fetching jacket art is seemingly unavailable online as yet. Sorry.]