Tag Archives: band

Friday Photo Blogging: rocking out

This week’s photo comes at two removes from myself; it was taken with the camera of the one and only Rusty Sheriff (Aeroplane Attack’s drummer), taken by Spikey Mark (barman, soundman, DJ, tour manager, Transit van pilot extraordinaire and long-term good buddy), and taken of us (Aeroplane Attack) battering out the riffage at our show on Monday:
Aeroplane Attack - live at The Edge of the Wedge, 11th May 2009
Yes, I am in there; look in the dark patch at the right. They keep me there to prevent me scaring women and small children away from the front of the crowd. 🙂

Album of the week

Actually not an album; it’s more of an EP, and I’m not entirely sure if it’s on release as anything other than a demo. But nonetheless I commend unto you the self-titled EP by Wraptors, who play something like a combination of The Hellacopters, King Crimson and Fugazi. Post-prog’n’roll – you heard it here first, kids.

Writing about books

You’ll note how I include this section every week, just to make myself feel bad for not having done any reviewing[1]. That said, I have actually been getting some reading in; it’s not like I’m short of stuff to talk about. Time[2], on the other hand…


Connecting neatly to that previous statement, everything’s still hellishly busy here in the office. This is a good thing; if there hadn’t been so many gigs to watch (and play) this week I’d probably be further ahead than I am, but next week is looking pretty sparse for extracurricular stuff, and hence ripe for some long evenings of deck-clearing. If the weather stays like it is, it’s not as if I’ll have many other options!


All is well at Futurismic; a good week for traffic again, and a sudden spate of posts about computer games. One of the things I like most about blogging is being in a position to see these themes bubble up out of the Zeitgeist; reminds me that the world’s just one big emergent system. Synchronicity is meaningless, but all the more beautiful and fascinating for that.

Books and magazines seen

Nothing new for a second week running. Then again, it’s been a slow week for new music arriving, as well… the music and publishing industries have their own little biorhythms, too. All part of that Zeitgeist, y’see. 😉


As I did an Aeroplane Attack update separately, I think I’ve pretty much said my piece for the week, except to point out that playing one gig and going to watch two more in the same week is as tiring as it is fun, and it would be nice to be paid to do nothing else but make loud music or watch other people doing so. But if we were to start listing all the things that it would be nice to do for a living, we’d be here for hours! So I’ll spare us all the tedium and just wish you a good weekend – look after yourselves, OK?

[ 1 – You’ll probably also note that it doesn’t seem to have any effect, unless you’re of a more forgiving nature than myself. ]
[ 2 – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, yeah? ]

Friday Photo Blogging: Mono

An appropriate title for today, in some respects; after a few weeks of very passable sunny (though brisk) weather, Velcro City is once again drowsing beneath a sky the same dull grey as pre-dotcom computer hardware, the pavements slick with a noncommittal rain that suggests even the elements can’t be bothered to do anything properly today – bank holiday Friday, innit, mush?

Appropriate or not, it seems I never FPB’d any of the shots from the Mono show[1] I caught the other week, so here you go:


Great band (as suggested by the liberal deployment of Fender Jazzmaster guitars, among other things). Good music for cold dismal weather, too.

Of course, if I was at Eastercon with the great and the good (and the weird) of British science fiction, I wouldn’t give a monkey’s about the weather. But I’m not, so I do. Selah.

About that service interruption

So, yeah, last week. To cut a long story short: my girlfriend finished with me. She had some justification for being upset with me; whether her response was proportional to the issue in question given the prevailing circumstances of her life is something only she can judge. I’m gutted, but I’m getting on with stuff. Life’s too bloody busy to sit around and mope; I neither need nor deserve pity.

That’s about it.

Album of the week

Suitably enough, the best album I’ve heard in the last few weeks has been Mono‘s Hymn To the Immortal Wind. Go buy it.

Writing about books

In a shock turn of events, I’m well behind on review writing – I need to get finished on Reading Science Fiction (eds. James Gunn et al), but that should be in some respects less challenging than a fiction review, given that it’s supposed to be criticism of criticism. Then again, I may prove to be fooling myself there. We’ll see.

I still haven’t reviewed Cyberabad Days, either, which is second on the priority stack. And last night I finished reading Chris Beckett‘s Marcher, so I need to do a reading journal entry for that as well. If you want to read a thorough review of Marcher by someone better qualified, Niall’s Strange Horizons piece is the one you need.


It’s business as usual at the world’s foremost near-future science fiction webzine… at least as far as content rolling out of the door is concerned, anyway. I have a big list of emails that need to be sent regarding new fiction purchases for the coming months, and it’s high time I got them done.

In other news, I’m in the process of roping in a new columnist to the team, which looks like it may work out pretty well. It’ll be good to have another new voice on board. Now, have you read Tim Pratt‘s story for this month yet? No? Well, get to it – it’s short but fun.


It’s all go in on the business side of life at the moment, largely thanks to me dropping the metaphorical balls of productivity last week and scrabbling to get them airborne again. This is the major upside of not being at Eastercon, namely having a whole long weekend to get myself back up to speed (and to schedule) with a bunch of different projects and tasks. Which should, in turn, distract me from thinking about how much I’d rather be at Eastercon.[2]

Plenty of other interesting stuff on the horizon, too. Myself and Adam Wintle of Mallmus Media are putting together a two-prong pitch for a fairly prestigious local project, which will be a lot of fun to do if we land it. We’ve also been swapping experiences with different CMS packages and hosting options, and I’m now pretty much convinced that it’s time to rent myself a proper VPS or dedicated server and stop pissing around with huckster hosting companies. Which means all I have to do is choose a good vendor and learn how to do command line sysadmin tasks… anyone got any Modafinil?

But hey, I’m busy, and there’s work in the inbox. That’s something to be grateful for.

Aeroplane Attack

So, it’s our first gig in just over a fortnight, which is pretty cool. We’re pretty confident that we’ve got our set sorted and rehearsed; now all there is to worry about are the logistical challenges of crowbarring a five-piece band who have four half-stack amps and a drum kit between them into the limited space available in the actual venue… well, that and selling more tickets, of course.

But hey, you can help with the latter by buying one yourself over the magical tubes of the intermuhwebs! Three quid for three bands, one of which is a frighteningly loud reincarnation of the fuzzy melodics of nineties grunge, shoegazer and alt-rock? That’s a bargain right there, so buy one right now.

Go on.

Books and magazines seen

No fresh books in the last few weeks (or rather “no books in which I’m interested and haven’t yet already seen a different edition or binding of”), but the turn of the season means that the quarterly poetry mags are starting to arrive. So far we’ve had Obsessed With Pipework and the newly redesigned Iota… if the latter’s content has improved as much as its outer appearance, it’s going to be a real contender.

Iota poetry magazine #83-84


So, not the most gripping of FPBs, but what can I say – that’s just the way it works out sometimes, y’know? Anyway, you’re probably either at Eastercon or doing something else to enjoy the long weekend, and I’ve got stuff to do, so I’ll play the hand of mercy and shut the hell up. Have fun doing whatever it is you’re doing, and take care of yourselves. Hasta luego.

[ 1 – Like many venues nowadays, Digital uses those horrible light cans that have LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. Great for the environment (and cheaper in the long run), but they make getting a decent shot of a live band with a cheap camera a virtual impossibility. Meh. Mono look good a bit blurred, anyhow. ]

[ 2 – Yeah, like that’s gonna work. ]

Friday Photo Blogging: the bag-head blues

Well, you know musicians and their propensity for keerrrrrrazy highjinx. Somehow last Sunday (for reasons now forgotten) my bandmate Phil ended up playing some evolving little riff for about ten minutes with a tote bag[1] on his head.

Jammin' those bag-head blues

I’d like to be able to claim we were using some Eno-esque oblique strategies to come up with new ideas, but it would be more honest to confess we were mostly just mucking around…

Writing about music

We’re nearly back up to full throttle at TDP, so I’ve been writing more reviews. This year so far has seen an unprecedented number of submissions from unsigned bands, which is excellent – people getting off their arses instead of waiting for a label to come knocking is great news. However, some of them would be much better off working on their music beforehand…

Those of you among the Twitterati may have noticed that I’m now contributing #SoundBytes – 140-character album reviews – to Outshine, Jetse De Vries‘ Tweetmag. This is, incidentally, my first pro (and paid!) column of any sort, so I’m rather chuffed about it! My reviews go out every Tuesday evening (European time), so do tune in.

Jetse has managed to convince no less a luminary than Lucius Shepard for the movie reviews column on the Thursday slot; that’s one hell of a name to share a masthead with, I reckon. 🙂

Album of the week

Nothing particularly award-worthy reviewed this week (though the best of the rest would be Chickenhawk‘s eponymous début of stoner-spazzcore), so I’m going to recommend an old favourite in the form of Devin Townsend‘s Terria, one of the man’s more thoughtful solo side-project efforts. Because, sometimes, all you need is a bipolar be-skulleted Canadian guitar wizard.

Townsend seems to be one of those artists you either love or hate; I’m happy to fit into the former camp, having seen him perform live both as himself (i.e. fronting The Devin Townsend Band) and as frontman for the ridiculously heavy and unhinged Strapping Young Lad. If you’re into metal and you’ve not tried his stuff before, follow those links to Last FM and have a listen. I defy you to be indifferent.

Writing about books

Ah, the magic of procrastination! Having reached a particularly tricky bit of my Mind Over Ship review, I engaged the displacement engines and battered out a little review of Ehsin Masood’s Science & Islam, a History. In summary: decent little introductory text to a subject that’s much bigger than you may realise.

A little breathing space in the reading schedule has seen me start off on Kay Kenyon’s Bright of the Sky. Enjoying it so far, though Kenyon moves POV in mid-scene from time to time – although it’s always clearly signposted, it’s not a style I encounter often, and as such it can be a bit jarring. But so far it’s a strong story with a good premise, blending a sort of Greg Bear meets Greg Egan sf future with a science fantasy world set in the dimension next door; promises to get more interesting very quickly.


The first fortnight of freelancing has been staggeringly unglamorous, largely involving clearing down a backlog of administrivia and catching up on daily tasks disrupted by my jaunt Northwards last week. But things are limbering up, and the daily schedule is starting to look a lot more manageable as I whittle away at it all. Now, if I could just mend my sleep-deprived[2] bodyclock and get up at the same time every morning, I’d be rocking in the free world…

Now there’s a bit of temporal space, I can start on a few of those ‘someday soon’ tasks that have been sat in my Remember The Milk inbox for months… things like skinning my portfolio site and making it something more than a newly-installed honey-jar for spam-bots, f’rinstance.


I’m pretty happy with things at Futurismic at the moment. The increase in output over the last few weeks (facilitated by a new approach to pre-planning posts the day before) is showing traffic dividends already, which is great news.

My interview with Bruce Sterling went up to much less fanfare than I had hoped, but seems to have been well-received by those who read it. It’ll still stand out as a golden fanboy moment for me, though… at least until the day I get to meet Sterling in person[3].

We’ve got a new story in the purchase process, too; another sober piece, but one I think folk are going to like, so keep ’em peeled. In the meantime, Marissa Lingen‘s “Erasing the Map” is short, smart and thought-provoking, so why not take a ten-minute break and read it now, eh?

Creative writing

Oooh, look, a new FPB section! As much to keep myself informed as for the benefit of you lot, I figure I’ll keep a vague record of my non-work related writing output here as well. And as such I can report that, while story writing has not yet been achieved (thanks to the aforementioned bodyclock wreckage), I’ve probably written more poetry in the last month than I did in the preceding year. That’s not to say it’s good poetry, of course, but it feels nice to get the engines turning again, and it comes a little easier every time.

I’m wondering how much it has helped that I restarted journalling at the beginning of the year – just scribbling down an account of the day in a Moleskine before I go to sleep. It seems to have the effect of making me remember the ephemera of things a little more clearly, and enables me to map my thinking-over-time a little better.

That said, it’s all banal so far (with occasional flashes where something grabs my mind and runs off with the pen); the downside is it can reveal just how much of your time you spend doing effectively nothing. Hmm. The unexamined life, and all that.

Books and magazines seen

Another mailout from the BSFA appeared last week, including the first issue of Vector not to feature a review by me for quite some time, if memory serves. Still plenty of other good stuff in there, though, most of which (along with Focus) I have yet to read the bulk of.

The last fortnight has seen the arrival of the mass-market paperback of Iain M Banks’ Matter (bringing my total to four different editions, only the promo ARC of which has actually been read), and the final bound ARC version of Toby Litt‘s generation ship story Journey Into Space (no, I still haven’t gotten round to the spiral-bound galley they sent a while back; it’s in the TBR queue).

Genuinely new titles appearing in the last fortnight include the arrival of a new title from Icon Books (literally the day after the Science & Islam review, which felt a little spooky). This one’s a lot more beefy – Atomic: the First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb 1939-49 by Jim Baggott.

Jim Baggott - Atomic: the First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb

Looks fascinating; also looks immense (550 pages plus, medium font). So many books, so little time… a sentiment that applies equally to this week’s other new arrival in the form of a limited edition (#204 of 555) ARC of China Mieville‘s new title, The City & The City:

China Mieville - The City & The City

You can all be jealous now. The time will be found to read that book very soon, I can assure you. 🙂


So, yeah; a busy fortnight that included a four-day jag to Manchester by train (miraculously avoiding any snow-based snarl-ups), the ordering of a kick-arse new computer (which has yet to arrive – guessing on Monday) and purchasing of a second-hand Wacom Bamboo tablet (cheers, Jasper), one pub quiz, two band rehearsals, one live gig (The Confederate Dead at The Cellars in Eastney; one of our better local bands), a lot of hours at the keyboard, and a distinct lack of opportunity to sit and panic about the future. Which strikes me as a pretty decent start to this whole freelance malarkey… though it is only a start, and I need to be building up momentum sooner rather than later. Onward and upwards, eh?

Anyway, the weekend’s here and I’ve got stuff to do – and I’ll bet you have, as well. So let’s bid each other a good weekend and get to it, shall we? Yeah, why not!

Take care, folks.

[ 1 – The tote bag in question is used by our bassplayer to carry his pedal board. That’s just how rock and roll we are, yo. ]

[ 2 – The ongoing upstairs neighbour issues are, er, ongoing. ]

[ 3 – This will no doubt be a horrible melange of fawning and gibbering on my part, despite my hopes that I’d be calm, erudite and incisive. Looking at how Sterling made my emailed questions sound naive without even trying to, however, I can confidently predict that, face-to-face, he’ll make me seem (and feel) about two foot tall should the opportunity ever arise. ]

Friday Photo Blogging – shoegazers

Gah, curse this miserable season. The few moments of sunshine there have been this week have occurred when I have, perforce, had to be indoors. As a consequence I’m grumpy and my bodyclock is still wrecked… and I’ve not been out taking photos.

So here’s a group portrait of Aeroplane Attack, the band in which I make loud squalling noises with a guitar, as taken by our drummer Rusty Sheriff.

Shoes of the Shoegazers, part 65: Aeroplane Attack

That Converse sponsorship deal[1] is really working out well, despite Rusty’s insistence on rocking the Adidas. As an additional bonus, here’s the equipment with which I make the aforementioned noises:

Marshall DSL50 half-stack with stompboxes

Lovely. The temptation to deploy the thing at full volume at home in recent weeks has been difficult to suppress. Lucky for my neighbours that I’m a nice bloke at heart, eh?

Writing about music

The TDP slow-down has become a full stop, near as dammit. Waiting for a review from a friend to post early next week, and then I shall be putting up the webzine equivalent of the “Gone Fishing” sign for a week or so.

Album of the week

Not that there’s many to choose from, this week’s top pick is Satya by My Sleeping Karma. Buddha-flavoured psychedelic/stoner space-rock; music for, ah, sitting still to. Yes.

Writing about books

No sustained reviewing has been committed this week, though I’ve been taking notes on Melko‘s Singularity’s Ring (which I finished last night, as it happens).


The Pretty Big Project still awaits some final choices and finishing, so that’s on the simmer ring for now; T’other Project is proceeding slower than I’d like, principally because my brain is so damned slow at the moment that I can’t concentrate on anything properly and keep making a lot of silly mistakes as a result. Still, getting there slowly.

Lots of other little updates for other clients, too; it’s that time of year, I guess.

PS Publishing

I expect you’ve probably noticed the announcements over at PS Publishing regarding some of our plans for the company’s tenth anniversary, but I might just mention there’s more where that came from. Keep watching the skies!


Also having a bit of an unintentional slow-down over at Futurismic at the moment, partly because it’s a struggle to find anything genuinely newsworthy in amongst the OMG Ten Best [X]!!1 lists and silly season stories. But so it goes.

Books and magazines seen

Just the one incoming title of note this week, namely an ARC of Mind Over Ship by David Marusek.

David Marusek - Mind Over Ship

I went totally doolally over Marusek’s début novel Counting Heads when it came out, so I begged and pleaded with Niall to let me take this one on for Strange Horizons; Niall evidently can’t stand to witness a (theoretically) grown man debase himself in such a manner, so he caved in and got it sent over from the States. w00t!


Ludicrous how fast the week has passed, especially when compared to the productivity levels achieved… I suspect I’m partly ursine in origin, which would explain my imperative desire to curl up somewhere warm in early October and sleep through until mid-March, at which point to wake up and raise merry and energetic hell with the world in general. I have yet to find an employer sympathetic to this particular lifestyle pattern, however. Selah – at least you are spared my verbosity by the gloom, eh?

But here we are: it’s Friday, and The Allegedly Festive Season is next week. This year is almost done, and it feels like I only just started it! Still, it’s all just arbitrary temporal markers, innit? Now, I need to get some food going on before cracking on with some work… have a great weekend, girls and boys. Hasta luego!

[ 1 – No, we’re not actually sponsored by Converse. But we’d quite like to be sponsored by Mosrite, Electro Harmonix and Devi Ever. Just so you know, like. ]