Tag Archives: CDs

Friday Photo Blogging: a year in music CDs

As should be apparent already to regular readers, I get sent a lot of CDs these days. Here are just some of them:

A year in music reviewing

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):

Not Advised - live at The Alma Arms, Portsmouth

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 — 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?”

There’s no slacking for me next week either – Monday sees me reviewing Minus The Bear, and later in the week I’m interviewing Benedict Hayes of Enochian Theory for The Dreaded Press.

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 (Hüsker Dü, 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.]

[tags]photo, albums, CDs, music, reviews, interviews, writing, bookstores, blather[/tags]

Friday Photo Plogging: anticipating guacamole

Rejoice, veterans of VCTB; for this week FPB returns to plants, its original subject of observation!


About three months ago, I’d been making homemade guacamole (which was less than successful, truth be told) when I found myself about to throw out the stone from the avocado. “Hang on a minute,” I thought to myself. “I wonder if I can grow an avocado tree from this thing?” So I turned to the mighty intarwebs (source of all knowledge, accurate or otherwise), which advised me to put the stone in a pot of compost (pointy end up), moisten the compost thoroughly, and then seal the pot in a freezer bag and leave it somewhere sunny.

Above is the result, released from it’s bag only yesterday (because I’d quite forgotten it was there at all). Whether it will survive in the non-tropical UK climate, I have no idea – but given the fact we’ve just had an April that felt more like a June, I may be able to go into business selling my homemade guacamole … if I ever get the recipe nailed. I’ve been to the avocado capital of the world, y’know; did I ever tell you that?


Sheesh. Another week flies by – but I’ve not been idle, oh no. I submitted a critique of Mike Resnick’s Starship: Pirate to SF Site. I read, took extensive notes on and reviewed Dark Space (which was rather good, as it happens), and I’ve written four CD reviews and an essay for Pennyblack. I’ve also been poking at a new project that, although unpaid and entirely voluntary, has a real creative appeal to it – and which I shall talk about more when details are forthcoming. I haven’t got as much done as I hoped I would this week, but that’s par for the course really. I’ve met all my deadlines, and that’s the unbreakable rule. The pipeline is not clogged. Yet.

But thank [insert whichever deity, physical constant or expletive you prefer] for bank holiday weekends, because I could do with some rest time away from the computer screen. That said, I have a couple of assignments to finish before Monday arrives, so it won’t be all sofa and sunshine. Plus I’m off to review the rather excellent Nine Black Alps on Sunday night – a night out of the house with some raucous guitar music included in the deal. Result.


Incoming materials are fairly thin this week, if you don’t count the CDs (which, for FPB purposes, I don’t). The May issue of F&SF has arrived, and seeing as it contains a Bacigalupi story I may be forced to cherry-pick from it at some point over the weekend.

But the real rosette of the week is the eventual arrival of something I’ve been looking forward to for almost six months:


Mwahahaha! My copy of David Marusek’s short story collection Getting to Know You! At last!

When you consider the fact that I’ve been engaged in a few email discussions recently that deplore the whole ‘limited edition’ culture of the small press scene, it could be considered an act of hypocricy on my part to have shelled out the extra for a signed and numbered copy (#15, since you asked). In my defence I’d say that, for the little extra on top of the price of a normal Subterranean hardback, the chance to possess a signed artefact from an author that you [a] would jump in front of a moving train for, and [b] will probably never get to meet in person, was a hard thing to resist. So I didn’t. Resist, I mean.

And I know I’ve previously declared my ambivalence about book cover illustrations, but I’m unashamed to say that this is a gorgeous piece of work. Just look at that thing; lovely. Plus, being a SubPress job, the book itself is made to exceptional standards. I shall be savouring the reading of it as soon as I can find a window of opportunity in which to do so.


So, there it is, ladies and gents. Another thrilling week in the life of yours truly – I admire your fortitude and constitution, that makes you able to cope with vicariously experiencing my deeds and doings without passing out or expiring from the excitement! And so, the time for that most important of weekly rituals has arrived. I don’t know if any of you also intend to have A Friday Curry*, but regardless, I hope you have a damn fine weekend. Hasta luego.

[* Just a quick Eastercon flashback, and a commentary on the nature of being vaguely known within a select sphere of interest via one’s internet activities: one of the weirdest moments of Eastercon for me occured on Friday evening. As I was stepping into a lift which was already occupied by a lady with whom I was completely unfamiliar, said lady asked me cheerfully if I’d managed to have The Friday Curry or not. It took a good thirty seconds of full-bore paranoia before I realised that she must be one of the silent subscribers to VCTB. So if you’re reading, ma’am, accept my apologies for being impolite and neither asking your name or introducing myself in return. As I’m sure you could tell, I was a little shocked at the time …]