Tag Archives: live

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: the mixing desk

I took this shot at the show I went to review on Monday; thanks to the bizarre lighting set-up at the venue, it came out far better than the shots I took of the band.

Mixing desk

Those of you who haven’t subscribed to the RSS feed yet (ahem!) can read my review of the From Autumn To Ashes set over at The Dreaded Press, of course. 🙂

Writing about music

As seen above, I reviewed From Autumn To Ashes on Monday night, and had a chat with their prodigal bass-player also. It’s nice to get out of town for shows every once in a while, but it’s a pain when the venue is only near to a local-route train station and you have to leave before the end of the night to get the last train home. 🙁

I was supposed to interview Yan from British Sea Power on Tuesday, but their drummer screwed up his back on the eve of their tour, so they were too busy rehearsing with a replacement to do interviews. So I’ll be talking to them before the show on Monday instead (which is much more convenient for me, anyway).

And on Wednesday next week I’m off to Brighton to watch the incredibly awesome Explosions In The Sky play the first date of their tour – which will be a super night out, I’m guessing.

Add to that a growing stack of CDs to review, for TDP and elsewhere, and things are bustling on the music front.

Writing about books

Polished and re-submitted my Debatable Space review.

I’m probably a mere twenty pages from the end of Swiftly, so the note-writing stage will be next.

Still haven’t gotten round to writing a Halting State review (see section above); hope to remedy that situation over this weekend.

Books and magazines seen

No new books this week, though I suspect one (or even both) of today’s “you were out” cards from the Post Office may well be book related. It’s been a busy week for magazines, though.

First of all was February’s F&SF – I honestly think they’ve failed to take my name off the list or something, because I’m sure I received and ignored a renewal note back in the autumn. But still they come. Go figure.

Obsessed With Pipework #41 appeared mid-week, which is my fresh poetry intake sorted for a while.

And then the latest BSFA mail-out arrived yesterday, so that’s one Matrix and one Vector – the latter of which contains my review of Morgan’s Black Man, if you’re interested, as well as more material of a much more erudite nature from a horde of other contributors.

Notable by its absence, naturally, is Interzone #215. Posted last Thursday, and no sign of it here*.


Right, enough ranting. I should be in a mellow place, as today has been the first of a run of days off from the day-job**.

There’s no shortage of non-day-job work to be done, though – the next week will see me attacking a pile of tasks that I’ve been meaning to do for ages.

Included are a reworking of VCTB’s theme, the basic framework of my nameplate/portfolio site, a concerted effort to get ahead of myself on the album reviews … and something else that is still currently a secret project***.


But (as the advert used to go), it’s not all work, work, work. I went for lunch with my mother today, for example. And I bought a new bed – because that, ladies and gents, is just how rock’n’roll I really am.

And hey, guess what – STILL NOT SMOKING.

Indeed, almost everything has been going extraordinarily well so far this year, albeit with one notable exception that throws the rest into sharp contrast. But hey, nobody’s perfect – not even me.

So, time for me to sign off and head out in search of The Friday Curry and leave you all to your weekend pursuits, whatever they may be. Have fun, ladies and gents – hasta luego.

[* I suppose I should cut the Post Office some slack – after all, Velcro City is a bit of a provincial backwater, what with us only having one of the major sea gateways to the continent to set us apart from any other remote one-horse hamlet … but seriously, eight days? For a magazine to travel across the birthplace of the penny post and the heart of the industrial revolution, a country that is dwarfed by  most American states? Twenty-First Century, anyone? Sheesh. ]

[** They got tired of gently reminding me that I can’t carry my entire leave allowance into the next tax year, and suggested it was high time I used some of it. The timing was opportune (I have a lot of things I need to sort out), so I took it. No day job for me until Monday 28th! w00t! ]

[*** Yeah, look at me teasing again. I’m such a tart. And it’s actually two something-elses, too. Heh. ]

[tags]friday, photo, mixing desk, audio, live, music, bookstores, magazines, blather[/tags]

Friday Photo Blogging: Minus The Bear

These chaps are from a band called Minus The Bear who I went to review on Monday – and who have now been added to my “how the hell did I avoid discovering them before?” list.

Minus The Bear live

They do a kind of super-technical post-hardcore progressive thing, but with very minimal distortion … and a lot of delay and effects, as should be obvious.

Really great stuff – go take a listen. “Knights” is a winner.

I know that’s technically a very flawed photo, but I really liked the way the one guy is motion blurred when everything else is sharp. Kinda captures the atmosphere a bit.

I still can’t get good results in colour; I think I need a faster lens or something. Still, black and white is classy.

Minus The Bear live

More photos here – advice and criticism welcome.

Writing about music

Yeah, so I reviewed a show on Monday, and it was very good indeed. This week has been mostly killing off pending deadlines before [holiday which shall remain nameless], with little in the way of published stuff – I think it’s being held back for the next few weeks.

Editors are sensible people*.

Writing about books

No concrete work in the LitCrit department, I’m afraid.

I’m currently reading M. John Harrison’s Light and applying post-it notes to pages in my usual fashion, but I don’t think I stand a chance of even scratching the surface of it in a review.

Reading Light is like being a rainforest dweller dumped into the middle of New York – you know it’s an awesome work of genius, but it’s completely beyond you describe the individual functional parts and explain how it all fits together.

Also in the process of compiling the inevitable “best books of 2007” pieces for various outlets, which is why I probably won’t bother posting one on VCTB – there’ll be one in Vector, one on Strange Horizons and one in Interzone (plus a simple list at SF Site), if you’re really curious about my opinions.

Speaking of SF Site, my review of Adam Roberts’ Headless went live over there. Doctor Roberts seems to be quite happy with it (but then you can never be sure – it’s the clever way he writes, you see).

Writing about other stuff

Zip. Still faffing about learning web-dev stuff like PHP, trying to dredge up my memories of object-orientated programming from my teens.

Programming is just like riding a bike – you never entirely forget how it’s done, but if you leave it in the shed for years it gets horribly rusty and looks very dated and clunky compared to everyone else’s**.

Books and magazines seen

No magazines this week. But in magazine-related news, you may well be aware that you can now get Interzone electronically from Fictionwise – I may well give that a try once my paper sub runs out.

Last week’s red-card parcel delivery was (as I suspected) an Orbit item, and one that looks rather interesting:

Cover art for Philip Palmer's Debatable Space

So that’s going on holiday with me in the coming week; I think it deserves a crack of the whip.

It certainly looks more promising than the plentiful vampire-boffing stuff (another of which arrived this week, in the company of a brace of fantasies).


Blimey, the year is almost over. I’ll refrain from musing and sentiment – partly because I’m not good at sentiment, and partly because there’s stuff I need to get done this evening so I can trundle off up north for a few days.

I will say this, though – I’m not a fan of [unnamed holiday] myself, but nor am I a humbug. So I hope that all of you have whatever sort of winter-centric festival and celebration it is you like best, in the company of people you care about and doing things you like doing.

But I bet you all envy me – I get to celebrate tomorrow’s solstice by spending ten hours on a coach! Yeah, beeyotches; you see me rollin’ – you hatin’.

But like I say, there are things to be done – not least of which being the observation of my own personal religious ritual, namely the procurement and consumption of The (Festive) Friday Curry. But first, I’d better go collect my laundry …

Have a good holiday, ladies and gents.

[* There’s a lesson for me in there.]

[** In case you’re interested, I offer services in metaphor mangling and analogy overextension at extremely reasonable rates.]

[tags]friday, photo, Minus The Bear, band, gig, live, writing, music, books, blather[/tags]

Friday Photo Blogging: Hundred Reasons

You lucky people – more live music photography! Which would probably be a more exciting prospect were I getting any better at it … still, here’s singer Colin from post-hardcore stalwarts Hundred Reasons doing his thing on stage at Southampton Guildhall last night:

Hundred Reasons live

In my defence, a much more experienced photographer friend who was at the same show was bemoaning the photography-unfriendly lighting set-up, so the small number of even vaguely usable shots I managed to get may not entirely be down to my lack of skill and low-end camera. Selah.

Writing about music

Last night’s show was one of two I attended to review this week, the other being the first night of The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster’s latest national jaunt.

That is the first live review to go up on The Dreaded Press (which, naturally, you’ve all bookmarked and subscribed to by now); last night’s review and interview were commissioned for another site, so they won’t appear for a little while yet.

However, you can read my review of Oceansize’s show at the Wedgewood Rooms … which was a lot of fun to write, as they’re one of my favourite bands, which means I get to wax lyrical about them. Go read it. Then go buy their latest album, Frames – because it’s quite simply awesome.

The after-effects of the postal strike continue to make themselves felt – I’m still waiting on a batch of promos posted last Monday. Given the fact that I’ve received a number of items posted long after that date, it’s now being considered effectively lost. Because of the short lead times on review publication, they’ll be of little use if they turn up now.

And it’s not as if I don’t have plenty of other things to be getting on with. I’m slowly convincing PR companies to add The Dreaded Press to their mailing lists, which means there’ll be no shortage of things for me to review, albeit on a schedule more under my own control.

Writing about books

To my shame, no progress in this respect – the Brasyl piece is still in note form at the moment. I meant to get to work on it yesterday, but circumstances conspired against me, despite having booked the day off work …

Futurismic haxxor crisis OMFG!!1

The circumstances in question being what initially appeared to be a serious hacking of the Futurismic servers. An email from one of my blogging team alerted me to the fact that Futurismic‘s front page had been replaced by the site of a mortgage broker from Connecticut, which was my cue to launch a series of panicked emails and customer support tickets in a number of directions.

Fortunately, it was actually the result of a file-structure collapse on the hosting service machine where Futurismic resides, meaning that all was not lost, and everything is back to normal again. The moral of the story being: TAKE BACKUPS.

No one had done a Futurismic backup in a looong time, and if it had been a hack rather than a server fault, we’d be flat out of luck right now. I backup my own sites quite regularly, so now I just need to add Futurismic to the list. Fifteen minutes a week for peace of mind? Small price to pay, I’m thinking.

So, all that fluster chewed up a good four hours of my day – the four hours that were going to be devoted to working on the Brasyl review and cobbling together a piece of Friday Flash. Hence the continuing absence of either … I’m most annoyed with missing two Triple-Fs in a row, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it because that would be remarkably unproductive. There’s always next week.

Books and magazines seen

A sudden flurry of material from the gang at Orbit has appeared over the last week. Regrettably (from my point of view, at least) it’s all schlock horror vampire sex novels or fat fantasy doorstops, and so falls beyond my remit.

It does serve as a reminder for that statistic that gets mentioned so frequently – for every sf novel published, five to ten fantasy and horror titles roll out of the door. I console myself with the fact that this means I belong to a small and elite consumer demographic. Or something.

So this week’s only notable arrival is the latest F&SF (December 2k7) – which came as somewhat of a shock, because I thought my subscription had expired already.

I lose track of these things too easily, which is another reason I’ll be buying magazines electronically where possible from now on. If it’s in my Gmail archives, it can be considered a traceable fact. Anything else is pure conjecture on my part.


The ridiculous accelerating pace of my life seems to show no sign of abating. – though most of the minutia are not worth reporting here (unlike the stuff I do report – which is, you know, fascinating stuff that you couldn’t live without hearing about).

It is my sincere hope that less impediments to progress will manifest over the next few weeks, and I can get back on top of my task mountain and start posting about science fiction a little more often. Place your bets. 😉

Still, now is not the time for worrying – for the weekend has arrived, bringing with it the appointed time for The Friday Curry Of Legend, Justice And Great Righteousness, and the opportunity for getting out of the house without having to take a pen, notepad, voice recorder and camera with me. An opportunity which I may just have to take, in fact.

So, enjoy your weekend, ladies and gents. Hasta luego, amigos.

[tags]Friday, Photo, HundredReasons, live, music, gig, writing, blather[/tags]