Tag Archives: post-rock

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:

Mono

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.

Futurismic

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.

Freelance

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

Coda

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: iLiKETRAiNS, live in Southampton

A little live music action for this week’s FPB. This is a shot of the superb band iLiKETRAiNS in action at the Joiners Arms in Southampton on 13th September (last night):

iLiKETRAiNS live at The Joiners Arms, Southampton

Suffice to say they’re far better musicians than I am a photographer. The demands of shooting live music are many, and I’m still fumbling around at the bottom of the learning curve. I have, at least, discovered that an excess of red stage lighting is best dealt with by taking shots in black and white … which is quite apropos for iLiKETRAiNS, although given their propensity for writing songs about historical characters and events, sepia-tint would probably be even better.

Added bonus plant blogging! – after waking up grumpy on Monday morning, I decided some retail therapy was in order. When I do retail therapy, I don’t go and buy shoes or clothes (two activities which, far from cheering me up, tend to stress me out even more). Oh, no. I buy plants. So here are the new additions to my extensive cactus orchard:

What's the collective noun for a number of cacti?

I love cacti (Freudian analysts, don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out, please). They come in so many different forms, and they’re such an elegant solution to the environment in which they evolved. The hairy one is just brilliant. I mean, what the hell is it hairy for? Some sort of moisture retention, I assume. Research is required …

Stuff I’ve been doing – mostly music related

Well, you already know what I was doing last night, namely interviewing and reviewing iLiKETRAiNS (lovely bunch of well-spoken young blokes, and they make astonishingly good music). Go check them out on MySpace. It was a great night out; the Joiners is a superb venue if you’re a fan of the more obscure bands, because it’s just the right size to give a really intimate feel to the shows.

That said, it’s a bit too intimate when the shows are sell-outs, but last night there was a merciful abundance of elbow-rooom – probably not such good news for the bands themselves, but much easier on the audience.

The support act, Lisa Lindley-Jones (beware: Flash-based website), was quite something as well, a sort of post-folk singer-songstress, delicate voice and clever songs. I’ll link to the review and interview in a daily link-dump once they go live (should be within a few weeks).

This was a two-gig week; Wednesday saw me down at The Wedgewood Rooms for the long-awaited return of local heroes Little London, back with a new line-up and some new songs. If you like your rock and roll fast, sweaty and drenched in whisky, you should give them a listen – though in the spirit of transparency that I maintain here at VCTB, I should make the point that I know the band members quite well, and Dev the frontman has been a friend for a number of years.

But hey, I know enough about music to see past my personal biases. I’d like Little London even if they weren’t my friends. Maybe you will too – why not give them a listen? Friday night music at its best, I assure you. Play it loud.

Apart from some snarky product blurbs for the website of Dress Code, a local alternative clothing store, this week’s writing has been almost entirely music related. The highlight was delivering my review of the forthcoming Oceansize album, Frames … though it was tricky to write. I find the same applies to book reviews – the ones you like best are the hardest to review, because the burden of justifying your subjective enthusiasm is that much heavier. Still, I can think of worse chores!

And just to cap off with the most rock and roll thing of all – I filed my first ever tax return! Go me! (Though this would be significantly more impressive had I actually had any freelance business figures to put in it … next year promises to be far more, er, entertaining.)

Books and magazines seen

It turns out my last copy of Locus wasn’t my last copy of Locus after all, but I’m assuming the one that arrived this week (September 2007) definitely is.

A bunch of stuff turned up from Orbit, most of which looks to be not my cup of tea (Laurell K Hamilton, NO-thank-you-very-much), but Jeff Somers’ Electric Church has been getting some good reviews, and has an interesting sounding premise, so that’s been added to the “provisionally-to-be-read-when-some-time-appears-out-of-nowhere-maybe” pile. Good bold cover art, also; reminds me of the Sin City graphic novel covers:

Cover art for Electric Church by Jeff Somers

Coda

Another week drives through Velcro City at a breakneck pace – I can say with certainty that I rarely have the time to be bored these days, and that can only be a good thing. And here comes the weekend – which, having been making the effort to work hard during the week, shouldn’t demand too much writing time from me.

Of course, that said, the reviews for the next issue of Interzone are starting to trickle in, and I have a few applications from would-be bloggers for Futurismic to read through … ah, well, it’s all good. Keeps me off the streets and out of trouble!

So, time for The Friday Curry Of Legendary Justice. I hope you all have a good weekend; adios!