Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Slightly Fewer Heroes

I went to see one of my all time musical heroes in concert tonight.
He was superb. His band was superb, the sound was superb, it was a, you guessed it, superb gig.

It was the exact type of music I used to play myself, and a genre I've always thought was about as good, musically, as it's possible to get.

I was a not that great but okay guitarist. The guy playing guitar tonight was roughly eighty thousand times better than I ever was.
The drummer was as good as I've ever heard; the bass player was verging on genius; the keyboard player found notes, chords and sounds I didn't know existed.

And the man himself, the main man, was (and is) a legend. He played the finest harmonica, the most beautiful piano and organ, and when he sang - Jesus, did he sing.

My reaction?


I don't know why, and it worries me.

Okay, it wasn't the biggest crowd I've ever seen and that affected the atmosphere. But, still. This was both a hero, and a man who had possibly the finest musicians I've ever heard on stage with him, and my honest reaction was - meh.

I was bored.

So, what does that say? Does it say something about me, or him?

It's my blog, so I'm going to go with me (I can't imagine he gives a flying fuck).

My point, if I have one, is this: A thing I thought I cared deeply about is suddenly boring, apparently. Even when the best in the business does it, it's boring. Not terrible at all, but boring.
How bloody boring must I have been when I was trying to do the same thing, but not nearly as well?

Is this a sign I've moved on? That my tastes have matured? Sadly, I don't think so. Yer man tonight is older than my dad, and he was loving it (yer man, not my dad).

Is it a sign I've clung on to things I should have let go long ago? Should I be listening to more modern music? Almost certainly. I hear that Duffy girl is very cutting edge.

So, that's how music has got me a touch disillusioned, tonight.

As for writing ...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Interview with Danny Gillan

Interview with Magdalena Ball from compulsivereader.com. I fear I may have waffled just a tad!

Interview with Danny Gillan

Shared via AddThis

Monday, June 8, 2009

Two Things

Couple of things to report, both good.

Least important first:

An anthology of short stories I'm included in has finally found its way onto Amazon etc. I mentioned it a while back, it's the one lots of people had fights over. It's called (appropriately) Short Fuses, and contains stories by some of the best writers I've never met. It's a product of the Bookshed, a writing and critiquing site with several reputations, all of them justified.

If you choose to purchase it, you'll be confronted with twenty stories that have absolutely no unifying theme other than that the people involved thought they were worthy of public consumption. We may have been wrong about that, but I don't think so. There are tragedies, romances, thrillers, comedies, literary reflections, thought provoking dramas, Sci-Fi mentalness and sexual perversions (you know who you are).

Okay, JG Ballard might have been able to do all of that in one novel but give us a break, we're new, we're still learning.

The Bookshed has fans in the writing community. It also has non-fans in the writing community. I'd go so far as to say it has people who fucking love it and thank it for saving their writing lives, and others who despise it with so much venom that they'd scare a Black Mamba with their spittle.

I joined the Shed in June of last year, and have since met so many talented writers and made genuine friends (yes, I've even met some of them in real life), that I can't help but love the place. Add to that the seriously in-depth critiques, advice and reality checks I was offered, and I can't ever be anything but positive about the place.

A schism occurred in the Shed recently, and it was a damn shame. The reason for it is still a little vague to me, to be honest, but I think I can sum it up in this way: re-read the previous paragraph. Some members viewed the first sentence as the most important, others viewed the second as being paramount. Most valued both sentiments - some only valued the second. It's possible that some only valued the first, but I doubt that - they wouldn't have got in if that had been the case.
And so, being writers and therefore inclined to reasoned argument and discourse, there was a big fight and everyone called everyone else a cunt.
Who won? No one. We all still have places to go to meet our friends. More places, indeed. But each of them contains fewer of our friends. Instead of being in one big inclusive gang, we're in several slightly smaller gangs, with crossover.

Ho hum. Luckily it's not the same as real life. In reality, we would never turn on those who'd given us a chance, who'd made it possible for us to climb out of the pile not by standing on the faces of others, but by combining forces with them, and linking arms as we made our way together to the top, the stronger at any given time offering extra help to the weaker, when and if.
Do the people who created those opportunities for us ever fuck up? Yes they do. They're human. Humans always fuck up, eventually. It's in our nature - we're idiots.
The question becomes - if all you have to choose from is idiots who know they've fucked up, or idiots who think they're right, what do you do? It's tricky, and I don't know the answer. I do know this, though (obviously this is all a bit late):

BNP - Vote for them and we're all fucked
UKIP - vote for them and we're mostly fucked
Tory - vote for them and we're also mostly fucked (especially if you ever need help from your elected officials, as opposed to making money for them)
Lib Dem - Kinda undecided, to be honest. I wish Vince Cable was my uncle (but not my dad).
Labour - Goodbye Gordon, hello hope?
SNP - still not a clue what they stand for (apart from the obvious abstract)

Anyway, where was I? How did I get on to politics? Must be drunk, I guess.
So, my message is this: Buy Short Fuses, it's really good (link to the right).

I did say there were two things I wanted to mention. This is the better of the two.

My friend is out of hospital. He's eating soup and pureed potatoes. He's getting speech therapy (apparently he's not allowed to ask for a new accent, which could have been funny), and he's feeling, if not exactly good yet, at least better.
It seems he made enemies of the nurses in his ward by cajoling the other patients into daily Scrabble competitions (with forfeits) as opposed to sleeping all day. Apparently they were due to throw the defibrillator machine through the window today and make a bid for freedom. Now he's out, we'll never know if they went through with it.