Thursday, 20 December 2012

Fearful symmetry



at just before quarter past 12 in the am, on Thursday the 20th December, I finished reading Life of Pi

Not bad going considering i only started reading it in early December, not so great considering I bought the book from a charity shop at least two years ago, and not so great considering it won the man booker prize in 2002, so must be at least ten years old by now

But I had promised myself that I would read it before the film came out, (with a UK release date of the 20th, yep, that's today, I reckon that it's fair to count that as a win on y part) although as I started seeing a few more trailers for the film, I couldn't help but think that it looked a bit dull...

yet, I decided to go ahead and read it, regardless of whether the film appealed or not

and it was a fascinating read! to a point. to an almost specific and exact point.



the book lays out a lot of background, life in India, growing up at a zoo, building identity and finding three different religions.

and it was almost just as good when we are castaway with Pi, aboard a life boat with a Bengal Tiger and a handful of other Pondicherry Zoo survivors, although this was only entertaining to a point, to the point at which you wonder where else the story can actually go.

and then it goes slightly surreal, firstly delirious, then verging on sci-fi, and then just rather odd as it cannonballs towards the almost unsatisfying end.

and I'm still unsure whether I still wanna bother seeing it or not, although now I am slightly more curious to see what has and what has not made it into the film from the book

and all the reviews I have heard so far have unanimously agreed that the film is visually amazing, which it very well may be with special effects at their peak, but is the film any good??!....

Friday, 14 December 2012

ice, ice, baby...

well this is it, my very first foreign blog post.

I'll keep this brief, since a holiday is more about experiencing it and enjoying it than it is about informing everybody about just how much you are experiencing and enjoying yourself.

(although you can follow a few select observations on my twitterfeed and Instagram profile)

Reykjavik is a beautiful place, an inspiring place, a place where my apartment has both views of the mountains and of the sea, a place where almost every shop is creatively thrown together in a wonderfully warm and rustic way, and if I spent more time in my apartment than I did out, then I may have found some time to create a little icelandic inspired soundscape.



even if I don't create anything while I am here, I have taken advantage of one of the many wifi hotspots and captured a field recording while sat in a cosy coffee shop while sipping a swiss mocha, that I intend to incorporate into something sometime.

so instead of tuning into Facebook and caring what other people are up to far away from where I am, and instead of keep tap tapping away at my apple gizmo I may pour another blackcurrant vodka and fire up garage band, or I may just go practise my pool skills on the free table down the hall....

(photo courtesy of my girlfriend's facebook)

Monday, 10 December 2012

honest opinions

'I gave a listen to your christmas song'

..........

'It's bloody depressing, I couldn't listen to the whole thing, I had to turn it off!'

so said a former work colleagues husband as we all met up for a pre-Xmas drink together, and despite it not being the most positive review of it, I was more concerned with the very first part of his statement, 'I gave a listen to your christmas song'.

regardless of what he actually thought of it, I'm bloody glad that someone took a little time out of their day to give it a listen, even a truncated listen.



what higher compliment is there than provoking a reaction? I'm well aware that not everyone will find my music accessible, and I hope for those that do, that the experience is all the more rewarding, to embrace music that others have shunned for the sake of it not being the 'traditional' take on music.

when reviewing music for glasswerk, I would much rather feel compelled to hate a track, and form a vehement opinion against it, rather than having it pass me by, if I can't love music I would much rather acknowledge it's existence as opposed to not caring enough to notice it.

and truthfully, despite proclaiming that my festive effort may lead you to slit your wrists (hopefully not, although my girlfriend did once label me with the unique genre of 'soft suicidal'), he did sit back and say, 'well, at least I've listened to it....'


and for that I thank you!


www.xmas.com Hunchbakk - www.xmas.com

Monday, 3 December 2012

happy cyber monday!!

you heard the news, right?

that it was 'cyber monday' today? the name given to what is reportedly the busiest online shopping day of the year...

of course, the cynical part of me believes that this is part of a plot to harness the media to do the dirty work of online retailers and boost sales amongst all those that had so far been dithering over what they shall be ordering over the net, just a little push to remind them to part with their cash on an all important day like today... and of course we believe the hype and swallow the news down with a sip of mulled wine

and how strangely apt that this morning, as my journey to work began, too uninspired to choose what to listen to for myself, I set my generic MP3 player to shuffle and lo and behold, the second track spewed out by the machine's random mind was my very own jingle bell laden Christmas track, www.xmas.com

I had only been considering the track earlier as I heard the 'news', feeling that the opening line was extremely appropriate in the circumstances...


so, if you have blown the budget today and saddled yourself with some wonderfully festive debt to be faced in the new year, then rejoice, as my song costs absolutely nothing... and will remain free every December for as long as it seems viable to do so..

basically, until hmv or amazon decide to license the song for an advertising campaign and the prospect of repeat royalties every year finally flows my way

But until then, join in if you know the words...

'www. amazon and hmv, that's what christmas means to me'


www.xmas.com Hunchbakk - www.xmas.com


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Sound Art Experiment number 10

bloody hell!

well, according to my soundcloud profile, it has been 7 whole months since i graced you good people with any new music, and over a year has passed since the last SoundArt was completed.

considering that the SoundArt project was supposed to be completed within just one year, twelve tracks, one a month since december 2008, this is extremely bad form on my part...

regardless, it is here now, and it almost wasn't here now since i had considered mucking around with it a little longer, but enough is enough, it is ready (to some degree) and therefore i saw fit to debut it over at the byford family blog along with our other creative outputs




when i was given the artwork to create a track for, i originally intended to compose it in the ipad that i had not yet purchased yet had been planning to as soon as the latest model launched, i think it may eventually been march when they finally chose to launch the new model, and then a handful more weeks until i got hold of it, and then a few months where i pretty much messed aroud with it and read comics off it and only glanced at the music apps once in a while to make a little bit of noise and then return to facebook or twitter

the plan was that the ipad would be my idea station, a one stop shop where i could plot out and compose my music and elevate myself to the level of Labrynth and Calvin Harris, heck, things ain't over yet, but so far... so quiet

and yes, the SoundArt that i thought would be composed entirely on an ipad turned out to be an entirely different first for me, it certainly was entirely mixed on an ipad, but only the violin sound that opens the track is courtesy of garageband, the rest is entirely me, albeit recorded into garageband and then manipulated

it is infact the first track that i have ever composed on guitar (yes, i realise it is probably out of tune), played by myself, with lyrics written by myself, and consequently sung by myself (not very well, hence the massive amount of effects layered upon it) and although i originally believed 'Teenaging' to be my first ever song, and although i sung on my cover of the xx's 'VCR' i think i may actually have to retroactivelly adjust my own history to consider SoundArt10 my first ever song, heck, it features me playin three chords on a guitar, so it's gotta be.... right

good!



the first thought when i saw the art provided by my brother was to write something poetic on needing a sidekick, and from there the idea developed to be influenced by that famous little bit of writing about God and the footsteps in the sand, and then went on to be something slightly less religious, yet remaining completely true to my original inspirations depending on how you choose to hear it

and here it is, to hear, whether there is someone by your side or not.....

Monday, 22 October 2012

Saul searching, part three



much like the sold out spoken word set at Bardens Boudoir, Saul Williams gigs tend to be the type of things that you find out about too late to actually be able to get a ticket, on numerous occasions I have been left in the dark and left ticketless when Saul comes to town.

to date, there has only been one time that I have witnessed a Saul Williams gig.

promoting the 'honesty box' style released Niggy Tardust album, Saul Williams swang by the Scala in Kings Cross, resplendent in coloured feathers nestling in his hair like an Indian head-dress, glittering and face painted, like a black Bowie beamed to the U.S of A via Mars.

I had played the new album over and over, and the force of nature that blasted through Kings Cross prompted me to further into his back catalogue, and follow the motions and movements of the man they called Black Stacey, and yet still I found myself hearing about gigs in the years since always too late.

I think after his stint at Cargo, supported by Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip that I had not caught wind of until the night itself that I figured following Saul Williams on twitter may be sensible.

and via twitter Saul William spread word of a new project of his, a literary project, a literary mixtape that he would be looking for contributors to.

that literary mixtape is now published, with my own poetry included.

and that was a strange journey, through drum and bass tracks and minidisc recordings and missed gigs and odes to alcoholic spirits that has lead to the point I am at today.

did it require three rambling blog posts, who knows.

did it take three rambling blog posts, yes.

will normal service be resumed now....


what counts as normal around here?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

the recording studio

working on the next installment in the much delayed SoundArt series, that is thankfully now taking shape and hopefully shouldn't keep you waiting too much longer


originally shared on Byford365

Posted via DraftCraft app

Saul searching, part two


read part one of Saul searching here


finally, the Internet age was upon us, and was integral in the shaping of musical scenes, new music was now just a click away on MySpace and it was possible to connect directly with an audience.

one of my many, many, many musical discoveries was an Oxford based band called This Town Needs Guns (and yes, it is true, I often did choose who to listen to based on how entertained I was by their name) whose 7” vinyl I bought and whose t-shirt I still wear.

it was via a MySpace bulletin that I found out that This Town Needs Guns would be supporting Saul Williams at a spoken word set at Bardens Boudoir in Stoke Newington and I was full of excitement as me and my best friend that I had dragged along descended into the decadent basement venue, grabbing a loose flyer as we paid our entry fees on the way in.



we watched a couple of rather oddball acts, one involving fast forwarding and rewinding a dictaphone, both very unique, I looked at the flyer and presumed that one of them must have been Cats And Cats And Cats, perhaps I'd check out their myspace... but I wasn't sure who the other guys had been... and then the crippling truth hit me, and hurt me, that we were actually a day late for the Saul Williams date.

I felt pretty stupid, and bloody disappointed, and I cursed myself for not even being stupid enough to have been a day early, at least that way I could still come back the next day, but until I finally invent my time machine I'm just gonna have to live with my silly mistake.

thankfully our paths would cross later in life, and I would actually turn up on the right day for a Saul Williams gig, but who would have thought that missing Saul William's evening of poetry so narrowly, I would be included in his poetry anthology and actually be invited to join him on stage as his latest spoken word tour hits the road.

(except so far it has only hit the United States, I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed for an English tour)

Monday, 8 October 2012

Saul searching.... part one




so what has lead me to the point that I am at today?

it certainly is a strange and twisted journey.

I guess it starts with xfm maybe? possibly The Remix show? I can't really remember now

but I heard Krust's Coded Language and it was like nothing else I had ever heard, a high tempo piece of warped industrial electronica that appealed to my tastes for music to be a little different, to challenge my expectations of what music could be, and all of this was heightened by the commanding VCR performance that graced the track.

it was poetry like I had never ever heard it before, a delivery that wasn't quite rapping, and it was this inclusion of spoken word overlaid atop a pulsing breakbeat that blew my mind.

I presume I must have picked up the single from one of a number of nonexistent record shops that had previously flourished in central London, it would go on to feature on the first ever (poorly) mixed DJ set that I ever recorded alongside my other left field musical choices and Coded Language remains a benchmark moment in my love of music, arriving at a time when I was straying from the mainstream and working harder to find what I truly loved.



my next experience of Saul Williams was purely accidental, as my taste for the more obscure, delving into up and coming music, led me to record Steve Lamacq's 'Lamaqc Live' on a Monday night and then listen back to it on my minidisc player (yes, minidisc player) on my journeys to and from work... Saul was not featured on this show, but as I would set my stereo to over run (a trick I had learnt from my mum when he wildest the video to record something off the telly) I had caught a little of Mary Ann Hobb's even further out there Breezeblock show, on which Saul would be appearing as Mary Ann Hobb's sung his praises, talking of his slam poetry.

this was a time when I did not have proper Internet access (we really are getting quite throwback here, with music stores, minidiscs, vcrs and lack of Internet) so to hear the name Saul Williams again was a revelation to me, it was a name I had not forgotten, and a name I was eager to hear more from....

but it would be a few years until the name would once again present itself to me....



ok, before this tale gets too tall, I have decided to split it down the middle for the sake of those with short attention spans....

Sunday, 30 September 2012

reciting faithful chorus



this is certainly a rather momentous occasion for me.

ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls...

in the ever so changeable month of September, in the year of somebody's Lord, two thousand and twelve, a book of poetry was published.

a book that features the work of 100 poets, chosen by Saul Williams.

and in this book, on page 127, is a piece of poetry written by my good self.

.............


it is still strange and slightly dizzying to consider this, that my words are actually appearing in an actual, proper published book

a book that is available on Amazon, and at the time of writing only has one copy in stock (so it appears that people are definitely buying it)

a book that is published by MTV books, via Simon & Schuster (pretty big time if you ask me)

a book that was headed up by Saul Williams, a man that is an absolute inspiration to me in terms of his words and his music, and perhaps this is what makes me feel proudest of all.


Saul had made his intentions clear, via the big bad world wide web, that he was going to create a literary mixtape, that anybody's voice could be a part of, he would take submitted poetry to craft one long collaborative poem, so I picked through the handful of poems of my own that have stuck in my mind as being something like my favourites and then had to give careful consideration to what would be the one sole poem I would submit, I chose The Whiskey Trail

it is a poem that dates a while back, it is a poem that I once performed at an open mic night in Chingford if my memory serves me correctly, and it is a poem that I can still pretty much remember word for word if really pushed to do so, and if it stuck in my own mind, why should it not stick, or at least lodge itself temporarily in the minds of others....

I could not possibly comment on the creative process of selecting a fraction of poems from those that had come pouring in for the consideration of Saul Williams, I know that he was certainly not alone in this Herculean task, but I do know that at some point, for some reason, my words were chosen by a man that I have a lot of respect and love for.

and I am certainly in good company, 99 others, Saul himself included have contributed to a New Testament of New Voices, and it will be read the world over.

I know that the Internet can reach far and wide, that my blog has been to countries that I have never even set foot in, but to be published in a book that will be read the world over is just such a massive milestone for myself, because it is a book... a solid physical piece of created art that can be held and cherished and will sit in people's homes... I love the fact that I have been published in a book, cos I'm old skool like that.

from my bedroom at mum's house in Enfield, to a small bar on a Thursday night in Chingford, to the world....

my Whiskey Trail has taken me places I never believed it would, thank you Saul.



.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Am I destroying the music industry?




within a matter of hours I have sourced around two and a half hours worth of music from blogs and then set about creating a cohesive playlist for burning onto CD (if only my girlfriend's car still had a CD player instead of the current tape deck and slim choice of Phil Collins, Chris De Burgh and Disney cassettes).

It is an 80 minute masterpiece that runs the gauntlet of folktronica, unexpected cover versions, codeine hip-hop, bootlegs and a smattering of other down-tempo hybrid genres.

and I did not pay a penny for any of it.

this is the strength of the music blog, with it's ability to expose multitudes of people to brand new talent through tidbits and tasters offered up free of charge.

and in this strange no-mans-land that the music industry has found itself in, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell if this is the right thing to do or not

for all of the success of iTunes, it seems to me that we are still living in the shadow of napster, and the uncertain value of music to many people

ham-fistedly stealing whole albums and back catalogues via torrents still seems wrong to me, and in my old fashioned way, I would much rather pay for a physical product if I feel the music is worth it, yet releases and remixes by smaller artists seem to be worthless

there seems to be a number of reasons for this, firstly may be my placing in the music business as an occasional critic and journalist, unwilling to offer up my opinion on music unless it has been provided to me gratis, and as an unpaid journalist, so should it be... if they want the exposure provided by me, then the music should be my pay-off and my reward.

secondly is the uncertainty of the musical landscape, where some artists and labels have seen the changing tides and decided to swim with the current, providing music for free if it means that artists and songs reach the right blogs and the right people, before crossing over into the paying mainstream, yet how can we be certain which free mp3s have been co-erced and given the blessing by the sanctioned provider, and how many blogs are just towing the line that music is free and effectively stealing from the creator.

and so it is that I seem willing to exchange currency for the upcoming Muse album, a major label release from an already established band, and yet paying for the wares of far smaller artists seems to be somewhat unjustified, as if their art is worth less.

the music business is still clearly in a state of flux, as almighty majors now suffer and new ways and mean of reaching an audience and turning a profit are still being tried and tested in the wake of file-sharing.

so am I getting my own personal views on paying for music the wrong way round?

am I destroying the music industry?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Time capsule

my holiday read was Skagboys by Irvine Welsh, the wholly unnecessary prequel to Trainspotting which is likely to be soon coming on my ever-expanding, never-ending reading list

and since my girlfriend has left me home alone to go and see a deity's feet I decide to indulge myself with a glass of whisky and coke, central heating on and candles lit as winter draws ever nearer and play Danny Boyle's Trainspotting on the projector

and it takes me back, it is a sign of it's times, of course the music is pivotal to the movie and the soundtrack pinpoints a specific musical and cultural movement that was the halcyon days of 'cool britannia'

but further than than, with passing time and retrospect, I can see Trainspotting as a time capsule, preserving the past for future generations, showing them what once was

smoking in pubs and clubs is a strange one, it seems to be reserved for fiction, even when I see old photos of nights out and friends with fags in hands or mouths, it seems bizarre to me, it seems prehistoric.. do you remember when a night out meant coming home stinking of cigarettes, even if you didn't smoke? when jeans worn the previous evening in a pub needed to go straight in the wash in order to cleanse them of that nicotine stank?

and do you remember when trafalger square was more famous for it's hordes of pigeons than it was for nelson's column? the carpet of grey birds that spread across the landmark sight, the keen business men selling feed and always that one person that would have pigeons resting upon his person as everyone watched and took photos... that too is gone, consigned to the history books and mere memories

but the one thing that truly stood out for me, the one thing above all others that rang the bell of nostalgia as I sat in my cosy home in the future, in the year 2012, watching the 1996 film set in the late 1980s, was the fact that Renton and Spud were chased down after chorring from a John Menzies store

and I think of the John Menzies in Waltham Cross, and how I used to use up pads of lined A4 paper from John Menzies, and how easily it has been surpassed in my mind by the usurping W.H.Smiths

and sometimes it is strange to think of how things were, how they use to be, and how part of growing, and living, and choosing life means that we leave these things behind us



.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

filling in the gaps




some days are a long time coming

there isn't much to mark today out from many other days, I suppose it is my third day in a row off work, I suppose I did shave my facial hair into a rather natty looking handlebar moustache on Saturday, neither, or perhaps both of these have impacted on a welcome, brief spat of creativity

coming up in the next few days is the second anniversary of my home, and tho a number of decorative duties have still alluded me, it has spurred me on to fill in a few gaps off the back of the good feeling that visited me this afternoon


I'd had an idea or two gestating, and they returned to me as I cycled home, as I made my lunch I jotted down the first line, and then the next, and the ideas kept flowing, I moved not the garden after my sandwich was no more and probed at my recent recall for that other idea, and it spilled forth as I tap-tapped at the screen of my gizmo

theses were to be a couple of tracks that I hope to work on soon, so I quickly opened up garageband, improvised a couple of string parts that may need editing, and felt content

I relaxed with a beer in a sunny patch of grass with my bean bag, I tapped away again, this time briefer than the others, and then wondered if it really needed expanding on, as I reclined in the garden, surrounded by the chaotic plantlife that nature has wreaked havoc with this year, I noticed that a butternut squash or two seems to be growing, after I had given up hope on it in the never ending battle against the slugs and snails

with enough day still ahead of me after sinking my pint, I then took myself indoors, with birthday celebrations imminent and a geek room that is gathering pace, I decided something should be done to bring the decoration nearer to completion

it must be a year now since I asked my girlfriend to contribute a few pictures or photos to be framed on the stairs, and bar a single postcard of Krishna she hasn't, and since it has probably been a year since I last added a few myself, I decided to dig out the frames and expand the gallery further up the stairs to help us see in a second year together

a little further up the stairs I intend to hang the art my dad created of our house, not long after we moved in, and also the Jack Nicholson/Joker print I bought in Camden before we even bought the house, and the flyers of various gigs and club nights we have frequented that I have been collecting

it will probably take a while, you can't always force these ideas, but at least I have had today to help fill in the gaps

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bam! Ka-pow! Pop!


so it has been nearly three weeks since i saw The Dark Knight Rises, and to be honest, it is nearly all that i think about all of the time

perhaps that sounds a little sad, but it was certainly a well crafted movie that really upped the stakes in terms of what is expected of films, superhero movies and trilogies in general

thankfully, there are wonderful things in this digital age that can borrow from pop-culture, mash it up and spit back out something smart and spot on

such as The Dark Knight Rises synopsis summed up pretty neatly to the tune of Carly Rae Jepson's uberhit, Call Me Maybe

i beg of you, i plead of you, if you have not seen the movie yet, please hold out and do not watch this vid!

you have been warned

*MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILERS*



Monday, 13 August 2012

save me



#firstworldproblems

one of my favourite twitter hashtags, detailing the hardships in life that many of us have to deal with in developed counties

my own contributions have included jabbing non-touchscreen devices in confusion and the glare from sunshine making it difficult to read my gizmo in the garden

and now I have a new pet peeve to add to this list, for today I am suffering a great loss...

today I lost the preferences I had been building up on Zite

for those that do not know of Zite, it is like a magical oracle that gathers suitable reading material from all over the interwebnets, basing it's selection on tags that you approve, websites that you favour or block, and simply choosing whether you like or disliked an article you have just read.

in its early days it may throw up plenty of crap that you have no real interest in, and it is your prerogative to exclaim your disdain in such useless information, but given time it will adapt to your tastes and very rarely throw up a dud, ever

mine almost always displayed plenty of comic and superhero news, a smattering of music and film, with a side portion of interior design.

so of course I would want this tailor made reading experience to also be present on my sinister phone

I'll just download the app, sign into my profile and the magic will now also be in my pocket all of the time.

except it seems that I have never actually activated a saved profile, and in my haste to sign up and register my perfect fit Zite, I seem to have deleted all that I once held dear

and now I am back where I started months ago, mercilessly dipping in and out of articles in order to express my likes and dislikes and to block anything vaguely political or too America focused.

while there are clearly bigger issues facing the world right now, this is my own personal current crisis and my latest first world problem.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

was it worth the weight?



i may or may not have mentioned previously that I have had to frustratingly wait to see The Dark Knight Rises (ok, that is a downright lie, I know I've mentioned it)

and I know that I have previously mentioned what the weight of expectation can do, and how crushing it can be.

(and I think my brother wood appreciate the use of a homophone in the post title)

and since I shared my opinions on Batman Begins to quite a good response, I guess I should take a critical look at The Dark Knight Rises too.

*WARNING PEOPLE -I dare say there may be a few spoilers ahead*

the first thing that struck me about the movie was Bane's voice.

I hated it.

some bizarre autotuned English aristocratic accent that instantly got my back up, I found it incredibly jarring, more-so than Bale's overly gravelly Batman tones on Dark Knight.

I wanted to get up and run away, I didn't know if I could really cope with it.

the Bane I have always imagined was probably greatest informed by the BBC Knightfall radio play, or possibly by my own imagination, and his origin going back to the fictional Santa Prisca in Latin America

Tom Hardy certainly looked imposing, but the voice was preposterous.

of course I didn't turn and flee from the IMAX, even if I hated every moment of the film I would have still sat there and just bitched about how retarded the whole thing was afterwards.

and it was the next scene that really brought the film into focus for me, Bruce Wayne hasn't been living his life as a billionaire playboy in the eight year gap between films, he has been living as a recluse.

And nor is this just a ploy to allow his night time activities to go unnoticed by Wayne's peers and colleagues, Batman has not been seen for eight years either.

I believed that the intervening years would be filled with outlawed heroics as the Dark Knight fought to stay ahead of the cops that would be hunting him down, I believed Batman would still be lurking in the shadows, that there were stories to be told that filled the gaps, that a rogues gallery would have developed over the time that we have not been a witness to.

But this was not the case.

and that was when I realised that this Batman truly belongs to Christopher Nolan, in my opinion piece on Batman Begins I noted the flaws, the inconsistencies that I wished to have seem carried forward from the comics.

but these Batman myths have been raided and then almost wholly disregarded to build a completely new world and a completely new legend.

'my' Batman would not have disappeared for eight years, 'my' Batman would not have given up so easily, but this is Nolan's Batman, and this is Nolan's Bane, funny voice included.

and Nolan's Batman certainly deserves high regard, as the trilogy ties together well and presents a complete story.

The weakness that took Batman to breaking point in Knightfall, the mass breakout of Arkham that had already been pilfered and incorporated into Batman Begins, is instead substituted for eight years of losing his edge, losing everything he had become.

The legend of Rās al Ghūl comes full circle, as do his wishes for the fate of Gotham that I felt was not fully delivered on in Batman Begins, in a far more epic and far more disastrous fashion.

sure the film wasn't perfect, but what film is? even the regarded pinnacle of the trilogy, The Dark Knight, has a number of stumbling points that can be easily exposed if analysed.

but the fact that Nolan made a concluding chapter that didn't let me down is admirable, that he made a film that for the most part sidelines Batman himself in favour of building the story around other supporting characters is a brave move indeed, certainly something that has been many times before in comic book stories, but rarely in a big screen effort that so much is riding on.

and despite initial misgivings and the expectations that I had tried not to give into, when the final credits rolled I had been blown away by what I had seen, an epic final chapter that definitely delivered, a well-rounded world of intriguing characters that borrowed from the comics that I know and love, but refused to treat them as a definitive scripture.

these were the things that went through my mind after just the first viewing, I may revisit my opinions when I inevitably revisit the film, and I may shed light on some spoiler-shaped gripes I have, but I can honestly look back on this trilogy and say I enjoyed it.

well done Christopher Nolan.

a busy mind



I lay in bed while my girlfriend is snoring next to me.

I'm cursing the alarm that I thought that I had turned off last night, yet still went off at half eight this morning, I curse that I cannot now get back to sleep

it has been a while since I have actually managed to get a really good lay in, to wake up later than intended feeling rejuvenated and harbouring no real guilt over the hours of daylight missed. it is an affliction, that my mind is too busy, and once it has been turned on it is hard to turn off again.

I wake up. and then I think.


I've thought about the comic that I didn't finish reading in bed last night, I thought about how my girlfriend told me that recently she has been counting herself to sleep and has rarely made it past 60 seconds (and I can certainly attest to this), indeed, this morning she has stirred a handful of times already and just rolls back over to sleep, whilst I have laid there hoping that I may succumb to sleep yet again, just til half ten or 11, have a real lazy morning.


I have thought about a couple of music apps that I downloaded last night, and how I might hope to record them and incorporate the Be Bot into my own compositions, I have thought about the lamp shade I want to buy from B&Q and that I probably need some screws to put the boards up in the geek room so I can get a move on decorating the final wall, I have thought about upshire car boot sale, and putting the washing out in the garden, and about writing a blog about thinking too much.

and sometimes, I wake up, and I do.

springing out of bed, leaving it unmade as I launch myself into the first task of the day, be it painting, loading or unloading the washing machine, washing up, tidying up, sweeping up.


I am proud of my aptitude to wake up and start achieving things on my day off, but some days, like today, I really would just like a lay-in.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

what went wrong with Batman Begins?



ever since I first watched it in the cinema, something didn't sit right with me about Batman Begins

it is a film that I have grown to love, but my initial viewing left me feeling rather unconvinced

and now, having just sat through Nolan's first chapter again, I think I may be able to deconstruct exactly where the problems lay.

please, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the film, but it does have certain flaws, we are after all talking about a director that hardly has a reputation for blockbusters, all of a sudden turning his hand to the superhero genre, and any mistakes made on Batman Begins certainly contributed to making The Dark Knight the cinematic benchmark that it is considered.

for a start, the film left me cold for a number of reasons the first time round, I was unsure of Micheal Caine's rather cockney Alfred, plus the film felt rather muddled, terribly unclear, and worst of all, Bruce Wayne's parents were now murdered after a family outing to the opera, and not the Zorro movie that has long inspired Batman's creation in the comics.

for that reason alone I was unsatisfied.

but like I said, with repeated viewings I grew to love the movie, and regard it in higher esteem than I initially had.

and yet, for the sake of critical analysis, let me brake down where it may have gone slightly awry.

there were a handful of cheesy moments, strange superhero swooshes and hammy lines that felt rather out of place in such a serious movie, but it was more than just this

the smallest of niggles that contribute to theses thoughts are mostly grounded in my love of the comics and the perceived history that has been built up around them, for example, Bruce's 30th birthday, when any self respecting geek knows that Batman should have been operating long before the ripe old age of 30!! I shan't bore you with more minor details of this ilk, as I believe the problem truly lies elsewhere.

such as the rather muddled storyline, and a lack of real set-piece villain for Batman to go up against, even after a couple of viewings, I still not entirely sure what was won and wht was lost by the end of the film.

and here is why, the character that this story hinged on the most was at too underdeveloped, and that character was Gotham City itself.

only after repeated viewing have I come to realise this, that Rās intends to bring the city to it's knees, pulling it down to start over again , yet the threat never felt real enough (water dispersed fear toxins and microwave emitting military weapons are hardly the recognised face of terrorism as we know it in the movies) and nor do we care enough about Gotham.

too much time is spent trying to flesh out other details that we never see Gotham for the previously decadent and now corrupt city that we are meant to believe it is, we are briefly told that it is a place of such importance that it's destruction is necessary, but never are we shown clear enough that this is the case.

and even when the high security inmates are busted out of Arkham Asylum in a move ripped straight from Knightfall, we never know the true consequences, because we don't know that much about Arkham and we don't really know who was in there and how dangerous they are.

It is a thoroughly admirable film, yet it does require patience, repeat viewings and more than just a basic grasp of the Batman myths to fully comprehend what exactly is happening.

with that said, it was interesting watching and anticipating what did follow and what is still ahead in The Dark Knight Rises.

certain moments were foreshadowed, other plot developments may have been hinted at, and I wonder what part Rās and the League of Shadows will play.

and is it just me, or did Batman look kinda chubby in his restrictive cowl in Batman Begins?

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

and so it begins (again)



finally, the date is almost upon me, I have been avoiding tv spots and trailers and keeping myself from social networks and the geeky websites I would usually frequent in order to avoid any foolish spoilers, but soon, very soon, I get to see The Dark Knight Rises at the IMAX

so in preparation, I have been gorging myself on Batman, re-reading my well worn and well loved Knightfall graphic novels yet again, dipping into a Rās Al Ghūl focused Tales Of The Demon graphic novel that I picked up a while ago at Krypton Komics at a bargain price of £3.95.

and tonight, fresh from hosting the Olympic opening ceremony, my projector and living room wall shall tonight be showing Batman Begins while I try and relax myself, possibly with a sailor jerry and coke or possibly a whisky in hand.

I shall be tuning in, same bat time, same bat channel tomorrow for a showing of The Dark Knight.

then finally, yes finally, Thursday I shall be hoping that my expectations have been kept in check and that Nolan has delivered a well rounded trilogy and not tripped at the fine hurdle (obligatory sporting/Olympic anology)

Monday, 30 July 2012

the 'sinister' phone

I now bring you the very second ever blog post from my brand new 'smart' phone (the very first having debuted over on the Byford365 blog yesterday)
and boy, is it smart? it seems to cope very well with my fat fingers jab jabbing at the screen and second guesses the words I intend to.have typed without too much confusion and embarrassment (yet)
of course I could probably have just used my ipad, but where would have been the fun in that?
But this super amazing non-apple smart phone does have a rather sinister side to it... such as the fact that it.always seems to know where I am (apart from when it assumed I was in Waltham Abbey when I was in fact in Enfield Town) and when it suddenly decided to add a while load of contacts to my phonebook that it had plucked from facebook
so it is worth checking your settings so you know exactly what your sharing and who you're sharing it with since I have accumulated a bunch of numbers from my 'friends' that I did not have previously
so possibly expect some on-the-fly blog posts and up to date photos if I can tear myself from unsociable social networks

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

other people's rubbish

I recently acquired a new addition to my penthouse geek pad, turning it from a unique attic space into an amazingly retro hang out.

as with many other unique items in my house, they are things that are seemingly unwanted by other people, found by me on my travels, chucked out and neglected.

yet unlike many of the other unique items that I have brought home, my girlfriend was actually rather impressed that I had rescued an abandoned vintage record player.

I had learnt from previous experiences that if I do not act quick enough, then I am likely to lose out on these spoils to somebody else, and so when I noticed a huge pile of random rubbish dumped outside a property alongside its 'to let' sign, I knew that I wouldn't have long if I wanted to lay claim to the metal mystery box and a wooden case below it that I had spotted and had got me intrigued.

it was lucky that I had invited my brother to swing by, as I dragged him out on a brief mission to investigate further, I politely rang the doorbell before rummaging through the contents of the front garden, prepared to ask if I could help myself to any unwanted goodies, getting no answer, we preceded to unravel the mystery of the mystery boxes.

on top was a reel to reel cassette machine, looking like a control panel of a time machine, even if I had no real use for it, it was still spectacular from an aesthetic point of view.

but the true treasure was below it, a complete record player in a beautiful wooden case, with a Hulio Inglesias 7 inch still on the turntable.

again, I was thankful for my brothers assistance as it would have been too much for me to have carried home myself, and when the journey was done, I plugged it in with trepidation.


Everything worked perfectly and it provided the impetus for me to finally get my arse in gear and rearrange the geek room that had been a work in progress and a storage space for far too long.


the lovingly reconditioned Shcreiber cabinet that had been fly tipped and dragged back from an underpass near Waltham Abbey made its way into the attic, to live out the rest of its life alongside the large wooden trunk that had been chucked out from an old couple down the road that were moving and is now full of fancy dress clothes, the broken briefcases that had been dumped a few roads away and the ikea display cabinet that was actually bought brand new, I put on display my girlfriend's set of Hatori Hanzo samurai swords, plugged in my brothers lava lamp and with all our extra bedding, tomato tins and toilet rolls tucked away out of sight in the eaves of the loft, the geek pad suddenly seemed to be wonderfully realised with these new additions.

there is still work to do in there, it is still a work in progress, but as I now set up to build up a small collection of classic or equally kooky slabs of vinyl through scouring charity shops, I have a rather enviable chill out pad that I'm proud to have put my own unique stamp on.

Monday, 2 July 2012

my virtual micro-festival weekend

what a truly wonderful weekend it has been, so wonderful that it even managed to distract me from the fact that I had turned almost thirty.

I received some wonderful gifts, mostly Batman related, some I had asked for and others that I hadn't, surely testament to how well people know me (or how my geeky reputation precedes me).


and of course, it isn't all about gifts, indeed, how shallow life would be if it was... I am also grateful that I got to spend the weekend with a bunch of great people that dropped round my house for what was intended to be a micro-festival in my backgarden but I couldn't be bothered to make a huge amount of effort for, so was more like a standard houseparty except there was a tent pitched, a couple of acoustic guitars knocking around and a miniature drum kit set up.

perhaps next year I shall arrange a small P.A system and a brief running order of performers (I doubt it tho) but with drinks flowing, some good music, a go on singstar, a couple of jam sessions in the front room, acoustic singalongs and a Batman cake (given as a present) I must admit I wouldn't have changed it at all.

i was surprised and relieved to wake up (quite late) on Sunday morning and still feel vaguely human, after drinking a combination of cocktails mixed by my girlfriend over lunch, Pimms punch (a present from my mum) throughout the afternoon, vodka and cokes (a Morrison's savers vodka, not the Jamie Hewlett designed bottle of Absolut that my girlfriend had bought as a present) throughout the evening and Sailor Jerry and cokes (yet another present that had been bought for me that day) into the early hours of the morning, I am thankful that I was still in control of my senses and my stomach lining.

with a slightly sore head and a dry mouth, sudden and brief downpours and the sound of music drifting into the house from my next door neighbours shed/boom-boom-room, it felt almost as if we were waking up at Glastonbury

and the festival vibe was far from over, deciding that we were up to it and that the weather may hold out (although, of course we took waterproofs) we headed out to check out the opening weekend of the London Pleasure Gardens at Poontang Dock, taking in the views of the Thames Barrier park before venturing into the new festival site, not exactly knowing what to expect...

and it was certainly unexpected, within a few minutes of arriving we had gazed upon art instillations, watched a colliery band cover Kanye West and witnessed stilt walkers twirling flags.

with no real agenda of what we wanted to see or do, we found ourselves watching eighties one hit wonders Musical Youth, joining in a hokey cokey world record attempt, and finally experiencing the surreal genius of Glastonbury legend, Woody Bop Muddy.

we even bought a Disney Christmas record from a charity stall before hopping back on the DLR and heading back homewards, where me and my girlfriend made splendidly low maintenance meals, drank hot choc, ate cake and watched half of an actually funny rom-com.

and as the weekend drew to a more than satisfactory close, I kept my eyes open long enough to take in the first chapter of 'The Court Of Owls' (thanks Mike)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Dark Knight Rising (but not for a while yet, and then some)

how many geeks does it take to bring a website to its knees?

I wish I could tell you, but as one of the many bat-fans that attempted to buy tickets for The Dark Knight Rises' IMAX run at midnight on Sunday, only to be faced with server busy messages and the like, I have no actual idea how many tickets were sold before BFI's website crashed due to the immense demand caused by eager and dedicated fans wanting to see the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's trilogy as it should be, on a massive bloody screen!!

I went to bed at some time past 1am, having been pressing refresh on several tabs on a couple of computers in the hope of bagging myself a ticket.

When I awoke shy of 5 hours later at around 6am, I checked again, only to find the IMAX site had been completely broken, much like Bane broke the back of Bruce Wayne way back in comic history....

at various points through the morning I checked the site again with no luck, attempted calling the booking line with no luck, and even read on the IMAX's Facebook page that to queue in person was taking an hour upwards to guarantee a precious ticket.

.... the good news is that the website eventually recovered, the bad news, by this point all of the prime seats of all of the prime showings had been booked up... leaving me with no choice but to wait nearly two weeks after the initial release to see whether The Dark Knight Rises is crushed under the weight of expectation, and to see just what Christopher Nolan has instore for the culmination of his own take on the Batman franchise

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The weight of expectation



I don't tend to do movie reviews

I do however like to have a little moan when something that should be great turns out to be no more than mere trash

Take, for example, Green Lantern, or Watchmen...

and now, also Prometheus

Up until last week, I expected virtually nothing from it at all, I refused to be a sucker for the long, built up hype and viral campaigns, I hadn't bothered to tune into each newly released trailer as they hit the webnets

but the anticipation seemed to be growing around me, I could feel it, almost taste it in the air

I'll admit, having seen the trailer at the flicks, I was intrigued, and then last friday my social networks were filling up with talk of the film, and having already agreed to see it that night with a tribe of non-apologetic geeks, my height of excitement peaked

until I watched the film.

it was flawed. I shan't bother going into its flaws here, suffice to say, it was not what it promised to be, and neither was it what anyone really hoped for.




and now my summer is buckling under the weight of expectation

crushed by the disappointment of Prometheus, I wait with dread for the Dark Knight to Rise...

again, I've acted to avoid too many trailers and tidbits of gossip that have sufficiently proliferated the internet, and yet my own curiosity has occasionally got the better of me

but this isn't The Dark Knight following the modestly performing Batman Begins, even after the tragic loss of Heath Ledger, I don't think that expectations for the sequel were set too high until the film unexpectedly snowballed into critical acclaim and a widespread regard that it is now a benchmark for movies (not even just superhero movies) to measure against

and this leads us to where we are now, Avengers has cleaned up at the box office, Prometheus has shattered dreams, and now the final piece of Christopher Nolan's trilogy must take up the weight of expectation that is being put upon it, not just by geeks and comic book fans, but by... well, pretty much everyone.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Type Writer


I find a certain sense of freedom in writing, the chance to empty my brain, regardless of if anyone bothers to read my outpourings or not.

and my current writings are freer than ever

the last post I wrote on the floor of my spare bedroom, I was in there putting clothes away and the thought struck me to write, so I did

and this post is being beamed into the Internet from on the can, after having just endured watching David Cronenburg's Naked Lunch. it bored me terribly.

perhaps it is films about writers, I didn't much care for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas either, something about both films (and Hunter S. Thompson's book) just left me feeling cold



but the use of typewriters intrigues me still.... I used to use one when I was younger, it made me feel like a real writer, probably because I was told not to play with it, so I didn't play with it, I wrote with it, and I still have a handful of pages of a Batman story I began writing knocking around somewhere at my mum's house

I have a lot of scribblings, a lot of poems, jotted down on scraps of paper and in A4 paper refill pads, some I may have shared here and there, some will probably remain unearthed for a very long time

and now, in more recent history I have latched onto blogging, taking the time to sit at a computer and publish my thoughts, except that lengths of time away from a computer sometimes leaves nasty gaps in my continued online journal

now, and now I blog with a greater freedom than ever, from my girlfriend's parents sofa, from the spare bedroom floor or from the bathroom

maybe a I shall even have a crack at my next novel on this dandy little gizmo

and maybe it will be better than Naked Lunch and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or maybe it won't

Saturday, 2 June 2012

leaving the demons behind


I felt burdened by burdens

I couldn't rest

and I was too worn down to live

it was a horrible state of affairs and I am glad to now be free of it.

I had been dragged down, run through the mill, tossed aside and a whole bunch of other things as I rode the topsy turvy ride of super-fun unemployment

and when the gleam of light shone by a job offer did appear, I could feel something inside me stirring to tell me that it just wasn't right

and it just wasn't right.


a pride that I placed upon getting back in the saddle was hiding my own uncertainties, and those closest to me I did not hide my uncertainties from at all, but I persevered, I have got bills to pay after all.

but it just wasn't right.

it was affecting me and my well-being, I wasn't who i am, and that is hard to deal with.




thankfully, the intense job searching has meant that more opportunities still lay before me, face to face interviews, phone interviews, more CVs and applications have been fired off

I may be back in the hole of unemployment, but at least I know who I am again.

Monday, 14 May 2012

collated answers and competency tests: who am i?



unemployment isn't fun.

the downtime and the freedom that you are afforded are certainly to be viewed as a positive, as long a you can stay focused and continue to set yourself goals and tasks to be completed.

but there is a downside too, amongst the chances I have to put on a load of washing, tidy the house (or the garden if the sun decides to shine), put washing away, make dinner and all manner of other domestic chores that I shouldn't derive quite so much pleasure from, I also need to commit enough time to job searches (cos that mortgage isn't gonna pay itself).

which wasn't terrible to begin with, giving it a little time each day, I soon found that even in this disastrous economic climate, there still appears to be a good number of jobs advertised in the job sector I am best suited to, heck, with 12 years experience, I should have no problem should I!?


and here is where the plot thickens, and why unemployment seems to deaden people.


on a couple of occasions, for a couple of retailers, I have been asked to conduct an online suitability test.

this should surely be a walk in the park, after all, I know that I'm more than suited to the job already. and right then, my entire working life and my charming personality is to be nobbled down to ticking boxes for set questions with no reflection of true self.

and since taking these two tests, one potential employer has already deemed me unsuitable for the job without even so much as talking to me.




I can now see the frustration that people must go through, even I, with my previous experience am simply not good enough, Jah help some of the other poor unfortunate souls that are out there looking for work, and when it is important to keep your head above water, remain positive and cling onto your sanity, these blows to your confidence can hit you hard.

I've had my mood swings because of it, but I've picked myself up, dusted myself off and kept looking, and tried to keep smiling

and now I know full well that employees of a large high-street pharmacist must be the ultimate human beings in order to have secured their hard-earned current work role, you are certainly a better person than i!

Friday, 4 May 2012

are you listening to Chris Martin?

I was prepared to post a frivolous blog post to celebrate the fact that it is Star Wars day, but then something far more worth celebrating came to my attention.

back in February, during tinnitus awareness week, i ran a post concerning our nation's coverage of the problem that i, among with many other people are afflicted with, and the fact that the tinnitus angle of the story is swiftly swept aside as the red tops prefer to focus on the celebrity angle

but what should turn up on the front cover of the daily mirror today

Chris Martin's agony and anguish caused by his own tinnitus problem 

yes, it is finally real news now that the Coldplay frontman has voiced the fact that he has been suffering from tinnitus for the past ten years



he now lends his voice to a new campaign called Loud Music for a rebranded RNID (now Action on Hearing) alongside Plan B and Gary Numan and this news blitz has resulted in coverage on BBC, ITV and Sky news programmes and seen far more people discussing the condition on twitter today

and all of this welcome attention can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned

i have suffered with tinnitus myself for a number of years, and sadly it is all too often the case, as it was for me and it is for other sufferers, that it only ever becomes a problem that you care about when it is too late and the damage is already done

the hardest part to understand is why Chris Martin has not stepped forward a moment sooner in the past to make the larger public far more aware of a serious problem that affects music fans the world over, but it is better late than never and now I hope that with the support of high-profile touring artists will see a far more visible attempt to carry on spreading this awareness at the gigs, venues and festivals that will be housing Coldplay and Plan B this summer and beyond.

for more information on tinnitus and how to protect your hearing, visit http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/ and http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/

Thursday, 3 May 2012

storytelling

so let me tell you a tale

it is a tale that you may be familiar with

the young Hunchbakk was a bit of a geek (what do you mean, what's changed?) and used to frequent a couple of local-ish comic book shops, one of which was Krypton Komics in Tottenham, just a stone's throw away from Seven Sisters station, my dad would drive me down there pretty much every weekend so that I could spend my pocket money on the latest Bat-titles that had been released

this must have gone on for perhaps a couple of years, until i reached the age where being more social was becoming more important and me and my friends would be out playing football or going to the cinema or going into Enfield Town and buying extra value meals from McDonalds, I can't remember why exactly, but I was reading comics less, and weaned myself off my weekly fix

i'm not saying that I was solely responsible for a downturn in business, but somewhere in the intervening years Krypton Komics disappeared from the High Road, something I duly noted on one of many nightbus journeys home


as detailed before on this blog, my Dad reawakened my inner geek with a Christmas present a few years back, and in this time comics have become ridiculously expensive and I have to sate my appetite for all things superhero with the occasional bargain graphic novel if I am lucky enough to find such a thing, and whatever Enfield's libraries seem to be carrying (currently a couple of Batman/Superman collections and Superman: Secret Origin).

perhaps finally I am getting closer to the point I am trying to make...

as we return once again to Krypton Komics, that had long since carried on as an Internet mail-order service, and which my little brother reliably informed me had recently relocated to an actual old fashioned physical real-world shop in Walthamstow.

so one sunny afternoon earlier this year I impulsively decided that I needed to make a pilgrimage to this new store in search of a specific back issue, I dragged my brother along for the journey and I walked away contended

in my arms I carried Legends, Millenium and a UK reprint Superman comic that is older than I am (with it's free gift of a postcard still attached) which I had paid a meagre sum for considering

and as my brother walked away from Krypton Komics he noted the imposing and run-down building that dominated the opposite side of the road

he stopped to take a couple of photos of the dilapidated building that appeared to be home to some kind of church network,  and now it's image adorns the very first Giles Babel t-shirt


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

wear Hunchbakk


Or more accurately, wear Giles Babel.

as anyone that pays any attention to this blog will attest to, I have never ever tried to charge a penny for any of the wonderful and occasionally peculiar sounds that I have constructed and concucted.

and to that end, I would like to introduce something that you can actually shell out for if you so wished.

it is my pleasure to present the very first in a collection of Giles Babel t-shirts that accompany my latest EP, "programmed to prevent war", that is to say that there is one image, one t-shirt, per track, all designed in collaboration with my talented little brother, Ian Byford, who has really outdone himself this time.








I'll let you guys in on a little secret, i've seen the trends in topman/river island/burtons/delete as applicable, you know the type, and witnessing the widespread obsession with instagram, I briefed my brother to produce the artwork in a retro-filtered vein to include in my very own online boutique.

it took a couple of back'n'forths to tweak it, including putting a more psychedelic spin on it rather than just manipulating the image to be a simple faux polaroid, but in no time it was ready, and that is the wonderful image that you see before you right now....





I am afraid that, unlike my music, the t-shirt does require payment if you would like it for yourself, but I think you will find that they are very reasonably priced.... (compare to topman if you must) is available in a wide choice of colours, and if you didn't wanna wear it then it is also available to buy as art prints, canvases and all manner of other things, even as a cheap as chips sticker to stick wherever you wish.

but enough of the hard sell

how about a little bit of storytelling

Or perhaps I'll save the story of the this image until another day (what a tease, i'm sorry)

Friday, 27 April 2012

doing everything and nothing

well, i would like to introduce you all to my very first unemployed blog post...

for just over a week now i have probably been the most active bum on the planet, refusing to let losing my job bring me down too much, so instead i have been trying to fill my usual work hours with as much as possible

this means that i have more time to make sure that the house is always tidy, i have finished checking and editing my NaNoWriMo novel, i've finished reviving and painting the cabinet that i found flytipped and shall now use in my geek room, i've reorganised messy drawers, i've gone out for long-ass bike rides, heck, i've done bloody loads of stuff, including getting my CV up to date and starting applying for new jobs

all in an attempt to not feel mopey and useless and bored, in fact, i'm quite enjoying all this extra time to do things that matter more to me, the only problem is that paying bills and a mortgage are also pretty high up on my list of priorities, but my time as a house-husband is in fact rather liberating, now if only it would stop raining long enough for me to get out and do some gardening!





despite this extra time, there are a handful of things that i haven't spent enough time on yet.

the first is blogging (hey, i've been busy with other stuff!)

the second is my music (hey, i've been busy with other stuff!) but as i was telling my brother the other day, music is a hard beast to tame, a couple of hours sat infront of a machine with the intentions of producing a groundbreaking piece of music will more likely result in being sat infront of a machine for two hours and still not be much further than when you loaded it up, indeed today i have tried to complete the final track of a Giles Babel EP and found myself going almost nowhere with it, and when you are trying to get the most out of every hour it is hard to accept that time can just slip away alongside any further achievement... but i'm sticking with it, don't you worry, maybe i'll have another crack at it after i've put the dishes away...

and the third...  i've done nothing at all to draw your attentions to the t-shirts that accompany my currently worked on EP, four tracks are complete, four t-shirts are complete, and yet, as of typing, i've only loaded one t-shirt up and have not even mentioned it anywhere at all...

in my defence, i had a lot going on. and in my defence, i've still got a lot going on. but getting the Giles Babel collection up to date needs to be another task that i sit myself down to complete


so before i waffle on too much i think i may leave it at that, you've had a little update, and i shall now think about making myself some lunch, putting away the dishes, hoovering the front room, maybe doing a bit of polishing, uploading the next three t-shirts in the collection, tackling that fifth and final track again and then perhaps i shall see you on the other side to discuss the t-shirt in the next couple of days perhaps...

so why don't i leave you with the first track, Poptarts and Battleships, from "programmed to prevent war" and a little subtle link to follow if you'd like to view the tee right now, and i'll be back with more info soooooon


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

the rebirth of Hunchbakk

in a way I suppose at least.

I offer my apologies for the barren month that has passed, but it was not without good reason.

life decided to intervene and in the time since me and my blog last conversed, I have witnessed marriages, a funeral, birthday celebrations and a holiday.


i am also adapting to a new way of life, a thoroughly 21st century way of life as this brief outing is brought to you courtesy of my new gizmo, one of those fancy little touch screen doo-dahs that a company named after a fruit seem extremely proud of, and not the smaller doo-dah, the bigger one, with more room for my girlfriend to squiggle on when she is playing 'draw something' on facebook.



But my gizmo was not bought for facebook (although i do tend to tweet from it somewhat) and it was not bought for angry birds and doodle jumps and cutting ropes and running temples and all that other rubbish.

my gizmo is a powerful (and wonderful) little machine that is capable of so much more than these frivolous endevours, and so I intend to put it to use getting creative musically, and have just spent a week away toying with Garage Band and a couple of other little musical gadgets, and how very apt that on Easter Sunday I chose to download Propellerhead's Rebirth and have since been playing around with an 808.

now I do hope these little musical experiments shall be worthy of listening to in the near future.....

interesting times indeed

Friday, 9 March 2012

touch it, bring it




well, having made my intentions clear to try and unearth some of my previous recordings, i have failed to spend any time doing so.

and for that i apologise.

but the good news is that the time that i have not spent searching out the far flung seperate stems of my past endeavours has instead been spent creating brand spanking new music for you, or possibly for me (well, some of the time, not all of it, i have also spent time reading and reviewing and other stuffs)


yes, yet another piece of the puzzle that is Giles Babel has been put together, and this time it is probably the most accessible snippet of music that i have ever produced, being far more straightforward and less ambient than other sound experiments, and even my girlfriend actually says that she likes it, which is a rarity, and may have a little something to do with the sampling of Busta Rhymes' Touch It (which in turn had sampled Daft Punk's Technologic) and giving her something recognisable to grasp on to, and talking of recognisable samples, yes, that is also Yoda at the very start of the track.




and i'm entirely happy with the way this came together quickly, it is not quite as dark and brooding as most of my tracks tend to be, introducing a playfulness to the blend, and yet it still sits alongside my latest collection of tracks comfortably.

enjoy!

credit where it's due:
main image by Cameron Stewart

Friday, 24 February 2012

'resurrecting' Hunchbakk

he may not have died.

but Hunchbakk seems to have been buried for a while.


the idea of 'Hunchbakk' has evolved and changed, and a new persona has been developed for musical dabblings, and the name 'Hunchbakk' has slowly been shrugged off like a shroud in favour of 'the new me'.


but Hunchbakk is not over.

there is unfinished business.
there are unfinished tracks.

there is an unfinished album.




let me backtrack slightly, start this story again from it's initial viewpoint, you see, it had been clattering around my mind for a little while, and an email informing me that one of my tracks on soundcloud had almost reached its download limit (as recounted in my previous post) only served to weigh in on the thoughts that i had been having.  thinking about my music. who i am. and where i am. and where i can be found.

or more precisely, where my tracks can be found.

my first forays into music were knocked together using a playstation2, and i first hid behind them in my Hunchbakk persona on myspace in 2006.

a second collection of tracks followed suit, and since then it is hard to recollect how things have changed, but one thing is for certain, no matter how barren or how fruitful the days, weeks, months and years since have been, i have continued to make music in some way, shape, or form.

some tracks were loaded up to myspace, or promoted through the myspace blog, and then through this very blog, uploaded to fileden, or other file-sharing sites, and most recently soundcloud.  and i have questioned whether i should find my way to having a bandcamp page.

and all of this led me to give serious consideration to a blog post regarding, and possibly compiling 'the complete Hunchbakk'



and this is where both trails of this blog collide.

how can i possibly present the complete Hunchbakk, when the story of Hunchbakk is not yet complete.



and sadly, some digging and maybe a little bit of voodoo will be needed in order to resurrect Hunchbakk, as although i may have moved on and simply kept making music, there are still unreleased tracks that were (and hopefully still are) destined for the debut album that had begun to take shape which have suffered at the hands of my malfunctioning machine.

i have recounted the details of my ongoing battles with this wretched, evil and incompetent computer, and i have told of how it was revived and the data recovered, although now it is scattered across numerous DVDs of information that i failed to save in any logical way, making the effort needed to re-piece these tracks back together quite an almighty and time consuming task, that is if it is possible at all.


i won't give up hope on them.

a lot of time, and a lot of passion went into what i hoped would represent me, or at least a version of me, and i gave great thought to how the tracks would flow and sound together.  i think i may have managed to create something like 7 tracks out of what i believed would end up as a full length 12 track album.


so i shall attempt to 'resurrect' Hunchbakk

even if it is only so i can put the guise to rest.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

you do love me

it was as a special valentines day treat that i released a free download of VCR, a cover of the XX song, on february 14th 2010

(back when i was still loading my music up to fileden for sharing)

and last week, nearly two years on from its initial debut i received an email from my soundcloud account informing me that that same song had reached its limit of 100 downloads.

ok, i'm only a small dust particle blowing around in this indescribably huge music business, what i do, i do for fun, and as a hobby, as a passion.  i don't imagine a career as a musician being forthcoming.  but for one of my tracks to be on the hard-drives, iPods or iPhones of 100 people, that is something of a milestone that i am proud to have achieved.

i was thrilled when my remix of The Enemy went global, and bloody astounded when my remix of Radiohead was downloaded something like 5000 times in its first week, and it may be a slow burner, but this cover version is clearly something that at least 100 people felt strongly enough about to click that little download tab that has now been disabled.



with 2053 plays to date, i am still extremely proud of how this track in particular has performed, and the fact that it has completely outshone my spoken word version that i created after my girlfriend cringed all the way through the original version i created and insisted it would be much better if i did not sing.

of course, with just 3 downloads and 82 plays to date, the spoken word version is still available to download for those that may wish to sample it for themselves



which also leads me to wonder if i should not have listened to her when i chose to make a video for the spoken word version and not my sung version, if i can still find the remains of the video on my crippled computer i may need to do something about redressing the balance and restoring it to the most favoured interpretation of VCR.


so thanks guys, thanks whoever you are that have enjoyed my tracks so far, i know i've been rambling on about other things on my blog and really have not produced enough new music recently, but hopefully you'll be sticking around

(and i love you too)