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