Sunday, 8 December 2013

a big deal for small businesses?

After all the excitement of Cyber Monday, when amazon and the likes were filling their coffers as millions of people elected to spread christmas cheer via CDs, DVDs and books, the smaller businesses of the world didn't want to be outdone and miss out on all the action.

and by action, I mean money.

What better way to raise awareness and profits, than by arranging a 'day', in particular 'small business saturday', which was yesterday, which you may or may not have spotted posters for around your town. The aim, to to divert some attention to your local traders and small businesses.

and who is behind this super-duper-fantastic idea?

oh, it's American Express.

the one credit card that small businesses, and quite often larger businesses do not accept, since the charges to the retailer per transaction are higher than that of your other credit and debit cards.

so go ahead and support your local business, just don't expect them to be able to take payment if you're waving that AmEx about...

Monday, 2 December 2013

The return of cyber Monday, heralding the return of cynical christmas download

Waking up yet again to the 'news' that today is Cyber Monday reminded me...

I still have my christmas single that I like to trot out each year in the hope of spreading a little christmas joy to all the girls and boys that are writing out their lists for Santa

Bah Humbug

'tis a lie, as much of a lie as the newspapers and media force feeding you this Cyber Monday baloney...

when they 'report' on this being the busiest shopping day online pre-xmas, all they are really doing is fanning the flames for Internet based vendors who somehow managed to convince journalists and the like that reminding people to 'get there arse in gear and get onto amazon pronto to spend some of your hard earned' is actually a valid news item... it is not, it is simply another cog in the wheel of commerce

and when I say that my christmas single is hear to spread joy, what I really mean is that you should really check out my cynical bleatings about the shallow commerciality of this joyous time of year, whilst an unrelenting electronic beat grumbles and pulses with all the christmas spirit of landing arse first in a bushel of holly...

wow, glad I got that out my system...

and relax, I'm not that grumpy about the whole thing really, but I will call a spade a spade, and I will offer you this festive gift once again as an alternative to the usual standards from Noddy Holder and Mary Carey... Hunchbakk -

Sunday, 1 December 2013

door number 1

I've been off my blog-game, that much is clear, but that doesn't mean I've been slacking

in fact I've been trying to build up my empire slowly over at Desperately Seeking Susan Boyle, working hard on mixtapes and making connections, tweeting, pushing and cross-pollinating

it's been a strange journey, I started the seeking subo blog when I noticed that I was devoting a lot of blog space to music over here, and I reasoned that people looking to get a fix of a music blog may not be quite as appreciative of some of the other random crap that mixes in along with the music talk over here, whether it be my own music (kinda the reason I sorta set this blog up originally), my poetry, my thoughts, or just anything else that I felt the need to throw in with the rest of it

of course, since choosing to devote a blog to the music of others I then found myself blogging less about the music of others, I now seem to have come back around on myself and am blogging more over at seeking subo than I am over here...

and the one thing I tell myself that I probly shouldn't blog about is my own lack of blogging, frankly I feel that it must make a terrible read, but dammit, I'm human and things get in the way of other things, and if I didn't admit to this and instead gave of an air of the infallible then I doubt I would be very much like myself at all

all of which is a rather long winded way of saying that in recognition of the usual practises of blogmas and adventness I thought I should blog just a little bit more this month, don't be daft and expect a blog every day... I wouldn't want to disappoint you, but maybe if I can tap tap tap away for a bundle of minutes on a number of evenings this month and share my brainwaves, then perhaps that would be a good thing for me to get my creative juices going again (not guaranteeing that this is a good thing for anyone else tho....)

so... one post down!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

awake right now

home by half ten.

quick cup of tea, sort my lunch for tomorrow and be in bed by 11.

probably read a little bit more of the Huntress graphic novel that I am reading, lights off by half 11, asleep by 12 and wake up refreshed and ready to face the day tomorrow morning.

ah, the best laid plans of mice and men...

of course, it is now knocking on for one o'clock and the farthest thing from my mind is sleep.

instead, as I sat with my cup of tea, waiting for bedtime, my girlfriend showed me an idea she'd spotted on pinterest that I could use for the nest of tables that I acquired from a charity shop.

it wasn't quite what I had in mind, but it was close, so I decided to waste a few moments looking for other ideas similar, and then for how to make shelves out of pallets, and then looking at bookshelves under beds, and then more shelving ideas, and then sofa tables

and then I started looking for oddities and little pieces of furniture on eBay, and then I started looking at bigger pieces of furniture on eBay 

and then I pondered my possible future in interior design and then found that nobody was requiring my skills as an interior designer on gumtree so I instead decided to google interior design blogs, cos I could have my own interior design blog couldn't I, and then people would want me to design their interiors

and I forget how creative I have already been around the house, but I don't know how much of my house I want to share, my house is mine, for me, to share with my girlfriend and share with guests and have them marvel at my unique touchs, not to have a billion other people tuning in and copying what I'm doing

I'm me, so just let me be me and you can be you

I then think maybe my mums front room could do with an overhaul, that would be a great project, except there's too much crap in there which I probly wouldn't be able to get rid of, but I also wanna start making shelves for the attic to house all my CDs and books

and I also think of my music blog, and my mixtapes and the reviews I need to post, and the charity shops I could trawl and I could dream of quitting my job and doing all I want to do as my own full time job until it starts working and earning money except we couldn't survive for that long on just one income 

and I think about blogging, and this, my own personal blog that has become rather sparse as my mind and my time and my efforts have been elsewhere and the longer I'd left it so far, the longer I would continue to do so

so I had to get up, turn on the light, grab the gizmo and type

I should really be asleep tho

Saturday, 21 September 2013

cable spool & wooden pallets

'Found a cable spool down the road and brought it home if u want it'


'I don't tink so'


'But what about ur pinterest board?’

oh dear, after spending an afternoon turning an old unwanted wardrobe (from my brother's bedroom, replaced by a rather swish looking chest of drawers from a charity shop) into additional shelving for my kitchen cabinets, I could feel the creative impulses flowing through me...

sadly, mundane tasks have to take over and I have to nip to the co-op to pick up some bread, but one essential part of my lifestyle (hold on people, cos it's gonna get real crazy from here on in....) is to vary the routes I walk home, incase I may happen to stumble upon any random, discarded, unwanted crap that may just serve a purpose...

and as I make my way back with a 95p loaf of thick-cut white own-brand, I notice an idle cable spool stood in the middle of the path.... hey, that'd be bloody handy, since my uber-artistic little brother has got that pinterest board about cable spools and pallets, yet, to my knowledge does not have a great deal of cable spools or pallets currently at his disposal

I've picked it up, opting for carrying it home, rather than rolling it home, when I hear a familiar voice shout my name... shout my name quite angrily... shit... I've been rumbled!!

I turn around to see my girlfriend at the end of the path, I turn around and wave, trying to conceal the cable spool unsuccessfully behind me, I think on my feet, I set it down and it on it, acting casual.... 'I thought you wasn't gonna be home til half five?’

My girlfriend is already well aware of my habit of picking odd bits and bobs off the street... 'And what are you gonna do with that?'

'I'm gonna give it to my brother, he has a board on pinterest about recycling ol cable spools and pallets, I'm sure he'll make use of it'

afew hours later, and I find out that he probably won't....

but it's too good to throw away... right?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

so, who would be a #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck ?

this article was written for and originally appeared on Faded Glamour

We geeks sure do like to get riled up.

News is delivered to us via the Internet, and then we vent via the Internet, making sure everyone that may be privy to our streams or comments will certainly know exactly what is on our minds.

Ben Affleck is Batman, no different.  I'd seen endless tweets and opinions before I'd even managed to find a legitimate news source to confirm that this wasn't merely wild speculation.

#BetterBatmanThanAffleck was soon trending, animals, emos and slobs all in costume, and memes of Matt Damon filling Robin's hotpants were widespread, but amongst all this, can we have some serious debate?

Although he certainly wouldn't have been my first choice to fill the role, the choice doesn't fill me with horror or nerd-rage, his divisive turn as Marvel's marmite Daredevil seems to be a main sticking point for those against the idea (personally, I liked the film) but memories of Gigli are long gone following star turns in The Town and Argo.  On top of all this, he knows his comics, is friends with Kevin Smith and has a chin that works for a superhero that will have little else on show.

Let us not forget that Michael Keaton had people up in arms when the Beetlejuice star was announced as Tim Burton's vision of Batman in 1989 and any harsh words against Heath Ledger's casting as The Joker following Brokeback Mountain, were soon silenced with his now legendary performance.  But if not Affleck, then who do you seriously want to see in the famous cape and cowl?

Going on the strength of rumours that the upcoming Man Of Steel sequel will draw inspiration from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns (Zack Snyder's big reveal of the planned sequel was preceded by a quote from the 1986 comic miniseries) the aspects likely to be used will be that of an older Batman than we have seen on the screen before, possibly coming out of retirement to face off against the Kryptonian, and one hell of a first fight between a mortal man and an immensely powerful alien.

My initial suggestion of Clint Eastwood (now aged 83) was probably pushing the believability of sci-fi and fantasy to its limits, sure he's got the menacing growl and Gran Torino proved he is still not to be messed with, but swinging from rooftops... probably not.  My next name plucked from thin air was Harrison Ford (aged 71) who could easily bring his best brooding to the film, and the latest Indiana Jones flick shows that he has still got an action hero inside him after all these years.

And then I hit upon a genius casting choice that I can't believe hadn't been put forward already, it's time to really rile up the geeks, and bring back George Clooney.

When he first donned the Batsuit he was fresh out of ER, looking to cement his move to the big screen, and got swept up in Joel Schumacher's neon kitsch-fest that was too busy pandering to Arnie and trying to sell toys to be taken seriously, but times have changed, the Bat-nipples are a distant memory and Bane is now considered so much more than just Poison Ivy's moronic piece of muscle.  And what about Clooney?  He got over it, he came out of a bad situation that sunk the Bat-franchise and could have sunk his career, but instead he took on roles that proved his worth with Out Of Sight and Three Kings.

Now, at the ripe old age of 52 (11 years on Affleck) George Clooney still maintains his chiseled features and eligible bachelor status, perfectly suited for a role as aged socialite Bruce Wayne, time and time again on screen he has proved his versatilty and after 15 years, now could be his chance to return back in black and right the wrongs of Batman And Robin.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Rizzle Kicks: and their part in the world of media's new slave labour

Hey you, youngsters!! You wanna join the shiny exciting world of 'Media'??

Well saddle up for what may well and truly be a slippery slope down shit creek without a paddle, or a paycheck!

I hope that others are likely to find an easier time of things than I have so far, and that everyone can land their dream job in a highly competitive market, but let's face it, a lot of people won't.

For too long I've meandered on the outskirts, quite content to do what I wanna do in my free time, and perhaps my life has happened at the wrong time, but it has given me a unique perspective on an industry that I wish would swallow me whole.

And perhaps the looming shadow of that nasty recession is still hanging over us and clouding our judgements, but even at the tender age of sixteen, when I was considering enrolling at uni in a course on journalism, I was first aware of the hard slog to 'make it' and the fact that you would have to put in a lot of time and effort, getting paid peanuts, just to gain the relevant experience, yet, now more than ever, I see the term 'internship' slung about.

This has always been the favoured route into 'the life you want to lead' and I know people that have travelled this route, and things are looking ok for them, but my life is different, I'm no longer at home with parents, I am reliant on an income to keep a roof over my head and the travel into London alone would be crippling before you double team it with the lack of pay.

I refuse to let this be the end of my dream tho, I want it too much and have let it slide for too long, but among the fiasco in the news about zero hours contracts that is cluttering up headlines recently I can't help but see the proliferation of internships across multiple job sites as taking advantage of this country's rather dire employment situation.

And amongst all this going on, my favourite pop-scamps, Rizzle Kicks have kicked off the campaign ahead of their second album by debuting a new video, proudly proclaiming that it was made by interns!!

The news made my blood boil, I bet it was bloody good fun, and a bloody good experience, but if the economic climate is gonna change for the better then I think we need to start providing opportunities and not just experience to those thirsty for breaking into the glamorous world of after show parties, powdered noses and overzealous exploitation...

Monday, 12 August 2013

Warning Signs

I guess I'm one of those people that sees the signs, and doesn't always know what they mean

And when all signs indicate the worst, perhaps it's time to disembark

In my old job, a furniture retailer, towards the end things didn't look good, and for a long time things weren't looking great, but I was comfortable. the pay wasn't amazing, but it got me by and it gave me an opportunity to save and more than that, it afforded me certain freedoms at times when we weren't busy... freedoms that I took full advantage of and lived a pretty fulfilling life whilst still manning a retail business, assisting customers and hoping to turn over a profit

when things weren't looking so great, I kind-of assumed that being forced out of my job that I was capable of doing blindfolded would be a blessing in disguise, a chance to find a 'real job' that paid 'real money', but the pressures of the 'real world' were too 'real', I had a mortgage to pay, a roof to keep over my head, i needed an income, and pronto!!

the time between being made redundant and being offered a job was extremely demeaning as I began to realise the fuller extent of the recession, my experience seemed to mean jack-shit as I was turned down for the most menial jobs, cashier works , cleaning jobs, and it was with this broken spirit that I scraped into an entry level position at a soul-sapping builder's merchant

less than two weeks into the job and I felt my life was in tatters, and I'm eternally grateful to my girlfriend for making me see sense and quitting, it gave me the time to make myself available for the next job that came along, something much more promising, the interviewer talked sense, appreciated the position I was in and talked about career development within the business

between jobs I was also interviewed for an assistant managers role at a well known stationer, i was offered the position two weeks into my new job but I plumped with the business that seemed to offer natural growth

and a year down the line and my opinions have changed, I can see the warning signs clearer this time around, the people that make the job worthwhile are slowly but surely disappearing from sight and the talk of management roles and training, well the view of them is even murkier, I'm privileged to be in a job that I don't hate, but at the same time it restricts me, suffocates my creativity and ultimately I can see the deception of a tight-fisted business clearly, it saddens me, but I don't belong here.

and so I yearn to take flight

It is a slow, torturous ordeal, but I have faith in a higher power, that what will be will be and that everything will work out the way it is meant to be

I've seen the warning signs

and I'm trying to put my life in reverse, to back up and change course...

Sunday, 11 August 2013

My first ever literary review.... Downloading Nirvana reviewed

Alongside slogging my arse off pre-turning thirty in order to complete my debut album, dedicated readers may also remember i had also promised an original novel of my own creation that should have been published by now

and it sort of has, except you can't order it, yet

some crazy U.S tax laws and stuff require me to file for a tax code and fax it to the moon and back and do a bunch of stuff i haven't done yet, hence, i am the only person able to order a copy...

But in the limited run that i have ordered and am in possesion of, there is one copy doing the rounds for lending purposes, since a book seems rather redundant if it can't be read

and even better than it being merely read, one recipient of this book, Mr Christopher Pennel, has not only become the first person besides myself to read it from start to finish, he has only bloody gone and written a review

so hold tight people.... here is the first ever review of a book that you can't actually order

now that's pretty exclusive!!!

I was given this book by Glen’s mystery girlfriend to whom the book was dedicated.

I admit that I only read it out of curiosity, to see what a book by someone I (vaguely) knew would be like.

I was pleasantly surprised! The book was only short, but you could not fly through it as you need to pay attention because the narrative jumps through time and keeps you on your toes. I was a little confused at times but got used to the way it was written.

It was an interesting story, at first appearing the mundane story of an everyday artist, but turning out in the end to be much more.

The ending in particular, with it’s peculiar resolution, made me smile and laugh out loud. Luckily I was in First Class on the train and nobody saw.

I also feel I have had an insight into Glen’s (Liam’s?) thoughts and feelings, especially his fear of marriage!

I would recommend this book to anyone, it was well written, imaginative and an excellent first novel.

Please write something else Mr Byford.

Chris Pennell
6 August 2013

Thursday, 8 August 2013

the pitfalls of living a disconnected life in a digital age

I've had a phone stolen, put one through the washing machine with my work trousers and lost one under about a foot of fake snow at a New Years Eve party at the Scala.

But when my HTC Desire decided to give up the ghost earlier the week, things were different. This was my first sinister smart phone, my connection to the world that went beyond missing out an a few texts or the odd call. ok, it's a slight hindrance to the way I lead my life, but it's no big deal.

so as me and my girlfriend head our separate ways at Liverpool Street station with half made plans to meet again at a certain time if the fates allow, otherwise I'll see her at home.

I was out and about to witness a handful of Enfield's bands dragging themselves away from the Bush Hill Park Tavern for once, I've seen one of my boroughs most beloved bands struggle for attendance as close to home as Camden, so I thought I'd support my boys, support my friends and make the journey along especially. I'd made no promises to anyone, thought I'd just turn up and surprise them, but it was me that was surprised as I descended to the basement bar of the Spitalfields venue.

The doors opened at half 7, first band on at quarter to eight, it was now quarter past eight and I found myself stood in an empty room, just me and one other guy that told me through a muffled mouth of sandwich that the gig was cancelled.

'band members were underage' i just about deciphered before he swallowed.

I wandered aimlessly for a short while, hoping that a recognisable Enfieldian or two would be propping up one of a handful of nearby bars while I weighed up my options.

On any normal evening I'd have checked facebook and twitter for updates on the rather dire situation, texted or called one of my mates playing, been hopping on the train back to the more familiar and predictable surroundings of Bush Hill Park and let my girlfriend know the dealio.

Most normal evenings don't result in me nursing a pint of ale for an hour and forty minutes, sat on my own reading a book in a pub in Great Portland Street before descending down the stairs to the comic-book wallpapered lower level where my other half is among a roomful of uke players , merrily strumming away and singing their way through a songbook projected at the front of the room.

So whilst, unbeknownst to me, Decoy Jet, Building The Songbird and Echochain turn a soured experience into a show of solidarity in front of a rabid home crowd, I grabbed another drink and settled in amongst the well lubricated throng for mass singalongs of Oasis and Mumford and Sons before revealing my presence to my girlfriend.

Sure, it wasn't a normal evening, but sometimes the simple joy of the unexpected is just as rewarding.

(although all the missed instagram opportunities are killing me now)


Monday, 22 July 2013

welcome to my life.

welcome to my past.

or perhaps a former present.

whatever way you choose to view it, Anubis Horror, to me, is a memoir. it is a certain time, transposed and reproduced via music.

and music should be all about interpretation, which has left a question mark over how far I should go in explaining my own motives and my own decisions when creating this music.

it has been a long, strange journey, and one thing that I am certain of is that the Hunchbakk saga is not up to date, in an alternative reality, the Hunchbakk album would have been completed a number of years ago, I'd have found the time to work on the music and wrap it up quicker.

as such, when sourcing the spoken word material I restricted myself to trawling through poems from a very specific time frame, Open Myself Up and Teenaging had already been written and recorded, so I simply flicked through the pages until I found these among my original scrawlings and worked my way forward, taking notes of the passing years, as noted on occasion by my past self with great foresight

thankfully, by february 'project resurrection' had excavated a total of ten tracks, each in differing stages of completion, leaving my plans for a twelve track album not so far out of reach, it was then matching these up with my words, what to leave as instrumental, what needs adding, what needs changing and what needs completing.

now, if my memory serves me, then there are no lyrics/poetry on my album that were written any later than 2008 or possibly 2009, and of all the music, every single track on the album apart from one had its genesis in the same back bedroom that I wrote all my poetry in.

the time spent crafting it and moulding it to its final shape has felt like a certain form of regression for me, casting my mind back to my old self, my old bedroom, in my old home, I think the lyrics and the music reflects who I was, and now I'm wondering who it was that I left behind, and who I have become.

living in the past hasn't been easy, and the release felt like an absolution of sorts, a chance to start being me again, right now.

perhaps I shall break down the album further in a handful more posts, but for now, allow yourself to wallow in the past that I couldn't put to rest until>

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

debut album, Anubis Horror out now

of course it isn't unreasonable to launch your album from a country other than the one you live in...

a nice glitzy press conference at perhaps a swanky hotel of some sort

and in this day and age of live streaming and digital media coverage, it could be trending on twitter as soon as the first flash bulb pops

except this isn't the way the Hunchbakk album is launched

Anubis Horror, the debut album from Hunchbakk, released on the 29th June 2013

i picked the date specifically, the 29th being the last day that i am 29, my last day in my twenties, alongside the book that I have written, completing and releasing an album before my 30th birthday on the 30th of June seemed a rather achievable goal to aim for after declaring that it would finally see the light of day this year.

except nobody was informed of the release until late on the 30th June, when I sat down in Byte Burger in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, with my girlfriend and finally found myself gifted with wi-fi.

the album had already been online for over 24 hours, and as my sinister phone connected i had to fend off a barrage of facebook birthday greetings before I could finally announce to a small portion of the world that my first opus was among them.

as we were setting off on our journeys last thursday, album set and ready to launch, I did not conceive such an issue occurring, although we had not booked into a hotel with free wi-fi as we had on our jaunt to Iceland, I imagined that I would be checking my emails every time we sat down to eat, I did not imagine that it would be a struggle to use my credit card every time we sat down to eat, with numerous bars, restaurants and train ticket machines only accepting cash, let alone leeching off a bountiful supply of complimentary cyberspace.

by contrast, Rekjavic was overflowing with gratis googling and my credit card tailor made for well-travelled transactions was welcomed almost anywhere, whilst the majority of Berlin was depleting our dwindling fund of paper money at almost every turn as the city seemed to be stuck somewhere in the Eighties (although the lack of dividing wall and my advancing years seemed to argue otherwise).

and so concludes my masterclass in how not to market an album successfully, remember to leave your worries and your mobile network at the airport and abandon all contact with social networks, heck, even old fashioned means of communication may not be possible if you haven't got enough Euros for a postcard and stamp.

but now back in the UK, I can finally publish this post and possibly hop on the campaign trail.

(did i mention that i have an album out?)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

This is progress

there has barely been time to shout from the rooftops about my debut single

my lack of promotion is frankly embarassing to be honest

and yet all of this, as far as i'm concerned, signals progress

hopefuly my life is progressing, since i am now swamped with completing the album within the time scale that i had given myself, completing my book (which has fallen out of the timescale i had given myself, but shall be arriving, no matter how late it may be), writing reviews and trying to figure out where my life may take me next

where I am being taken next is Berlin, where I shall be celebrating 3 decades on this planet (although celebrating may be a touch too strong, perhaps toasting it is more appropriate), and where life takes me after shall hopefully be a new adventure, one that I have postponed or too long

I don't feel that I am gaining enough from my current employment, it is simply a means to an end, and a paltry end at that, so it is time to try and figure out who I am and what I want to do and where I want to be

where I want to be is invariably somewhere I can create, hopefully music focused, but we'll see

as this month draws to a close I'm hoping to draw a line under who I've been and instead focus on who I am

Saturday, 1 June 2013

it's here: Teenaging, the debut single

finally, it's here...

the debut single, a four track package, is now available as a pay-what-you-like download via bandcamp

it has been a long time coming. the release of Teenaging, originally recorded in 2008, heralds the arrival of the full length debut album, Anubis Horror. a trip down memory lane and an industrial take on hip-hop elements, Teenaging follows the path travelled by many as their formative years at school gives way to an errant sense of identity and the prevailing person that we will ultimately become as life shapes us all. the title track of the single is also backed by a chopped up and tortured rendition of the poem 'The Dishonest Truth', the Kaoss pad created and long unavailable 'Base Element' that originally debuted in 2009, and a remix of Teenaging tackled by Tesla aka Matthew Sewell, guitarist and knob-twiddler with North-London djent-metallers UNX, whose debut EP was released earlier this year.

it's been an interesting journey that isn't over yet, but for this release i can't give enough thanks to my brother, Ian Byford, for providing inspired artwork, and to Matthew Sewell, who turned in an amazing remix that really changed the sounds that i have had swimming around my head for so long

so please, download, share and enjoy, and keep an eye out for the forthcoming full length album


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

here come the remix

I certainly can't speak for anybody else, but it isn't very often that I find a remix of one of my own tracks has appeared in my inbox overnight.

actually, it has never once happened to me before, and it was with trepidation that I actually opened the attached file.

y'see, part of my big plan is a number of singles released from my forthcoming album.

and part of my big plan is to include a number of the bloody talented artists and individuals that I have encountered along the way in my little musical foray.

to date, my music has been my own, I have kept the album under wraps, kept it hidden, only herd by a chosen few, and certainly, working on the music has been a thoroughly solitary experience, just me, sat at my computer trying to make something that I am gonna be proud of

but music doesn't have to be for the individual, it can be experienced together, as groups, and as a collaborative process, my years of flitting around on the local music scene has led me to cross paths with many people, and it was to some of these people that I have reached out to when looking for some fresh ideas on my own creations that will soon be seeing the light of day.

I hope that this is just the start of a long and fruitful series of Brave and Bold style team-ups, and fingers crossed that first remix, in its complete state will be making up part of the debut single.. which should be surfacing on the horizon in the coming weeks.....

Saturday, 18 May 2013

all about the timing

Some things are all about the timing

and in this constantly connected, constantly evolving and ever changing world that we are living in this is thoroughly important in the game of 'self-promotion'

so, of course my timing is completely off...

urgh, self-promotion, what an ugly little term, essentially jumping up and down and going 'oooooh, look at me!', this is pretty much the opposite of how I choose to live my life, nothing wrong with a little bit of shameless plugging here and there... but I'd rather kinda just get on with it and hope that the universe shares a little bit of good will with me, hardly a go get'em attitude, I know, but this is simply how I am

thankfully, the modern world makes it far easier to be less show-offish and still get noticed, social media, blogs and unparalleled connectivity make short work of being in touch with people and getting your voice heard.

so of course my timing is completely off...

currently, in a whirlwind of stolen moments and furious activity, I am arranging self-publishing my debut novel, (hey, wasn't that coming out in April?), releasing my debut single (on course to be derailed, but with you very soon-ish), followed by the release of my debut album (in June, definitely in June), so I guess my online banter should make reference to the fact that all these things are happening!

of course my timing is completely off...

it has been nearly a year since I started a new job, a new job that pays ridiculously badly and leaves me with next to no free time throughout the day, compared to my job of 11 years prior to that, which paid poorly but gave me enough free time to try and be who I wanted to be, I felt that was a fair compromise to be honest.

email checking, social networking, actual networking, blogging, researching, all of these were possible if work was quiet, not the case anymore, my time is limited and little indulgences like these are long gone, my social networking presence has certainly taken a hit and prior to this, my last blog post was over a month ago!

of course, my timing is completely off!!!

and of course, the book I grabbed from the library, a book about one man choosing to flee his life of paying exorbitant London rents and instead living out of hotel rooms around the world in a social experiment in keeping costs down isn't just a book about the former mentioned, it is all this plus preparing for the release of his debut book...

as a 'published author' he is often on the blag and making ends meet via freelance work as he builds on his reputation, as the publishing date nears he relays the importance of his online standing and traffic to his frequently updated blog.

(grumble) ok, so my timing is completely off....

I can see the similarities and I can see the differences, both of us gearing up for the release of our first novel, him flying around the world (hey, to Vegas and Rekjavic and erm, the Soho Revue Bar, places I have also been!) and updating his blog and forging his reputation and living off the advance he has been paid, and me, who is selfpublishing, expecting to make no money, and haven't blogged in a while.

and I can see what I have to do, but so much of it comes down to having the time, I no longer have this disposable commodity to do so freely with as I wish, the time that I should perhaps be spending trying to maintain my online presence and keeping the world updated of my progress is instead spent trying to make progress, or trying to make dinner and make the house look tidy and all the other household chores, and then squeeze in a little bit of progress if I can find the time

I guess it's all about timing

Monday, 15 April 2013

Anubis approaching

I can't help but feel excited as little pieces of everything (in my creative world, at least) seem to be falling into place.

The resurrection project that began last year has fulfilled its purpose, and then some..

I was genuinely surprised by quite how far along with my music I had come, even if in terms of quantity rather than quality, although that isn't too shabby either, and a full length album didn't seem such a distant stretch of imagination and ambition.

And now I am very proud to admit that the debut Hunchbakk album is at a completely incomplete demo stage.

12 tracks running consecutively that are now just in need of a bit of a spit and polish before they can be unleashed on the world.

As is keeping with tradition, I wanted my girlfriend to be the first person with a copy of the album to listen to... and since the demise of her previous car stereo, we have been rocking a tape deck, resulting in some rather throwback listening experiences and meaning that I had to record my album demo onto cassette for her

She hasn't always been the biggest fan of my style of music, so I was surprised, and I think she was surprised when she actually said that she likes it, probably down to the not quite so heavy presence of the 'soft suicidal' genre of music that I had previously pioneered and she had the good grace of naming.

And while I keep busy with bringing the finished product up to a standard I am more or less completely happy with, I am keeping with tradition in sending my brother mp3s of the full album, so that he is able to toil away on accompanying artwork for the final release.

This is all bloody exciting for me, it may not be the grandest of releases, but it will certainly be a milestone in my creative processes and make what is essentially a hobby feel a little bit more real.

Friday, 29 March 2013

The invisible age

I can feel it now, creeping up behind me, the cool, chilling breath that tickles the back of my neck. it is following me around and getting closer withe every passing day.


and I can't escape it any longer, it is an age I never considered facing, and yet, in the past few months, the reality of my advancing years is becoming unavoidable.

it feels like a finishing line, that now I am hurtling towards it, only so that I can cross it.

But before I get there, I want to make sure the milestone birthday greets me as a wizened man that has achieved things in his life.

My debut novel only really needs the cover artwork finalising and laying out, and I fully intend to have it published next month.

My debut album is also gaining momentum and I think an end may possibly be in sight for it, ideally with a single released in May ahead of an album release in June, which would be great timing since I mark my third decade on the planet on the thirtieth day of the sixth month of the year of our lord, two thousand and thirteen.

days off recently have been spent recording vocals and intertwining them with the music that has been sat waiting for an accompaniment, waiting for completion. and I just hope that I can pull everything together in time to make it all right, to set myself a deadline and meet it, with a hearty, manly handshake.

and in my 'real' life, things are ok there I guess, everything feels rather wrapped up and in place, with my serious relationship and our home and our plans for the future, the past year's redundancy and current entry level job on a minimum wage are not exactly ideals, hardly part of anybodies 30 year plan, but that is what life has given me, and I still have a roof over my head and a girlfriend that loves me and a family around me to support me and various friends and acquaintances in my life that help to make my life complete so I can't complain really.

But for now, the countdown ticks away the second, minutes, days and hours relentlessly.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Impact Detonation

oh, 90s comic books, what a bizarre, long and twisted love/hate relationship we have.

a relationship that I have revisited since loading a bunch of CBRs onto my gizmo, ready for reading without un-pollybagging my old issues.

back when I first laid hands on my new gizmo and took it to the Lake District with me, I powered my way through Contagion and Legacy, two back to back Batman arcs that spanned the Dark Knight Detective's titles and various spin-offs.

from what I can remember now, Contagion was so-so, and Legacy was marginally better due to the returning threat of Rās Al Ghūl, his daughter Talia and the reveal of her new suitor as Bane, making a welcome return but becoming an ultimately squandered character, since he could never really replicate the impact made since his debut in the Knightfall event.

And the problem was that after such wide spanning, multi-issue, crossing-over, behemoth storytelling that had spun Knightfall into two separate strands of Knightsquest and the seemingly concluding chapter of KnightsEnd, the last thing Batman fans really needed was another all encompassing threat to the comics world and to wallets.

which was exactly what Batman fans got when the KnightSaga span off into the rather oddly timed Prodigal and the runt of the litter Troika, which I have just finished re-reading.

very briefly, Prodigal deals with the fallout of KnightsEnd and the return of Bruce Wayne to the mantle of the bat, who then very swiftly hands it over to Dick Grayson, former Robin. Rendering the climactic climax of KnightsEnd slightly anti-climactic. After this 12 parter, Bruce Wayne comes back proper, unveiling a new batsuit (black, rather than blue and grey, and kind of pointless) and tackling Russian criminals running around being a bit rubbish all over four separate bat-titles with collectors edition embossed covers.

And that was that really, these flailing add-ons that did little to shake things up following such whopping, game-changing and era-defining cross-overs.

It was the age of comics that dragged me in, entertained and enthralled me, but to be absolutely honest... it did have a number of lows lumped in with all those highs.

The 90s was a boom era for new comic books, new artists and new tricks, I still have such a fondness for those days gone by, the regular trips to Barnet or Tottenham to stock up and get my comics fix for the week, yet all the sugar coating in the world won't change the fact thatTroika was perhaps really over stretching the gimmicks, the crossovers, and the reader's patience at the time.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

a self-fulfilling prophecy

reflecting back on today's earlier blog, i decided to dig deep, digging way back through my blog posts before realising that my comments as regard to a potential completion date for my debut album were actually posted up on my myspace blog...   waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy back in those heady days of 2008

and what exactly did i say?

'So far in the last twelve months I have yielded two and a bit tracks that I consider to be a more personal direction for my music, as well as almost a whole remix for a band that insisted there was no deadline to be met and have since split up.' 

'Considering this schedule of output, my vague plan of producing an 11 track album should reach completion around 2012/13 as long as there are no hold ups.'

of course, this was intended as a rather flippant remark, and although i have never claimed to be prolific, i had actually hoped that this would all have been done and dusted sooner rather than later.

as it stands now tho, my vague plan of producing an 11 track album should reach completion some time in 2013 as long as there are no hold ups.

Nearer than ever before

It would take me too long to find, but i do recall in an old (old) blog post, after purchasing Acid and taking my time to knock up a very small number of tracks, that i calculated the average time taken on them so far, factored in how many tracks i was considering having on an album, and then estimated an approximate arrival time for the finished product.

I am curious to see quite how far wrong i was with that guestimation, but having faced dry spells and computer crashes and changes of alter egos over the years, as well as just plain ol' getting on with stuff that isn't making music, i do declare that this year may very possibly (and hopefully) be the year that a debut Hunchbakk album is completed.

this is still also reliant on being able to salvage the original tracks from previous incarnatons of my computer, a task that i have dubbed 'project resurrection', as i pick through the recovered files saved to dvds and try and piece together what was once created, but foolishly not even saved for posterity in mp3 form

And so far this goes good, revealing that i was actually further along the process than i suspected myself of being, and facing the realisation that providing they all resurrect ok, that i have something like ten tracks so far in the pipeline that should be shaping up nicely for a well rounded, full length release.

expect the next update sometime around..... 2016 maybe?

Saturday, 5 January 2013

not knowing.

With over a thousand songs being carried around in your pocket, it is astonishing to think that it could still be difficult to find music to suit your mood, yet, quite simply, all this choice can be rather confounding.

And so my story begins on a rather dull January morning, leaving the house and contemplating the working day and how long it is until my next day off, I need something calming, serene, distracting, and I need it now.

I scroll past bands I love, bands I'm bored of, and artists that just don't seem right for right now, and I settle upon the name Frankie Machine.

I remember very little of why, but I remember I liked it, so I choose this, and after a brief offbeat intro, I am reminded of what held so much appeal as the sound of Nineteen Seventy Three is channeled directly into my ears.

A simple acoustic track that I have missed so much that I play it twice in a row, and as I tune into the remainder of the EP from whence it originated, I wonder how I ever came across this in the first place, what website or blog must have convinced me to right-click and save as, and a most audacious thought of all, how, in this highly informed digital age, do I still have no idea who Frankie Machine is.

I literally know nothing at all about him, other than his name, and due to a couple of skits on the EP, that he had been played on radio 1 by John Peel in the era in which emails were being used by the late fan-favourite presenter.

And you know what? I actually kind of like it that way.

it would take next to no effort to google the name, possibly finding more info than I would need to know, but I won't, cos I actually like having nothing more than my own admiration of a few pieces of music to satisfy me in this age where almost everything is shared, re-posted and ubiquitously linked to facebook.

edit:  since it has always been my intention to share music, i did precocously approach google with caution, purely with the sole intention of letting you hear what i heard

i also believe that the whole EP can also still be downloaded, although i didn't hang around to find out

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

new years resolution....

i don't like making new years resolutions

they seem to be futile attempts to change things that tend to be quite short lived, such as gym memberships and stopping biting your fingernails

i like to think that i spend the majority of my life being the best me that i can possibly be.... but this year i want to make a change i've made a resolution to work on more music

i feel that i've been getting far too behind on quite where i wanted to be with making music, not that i expect to be topping charts and headlining stadiums, but simply being creative on a regular basis has eluded me, so it's time that i get my groove back.

so after getting in from work i fired up my computer, loaded up a handful of tracks that have been in limbo and was pleasantly surprised to find that afew tracks were further along the gestation period than i realised, and within a short space of time i managed to throw a few extra sounds together and saved a number of works in progresses as mp3s, christened them as demos that will make up part of my debut album, vowing to return to them soon to flesh them out a little more

to date, i have not publicly shared any of these album tracks, yet with a new brace of 'demos' nestling on my harddrive after what turned out to be a satisfying evening, i felt it was only right to prove my worth with a little 'show and tell', and since i've done the telling, i guess i should probably do some showing...

so here it is... a short demo of what is provisionally titled 'computer music'