Friday, 25 September 2009

Band Biographies

I sometimes get asked by bands or their record labels to write official biographies and promotional material to help tout their musical wares to the media and the masses.

I only do it for bands who I like and seem to have written quite a few over the past twelve months.

Some you may know about, others possibly which case simply click the links below to enrich your lug holes.

Marmaduke Duke

The King Blues


Enter Shikari

The Hickey Underworld

Flood Of Red

The Silent Years

Dead Confederate

Blitz Kids

North Atlantic Oscillation

"Sex, Drugs and Dubstep"

Hyperkinetic: High Velocity Tales From The City is a forthcoming anthology (and blog), to which I have contributed a story. It is described as being full of "plenty of sex, drugs and dubstep."

To help plug the book the editors have compiled a mix album of tracks suggested by each author. I don't know what it's like but you can listen to it here. My contribution was 'Ex Template' by At The Drive-In / The Mars Volta dub off-shoot DeFacto.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Bookseller Etc

Information about my new novel has been made public.

The Bookseller reports: "Picador has acquired the rights for a new novel by English author and journalist, Ben Myers. Senior editor, Sam Humphreys bought world rights from agent Simon Benham. The novel is called Richard and will be published in early 2011. It tells the story of Richard Edwards (formerly of the Manic Street Preachers)..."

And Booktrade say: " ...thoughtful and thought-provoking, and written in a taut yet beautiful tone, it clearly marks Ben Myers as a major new talent."

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

New Musical Aquisitions

I took some bad new albums and traded them for some good - mostly - old ones. (I think this is what tends to happen when you pass the age of 30.)

Various - Performance (soundtrack)

Various - Deliverance (soundtrack)

Pissed Jeans - King Of Jeans

Various - The Vampires Of Dartmoore

Jah Wobble & The Chinese Dub Orchestra - Chinese Dub

Dengue Fever - Sleepwalking Through The Mekong

Lee Hazlewood - Something Special

Half Man Half Biscuit - Trouble Over Bridgewater

And that's it.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Art Notes

My film-maker pal / collaborator Gus Alvarez's new short Captive just won the Audience Award at the Portobello Film Festival. Congratulations to Gus! You can watch the trailer for it here.

3AM Books launches in 2010 with the first publication, Work by Will Ashon (a nice man who also runs Big Dada label, recent winners of Mercury Music Prize for their artist Speech Debelle).

Beat The Dust Press is launching in October 2010 with a joint collection by Melissa Mann, Joseph Ridgwell and Steve Finbow.

Fish Tank is one of my new favourite films. Here is the unusually wide trailor for it.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Photographs Of Don McCullin

I went to see the Don McCullin exhibition in Bradford at the weekend and was pretty blown away by what I saw.

Though I've seen plenty of his work in magazines over the years, I've never viewed a collection close-up. RecentlyI've been drawing more inspiration from black and white photography for writing fiction than from anything else.

Here are three highlights...


(Finsbury Park, London)


Friday, 18 September 2009

Jim Carroll: An Obituary

It was only a few weeks ago that I was writing a piece on here about how much Jim Carroll's writing influenced me, especially back in the mid/late 90s when I moved to London to life a life of squalor and adventure and poverty. His book Forced Entries was almost a guide to living and as soon as I started going to New York circa 1997 I couldn't help but see the city through his eyes - and those of Johnny Thunders...and Hubert Selby Jr....and Patrick Bateman....and The Ramones..and Travis Bickle...and The Warriors...and Velvet Underground.

Anyway, sadly Jim Carroll died a week ago.

Here is the obituary piece that I wrote about him for The Guardian.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Return of the Brutalists

The Brutalist poets - that would be Tony O'Neill, Adelle Stripe and myself, plus illustrations by Lisa Cradduck - are returning with a new set of poems entitled Cheap Thrills, exclusively to US comic/magazine Mineshaft.

I'll post more details on this over the coming days - including how to buy copies in the UK and beyond- but in the meantime here is the first review.

The issue also features Robert Crumb, Charles Bukowski and many other heroes of the underworld.

** Update **

3AM Magazine have plugged the publication here.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

An NME article

I have written a column for this week's NME (on sale in the UK today) about music that you will never hear on the radio, see in the record shops or - usually - read about in the music press. It was inspired by Will Hodgkinson's The Ballad Of Britain book and album, which charts Will's journey to the heart of British music.

For once it's good to read and write about music that exists away from the tawdry business side of it all.

Also, I first wrote to NME in August 1994 to see if I could submit some reviews, so it's great to be asked a mere fifteen years on to write something for the paper that I grew up reading.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

My Life Is Over

I joined Twitter.

I Am Iron Man (A Tribute To Ted Hughes And Black Sabbath) last hurrah for a work-shy sun - he must have gone south for the summer season, but he's back to put in a late appearance...and so it's the proverbial Indian Summer Saturday and it's off to have a wander around Ted Hughes' old abode, the house that poetry bought...all credit to him though; it paid off by all all accounts...five lines per brick, a stanza for a lintel, an anthology re-print for a new out-house...he was the one man in a million who made it work for him, though it wasn't without casualties along the way (poor Syl)....

...anyway, it wasn't Ted's house I really wanted to see - it was the stream that runs in fits and starts down at the bottom of the vale of Lumb Bank, down below Ted Hughes' house (now the Arvon Foundation)...the same place I mentioned a week or two ago after I got sent this link about outdoor swimming....

...well, the sun was out and we all know what that means - time to make down by the natural pool I got naked, did ten press ups to get a sweat on, face down in the dirt like a white-bellied pig and, as Della watched on shaking her head, I plunged in...well, I mean: you can't mess about with cold water...just have just got to accept that the pain you feel right down to the marrow of your very bones is part of the experience...get your head under, prove your point - your idiotic manhood - then flee, panting and groaning in a voice you don't recognise, your genitalia cursing your very existence and retracting in revolt...dizziness, an elephant on your lungs...images of hatching maggots and walnut whips...

...and then with your skin tingling and your face flushed you can wheeze:
I am Iron Man...

...because you have to to do these things when you're young and fit and dumb and the sun is shining, which isn't often around these parts...and anyway...I did it for Teddy...and Ozzy...(which came first: the novel or the song?)...and anyway...we all live our lives under nylon and polyester and denim these days and sometimes it's good just to stop being so English and let go....I mean, sometimes the breeze on your dander can be felt good, out there, starkers in the woods...

...there's only one worry though: am I going to become a fucking nudist?

Monday, 14 September 2009

RIP Jim Carroll, 1949 - 2009.

“When I was about 9 years old, man, I realized that the real thing
was not only to do what you were doing totally great, but to look
totally great while you were doing it."
~ Jim Carroll

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Message From The Country

Here is the latest picture postcard
in my Message From The Country
series for Caught By The River.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Into the Ivory Towers At Last...By The Tradesman's Entrance...Like An Interloper, A Thief In The Night

...and so it's back to London again, where the streets are paved with fried chicken...via the usual train to Manchester first of course, then a slow walk in the late summer sun across the city that Anthony W. likened to renaissance Florence...and then another train - one of Branson's - and it's straight due south across the green flatlands of the Midlands to alight at my second home...King's Cross with its greasy pavements and football hoolies milling about in preparation for an England game...big men with big heads and little faces and fat backs and little Action Man eyes that look lost in the big city...the headiness of it all after three months spent in the fields and hunched over West Yorkshire's own Walden pond creates an instant tension that manifests within me in its usual way: a washing machine stomach...a desire to flee back to the greenery...

...but it's chin up, lets-do-this-for-England and on to a meeting and then when I'm done it's round the corner to the cut-price, cut-throat Travel Tavern that aint nuttin' like no olde tavern from any BBC period pieces I've happened upon..Dickens and the Sir...and then Adelle arrives and we watch the same Black-Eyed Peas video over and over on TV... and it's on with the glad-rags and off to Portland Place for a Picador party - alliteration heaven - my first engagement as a freshly-signed, newly-hopeful, but still slightly cynical novelist...canapes and champagne abound but I stick to the fizzy water ("Sorry, we don't do still") and take up smoking again in my ill-fitting wedding/funeral suit...nice brown brogue boots with intricate ankle straps on plates of a gladiator of the marble...the best twenty-five quid I ever spent...

...we pass the greatest living Australian Clive James on the way in, "Nice hat," he says of Adelle's home-made crow-feather titfer...bloody Clive James...we ruminate about how your man wouldn't get his own Saturday night TV show now..too clever, too intellectual, too cool for the Cowell generation...we'll spend the next 24 hours doing impressions of Magarita Pracatan...(you might want to check that spelling - I'm too fried) oh, and look there's Alain De Botton by the stairs, or the top of his chrome dome anyway...

...Yes, all the hustlers are out, including me...the agents, the journalists, the publishers, the writers - you can spot the writers because they're stood alone, nervous, well pished by 8pm...and everyone is shouting and drinking and pressing flesh and it's evident that London's literary elite are no different to, say, the crowd at a heavy metal after show party...all spilled drinks, sweat and fag burns...yet most here are unphased by a booze intake that would have me on my back these days...the tongues they are vino veritas and all that...

...books everywhere, piles of them glued together to make plinths and drinks's then that I realise Picador are the right publisher to be on - who else would throw such a lavish shindig in the midst of an almighty recession? The wanton and the brave, that's who...those for who tenacity and booze will get them to any port in a, I like your style...

...the anxiety abates by 10pm and we to a do shrewd move and make for the door, dipping into odd conversations, the subject of introductions along the way...there's the guy who says he knows Yorkshire too: "I was shagging a boy in Batley"...eyes me up and down and tells me he likes short men...and there's the one who asks if we've "found your voices"... it takes an hour to leave, then we're out the door - "what the fuck was that about? why did they let us in?"...a greasy pizza in Kings X seals the night with gluey mozzarella...empty all-day growling stomachs briefly sated...only briefly though...back to the room and Black-Eyed Peas still on the telly four hours later...the rattle of the trains below our window, metal on metal, an urban drone..night-night, please turn off the light...

Monday, 7 September 2009


I've written a feature on early 80s punk rock film Suburbia
for 3AM's regular 'Saturday Night At The Movies' section.

Current Reading List

The Ice Age by Kirsten Reed

Diary Of A Rock 'N' Roll Star
by Ian Hunter

by Ray Robinson

All Beautiful Things
Travel Alone by Mike Meraz

'Decisive Action'

I recently realised that to be a writer involves a lot of not writing. So this weekend I took some decisive action, turned off my computer and decided to interact with the world instead.

I bought some footwear, ate some cake, walked many, many miles, built some fires and went to see the work of Andy Goldsworthy.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Every Band I Have Ever Interviewed Part I (aka 'Pointless Memory Exercise')

I decided to try and write down all the bands and artists I've interviewed over the years for magazines. Then I thought that was a stupid idea, because I reckon I must interviewed about a thousand bands and many or them are so obscure I can't even remember them.

Many I can remember but decided not to write down because they got nowhere.

Then I thought I'd just write down the first ones that came to mind. And even then that took quite a while. My head is full of holes so I reckon this to be about 33% of the bands. The list doesn't include the writers, directors, actors, artists and, er, pneumatic freaks (eg, Jordan) that I've interviewed.

Warning: features a disturbing amount of bad indie and nu-metal artists. I mean, awful.

A, AC/DC, Akira The Don, Alkaline Trio, All Saints, Akercocke, Aleister X, Amen, American Headcharge, Amy Winehouse, Andrew WK, Anthrax, Ash, The Apes, At The Drive-In, Asian Dub Foundation, Atari Teenage Riot, Audioslave, Babes In Toyland, Bad Brains, Ben Kweller, Big Business, Biffy Clyro, The Bobby McGees, Bring Me The Horizon, Black Crowes, Black Grape, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Black Sabbath, Blink 182, Bloodhound Gang, Bob Mould, Bright Eyes, British Sea Power, Broken Hearts, Busta Rhymes, Bush, Cast, The Cassanovas, Catatonia, Cay, The Clash, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, China Drum, Coheed & Cambria, Cradle Of Filth, Crashland, The Crocketts, The Cooper Temple Clause, Dead Confederate, Dead Kennedys, Dead Kids, Def Leppard, Deftones, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Distillers, Dirty Pretty Things, Divine Heresy, Division Of Laura Lee, Dog Eat Dog, The Donnas, Downthesun, Eagles Of Death Metal, Enter Shikari, Everlast, Every Time I Die, Fear Factory, Feeder, Flood Of Red, Foo Fighters, Frank Turner, Fugazi, Gallows, Girls Against Boys, Glassjaw, Gold Blade, Goldie, Green Day, Groop Dogdrill, Hanson, Headswim, Hell Is For Heroes, The Hickey Underworld, Henry Rollins, Idlewild, Insane Clown Possee, Jonathan Fire Eater, Jolt, Kenickie, Kid Rock, Kinesis, The Hives, Hot Hot Heat, The Icarus Line, Garbage, Gay For Johnny Depp, The Get-Up Kids, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Girls Against Boys, Gogol Bordello, Hundred Reasons, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Jane's Addiction, Judas Priest, Killing Joke, The King Blues, Less Than Jake, Keith Levine, The Libertines, Lilys, Llama Farmers, Lit, Live,
Louie, The Lost Patrol, The Make-Up, Machine Head, Madina Lake, Mansun, Marilyn Manson, Marmaduke Duke, The Mars Volta, MC Tunes, Minus, Mogwai, Moby, Morcheeba, Motorhead, Muse, My Vitriol, New Found Glory, Nashville Pussy, NOFX, The Offspring, One Minute Silence, OPM, Ozzy Osbourne, Papa Roach, Peaches, Pennywise, Pitchshifter, Placebo, Portishead, The Prodigy, Public Enemy, Queens Of The Stone Age, Rage Against The Machine, Raging Speedhorn, Rammstein, Red Snapper, Reef, Refused, Republica, Rialto, Richard Hell, Rise Against, Rocket From The Crypt, Run DMC, Screaming Trees, Senseless Things, Scars On Broadway, Sepultura, Serj Tankian, Shed Seven, Sikth, The Silent Years, Slash, Slayer, Slipknot, Skindred, Shitdisco, Silver Sun, Skunk Anansie, The Silent Years, 60 Ft Dolls, S*M*A*S*H, Smashing Pumpkins, Snapcase, Sona Fariq, Soulfly, Spice Girls, Staind, Star Spangles, Stereophonics, Spineshank, Static-X, Stony Sleep, Sum 41, Symposium, System Of A Down, 3 Colours Red, Terrovision, Test Icicles, ThisGirl, The Ting Tings, Tommy Lee, 21st Century Girls, Type O Negative, Ultrasound, The Unbelievable Truth, The Vandals, Vast, The Wannadies, Weakerthans, Weezer, Weird War, Wheatus, The Wildhearts, Zakk Wylde, Young Offenders, Yourcodenameis:milo...