Friday, 31 December 2010
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Thursday, 23 December 2010
And so another year draws to a close. As I write it is 13 degrees below zero and my beard is littered with frozen fragments of conversation. This is pretty cold for England, though less so for countries who experience real weather, and who aren't inhabited by people who act suprised when it is cold every single winter.
I listened to a lot of Right Said Fred this year.
I also walked about 2000 miles.
I said goodbye to my Gran.
I spent a lot of time doing hospital visits.
I wrote reviews and articles for The Guardian, Mojo, NME, The Quietus, Caught By The River, 3:AM Magazine, New Media Monthly, Louder Than War and others.
I was published by a company I greatly admire.
I despaired at various political / social situations.
I had more early starts than ever before.
I've finished writing two new novels.
I read about 100 books.
I saw a lot of deer.
I experienced the media from the other side of the fence.
I went to many obscure backwaters of the North of England (and Wales).
I made new friends.
I went the radio a few times.
I argued with Nazis, supported Wikileaks and was heartened by the student protests.
So a year of ups and downs.
Are you sick of reading end of year lists yet? Thought so. I thought I'd avoid that and instead issue a deluge of names of artists who recorded songs that I enjoyed. In no particular order, then.
Giggs, Teeth Of The Sea, Professor Green, Janelle Monae, British Sea Power, Vampire Weekend, Tinie Tempah, Wiley, The Jim Jones Revue, Wild Beasts, MGMT, Male Bonding, Deftones, Flats, The Futureheads, Chrome Hoof, Les Savy Fav, Gil Scott-Heron, Pulled Apart By Horses, Frankie & The Heartstrings, The Dillinger Escape Plan, MIA, These New Puritans, Thee Spivs, Biffy Clyro, Chain And The Gang, Cerebral Ballzy...
In other news, Richard is in Bookmunch readers' Top 10 books of 2010. The longlist is here.
As previously mentioned it is published in Australia on 01/01/11 (as opposed to 01/10/10 in the UK - I like the binary feel to this).
That's it for now.
Seasons greetings readers. All the best for 2011.
Monday, 20 December 2010
Friday, 17 December 2010
1. Giggs - 'Look What The Cat Dragged In'
2. Frankie And The Heartstrings - 'Ungrateful'
3. The Misfits -'Last Caress'
4. Half Man Half Biscuit - 'Venus In Flares'
5. Tiffany - 'I Think We're Alone Now'
6. D.I. - 'Richard Hung Himself'
7. Dr Feelgood - 'Roxette'
8. Vampire Weekend - 'Cousins'
9. The (International) Noise Conspiracy - 'United By Haircuts'
10. Germs - 'Media Blitz'
(Clcik to enlarge)
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
I wrote this for NME.com...
Three decades ago this week, the world was waking to the news that the life of a genuine rock ‘n’ roll icon of his time – a man with a fervent following and a way with words - had ended tragically early.
Yet the front page headlines that Germs frontman Darby Crash hoped for when he overdosed on heroin December 7 eluded him when Beatles frontman John Lennon was shot a mere twenty-four hours later. The music world had lost its most prominent anti-establishment figurehead – and Crash became a footnote.
Thirty years later though, Crash’s reputation has rightly grown. To some he was of far greater importance than any Beatle. Because Crash represented a zenith for US punk - more destructive than Iggy, smarter than Sid, more chaotic than any of them. And with the Germs he ushered in the far more aggressive strains of 80s hardcore.
Monday, 13 December 2010
Sunday, 12 December 2010
Saturday, 11 December 2010
I wrote this, for Caught By The River.net...
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why nature writing has enjoyed such a resurgence over the last half decade or so. The rise of all things digital would certainly go some way to explaining a growing need to immerse one’s self in something more tangible and sensory after days and nights spent staring at a series of flat screens. And there are few things more tangible and sensory than rain lashing in your face or Himalayan Balsam pods popping around you as your stumble through the undergrowth.
Because this is the way we live today: in boxed-off flats or on suburban streets that exist in those strange edge zones and hinterlands that are neither city nor country, yet try – and usually fail – to incorporate both. Convenient retail parks are replacing the urban shopping experience and sanitised green spaces seem to cruelly remind that, as the French rioters of May 1968 so adroitly pointed out, “beneath the paving stones, the beach”. Is there anything more demoralising than stumbling across a rare civic-run patch of green only to find a sign saying ‘Do Not Walk On The Grass’ pitched in the middle?
Friday, 10 December 2010
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
It seems a while since I did much in the way of a literary round-up here. I've been so immersed with promoting my new novel this year and working on two other fictional projects - and finding wood to burn to stay warm (it has been minus 10 degrees this week) - that this blog seems to have been reduced to a series of images and Youtube clip, like every other blog. Sorry about that.
On the subject of new writing, I'm about 75% of the way through the writing a new novel. So far it appears to be about this:
And maybe this:
But it may end up being about something else entirely.
Pomona Books, the finest independent purveyors of literature in the North of England have some new books out and are having a bumper sale too. Straight from the horse's mouth:
We’ve now got copies in of Stuart Murdoch’s (of Belle and Sebastian) debut book, The Celestial Café. The singer reveals non-debauched tales of life on the road and back home in his native Glasgow. Murdoch, a born-writer, stares out from metaphorical celestial cafés throughout the world, presenting a unique and engaging take on herb tea, Felt, sunsets, church choirs, John Peel, acupuncture, and, of course, catastrophic waitresses.
Also most of Pomona's back catalogue is now available for just a fiver per book (plus p and p). The brick-sized hardback biography of JD Salinger, A Life Raised High, is on offer at half price, for just a tenner. Anyone spending more than £20 on our site, and thereby showing exemplary support to independent publishing, will receive a free book with their order. See, no bah humbug-ing here!
Mineshaft magazine have a new issue on the way in January 2011. It features artwork and writings from Robert Crumb, Diane di Prima, Pat Moriarty etc. I collaborated with fellow Brutalist peots Adelle Stripe and Tony O'Neill on the series of poems 'Cheap Thrills' in issue #24, earlier this year.
Also out in January 2011: my novel Richard, in Australia, on Pan Macmillan.
I'm currently enjoying these cultural delights:
Frozen River (film)
Rudimentary Peni - No More Pain (EP)
Savage Furs (unsigned band)
The Trip (TV series)
The Futureheads - Christmas Was Better In The 80s (single)
Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain (album)
Michel Houellebecq - The Possibility Of An Island (book)
Deftones - Diamond Eyes (album)
Frankie And The Heartstrings - 2011 album sampler
That's it for now.
Monday, 6 December 2010
Today I'm very much enjoying listening to Teeth Of The Sea (who, in a former life, were part of Bloody Valley, who I released on my record label, fact fans. This however is a Whole Other - and frankly Better - Thing).
Teeth Of The Sea's new album Mercury came out November 22 2010.
Friday, 3 December 2010
The snow has fallen. It is 9 below
when you step outside at 8am.
The valley tops are salmon pink;
the flat bottom silent.
Everything is sharpened.
Senses. Angles. Perspectives.
The field is made of needles,
the tree is a statue of a skeleton,
the sky a marble slab
stolen from the steps
of a cenotaph as
big as Yorkshire.
And foot-prints lead you
in an infinite circle.