Jonc’s Britpop Meme Part 2

More pictures taken for my #joncsbritpopmeme hashtag over at my Twitter feed during our London vacation.  It so happened that I took many with my camera and not my phone’s camera, and thus more (and sometimes clearer) pictures will show up here.  As before, click on the pictures to embiggen.  Enjoy! :)

Trafalgar (Square)

Trafalgar (Square)

Trafalgar. Trafalgar Square is a lovely open area with tons of walking space and views, and a short walk from many other things to see. This was taken from the steps of the National Gallery looking southwest–basically looking at Nelson’s back.

Your lovely eek and your lovely riah

Your lovely eek and your lovely riah

Piccadilly Palare. Piccadilly Circus is right up the street from Trafalgar Square, and let me tell you, it’s a complete mess as far as foot and car traffic is concerned. [For my Boston friends--think the worst parts of Harvard and Kenmore Squares, multiplied. For the rest of you, think a smaller but equally tourist-heavy Times Square.] The plus side is that there’s a ginormous Waterstones Bookstore there that’s worth getting lost in.

St Martin in the Fields

St Martin in the Fields

St Martin in the Fields. Okay, it’s not exactly a lyric or Britpop reference, but any classical section of a record store worth its salt sells releases either recorded in this church or by its Academy. Taken from the same portico where I took the Trafalgar Square picture. It’s actually pretty amazing how many famous locations are in this spot–the National Portrait Gallery is around the corner, the theater district on the Strand is up the street, as is Whitehall Street, 10 Downing Street, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. You can easily hit all these stops in a half a day like we did.

On Sunday nothing opens late, the clock across the river chimes

On Sunday nothing opens late, the clock across the river chimes

Big Ben. Walking down Whitehall, it’s kind of interesting to come across the House of Commons because you’re busy looking at all the other government buildings in the area, when suddenly you’re at Parliament Square and OH HEY there’s all the famous buildings! The House of Commons itself is quite impressive in its Gothicness, and the clock tower makes its presence known as soon as you turn the corner onto Bridge Street. And yes, I did hear the chimes as we were walking down the street. Big Ben’s pretty damn loud, actually.

So why do you smile when you think about Earl's Court?

So why do you smile when you think about Earl’s Court?

Piccadilly Palare (again). Post-con, we stayed for a number of days over in Earl’s Court/Kensington. It’s an absolutely lovely area. The hotel was a bit pricey, but I adored it. Earl’s Court Road is filled with all sorts of stores, pubs and whatnot, and its Underground station is perfectly situated. Also note–that police box in the lower left corner behind the walk signal is indeed painted TARDIS blue on purpose. [Side note: the hotel has rooms both in its main building and its interconnected neighboring building, and it immediately reminded me of my years in Charlesgate and the 126-130 Beacon block of Emerson College's former Back Bay 'campus'. Our room was in the basement, in which we had to walk to the back of the building, take the rear stairs (or the elevator), take a corner and go up a short set of stairs, enter the basement of the other building, our room being on the left with the one window looking at the dead end of the mews.]

(I don't want to go to) Chelsea

(I don’t want to go to) Chelsea

(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea. Actually, I do! Chelsea’s a little neighborhood right down the road from Kensington/Earl’s Court and was a lovely little area with many things to see and do. And we happened upon the football club grounds completely by accident!

More pictures and tunage soon! I promise I won’t take nearly as long to post next time!

U2’s Songs of Innocence: High Expectations and Low Opinions

Let’s get my first thought out of the way:

Music fans are a fickle lot.

Hear me out–I’ll admit right now that I’m one of them. I too have been one of those fans who brushed off a new release by a band because I couldn’t help but compare it to one of their previous successes and find myself less than impressed. The Cure’s Wild Mood Swings. Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen. Depeche Mode’s Exciter. Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile. REM’s Monster. And pretty much anything U2 recorded after Achtung Baby. See a theme here? Hell, even the reviews for The Beatles (aka the White Album) were mixed at first.

Granted, follow-up albums are damned hard to live up to for musicians, just like follow-up novels are for writers. How do you top your success? Do you even want to top it? Would you rather move laterally and go in a different direction? Take a chance and write/record Big Awesome Release: Part II? It’s the reason we have the “sophomore slump”, with a band trying to follow up their ridiculously popular debut with something, anything they can think of.

In the case of U2, they’ve pretty much been a sore subject for some fans. You’ve got the original fans who’ve loved them since War or earlier, and see The Joshua Tree as their crowning achievement. You’ve got the fans who love the original 80s output but felt Rattle and Hum was their Let It Be, where they disappeared down their own navels and lost track of themselves. You’ve got the fans who heard Achtung Baby and thought that it was what the 90s were supposed to sound like. Anything after that…? You’re either a passive fan, a completist, or just have bad taste. After the dithering Zooropa and the electronica misstep of Pop, they just lost all relevance and became that band VH1 played incessantly. They’d become music for yuppies.

And of course, there’s the ubiquitous Bono, rubbing elbows with all the leaders of every country on Earth. Fans started to despise him just for being the bearer of peace, trying to be the next coming of Jesus or something. Didn’t bother me any, but I guess for some, the higher you go, the more irritating you get.

Another admittance: I actually liked Pop at the time. Sure, it really hasn’t aged all that well and it has many weak spots, but I liked what they were trying to do with it. I also have a bit of a prejudice with the album, because it was one of the many I played incessantly while writing The Phoenix Effect at the time. It holds a place in my heart because I relate it to my writing sessions down in my parents’ basement all those years ago. It was also the tour in which I FINALLY got to see them live, after my sisters had gone to see them multiple times on their bigger tours.

But after that? It took me awhile to warm up to their music. I did like All That You Can’t Leave Behind, but there was something missing that kept me from outright loving it. It may have been that it was a decidedly introspective album; instead of the blistering and sometimes overbearing rock, it focused on melody and ambience. “Beautiful Day” is an excellent song, but can anyone else remember another track from that album, aside from that one about Bono’s dad? Thought not. And the follow-up albums took longer and longer to come out–four for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, five for No Line On the Horizon, and five for the new one, Songs of Innocence. We had some greatest hits compilations popping up in between and an odd cover/duet with Green Day doing an old Saints track for the Super Bowl. If they weren’t taking time off or working on their own personal projects, they were selling out. They’re not relevant because they take too long to release new music. They’re not popular anymore because they haven’t recorded Achtung Tree II. Your mom and dad like them now. You just can’t win, I guess.

I bring all this up because of all of the noise that’s surrounded U2’s newest release this past week. They’d hinted for a while now that a new album would be forthcoming sooner or later but never gave any specifics, but this past Tuesday they surprise-released the new album in the most amazing and unexpected way: completely for free (for a limited time) for anyone who has iTunes. In fact, you already have it on your iCloud, all you need to do is download it, no strings attached. Apple and U2 are basically saying “here, have fun!”

And just as unexpectedly, there’s a shockingly large amount of music listeners and non-fans who are absolutely incensed that it was given to them for free “without permission”.

This is rich, coming from a music era that got nailed pretty damned hard a few years back when you could pretty much download any album for free through filesharing sites and fans felt no guilt in doing so, but I digress.

To put it bluntly, again: music fans are a fickle lot. The overwhelming response (not including the typical “U2 Sucks” and its varying iterations) seems to be that people are angry at being forced to take an album they don’t want. To be honest, it’s no different than the sample mp3s you find when you upload your new mp3’s software, or the prepackaged apps you find on your Samsung phone. It’s there for your use and download if you want it. No one’s forcing you to listen or play around with it. I can understand the frustration for those who set their iPhones to constantly sync up with whatever’s on their iCloud and suddenly find an album there, but that’s easily rectified with a few steps. As far as I know, one album won’t make a significant dent in your data plan. No worse than buttdialing or forgetting to disconnect from the internet and leaving it on all night.

Part of me wants to think that this is part and parcel of social media’s penchant for righteous indignation at the drop of a hat. [Sure, some indignation is justified, I'm not talking about those instances.] How dare you give me something I don’t want? You’re trying to take over my phone! You’re pushing a product at me that I despise! You can’t tell me what to like! And so on. It’s what I call surface emotion: the instinctual reaction to something we don’t like, and treating that as what we perceive to be the truth. Apple and U2 forced an album on me, so therefore they must suck and be the most horrible company and band in the world. It’s gone so far that even established music reviewers see the album with a tainted eye, immediately thinking of it as craptastic drivel. [And how dare Bono even breathe the name Joey Ramone, let alone use his name in a title of a song! Blasphemy!]

Sure, that may be stretching it a bit, but in the process, this indignation is obscuring the honest personal review of the album. Personally, after a few listens I feel this is one of their best late-period albums. In fact, it’s probably on my Top 5 of 2014 right now, right up there with Beck’s Morning Phase and Interpol’s El Pintor. I say this now because I’ve listened to music closely and intently for so long now that I’m able to listen to a band’s release on its own merit now. The record may not be up to the standards of its predecessors, but taken on its own it’s an excellent release. Songs of Innocence holds vibrant energy that’s been missing or not completely present in their past few albums. The melodies are more memorable this time out, and the production work is tighter and cleaner than many of their previous albums. [And "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" is an excellent opening track--the mix of Irish reel and lyrics about hearing punk for the first time is a brilliant move. Take that, Sasha Frere-Jones!]

No band can, or should, be expected to consistently “top” themselves, nor should they feel the need to hit it out of the park every single time. U2 has been a top-selling band for nigh on thirty years now. I think it’s time we take them at surface level instead of as the gods we think they think they are.

Jonc’s Britpop Meme Part 1

If you happen to follow my twitter feed, you may have noticed a run of pictures I posted during our London trip with the hashtag #joncsbritpopmeme, in which I took pictures hinting at certain songs with a distinctively British pop history.  Here’s a slightly updated/’remastered’ version of the pictures…click on the thumbnails to embiggen the pictures.  Enjoy!

Going Underground

Going Underground

Going Underground. Within an hour of landing at Heathrow we jumped on the Piccadilly Line to head out to our destination. My first reaction to the Underground was that it was remarkably like the MBTA in Boston, with its color-coded lines and specific neighborhood stops. I pretty much grokked the transportation bit right away.



Victoria. The ExCel London is on Victoria Dock, right alongside the Thames, a few miles outside of the town proper. It’s a lovely area, even if there was quite a bit of construction going on.

He was such a stupid get.

He was such a stupid get.

I’m So Tired. Sir Walter Raleigh’s cell at the Tower of London. Not exactly a small room, probably about the size of our living room, complete with a writing desk and a view of the yards. Per John Lennon, ‘he was such a stupid get.’

I emerged in London rain

I emerged in London rain

The Metro. The weather in London was pretty wacky, even to our Bay Area standards! Clear day, only to rain heavily for about ten minutes, and then clear up again.

On Wednesdays I go shopping...

On Wednesdays I go shopping…

The Lumberjack Song. Okay, technically it was Monday and these were scones with clotted cream (yum!!) but it was tea in the basement of St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s where I discovered Tregothnan is my favorite brand of tea right now.

Millennium (Bridge)

Millennium (Bridge)

Millennium. A lovely view of the bridge from an upper deck of the Tate Modern. It spans from this arty little neighborhood over to the center of town where St Paul’s is. You may remember this bridge being destroyed in one of the Harry Potter films.

Gonna have a ball tonight, down at the Globe

Gonna have a ball tonight, down at the Globe

The Globe. The Globe Theatre–not the original, of course–is right on the shore of the Thames, in an area that definitely reminded me of Pier 39 here in San Francisco…lots of touristy shininess.

Down in the tubestation (not at midnight)

Down in the tubestation (not at midnight)

Down in the Tubestation at Midnight. In the Waterloo station, waiting for the line to bring us back to our hotel. Loved the tilework on most of these stops, especially the older ones where the “way out” exit signs were inlaid against the walls.



Parklife. An idyllic scene in Green Park, strolling from the Piccadilly line stop over to Buckingham Palace. It was a gorgeous day for sitting on the grass and relaxing in the sun.

So I broke into the palace...

So I broke into the palace…

The Queen Is Dead. For the record, I did not have a sponge or a rusty spanner on me. Buckingham Palace is quite flash, and definitely a tourist attraction. Didn’t see the Queen Mum, however. Oh well!

'..I hope we passed the audition.'

‘..I hope we passed the audition.’

Get Back. 3 Savile Row, the former Apple Corps office. The famous rooftop concert at the climax of the Let It Be film took place here, and many of the studio recordings for that album took place in its basement studio. It’s an investments office now, but you can see a few “thank you Beatles” scribbles on its doorframe.

More to come! :)

Fly-By: brb, heading to the UK for Worldcon

Hi there!  Sorry to keep you waiting on a new post.  I’ve had a somewhat busy schedule the last few weeks and have not had the time to post anything new.  Vacation starts in just a few days and I’ve been squeezing as many last-minute things in as I can.

We’ll be heading to the UK this weekend for Worldcon and much sightseeing, so I don’t believe I’ll have time to update the site during that time.  I will have access to do so, but it’s a matter of finding the time at that point, so thought I’d warn you ahead of time.  We shall see.

We’ll be in London the entire time, which means that I will most likely be taking all kinds of music-related pictures and posting them here upon return.  That, in fact, was one of the main plans of mine outside of the convention, because I’m a dork like that. :)

See you on the flip side!

Favorite Albums: Failure, Fantastic Planet



Say hello to the rug’s topography / it holds quite a lot of interest with your face down on it…

I distinctly remember hearing Failure for the first time; their debut Comfort had been released just as I started my senior year in college, and our FM station, WERS, had received a promotional copy, which I soon found in the freebie bins outside the studio (aka the “here, this sucks and/or is too commercial-sounding and we won’t play it” bins, given the station at the time).  I’d heard a lot of great things about the band and the album, even despite the incessant and often misguided comparisons to the ubiquitous Nirvana.  I can see where they’d get that, if you think loud guitars + quirky chord changes + odd lyrics = Nirvana or one of its clones, but I always felt that was a cop-out, a weak and lazy way to pigeonhole a newly-popular subgenre.

I played “Submission” and “Pro-Catastrophe” from that first album on my radio show on our AM station, WECB, where I was the music director that semester, and I thought they were well worth checking out and sharing with others.  My enthusiasm didn’t get too far, of course, considering WECB’s low-watt reach was ridiculously sketchy, not to mention by that time, the alternative rock purists were refusing to listening to anything remotely commercial, and that WFNX was playing Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam every fifteen minutes or so.  Failure unfortunately could not sneak in edgewise into anyone’s playlist.  I don’t blame the band for that at all; in fact, I have to give them mad props for remaining true to the sounds they wanted to create.  They weren’t as Led-Zep as most grunge bands were, they weren’t as hard as any metal bands out there, but they also weren’t deliberately outsider anti-commercial either.

They released a second album, Magnified, in early 1994, which I unfortunately never picked up at the time, as that was during my broke years in Boston, but I did eventually pick it up a few years later while working at HMV.

That was where I fell in love with the band again.

In August of 1996, about a month before I started working at the record store, the band released the video for the single “Stuck on You”, a brilliant and almost shot-for-shot takeoff of the opening credits to the James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Meand I was immediately hooked.  I mean, listen to that crunch–it’s drop-tuned a half-step to give it a powerful low end, and balanced with a high end distorted riff.  The whole thing just punches you in the face from the first few seconds, and doesn’t relent until the last few.  Lead singer and songwriter Ken Andrews delivers great vocals here too, drifting lazily through the verses (which, interestingly enough, are about getting a song stuck in your head) but belting them out during the choruses.

One of the first promotional freebies I got from the record store was a copy of this single, a two-track cd shaped like the head of the spaceman on the album’s cover and featuring the album version and the radio edit of the track.  Suffice it to say this track got a lot of play in the back storage room at the time.  Fantastic Planet was one of my first purchases when I first started working at HMV.  As the lone shipping/receiving clerk for the store, I often hung out up back, pricing and security-tagging and processing them into the stock database, but during all that time I’d have a radio going.  That was one of the first things I did when I started the job, actually–I got a hold of a cheap boombox at WalMart and brought it in specifically for backroom listening.  [It wasn't just for my own entertainment, either...I did that because I knew the label reps would want us to sample some of their wares during their visits.  That worked quite to our advantage, actually.]

I knew I’d love it even before I heard any other tracks from it–the fact that they named it after the 1973 animated French film of the same name (a movie I’d taped years before off USA Network’s Night Flight and watched repeatedly) was definitely a selling point, but I’d heard a hell of a lot of positive reviews as well.  I even snagged a promotional album flat for it as well and had it posted prominently for pretty much the entire time I was at the store.   And yes, I played the hell out of that album for years to come.


The history behind the album is quite interesting, as Ken Andrews and bassist Greg Edwards explain in this recent interview as well as in this promo for the album’s 2010 vinyl reissue both point out that it was recorded during their most tumultuous times as a band.  Come 1995 they’d had issues not just with the label (Slash Records) not quite knowing how to sell the band, and drugs and personal issues were also causing fractures.  And yet, they retained a crystal clear idea of what they wanted the album to sound like, and took delicate care with each and every track before considering it done.  This included the production as a whole–they took care to ensure the running order was perfect as well.  The album also both starts and ends with the same trinkety sound effect loop, but it could be taken two ways: the album is either an unending cycle, or they’re a prologue and epilogue to gauge just how much the cycle has changed from one end to the other.

It’s hard to say exactly what the album may be about, really…while there is a theme of space in the science fiction sense–thus the title–it’s also about emotional space and one’s self within it.  There are songs about drug addiction and psychological breakdowns, but there are also songs about redemption and clarity as well.  Even the opening track, “Saturday Savior”, could be taken more than one way–either a throwaway relationship, or addiction denial.  The album almost has a similar lyrical and musical feel as Pink Floyd’s The Wall, where we don’t quite notice until a few songs in that things are starting to get dark and desperate.  It’s not until “Smoking Umbrellas” that the imagery becomes trippier, the chords of the song drifting in unexpected directions.  The frantic “Pillowhead” follows it up, and the narrator knows full well that he’s deep in addiction now.  By “Dirty Blue Balloons”, he’s at his “Comfortably Numb” phase, wasted beyond help, and at “Pitiful” he’s hit rock bottom.  We’ve hit the halfway point in the album, and we’re not sure where he can go from here.

And that’s when “Leo” arrives–a moment of clarity, where he’s finally able to see himself, and he doesn’t like what he sees and feels.  There’s pain, a misplaced hunger, a sense of paranoia that he can’t quite place.  There’s no real resolution, at least not yet.  The first step is a cleansing, in the form of “The Nurse Who Loved Me”.  A brilliant, beautiful angelic song (which puts A Perfect Circle’s cover to shame) that’s not just about the narrator’s coming clean physically but emotionally as well.  It’s one of the best tracks on the album, deliberately constructed to build tension both in sound and pace, right up until the last second…and ending with a breath of exhaustion and relief.  And by “Another Space Song” and “Stuck On You”, he’s back on the mend.  There’s still addiction–emotional addiction this time–that needs stopping and healing.  He faces it head on on “Heliotropic”, one of the heaviest and angriest tracks on the album.  He’s forcing himself to admit guilt and turn away from the temptations once and for all.  Redemption and relief finally come to him in the epic closer “Daylight”–he’s gone through hell physically and emotionally, most of it his own doing, and he’s made peace with it…now it’s time to make peace with himself.


When I first heard this album, I did pick up on the addiction references, but I also chose to see past them for the overall mood of the album, just as I had back in my teens with The Wall–it wasn’t so much about the actual story being told that intrigued me as it was about the way it was told.  I don’t really pay too much attention to the literal meaning of the lyrics; instead I see the peaks and the valleys in this album as if they’re part of a novel or a movie, with its sequencing taking us on a deep spiritual and emotional journey.  It tells a story, and it tells it without flinching.  It’s because of this that it fell into heavy rotation during my writing sessions for the Bridgetown Trilogy, and helped inspire the ending scene in A Division of Souls.  It’s remained one of my top ten favorite albums, and still gets heavy play–I even have it on the mp3 player I use at the gym.

Favorite Albums: The La’s, The La’s



If you want I’ll sell you a life story
About a man who’s at loggerheads with his past all the time
He’s alive and living in purgatory
All he’s doing is rooming up in hotels
And scooping up lots of wine

Many of you already know this band as a one-hit wonder with their single “There She Goes”, which hit the American airwaves in early 1991 and appeared pretty much everywhere in the early 90s, from tv shows to movie soundtracks. You may have also heard the oft-told story of lead singer Lee Mavers’ never-ending search for the perfect sound for their music, and that the album was released against his wishes. Their single self-titled album is listed on all kinds of best-of lists even today, and is highly praised by many music critics.

But is it as excellent as they say it is? I would definitely agree that it is. Let’s put aside the argument of “…but it’s not the album that Lee Mavers wanted put out.” Let’s be honest, I can see where Mavers was coming from, but sometimes your creation doesn’t quite match what’s in your brain, and you have to make do with the end result if it’s close but not perfect. Steve Lillywhite, the last producer to work with the band, pretty much had the job of making a finished product for Polydor Records, whether or not Mavers was happy with it. Let’s take a look at the end result.

The La’s were (are?) a Liverpudlian band who wore their influences openly and proudly–the pre-fame Teddy image look of the Beatles (as well as their ’64 Dylan-inspired folk rock sound), the simple-yet-catchy songwriting of Buddy Holly, with a dash of the lo-fi DIY of 60s garage bands. Mavers’ songs were the kind you’d kick around with your buddies in your uncle’s back shed, songs of love and longing, of frustration and irritation. At the same time it’s a dedication to craft, filled with intricate guitar picking and tight band playing. They’re well aware how to write a song correctly, where no tracks ramble or lose direction.

“Son of a Gun” kicks off the album and sets the scene: a tale about a man entering the 90s, who may have had an exciting and adventurous past, but now seems lost and listless. You’re not quite sure if he’s talking about a friend of his or if he’s actually talking about himself but hiding his failure behind third-person narrative. He returns to this directionlessness multiple times throughout the album: the folky skiffle “Doledrum” , the slow doom of “Freedom Song”, the waltzy “Way Out”…and in a brilliant move, he returns one final time to this theme in the excellent epic closer “Looking Glass”.  By this final contemplation, however, he’s come to the conclusion that he’s got to break the cycle once and for all if he wants to escape it–in fact, he comes to terms with the fact that his past is gone, and the only way he can move is forward.  Not that the whole album is a study on suburban Brittish ennui; there’s a number of uplifting songs involved as well, from the big single “There She Goes” and the perky “Feelin'”, and the love of music in “Timeless Melody”  Each song delivers its own take on Britain’s blue-collar listlessness, condemning it, celebrating it, and ultimately breaking free of it.

The La’s was released in October of 1990 in the UK, but did not reach American shores until March of 1991, where it was an instant hit with the growing alternative rock crowd.  In Boston, where I was in college at the time, many tracks off the album got airplay on both WFNX and WBCN, and remained a favorite on both of those stations throughout the 90s.  Even after the rather twee take on “There She Goes” by Sixpence None the Richer, the original still version still gets played to this day.


On a more personal note, this album came out right about the time I was finishing off my sophomore year in college.  I was rooming with Mike on the fourth floor of Charlesgate, and I’m pretty sure I drove him nuts by listening to this album in those final months of that semester.  But this year was also the first summer where I stayed in the city rather than head back home for the season–I rented out a room at a Fisher College dorm just down the street from Emerson College’s old Back Bay campus and retained my job at the Emerson library media center.  As nearly all of my college friends had gone home and my then-girlfriend was still in high school, I was pretty much completely on my own for those three months.  I did a lot of thinking, a lot of working things out, a lot of future planning…and a lot of writing, both words and music.  A few weeks into the season I ran into Lissa, a girl from my circle of friends at the time, and we hit it off as friends.  We’d end up sharing an apartment for about a year, spending my entire junior year in a spacious apartment on Beacon Street (this was well before the city got rid of rent control, so we could still afford to live there).

I remember listening to The La’s incessantly during this period, as it seemed to mirror a lot of what was going on in my own life.  I too was listless and directionless, having come to the frustrating conclusion that as a film student I doubt I’d ever get close to making the dream of actually making films a reality; my relationship with my girlfriend at the time had started to deteriorate and would finally come to an end by the end of 1992; and even my friendship with Lissa would become strained.  I found myself listening to “Looking Glass” on repeat in an attempt to remind myself that I couldn’t wallow in pathetic self-pity–I simply had to move forward, one way or another.  It would take much longer than expected to get my shit together and move ahead, but I was bound and determined to make it happen, despite all the setbacks.  In late 1993 I would start gathering my ideas for a story based on this time in my life and named it Two Thousand.  I have various incomplete versions laying about and have this on one of my backburners.  And around that same time, I’d start writing my first science fiction story, which would, after nearly twenty years, end up morphing into the Mendaihu Universe and The Bridgetown Trilogy.

Tell me where I’m going…
Tell me where I’m bound…
Turn the pages over
Turn the world around
Open up the broken door for all lost will be found
Walk into the empty room but never make a sound
Oh tell me where I’m going
Tell me why I’m bound to tear the pages open
Turn the world around…


Fly-by and Shameless Plug Time!

Yeah, best laid plans and all that…I had some interesting ideas to toy with for a new post, but kind of got distracted by my Great Office Cleanup Project.  In short, I decided that my old arrangement of printed manuscripts on the bottom shelf (and partially blocked by a file box) and unsorted piles of stuff on the shelf above wasn’t working.  What I thought would take one day ended up taking both Saturday and Sunday, as the cleanup also included the partially obscured bookcase next to the loveseat, the four small storage boxes next to the desk, and the rest of the tall black bookshelf.

All told, I got rid of about twenty ancient spiral notebooks, most of them over a decade old, that I haven’t used in ages–I ripped out what few pages I did use and sorted them into their proper piles and threw the remains in the recycling.  There’s also a box full of stuff that can either be shredded or tossed, and one final smaller box of non-writing personal bits and bobs that I need to sort through.  I reorganized by putting all related project stuff together, putting trunked and unimportant projects down on the bottom shelf, and current projects up on the second.  All poetry and journals are together on another shelf, and all the reference books are up on top.  In short, it’s still a bit messy, but at least I know where the hell everything is now!

We shall return to our regularly scheduled writing this week, and I’m planning to get another post out ASAP. Thanks again for your patience!


That said…


Please check out the Kickstarter for Decomposure’s latest possible album project!

I’m plugging his project for two three reasons:

1.  I’m a big fan of his music, and it’s worth checking out, especially 2012’s Eating Chicken.  He’s done everything from experimental sound textures to lovely balladry to quirky angular pop.  He’s quite the excellent songwriter and I love what he’s done creatively.

2. I like the idea he came up with for this current project, as it’s got some parallels to what I’m doing here with Walk in Silence, by revisiting his childhood via roadtrip and writing an album about it.  I’m quite curious as to how this will unfold and would love to hear new music from him.

3.  Like many creative people, he actually records music as a labor of love, as he actually has a full-time career outside of the music field.  I’ll pay forward to anyone who’s that dedicated to their craft.

So yeah–check it out, and give him some love and cash if you can! :)