Thursday, 5 December 2013

Bit windy outside!!

Just thought to myself that if we did have anything left in the garden to blow down again (wall, fences, trees) it would have done today. Satisfied that nothing could blow over I opened the door and was greeted with both bins blown over and loads of crap all over the garden leading to me having to pick it all up in the rain. I'm going to stop thinking completely.

I've been ill for a few weeks now, yesterday was the first day in a long while I've felt genuinely productive. Managed to stay out of bed despite only having another 3-4 hours sleep. Did loads at home, caught up on some work, cleared some stuff in a room, made an awesome tea for me and Sarah, had a band practice, then came home and proof read a big essay that Sarah had done, and today, despite a similarly bad and short sleep, I'm not doing too bad again. Hopefully this wind is some kind of metaphor about blowing the cobwebs of illness and unproductive times and I can get back to feeling vaguely alive again.

We'll see eh.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Feeling like Death!

Okay, so I didn't manage to post yesterday, but, the following morning early is almost good enough....

I woke up feeling rough this morning, again, as per, no change there then. About five hours sleep. What was different about it is that yesterday I didn't have an alcoholic drink. I will admit to having been 'on the sauce' quite a bit in the last month or so. At least once a day having some sort of drink. Red wine seems to be the tipple of choice at the moment, which is odd considering up until a year or two ago was never really fussed about red wine, except for when it felt naughty when I was about 13 or 14 at my parents' house. So, I DIDN'T drink, and I still felt rough. I may as well have had something then!

To those teetotallers out there, they're probably thinking 'Urgh, horrible, weakling, alkie' or something like that (hopefully not, because that would make you a cunt rather than open minded, but there you go!). At the moment, life is difficult, well, life has ALWAYS been difficult. Everything feels like an uphill struggle, and the reason I drink is because, even just for a few minutes or a couple of hours, the incessant nagging of life on my brain just quietens down a little, or goes somewhere else for a bit. That relief almost is the thing that keeps me sane and keeps me alive. I don't know if I'm being overly dramatic, but that's how it feels. Maybe it's more noticeable now it's coming up to Winter. I don't do well over these months, but I'm at least trying to be more positive coming into it. Trying to stay chipper as they say.

I'm blatantly going to get this quote wrong, but it's from memory and I'm not looking through half a dozen Doug Stanhope stand-up DVDs just to find one line (although, because the guy is fucking brilliant, I will no doubt watch them all again at some point, at which time I'll come back and correct the quote, and then have to edit all this ramble out as it will be redundant!!), but... ahem... yeah!

'Nobody drinks because they like the taste, they drink because they have to!'
I do rather like the taste, but, it does start to feel like it's more because I have to at the moment. Am sure things will change. I did stop drinking for about four years when I was in my late teens, I already drunk before that, a lot, but then knocked it on the head. I know I can get it under control, and just drink occasionally, but at this moment in time it doesn't feel like I want to. I know, for my health, especially over the colder months, I really probably should.

We shall see.

I seem to remember I've done this dance before on this blog already. I re-read through a load of the posts again since remembering this place existed, but I've not happened across that topic as yet, but, I'm sure it's in there. Well, here we go again!

Oh, and if you weren't aware, the title was actually more just a play on words, because tonight me and Sarah are going to see Death in Manchester. It's not the REAL Death band, since the main guy in the band (the singer, lead guitarist, song writer who got session musicians in to play the rest of the instruments / live) died a number of years ago. I am lucky in the respect that I got to see the REAL Death 'back in the day', and so I was dubious about going at first, but it should be a good laugh. It's a good excuse for a couple of days away with Sarah too, and we'll get to see her family over the weekend too, then return Saturday evening for an awesome fast gig that a mate is putting on, then on Sunday play an awesome slow gig with Sloth Hammer. Good times...

On a totally different note, here's a song from the album I am listening to right now, Rachels 'Systems Layers'. If you don't know it, listen. It's amazing. Dreamy, soundscapey, cello and piano led sounds, although this is one of the more 'hectic' songs on the record.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

It's started again!

This is like some kind of Rolling Stones reunion tour or something, I return once again, and does anyone even care or know that I've been gone?

Well, maybe I do at least.

It's been 545 days since I was last here. It wasn't intentional. I didn't abandon you on purpose. It just kind of happened.

Why have I returned?
Well, I'm still not happy. I'm still not 'right'. I still haven't 'changed'. I still get things wrong. I still leave things unfinished. I still flit about from project to project. I still forget to remember the things I remembered to remember. I still beat myself up every day, every second, mentally, for things I can no longer alter, or things that I should alter but don't know how, or things that I still do but shouldn't, or don't do that I should. My life still isn't right. I'm still not in charge of my own things. I still procrastinate. I still mean well but don't quite manage it. I still have a list of things longer than is healthy left to do, to achieve, to see, to finish. I still put things off that I should be doing that are either a bit difficult or awkward or challenging, in favour of things that are easier or mindless or more relaxing.

That particular list could go on for days. It's been a REALLY tough year, this one, for many many reasons. None of which I will bore you with right now, but eventually may hint at as we go along. My intention is to keep on with this. Daily, as much as possible. Even if it's just one line saying 'Today was good because I ate peanut butter.' or 'Today was atrocious because I killed every person in seven countries.'

Whatever happens, I shall document it, because, that's what I need to do. I need to get it out of my system, and collectively into yours, whoever the 'yours' is, probably no-one, but at least it's less clutter inside my own for a start.

There may be less pictures and links, there may be more words, there may be more random, aimless comments, just because it will be easier to do whilst 'on my travels', 'out and about', 'at work', 'etc., but hopefully the ramblings will still be fun to dip into every now and again.

Seems like lots has changed since the last time I was here. I just had a quick re-read through a few of the posts. Mediafire pressed the big reset button on its servers a while ago, and since then, downloading music has become an utter pain. Lightbox closed down. Myspace has got even worse, and is actually unusable. Torrent sites are getting blocked all over the place. I now don't work at the Yorkshire Post place that was mentioned a few times. I was made redundant last autumn, and have struggled to find work that, actually, I could put up with, no matter how much I whined about it, it was definitely a damn sight better than anything I've had since. I still haven't set up my own business, and it's now even more difficult to get the energy up to do so.

I have now gone from being just over the tip of the hill onto the other side of the second half of my life, into pretty much careering down it at hyper speed, crashing into stuff, knocking it over, flailing arms everywhere, crying and swearing and tormenting everything in my path because I am gutted to be on this side of the hill. It's feeling like I am fucking everything up, and no matter what I try, no matter how promising it all feels, it just fails. It fails spectacularly, leaving me to have to work even harder at clearing up the fucking mess. I keep trying, of course, because that's human nature, that's MY nature. I still lots of things, ideas, knowledge, productivity, talent left in me to give and to outpour, but, it's getting harder each time to really go for it.

What else has changed since the last time I was here...? Raw Nerve got a new lease of life, and then, like most other things I've been involved with, fell by the wayside again. A lack of time at a time when it needed not to lack left it languishing, and then, once again, I asked around for a team of people to take it over and run it and nobody stepped forth, so the new incarnation, and an awesome one at that, is left to meander and maybe infinitely live out its time like an unfound walker in The Walking Dead. One of the bands I was in, Diascorium, has split up. I've since started another one, which is aptly called No Fucks Given, because, at this point in time, I absolutely am not giving a fuck anymore. I am speaking my mind. I have to man up and just get on with stuff. I now have accidentally started running a festival called 'kin Hell Fest which has involvement in other gigs around the country. I say accidentally, because I wasn't planning on carrying on promoting gigs, but the one thing left to do that I'd wanted to for years was to put on a 3 day 'proper' festival, like Obscene Extreme in the Czech Republic (are they really changing the country's name!?), so that happened, and it went really well, but not absolutely right, and we had external factors that made it a bit of a post-fest nightmare, so, it seems we're back again for more in 2014. This time doing things right, eliminating the problem factors and hopefully the daftest metal-related music party our city of Leeds has ever seen will occur.

I found work again, for a few months, which finished last Monday. Maybe this is what has led me to the inquisition about myself once more. I've been ill for a couple of weeks too, well, longer probably, cold and flu symptoms were lurking around my body for a long time, and I staved them off, but they just about manage to climb in fully and make me feel approximately 95.6% shit! I 'think' I'm just about coming out the other side, but I still feel rough, I have no job, the 'system' is fucking useless as well, so I'm going to get no help until I find something else.

I still would love to be a columnist.

Maybe that's my calling?

That would probably be a big shock, but, I would more than happily do something like this every day. Comment on something, anything, whatever someone told me to, whatever I was feeling at the time. Is it possible to make a living anymore doing this? If so, someone help me get there... In the meantime, I am going to continue filling up a chunk of the internet with my nonsense, whether anyone likes it or not.

Thanks for reading, and maybe have a look back over what you've missed. I did chuckle to quite a bit of it whilst re-reading, almost impartially as if it was someone else who did it. I guess that's a good sign. I realise I do need to have a clear out of the links on the right hand side since the internet doth killed some of my things... I shall get that done... Some day... Probably... Hopefully!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Just get it done... If you agree, please pass it on..

This may well be my one semi-positive post, so humour me!!

I'm sat in work at the moment (I WAS, but now I am off work for a little while a few days later) doing a job I've lost all interest for, and resent, because I want to be able to spend the time pursuing setting up my own business to give me and my wife a more comfortable, debt free life, that I truly and honestly think we deserve. (That's not the only reason out of the many that I'm off, but it's relevant).

Neither of us have ever been work-shy. Plenty of times in our lives we have worked two and even three jobs to get by, doing 60-70 hour weeks relentlessly. It's time we were able to put the hours into something we want to do after 20 years of working out of the 35 years we've been alive. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Seeing even just a picture of a good friend that I've known for years on a hospital bed with huge post-operation scars and a bald head from chemotherapy certainly makes everything seem completely different. Things are well and truly put in perspective, whilst I feel a mixture of anger, upset and desperation.

Every day counts doesn't it...
It really does.
Not knowing what will happen next, tomorrow, next week, next year should be the catalyst for doing things now. Sod the consequences, just get it done.

Set up that business you want to do. Go to those places you want to see. Treat the people you want to treat well, do it now. Forget things that have gone wrong, have got messed up, have made you suffer. Today is a clean slate. Today is the day to start afresh. Today is the only day you have to make tomorrow better. If you have an issue with something that someone did, forget about it, start from scratch. Say hello, and if they say hello back, then move on. It's a new life.

Sometimes doing something is hard, but it's not as hard as the regret you feel further down the line if you don't do it. Trust me.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Look at me being all social! Where's all the misanthropic media sites?

I have recently set up a couple of profile-y type pages on relatively new social sites. One is just for photographs which am starting to get into more, and trying to make regular posts. My wife is on there and has a profile full of awesome pictures and well over 3000 followers at the minute - - and there are loads of other talented folk on there posting up weird and wonderful pictures from all parts of the globe. It mainly started as an Android app, and I got involved on it when I got a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone, but the website is there for you to use as well.

The other is Pinterest, the site that's currently one of the biggest growing sites on the internet. It's pretty simple to use, great for collecting all the immense, stupid, funny, weird, dark, interesting pictures, videos and links on the internet (and your own computer) and almost literally pinning them to separate noticeboards. Mine is in the early stages, but I intend to fill this up full of utter nonsense, amusements and things that will make you go 'hmm'.

It's insane how much social media websites have taken over the entire planet. I've been reading an incredible website (aimed at people in and setting up business mainly, which I am in the middle of) called It's full of articles and reports about all things digital and how it relates to business, and there is a lot on social media on there. The reports about Facebook are astounding. In the last two years they've made very close to a BILLION dollars each year just on the adverts on the site. That's astronomical, but shows they must be something brilliantly right.

It's said that there are over 500 million daily users of Facebook around the world, and with the latest world population reports saying that they've just hit 7 billion, that's 1/14th of the entire world population are hitting Facebook every day! I didn't think that would even be physically possible.

There's loads of social media sites, as in hundreds, maybe even thousands. On that Clickz site, they have a little button you can click that brings up a window so you can share the article on your preferred pages, a list of literally hundreds! Most of which I've never heard of, and, more over, have no intention of joining, but someone must be.

It was a shame that Myspace royally screwed themselves over. They had the social media world covered, and then they made change after change after change, and make a total mess of it. The last redeeming feature was that it was great for finding bands, and when they made an utter mess of profiles for bands as well, and made it very difficult to get your page looking good again, thousands of bands migrated over to the far more band friendly BANDCAMP.

I've not bothered with Google+, much as I have an appreciation for all things Google, I'm happy just having my Facebook, which I just annoy people with links to gigs, bands, youtube videos, funny pictures, and things I'm involved with. The occasional rant about wet feet or insomnia. Oh, and Lightbox now, for pictures... oh, and Pinterest for collating all the tiny shards of the internet that entertain me, oh, and Stumbleupon, for finding randomness I wouldn't ordinarily find, but, that's it! Oh, and this blog!

I can see how it's easy to get sucked into it, but I've decided I'm not going to. I was reluctant to join Pinterest and haven't filled it up as much as I know I could, but have had a couple of sprees on it, adding some nonsense and wonders, but it will be sporadic, much like this blog. It is a fantastic idea, simple but infinite and addictive as hell!

Okay, so this post may come across as a chunk of products placement the same as in films, but, hey, this is all stuff from daily life, so I can't help but mention them if I'm talking about things related to what goes on in my life.

I did hear something that made me a bit annoyed, about how much product placement can take over when money is involved.

I've never really been a major fan of James Bond films, I've seen a few, can't say I've ever followed it, but when you think of partnerships and institutions that border on cliche, you've got the 'Martini, shaken not stirred' drinking and Aston Martin driving Bond in all the films. Now though, he's going to be drinking 'cold filtered Heineken'... It just doesn't seem right, but, they had the most money so there it is. What next? Driving a Ford Fiesta because they could afford 50 quid more than Aston Martin? Report on the Telegraph website about it...

I'm really looking forward to watching one of the Morgan Spurlock documentaries about such the thing, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. I'll report back once it's been watched.

This blog post has been brought to Asda and Morrison's Smart-Price Teabags, Cheap White Bread and Crunchy Peanut Butter and Digestives. Give me a sponsorship deal ya swines!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

'Sir' Stephen Fry... Absolute legend.

Today, I've spent most of my time deleting all the big 700mb+ files of music dvds, full live sets, documentaries etc. off my computer, and replacing them with loads of 1kb links to them (mostly on Youtube), so I can fill that space with all manner of other films, TV series, music related stuff, until I can afford to get more 1tb sized harddrives. It's insane now how many things you can find now on the net IN FULL, now that they've relinquished the 10 minute upload limit on Youtube, and (despite a load of file sharing sites going down and other people getting in trouble) despite the fact that copyright rules seem to be more lax when it relates to streaming stuff.

In the hunt for things I already knew about, I found loads of things I didn't know about, and I'm currently listening to a load of Stephen Fry interviews. The man is a true legend, and if you don't like him or appreciate things that he is saying, then you are wrong, it's as simple as that.

I could go on a bit of a ramble now about loads of things he's been involved with. On the surface he is a TV entertainer but there's so much more to it than that. If you don't believe me, or think my claim that he should have the title of 'Sir' before his name is a little far-fetched, then here are a few links to things you should watch...

32 minute interview called 'All About I'
20 minute interview on QTV
50 Not Out
Secret Life of a Manic Depressive part 1
Secret Life of a Manic Depressive part 2

and if all THAT isn't enough, there are all 6 episodes of his 'In America' series!
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6

About 10 hours of watching, and it originally took me about 3 minutes to find the entire lot!

The internet is a miraculous place.
How anyone has an excuse to be uninformed, stupid or bored in this world anymore, it's beyond me.

Let's keep it going... have a read of everything Stephen Fry has been involved with on wikipedia.
Read this and THEN somehow try and tell me that the man shouldn't be given a knighthood.

Finally, to show you that the internet still also has a ridiculous sense of humour, and isn't the best thing in the world for learning about pretty much everything, here is an animation of a cat wearing socks slipping across and off a table... Yes, really!


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Now where did I put that blog? Ahaa, here it is, was in my head all along!!

I know, I know... I failed...

It was all going so well on here, and then, like everything else, it went astray and got pushed to the side, forgotten about, unfinished, unresolved.

I need to do this again.. it's time to dispose of all manner of horror thoughts from this dumping ground of nonsense I call a brain. Nothing particularly has prompted or triggered this, I just found myself thinking of paragraphs or sentences I WOULD have posted had I been doing a blog, so, after that happened a few times in a few days, I decided it made sense to resurrect this once more and carry on.

Of course,
now that I've sat down to write an entry,
I can't think of anything I was going to say.

Senility has already set in, and I'm only 35 years old (and 112 days, I think that's an important part of the equation). If the average life expectancy is 3 score and 10 years, then I am currently on the downhill half of my life. I am more than half way through my days.

What a scary thought.
Yes, I've done quite a lot in my time, but nothing compared to what I thought I WOULD have by now, and nothing compared to what I think I should have, but... (maybe this is the important bit upon that realisation) nothing compared to what I WILL do with the rest of my days.
So much to do. So much to put right. So much to learn. It's time to enjoy it rather than dread it. Try telling my 6.30am self that when I've just had another horrible night and got 10 hours at work in front of me. The only way I can survive THAT is to have my own business, which, hopefully, with the help of others, will be occurring, soon.

Here's to the second half of my life.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

'If we are victorious in one more battle, we shall be utterly ruined.'

I couldn't resist posting this up as well. 'A Pyrrhic Victory' is such a brilliant word / phrase, and this is a cracking extra cartoon to relate to it...

It's funny, I've just posted up the previous outpouring, after taking a good 24 hours to put it together, re-read, umm-ed and ahh-ed over hitting that 'Publish' button, but, I actually feel better for it. Whether it's just because I don't feel quite as tired as I did yesterday (despite having yet another rubbish sleep), or whether it's just because it's another small purging from this mind that hordes bad feelings, bad memories and misanthropy, I'm not too sure, but, hey, it's out there.

I'll stop now before I embark on another long ramble on the subject. I just wanted to add that cartoon.

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo tired!
Absolutely exhausted in fact.
I've been absent from here for a couple of weeks after a recent manic spree of about three posts, as I went to the Czech Republic for a week coming back Monday afternoon, Tuesday night I went to see Primus in Manchester and I've been working all the other days without much joy at having sleep in between.

Coming up soon on the blog is a full and expansive review of the Obscene Extreme Festival I went to whilst in Czech which is already pretty much complete, with pictures and videos that I have to sort through. Obviously this is going to be quite a specialist post for some people to read, so I thought I'd give you warning to cower behind your sofas.

Now back to the unprompted ramblings.

I recently read some of the awe-inspiring Charlie Brooker's latest book 'The Hell of it all', a collection of his weekly columns from a few years ago. The man is a true genius, and a moody, grumpy, funny, intellectual, angry swine. I like that. I can relate fully. In one of the pieces, he mentions a word I'd heard of but previously didn't know the meaning of (thanks to there being a black metal band called it)... Anhedonia.

Now, I'm not saying I AM anhedonic. I'm not latching onto another word or feeling and deciding that's what I'm going to be this week, but the reading on the above Wiki link is definitely interesting and excruciatingly relative and apt to me at this moment, and certainly explains a lot of the feelings I've had since, well, birth, pretty much. It linked further on to other words that I'd heard of but didn't know the meaning of... Cyclothymia (click for Wiki reading)... Dysthymia (click):- I'd heard of this word before as there is an Icelandic depressive black metal band of this name who did an immense album called 'The Shivering Opus'... (and they say 'extreme metal' isn't good for you. It's certainly educational, and well educated too, think back to when you first got 'Symphonies of Sickness' by Carcass and tell me you didn't get a dictionary out to look through all those alien words in the lyrics!)

Anyway, It's strange just how many offshoots there are of what is, basically, 'being depressed, feeling down, struggling with day to day life'. I do know there is more to it than just that, and that it also brings into play an unbalancing of chemicals in the brain, with sudden swings on both sides of the spectrum, from manic depression to euphoric happiness without much control, and generally with not much in between, so it's not all as clear cut as feeling a bit rubbish for a long time.

Add on Bipolar Disorder - of which there are subdivisions 'i', 'ii', the mentioned 'cyclothymia' and more, there is Major Depressive Disorder which has many variations and other names, and so it goes on, with Subcortical Ischemic Depression and Executive Dysfunction being further on in the learning chain, and then Dementia, Psychosis and Schizophrenia all coming into the loop and there are many offshoots of those too. Not saying that each leads on to the next, it's just amazing how much stuff can affect the mind. Add in all the components of obsessive compulsions and attention deficits, and shower it with the usual lathering of general every day stress, it's a wonder any single one of us can function!

This world is a scary place. Especially when your own brain can cause such horrors to yourself.

am I just making a list of depression's various disguises? Well, I was but it came from strangely being able to empathise with each and every one of them, but unfortunately (and unexcitingly) the notion of anhedonia is what mainly triggered this. What strikes me as odd is how can some of these be pinpointed as different when they are essentially delivering the same outcome to its host's brain, which is basically feeling like utter shit, even at times when they ought to be feeling great, good, even just a bit happy. Is all of this a reflection of the society that now engulfs us with its difficulty for survival, that even when we're happy or things are going well or good experiences are being had we can't truly enjoy them or take actual mental and physical pleasure from them? Or is Science and Medicine just more able to make more widescale, impressive, incisive prognoses after the many years of study?

Of course, I don't have the answers to these, all I know is that inside me, my brain, my mind, my existence, I am cancerously riddled with something from the above list, and I'll simply call it 'Physical and mental exhaustion incapacitating my existence and enjoyment of anything that I should really consider positive, fun or normally happy' Syndrome. Of course, I tried to give that kind of snappy, acronystic shortening, but PAMEIMEAEOATISRCPFONH Syndrome doesn't really have any sort of musicality, or pronounceability either. I could add on to the end of that 'because it seems over-ruled by overwhelming dread of things going wrong again or things that are always wrong' but PAMEIMEAEOATISRCPFONH-BISOBODOTGWAOTTAAW Syndrome is even less likely to win some kind of Nobel Prize, or get in any dictionary, or even be pronounced properly, ever! (Although the second part does seem a little like a word, just spelt quite oddly!)

It has just struck me however, that since EVERYONE is different, and everyone's situations are different, and people grew up around different people with different attitudes, mindsets, ways of dealing with things, the whole works, surely it should be [insert your name] disorder or syndrome or dysfunction or whatever other words for the same thing you prefer to use. So maybe I am being a little hasty in thinking there are too many, maybe there are not enough. I just can't stop thinking in two minds it seems, with every situation.

'Without more specific classifications' they'd say, 'you can't diagnose and treat people correctly'.

'But' I reply, innocently and inquisitively, 'surely this is just over-complication and makes me wonder whether it's all just another big business strategy, without our best interests at heart. With all these millions of variants of drugs for all the hundreds of variants of a very similar state of mind, it just seems like big money is being made through over-expensive prescriptions'. I take a drink of water and rejoice at my introduction to the table of a huge conspiracy theory.

'The brain is a very complicated place and we're learning more and more about it as we go along' I schizophrenically reply to myself in a strange conversational charade to prove a point.

'That's true, it is a complete marvel of the universe how it works'.

I wonder where to go next with this, unfortunately I realise that waving with jazz hands or doing a funky little dance isn't the direction to go and so I continue with '...but surely with so many tiny variations and so many apparent antidotes being made available you've just increased the chances many fold of picking the wrong drug for the wrong ailment? Also by coining names for so many of these variations you're offering up more things for some people to claim they have. I'm not saying by any stretch of the imagination that these problems don't exist. I know full well they do, but the more it is in the media (which ultimately can glamourise almost anything), the more derivatives there are, the more potential it gives some people to take time off work at the drop of a hat.'

Things go silent for a moment.

'They' start to wave with jazz hands and do a funky little dance and run out of the room.

In all honesty, 'they' probably wouldn't, 'they' would come up with a much cleverer reply than I can think of to give myself, and my whole angle would be deemed as paranoid witterings. Maybe that's what you think too. Maybe you agree. Maybe you think I'm a complete idiot. Feel free to constructively discuss underneath this entry, as with anything else on this blog.

I'm still looking for the way to be happy in my skin, with my brain, in this body, with my situations, with all the stuff and nonsense I'm trying not to dwell on that has collected inside me since birth.

I think this is one of the more damaging things really, but how do you STOP dwelling on things that have happened? It's all a part of what has brought you to the point you are at, that has shaped you, how do you suddenly blank out the bad parts? I try, but some things just pop back into your mind without any warning, how can this be blocked, how can this be ignored, how can this be dealt with? Surely forgetting about it completely is one of the (many) steps towards full scale dementia! Bizarrely (and contradictory as it is, as ever in this world), that seems to be the only way to be truly free! To be unshackled from the every day torment a brain can give you, to get 'out of the system' that enslaves you. How annoying is THAT! It's like the ultimate Pyrrhic Victory.

I am scarily feeling very little excitement for much at the moment.
Pretty rubbish that.
I'm not giving up hope yet though, which is something surely? And of course, apparently, half the battle is acknowledging the problem, so I'm already 50% better than I was yesterday.

Is there a variant called 'Anhedonic But Almost Positive' Syndrome, or ABAPS?

That's a bit catchier I feel.

Friday, 1 July 2011

The downloading revolution is killing music? Don't be an idiot!

And now a word from (one of my) (free) sponsors! Mediafire.

So, without wanting this to sound like an advert, I just thought I'd do this, as it's something my online activity is heavily relying on now, and then as a knock on effect (soooo much muuuusssiiiiicccc!!!), my life!
I was reading the site's FAQ's and hype on its front page earlier on, and thought I'd repost one paragraph from it, as, for once, what a company / website says to 'big themselves up' is true!

Quite simply, this...
'MediaFire is now one of the fastest growing sites on the web with greater than 100% yearly growth. We are still the only file sharing site to offer unlimited downloads, unlimited uploads, unlimited storage, download resuming, zero wait times, and more, all for free. With the constant addition of new features and our attention to user feedback, MediaFire remains the leader in online storage.'

Thank you Mediafire, you are one of the wonders of the world wide web.
Sorry Rapidshare, Megaupload and everyone else, you just don't cut it.

The debate is (as if I've just started a debate, with myself, from just wanting to post up ONE paragraph!!), however, that downloading music is killing record labels, shops, bands selling merch to make either a bit of a living or cover themselves for touring around playing more gigs. As someone who has played in bands since the age of 16, never getting to, say, the size of a band like Metallica or whoever, but always having merch of the band I am in, it is noticeable the effects of it, to a degree, but, then, directly and more prominently on the flipside, for bands of 'our size', it's easily the best way to get the word around.

The latest band I am in is the best example of this. We (DIASCORIUM) uploaded OUR FIRST EP, to Mediafire last April and posted it on the music blog I ran, with a view of sharing it around a few forums, sending the link to promoters and friends, maybe getting a couple hundred downloads in the process and stir up a bit of notice for the band. Now, (14 months later), the free download has been posted on quite a few other blogs, an American label called TORN FLESH RECORDS came along and offered to repost it on their download site, and people are still downloading it now, even though we've brought out a new CD. It has now had approaching 60,000 downloads worldwide (that we know of, maybe more! plus, there's a few thousand on places like Myspace and ReverbNation etc..) and we managed to get on some great gigs, get a dozen or so reviews, and generally get the word around so much more than if we'd had, say, 500 cds made and tried to sell them for three quid a pop. We eventually did a few physical copies as a few people asked, and put them together as cheaply, simply, but still neatly as possible, and sold them for a pound or sometimes gave them away free, just to get them out there and cover costs of making.

I suppose the argument is, if people are CD buyers, then they'll buy the CD, if they aren't, then they won't. In these times where expendable cash is lacking a lot more than it used to, there are, however, still ways for bands and the labels out there to get heard, which is the biggest battle of all. People are saying downloading music has killed off record sales, but, I feel you can only apportion small amounts of the blame on this. Real life is a huge part of it. After all the mountains of bills we have to cover, be they for utilities or for credit that is handed to us on a plate just to help us survive amidst everything costing more everywhere you look (and some people to just be daft with and get silly amounts of possessions), AND, as those who grew up having to buy stuff to hear it get older and have less money spare with other priorities, there is less possibility to buy CDs. I would love to buy as much as I did when I was younger, even as a downloader of music, it would be great to buy everything I want to, or even just a few things I want to, but I simply cannot. Admittedly, the younger generation of music listeners have grown up around downloading to shift the balance more that way, but it's not as clear cut as the 'no to downloading' brigade will have you believe.

I know a lot of people who are still CD or vinyl buyers, and I know plenty of those who download a lot, who, if they find something new that they love, they'll still make the effort to track a physical copy down, plus, they then repost about the band on their social network pages and keep the whole word of mouth thing going as much as it ever was, maybe even moreso than in the times of tape-trading (but, essentially, in a similar fashion). Just a quick note of thanks, to everyone who ISN'T in a band who does do this, repost about a band, their CD, their MP3s, their video, their upcoming gigs, you are keeping the underground music scene alive and you deserve a huge shake of the hand for this. Every single repost you do helps, even if nobody comments, it is still very important and hopefully more people will do it.

So, back on track... Bands, get that stick out of your arse. Stop complaining about 'Downloading killing music', because it's NOT! It's helping you get the name of your band around a MASSIVE percent more than you would without it. Plus, with the help of sites like the absolutely inspired BANDCAMP which lets bands upload their music, for free, to it, and then have an option on there for people to get the digital music for free or make a donation of whatever they want for it, there's still ways for bands to make a few quid if they so desire from the age of downloading. You just have to think smart and not be lazy! In fact, there's LESS production costs that way so in essence, the downloading music revolution has just saved you a load of money and given you way more chance of getting the name spread and a few quid in your pocket if you so desire. Fancy that!

Labels too also have this option on sites like Bandcamp, and of course through things like Amazon, iTunes and many more, and, again, if they think cannily, there are always ways of getting money for their hard work, but the possibilities of spreading the name of the label are all there too. Looking at it partly as an outsider looking in (having never been fully involved with a 'proper' record label, but have dabbled a little over the years), but also somewhat of an insider looking out for most of my life, there are many more ways in fact. People ALWAYS like a good compilation. It's a fantastic way of getting to know a label and 10 or 20 of the bands on it in the course of just a few minutes. When I first got into music, I used to try and pick up as many free hand out compilations or cheap ones in shops as I possibly could. If I found just 1 or 2 good bands to follow up on from that, then job done, then I'd tell some people about the label I found said bands on, pass the compilations on, and so, there it goes on. This is surely only the same as how downloading works, but a hell of a lot slower, and, granted, on a smaller scale, but still, it's the same principal is it not? One person gets the original and then passes it on down the line? I'm sure folks will disagree, but too many people look negatively on downloading when there are SO MANY positives, and for once, I'm being positive about something, so let's roll with it.

If my band had got a quid for every single one of those 60,000 downloads we would have been absolutely laughing, but, the chances of that happening are, well, none. We may have had 60 of those people feel strongly enough to donate something if we'd posted it in such fashion, and if we'd have been charging for it, then maybe only those 60 (or, if it's passed on, a few hundred) would have heard our songs properly and we may have missed out on the right people (for giving us gigs, for audiences coming to gigs, for people reviewing music etc.) to have heard us, so, to us, we're absolutely thankful for this wonderful possibility.

The labels I DON'T feel sorry for are those who are still trying to charge upward of £10 for CDs (unless they have supreme packaging). Most people are now aware of how much it costs to produce CDs, especially on a more mass scale. If you aren't aware, then I'll tell you. Let's stir things up a bit here! On average, for a smaller band to make 500 CDs, in a box, with 4 pages of colour artwork and a properly printed CD, it costs somewhere between 500 and 1000 pounds. After doing a quick double check of prices on a few replication websites and for the amount of 10,000 units, we're looking at an average of £6000, which is a big amount, BUT, if these CDs are sold at even just £3, then that's 5 times the amount coming back to them. Any label complaining at not selling enough to cover their costs has either made the wrong decision about a band, or is charging too much and nobody is buying, or they're waiting until the labels realise they've set the price too high and inevitably put it on a more reasonable sale price.

When you see a label having a SALE of their CDs and they are charging no more than £5, or if you go to a gig and a band is selling their CD that they've made themselves, then support them, don't buy that one extra pint, buy a CD from them. Even haggle with them, if they're selling it for £5 or £6 quid, offer them something reasonable! Seriously. The chances are they'll take it, as literally everything helps the average, smaller band, out on the road, touring, needing to eat, needing to get petrol to get to the next gig. Seriously, just buy their stuff, get involved, tell your friends to do the same! As an example, we're selling our current release for £5 (an hour long album with 4 other bands on), I'd much rather someone give us £3 for one so that we got something towards petrol and they got to hear the music, than them and us going without because they were a couple of quid short at the end of a night.

Almost everyone selling CDs for more than a tenner in this day and age is doomed to fail and (almost) deservedly so. Downloading music isn't going to stop. It's only going to increase. Fact. Just don't completely neglect buying music when it's offered for cheap. Support the bands and labels who are genuinely passionate, because, if you are a fan of music, what would you do without them?

There is a lot more to it, I know, with royalties and staff to pay and all that extra stuff, and that's why bigger labels and record shops still charge the sort of amounts that they do, but also because they are greedy and don't understand that people are getting wise to how things are. When you see a price tag of £15 on a CD in a bigger record shop, a large percentage of that is still pure profit. One of the shames of all of this is that independent record shops have been forced off the high street onto online stores or into the confines of local history. They can still exist, just not in the physical world where people can go to browse. I'd say that's the main shame of downloading if I had to find something.

This is probably going to upset a lot of people, but, to be honest, I'm tired of hearing people complaining about 'the state of music' and that 'downloading is killing music'. It's only killing those who aren't able to change, adapt, think smart, do something different. If downloading challenges those involved to do something different with their product, and it's helping 99% (that's not even an over-estimation) of bands get their music heard, then absolutely spot on, let's have MORE downloading! Let's have MORE ways of getting great music to everyone who should be listening to it. I've found so much music recently, going back through many decades:- things that people have ripped off vinyl that came out 20 years ago that only a few hundred copies were made of; Things that would otherwise have disappeared into the ether of sonic history, never to be heard again aside from that select couple of hundred that were old enough, or in the right place at the right time. Thanks to this whole revolution, infinite numbers of people will find rare gems from the beginning of music time (I myself am a big fan of prog rock amongst all the extreme metal that is my preference, and I've recently found so much incredible, intelligent, inspiring, jaw dropping sounds from bands from all over the world, from the 70s and 80s that I would never have heard otherwise). You can hear music written by one sole musician in obscure countries with lesser populations than the town you live in, or that have strict laws, especially when it comes to metal style music that would never get distributed otherwise. You can hear music minutes after someone on the other side of the world to you has created it! I mean, REALLY, how absolutely incredible is THAT! A musician in Australia could send you music they've just created and saved, then uploaded, and you can be listening to it minutes later, from ten thousand miles away! My mind is boggled, and this far outweighs any detrimental effects it can have.

In the last 5 or 6 years, in fact, in the last YEAR, I've heard more new bands than I heard in the first 15 years of being a record buyer and, yes, tape trader, (started when I was about 13), even being a reviewer on a pretty big, established music reviews and promotion site, and I was being sent a lot of stuff to listen to, and, if I find something I like, I'll tell a lot of people. Some of those people will tell a lot of people, and so on and so forth. So, one tiny new band could have their recording heard by people all over the world through the realms of word of mouth, and SHOCK HORROR, downloading, more times in one day than they might in a year of having hundreds of CD at their disposal.

Some people say 'Ah, but the thrill of waiting a couple of weeks to get a package through the post has gone. The excitement of reading all the lyrics and the thanks list and looking at the artwork in front of you has gone.', well, that can't be argued against, but, me personally anyway, I can also still get excited about a release. When you hear that a band is releasing an album on a date a couple of months down the line, you can still get excited, waiting for it, then if you download it, you still have the excitement of hearing it for the first time. You can still get the artwork, full resolution, you can still read the lyrics. I still listen to it in the same way I ever did when I first bought vinyl in a small market stall selling second hand stuff for cheap in Leeds. It still means something to be able to listen to music, I don't understand how anyone can say that there is no excitement in finding new music, no matter how you come across it.

Back to the 'as someone who's been in bands for years' train of thought, I think this is absolutely fantastic, why would the world not want this? Why would someone who runs a label or a promotions company not want their band to get heard? I'd MORE than happily miss out on a couple of record sales to have 1000 people here the band I was releasing a CD of, even if they were established and relying on the money to pay a wage. Surely in the long run you can't buy the free spreading of the word of your release as efficiently, effectively and directly as you can this way, compared to via advertising in magazines and for banners on websites which cost a hell of a lot more with less guarantees that people will then buy the record.

For long established labels who have been there throughout all the changes in technology and ways of getting their music heard and ways of selling their music, I understand and appreciate fully how frustrating it must be when 10 or 15 years ago you could sell your CD for £10 or £15, and sell tens of thousands of copies, whereas now you have to sell it for £5 and sell thousands or hundreds instead. Those who accept it as part of the world we are living in will realise that any business, whatever it is, has to morph, change and adapt all the time. It has always been this way, think back even further before crazy technology was even a relevant argument, everything was a little more 'manual'!

One label that fits this, and I'll give them massive kudos for the way they've changed, whether people like the way they've changed over the years in the styles they've released or not, you have to admit they've been clever all the way through, and that's Earache Records. When they first started it was the mid 80s, tape trading, no internet, word of mouth buzz on the grapevine, flyers etc., they've released hundreds of records, and now release their music for a lot cheaper than they did, one recent release by an extreme / grind metal band from Singapore no less, Wormrot, was even given away for free upon its initial release for a short time, and then made available to buy physically. This has shot the band to the forefront of the entire world extreme metal scene in almost no time at all. They've been playing festivals and tours all over the world, and, granted, they were hard working BEFORE the label picked them up, but that's WHY the label picked them up, and then fully embraced and 'worked' this downloading revolution to its fullest potential, improving their reputation even more (well, in my eyes it certainly does anyway. What a great way to get publicity, and the amount of people that spread the link around even just in my circle of friends or on forums I read was immense), and then they release the CD, and, hopefully, make some money for all concerned from it too. Why the hell not, business is business, and the clever and inspiring deserve to reap the rewards. I'm not singling Earache out for any particular reason, I'm not getting hand outs from them. I have, over the years, found some life changing bands through them, and, so for that I am thankful, but they are quite simply an absolutely succinct case to back up my point. They've tried so many things over the years, some have worked, some haven't, I'm sure they'll admit that too, but at least they're trying, and at least they're progressing, and looking at the way things are in the world and attempting to stay one step ahead or at least on level par with what is around them. There are plenty of outlets that do, but I've followed their progress almost since their first days so I've seen how they've evolved.

For newly established labels who enter into the ring and expect to be able to do things how they were 10 years ago, then, you've got no chance. Don't bitch and moan about people downloading when you've set up your company wrongly. I know quite a lot of people who have set up labels, promotions, distribution, merchandising outlets in the last 10 years or so, and all of them have had to change how they do things even in this shorter time period, and the ones who have been clever about it are doing a roaring trade and are still in profit, whilst keeping a great reputation, so it IS possible.

I'll be honest, I would LOVE to make my actual living out of playing or being involved in music. Touring, selling merchandise, just being involved, somehow. It is one of the most saddening parts of my existence that this will never be the case, that's just how it is, and how it is for a majority of very talented people out in the world of music (playing, promoting, releasing), but 'this day and age' has given me and all those people MORE opportunity to get their sounds and their passion out to ears who care. It would be a shame for people to not be able to hear all the wonderful arrays of music, whatever it is they choose, or be able to find new styles and artists they wouldn't normally hear or give a chance to, so, as said before, more downloading possiblities please.

And breathe.

So, what started as just ONE paragraph, and was intended to end there continued on a massive amount more than I thought. I await the abuse from people who claim to be losing money because of downloading, as, with everything in the world, there are people whose lives are affected by 'the other side of the coin', people have their opinions and stories and recollections that will exemplify their claim, but, to me, business, progression and success is all about evolving with your surroundings, and, whether you like it or not, that's not the issue, it's what you do to continue the success, because, in this world, ANYTHING is possible, you just have to work out how to do it.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Obscene Extreme / Snooker / Incandescence - You don't see THAT combination very often.

Here's a bit of a self-indulgent post.
More of an update / journal entry rather than about anything specific I think really, but, hey, I'm sat here and it feels right, so let's go with it and see what occurs.

I've been continuing to 'clear the decks' and get everything up to date, completed, laid to rest, whatever is required of each project and scenario.

Last night I put to sleep the semi-dormant music project I've done since 2003, INCANDESCENCE. Style wise it was ambient, electronic, weird, experimental, dark, minimal, noisy, soundscape, film soundtrack style outpourings, sometimes songs would last for 30 seconds, sometimes 70 minutes, and it is something I am very proud of in all honesty. There's even a recording called 'Purging darkness from thine own bones', so, everything has always been about getting things out of my system I suppose.

I had a few bits and pieces just languishing in a folder that I had been working on, some remixes, but I wasn't 100% happy with them, and wanted to go back, sort them out, do some more, but I've thought about it and decided it was time to distinguish its flame. I've had some good times with this project, always a solo, recording only project, despite having been asked a few times if I was going to do it live, and half considering it, but in the 8 years, I've recorded 9 full albums, 1 EP, 1 split release and a remix album, so I feel I've managed to do enough with it to let it go. I uploaded one final track, a remix of a band called Discordance Axis. In there is the final 'epitaph', a collection of some artwork and a few other bits and pieces. I feel, as the name of the game states, purged. As I put in the epitaph, it feels good to be able to decide myself when something needs to end, as usually it's either out of my control, or just gets forgotten about and drops into a comatose state. I intend to continue this on with a few other bits and pieces.

Even things like getting my music collection properly organised, or my own art collection, or the image library I have collated for use on flyers and stuff, it's all starting to make a difference. I've still got quite a few things to get in order, it's going to be a long hard slog, but, it's starting to take shape, and my brain will hopefully feel the benefit. It always feels like, to me anyway, that if the little stuff is all out of order or in a state of disrepair, then I don't know how to tackle the big stuff, so, it's just one small step at a time. I've left a huge trail of unfinished debris over the many years I've tried to be productive, and now is the time to fix it all.

Click here, then click in 'My Personal Recordings' for this and many other things I've done over the years.

On another note...
I used to play a lot of snooker, between the ages of about 7 and 25. From the days of having a 6 foot by 3 foot table in a back bedroom at home and playing every night in there, to then playing on bigger tables when I turned about 12, to then playing for the local team, to winning club knockouts and leagues, to then winning trophies in city wide singles, doubles and team competitions. I eventually won the Leeds City Championships in 2002.

My highest break (in practice) was 136 (for those who don't know, the maximum possible is (technically 155, but realistically) 147, and I had a few 75+ breaks in competition as well. I carried on playing on and off for about a year, but that was my pinnacle. I won around 20 trophies in the years I played.


Since then I've had a few frames here and there, mainly against my friend Jim (the guitarist from my previous band Reth). Last weekend we played, for the first time in a couple of years, and ended up playing for 4 hours, the longest I've played for nearly 10 years, and it was almost like I hadn't stopped playing at times. I had a 55 break, a couple of 30 plus breaks and managed to confidently play all the way through. I'm not considering playing again 'properly'. I used to play every day. I'm thinking every couple of weeks though it would be quite good to had a couple of hours playing again. It's something I've always enjoyed doing, and even though I've not watched snooker on TV for more than 10 years, and don't really intend to, it's fun to play.

For those of you not into snooker, that was probably a very boring paragraph, but, I felt the need...!

On another (completely different) note...
On Monday, me and my wife Sarah, and a large bunch of us from all the UK will be flying to the Czech Republic. We are going for the OBSCENE EXTREME FESTIVAL, it's the 7th time we've been in 8 years and I can't wait, to get out of this country, to forget about things at home and work and life, for a week, to be in the Czech Republic, my favourite country that I've been to so far. It's the 9th time I've been. The seven times for the festival (which is in Trutnov, a small village 3 hours outside of Prague) and we've usually had a couple of days in Prague before and after, I went once with Sarah in the middle of Winter for New Year, and it was in minus degrees the whole time, dropping to -12 at one point, and the first time was to play two gigs with Narcosis. I could have, quite simply, put that I've been to the Czech Republic 9 times and I love it, but that seems distinctely insufficient for me.

It goes from the scenic quiet setting in a remote forest area up in the hills...

to this madness...

and it's fantastic!

Anyway, the festival is, as the name probably suggests very strongly to you, an extreme metal festival, and is tons of fun, ludicrous music, in a great setting... I can't wait!

Here is a picture of some of our mates 'getting into the spirit of things'!

And, on one final, completely different yet again, note....

Cheers for reading, please click 'follow', and it's goodnight from me, and goodnight from him!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Gnashers of doooooooooooooooooooooom!

So, it's been a bit of a silly week or so in Priest-land! Mostly revolving around tooth pain and problems, which means I am going to ramble on about teeth right now.

To prepare you, or to give you more in-depth reading afterwards, here is a huge wikipedia page about the human tooth...

I'm getting pretty sick of things to do with my teeth, I've always looked after them generally well, nothing out of the ordinary but enough for them to be okay, or so I'd think, but I've had nothing but trouble with them. Recent escapades with LOWER LEFT FIVE have just been ridiculous.

It broke a couple of months ago, leaving about half of it left, quite sharp and painful, so at the dental hospital, they did a root canal and filled it, temporarily, until a further decision about either re-building it or taking it out was to be made. It seemed fine for a couple of weeks, until the filling came out, taking with it a bit more of the tooth and pain started up again. I went back to the dental hospital, where they re-checked it, wondering why I was still having pains when there was no root, and they found a second canal where there was root growing, so that was hollowed out and a date was set to continue the re-building. For the next couple of nights I was in excruciating pain, to the point where I thought I'd had a stroke or some kind of aneurysm, I felt delirious with agony and had no sleep. Then my face swelled up and I looked like something from a David Lynch / John Hurt film collaboration. Back to the hospital I go, antibiotics prescribed, one of which gave me crippling stomach pains (Metronidazole, steer clear folks, it's bad mmm'kay), so I had to stop taking that. I continued with the other antibiotic and as many painkillers as I could muster, the swelling went down and I finally had the tooth removed.

I wish I could have the lot whipped out.

Too much hassle.
Far too painful.
Anyone who hasn't experienced severe toothache just really cannot comprehend what it feels like. At one point I actually thought I was dying and having some kind of out of body experience, it was that intense. At others, as I say, I thought I was having some kind of stroke or reaction. It's ludicrous.

I just want to take a month off work at some point, have them all taken out, have chance to recover from the immense amounts of pain I'll be in from the removal process and have false teeth made. It just seems to make far more sense.

I am just amazed that via the process of evolution, human teeth haven't improved much, granted, it's all very clever how two lots grow in your life, small ones when you're small, big ones when you're big (which makes us DIPHYODONT, yes indeed!), but, why not three or more (POLYPHYODONT), (don't say you don't learn anything from this blog!)? or why not one 'super set'? If the roots are the root cause of the pain, and they get taken out so often, why do they have to be linked directly to your brain's pain receptors, or, whatever the mad crazy science and biology is that I don't really understand...

At least my teeth don't look like this... this picture is GRIM!

I recently did an interview...

...for a fantastic ex-paper Zine that has now made it digital as well, called Load Of Noise, which is put together by the ex-vocalist of EVISORAX, and was a cracking little publication when in print, and is taking shape nicely online now.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Return:- Time for the giant steps to be taken.

Well, I failed. As per usual.

This blog originally started as a 'new beginning'. An outlet to quench the desire to shout and bawl and get upset and get it all out of my system. It was all going so well, and then real-life and other 'stuff' halted it in its tracks, then I got out of the routine of posting, then I completely forgot about it, then it just became another one of those projects that I started, and didn't continue with or get it to a 'final state'. I even had draft posts semi-written up, almost ready to get added to my rantings, but never quite managed it.

What an idiot.

It's weird though, in the last week, three different people have asked me about this blog. I'm not going to say 'This post is dedicated to you, you know who you are', well, I MIGHT, but I still remonstrate defiantly that this blog is more for me than for you, or you, or you, or you (I pointed at the 4 'corners' of the globe there, how very old school, biblical (and of course, uninformed) of me.

Read about the origins of my old-schoolery here

Today, I have made the decision that this blog needs to carry on, spewing forth its late night rambles, its angst and its concerns for the universe, its despair at the auditory drivel that some of earth's creatures allow themselves to be subjected to, its nonsensical insanity and its semi-senile, prophetic disillusions. I am at THAT 'crossroads' in life, where I need to prioritise, where I need to get all the unfinished projects to a final point, tidy things up to a point where I feel I can let them rest, or, stop dwelling on them completely and call them dead and buried. All the unfinished, messed up nonsense is getting in the way of the life I should be living.

I've been at that crossroads many a time, and failed every time, or have begun to get things in order, but then forgotten what I was doing, and let things get out of shape and all wrong again. Not this time. This time I mean it. I think. Yes, yes I am sure. Totally. Well, hopefully. For definite.

I am about to embark on the biggest 'project' of my life.

The culmination of all I've learnt, all that I've seen, all the things I've wanted to do for a long time.
I am currently in the middle of looking at setting up my own business. With me, the outspoken 'director' of a team of hugely talented individuals, all with a similar drive and passion to me, all who have the desire and potential to work for themselves. It's been something long in the making, revising, streamlining, forgetting about, resurrecting, revising, streamlining, learning for, but I think it's now starting to approach something like a real possibility.

All this coming from a very poorly educated background. Not saying that I am, personally, uneducated or stupid. I know I'm not, but, the education I received from school did more damage than good, and the grades I got, and, more-over, the qualifications I DIDN'T get, speak for themselves. Even though I was semi-autistic at Maths as a kid, I got a D at GCSE level. Even though my grasp of the English language is, and always was, very high, I got 2 B's (Language and Literature), whereas I should, really have gone on to do both at A Level. The only other thing I 'passed' (C or above) at the simple GCSE level was Computer Studies, and I don't remember anything about it. It was a year long course, and we were pretty much given the answers to the exam, and, it was in 1992/3 and there were hardly any computers even in the school, and it certainly isn't anything like the computer world that is out there these days, so it's pretty much an irrelevant accolade.

We did Business Studies. I hated it. I didn't understand a lot of it, and, again, I don't remember any of it. I got a D. So, why in that void beyond the clouds am I thinking I can run my own business. Well, I doubt myself every day, and every time I think about sitting down to do work and reading and finding out and self-educating about the whole subject, but I'm still here, with this in my hands, heart and mind as a major possibility.

The whole plan started back in around 2002-2003, and then came back for round two a couple of years later, a team was sort of set up, things were starting to take shape, research was done, meetings were had, but, it didn't happen. In hindsight it was a shame, but, in hindsight again, I don't think it was the right time. Now though, around 6 years later, the idea is still more than relevant, and it's been burning holes in my sanity all throughout, so, I have re-assembled something of a new team, (with a couple of people from the original line up), and there is currently a lot more work being done with a view to get this show firmly on the road, with an unstoppable entourage of ideas, passion and hope at the core.

You will see I've given absolutely nothing away. Not yet.

Hopefully soon though, this plan will come into fruition, whether it does or it doesn't though, I'm definitely going to have a bloody good go. I don't want to leave this earth, (for good, in a final state, on my only attempt at life, I'm not coming back, I've not been here before, I'm not going to another plane), having not 'gone for it', having not made some kind of impact. It's just not how I am.

First though, I am on the mission to sort out everything outstanding, to fix everything that is wrong, to finish or bury everything that is unfinished. To leave me with just a few things in my life that are the most important to me, and to make sure all is well, healthy and 'normal' even. Fresh clean slate of a start, and then I can get on with the rest of my life, knowing that I am the best I can be, ready for just one final challenge. If it can help stand me in good stead to get out of the rat-race of 'working for the man', and also take a few awesome people away from it at the same time, then bring it on. I'm ready.

Onward and upward so they say.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

More stuff and nonsense when I wanted to be asleep

So, another night where I sat in bed for a while, wide awake. I decided not to just sit there until 3am this time, so that the inner monologue demons could get to work and mangle up my brain, so, I got up. I might as well make use of my time for something at least vaguely constructive if I'm going to be awake, even when I do have to be up in about four and a half hours (1.45am now), for my final day before having to return to work on Thursday. Lots to do.

Since getting up just before 1am, I put all the washing up away, wrote some details for part of what I need to do tomorrow, designed a flyer for an upcoming release one of my bands (Diascorium) is involved with, ready to print out and hand out at the weekend, replied to a couple of messages, updated the Sloth Hammer website with a few images, details of a release and general overhauling, ate a banana, drunk tea and listened to chilled out, slow, atmospheric black metal (in the shape of a Swedish band called Lustre and Ukrainian geniuses Drudkh).

All highly crazy stuff I'm sure you'll agree.

Talking of demons, I recently watched the film 'The Rite', and rather enjoyed it. It has Anthony Hopkins and Rutger Hauer amongst the cast, and, basically, is about a young priest doubting his religion and calling, being sent to Italy by his superiors to take a course to become an exorcist. Hopkins (almost as ever) is brilliant, and it is generally a very well done film, with a reminiscence of the style of the 70s intense thriller style pictures, not much music, quite slow moving in parts, but gripping, plenty of bits referring back and forth to each other, so you've got to keep watching, and nothing too cheesy.

Apparently it is based on a real priest who went through the course in Rome, at the Vatican, and there are 14 registered exorcists. I'm obviously skeptical about the whole thing, what with my not believing in God, Satan and any related malarkey, but it's always an interesting subject to see in films and documentaries. There were a few exorcism audio recordings kicking around a few years ago and, sonically it is absolutely harrowing stuff, and from what I've seen it is too. It shows how deranged the human mind can convince itself to be, and what a hold it has over someone's body too.

Anyway, it's now just after 3am and finally I am starting to feel tired, so I'll call it a day for now and hope to get three hours sleep at best. I may expand on this in the future, but I'll simply post up some links for you to read.

IMDb link for The Rite
L.A. Times article about 'the real' exorcist
Wikipedia page about exorcism, includes a list of films about it

At least I can add on making another post to the blog when I didn't expect to be for a few days to the list of things. Small consolation for not sleeping!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Nothing like a good bit of illness to make you feel better!

When I was somewhere in my late teens (my brain says 19, but my logical structure thought process isn't convinced), I had tonsilitis and glandular fever at the same time.

It wasn't fun.

Not even close.

I didn't leave the house for a long while.

Illness is a weird thing. Given the right circumstances it can induce some sort of weird catharsis when coming out of it, and enlightenment whilst in the grips of it. I was barely able to function for the first couple of weeks of that time, but as soon as it loosened its clutches around my (absolutely pain drenched) throat and neck, I had to find ways of passing the time.

My dad had 2 Oxford English Dictionaries, the 'shorter' versions I'd guess they were called, but, there is still in excess of 3,500 pages of it, full of words, quotes, icons, figures of mythology and history, information, so, of course, whilst delirious with illness I decided to set about reading both of these, AND took notes to boot. Many pages of mad scribbles, illegible sentences made up around these words that were intended for insane song lyrics, some of which made it, some formed the basis of the idea for one of the earlier bands I started, Tangaroa (a name found in said books), and some of which I still have now, some took up finality in the piece I wrote 'Day One Promise', but most still languishes, unfinished, un-used.

It opened up a whole new world though, gave me some kind of focus to keep on going each day, as well as maybe also making me feel like I was experiencing some kind of psychosis at the same time.

Somewhere else around my late teen state, I had a wisdom tooth out, and was laid up for a long while with a massive square jaw, lots of pain and at least two weeks of house-bound time to pass. I seem to remember some similar kind of psychosis and catharsis engulfing me, but I can't quite grasp what happened this time. Weird how your brain can block some times out. Even though I know I was there, it all definitely happened, but I just can't unblur the facts.

I've been off work for what is now coming up to three weeks. I've had physical illness, but deeply seated in there also is just pure exhaustion and utter depression. I just don't feel like I can fight all the shit anymore. I just don't feel like running, or even walking, or even crawling in stages up the hills. If this is the catharsis that I'm going to garner from this situation then I'm very much not impressed. If this is the great light at the end of this particular tunnel then I definitely got on the wrong fucking train at the start of the journey! However, I'm not going to argue, I just don't have the energy, and it would do me no good, so I'm just going to accept things, once again, and I'm still listening to The Orb from a few hours ago, and I only managed a couple of hours sleep, and tomorrow is another day, and things can only get better and whatever world full of clich├ęs I can muster up to help me get through.

I feel quite gutted that D:Ream made the 'things can only get better' line so horrible to say out loud though. At least Brian Cox is now up to something a bit more impressive these days.

It's going to be a long day I feel. I might just have to go back to bed and try to sleep some more.

The History of the Devil, Nathan Barley and bloody insomnia!

So, it's half three in the morning. I can't sleep. My brain won't shut up. It's been saying horrible things to me since about midnight. I decided once it got to 3am that it's not going to get any better or nicer, so I had to get up.

I wasn't too tired when I got in bed, but thought watching a bit of visual stuff would help see me to sleep. Watched a few episodes of the magnificent Nathan Barley, a genius piece of work by those mad comedy scientists Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris, two of the most important people on the planet. The temptation to chatter lots about this one-off series is quite high, but I'll leave that for now. All I'll say is, if you've seen it, you know how clever it is, if you haven't, go watch it, and then come back to me and we'll talk about it.

If you don't know about it, you really should. Click this very active lovely link to read more...

After that I watched a program I randomly found, 'The History of the Devil', an hour long documentary about how the myth of Satan has become what it is today, where it started, the various guises it's taken throughout the ages, religions, cultures and scriptures. Pretty interesting stuff. The closing line of it made me quite angry though, from the Rt. Rev. Richard Holloway (Bishop of Edinburgh - retired). I agree with the most part of the statement, but then the man completely missed the point of everything! The part in bold is what got me!

'It's embroidery, it's myth making, it's poetry. It can be good fun except that it has produced great evil. A human invention, but one that's rebounded on us because it's given us permission to do terrible things to each other, which is why I think that we should close Hell down and finally banish the Devil and get rid of him.'

YOU IDIOT!! You almost got it right. If you'd have said that 'we should close religion down and finally banish both to being just small bit part characters in a small chapter in the huge history books (certainly longer than any bible would have you believe). Religion causes too much fighting, war, suffering, injustice, delusions and many other terrible things and we should get rid of it' then you would have got it right! You can't have one without the other, and SURELY as a Reverend he should have known that?! Surely people can see the amount of fighting that goes on in the name of God? Mind you, this guy isn't anywhere near as much of a mouth-breathing, drooling idiot as the soldier who speaks just before him, or the General that President, (or should I say after watching George Carlin enough times) Governor Bush put in charge of fighting Bin Laden after 9/11... he said that the enemy of the US is 'a guy called Satan' and not the physical people who carried out the attacks. I despair for our culture, I really do. Absolutely brainless idiots.

The Reverend also said this, which is why the closing line enraged me more, because this says it all about how people who follow God use it all as an excuse for their terrible actions... 'If you're fighting a war against evil, what begins to happen I think is that you turn into the evil you are fighting.'

Absolutely bang on Reverend. It made me start thinking maybe he was retired because he finally realised that religion is complete nonsense and a scourge of our planet, but it seems he wasn't quite on the right wavelength judging by what followed. Oh so close.

As an antitheist, I don't believe in God, or the Devil, or in fact religion at all. I am vehemently opposed to it as it does more damage to the world than anything else. It annoys me though that someone who can renounce the Devil, or say that the Devil doesn't exist can still believe in God, which is the precise same kind of non-existent entity. It's all just one big controlling myth, given simply as a metaphor for good and bad.

I am all for people having faith in something, each to their own, whatever gets you through. It's just completely and utterly not for me. I just don't understand how someone can have blind faith in something that has caused so much bad to happen, even more so than its 'bad' counterpart.

Despite my thoughts on the closing line, the rest of the program is presented pretty well, unbiasedly and interestingly, although it does miss out on quite a few bits it could have addressed, maybe they didn't have enough money to make it twice as long, as it should have been. It's definitely worth a watch though.

YOU CAN STREAM 'THE HISTORY OF THE DEVIL' completely for free in its entirety here...

I guess, despite how completely different the two programs are, they both include messages about 'The Rise of the Idiots' and how they are so stupid they don't even realise they're idiots.

Well, it's now 4.25am, and I'm listening to the lush, chilling, ambient sounds of The Orb in an attempt to make me tired. I'm not sure it's working. I have 3 hours of them lined up in Winamp so hopefully it will have some effect. I'm going to try and sleep now anyway as this is ridiculous. This post took too long to write, but at least that little nugget of anger is out of my system.

Here is the vastly shortened version of the majestic ambient piece 'The Blue Room'... Click the logo.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Rebecca Black (and her affiliates) and Justin Bieber must die.

I've just realised that I'm missing a chance here. Music is what I know most about, and, as previously hinted, I always have an opinion, usually constructive but not afraid to hold back if needed, so as such I'm not going to ignore music on this blog anymore.

I'll probably mention some lesser known / lesser liked music along the way too, because that's what I love, but, am pretty sure that being a cynical misanthrope, most of my rants will be against music (and the people making it) that should be, quite simply, deleted from history, and the sooner the better.

I also won't be afraid to say what I feel about more generally accepted, popular sounds, especially if they are, indeed, utterly shit. There is a lot of damaging music out there, and the mass media seem to believe it is metal and its sub-genres that causes the problem. To be totally honest, it saves more problems than it causes, giving the kids that get into it more of a focus, release, self-worth, an outlet. There's just a few incidents that hit the headlines because those that do the crime listen to metal. Big deal. There are more serial killers, rapists, generally bad people that DON'T listen to metal. I'm pretty sure that Colonel Gadaffi doesn't sit in his room on a night and listen to Mayhem, or Pol Pot didn't listen to Venom, or Jeffrey Dahmer didn't listen to Cannibal Corpse.

On Friday night I was introduced for the first time to the sounds of Rebecca Black, who is currently first candidate in my list of people to be evaporated with flamethrowers. Although, really it should be the writers of the pop idiocy that is 'Friday'. The lyrics make me despair for all humanity. It is disgraceful that there is such knowledge and intellect out there in this immense planet to be hoovered up by the miracle that is the mind, and that this is the best some people can come up with. It sounds like, and lyrically is so infinitely patronising, that it's music for two year olds.

These actually genuinely are the lyrics in this song!

'Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after...wards'

...all delivered in sickly sweet, safe sounds that make me wish I could self-lobotomise, in ice pick through the eyeball fashion (yes, this is true, here is a video, and also a still I grabbed to prove it).

Video from a documentary about Lobotomies

I don't even need to explain myself with this one why it is more of a bad influence on 'the youth of today etc' than even the most violent death or black metal music, I think the terrible grammar and patronising words speak for themselves.

I hate myself for this, but here is the video (I wish there was a way for you to watch it without actually having to watch it. It's not a good experience. It's not even funny it's that appalling)...
I'm sorry.

At the time of posting, this video has had OVER 100 MILLION VIEWS!!! I wonder how many of those are to see the absurdity of it. I fear not enough. That figure though simply explains why I'm pissed off about this. I don't understand how people can justifiably get rich from nonsense like this, it's simply not deserved. The creators will have made more from this in one horrible swoop than I make in many years of full time, life draining work.

I had a read on the Wikipedia page about her. The full story is that her parents paid for her to have this video made, sort of more for themselves and her friends, so, in essence it started as a bit of fun that suddenly went 'viral'. Amazing how close the word viral is to virus eh? The fact that now, everyone involved is going to make a fortune, probably even fuelled by the likes of me ranting about how bad it is, so more people look, so more people know, is utterly devastating. Hopefully one day, people in general will look and stop entertaining this garbage.

According to the page, she is keen to do a duet with Justin Bieber. Hopefully that means they will both be in the same room at the same time, making a lot easier to get rid of BOTH OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME! Someone please do this planet a tiny favour and eradicate both of these vermin when that happens. PLEASE!?

Here is the death-core parody by TOTALITY, which, whether you like death-core, death metal, metal at all, you've got to admit this is funny, AND, for all those who continually say 'Oh, how can you listen to that garbage, it's just noise and you can't tell what they are saying', YOU can't tell what they're saying, but once your ears tune in to the style of it, OR if you have a lyric sheet, OR if, like this it's a cover, then YES, you can tell they are saying something, don't be so pathetic. It's MEANT to not be heard properly by people who don't like it. That's the point, it's meant to be extreme sounding and exclusionary. Deal with it. Death-core by the way, for those who don't know, is a mix of death metal and hardcore, much maligned en masse by the death metal elites out there, but, still has plenty of good things within its style. I'm not necessarily saying this band, or this song (in its own right) is particularly awesome, but, it's a damn sight better than the original, and the idiots who are listening to the original and liking it should like this instead. I know that will never happen.

Also, here is The Inbetweeners bus wanker short mash up, which I think is class!

Die. All of you responsible for this abomination. You don't deserve to exist.

So, let's get this straight...! Time to stop drinking again.

Failed at not drinking. Once again. Within minutes as well. Paulie P is poorly P. Mind, body, energy.

This post isn't even anything to do with the night I had to walk away from last night. In fact it was a good time, considering how fully not good I've been doing, yesterday especially. This has just been coming for a while as my brain now, frankly, feels like it's trying to rather quickly erode itself from the inside.

It's not even like I actually drink that much either. Know THAT sounds cliche but it's true. Compared to what I did way back when and on various many not so way back whens. Before I drank because I could, and, generally, a lot. Probably lucky to avoid hospital a couple of times, and that's saying something. One of the nights, I have no idea how I survived. Worst time ever. I know folks brag about their drinking prowess (which is a bit weird anyway). This isn't what this is. This is me saying I know I can drink ludicrously heavy when the time is required or right, and the suffering for it is now getting astronomical.

And yet I still go back. NOW it's an addiction, it's an under control addiction, generally, but still it is that, and now it needs to go. The social aspect of it is the part that controls it. Not just, 'have one to be sociable', but 'have some to survive the social situation'. Part of it is because I actually like the taste, of lager, wines, spirits, ales (just not cider, that stuff is verminous), they've all got nice tasting variants of them. I'll definitely miss whisky!

I also drink, not to forget, but to have at least a little time of relief from the stuff that breaks my brain and the strength of my mind for a large majority of the time. Even whilst asleep I just can't properly rest. I'm not trying to run away from my problems through it. I am happy to deal with them and be responsible for whatever happens, but it's nice just to have a few hours here and there being given the ability to put them on the shelf, and give my brain a rest. Surely that's a valid reason. In fact, I don't feel like I should justify what I do either way, I guess I'm just talking it out with myself here.

Now I just want to / need to give up, at least stop for a while, because it's just too much for me to physically and mentally take. If I can cut it out and be healthier, less drained as a result on the times I do drink these days then I can feel more energetic to get on with life, and to sort things out. There is a financial aspect to it as well, the extra cash from the now small amount that I drink would be nice in the pocket / bank / saving towards other times.

I don't believe the cause of ALL life's problems, not even by a long shot, but, I know it causes some.

I'm not going to be preachy about it. I just wanted to make this post as a reminder in a way. I'm just going to try and get on with it. I didn't drink for about 4 years in between the age of 19(ish) and 23(ish). I'm sure I can do it again.

It's now a lot more official.
I think I like that fact.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.