Monday, 4 April 2011

The Daily Paul

I always fancied myself as a bit of a columnist. I've always scribbled down all manner of writings, trains of thoughts, done thousands of reviews in my time for various websites, either as contributions or in the music site I ran for nearly a dozen years, Raw Nerve.

In total I must have written, well, over 2,000 reviews for that site alone. Nowadays even writing one for mates' bands or even just a brief paragraph to include on a music blog post seems too much. I'm not really sure why. Maybe just getting out of the routine of it. Maybe somewhere in there my mind is saying 'Don't do it, once you do one, you'll want to do hundreds again, and you don't have time.' (Yes, my mind actually does speak that logically, and at length to me. That's not insane, right?!).

My brain still functions, in fact, better now than ever before, when it comes to getting the typed out sentences in good order, concise, or maybe not so concise, but, either way, descriptively and in-depth when required. When someone asks me about a band I can happily witter away at length about them, constructively, or, sometimes just brutally, but either way I have an opinion, yet, the 'typing out a review and posting it around online' side of my nature just seems to have faltered. Seems a shame really, but it is how it is.

I was never one of those reviewers that had to clarify everything I'd said at the end with a mark.
2 stars out of 5.
5 skulls out of 6.
350 satans out of 666.
9 cumshots out of 69.
1 dead hooker out of 5.
If I couldn't clear up my thoughts on it IN the review, I shouldn't really be writing it. Not saying anything bad against those people who DO use a mark, or writers who write for magazines that require a mark... I worked for Zero Tolerance magazine for their first dozen or so issues, and had to give marks, they gave out of 6, and, to me, the only figure that it's worth marking out of, that gives you a real clear indication over the course of thousands of records what is better (in your humble opinion) than another record is out of 100. Much more scope for manoeuvre amidst that amount of numbers.

It's just not for me.

I understand the thinking behind it, so that on a release poster, especially more prevalent in the film industry, they can have a big collection of who gave what in one easy glimpse, I'd very much rather try and come up with some kind of defining line, be it a comparison of bands ('for fans of' etc., although I'd dress it up in something like 'X getting off with Y whilst Z is looking and masturbating', or 'X beating the shit out of Y with Z handing them a sledgehammer to finish off the job'), or something that highlighted if the band were out of the ordinary, or just better than the rest of the crop, the reason why. 'This band smashes your head right off, so hard and so far that it goes on a journey through time, where it punches the first dinosaur, eats the first pizza, kicks the first football, shoots the first heroin, and returns back to your body one second after it left, just in time to hear the next section.'

You know,
something completely ludicrous and unreal like that.

Unfortunately I never used that synopsis or either of those comparisons in a real review, maybe I should take it up again just to use them.

Even more unfortunately, the website that a vast majority of my reviews were on has since perished, taking with them the reviews. I think it's possible to get them back, but even if I did, I really don't think I'd have the energy to house them anywhere else again, and I especially wouldn't have the time or commitment to go through each and every one and correct (potentially) plenty of bad grammar and cringeworthy points made about the recordings. I've always been intelligent enough to know how to construct sentences properly, or interestingly, and spell things right, but grammar (things like apostrophes especially) could sometimes be my undoing, and I know I'd simply have to go through it all and sort it all out!

The website went down not because of unpopularity or anything like that, quite the opposite... It finished a year ago, reviews stopped around four or five years ago, and I STILL get the odd email from bands wanting reviews on it. In fact, I moved out of my mum's house (for the second time after going back after a break up) about 7 years ago, and very occasionally she STILL takes in letters with CDs in them for review, despite many an email around to everyone I knew who sent them.

For the last few years it existed just as a forum, with a lot of sections, for and not for music, as well as hosted sections for bands. Gradually though, forums (on the whole) have became uncool. Social network sites point and laugh at forums, and, it is a bit of a shame. To be honest, with Myspace seemingly shooting its own feet off, Twitter being incredibly one dimensional, and all the others just being rubbish, Facebook is the only one that, despite a lot of people's hatred of it, seems to have credibility, plenty of things to do, as well as keeping the simplicity factor, and it's good for both young, old and musical inclined.

This wasn't my intention, to turn my daily column into an advert for Facebook, but, there you have it. Trains of thought are fantastic things. It's been the one thing I am good at. Be them lyrics / poems / pieces of rambled writing, of which I've also scribbled down literally thousands... and still to this day I've really only put them together legibly and conceptually into just one body of work.

I may use this space to chuck together some of my outpourings. Depends on how lucky you all turn out to be. (Insert clarifying sarcastic punctuation mark here... (!) Thank you).

I currently work for a newspaper. I make up adverts that go into papers all up and down the UK, from many a part of Scotland, right down to the Midlands, a lot in West Yorkshire, some in South Yorkshire, some in the North West. I am, by my own admissions, good at what I do. I am a very fussy worker, and, even though (for some stupid reason) we're not supposed to proof read what is sent to us to use in the adverts, I do, and again, and maybe once more. I double and treble check adverts are all lined up and as neat and as good as I can make them. Occasionally we get editorials / advertorials, which are basically the big adverts that look like news pieces but are actually adverts. Clever eh. So, you, the reader, think you are reading a report that someone has unbiasedly made about the company saying how great they are, when really, it's the company saying how great they are.

I'm getting closer to my aim of becoming a columnist. In my job, I make adverts look like columns in newspapers all over the UK, and in here / my reviews / my occasional rants and superlative ramble-fests about bands on Facebook, I feel like I am having my say.

Incredibly, I managed to tie that all together.

You'd think I even planned what I was going to write about!

(NB - I didn't draw the dinosaur used in this post, but it does look similar to how I would probably draw one, so thanks to whoever painstaking drew that masterpiece)

By now, you'll have noticed that I like to intersperse my rambles with images related in some way, somehow, no matter how much you have to stretch that elastic imagination of yours to get it. I was hoping to find some brilliantly surreal or intricate piece of art related to trains of thought, and, whilst there were some, there were none that quite cut it as much as this one...

Thank you Timmy and Tammy.


  1. I'd say I'm with you on scoring out of 5 etc but we use the over at Leave the Hall. They started as a joke but I have to confess, sometimes when reading other reviews, particularly in magazines I'll skip through the reviews section only reading the 0-5s & 9-10s. This means I can avoid reading almost every review in Terrorizer/Hammer as everything is given a 7.

  2. Heh, as I say, no problems with folks doing that, it just never sat right with me, so, wherever possible I didn't do, and I'm a total arithmomaniac (yeah, that was just totally showing off that I knew that word!)... to be honest, I'm a big fan of Leave The Hall and the writing style used on it, very entertaining.

  3. Thanks to you both for posting by the way, it would be ever so lovely if you were to officially FOLLOW... I promise it to be fun and rambley in here.