Monday, 18 October 2010

The Springs of Life

I happened upon a most interesting chapter in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ today, brimming with anti-Enlightenment sentiment. It’s Prince Myshkin’s birthday, and everyone has descended on the villa he has rented in Pavlovsk, to help him celebrate. Holding court is a cretinous amateur lawyer called, Lebedyev, talking of “the springs of life”, explaining his point by telling the story of a man who in the twelfth century, to combat hunger, ate 60 monks and 6 infants. This is where Lebedyev concludes:

“Now for the conclusion, the finale, gentlemen, in which lies the solution of one of the greatest questions of that age and of this! The criminal ends by going and giving information against himself to the clergy and gives himself up to the authorities. One wonders what tortures awaited him in that age – the wheel, the stake and the fire. Who was it urged him to go and inform against himself? Why not simply stop short at sixty and keep the secret till his dying breath? Why not simply relinquish the clergy and live in penitence as a hermit? Why not, indeed, enter a monastery himself? Here is the solution. There must have been something stronger than stake and fire, stronger even than the habit of twenty years! There must have been and idea stronger than any misery, famine, torture, plague, leprosy, and all that hell, which mankind could not have endured without that idea, which bound men together, guided their hearts, and fructified the springs of life. Show me anything like such a force in our age of vices and railways…I should say of steamers and railways, but I say vices and railways, because I’m drunk but truthful. Show me any idea binding mankind together today with anything like the power it had in those centuries. And dare to tell me that the springs of life have not been weakened and muddied beneath the “star”, beneath the network in which men are enmeshed. And don’t try to frighten me with your prosperity, your wealth, the infrequency of famine and the rapidity of the means of communication. There is more wealth, but there is less strength. There is no uniting idea; everything has grown softer, everything is limp, and every one is limp! We’ve all, all of us grown limp. “

Sounds familiar…?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Formidable Marinade

A very fond memory of the album launch was captured on film, which was Mikelangelo inviting me to sing a duet of his song "Formidable Marinade". Relive the moment again below:

Monday, 4 October 2010

The Human Thing

I have been asked on numerous occasions recently, in regard to my music, "what is it that you want?". Every time I was caught off guard, and scrambled around for an answer, usually something along the lines of "err, to play nicer venues". "Is that it?", is probably what they were thinking, but dared not ask. It has prompted me to re-evaluate myself, and my music making, and to come up with some good reason for bothering.

It's certainly not money that's for sure. Anyone who makes music with some idea that they'll make pots of cash, is seriously misguided, and probably psychologically unhinged: a fool, in short. They'd be better off gambling on the stock market and continually reinvesting.

What makes me feel good is the praise, the fleeting moments of delusional brilliance, the power to captivate, the down turning of eyes when I linger too long on an audience member, the physical thrill of singing. All of this is connected to ego in one way or another, and is quite shameful to think about it all. Nevertheless, the feeling exists. Though is it enough to justify art creation?

When I question this amongst friends they all say, "but it's ok, it's an emotion like any other". Easy for them to say when the scale of ego is so small, cute, cuddly almost. Imagine it a million times bigger and it doesn't seem so quaint any more, in fact positively offensive. So being aware of ego, the satisfaction of it being a primal urge, one can accept it and overcome it. Only then can one pursue a worthwhile cause, and a more rational one at that.

Reaching this stage in my thoughts, it suddenly occurred to me. There was no need to "come up with something" as if it needed to be conjured out of thin air for the sake of having something to say. The answer had been there right beneath my nose all along, I'd just been distracted. The point of it all, not just music creation, but creativity in general, is subversion. To reject the common reality and present a different version. To corrupt and question that reality in any way possible. Personal propaganda you might call it.

The protest in my songs, which is most prevalent in "Give Me Detumescence" and "If This is Civilisation", may seem to some as a funny type of sentiment. They often make the audience chuckle, much to my chagrin. There is nothing humourous about either of those two songs, and I am deadly serious when I perform them. I hope the true message comes across when listening in private with no crowd to jostle against.

This tiny meme I have cast out, like a drop into the ocean, is worth every effort, for me alone. No matter how ridiculous it might seem and how quickly it may be forgotten, the irony of delivery, the inevitable hypocrisy, at least I will know that I have stood for the human thing, in my own way. And that is what I'm doing it for.

Dear friends,

It was almost a month ago now, but the memories of the sell out launch night at Hoxton Hall are still vivid. What a night it was. To look out from the stage upon a sea of familiar smiling faces, and to play in such a beautiful space, is what dreams are made of. Well mine anyway. Thank you for being part of it. If you'd like to relive the magic of the night, many photos have been taken. Some video footage will follow shortly too.

So, the album is OUT. If you weren't at the launch, then you wouldn't have been given a copy. No dramas necessary. The album is available for download here:

You're able to listen in full beforehand to hear what you're getting yourself into. You are also able to buy a physical copy on CD format. I am hoping to have some vinyls ready for Christmas. It will also be available on Spotify and iTunes in the next couple of weeks.

The next show we have planned will be Thursday October 28th, at the Kings Cross Social Club, in Kings Cross would you believe.

I do hope you're able to make it. Until then,