Monthly Archives: March 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 24

Day 24: A song that you want to play at your funeral

Well, technically speaking I won’t be playing this at my funeral will I, otherwise there will be some pretty freaked out guests there…

But hey enough of this triviality and nit-picking and onto the song – well not the song, as the song I want to be played at my funeral is actually my number one song of all time, and seeing as the main reason for me counting down (and I suspect Steve’s reason too) was that I wanted to release the best song ever as the last post.

But not to leave you empty handed, it would be pretty cool to have this little number at my funeral too, for reasons I’m sure I don’t have to explain:

 

Rock on Jim!
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30 Day Song Challenge: Day 25

Day 25: A song that makes you laugh

When I first thought of this, I was thinking that it was mainly due to the video (which is incidentally my favourite video of all time) but then I realised the song is pretty damn funny too – so a winner on both counts! I give you:

 

The song is fantastic but the video makes it ten times better. The ultimate homage/pastiche/parody of the ‘70s cop films/TV.

Complete with doughnuts! Open-mouthed smile


30 Day Song Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: A song that you can play on an instrument

I was all for skipping over this one, seeing as I can’t play an instrument and then I remembered that I actually did learn one tune, whilst taking guitar lessons. It’s a Swedish lullaby and I just found it on YouTube with English subtitles, so even you lazy so and sos who haven’t taken the time to learn Swedish yet can enjoy:

 

Byssan Lull as promo for a console game…

It’s a very simple, yet very effective tune and even though I doubt I could play it now, I could, once upon a time! Smile


Tour 1: Knivberga

And I’m back and it feels bloody great! This is the first time I’ve cycled in March since 2006 and I really felt good about it, before during and now, after. I think this year might be the best yet. I have to fit in another two cycles this month, however, if I’m to take the first challenge of the year, which is three cycles in March (the record of two was set way back in 2005).

Route: Knivberga
Time: 01:21:04
KM: 32.28
Average (KM/H): 24.0
Max (KM/H): 40.0
Calories: 691.33
Record: 2009 – 01:05:12


30 Day Song Challenge: Day 27

Day 27: A Song you wish you could play

[Note: I didn’t post anything yesterday or Saturday, as not only am I copying Steve Duffy’s idea of going in reverse order, but I’m also radically not posting at the weekends…]

This one should be incredibly easy as I can’t even play ‘Row, row, row your boat’ on our piano at home, meaning most music is beyond me.

So when anything goes the choices get more difficult…

 

It’s the harp, so it is!

I’ve been obsessed by the harp for many years but my dreams of playing it were dashed a few years ago when my wife tried to book harp lessons in our town for me as a birthday present. The first question the teacher asked her was how long I’d been playing the piano…and that was that.

Unless I start playing the piano soon of course…

Anyway, this is taken from my album last year, which was due mostly to the amount this instrument was used. I’m a sucker for the harp and can even get excited when hearing one on a dodgy pop song.


30 Day Song Challenge: Day 28

Day 28: A song that makes you feel guilty

At first I thought this one was going to a little difficult, not because I don’t think I have anything to feel guilty about but more for the fact that I was thinking on a different level that what I should have been (I seem to have lots of guilty thoughts…).

And then came:

Cause we all love GAP don’t we?

Of course, if any one band was going to make me feel ill due to my being born one of the lucky ones (that is in the western world, getting richer while helping others to become poorer), then it was going to be Chomsky influenced Rage Against the Machine.

What better time is now?


30 Day Song Challenge: Day 29

Day 29: A Song from your childhood

That’s a bit vague isn’t it? Now I’m wondering whether the vagueness in these is for interpretations sake or merely because the creator was a tad lazy (I suspect the latter).

Anyway, on to the show, I could pick a crap song from my childhood of course but we had a bit too much of the naff music flying around yesterday and so I’ll go for something my mum was a fan of, meaning it got played a lot in our house as I was growing up (and usually pretty loud when housework was being done)!

I give you:

I was a big fan of this album as a teenager before being made aware of the delights of the Hackett era of Genesis (yes I said Hackett not Gabriel, for I am talking about the genius in the group) but this album still hits all the right notes when it comes to the nostalgia factor.

Nostalgia’s a bummer sometimes eh?


30 Day Song Challenge: Day 30

Day 30: Your favourite song this time last year

So I thought this was going to be easy, as it just meant picking my favourite song of last year: The Owl and the Tanager by Sufjan Stevens yes? Well no, not really, as that didn’t come out until August 2010, and so I hadn’t even heard it had I?

But then again my favourite song this time last year is actually my favourite song of all time yes, which is covered in 30 days and it would be absolutely scandalous to release that now.

[I’m analysing too much now aren’t I?]

OK, OK, after checking my Last.fm stats (I do love my scrobbler!) I have decided to go for the song that I played once a day from about this time that was actually my song of 2009. Even though it was the studio version I picked, I do actually play the live improv. version more often (even converting this YouTube vid to an mp3 file).

Enjoy the wondrous Andrew Bird and Anonanimal



The 30 Day Song Challenge

I started one of these a few months ago, and I’ve recently discovered it only had 18 entries. As I am subscriber to more is more (especially where music is concerned), I decided to begin again with the 30 Day Song Challenge, currently doing the rounds.

Thanks to Steve Duffy for getting me started on this one!

Here’s the list and it will be followed by the first post (I’ve decided to shamelessly copy Steve and count down rather than up)

day 01 – your favorite song

day 02 – your least favorite song

day 03 – a song that makes you happy

day 04 – a song that makes you sad

day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone

day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere

day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event

day 08 – a song that you know all the words to

day09 – a song that you can dance to

day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep

day 11 – a song from your favorite band

day 12 – a song from a band you hate

day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure

day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love

day 15 – a song that describes you

day 16 – a song that you used to love but now hate

day 17 – a song that you hear often on the radio

day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio

day 19 – a song from your favorite album

day 20 – a song that you listen to when you’re angry

day 21 – a song that you listen to when you’re happy

day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad

day 23 – a song that you want to play at your wedding

day 24 – a song that you want to play at your funeral

day 25 – a song that makes you laugh

day 26 – a song that you can play on an instrument

day 27 – a song that you wish you could play

day 28 – a song that makes you feel guilty

day 29 – a song from your childhood

day 30 – your favorite song at this time last year


Vanity Press: or is it?

Following on from the cracking post by KV Taylor regarding the pricing of e-books, I was thinking about vanity press, being as that is seen as much worse than self-publishing. I remember getting my acceptance for my second novel a few years ago along with a £300 fee for god knows what, I can’t remember now, and asking a few in the know for advice. The resounding opinion was that of outrage, that I was being asked to fork out £300 to have my own book published and one of those I spoke to mentioned the self publishing route.

That was even more of a shock to me, as if I was to go out and publish the book myself then what had happened to the whole process of publishing, how could an author just decide that their book was adequately edited and ready for publication and what did that mean for me as a reader?

Two recent cases in point have strengthened my negativity to self-publishing (sorry but I’m not a fan) and that is that two authors who sent books to Morrigan Books and were subsequently rejected by me have suddenly released their books themselves less than a couple of months later. I’m aware I’m off making generalisations again, as merely because these two have done that doesn’t mean that everyone does that but it begs the question when you know it’s self-published, yes?

Something that would sway me would be if someone like Robert Hood were to publish his own novel. Firstly I’d be shocked that he’d done it, mainly because he wouldn’t need to but then I’d be very interested in reading it because it’s Robert Hood (for god’s sake!) and because the work I receive from Rob is generally ready for publication, only minor editing required (“a quick pat on the bum and sent out the door” as an editor I respect once mentioned editing writers like this).

And this brings me back to the early queries I received which are now in print. The rejection was based mainly on shoddy editing, a level I though below par for a book at Morrigan Books, as we want to whip your works into shape, not get ready for a rewrite and extensive editing project. So when I see one of these books on the market, it saddens me and frustrates me, as I gave my comments, explained what needed doing and for it to be released just makes the indie press scene look bad, because someone picking up that book and seeing its flaws might be wary of another indie book and that can’t be a good thing.

However, my post today was supposed to be about something else, as I was going to discuss a mail I got, offering me the chance to be published if I won a competition (yes, only me, you didn’t get the mail did you, suckers?). Oh I love competitions, I’m in, I’m off…but wait a minute you want me to pay $25 for the privilege of me getting a chance to be published? I’m thinking your talking vanity press here, or?

I mean I have entered the 3 Day Novel Contest twice now, being as I think it’s a cracking idea, totally mental and it gets me writing again. OK, I could do the thing on my own but there is something about this event feeling, forums and the like, knowing others are stressing over their terrible manuscripts at the same time I am. There is a prize of publication for the best manuscript sent in after the three days but to be honest it’s not really on the mind when writing, as the book is the focus.

Yet this, was a whole different kettle of fish (I wonder if that’s why Pete found a fish in the percolator):

Like a kettle of fish but different…

I mean, you just send in your manuscript before a certain day and then they pick their best and publish it, no doubt using a POD (Print on Demand) facility and a dodgy cover, meaning their outlay is a fraction of what they received in participation fee. Remembering of course they are not going to spend a cent on marketing either.

And KV Taylor mentioned something about not self-publishing more out of a sense of not being able to maybe push herself enough in the promotion arena, and this is also a very tricky topic as how much do we as writers know about marketing? I mean there are degrees and such for this kind of thing and are you sure you know the border between aggressive marketing and just plain annoying. Again referring back to one of the books we rejected, based on the fact that it needed a very heavy edit (which I don’t believe for a minute was achieved in the two months between rejection and publication) the author in question has engaged in a heavy self-promotion campaign, which involves discussing all the different elements required to self-publish in a way that is painful to read.

I am now aware my post is starting to lose a little focus, mainly because it’s a culmination of a lot of thoughts that have been on my mind for a few months now, and make me fear a little bit about the industry we’re in. I’m sounding pessimistic while at the same time very positive about a lot of things in indie press. I mean we are about to announce three books that are extremely well written, require minor editing and will look very comfortable on your shelf, along with your other Morrigan books, (what do you mean you haven’t got them all yet?) and there are a few new publishers on the scene doing rather interesting things too (a later blog post).

It’s KV Taylor’s fault, she darn got me thinking!