Just got the Stick out of hibernation today. Something else I have neglected a bit. Been checking all the music software is up to date and in good working order on the Mac so I can spend some of the long winter nights doing some useful noise making…
Results will be posted here.
Oh and this is my first post from the WordPress iPad app, so I hope it comes out nicely formatted. Or there’ll be trouble….
First post of the new year – and perhaps appropriately – also the first day of a completely new look for the blog.
I know it’s only a blog and not exactly one of my “proper” websites but nonetheless it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while; I’ve really enjoyed working with WordPress for the main and commercial sites and even though I don’t really aim to do anything really clever with these pages I was beginning to feel that the old blog looked way TOO much like a bog standard Blogger page and that I wanted it to be something a bit more unique, and something that genuinely looked a bit more like the “Stuff & Things” title suggested – something a bit individual, a bit eclectic and a bit magaziney even.
And it’s a big new year – in a lot of ways…
The redundancy from Teletext is now complete and I’m working at getting Vroom Media up and running. A deep recession probably isn’t the best time to start a new business (unless it’s in repossessions or knee-capping I guess) but I didn’t have much choice.
Along with the new design business startup, there’s also the move. Living in London’s no longer an option – it’s always been overpriced and it’s now something that can’t really be afforded.
And to be honest, maybe it’s time to move away. Go somewhere more peaceful, somewhere with more room, more space outside, somewhere new for a new phase of life.
Teletext – and London – have both been good rides for the past 11 years; but despite the uncertainty and risks I’ve got to say that I’m really looking forward to shaping a new life as my own boss and doing work that interests me, being able (up to a point) to pick and choose good jobs and keep variety and interest alive – and I’m looking forward to doing it somewhere other than London.
At the moment it’s looking very much like Cardiff or Bridgend – almost certainly the Vale of Glamorgan. The idea of more time to enjoy the place I live, got out, get fitter, put time aside for music and writing – it’s all good.
There’s been some sad news too at the turn of the year; hearing out of the blue from an old schoolfriend that one of our friends from back then has just died. He was something of a soulmate at school – we were in a band together – an awesome one – and he was a magical guitarist with an ear not just for the obvious, catchy and rocking – but also the offbeat, the sonically adventurous and the ‘out there’; someone I owe a lot of my love of genuinely interesting and engaging music to.
We hadn’t seen each other for years – that’s what we all seem to do nowadays; and it’s only awful jolts like this that remind you what a fucking wasteful stupid thing that is – and I think that the urge to do positive things, to make the most of what lies ahead may well be in part down to that news.
The coming weeks are going to be fairly messy, juggling new pieces of work alongside trips down to Wales for house hunting; it’s all fairly hectic and I hope I can make the excitement of seeing the houses and surroundings outweigh the stressy bits of it all.
Happy new year anyway. There’s lots of possibilities ahead – and I hope great things for all of us.
Pic: the Roman god Janus (January, geddit?) – looking back and looking ahead
Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be enough good news around at Christmastimes… Don’t know why – (maybe it’s because we tend to try and happy ourselves up for the occasion and the world doesn’t stand a chance of living up to that), but there just doesn’t. And that’s broadly been so this year too – ongoing whitewashy shambles of an Iraq inquiry, total cop-out and big finger to the planet from Copenhagen – but at least today has flagged up two stories that have really genuinely made me incredibly happy.
The first is pretty obvious – Rage Against The Machine taking the Xmas number 1 slot from some vanilla X-Factor prettyboy singing some crappy banality at the order of his master. Thank Fuck, quite frankly. Brilliant news. The X-Factor may be enjoyed by millions but that doesn’t make it good of course (and it isn’t good – it’s fucking evil) – and contrary to the bafflingly poor thinking of some absurdly biased BBC newsreader/interviewers over the past days, it does NOT set up winners in long and glittering and important careers; so far they’ve been largely shortlived. For which one can only be thankful given the tripe, pap and worthless formulaic shite they put out. The BBC people actually were pretty annoying – completely glossing over the Rage profits going to homeless charity Shelter, having been corrected on a point about making money from the single, and also accusing the song of not being about Christmas…. er, like the X-Factor song then… Muppets.
Anyway – they did it. WE did it. Brilliant. It’s not a cynical act (as described by the cynical Simon Cowell in an act of breathtaking cynicism even by his own magnificent standards) – it’s a genuine authentic act of championing authenticity over cynicism. And I hope it’s only the beginning.
I also hope it’s only the beginning for more coming out and acceptance of gay sports stars following the announcement by the Welsh rugby star – Cardiff Blues player and the most capped player for Wales and former British and Irish Lions captain, Gareth Thomas. Sport can be a macho and misogynistic animal, and of course homophobic too. Yet statistically, it’s blindingly obvious that there should be quite a few gay sportsmen out there – who knows, maybe great ones – great role models. And that one of them has had the guts to come out is great news… “It has been really tough for me,” he told the papers, “hiding who I really am, and I don’t want it to be like that for the next young person who wants to play rugby, or some frightened young kid. I don’t know if my life is going to be easier because I’m out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to Childline, then it will have been worth it.”
Let’s hope this might just be a moment of genuine shift like the Rage Xmas number 1. Today has definitely been a good day. Hopefully the reasons why it’s been a great day can lead to more great days to come. Good on you Gareth Thomas, good on you Rage Against the machine – and good on you all who bought the single :-)
Remember Luke Jackson’s “Goodbye London” video? Course you do; it was brilliant… it was on here only a couple of months ago… Anyway – now you can give it the credit and recognition it deserves and vote for it in the Metropolis Art Prize. Simply click here and bang your mouse down on the Thumbs Up button to cast your vote.
And if for some bizarre reason you need reminding why you should be voting for it, here it is to refresh your memory.
In short, my name's Gareth and I'm the Director of VROOM MEDIA Ltd. I'm a designer, writer, musician and MotoGP nut. I'm a shameless fanboy for Alvaro Bautista & Apple. I go moist over Spanish band El Canto Del Loco, and I'm a total Mac geek. This blog is an ongoing journal of random notes, thoughts and bits of stuff...
My 'formerly industrial' band with my mate Rob.
We grew out of wanting to be another NIN some time back and have developed into a far more interesting, singular, challenging and fun.
With Rob's emigration to the USA, our way of working and creating was fundamentally altered, but we continued to push the boundaries of possible musics as we always have.
Rob's return holds promise to pick things up some more - to develop more ideas, sketchpads, rhythms and approaches to keep us on the cutting edge - and maybe a refreshed approach which might even see us revisit and complete our unfinished masterpiece "BACKLASH".
Fifteen minutes into the future, a hot, dry summer in Hull: Coates, a researcher and investigator, is hired to trace the whereabouts of missing adolescent Dominic Russell.
Is he the latest in a number of gruesome blood-letting murders attributed to the city’s “Marginals” that exist somewhere in the underbelly of the population?
That’s what the Police say, but it’s not what the boy’s mother believes - and as Coates digs deeper into that underbelly he discovers that Dominic’s disappearance is just a tiny part of a much bigger story: one that will bring his world crashing down and endanger all those around him...
Rivercity is a book that can be read at many levels, weaving a main plot - a clear homage to the “noir” detective genre - with a vampire story and a myriad of strands about perception and reality, human nature, signs, superstitions, the histroy of Hull, aesthetics, the occult and political expediency. Above all it's a novel about philosophy and the nature of truth and knowledge in the electronic age.