Category Archives: Reveries

Cancer

Cancer’s all around me just now. Not just in my folks and my mates folks. It’s actually in my friends these days. It’s not just something I hear about happening to other people anymore. It’s probably because I’m now OLD. And so therefore are my mates and their wives and husbands and sisters OLD. The real OLD boy living downstairs, my nosey neighbour. He’s got it. A couple of years ago my dad had it. He had this blokey cancer: Prostate Cancer.

Prostate Man

Like a bloke he dealt with it by not really talking about it much and cracking on. This website here: http://prostatecanceruk.org/information can help blokes just keep quiet and crack on and give loads of info so they don’t need to talk about it much. The people do good work and we can support them by sponsoring MY sorry fat ass to do the Berlin Marathon on Sunday 30 Sept.

Please sponsor me here: https://www.justgiving.com/Howard-Monk

If you’re in Crouch End, the worlds actual EPICENTRE, tonight, Friday 21 Sept, you can come and listen to folks SING THREE SONGS about CANCER, and then give money to ME! Info here: http://www.facebook.com/events/468508836505031/

OK, it’ll not be all about the cancer, but it will be fun, and worthy, and good. So come down. PLEASE.

If not, then SPONSOR MY ASS!

Advertisements

Posh Folks

I could and maybe will write an entire VOLUME about money and music. It’ll go right back to when I was in a band and folks with money were clearly losing an awful lot of it, just to be releasing band x or band y who they genuinely loved. I remember thinking back then that it was actually down to the philanthropy of some folks, that much of the indie (ie not really making money) music got to be heard.

You could argue that it’s a mirror of labels and promoters and festivals: the bigger acts pay for the smaller ones in many ways. (fuck knows there’s a lot of value put on playing a festival that acts will do anything to get their name on the poster).

Independently wealthy people have been involved making music and in the industry since it began, and that’s not a beef of mine* as I’m sure a lot of my favourite stuff is posh/rich and I daresay some of the folks I work with are too.

What does get on my nerves is that a posh SOUND seems to have developed. It’s all over the place. It’s jaunty, like a Jack Wills advert, and it sings like a pixie. It thinks all it needs to do is sing a bit weird by squashing its tongue to the top of its mouth and pronounce words a bit wrong, and hey presto, a career.

And there are some people buying it, mores the pity.

* even if it is *really* tough right now for anyone without some kind of support to do anything in music – but that’s another discussion


Things I am embarrassed about – Number one in a series

“If we’re real music fans, we might even displace a prototype in favor of another based on knowledge that we gain. Take, for example, the song “Twist and Shout.” You might have heard it countless times by live bands in various bars and Holiday Inns, and you might also have heard the recordings by the Beatles and the Mamas and the Papas. One of these latter two versions may even be your prototype for the song. But if I tell you that the Isley Brothers had a hit with the song two years before the Beatles recorded it, you might reorganise your category to accommodate this new information.
Daniel Levitin – This Is Your Brain On Music
Atlantic Books 2008 p159

Having gone on a bit in response to THIS, listing a load of stuff I was not embarrassed about not liking in fact (so fuck you). Like Nirvana (at first), Labradford (who I love), 2001 A Space Odyssey (still yawning)… but those are surely just DEAD OBVIOUS. Sure, there’s a lot of peer pressure when folks who become uber influential mention they’re huge fans of the Houghton Weavers, then everyone’s all over them. So you’ll have these obscure bands being lauded, and mortals like us trying to figure out just what it was that XXXX found in their music.

What’s REALLY embarrassing, for me, given the above paragraph from This is Your Brain on Music, is my knowledge of some of the finest songs, in fact one of my favourites ever, comes from some, well, questionable sources.

I’ll just come out and say it ok. I’ll give you three.

I first heard Motley Crue’s version of Helter Skelter

I first heard Suede’s version of Shipbuilding

And I think it was the GnR version of Knocking on Heaven’s Door that I heard before Old Bob. Ouch.

I actually think I have been more prepared to be uncool in my list. I mean at least Erika was on about some real cool stuff.
I could go on about more embarrassments. Like some baaaad gigs.

But as a friend of mine who shall remain nameless said to me just yesterday: The First Rule of Goth Club – you do not talk about Goth Club.

For the record I still think two of those versions above are alright.

Coming soon… Things I get annoyed about (issue one featuring posh west London bands, and girls (and now BOYS) doing that annoying pixie singing)


I’m a cyclist, a driver and a pedestrian

When I experience, hear about, or witness irresponsible behaviour in a professional context it reminds me of the debates between road users who annoy the hell out of each other all the time.

You get folks saying they’re better drivers ‘cos they’re cyclists and so on.

I hear “all agents are c*@!s”, or “all promoters are slippery”.

I also hear that that which you dislike in others is what you recongnise/dislike in yourself.


Collapse

Collapse Board is a great place to lose two hours

I could call it Collapsing. It’s when I have an extended session having clicked an Everett True tweet and been on a readathon. The latest started with his response to an article by Andrew Dubber: Music Journalism is the New Boring. Itself an excellent piece. I then found myself lost in the Collapse response to this N+1 article about Pitchfork.

All raise interesting questions and are proof that there is excellent music journalism if you’re ready or prepared or bothered to find it, like music itself. I’ve not spent enough time reading about music but then it can get pretty fucking boring, reading about something that someone likes – which (liking everything)  is largely what this article is accusing Pitchfork of these days. So too, the Dubber article.

There’s often too much of the writer in there however, and that can be grating. And I know I know that this is probably me, not the writer, with the problem… but still…

I find Dubber sometimes has the tone of an irritated knowitall wanting to prove he’s the one with the answer to everything. He’s angry! The thing is: he’s most often bang-on about the things that are getting on his nerves, and they should be getting on all our nerves too.

The N+1 article is a great read, as is the publication, I discover. (All due to my reading of THIS on Collapse) However writer Richard Beck still manages at the end to do what he criticises most Pitchfork writers of doing, albeit in perhaps a more subtle (or tongue in cheek) way. He wants us all to know that he gets it, but that at the same time, he wants us to know that he gets a whole lot more besides. Just like the Pitchfork writers, he’s showing off a bit:

But the story of The Beatles doesn’t begin with John, Paul, George, and Ringo deplaning at JFK. It begins with Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1722 Treatise on Harmony, which began to theorize the tonal system that still furnishes the building blocks for almost all pop music.”

I found the above to be a little lofty and I found myself wanting to dumb-down, and defend some shitty pop journalism.Which again says more about me than ought to be necessary in something like this.

In the last few months I’ve been looking at the Collapse Board more and more often, and enjoying it very much. It has been a pleasure to connect with. Check it out for yourselves.
I’ll be looking up Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1722 Treatise on Harmony.

 


Are we so delicate?

Fragile

I’ve had this reputation for a while among certain of my friends for being a straight talker. This is a bit wrong. I am a bit of a show off sure, and will say something to get a laugh, or a rise off someone, but I’m not intentionally mean and it hurts me a lot when folks are intentionally mean to me.

I have recently been reminded of something. A while ago a (well known) journalist told me that not liking or getting The National that much prevented them from writing anything at all about them as they didn’t want to say negative things about a band. The thing that reminded me was another (well known) music industry type not wanting to inform someone that the band they look after isn’t really for them.

Surely there is a way we can tell our truth without worrying about hurting people, and surely in turn there is a way that we can see someone’s truth as not intentionally mean and just move onto the next thing… It’s important to tell the truth no? Without being a dick right?


Two things, really quickly…

I have been laughing each time I see the pretentious advert for Egypt when it says “…and the stones spoke to me…”. I can’t help just replying “no they didn’t”

Any more examples of pretentiousness in ads please post below.

The other thing is here I sit at the Eurostar Terminal at St Pancras, not in a business lounge, but being online for free. Three cheers for Eurostar in this respect. I feel a bit of a fraud saying I am an international business dude, but I do travel a lot with work, and I HATE IT when airports hotels ir cafes (usually here in the UK) charge for using the internet. HATE IT.

It seems so old fashioned, and we all know it’s not something they are paying for so it’s just extra money they’re squeezing out of US.

Anyhow. Oh Ruin at Cafe Walvis in Brussels tonight. It’s Autumn Falls first ever edition! Excited!