A short post about words

I was recently thinking I had invented a new word – Apathise, however it already existed in the Urban dictionary. Thinking about it, of course it did. Somebody was bound to have got there years ago. However, I think the urban dictionary definition of apathise is not entirely appropriate.

It defines apathise as – To feel apathy or indifference towards something.

This definition ignores the fact that apathise is a derivation of empathise or sympathise and, at least in my opinion, means that you therefore do understand and care about a problem. Therefore I have re-defined the word as follows’

Apathise – to understand and empathise with a person, or persons, problems, but not care enough to actually get off your arse and do anything to help.

Not a big difference, I know, but it certainly refines it further to my liking.

And another word that needs definition:

Conspiragasm – the feeling of ecstasy felt when a conspiracy that you always believed existed, is proven to exist.

Why Do I Write?

I am a writer – some of you who read this blog may realise this. Notice that I didn’t start the first sentence with ‘so’. Recently, this beginning to spoken and written information is giving me the shits. There is, however, one thing that annoys me more – it annoys me a lot. And this thing is writers who moan and whine about not getting published. Suck it up and get with writing.

It’s not that I don’t sympathise with their plight, I do, but there’s a small thing called reality to consider. If you enjoy writing, perhaps it’s enough to simply write. This doesn’t work for me. My ego insists that people should read what I write – hence this blog. I have written books, some published, some not, all selling moderately at best, almost not selling at worst. My novels have not yet been taken on by a publisher, but I live in hope. Although I have to admit that I am seriously considering self-publishing.

At least this blog keeps me focused and under the misguided impression that what I say might be read by someone, somewhere.

But back to whining writers. Imagine you have finished your book and nobody takes it on. Why is nobody picking up your book, at least among those pesky traditional publishing houses that actually put hard books onto bookshop shelves? Well, it could be for a number of reasons. Your book may be well-written – good piece of fiction, non-fiction etc, but have you considered that the genre you are writing in might not be selling at the moment, so irrespective of quality, the publishers may not believe they sell a lot of copies. Why would they take you one when they can get a celebrity biography out (in all probability ghost written) which will sell thousands, if not tens of thousands, or even more, copies. For them, it’s a no-brainer. Agents know this and that’s why agents are also so hard to crack.

Perhaps it’s time to self-publish, so you do. But it still doesn’t sell. Why? It could be for a number of reasons including:

• It’s lost in the hundreds of thousands of books published and self-published each year and you have no budget or expertise to promote it;

• It sits in an awkward genre, or between genres; and

• It’s shit (always a possibility I consider, and so should you)

These are just a few of the reasons that occur to me when I think about my poor-selling (read not selling) self-published books. The biggest waste of time, at least in my opinion, is to try and get your book published through Publisher sites where you get a community of writers voting for books. What tends to happen is that people spend much more time trying to read other people’s books than writing and improving their own. And while a few (a very few) writers do get published through this medium, you’re probably better off hassling publishers with a submission. Of course, this IS just my opinion. Feel free to do what you like.

So why do I continue to write? Simple really, I love it. And having done some research, I can say that the vast majority of published writers don’t earn a full-time living from it, so why would I? I shall; continue to write, continue to enjoy it, continue to earn bugger-all from it, but have an awful lot of fun in the process.

Now, don’t get me wrong, somewhere inside me is the hope that one day I’ll write a best-seller that gets made into a big Hollywood movie, but until then, I am unlikely to ever earn even 10% of what my day job pays me.

And to all writers out there – don’t moan; just write because you enjoy it. You’ll enjoy life far more.

 

Wow – I am happy to get that off my chest – now, back to writing and trying to be less grumpy!

Classic Album No. 9 – Dire Straits – (Dire Straits, 1978)

In 1978 when punk was in its heyday, disco fever was in full flight, and new wave synthesiser-based bands were gearing up, Dire Straits released their debut album. On it was the song Sultans of Swing, which became a top 10 hit, and has since become a classic. Mark Knopfler and his band (John Illsley on bass, David Knopfler on  rhythm guitar, and Pick Withers on drums) came out with gritty, bluesy, rock sound that reflected the darker mood of the country at the time.

While the shows Mark Knopfler’s ability on the guitar, I can’t help but think that some of what is on here is improvised during the recording. It’s probably not, but having that feel to it adds an extra dimension to the sound, with all of those ‘spare’ notes tacked on to the songs. Illsley and Withers provide a tight, fantastic rhythm section, and rhythm is what this album is about. This might not be their best-selling album, but it sure is, in my view, the best.

The album is a collection of well-written songs that begins with Down to the Waterline a song about teenage liaisons in Newcastle, followed by the laid back Water of Love.  The third song on the album is Setting Me Up which is one of the best. It is three minutes of upbeat, foot-tapping rhythm and show cases both guitar players. David Knopfler really shows how good a rhythm guitarist he is on this album. Six-Blade Knife is a dark song that slows the pace down with folky/bluesy feel, before Southbound Again (another of my favourites) raises the pace with all the intensity of a clackety-clack train ride.

Sultans of Swing starts side two (at least it did in the days of LP records!) and I don’t think that there is much I can say about this song that hasn’t already been said. It’s a classic song in anybody’s language. Then comes In the Gallery, a story about a sculpture overlooked in life and feted after death. Knopfler chews out the words with a sort of suppressed rage at the injustice of it all.

The final two songs, Wild West End and Lions take me back to the London that I used to visit in the 80s. It was probably not that much different to the 70s (all those who disagree, feel free to – I don’t mind). There is a texture to these songs that reflects a young man in a big city, watching the world, watching the girls, living a frugal life with time to watch and see the world as it is, pick up the little details. These two songs take me down memory lane.

And that’s it. A great debut album from a band with a lasting sound. Enjoy it at the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV_WE6RPR9M

Them

Them

I felt them go,
those ephemeral ghostly ones,
they clung to me so long
and then were gone.

I felt them go
as luck was turned around
they were nowhere to be found,
there was not a single sound.

I felt them go
as soon as times got tough
their hearts just turned to dust,
their steel turned to rust.

I felt them go,
those shadows and shades,
so grasping and grey,
so quick to fade –

so glad to feel them go.

Five from The Police

The Police were a sort of cross between punk, reggae, pop, with a bit of jazz thrown in. They were, and are, all great musicians. Well, you have to be if you want to be in a 3-piece band. There’s nowhere to hide. They hit the big time with Outlandos d’Amour which came out in 1978, followed that album with Reggatta de Blanc, and then Zenyatta Mondatta, which had their classic hit Don’t Stand So Close To Me. Ghost in the Machine followed and them came Synchronicity, a true monster hit of an album. They were a great band – Sting on bass and vocals, Andy Stewart on guitar, and Stewart Copeland on drums. Here are five of my favourite songs from them. It’s not a definitive list, just five that come to mind.

1. Roxanne – of course, who could forget this song. It is a classic from the 70s. On so many compilation albums that practically everybody has heard it, however it’s popularity hasn’t dulled my appreciation of it. A bit of punk influence mixed with some reggae sounds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T1c7GkzRQQ&list=RD3T1c7GkzRQQ

2. Can’t Stand Losing You  – this is a reggae influenced song from their first album, not a big hit, but it’s a good song, not over-produced and well crafted. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH0vjLwMyc4

3. The Bed’s Too Big Without You – a soothing guitar intro guides the listener into this song, it’s a cruisy musical massage for the mind –  very relaxing too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stlKHh_f0-0&list=RDZRS3cL0fdZ8

4. Bring on the Night  – There is some jazz influence coming through on this, mixed with the reggae feel. Very relaxing intro and song. It’s a sort of musical massage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_8_eP7v8X4&list=RDR_8_eP7v8X4

5. Peanuts – Off Outlandos d’Amour , and a bit more punk than anything else. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkYTfmNd5c4&list=RDRcEumfNE9vM

 

Cheers

George

 

Easter Disaster

Yes, I know, perhaps poor taste, but it’s what came to mind…sorry

 

Easter Disaster

 

In Perth it reached 100 degrees
That’s pretty hot for this time of year
And the unseasonal weather caused a catastrophe
That may impact on Easter, I fear.

The Easter Bunny, with his thick fur coat
didn’t stand a chance as he hopped round the city.
He became quite delirious (don’t laugh now, I’m serious!)
and hopped under a car, such a pity.

The eggs hit the bitumen, still warm from the sun
and the bunny squeezed a ride on the tyre
the last thing he saw was a bloody four by four
it’s not the way that he’d thought he’d expire.

My Funky Bassline

A bit of a re-post, but I’ve fiddled with it a little to make it flow better

My Funky Bassline

It was a steamy summer’s day and I had a tortured soul
I was being persecuted by the gods of rock’n’roll
I had a funky bassline imprinted on my mind
It was trying to escape, there was someone I had to find

I went looking for the Funkster, the only man around
Who could help me make this tune into some sort of groovy sound
There was nothing else to do that could ease my suffering brain
And release that groovy beat that was driving me insane

On my way down to his joint I maintained exclusion zones
With my unexploded rhythm vibrating through my bones
And I got the strangest looks from other people on the street
As I walked the paving stones with a syncopated beat

When I reached his place he asked me, ‘How can I help you man?’
And I said ‘I’ve got this funky bassline and I need a helping hand.’
‘No worries mate,’ he told me, ‘I’ll see what I can do,
It’s a crime to find a bassline and fail to follow through.’

So he sat me on his couch and I hummed my funky music
And his face lit at once and he said, ‘YEAH, I can use it!’
He left the room for hours, but then when he returned
He played me the result, a CD that he’d burned

He’d mixed guitars and drums with my groovy little bass
And my syncopated rhythm had finally found its place
But no sooner had I left him, I was once again afflicted
With a catchy little bassline, it seems that I’m addicted

I hear music all the time and it comes from everywhere
And new rhythms make me nervous and it doesn’t seem quite fair
That I get funky tunes appearing, while the Funkster soothes my soul
And I’m fated to be tortured by the gods of rock’n’roll

 

 

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