I’m admitting straight off that I’m partly writing this as a way to delay doing housework. If you want to get me to be really productive in other areas, just threaten me with needing to clean something! Ugh. I do want to make more of an effort to blog here in general this year though. So in the hope of setting myself off in the right direction, here are some projects (for want of a better word) I’d like to make progress with this year…

  • Music blogging – I haven’t forgotten about the A-Z thing, honest, but am putting it on hiatus and have been working on a separate project instead – resurrecting my Top 777 Songs! It’s something I did in 2005, back in the LiveJournal days. I basically made a list of all my favourite songs, counted them up and discovered there were 777. Impressed by the pleasing aesthetics of the number, I ranked them all into a chart and started counting them down on my blog. Unsurprisingly this took quite a while! But 10 (and a bit) years later and I’m wanting to do it again. I actually started putting the shortlist of songs together last year, but only just finished it this afternoon. This time I’ve actually got 902 songs I classify as favourites, but that’s not such a pleasing number, so I’ll whittle them down to 777 and get them ranked in as much of an order of preference as I can manage. I’d imagine this will take me quite a while, but still, once that’s done I’ll start counting them down on here. This time I’ll also try and link to places where you can listen to the songs, plus put together playlists on Mixcloud, most likely in batches of 10 songs. This is the plan at least!
  • New Bonhomie – My Catatonia website. I discovered quite recently that it had gone offline. It was on a free hosting site and had been there for about 15 years, so not a huge shock I guess. Though I think it might have been the last remaining Catatonia fan site (I’m happy to be proven wrong on that). I’ve been meaning to re-do the site for quite a few years now, so my aim is to actually make some progress with that this year. I’d like to turn it into the ultimate Catatonia archive – utilising all the old interviews, articles etc I’ve got on magazine clippings and such like.
  • Writing – I should do more writing in general – even if it’s just stuff like this. My novel’s stalled a bit and I’m not really sure if it’s the novel I still want to be writing. So much of it came out of my old relationship and was more of a form of catharsis in terms of processing my thoughts and emotions at that time, that I feel like I’ve moved on from it now. I still really like parts of what I have written, plus some of the characters, so hope I can maybe make something new and stronger from it, but not yet – I just want some distance from it for now. Kinda like the relationship! Instead I’m planning to do more non-fiction writing this year. In conjunction with the revamping of New Bonhomie, I’d like to work on a proposal for a 33 1/3 book about International Velvet.

In advance of a lot of that though, I need to concentrate on getting sorted to move house at the end of March. I think it’s a shift and change I really need and which will hopefully help me to be a bit more motivated and productive with the above projects. So I should probably go clean the kitchen in advance of people coming to view the house next week, right? Damn.

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Top Albums of 2015

Yep, it’s that time of year again! It seems to have come around really quickly.

Here are my top 50 albums of 2015.

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Flash Fiction Publication

I found out on Friday that a piece of flash fiction I wrote is being published in an anthology by Forward Poetry. Yes, they mostly publish poetry (hence the name), but they’ve delved into flash fiction recently too. My work’s called Scaffolding and the anthology’s called Flash Fiction (does what it says on the tin!) and is due for publication on 31st August 2015. I’ve only had poems published previously, so it’s quite exciting to get some prose published.

Strangely, I actually have my workplace to thank for the inspiration and motivation to seek some more current anthology publications. I recently got to complete a staff profile, which has a section for ‘publications’. As I work at a university, this is mostly aimed at the lecturing staff, to showcase their research etc. However, I like to champion the profile raising of the admin team too, so took the opportunity to showcase my own publication history. The only downside to this was that I realised just how long it had been since I’d had anything published! 2004 was the most recent. So, I went online and submitted some newer writings to a few places – including Forward Poetry. I’d almost forgotten about it when I got the letter on Friday, so it was a rather nice surprise. Should you have a desire to read my staff profile for my admin work (and general online self promotion!), feel free to do so here.

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A-Z: Subaphotic – Subnormmal

Subaphotic – Another 3 Tracks (demo)
3 tracks that were recorded for possible inclusion on the album that was provisionally called Vashta Nerada, after the Doctor Who episode ‘Silence In The Library’. I think it’s the album that eventually became Bluminosity, though 2 of the 3 tracks didn’t actually make it on in the end.
‘Home B4 U Go’ – It’s a shame this didn’t make it on to an album. I think the version on this CD still needed a bit of work, but I like it.
‘Hard 2 Get’ – An early version of this song (which did make it on the album). I think I might actually prefer it to the album version, just because it has got a bit more rawness to it and hasn’t been overly produced, which I personally find more appealing.

Subaphotic – Possibles (demo)
14 tracks that were identified as possibles to make it on the album ‘Joining The Dots’. It was a 12 track album, so you can probably deduce that 2 of these songs were eliminated from the final tracklisting. The ordering’s different as well, unsurprisingly. ‘Joining The Dots’ is an album I only got hold of last year – slightly too late to listen to it in the A-Z. However, I’ll get to hear all the tracks (and more) here instead, so it’s all good.

Apologies if I don’t say much about these songs – I’m simultaneously looking up possible recipes to try out, as am bored of having the same few meals all the time. I also made an impulsive pheasant breast purchase (like you do), so will be attempting to cook that this evening. I found a nice sounding recipe with a port sauce, which is rather convenient as I also impulse bought some port! Maybe my subconscious knew they’d go well together.

‘Defective’ – “A mouse in your bedroom is so wrong”. Indeed!

Subnormmal – XXX (album)
A new project my Dad had started, as a kinda side project to Subaphotic. This ended up being the last album he completed and released. This is my first time listening to it. It has got a bit of a different style to it in places, though mostly could be another Subaphotic album (albeit one without me on it, obviously). Not that that’s a bad thing. There are some good songs for sure.

I’ll leave things here for today before moving on to Suede. That’s going to involve a mammoth amount of listening time!

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10 Years of Music Scrobbling

Today marks 10 years since I joined last.fm (or Audioscrobbler, as it was at the time). The idea of a site that collects all your music listening data and provides you with statistics was rather appealing to this music-loving geek. 10 years later I still love it. Here’s some of the geeky facts it’s allowed me to provide you with in regards to my music listening habits since 6th January 2005 (you’re welcome!):

I have scrobbled 91,699 plays of songs by 2,144 different artists.

I have played more songs by Suede than any other artist. I’m pretty sure that the number one spot has only ever been taken by Suede and Catatonia. Catatonia got boosted up there when I reached their CDs in my musical A-Z project. Suede gradually regained the top spot though and then kept on going. They are currently almost 500 plays out in front. And I’ve not even reached them in the A-Z yet (which I haven’t forgotten about by the way)!

There are 13 artists who have reached the milestone of at least 1,000 plays. Of those 13, 4 have also made it to 2,000 plays. No-one’s reached 3,000 yet, but Suede are doing their best (currently on 2,763).

An artist currently needs at least 286 plays to make it in to my top 50 and at least 33 plays to make it in to my top 500.

There are also, however, 388 artists who I’ve only played once.

64% of my top 50 artists are British (34% English, 28% Welsh and just 2% Scottish (aw – well done Dogs Die In Hot Cars)). 18% are American. The remaining 18% are a fairly even mixture of Irish, Canadian, Swedish and Australian.

My album statistics aren’t hugely accurate as it’s not something that used to be tracked, so I didn’t always bother including the album name when tagging my MP3s. However, it reckons that my most played album is ‘Here Come The Tears’, by The Tears, which is quite likely to be true, considering the time period it’s covering. I listened to that album a lot when it came out.

My most listened to song is ‘What Kind Of Man’ by Cerys Matthews (with 82 plays). For years it was ‘Striptease’ by Hawksley Workman, but that’s now down in 3rd position (with The Tears’ ‘Autograph’ in 2nd position). I first played ‘What Kind Of Man’ on 4th July 2006 and most recently played it on 13th October 2014. I played it most in 2006 though (30 plays, just from July onwards!).

Songs need at least 48 plays to make it in to my top 50 and 22 plays to make it in to my top 500.

Most of the songs in my top 50 are by artists who are also in my top 50. The only 2 that aren’t are:
Wilco – Say You Miss Me (though Wilco were briefly in my top 50 a few years back)
Marcy Playground – Sex And Candy (this is entirely down to a music video I watched during my period of being obsessed with Smallville and Michael Rosenbaum (which was seemingly in 2005, according to when I most listened to this song)).

The artists with the most songs in my top 50 are Cerys Matthews and Ooberman, with 6 songs each.

I don’t know what the first ever track I scrobbled was, sadly, as you can only track back as far as 14th Feb 2005. The first track I listened to then (on Valentine’s Day of all days) was ‘Problem’ by Remy Zero. Ha ha ha. 2 songs after that was ‘Loneliness’ by Ed Harcourt! Oh dear. I was single at the time (if that isn’t obvious), though I don’t think my song choices were meant to be reflective of the date. I wouldn’t rule it out though.

The most recent track I scrobbled was ‘Sister Anne’ by Dan Amor, which was the song that was playing on my phone as I arrived home from work today.

Should you be keen to dig out more stats from my past 10 years of music listening, pop over to my last.fm and go nuts! They’re changing all the time (or at least whenever I’m listening to music – which I’m not right now, just so it doesn’t mess with the stats I’m posting here! Otherwise I totally would be).


Here’s to the next 10 years!

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Top Albums of 2014

The moment I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for with baited breath (what do you mean you haven’t?) – it’s my top 50 albums of the year!!

Check them out here in the music section.

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