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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National Poetry Month and Gender-Neutral Toys (of course those things go together!)

As it is National Poetry Month in the UK at the moment, I thought I’d upload a fairly recent one of mine. I wrote it a few months ago for possible inclusion in a book. It didn’t make it in, sadly, but it means I can share it with you for free on the internet instead.

It was inspired by the recent campaigns to eliminate gendered-marketing for children. I just signed a petition on this subject, which I also urge other people to do. You can find it here.

It’s tempting to fill this blog post with an explanation as to why this is so important, but Joanne Harris’ blog post here already says everything I’d want to say!

So, if you’d like to read my poem on the subject, you can find it on the Poetry page (funnily enough). It’s the top one – ‘Shopping Superhero’. I feel like ‘Supermarket Superhero’ would have made a better title, but as I’d already written the poem and started it off by saying I was in a toy shop, not a supermarket, I wasn’t going to re-write the poem just to fit the better title!! Unusually for me it’s quite a fun and humorous poem, despite the fact it’s making a serious point. I hope a few people enjoy it at least, though more importantly I hope lots of people sign the petition.

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A-Z: Subaphotic (part 2)

Subaphotic – Bluminosity (album)
I’ve not listened to this album anywhere near as much as the earlier ones. Mostly because it was released in 2010, not long before I left the country. Not that that’s much of an excuse – I did have the MP3s with me.
‘Whisky Wizard’ – For this song, my Dad asked me to come up with a title that he could then write a song to. I like alliteration! And whisky.
‘In The Matrix’ – Another re-recording of an older song. I’m not sure I actually have a copy of the original – if I do it’s probably on cassette. Happy enough having this version though – it’s a good song – probably my favourite on this album actually. Not sure why, but I’m not as keen on this album as the earlier ones.

Subaphotic – Junk Male (sampler)
A sampler of 7 tracks for what became the Pix Elated album, but which had a working title of Junk Male. My Dad liked word play and puns, if that’s not obvious!!

Subaphotic – Subaphotic Theme (single promo)
I’ve called this a ‘single promo’ for want of a better description. It’s just a CD with this 1 track on it. It was before Pix Elated was finished and I really wanted a copy of this track.

Subaphotic – EBE (demo)
Called ‘EBE’ because the tracks begin with those letters – ‘Endangered’, ‘Backwards’ and ‘Ex-Phials’. Plus, y’know, the alien reference (Extraterrestrial Biological Entity, for those not as X-Files obsessed as me). All these songs ended up on ‘Ex-Phials’, unsurprisingly.
‘Endangered’ – Ooh this is a different version to the one on the album! I’d totally forgotten that. Obviously an earlier version. Not sure which I prefer. They’re not hugely different I guess – possibly just a different mix.

Subaphotic – Recent Tracks (demo)
This is actually the same 3 tracks again, but then with a bonus 4th track called ‘Failure’, which didn’t end up making it on to the album, slightly ironically!
‘Failure’ – Not sure why this didn’t make it on to the album. I think maybe it just didn’t quite fit well enough with the other songs. Though it does include the lyric ‘toilet full of rats’, which is a reference to the X-Files episode ‘Teso Dos Bichos’. Probably one of the worst X-Files episodes, but I think we’d watched it recently on one of my many X-Files rewatches.

Subaphotic – 4 tracks (demo)
Not entirely sure what this CD was all about. Quite possibly a selection of potential tracks for Ex-Phials, as it includes 2 tracks that did make it on (‘Backwards’ and ‘Angry’), plus 2 that didn’t (‘Champions Of The Cause’ and ‘Psychosis’).
‘Champions Of The Cause’ – Oh, this was the song that Dad started making a stop-animation video for, using Doctor Who figurines and stuff. He always wanted to make a video for ‘Backwards’ too, using video clips playing backwards, like in the Red Dwarf episode of the same name. I remember recording some random video footage of me pouring milk on to cereal and dropping a load of playing cards on the floor so he could use them in the video. Not sure how much progress he made with it – he always had a gazillion projects on the go, as well as doing the 9-5 job too. Ooh, I just found my video clips. The one where I make a cup of coffee includes a close-up of the base of my kettle, which I didn’t go to the effort of cleaning!! Ew. I do kinda miss my cow kettle though. It mooed and everything! Though that did get annoying quite quickly. Thankfully you could turn it off. I’ve also got 4 clips of me pretending to play the keyboard in various outfits. I’m assuming they were going to be used in the video too.
‘Psychosis’ – Not sure why this didn’t make it on to the album – I feel like it would have fit in well.
Ok, now I’ve gotten sucked into looking at all the random camera videos I’ve got saved on my computer that I’d totally forgotten about. I took a video of some of the ceilidh dancing at my friends Phil & Kat’s wedding. I’ve also got footage of the burlesque class at their hen party, though I’d remembered that one! Awww, I’ve also got footage of us singing Happy Birthday to my Auntie Margaret on her 80th birthday. I definitely don’t use the video function on my camera enough these days – I apparently used to use it a lot – often pretty randomly – I’ve got a brief clip of some friends just chatting in the pub – maybe taking video footage was still quite novel to me at the time.

Subaphotic – 3 tracks (demo)
Another 3 potential tracks for Ex-Phials. 2 of these made it on (‘Experimints’ and ‘Placebo’) and 1 didn’t (‘Everyone Else Is Happy’).

I’m going to leave this here for now, as want to go have lunch and dye my hair (not simultaneously), but I might well listen to some more later on today.

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