It’s been one of ‘those’ weeks. I can’t seem to settle into a new home online. Everywhere I lay my digital hat never seems like home at all. I’m about to collapse the website I built at Ghost (in fact it will be dead by the time you read this), mainly because no matter what I do over there, the emails that get sent out always up in junk folders - even the ones that come to myself to check everything is working properly. Shame - it was kind of cool over there but if it doesn’t work properly, then it doesn’t work properly. Thus, for the foreseeable future, I’ve dragged everything back over here to SubStack. While it’s not perfect - I find it a little ‘faceless’ - it’s probably as good as it gets without spending a fortune on hosting a site that does everything I need it to.
Anyway, none of you care about that sort of thing - I’m not even sure why I started off with that. Maybe because it was at the front of my head.
Let’s get into the real world: I started writing a new novel last week. I didn’t intend to but I sat down with The Pen and before the week was out, I found I had seven chapters under the belt. I’ve no idea where it’s going or how long it will be but most of all, I don’t know what it’s called and that’s out of character for me. I can’t usually write a song, essay or story without a title - in fact, this could be the first time that’s ever happened. There’s a train of thought that says I could/should serialise it here and then make limited edition hardbacks available only to those who have subscribed - in this New World Order, such an idea seems to be pretty normal so I’ll chew it around and see how it lies when it’s been thoroughly chewed. My reticence is only because I don’t know if I would like to read a serialised novel online - if a book is good, I want to sit down and shove it down my face until it’s finished, not read a couple of thousand words a week but… who knows. I’ll finish it first and then ask everybody’s opinion. That’s the smart move.
In other news, there’s a new episode of Starfish & Coffee to be recorded Tuesday this week - it’s music related, but what I hope we come out the other side with is an authentic picture of the London music scene in the early eighties, L.A. in the late eighties and a global view of what it’s like now.
I actually bought something this week too. It must be the first thing I’ve bought myself since March last year when I bought a new guitar. I was cruising around online, wondering if I could authentically start to introduce tattoo artists into the podcast world (I’ve been battling with this for a long time because it’s hard to talk about any kind of visual medium in a podcast) when I discovered an artist called Emils Salmins. It started with a video of his process of a four colour linocut print and ended with a visit to his store where I found this, which is called Back When Tigers Used To Smoke:
Sometimes, you just have to own something that restores your faith in the world, so I bought it. When it gets here, it has to be framed and it can sit in the office/studio. It’s one of the most wonderful things I’ve seen in a long time.
That’s been the week - hopefully I can get this new online place settled in over the next few days. I’d like to get around to posting a new song every week here too - it’s not going to be anything super produced… just me at home with a guitar. If a song can’t stand on its own two feet like that, then it probably isn’t a very good song.
Pulp rules apply - write it, release it, move on to the next one.
This next thing doesn’t really live anywhere but I’d forgotten we even did it, so for the want of giving it a home where I can find it in the future, I’m going to post it here. It’s a recording of my buddy JJ quizzing me as to my favourite music magazines.
He had the foresight to set himself up with a backdrop and a pro camera… I just turned up in our spare bedroom but hey, what’s a messy room between good friends? It was fun for us and we should do it again sometime, but for now:
Other People’s Stuff:
There’s been some great music funnelled out this last week or so - the one that’s sticking around most in the ears is Sad And Beautiful World from Jesse Malin. Jesse is still pretty underground considering how many albums he’s released but he’s the real deal out there and this is easily one of his best releases - and a double album no less.
I need to get him onto Starfish & Coffee. Fact. We could have some fun with that, so straight after I’m done with this, I’ll get onto it, but in the meantime, if Jesse’s name is new to you, go fix it.
I also started reading a biography of J.D. Salinger this week, It’s pretty hard going because it’s not a shove it down your throat kind of thing at all, but I’ll persist because… well, it just seems right to know more about the man behind one of the greatest books of all time - if you don’t know what I’m talking about, the shame should be dripping down your face and pooling around your feet.
Mostly though, I’ve been re-reading Essex County by Jeff Lemire. We did try and collide our schedules for an appearance on Starfish but Jeff could well be the busiest man on the face of the planet right now, so it’s all good. With an adaptation of Sweet Tooth on Netflix and Essex County coming down the line (also on Netflix), a stack of new books in the pipeline and the launch of his own SubStack (which is more than worth your time if you’re comic book fan), I really do get it.
That’s all I got today. Most of my weekend will no probably be taken up with trying to find some petrol during the Great Fuel Apocalypse of 2021 and wishing that every evening looked like this: