Sunday, 30 September 2012

Achievement Unlocked – Peters, Fraser and Dunlop

I had a superb time at FantasyCon this week, which I will cover in another post very soon. The big news is that I finally bagged myself an agent. Or I should say that she bagged me. The tiny, leopard-print tornado that is Juliet Mushens of Peters, Fraser and Dunlop invited me in for a chat. She has an office and everything. I had to pretend to be a grown up, and not some lunatic that enjoys wearing pajamas until noon. 

Juliet is the perfect combination of unrelenting enthusiasm and serious fiction skills. She oversees a dissertation on the Kingston University Creative Writing Course. She was in the Bookseller recently as a ‘Rising Star of Publishing’. So that’s a thing. I sent her the first eight chapters of my novel and she still insisted on being my agent. Peters, Fraser and Dunlop have been causing trouble since 1924, and have a client list made up of politicians, people from the telly, writers of all stripes, and now, me. God help them.

Those of you keeping score will notice that I managed to get a three book deal before I had an agent. Further proof, as if any were needed, that I can’t do anything in the right order. It's a gift.

I am, of course undeniably anxious that my novel The Boy with the Porcelain Ears is double plus not good. My good friend Jared Shurin, over at Pornokitsch, finds my trepidation hilarious. Worth noting he and his good wife Anne published me first in Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse (which goes off sale at the end of October). Anne and Jared kindly invited me to submit another story for their new anthology, A Town Called Pandemonium, released this November. To say I am fiendishly excited about it would be an understatement.

So, thank you to Juliet, thank you to Peters, Fraser and Dunlop, and thanks to Anne and Jared.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Monday, 24 September 2012

Holy Other – Tense Past

I am ill this week, so no words for you. The seven of you who drop in. I might have some big news next week. In the meantime I'll leave you with my latest musical craving, Holy Other.  The EP was superb, and the album is full of ghostly, spectral electronica that does nice things to my brain.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Beats and Pieces

'I know I parked my light cycle somewhere near here'.
I recently picked up two albums as an impulse buy in a record store (remember those?). I was challenging myself to listen to some new material.

Squarepusher’s Ufalbum comes across like a Daft Punk album with the caveat that Amon Tobin arranged the drum machine. Less feel-good House, more avant-garde frenetic breakdown. 

The second track on the album, ‘Unreal Square’ is decidedly more relaxed and and a cheeky affair than the initial blitz of the opener, ‘4001’. ‘The Metallurgist’ and ‘303 Scopem Hard’ also match the opening track’s blistering intensity. This is an album that doesn’t allow itself to be easily absorbed; it requires a degree of commitment from the listener. 

'Even the shelves from Ikea failed to cheer the kids up'.
M83’s Hurry We’re Dreaming plays at a decidedly more stately pace. Whilst still firmly wedded to electronics, this album benefits from soaring and soulful vocals. ‘Midnight City’ is a rousing opening, whilst ‘Reunion’ is catchy, guitar-led dream pop. Although the LP is  double album I found it hard to get attached to any of the tracks beyond ‘Claudia Lewis’. Most of the songs oscillate between ethereal and epic but I struggled to understand a single lyric.

Christ, I’ve just turned into my dad. The other problem I have with double albums is that the second disc is usually more of the same (never was this more true than of The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Stadium Arcadium). This problem (or preconception on my part) seems to haunt Hurry Up We’re Dreaming.

By contrast, a remix I downloaded for free has become a firm fixture on my iPod over the last two months. Bram Gieben, creative mastermind of Weaponizer and Black Lantern Music (and more creative projects than I can honesty keep up with) is the guilty party.

'No, of course I don't do cocaine... oh, dang'.
Los Angeles 2019 takes the dark paranoia of Blade Runner and brings the already majestic score up to date with the inclusion of some excellent electronica. Initially the mix is firmly rooted in the soundtrack, but wanders into the stranger territory of Portishead’s ‘Machine Gun’ as well as Kuedo’s ‘Ant City’. The whole mix plays out at just under an hour and has a dream-like seamless quality to it.

What are you listening to right now? What unseen gems have you uncovered?