Thanks to everyone at the Survivor's Poetry event (Tottenham) last night. You were such a great audience and I met some lovely people. Thanks to Razz for giving me the gig too. Doing the performance was a very special, intense and transformative experience and you were all so supportive. If anyone has photos, or video or audio they would like to share of the gig please link it into the Facebook page or send me a link of they are online. Thanks to those who bought CDs, Big Love and Peace to all you Crazy Diamonds. xxx
Hello Good people who sometimes read this blog....
It was lovely on Thursday to play briefly at Survivor's Poetry (at The Poetry Place, Betterton Street, London).
I am still battling with stage nerves after a long absence from live performing. I never get rid of my stage nerves but I can deal with them better if I perform regularly. Luckily I have a couple of gigs coming up at Tottenham Chances on the 28th of January (Survivor's Poetry) and also a private gig at Limehouse Town Hall in early Feb. which will be a new electronic set. I seem to be playing at the most anarchic, community based venues in London, and since these places are rarities I consider myself very lucky.
OK enough of being an artist, now however uncomfortable it makes me feel ,here is the capitalist "hard sell" I have written a review of my own album because I need to sell it! So I can make the next one and also continue with my studies. But before I do that I want to do a little rant about PPL and how they distribute royalties. I am shooting myself in the foot in terms of the music industry by doing this and I am a bone fide member of PPL who may not appreciate my revealing their dirty little secrets online. But I cannot help but be myself these days as I mentioned before, something about the Paris attacks and Lemmy's death conspired to make me more rebellious and forthright than ever and to be myself regardless of consequences.
to put you in the mood I will put here a little Indian Restaurant music you could play in the background as you read this, for my bit of classical Indian-influenced music listen to "Ode to Miss Iron Pants" on "The Psychacoustic Tapes" album.
Here is a little rant about PPL and how they distribute royalties in the curious case of Indian Restaurant music.
I attended a PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) meeting last night in Soho and was stunned by what was presented as “fair” collection and distribution of royalties from music played in UK “Indian Restaurants”.
PPL are a CMO (Collective Management Organisation) founded by record company giants EMI and Decca in 1934. Their role is subtly different to PRS or MCPS as they mainly collect royalties on behalf of record companies, who hold the rights of a recording, and sometimes also distribute to performers on these recordings ( if said performers have PPL performers accounts and know how to make a claim).
PPL collect money from cafés, offices, supermarkets, and other businesses who either play recorded music in public or have the facility to do so. They also cover UK TV/Radio channel streaming and catch up such as BBC iplayer (but not youtube).
PPL have devised special regulations for all “Indian Restaurant” owners in the UK. These are charged large sums annually (on top of Performing Rights Society charges) to be able to play music in their restaurants. The fee is not set, but is estimated by PPL by counting the number of chairs, tables etc. and looking at the layout of the business premises.
Then PPL have devised their own system to re-distribute this annual fee “fairly” as royalties. For example they distribute a percentage of the royalties to record companies on the BBC Asian Network playlist, stipulating that this playlist contains the same music recordings that are played in UK "Indian Restaurants".
Further to this PPL recently “found out” that “Indian Restaurants” also play pop music, so another portion of the royalties goes to record companies who feature in the UK Music Chart in order to “make things fair”.
The speaker from PPL did not mention if the “Indian Restaurant” rules also covered Pakistani Restaurants, Bengali Restaurants etc., and what happened to restaurant owners who refused to pay this annual fee.
Any comments around the distribution of royalties and world music are appreciated. I mainly wanted to share how the UK music business operates. Thanks for reading!
I think the Music Business needs to change, enough of the sexism, racism, ageism and obsession with objectifying women.
Well I think it's getting a bit late now to give you the other review of Creatively Anti-Perfect so I'll do that another time.
In the meantime here is a link to my little "Ode to Miss Iron Pants" which starts with a bit of Indian influenced music from me:
Love and Peace and Standing up for Freedom, and Free Thinking, Free Creating
The review can be accessed via this link:
Hello Good People who read this blog...
I just wanted to write about a couple of things...
Firstly I wanted to share a review that I got for the re-release of my Creatively Anti-Perfect album originally assembled from tapes in 1999 and released in 2000.
You can read the review via the link at the top of this post.
The review is featured in a wonderfully written music ezine called "Caught in the Act", also featuring some amazing artists including Van Morrison, Elvis Castello, Nils Lofgren. I really am not worthy! The article which details aspects of my life and my music work was written by Brian R.Banks and I so appreciate his support. If it wasn't for a few music experts and wonderful musicians and others who egg me on to write my songs, and who want me to return to the stage, then I would no doubt be permanently silent. I find it difficult to juggle my heavy commitments in life and health problems with writing songs, but I am still writing them when I can, playing them at home late at night when I feel the most creative, probably to the dismay of my tolerant neighbours. Anyone who wishes to purchase a copy of the re-released "Creatively Anti-Perfect" would also be doing a lot to support my music and my life!
Let me also wish you all a good 2016, let's face it 2015 was a pretty bad year for the world. Charlie Hebdo, Paris November 13 attacks, both had a profound effect on me and my daily life, but so has the demise of musicians who represented freedom, and uncompromising self-expression. No I don't mean Cilla Black, but Lemmy, Daevid Allen, and Chris Squire who were all important musicians for me. I also have lost so many musician and poet friends, people who supported me and encouraged me very much with my music, who I socialised with and respected, in particular I was recently shocked at the demise of a fine human being, Ingrid Andrew also known as HeartsSong. I know we all have to die but some go well ahead of their time.
I don't know what happened but something changed within me on November 13th 2015 and also when Lemmy left us. I feel kind of stroppy with renewed self-confidence in my own beliefs and not wanting to follow orders from anyone, not wanting to live as a powerless insignificant individual swamped by the conflicting views of thousands of others in the media, online and everywhere I go.
Everything we do and say and think matters, because everything we do has consequences.
We should be able to be who we are and act freely, not just projecting a perfect industrious image of ourselves for a good resumé or CV, or to follow a trend in what is cool to think or be.
Since every politician and cleric seems to think it's OK to broadcast their opinion of what we should all do and be at New Year's, here is my message.:
Find out who you are right now, be honest with yourself how you really feel, spend time to reflect on what you truly think and then live openly according to your own values as best you can even if everyone tells you it is not allowed! Let the world accommodate you, don't be a slave in thought or deed to anyone or anything.
Love and Peace to all, and a safer world.
Hello Good People who read my blog...
The world is changing very fast and not always in a good way. I should be writing about that but I'm not this time. I've been pretty down and stressed especially since November 13th, I don't think I'm the only one, it seems the world is getting very chaotic very quickly.
Anyway to keep myself together I did this little exercise this evening and am sharing a video with you. I look a right old mess in this video but I don't care, well I do care but I'm putting it up anyway, because why should less than perfect looking people hide away? Often the pretty people don't write very good songs anyway.
This is a very rough recording of "The Outcast" which I wrote in 2013.It is the first in a series of songs I am writing based around the novel "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë. The progress on writing these songs reminds me of the building of Gaudi's Cathedral in Barcelona. They started it in 1982 and it's not likely to be finished until at least 2020.
I am presently writing the fifth song in this series and I'm not sure how many more I will write, I think I may just focus on her childhood.
The songs are not meant to be a representation of the novel, rather I follow the story and characters that I can relate to from my own experiences. It's a way of writing songs without having to totally bare my soul all the time, instead I can claim "it wasn't me, it's about Jane!". I'm sure Charlotte Brontë was doing something similar when writing the book.
Let's see if this link works:
During the course of last Christmas Day's dinner, it was suggested to me by my dear friend Dave Russell that I should turn all these songs into a sci-fi musical of Jane Eyre.This made us all laugh and we spoke about Thornfield Hall being a giant geodesic dome. I've only written a couple of acoustic songs, but you never know if I get together with other musicians and we turn each acoustic song into a wild psychdelic one, we could have a sci-fi psychedelic rock opera on our hands. Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester would be singing in silver suits, there would be robot maids and perhaps even a robot horse and dogs?
....and if you have listened to some of my psychedelic music you'll know a psychedelic Jane Eyre is perfectly feasible!
Got to go now...
Here is wishing you all peace, truth, and freedom.
and just to remind you I am re-issuing my "Creatively Anti-Perfect" album this week.
See store page for details!
Hello all you good people…
Apologies I have had to make a couple of changes to the re-issue of the Creatively Anti-Perfect album (re-issue 2015 ):
1. It will be available to buy as from the 1st of December 2015
2. There will only be 100 copies made, once they are sold, that’s it!
Here is a brief description below, must go now got work to do!
The Creatively Anti-Perfect demo album was recorded in 1999 and originally released in 2000.
The album of 12 tracks was recorded on cassette at home, and is influenced by Ray Davies and Billy Childish (not to mention Dolly Parton and 1990's self-help books!). More details on tracks here!
The idea behind the album was to record an album where spirit, content and writing songs on the spur of the moment were more important than perfectionism or technological excellence.
The original pressing of 200 CDs were sold out at gigs. Although this is a very modest album, I think it has a certain energetic enthusiasm promoting a little "joie de vivre"!
It will be sold ONLY as an entire album on CD rather and not available as individual tracks or in digital form.
You can pre-order on the store page
More details will emerge here closer to the release date!
Love and Peace and Long Live Corbyn!
Hello Good People who are reading this....
On further reflection I have decided to only re-issue 100 copies of the demo album Creatively-Anti Perfect.
100 seems a better number, in general, a nice round number, especially in terms of my current level of disposable cash!
Anyway that was it, life is in a state of crisis.
Love and Peace and long live Corbyn!
It's been a long time since I've been songwriting, or performing my own music. My life is like most people's very complex in the recession, and has taken some odd twists and turns recently. I am now working on getting myself back out there playing, every day I am writing new material. I was inspired by a book on creative writing which encourages the writer to take their work seriously and to write every day and commit to finishing work.
I am getting older, need to get new photos done I think although I don't look as good now, but hey, it's the music that counts not the face that sings it.
I have not been writing my own stuff for a while and so at first my songwriting efforts were "clunky". I worked on a couple of half-written songs and just from playing them over and over, it's amazing how I just add bits, improve bits, shape it all without really consciously deciding to. After working on some "clunky" songs which seemed a bit stilted, I decided to just use a couple of "classic chords" D and C and write a verse around them. I played these over and over with a few guitar clichés added, but then something in me just took over, and I wrote a second section. I have only written the acoustic guitar parts, but I am so happy with it, I hear it singing in my head all the time and that's a good sign. Even if I am the only person who will ever hear it or like it, it won't matter a bit because it brings me so much joy to just play it, and it makes me so happy to know that I can still write modest bits of music and sing.
I am making these new songs, unapologetically melodic. It hasn't been cool in any way for a very long time for musicians to be melodic or to use many chords, or have lyrics that are soppy, but I am doing all three.
I rediscovered the music of Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam recently and am so happy to see he is touring again and on form. Some of my listeners tend to like my electronic experimental music. But when life is insecure in so many ways and money problems are pouring down, the world seems in chaos, I find reassuring melodies and reassuring "solid" chord sequences on an acoustic guitar with reassuring lyrics, make me happy. They take me back "home" to the new folk songwriters of the early 1970s.
I am also influenced by the novel Jane Eyre and the songs I have been writing are all based on this character and story, but the songs end up being about something else that is still going on today. The themes in Jane Eyre are the themes of girls growing up in society and finding their place, within and without religious and educational institutions, within/without the family, as well as within a range of love relationships. I get older but life is still a struggle to find my place in all these areas, I've never managed to fit in to anything I haven't created or adapted.
I went twice to an open mic in the past week or so to perform the songs, the first time, the place was closed although I met some wonderfully interesting and intense people there, the second time they put me on so late I had to go home and give up my spot. I didn't mind, no amount of rehearsing is ever enough when it comes to open mic spots. I like to perform in poetry venues as the audience tend to appreciate the music more and also it encourages me to write better lyrics.
So that was my ramble. I wish this summer could last forever so I can continue working on my music every day.
Love and Peace to all you good people.x
Hello Good People who might read this....
These days friends, non-friends, and a few undesirables keep asking me when they can see me. I keep putting people off due to illness (pleurisy recently as well as the usual CFS), my heavy studies and other commitments which has elicited some strange reactions ( such as an email I received where someone had copied and pasted all the reasons for my not being able to see them from my previous emails to them) but that's OK...I don't seem to have many moments to myself these days but since I DO have a moment this evening I thought I'd write this.
1. Just to mention that the review written by Brian Banks has been published on/in "Stick it in Your Ear" and you can get to it from HERE! or from here
Not much more to say about that apart from another big Thank You.
2. Also my life has been a bit full on with my PhD studies and dealing with money and housing and health problems ( and more on top of that). I have concluded that as a result of the recession many organisations have resorted to more and more crazy and corrupt tactics designed to drive me and everyone crazy while maintaining the appearance of being very helpful and good for us. I am beginning to think that no institution or organisation functions at all in London and as soon as you approach one organisation to help you with problems caused by another organisation, then they start to behave in corrupt and crazy way as well, so then you go to another institution/organisation/process to deal with them and then they also start to deal with you in corrupt and crazy ways that border on the absurd. Sooner or later you find yourself dealing with around ten organisations via phone, texts,emails and letter if you are lucky, who all have, in theory, a good customer service record, they say they are there to assist you, they " talk the talk".... but they let you down, blame you, they blantantly lie to keep themselves in employment, or to cover up the fact that someone has run off with your money, or was down the pub drowning their sorrows instead of dealing with your issue or has just exploded in a random fit of spontaneous combustion combined with the stress of keeping up appearances. That is my life! I am not naming names. Through chaos I build my character stronger and more determined and if I start to feel sorry for myself I start to think of those who have been flooded since before Christmas or deal with some other calamity in the world. Is mother nature reclaiming the earth away from us?
3. A brief break from dysfunctional institutions occurred when I went to see Hawkwind play live on Saturday at the Shepherd's BushEmpire. Strange story. I was originally going to see the "old Hawkwind" band a.k.a. Space Ritual who were due to play at the Ruislip social club on Friday the 21st. But then it said the gig was cancelled, I was disappointed and wanted to find tickets for another gig for my son's birthday . Then I realised that Hawkwind were playing not far from me at the Shepherd's Bush Empire the following day, a benefit gig for various animal charities. Hawkwind were due to re-enact their original "Space Ritual" tour set which you can hear on their album of the same name.On the Tropic of Ruislip website it said that the band "Space Ritual" were not playing due to illness and someone in the band awaiting an operation. I am not sure what was going on, and why Hawkwind were due to play the Space Ritual set the next day. I guess possible rivalry between the two bands and more crazy games were going on.
The Motorhead tour was due to be in London around that time and I hoped that maybe Lemmy, and the old Hawkwind crew from the band "Space Ritual" would somehow join the new "Hawkwind" on stage ( are you following this? if not just go and listen to this and it will cut through all the nonsense and give you the original music). Anyway Lemmy is ill, Dave Brock and Nik Turner don't get on, so we had the "new Hawkwind" only.
But it was a great show, great causes , great lightshow, great music, but quite polished, not sure if that is quite in the spirit of the original Hawkwind ethic. They may have been playing the same tracks as on the live album but the rawness, the feel of psychedelic experimentation, the spirit of limitless musical anarchy was missing. However it was still brilliant and it had moments when the musicians lost themselves in generating a kind of overpowering joint musical energy that would be envy of any live band. Anyone who likes Mumford and Sons would not understand this and that is a good thing...
It was a great night and the die hard Hawkwind fans are a joy to be around as always.
4. I am using my Facebook profile to say how much I hate Facebook, a couple of friends have "liked" my anti-facebook comments but that just makes me hate Facebook more. In a total act of hypocrisy when I publish this blog entry I will be following the option to also publish it on Facebook and Twitter, however I will be doing this in a slightly less corporate American superficial saccarine way than the usual Facebook entry, who writes anything on Facebook and Twitter this long?
Love and Peace to you all (except Facebook)
Hello good people who come and read my occasional blogging
I am very pleased to tell you that I made the front cover of the Rocktologist (www.therocktologist.com) this month. Brian R. Banks reviewed my last album and the magazine enjoyed the article so much that they made "The Psychacoustic Tapes" their featured CD of the month.
I am very flattered.
At gigs I usually get quite a powerful response. My performances are like Marmite, people either love them or hate them, at least I don't leave an insipid impression. My music must taste of something.
I don't really know if anyone knows who I am online or away from gigs. Perhaps that is my fault as I feel nauseous at the thought of trying to sell myself, or trying to persuade other people my music might be "good".
What is "good" music anyway? It's entirely subjective, unless advertising has bombarded people's consciousness to the point that they feel that something must be good because everyone else says it is. I must not knock publicity as I think it is dead cool to be on the front of the Rocktologist. At heart I am a rocker! I love blues and psychedelic rock music and when I listen to it I feel like I am back home. Getting back to my point...I cannot gauge accurately how many people know who I am online, partly because I have not yet sold even ONE physical CD online. So last night I looked at my CD Baby account, CD Baby distribute my music online. I found a mysterious amount in my account $1.17.
What could this be???
Total Digital Distribution: $1.17.
Well that doesn't sound like much. But when I look into the details I find companies such as Spotify , Muve Music, Rhapsody, iTunes!, Deezer, Xbox ( Xbox??? I thought that was for playing games) and Myspace have all been selling or streaming my music online and deriving income from it.
The most I got from a song was from Apple iTunes!, I got $0.637, but that's an isolated case for most of the sales or streaming I get something in the region of $0.001.That's a tenth of a US cent. In contrast to the Apple iTunes!, the three items listed under iTunes Match - Americas earned me
a massive $0.01 or 1 cent for three songs that were streamed. I say they paid me this amount, but in fact I have not been payed. My $1.17 stays with CD Baby until the amount gets up to $10, then I will be paid. If I get paid on average $0.001 per download I'd have to be pretty famous to earn my $10.
(*Correction on 8/11/13: I got in a slight muddle when looking at loads of numbers late last night. For example Spotify have sometimes given me $0.0014 per stream and at other times as much as $0.00840 which is better, but I cannot see a logical pattern.)
I thought as an independent musician I could not get ripped off. I did so much work to write songs, perform them, record them, re-arrange them, master them, then paid to have them re-mastered, to get the artwork done, to obtain special codes for each track and get everything registered with different organisations, to have the tracks made into physical CDs and occasionally deal with problems and obstacles, basically playing all the roles of a record company and artist.
Who is making money out of my music? Not me!
The artist loses again, I thought that only happened when you were signed to a big record company with ridiculously unfair contracts.
But I have to say this...that behind my slight bitterness and astonishment at getting paid so little, or not at all at present - I am so pleased to find out that so many people have been actually listening to my music and like it enough to download it to a plethora of personal electronic devices.
Thanks folks, and thanks again to the Rocktologist and to Brian R. Banks for giving me a boost.
Love and Peace
Making Sonic Marmite
Singer- songwriter with strange ideas and daft opinions.