Showing posts from 2011

Music to my ears (part two) - Kate Bush

I got the new Kate Bush album for Christmas this year: 50 Words For Snow. Now, Americans reading this will have started scratching their heads in unison since the name will be unfamiliar. Or maybe, if you've been around long enough to know who Peter Gabriel is, it will have tickled a small memory stuffed at the back of your brain like that discarded t-shirt in your closet that you used to wear when you were younger and thinner. Kate has been knocking around since the late 70's, after being discovered by Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and has only produced and recorded a handful of albums (10) and toured exactly once, way back in 1979. Her style can only be described as original and she has directly influenced an eclectic and bizarre range of artists from Tori Amos, Lily Allen and Goldfrapp to Tricky, Big Boi of OutKast and Coldplay. A true original. I've been a fan since she first showed up singing a song based on the book: "Wuthering Heights". I was a little b

Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

I completed NaNoWriMo! It was touch and go there for 29 days but somehow I made over the finish line, got my 50k written and won my little: See? My thanks to all the encouragement from my little brother Christie and my good friend Alan who both completed as well. Congratulations you two! Also, a big thank you to all of my Twitter friends who continually Tweeted encouragement at me. You guys know who you are and you rock! So, what now? Well, as I maybe mentioned before, writing is a form of Sisyphean Torture: you get the boulder up the hill only for it to roll back down again. And that's your lot in life. Even once you get your story finished, edited, rewritten, reedited, agented, published and then you sell a million copies and get a movie made about it, you have to be hard at work with your boulder, shoving it up that damn mountain again. And it's not just because your Agent wants a sequel to that one-off story you did, it's because while you were sitting si

Music to my ears (part one)

Taking a short break from NaNoWriMo and I'm sitting here listening to some music, trying to find some stuff to bombard my mindgrapes with (thanks 30 Rock) while I'm writing. I'm not one of those writers who like solitude or dead quiet to write by. I can but I prefer to shut out the world with a pair headphones and cycle through some of the movie soundtrack stuff I've got assembled on iTunes. It's important to get the right mix of stuff on your playlist, it's no use having John Williams' Indy theme trying to rouse you into action while you're writing a quiet passage. Same goes for the slow melodious piano tunes when you're trying to have your hero beat down the bad guys. Sometimes, I find tracks only after listening to the whole soundtrack in isolation but generally I seek out pieces that resonated with me during the movie. Occasionally, a song will catch my attention and I'll also throw that into the mix, just to change it up a little. This h

Questions for Spartagus.

I'm trying to be a writer (you may have heard mention of this fact a couple thousand times already...lets just pretend this is the first time) and writers need an audience and an ability to connect with them. So, I'm gonna try something different in the blog this time. I struggle to talk about myself in any meaningful way to strangers. I don't know you and you don't know me so, for the most part we are strangers. I show up on Twitter and tweet some mundane fact about myself: "I like cheese!" or, find myself chiming in about movies, cracking wise or ruminating about the size of the universe.The bulk of what I "talk" about is in short, sharp blasts on Twitter and that's lead me to wonder how much of a connection I'm making to the people I interact with through the myriad of social forums. I'm not the most social of animals since I do not find myself in the least bit "special" or "interesting" so find it hard to fat

Viking Villages and Vampire Castles.

I admit it: I talk a lot about Scotland and being Scottish. I can't help it, it's in my blood (seen under a microscope, my blood vessels take the shape of bagpipes). And despite having spent the better part of thirteen years living in the States, I still have a strong connection to the place of my birth. The days of Scotland being the center of the universe are long gone, in fact it's hard to believe that such a small nation could exert so much influence on the whole world but, for a short time at least, it did. Engineers, architects, economists, scientists and writers blossomed in an age when the rest of the world was having trouble finding its feet. The Scottish Enlightenment, during the 18th century, triggered a time in Scotland where books and reason influenced and exerted great change in many fields bringing about changes which affected the entire modern world. As a boy growing up in Scotland, I was taught and inspired by these things but no more than the country i