Chart / April

April was a productive month. I had a piece published by Wordrunner for its Spring 2019 eChapbook and another piece accepted by Lemon Theory magazine with its pretty visuals (it’ll be out on 2 June). Also received a few welcome advance reviews for By the Feet of Men - one from Future Fire magazine, one from Books in Blankets and one from Brittany the Book Guru. And I survived the climate conference and apparently managed to string a few coherent sentences together (I haven’t watched the video back; wincing gives you wrinkles).

May is for the manuscript. I hope.

Music to bid goodbye to hibernation to:

  1. Mannequin Pussy - Drunk II

  2. Diane Coffee - Not Ready To Go

  3. Sensible Soccers - Telas na areia

  4. Lizzo - Juice

  5. FKA Twigs - Cellophane

  6. Big Thief - Watering

  7. Tame Impala - Borderline

  8. Another Sky - Fighting Bulls

  9. Prins Thomas - Fra Miami til Chicago

  10. Haram - American Police

when a spider releases gossamer to fly through the air, it’s called ballooning. balloon silks have been collected at altitudes of up to 5 km above sea level. spiders are astronauts.

when a spider releases gossamer to fly through the air, it’s called ballooning. balloon silks have been collected at altitudes of up to 5 km above sea level. spiders are astronauts.

Chart / March

Here’s a dilemma-but-not-really: I’m never sure whether to take my writing with me when I go on holiday. Poor me! On the one hand it feels as though being in a completely different environment should stir up the imagination soup in my brain bowl nicely, leaving me with the sole task of ladling it onto the page and giving it a bit of seasoning. On the other hand, when I’m out of this apartment - where I’ve spent approximately 75% of all the time available to me for the past four years - all I want to do is forget about the tiny wooden desk (that’s actually a bedside table) and the armchair that I’ve dug my feet into so much that the upholstery resembles a piece of gauze slapped over a war wound. What usually happens is that I stress out for the first few days of the holiday because I’m not writing anything, meaning that I’m unable to fully relax and give myself up to the new environment, and then, when I do finally find an hour or two to sit down to write, I ask myself what I think I’m doing. I didn’t fly 10 hours on a plane* to sit in a hotel room, hunched over an oil-tanker-slow laptop/tablet hybrid, and tap out a story about, I dunno, a Burmese monk who reads out fortune cookies to passers-by (I did this).

All this to say that at the beginning of March I went to Oman, a country of mountains and deserts and valleys and oases and beaches and nearly vacant highways that roll ever outward like bolts of grey cloth over a scrubland sea. Being there is like having one foot in a post-apocalyptic movie and the other in the Garden of Eden, its sense of emptiness tempered by an overwhelming natural beauty. It is a place of inspiration and desolation, supersonic winds, dirt tracks on mountains with hairpin bends and drop-offs into the void, abandoned villages, 4G in the desert, smugglers ferrying contraband to Iran, significant migrant populations and few tourists. It’s a good place to gain inspiration.

Also for those two weeks I only listened to 80s electronica, so the songs below were a good palate cleanser when I got back to hey-remember-the-rain-well-look-forward-to-twelve-days-of-it Berlin.

  1. Kieran Hebden - Only Human

  2. Octo Octa - I Need You

  3. Friendly Fires - Love Like Waves

  4. altopalo - Mono

  5. Solange - Stay Flo

  6. Shay Lia - The Cycle

  7. Jamila Woods - ZORA

  8. Big Thief - UFOF

  9. Weezer - Too Many Thoughts in My Head

  10. Stella Donnelly - U Owe Me

*Moaning all the time about climate change and yet I still fly to places on holiday. What a hypocrite.

A David Byrne special.

A David Byrne special.

Chart / February

When does unseasonable morph into seasonable? When will 14 degrees in mid-February be greeted with a shrug and August forest fires become the norm? George Monbiot and Daniel Pauly say that shifting baseline syndrome takes place over the course of a single generation. It’s also one of the greatest obstacles preventing a wide range of environmental issues from being properly addressed. For example, fish stocks in the North Sea in 2019 are low compared to fish stocks in 1970, but fish stocks in the North Sea in 1970 were already critically low compared to the period fifty years before that. Our perception of what is normal shifts. We compare only to the generation before, and allow our collective memory to be wiped.

We have turned the environment into a zoo - we demarcate a section of land and allow the few animals that are already there to thrive. Meanwhile, we raze everything outside that demarcated section until there is nothing left alive. But we point to the zoo and say ‘Look, there are 10 more animals living there now than there were when we put the fences up around it. Our method is working.’ Over a generation, we accept that this is how we ‘save’ the environment. The process becomes normalised.

Music for an unseasonably warm February:

  1. Lamb - Armageddon Waits

  2. Brant Bjork - Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians

  3. Mick Farren + New Wave - Lost Jonny

  4. Tindersticks - Whiskey and Water

  5. Colour Haze - Fall

  6. Black Dresses - SLITHER

  7. Martyn - Mind Rain

  8. Tim Hecker - That world

biodiversity oblivion

biodiversity oblivion

Chart / January

I don’t listen to music while writing. It’s too distracting. But it’s good for getting into the right mood just before starting. While writing By the Feet of Men, for example, I listened to a lot of Boards of Canada and Tangerine Dream because it’s coldwarm and apocalyptic with a touch of hope. During the long, tortured sessions for Static Age, my failed sketch of toxic masculinity, it was mainly Queens of the Stone Age’s first album, Misfits and Minutemen. Rock and/or roll.

Here’s what’s tugging on my aurals in this poured-concrete January:

  1. Yves Tumour feat. Croatian Amor - Economy of Freedom

  2. Radiohead - Ill Wind

  3. Chrome Sparks - Juno Lion

  4. Ty Segall - Alta

  5. Jeff Tweedy - The Red Brick

  6. Sons of Kemet - My Queen is Anna Julia Cooper

  7. Pye Corner Audio - Deep Space Probe

  8. Lara Sarkissian - Tell Me, Where Do the Butterflies Live

  9. Low - Dancing and Blood

  10. Ichiko Aoba - テリフリアメ

hey Sputnik.

hey Sputnik.