Monday, 31 March 2008

Andorra-In


We got to Andorra yesterday. As journeys go, this was a tiring one. It is very snowy at the moment. This was the view from our window this morning. Because we are looking after the house so we have to learn what jobs we have to do whilst Roz's parents are away. One of them is cleaning out the cats' litter tray. Sadly Roz felt ill around this time, so went for a lie-down. Roz's dad showed me how to do it, then I had to do it. I think I did it okay. More soon.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Beatles Related Death

Neil Aspinall died today. Of all the Beatles entourage, he was probably one of the main ones. It makes me a bit sad whenever anyone dies, and especially when they were even slightly involved with something that I love. Neil Aspinall was probably no more talented or interesting than the average Liverpudlian, but he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Well done him.

Oh, and my favourite quote from the BBC obit:

Despite no musical training, he sang in the chorus of "Yellow Submarine".

Can you believe it?

Andorra Approach

Roz and I leave for Andorra in seven days time, and we will be there for a whole month. That sounds pretty amazing, and hopefully it will be. I am no Magellan, but I think Andorra is the nicest place I have ever visited, and I am ultraexcited about going back there. It is possibly not the most exciting place in the world, but we have friends coming with us, so boredom is literally off the agenda.

Bert is coming, so hopefully we can get some Bumblebee fun going, possibly even making an album or EP or something. At the very least we need to prepare for a spate of gigging when we get back. We seem to be the sort of band that doesn't have regular practises. It's a bit weird really, cos we really like the songs, and we get on really well, so there is no reason not to. I guess with The Lauras and our other mildly time-consuming commitments, we don't want to make The Bumblebees start feeling like a chore. I feel like some of my songs especially could begin to grate very easily. Hmm?

Until Andorra all I have to do is get my haircut, go to the Post Office and play football once. It sounds like a really brilliant week.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

By Far The Greatest Team

I literally never write about football. And I don't really intend to make a habit of it (probably). But it is a really brilliant sport and if you don't like football then I still don't think it is very good just to say 'bleurgh' whenever it is mentioned.

Bristol City are the team that I support. They are currently doing better than they EVER have in my lifetime. Their amazing run of success has sort of coincided with me not really going to watch them anymore. During their third-tier years, I was a season ticket holder. I think I went to every home game for three years, as well as countless away trips to what Bill Bryson refers to as "northern B-towns" - those innumerable industrial outposts that make up most of Lancashire.

Anyway. I've put in the graft, is what I'm saying. And although I've only been to about five games this season, Bristol City are my team and this success makes me happy. We are six games away from our second consecutive promotion. I have probably just jinxed it. In fact, we seem to be on the verge of letting it slip through our fingers. (Is it possible to write about football without drowning in a sea of clich├ęs?) So this is just an advance warning that if we do indeed fail at the final hurdle(s), this may become less blog more rant.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

It Hurts To See You Blog So Well

Bert out of top bop-pop band The Lauras has created a blog. It is going swimmingly. You read it here.

He goes to Canada today. He is on a plane right now. Lucky!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Song-Write Why?

Writing songs does make me really very happy. But I wonder why I do it sometimes. I want to be writing songs basically all of the time, but I don't really know what I want out of it. I know what I don't want out of it. I don't want people to say it's okay, and I don't want people to be in the NME Cool List (unless I am number one). And I don't want EMI to say they would like to sign me up for a billion pounds.

I think I would quite like lots of people to like my songs, but I would much rather The Bumblebees were a few people's favourite band then one that lots of people quite liked. But that is obvious. I think it makes sense that I would write things that sound similar to other songs that I have loved. Because I want the same audience as the bands I like? Or because I what to feel what it would have felt like to write a song like that? Is it actually talent to re-organise your influences in an order that seems original? Or is that actually original in itself? Bleurgh. I write like Carrie Bradshaw.

I really love the challenge of writing a song. I would say it is like having a blank canvas, but it is not really. When I write a song, there are things that I know I don't want, and limitations to what I can make happen. For a Bumblebees song, for example, it has to be playable on the instruments that we play, it can't really have more than three vocal parts because there are only three of us, and it has to have a drumbeat that we can follow, because we have a drum machine. But those are fun limitations to have. We have chosen to be a quite normal pop band and there is a lot of flexibility to be a bit subversive and also be dancey and fun and accessible.

The idea of a song having the potential to be aboslutely anything is really scary and amazing. But everyone is limited by their brain.

I think I have quite often written songs that sound like someone else. I'm not really sure how I feel about that. I really absolutely love when you hear something in a song that you think is absolutely completely new. But I really like poppy songs that stay in your head. Is it a bit wrong to try and sound weird when all you want to do is stay in people's heads? Because I think if you try and be a little bit weird then you are not really trying to be that at all. Is it alright to try and be a bit weird just because you don't want to be boring, or bored by yourself? I hope not. We try not to be the same as anything, but we are definitely very similar to quite a few things that we like.

The only bit I don't really think about very much is lyrics. Lyrics and structure. I find that they are just true for me. I just do whatever words I think are the best and I write about basically whatever I am thinking about at the time. Usually that is illness and death, but sometimes it is just words for words sake. That happens less now though.

It is possibly a bad idea even to think about songs in such depth. But I can't help it now, so it's too late. And I think that it can make better songs. It is better than just knocking off songs like you don't care about them. I'm pretty sure every band I love has thought about their songs a lot, and it shows in a good way - they don't forced, they just sound considered. And that is fine. I like it when you listen to a song and think that every second of it has had hours of thought put into it.

I have made a couple of songs that I quite like recently. That helps me be a bit more assured in knowing that I can actually do what I want to do. I think of writing blocks as a bit like stages that you have to get past. Like on a game. And once you get past it, you are a better player.

Recorded Song

This is a thing that I wrote about two years ago and recorded yesterday. I have to play a piece at Oxford Brookes if I want them to let me in, so I'm going to play a slightly better version of this. The guitar I played this on has a weird disease where the fretboard has an allergic reaction to the body, so the action is ridiculously high once you get past the fourth or fifth fret. It's literally impossible to tune.

Anyway this is the most technically impressive thing I have ever created:

Railway Bridge Balloon Disaster 1949

I did quite a cool piano part on top of it but it sounds really cluttered unless you listen to it on headphones so I've left it off. It's probably worth warning you that this song has LOUD FEEDBACK at the start. Watch out for that.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Bad Lauras Review

As previously mentioned, The Lauras had a gig at the Thekla on Wednesday. Bert found a bad review of us today. I guess that it is fine if someone doesn't like us, but I do think published reviews have a responsibility to be accurate. It is hard to not to rail against a bad review without sounded embittered and righteous. So I guess I won't. But it's annoying.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Mulch Pt. 2

I still need to listen to the Jelas album, but my ears hurt too much. I am really gigged out. Bert and Byrion and me went to see them yesterday in a fishtank in Bath. When they finished we had to drink really quickly and then run to get the last bus. It is my new favourite post-gig activity.

It was the best Jelas gig yet. The most fun, I think. They are really good lyrically which is something I didn't notice the first couple of times. There is a really brilliant bit in Blood Smash that is one of those bits in music that makes me sort of fizz up and spasm a little bit. I can't really write well because I am aware that the Jelas might read this. The only other thing I will say is that most bands get much worse when you listen to them with earplugs in, but the Jelas got a lot better.

I've been listening to music with my eyes shut quite a lot recently. It probably makes me look like an idiot but you can focus on it a lot more and you don't get swayed by atrocious haircuts or whatever. I'm going to do it more from now on.

Thought-out posts coming soon.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Spineless Mulch Prattle

This week is kind of busy. Tuesday, Wednesday (yesterday), Thursday (today) and Friday I am/have going/gone to a gig. My ears are hurting already. Tuesday was Lands End / Fringes / Dressed In Wires. Fringes are really quite good I think. They are my favourite band with a saxophone in.

Yesterday we (The Lauras) played the Thekla, supporting Oh No! Oh My! I think we did pretty well, I probably enjoyed it the most of our gigs so far. We have a new song that is really fun to play. They all are really though, once you get into them. I was really amazed by how good Oh No! Oh My! sounded. Not that they were life-changing, but they were much better than what I'd heard before,

Today is Creationism, but we haven't done much promoting of it because it always shuts early. So we are just going to rely on Turbowolf bringing lots of people, and hope that we can keep them there with our wicked tunes.

Tomorrow is The Jelas in Bath. It will probably be brilliant, but I can't say for sure yet.

I have to write a story to send to Manchester Met, if I want to go there next year. So I've started that. It's quite good but I don't think it will be finished in time, so I will just have to send a poem that I wrote ages ago. Like most things I have ever written, it's about not being able to write very well (or at all). Hopefully it will be good enough to get me in.

There is always loads of stuff I want to do and I get round to doing about 10% of it. But I have even more stuff I want to do at the moment, so even if I do 10% of it, I will consider it a massive triumph.