Thursday, 27 November 2008


I do believe that any music is successful as long as at least one person likes it, and that people should listen to anything they enjoy and that no one person has better taste in music than another. Having said that reading Alex's top five albums made me want to cry.

So to recover I'm writing mine.

But not really. Because I just couldn't pick five albums and say they were my favourites, if you asked me on two separate days you may well find yourself with 10 different albums. So I'm going to go for it, but you aren't allowed to quote me on it or tell me what I missed.

I'll also leave out Grace by Jeff Buckley because I just told you about that last week.

Ok then, no more stalling... In no particular order:

1) Bright Eyes - Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

For me the easiest band to decide upon, but the hardest to choose one album from because (1) there are many albums to pick from, (2) all of the albums are very different and (3) all of the albums are fantastic. But I've gone with this one because I think it's what made Bright Eyes my favourite band.

It was released at the same time as I'm Wide Awake It's Morning but I only bought that one at first, it was my first Bright Eyes purchase and was based solely on the song First Day of My Life. Then based on that album I bought every other album released they had released. Digital Ash... was the one that took me the longest to get into, probably because it's the most unique stylistically. It's less reliant on guitars and pianos and involves far more electronic sounds and synths, but Oberst's lyrics are what sets the band apart and they are as strong on this album as any other. This album made me realise the potential that can be held within a single person. I've always been in love with many different genres of music, but it wasn't until I heard this that I thought I could make them all. I have a lot to learn (and a lot of equipment to acquire) before I make my own Digital Ash... but I know I will.

2) The Libertines - Up the Bracket

The Libertines were the last British band that I would put in The List. You know The List? The one people reel off when they try to show they are serious about words like 'great' and 'genius'. The List usually starts with The Beatles, involves The Who, Hendrix, Dylan, Led Zep, The Clash, The Smiths, Radiohead... See Scroobius Pip for a more complete List (though he was kind of using it in reverse - saying they were/are all just bands but yeh, it's still The List.)

The Libertines had that excitement that I don't think anyone has had since. The Arctic Monkeys came close with their gigs selling out before they'd release a thing, and every kid knowing every word to every song, they were pretty special times. But The Libertines... Every fan felt like more than a fan - they felt like they were a part of the band. They told people that to be a Libertine all you had to do was announce it; 'I am a Libertine' and it was so. This first album captures that incredible time and though it only lasted a year or two, the spirit of The Libertines was so entrenched in their fans and the influence is so clear in the bands that followed that their mark has been left, and all of us who announced it, we are all still Libertines.

3) Sigur Ros - Takk

Lie down, close your eyes and listen to this album from start to finish. You will fall in love.

4) Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position

You know when people say there's nothing original anymore, everyone is just rehashing older bands, make them listen to Patrick Wolf. I mean obviously everyone has their influences - nobody can pull music out of thin air we hear it pretty much every day of our lives and everything we hear affects us in some way... But I've never heard anything like this before. It's that mixing up of genres that makes me love Conor Oberst, but a bit more crazy and a bit more British.

He's a fascinating person and an incredible artist. I could swap this for Lycanthropy, his first album (this being his third) as that is similarly wonderful, I just went with this one as it's more recognisable what with the title track being released as a single. His second album Wind in the Wires I haven't spent enough time with yet, but I do like it a lot.

I think what makes him special is that a lot of people who make music that is 'different' are not pleasant to listen to, but this is just beautiful.

5) Radiohead - OK Computer

You may remember them from the abridged List earlier, well this is the album that got them on it. After The Bends they were certainly one of the best bands in the country, it was around the time of the big Blur vs Oasis thing... the media couldn't get enough of those two and their 'rivalry' yet in honesty, though I'm a fan of both, musically Radiohead blew them out of the water. As for the albums to follow, Oasis's Be Here Now (which I do think was underrated) effectively ended the Britpop phenomenon, and Blur went fairly quiet too, Radiohead however, released this little masterpiece!

I realise that I haven't chosen any albums released before my birth. There are many that I love and that I came close to including, but I think living through something makes it more special than going back and finding out about bands. I love to do that as well, looking back at The Clash and seeing what a huge impact they made and how incredible it must have been to be a part of that scene. But I wasn't. I was a Libertine. I watched Conor Oberst on stage and I was one of those kids that knew all the words to every Arctic Monkeys song before they had sold a single album. I'll remember those things forever, and as amazing as it is to listen to the ground breaking things The Beatles did, I will never be able to remember them. So that's why they didn't make my top five.

I thought about writing a list of albums that nearly made the list, but I'd still need a cut off point, and I am not writing a list of albums that nearly made the list of albums that nearly made the list! So I'll leave it at five.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

What would you say...

If I asked you to name a person? Any person in the world.

Because I said "me" and apparently that makes me, what... Self obsessed?


Monday, 24 November 2008

Friday, 21 November 2008

New Film

Apparently Ridley Scott is making a film based on Monopoly.

What the fuck?

There better be a silver hat/dog/ship/etc flying around London trying to bankrupt each other by forcing them to stay in their hotels just because they are on a particular street. And it better make sense.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

New Music

Something that makes me incredibly happy is finding great new music, and sharing it with people. Especially smaller or unsigned bands and double especially bands with friends in them. It's a dream of mine to set up a record company like Saddle Creek. I've been thinking for quite a while about a way in which I could share music on a large scale.

One option is to do a podcast showcasing unsigned bands. I don't think I've heard a podcast with music on before, I'm not sure why. I have only listened to a few, so maybe they do exist. I wonder if the fact you download them means that people could just steal all the music from it. That would be bad. Then there are sites like podbean - you don't download from there, just listen from the site. Anyone know a podcast with music on, or if not why they don't exist?

A slight problem would be that I don't like my voice. I hate hearing myself speak. But I think making videos has put me at ease enough to put up with it. It would also be a much smaller audience than option 2: a video series.

I could use the established audience of my youtube channel and introduce them to a new band in one video each month or so. It's quite a good audience for the bands as my subscribers are likely to be into the kind of music I am. This way would be harder, I'd be doing one band per video and so I would probably have to have them in it rather than just playing a song and telling people about them as I would in the podcast. Indieduction does a similar thing, but since that's aimed at youtube musicians and I would be looking at people I know from the real world mostly, I don't think there would be any clashes there.

I'm torn between the two options and still wondering if there is something I haven't thought of yet.

Forgetting things I haven't thought of yet, (that's an odd clause, think about it. Definitely using that in a song, it's brilliant!) I think the podcast is the easier option and allows me to showcase more bands. The videos would mean having to go meet and interview the bands which, although it would be fun, would also cost money and time and would require organisation. I'm not one for organising.

But the videos would get at least 10,000 views. If I started a podcast I doubt many people would listen, and I would want it to be worth something for the bands taking part.

I just started listing pros and cons of each and then I had a thought... I could do both! The podcast could be the main thing but I could do videos whenever the opportunity arises to be hanging out with a suitable band and it could be promotion for the podcast. I quite like that idea.

Well I've been rambling for a while so I'll spare you anymore. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, ideas on what I could do and also whether you would be interested as a listener/viewer. It would be a bonus if there was a way to make money out of this too!

I have a lot on so whatever I decide it will probably be something for the new year unfortunately. Well I guess it depends how easy or hard whatever I decide on turns out to be.

Anyway, I'm excited.


Just... Stuff really.

Not going road tripping anymore. It turns out it's my Dad's birthday tomorrow, well today now, and my sister is here for a few days. Who knew all that was going on?! So no time for gallivanting off to wherever. Turns out Ian couldn't do it either so that's good. It's a shame but there will be other opportunities.

I have so many things to be working on but I'm not getting much done. Bad times. Getting over this cold would be a good start.

I did write a nice guitar part tonight, which was actually not on my to-do list... The last thing I need is another song to distract me from all the others! But hey, you can never have too many songs. It's just the guitar at the moment, I was thinking about posting it to davefromblueskies to show people because I really like it, but I might wait until I have lyrics. Actually I might see if I have any lyrics in me right now.



Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Jeff Buckley

I just found out that today would have been Jeff Buckley's 42nd birthday.

Had I known I might have braved one of his songs! It's a bit late now, so I shall blog.

Buckley has been one of the biggest musical influences that I have found in my life. I was eleven when he died and didn't really find out about him until much later. His version of Hallelujah was all I heard of him for a long time until a friend introduced me to one of the greatest albums ever recorded: Grace.

I don't know why I didn't follow up on hearing Hallelujah immediately because it's a masterpiece. I could never say definitively what my favourite song is, there are far to many and they all mean something different to me, but I remember being asked on Upstaged and with the pressure of being broadcast live to a lot of people I said, with a small disclaimer like the one I just gave you, that it was Buckley's version of Hallelujah. That hauntingly beautiful voice is just so natural, so simple, so real.

I was amazed to find his song writing to be just as beautiful as his singing and guitar playing. I've often thought the truly amazing thing about him was that he had all three: singing, song writing and guitar. If he had just one of those talents he would have been exceptional, but to find all three, to that standard, in one man... Well I can think of nobody else.

I think if I could go back in time to see anyone play, just a one time deal - one gig then the magic ends, then The Beatles, The Clash and Hendrix would all have to make way. I would go and see Jeff Buckley. (Of course, the real test of that theory would be to ask me again on Jimi's birthday!)

If I continue much longer it will pass midnight and this won't be posted on the day I claimed it was. So some simple advice. Listen to Grace. Buy it, borrow it, illegally download it, do what you do, just listen to it, and give it your full attention. Lie down, close your eyes and hear every word and every note. If it does to you what if does to me then go out and find everything else. It's a great shame that he only finished one album, but there is more. Here are a few terms to help you search...

Sketches for my Sweetheart the Drunk
The rain was falling on that day
Mystery White Boy
Live at Sin-é

Have fun.

Rest in Peace, Jeff.


Monday, 17 November 2008


I know what Blogger is missing... BLOG STATS! I used to like looking at all the stats on WordPress, they were class! View counts and incoming links and clicks on outgoing links... Oh and it tells you what searches brought people to your blog via search engines. I got some hilarious ones. Other than that I'm liking blogger more. Though one thing I would say, WordPress makes me want to use better English, I feel like I should use emoticons and shit on here, going to have to resist that urge.

I could make an amazing blot hosting site if I... could be fucked.
(And knew anything about websites.)



Sunday, 16 November 2008

Adverts and Ideas

Have you noticed YouTube has gone ad crazy this last week? It seems like every monetised partner video has in-video ads, there used to be very few of those. Even old videos that didn't have them when uploaded have got them. I don't know if this is gonna mean adsense will pay more, unfortunately it takes quite a long time for them to update so I won't find out for a while. I can't afford to turn down the extra money by turning them off, but if there isn't a noticeable rise then I definitely will because there's no doubt they're annoying.

I have so many half written songs and half complete ideas at the moment. I don't know where to start. I also have a cold which means I can't sing. This isn't helping at all. I want to put these tracks on itunes, which means they all have to be ready before I make videos for any of them. I wish I could just do one then release it with a video and move on, but it's more expensive that way. My plan is to put Happy Friday and One Track Mind, both acoustic and electric versions plus a new song I'm working on. I know if I just put up electric versions people would moan, this way they can choose, or even better - buy both! So I'm just gonna pick a song and start doing whatever needs to be done, and I need to tone down the perfectionist thing because I need to get through these.

I think the key to becoming financially dependant on selling music, at least for now, is to write lots of songs, not to spend weeks making each song sound perfect. Most people wouldn't even notice the difference anyway. Of course I want to make stuff that sounds great, but I think I'll always have several things going on at once, that's how I work... So if I always have one of those things that I put a lot of time into and will probably make hard copies of to sell, for example the acoustic EP with Untitled, Don't Go, Alone Again etc... Then the other things I will try to make quicker, get them on itunes, promote them with a few videos and move on.

Oh and the Christmas EP idea, I have written one song but that remains on the possibility list. I'm not sure if I will have time to get it done.

Hope you're well.

Friday, 14 November 2008


Hey, So I'm talking with Ian and he's gonna drive up here tomorrow. We wanna go on a road trip to some nearby places, especially ones with youtubers we can visit - Sheffield/Birmingham maybe Manchester. We also want to make a video out of this trip but for that we need some sort of target, something to aim for - something to be doing on the way. Unfortunately it's 3am and we can't think of anything. This is all a bit thrown together at the last minute because we were bored but yeh... Any suggestions?

I'm thinking along the lines of Charlie's 'Pig hunt' video where they went looking for those pig sculptures, but obviously... Not that. There are no pig sculptures around here anyway.

SO if you have any ideas for something we could do OR if you live not far from Derby and are free this weekend, leave a comment and we might take your idea/come see you!

EDIT! It's ok! chill out... we're gonna do it next friday/saturday... that way Ian can come up Thursday night and we'll have more time. (He works 9am Sunday you see.) Still send me your thoughts. =)

EDIT2! Ian's locked in his uni computer room hahahahaha... definitely next week then.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Here I am

I have decided to make the switch. I've put the subscribe button at the top, if you click on 'posts' then whatever you use will hopefully be on the list, if not you'll have to add the subscription manually. You can also 'follow this blog' over on the right. I have no idea what this means so if anyone wants to tell me, please do!

I've sorted out my blogroll, anyone nice enough to have my old blog on theirs, I hope you're nice enough to update it for me!

I may have a look for some external themes later, this one is alright but I'd like something more personal. Though Doug says they're confusing!

So I'm feeling quite at home. Sorry if you're bored of all my blog talk, I'm sure nobody cares but me, but it's over now I promise!


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

There's something you should know...

I'm thinking about moving... Here

What do you think?

I've been on wordpress for quite a while but it's annoying how blogspot seems to be... Well better! I'm also getting quite a bit of traffic and you can use adsense over there. Seems a waste not to use it.

The main problems are everyone would have to add the new one to their blog thing, google reader or whatever you all use, and that would inevitably result in losing readers. But to be honest I don't mind how many people read these and the people I care about would follow me, it's not exactly difficult. More importantly I might lose all the old blogs. I like having them all in one place. I'm not sure if it's possible to export it and import the whole thing, comments and all, into blogspot.

So if anyone has any advice, especially people who have used both or who know about importing the old blogs into blogspot, please comment on here.

In other news I'm thinking about writing a Christmas EP. I think that makes six I'm currently planning. Not sure about this one though, all depends on how easily the writing comes.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


I'm thinking of switching to blogger from wordpress. This is a test so I'll end it here.

Monday, 10 November 2008


Five unrelated things:

  1. I just went to the shop and spent £19.84.
    The guy behind the till didn't seem to care much for the reference.

  2. Last night I got back from spending the weekend down south at Ian's party. It was all kinds of awesome, we saw a numberplate that ended with WTF.

  3. I filmed a video with Ed while we were waiting for Ian to pick us up, I'll edit it tonight probably and upload it within the next few days.

  4. Thanks for everyone who commented the last blog, the blog itself is only 317 words long and the comment section is over 5000! I'm very glad this is a two way street.

  5. Have you seen my new video? It's very good.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


I just got a comment, don't worry - I know that's how the last one started and then I got angry! But I just got a comment, actually it was on that last blog, this time from a perfectly lovely and intelligent sounding man named James. It began like this;

One thing that makes America great is our freedom of choice. We Americans have the right to support who and what we want. We can decide on our faith, our political views and if we don’t agree with any pre-existing ones we can start our own. This freedom is what defines us.

You hear a lot about freedom from American people, and that's fine - it's a wonderful thing to have, a wonderful thing to build a society on. But the idea that freedom defines them, is also something I've heard in some form or other many times before. And I must confess I'm a little confused. I live in a country where all of those things are also true. In fact it's true in most countries across the world. Certainly there are places it's not true, but surely if there is an established norm, it's for people to have freedom.

In the UK we have freedom, but it's never really spoken of. I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand maybe it's wrong to take such an important thing for granted, but perhaps it's good that it's just assumed - it's built into us, we don't need to talk about it, just like we don't need to talk about gravity for it to affect us. The idea of not being free is pretty much unthinkable. I quite like it that way.

So my question is, why has freedom become such a defining feature of the USA? Are people there any more free than others?

That's not rhetorical, I'm curious.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Very angry, you might not want to talk to me for a while.

I posted a bulletin on myspace linking to by last blog about my positive feelings on the election result. I just received a comment on that bulletin from a 17 year old American Christian girl. I don't single these characteristics out, that is everything I know about her. She said this:

its too bad your just like the rest of them. i really liked your music. :/

And she deleted me as a friend.

That is the most outrageous thing I have heard throughout this campaign, and it didn't come from Sarah Palin! How can you let political beliefs stand in the way of music?! MUSIC! They shouldn't even stop you talking about politics, in fact it's better to talk politics with someone who disagrees with you. Disagreements are one of the most important parts of life, whether you decide on one answer, agree to disagree or come to a compromise, it's how we can all coexist in this world with such a beautiful multitude of opinions and beliefs.

That girl found out I supported Obama and that was enough for her to cut me out of her life, and that is the way to a very lonely and unstimulating life. Imagine if I cut out every republican I know. Not even know... just listen to, or watch, or read, or anything - that would be almost half of my life cut away.

That kind of close mindedness is everything I hate about the world right now. The idea that we have to stay within small groups of people with whom we agree is not only impractical, as the more you get to know people, the smaller the groups would be until it's just you, all alone, but it's also incredibly dangerous on a worldwide scale.

So I guess the point, other than to express my anger, is to beg you to look beyond politics, beyond religion, beyond race, beyond sexuality, and appreciate that the world can only be fixed by people who can accept each others differences and work towards the same goals, whatever they think the best way to achieve them is. I think John McCain is as good an example as anyone. Last night he was gracious in defeat and I'm sure he will continue to do what he thinks is right, to argue his case and to accept when the majority of people agree or disagree with him.

Well having got that off my chest I'm still pissed off. I think I'd be over it by now had she spelt you're correctly.

Waking up

It's currently 7:43am, and though I have yet to close my eyes and sleep, I can see many signs of the world waking up around me. My house is making noises, the curtains have a light glow around the edge and any small traces of drunkenness have well and truly worn off.

Tonight, or last night if you'd prefer, I stayed up to watch the US general election. I was willing to see it through alone, but stickam made it a far more exciting night. I've talked to many close friends over the last seven hours and I sensed in them the same feeling of hope that I have been carrying since I began to get into this race. I remember staying up to watch the vice presidential debates, that was the first time I really started thinking about the issues and about how I felt, and of course about what a catastrophe it would be if Sarah Palin were ever to lead the most powerful nation in the world. Since then I spent a lot of time following the election, more than I ever have a British general election to date, and I found myself agreeing with Obama time and again and was wondering if he was too good to be true. Not only were his policies the most sensible, but he is likable, understanding of a new and different generation, and a truly inspirational speaker.

I've had a video playing on my channel today. It's Obama's speech in the Virginia rain, possibly my favourite of his, even over tonight's. I honestly haven't been so impressed and inspired by a politician in my lifetime. When I saw that speech for the first time, though the content, the context and of course the accent are all different, I was reminded of Winston Churchill. Now lets face it, when it comes to speech making there is no higher accolade.

The fear that it was too good to be true, though continually diminishing, didn't disappear until the Californian result came through and Barack Obama was officially the next president of the US. After all, this is a country that decided after four years of George Bush, to have another four.

Of course, all of this has been just to get to the starting blocks. Come January we will begin to see if Obama can be the president we all hope he can. I at least believe he can.

It's 8:05am now, and though I am done for the night, the world is definitely waking up.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

To my American friends...

Tomorrow is November 4th, the day of the US general election. Eight years of George Bush have (finally) come to a close and you all get to decide who his successor will be. Unfortunately no matter how much it affects the rest of the world, we can't vote. But you can, and you should because this is the closest thing we have to a fair society, everyone deciding together which is the best course of action.

I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, I just ask you to vote. If you have somehow managed to avoid the election build up and are still clueless, take a quick look at the candidates. It really won't take long for you to grasp the major differences between the two men's policies, and decide which you believe to be the most sensible. I also ask that you remember that we are a global community. However you know me, I doubt it would have been possible ten years ago. That connection we have is new, and it's growing stronger all the time, and I think it's important that the man in charge of the most powerful nation in the world understands what's happening in it.

I'm going to give you my opinion briefly, but I stand by the original point that the most important thing is to vote, and to vote based on what you think is best, not what I or anybody else thinks.

Were I able to cast a vote, it would be for Barack Obama.

Having stayed up for many late nights watching this race unfold, I found myself siding with Obama on almost every policy. The economy, health care, the environment, foreign policy... I haven't got the time to go into detail on each one, but if you have any specific questions leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. But beyond agreeing with the policies, I have been very impressed with the man behind them. I rarely get into politics. I don't really trust politicians. They always seem at least a couple of generations away from me and totally unapproachable and unable to understand anyone under the age of 30.

But I don't find that with Obama. He manages to be inspirational without being corny, intelligent without being superior, and he is able to connect with a generation that was all but ready to give up on politics before it ever became politicised. I think he is just what the world needs in these unstable times.

But I can't vote so what I think doesn't matter. What you think, does.

I'll leave you with a beautiful quotation from Katrina that pretty much sums everything up;

"Go vote tomorrow or you're not allowed to bitch about what happens."

Saturday, 1 November 2008


I just passed the 10,000 mark. I never really thought about the numbers much but for some reason this one just hit me. I tried to visualise it in a few different ways and it's scary... In a good way.

I played a gig the other day, there were about 25-30 people there. I'd have to play that gig every day for a year to reach 10,000 people.

To fit 10,000 people in my bedroom you would have to shrink them until they were approximately 1.3cm tall.

If all of my subscribers stood on each others shoulders (with incredible balance) making a human tower they would reach the stratosphere.

Feel free to argue with my maths, but before you do you should know two things. (1) I have a degree in maths and (2) I am the co-creator of 'Jazz Maths', a branch of mathematics whereby any answer you give is correct as long as you say it with confidence and flair. If my degree lets me down, I just say I was using Jazz Maths, it's incontestable.

Happy Halloween

Oh I just heard the first firework of the night.

No trick or treaters yet, I saw a story on the news - the shit local news - that the police hired out a screen at a cinema and are letting kids go watch the new Bond film for free just to get them off the streets. Interesting idea, but what they should really do is host a full Premiership fixture list like they do on the first and last days of the season, plus I think New Years(?) That would take a few more kids off the street than one cinema screen. Though I suppose the police have little sway over the FA. Ah well.

Anyway, I recorded a song today, I wrote it after I finished reading Looking for Alaska. It's not quite finished, I want at least one more verse or something, but I quite like it. I've put a demo on myspace. Would love to hear your opinions as always, especially if you've read the book. But especially (yes I know, both especially) if you haven't read the book because I tried quite hard to make it a good song in it's own right as I think these type of songs rarely are. Oh and if anyone knows John Green, feel free to send him a link! I'll write the lyrics so far at the bottom.

It will be November in a few hours and I'm still not really sure what I'm doing with regards to this nanowrimo thing. I want to use it to motivate me in a way that's helpful to my life, i.e. not write a novel. However my previous idea of writing a song or blog every day, I'm not sure about. Blogs don't really accomplish anything, I write them because I have something to say. And songs can't, or shouldn't, be rushed. So I think I'm going to give up being specific and just set aside an hour or two each day for songwriting. Starting is usually the hardest part so by doing that I should get a fair few new ones this month.

Last thing, by the end of the night I should have reached 10,000 subs. That's a lot of zeros.

Ok lyrics to the song, it's tentatively called 'Alaska' but that may change. Oh and as for spoilers... yeah kinda. So don't read if you're bothered, but it's an old book so I guess most people won't be.

All these last words
But I can't know hers
Don't want to be holding on
Somewhere I don't belong*

One more time
Through my mind
Something I could have said
Signs that I should have read

But she found her way out at last
The crisp blue ink read "Straight & Fast".

Count the days
Till I can get away
From those emerald green eyes
Flying towards the flashing lights

We're more than just
Ashes and dust
More than what's visible
We are invincible.

Don't wait for your time to pass
Before you look for your great perhaps.

*The second half of the first verse are all that remain from the song that this started out as, before I read the book. They may well be changed.