It's been a hugely mixed day today. Everyone is still suffering from various coughs, colds and other nasties. If I did a review of the year I could look at it two very different ways. I could list the sad events, the negatives and the frustrations. I could also list the amazingly positive events and, I suspect these two sides would almost even out.

On the positive side, I finished my novel today, one day ahead of schedule. It is drivel of the highest order but I hope to make some revisions and make it into something I might let friends read. It's probably not as bad as I think it is but, in order to get it written I've had to have a policy of not re-reading. I'm expecting a few clunking great continuity errors at the very least.

Thank you to all the people who have offered encouragement. If I do this again I'm going to get a t-shirt that says "Don't ask me why I'm writing novel." I understand why people ask this question (and two people who have asked it are folks I love and respect greatly) but can't we just do things for the hell of it?

I wanted to write this because it's the dream I've had longer than any other. Before I understood the power music had in my life I had a dream that I was sitting in a white room, typing a book on an Imperial typewriter. Outside the one window was a beautiful garden. I used a MacBook Pro and my garden looks like shit, but the dream has been realised.

Now, I can have a reasonably early night.


Where I'm at...

For anyone who's interested here's a quick update.

I'm in the last week of nanowrimo which means that I have just slightly over 10,000 words to write to finish my novel before midnight on 30th November. The time taken to get this written has eaten into my musicking time and a bit more besides. However, like an awful temporary job it is possible to deal with because I know the end is in sight. If I take a day off it will only make it that bit harder the next day, so I write every day and, in some perverse way, I feel really good about it.

In the world of music many things are being arranged and updated. Soul Beaver is being put back together again and the Eclipse trio has put back its gigs until early next year. We should be streaming some rehearsals this month and maybe next month too. I'll post links here, on Facebook and on Twitter when we're more sure.

Why would you want to watch a band rehearsing? Well, we're almost at performance standard so you should see a set, rather than people desperately trying to remember chords and arrangements. It's the unknown that makes things exciting for the viewer and, hopefully, for us.

For anyone following my 365 project on Flickr you might like to know that I've not given up. I have many backlogged pictures in my camera but what with the novel writing I've not had time to upload and sort them out. Soon, I promise.

Now, time to sleep. Perchance to zzzzzzzzzzzzz


Past the point

Had a wonderful weekend with pals in Wolverhampton. I took Freya with me and we showed them what life with a two year old can be like. We got out into the fresh air, saw animals of the feathered and curly tailed variety and enjoyed the hospitality of out friends. I didn't take the laptop which meant I've fallen slightly behind on the novel but at least I've passed the half way mark.

Should be days away form announcing the date of the first trio gig. Because of the novel writing challenge I have almost no time for any other musicking (besides practising) this month. Rather than being annoying this s helping me re-charge the musical batteries.

And despite some top notch advice from people who know about these things and whom I greatly admire, my bloody cough is still here. Grrr. Cough.



Give or take a few days it was twenty years ago that I was in Berlin. I got there, and had to go home, before the East officially met the West. But I did spend a lot of time in the cafes, listening to the mixture of excitement and worry. People were getting ready for the moment this city and country would be joined again, although a lot of people were getting anxious for their jobs.

I spent some time at the wall, holes appearing already. I chipped away with the rest of them crowds and got to shake hands with guards on the other side. Somewhere there is a photograph of me there with an embarrassing jacket on. I'll dig it out and post it.

A few years later I was back in Berlin, working and I wasn't able to find the spot I have previously been at. I'm hoping to go back again soon. It's one of those cities where magic can happen.



Despite the tone of the previous post the main band (Soul Beaver) now has rehearsal dates all sorted. I've spent the night writing a chapter for the novel and sorting out the finer details of record distribution for the trio.

I've also had a surprisingly productive night on Facebook. That's something new.

Don't look back

Last week's illness is pretty much behind me. Aprt from the irritating cough and dribbly nose I feel fine.

This week's trio rehearsal happened a day early and was a chance to play through the whole set to see where it's working and where it's not. The good news was that almost everything is working. The bad news: the same parts that were giving me trouble in previous weeks are still problematic now. Overall the set sounds great but we've now enetered a classic problem - playing too fast. The feeling of conquering arrangements, changes and improvised parts has produced that horribly common afflication of "we're playing well so let's play faster." To conquer this we're going to have one more (recorded) run through, then listen back the next day to attempt some objective feedback. The band's original album, recorded a few years ago with a full line up is now available here. I'm playing bass on all tracks and singing on a few.

Meanwhile, getting rehearsals for a much loved and more established band together has begun proving difficult. In the 'old' days we would meet on a Tuesday with almost every member present. Now I'm wondering if we'll get more than one rehearsal with everyone in place. Being more geographically spread out and having even more children born hasn't helped but at least we're all keen to play. Earlier in the year I witnessed a similar band collapse through the apathy and inflexibility of it's members.

The NaNoWriMo novel is still coming along. I'm hoping to write two chapters tonight and 'bank' one in advance of a weekend away next week. Wiser minds than mine have pointed out the trap of the voices that convince you to keep revising your writing. I'm only going to get through this if I don't look back.


Off we go!

This being 'Year of the Challenge' I couldn't resist NaNoWriMo after all. The first chapter is complete and all I have to do is keep writing every day this month until I have a novel. Just to be clear, the novel's deadline is November 30th.