Sunday, December 30, 2007


Its hard to be too enthusiastic about a year that was, to all extents and purposes, a transitional year. I made the journey, not quite voluntarily but certainly with a degree of consent, from the 9-5 life into what is currently a hybrid of office-based and work from home freelancing that means that for the first time since leaving school at sixteen I’m not a PAYE worker. It’s best described as a portfolio working life at the moment, I’ve set-up a website (not yet fully completed) to promote myself as a credit management consultant and I’ve done (and am contracted to continue to do so for at least a couple of months yet) some work in that vein with a divested part of the business that I worked for over the last fifteen years. That’s not going to be a continuing contract in the manner in which I currently support them and will over the first half of 2008 start to diminish but it’s been useful in finding my feet post-redundancy and has been a help in loosening bonds rather than cutting them dead. But clearly that part of my life is now drawing gradually to a close and I’ll be working hard in the early months of 2008 to attract additional business customers to this element of my freelance endeavours.

More to the point, the taking of redundancy coupled with the continuing contract as it stands has enabled me to see out 2007 in a good financial position and, major unexpected expense aside, means that I can see that 2008 will not be about keeping the wolf from the door during the year but instead will be about building financially for 2009, since as things stand, should I take the easy option and decline to rise from my nice and comfortable bed for the duration of the year, the bills are met. A happy position but also a rare opportunity which needs to be seized with both hands and met full-on if its not to slip away without tangible benefit in channelling my working life in the right direction and enabling me to be more flexible in my working hours and arrangements.

On the writing front, I can be satisfied with my achievements as long as I maintain a healthy degree of frustration keeping that properly in check. I did okay, I could have done better. SAF published my book Strange Boat – Mike Scott & The Waterboys in April and we look forward to a revised edition making its appearance in the Spring of 2008 after solid sales of the first edition. SAF have also accepted the book on the Free Festivals history and culture that I’m working on with Bridget Wishart and that should see publication early in 2009 so all things being equally I should be in the happy position of new books appearing in three consecutive years. I recently enjoyed chatting to former Hawkwind guitarist Jerry Richards and to Here & Now’s bass player Keith Bailey for this project and early in the New Year anticipate many interviews with musicians, organisers, performers, artists and attendees. Also on the book front, I’ve very tentatively started plans for a biography of the fondly remembered husband-and-wife wildlife filmmakers, Armand and Michael Denis, and whilst this is at a very early stage right at the moment, it’ll be another project that will occupy time in the first half of 2008 in an attempt to get it off the ground.

I think it’s really important that my journalism expands out of the area that I’ve been working in during 2007, the rock music genre. So whilst I’m planning to expand upon what I’ve done so far in that vein, it’s one of my principal challenges to start making sales of articles outside of that arena. But it’s been a pretty good year on the music journalism front all told. Record Collector continued to be an important source of commissions. They published a major eight page feature that I wrote on Hawkwind, surveying the fragmented state of the band’s back catalogue for which I very much enjoyed interview main-man Dave Brock, their former manager Douglas Smith and Voiceprint’s MD Rob Ayling. And, having shied away from writing about Hawkwind for some time, it was good to start learning how to ‘work my material’ as it were. Record Collector also gave me the opportunity to interview MC5’s Wayne Kramer and also Suzanne Vega though sadly due to schedule pressures a planned telephone interview ended-up as an exchange of e-mails. A shame. I also wrote stacks of reviews for the magazine and got my name on the Waterboys guest-list at Colston Hall to review their Book of Lightning tour gig for the magazine. Quite what Mike Scott made of that, Lord knows!

I also made sales elsewhere, notably a thousand word interview with Hawkwind’s Alan Davey (now, unfortunately, former-Hawkwind bassist!) for Bass Guitar Magazine; I also interviewed Alan for the SpaceRock website Aural Innovations and did some PR work on his solo album, Human on the Outside. It’s been enormous fun working with Alan on this stuff in 2007. On a sadder note, I made my first sale to The Guardian which, whilst it ticked the box on my ‘to do’ list for the year in terms of writing for a national, was an obituary for Killing Joke’s Paul Raven, someone whose music I’d greatly enjoyed over the years.

So I guess I’ll feel that 2007 was a modestly successful writing year. I currently have another sizeable article in progress for Record Collector and, of course, the book projects. I need to continue to gather new customers for my music journalism and have a few promising pitches to send out in January. I’d like to be able to add ‘liner notes’ to my writing CV if the opportunity arises and I’ve enjoyed the PR work I’ve done so far and will look for more chances to work in this area if they arise. I need to build on my first national newspaper sale. My networking skills need a lot of work on them but I do need to get out and about and get myself better known – I was delighted when meeting Esoteric Records’ Mark Powell at Space Ritual’s 100 Club gig in October to discover that he not only recognised my name but even knew some of the stuff I’d written! But I’ve not been great at taking networking opportunities in 2007 and it’s a skill I’ve got to work on. I’d like to try my hand at some fiction, though I’ve never really seen myself as a fiction writer. And most importantly, I’ve got to keep pushing at other popular culture subjects for my journalism. And get an agent!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aqua Sulis Calling

Just got back from a trip to Bath to see the Aqua Sulis Calling gig, a reunion of ‘80s Bath bands. Actually, I missed the headlining Jonah and the Wail as I’d mainly gone to see the revival of the Hippy Slags and chat to a few people about the Free Festivals book which has now been green-lit by SAF Publishing. I did catch the opening set, by Childe Roland, which I thought really rather good and the rockabilly sci-fi of Wild Planets in addition to the, let’s say frankly triumphant, appearance of the Slags themselves. And to cap it all, I enjoyed an hour or so in the company of former Demented Stoats and Smart Pils man Steve Bemand and his lovely lady Juliet in the warm-glow of their candle-lit flat – ostensibly to chat about festivals and the like but which quickly turned into a rambling natter about Doctor Who and other things in the Cult TV line. At the gig, I was also pleased to meet-up again with Neil ‘JollyHawker’ and Jules ‘The Roadmeister’ who I met previously at the Abingdon ‘Space Rock Spectacular’ even if this time they did embarrass me (i.e. leave me secretly very pleased) by producing copies of Sonic Assassins for autographing! I also enjoyed catching-up with Hawkwind drummer Rich Chadwick and meeting some of the ‘Slags’ for the first time!

I stayed outside of Bath, up at Corsham on the road to Chippenham where the next day brought a rather fetching but particularly chilly covering of frost and, exploring after a suitably filling breakfast I discovered that the pub I was staying in (the now highly recommended Methuen Hotel) backed on to a grove of trees in their vibrant autumnal glory and a wide-expanse of open access farmland. If only I’d travelled more properly attired I’d certainly have taken the opportunity of rambling across crisply coated fields.

In the meantime, I’m trying hard to work to a ‘to do’ list. Record Collector recently published a bundle of reviews and Q&As of mine, of which I particularly enjoyed talking to MC5’s Wayne Kramer (extracts from this not used for RC can be found on my SpaceRock Reviews blog) who still has the indignant fire that fuelled the agit-prop of the 1960s and has his sights firmly targeted on the Bush administration and other sources of unrest. A real gentleman and an excellent interviewee.

I’m also working on a ‘space rock’ collectables feature that’s really coming along nicely and should look visually very good and hopefully that’ll be finished-up before the Christmas season hits us full-on (though I’m not banking on that). SAF are reissuing Strange Boat – Mike Scott & The Waterboys in a standard paperback format in March, 2008 and I’ve committed to revising the final chapter to more fully cover the release of Book of Lightning and the subsequent tour and make any corrections the remaining text requires; another pre-Xmas task there.

At the start of the year I had on my list of things to achieve, ‘write for national newspaper’. This I ticked-off in November, though not quite in the way I’d have liked to. I’m sure many will have been saddened by the untimely death of Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven at the end of October. My obituary of him was published by The Guardian recently and can also be read on-line. His albums with Killing Joke are amongst my favourite LPs of all-time and I was proud to have been commissioned to account for his life.

The Festivals Book, co-written with Bridget Wishart, is now starting to take shape and interviews are starting to roll-out. I was delighted to be invited to talk to former Hawkwind guitarist, now Space Ritual bassist, Jerry Richards when Space Ritual appeared at the 100 Club in October and, of course, was pleased to catch up with SR-friends including Nik Turner, Thomas Crimble and Chris Purdon. Chris was kind enough to introduce me to their dancer Angie ‘Miss Angel’ Fallon and Vicky & Mark at Esoteric Records were generous and ensured Jerry’s kind invite to me for a guest-pass was organised. Thanks to all, and if you get a chance, make sure you pick-up Space Ritual’s stonking new studio album Otherworld which I’ll hopefully be commenting on in next month’s Record Collector. I’ve also recently talked with Keith ‘Le Missile’ Bailey from Here & Now for the festivals project and many more interviews are being lined-up for the next couple of months.

One other project has started to look quite promising, this time one outside of the music arena. More on that soon!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Praise for Strange Boat

I received an e-mail through Myspace the other day that I was particularly chuffed with, concerning Strange Boat and sent by someone who had only recently discovered the Waterboys through hearing Fisherman’s Blues on a car radio. That inspired him to buy the album and subsequently the latest Waterboys album, Book of Lightning, through Amazon, which in turn resulted in a purchase of Strange Boat.

“I do love the crazy tales of New York Dolls type excesses,” wrote my correspondent. “But in the absence of this type of behaviour in the Waterboys, you have produced a no less intriguing view of the bands/Mike Scott's development and motivating psychology in an extremely intelligent and balanced way.” Which was a nicely glowing endorsement, but not really the point of mentioning this very kind message.

“I finished the book in a day,” he added. “Being a Waterboys novice I was not able to fully appreciate your commentary of some of the albums with which I am not familiar but found your views on those I knew (Fisherman's Blues and Book of Lightning) spot on. I now intend to collect all their albums and when so done will read your book again.” And this is what really made me warm and fuzzy, to be honest. It’s the thought that the book has helped along a new fan’s enthusiasm for Mike Scott’s music and has played a small part in encouraging someone to seek out the music I was writing about. That’s something that tells me I’ve achieved something with this book.

I had a similar experience recently on the Yahoo Waterpeople discussion group. A new poster to that list (not aware that I was a member and would see the comments first hand) commented that, having been a fan in the 80s, “Strange Boat has rekindled my interest in The Waterboys.”

“The book is decent in a genre that often disappoints, I can't say it is earth shattering but it has made me want to plug the gaps in my Waterboys/Mike Scott collection.” I think that’s good enough for me right now! I don’t expect to be considered in the upper echelons of rock music journalism (yet!), I haven’t written a book as definitive as Revolution in the Head or England’s Dreaming. But if I’ve pulled together a text that has reminded its readers what a singular talent Mike Scott is, or what a wonderfully diverse band the Waterboys are, then I’m satisfied that my work on this one was reasonably well done. I know people like the stories of rock excesses, the sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll thing but I think there’s also room in the genre of rock biography for the careful and thoughtful appraisal of a body of work. And in the end, we might like the lurid and the over-the-top, but we also want a book that says, “Hey, this person whose work you’ve invested so much of your own time and emotions into, y’know, is a creature of flesh and bone and human failings. But still your faith and your commitment wasn’t misplaced. The work, and the person, was really worth it.

I don’t know what Mike Scott made of Strange Boat. My impression is that of a perfectionist and of someone for whom a third-party assessment of his work couldn’t ever really be correct however well intentioned. But to have achieved a little in opening some of the readers up to his wider body of work, I’m comfortable with the end result.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Great Expressions!

Graham Taylor got the ball rolling with his legendary explosion on nearing the end of his less than illustrious career as England Football Manager with the famous "Do I Not Like That."

Michael Melia once ended an episode of Dangerfield by arresting somebody with the fantastic expression "You're nicked, Chummy-Bum."

Peter Windsor in F1 Magazine has just gone one better in his piece this month (well, character assassination wouldn't be too unfair a description) on Ralf Schumacher. This, of course, is the Toyota driver who has sucked up something like $72M over the last three years for driving around the midfield - on the rare occasions he's got the car off the grid and through the first corner. Anyway, Ralf had turned up for a photo session for the magazine and demanded that for his cooperation the magazine should in turn take a more favourable view towards him. Windsor, apparently, refused, taking the wind out of Schumacher Jr's sails. Still Ralf persisted, it was only fair, quid-pro-quo. And so on.

Eventually Windsor lost his patience and ordered the spluttering driver out of the photo shoot. When he refused to go and continued trying to negotiate the improvement in his profile with the publication, Windsor yelled what surely is an immortal line:

"Ralf, Off You Fuck."

What a great expression! Mind you, "You're nicked, Chummy-Bum" is still my favourite.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The one with Facebook

I added the 'Compare People' function on Facebook the other day and I have to agree with one of my friends there that the application, wherein you compare two friends and determine which is, for example, the more famous, the better marriage prospect or indeed which you'd prefer to be handcuffed to, can be thought of as a 'bit moldy'. And yet, it's quite compelling in its own way. But it reminded me today of that episode of Friends where Ross decides that sleeping with people other than Rachel would be ok as long as they were famous and on a predetermined list of five celebrities. Rachel of course takes it all as a bit of a joke, and Ross naturally takes it extremely seriously and spends the episode agonising over who should be on his approved for sleeping with list.

And so to Facebook where today I was confronted with two of my female Facebook Friends and asked the rather awkward 'who would you rather sleep with' question (answer guaranteed as anonymous thankfully). So that's been my task for this afternoon ... trying to decide.

As the starting point for a new project, yesterday I wrote to a genuine legend of broadcasting. And on that note ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

When the sun shone

I'm so unlucky in picking the right week to take a holiday that given this year's pathetic excuse for a summer you couldn't imagine that in the meteorological Russian roulette I'd manage to pick the loaded barrel and enjoyed a week away from the 9-5 in relative good weather and sunshine. But I did. So in the run-up to the incredibly long awaited move to the freelance lifestyle (that's redundancy if you want it spelt out - but, hey, I've been a 9-5 guy for so long I can only now see the positives), I grabbed a week of what Cornwall has to offer, let down my hair and relaxed. Which was great since it included a leisurely lunch gazing over the river at the Pandora Inn, a lazy ramble through the sub-tropical gardens at Trebah and down onto it's small beach where, unprepared for such nice weather at least Janet and the boys managed some paddling.

More serious watersports (if, let's face it, a somewhat overweight middle-aged man in a wet-suit can be taken seriously at all) saw Morgan and myself surfing (well, ok, body-boarding but surfing sounds so much cooler) at Portreath with, as it happened, a sizeable seal that was picking up the waves alongside us. Quite thrilling actually.

Record Collector last month featured the Hawkwind article that I'd sent them a few months back and though it needed some trimmings for over-length, it looked really good and ran to some eight pages including the full page advert taken out in support of the piece by my friends at Voiceprint Records. Really encouraging to see that in print, and in the same issue as a quick interview with Suzanne Vega that I'd unfortunately had to conduct by e-mail when all attempts to schedule a phoner into her hectic dash to Europe and the UK in July came to nowt. I've been a bit barren of major magazine pieces since the Damned interview last year so the publication of the Hawkwind piece came at a very timely moment. I'm now working up a few new ideas for various targets - following the advice I was given recently to pick ten prospects, consider what I'd pitch each of them ... and get on with it.

I also have a couple of book projects now taking shape. The Festivals book with Bridget Wishart is starting to take shape and early contributors will be receiving a questionnaire to get them started very soon now. We've received some excellent photographs from Stonehenge and elsewhere, and I'm hoping we'll be in a position to announce contracts and stuff really soon, though the wheels of publishing grind slowly. I've also started to gather material for another solo book, this time outside of the music genre so I'll say nothing more about that until I can see whether it really has good prospects, but short of there already being a work in progress on the subject in question I think it's a great chance to broaden the literary horizons.

Finally, mentioning the Damned, those old scally-wags turned up in Cornwall last Friday for their third appearance in recent years at the Falmouth Princess Pavilions. Honestly, they are a karaoke band ... but a bloody good one. They (unwisely I thought given the strength of the material) declined to play anything written this century, eschewing any tracks from 2001's Grave Disorder and dropping last years' excellent single Little Miss Disaster and keeping the set-list to Phantasmagoria and prior. But they really get the crowd going, can still pull a decent sized audience, and Dave Vanian clearly still has the wizen picture stored away in his attic that can be the only explanation for his lack of ageing over the years. I first saw them on their 10th Anniversary gig at Finsbury Park and I'd swear that Vanian looks no different now than he did then. I had my own Vanian moment once, at the insistence of the girl I was dating at the time - though it didn't do me any good in the longevity stakes I fear. Anyway, judge for your self at the gig photos I found on-line here and this photograph that surely I should have never let see the light of day.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bass Guitar Magazine

Latest issue of Bass Guitar Magazine includes an interview I did with Alan Davey a few months back. Really pleased with how this one has come out - it's one and a half pages, about 1,000 words. Covers his experiences of joining an established band at a young age, solo work and rickenbackers.

I've also this week finished up captioning some photographs for an extensive Hawkwind feature that should be appearing in Record Collector over the next couple of months.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Several Updates in Search of a Thread

OK, conversion to SAP at work and due dilligence on sale of another part of the business leaves me out of breath and barely finding time to write let alone blog. So, a few very quick updates to keep things alive and kicking here!

Update! Terrific review of Strange Boat in Record Collector this month. I am 'bang-up' biographer apparently! Of course, it's a bit like 'pants' ... I never know whether 'pants' is good or bad. It's a generation thing. But a fab review and I'm really thrilled with it. At the same time, our local paper, The West Briton, devoted a quarter page to the book (and it's author!). Lovely.

Talking about whether 'pants' is good or bad, I do recall being in St Ives one summer evening waiting for someone, when an open top car with an American tourist stopped. 'Sir, you're pants', he said. I'm stratching my head. Is that good or bad? And why does he want to tell me either way? I manage a small smile. 'Sir, you're pants' ... again. Ah, 'Sir, your pants'. My trousers have indeed been dive-bombed by a local seagull.

Update! I spent a highly enjoyable twenty minutes on a trans-atlantic phone call to Wayne Kramer of MC5 a couple of weeks back ... talking counter-culture and politics for a Q&A to go with a review of John Sinclair's Guitar Army, recently reissued as a 35th Anniversary edition. Wayne's an easy to talk to, no pretensions sort of chap and the call was highly enjoyable and quote worthy. Great stuff.

Update! Shot up to Bristol last month for the annual Comics Expo event, which mainly entailed loitering in the bar with my old mate Paul Cornell and talking comics and Doctor Who. Paul's episodes of the 3rd series of Who, 'Human Nature' and 'Family of Blood' have just been broadcast and qualify as two of the very best episodes of the show ... ever. Just thought I'd name drop next year's sure-fire Hugo award winner!

Update! Just received a few promo discs of interest. Black Widow Records, from Italy, kindly sent me review copies of their latest prog/goth releases. Taro Pede in Magiam Versus by Jacula I'll be covering in Record Collector very soon. I'm also looking to place commentary on their other discs Re-Animaton, an HP Lovecraft concept thing by Paul Roland, by Areknames and Love Hate Round Trip and Witchflower by Wicked Minds. I'm also currently working on a potential review of Yesterday I Saw You Kissing Tiny Flowers by Alison Faith Levy & Mushroom (4ZeroRecords). This weekend, my SpaceRockReviews blog should be updated with EMI's remaster of Space Ritual and the fantastic new Litmus album Planetfall, as well as the Mushroom disc I think. Meantime, check out Record Collector for my reviews of a Strawbs CD reissue and the ABWH/Yes DVD from Voiceprint Records.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Answer ...

Found on E-Bay today. The answer to the question I posed here, is, as a kindly but anonymous commenter suggested (and as I sort of suspected from seeing the first issue on Lew Stringer's blog a few months back) Target. A case of remembering the paper (a mix of strips and articles ... and free Sea Monkeys in the first edition) but not recalling the name for the life of me!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

3 G&Ts and E-Bay

Very dangerous place, E-Bay. Traps and temptations lurk for the unsuspecting and the unaware. Wistful nostalgia is rewarded with second-hand hand-me-downs of objects once cherished and long since lost or abandoned, not needed then and almost certainly not required now ... but nice to own once again to remind of past fondnesses and happy times. Then there is the 'Three Gin & Tonics' moments when the finger is trigger happy and in that warm alcohol haze the click of the mouse is that little bit easier, and that paypal account balance just a touch smaller.

I bid on a little sportscar last week - a Mazda MX-6. Didn't find the reserve for it mind and suspect I wasn't even close, though the bidding ended with me as the highest but without a sale being made. I loved that little car, just for those couple of days. It's listed again now, same opening bid and no doubt similar reserve. I'll watch it and see how it goes but temptation will be resisted.

Other wins:

A two volume biography of Edgar Rice Burroughs for £0.99 plus postage. Justifiable, who knows, I might want to write something on Burroughs myself one day.

A live Hall & Oates CD, recorded in the late 70s so around the time of X-Static I guess. Looks like it might be a bootleg of a radio show. $0.01, can't go wrong really.

Collector's Dream fanzine issue three. Marvel Comics Continuity Issue. Had this years ago, great articles. $3.50, really, a G&T moment (there's a pun in there, but it's really obsure - any takers?). I didn't need this, to be honest.

The issues I've missed so far of Newuniversal by Warren Ellis. This looks really good and I've now got issues 1-5 and just need to find some time to go through them.

Edgar Rice Burroughs - Master of Adventure by Richard Lupoff. Ace edition, nice condition. Think it was about 99p, reason for buying ... see above!

Alan Moore's League of Extraordinairy Gentleman TP. Think it was about £8. Bit disappointed actually. Expected it to be much better than the film, and it was. Expected it to be much better in general though, and it wasn't quite.

Nebula Award Stories 10. Had this, years ago. Wanted it again for 'After King Kong Fell' by Philip Jose Farmer. Won't get around to reading it. Shouldn't have bid. £0.99 again.

Massive collection of Kitchen Sink Spirit reprints. Quality comics by a giant of the industry. Hope I'll read them. One day. Was cheap though.

Freewheelers Season Six DVD. Bootleg. Sssssh.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Couple of news items

I have an interview with Hawkwind's Alan Davey available in the latest edition of Aural Innovations, available here and promoting Alan's new solo album..

I'm also scheduled to appear on BBC Radio Scotland's Radio Cafe programme sometime after 1.15pm on Tuesday 1st May to talk about Strange Boat. Aside from being broadcast across Scotland, it'll be on-line and on 'listen again' for the following week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Human on the Outside, with a Wooden Heart

Sometimes it's like the postman never stops stuffing parcels through the letterbox - and very welcome these deliveries are as well!

I was delighted to receive a package from Hawkwind's Alan Davey containing not only a copy of his wonderful new solo album, Human on the Outside, but also his Bedouin side-project's studio album As Above, So Below and Voiceprint Records' recent release of the Bedouin live album Extremely Live - 2003. It's really great to see so much of Alan's solo work being made available at the moment. Aside from the live Bedouin, Voiceprint have also reissued his earlier solo offerings Captured Rotation and Bedouin - but the icing on the cake is really the new album, which Alan has taken the plunge and released himself. It's an extremely well-presented fold-out package, with suitably psychedelic by long-time Hawkwind fan Kevin Sommers and the music contain within is some of Alan's finest work. In fact, it's not unfair to say that this album has really elevated his work to a new standard - a wide ranging vista of spacerock and cinematic boldness that is imaginative and intentive. I talked to Alan recently for an interview for the excellent website Aural Innovations which principally focused on his work outside of Hawkwind, and hopefully this'll be appearing sometime in May.

Next postal visit and I was chuffed to have been sent a copy of my old mate Martin Day's latest Doctor Who novel, Wooden Heart. I've really loved his earlier Who work, his novels with Keith Topping (Devil Goblins from Neptune and Hollow Men) and his solo books, particularly Bunker Soldiers from a few years back and I'd love to be able to comment right now on his new one. Unfortunately, unlike the old days when Doctor Who was, let's be honest, a little bit of a joke to the public en-masse, Who is everyone's favourite show and my three boys are absolutely no exception ... so as far as Marty's book, and anything else Who related, is concerned, it's take a ticket and await your turn. So I'm fourth in the queue and cannot possibly pass on my own comments on the text just yet!

On the writing front, I was really pleased to hear from my colleague Jon at work (where I continue to beaver away in the 9-5 until 31st August, but that's another story) that his partner Lisa Glass has just sold her first novel, Prince Rupert's Teardrop. It's described as a striking piece of literary fiction telling the story of a damaged middle-aged woman's troubled relationship with her mother, a nonagernerian Armenian haunted by the genocide of the Christians by the Turkish army early in the 20th Century. Lisa's posted an extract of this beautifully written work on her website as a taster of the finished novel and has another work-in-progress in hand.

On the Waterboys front, I've been provisionally asked to appear on BBC Radio Scotland's afternoon arts programme Radio Cafe, on Tuesday 1st May sometime between 13.15pm and 2pm for about 10 - 12 minutes, subject to Radio Scotland booking studio time with Radio Cornwall. And it's live this time. Yikes!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Strange Boat Now On Sale

Three cartons of books arrived on Wednesday containing copies of Strange Boat - Mike Scott & The Waterboys and so this weekend is at least partly dedicated to parcelling up complimentary copies and purchases from my own on-line sale of the book which can be found on the Ian @ Ebay sidebar link.

SAF have done their usual terrific job on presentation, a really well presented trade paperback edition that looks a substantial package for the £12.99 price point - I'm delighted with the work they've done on this. They also have it available on their new website with a nice introductory discount applicable to all their catalogue.

It's been over two years since the publication of Sonic Assassins, so whilst I'm pleased to have moved on from having just one book published (once is a nice fluke, but surely twice is the modest start of a career!). I'm very conscious that I must get another placed and in progress early, with a target of having two on contract before the year is over.

People who know me, know that change is afoot in the 9-5 life with, shall we say, a more flexible lifestyle looming and so it's the perfect opportunity to stretch my creative legs and get projects circulating and underway. I'm particularly enthusiastic about the Festivals book being planned with Bridget Wishart, as we've got some great pledges of cooperation on this one and the proposal for it looks good.

I've also very much enjoyed recent work on the PR front with Alan Davey, publicising his new CD and writing his press release - there's an area where I'd like to do more work and I'll be seeking out record labels that might subcontract copywriting to freelancers and working hard to develop this area of writing.

Exciting times ahead, I predict!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Alan Davey Solo CD Press Release

Alan Davey
Human on the Outside
Format: CD

Alan Davey, long-time bass player with legendary space rockers Hawkwind, releases his new solo album, ‘Human on the Outside’.

Brimming with Davey’s kaleidoscopic and technicolour musical ideas, Human on the Outside is destined to please long time fans of his work with Hawkwind, admirers of his previous solo outings Captured Rotation and Bedouin (both recently reissued by Voiceprint Records) and a whole new audience.

Human on the Outside is a timely reminder of Alan’s ability as a multi-talented instrumentalist featuring not only his highly regarded bass playing (he describes his style as "playing like a rhythm or lead guitar") but also his synth and six-string guitar work. The album also includes a vocal contribution (on ‘Glass Wolves’) by his Meads of Asphodel colleague Metatron.

"It’s eclectic" notes Davey. "This album is way ahead of anything I’ve done before. There are deep, atmospheric, sounds and some really unusual rock numbers. It’s still clearly me – but it sounds like nothing I’ve ever done before, it has a real filmic quality to it. I’m always stretching myself as a musician and trying to do something totally different, really experimenting with sounds. This one is really on the button."
Available from

"Davey remains an inventive and imaginative composer"
Record Collector Magazine

"If Alan Davey were cut down the middle, he’d have Hawkwind written through him"
Hawkwind – Sonic Assassins (SAF Publishing, 2004)

For further information & interviews, please contact:
Ian Abrahams
T: 07722519266

Saturday, March 03, 2007

'This is the Sea' BBC Radio Scotland

Little bit of advance warning on this, but I'm featured on BBC Radio Scotland on 15th March at 11.30am (I think that's the correct time but will post again nearer the time) for their series on 'Classic Scottish Albums'. They're featuring the Waterboys 'This is the Sea', which I did an interview for towards the end of last year. Preview disc arrived today and I'm delighted to find that, contary to expectation, not only are my contributions included, but they've worked some sort of wizardry to make me sound sane and human! Actually it's a good little documentary, with a lot of commentary from Mike Scott on the recording of the album and his influences at the time.This will be available via the Internet and the BBC's 'Listen Again' service so I'll post around some links nearer the time.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Waving the Waterboys book off on its journey.

This should be the week that ‘Strange Boat – Mike Scott & The Waterboys’ goes to press. I signed off on final page proofs a few days back and agreed the final photograph selection, wrote up the acknowledgement page and decided on the dedication.

I’m rather pleased with the final result. SAF have done their usual fine work on presentation, selecting an excellent cover shot and a fine and eye-catching design. It’s been quite a learning curve this one. ‘Hawkwind – Sonic Assassins’ had the benefit of a dedicated and knowledgeable read-through team supporting it. This time I’ve been working in a much more solitary way, reading interviews with Mike Scott, talking to former associates, trawling the Internet for information – and, principally, absorbing his autobiographical song writing. He’s been a fascinating subject for study.

Compared with the Hawkwind book, it’s a very different beast. ‘Sonic Assassins’ was essentially the story of a band and their position in a rather quirky, English underground scene. ‘Strange Boat’, in contrast, though I set off with a similar tone in mind, evolved into a biography of Mike Scott as a person just as much as it’s a history of his band.

And so, promotion aside, it’s on to pastures new. I have my regular material for ‘Record Collector’ churning over and I need to broaden that out a bit and get into profile writing for what we used to call ‘the broadsheets’ – that’ll be a key goal this year for sure. I’m working on acquiring an agent and have some possible meetings to line-up for my next visit to London. And I need to get another book (or two!) off the ground – there’s been a sizeable gap between Hawkwind and the Waterboys and I must make sure that the gap is lessened between Waterboys and the next offering.

And the first project is already circulating and under consideration. I’m working on a project with Bridget Wishart (formerly Hawkwind singer/performer) on the 1980s/early 90s Free Festival scene, seen through the eyes of attendees, performer, musicians and organisers. We’ve already got expressions of interest from potential contributors and a publisher looking at the proposal – and some preliminary design ideas – and I think this looks a really good prospect.

But I’ll also be developing a couple of other ideas that have been bouncing around the walls of Abie’s Place – projects to take me out of just the music journalism arena and move me into a wider ‘media’ journalism. So it’s an exciting time for more reasons than just the imminent Waterboys publication date and I’m pumped up for it.