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.