Archive for September, 2010

Less Than Nothing….

September 26, 2010

I have some more ambitious posts planned, but it’s dark outside and I don’t have it in me to finish them off and put something nice and new up to start the week.  Instead, I’m taking the easy way out and posting a non-event, rather like reading the news instead of making it.  So, here goes: Royal Chant has just released it’s second EP, Starts & Stutters, and we’re giving it away all kamikaze-Radiohead style by making it available for download and allowing you to pay whatever the hell you want, including absolutely nothing.

Whether rightly or wrongly, that’s the way things are going these days, and I can’t say that I mind terribly much.  A lot has been written about the music industry: how we got here, where we’re headed, the importance of a good band stylist, etc, but quite frankly I just don’t care.  I would rather go back to college algebra than discuss the music industry.   Honestly, I’d rather teach college algebra rather than discuss the music industry.  I can’t lament losing any money coz I’ve never had any, so I’m still operating in the noise level where getting your song on the radio is a big deal.  When that stops giving me a buzz then maybe I’ll start using terms like “leverage”, “key demographic”, “market saturation”, and “Hey, we sold something!”

Get yer kicks out and grab a copy here.  We want you to have it.  If you’re feeling really spunky you can tell your friends and help us spread the word.  We’re proud of the album, but we have bigger and better things on the way.   The only reason I’m dropping my demure facade and boasting of future triumph is because we’ve finished work on our next album, which is a nice but rare situation.  The next release in an LP, called “Raise Your Glass & Collapse”, and it certainly dispenses with a of the pop niceties that have snuck onto our previous releases. 

Writing a song used to constitute roughly 1/3 of it’s journey (with teaching it to the band and then performing it live rounding out the pie chart), but now that initial feat constitutes a far smaller percentage of a much larger and longer process.  I won’t bore you with the details, because I bore myself just thinking about them, but it’s enough to say that it has changed.  Even adding another guitarist adds an extra layer of disconnect, although the gains are well, well worth it.   I count myself lucky that I’m still in a band that keeps things as simple as possible, but I do miss those absolutely pure garage days.

What was I talking about?  I’m not sure anymore.  Perhaps next time I will regale my readers with quaint stories of life on the road, with emphasis on the foibles of not playing country music when playing in country pubs for country audiences.


Until then, give us listen if you’re so inclined, and make sure you play it loud.


It’s a boy!

September 14, 2010

Relax, it’s also kitten.

Save your congratulatory wishes, cigars, and champagne.  It’s a cat.  I’m starting to think, whether rightly or wrongly, that a household pet might be all that I am fit to handle.  Not because they are such a handful, but because I have a bad track record with houseplants and am gaining a reputation for being selfish and completely irresponsible.

But now we’ve got the little bugger on our hands, and I must say that I’m quite taken with him.  It’s a fairly hard heart that isn’t moved by the sight of a kitten or puppy, and though world history has shown there is no shortage of such monsters I can safely conclude that I’m fairly normal when it comes to the acceptable range of heart-tugging stimuli.

Elliot is like most kittens, in that he get into everything and it’s nigh impossible to get angry no matter how great the mess is.  Scattered papers, falling books, strewn socks, and the occasional lightning theft drink from our glasses on the table: it’s endearing behavior now, and there is every likelihood that I will continue to find it so.  I’m not much for discipline, quite possibly because I do the above activities myself.  People don’t seem to have a resistance to getting mad at me, so perhaps that’s the difference.

Here he is, lying on my chest while I read, with his strong purr showing all signs of vigor & vitality.  For the first time since I arrived in Australia, I have a little friend of my own, and I am glad for it.  Even though I’m still a bit uneasy about the selfish reasons behind my desire and satisfaction, I can quell my hesitation long enough to enjoy his company.

I think back to all the pets I’ve had since I was a kid, and I miss them all in their own way, some very much so, and some with that tinge of regret that comes from not knowing them well at all.  It’s rather hard to lament a dog that has run away when you only had him for 2 days, but easy enough to lament losing the chance to know him.

So, this being the only pet I’ve acquired in many years, it does feel differently.  I look at this little fellow and wonder if he will still be lying on my lap in ten, fifteen, or even twenty years.  What am I to make of this companion?   Even as I smile at his antics, I feel something sad.  Though I may know why, I’m not sure I could articulate in in any way.  It’s just something there.

It’s been done before, and will doubtless be done many, many, many times yet, but since I’ve always been fond of Christopher Smart’s “For I will consider My Cat Geoffrey”, this seems like a suitable occasion.  Of course I am projecting my own personal romantic notions onto the poor soul, but I’ve always been moved by the idea of this tender, gifted, and insane young poet being locked away from the world and finding a friend in the resident feline.  Perhaps he created Geoffrey in that sense.  In all likelihood, Geoffrey was completely indifferent to Smart’s suffering, and that is exactly what makes him a cat.

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry. [from Jubilate Agno]

by Christopher Smart

For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbor.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defense is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord’s poor, and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually—Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can sit up with gravity, which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick, which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master’s bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God’s light about him both wax and fire.
For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.