Monday, 18 October 2021

More Music / Poetry / Creative News

 









A few more bits of news I forgot to mention the other day

1) I've had a poem published in a wonderful magazine called 'The Adriatic' from my forthcoming 'Robot Noir' poetry collection called 'Venus'. You can see this here

2) I've had two more Ocean in a Bottle tracks accepted for the next forthcoming Compilation 'Ambient Online Compilation: Volume 14'. Not seen a release date for this yet but it'll be November I reckon and will be online here as a free download to stream / download.

3) I am not sure if I have being publishing on my blog - all of the segments from the Poetry Mini Interview blogs

Here are Part 2Part 3 and Part 4. Part 5 the finale will follow next Sunday

Sunday, 17 October 2021

New Music releases / Podcasts / possible prose awards etc

 












Busy week this week or so here is a list of a few things which have come up over the past week or so:


1) Eat the Storms – A few weeks back I was featured on the excellent Poetry Podcast called “Eat the Storms” and was delighted to hear yesterday that Amanda my wife has now being featured on the last show in this current series

https://eatthestorms.com/2021/10/16/eat-the-storms-the-podcast-podcast-episode-15-season-3/ (Available on all the usual networks too)


2) My band Ocean in a Bottle has a new track ‘Running into the oceans at Mars City to escape from Cicadas Broodx’ released on a new comp ran by several labels, but my Ocean in a Bottle is on the part by Camembert Electrique which can be found here

https://camembertelectrique.bandcamp.com/track/running-into-the-oceans-at-mars-city-to-escape-from-cicadas-broodx (Pay what you want to stream / download)

I have fairly recently relaunched my old project from my Hicc Records days, Distance (Similarish to Ocean in a Bottle but much free form drone noise) and was delighted to see they had selected a track for them too – this can be heard here

https://alfa00.bandcamp.com/album/cicada17requiem-defgh (Track 11) (Pay what you want to stream / download)

alfra00 who released the Distance did a preview of the four albums with a short mega mix of all 128 or so tracks into one 12 minute mix. I think I can hear bits from Distance and Ocean in a Bottle there. Either way, its interesting..

https://alfa00.bandcamp.com/album/preview-cicada17requiem (Free download)


3) Have had it confirmed a another new track by Ocean in a Bottle and another track by Distance (Really starting to get going again with Distance it has to be said) are both appearing to appear on a new comp on Halloween by the wonderful aural films on 31st October 2021

See https://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/ for more details


4) Camembert Electrique also have a series of singles (or another various artists album) coming out before the end of the year on Silence and I have a 17 odd minute track lined up for release with him. This has had early comparisons to 2001 A Space Odyssey – I think you are all going to love this track too. They are also after tracks on Christmas for another Comp. I’ll be working on that this week.


5) Amanda and myself have both had emails come through today from Hannah Kate off Hannah Kate’s bookshelf for her 3 Minute Scares programme on her radio programme on North Manchester FM on Saturday 30th October advising we have both made the shortlist for it for this year. Personally I will be surprised if I win it, but I am still very honored and touched to be shortlisted and will certainly be tuning it. The radio programme can be tuned into on Saturday 30th October from 2pm to 4pm at https://northmanchester.fm/ (Hannah Kate also does a backup on Mixcloud afterwards at https://www.mixcloud.com/Hannahs_Bookshelf/) and her website which explains more is https://hannahkate.net/3-minute-scares/)


Listings to follow on more Spoken Label to follow (Plenty going on) 


Monday, 11 October 2021

Returning Spoken Word Poetry Open Mic Nights (East Manchester / Stockport) and Speak Easy News

 








Nothing to do with me or Amanda (in the sense of running) and currently it is 50 - 50 whether we will be attending because we are have both got colds (Nothing covid related) but two poetry evenings I note are returning this week which we both have enjoyed in the past are: 


1) Black Cat Poets.

Spoken Word Open Mic. Ran by Scott Fellows at The CREATE Centre / Tamesite Arts Centre at 8, Market Street, Denton, Manchester, M34 (This is very near Denton Library) on Weds 14 October 2021 starting at 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Free admission.

Email Scott for more details: blackcatpoets@yahoo.com


2) Write Out Loud Stockport.

Spoken Word Open Mic. Ran by John F Keane as part of Write Out Loud at Stockport Art Gallery at Stockport Art Gallery, Wellington Rd South, Stockport SK3 8AB (Side entrance). Start 7pm to 9pm on thursday 15 October 2021.

Email John for more details: j_f_keane@talktalk.net 

Admission Fee: £1.50 (but best to doublecheck)


Believe both nights will be on the same date each month. 

Thanks to everybody for the interest in Speak Easy last night, we filled up all of the slots very quickly. I'll release the names etc tomorrow.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Keith A Pearson – The 86 Fix (Book Review)

 














Blurb:

On the way home from school in 1986, Craig Pelling decided to buy a can of Coke. He wasn't to know a seemingly innocuous visit to the local newsagent would dramatically change the course of his life. Consequently, Craig now lives in a loveless marriage and earns a living in a dead-end job as the manager of an electrical store. He could have been so much more. He could have achieved so much more.

But fate hasn't finished with Craig Pelling.

A school reunion proves to be the catalyst for chaos, and decades on from his visit to that newsagent, Craig's mundane life is turned upside down as his past comes back to haunt him. As he plummets towards rock-bottom, all seems lost for Craig until he's thrown a lifeline — the miraculous lifeline of a brief trip back in time to 1986. Will he be able to fix his life? Is it as simple as just reverting one decision he made over thirty years ago?

Craig is about to find out.


Strengths:

Yeah, a time travel book. This book is about a middle aged man called Craig Pelling.To put it frankly, his life is in a mess. He is about to lose his job owning to an old enemy from school, his marriage is in pieces because of one mistake he made when he was 16.

What was a pleasure to read about this book was the character Craig. He clearly isn’t the brightest spark in the world shall we say but he’s charming and has that underdog with a great sense of barbed humour kind of feel that has you rooting for you right from the beginning even when things start to go really wrong for him and then by chance he has the chance to go back to that day where everything goes wrong and change it for the better.

And does he? Well, thats not for me to tell.

I will say however, it was also a book that was pretty quick to read. Normally with books, they tend to take me usually a few weeks to read, Billy Summers for example – I did this in about a week while on my honeymoon and I had my now wife saying to me several times what was making me chuckle somewhat which was that.

What did it help it was the backing cast with numerous cameos from certain people who I won’t name who I think each balanced out the main character, some of which really dragged him and others helped pull out – building up nicely a full formed character with him.


Weaknesses:

Two things really – the build up leading to him stepping back in time, it simply was a bit long I felt but I loved it when he got there and tried fixing everything even though that felt a bit rushed.

Secondly, the ending.. I should have checked before I got the book but it turns the too long set up was leading to a sequel which left things dangling massively in mid air badly.

I will get the second book in due course but it was very frustrating to put it nicely.

A shame as it could have being a 10 without that, its a 8 otherwise.




Thursday, 7 October 2021

Minka Kent – The Watcher Girl (Book Review)

 












Blurb:

Eight years ago, Grace McMullen broke Sutton Whitlock’s heart when she walked away. But it was only to save him from the baggage of her own troubled past. Now all she wants is to make sure he’s okay.

Only everything she learns about him online says otherwise. According to his social media accounts, he placed roots in her hometown, married a look-alike, and even named his daughter Grace. He clearly hasn’t moved on. In fact, it’s creepy. So Grace does what any concerned ex-girlfriend would do: she moves home…and watches him.

But when Grace crosses paths with Sutton’s wife, Campbell, an unexpected friendship develops. Campbell has no idea whom she’s inviting into her life. As the women grow closer, it becomes clear to Grace that Sutton is not the sentimental man she once knew. He seems controlling, unstable, and threatening. And what a broken man like Sutton is capable of, Grace can only imagine. It’s up to her to save Campbell and her baby now—but while she’s been watching them, who’s been watching her?


Strengths and weaknesses:

First of all, this was quite a brief book 286 pages or so and gets off to a very creepy start indeed with Grace for some reason deciding to check on her ex’s heart only to discover there is something really, really creepy going on and she decides to move back home to her family who she had some issues with shall we say, yeah.


The first 100 pages or so were really tense and as the book is fairly short it worked really well and didn’t really hang around when things threatened to explode, and then did proved fairly easy to read despite the book having faults which I’ll then come onto next.


Weaknesses:

First of all, the central character Grace. It isn’t the fact with her character, she’s unlikeable but simply ridiolious as well as unrealistic. I know in this kind of situation like with this kind of a end of a relationship and considering how selfish she us, I struggled with her character in particular when she proved just too unlikeable for the first four or five chapters.

I don’t read tons of thrillers, but even I could see the twist that came around the 100 page almost from the start which apart from being ridiliuous and took me out of the narrative and made me glad the book was only 286 pages otherwise it would have proved really painful to read.

6/10



Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Stephen King - Billy Summers (Book Review)

 











From legendary storyteller and No. 1 bestseller Stephen King, whose 'restless imagination is a power that cannot be contained' (The New York Times Book Review), comes a thrilling new novel about a good guy in a bad job.

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He's a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he'll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This spectacular can't-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It's about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

You won't put this story down, and you won't forget Billy.


*

Strengths:


I personally know Stephen King through his horror stories, and although I know he has being varying it over the past few years, this turn into a crime thriller was a major surprise to me and something I personally came about the regular newsletter from comics crimewriter Ed Brukabker who raved it and I can see why with this book.


Composed through the eyes of a hired killer, Billy Summers the book is split into three separate parts, but woven together to create an intricate tale of love, war, justice and vengeance. The protagonist is a complex killer carrying around a head full of demons, yet a Robin Hood, who champions those who have been wronged.


I found this structure quite surprising as this could have easily being split into two books, even though the book is far from the longest book I have ever read by Mr King and perhaps proved one of the most surprising when during Act 2 you could say he rescues a young lady called Alice who literally turns his life inside out.


Respect to the author here as the relationship between Summers and Alice doesn’t go in a direction I didn’t think it would during the second Act and what happens in the third Act but the journey he goes on and the impact Alice and the way she influences both him and his friend Bucky is interesting and really touching and gives


Weaknesses:


I did think the pacing was a bit slow during Act 1 and I was glad the author made the choice to do what he did with it to speed us into meeting Alice, although I do think he could trimmed a chunk out of this section as when Alice came into the book, the book completely changed gears (for the better too)


I wasn’t also fully convinced with the bits of a novel within a novel as I’ve read better examples of that (Paul Auster has done that at least twice better) and I was a little concerned in places of the way Alice seemed to take like a duck to water with wanting to get involved in being a killer / get involved in a mission.


I did think too the choice to tell the story in the third person was a curious choice and perhaps not a approach I would have attempted but it just about works for me here although it is not a complete success.

I enjoyed the book on a whole and it was quite a change in tone from some of his previous books that’s for sure.


8/10


Speak Easy cancelled for October

 








Sadly owning to ill health, Speak Easy has being cancelled for October.

We shall be back in November as normal.