2012, Twenty-Twelve, Two Thousand Twelve.

I don’t normally do an end of year report, or I have never done one before. But they seem to be the trend of today. It’s early in the morning and I have already come across several people’s thoughts of the year.So, this year, I’ve decided to do one. Last year (2011) was an incredibly emotional year, the Christmas/New Year period was too raw and too many things had changed for me to pluck up the courage to talk about it all. It’s still a sore issue and this year has been equally emotional, but I have a long last found my voice.

2012 has been a year of huge ups and downs. One of the great things about this year is, as I say, I have found my voice. I have finally moved along the road of my great ambition to write. This blog is a part of that, and while I don’t post often I still manage to keep it alive. Meeting some other writers in November, as well as getting advice from the professionals has been brilliant. I have written a lot more this year than I ever have before. I’m very close to finishing one story (that I intend to finish today – it really must be done in 2012 or it’s taken far too long) and with some luck and hard work I may feature in an independent anthology next year. I’m really looking forward to writing that story but there is a way to go before that happens yet. I will try to keep everyone posted.

But despite that, there have been some huge downs this year for me. I’ve been to some very dark places (which I guess has influenced my need to write as well as what I write) because of personal things that have happen. I don’t want to go in to too much detail, and I don’t ever want to place blame. 2011 was a horrible year emotionally and that continued into 2012, where things have not go much better. I’m incredibly happy that I am able to be friends with my ex-girlfriend, and happy that she has moved on. But the fallout from everything that happened, 18 months later, still hurts. Lost friends and broken bridges break my heart. No matter how much I try to do the right thing, someone always ends up getting hurt, and for that I’m sorry, I never want to bring hurt to anyone. There are some people I would like to say sorry to, but have no means. As I say, I don’t want to go in to detail, it’s probably not fair. But if you ask, I will probably wax lyrical.

I know some people will probably say “Oh but you’ve had a great year, what are you moaning about?!”. But to them I say, some things in life are more important than possessions or achievements.

This year, my band played the Download Festival. Yes, it was fucking amazing, yes I’m incredibly lucky to have done it! But you know what the worst thing about it is? It was so incredible, so unexpected that it still feels like a dream. I still don’t believe I actually played, despite being there and seeing photographic evidence. And the further it gets away the more it seems like an illusion, like some fabrication of my fragile mind. Also, Download was a pretty sad time for me (again? yes I know, I moan a lot!) Seeing Metallica for the first time in years without certain company was incredibly heart-wrenching, so much so that I could barely talk to those I was with and had to go to the bar to excuse myself.

I guess I do look forward to 2013. There should be some good things happening, with some luck. But I also dread it. I dread hearing something that I knows is incredibly possible, that may well break me and I hate not knowing. I also hate not knowing if long lost friends are okay and I know that will continue in to 2013. But we will see, tomorrow is a day like any other but it is also the start of a new year and who knows what it will hold?

 

I suppose I should finish this with an album and film of the year. My album of this year is Dead End Kings by Katatonia and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone. ‘The Longest Year’ from their previous album is still my favourite song and therefore favourite song of this year. It has helped me when I’ve felt down and one of the things I intend to do next year is get the lyrics tattooed on the inside of my left arm (Nothing Else Matters lyrics on the inside of my right arm). I just need to pluck up the courage first! My favourite film by far is the Dark Knight Rises. I absolutely loved the end to a fantastic trilogy of films. The jury is still out on the Hobbit.

Let me give you a sample of the lyrics from three select songs off their new album (but all the songs and lyrics are on the album are beautiful):

The Parting

“In the weak light

I saw you becoming the lie.

Taking it all for granted, like freedom.

It’s something you’ll never have.”

Ambitions

“At night walking on the tracks
Change my perspective
Idle hands with wounds and cracks
Stale
Ineffective
But past the veil
The memories of things
Still so in love with you

So dense this strife
Kicked the life
I feel this weight upon my heart

Indecision
Sow the seed
Aspiration is never within reach
At night there is no other view
Sing a song for the ones who never made it”

Dead Letters

“Dim my lights
Time is frail
You shut my mind
But oh well
Trapped and choked
Erased my trail
Split the chest
My heart couldn’t feel more pale
Only once
Could I see clear

Vexation
Internal void
My dreams are getting darker and darker
And darker”

 

The following are the lyrics I’m thinking about getting tattooed:

“In the nights of old I always wished
In the longest year that had me down
And I would freeze if you ever asked me
That was my way”

Or at least the first two lines.

 

Well thank you for reading and I hope I haven’t depressed you too much.

Happy New Year and good luck for 2013!

 

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Musicings

Today’s blog is about music in a way. D’ya like the title? Well I thought it was clever!

When I write I’ll listen to music. It’s much more conducive to work than say, putting on the telly or even the radio. Both of those are pretty distracting. (I still have Facebook open – why I could not tell you – an evil distraction in itself) but rather than say, stick an album of my favourite band on and attempt to write, I’ll listen to a soundtrack instead. I find the problem with putting a band on is that you get stuck in the music or the lyrics. If I’m trying to write a 40k piece while singing along to some Clapton, it doesn’t quite work. I also end up doing that horrible thing where you end up writing down what people say. Regular texters will know what I mean!

Soundtracks on the other hand are great. In essence they are designed not to detract from the film or series so make excellent background music. They can also instil a feeling of epicness, which is great when you’re writing. You can really get in the mood and feel every gunshot and explosion. My most recent soundtrack(s) of choice are from the Chris Nolan Batman films. I really love Hans Zimmer’s work and it really gets me in the mood for writing. I also love the films, but that’s a story for another day!

Today I put on the soundtrack from the film Moon, on recommendation from not one but two friends. Sitting here listening to it has made me think, wow, what a film! I can’t wait to watch it again (I have it in my pile of Blu-rays that need watching…) This soundtrack really puts you in the zone, just from listening to how the music is crafted you can really feel the suspense and intrigue, the feeling of not really being sure what is happening. For those of you who haven’t watched the film, I thoroughly recommend it. It’s pretty much classic science fiction, but that isn’t a bad thing, there are some nods to and a feel of 2001 in some parts. The story is about a guy who is working on a lunar facility, waiting to finish his 3 year (I think that’s right?) shift, so that he can go home and see his family. Although, not everything is how it seems and a series of accidents starts to unravel a horrible truth. If you like suspense and intrigue then go watch this film now! Plus the soundtrack is worth listening to in it’s own right.

Oh, on another music related note. A friend of mine linked me to ‘Meco – Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk‘ on Youtube. Please, for your sake go and check it out. It’s amazing, that’s all I need to say…

It is also a music related blog because my band (Lazarus Syndrome www.lazarus-syndrome.com) are playing a gig tonight. All the way in Southport and we’re not on till 11 so I’m going to need a lot more coffee between now and then! If you’re in the area come check us out at the Fox and Goose. If not, then go find us on Facebook and give us a like!

Right, I’m off to do some proper writing! Including rewriting some rather boring Music Business lectures that I’ve been meaning to do for, hmmm maybe a year?

Then listen to the Football! Woo, yeah it’s back. Come on you Gunners!

Ahem, excuse me…thanks for reading!

Song Lyrics

I never really used to listen too much to song lyrics, being a guitarist/bass player in bands I was always drawn much more to the melodies and tunes of songs. But recently, with my idea to try and get more in to writing I have started to listen to and pay more attention to lyrics of songs and what they mean.

So that brings me to yesterday when I was listening to one of my favourite albums from last year, Anathema’s “We’re Here Because We’re Here”. Anathema are quite well known for their heartfelt, well-written lyrics. But the thing that actually stood out to me is a quote at the very end of the album which goes as follows:

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. There is no disease that enough love cannot heal, No door that enough love will not open, No gulf that enough love will not bridge, and no war that enough love will not throw down. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outcome, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. And if you could love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful person in the world.”

The main thing that made this stand out was the fact it’s so eloquently written. I only wish I could write something so meaningful and heartfelt as that, everything I write in comparison seems contrived and forced. Maybe I will learn one day, maybe I don’t need to try so hard. I had a brief look to see who had actually written it and it comes from a gentleman called Emmet Fox who was apparently a very well regarded religious writer at the turn of the previous century.

Now I wasn’t drawn to this quote for any religious connotations, don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-religious in any way, shape or form (even though I play in metal bands). I actually come from a very Christian family, CofE mother and a Catholic father. I have even done first holy communion myself. I also think it’s important for people to have faith or a belief. A belief in yourself and faith that if you want something, that you can achieve it. These two ideas are very important to our lives and also feature very heavily in religion. Some might argue, driving those ideas home is what religion is about. No, what I mean is that I don’t generally like the way religious content is written, I can’t really explain why. Maybe it is because it always seems as if you are being forced to do things rather than encouraged. Who knows.

I seem to have gone off at a tangent. I guess the main point of this blog was to give me something to write. From speaking to authors the one thing that was always very evident was that you should try to write at least something everyday. I’ve managed to write short passages in my notebook every day (except a couple of bad days I must admit!) since March, when I started trying to take this seriously. If you are interesting in writing yourselves, I would recommend reading “The Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey” by Chuck Wendig, this was actually recommended to me by Graham McNeill himself and it is a brilliant read. It’s hilarious and has some priceless advice.

Also I recommend having a listen to that Anathema album, great listening!

I will hopefully be back in a couple of days with some actual stories. Once again, thanks for reading!