Friday, 22 July 2016

...and what could be more entertaining than that!?

Will the collective memory of the internet lead to cultural stasis?

That's the interesting and brand new, exciting question I've been re-asking myself.

I was going to write, like many others have, about Latitude festival (where we played and stayed last week), but - unlike other people who have written about it - I don't even know if there's anything to write about.

It is thought that fiction allows you to empathise better with people and situations (see: Alien). It could be seen almost as a kind of exposure therapy to help us contextualise future experience. This is usually something said of written fiction, but I prefer the example of when the band went to Slovenia and while the vast, cool mountains of that country filled all of us with a deep sense of joy and peace, I couldn't escape the voice in the back of my head that said “Yeah, but I've seen it all before in Skyrim.” (For the uncultured swine: Skyrim is a video game.) The only difference is that in Skyrim, people talk to me.

So the reviews that I've read of the festival mostly consist of a dispassionate list of acts, and submissions for an apparent competition to see who can least creatively describe tents and trees and people in a field. And I wonder if that's because where in decades past there would be a new review every year, nowadays every review or story from every year remains available online, so there's nothing really left to say, or, more importantly, for the reader to know. If 2016 was basically as good as 2014, you have to write something the same, but different, and only different for the sake of having a review of the 2016 version of the event.

But is it possible that we have been so exposed to this kind of permanently available media (Photo no: 3429485325485439464348543574584345. Caption read: “Look! Young people at Glastonbury covered in mud!”) that the glut of available descriptions of the event and subsequent 'exposure therapy' has desensitised us to some degree to the actual experience?

("Ha! Look! Someone diving into the mud pool!" "There are twenty videos on the Guardian 2013 archived live-feed of the best festival-mud-dives 2010-2012. They're much better if not exactly the same." "OK. I'm off to watch Paul McCartney again." etc.)

There are categories and formats that dictate whether or not the content (reviews, media, etc.) - and the thoughts and perceptions contained within - can be recognised as such. It appears to me that what matters in a (hypothetically) desenstitised world is not what the highlights of the festival were, but only that there were highlights. The answer to “What were the highlights?” no longer necessitates the name of an act or event, but more “What were the highlights, you ask!? The highlights were good!” because the elements of a review (and to some extent our own personal expectations of our experience) have been so categorised that it matters only that the criteria for a review or experience were fulfilled, rather than a more abstract sense of what elements made this experience different/of and/or better/worse/tinsel than/from the rest/others./

So are we in danger of entering a period of cultural stasis brought about by the permanence of electronic memory inadequately servicing a desensitised audience who respond to contextual format (commonly labelled content) over actual experiential and/or narratively justified content?

On another topic, we've been practising hard through the heat and the haze, ready for Blue Dot festival this weekend. It's a festival not only about music, but about space and science and stuff, which we like, so that should be interesting even though I could just look up and the sky and be all like “I've seen it all before.”

We're also booking dates and that, for touring and stuff. Even though we've done that already.

We're also booking dates and that, for touring and stuff. Even though we've done that already.

You've already read that bit.

(We're also rescheduling the launch gig. Sorry about all that. Trewin is much better than he was. It was a bad few days. We will make it up to you.)

So it's Friday. The goose is getting fatter and I've got to find some stories to tell.

Grin at someone this weekend. It doesn't matter who.

And grin. Don't smile. Grin. If you smile, I'll know. It's not the same. Give them a knowing grin.

I'm telling you, it's not the same.

And I will know.


PS. I promise you something fun from Blue Dot. I promise. Perhaps a treatise on common wheel-arch design and the modern people carrier. Or a drawing of me rubbing a tank.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

I don't know if we're going to party, or fall down in a heap on the floor.

Is it excitement?

Is that what this is?

It's a curious combination.

What do you feel?

Where do you think our lives are, right now?

On the release of Display and Bloodworks, there was apprehension – how will it be received? What will it mean for us? etc. - but here, with Volition, there's none of that. No doubt at all. Any sense of anything left undone (narf) has fallen away. Maybe that's all that had to happen, but I know I didn't anticipate feeling like this.

As you may have heard, Jeb's not playing with us anymore. Doubtless that's part of the rare-pet-shop of feelings that surround tomorrow's release. He'll still be around (meaning he'll poke his head out of his bedroom door when he hears the kettle boiling) but he's changing his focus, for now. Is everyone happy? Something like that. Is everyone sad? Something like that. Suddenly, Volition makes sense.

So now two of the most bizarre years of everyone's lives are coming to a close. What is there to say that doesn't put us at some removed point? What is there about our alienation in this that can allow us to connect?

That peculiar heightened state of pure joy, perhaps, tinged at every edge with sadness at the end of things.

And isn't that what we're all about?

Roll on tomorrow, with its mountains of words and heaps of playlists and airplay.

Roll on the next few weeks, with gigs and interviews and movement and all that stuff. And all their surprises.

They've just called me to practice. Literally, at this moment. See; everything keeps going.

So I'd better go.

Have fun, listen to the album tomorrow, and remember what my girlfriend often tells me: nothing is as big as it seems from your own point of view.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Pick it up.

We've been away.

The album got done, so we packed up and shipped out. Our faces had become to each other like the lost keys you keep scanning over, but never actually see and recognise. We saw more of each other's noses in that time than we did of walls. I don't even consider the guys as people any more - they're now just cardboard cut outs with loudspeakers attached, repeating the same stuff over and over again about reversing the car to get off their leg.

So we span in our various directions, for a while. Sure, we had a party or two, but all work stuff has been getting done over Skype and messenger services and things. It's been that kind of time. All briefs and contracts and mock-ups and things like that. You know, the gleeful stuff.

We've all been away on our respective desert islands, biking around the countryside, sitting in front of screens editing videos or other music or personal projects; scrubbing tiles in an underground kitchen somewhere - slinking our psyches into the shredder of life to try and take some of the thatness away. 

Consider our last few weeks a weekend with the kids at a leisure park, where only once or twice has it been necessary to duck behind a tree and take a phone call from Louise about the Marchester account. Tell them it was sorted on the twenty-third and I'll get Bill to call the contractors about upgrading the roofing.

We're very lucky to have a number of very good people doing things like releasing the singles and sorting tickets at gigs and things and all that monkey hair that turns to mush in such precious brains as the band members'. Thank you here, monkey hair manipulators.

So PRAISE THE CEILING we're meeting up in person today for the first time in ages to sort out some last bits of peripheral artwork, and really get some more of it done, yeah? Everyone's going to be happy about that.

Trewin will sashay into the room two hours late, big sunglasses on his face, one arm out to the side, asking what the fuck we want him for – he's got a car waiting, he's got other things to be doing, and who are we?

Seryn will be sat in the middle of the floor, cross-legged. In his right hand will be a toy train and it will be flying through the air. It will be making a “brum, brum” sound.

Jeb will have his PC set up in the lounge, and will be rocking backwards and forwards. His eyes will be red from coffee and strain, and he will be muttering to himself. Something about aliasing. He will look pale and ill.

Ed will be hoovering, checking behind the back of the sofa Jeb is sat on, and asking Seryn to make sure all the play-doh stays on the table, please, because he's not going to scrub that out of the carpet if someone steps on it.

I will probably be sat in the corner. Alone. Speaking to the floor. After a while the others will look at each other and ask “When's Tim getting here?”

And after ten hours we will looks at a picture that we no longer recognise and collectively shrug and say “Alright then.”


So Volition's out on 3rd June, and we've had a few singles out and all that. Thanks for your support on this, all. We're really glad these things get such good responses and we're really glad people like them.

We've got to get back into the swing of it all after this little break. Spring is here. It's time for drinks outdoors, yes? It's time for “fun” in the “sun”, isn't it? Isn't it? That's what we're supposed to be doing, isn't it? Those are the rules, aren't they? That's what it's all for in the end, isn't it? Five minutes in the British sunshine, eh? 


Isn't it?

It's Thursday already. Wednesday seems like it was only yesterday.

Pretty slick stuff, I insist you'll agree.

Now get out there and kick your life in the chutney without fear of losing your shoe.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

an album

Taken from The pre-musician's guide to advanced post-musical production, b3rd edition, (2013).


How to make an album, by Timothy Douglas (bass).

IF you are one of those people who takes the miragic carousel of life as real (IF), then congratulations: you are living in The Modern World. In this The Modern World, among the more popular things to do is to make music for listening. Music for listening can iron out your worries/shirts, liven up a boring funeral, or make you cry at just everything that's wrong.

No wonder it so as this popular!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and!!!!!!

Music, much like a plumber's tool, comes in "information boxes". These "fo-bos" are delivered in different shapes. Smaller fo-bos, called “EPs” often come as packs of four (4) or five (4) songs or “tracks”. Fo-bos of ten (and/or 11) tracks or "songs" are “albums”. “It is albums about which we for an will be looking at today.” She said.

To make an album in The Modern World, there are ten things you need to do. We will start with number four (5):

4 (5). Miss your deadlines.

A deadline is called a dead line for a reason; it is the place in space where dead lines reside.


  • Draw a line on a sheet of paper.

  • Did you create this line? Or have you simply caused a small part of a line that already existed to manifest? This line clearly existed before you (unless you invented the possibility of geometry! (Which you didn't!)-!!and), and so is infinite and therefore better than you. You're not even as good as a line.

  • Rest.

If you think about this as correctly as I have, you will understand that the place where all lines exist preeminently is a place to which you do not want to go. Neither is it a place you will want to think about. Steer well clear, then. Ignore the “deadlines” that punctuate your ever accelerating progress.

7. Run out of your money.

“I have all the money in the world!” said the man who never finished his homework. Why would you finish your homework when you have all the money in the world? You wouldn't. I never finished my homework and I didn't have any money. I didn't even start my homework! I didn't even have a home! I didn't even go to school! I was never even born!

Don't start your homework; do run out of money. That's the only proven formula for any success ever and is as old as time (which is quite old!).

(and young!)

3. To make an album you must run out of your money by spending your it.

If you're going to need to run out of money (see above it's quite clear), you're going to have to find a way to do it. Spending it is the most popular way to run out of your money. Aside from private healthcare and Council Tax, there are many things a person can spend their money on. Studios, instruments, make-up, guns, and a list of english colloquialisms with the names of seasons in them are the first things that spring to mind.

Think of as many things to spend money on as you can, then get some vomit-inducingly attractive person standing at a till to list them on a receipt for you until you die.


  • Do exactly what I just said.

6. Maintain poor lines of communication.

The last thing you need when you're trying to do anything at all even heart surgery is people communicating with you all of your time. Ugh, I hate all forms of communication. I don't even like it when my legs communicate with my brain. Legs can get a lot more done (swinging!) if simply left to its own devices, so cease communication with all potential interactors at all your costs (which is all your things!).

2. Have distractions to you.

Invent a game with your shoes! Tie yourself up and then wonder how you did it. Make a different album! Nothing is uninteresting if you've got something else that needs doing, so distract yourself as much

9. Lose will to live.

It's 3am and you need the toilet. You go to the toilet and hoist the arc and look at yourself in the mirror. There you are; paragon of animals. There you are in your 'jamas, staring at a sheet of reflected technicolour. Your skin looks pale and your eyes look deep. You feel dizzy with thought. The world is quiet, and a sudden sense of individuality returns after years of service to others.

What am I doing?

Where have the years gone?

Stare at the mirror for twenty days or until breakfast.

“Here comes another great album.”

5. Destroy others.

If you want to commit to making an album, you will also have to commit to not committing to anything else. This includes people. The loved ones with whom you had previously surrounded yourself must take on the role of mechanical hardware, while the mechanical hardware that you work with daily should take the role of emotional confidant, object of care, and reticent repeated sexual partner.

1. Destroy yourself.

"You are nothing. You are a waste of space. You think you're so clever, but really you're a dot on a speck on an arse. Fuck off. Go on. Fuck off."
You may find yourself thinking slightly less of yourself as doubts start to creep in following months of isolation and “private creation” (and when you think about everything you've done).

This is your favourite part.

The whole point of being someone who wants to make an album is to come out the other side of the process as someone with no idea who the person who started making it was. When you start to find the music recorded by that happy ghost unpleasant and baffling, it will finally hit home that all sentient life is not only an accident, but a mistake. This realisation will enhance creativity. Destroy yourself and see for how long you can crawl through the wreckage of your spirit, screaming into the great echoing void for anything that resembles mercy. (Hint: It's a long time!)

8. Desire nothing.

You have nothing, and by now you have convinced yourself that you will always be nothing. There is nothing. Your album, then, is nothing. But you (and your friends!) want your album. By this logic then; if you desire your album, you desire nothing. Congratulations on finding the most Western route to nirvanic cosmic annihilation. Now set the levels on your input gain.

And finally of for your and with…

10. Do not divulge your secrets.

There is a reason your rooms have your doors. Your rooms have your doors so you don't have to install laser systems to burn out the eyes of sneaky trespassing bastards. Behind all albums/doors are stories and events that tell as much as the music/dungeon itself. Do not share these stories (at least as they are occuring).

Doing this is unseemly and could decrease your future income.

Follow your excellent how to guide (this one) and you will have made your album.


We made an album.

We recorded it and mixed it and selected the artwork.

Now that our part is over, it needs to go off to other people to have things done to it so it can make words and videos that people will find interesting. If people don't find the words and videos interesting, they might not know the music exists, and so never hear it.

We've had to come to the conclusion that this happening would be sad.

It's been nearly two years, so I think we're going to take tonight off.

It's Wednesday. There's no use in denying that.


Monday, 7 December 2015

Don't ask; I'll tell.

One night down. Who knows how many more to go?

We know it's Köln, Hamburg, and a couple of nights in Berlin. Is that difficult? Is that really so difficult?

We haven't gigged in six months. How was last night? Edgy. Sweaty. Dark. One of the good ones. One of the adrenaline fueled ones. One of the ones that remind you of your first times out. What are the songs? I swear I knew them. Run it on. They're in the back of your brain, somewhere. There's a wire running from that place to your fingers. Open that gate and let it run while your sense of self goes somewhere else about three inches over your head and all you can feel is your heavy legs. Ignore your distrust. Just play.


Come off and say hello and sell.

The road's always dark. Even in the day, it's grey.

What is it? Aren't you excited?

Maybe. Just let's get a little rest. I don't have time to speak.

The room's a carved out cavern. Stone faces and figures and winding stairways to standing room and strange, black iron cliffs. Fairy lights and chandeliers and one of those giant mirrors that can't have been made to reflect anything in its entirety. It takes in everything and belches it back and it mingles. Curry and strawberries.

So it's underground as we wait. Kick our heels and slip on suspicious leather backstage sofas and smoke. Food? We're not co-ordinated enough, and besides I'm so nervous I could throw up a lung and besides: this headache.

What are the songs? I knew them last night. I must know them, somewhere. I can feel them a little more, tonight. I can sense what they feel like; how they look. Hmm. We're playing them, I think. We've got a little more verve...

...woah woah woah. Don't hold on to it. Let that stuff go. Let it flowwwww. That's it. You're falling down a cliff with boulders coming down on top of you. If you grab a hold of anything, you're two-dimensional. Get your skin ripped off by the wind.

No blunt nose. A knife through time at the front of my face. Get us in. Get us booked up. Berlin, tomorrow. Hamburg hostel tonight. Pack it up. Send it on. Admittedly, wait for the bar to close. It's only an hour.

The beds. We've been here before. Get to the beds. In through the stupid sequence of doors. Every hostel has them. Swipe or click or press or code or DNA sample. Get to the beds. Up in the lift. Feel like you're falling. How is everyone? Good. Everyone have a good gig? Good.


The door opens.

Hot air.

What's the hot air?


...what's that?

It smells.

It gusts in your face.


Six beds. Five for us, one for...some other. An innocent fellow traveller.

Trip over his things. Tree roots.

Slink under these covers.

His throat has its own echoes.


You can feel it in your ears. It rattles your pants. The intake of breath slips your duvet off each time.

Four hours of darkness get away.

I get a little sleep and wake up enough to hear the boys in fits of laughter and sunrise dough-eyed insanity.

“Oh God.” they said. Seryn cackles. Jeb takes it less like fun. The tallest. The most likely to snap. We're desperate. We're desperate.

“I'm going to sleep in the van.” said Ed; paragon of silent practicality.


No problem. Just like any other day, but longer.

"I can't do this." someone said.

The rest of us laugh.

Tiny little objects that make up the whole. Tiny little situations that come together to form the trip.

Like when I skated across the pavement on dog crap and the rest of the band convinced me I smelled like shit for the rest of the night. That was good. Crouched down in the shower with a spare toothbrush, cleaning the grip on my shoes even though I can already see that everything is clean but now here I am soaked and laughing and cleaning invisible animal stink off my stuff. Hamburg hostel save me now...

The smell was never there.

These things are great.

The gigs. Or the hosts. Or the strange hours spent in German industrial estate cold, where there are vans that sell alcohol, and you can see the whole city reflected in the river while the party starts. Or 4am sing-offs with strange Scottish tourists in smoke-thick cafes. Hallway sleeping. Strict adherement to parking regulations. Smiling. Time off. Ripped clothes. Packed shows. Backstage stretches and labyrinths. Curiousness. Funny technicians. Meaningless telephone numbers and venue hunting. Wrong turns, and laughter.

Tiny little memories that don't cohere, yet. But a great feeling of warmth and comfort and work.

And then home. And recording and a great gig, last week, in a church that was too easy to shrug without looking. Oh, yeah. Here with the choir and strings. The fucking massive light show looks nice.

If you need me, I'll be backstage with a glass of water.

So Melatonin is out, too. It's getting about in the press and that and on the bloggys and the playlists, which is nice. Got to keep hinting at what's to come. And who knows what that is?

We do. We've heard it.

We've heard it all.

You've just heard the single.

You haven't heard the whole thing, have you?


No, you haven't.

See this?

Believe it or not, it's my tongue.


Sunday, 20 September 2015


To be in a band, you must be able to take good photographs.

It's no secret that at this point in time, you need to have a visual aspect to your music. Be it big boobs (check), eye-catching hairstyles (and how), or a steel spike installed in your forehead that rams in and out forty-five times per second (installed but not near forehead); you need some eye-smash that's going to “hook” the “punters” in, in the words of the “industry”.

This has been the case since many years ago some clever-head realised that Elvis, though he had good songs, didn't need good songs. Instead, he could get away with miming along to the sound of a stick disturbing a tray of bones so long as he'd continue to wiggle his hips like a bee.

If Elvis wiggled, kids would jump and scream. It didn't matter what they heard. So true was this that coins would often spill out of the kid's pockets and fall up into their mouths, whereupon they would choke and vomit out their hamburgers and Coca-Cola. This meant that a large number of the crowd at any given concert would slip over and break their backs. Soon, outside in the cold distance, appeared Presley Ambulance Services Inc. vans. These vans  would take the crooked kids from the venue, operate on their spines, and then charge extortionate medical bills. The “Elvispitals” sole staff were Elvis androids, which meant the children would be happy to receive diagnoses of false chronic conditions leading to repeat visits, and more bills. Elvis would also personally scrape the vomit-coins from the concert floor after each performance, skating around on his blue suede shoes and singing under his breath:

Elvis Presley, gonna git yo' sick-coins.

Many sheeple don't know that the living Elvis now owns the moon, and that the phases of the moon are in fact Elvis attempting to cover the moon in its Vegas suit, which blows away and then he has to start again, frustrated and alone.

You can only achieve this level of ownership if you have a good image.


While it made sense in the earliest days of recorded music, over time "image" became less a means of representation, and more a means of enhancing and/or dictating the impression an artist might have on their audience. At one point, the artists smiled and wore suits, because that's what was respectable. Then people (read: the rebellious youth) started to spend money on what was not respectable, so someone had to figure out what was going on and dress artists so the growing rebellious youth didn't miss out on having something to buy. You could even trick an audience into thinking someone was not respectable when in fact they were, using their appearance.

Then it fanned out into a million different ways of doing it. Today, we're sold cartoon characters to believe in, with surrounding endorsements and cod-inspirational sentiments, rather than things to listen to and engage with on any level other than “Yes”.

It's not the rule, but it appears to be the norm.

Thanks, Elvis.

We had a photoshoot the other evening.

It can be fun to put this stuff together; figure out what a photograph might say. Be a bit cheeky with our representation. Figure out where the line between “different” and “unmarketable” sits and then gleefully kick it away because it doesn't matter anyway, and you're making this all up just to have something to moan about. These patterns are pure invention and the result of the unhealthy influence of the Frankfurt school on your dainty little mind so many years ago.

It's a camera.



Tuesday, 1 September 2015

"That's not what I said."

While throwing eggs at a cow (I was trying to make breakfast) the other day, a woman in drab, beaten clothes approached me, handing me a pamphlet.

“Time slows down as gravity increases!” She barked.

I didn't trust her skin and clothes because they blended in to one another.

Here gives you what the pamphlet said:

The dome has a ceiling as wide and capacious as the sky.

Beneath your feet is sand, and as you look around you see many soft shaped figurines posed as walkers. Each is attempting to make its way to the centre of the dome – the direction in which you, too, are heading.

In the centre of the dome, at ground level, augmenting the impression of vastness given by the gentle golden arches that soar above you, is a large black orb that at first glance appears lost in some orgy of vibration.

The black orb spins so fast that there can be no point of contact between perceiver and object, yet any person would insist, to any interrogator, that it is there.

You make your way towards the orb, breathing in air that thins and becomes easier the closer you get.

You start to feel light, and move with great freedom.

Closer to the centre of the dome, you notice that the sculptures change their posture. At first they were proud. Some were holding hands. Now they are separate, and some of them have fallen to their knees.

You keep walking, your arms swinging.

Your brain starts to fizz as breathing becomes so easy and smooth; you feel the thrill of gliding on ice. Your feet almost hover above the desert floor, they feel so light. Your chin rises. Your chest puffs out. Your body fixes on the orb, and you continue past the sculptures. Some of them show signs of struggling under weight.

You begin your approach, and the vibrations of the orb start to affect you. You now tilt your head and wince, but keep going as something in you says you cannot stop.

Soon your easy breaths become strange as the air begins to pulse. Now you walk and you see your skin move out ahead of your bones. The air distorts as if manipulated by heat. The sculptures around you are all on hands and knees. Some have curled up into balls and some stretch out in desperate worship of the orb that now stands over you, filling up the sky.

You continue as best you can but you feel a clash in your imagination. Every movement double takes at the rate of vibration you feel from the orb. You feel that you have already taken each step when in fact you have not moved. You see the orb and you reach out to it, but your body does not. Your hand is by your side. It rests as now, and moments ago when this feeling first arose. Your hand is out in front of you as if the task were already performed.

The sequence rolls.

And you are not there, or behind, but right here, existing as a point of past and future thought. You drop forever to the ground, inhale with limitless lungs, and now forever stretch one rough hand out towards the orb.

“What in stupid hell is this?” I said.

The lady, taken aback, shrugged beneath her rotting cotton.

“Religious... it's like religious things. It's about...look...”

She wagged a finger at the pamphlet.

“Here – this bit here. In the words.”

“I haven't got time for this! I said, “My band have got an album to finish!”

Ha ha ha! What a laugh, eh readers?!