A message from July in August: the NME Within

How many blogs begin these days with ‘ I haven’t blogged much recently …’ ?

For the blogging population in general, Facebook and Twitter have a big hand in this. A wave across the crowded web, a quick ‘look at this’ is so much easier. And, many who start a blog find they no longer have so much they want to say. Bringing it home, for many musicians a blog is a marketing tool, however friendly and casual. What to say when you’ve nothing to announce? Self portrait with beard

For this blogger, both of these have been a factor. While I’ve committed Twittericide in the interests of protecting my time and attention, I’ve become quite the Facebook addict, and post some sort of quick nugget of foolishness most days, while engaging in comment banter with that special species of acquaintance one calls a ‘friend’ in Facebook. Perhaps many would have been things I’d have put here.

Another has been the ‘what to talk about?’ question. While some of the people whose blogs I follow like Sid and Rosie can turn out short essays where they start from one thing and develop an argument, I’ve never felt Lamontations was particularly a home for that, nor that I had their skill at it.  If I were to write a daily diary like CBQ it would be prescribed as a sedative.  He writes about his home life with photos and enormous playlists. My home life would not be an easy or comfortable thing to write about, I rarely take photos and my playlist would consist of one album for two months (still five songs from Heathen, although The Handsome Family are usurping Bowie’s place).

So music and my music, then? Whenever I’ve had the urge to write about it I’ve held back, thinking nobody’s going to want to know. But it suddenly dawned on me the other day that people do come here and do read, so they must care enough to read.

So what’s going on? Follow the link to read on …

 

I’ve been working on an album for at least three years, while somewhat intimidated  by past success. What I mean is, as the years have passed since 2004 I’ve become more and more convinced that The Wolf Who Snared The Moon is actually rather good. And it’s risen in my estimation recently as I’ve revisited the songs with the new band. Which presents me with a difficulty – do I have to compete with something I put out years ago?  Nothing I’m working on seems to have that quality or creativity about it. And it vexed me sorely for many months.  It was only while sitting on a hillside in Wales that I saw the answer: nobody bloody cares! The only critic who’ll ever write a review saying ‘ a feeble attempt to rival his previous masterpiece ‘ is … me!  Or rather the NME Within. How many times have I dismissed an idea, scored out a lyric, changed a set list because of some totally  imagined cynical rock rag journalist?  And it’s all because I was hooked on the NME when I was younger and internalised its deliciously sarcastic dismissals of musicians’ work. It’s so silly, really.  If I put something out and some people pick up on a Nicole, and some people pick up on I Want To Know, what’s the problem? There is no ‘body of work’. There is no ‘career’. There’s just me sharing some songs I’ve written with the kind few who like them!  So if I want to be sentimental, if I want to be pretentious – so what?

The songs I’m working on are old ones, which you may not have heard – Anniversary, Jerusalem Blues – and a couple of recent ones – I Started A Fire and The Last Man. Most have been tried out live but one – The Monk From The Mountain of Sorrow – is a studio composition. I can’t imagine how I’d begin to do it live. I don’t even know the chords!  It’s nearly there and if it works, it’ll be the only rocker on the album. I’ve also been working on Bells Are Ringing but, well, they ain’t, and that’s not just the NME talking!

Each week The Invisible Helpers sound stronger. I realised that playing live is more fun at the moment than recording (and no NME Within to spoil it) so we’re picking just the songs that are fun to do and where the band offer a clear step beyond a solo version (e.g. The Wolf).  The full electric version of the Helpers will probably be debuting around October, maybe even September, and it looks like Bespoke will be out and about then as well after a month’s break from their gruelling rehearsals.

Finally, I’ve landed four St John’s Church Waveforms gigs, which is something special for me. They’re on August 9, 10, 23 and 24th.

So thank you for reading, if you have been, and for coming to the site. I’m going to make a point of communicating more with you kind angels who’ve enjoyed the stuff I enjoy playing and singing.  G’night! We luhrve you!

4 thoughts on “A message from July in August: the NME Within

  1. Hey Norman, keep on blogging! I much prefer blogs to the status-updates of Facebook/twitter.
    Sure, blogs are harder, as you feel you need to *actually write* something. But therein lies the strength… it means there’s actually something to read and you can learn more about something.
    Which reminds me, I need to get round to finishing a tune so I have an excuse to update my blog 🙂

  2. I too, am glad that you’re continuing the blog Norman, as I enjoy reading it. Not being part of the Twitter/Facebook crowd, I don’t see all that stuff.
    I too, often dismiss ideas, but for a slightly different reason, I always think, “Oh, that’s been done before, and miles better by “. The thing is, pretty much EVERYTHING’s been done before, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt something. Who knows, someone may really like it 🙂

  3. Hi Norman
    My diary exists to prove I’m a “normal” (although the fact I write it probably proves the opposite) person who happens to record an LP every couple of years.
    I have a body of work but accept that no one is quite as interested in it as I am…LOL.
    Also, now that I have over five years of daily entries, I like to do the occasional “what I did on this day in (year)” – although what tends to happen then is a feeling of incredulity at how fast I am rushing towards my death without having achieved anything other than writing a diary LOL..
    Your points are well made.

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