Out Now: Two Minutes Left

Out now for FREE download from Linear Obsessional Recordings:

“Two Minutes Left” contains 87 tracks by a wide spectrum artists – each track exactly two minutes long and using a microphone in their creation. Free Download only- including a 25 page PDF booklet of notes and images. Happy Christmas and thanks for all your support!

Includes my crazy attempt to be a Deutscher chanteuse, “Kinski Butterfly” (click that link for the story behind it). I can hardly believe I did this. Thanks to Richard Sanderson for being such a terrific wrangler and irrepressible experimenter (and doubtless a member of my karass). Check out all the cool and experimental music at LOR, including last year’s Button Box, which I was also able to be part of 🙂 — listed under things I never thought I’d do!

Always do the things that frighten you!

In the accompanying booklet (chock full of atmospheric photography), Richard writes:

I really am delighted with this compilation, it seems to me to be ultimately a celebration of being human, and a celebration of friendship and collaboration.

Oh yes.

Behind the bar!

Behind the Kinski bar!

Friday’s Forgotten Books: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

RosencrantzGilbert1991

No, not the one you’re thinking of, much as I love my Stoppard: I mean in fact W. S. Gilbert’s play:

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

A Tragic Episode, in Three Tabloids, founded on an Old Danish Legend

I just started reading McCrum’s giant doorstop biography of P. G. Wodehouse, who of course adored Gilbert and at one time appeared in a production of this. I haven’t even had time to read the play in its entirety — because of said tome and of course because I am busily writing my own volumes at a furious pace. Nevertheless I had to take a peak and this passage betrays a sad event all creative folks know all too well:

CLAUDIUS
Well loved and faithful wife,
Tender companion of my faltering life,
Yes, I can trust thee! Listen, then, to me:
Many years since — when but a headstrong lad —
QUEEN (Interested)
I wrote a five-act tragedy.
Indeed?
CLAUDIUS
QUEEN
A play, writ by a king —
And such a King!
CLAUDIUS Finds ready market. It was read at once,
But ere ’twas read, accepted. Then the Press
Teemed with porpentous import. Elsinore
Was duly placarded by willing hands;
We know that walls have ears — I gave them tongues —
And they were eloquent with promises.
The day approached — all Denmark stood agape.
Arrangements were devised at once by which
Seats might be booked a twelvemonth in advance.
QUEEN
The first night came.
And did the play succeed?
CLAUDIUS
QUEEN
In one sense, yes.
Oh, I was sure of it!
CLAUDIUS A farce was given to play the people in —
My tragedy succeeded that. That’s all!
QUEEN
CLAUDIUS
And how long did it run?
About ten minutes.
Ere the first act had traced one-half its course
The curtain fell, never to rise again!
QUEEN
CLAUDIUS
And did the people hiss?
No — worse than that —
They laughed. Sick with the shame that covered me,
I knelt down, palsied, in my private box,
And prayed the hearsed and catacombed dead
Might quit their vaults and claim me for their own!
QUEEN Was it, my lord, so very, very bad?
CLAUDIUS Not to deceive my trusting Queen, it was.
QUEEN And when the play failed, didst thou take no steps
CLAUDIUS
To set thyself right with the world?
I did.
The acts were five — though by five acts too long,
I wrote an Act by way of epilogue —
An act by which the penalty of death
Was meted out to all who sneered at it.
The play was not good — but the punishment
Of those that laughed at it was capital.

You can read the play in its entirety online. You can also read “the old Danish legend” AKA Saxo Grammaticus’ account of Prince Amleth here. The Danish original is a very different take on the tale from Old Bill’s wavering prince, who came by way of Belleforest’s ghostly invention, but I don’t want to tell grandma how to suck eggs as it were…

Dundee Spring

2014-04-18 14.41.01

2014-04-18 14.41.44

2014-04-18 14.52.50

2014-04-18 14.53.09

2014-04-18 14.53.27

2014-04-18 14.53.41

Hanging out in the Howff on a sunny day 🙂 Always a delight.

Playing in the Mud

2014-03-29 13.56.31

Spring may have slipped in while we were all looking at the snow that fell east of us (sorry, Connecticut). Our little spring is flowing great guns but we’re going to be digging it out a little to form a grotto. I visualise something like a Brigit well. I have new wellies and everything.

2014-03-29 13.43.33

We have a new weeping willow. It’s wee yet but I’m sure it will grow well down in the swampy area. We’re trying to make paths around through the dry bits, down to the area where Bertie says we should have a Japanese tea house (but I think we should have the pirate ship that I saw at the shed place on route 9).

2014-03-29 13.31.09

It’s funny: when we were kids the spring floods would make an impromptu stream flow from the huge maple out back all the way down to the giant willow tree in the field beside the house. Nothing would entertain us more than building dams and sailing little boats while it lasted. So were we unconsciously drawn to this place by that sense memory? Doubtless so.

2014-03-29 13.30.17

April finds its way through the undergrowth from the skunk cabbage down in the wetlands and the daffodils and tulips up the hill. Time to be planting and clearing away what fell over the winter. New growth, renewed life and hope — we all need it.

Building Interest

2014-03-27 14.31.11

I really do like the blue walls and ceiling and bookshelves in my office. Suddenly it’s a whole new world. More places for books and media, but also a whole different feel to the place as well. Even once I took the blue paint masking tape off the windows and it no longer looked like TARDIS cathedral.

2014-03-26 17.05.05

My god, you say — it’s been almost a week. Don’t you have any new publications coming out? Hey, I’m doing my best to make the most of this sabbatical year. Who knows when I’ll next have this much time to write? Oh sure, a lot of it lately has gone toward painting and spackling lately, but soon the DIY madness will be done for a while and I will be back in full time writer mode.

And I do have a couple of publications coming soon.

One of them is the charity anthology Exiles: An Outsider Anthology. In order to start building interest in the release, I helped out by making a little trailer video with all the Blackwitch Press books, which include the popular Roman Dalton series begun by Paul D. Brazill and carried on by a motley crew that includes me. I set it all to a cool tune by Peter Ord — check out his Soundcloud page for more music. He’s got a great sense of style that manages to sound swingingly retro and yet completely modern. Good stuff.

And watch the trailer! Help spread the word by sharing it. It’s a big world out there; it’s easy to get lost.

DIY

20140311-064241.jpg

Kipper is not amused.

20140311-064259.jpg

Kipper and Connor get on well for the most part. The occasional toy dispute ruffles a few feathers.

20140311-064311.jpg

My first NY breakfast with local syrup for local people.

20140311-064326.jpg

Removing one layer of wallpaper to find another: a southern motif.

20140311-064336.jpg

What the finished version of the sitting room will look like. Cheery! In less cheery news, have to replace the struts on my car. In the meantime, no strutting (I think that’s what it means).

50 Word Fiction: The Clown

Noir Carnival slide

THE CLOWN
K. A. Laity

It was the clown.

The party had been lively enough before her arrival. She promised fun on her website, that balloon-littered vomit of Pantone tones with too many gurning gifs.

But the children were weeping now and several demanded to go home. Unmitigated disaster.

Not everyone could tell jokes, eh?

 

[Written for the Scottish Book Trust 50 Words competition; alas, not a winner though I deliberately did not go for the original dark ending]