Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Gold Stars and Walks on the Sun

August was an extremely busy month.  In the rush of setting up a Pledgemusic campaign for the 'Monthly Journal' album and playing the Edinburgh Fringe fest and a lot of other shows and so on, I only just realized that I had written a July blog entry (off line) which I completely neglected to post (!), so below it is.

The Monthly Journal album-in-progress has been an encouraging success on many levels so far. I've heard from many of you about how much you've liked the songs, thank you for that!  It's meant a lot to me in an especially challenging year. I've reached the conclusion of what would be the end of proverbial 'Side A'.  'Side B' starts with 'A Gold Star for Miss July'. Due to the necessities involved in survival as an artist I've also reached the point where I've realized I'm not going be able to get through to delivering the project as a proper full album without a little help.  So I've started a fan-funded campaign to facilitate the completion of this project and it's release as a full album in January.

 Once again I'm using the great Pledgemusic platform as I did with Sonic Dreamer, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Red Cross. It's not easy times for most of us so I've set up a varying range of things that you can pledge towards, including:

A subscription to download the remaining tracks as they are delivered
The COMPLETE ALBUM as hard-copy (CD) (pre-buy)
A 2012 CALENDAR featuring the cover art from all the singles.
A mini LP of amazing remixes from Sonic Dreamer

Check out the details at:

The free downloads are over, but here's a streaming version of July's song:

When I was a kid in 2nd grade elementary school, I learned about famous signatures and autographs and such. I was fascinated by expressions like "Give us your John Hancock".  I decided I was going to invent my own fancy signature, and began signing my essays and homework and such with an otherwise fairly modest autograph that ended in a decorative five pointed star.  Even apart from my lifelong fascination with the night sky, I've always found something inherently satisfying about drawing stars. There's something of a trick to doing up a nicely balanced one,  especially at that age.

Once in front of the class during a reading session when the teacher was sorting through the assignments on the basket on her desk and handing some over to her assistant, the assistant guffawed at one of the pages and the teacher whispered (out of earshot she assumed, but I could hear her) "Oh I know, he always puts that star on there isn't that hilarious." They both giggled a bit more, and I never added a star to my signature again. Painfully humbling.

Around that time I  had a friend named Steve McQueen. When I told my older sisters I was going to go hang out with Steve McQueen, they laughed and said "Really? Why, Steve McQueen has been in all kinds of action movies with car chases and such!" I was quite impressed.  For the longest while it didn't cross my young impressionable mind that my friend might not the same Steve McQueen.  I didn't even question that at six years old or so he was still ten years short of being legal to drive. But of course all kinds of illegal activities are displayed in films. I used to ask him to make sure and tell me if and when any of his movies were going to air on TV, as we drove our matchbox cars around the sandbox. He never replied, he just looked at me like I was off my rocker.

Another friend of mine used to talk about how his father worked on the Sun.  He wore a fire-proof suit made out of a shiny material not unlike aluminum foil, and oversaw operations to keep solar flares from getting too out of control and burning us up back here on Earth.  Sometimes his Dad was a little irritable after a long hot days work, but it must have been a great comfort to come back to Earth and eat some chilled jell-o salad and enjoy the cool evenings which his interventions had helped to preserve for all of us.

I mostly hated school.  I hated to be told what I had to do, what I had to think about, how I had to act, to dress, to feel.  Above all I resented the pressure to conform.  I still feel pretty much the same way, even though I've realized gradually (and in some cases regretfully late) that there is a wealth of material and experience outside my own arrogant world worth learning about.

This year, 2011, has been the second most challenging year of my life as an adult, so far. Number one still goes to 2006, when I got divorced, left New York and lived on the road for 3 months. But that one had a decidedly better second-half, so we'll see how it goes.

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