Tag Archives: music

Charity, latte, and a flip-flop



I’m still trying to figure out this Windows 7 speech recognition software.  It seems when I am wide-awake and sitting up alert, the program works just fine.  Oddly, if I employ a slightly condescending tone, it works competently, too.  However, when it gets late at night and my voice begins to crack or my accent becomes more pronounced through tiredness, the program types gibberish. Given that this is the time I’d be most likely to use it because I have no desire to sit up, it’s a shame it has such a hard time deciphering what I tell it. And everyone used to say I had a lovely speaking voice when I was little. Overall, it’s a useful piece of software and I’ll probably use it now and again, but with a typing speed of 70wpm, it’s counter-productive, really.

Anyhoo, today was a big bag of stress punctuated with small pleasures. Moment #1: ordering the largest caramel latte on the menu and editing in internet-free bliss at the coffee shop; and Moment #2: getting my flip flop fixed. While this may seem a small pleasure, I loved those flip flops! With feet as big as mine, when you find shoes that fit and look pretty, you want to hold onto them. I bought them last September for a week in Mallorca and they were soooooooo comfy. I wore them again a month later in Barcelona and slapped my way down to a rock bar to meet Australian friends who were playing a European tour to publicise their new album. One of the guys with the band, who I already knew, was whirling me round everywhere and stood on my flip flop and the leather thong came out. I was devastated – at least, I would have been, had I been sober. Fortunately, I had a change of clothes with me; I wasn’t even meant to stay in the flip-flops and sun dress and had sexy rock chick gear in my bag.

I digress. The cobbler fixed it with a few stitches and my pretty, beaded flip-flop is good as new. I just hope I actually put it in my bag when I left the cobblers…Before I went back for my shoe, I treated myself to a large latte at Costa and set about editing Headliner (my second novel). It was rather pleasurable to sit in a window seat and watch the world go by while I worked, rather than being side-tracked by Facebook or emails. If I had more self-discipline, I’d simply unplug my wi-fi router and make my own coffee, but I freely admit it, I’m weak-willed.

Oh yeah, the stressful parts of the day. The main one was taking all those dearly loved books to the charity shop. I am the biggest hoarder. I don’t hoard junk, per se, but I find it hard to part with possessions I see value in and books are high priority for me. Books are my friends, open doors for me, allow me to travel and have adventures. However, with this real European adventure looming on the horizon, I have to be ruthless. I HAVE TO BE. I replaced the classic literature with Kindle versions, so I’m not completely bereft, and as for the text books and contemporary novels – well, I just had to grit my teeth and not think about it.

One of the women at Barnado’s swiped my Ikea bag and shoved a nearly identical one into my hand, but it was NOT my bag and the handles were frayed. I’m still pissed about that. It was hard enough parting with the books, but I’d steeled myself for that. I’d even bagged them into plastic bags inside the strong Ikea bag, so the staff could just take them out, but no, they stole my bag. When I walked back after collecting my shoe, I had to pass the charity shop again. It took all my will not to run inside and ask for my stuff back.

Anyway, I had one of my violin students come over for a lesson after that, which was fine. I like teaching this one; he’s disciplined, works hard, seems to enjoy his lessons with me and makes good progress, so I’ll be sad to lose him as a student. I did some more editing after he left and then whipped up some scrambled eggs, vowing to record vocals after dinner.

Sod’s Law, Neighbour From Hell showed up seconds after I pressed the On switch on my computer. I swear he either has this place bugged or a demon that guides him to torment me. I haven’t written about NFH and his girlfriend in any of my blogs before, because I get too worked up, but those of you in my FB friends list will know my regular rants about their fights, parties, him stealing my organic food deliveries, the wet dog smell (that I don’t actually think originates with the dog), did I mention the fights? Any woman who goes back to a guy who fractures her jaw needs her head feeling. And I’ve put up with them for a year; can’t do it for much longer, so I’m overjoyed to have an escape plan. But the main thing that drives me round the bend is EVERY TIME I set up to record, he waltzes home. It doesn’t matter whether it’s morning, afternoon, early evening, or late at night. He comes home either as I’m setting up or just after I’ve warmed up my voice up and am ready to give a good belt and get some takes worth keeping. Every bloody time, I end up with no recordings. He makes me sick. Thieving, girlfriend-beating bastard.

So yes, his return meant I couldn’t record vocals and this is stressing me out. Singing is how I make my living. If I don’t get decent vocals over to the studio asap, I lose the gig, and the track will get signed as an instrumental. If I supply them something they like, I get to raise my profile, earn royalties, get performing work out of it, some nice little trips to hot places, etc. I am not going to have some scrote ruin my career; it’s not him who looks unreliable for being late with submitting material that people are waiting for. The producer flies to Miami to finalise everything the week I fly to Rhodes and so if I don’t do it NOW, both I and the producer will be OUT OF TIME.

This was as big a stressor as parting with my books, actually; I feel like I’m having palpitations thinking about it. I’m going to stop typing about it, ’cause the combination of thinking about that horrible ‘man’ downstairs and the fact I can hear him snoring like a truck under my bed is making me feel murderous. I just hope I get the recording done tomorrow and the studio like it. They liked the verses I wrote and I recorded them already, but we just need a belter hook. I’ve written four, but they don’t like any of them, pfff. Let’s leave that rant for another post.

Urgh. Which leads me back to packing. And the hoarding gene. I can’t make decisions. Do I keep it, do I throw it, do I ebay it, blah blah blah, and al the while, it just piles up on my bed and on the floor and then I forget if I wore it, so I throw it in the laundry and then it ends up back on the bed. I need to pack what I’m taking, but ’cause I’m taking my favourite clothes, I keep pulling them out of the bag to wear them. I’m fully aware of how few non-black/summer items I actually own, so I tend to wear the same stuff year round.

I’m carrying on like Greece is another planet, but if I forget anything, I can always send for it or buy a replacement (and there goes the hoarder trigger). Makes me laugh, though. Only I could have no work lined up in my birth country and get offered work in a country that’s collapsing. I’m talking to the voices in my head and they’ve started answering back.

I’ve got to laugh, albeit hysterically.



It’s all about Me, Me, Me.


One of the things I dislike about being an independent musician is the constant need for self-promotion. As an artist, a creative being, I just want to create, make my music, write my books, but that’s not enough in today’s fast-paced world. The internet has become a great tool for independent creative types, but it also makes for a larger sea of people, vying for attention, “Look at my work! Listen to my songs!”

My career has had many ebbs and flows, and will undoubtedly continue that way, such is the life of a writer/musician/artist/actor. It’s an unfortunate necessity that one has to continually blow one’s foghorn. It does work; a great portion of my clients find me online without me advertising, either through social networking on Twitter, for example, or just by search engine (which is why SEO is important). The creative personality is not geared towards marketing, promotion, SEO, blah blah blah, but until we are earning enough or have a high enough public profile, we have to just grit our teeth and do it.

I have to admit, my fragile ego worries people think I’m conceited, always talking about myself and linking to my wares. To me, it seems so repetitive to always be shouting about myself, like a market trader flogging knock-off gear, but I have to acquiesce it’s essential. I always think the product (and I hate using that word for art) speaks for itself, or should do. On the other side of the transaction, I listen to word of mouth recommendations more than I would ever pay attention to a glossy marketing drive, but ho hum, such is life. I don’t like being told what I should like, should listen to, should buy, but I think I’m in the minority, else a whole industry wouldn’t thrive in advertising.

I have to separate the creator part of myself from the business part. I have no interest in marketing, but I’m going to have to resign myself to plugging away until I’m in the position of  ‘hiring that shit out’, as a colourful LA-based rock musician I know would say.

Oh by the way, did you buy my book yet?