The Factory

Placing our thoughts in order and putting them into practice is the hardest challenge of all.

Month: October, 2015

disBANDed – ep 3: Good Shoes

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Where have Good Shoes gone?

Normally when bands split they let their fans know, usually via a statement on their website. Good Shoe’s website hasn’t been updated since 2011. It’s been 5 years since this band, under rated and teetering on the edge of something more substantial then selling out your local indie club, released an album.

Good Shoes were exciting. They broke during a time when indie pop was reinventing itself once more, or recycling to make something a little different, maybe? I was immediately drawn to the two hard-panned guitars. Offset from one another, playing bouncy yet jagged countermelodies. Combine the two with baselines that purposefully wonder gleefully between said guitars and drums, and the compositions provide so much to listen to. The vocals are wistful. The lyrics tell stories of everyday city issues like racism and drug deals gone bad; brilliantly written narratives.

The first album is almost flawless, every song stands its ground. The second album isn’t as strong, but is still a striking collection, as the lyrics and mood take a darker turn. I always thought the title, No Hope, No Future, was a typical sign of a disgruntled guitar band, but now I wonder if they knew this was to be the last outting for the band.

Get yourself a copy of their debut, Think Before You Speak, listen, enjoy, and fall in love with Good Shoes like I did nearly ten years ago.

Ceremony

Back in May, a good friend of mine got married and asked me to write a poem to read out at the ceremony. Obviously, this was a huge honour and massive responsibility. It was to be my first reading. I had assumed that I would be reading after the wedding, at the reception, around the time the speeches were to be made. However, I was surprised to be told I would be reading just before his bride-to-be walked down the aisle. Nerves increased dramatically when this news broke. But, as it was, it went really well, lots of complements and all that ego boosting chat which makes this writing battle more than worth it. So here is that reading simply entitled Ceremony:

If I lost my sight I would sail in endless circles on top of a frog and a lily pad,
allowing my blindness to destroy my ego and online presence,
and when all is stripped bare the horizon’s dome of sun
and lustrous pale sky will hollow out so freedom can ascend.
Hearing your call, a shout to wait, we can do this together–
wonder through life rich in family never again cold or hungry.
Most will only aim to reach one summit,
but this day stood upon the apex of a wedding cake is a first in a range of peaks.
The icing cementing ceremony, a foundation for small rooms
where you’ll give birth, beat time, argue over paint tins,
remember vows made over glasses of hops and pints of barely,
his beard will go grey as views grow around you.

disBANDed – ep 2: Murderdolls

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Think about every horror B movie you have ever seen. Add 5 blokes dressed in a combination of your mum’s makeup and the contents of your university fancy dress box, and you’ve got the Murderdolls.

I was on holiday in Gibraltar when this album was released in the summer of 2002. I was 15 years old, growing my hair out, my wardrobe consisted of baggy skate trousers and t-shirts including System of a Down, Korn, Green Day; all the major punk and nu-metal bands of the day. I wasn’t chasing girls, I was bugging my parents to get me a guitar so I could write my own songs and start a band, which I did a few months down the line.

I found a record store; chances are it was a Woolworths if my memory is correct, and I got myself a copy of what is still a gem in my collection. I played the cd constantly, not listening to anything else for weeks. When I rediscovered the album 12 years later, I played it over and over, all the old feelings that I felt originally sprouted like the dead rising.

I was also a massive fan of Kerrang magazine. Its affordable, regular print kept me informed on current releases and new bands, and Murderdolls had been on my radar for a while. Consisting on big names like Wednesday13 and Joey Jordison; ex-Slipknot drummer, I was more than excited about this album.

I was already making my first cautious steps into the horror movie genre; eventually I would get a job at Blockbusters and spend a few years trading b-movies with customers. Great times, and a lesson to appreciate your youth.

The album, Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls; a play on the movie Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, is a juicer filled with horror movie references, trashy goth-punk stench, and a shit load of close-to-the-mark (yet tongue-in-cheek) lyrics about grave robbing, necrophiliacs and cold-blooded murder, sung with the creepy, no messing delivery of Wednesday 13. The guitars with trademark high-gain distortion, playing three chord punk behind melodic riffs and solos make for a timeless thrash-punk sound.

For the first fifthteen seconds, you will be confused, as the classical introduction of the album’s opening song ‘Slit my Wrists’ walks you into the mayhem of the next 47 minutes.The album is a roll call of hilariously wicked, well crafted songs.  

If you have a broad mind and are able to take the contents with the sense of humour the record deserves, then this album will be on your Halloween playlist, along side the godfathers of the horror-punk genre, The Misfits, for years.

Dragonfly’s Wing

See through a dragonfly’s wing.
Between wooden veins;
Channels into a world we bear.
One which was made to house us,
Breed and grow us,
One which we destroyed,
Turned into hate,
Burning through the dragonfly’s wing.

disBANDed – ep 1: Be Your Own Pet

disBANDed is a series of posts documenting some of my favourite and most influential bands that are no longer together. Taking a trip back over the last 15 years through my twenties and into my teens.

The series starts with a band that I have recently rediscovered, Be Your Own Pet. A band with a short, but memorable shelf life. Their low-fi, garage punk sound leaves anything but a musty aftertaste.

In short, the band were established in 2004 and played their last shows in 2008; the same year as their final album, Get Awkward. They realised two full length albums and five eps.

The band’s first, self-titled, album was released in 2006, and in true punk style has a running time of just over 33 minutes. The opening song, Thresher’s Flail, kicks in with a straight-to-the-point rhetoric that continues through the entire album. The songs finish as quickly as they start, with tom-fill combinations signalling go-time. But, really, this could easily be one half an hour installation of stinging guitar riffs and backstreet poetry sung by the excitable, Jemina Pearl.

You could argue into the small hours how this band would have developed if they had continued longer. However, the two full lengths are powerful enough to spark nostalgia for decades to come. If you didn’t come across these guys when they were around, then the music is still relevant with no sign of going cold. Press play, crack a beer and tear up the weekend with a soundtrack of BYOP.

Pace Race

As a factory worker, when the machines aren’t producing enough product we can turn the speed up, make them produce a little bit more than they did the day before. To a certain extent. Humans aren’t the same. Yet, we push and pull; contorting our bodies forcing ourselves to work faster, longer, harder. Some do it for financial reward, others promotion, the rest – only they know; you hope for their sakes.

Getting up a little bit earlier, home an hour later. 40 hours a week turns to 60, 70; churning in life’s blender. Weeks and months bleeding into one another until a mist of water colours gives way to retirements arrival.

We keep pushing, as new injuries grow old with us.

Fermenting attitudes: remember when we were disciples of the new order?

Dust gathers around us like insects pinned under glass. Forgotten stencils of a life once bold and vast. Not unless you reverse the looking-glass. Turn your eyes backwards. Kick through the dust. They are our machines, we are not their humans. Come home after 40 hours and spend your money with the confidence of the most reckless bohemian and stare in amazement as the heartbeats of insects reject the pins that bear their weight and give the sky colour.

Noir

Writing backwards from beginning to end,
A deep wind bellowed from Nordic legend.
His boss now dead in a reek, signature of Noir;
A stale funk belched down the corridor.
A jamboree of timely whores
Weltered in drips and strains.
Twenty-four hours into 120 minutes,
and the awkward moment he realised it was his,
Hours taken from his watch; contrived in theft
and his unkempt creation was all he had left.

Chemistry

What’s fifthteen years
between lovers?
The blame is ours to take,
as we forget
through love of technology
and increasing materials
that live our lives for us,
where the rightful place
to bank our chemistry
lies.

Poetry/Collage Project

Over the last six weeks, I’ve been working on a small pamphlet/chapbook of 10 poems. The project started as an exercise; a foot up my backside, to produce something substantial after a dormant period. The poems started to complement each other and link together, with one session resulting in 4 poems inside 30 minutes of work. I was intending to showcase the finished poems on this page, which I will still do, but to make sure the work is as original and interesting as possible, I am pairing each piece of writing with its own collage.

The poems are nearing completion, however, I only have one collage finished.

I hope to have the whole project completed and posted by Christmas, mainly due to the fact that I hate carrying projects over into the new year.

This is a realistic target, and I am stoked to share the work with you all soon.