A LITTLE LIGHT RELIEF
The other day, I was criticising a child on their very poor colouring in. My notes included the facts that they had used the wrong colour for faces, as human faces don’t tend to be bright green or blue and also their general lacklustre approach to not going over the lines. I told the child that this was a slapdash approach to their one and only job and that they really need to buck their ideas up. I then noticed some childish scribble of various colours around the outside the page and just as I was about to punch the child full on in the face for this third but final straw, I thought out loud ‘oh, have you been testing out the colours that you have at your immediate disposal and then applying them as an experiment to say, for instance, human faces to see if it worked or not?’ The child replied “yes”. I congratulated the child on their forward planning and approach to what must be a somewhat time consuming and ultimately meaningless task. I then asked if they had simply coloured over the lines on occasion as to test the rules of society, to see if ultimately, when you do cross a line slightly would it be ‘The Man’ or ‘The Establishment’ that chastises you for your errors, or would you conclude that you must bear the guilt of those mistakes within your own soul and perhaps learn from those experiences?
The child replied “no, it’s because I’m on a fucking train you daft dosey cunt”. And so I punched the child in the face and moved on. I didn’t feel guilty.
Since I last wrote, I have still been trying to refrain from adding to the what every single person who has an internet and a keyboard has been commentating on. Namely, that the world is a shite place to be at the moment. They are correct to protest and I join them in that but I think that I have typed up many blogs where I have started off as it being an attempt to write about my music and then it obviously descends around midway, as I drink my second half bottle of wine, into a mad drunk political rant or far too personal descent into my frustration with my own life or struggle with depression. And as, although I am sometimes pleased that some people may read that stuff and it may make them feel better that they aren’t alone, it really does make me feel dirty when I empty my innermost thoughts onto the internet like that that. I think I may have found the solution to that. This blog should be relatively consistent as I was already drunk when I started writing it!
In May I did my almost now traditional ‘birthday gig’ at The Ship in Ouseburn. I played my longest Meiosis set ever, a good 27 songs (I think). I don’t know whether I am proud of hogging a stage for that long or not. Well… I say a stage – it’s more a corner but y’know – my noise filled that corner and the pub for a good 2 and a half hours. Of course I did a good smattering of badly performed covers too in order to keep the good people who didn’t really know what to think entertained.
Whilst I am on the subject of covers, I know some peeps don’t like it when someone else is playing other bands’ songs. I started doing it mainly because I’d seen Jarvis Cocker’s solo shows where he played all of his new songs and then every night did a different cover at the end. I liked that idea, as I feel it leaves the show on a good note with your audience. So I copied it… I then realised I had not enough gigs and too many covers to fit in so started sticking them in my set here and there. When you are basically on your own on stage with a laptop, a guitar and a mic (and a foul-mouthed soft toy giraffe) and you start playing a cover and everyone in the audience starts singing along, it’s kind of a nice break from wondering if anyone is listening. I also do it because I tend to do gigs on Saturday nights and some people have to make great effort to get out and see me live, perhaps paying for babysitters or maybe just at least getting out of the rigmarole of Monday to Friday Work/Home/Sleep/Go To Work - so instead of playing them a stupid song that I put out on Bandcamp in 2011, I’ll play them a song they know and love to make them feel like their £4 entry fee to a gig they have been dragged along to by their friend before they go to ‘Rave Energy Machine Slag Night’ at ‘Doo-Dah’s’ was worth it.
I also do it because it is a lot of good clean fun and sometimes nostalgic and I like that.
We played at Head of Steam in Newcastle last month with Your Casket or Mine? and Toxic Melons. I was excited a wee bit to do this gig as I really love both of those acts. It turned out to be another well attended gig too and we all went away with a bit of pocket money. Not a lot – but a bit. That’ll do me. I’d do this forever if every gig could be like that. Our last gig there back in March with Brilliant Mind and The Agency was also really canny and a tiny bit profitable.
All three gigs (the Meiosis sets at least – I am working on the rest) are up on my MusicByMeiosis YouTube account if you want to view them in retrospect.
It’s getting harder to just release stuff on the internet now. Everyone is releasing stuff on the internet. In 1999, I released my first album, ‘Meiosis’ on a site called Peoplesound.com and I made my own website. The music was shite but it all did really well which moved me to release another album, ‘The Melon Shark Legacy’, and form a live band. Locally, I think we did well for 5 misfits who had other more important bands to be in with a frontman who had to direct but had no real idea of what direction to direct. Even when I started doing Meiosis again back in 2010 (has it been that long?) it was relatively easy to get people to listen to my stuff but now it’s almost impossible to get even 50 views on YouTube. I think this decline boils down to a few factors; 1. The internet is full of peeps doing their own thing and it’s not special anymore to do it that way, 2. I am a bit old and perhaps not one of the Cool Kids anymore, 3. I stopped really giving a shit about trying promote stuff as I have too much respect for my own life.
So I am going to stop Meiosis for a bit later this year. Supporting The Bowie Experience at The Cluny in October is my last booked-in gig and I think I will keep it that way for a long while. I will happily playing other people’s gigs if they ask me to but, to be honest, I rarely get asked and there are a couple of things that I’d like to do – I’d like to play ‘The Melon Shark Legacy’ live in full at some point and I think I’d like to do a wee free gig on Bowie’s birthday in January.
I was disappointed with the reaction to my latest album, ‘At Night I Am King’, which I spent 18 months working on before I invested quite a bit of money in being able release it. I said I WAS disappointed until I had a look at some sales stats that I was avoiding… and it turns out… it’s done really well! – mainly in America, Poland and Germany and not Newcastle but I had some money to bank and maybe all of this talk of stopping may be a bit silly after all. All I need to do is go and play Krakow.
I think that’s the nicest thing about Meiosis (apart from keeping me sane and entertaining schmucks who work behind desks Monday to Friday 9-5) – it’s that you never know what will happen next because even the person who it IS doesn’t know.
I think a lot of new Friendly Atmosphere Newcastle Music Scene Podcasts are going to be coming out soon and episode 2 of ‘Geeks Guide to Newcastle’ is more than a twinkle in my eye.
I hope this blog has served as 5 to 6 minutes of keeping your mind off that the world is shite. Albeit by making you just think about me. I think the world is shite too and writing this has kept me out of it for a good 2 hours. So that’s worth it!
I was talking to a child the other day, they said “what’s the biggest balloon you have ever ‘popped’?”. I asked if their version of a balloon in these events was a metaphor for the destruction of Earth or maybe the abstract notion of perhaps your own mental stability popping when say, for instance, you are buying some shopping and you collapse because you are having a panic attack in Asda?
The child said "no, silly…” I stopped the child there. I said “NOBODY CALLS ME SILLY!!” – the child responded, “a balloon”. I said “oh, you mean an actual balloon?”
“Yes. There was once a time when I blew up a big red balloon and although I was scared it might pop, I just kept blowing until it popped!”
“Was that a clever metaphor for the notion of ambition for when if one might push one’s self beyond your mental capacities and, although your physical strength is strong you could push harder, you may be in constant fear of surpassing yourself and therefore ultimately break down into a sleepless wreck of anxiety with a constantly pounding heart, that makes a sound that if it were to be described by a Japanese person in onomatopoeia would be ‘Doki Doki’.
The child said “no, dickhead. That’s a song by Meiosis”.
I said “Oh”.