What music do you listen to when writing? Can you listen to music at all? It’s one of the most powerful tools writers can have at their disposal – especially for unsticking the muse. Put another way, you’re pretty much guaranteed to write something different while jouncing along to Katy Perry than if you hurled … More Using music to defeat writers’ block
Instruments I have played the ‘Smoke On The Water’ riff on: 1. Various pianos, except a Bosendorfer 91-note grand, on which I played ‘Louie Louie’. 2. Moog Modular Model 15 (lead only, I don’t own this one, it’s the modular they produced in a suitcase for carrying around gigs, but I DID once tyre-kick my … More The Smoke On The Water riff vs my vintage synthesiser collection
Does anybody listen to British folk-rock? Stuff that flourished, really, in the late 1960s on the back of the counter-culture and some of which floated away on a cloud of Tolkien influences into the 1970s. That wasn’t surprising. In its British incarnation the counter-culture took on overtones of ‘Merrie England’, the nineteenth century sense of … More Tolkien and folk-rock and us
New Zealand’s ingenuity seems limitless these days. Back in 2012 a graduate student at Victoria University, in my own city of Wellington, invented a robot bass guitar. Awesome or what? Here’s the instrument – MechBass – playing ‘Hysteria’: Soon, the same machine is going to perform as part of an ensemble: http://www.qtheatre.co.nz/plot-twist-bass-guitarist-robot That’s extremely geeky … More Human creativity always wins – for now
I went into a coffee shop the other day intending to buy scones – which they make and sell on the premises. The place was filled with techno-elevator music at shattering volume. I asked for the scones. And then the fun began. Music: THOP THOP THOP THOP Counter goon: Worb blurb wob with your coffee? … More The dangers of talking around loud music
The night of 14 February 2004 was a night that made my wife and I forget it was summer. Freezing southerly winds and driving rain didn’t bode well for an open-air concert. But this was Bowie, on his Down Under Tour. We’d been looking forward to it for months. Bowie. The Thin White Duke. The Spider … More The day I saw David Bowie in the rain
A week or so ago I posted on the way 1970s Brit prog rockers adapted to changing tastes in music – underscoring the fact that writers, too, should adapt inside their own field and genres. I made a couple of statements that were deliberately hyperbolic, to underscore the point. I thought they were obviously so OTT … More Hyperbole has its place. So does the Mellotron.