Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Christchurch earthquake

Christchurch was hit by a huge aftershock yesterday, this time much closer and shallower than the one in September which caused so much destruction. Being so close to the surface and still a massive 6.3, while the city has still been in recovery, the results have been devastating and already caused a huge loss of life.


Pictures and reports are shocking, rescue attempts and government operations are in full swing. A state of national emergency has been declared by the Prime Minister in the last hour. Quake latest updates page


I’ve only visited Christchurch once, for a few days 8 years ago. I thought it was quite boring, and Christchurch has often been the butt of rivalry humour from Wellington and Auckland. I found it relatively easy to joke about September’s quake – privately and rarely, and with black, dark humour which would be quite offensive to the thousands who lost homes and property – because, almost unbelievably, nobody died.


The horror and destruction of the last 24 hours is something else entirely.


Please donate to any of the major NZ bank Red Cross relief accounts:


BNZ - 02-0500-0982004-000
ASB - 12-3205-0146808-00
- 01-1839-0188939-00
- 06-0869-0548507-00
- 03-0207-0617331-00

Kiwibank - 38-9009-0759479-00


It’s also quite ominous for us here in Wellington, which is long overdue a major earthquake.


Good luck and fortitude to survivors, rescuers and families.

Monday, 21 February 2011

WITHOUT FEAR free album download

Well as promised, WITHOUT FEAR is now freely available to download for nothing, if that's what you choose to pay:

It's available on Bandcamp for now, hopefully followed by other websites and a deluxe version too, when I can think of cool stuff to add. Download, share, tell people you know and people you don't!


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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Sociology Corner: Graveyards & Class Wars

I found this BBC article about a graveyard in Colchester dubbed the “Poundland Cemetery” (kiwi readers, think “$2 Shop Cemetery”). Apparently the windchimes have got so bad they’re disturbing those who want to grieve in silence, but also people aren’t happy about the growing number of plastic, lights, animation and clutter building up where there used to be respectful stone graves.


Obviously I took note because I’m from Essex, but the article goes on to show that graveyard clashes over taste and class are happening all over the country.


There’s a good deal to suggest “classes” don’t exist in the UK any more, certainly not in the way they used to – ever since the advent of TV and mass media, the boundaries have been crumbling and blurring.


But that’s not to say class clashes don’t carry on to this day. If anything, what I like about the article is the confirmation that class superiority is more about taste than about money, which I suspect has always been the case.


Personally I can see it both ways – windchimes can certainly be annoying, and the need for cheap, plastic and showy ornamentation says more about the emotional needs of the living than it does about the dead. On the other hand it’s not the Victorian age any more, and our attitudes towards death don’t need to revolve around silence/black/stone/dullness/mourning any more. I certainly wouldn’t want people to be boring and stuffy when I die.


Maybe we need to set up “fun” graveyards where people can be as tacky and weird as they want?


Friday, 4 February 2011

Making my music and books free

I’ve decided to make all of my music and books as pay-what-you-like, i.e. FREE if that’s what you want to pay.


I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and with the combination of Project Airfix (where all recorded material will be made freely available) and the impending Lighthouses release, I’ve decided it’s the only way to go.


The first to be made free will be 2009’s album “Without Fear”. This will be followed by the “I Believe In Dinosaurs” single, and when it’s released on 25th March 2011, the Lighthouses single.


This is in part inspired by Decortica, an excellent prog-heavy-rock band from Auckland, who are following the “freemium” model – ie the music itself is free, and people can pay for extras like deluxe add-ons or hard copies. Both their 1st full length album and their new mini-album “Love Hotel” are free, and they are also an insanely good (and loud) live act. I haven’t been as impressed with a live, unaided 3-piece since seeing Muse in the early days.


I’ll be posting another blog about my opinions on downloading, file-sharing, and the destiny of the independent musician/author in the post-scarcity age of music and other creative arts.


I will also be giving my book “NO UP” the editing it deserves (thanks to hard work by my editrix Theresa) and arranging for the entire trilogy to be made free as e-books.


Remember “free” is only optional – if you feel like donating/paying some money, or downloading and paying at a later date if you like what you get, that’s absolutely okay too! :)