Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Future Is Unwritten (AKA "Promises Promises")

Well. It was barely a couple of months ago that I poured my hopes and dreams onto this blog, for 2011 and beyond. One of those myriad things was moving back to the UK - to London in particular. That is no longer the case.

A combination of:
  • getting my longest temp job at Government Department X, with the potential of staying longer
  • friends convincing me I can indeed apply for residency, even without a skilled job
  • my Mum reminding me that the UK economy is still in the toilet, and finding a job in London would be harder than it has been here in Wellington
...have made me realise I really should apply for residency here in NZ. So I'm going to.

I've done a quick points calculation, and it looks good. There's every chance I will, some way or another, be able to continue working and living in New Zealand - either until I get my residency, or because I get my residency.

London will always be there, and - however long I am here in wonderful Kiwiland - I would like to live there at some time in my life. At least for a year or two.*

And all you people in Englandshire need not fear, because aside from my outrageous plans to come and tour Europe armed with an axe and backing tracks, I will definitely be coming back to visit some time this year: my brother is getting married, and apparently I am the best man, and apparently it's simply not done to miss out.

But for now, wish me luck. I battled with the Gods of Travel in 2003, against SARS and changing flights, and won. Now I face the Gods of Staying Put. Fingers crossed, eh.

*They say when you are sick of London, you are sick of life. But I feel confident in saying when you get sick of London, you are sick of noise, pollution, cars, crime, tube strikes, the Tories, chavs, and, over the next 15 months, the 2012 Fucking Olympics.

Yes please

No thanks Seb mate

Monday, 28 March 2011

Broken fish hook fixed.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been walking around without my fish hook. I won’t tell the whole story, but in summary, here's some advice: if you’re a female visitor to this country, and you’re walking home with a guy (me) late on a Friday night, and 2 bogans across the road offer to “fight your boyfriend”, the answer is not “sure!”.*
I was lucky I checked afterwards, noticed it had gone, and went back to retrieve it from the pavement.

Fish hooks are a Maori tradition going way back, and are obviously a symbol connecting people and persons with water and fishing. Also, the fish hook apparently provides the wearer safe passage over water. Tradition also suggests that you give or bestow it upon someone meaningful some time in your life – maybe tomorrow, maybe in 50 years.

Obviously I don’t have a strong personal connection with Maori culture, and I don’t believe in charms or superstition, but when I had the opportunity to carve my own in a workshop in Whitianga many years ago I thought I would give it a go. The result was a pendant that has only left my neck (since putting it on in 2003) for massages and life modelling.

I am not a jewellery person. I am a big fan of the piercings that I have had (right eyebrow, top of left ear) and the piercings that I currently have (left nostril, left tragus), but I don’t really think they count as “jewellery” – more like punctuation. However, this fish hook has been special to me, in my own way. It doesn’t symbolise anything in a literal way, but it's something I made while abroad travelling, and it represents in a vague way who I was, where I’ve been, and who I am. I could live without it, but I am very attached to it.

So recently, finally, I got a new neck cord and attached it in a new way as the picture shows. It’s not pretty, and in time I might take it to a professional carver or restorer and have the original loop put back (I don’t mind if it’s a different material or whatever, I’m only a purist when it comes to guitars & amps, and even then I’m no connoisseur). But for now it’s fine, and – exactly 8 years after making it in the Coromandel – it’s back on my neck where it belongs. Perhaps even, in a way, the brokenness and makeshift fix are like scars: they help show where we’ve been, and they display a sense of resilience. Or maybe I’m talking nonsense.

*I have very strong feelings about drunken people being “different people” to how they are sober. No matter how drunk you are, it’s no excuse to be a twat, and it’s no excuse to be dangerous. Even when pissed out of my skull, I don’t feel the need to jump off cliffs, call strangers a cunt (as someone on drugs did to me in my own room recently), stand in the middle of the road waving at oncoming cars, or, indeed, invite violence on a friend.
I have also done irresponsible things while drunk, but these are things I would well have done sober; the point is, alcohol is no excuse.

Why Libya is not Iraq

Just catching up on some overdue blogging while I've been busy with Lighthouses. This is a short post with bullet points:

  • The Iraq invasion was sold on the link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism, directly connected to 11th September 2001 terrorist attacks. Without that bogus fear, the invasion could not have happened.
  • No-one is invading Libya - yet, at least, but still. It's air strikes against clear military targets.
  • The action in Libya has UN approval.
  • Libya was (and still is) in a state of civil war for weeks before the action, such is the slow nature of the UN. Libyans lost their lives peacefully demonstrating, and have been losing their lives facing their government's own military.
  • Obama is not Bush. This may sound acadmic to some, but the approach to Libya has been huge: Obama is desperate to cede control to NATO, rather than the US military, and there hasn't even been an aircraft carrier stationed near Libya. The Bush administration hard out wanted a war and went to great lengths to deceive the world into getting one.
People may point out that in cases of moral intervention, the US gets involved only when there's oil involved, or when its "strategic partners" (e.g. Saudi Arabia) aren't the subject, or when its not impractical to do so (e.g. Iran). There certainly may be more background and circumstances than meets the eye. The history of US involvement around the world is quite ugly.

But I would suggest that Gadaffi is indeed a murderous despot, that Libyan lives are in danger, and that there is a case for nations to intervene in Libya.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Thank yous for Lighthouses launch

There are too many people to thank fully for Friday's amazing single launch party, but I'm going to give it a good go:

Tod, Gareth, Danny: These were the fellows you saw onstage with me, and they performed like heroes. I'm in awe and in debt of these guys for helping me put on the performance that we did, and for all the work they put in. My hat is permanently off to them.

They also play in a superb band called Throw It To The Fire who are playing at Bodega and Mighty Mighty in the coming weeks. See them.

The other bands: I only finalised the line-up a couple of weeks before the gig, but what a line-up it was. Massive thanks to these guys, check them out:

Bar Medusa and all ye who sail her - primarily Tamara who runs it, and Boyd and Wayne who worked the venue on the night. Medusa fulfills a part of Wellington that no other venue does, and it's always a pleasure to play there.

Jared for doing the sound - lo, for he did an amazing job on sound (and lights) the whole night for 4 acts. Superbly nice guy too.

Jay for manning the web stream. We worked out it was be a simple case of just setting up the equipment and leaving it to run - and yet Jay manned the laptop for the whole night, checking everything was okay and working it to get the best results. Legend.

Veli + Fran + others for taking video - Veli took the awesome videos of last year's Dinosaurs launch, while Fran provided superb footage for the Lighthouses video shoot. I can't wait to see footage and to get said footage on the interwebs for all you people.

Jay Capco + others for taking photos - similarly, it's awesome to have people taking great pictures of you at a gig. If you took any pics that night I would love to see them!

Bakers (Mel, Anna, Sophie, Chiara, Jo + more) - I put out the callout for bakers, not knowing that the Knights of Baking would ride in like the cavalry and provide more awesome treats than could be eaten the whole night. Hats off to you wonderful people, especially Mel for making this amazing shortbread lighthouse cake. Awesome.

Daniil - guitar tech, door wench, photographer ... he showed up at 7pm knowing I would need help before I knew it. And he helped out the whole night. I already owe this man a number of beers, than number has just increased a lot.

Everyone who came + People watching on the internet, you guys are brilliant. Having 30 people jumping up and down singing "Dinosaurs" is one of the highlights of my 10ish years performing. Also it was great to have so many people log in and watch on the interwebs around the world - including my mum in Englandshire - thanks guys.

I know there's more people than that, I always forget someone, so my apologies if you helped in any way on that night and I haven't mentioned you.

Basically, I put in a huge amount of time and energy into this release and the launch party, but none of the awesomeness that happened on Friday night could have happened without the help of so many people. So thank you, wonderful people, and may dinosaurs and lighthouses guide your way.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Lighthouses free download OUT NOW

Get it now, name your price. Why not name it "free"?

Features the anthemic "Lighthouses" and brand new rocktastic song "Boy With X-Ray Eyes".

Friday, 25 March 2011

Live at the launch!

Blogging from the venue! Is that rock'n'roll? The Lucid Effect have just started, I've heard myself talking on the live feed, it's all happening!
Here's the link for the live feed, I'll see if I can embed it too

Live Broadcast by Ustream.TV

"Boy With X-Ray Eyes" Lighthouses b-side

Finally, on the day of release, here's the ROCKTASTIC b-side to Lighthouses "Boy With X-Ray Eyes". Check out those solos! And the drums! And the rock! Like all tracks off the Lighthouses single, it will be free to download from later tonight. (Or possibly tomorrow.) Cheers!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

International webcast times for #lighthouseslaunch gig

An exciting announcement! After some NASA-style testing, I can confirm there will be a webcast of the Lighthouses launch gig going out live on the internet for:
1) people who can't make it
2) friends and family overseas
3) complete strangers who want to watch an awesome live gig.

If everything goes according to plan, it will be going out on my Ustream channel here:

Below are some approximate international times - which is pretty cool I reckon :) But please remember they are APPROXIMATE times, the best way to to confirm is by texting or messaging the people in the band you want to see.

New Zealand is still on NZDT summer time (ie +13 hours from GMT).
If your timezone isn't listed you can find it here:

ALL times are for this Friday 25th March.
Of course, if you're in Wellington, see you down at the gig!

6:30pm Sydney, Melbourne
8:30am Central European Time
7:30am UK (GMT)

7:20pm Sydney, Melbourne
9:20am Central European Time
8:20am UK (GMT)

8:10pm Melbourne, Sydney
10:10am Central European Time
9:10am UK (GMT)

JEZ KEMP - 11:00pm NZDT
9:00pm Sydney, Melbourne
11:00am Central European Time
10:00am UK (GMT)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Callout for #lighthouseslaunch- can you help?

Next Friday 25th is the launch gig for my 2nd single "Lighthouses" and I am excited already. But this is a callout for some assistance in making it the most awesome gig party ever! Can you:
  • Take photos?
  • Take video on your camera?
  • Bake?
  • Help arrange live streaming on the web?
If so, please get in touch! Just leave a note on or email and let me know.
(Baking is something I'm not very good at, and I'll be crazybusy doing other stuff during this week, hence asking...)

Here's the poster for the gig, in case you feel like spreading them around the web or even printing some off and doing some last minute postering round your uni/college/workplace/fire station/laser-powered brothel in Wellington.


High quality for printing:

Friday, 18 March 2011

We need exactly 500,000 to pray for Japan, nuclear prayers need not apply

This is a post about Japan, prayer, “energy”, terrorism, Uri fucking Geller, and half of my freaking brain.

So there’s a Facebook event called “We need 500 000 Pray for the people of Japan”. The mind boggles.

First question: Why only half a million? Why not a whole million, or more? It sounds kind of like the Terry Pratchett concept of a million-to-one chance. I can see the organisers getting pretty upset too: “Oh no, if only we had precisely 500,000 people praying, then the radiation would disappear and there would be fluffy bunnies and everything would be okay”. 500,001 clearly won’t work.

Of course, this event is about as ludicrous as the idea of prayer itself. Who “needs” half a million praying for Japan? Certainly not the Japanese, who need food, water, shelter, heat, electricity, support for the economy, time to grieve for loved ones and destroyed communities, and maybe a time machine to go back and tell everyone to get the hell out of the northeast. Maybe the "we" are spirituo-religious quacks across the world, mostly in the Christian West, feeling the “need” to pretend to themselves they’re helping? I don’t know, like prayer it’s a complete mystery to me.

The event was mentioned by a friend on Facebook who rightly pointed out that it would be far more useful for half a million (or more) people to actually do something for Japan. For example, it’s been longer since the Christchurch earthquake, but the actual response across New Zealand has been phenomenal, and presumably the world too. Japan needs vital assistance and that assistance costs money. Initiate bakesale & charity gig sequence now.

What transpired was an 80+ comment thread on the subject of prayer and “energy” (and, bizarrely, animal welfare. I'm a big fan of animal welfare but when the tsunami hits the radioactive fan, I think humans are the priority). The friend made commendable efforts to explain she didn’t mean to offend anyone, which is fair enough – even when I’m laying into idiots about auras or homeopathy or religious bigotry, I don’t mean to offend anyone, it just happens by accident. (Okay with religious bigots I often mean to offend them, but anyway.) Unfortunately in my view she also backpedalled on the subject of prayer itself, very nearly or actually agreeing that it can be of practical use after all.

Let’s look at prayer simply. If prayer was actually effective – either in making atoms react a certain way for desired overall effect, or simply magicking aid helicopters out of the sky, fuck, I don’t know how these people’s minds work – what if it got into the wrong hands? I’m envisaging al-Qaeda recruiting armies of prayerrorists all “concentrating their energy” on summoning an Atlantic mega-tsnuami to wipe out Western Europe or the entire US Eastern Seaboard. And who is going to prevent prayer being obtained by rogue states like Iran and North Korea? Dear Kim Jong-Il, you’re an idiot – you should’ve been building secret underground cathedral facilities all this time.

And what the fuck is Uri Geller doing right now? He should be on TV and the internet calling on millions around the world, only instead of bending a fucking spoon, getting everyone to do something useful like demand the floodwaters retreat and that the Fukushima nuclear rods settle down in complete contrast to the laws of radioactive physics. Uri, your absence in this crisis exposes you as a selfish twat.

I pointed all this out on Facebook (in shortened comment form of course) – to be honest I think everyone had already had enough of the “discussion”, because the only reply I got was this:

" ' If the mind is open, satellite reception will be good. The mountains you put up should not be there in order to get satellite reception. When there are a lot of philosophical/scientific/rational, right-brain beliefs, there won't be any reception, whatsoever'. "
To be honest, that kind of comment doesn’t really deserve a reply – there’s not enough that even pretends to make sense that you can respond to. I’m sure it would be news to medical science that I am only using half of my freaking brain. I also think it’s laughable for people who dribble about “energy”, who clearly know nothing of science, to drop in the metaphor of “satellite reception”, which is wholly reliant on measurable physics.

But, being the stubborn/dogged/arrogant rationalist I am, I simply replied that this renders me invincible against prayer attacks. And thank fuck for that.

Watch out world, the terrorists are praying.

UPDATE Friday 4:45pm
I completely forgot to refer to this morning's Dominion Post headline, which - in keeping with the Dom Post's values in quality journalism - read: "TIME TO PRAY, SAYS NUKE EXPERT". If the subject wasn't bad enough, the flaky quote they somehow derive this headline from is buried halfway through the entire front page article.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Dinosaurs is now free to download

So I did it - "I Believe In Dinosaurs" is now FREE to download for whatever price you wish. Check out the nifty Bandcamp widget right here, and the awesome Wellington music video below that.

Please tell your friends, it would be awesome to see this song travel far and wide. DINOSAURS. SPREAD THE LOVE.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


For the first time since F451, I am excited about having a gigs page! And it's going to be right here on this blog entry. Behold the widget:

Monday, 7 March 2011

The gaping hole in the internet that is NO NEVER, my 4th book

Well now. Last year I made lofty promises about publishing the chapters of NO NEVER, the final part of my sci-fi/fantasy/comedy/apocalypse trilogy, on the interwebs for free. And hey, I managed to upload the preceeding NO UP and NO LIES more or less to schedule, so this didn't seem a tall order.

It was about this time that I Believe In Dinosaurs happened, and everything else became less important.

More crucially, my in-house editrixTheresa J.M.Q.Z.** Winters - who is, after 2 years in New Zealand and 1 in that scorched poisonous sports-obsessed shanty town known as Australia***, now settled back in her native**** United States***** - pointed out that NO UP had not been edited by her. I think I actually self-published it on Lulu around the same time I met her, so indeed even now it retains my own DIY effort at editing - and let's face it, editing your own work is like judging your own sexual performance ("I rate it 19 out of 10!!! No need for improvement!!!!!").

So Miss Winters has been going through NO UP with a toothcomb, which - after I've reviewed them, and maybe argued for old time's sake about whether "alright" is a word, or if "no-one" has a hyphen in it - will sharpen up its quality in the same way as NO LIES and NO NEVER.

WOT DUZ THUS ALL MEANS JIZ KIMP??, I hear you asking. Well, this year I hope to finalise publication of the trilogy in all senses, in the following order:

  • NO UP to be published, chapter by chapter, directly on this here blog
    I know for many of you Facebook fans & friends and RSS subscribers who are already aware of it, this will seem tedious. On the other hand, I doubt loads of you have read it - so publishing direct through the blog allows faster, easier access to what I think is a hilarious, gripping, shocking and mind-blowing work of fiction.******
  • ...followed by NO LIES and NO NEVER - all 33 chapters in total (+ 2 interlogues)
    Look on the bright side, it's a small trilogy :) It's like a bite-size Lord Of The Rings, with highly descriptive sex, beer and monsters!
  • eBooks of the trilogy released for FREE
    When I started writing NO UP, eBooks were in their infancy, there was no way to publish them, and the Kindle hadn't been born. Now it's as simple as, so I won't be arsing around with Word documents any more - you'll be able to get the books for free, nothing, nada, on your iPad/Kindle/Portable Reading Kitten/whatever device you choose.
  • Hard-cover book of the entire trilogy published
    You may have seen pictures of the paperbacks which look great. I haven't made up a hardback from Lulu yet, but assuming it's as good as the paperback, it's going to look MINT. I have the cover design done already. For those of you who like to hold something solid in your hands (ooo behave!), it's going to be amazing.
  • Reading/launch night for hardback & eBooks
    I didn't do readings for the launch parties of NO LIES or NO NEVER, but I'm so familiar with the trilogy now and it's old enough that I'm happy to do some readings from my favourite chapters. This will include the apocalypse party scene from NO LIES which, in all its sordid violence, I'm very proud of.

There. Now you know my plans this year regarding the NO UP trilogy. Just please, with Lighthouses occupying my every waking hour at the moment, please don't ask about HYPER.

*The 2nd Urban Dictionary definition is simply just plain untrue about Theresa, but I couldn't help linking it because of its amusing coarse English slang. It's so blunt it's hilarious!
** I totally just made these initials up. I await Theresa's own version of what they could stand for.
***Jokes! Lighten up Ozzies!
**** I use the word casually, but have recently been shown this blog here, which provides illuminating and yet somehow utterly straightforward perspectives on being Native American in the United States.
***** Despite the distance, I do hope she has time to still be my Editrix - certainly one of the points made through the NO UP trilogy is that distance in a wired knowledge economy means very little at all.
******I do genuinely believe this, but you may wish to see the "judging own sexual performance" regarding blowing one's own trumpet.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Human endogenous retroviruses

Just stumbled across something I think is totally fascinating, and potentially an awesome sci-fi subject:

So firstly:
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are sequences in the genome thought to be derived from ancient viral infections of germ cells in humans, mammals and other vertebrates
That in itself blows my mind - our very DNA can hold the leftover fragments of diseases and infections, probably long-dead, from our ancestors. Of course, we know full well of the dangers of HIV being carried from mother (and father? I'm not sure) to child. But the implications of HERVs seem to go further; my imagination is reminded of the armies of personal computers around the world unknowingly recruited by botnets, waiting for the command to spack out and go crazy.
There are many thousands of endogenous retroviruses within human DNA, with HERVs comprising nearly 8% of the human genome and composed with 98,000 elements and fragments. ... There is one family of viruses that have been active since the divergence of human and chimpanzees. This family, termed HERV-K (HML2), makes up less than 1% of HERV elements but is one of the most studied.
Imagine a virus left a key in our genome waiting to be activated by someone or something else?
It's way more sci-fi than science, but still...

Friday, 4 March 2011

Are Mothers Saints? - Manic Street Preachers

I could tattoo my entire body with Richey Edwards' lyrics, and listen to James Dean Bradfield's voice and guitar for days.
Track 3, Life Becoming A Landslide EP, February 1994

If piss is yellow then life must be grey
How come they smile when we throw it away
And if it is a colour then it must be sin
And you want to apologise but keep it in

Why worship a god when a mother is a saint
Why worship stone?

They give life and take it back
Spit you out but understand

And when their arms are dead how do they sigh
As gentle as the winter that fades by
And some kind of angel appears in her eyes
Or is it just the Devil screaming inside

Why give into useless devotion
Truth and beauty, love and hate, mother and God

They give life and take it back
Spit you out but understand
Stay silent when you want to shout
Give, give when we piss it away

Lighthouses acoustic verison by Captain What

I'm proud to present the acoustic version of Lighthouses, recorded by that skillful blaggard Captain What!

Captain What may be a wizard of self-styled "bedroom-pop", but he also goes by the name of Matt Langley, the bass-wielding tambourine-shaking chops-wearing blonde boy in that awesome band The Library Suits. He's also a fantastic producer and back at the end of 2007, when F451 were playing our last gigs, Matt kindly let me start recording some acoustic stuff at his house. The resulting tracks recorded over 2008 have formed the as-yet-unreleased acoustic EP "Time & Light", and it's a pleasure to at last present a track from it to you.

There's bass, acoustic guitars and that chiming riff played on electric, and the sound is wonderfully clean. Well done that man, please watch out for his forthcoming album and music video, also download his wonderful tracks for free at - it's free! I personally like "Captain Of Nothing" and "Happiness Can Wait".

Also stayed tuned here (i.e. sign up to my RSS feed!) for more exciting different versions of the same song going on the Lighthouses single! Yay!

The Captain in his natural environment ... a green hoodie

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Giving life a go

Choose Life, says Renton in the film Trainspotting by Danny Boyle based on the book Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. He goes on to say, in prose by screenwriter John Hodge, "choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers", so it's fair to say he's being sarcastic. Ironically by the end of the film, Renton chooses stable conventional "life" over the heroin.

This blog is a formal expression of what I realised a long time ago without even consciously thinking it - that I would give life a go.

When I was teenager (I know, I know, in many respects I am still a teenager, but we're talking literally here) there were a lot of dark times and depression, and 1 or 2 moments (literally just 1 or 2) when I seriously weighed up not being alive. The reasons were ridiculous, as they always are with teenagers - just a cover I guess for the underlying emotions, the black depths of depression. They were moments where, quite sober, I sat on a cliff edge in my mind, taking a casual look over the edge.

Consciously, I looked at the Big Questions with a cynical philosophy. What is the point in life? There is none. If happiness is eradication of need, what's more pure, more complete, than ending all your needs completely?

Obviously I didn't go through with it, or even try (failed attempts so often tragically end up with brain damage or other severe permanent medical problems). I'm still here, writing this self-indulgent blog about being an emo teenager.

I never declared anything, to myself or anything else. It's a little bit like the self-harm which faded away around the end of my teens - I never said no, I just stopped feeling any compulsion to say yes.

I still don't think there is a Big Purpose In Life. Nature, being an automatic program, has created us as selfish animals compelled to continue our genes; we've evolved as a social intelligent species because it's useful, not for any grand purpose.

Some people think ending your own life is a crime, because your body is the property of a higher power who "gave" it to you. I think that's bullshit. It's not my place to tell you what to believe or what not to believe, but the variety of human-centric gods with Grand Plans for mankind say more about the needs of those who conjure them than actual evidence.

My view is pretty simple. Life is all we have. It's dirty, aggravating, painful, often short and almost entirely unfair, and while the human being is a masterful vehicle looked at in some ways, it's pitifully flawed in many others. But it really is all we've got. And if you're here, eating, breathing, treading on other people's toes, you better make the most of it and be as good to everyone else as you hope they'd be to you.

The Christchurch earthquake last week was a sobering reminder of how fragile and unfair this life is. During the national 2-minute silence exactly 1 week on, my thinking brain reflected on how lucky I am not to know anybody killed in the quake, and that I wasn't there myself. But my instincts, the ones desiring action and decision, were already asking: What am I going to do now? How do I react to this?

My decision is, consciously and more so than ever, to Give Life A Go.

(Thanks for getting through rather self-absorbed blog post about me me me.)