Category: Diary

The ripples always come back…

The thing about making music is while there are long periods of kicking your heels and wondering if anyone out there is even interested, every so often something ripples back that makes you wonder that there might be some hope left. The other day I got a significant payment from one of the royalty collection agencies I use (don’t worry it wasn’t that much but anything more than a tenner is significant these days). Then I looked to see what had happened.

One of my songs had been tagged in France – again the details are vague. I have no idea where, when or how – just that this one song has triggered a sizeable payout. Again, it’s not enough to buy a guitar or anything or even pay for a week’s shopping. Then you look at the song that has triggered this and you go: “I don’t even remember that song”.

Then you go back and listen to the song and think “I don’t even like that song. Why would that be of any interest? There are better songs of mine that should be getting the attention.” But then you realise that it’s nothing to do with you.

You make the music, you release it into the world and then it takes on a life of its own. Sometimes, just sometimes, it might just hit somewhere for a brief time and the ripples come back to you like this.

And then you think about the 1000 fan rule and wonder if you could ever even achieve that? Nope – just little splashes in the ocean. So keep splashing…

Touched by Some Thing

Every so often, for varying reasons, I find myself wading in the digital depths of my archive. Usually it is because I’m moving one set of recordings I’ve made in the past into the latest software I’m using so that I don’t encounter any digital redundancy further down the line.

Recently, I’ve been stuck in the year 2000 and the recordings I made that year that ended up on a set called “Touched by the King”. The notable thing about these recordings is that half of the master tracks were lost when a CD-R I used to back them up failed and so I can never modernise half the album. This saddens me somewhat but also teaches me a lesson not to trust any kind of media and to keep backups: many backups.

As there’s currently a publishing promotion on at CDBABY, I thought it would be nice to create a nice clean finalised copy of these recordings as I have done recently for “Now Here” and “It’s About Time” and publish them via that service.

This has been “fun” in only that I get the chance to balk at those recordings and wonder “why did I do that?” and “how did I get that to work?”. For one of the tracks, the main file was lost and I spent a morning constructing a lead guitar line out of its component parts (as I’d obviously and unusually recorded the solo in sections, rather than in my usual one take) and so it ended up being a bit like stitching together a digital audio patchwork quilt. It gave me a headache! And then there’s the alternate takes to contend with. Was it the first bass take or the second? Why didn’t I use these wah-wah guitar parts? Why did I put that other section? Oh well, I suppose it keeps me off the streets.

Then there was the matter of the artwork. At the time, I created a piece of digital artwork from the visualiser of a digital audio player called WinAMP. It was a little digital splash and I copied it and flipped it to turn that splash into a star. I also collated some other digital shapes created by the WinAMP music visualiser (which was making these shapes from the actual audio of the album – how meta!) for use on the back and inside covers.

However, whether it was by design or a more deliberate guiding hand, the artwork ending up mimicking or parodying the album sleeve “The ConstruKction of Light” by King Crimson. I don’t remember how I got there, but I definitely know I was inspired more by the WinAMP visualiser and its pretty shapes and patterns than me directly trying to copy the sleeve – if that makes any sense. Memories are hazy, but ever since the bullying and sabotaging of that band and its management, I’ve wanted to distance myself from the imagery and so today, I dumped that artwork for a new image, taking the tarot as inspiration.

Lazy and simple – just like me!

Mr Tumble

I went arse over tit while out walking Hannah this morning. It was a beatific Sunday morning, full of sunshine and blue skies and white fluffy clouds, and it was a stupid thing to happen. On a grassy bit, I was looking at the ground anyway because there are many potholes and divots on the open spaces of our locale, when my right foot decided to slip into said divot and my ankle ricked. I felt the crunch and I went down. However, due to my superior athletic ability and cobra-like senses, I managed to roll into the fall and roll out on my left shoulder. No harm done, other than my right ankle smarting somewhat. And there I am looking forward to a nice long walk in the morning to the doctors…I think this time, it might be a hobble.

One of the benefits of the diabetes eating away my nerve endings is that pain isn’t the pain I used to feel. It is deadened somewhat, there’s no edge to it. So there’s always a silver lining!

NetECHO (2022)


It was three years ago to the day that I completed the remixing of a proposed 10th anniversary edition of EchoNET and the 70 minutes of extra material from those sessions that I dubbed NetECHO. S’funny because I was only thinking of releasing that stuff today. I did it and put in the folder and forgot about it. I doubt anyone would be interested anyway. But do I release NetECHO separately and make it its own alternative version of EchoNET or do I do the rejiggered EchoNET with all the offcuts as a bonus disc? I think that quandary was what stalled my decision making process three years ago… 🤔

Alex guarding the shed where half of EchoNET was recorded and mixed.

01-08-94 Nothing to Do (2021 Remix)

The digital archive says this was recorded in 1995, but I distinctly remember writing this when I was unemployed during the summer of 1994. 

So yes, this is a song about the mundane existence and utter frustration of being unemployed after leaving university. I remember applying to over 100 jobs – in those days you kept the rejection letters (remember them) as evidence to take to the Job Centre to prove you were actively seeking work. And boy, was I actively seeking work, but I’m one of those people who never seems to get called up and when I do, finds it hard to land the position.

But the point is that I’ve always been writing these kind of songs.

Here are the words so you can all sing along!

When I get up it’s half past two
Not in the morning, the afternoon
Why should I get up
There’s nothing to do
I’ve got no work
Or nowhere to go

If do go out
There’s no money to spend
Don’t talk to anyone
I’ve lost touch with my friends
There seems to be no end

I don’t remember how it got this way
I don’t even know how I make it through the day
There’s no escape
You know it’s true
There’s nothing else when I’ve nothing to do

If I’m lucky I might go into town
Some window shopping
But that gets me down
In the summer, I don’t go very far
Sit on the bench and watch all the cars

In the night, I don’t go to bed
I write these stupid songs
That don’t make much sense
I don’t make much sense

I don’t remember how it got this way
I don’t even know how I make it through the day
There’s no escape
You know it’s true
There’s nothing else when I’ve nothing to do

Nothing to do
Nowhere to go
No-one to meet
No-one to phone
No reason to sleep
No reason to wake
Nothing to give
Nothing to take
No reason to laugh
No reason to cry
No reason to live
No reason to die

I must not give up hope
Give me one reason why I must not give up hope
Give me one reason why I must not give up hope
Give me one reason why I must not give up hope
Give me one reason why
Give me one reason why
Just one reason why

L – Front & Back Cover

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