As this chapter of my life draws to an end, I’m feeling pretty good about things. I have exactly six weeks of work remaining. Seven weeks left in the UK. I guess I should be feeling nervous, but leaving London right now feels some utterly right that I can’t see a downside.
My flat (tastefully pictured in b&w) is a bombsite of boxes and books, and life right now feels like a succession of countdowns, the most imminent of which it the release of my first short story, Dot Matrix.
If you missed it first time around, here’s the cover:
Smiley emoticon, etc.
Over the last year or so, I’ve written a bunch of short stories – some better than others. I love the medium. I don’t find myself bored with the characters or the plot. I don’t find that I’m writing myself into a corner. Editing is almost pleasurable. Almost.
I have four of them ready to go right now. I recall releasing the first single with my band back in 2005/06, and that was a daunting experience. The label kept pushing back the release date. We had a radio plugger who was less interested in getting us airplay and more interested in coke and fucking drunk teenagers at house parties, the artwork was crap, the production was iffy and after hearing the track about eight million times, I had grown to hate it. It’s hard to promote something you don’t have faith in.
That’s why self-publishing appeals to me – I am in control.
Don’t like the cover? I’ll change the fucker. No need to run it past some exec who doesn’t even know who I am or (heaven forbid) offend a graphic designer.
Wanna rewrite the end two days before it’s released? No problem.
Not getting enough promotion? Well, then I’ll try harder. New tactics. Research.
When I think back to 2005/06, I realise that I feel far more confident about releasing these four short stories than I ever did about putting a single out.
One a month. That’s the plan. Keep writing. Keep releasing.
It’s telling that I no longer feel as attached to my musical equipment as I used to. This move is prompting me to get rid of a lot of it. I started by listing stuff on Gumtree – amps, guitars, mixers etc. But listing anything on Gumtree is like kicking an ant nest of scumbags. They come crawling out with ridiculous offers. They don’t turn up. They try to blag £10 off if they do show.
‘As I’m driving down from Birmingham to pick it up, could you take £100 off?’
Here’s an idea – why don’t you find what you want somewhere a little closer. Like Birmingham.
‘Can you send me the serial number of that guitar?’
‘It’s a fake. I just googled it.’
So you think I’m sitting around, pedalling knock-off guitars to assholes on Gumtree?
This guy actually started getting abusive, so I put his phone number and email address into a Dogging website, so now he gets notified whenever there is an ‘event.’
‘I’ll be there at 6pm to pick it up.’
7pm. Not sign of the fucker.
8pm he texts: ‘Sorry, I was busy and couldn’t text. Can I come over at 10pm?’
In 2016, we are surgically attached to our smartphones. Who doesn’t have time to text? It takes 5 seconds.
I just replied ‘No.’ Never heard from him again.
Tolerance doesn’t rank highly on my emotional repertoire.
Eventually I donated most of it to a college in Tottenham. Their music department was encouraging kids to start up bands and I thought that sounded like a pretty noble thing to do (if you’ve ever been to Tottenham, you’ll know what I mean).
In a little over a week, you’ll have to deal with my READ MY FREE EBOOK Tweets and incessant marketing.
It’s good, though. Seriously. At least I think it is . . . And that’s a start.