On Book Number Two

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Releasing a book to the world is a feeling like no other. On the release of my first book Touretti Spaghetti I felt an enormous amount of pride. How many people say they are going to write a book but never do? But that amazing sense of achievement was soon replaced with something else once the reality of what I’d one had set in. Fear. Trepidation. These characters who had existed merely in my head over the  previous months, years, were about to be released into the world. I loved them, of course. But I was always going to. They were my babies. I felt like a parent letting their kids go from the family home to university. I was proud of them, but to the same degree worried they weren’t going to be successful; worried no one would like them.

In many ways I felt that first book would be the hardest. My leading character Adam was in a lot of ways a part of me. Not only because I had created him, but also because he shared so many of my quirks and characteristics. Many of his experiences were stories from my own past. It makes sense that I should feel protective of him. So surely book number two should be easier, right? The characters I have created are no more than figments of my imagination. Whilst certain parts of them have come from people I know, or have met in the past (as all my characters are to some extent), surely I would be more disconnected from them, knowing they are merely fictional. But that’s not the case. I have spent just as much time with them, getting to know them, and building their characters. Their existence has dominated so much of my time, and they have become my children in the same way that Adam did.

Writing can often be a solitary experience. It’s something I do on my own on my laptop. As an introvert I guess that’s what appeals to me about it so much. But releasing a book is a whole different ball game. Coming out of the shadows and saying look what I made is a terrifying thing to do. But I have excitement on my side right now. Releasing this next book has been a long time coming. I have been working on it on and off for many years, and I’m really glad it’s finally going to see the light of day.I feel it’s worth it, and I feel it is ready.

There’s more news coming up on the new book over the next week or so. As always I appreciate any support you can offer. watch this space.

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Glastonbury Fever

 

glasto-2If you were tried to get tickets for this year’s Glastonbury festival (or any year for that matter), then you’ll know of the frustration, the excitement, the anticipation, and the fear that’s involved in the process. More than all that you’ll know about the anger you feel when you either can’t get on the website, or when it kicks you off at a vital moment (usually the payment screen). But if you were one of the lucky 135,000 people who won this ‘lottery’ and scored yourself one, then you’ll he feeling the same emotion as me. Relief. This year in particular was an important one, as the festival has its rest year in 2018. So if you didn’t get one for next year’s festival, then there’s a fair while to wait for the next. If you got one, congratulations. You can now relax, count down the days to the greatest party on earth, and wait with baited breath as the acts are announced. The first of which was announced last week in the shape of Radiohead. It was of course the worst kept secret in the entertainment world. I can’t imagine there’ll be the usual complaints that follow headliner announcements. Radiohead are Glastonbury legends. For those who didn’t manage to get tickets, don’t give up hope yet. There’s always the resale.

So why is Glastonbury such an important festival? It’s kind of hard to describe it, as the only way to really see the magic it holds in its gates is to actually go there yourself (which like I said above is not the easiest of things to do). Whilst the BBC do an amazing job of capturing the events for TV, there’s an element to Glastonbury that can no way be captured on film: the atmosphere. I only went on my first Glastonbury in 2010. 2017 will be my third. I’d always watched in on TV, so was excited to be there; but I had no idea just what would be in front of me. After completing the ridiculously (and unexpectedly) long walk to the camping area (carrying not only the essentials we needed for the weekend, but also an epic amount of cider, wine and crisps), then we immediately knew we were in for something special. The buzz, the excitement of everyone around us, and the general comradary of all wanting to enjoy some great music was overwhelming. People we’d never met before spoke to us like old friends for an hour or two. People with nothing in common suddenly had this great experience to share, and I never once saw even the first sign of trouble.

I would always reccomend getting there early (if traffic hold ups allow) so you get two full days to acclimatise to your new surroundings before the madness begins. Friday to Sunday will be solid bands, trudging through the mud to get from one end of the site to the other to catch everyone you need to see. There will always be clashes. There may be bands you want to see when your mates want to go elsewhere. I had to endure a full Coldplay set on the Pyramid stage whilst one of my favourite bands Glasvegas headlined John Peel. we also missed Pulled Apart By Horses  before we got stuck in the Jesse J crowds. Don’t go with a definitive list of who you want to see, because it’s never going to happen. I always go with a top five, and anything else is a bonus. When you see the final schedule, only then should you plan when and where you need to be. But even then it’s not a guarantee you’ll make it there on time. If you’ve never been before, then you have to realise the sheer scale of the site. Worthy Farm is like a city in its own right. Give yourself plenty of time to get around, and make allowances for the fact the mud will slow you down (and there will be mud). The acts you absolutely must see will not be your favourites at the end. It’s the random acts you’ve come upon by accident that will be your new favourite bands. I went to see Death Cab For Cutie last time because we were near John Peel, and had an hour to kill. I knew very little about them, but quickly got familiar with their back catalogue when I  got home.

Whilst the music is top of the agenda, there are so many other things to see, most of which you will stumble across by accident. The street acts, the food stalls, the speakers, the comedy, the bars. No matter how many times you go to this magical festival, it’s impossible not to experience something new.

I remember standing by my tent, which we usually pitch on the hill near the Pyramid stage and looking down on everything going on around me. It was dark, and as far as I could see was Worthy Farm, lit up in all its glory. It went on for miles, and every time I turned my head even slowly, was something new and exciting going on. Where else can you find that?

At the end of the weekend, it takes some real adjusting to real life again. The people you see in service stations on the way hoe are different. You are catapulted back to reality. And then of course there is sleeping in a real bed again. After sleeping on the floor in the middle of a field, walls, beds, and mattresses are a novelty. Field life has been your life for the last few days. The Glastonbury blues will set in, but you will be left with the memories of an amazing few days.

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In Loving Memory of Prince: A Personal dedication

As a music blogger, this is a post I never wanted to write. In fact, it’s a post I never thought I would write. Prince has always seemed ageless; immortal. I never considered there ever be a day we would lose this man, because I assumed he would outlive us all. I have never seen him as a mere person, but a superstar. Whilst the man himself has always been private and shy, his stage persona is one considered to be the greatest live performers of all time. I for one would have loved to be able to move, and do the splits the way he did. I can’t even do that now, and I am twenty years junior of his final age. But it is with a heavy heart that I do have to write this. Of course it is a huge loss to the music industry. But I don’t really care about how he shaped the musical horizon, and influenced the careers of those who followed him (which he inevitably did). All I have thought about since I heard of this tragic loss, it what his music meant to me personally. I am not writing this as a music blogger, but as a fan. His music has soundtracked my entire life, and it is hard to believe that that’s it. No more. There will no doubt be multiple articles you can read charting his career. This article is about one fan’s love of the singer, although I’m sure it will ring true with fans around the world.

I’m not going to pretend I was there supporting him from the start. I’d have had to be singing along in my mother’s stomach. His debut album was released the year I was born. By the time I was old enough to be in to music, he was well and truly the superstar he was at the height of his career. I remember hearing ‘Gett Off’ for the first time on the charts and I instantly fell in love with both the song, and Prince as an artist’s unique style. ‘Cream’ came out not long after, and by that time I’d saved up enough to buy the album ‘Diamonds and Pearls’. Whenever my parents took me into town and I bought new music, they would always play it for me in the car on the way home. As always they offered, but I declined a little too adamantly. They didn’t know much about Prince. It wasn’t music anyone’s parents listened to. They had no idea what filth there youngest son had just bought to listen to, and I planned to keep it that way. I didn’t want them to hear it anyway. It was mine, and I didn’t want to share it with anyone.
Buying that album was the start of an obsession. Every penny I got my hand on went towards buying up his back catalogue. I started with the more popular titles such as ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Sign O The Times’. Although I had become familiar with the hits, what surprised me was that it was often the album tracks that stood out. I loved songs like ‘Starfish & Coffee,’ and ‘Darling Nikki’ as much as I did the big hits such as ‘Kiss’ and ‘1999’. His music stood the test of time, and I continued being a fan through the years to this day. What made it so enduring, was that his old songs didn’t sound like old songs. I never thought of them as classics as I listened to them. They constantly sounded as fresh ten or twenty years on as they did the first time I heard them. When he released new material, I still got as excited about listening to it as I did when I bought ‘Diamonds & Pearls’. Whilst most of his biggest commercial hits were in the eighties and nineties, so many people failed to realise what an innovative and original artist he remained through the naughties to the current day. His albums ‘Musicology’ and ‘3121’ where amongst his career best. Recent single ‘The Breakdown’ was as much a classic as any of his bigger hits. For every important moment of my life, there has been a Prince song to accompany it. I listened to his funkier tracks whilst getting ready to go out. Whenever I was down, I would put on one of his slower numbers like ‘Nothing Compares 2 u’ or ‘The Morning Papers’.

In 2007, he released his album ‘Planet Earth’. It was given away free on the front of The Daily Mail. I was away on holiday at the time, but my parents had the paper delivered every day. So I gave them their orders to keep the CD for me, and I would collect it when I got back. When I got back, they they told me of the panic they’d had. The delivery boy had mistakenly given them the wrong paper: a paper that didn’t have the free CD. They had to do a mad dash around the street, knocking on the doors of their neighbours, trying to find someone who took the same paper, and didn’t want the CD. Luckily they were successful, and I got my CD. Many music retailers were angry with his decision to give the album away for free. They felt they had supported his career for many years by selling his albums. The fact he had decided to bypass them and not charge for it was somewhat of a kick in the teeth. But Prince was only ever going to do things his own way, as he had right through his career. He was always about the music, and didn’t care about the industry or what it expected of him. Prince was fighting for artists’s rights long before Taylor Swift was born. She may be fighting the fight now, but Prince’s ruthless battle started long ago, even resulting in the changing of his name to make a stand against his label.

It’s hard to imagine how you would feel on losing an artist you truly love. Whilst I respected Bowie and recognised his important contribution to the music industry, it was Prince who really made the impact on my life. I never met him, and due to his private persona, knew little about him. But I felt I knew him through the way he expressed himself through his music. His presence in my has always been there. To know there will be no more music from this genius truly saddens me. But what a back catalogue, what a legacy he has left. He will be forever remembered through his music.

Touretti Spaghetti

Touretti Spaghetti is out now

I remember starting out writing a book about a boy growing up with Tourette’s. I remember reading so many novels on the subject that made the Character with Tourette’s as one who shouted out swear words, with ‘hilarious’ consequences. There was never any explanation to the pain and the urges behind it. Writing it was so much fun, and I fell in love with Adam, the protagonist of the story. But when I first started out, I never made any thoughts to what I would do with it when I was finished. I just knew I needed to write it.

Self publishing was always an attractive route for me. It has a lot of the same qualities that made blogging such a passion to me. It’s instant, no waiting around. I could set it up as I wanted to, and get it out to the world at just the press of a button. Which is exactly what I did. But I was hasty, and didn’t get it edited properly. But after taking advice from other writers and editors, I did exactly that. Now I have a fully edited version of the book, and it’s ready for your reading pleasure (hopefully) now. I’ve also slightly adjusted the art work, so it’s exactly as I want it. Thanks to my brother for that one. It’s been a long time since finishing that first draft to getting it out. But out it is. I would love to hear your thoughts. I have some PDFs I can send out to book reviewers, or book lovers who would like to review it. Just leave a comment below.

I’ve relaunched this blog to talk about writing, but also to post my music reviews and talk about life in general. Will hopefully be adding new content soon. Giving it a bit of a face lift too, so keep checking back in. I’ve also set up a Facebook page (click here) There’s not too much on it at the moment, but give me a Like please, and I’ll be your bestest buddy. Will add more stuff to it soon.

Anyways, catch you all soon. Buy my book please (here). New proper blog post coming soon. I’ll leave you with a video from the album I’m reviewing at the moment.

Out for now.

Kev.

What Orlando Pride Meant To Me

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I have been to Pride events before, and they have almost had the power to make me feel me feel very emotional. In an idea world there would be nood need for them, as in a way it’s self-imposed segregation. It’s like we’re creating an event that points our our differences from the straight world whilst in the pursuit of equal rights. But as things stand right now, I still find them very necessary. Things have moved on such a long way over the last ten years or so. In the last year alone I have watched two of my best mates get married, and another two become parents through adoption. Pride events really celebrate those changes to society. There’s still some way to go, but LGBT rights seem to be at an all time high.

My partner and I were recently on holiday in Florida. We weren’t aware when we booked the trip, but noticed that Orlando Pride was on whilst we were there. We’d recently been to Pride in Manchester here in the UK, so thought we’d go along and see how the Americans do it: bigger and better, of course. We got a taxi to downtown Orlando, and followed the crowd to the park where the event was being staged. Everyone was in good spirits, and the atmosphere there was amazing. We had something to eat and drink, and watched some of the live music before heading out into the streets to get a good spot to watch the parade.

But with the park behind us, suddenly the mood changed. Two men were stood on the sidewalk opposite with a microphone and a speaker, preaching how homosexuality was a sin, and we should all repent or go to hell. Now I’ve got to hand it to these guys, they are much braver men than I am to speak out about the immorality of being gay at a gay pride event. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the kind of opposition he came up against.

In front of me was an old man in a wheelchair, being pushed around by his partner. He was getting more and more upset by the minute by what this man was saying. It must have been hard for him to hear. His generation have gone through so much struggle, just to be with the person they loved. It was because of them that so many teenagers there were able to be out and proud of who they are. The presence of such people sets things back years. To the side of us was a woman in her early forties. She started telling us how she grew up in a teligious background, and had to live a lie her whole life because of her families views. She had finally told her parents and was now living as who she was, with a woman she loved. She and her parents no longer spike, but she was happy with her choice. This was her first ever pride, so it meant so much to her. She was gwtting upset because she didn’t feel like she should have to choose between her god and her sexuality. At first I was angry with what I saw, but then I thought about the way things have changed, even in my life time, and how their archaic views will die out with their generation.
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Many people tried to unplug the mic, or make off with the speaker to silence them, but little could be done. The police had arrived on the scene, and instead of moving them on for causing a public disturbance, they stood either side of them like bodyguards, protecting their right to free speech. It was clear that if anyone was to go for them, then they would be the ones getting arrested. But it was these two girls who managed to silence them, if only for a few moments.
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Of course the silence didn’t last for long, and the man on the mic continued his hate campaign. They lost out in the end though. As soon as the parade started, they were drowned out by the sounds of festival music, airhorns and cheering. This girl showed how the future generation think which made me smile.
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What was so great about the event, was how inclusive it was. There were straight people supporting their gay friends, parents supporting their gay children, and children supporting their gay parents. It wasn’t just a day for the gays, but a day for everyone who was in support and wanted to celebrate diversity. When I was at school, being openly gay was just not possible. My life would have been made hell. So I was pleased to see so many openly gay teens, maybe as young as thirteen or fourteen. I was showed how much things had moved on, even in my life time.
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It was the first Pride in Orlando since the equal marriage rights bill had been passed, so there was a real feel of achievement and togetherness in the air. After the music there was a series of speakers, from politians, activists, and the mayor Buddy Dyer. This is when things started to feel different to UK events, where the party doesn’t stop. But as an outsider it was great to hear what they had to say and be made to feel part of such a special day.

After that we took a walk around the park and witnessed the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen. These images will forever be with me.
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So thank you all at Orlando Pride for making this such a special day for us. Thank you for making us feel so welcome, even as tourists.