Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Interview with Randy Thurman

Randy Thurman, interviewed by Frank Burton

As an artist, poet and musician, do you consider your music, poetry and art to be three separate things, or does one blend into another?

For me it's a blend. I follow my intuitive sense and see it through.

Who are your influences?

I was raised in small rural town and had very few early influences for my art or music, and now looking back I can say that it was a good thing. Later as more and more recourses became available to me my influences included a very eclectic group of artists, musicians and writers such as Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, John Cage, Arnold Schoenberg, Charles Ives, Son House, Derek Bailey, John Fahey, Lawren Harris, and William Faulkner.

How would you best describe the album, "Hint"?

Experimental, ambient, non-mainstream.

How did you go about creating the music on the album?

I recorded sounds of water dripping, computer printers, kitchen utensils,.homemade musical instruments, and explored odd tunings for violin and guitar. I can honestly say that I used everything AND the kitchen sink!

Would you call yourself a hybrid artist?

There are artists and art critics that insist that an artist must do only one thing to do it well. I think it depends on the artist and their capabilities. As for me, my music feeds off my art and vice versa. I think the creative process is a very individual thing and I feel fortunate that I have had success in my artist endeavorers. Simply put, I follow my own path.

How do you feel about using the Internet as a platform for your work?

I consider it an essential tool for getting my work seen. It levels the playing field and allows me the opportunity to get my work out there. Also I can connect with other like minded people and learn from their experiences. Actually, promoting the work is an art form in itself.

Visit Randy's website at www.randythurman.net.

Download / listen to the album on www.philistinepress.com, or you can do so via Soundcloud right here:

Randy Thurman - Hint by philistinepress

Monday, 17 January 2011

The Incwriters blog

For the next two weeks, I'm going to be the guest blogger on www.incwriters.co.uk. I'll be writing about online publishing, Philistine Press, and all things literary. There'll be an entry from me every day, and I intend to write something about each of the Philistine releases.

My first entry is here.

Frank Burton

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Doors - Love Her Madly

Just rediscovered this track by The Doors. I must've heard it before, but I've forgotten all about it. It occurs to me there are many, many bands around at the moment who sound exactly like this. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because this still sounds really good.


For those who might be interested, I've started a new project this year. A little experiment into online publishing and a personal writing challenge. Beginning last week, I am posting a paranormal suspense novel online. This book will be published online one chapter at a time. This novel is a work in progress, so it will be written more or less "live." It's kind of scary to be writing without a net, but I really look forward to seeing how this project works out.

Should you be interested, the first chapter of TOUCH is available here: http://touchanonlinenovel.blogspot.com/2011/01/chapter-i-guardrail.html.

Here's an excerpt:

He wrapped himself as completely as possible with cloth to hide himself from the world, to protect the nerve endings everywhere along his epidermis. He had heard it said that the skin was the largest organ of the human body. He hated that it was also the organ which gave him the most trouble.

Everything he touched told a story. Whether or not he wanted to hear the story was irrelevant.

Even the stitching of his clothes – the tiny threads and various fabrics – left their impressions. He saw writhing silkworms or content sheep. He saw cotton stalks waving in large fields under sunny skies. There were tiny hands pushing fabric through machines. There was the raucous noise of factories and voices in other languages. Sometimes needles pricked skin, and sometimes children were not allowed to be children. In the cloth itself he could detect the faintest hint of pain. The pain was there. It was everywhere and in everything. He wondered why it had taken him so long to notice the pain imbedded in all things. He could not understand how other people could not feel it, too. It was so tangible, so real, and so obvious.

Friday, 14 January 2011

New Poems

If you're reading this, you may have noticed I've been posting up some new poems. They may not be 100% finished yet - I'm writing them all in one sitting and then posting them up here straight away without much of a thought. Hopefully these new pieces will turn into a second collection at some point, in which case I might redraft them at a later date. At the moment, I'm enjoying using this blog as my own personal doodle-pad. Apologies if my ramblings don't make much sense at this stage.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Prodigals by Frank Burton

Creator of Philistine Press Frank Burton has released his own novel, The Prodigals, which can be downloaded from www.philistinepress.com, and read online at www.prodigalsnovel.com.

About the book

The Prodigals follows the lives of four troubled young men in Manchester - Brian, Howard, Declan and the novel's anti-hero, Travis McGuiggan. It's a book about friendship, religion, drinking, cruelty and love. It's also a book about leaving home and returning.

About the author

Frank Burton was born in Lancashire in 1979, and now lives in Hampshire. He has been published widely in the UK, Australia and USA. He is the author of the short story collection, A History of Sarcasm (Dog Horn 2009), and the founder of the Philistine Press website. The Prodigals is his first novel.

More of Frank's fiction can be found at www.frankburton.co.uk.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


I have decided that I will spend the next year silent.
I will not speak or write another word.
I will recycle my phone and my laptop.
I will carry a set of cards with me wherever I go.
One of the cards will say, "Yes."
Another will say, "No."
Another will say, "Two sugars please."
One will say, "I adore your shoes."
One will say, "Apologies. I am spending the year silent,
And cannot respond to your query at this time."
One will be a picture of a flower.
One will say, "Good people don't kill people."
One will say, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog."
One will say, "No explanation required."
One will say, "Insert amusing anecdote here."
One will say, "I love you."
Two of the cards will say, "I disagree entirely with your last statement."
One will be written in lower case, and the other in block capitals.
One will say, "Fuck me."
One will say, "OK, you can stop now."
One will say, "It's your turn."
One will say, "I'm sorry."
One will say, "I'm terribly sorry."
One will say, "Why?"
One will be completely blank, and I will hold this card against my face,
Matching my blank expression.

You may think I am doing this because I am unhappy,
And I want to wallow in my own misery,
But I'm looking forward to being wordless.
I have a feeling it's going to be twelve months
Of uninterrupted joy.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Booze and Chocolate Amnesty


Are you struggling to keep up with the New Years' dieting because of all the booze and chocolate left over from the festive period?

There is a simple solution. I'll take it.

Please send all half-full bottles of Baileys and uneaten confectionery to the following address:

FJ Riley
PO Box 1886

I am willing to collect particularly large batches in person.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Big Poppa E

Big Poppa E has literally hundreds of performance poetry videos on You Tube. This is just one of them.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

A Poem for Ruthie - a Friend of a Friend

Ruthie, this one's for you.
This one is for you, Ruthie,
This one is for you.

It's not my best poem, but you're not my best friend. You're not even a fully-fledged mate - you're a mate of a mate. I have no strong feelings towards you. Ruthie, I do not miss you when you're not around. I never wonder to myself, "I wonder what Ruthie's doing right now."

Sometimes I plagiarize your anecdotes, prefixing them with "A friend of a friend told me..." This is how the great urban tales are born. Sometimes we'll say, let's go for a coffee, just the two of us, without Helen, the lynchpin that holds our acquaintanceship together. This well-intentioned coffee date never happens, not because we never intended to get together. It's just that you and me, Ruthie, we're happy that we don't really know each other, not because we don't like each other, but because we don't quite care enough.

Annette Greenaway

Friday, 7 January 2011

36 Feet Under

This is a great ambient compiliation, available to download for free from www.freemusicarchive.org.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A Reason to Start Rioting

Just read Sum: Tales From The Afterlives by David Eagleman, one of the best short story collections I've ever read (and one of the most popular).

Sum reminds me of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, and perhaps the whole thing could’ve been written by the ghost of Calvino from one of Eagleman's imagined afterlives.

Eagleman's new book is called Why The Net Matters - a non-fiction work about the infinite possibilities of the internet. This looks very interesting, but sadly I'm not going to read it because it's available exclusively as an iPad app. I don't have an iPad. It seems a bit ironic that an ebook about how great the internet is won't be available to the majority of internet users. I'm sure the book is great, and judging by Eagleman's writing ability it's bound to be extremely well-written. Unfortunately I have no intention of buying an iPad, so I will never know, unless the book becomes available in an alternative format at a later time.

This is a bad omen for the future. It won't be long before there are many big-name authors signing lucrative contracts making their work exclusively available through Apple, Amazon or Sony. Books have always been available to everyone through libraries. If readers have this privilege taken away from them, we have a justifiable reason to start rioting.

Frank Burton

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Etgar Keret

If you haven't read anything by Etgar Keret, one of the best short story writers in the world, this would be as good a starting point as any - the title story from his collection, "The Nimrod Flip-Out" - read the full story on Zoetrope.

More information about the author on www.etgarkeret.com

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Sarah Byng, Who Could Not Read And Was Tossed Into A Thorny Hedge By A Bull (by Hilaire Belloc)

Some years ago you heard me sing
My doubts on Alexander Byng.
His sister Sarah now inspires
My jaded Muse, my failing fires.
Of Sarah Byng the tale is told
How when the child was twelve years old
She could not read or write a line.
Her sister Jane, though barely nine,
Could spout the Catechism through
And parts of Matthew Arnold too,
While little Bill who came between
Was quite unnaturally keen
On 'Athalie', by Jean Racine.
But not so Sarah! Not so Sal!
She was a most uncultured girl
Who didn't care a pinch of snuff
For any literary stuff
And gave the classics all a miss.
Observe the consequence of this!
As she was walking home one day,
Upon the fields across her way
A gate, securely padlocked, stood,
And by its side a piece of wood
On which was painted plain and full,
Alas! The young illiterate
Went blindly forward to her fate,
And ignorantly climbed the gate!
Now happily the Bull that day
Was rather in the mood for play
Than goring people through and through
As Bulls so very often do;
He tossed her lightly with his horns
Into a prickly hedge of thorns,
And stood by laughing while she strode
And pushed and struggled to the road.
The lesson was not lost upon
The child, who since has always gone
A long way round to keep away
From signs, whatever they may say,
And leaves a padlocked gate alone.
Moreover she has wisely grown
Confirmed in her instinctive guess
That literature breeds distress.

Hilaire Belloc

This is from Hilaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales (1939). More information about the poet and some audio recordings at The Poetry Archive.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Down With Television, Up With the Web (A Geek's Hymn)

Down with television, conversation killer.
Down with television, destroyer of communities.
Down with television, wrecker of minds.
Down with television, weapon for the wealthy against the weak.

Up with the Web, conversation starter.
Up with the Web, creator of communities.
Up with the Web, developer of minds.
Up with the Web, the true democracy.

Annette Greenaway