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I recently had the honour of speaking at the Soundcloud Global Meetup Day in Glasgow, alongside Paul Reset of Phuturelabs, Shawn Dowse aka Voltergeist of MicroRave Records, Liam Arnold aka Kid Ritalin of Shallow Rave / Little Rock Records, and Muslim Alim, producer of BBC Radio 1's New Music Scotland show. It was a great night - Shawn's video below captures some of the flavour. I think the audio of our panel discussion is kicking about somewhere - I'll post it when I find it.

Am having a lot of fun with these.

DOWNLOAD so..spectral [mix]

////////†3x†UR3 – sØ...sp3c†RΔL/////////
[ wi†cH HΔuS / drΔg / ElEc†RØ mix ]

pyrΔmids of gizΔ - pyrΔmids of gizΔ
that boy (subtohell mix) – HowIQuitCrack
?unknown? – chelsea_†_rap
madden – a swizzle
WHITE RING – feather
NEW FEΔR – night boat
bear like mouse – rock the boat (bear like mouse mix)
WHITE RING – roses
ryerye – bLacK ceiLinG
Purity Ring – Ungirthed
Invisible Force - the dream is over now
WHITE RING – we rot



I recorded vocals for a track with producer Krowne, and it ended up being the title track of his new EP. The song is a lyric about quantum entanglement. I used the same approach for this track as I used to write Echo Boomers - I acquired a bunch of out-of-date physics textbooks and read through them, raiding them for interesting words. I cross-referenced the words I liked with dictionaries and wikis so I had a basic grasp of the concepts, and then I fucked with them until they made some sort of sense.

The flow of this one was written to be a counterpoint to the beat - it's meant to ride it like a messed-up trolleycar, almost falling off but just making it back on to the rails in time.

The track can be streamed or downloaded here, but I'd recommend you head to Black Lantern Music and get the whole EP - it's a real musical journey, and definitely sounds best when played in sequence.

Anyway, hope you like the track - I'm really pleased with it. There will be another Krowne rhythm on my next EP, we've recorded a bootleg of 'Flipping Over' from his 'Orders From Mars' EP. You can get a sneak preview of the track at Krowne's soundcloud page. Finally, here's a video of another track from the 'Quantum Living' EP, 'Man Behind The Curtain'.


I went to my first ever writers' crit session last night. It was a brilliant experience - I left feeling energised, hungry to write again, and with a feeling of elation about the ideas which had sparked as these seven authors pulled apart my story. I was extremely nervous about the experience beforehand, but the other writers could not have been more helpful, encouraging or honest. I won't name the writers group here just yet - its an invite-only group, and I am still currently "on trial" along with a couple of other new members. Nonetheless, I feel like last night was a big leap forward for me - I think these are the right people to help me develop my writing. Here's a rundown of why it was so awesome.

1) It wasn't a big dick contest.

Before I left the house I told myself I had to make peace with the competetiveness I might find in a writers' group. There was bound to be an element of who's-got-the-biggest-dick. I have never been comfortable in competetive environments. Even Slams, which I enjoy competing in, in some way make my flesh crawl and my soul cower. But I had taken the decision to share my writing with the group, and had resolved to rise above any competetiveness, and just take what I could from the session. In the end, I should not have worried. Nobody was comparing the stories - rather, each one was assessed on its own merits, with due consideration given to each author's approach and style. This was definitely not about ego.

2) They were ruthlessly honest.

Oh man. They pulled my porr little story to bits! It was thrilling. They really put the boot in to me for various things which I do consciously, like giving characters referential pop-culture names. "This completely took me out of the story," said one author. "It spoils the characters," said another. This kind of frank advice is as rare as gold dust for a writer. Most people simply don't care enough about a flawed story to want to fix it. They just stop reading. Or, if they;re your friend, they skip over the bits they don't like and tel you only about the bits they did. Not so with this group. With constant reassurances that the material, writing and characters were worthwhile, they picked apart all the bits that didn't work. The stuff I do unconsciously - repetition of adjectives, for the most part - was embarrassing to be called on, but holy fuck, am I glad they called me on it. I've recently been re-reading The Walking Dead, and its one of the things that really bugs me about Kirkman's scripts - he repeats adjectives incessantly, sometimes in the same speech bubble. It lets his writing down, just like it lets mine down, so now I will be hyper-vigilant about it when proofing.

3) They are all very talented.

Nobody brought a duff story to the party. They all had their own charm and appeal, despite coming from writers of different ages, backgrounds and literary tastes. It felt kind of like what I have imagined a Writers' Room might feel like, working for a TV show... lots of bright people, all focused intently on producing the best story possible.

4) They exist.

Bear with me on this one. I think one of the big reasons last night was such a big deal for me, and left me feeling so excited, was that it was a complete novelty to me to be able to have an extended, densely allusive, wide-ranging discussion of literature and the craft of writing with people who actually ohysically exist to me. Sure, I know a lot of people online who write, and I love love love getting into extended Twitter or FB threads about writing or writers, and of course there's Whitechapel, where it looks like the Writers Thread will continue this year... but in terms of being able to talk face to face to people who share my interests and ambitions, have read the same books (and more!), and are willing to speak about it without playing games of intellectual one-upmanship, this was a rare thing for me. I know plenty of smart, well-read people, but barely any of them are up for long extended discussions about Michael Moorcock, or story format.

5) One writer can be an egotistical bastard who hates you - three writers can't be wrong!

This is my favourite part of proceedings... basically, it is very hard to take criticsim of your writing. You need a thick skin, and the ability to see when others are right. Most importantly, you need to be amongst a group of people who genuinely want to help you improve your work. I think that last night, I found that group. The reason for this? Each writer, from their different perspective, time and time again picked up on the same flaws and omissions. This was kost critical when it came to structure - with nearly everyone's story, the suggestions for how to restructure the sequence of events were echoed around the table by more than one person. To hear the same complaint or suggestion about your story not once but three times is very persuasive. You start to see that although every reader's approach is unique, there is also a commonality there - a set of expectations to be met, defied or toyed with. The only way to master this is to listen to feedback. Rather than asking me to re-write the story they pulled apart, the group want to see the remaining 12,000 words. They're going to subject the whole thing to that level of scrutiny - and science knows the story needs it! I have never encountered such a willingness to read and reflect before. It is awesome.

6) Published Writers Know Stuff

They know about the Milford Rules. They know about the Turkey City Lexicon. They do things like write book reviews for Interzone, and edit anthologies and suchlike. I did not know ANY of this stuff, and had certainly never met anyone who had published in Interzone or edited an anthology before. So... yknow. That's me told!!

So my advice? You want to write and develop your technique, join a writers' group... just make sure you join the right one. I should have joined one years ago - science knows my writing needs it. I let myself be intimidated by the idea of big dick contests; I was afraid to hear critcisms... little did I know, this was the missing piece of the puzzle for me as a writer.

Game on.

/texture out



Haven't had much time for LJ of late - a hectic personal life, busy work life and ultra-busy creative life will have that effect. The Weaponizer Method has been on indefinite hiatus since early December - turns out my plans for writing every day were somewhat over-ambitious, given the amount of editing I do, and the 40H I put in at work each week. That being said, I have definitely not abandoned the Method - just taken it back to the drawing board. If anything, learning that the schedule was not suitable every week was as valuable to me as it working perfectly... it shows that no matter how organised I try and be, my schedule has to remain flexible.

Anyways, I am back, and I will be blogging here again in 2011 about my writing, my music, and the goings-on at Weaponizer and Black Lantern. Look forward to sharing some exciting stuff with you over the coming months.

Today, I have a little gift for you - a Witch House mix I compiled for Tacopunch and Fauxhammer, and the denizens of Whitechapel:

Texture / Idoru's Ghost [Mix] DOWNLOAD


1  the gentle hum of anxiety / trent reznor & atticus ross
2  as the ocean sweeps you away / forest ocean
3  burnout eyess / oOoOO
4  tundra / metatron
5  rose bath [moon rmx] / raw moans
6  dreams / vortex rikers
7  new flesh / story of isaac
8  aqua net [party trash rmx] / raw moans
9  squares / fighting dan
10 mumbai / oOoOO
11 fucK that dAy [high park rmx] / raw moans
12 hearts / oOoOO
13 nightmares / vortex rikers
14 seawww / oOoOO
15 digital versicolor / glass candy
16 illusions / vortex rikers
17 trains / metatron
18 a dark wind blows / texture
19 cmyk / james blake

recorded at the abandoned weaponlabs facility, six months after 'the event'...
all degradation in sound quality is due to EMP-damaged hard drives - please adjust bass manually.
for captain fauxhammer, admiral j. tacolexa and the ghosts of whitechapel.



/texture out


millbank rioters

Week 5 of the Weaponizer Method had to be abandoned entirely - work got in the way. I should be back up to full ramming speed by the middle of this, week 6.

I'm having a rough old time of it in many ways. My patience for bullshit is extremely low, and yet it seems to keep coming my way. Please, if you're tempted to lay into me about some shit on Facebook, don't be surprised if you catch a bunch of abuse. Honestly, I'm thinking of trying to take my entire social life offline, just post fiction and news on FB by autopost. Problem with that is, people are much more actively engaged with the stuff I publish if I'm on FB starting arguments and posting pictures of kittens. Like it or not, right now I just have to do this.

I'm still seriously considering getting out of the UK, maybe for good. I always miss Edinburgh when I am away - particularly the network of friends and artistic collaborators living here gives me access to. However, a fresh start looks incredibly tempting sometimes... I've been here since I was 11, and many ghosts stalk up and down the closes... Sometimes the past just feels unbearably close, and that colours all of my interactions, even with people who had nothing to do with that time, and weren't here years ago. I'm unaccountably argumentative... so if I start some shit, please be aware it is most likely ME not YOU who is experiencing some sort of temporal / psycho-social distortion.

The good news: on 27 November, I'll be playing a gig with Tickle and DJ Biggi B-Boy Beatmaster B, at Electric Circus. This is part of SneakyFest, a one-day festival featuring 30 bands, including some other Black Lantern folk - Asthmatic Astronaut, Comma, Eaters, and Morphamish. It's a £10 charge for the full day. If you mention me or Tickle on the door, we make an extra couple of quid - so please remember to tell them who you came to see! It is going to be awesome, our DJ is cutting dubplates specially for the gig, featuring beats by Morphamish, Asthmatic Astronaut, Salem Anders, Krowne and Thomas the Search Engine.

I have also been reflecting on what is worth reading on the internet, in terms of news and opinion. I have come to the conclusion that I can now pretty much only read Doug Rushkoff, Laurie Penny and Charlie Brooker. Everyone else seems to be talking to an audience of passive, apolitical fucking morons.  Especially in the wake of Millbank, which so many of my contemporaries seem to want to write off as just another ignorant protest by apathetic, sponging students.

Personally I am glad people are pissed off. I don't even really care why. It's just nice to see ANGER at a demonstration, as opposed to a gigantic mass of self-satisfied, self-congratulatory fucktards hiding behind Positively Worded Slogans. I know the anarchist / G8 protestor lot have always been angry, but they are hardcore activists. The Millbank lot were, substantively, just angry people. This makes me happy. Ah fuck it, go read Laurie Penny's article, she put it better.

Suffering fuck, it's only Monday as well. Life, you bastard.



typewriter by john olsen
Already most of the way through Week 4 of The Weaponizer Method - here is an update of how weeks 3 and 4 have been going. Week 3 was tough - trying to stay on top of work and meet the targets I've set myself for Microfiction and other writing is proving tricky, not least because the better I do with writing, the more I want to just write for a living.

After a week of hard graft, struggle and soul searching, I've made a few sacrifices to the writing / editing schedule, and am getting work for the dayjob prioritised, which is how it should be. I'm lucky enough to have a dayjob I enjoy, which isn't too stressful, in a period of extreme economic uncertainty. I have to put food on the table, so I have to count my blessings, and perform to the best of my ability for pay.

Anyway, soul-searching aside, I got quite a lot of writing done last week. I finished draft 2 of the SF stage play I've mentioned before, and sent it off to two readers (Hi Joanna, hi Yoav). Really looking forward to seeing what they think of it. It is still a work in progres - I am totally committed to re-writing the bloody thing until it is as good as it can be, and then trying to sell it or get it put on. Drawing a line under a second draft, which I have been trying to find the time to do for nine months, was extremely satisfying. I can definitely attribute my success in actually finishing this draft tp putting aside 1-2 hours a day just for writing. The Weaponizer Method, jury-rigged as it is, seems to be working for me so far.

I also put the finishing touches on a novella / serial which has been hanging around for several years, unwilling to actually end. I nailed the final chapter about Thursday last week, and have asked fellow Scottosh SF / horror writer Will Couper to have a read of it. I'm far from sure the end I have written is that strong, but at least it HAS an end now, and at 15,000 words, is around the ballpark of the novella length I set out to write. My one line pitch for this one is 'Hitch-Hiker's Guide meets Deadwood' - it is a multiple-personality SF comedy western. Look out for THE CURE on Weaponizer in the coming months.

Aside from that, I scored pretty high on the old Microfictions last week: on Tuesday I posted one I wrote the day before, but didn't have time to upload - a 6-part SF adventure called SHIVS IN SPACE, which stars a new set of characters I've been working on. He doesn't have a name yet, but he is an intergalactic space smuggler / pirate, who travels the universe with his best friend and co-pilot, a sauropod named Rudy. Yes, as you've no doubt guessed, he's a massive Han Solo ripoff, but he is a heck of a lot of fun to write, and seems to keep popping up with a new idea every few days for Microfiction... so I am ignoring his obviously plagiarised origin and just having fun with him.

The character is as yet un-named.... but in my notebooks he is called ZED RUCKER. You heard it here first folks.

The first three Zed Rucker adventures, two from last week and one from this, are reprinted below.


1 My opponent looked like bad sushi left out for a few days: tentacles and suckers slathered in grey mucous, writhing, holding a prison shiv
2 Tension thickened the air into a miasma. We slow danced through it at arms length, blade to blade. I tensed, ready to make the first cut
3 Two days earlier I couldnt have conceived the chain of events that landed me in a shiv fight in the bowels of an intergalactic prison ship

4 How was I to know that the Kieslowski diamonds were in fact a computronium receiver left in Earth's care by the galactic secret police?
5 I was mowing the lawn when the ultraviolet tractor beam snatched me, dragged me into the clouds. The heist was a memory, finished business

6 Now I'm doing hard time in space among the worst scum this side of Zeta Reticuli. I draw back the shiv, carve myself a slice of tentacle


1 The Hole on a prison ship isn't much like any Hole in any Earth prison. For starters, it had to accomodate a lot of different species.
2 This particular cell, from its pungent smell, had recently housed some sort of methane-based lifeform - the place stank like raw sewage.
3 A small, irridescent blue mound of excrement was the only illumination. I sat gloomily, naked, inhaling xeno-farts and sighed heavily.
4 A commotion outside raised me from my stupor. I heard the distinctive ZZAKT! of plasma fire, heard muffled screams. Was there a riot?
5 The door of the cell burst apart with a bright flash. I cowered, shielding my face. A shadowy figure stood over the corpses of two guards.
6 My eyes adjusted to a welcome sight - the reptillian sneer of my best friend Rudy, an eight-foot bipedal sauropod from the Attian Cluster.

7 "Took your time." Rudy rattled his epicanthic wattles. "Laugh it up, scaly!" I took the guard's clothes, grabbed a blaster. "OK. Vamonos."


1 "You turn an easy heist into a lightspeed deathrace!" My sauropod copilot growled, wattle thrumming. "What do I want? Unfuck this for me!"
2 Usually I got us into trouble. Since busting out of that prison ship I've been trying to keep a low profile... Guess Rudy had other plans.
3 It was working, too, til Rudy shot the Prelate, for keeping one of his kind chained. Didnt realise her rattling wattle sounds were speech.
4 "The prelate didnt know she was a sentient!" Rudy growled at me, his wattle buzzing. "I know I do, but most folk dont speak Saurian, pal."
5 Ignoring Rudy I regarded the female Saurian as she licked at her wounds with that alarming prehensile tongue. She had been treated badly.

6 Rudy's concern was more than just loyalty. Something in his eyes. Tenderness. Great. Now our heist was a rescue. Lizards in love. DAMN it.

So, yeah, they were fun. Then there was this one, a kind of high-tech zombie horror thing, which got a few retweets, folk seemed to like it... I put this up on Sunday, so it means that even though I missed a day last week, I'm still five for five (times five... or something).


1 The first round of human tests succeeded beyond professor Van Eyck's wildest hopes and dreams. He had no idea of the horror to follow.
2 Watching the nanobots knit together limbs - from bone and ligament to arterial system and baby-pink fresh epidermis - he felt great pride.
3 Six months later all the transplant candidates were healthy. Released from quarantine, they went on with their lives, suspecting nothing.

4 The candidates originated from three different cities - all major population centres. When the outbreak hit, it spread incrediby fast.
5 The malfunctioning AI reprogrammed the nanobots: they became viral, self-replicating, consuming healthy flesh. Reproducing exponentially.
6 It was intelligent necrotizing fasciitis: ebola virus with attitude, and unquenchable appetite for human tissue.
7 It wasn't until we introduced the counterinsurgent nanofleet that the horror truly began. The 'good' fleet sustained the victim's flesh...
8 ...the brain was destroyed, or rather transformed. An extension, a tool, a weapon of the ravenous, cannibalistic technovirus

I'm a bit conflicted about these serial Microfictions - on the one hand folk seem to like them, and I definitely find them easier to come up with than the standalones. On the other hand, if the reason I am doing them is to make myself come up with ideas every day, as many as possible, then perhaps an 8-part Microfiction serial with a run-on sentence linking the final two entries is really cheating... Might try and do 5 standalones per day next week, schedule permitting.

I also managed to find time to write two new entries for Paul Grimsley's The434, a vibrant little community / meme happening over on Facebook, which I have talked about before. 434 words is a really satisfying length to write - short enough to be disposable and direct, long enough to include detail and structure. I've never written this many Flashfics in this short a space of time... so whatever it is about the 434 idea that works, work it definitely does.

These are usually only available on Facebook... but here ya go, I'll leave you with 'Dancers' and 'Wetware' in their entirety. See you next week, if not before.


The scene isn’t what used to be. I should know. I’m an oldtimer.

Back when it began, we were all on the same same kick. Polycyclical gene-scramblers hard-coded to biochemical revelation and epiphany: noradrenaline, viral empathogens, and the carrier substance – a mixture of powdered salts and sulphates that gave the whole thing its’ ‘drug’ vibe.

The dirty rush that let you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you were getting high.

We’d sniff or spike before we went out.

The high was intense. You had to ride out the come-up lying supine. Try walking around your apartment or the streets when you’re convinced you’re sixty feet high, made of burnished chrome, and immortal, invincible.

Eyes pinned, we’d roll. Stumbling through streets laughing into one another’s shining faces. The world was our playground, its drear inhabitants barely registering on the edges of our perception.

The club itself would probably look familiar – the same trance-harnesses and throat-spikes you find in a regular arcade, set into the brushed-steel and leather interiors of the booths around the dancefloor. We mostly left the uplinks alone.

In those days, we came to dance.

Beneath the main floor was the pit. When the ecstasy got too intense, when the energy of the congregation became too feral, the cage would open, and two dancers would emerge from the pulsing, writhing crowd.

Just  two.

As we cheered and yammered, the two grinning, shining, perfect bodies would couple, lock, writhe and release, each successive embrace lacerating skin and spattering blood upon the sawdust floor of the pit. They fought with tooth and nail and fist.

No-one ever died.

Nowadays it’s different.

I sip my Manhattan and lean over the guardrail, count fourteen dancers in the pit. The stuff they’ve ingested is a million miles from the compounds I used to skin-pop. These kids have gone for full-blown traits.

I see one kid – skinny, muscular, with neon tattoos – leap up into the air with an ear-shattering cry that overpowers the thunderous bass of the DJ rig. Mid-air, his back ripples and splits, huge black wings exploding from his shoulderblades. He dives down on his opponent with a heavy beat of the wings, forcing thumbs into the hapless dancer’s eyesockets. He dies screaming.

These kids are beyond human. Shining scales and sharp talons; vicious stings... they spit acid, breathe fire. Tear each other to shreds.

Everyone’s on different drugs now.

The art has been lost. The meaning.

Now it’s just blood and bone and the dull thuds of fist on flesh, the relentless, dissonant pulse of the music.

I don’t dance now. I’m done.

* * *


Everybody was excited about WetWare.

Having networked, cloud-structured brain-to-brain communication was going to be absolutely brilliant.

It was a huge leap. Taking the exocortexes we carried around in hard plastic boxes and chrome-edged tablets; storing them in giant, intangible clouds of random-access memory. The extended phenotype. Removed from the physical, now omnipresent, accessible. Goodbye devices, tech... Hello quantum-linked cloud computing.

A constant stream of individuals, personalities, avatars... hurtling around as you walked about the place. Everybody uplinked. Buildings overlaid with metadata – historical, cultural, geographical newsfeeds appended to every structure.

Social networks, thousands of them – each with different, overlapping fields of interest and membership. Each one a place to telegraph identity from, to mark with one’s own particular stream of digitised individuality.

When WetWare started to bleed into our dreams, no-one was surprised. Bury a quantum-resonance nanoscopic neural lace in eighty percent of the Earth’s population, link them brain-to-brain, and it’s inevitable that not only the designed, conscious functions become enmeshed.

The dream realms were a vast, inverted version of the conscious. The logic symmetrical but opposite. On the social networking clouds, you could edit and design your profile to reveal specific facts you wanted to share. In the dream realms you were on constant, random broadcast.

Lucid dreaming techniques emerged, allowing sleeping, networked users some degree of control over the topography of the dream. Social conventions sprung up – it was impolite to mention any dream contact in the physical world.

The dream realm became a place of unrestrained fantasy. Heaven, until we started experiencing each other’s memories.

You wake up and find that all of a sudden, rather than being a successful financial trader, you are a Harlequin entertaining soldiers; or a General leading a mechsuit unit into battle on some distant moon. Or rather, you would find that you had been these things, all of them, in some distant, chronologically warped section of your mind.

It became hard to tell whose thoughts, whose life was whose.

Didn’t take long for the infrastructure supporting our physical world to break down. There weren’t enough people left without the WetWare to support the dreaming, enraptured coma patients we ‘Wareheads had become.

We lie still, engorged with sensation, adrift on a sea of shared experience, unable to move.

The skin stretched across my ribs is paper thin. I forget to feed, to dress. I have lived eight billion lives – fallen in love, suffered and died over and over again – all simultaneously.

I cannot remember who I was before the story began. Even as my vision blurs, flickers its last, I cannot believe that this is the end.

* * *


PS - I still haven't bought a fucking calendar... is this week 4 or 5? I have literally no idea.


Bagpipers FUCKOFF

A GUIDE TO FREE MUSIC with a particular emphasis on SCOTTISH MUSIC (bagpipes not fucking included).

I want to give you a guide to where I get most of my free music. This post is aimed at one person in particular, OLLY MOLES, yes that's right, him...

This guy claims he has no idea where to start in terms of looking for new music, and he never gets any free music from the internet that isn't a torrent of the greatest hits of someone boring he's already heard of.

Now, Olly did request that all my links for him be simple one-click affairs. "Two clicks is too many," he said. "I get tired, and lost, and scared." Well, motherfucker, you're just gonna have to deal with it. Because one-click links are only an option WHEN YOU ALREADY KNOW WHERE TO GO.

In order to find the newest stuff, you have to make like your namesake the mole, and dig a little.

But I will promise you this. Add the following sites to your RSS reader or pop them on your toolbar, check them once a month, and you'll never be short of cool shit to listen to. The following are a mixture of netlabels, blogs and aggregators - click through and have a look about.

Free Music Archive
- a huge US site, with really obscure stuff you've never heard of, and live stuff, exclusives and remixes of more mainstream bands. Search by genre - I'd recommend starting with Rock, Electronic and Hip-Hop. Updated daily.

Shallow Rave - Blog of the crew wot run Little Rock Records, Glasgow's premier netlabel for mutant disco, bass-led noise experiments and unlikely crunk!

Bare Beats - a London-based blogger who posts links to some truly awesome underground hip-hop, usually free. I found The Kemistry and Mr Boss through Bare Beats - not every link he posts is to my taste, but when they are, they tend towards the spectacular.

Noise Porn - a great blog covering everything dancefloor related - regular fixes and exclusive mixes of dubstep, techno and all the other stuff that's not as good as dubstep or techno. Click on Mixes and start hitting random links, you'll find something you like.

Sonic Router - dubstep focused blog, some excellent mixes from outside the mainstream.

NetLabelism - a blog aggregating the best of the free music / Creative Commons / netlabel scene. Like a magazine that WANTS TO GIVE YOU FREE MUSIC. Worth reading as well as clicking through.

PhutureLabs - run by Paul Reset of NERVE Recordings, a blog / netlabel that frequently posts good electronic tracks and mixes. for download

Radio Magnetic - Scotland's best independent and online broadcaster by a huge, whopping great distance. Team Little Rock have an excellent show on here, as do many of the rest of the cream of the Scottish music scene.

BunZer0 - My favourite go-to guy for bass music online - listen to his excellent show on Thursdays, download the mp3 and spend the rest of the week rounding up whatever's in his playlist. Dubstep job done... BunZer0 tends towards the more stately, chilled end of dubstep - great late night music, great to work to. Sometimes even has Mr Jo on live dubwise harmonica...

AyeTunes - great blog for Scottish music (by which I mean the likes of FOUND, Kitty & The Lion and their ilk, not fucking bagpipes). Usually at least a few free DLs a week...

FreeMusicIsAwesome - another netlabel / CC music aggregator and reviewer. Great recommendations, good clear writing style which definitely helps if you're feeling at a bit of a loss as to what you should download.

Public Spaces Lab - one of the best netlabels going - lots of intelligent electronica.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you to go to Black Lantern Music Dot Com and start scrolling through the Releases, clicking on each 'Download Zip' link in gentle succession.

That's just scratching the surface, but these are all sites I visit regularly. Needless to say, you should also be listening every week to Vic Galloway on Radio 1 - he has a John Peel-like ability to find something interesting and innovative once a week, from the most diverse and unlikely of sources. Essential listening for anyone who cares about Scottish music as a scene.

Finally - go and have a look around Bandcamp. Just enter some search terms - again, use genres, or territories. Scottish + hiphop + experimental is going to find you lots of artists from your locale, from Mr Loki to FOUND to Asthmatic Astronaut. For electronic stuff, try Soundcloud. Same deal.

So... a few more than one clicks... but now you have no excuse!

I'll get back to you on how Week 3 of the Method went. It was pretty successful.

For now,




Twin Lizard V4 - The Six Billion (art by RUTA ART)

A quick, harried post to sum up week three.

To the casual observer, it looks like a shit week - no microfictions AT ALL, nothing on the blog... barely even a Weaponizer update to speak of.


In actual fact, last week I laid down vocals for two tracks, one with Dustmotes, on a really dark, emotional tip, and one crazy psy-ops rant with Twin Lizard (the artwork for which can be viewed above, courtesy of the amazing Ruta Art), both of which are now finished, and re-recorded the vocals for The Dawn View, a track Morphamish and I have had in our repertoire for a while, which is going to be the fourth track on my new EP. So that was three nights I was busy...

The other nights I spent working on a stage play (I'm sure I've mentioned it before), which is now finished, pending any last minor re-writes. I hope to try and get the play put on at some point in the next twelve months - I am going to try submitting it to some theatres once I've had a few read-throughs by friends acting as editors. I'm prettyy excited about the play - not least because it is the biggest substantial piece of work I've managed to finish in a long time, and also its genesis was only one year ago, rather than the three-to-four-year genesis periods of some of my other projects.

At the weekend, myself and two friends shot a video for another song from my forthcoming EP, called 'Non-Sequitr.' We had a great day fannying about all over Edinburgh setting up shots and rapping to camera like an authentic(ish) hip-hop dude. We'll be editing that promo next week.

I also did some spit and polish edits on my nearly-finished SF comedy novella. So all in all it was a productive week - I haven't even gone into all the Top Secret Meetings that took place, discussing future events under the Black Lantern Music banner - but I failed utterly in my goal of doing some form of creative work in public every day of the week except weekends.

What can I learn from this? Well, two things. One, I need to schedule in time for meetings, other projects, and making music. This time will often be at short notice - so my writing projects (and goals) must be flexible enough to accomodate this. Two, when I have two weeks of productive writing activity, it galvanizes me to do other creative work, particularly music. This is the lesson I'll take forward - the more I do, the more I want to do.

Now I just need to make sure that I throw myself properly into week four, and don't let the fact I had a very busy week allow me to feel entitled to skive this week. I have a lot of stuff going on in my dayjob, plus two gigs in the evenings - including one supporting SF legend Steve Aylett. I have to make the most of my down time - tonight I'm going to see Labyrinth of Wings at The Traverse Theatre.

No time for slacking.




A quick update on how I'm doing with The Weaponizer Method.

Week 1 was reasonably successful - I missed one day, due to keeping up with editing duties over at Weaponizer. As first weeks go, 4/5 isn't a bad score - except for the fact that my daily target was only 3 microfics, which quite frankly, is not a lot of words.

What I did find useful about Week 1 was that by writing non-connected microfics, I have put down placeholders for ideas / universes / characters that I can now return to if I want to. These are ideas that previously would have remained un-captured, or would have not even occurred in the first place.

The second useful thing about Week 1 was that it literally adjusted my habitual pattern of getting home, firing up the laptop and getting lost in 4OD or iPlayer until dinner time. By building in even 45 minutes of 'work time' to my day, I have carved out a space for thinking about ideas for stories. I am also, after only a few days, used to sitting down and actually working on the creative stuff, rather than just thinking during the week: 'I should really find some time to write x, y and z.' So the habit is a good one - the trick for coming weeks is to make the sace I have carved out a little bigger, and a little more productive.

Week 2 started really well - on the first day I aimed for five microfics, and managed six. I was pretty happy with all of them. Here they are:

1 A minaret, a princess. A cuneiform tablet, a djinn. Azure sky, glass desert. Hidden language. Two armies clash. A betrayal. Wishes granted.

2 With horror I saw the microbial spectrum; her pores, festering nests of bacteria. The drug took effect. Slugs slithered along her eyelashes.

3 Thumb caressing the detonator, he gazes calmly at the squat towerblock; home for 15 years. Each window a flickering amber regret. A target.

4 Copernicus' copious vomit spatters Krakow cobblestones. He considers the possibility that heliocentric motion is also a property of alcohol.

5 She was an eccentric, a polymath, a renaissance woman: a charmer, scandalous. She lit up each room she entered, and died on everyone's lips

6 Headshot, miss, fleshwound, headshot. Headshot, miss. Reload, final clip. Fucking antique gun. Six, make em count. Five for them one for you

There's some pretty cool stuff in here - zombie apocalypse, literary in-jokes (I can't resist them), fantasy.... a good start to the week. I also managed to complete a chapter of a short story I have been working on for (I'm ashamed to say) about 4 years. Two or three more sessions like Monday Week 2, and this short story (more of a novella) will be finished, so in terms of benefits, I am definitely seeing them, and that's me only six days in to the program (I'm not counting weekends). The novella is something I have consisitently put off - what I found on Monday was that after doing six microfics (in about 45mins), I felt inspired and wanted to work on something longer. This motivating feelgood factor is exactly what I was looking for.

It's not rocket surgery. You want to write? Write every day. The more time you spend writing, the more you will want to write. However it is nice to see this porposition backed up by reality.

At least it was.... until Week 2, days 2 and 3.

Day 2 I spent launching, promoting and talking shit about Will Couper's latest project, Kink Walker, a 2-part limited comics series drawn by Morag Lewis, which we are publishing over at Weaponizer. After a day of spending every spare moment on this, I was almost ready to do some microfic, when I got a call asking me to upload a new EP to Black Lantern - namely, the incredibly awesome Church Of When The Shit Hits The Fan EP, the new collab between Asthmatic Astronaut and Harlequinade. I was up til 3am doing this (the upload process is laborious). The following day, I spent a lot of time marketing / promoting COWTSHTF, and was ready to do some microfic when I got home, but then Tickle showed up and we got pished.

So Week 2 - great start, but I'm currently 1 for 3, and owe myself ten microfics. Bugger.

What I need is a wall planner m- a big fuck off calendar where I can give myself gold stars, ticks and red crosses like some kind of overgrown primary school child. I need more external signs and reminders about the project I am involved in. So after work, I'm off to the stationers.

This week I had also intended to write something for The434, a fiction project I heard about from Paul Grimsley and Broadie Thornton. A friend of mine, Annie Phetamine, contributed a very good wee flashfic to the project this week, so I'm already lagging behind the youngsters. So there, said it in public now - so I have to do it!!

If I manage some microfics tonight I will be very pleased. See you around 7pm over at FluxTales.


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February 2011



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