Last time I blogged, I’d just spent 10 days in LA researching my novel. Since that time I’ve been incredibly busy. But instead of hunkering down during the cold winter months and working assiduously on the novel itself, I busied myself with entirely different projects… it’s weird how procrastination works.
Here are the things I’ve been up to:
James Summerfield, a UK-based muso and Americana-meister, asked me to sing on one of his tracks. I agreed of course, and was pleasantly surprised when he actually sent me four tracks to sing on. It was my first experience of making music with someone I’d never actually met. Here’s a little sample of the songs on the album. You can pre-order it here. The female vocalist – yup, that’s me.
My brother is the actor of the family. He starred in New Zealand’s longest-running soap opera Shortland Street for about four years, as well as starring in Spartacus and various other shows and films. Acting is something I’d never considered doing myself…
But then, suddenly, I felt like trying it. And with the help of Pigville Productions I created the pilot episode of a weird little comedy called ‘Immi the Vegan’. More Immi the Vegan to come soon!
Most of my writing time has been spent co-writing a found-footage horror web series, along with writer Guy Pigden. It’s been a very different experience for me, writing with someone else, and also writing to commission – with very clear outlines given by the producers. The most important thing I’ve learned so far is to not write too much before showing it to the production company – because in all likelihood you’ll have to scrap the whole damn and start again. The shoot for this show is in October, and I’ll post about it then!
But in other writing news, three of my poems were published in the latest edition of takahe magazine, and can be read here. The first poem, in particular, is very special to me.
Phil Dadson is one of those legendary New Zealand composers /musicians / artists, respected by anyone who knows him or knows his works. He’s also an extremely warm and cheerful chap, and a pleasure to be around. I was lucky enough to talk to him about Five Rhythm Works, his upcoming re-release of five of his earliest From Scratch pieces. The interview can be found here at Pantograph Punch.
Photo by Phabu Makan, 1978.
I’m very excited about two things. Firstly, my good friend Holly Painter is publishing her book Excerpts from a Natural History this week. Secondly, because of this she’ll be back in Auckland for a few days and I get to perform at the book launch. (Wait, isn’t that three things to be excited about?)
The launch will also include a comedian, and two other books from people I have yet to meet (this month really is shaping up to be exciting): Carbon Shapes by Stephanie Christie, and The Burnt Hotel by Olivia Macassey.
DATE: Thursday 17th September
TIME: 5 – 8pm
PLACE: Alleluya Cafe, St Kevins Arcade, Karangahape Rd, Auckland Central
I’m performing as one half of Tofu Horse, the other half constructed of the very talented Darryn Paterson-Harkness. Somehow we manage to sing, play guitar, bass, drums and kazoo between us, and make a heap of noise.
And to tie into this (loosely)… here is a picture of me performing at Vitamin S only last night (photographed by Derek Tearne).
Had I known when I was diligently writing a review of Andrew Fagan’s book Swirly World (see last post, four days ago) that he in turn had mentioned me (or my music at least) in this month’s New Zealand Musicians Magazine I so would have mentioned it. So so (but not “so so”. Eh what?)
Here’s the interview, and if you scroll down – down – down – right down to the bottom he mentions his favourite songs. And amongst them is ‘River Song’ (actually called ‘River Calls Me Now’, but who’s complaining?), which I wrote and recorded with Darryn Paterson-Harkness on the very night that we met, and which was later released as a track on a New Telepathic’s album.
Here’s the song in video form.
(And I’m quietly pretty chuffed, by the way.)
Eleven years ago I moved to Auckland; eleven years ago I started going to Vitamin S.
Anyone who knows me well will have at one point heard me harping on about Vitamin S, and might have even been coaxed along once or twice. But what is Vitamin S, exactly? (good question that)
I was once told that the ‘S’ stands for ‘Sunshine’, though seated in the Wine Cellar on a Monday night you’re probably about as far away from the sun as you can get (ignoring Pluto). To sum it up, it’s a weekly musical experience, in which two duos that have been randomly drawn perform together for half an hour each without first discussing what they’re doing. In other words, it’s improvised. Non-musicians also perform (ie dancers, artists, cleaners, archers), and anyone is free to join up and give it a go. Sometimes it’s incredibly good, other times you wish you didn’t have ears. But it’s always worth going to.
This weekend is the 2015 Vitamin S festival, four days jam packed with unexpected noise.
The above link gives you the whats and the wheres for all the events, but as for me, I’ll be playing (something) on Saturday night, at the Audio Foundation on Poynton Terrace, starting after 8.00pm.
For any parent living in Central Auckland, Myers Park has played a central part in their life. Hours upon hours sitting on the hot, spongy playground surface, baking to a crisp, knowing full well that your now oh-so-energetic child will be reduced to exhausted tears as soon as you leave, faced with the ominously steep stairs leading back to K Rd…
For most other people living in the city it’s the preferred walk down to Queen Street. It’s the green, leafy place to sit and eat their take-away curries. It’s the view from Alleluya Cafe, the backyard of the Audio Foundation, the lunch time hang out for the kids who go to the Jewish School on Greys Ave. It’s the place where small-time vandals practice their pedicures on Moses’ cement feet.
Recently redesigned into some weird metal and concrete woodland, this park has now been around for ONE HUNDRED YEARS. And to celebrate it the council has organised a fancy dress picnic, with MUSIC.
February 15th, 12-4pm.
In fact, at 2.45pm on the main stage TOFU HORSE will be performing to merry-makers and pigeons alike (Tofu Horse being me and my musical and life associate Darryn Paterson-Harkness).
So please dress up in your early 1900s attire with picnic hamper in hand, and listen to some very 21st century music. Check out the other bands playing by looking at the Centennial Facebook page, here.
This Wednesday I’ll be dusting off my poor, under-used guitar, and performing alongside Darryn Paterson-Harkness at the Audio Foundation’s Nowhere Festival. Under the pseudonym TOFU HORSE, Darryn and I will be playing a set of the old and the new: New Telepathics songs, Goodbye Light tunes, and even a brand new, as-of-yet-unperformed-live song of mine.
Here’s a little taste of what we’ll be doing. We recorded this demo a few years ago with drummer Rich Pharaoh (I’m on guitar and singing; Darryn is on bass.) However, this Wednesday Darryn will be executing the amazing feat of playing drums and bass/guitar at the same time. All I have to do is pull out a few solos.
The Nowhere Festival is running from November 12th – 16th, and features a great number of awesome musicians and performers. For the entire 5 nights you need only pay $40, but for each individual night it’s a ten bucks deal.
This Wednesday 12th November it kicks off at 7pm. TOFU HORSE is performing at 8.30pm. The Audio Foundation is located on Poynton Terrace (Auckland City) beneath the Parisian Tie Factory.