The Beginning Of The End

I have been blogging for almost ten years and (even if I do say so myself) I have become pretty good at talking about nothing at all several times a week in such a way that people tune in to read.

This last couple of months, I've been feeling like I need to blog when I don't want to blog and that's not a good thing. The internet has become a very different place since I started. Back then I was running a Nokia 8210, Rhiannon was six, I had a semi-regular job and owning the best dog in the world was a distant dream...

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Since then, everybody (and I mean everybody) has been convinced that posting something (anything) - online is 'producing content' and therefore, everybody is now blogging whether they like it or not. Their breakfast, their cat - you get the picture - you post it, people like it, sometimes they like it a lot and that's called a 'readership'. Fuck - people who post pictures of their cats regularly have a bigger 'readership' than me. Nice work cat people.

A few weeks ago, I saw an instagram poet with a following in the high tens of thousands... like 323,000 and counting. My soul gave a small shudder. As a self marketing guru with the ability to convince all of instagram he was a great poet, this guy rocked the house down to its foundations. 

As a poet, he sucks diesel through a straw but 323,000+ people bought into it all the same!

My blogging hero, Neil Gaiman, has all but stopped blogging over at his site. The gaps between posts are so long now, it would perhaps be better if he called it a day and left it there for all to see as an archive of 'the past'. At least I wouldn't go there very often only to be disappointed that he hadn't written anything. 

Talking of heroes, Michael Chabon has abandoned everything bar instagram and left the heavy lifting to his publisher - who cannot be bothered to lift anything by the looks of things. Nikki Sixx (and many other rock people) has even abandoned his domain name, choosing to fire most of his life out via instagram and Facebook - the latter probably via an auto-posting mechanism. The reasoning behind that is most likely that their entire fanbases are on those platforms and care only about seeing tour dates, new albums or a bit of nostalgia... otherwise they are too busy posting their own pictures of cats, breakfast etc...

Anyway. I need to change. I have to change because I'm not getting left behind. I love blogging but I don't love it so much that I want to carry on when everybody else is too busy to come here and read. It's like hearing that you missed the Berlin wall coming down because you were baking a cake. 

So, over the next few weeks and heading to the end of the year, I'll be shoving some things around here, getting into shape for 2018 and whatever comes after. My books will be coming out through a different publisher in the new year and with that taken care of, I'm going to reconfigure my own house and perhaps turn it into a different kind of machine.

The important thing is I've figured out I need to be better at this. I'm not saying blogging is dead - far from it, but take a look around. The world ain't what it used to be and neither am I.

If all else fails, I could always increase the number of pictures of Hector I post everyday and churn out the kind of poetry I used to when I was fifteen.

Sion Smith
Other People's Stuff

Let's throw some radio into the world. An hour or so ago, Lauren Laverne had Robert Plant on her show. You can find a link to that here if you happen to be in the country - if you missed it, it's up online for a month or so - but later tonight, at 19.00 (that's seven o'clock if you didn't sign up for the armed forces) you can catch more from Mr Plant on 6 Music and there's details on that, right here

This is not me. This is Robert Plant. You can tell the difference really easily because this is Robert Plant and I am not. Though, in a thick Victorian fog at night, I suppose you could be forgiven.

This is not me. This is Robert Plant. You can tell the difference really easily because this is Robert Plant and I am not. Though, in a thick Victorian fog at night, I suppose you could be forgiven.

Which is all an excellent prelude to the world trying to tell you he has a new album out next Friday 13th called Carry Fire that looks like this:

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He's on tour too... officialness can be received in the House of all that is Holy here. Go see.

If you can't wait that long and need some new music in your life, Marilyn Manson has a new album out called Heaven Upside Down and so do Black Country Communion (IV), Black Stone Cherry (Black To Blues) and the always amazing Dan Reed with Confessions. 

In the earbuds this week, I've been exploring Southern Gothic country artists. I believe it goes under the rough banner of Cemetery and Western. It's good stuff but I need to spend more time with it... it's seeping into Deadbirds and I kinda like it. It feels very comfortable but more on that some other time.


Not a whole lot of action under the covers with a torch to report on in the book front this week, mainly because I haven't read one single thing. I've still got Whiteout kicking about in the wings for Romania next week (I'll be here if you happen to be close by) and in the holes, I've been dipping in and out of this... which is everything it should be and more:

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Meanwhile, out on the movie front, this looks fantastic. There is no other way to describe it. I haven't been as game for a cinema trip (even if it's by myself) for a long time. Release date is mid-January and it looks like one of those movies that won't be hitting the multiplex at convenient times at all. So be it. I hope I don't forget - January is months away! 

You can watch the trailer for The Hero here.

You can watch the trailer for The Hero here.

Just to balance out the highbrow-ness is this entry, I am also really fucking looking forward to this with Bruce Willis doing what Bruce Willis does:

Yep... there's a lot of white space on this poster. I guess I could have made it a lot smaller really.

Yep... there's a lot of white space on this poster. I guess I could have made it a lot smaller really.


So basically, everything cool I have to tell you about this week is in the future.

Sorry about that but it's something to look forward to, right?

More From The Road

I dropped some text up here yesterday that almost sounded like a motivational speech. It wasn't meant that way - I am no motivator. I was just thinking out loud but nothing would make me happier than if you happened to pick up the gauntlet and joined me in my 9:18 goal of throwing some happy shit at the world instead of just shit for the next year.

It's only a year - it will fly by. Trust me. Plus, the place could use a break don't you think?

On a different note, I learned something new today - please allow me to share my cultured find.

Pictured here is a letter from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac. The caption beneath is the entry in the auction book when it went up for grabs at Christie's:

CASSADY, Neal (1926-1968). Typed letter completed in autograph and with autograph additions, corrections, and deletions in pencil and pen, to JACK KEROUAC (1922-1969), Denver, 17 December 1950. 18 pages, comprising nearly 16,000 words, some pale browning and minor marginal chipping. Estimate: $400,000-600,000

CASSADY, Neal (1926-1968). Typed letter completed in autograph and with autograph additions, corrections, and deletions in pencil and pen, to JACK KEROUAC (1922-1969), Denver, 17 December 1950. 18 pages, comprising nearly 16,000 words, some pale browning and minor marginal chipping. Estimate: $400,000-600,000

I like Kerouac a lot. Some days we get along better than others. Some of his books have great covers and some of them really suck - for some reason, this is important when walking into Kerouac's house. Anyway, though I had heard of this letter - which was lost, found, failed at auction and is now at the Emory in Atlanta -  I never knew how it was written was the inspiration for the style Kerouac used when he wrote On The Road.

I hunted around for a variant of the picture I could actually read - and found one. It's odd. It's like listening to an album of a band you don't rate and finding out that one of your favourite bands copied everything about it and just added a little of their own sugar on the top to push the casual observer off the kerb. 

Maybe people who are better versed in The Beats will laugh at my ignorance here but ignorance is a wonderful thing when it means many years later, you can discover new things and have a whole new lease of life injected into something you loved already.

Unless perhaps, twenty years down the line, you happen to find out your lover once killed a school friend with a pencil and a live sea-sponge stolen from the marine tank in the teachers staff-room. That's not so wonderful, but you could write a book about it, so all would not be totally lost.

Maybe I will type a letter on my Olympia and send it to a writer-friend in the vague hope that one day, somebody I don't know and will likely never meet may likewise benefit from me emptying my head of its frustrations onto a piece of paper.

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If you're interested, this Olympus is indeed very portable - I don't think she is much heavier than the MacBook Pro I used to have. The case is held together with gaffer tape but that's nothing new, everything I ever owned that's ever hit the road with me has been held together with the stuff. It is 100% possible to write a book on her.

It would be a very slow book to write, but it would be a book all the same and probably a very different type of book than I would write on this MB-Air. Maybe during my December sabbatical from technology (that's a very real thing here) I'll spend some quality time with her and get to know her better than I do at the moment. Maybe I'll learn how to strip her down and rebuild her, get real smooth at dropping sheets of paper in and out of the roller and figure out how hard to tap the keys to get the most out of her.

Most of all, maybe I can just get better at typing on her and actually write that book.

How hard can it be?