Category: Music

The soundtrack to my battles

I’ve been exercising more recently. Time was I used to run 10Km every weekend, but I got lazy and less inclined to get outside (the weather didn’t help, admittedly, but still). This week, however, there’s only been a single day when I haven’t done some strenuous exercise.

On Sunday I cycled 32Km. On Monday I ran 10Km (and my time was awful because I was so out of practice). On Tuesday I went SCUBA diving. On Wednesday I ran another 10Km. On Thursday I cycled 55Km. Yesterday I rested (I thought I’d earned it). Today I have run another 10Km (my time was a lot better today, but still not where it should be).

Why do I do it? Simple. I need to escape from my daemons. They are many and varied, and they take up residence in my head, where they feed, growing in power, threatening to control me. DISCLAIMER: All daemons mentioned herein are figurative and not literal, in case you think I’m some religious lunatic or otherwise insane.

Because of the different types of daemons I need different methods of escaping them (I long since gave up on actually destroying them, as it was costing me more than I gained) – whether that be strenuous exercise, painting, reading, singing, playing guitar or writing. However, I find that escaping one group of daemons will also help to keep the others at bay.

Supposedly, “serious runners” don’t listen to music when they run. In my experience, “serious” anythings seem to be boring dogmatic people who miss out on the fun side of life. As such, I listen to music when I run (or cycle). I usually listen to high energy punk-rock or melodic hardcore, or perhaps some retro-wave depending on my mood, but I tried something different today.

My usual 10Km run is a straight run to the reservoir, 3 laps round said reservoir and then home. Today I decided to break my pace into intervals of high speed running interspersed with light jogging and walking. Supposedly this interval training is great for weight loss (not that I really need to lose any weight, but hey), but it didn’t really fit in with the music I was listing to, due to the constant changing tempo of my footfalls.

So I decided to listen to the Doom Original Game Soundtrack by Mick Gordon. For those of you who have never played Doom, it’s a SUPERB first person shooter video game wherein you must destroy (quite aptly) hordes of daemons. The daemons tend to attack in waves, gradually getting more powerful, more numerous and larger as you battle them. As this tension mounts, the soundtrack builds with the action, going from a quiet (but threatening), almost ambient background hum to a deafeningly brutal djent crescendo as the most powerful daemons appear. Then once they’re dead, it’s back to the uneasy near-silence.

Listening to this as I ran, I started to feel an almost tangible fear rising as the music increased in intensity, spurring me to run faster, until I was running hell-for-leather (no pun intended) until my lungs were on fire… and then slowing to a walk as the cadence eased off.

To all those readers who engage in interval training, I highly recommend listening to the Doom OGST while doing it. And if you want an idea of how it sounds, listen to this and imagine how it feels to be fleeing the daemons:

Broken Compass

I’ve been spending the last few days boxing up my things as I’m moving house soon. It’s a soul destroying task, and as you’d expect, I’ve been distracting myself with other things, like songwriting.

Here’s what I came up with.

A song about the directionless melancholy of the individual.

You said you’d wait for me
I said I’d get there on my own,
But not before I knew exactly where to go

But now it seems to me
My compass spins without control
And every star winks out and I am left alone

And every road I walk is just another
Blind shot in the dark,
No route, no maps, no goals

I’ve followed in the footsteps of the many
Great and good, but no;
This is not me.

And so I find myself
About a million miles from home
And still no closer to the place I need to go.

Are you still waiting there?
Will you come and meet me on the road?
The burning bridges show exactly where to go

And every road I walk is just another
Blind shot in the dark,
No route, no maps, no goals

And yet I cut my own path to whatever
Place I want to go,
Cause I am free!

I’m free.

Solitary havens mark my passage through the dark;
All abandoned, but not forgotten, there I left my mark.

Forever I shall wander now, it’s too late to start again
But for what it’s worth just know I’ll always be your friend.

It’s about time

Well it’s valentine’s day, so I decided to write a depressing song. True to form, I fuck it up twice while playing it.

Clouds scar the blue sky
And I miss you
But you’re never coming home
You left it behind
And you’re gone
But not forgotten

Oh, Remember those days
When we fought the world
And damned be the consequences
And sure, so sure we’d win
We never thought our world could fall apart

Time heals all wounds
I still miss you
As I look around my home
These things I don’t need
and perhaps
you had it right

It’s time to leave
Too long I’ve let myself rot
I know that I won’t see you again
But I just have to go

I think of the people I’ve left…
Maybe they’ll miss me
But I’m never going home

Cover of the day

So I worked out how to play Stitches by Much the Same today. It’s a great song – the original is melodic hardcore, but of course it gets the acoustic treatment here. Probably still needs a bit of work before it’s street ready, but here you go. It’s about being trapped in a broken relationship… something we’ve probably all been through at some point.


A violent scream is better than
The whisper of sweet nothings
Which hold us together.
But I’ll never understand
Why we don’t let the flames burn the fan.
No I’ll never understand
Why we don’t let the flames burn the fan

Kindness is where we fail.
Don’t understand why we’re happier to be
In discontent, this life is not well spent;
Is it better to suffer than to be alone?

So hide your heart and close your mind.
Puth the key in a dark place where I can’t find
And don’t forget to lie
‘Cause we would rather leave the truth behind
Yeah don’t forget to lie
‘Cause we would rather leave the truth behind

Kindness is where we fail.
Don’t understand why we’re happier to be
In discontent, this life is not well spent;
Is it better to suffer than to be alone?

If I treated you like dirt
Would you stick to me like mud?
Why is this your idea of love?
I can’t be clean,
I’ve come apart at the seams,
Stitches can’t fix everything.

Welcome to Blocksville – Population: YOU

The song of the day today goes out to all those people who don’t know when to back the hell off and leave people alone. They have their reasons, I’m sure, but often they’re just insane. So if that’s you, then I’d appreciate it very much if you’d just drop dead.


NB. This is not aimed at anyone specific. Well, maybe one or two people. OK, it’s aimed at Emily. But it applies to many people.


Well that certainly raised the bar…

Yesterday I attended Swingamajig, an all day electroswing festival held in Digbeth, Birmingham. The festival ran for 15 hours, from 2pm through to 5am and featured a plethora of superb acts. I can say without a doubt that this is the best music festival I have ever been to, and I have been to many.

The entertainment was superb, the environment was atmospheric (the main stage was hosted under one of the arches of the old railway bridge), and the sound was spectacular. However, the thing that left the biggest impression on me was the people.

I have never before met such a friendly group of people at a music event. There were no pretensions, no judgement, no cliques. Everyone was friendly and approachable, and smiles were in abundance. These people were united by a solitary purpose – to have as much fun as possible.

I got numerous comments on my dancing, and a few people asked me to teach them. I did what I could of course. However, as good a dancer as I may be, I’ve always been a lone-wolf. Watching accomplished swing dancing partners tear up the floor was a sight to behold, and it filled me with joy.

So it’s the morning (or afternoon) after, and I am aching. My legs ache from dancing around on concrete for 15 hours. My face aches from the virtually non stop grinning. My throat aches from the scintillating conversations I had. So all I can do is say thank you – to the organisers, to the performers, to the coffee vendor, and to the people I met: Kathy; Simon; Jess; Lee; Liam; Ed; Kelly; everyone else who came and said hi (if I missed you out, it’s because I’m terrible with names unless I have a register!). All of you conspired to make yesterday a superb one.

Maybe I’ll see you at Shambala!