Wednesday, 24 April 2013

All the voices in our heads...

I'm reading 'A Virtual Love' by Andrew Blackman  and as well as enjoying a very current story, I keep admiring his technical ability to narrate as seven different characters.

In the wrong hands this approach can be confusing, or the signposts are too obvious, or some of the voices can end up sounding too similar. But here each chapter flows smoothly, including a grandfather, a girlfriend, a best mate and a boss, and offers such interesting insights to propel the story.

The interview with Andrew posted today on The Undercover Soundtrack is a great insight into how he used music to help capture the different voices he needed.

I love being surprised by the voices or identities artists can assume convincingly. And here's a couple of surprises in music videos where the voice was quite different to what I was expecting!

Stay tuned for future posts with "time out tracks"

Monday, 22 April 2013

Eye on Australian releases

While I’m talking about Australian artists (see True To Form), I want to share some recent and upcoming releases from Australia which I’m really looking forward to reading:

'Belomor' by journalist Nicolas Rothwell (January 2013)

'Cat &Fiddle' by Lesley Jorgensen (debut novel, Feb 2013)

'The Railwayman’s Wife' by Ashley Hay (April 2013)

'The Secret Lives of Men' by Georgia Blain (short stories, April 2013)

'Burial Rites' by Hannah Kent (debut novel, May 2013)

'Cairo' by Chris Womersley (September 2013) 

And I don’t know details yet, but I’ve heard that a new Favel Parrett novel is expected later this year. If you haven’t read her highly acclaimed debut ‘Past The Shallows’ it’s deservedly featured in a swag of awards.

Of course this is a small sample, and many well known Australian writers have books coming out this year, but I wanted to some that may otherwise be hidden gems across the shores. 

I’ll leave you with a comment cited by Josh Wakely in his Ted Talk with Daniel Johns

"Australian story-tellers are completely different from the rest of the world. They have a unique way of telling stories and that's that we nearly always leave a question mark at the end of our stories rather than a definitive answer."


Friday, 19 April 2013

True To Form

I asked a few English friends if they’d like to come to a Sarah Blasko concert with me.
‘Sarah Blasko.’
‘Don’t know her. What’s she like?’
‘Um, well, she’s a bit weird.’ Not my strongest opener, but even some professional reviewers have trouble describing her music (just search “sarah blasko beyond classification”). ‘She’s great, vocally, amazing. She’s got some really powerful songs. A bit ethereal…’
‘No thanks.’

A couple of weeks later I emailed a few friends to ask if they’d like to see Paul Kelly at Cadogan Hall.
I didn’t bother answering.

So I went to see these two Australian performers and was surprised that both London concerts turned out to have an inspiring similarity.

Blasko was on stage with a support band of four, accompanied by a strings septet. Paul Kelly was accompanied by his nephew, Dan Kelly. There was a Steinway on stage that Paul used for one song, otherwise it was a set consisting of iconic storytelling from a couple of Australian men sitting on stools with guitars and a harmonica.

So the similarities are not in their musical styles or their bands, but both artists have performed sold out shows at The Sydney Opera House this year, and both of them did something last week that goes against the grain of the music industry’s current singles approach.

Halfway through her show, Blasko said, ‘and now we’re going to play you the new album, I Awake,’ and proceeded to play, in release order, the twelve songs from the album.

At what I thought was the end of the final song, I was on my feet applauding when she cried melodically, ‘Not yet, I’m not ready yet.’ When the vocals and the instruments had in fact finished, and I saw enough people out of their seats, I joined the standing ovation.

She seemed quite amazed as she smiled warmly and repeatedly thanked the audience.

Paul Kelly introduced his London show as consisting of two halves, ‘kind of like a Side A and Side B.’ His new album, Spring and Fall, is about a cycle of falling in and out of love, so should be listened to in order. ‘But it only takes 37 minutes,' he said, 'so I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to start with it.’ 
I figured that 37 minutes would equate to roughly 5,000 words. Certainly worth sharing as a story to a live audience. 

Again, the show finished with a standing ovation and a humble performer. 

In London last week spread the word launched their short fiction prize for London writers. The Guardian mentioned Tim Waterstone’s new online venture to host “short-form e-books”. On stage Sarah Blasko and Paul Kelly played whole new albums at live performances.

It felt like voices from industry, artists, and importantly markets, were showing that there is a place for the broad range of creative mediums. Like you don't have to aim for hit singles and bestsellers, '...not yet.'