Since last time, I told my mum that I had a mailing list and now she's signed up so expect less swearing from now on.
Not Losing My Wedge
Our War On Black Ink Suppliers continues
COME ON AND WORK IT ALL OUTTTTT!
And Star Wars 45, where I finally make a lot of a certain strata of Star Wars fans happy, and include Wedge Antilles and friends.
I've just got off a call for an interview for the arc, so I'm resisting just seguing into the sales patter. I'm aware how much is pre-prepared as due to a problem, the interview didn't record, so we had to do it twice, and I was grinning at how much just sprawls out. Almost as if I overthink everything.
(There's a quote I remember in the music press, about Chuck D in interviews. Despite working with some of the most incendiary material, he always had an answer. How? Because he was ready for any reasonable question, and most unreasonable ones too. He thought it through. That is my approach as well.)
Anyway – Ashes of Jedha was about outlining the three core cast, and where they are. This is about taking in the rest of the rebellion, what they're doing, and how our heroes are seen. There's a scene here which is just Luke and Han in the bar, talking, and that kind of lived in experience is something I wanted to get before the arc explodes into chaos.
In passing: I wrote all the milk jokes before I'd saw The Last Jedi, btw. You can imagine my face.
Solicits for June are out. Jamie's cover is on the blog, but I want to showcase Erika Henderson's alternate cover here, as it's just wonderful. I had no idea what to expect from her, but this loving homage was away from anything. There's so few Gentle Annie-centric covers, this feels really special. Thanks, Erica. She's the best.
I'm doing a writer seminar “Thing” at Orbital in May. Er... it's sold out already. I dunno if Orbital will run a wait list or make tickets re-available, but here's a link to keep a nose at. I plan for this to be casual and candid and chatty, the sort of focused rant which you'd get from me in the pub, except without the pub. Put like that, it sounds like a terrible idea.
JP Heron tweeted this list of things that Steve Lieber said across a few hours, and it's a pretty amazing blitz of useful stuff for artists (and writers writing for artists) to think about. Lieber's an incredible talent.
My mum turned seventy this week. There was a party. I DJed.
At this point, I like to think some of you are imagining me glowering at a room full of pensioners who are having the audacity of not dancing to the choice Arab Strap B-sides I'm deigning to play for them. What more could they want? Mum's Scottish. Arab Strap are Scottish. This is perfectly appropriate.
Er... Really? You don't know me at all.
I am the world's sluttiest DJ, who will do anything to get a dancefloor. I also have a streak of duty a mile wide. If I'm going to play my Mum's wedding, every damn track there was a chance chance she may want to hear is going to be there. This was trickier than you may expect. I asked her if there was anything, and she came back with two A4 pages of tightly written font. I knew them all, and loved them.
I grew up in a house full of music. Not of musicians, but music, but with it there, and everywhere, and loved. The roots of whatever I do with Phonogram are there, in the C-90s that spooled eternally in the car as I learned Supremes and Four Top records, beat from beat, inflection for inflection.
(I smiled at Mum's choices for Supreme tracks, which were exquisite, but very much not the obvious ones. So that's where that gene came from.)
The list was mainly Motown, Stax, Northern Soul. Core records. Fundamental records. Often records loaded with memories.
I didn't actually realise until I was doing it how emotionally loaded this would be for me. There's some songs I found difficult to hear, even – Curse Songs, to use Phonogram's neologism – but other were wild streaks of nearly searing joy. I knew I was playing for time until Mum chose to create the dancefloor – and event which was provoked by the appropriate heel stomp of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas' Jimmy Mack.
It was fun and precious, and was good to do something like that for people you love. I recommend it highly. Also, on a cynical level, I could have got a series of Phonogram stories out of it.
One image for you, which was perfect, and worth anything.
I briefly segue out of the Motown into British Beat groups, and drop the Beatles' Twist & Shout. Dancefloor spasms. Time contracts. There's a chorus of howls, as women who were there for original Beatlemania sumon that spirit and, once more, the future emerges in a half-harmonized scream.
Music is magic. I may have mentioned that.
Work? Has been fine. Slow, but fine. I don't want to say anything else, as it may make it worse.
Here's something though: we've hired a researcher to help with the issue of WicDiv Jamie is drawing. Yes, we're not exactly slowing down in the last year of this fucking book.