may through august 2018 review

I generally have more motivation and energy in summer, but I feel like this summer has been particularly good creatively. I've felt on the whole the most positive I've been since 2010/11.

That's significant, because back then I was seeing a lot of friends. Certainly much more than I've seen of them in any of the years since. The point being that in those two years a lot of my enhanced mood was due to being around quite a lot of people quite a lot of the time, whereas this year I've largely had to find my own happiness. And yes, that matters for someone who's experienced depression, especially in the absence of others.

So although it isn't something I normally do in public I thought I'd have a retrospective post and pat myself on the back, and point you all in the direction of the more than a day's worth of stuff I've created in the last four months.

Obviously, as I'm linking playlists, some of them will grow after this post is published.

The whole journey probably started with me kicking off in work in January and February, and asking for my stress to be dealt with. That's relevant because I started planning to do more in my life outside of work. The most important decision being to get a ticket for and plan my trip to Tectonics Glasgow, which I hadn't visited since 2014.

That kick-started me back into reviewing gigs and events, and into making and posting vocal improvisations.

So here are my reviews of the two days of the festival:

And here are the four improvisations and sound recordings I made while I was in the city:

To prepare for the festival, on my first night in the city I went to see a film and reviewed that. I've only done one other film review so far, and they're both here:

Things were then a little quiet until the last weekend of May, when I started to record the regular live vocal improvisation performances on Facebook Live that are a continuing event. They've now been happening for three months, and with extra performances there have been 18 so far.

Although I've recorded more, so far only one has been added to SoundCloud:

That performance and the remainder are available in this YouTube playlist. As I said, there are currently 18, the most recent being Friday 24 August. I think my next performance will be Saturday this week - 1 September.

If you'd like to catch those live you can follow my Tear Fet: Sounds and Reviews Facebook page. Performances are usually trailed on my Twitter feed, where I'll also post links to them and other recordings as they're published.

Around the same time I started a series of reviews and other spoken bits covering records (well, one record so far), poetry events (two of them!), reflective discussions of my practice (two so far), and gigs. I've covered a 11 gigs so far, though not for a couple of weeks from memory.

So, my reflective discussions:

My record review:

My poetry event reviews:

And my gig reviews:

As well as reviews, and the ongoing live vocal improvisation performances linked earlier, I've continued to make a variety of sounds through the summer.

That includes improvised sounds that don't involve me making a noise with my mouth. Two of them so far, and both from my kitchen sink:

Just one (so far) non-improvised, non-music piece. I regard very little of what I do to be music:

That said, I did manage to record four versions of folk songs. A little rough around the edges. And the middle. But that's how I like it:

But most of what I've done has been further vocal improvisations outside of the scheduled live performances. 15 so far, which is more than I thought:

But in terms of the sheer amount of time it's taken up, the largest part of my summer outside of work has been walking. I've done at least four very long daytime walks: from Todmorden back to Manchester; from Wigan back to Manchester; from Marsden back to Stalybridge; and from Buxton back to Manchester.

And while I haven't done it for every walk of over three hours, I have recorded accounts of 15 of those walks. The playlist at present also includes accounts of two walks from 2017, with more to come.

These are usually the longer recordings, averaging between 30-45 minutes. Though at least one reaches about an hour. I see them as a creative space to talk about walking, about place, and about the contemporary world. And there are often brief digressions.

So, those walks:

And you might think that was it. But you'd be wrong. In the last month I also started creating a comic called Stick Figure Aspergers. That's published on Tapas, and also has its own Facebook page you can follow, if its easier to get notifications that way than checking into Tapas.

At present there are eight six-panel comics published. That's seven episodes with one in two parts. Episode eight will be in three parts and I'll be starting to draw that today. Episode nine is currently being written, but it's proving tricky.

For some reason I don't think I posted this one on the blog, but below is Stick Figure Asperger's #4 - going out with friends. It's the point where my drawings get a lot more sophisticated, and the writing manages to create a (sort of) narrative:

Even if I can't maintain the same momentum, I hope that through the reviews, the walks, the regular live improvisation performances, and the upcoming comics (I have up to around #25 planned now) will keep me busy, keep me getting out, and help maintain a sense of purpose if and when things don't seem to be going so well.

To end with a summary of all the above: that's 14 playlists of sounds, 13 on SoundCloud and one on YouTube (though one of the SoundCloud playlists overlaps the YouTube playlist). Those playlists amount to just over 27 and a half hours when I remove the duplicate track. Of that, something over 18 and three-quarter hours is spoken, the remainder being (mostly improvised) sounds. The YouTube playlist comprises just less than 5 hours. And on top of that there are the eight comics just discussed.

Edit 2 Sept 18: Something I meant to add but forgot, in those playlists on SoundCloud I've published 28 sound/music tracks (all figures here include up to 1 September) and 38 spoken word tracks, a total of 66. On YouTube I've published 19 live improvisations - that makes a total 85 tracks in all (removing the duplicate improv on both SoundCloud and YouTube), of which 46 are sound/music. And on top of that there are the 8 comics published so far, making a total 93 individual items from 1 May to 1 September. That's roughly 5 items a week.

If I have anything I'd like to improve it would be my non-existent skills at networking, self-organisation, self-promotion, and all the other skills that might help me actually sell some of this work, and actually get paid for my efforts.

Anyway, here's to the next four months!


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