Friday, 24 April 2009

Progress report

Hi there! Firstly I just want to take the opportunity to say a big thank you if you’re signed up to or have popped by to read my blog. I also want to say thank you to everybody who has contributed to my work in progress with articles/concert tickets/press cuttings or if you have simply offered your knowledge or memories: I’m very grateful to all of you for your vital input.

After posting some of my reviews I thought it might be fun to give you a bit of background into my writing process and how the book is coming together.

I work full time, looking after three very busy school libraries so in theory I should have a bit of time left for writing both on weeknights and also on weekends. The truth is that on most weeknights by the time I get home from work I’m too tired to write anything with any dynamism whatsoever! I believe that writing with passion requires energy and if I try to write when I’m drained it ends up showing on the pages. For the most part this leaves weekends. My partner, Vicky used to be a children’s nurse and still works one or two shifts per week in a hospital. This often happens during a Saturday or Sunday, leaving me with a whole precious day in which to write…when I’m not interrupted by our beautiful little pair of fur balls (or Persian cats), Smokey and Fluffy…...He’s crazy and she likes to be cuddled.

The process of putting together the first (early) draft of the book took almost a year. Basically I trawled the Internet looking for relevant articles and information about Manuel Göttsching, Ash Ra Tempel and Ashra, cross-referencing facts wherever possible to check accuracy. When I felt I had exhausted this search I had to create a framework: a timeline, if you like to make sure that all of the significant musical events in the life of one Manuel G were covered. This was rather time consuming but fun as well. With that done what I had was a skeleton, on which to cover the information in more detail. What are facts without enthusiasm and (hopefully) a bit of verve? I then spent quite a long time putting more information into what was to become an early draft.

In addition to writing about a lot of Manuel’s great music I’ve found myself on some really interesting little diversions so far: I’ve liked Terry Riley for a while but found myself buying more of his albums. I also explored Steve Reich a bit too. I bought a few early Fleetwood Mac albums to sit alongside my Peter Green-era greatest hits. I’ve found myself researching about the events of 1968, Timothy Leary, Rolf Ulrich Kaiser, the New York blackout of 1977, the UFA Fabrik, the birth of the dance music scene, the Tokyo Tower, F.W. Murnau and Willy Sommerfeld and the writing isn’t over yet!

I’m currently working on some reviews of the albums of Ash Ra Tempel, The Cosmic Jokers (and related), Ashra and Manuel’s solo work. This is a fun process but also very time consuming because I’ve been trying to listen carefully in order to do the music justice. What really stands out for me is that Manuel may not always be prolific in his output but the standard of what is released is remarkably high.

Anyway: that’s what I’ve been up to. Now you know. Thanks again for reading and more soon!

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