Flying Friday post

Off to the first night of a music festival this evening.  Will have lots to say tomorrow!

I do want to say that I finished my awesome overachiever 120,000-word NaNo today.  Very happy with that.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
Robbie Williams – Dream A Little Dream
Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder – Together In Electric Dreams
Kate Bush – Them Heavy People
Sia – Santa’s Coming For Us
Duran Duran – Winter Marches On
Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)

Attempting to fend off the illness

I didn’t go to either Slimming World or Pilates today.  I’m still feeling ill and relying on the Lemsip Max Strength, and Geth and I have a music festival this weekend, so I wanted to save my strength.  It did mean that things were a bit less hectic than I expected today, which was good.

4,000 words done on NaNo, taking me up to 116,000.  One last push tomorrow!

OOTD 29th November 2018
OOTD: looking so ill! 🙁 Nice to have some sunlight for once though. Jumper Carlo Colucci (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017), leggings Primark (2018), boots Carefree (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Traditional – Itsy Bitsy Spider*
Robson & Jerome – I Believe
Kate Bush – Them Heavy People
The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend The Night Together
The 1975 – Too Time Too Time Too Time
Adam & The Ants – Stand And Deliver
Boy George – Everything I Own
Bing Crosby – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder – Together In Electric Dreams

*You can thank the fever dreams for that one.

Website Review: Jericho Writers

This month, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a free year of membership on the Jericho Writers website, which is a resource for writers who want to get their books published.  I had signed up to the mailing list years ago, when the company was still called the Writers’ Workshop, as I was using one of their previous services to hunt for agents when I was first trying to pitch one of my novels.

A brief bit of background: most readers will be aware that I’ve been writing fiction since I could write (so about thirty years…that’s a long time, and a lot of abandoned stories/projects!), but it was only in 2011 that I finally completed a novel draft for the first time.  I spent 2012 and early 2013 editing it, and was ready to pitch it in mid-2013, which was when I first signed up to the Writers’ Workshop and Agent Hunter, as it was called then.  Unfortunately, in the intervening time, life took over a bit and although I wrote a lot, I didn’t have the time for working on getting published.  That has changed recently, and I’m making a concerted effort to get a few of my manuscripts ready for pitching again.  As such, it’s a good time for me right now to check out Jericho Writers, which has changed a lot since I last used its services.

At first glance, there is a LOT of content on the site, so it’s a little overwhelming at first and takes a while to navigate.  There are blog posts covering every aspect of the writing and publishing process, in-depth video courses that last for many hours, members-only forums, films full of interviews and advice, and of course access to AgentMatch, the updated version of Agent Hunter, which is the service that’s of most interest to me.  It has hundreds of agents listed, so I will be doing a lot of perusing of that when I get my manuscripts up to scratch in the near future.

Speaking of getting manuscripts up to scratch – there is a vast amount of advice on this subject in both blog and video form.  A lot of it is free even if you’re not a member, but for members, the quantity is enormous.  I’ve been poking around on the site for hours this month and have barely scratched the surface – I’m looking forward to delving into the archive more over the next few months!

From my exploration of the site so far this month, what I’ve most enjoyed are the videos – I’ve spent a few too many hours getting lost in these when I should have been working on my NaNo novel.  I’ve learnt more about the pitching process just from watching a few videos than I did in months of research when I was first looking into publication five or six years ago.

As for the site services I’m most interested in using over the next few months: as mentioned, I’ll be making use of AgentMatch when I’m ready to look for agents.  I’m also going to be spending a lot of time watching all the video courses, and I’m very keen on the possibility of using the Conversations service, which allows writers to get in touch with and ask advice from agents and other industry experts.

There are also editing services and writing courses offered by Jericho Writers – however, even with the 10% member discount, these are still fairly pricy, and so I think I’ll be giving them a miss.  However, some of the events that the company runs in London look interesting – they have writing fairs where you can meet agents and publishers, and so on – so I’ll be keeping an eye on those when tickets go on sale.

On the whole, I’m really glad to be able to try out Jericho Writers over the next year – there’s no end of useful content on the website, and I expect I’ll be spending a lot of time on there as I continue with my ongoing hopeful process of trying to get my books out into the world!

Last day before a hectic weekend!

It’s another one of those hectic weekends (actually, it’s a full hectic week, starting tomorrow and lasting until next Wednesday) coming up.  On the plus side, it involves a music festival that I’m really looking forward to, and after Friday I’ll be done with NaNo for another year!  (Another 4,000 words today, taking me up to 112,000 words.  I’ve done twenty-eight 4,000-word days in a row – I only need to do two more for 120k!)

As such, I’ve been using today to catch up with all my admin, or at least try.  Unfortunately, I’ve caught Geth’s bad cold, so I feel pretty rotten.  Lemsip Max Strength is keeping me just about functional, but I can’t even face food or anything like that at the moment and I feel pretty faint all the time.

Hoping to feel a bit better tomorrow.

OOTD: ill but comfy. Jumper unknown brand (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017), jeans Vivid (2018), boots Carefree (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Idina Menzel – Let It Go
Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Robbie Williams – Dream A Little Dream
The Human League – Human
Ultravox – Vienna
Little Mix – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Gig Review: The Human League at Newcastle City Hall, 27th November 2018

I don’t really feel that I gave this gig the amount of preemptory excitement that I should have done, given that it was sort of sandwiched between the Culture Club gig of a week and a half ago and the Electric Dreams festival that’s coming up this weekend, and also due to the fact that I’ve been ridiculously, ridiculously busy recently.

As such, I didn’t even realise who the support act was going to be (Midge Ure with his band Electronica!) until I happened to see it mentioned on Twitter the morning of the gig.  That was the best kind of surprise, and I spent the rest of the day bouncing off the walls with excitement – apart from anything else, it’s a fairly major scalp for my Band Aid baby bucket list, given that it’s the guy who wrote the song!

Much to the crowd’s delight, Electronica played all the Ultravox and Midge Ure solo classics, along with a much-appreciated couple of songs written for other people!  Geth and I were a bit surprised that the crowd were on their feet right from the off (Newcastle City Hall is a seated venue), but I could absolutely understand it, because it was such a danceable and entertaining set.  Dude can still belt out Vienna like nobody’s business.

(Also, dude retweeted my excitable gibberish.  Yes, he retweets all his mentions, but that was cool.)

Getting retweeted by the Human League and Midge Ure :)
Most days I’m always decrying the general awfulness of the 21st century, but getting retweeted by your favourite pop stars is awesome. I’ll give it that.

Midge Ure & Electronica setlist:

Yellow Pearl
If I Was
Love’s Great Adventure
Death In The Afternoon
Fade To Grey
Reap The Wild Wind
All Stood Still
Hymn (The Power And The Glory)
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

There was a good long break in between Electronica and the Human League, meaning that Geth was able to go and get us another drink.  Highly useful!

The Human League are one of those bands that I’ve loved forever, because they’ve just been part of the furniture of my life.  I don’t remember where I was when I first heard songs like Don’t You Want Me or Love Action (I Believe In Love), because they’ve always just been there.  It was so amazing to see and hear all those songs live – it’s really just the singers (Phil Oakey, Susan Sulley, and Joanne Catherall) who remain from the classic lineup, but frankly, that’s whom you’re there to see.  I have to give a shout out to the stage decor as well – it was all made up of pretty neon boxes, and it looked incredible.

The Human League
This was the unblurriest picture I could manage. I guess I just got lucky for Culture Club.

My highlight was, rather predictably, Don’t You Want Me – it’s not every day you get to see a UK Christmas number one (1981, in case you weren’t aware) performed live by the original artist (and throwing Midge Ure into the mix, that means I actually saw two artists in one show who had written Christmas number ones!  How appropriately seasonal!).  However, there was also an amazing moment when they finished the encore with Together In Electric Dreams, the classic hit that Phil Oakey did with Giorgio Moroder.  It’s one of Geth’s favourite songs, and he never thought he’d get to see it live, so he’s now making noises about the show being a contender for gig of the year (and given how much he loved Peter Hook & The Light and Promenade Cinema at Infest, that’s saying something).

The Human League setlist:

The Sound Of The Crowd
Mirror Man
Heart Like A Wheel
The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
Night People
The Lebanon
One Man In My Heart
Open Your Heart
Who Do You Love
Love Action (I Believe In Love)
All I Ever Wanted
Tell Me When
(Keep Feeling) Fascination
Don’t You Want Me
Being Boiled
Together In Electric Dreams

Updated Band Aid baby bucket list progress: song artists 2/37 (5.4%); message artists 0/7 (0%); total artists 2/44 (4.5%).

Semi-flying Tuesday post

Just a quick update today because Geth and I are going to a gig tonight!  Will tell you all about it tomorrow.

(NaNo update: another 4,000 words, 108,000 total!)

OOTD 27th November 2018
OOTD: gig-going outfit! Blouse Alexon (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017), skirt Miss Selfridge (2003), tights Primark (2017), boots Primark (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Erasure – Drama!
Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
Duran Duran – The Chauffeur
Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

A slightly more productive Monday

So I managed to get up slightly earlier this morning – not quite as early as I’d hoped, but still earlier than the last few days.  As such, I got my 4,000 NaNo words in before mid-afternoon, which meant I’ve been able to spend the rest of the day catching up with admin.

The Now! ’80s channel switched to Now! Christmas last week, so it’s all Christmas tunes in the house at the moment, which means I’m getting in the mood.  So close to December now!

Hoping for another good start with the writing tomorrow.

OOTD 26th November 2018
OOTD: trying to catch the limited daylight; this is my favourite and comfiest dress at the moment! Dress Triumph (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2018), belt H&M (2017), tights Primark (2017), boots Carefree (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Kendrick Lamar and Sza – All The Stars
Bing Crosby – White Christmas
Janet Jackson – Together Again

Double NaNo

I wrote my daily 4,000 words on my NaNo novel today, taking me up to 100,000 words total!  I’ve never managed anywhere near that for NaNoWriMo before, and it’s possible I never will again – it’s just that the circumstances have really all come together this year.  Just five days to go, and I’m confident I’ll be able to keep the streak going for 120k!

Otherwise I’ve just been catching up with TV today.  Hoping for a more productive day tomorrow.

OOTD 25th November 2018
OOTD: cosy Sunday outfit. Jumper Jac (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2018), leggings Primark (2018), boots Carefree (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin – I Like It

Quiet weekend for catching up

Last weekend being so busy meant that I’ve been struggling to catch up with things all week and have not really managed it yet.  I know that once November and NaNoWriMo are over, I’ll be plunged into a whole different kind of hectic with the run-up to Christmas, but I’m ever hopeful that at some point I’ll actually have some time – just a week would be enough – to sit down and get caught up with all the housework and admin that are always the last things to get done.

Geth and I are both fully into the winter running slump following last weekend’s half marathon as well.  It’s okay.  I’ll properly get back into it when I start my marathon training in January, and in the intervening time I’ll maybe manage a parkrun every now and then.

Today was a very late start – in the last few days I’ve got into the bad habit of finishing work/writing around midnight and then needing a couple more hours to wind down before bed – but hopefully I should have a better night’s sleep tonight and be able to get more done tomorrow.

OOTD 24th November 2018
OOTD: in a red mood today. Hoodie Internacionale (2000), t-shirt Punk Masters (2018), jeans Levi (2018), boots Carefree (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up
Leo Sayer – Moonlighting