Penis Drawings, Wagner and a strange Vietnamese man………

It’s been a while since my last blog and things are starting to gather a bit more pace.  I am still writing daily on one thing or another and fixed on trying to push “my music” to any contact I can find in preparation for my EP release.  I was recently reminded, however, not to take what I am doing too seriously when I discovered several penis drawings left by some obvious dear friends in my moleskin songwriting note book.  Yes, that joke never goes away no matter what age you are! Dicks…………

One three 'members'

One three ‘members’

So, what of the release of what I’ve been harping on about for months now? Well, the EP (for those not in the know, essentially a record with 4 songs on it) is now mastered following a rather drawn out process and it is now with a distribution company for release at the end of summer.  Yippee.  I have listened back to it endlessly, trying to objectively (and therefore quite probably impossibly) figure out whether the songs will be good enough to grasp people’s imagination. I hope so. Despite at times wanting to throw the thing in the Thames, it was a great learning experience and whatever happens, whether I end up falling on my sword or rising to dizzy heights of musical Valhalla, I think I can be proud of what has been created.

Robert Frost said, “I took the road less traveled by and it made all the difference”.  However, whilst this poetic quote serves to inspire the intrepid, here the one certainty is that there are so many people travelling my road and not only do I have to be better than them, I have to be luckier.  Like the Army, music is proving to be a bit of a game albeit of a different nature.  The main difference now is that I have fewer people to trust and it is already abundantly clear that this is a world full of flakiness, smiles, “false yes’s” and money-grabbers that does not ride easy with me.  Whilst I knew this would be the case before I jumped, and there is little worse than hearing the ‘armchair general’ raising an eyebrow whilst quietly thinking “I told him this, etc“, that is rarely ever helpful when you set out on your own to try and start a business/venture.  You are not part of a company that can train and develop you to meet your potential, pass exams and progress up a ladder that is defined; you are your own engine creatively and you are your own drive to get yourself there.

I smelt my first rat when some poor devil unsuccessfully tried to smoke me out of 2000-odd quid for some spurious venture which he’d failed to fully read up on; it ended up  being me interviewing him and I almost felt sorry for the bugger when he walked out of the cafe with his tail between his legs.  I have met all sorts so far, usually at gigs I’ve played or gone to watch; the eternal musical martyrs in their mid-30s, brain cells shot, somehow eeking out a living reeking of stale ale and weed to those in their early 20s, full of enthusiasm, hustling the stage in the hope that someone out there is going to believe in their art and help them reach a larger audience.  Trying to figure out where I fit in is proving challenging, akin to perhaps being a bit of an outsider who turns up late to the party with the wrong kind of booze in the wrong kind of shoes.  However, I’m not about to metamorphose, kit myself up in some ball-crunching skinny jeans, hand over my testosterone and start calling everybody “man“.  The music world inherently lacks integrity, but if I want to be successful, my own identity must remain. And whether the trendies think I’m worth mulling things over with or not, maybe I shouldn’t care. I probably don’t………..

I’m certainly in a very creative phase currently.  I’ve been to see random gigs by small bands, to Gypsy swing in a very quaint Parisian-chic bar south of the river, to Wagner’s 6-plus hour Opera Gottendamrung at the Royal Albert Hall.

At the end of 6 1/2 hours of German singing......

At the end of 6 1/2 hours of German singing……

And while I’m not aiming to write Wagner-style epics (it took the old bastard 25 years to write this 3 dayer……) or start learning gypsy swing, you never quite know what can suddenly push you into writing something………

Recently, we’d been receiving a number of telephone calls to our flat asking for a Mr Midgley. Despite our insistence that Mr Midgley quite definitely did not live here, the calls continued.  My flatmate and I mulled over one night who this character could possibly be, inevitably concluding (albeit slightly drunkenly) he was a sweaty, devious and disgusting figure of a man with a bulbous growth and who worked for the CIA…….. For a bit of fun, I’d fiddled around with some riff to go with this “character”, inventing a tune for him, but by 2am the moody sound that it was had become something more substantial.  The next day I developed that riff into a dark and bluesy song that had over 23 verses, called “The Fall of Billy Mather”, about a homeless guy who killed his wife and is on the run.  I’m now in the process of editing it down, so for those coming to my EP launch gig you’ll be able to hear it that night.  Just in case you’re reading, CIA, the song isn’t actually about you………

I’ve also had a gig since my last entry.  It was quite last minute and at The Troubadour in Earl’s Court, where I have played many times before and, though to a smaller crowd, it was probably one of my better performances.

Performing at The Troubadour

Performing at The Troubadour

After a few drinks at the bar upstairs, my flatmate and I went very late to Nam Long on the Old Brompton Road, which for those who know it can either be very shit and stuck up or just very, very good fun. This night was definitely of the latter and, though initially I wasn’t sure the eccentric owner was going to let us in or not with my guitar, we persuaded him we were “cool” and he obliged.  Before long this Mr Chow-esque character was motioning to me “you play or die”, and so I played.  So there I was at 3am in this pissed reverie playing Brown-Eyed Girl to a packed bar who all joined in singing, thinking it would be just one song before the requests came and I relented.  We soon had “American Pie” rolling and I had a happy owner who wasn’t going to kill me and a rather toxic glass of some concoction I can’t remember as a reward.

So if you are reading this, thank you! My EP will be released at the end of August, available on iTunes and coinciding with a launch, where I will be performing at what is a beautiful venue at St Pancras Old Church on the 30th August.  Ticket information will be available soon via my Facebook page, facebook.com/AntonyRaine.UK, and my website, antonyraine.com.

Antony x

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