Thursday, 24 July 2014
I'm going back a bit but I thought I would start with an introduction to Inertia which was the first book I published.
Inertia was conceived when I was in my final year of University in 2004. The poetry side of it formed a large part of my final project. At the time I was trying to write a poetry concept album, a sequence of twenty poems that told a story. I already owned a few concept albums and thought that the format would suit a collection of poems. My tutor put me on to a few books that already did this to an extent, Craig Raine's A La Recherche Du Temp Perdu and History: The Home Movie, Ted Hughes' Gaudete and Birthday Letters, Tony Harrison's Film Poems, to name a few.
I wanted the story to focus on the everyday and mundane and to almost celebrate those things. I was also introduced to Weldon Kees' Robinson poems which were a huge influence on the theme for the poems. If you haven't read these poems then you should look them up. These poems quite beautifully describe the world of the character, Robinson who supposedly signifies urban man.
Weirdly I also took quite a few influences from comedy shows such as Peep Show, Monkey Trousers, Alan Partridge and Jam. It wasn't trying to write a comedy and it doesn't come through strongly but there is humour to be found, even if it might be a bit dark and weird.
Inertia ended up as a sequence of 20 poems following it's main character though his day. His day begins waking up and getting ready for work, his journey to work and then the time spent in his office and his attempts to woo the girl he likes in the office. After work he finds himself in a chance romantic encounter, followed by the fallout of his circumstances.
After graduating I forgot about Inertia but continued writing. I considered sending manuscripts of Inertia to poetry publisher but I knew that it was very difficult to get poetry published and the demand just wasn't there. I thought about it some more and then wondered if it would be possible to make the book into an actual concept album. I didn't know if and how it might work. I had only ever seen CDs of poetry read by some celebrity and backed up with classical music, the kind of CD your gran might buy. This wasn't something I wanted to do. I recorded the Robinson poems by Weldon Kees along with music and they turned out alright so I began to think about recording the Inertia poems. This all happened at a time when the story of Inertia had become my own. I was working in a job that I was bored of and living alone with my own thoughts of loneliness and unfulfilled longing having just embarked on a doomed romance with a girl I had recently met and had fizzled out. I recorded the album in my flat on the outskirts of Bolton in the winter of 2007. The music comprised of looped phrases played on top of each other with other musical embellishments which I thought mirrored the theme of monotony and it's beauty, within the poems. The vocals were filtered to make it sound like a one sided phone conversation or like it was recorded into a dictaphone and was a piece of found recording.
I was really pleased with the finished album and immediately tried to find a home for it. I managed to self publish the book and audio together at Lulu.com and the audio floated around websites like myspace, soundcloud, bandcamp, etc for a while. This was a bit before e-readers were popular and so there wasn't much take up for it at first.
I eventually released it through Amazon with a selection of other poems that I wrote around the same time with some joy as ebooks became more popular and accessible, but alas without the audio. However, Inertia recently found it’s place at Noisetrade.com, a great website where customers are invited to pay a tip. Both the ebook and audio book are now available together there in one place, as I always hoped they would be.
Whenever I go back to Inertia I still feel proud of it as a complete work (which is strange for me after so many years). If you haven't read or listened to it then I hope that this post has peaked your interest and if you have have only either read or listed to it then I hope that you will get to experience it in its fullness.
For more information and to download either or both book and album visit the links at the side.
Well, that was Inertia!
Bye for now