A pretty active year, altogether, for revolution, natural disasters and the distinctly postmature death of genocidal fuckheads, England became the No.1 cricket team in the world (though at time of writing are doing their level best to unbecome the same) and somewhere in the foreground, the Murdoch media empire did its best impression of being irredeemably crippled even though it had done nothing worse than scraping its knee whilst bending over to spy on on a stranger's balls.
Odd, apparently. Mishappen. Prone to huge shifts in form and mass in rapidly changing climates.
On a personal level, 2011 saw me unemployed and missing out on a grand total of three jobs because of a tour of Australia (you try explaining to potential employers the difference between 'holiday' and 'work' when you're so desperate for money that you'd eat at McDonald's if someone paid you enough*) and am searching still, at times with hope, at times without. I ran a few half marathons (in the middle of the night), got some way through writing my first bullshit book (also in the middle of the night) and read so much Ancient and Military History that at times I felt I should be taking a chariot to rehearsal instead of a bus.
Band wise, well, we're still here, and delighted to be doing it.
Final track listing for the album (after some revisions and a quick remix for 'goals in slow motion' the masters, I'm happy to say, are being run off tomorrow) is as follows. None of these titles are working titles, incidentally. Release date, sadly (saddest for us, mind – we started recording it LAST FUCKING JUNE) is still to be confirmed.
1. sheena is a t-shirt salesman
2. failed olympic bid
3. beneath the waves an ocean
4. cosmo's ladder
5. city of exploded children
6. goals in slow motion
7. camp cappuccino
8. polymers are forever
9. robocop 4 - fuck off robocop
10. sorry dad, i was late for the riots
11. i am the least of your problems
12. a guide to men
14. rubber animals
15. notes on achieving orbit
Having had a break from the thing over the course of the last couple of months I can exclusively reveal that, according to me (and I trust me, implicitly) it sounds as good as I remember it. I don't want to talk the thing up because that seems desperate but I will say this – we're very, very proud, a feeling which I'm allowing to linger until the end of next month when it will be doubtless replaced by the hollow anger of the ignored and jealous. Just kidding(*2)
We're still deciding on 'singles' and, although that term seems less relevant nowadays (how about 'promotional device for radio and youtube'?) we would very much like to release them on 7” single with the obligatory exclusive b-sides and all that jazz (nb. no actual jazz). My question to you (here and on twitter/facebook) – how much is a fair price? We want this to be something you can hold, look at and, if needed, comfort, but we'd rather not go losing money we don't have in the interim.
So, in review ...
Australia was, in general, very good fun. Perth(*3) and Sydney were a delight whilst Brisbane and Meredith revelatory considering the distinct lack of sleep which preceded both shows. Only Melbourne felt strange and, despite our best efforts, lacked the atmosphere that we've come to expect from one of our favourite cities in the world. Perhaps it was just the way it felt from the stage but we felt as if we played twice as well as earlier in the year and got half the response. Proof, if proof be need be(*5) that there's no science to rock n'roll. The three UK shows were good fun as well, particularly London - despite the faintly preposterous airs and graces of Hoxton Bar and Kitchen it's actually a pretty good sounding room and we had a fine night, once the double van breakdown and most miserable in-house sound-guy(*6) in the world were taken on and vanquished to the four corners of our collective memories.
Right, I must fly. More to follow very, very soon(*7), including show and single news, record store day and some bumpf about South by South West, which it turns out we are playing after all.
ps. How do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine to exist.
(*) I will happily eat a McDonald's meal if you reimburse my stomach and soul to the tune of £5,000. (*1)
(*1) an admission - twice on our tour of Australia I was forced (partly by a lack of funds but also because I was trapped in an airport and didn't feel like paying £10 for a sad, wet sandwich) to eat a grilled chicken burger from Hungry Jacks, which, for my non-Australian readers, is Burger King in all but name. Although it didn't taste too bad I could tell that the chicken had been thoroughly depressed even before being electrocuted by a robot then thrown into a seeded bap.
(*2) no, I'm not.
(*3) about half an hour before going on in Perth we were watching the pretty-damn-good-despite-the-awful-name Injured Ninja (*4) play to a room with about 30 people in it and fearing the worst – inbetween nipping upstairs to tune my chin and medicate with Doctor Jameson a few hundred appeared out of fresh air and made us feel like a real band again. Salut!!!
(*4) who reminded us a little of our good friends Science Bastard, musically if not hair-wise.
(*5) thanks 'The Day Today'.
(*6) anyone who is in a touring band will know that this is quite an accolade.