Mar 032011
 


There is an album’s worth of songs that I have written for various Song Fu and SpinTunes challenges over the last few years, just kicking around the internet. As time passed, the quality of the songs improved, but they are all really just demo-quality tracks, so I’ve never really wanted to put them out in any sort of official format.

However, they do form a thematic album of some sort, so I’ve pulled them all together and stuck them into an album on last.fm. All the tracks are free to download, though you can only play short clips on the website itself. It’s not ideal, but if you want them they are all there.

The songs are presented in reverse chronological order, meaning that they get older and rougher as the playlist progresses. Highlights for me are ‘What is wrong?’, the song that features one of the longest words in the English language (the official chemical name for ‘Tryptophan Synthetase’) in a sort of mock-opera style, the ridiculously so-happy-I-could-punch-you fun of ‘Happy People’ and the rather silly charity song ‘Big Red Nose’

Dec 272010
 

Wiener Blut LogoMy NaNoWriMo story broke the 42,000 word barrier, but fell short of the 50,000 required to ‘win’. This is not a bad thing, however, as the story is far from finished. The final result is likely to be somewhere in excess of 80,000 words, but before I embark on completing it there is some further planning required as the story took a number of unexpected, but interesting turns that need me to re-visit the original vague outline I had prepared. Next year I will ensure I come fully-equipped with a complete outline at the very least.

A more successful story from NaNo this year is Wiener Blut, a novel written by Katharina Maimer, who you should be familiar with from our ongoing Every Photo Tells… podcast. Wiener Blut (Viennese Blood) is a modern fantasy about two very different worlds, set in Vienna and steeped in the history and traditions of that city’s café culture. Katharina has made the first chapter available as a free PDF download, but is also in the process of releasing it in podcast form, with the first three episodes and a stand-alone short story already released. Here is the short introduction, for a taster of the story:

My own input into the podcasting process has been the editing of the episodes as well as recording all the music. The theme tune is ‘Es wird scho glei dumpa’, a traditional Austrian Christmas song. I have mixed several versions with different instrumentation, though the one appearing in the podcast is a simple classical guitar arrangement. Katharina has also released it in song form, with her singing the lyrics (in German, of course) alongside a slightly different arrangement. You can find this at the Music page of the official website.

I have also been invited to delve into the world of Wiener Blut in my own writing, so expect to see my next EPT story being set in Vienna, as well as a very short story for the 100 Word Stories podcast in the not too distant future.

Jul 132010
 

SpinTunes LogoIt has been a while since I last undertook a musical challenge. Song Fu has passed on, but in its place has risen SpinTunes. This is a similar set of challenges to Song Fu, but with a judging panel rather than a public vote. I missed the deadline for the competition itself, but did complete a song nevertheless. Here it is:-

You can download the tune here or visit the album page where all the tracks submitted to the competition can be downloaded in a single file. All for free!

Take It Away!

 Great Hites  Comments Off
Jul 272009
 

Piano Keys

Over at Great Hites, my story “Take It Away” has proved reasonably popular amongst the people who take the time to vote. It tells of a great pianist who returns to his old school, whereupon he sits down at the old wreck of a piano he last played in his youth. The music teacher who stands watching him is surprised by the result.

This coming week is going to see a bumper Great Hites episode, with 12 stories being included, no doubt due to the prompt being related to cowboys and werewolves. More details when the episode is posted online, but I wrote two stories for the prompt, one of which just so happened to also fit the prompt for 100 Word Stories this week, which was “The games we play”. That means you’ll be able to read and/or listen to one of my stories from next week’s Great Hites in advance. It is called “Waltzing with Werewolves” and is in a spoken-song format with musical accompaniment.

Some major changes are afoot in the world of ‘Some Other Scotland‘ later this week, with something that will force the plot out into the public view in a rather impressive fashion. I’m keen to get another interlude episode out this week as well, so keep an eye on the website.

Finally, I have had some great support from Seth Harwood, author of “Jack Wakes Up”, following his appearance on the live Podioracket talk show. He has very kindly played the promo for SOS on the latest episode of his “Hot Tub” podcast, side-by-side with one for Arlene Radasky’s book “The Fox“. Arlene has been a strong supporter of SOS from early in the life of the podcast and I’ll be talking a little about her book in the next Interlude episode.

Apr 222009
 

Song Fu Logo

Another ‘Masters of Song Fu’ comes to a close with the final voting round posted today and it’s been fun. The format of the competition has changed significantly from the first time I entered, with all contestants staying in until the final round and letting us enjoy a much bigger collection of new songs. ‘Shadow’ entries for the final have also been encouraged, so my latest song can be found at quickstopentertainment.com, even though I didn’t make the final as a competitor.

As for the outcome, taking a look at the last set of vote results, I placed 12th out of 22, so just in the lower half – not exactly a shining star, but not too bad against some strong competition, and substantially better than the showing in the first Song Fu I tried. It’s interesting to see that several other people with lower scores in the first round (Jutze, Insane Ian and especially Edric) went on to pull substantially more votes in the following rounds, as I did.

I think I’ll probably take a break from Song Fu after this – there’s just too much other stuff to do at the moment, both on the ‘Some Other Scotland‘ podcast and other musical ideas I’ve had simmering slowly for a while. I’ll be pulling all the songs together shortly to make them easier to download in one go.

#onedayintwitter

The challenge:

FRANKENSONG. For this fourth and final challenge, you must craft a composition that contains AT LEAST THREE (3) distinctly different songs within your final song, but which fit together into a cohesive whole. By distinct, I mean both tempo and style.

I struggled with this for a while, looking for three or four things that could be grouped together, yet remain unique in their own right. It finally struck me whilst looking for something on Twitter that it could be used for the song – indeed it could form the cohesive entity around a group of otherwise unrelated topics. I used the twitter search facility to find ‘trending topics’ and came up with four I thought I could write unique songs about that would fit under the heading “One Day In Twitter” – these were merely the most popular topics at the time I looked:

#susanboyle
Despite everything from Cyrano de Bergerac to Shallow Hal suggesting otherwise, it’s apparently been a common belief that you need to be beautiful to sing/act/dance/etc. Like some warped version of a fairytale (with Cowell, Morgan and Holden as fairy godmothers?) the World has suddenly woken up to discover that ugly people can have talent. Welcome to the party, guys. The fact is that ugly people probably make better artists because they don’t get handed their career on a plate because some sleazebag wants to get them on his casting couch (or whatever the equivalent is for musicians). The music business took a massive detour thanks to MTV, resulting in the rise of the drop-dead-gorgeous-but-musically-bland artists we’ve been subjected to for so many years now, but maybe this will signal to them that there is something beyond airbrushed beauty.
I jest.
Of course they won’t, despite the fact they’re wishing they had a tenth of the sales that Ms Boyle has had YouTube views.
#ashtonkutcher
He entered a race with CNN to get to one million twitter followers first. He had at least one company offering prizes to people who signed up – shame on you EA. How desperate for fame and adoration do you have to be to post pictures of your wife’s arse on the internet just to get more people to sign up to receive your inane drivel? Apparently he’s an actor. I may have already seen one of his films – I don’t know – but I do know that if I hear his name associated with a film in the future, I’ll probably be a little less inclined to want to see it.
#queryfail/#queryday
Literary agents opened themselves up to questions and provided insight into why they knock back many book pitches. Some writers praise them for being open and honest, appreciating the feedback, learning from the experience and maybe going on to produce a pitch for their own book that may get them noticed one day. Others throw their toys out the pram, rant on about what the agents should be doing for them, complain about even the most common-sense of advice and end up looking like unprofessional prima-donna numpties who will doubtless be avoided by every agent on the planet.
#badscifi
Twitter is full of little internet memes like this – change a word in a well-known science fiction title (book or film) to make it a little less inspiring. As with all these things, some work better than others.

I wrote a verse for each topic and recorded a mini-song in a suitable style – mock-operatic for #susanboyle, emo rock for #ashtonkutcher, wistful waltz for #queryfail and robotic electronica for #badscifi. They are bound together not just by being twitter hot topics, but by the same chorus lyrics (the words stay the same, but the music is different each time) as well as some instrumental overlaps and a theme from the start that reappears later on. I had intended to feature a theremin part at the beginning and end, but ran out of time to practice it – hopefully I will get around to this and release a version which includes it. The whole thing is rounded off with a title that both describes what the song is about and serves as a hashtag for searching twitter.

#onedayintwitter

[Operatic/Musical Style]
There are thousands of less than beautiful people
With voices to make a nightingale proud
But thanks to Mandy and Piers and Cowell
There's one who won't throw in the towel
Please step forwards Susan Boyle,
That YouTube clip will help you always
Stand out from the crowd.

[CHORUS]
Tweet tweet tweet tweet
tweet tweet tweet tweet
What'ya twittering on about?
Tweet tweet tweet tweet
tweet tweet tweet tweet
What's this twitter thing all about?

[Waltz style]
Authors harassing agents in a bid for Rowling fame
Queryfail sparked off the "he said, she said" game
But queryday has showed how much common sense is lacking
In some people sending manuscripts in the hope of getting backing

* CHORUS *

[Emo rock]
How needy is the boy who craves a thousand, thousand followers
Desperate to outnumber the avid newscast swallowers
I'd never heard of Ashton Kutcher till his name came up on twitter
But will a million followers and Demi's arse stop his career going down the shitter?

* CHORUS *

[Tangerine Dream Style - robot voice]
Making up names to substandard shows
Twitter hive mind, borg-like complies
Avon visits a corner shop in "Blake's 7-Eleven"
Art from the chronosynclastic infundibulum in "The Sirens of Titian"
Noddy's looking for Replicants in "Slade Runner"
All available on #badscifi

* CHORUS *
Apr 022009
 

Song Fu Logo

Here’s a low-budget video for the latest Song Fu challenge song. Only the title was set for this round, so I took a little inspiration from the rather mixed reception the finale of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ received on the internet. Like several other popular cult series, it finished with several untied loose ends, some of which are quoted in the song. When it is running, you should be able to click on the little upward-pointing arrow at the bottom-right corner to switch on subtitles which display the song lyric.

If you enjoyed that, then please head over to Quickstop Entertainment and vote for it!

Red Nose Song Fu Special

Quickstop have also now made the songs from the Red Nose Day special available, right here. During the webcast show one of the Song Fu-ers, Joe ‘Covenant’ Lamb, composed another song which can be found along with the other songs here. Incidentally, in the same way that a number of people guested on my Red Nose song, Joe’s Red Nose song also featured guests including me (playing yobstick and singing).

Don’t forget to donate – the Red Nose Net event raised over £4,000 for Comic Relief!

Mar 132009
 

Red Nose Net

I finished the song at the weekend, but today is Red Nose Day, and so at some point today it should appear for your delight over at the webcast on Red Nose Net. It starts at 12pm EST (which I think is 5pm in the UK), and runs for 24 hours – I have no idea what time they will play the songs, but watch the video below for a brief preview. Once the song itself is available to download, I’ll provide a link to it as well.

This was a much more collaborative Song Fu effort than the others I have done, specifically because the challenge was to write a song that encourages the listener to join in. A select band of volunteers sent me their contributions to the song and they have been glued together into some sort of a consistent whole I have named “The Furfurescent Choir”. A big thanks to all of them for taking the time to do their bit and entering the spirit of the event with a wonderful selection of singing and other vocal strangeness. Their names are listed below.

The song is just a bit of fun, starting as an upbeat pop number and degenerating into a vocal meltdown. It may not be to your taste, but it’s all in a good cause – see Red Nose Net for more details.

Big Red Nose
============

Intro - F C Bb F C Bb

[verse 1]
D G D
When you're standing in the storm
C G D
Rain soaked through your clothes
D G D
And people laugh at you
C D
'cos of the colour of your nose

[verse 2]
And you there, in the pub
Heavy drinking pros
Labelling yourself
with the colour of your nose

[chorus]
F C Bb
Everybody loves a big red nose
Everybody loves a big red nose
F G7 C F
It brings a grin and it makes us laugh
F Bb C
Everybody loves a big red nose

[verse 3]
You've got the man flu
It's running like a hose
Tissues make it worse
Bringing colour to your nose

F C Bb
Everybody loves a big red nose x14



Music & Lyric: Mick Bordet

Mick Bordet: Keyboards, guitar, bass & lead vocal
A-DooM: Drums
The Furfurescent Choir: Vocals (from left to right)
Andy Roberts - http://distributedresearch.net/blog/
Paul Davison - http://stormcock.net/
Cruella Bordet
Matt Walton - http://matthew-walton.co.uk/
Angela Brett - http://angelabrett.wordpress.com
Jutze Schult - http://www.jutze.com
Mar 032009
 

Red Nose Net

I’m pleased to announce I’ll be doing something musical in support of this year’s Red Nose Day, via the online efforts of Red Nose Net. They are a group of internet folk who are using the web to promote Red Nose Day all round the World. Whilst Comic Relief is based in the UK, they do a lot of work in developing countries, and this initiative aims to give them much more attention than they currently receive outside these little islands.

My part in this will be within a special one-off edition of ‘Masters of Song Fu’ which has the aim of creating songs to get everybody involved. To that end, I’d like to invite you join me on the chorus…

Just send me an email to mick @ lunacyboard . com (without the spaces) OR leave me a comment below with a contact point, and I’ll send you a copy of the chorus to the song to record yourself singing (or shouting, whispering or talking) along to. I’ll then combine all the voices into one massed choir for the finished song.

The final deadline for song submission is 10th March, so please let me know if you are interested as soon as possible!

Mar 022009
 

Song Fu Logo

My entry into the latest “Masters Of Song Fu” contest is now available on their site, ready and waiting expectantly for your vote.

It looks like my decision to abandon my initial idea has paid off, with some support for the one-word-that-lasts-three-minutes approach, to the extent that after only a few hours of voting I have as many votes as I did for the whole of the last round.

Without counting premature chickens, it is very nice not be right at the bottom of the list. Of course that could all change, but I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts!

Feb 272009
 

Song Fu Logo

My entry into the latest “Masters Of Song Fu” contest will shortly appear on their site, ready and waiting expectantly for your vote. Thanks to everyone who voted for my song in the first round – a small and select bunch!

The challenge was to use only 10 words in the song, though each word could be repeated. The idea clearly being to get our brains working overtime on combining those ten words in different ways to change their meaning. Nice idea. I did try it, and will post my first attempt shortly (I have a very rough demo which I’ll tidy up and post), but it just seemed too obvious. Thinking cap back on, I decided that if I couldn’t fill a song with variations on ten words, then I would just fill it with a single word. A single l-o-n-g word. One with over 1900 letters.

It’s the name of an enzyme, Tryptophan Synthetase, and amazingly is NOT the longest word – that is the technical name for another enzyme and runs to almost 190,000 letters – I’ll leave that one for somebody else to sing as a whole album!

Instrumentation is just guitar, bass, piano and vocal. I did try some drums, but the song is so damn fast that they sounded ridiculous. And yes, I had Danny Kaye firmly in mind as I sang it!

Lyrics are as follows:-

What is wrong?
==============

"Doctor,what is wrong with me?"
"You need some methionylglutaminylarginyltyrosylglutamylseryl-
leucylphenylalanylalanylglutaminylleucyllysylglutamylarginyl-
lysylglutamylglycylalanylphenylalanylvalylprolylphenylalanyl-
valylthreonylleucylglycylaspartylprolylglycylisoleucylglutamyl-
glutaminylserylleucyllysylisoleucylaspartylthreonylleucyl-
isoleucylglutamylalanylglycylalanylaspartylalanylleucylglutamyl-
leucylglycylisoleucylprolylphenylalanylserylaspartylprolyl-
leucylalanylaspartylglycylprolylthreonylisoleucylglutaminyl-
asparaginylalanylthreonylleucylarginylalanylphenylalanyl-
alanylalanylglycylvalylthreonylprolylalanylglutaminylcysteinyl-
phenylalanylglutamylmethionylleucylalanylleucylisoleucylarginyl-
glutaminyllysylhistidylprolylthreonylisoleucylprolylisoleucyl-
glycylleucylleucylmethionyltyrosylalanylasparaginylleucylvalyl-
phenylalanylasparaginyllysylglycylisoleucylaspartylglutamyl-
phenylalanyltyrosylalanylglutaminylcysteinylglutamyllysylvalyl-
glycylvalylaspartylserylvalylleucylvalylalanylaspartylvalyl-
prolylvalylglutaminylglutamylserylalanylprolylphenylalanyl-
arginylglutaminylalanylalanylleucylarginylhistidylasparaginyl-
valylalanylprolylisoleucylphenylalanylisoleucylcysteinylprolyl-
prolylaspartylalanylaspartylaspartylaspartylleucylleucylarginyl-
glutaminylisoleucylalanylseryltyrosylglycylarginylglycyltyrosyl-
threonyltyrosylleucylleucylserylarginylalanylglycylvalylthreonyl-
glycylalanylglutamylasparaginylarginylalanylalanylleucylprolyl-
leucylasparaginylhistidylleucylvalylalanyllysylleucyllysyl-
glutamyltyrosylasparaginylalanylalanylprolylprolylleucyl-
glutaminylglycylphenylalanylglycylisoleucylserylalanylprolyl-
aspartylglutaminylvalyllysylalanylalanylisoleucylaspartylalanyl-
glycylalanylalanylglycylalanylisoleucylserylglycylserylalanyl-
isoleucylvalyllysylisoleucylisoleucylglutamylglutaminylhistidyl-
asparaginylisoleucylglutamylprolylglutamyllysylmethionylleucyl-
alanylalanylleucyllysylvalylphenylalanylvalylglutaminylprolyl-
methionyllysylalanylalanylthreonylarginylserine."