The 29 Days of February Start Here

February 2016 has a bonus day. The month has already arrived in the southern hemisphere, but I’m marking the arrival of the extended leap-year February in GMT and celebrating with the publication of a pamphlet and e-book containing a brace of short stories which will only be available for the 29 days of February.

At Midnight on 29th February, Something Must Break / Before the Flood will be deleted and will not be republished.

 

Cover Version 2 copy 2 TEXT

 

The blurb:

‘Something Must Break’: A dissonant tale of mental fragmentation and duality.

‘Dream of the Flood’: A meditation on climate change and possibilities of the near future, of human interaction and solipsism.

Together, these two pieces represent Christopher Nosnibor’s more literary side as he continues to explore narrative forms and voices.

The links:

Purchase the print edition here. (Enter code LULURC at checkout to receive 25% discount and free priority shipping on qualifying orders)

Purchase the e-book here.

Incoming! New Year, New Project

Yes, it’s 2016. I don’t make new year’s resolutions, for a number of reasons, but I do like to set myself targets and challenges for the year, and this year is no exception.

Back in 2008, I ran a project entitled ‘The 29 Days of February’, and with 2016 also being a leap year (I was busy with other things in 2012), it seems like a good idea to resurrect the project, at least fundamentally.

I toyed with the idea of publishing a new story on-line each day for 29 days, but it simply isn’t going to happen, and besides, I rather liked the original project concept better, whereby I simply published a long short story in pamphlet form and only made it available for 29 days as a means of celebrating the ‘extra’ day in the month. It might seem like an odd use of a bonus day, but like the amp that goes up to eleven, 29 days is one more than 28. Or something.

To use a music industry analogy (I’m fond of those: literature is, after all, the new rock ‘n’ roll), the project takes the ‘limited edition’ concept in a slightly different direction. To unpack that: bands and labels release limited edition pressings in the hope of generating a buzz, a clamour, and selling out a set – usually comparatively small – quantity of units quickly. It makes for good promotion and when demand exceeds supply, there’s an almost instant future collectible, and there’s a certain appeal in owning something scarce.

With the 29 Days of February concept, the number of units in circulation is determined by the market, meaning that while it can’t ‘sell out’ in the first three days, if only six copies sell in the 29 days the product is available, then only six copies will exist – ever.

I vowed never to republish ‘A Call for Submission’ after it was deleted on 1 March 2008, and I’ve adhered to that promise.

This year’s ‘29 Days’ project will be published as a back-to-back A5 saddle-stitched pamphlet (hopefully) and an ebook. The chosen formats mean it will be affordable, accessible and immediate. And why not?

Full details and relevant links to follow…

Maintaining Momentum

After a few weeks without performing any live spoken word, I returned to the fray with a segment at the launch for Sue Fox’s debut novel, The Visceral Tear, in Manchester last Saturday. That’s perhaps a whole other story in itself, but it was a successful performance (these things are relative, and I only half-emptied the room during my first piece, and actually sold some books).

While it seems I may not be featuring in the lineup for the Nous Sommes Bataclan event in York on Friday 27th November as I had initially hoped (primarily due to logistical and scheduling issues – the event has my absolute support and I would urge anyone who can make it to attend, because it’s a great lineup and stuff needs to happen, and to keep happening, which is the essential point here), I’m all for maintaining the momentum.

I recently completed a new Rage Monologue, which doesn’t feature in the tour edition pamphlet. I have every intention of performing it for the first time at the Wharf Chambers in Leeds on Monday 30th November.

Details of the event can be found here: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1043784485632386/

It may only be a five-minute slot, but anyone in Leeds who’d like to see me bring the rage, I’d recommend getting down. It’s a cracking venue, the headliners are great, and what my set will lack in duration, it will compensate in intensity.

See you down the front. Or at the back. Hopefully.

Incoming! Rage on the Road in Manchester with Sue Fox

I’m truly elated to have been invited to perform alongside a host of truly remarkable writers and artists (in terms of the full spectrum of the term) at the launch for The Visceral Tear, the debut novel by Sue Fox this Saturday, November 14th.

From the event page: ‘There will be an array of trangressive art by David Hoyle, Lee Baxter, Simon Taylor, Emma Phillipson, Iain Pearson, Dave Bez, Miki Christi, Sue Fox, & Hannah O’Connell.  Performers include:- John G. Hall, Lauren Bolger, Sandra Bouguerch, Jon McGrath, Louise Woodcock, Rachel Margetts, Locean and Oneiros authors reading from their books, including Sue Fox, Rachel Kendall, Chris Nosnibor & Salem Kapsaski. There will be books and art for sale, a bar, and other oddities to view and buy. Booking essential. Limited places. This event is strictly for over 18, and contains graphic adult themes.’

I’ll be on fairly early – around 8:15 and will be performing a ‘greatest hits’ set from The Rage Monologues. There will also be an extensive Clinicality Press merchandise stall, and I’ll have copies of the limited, numbered tour edition of The Rage Monologues for sale.

Further event details and tickets are available by following the link below….

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-visceral-tear-book-launch-with-sue-fox-transgressive-art-books-performance-tickets-19138271084

It’s going to be a cracking evening: if you’re in / around Manchester on Saturday night, get down – it’s certainly not going to be your average book launch!

Visceral

Literary Life Admin

Arguably the hardest part of being a minor-league author in the current market is self-promotion and administration. Writers aren’t by their nature the most gregarious of people and would prefer to spend their time actually writing than adopting the role of media whore. But needs must, and it’s not always a matter of being unable to get an agent or publisher.

To look at Steve Albini’s no-messing take on the music industry, the more people you’ve got working ‘for’ you, the more people you’ve got taking cuts from your already meagre royalty. The best way to go, especially in the Internet age, is to become self-managing. It does of course require immense discipline, and not inconsiderable balls.

Needless to say, I have these (at least on a good day), and have not only been sorting (and continue to sort) platforms to perform segments from my ongoing project The Rage Monologues, but I’ve assembled an A5 pamphlet containing a selection of (but by no means all) the monologues penned so far.

This evening, ahead of performances at The Black Light Engine Room’s night in Middlesbrough (Westgarth SC, Saturday 25th July 2015) and Clinicality Press’ evening of Spoke Word (The Fleeting Arms, York, 19th August 2015), I hand-numbered the 20 copies of The Rage Monologues pamphlets which arrived last week. I’m not vain enough to sign them.

They look pretty great, if I do say so myself. They’re going to cost £3.50 / 1 pint.

My set and performance style is evolving as the project goes on, and I’m hoping to announce more dates in the near future. Meanwhile, if you;re in or around Middlesbrough on July 25th or York on August 19th, do come on down. You know there’s nothing more you want than to have some guy shout in your face.

 

 

DSCF1316

The Rage Monologues: a hand-numbered edition of 20. Buy them so I can eat.

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at christophernosnibor.co.uk

Rage on the Road

Having spent the last few months writing a succession of short splenetic pieces under the collective banner of The Rage Monologues, I’d been focusing primarily on producing a cache of material I could raw on for live sets of varying duration.

The premise was simple: spoken word shows are notoriously difficult, especially if your thing is prose narrative. Audiences seem to respond better to poetry, and to shorter pieces. Telling a story or reading an excerpt from a novel simply doesn’t hold the attention in the same way, and when slots are often between five and 10 minutes in length, there isn’t much storytelling you can do if you’re not a writer of flash fiction.

So after penning a couple of short rants that seemed well-suited to the spoken word format, I aired them, admittedly with varying success. But the more intense the performance, the more people took notice. By which I mean by ramping things up, it was hard for them to ignore me as I stood, shouting and raving and cursing. Adopting a more manic persona seemed the way to go, and so I figured perhaps I should make that my set. Hence more wants penned, with a view to having a body of material I could draw on for sets of all lengths that I could mix up according to location and crowd.

I discovered the other day I’ve produced more material than I had actually appreciated. a whole pamphlet’s worth, in fact. Consequently, with a number of live dates pencilled in for the coming months, I’ve decided a pamphlet to accompany the performances, for those who don’t feel the urge to rush from the room after the first thirty seconds. It’s going to be self financed and self-published, and will be an extremely limited print run.

The material is still being pieced together and proofed, but when it’s ready, it has a cover waiting for it. Simple, but effective….

 

Rage Cover 2

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

A Night off with Viewer, Muttley Crew, The Wharf Street Galaxy Band, and Sherbert Flies at The Fleeting Arms, York, 15th May 2015

I spend a significant amount of time writing about music. So much so that recently, my literary work has taken very much a back-seat position on account of my reviewing work. What can I say? I’m drowning in CDs, downloads and streams, and I hate turning things down, especially free gigs.

Tonight was about taking a night off. I could use one. Recently, I’ve been working beyond fatigue. But sleep’s for wimps and eating’s cheating and who needs drugs when you’ve got sleep deprivation? Anyway. Not only am I a huge fan of Viewer, but I’ve also known front man AB Johnson, who I was proud to feature in the last Clinical, Brutal anthology I edited, for some 21 years now. The fact they were set to play alongside a cracking collection of artists I also know and admire in varying capacities, at a pay-what-you like event at a venue I’ve been meaning to check out for a while made it a night I knew I really ought not to miss.

And yes, about the venue: The Fleeting Arms, as the name suggests, is a pop-up pub, a venture whereby a collective have taken on a former venue on a short-term lease with a view to making it available for all things arts and more. It epitomises boho chic, not out of some hipster fetish for retro and artisan, but out of necessity, and the assorted freecycle furniture, coupled with the various old-school consoles situated in the bar (MarioKart on the N64, anyone?) is integral to the easy-going, community spirit of the place. It feels welcoming on arrival, and the fact it isn’t Wetherspoons or in any way designer and more resembles someone’s living room is perhaps the reason why. It’s also pretty busy by the time I arrive shortly after 8pm, just as Sherbert Flies launch into their lively set.

If writing about their ‘slacker’ style and suggesting they’re heavily influenced by Pavement smacks of lazy journalism, so be it. I was supposed to be taking a night off after all. But their casual demeanour (at one point singer Elliot Barker announced that they’d probably be releasing a track as a single tomorrow, adding, “If anyone wants to hear it, I’ve got it on my iPhone”) and wonky riffage has a definite charm, and made for a thoroughly enjoyable set.

The Wharf Street Galaxy Band are something of a supergroup, comprising members of Neuschlafen / Orlando Ferguson and Legion of Swine / Inhuman Resources. Donning some bad shirts and wielding an array of shakers, wooden blocks and a cowbell they crank out some repetitive grooves and shards of dissonant guitar noise by way of a backdrop to Dave Proctor’s off-kilter ramblings about puffins and selfie sticks. I could write at length about their semi-improvised avant-garde performance style or highlight the all-to-obvious similarities to The Fall circa 1979, but instead, the 7-song setlist that found its way into my hands after the set is likely to be just as illuminating and more amusing. It also reads like a piece of abstract poetry in itself: ‘Shoreditch / Puffins / We Can Help / Sergio / Walking / Selfie / Bellends’.

While I’ve seen Muttley solo a few times, this is only the first or second time I’ve seen the full Muttley Crew lineup, and it’s immediately clear that they’re a band who understand that less is more. The songs are built around simple, repetitive three-chord repetitions, at which they bludgeon away for six, seven, eight minutes, building layers of sound into hypnotic swirls overlayed with squalling noise. But it’s all about the rhythm section: bass and drums are impressively tight and forge an instinctive groove, and their drummer is my new hero. You want motoric, mechanised and metronomic? You got it. There’s nothing flamboyant or fancy about his style, no big fills or flourishes. Instead, he plays like a machine, plugging away at a relentless rhythm and holding the maelstrom of guitars together perfectly.

Viewer are all about a different kind of groove: thumping techno provides the backdrop to Johnson’s sneering monotone in which he couches acerbic socio-political comment. With the visuals playing up, Tim Wright is rather more active on stage than usual, although you couldn’t go so far as to describe him as twitchy. On this outing, the songs seem to have been tweaked, giving a more stripped back and direct sound that inches toward Factory Floor territory at times. The last track of their set, which I didn’t catch the name of, was dark and pounding, and accompanied by grainy images of riots and Anonymous masks, hinting more toward the likes of Cabaret Voltaire and Test Department. Like the other acts on the bill, they sounded great, and Johnson’s reversible bodywarmer is something special.

 

Viewer

Viewer: a groove sensation

 

There’s a lot to be said for simple rectangular spaces when it comes to sound, and in keeping with the Fleeting Arms ethos, this event was very much about people coming together and doing stuff, no budget, no agenda other than being creative and getting it out there.

The fact there were so many people present I knew only made it all the better on a personal level, but there’s a broader resonance to emerge from this microcosmic experience. It shows that we don’t need to smash capitalism, and while Cameron’s post-Thatcher is capitalism seems intent on crushing the country’s collective spirit (not to mention its pub trade and heritage), after the music industry as we knew it already succeeded in facilitating its own demise, there are people doing what they do for the right reasons, and there are people who appreciate it and will happily support it. It’s not about money. It’s about art, and community. This is exactly what we need right now.

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

The Jinx

You often read that projects are or were ‘ill-fated’ and I’m starting to get that feeling about my latest project, ‘The Rage Monologues’.

I’d written a couple of pieces that seemed well-suited to spoken word nights, not because they were exactly accessible, but because they weren’t stories, but fiery rants that straddled poetry, prose and performance art. I read them at a few spoken word nights, and they were successful (at least by my standards), and so the concept of ‘The Rage Monologues’ was born.

In short, I devised to write a collection of pieces that were designed with performance in mind. I’d take them on the road, do as many spoken word and open mic nights as I could get to, and maybe when I had enough, end it all with a one-man show where I did maybe 40 minutes of ranting and publish the pieces as a pamphlet / chapbook.

Things started well enough, with a well-received slot at Speakers’ Corner at The Golden Ball in York, and an even better received turn at Platform Thirsk a week later. I decided it was time to build momentum and hit every night going, and with a slot secured at ThreeVerse at Nevermind in York, I delivered another successful performance with some new material at Speakers’ Corner.

Alas, the ThreeVerse slot was cancelled due to several of the other performers cancelling. I got my slot rescheduled, but the week before I was due to perform, ThreeVerse got pulled by the venue.

Then I got news that Spokes, a night I had performed a number of times, and probably the best spoken word night in York due to its curated nature, announced it would be calling it a day in June.

The Leeds events I had previously attended seems to have stalled, but keen to maintain some kind of momentum, I decided to try my luck at the open mic might at City’ Screen’s Basement. I was revved, but anxious – open mic nights are a major gamble, especially for a fringe performer like me.

I arrived ten minutes before doors – just as the poster stating that the night was cancelled due to the venue flooding went up (seemingly a problem with the drains).

After three successive attempts to perform have been foiled and two regular nights have called time, I can;t help but feel that I’m something of a spoken-word night jinx, destined not to bring The Rage Monologues project to fruition.

But I’m not done yet. And if I have to resort to bellowing on a street corner before I get beaten up or moved on by the police, so be it. But if you’ve got any spoken word slots going and want to give a platform to an angry man spouting stuff in a fashion that may captivate or clear the room, give me a shout.

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at christophernosnibor.co.uk

Record Store Day Rebellion!

I would always class myself as a record collector. I got my first 7” single aged 3, and grew up with vinyl. And while the ages of cassette, CD and MP3 have seen me adopt the new formats, I’ve always stuck with vinyl alongside them, for all the reasons any diehard vinyl fan will tell you they prefer vinyl. And I do prefer vinyl. But this year, for the first time in a long time, I passed on Record Store Day.

RSD has become quite divisive in recent years, with many complaining about the way greedy so-and-sos who don’t care about the music will buy up everything they can get their hands on and cash in by flogging it on eBay at insanely inflated prices. And people will pay the prices because they don’t want to miss out. It’s what collectors do.

And yes, I’ve done it myself, and been on both sides of the transaction: I’ve paid overinflated prices for releases out of desperation, and I’ve also bought items knowing they’ll be worth a packet in no time because the supply is nowhere near correspondent to the demand. Limited editions will always have that special appeal to collectors.

But people do have a choice, and this year, I opted to exercise my choice not to go and buy a stack of vinyl, despite very much wanting to.

It isn’t so much that RSD has been hijacked by greedy capitalists, and I’m not even entirely averse to queueing for stuff if I really want it. But I feel that RSD has lost some of its appeal, and moreover, sight of what it was all about in the first place.

As I understand it, RSD was about celebrating independent record stores. Sellers of vinyl. And s such, it was also a celebration of vinyl, the format, and what the format offers as a holistic musical experience. The medium is the message, in a way.

Most people queueing outside stores on RSD probably don’t frequent record stores on any other days of the year. Personally, I’d much rather celebrate record stores all year round, by dropping in and picking stuff up when the mood takes and finances allow. And for me, the record store experience is about the browsing, the mulling, and the milling. Charging in to buy stuff with a shopping list in hand and jostling for an item before it’s snatched from under your nose is not an enjoyable or even remotely pleasant shopping experience. Being pressured to grab goods – especially when you know the items have their pieces fixed high but not to the benefit of the retailer – really kills the buzz.

 

RSD queue

People in Leeds ‘Crash’ the RSD scene in 2014

But this year, above all, the releases themselves simply haven’t inspired me. It’s a perfectly personal thing, of course, and I expect that my working as a reviewer has only further jaundiced my outlook. The more bands I’m introduced to, and like, the less possible it is to obsess about owning every release by every band on every format. In my teens and early 20s, I would purchase single releases on 7”, 12”, Cassette, CD and whatever numbered / coloured / poster sleeve limited editions were going. Now… I’d rather buy five releases by five different artists, rather than the same release by one artist five times. In short, I’m still a collector, but not a completist.

And while I’m by no means averse to going out and paying for a physical copy of an album I’ve been given in digital format ahead of release to review, can I really justify doing so in the name of Record Store Day? Again, the frenzy that RSD has become pressures the decision to be made on the spot or even in advance.

This year’s list of releases features a bewildering number of reissues. I have no problem with reissues per se, but I’m not about to purchase yet another copy of something I already have on original black vinyl and CD with bonus tracks just because it’s on red vinyl, or a picture disc. I just can’t get excited about queueing up for ages to fork out £20 for an album I already have, and if I don’t already own it, chances are I could pick up a second hand copy of the original for the same price or less.

The same applies tenfold for singles lifted from albums that have been out for donkey’s years. And similarly, can I really justify parting with £6 for a limited 7” of a track I already have on album because it has an exclusive B-side? At any other time, a band could release a single in a run of, say, 500, and it would still be available a month later. Of course, it’s great for labels to be able to put something about and recoup their costs much more quickly, but it seems absurd that because a record is released on a certain say, it’s going to sell out before lunchtime.

Clearly, I can’t stop the madness, and RSD still does a great job of raising awareness of record stores and vinyl, and I still applaud that. But it’s because I so love vinyl and the whole record store experience that I jumped the RSD ship this year. I’ve still got another 364 days of the year to show my appreciation and support record stores by buying from them in more sane and sedate circumstances.

 

 

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk.