Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Melbourne, Spring, and Plans

This weekend the weather exploded into Melbourne like a bomb of warmth and sun.

No-one is fooled, least of all me - this pleasant weather was a signal, a marker for spring. "You are now entering a period of fuckery. You have been warned."

Simultaneously, I've had some changes too:
  1. I've started work at Government Department Y, with flexible hours, decent pay, nice people and interesting work; and
  2. I have moved to Fitzroy, the hipster centre of the universe and/or Melbourne, with my dearest friend and editrix @desdrata; and best of all
  3. New Job is 8 minutes walk from New House. Huzzah!

Both the job and house are temporary. I'm already looking ahead to December, when my visa expires and I get on a plane to live in Chiang Mai for 6 months.

Then in June 2015, I will finally return to the UK and London - just as I intended in October 2008, getting on that plane to NZ.

London really is the next stop. And the Southern Hemisphere dream will be over. (For now.)

Things always look more exciting from the outside. I learnt this in my UK band F451. While we crashed and burned in bleak depression at the feeling of getting nowhere, our friends and fans - still growing, right to the end - thought we were succeeding and doing great.

So the same with my life, I think. I have this impression everyone thinks my life is more exciting than it is ("How's travelling going?!" "Um, I have a flat and a job..."), and think that I am a more exciting person than I am.

Sure, it's fun joking around and playing the role of an international indie-rock hero, especially when hot girls are listening.

But the fact is I'm very boring and safe and middle class. I'm just being middle class in another English-speaking country.

So these plans are neither part of some fabulous grand life plan, nor are they spontaneous whims of a "true adventurer". I sketch out where I'll be in the next 2-3 years, but no further, and if things change, that's fine. At the same time I nail down what I'm doing the next 6-12 months based on opportunities and circumstances. That's how I roll.

I would love to stay another year in Melbourne, but that is not possible.

I decided early on I would not spend 3 months slaving away unpaid on some buttfuck-nowhere farm for a 2nd working holiday visa - and the stories I've heard have confirmed that decision was right for me.

Australia's agriculture industry, and the crutch of free/cheap international labour it relies on, are absolutely fascinating. But breaking my back picking apples 8 hours a day is not something I'd enjoy.

I also made the decision not to slave away searching for a job offer where they would and could sponsor me for a visa. My lack of specific skills makes it difficult, and my life has taught me that job hunting is a humiliating, degrading experience - so desperately searching for a visa and a job would be twice as soul-destroying.

Maybe I'm not confident or ambitious enough in the right ways. Plenty of people get jobs and visas on just a wing and a prayer, especially here in Aus, where they give you a chance if they see you're good enough.

Or, maybe, I just can't be bothered wasting my life in ways that make me unhappy.

This is especially true when I have a perfectly decent Plan B. And as 2013 showed, Plan B is not just workable, but it is rapidly turning into Plan A And A Half.

Why Thailand? Well, the living costs are low, and I can spend a few months building my design work, along with developing some initial skills in 3D designing and web development. Also I know Thailand, a bit, and I feel comfortable in the parts I have been.

As I blogged last year, Chiang Mai is a wonderful liveable city where digital nomads and other farangs (white people) are choosing to live, even for a short time like me.

So these are the things and this is the news.

Right here right now, I have a new house, a new job, some cheap jewellery that looks fucking great on me, spring is around the corner, and I want to go on dates with beautiful girls and drink fancy beer.

Let the good times bacon roll.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Fresh new album details for CULTUUR SUGOI

This is what I revealed in my very exciting exclusive mailout recently. Exclusive! Much excite! Wow!
Subscribe to my mailing list on ReverbNation because it's cool and stuff

NEW ALBUM "CULTUUR SUGOI"
It's time for a new album. Like 2012's "Airfix Democracies", this one has been in the works for a long time and it's very exciting to be recording again.

You are the first people to know the tracklist for this album and I hope you find it interesting:

TRACKLIST
1. Big Black Hole In The Sky
2. Animals
3. Equality And Lasers
4. Lighten Up, No Thanks
5. The Simplest Songs Sell The Best
6. Sagittarius A* (Scandalous Heart)
7. See Me Where I Lie
8. Whores On Horseback
9. Weird Stars
10. The Hype Of Yesteryear
11. This Disco Can Count To 7
12. Alchemy

Some of you will already see why this is big news for me.

"Animals" and "Lighten Up" are from "Without Fear" (2009) and after years of exhilarating live gigs, finally get their full production rock versions

Some songs go way back, like "The Hype Of Yesteryear", which was played at the Lighthouses Launch in 2011...

...some go way way back, like "Alchemy" which is an unrecorded F451 song (2007)...

...and some go WAY back, with instrumental "See Me Where I Lie" written when I was 17!

Some are brand spanking new, like "Weird Stars", "Equality And Lasers", "Whores On Horseback" and "The Simplest Songs Sell The Best" which have never been performed anywhere ever

There are several overlapping themes, including space/stars/science (4 songs), self/determination (3 songs), happy-ish cynicism (3 songs), and equality (3 songs)


CAN YOU DESCRIBE IT IN A WORD? HOW ABOUT A SOUND?
It's even more upbeat than the light brightness of "Airfix", but also darker and more colourful.

As you'd expect, it's FULL of tunes, riffs and choruses that will get stuck in your head. I've been writing ear-worms since "Science Is Everything" in 2002. I'm pretty good at it.

I'm very much looking forward to unleashing "Equality And Lasers" on the world, and the mighty chorus for "Sagittarius A*" is as unapologetic as I am.

But there's some new sounds and styles, including elements of darkness in "Whores On Horseback" - which is still a very positive song about stigma and equality - and "Weird Stars" - which switches into the most uplifting outro of anything I've written.


WHAT'S THE NAME ABOUT?
It's just a nonsense phrase, a working title that stuck: "cultuur" is the Dutch word for "culture", and "sugoi" is a Japanese word for "excellent" or "awesome".

Bolted together they mean nothing. But it's reminiscent of the way some expressions never have a perfect translation, like the cockney-Russian in "A Clockwork Orange".

The album has plenty to say - I always do - but it's a very upbeat album and even less political than "Airfix". The title is more a flavour than a description or a mission.


RELEASE SCHEDULE & STRATEGY

- The album is out 3pm Sunday 16th November (AEDT, UTC+11hrs)
- Some of the big tracks will be uploaded the week before the release, to get you all excited
- After the release, I'm hoping to put out some cool videos of key songs
- The album will be pay-what-you-like i.e. FREE just like all my music

At the moment, it's purely an online release, but I'll let you know if a launch gig gets organised...


SO, IS THAT THE ARTWORK? BIT SHIT ISN'T IT?
It's just the temporary artwork. I'm busy! Let me get on with it!


OKAY. WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?
Definitely download Airfix DemocraciesWithout Fear and Time and Light for free if you haven't already!
http://jezkemp.bandcamp.com

Download the Last.Fm scrobbler app, then play my songs a lot, so that they give me 3 Eskimo pence in moneys
www.last.fm/music/jez+Kemp


Download The Library Suits and Captain What albums, because they're incredible!






Captain What
Ralph and Piggy (We Are Here)

And pretty much just stay classy, wherever you are in the world!



T-SHIRTS, DESIGN, PINTEREST
I've been working on my designing - it's come a long way since I made those "I Love Dinosaurs" T-shirts for the "I Believe In Dinosaurs" launch in June 2010.

There's now a dedicated Facebook page for my designing, and I've got a Pinterest page if you're on there too:
RB - https://jezkemp.redbubble.com (buy cool stuff!)

Unlike last year, there will be more updates - maybe 1 email per month before the release - I hope you don't mind.

Catch you soon!
Jx

Sunday, 3 August 2014

15 T-shirt designs with Very Different Meanings now Redbubble make DUVETS

Redbubble have just brought out duvet covers, and it's great - artists like me get an even bigger canvas for our awesome work, and people can buy amazing new designs to sleep in.

But when I resized some of my rather good 800ish designs on Redbubble, I noticed that a lot of designs - originally intended for T-shirts - have very different meanings on a duvet...

IT'S NOT OVER NOT OVER NOT OVER STILL NOT OVER


Suggests someone is not enjoying things in the bedroom...

I WIN AGAIN, JUST LIKE ALWAYS


...while Adventure Time's Magic Man thinks sexytime is a race

I'VE GOT A PLAN, AND IT'S AS HOT AS MY PANTS


Tell me more, Lord Flashheart! (RIP Rik Mayall)

BED INTRUDER VELOCIRAPTOR


Is "They're climbing in your windows" the perfect goodnight message for any child?...

THEY MOSTLY COME AT NIGHT. MOSTLY


...Or is it Newt's disturbing warning to Ripley in Aliens? Little Timmy will never sleep with the lights off again.

EVERY TIME YOU WANK YOU'RE WASTING MIDI-CHLORIANS


A strong warning for every teenage Jedi, every bedtime and every morning. Sounds like hell.

I SURVIVED THE RAPTURE. AGAIN


Implies the owner has very strong orgasms.

AS A NYMPHO, SOMETIMES I JUST CAN'T BE F**KED


A reminder that even hard-working sex addicts need a break sometimes.

SPOONING AND JETPACKING


Actually, no secret meaning here, it's just duvets are just THE perfect place for this helpful guide.

YOU NEED A HOT CUP OF HARDEN THE F**K UP


Realistic advice for a lot of people every morning!

I LOVE PEGGING


From very honest overshare on a T-shirt to very honest overshare in the bedroom.

MY ARMS ARE TOO SMALL TO MASTURBATE


Maybe only applies to certain people?

GIRLS DON'T LIKE BOYS, GIRLS LIKE CATS AND PUPPIES


Perfect for lesbian pet owners!

I ATEN'T DEAD


An excellent duvet for late sleepers.

BACKSTREET BOYS QUESTIONNAIRE

But the clear winner has to be the Backstreet Boys' very own bedtime questionnaire. Answered yes to any of these questions? Please rock your body now. In this bed. Which is mine.

AND SOME OTHER SIMPLY AWESOME DUVET DESIGNS TOO