Tommy and his Rolleiflex, Balerno. Photo: Rob St John

Water of Life: Interview with Rob St John and Tommy Perman

WoL-InsertScan-Intro-Image-Web-1024x1024Water of Life is an art-science collaboration between Rob St. John and Tommy Perman exploring flows of water through Edinburgh using drawings, photos, writing and sound.

I was suitably intrigued when I found out that Rob and Tommy were teaming up for the project. They are both multi-talented artists who have contributed a lot to the music and art scenes in Edinburgh and beyond.

Rob makes music under his own name and as part of eagleowl, as well as writing for the likes of Caught By the River. Tommy was up until recently a member of band and art collective FOUND, produces art/illustration as Surface Pressure and recently released an EP under the name ComputerScheisse.

I hope that introduction has whet your appetite. Now, here are a few probing questions about the project’s creative flow.

The Ditch the Day Job Diaries: Edinburgh Festival Special

Find out all about the Edinburgh Festival, how my freelancing is taking shape, a follow up on how many coffees I have a day (zzzz).

Plus, I’ve shoehorned in an ‘Objects of Affection’ special which includes The Istanbul Review at The Edinburgh International Book Festival (you can also see the video on their homepage) , Vic Galloway’s new book ‘Songs in the Key of Fife’ and my first ever appearance in an actual printed book.

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Hit the Kiss (and Tell) Button – an Interview with Lomond Campbell

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Last weekend I spoke to Ziggy Campbell, frontman of acclaimed Edinburgh band FOUND, during a wedding in the grounds of Edinburgh Zoo.

After a failed attempt to noise up the monkeys we thought we’d record a wee interview instead as a special treat for you.

 

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The ‘nitty-gritty specifics’ we cover during our conversation include:

  • His forthcoming EP under the guise of his mysterious alter-ego Lomond Campbell (you can also hear sneak previews of some of the tracks)
  • Why he’s calling himself Lomond and not Ziggy (the below picture is a clue)
  • Why he isn’t your typical singer-songwriter
  • His joint record with band member Kev Sim aka River of Slime
  •  How to get into their intimate Edinburgh house gig in July and get free records and whisky into the bargain
  • whether there is a future for FOUND ‘the band’ following internet guru and bassist Tommy Perman‘s departure
  • fellow FOUND collective member and computer genius Professor Simon Kirby’s debut singing performance (it involves carrots)

Ziggy also gave me a wee preview of the new EP and it’s cracking  – if you like FOUND you’ll love it. My favourite track is the epic krautpop closing track Hit The Kiss Button.

LOMOND-Press-Shot-3More info:

Only A City Apart is the debut EP from Lomond Campbell and marks the first music to come out of the FOUND collective since their acclaimed 2011 album factorycraft. It’s being released on the 19th July 2013 on coloured vinyl, limited to 250 copies.

The EP features a guest vocal from fellow Fence Collective member The Pictish Trail. The record will serve as a taster of the forthcoming collaborative album with River of Slime, which is due to come out on Chemikal Underground later in 2013.

The 12” EP will be given away for free at a “secret” house concert in Edinburgh on 20th July 2013. To reserve a space email 42music42@musician.org. All who attend the concert will also be treated to a dram of whisky decanted personally by Lomond and River of Slime.

The remaining copies will be available from Chemikal Underground & Fence Records online shops and in various independent record stores throughout the UK. A digital copy will be available to download from Lomond’s Bandcamp page.

www.facebook.com/lomondcampbell

 

Must Read Round Up – Tiny Office Edition

Here’s a quick round up of content I’ve published in the last couple of weeks which I haven’t mentioned on this blog yet, some recommended reading, plus how to say goodbye to Google Reader before it closes down on 1st July.

Mountain Shores Episode 5

Mountain-Shores-Summer-UnProductivity-Podcast-Sketchnotes-21-1024x774The latest Mountain Shores Podcast went live this week. Fabian and I are joined by Michael Nobbs for a freewheeling discussion about summer (un)productivity, social media sabbaticals, schedules, sleep patterns and self-depletion.

The episode has even been the subject of a wonderful sketchnote by Doug Neill, aka The Graphic Recorder.

Tech Tips & Tiny Houses

I also recorded a conversation between myself and Ethan Waldman of Cloud Coach who shared technology tips and talked about his exciting tiny house project.

This conversation inspired me to make some changes to my own domestic arrangements which has resulted in turning a former wardrobe and storage space into a ‘Tiny Office’ where I can write & work uninterrupted.

And it is tiny. Let’s just say that if I eat a big meal, it’s uncomfortable to sit in here. Hell, I need to lose my belly anyway.

In case you missed it, I wrote a little more about making life changes by shifting things around gradually in my post ‘Life is Like a Sliding Puzzle‘.

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My new ‘Tiny Office’

My First Post on Medium

I also wrote my first piece for Medium.com recently, ‘A Thousand Little Self-Deceptions‘, which discusses how easy it is to fall prey to the Planning Fallacy and Hofstadter’s Law.

I may not have achieved my goal of writing 1000 publishable words a day during June, but I am proud of this particular article – I hope you enjoy it too (if you do, and have a Twitter account, please hit the green ‘recommend’ button).

Speaking of failure, The Guardian asked seven writers to reflect on it, and meanwhile at the 99u, author AJ Jacobs talks about how self-delusion can actually be ‘healthy and productive’.

There’s also a lot of great writing over at Medium by some very smart people – you might also want to check out my Medium recommendations so far.

Goodbye to Google Reader

I’ve been in denial for a long time.

This is like that moment on TV when a man on death row gets a visit from the prison guards and they say “it’s time” and he nods softly in dignified acceptance of his fate. Yes, I’ve finally accepted that Google Reader’s imminent death (it will be closed down forever on Monday 1st July).

If you use Google Reader to read RSS, now’s the time to export your data. If you don’t, you can skip this (although I do recommend an RSS reader for keeping up with your favourite blogs).

There are a number of different services vying to replace it, of course, but no clear winner as yet. Feedly allows you to import via your Google account (before 1st July), but make sure you follow their guidelines and have the latest versions of their apps installed on all your devices.

I personally prefer Flipboard on the iPad for reading my RSS feeds, but whilst they will save your current Google Reader feeds, it won’t be possible to edit your folders or add and remove feeds, which means it won’t be a viable option for the long-term. I just hope they reconsider and add support for one of the newer RSS options.

Here’s a good round up of the other options, though as many of these are in their infancy, my main tip is to export your data using Google Takeout before Monday.

p.s. you can still subscribe to updates from this blog via RSS or you can choose to receive it by email (you’ll also get the newsletter which is currently sent approximately monthly and no more than fortnightly).

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What I Think About When I Read About Running

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‘Persevere’ is the motto of Leith, now a part of Edinburgh.

I was extremely saddened to hear about the tragic events at the Boston Marathon yesterday and my heart goes out to everyone affected.

I’ve never been to Boston, but my grandparents lived and worked there for a number of years after they emigrated to the States from Ireland so I feel a strong connection to the City. Plus, Mel and I (and a few of our friends) had joined the ranks of the long-distance running community only the day before, when we ran the Rock n Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon. So I feel an affinity with the runners too, who were simply trying to do something positive and achieve a personal goal.

Yesterday’s events certainly put our minor complaints about the Edinburgh wind and rain and the rather poor organisation at the finish line of the half-marathon into perspective. Suddenly, I am appreciative of my many blessings instead.

“Reaching the finish line, never walking, and enjoying the race. These three, in this order, are my goals.”

Haruki Murakami

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Adventures in Self-Publishing

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Self-publishing still has a bad rap amongst some writers, who see it as ‘vanity publishing’.

That’s good news for the rest of us, who see it as a brilliant opportunity to get our work out there without having to wait for permission from traditional gatekeepers.

Obviously though, if you are self-publishing, it’s important to maintain high standards.

Artisan Authors

According to Guy Kawasaki, author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur (Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk), self-publishing at its best is akin to artisan producers such as makers cheese or craft beers. It might not be ‘hands on’ in the traditional sense, but done right, Kawasaki believes it’s an artform all of its own (listen to this great interview on Blogcast.fm to find out more).

Unique Antiques (Instagrams)

I spotted these beauties walking home today. I have no use for such things, or space for them, and I can’t really afford them. But if I did have a nice big room to put them in I’m sure they’d make me happy and be great conversation starters.

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Do you have anything in your home that’s not particularly useful but makes you happy anyway?

Book Week Scotland & The League of Extraordinary Book Lovers

Yesterday morning I attended the launch of Book Week Scotland which was announced by Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Culture Secretary.

I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing Miriam from the Istanbul Review dressed up as a member of the ‘League of Extraordinary Book Lovers’ (see below pic).  The League consists of members of all ages, from 5 to 75, who will appear in a puff of smoke on street corners handing out book recommendations during Book Week Scotland.

I quite liked the TV advert for Book Week Scotland which features locations in Scotland but with signposts for a number of well known fictional locations. The advert asks ‘Where Will You Go?’.

I for one can certainly recommend fictional worlds as an alternative to an expensive foreign holiday, it is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly and you don’t have to pay ridiculous roaming charges to get a 3G signal.

I even got given a ‘Krypton’ sticker perhaps due to my uncanny resemblance to Clark Kent (well, I wear glasses). Another thing I have in common with Clark is that he is apparently now a blogger. Yes, it’s being reported that he’s left the Daily Planet to start a blog, because DC Comics are keen to represent the real world in their latest storylines.

I hope they explain how he actually makes a decent living blogging, which has so far escaped me. But then he is Superman so he can probably type faster than me.

The Details

The event takes place between 26th November and 2nd December and is organised by the Scottish Book Trust who have made sure there are loads of ways to get involved.

They’re giving away free picture books to all Primary 1 schoolchildren in Scotland, and 150,000 copies of the book ‘My Favourite Place’ which is a collection of stories and poems written by Scottish people.

As well as contributions from some famous names, including Michael Palin and Arab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat (I wonder if it’s toned down from his usual work), many of the entries are the winners of over 1,000 entries to a creative writing competition on BBC Radio Scotland. You can read all the entries here.

Physical copies of the book will be distributed widely, including at Specsavers shops (!) and MSP offices across the country, and there will also be a free ebook and audio book. There’s also a national Reading Hour on St Andrew’s Day where people are encouraged to go to the library to show their support for reading.

For more info see the Scottish Book Trust website.

 Update: Let me know in the comments ‘where you will go’ for Scottish Book Week (thanks to Pauline from SBT for asking first!)