Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Engine Punk Litmus

There's something interesting going on across the internet at the moment. Somebody else has picked up the engine punk ball and is running with it.

Engine Punk Litmus is a blog that suggests examples of the engine punk aesthetic and I have to say that so far - having coined the phrase in a tongue-in-cheek effort to pigeonhole my own brand of sci fi fantasy writing - the suggestions so far are pretty much what I would call engine punk.

But what do other people think?

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Sunday, 16 November 2008

Pictures on this blog

Just in case you didn't know already, to see a larger image of any illustrations on either this blog or my Anarchadia book blog that grab your interest or look like they might fascinate, all you have to do is click on it.

And anything written in purple or blue - like Anarchadia above - is a link to something amazing.

I just thought I'd mention it. Wouldn't want any of you to miss out.

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Friday, 31 October 2008

Starbase 109

Many years ago when I was a student and rock regularly went to college, there was an outbreak of new wave synthesiser bands. Some of these pre-programmed their tunes into keyboards and drum machines and the proceeded to stand by their electronic equipment. That was their idea of playing live and would have been disposable pop if had been popular but this phase didn't last. It was just boring and didn't appeal. For a while in my very late teens I thought the synthesiser sound was great but this soon descended into the sort of pretentious rubbish indulged in by the talentless that said "actually, we're more of a studio band."

Nowadays, like Stiff Little Fingers, I believe in the power of guitar and drum but Montarg and Krayon - aka Starbase 109 - have got something.

I dunno what but it's definitely a something.

But Starbase 109 had my feet tapping when they supported The Stranglers at Exeter University on Friday nite. And quite a few people were dancing.

It won't be long before the audience will be joining in with the actions for each song.

The Stranglers have a tradition of alternative support acts but Starbase 109 were far and away the best that I've seen.

It could be the anti-radiation hats. Think post apocalypse Trumpton fire brigade helmets. Or maybe that would be post Trumpton riots. These items of industrial headgear were for sale at the back the hall for 15 quid and I found myself strangely tempted.

It could have been the electro-mechanical whimsy. It could have been the actions Montarg and Krayon indulge in - not quite miming but almost performance art - which left me wondering if all those pretentious bands who stood beside their synths and looked bored missed a trick. Starbase 109 entertain their audience.

Or it could have been some songs that were really rather good - on an album also for sale at the back of the hall, allegedly the culmination of 10 years work.

To start with the audience of Stranglers' fans took the piss out of them but as their show progressed from sings about gravediggers to the credit crunch I began to wonder who the joke was on and when they did a number about phobias and dangled a great big hairy spider with flashing red eyes over the audience I knew for certain - the joke was on us. An awful lot of people were grinning widely by the interval.

Starbase 109 are from Salford and celebrate engineering, which make me like them even more. They make industrial objects and could be part of the steam punk phenomonen although I'll claim them for engine punk movement first, for as I said before I think these guys have something. Still dunno what though.

Any band that hoovers up as a finale and has a beam engine on stage has to be a Good Thing. So good, in fact, that I've ordered their album. Check out their Myspace site and see and listen for yourself.

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