Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Final Say Talks The Hambledown Dream Musical Journey

On Sunday September 12th 2010, Lauren Decesare and Caitlin Humphries welcomed me into the Radio Adelaide studios to discuss my novel "The Hambledown Dream" on their Sunday night talk show "The Final Say" and gave me the opportunity to take listeners on a musical journey through the book. We show cased some tracks that inspired the novel and some that featured in the novel. The tracks range from Jose Feliciano's rendition of the Doors classic "Light My Fire" to the Dixie Chicks "Landslide" to Zero 7's "Home". It was a totally lovely, intimate discussion with a couple of great girls who made me feel at ease. Suffice to say, we had an awesome time. 


I'm pleased to be able to add this wonderful interview to my media section as well as invite you to download the show right here.

DOWNLOAD MP3.

DFA.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Geek Out Central!

So I'm on this massive geek-out-come-re-living-my-childhood odyssey this past week.


A couple weeks ago I celebrated a birthday (and NO you don't get to ask how old!) and one of the gifts I received was a voucher for our own kick-arse CD/DVD/HiFi/Everything a tech-toy loving guy could ever want in life - otherwise known as JB HiFi - from my brother. I used to regard these sorts of gift vouchers as a kind of easy way out so far as gift giving is concerned but, in recent years, I have come to prize these gifts because they are the one gift that allows you to go your hardest and literally get just the right gift for yourself. I LOVE them. 


So anyway - I sat down and I went through the entire JB HiFi online catalog just totally drooling at all the cool stuff I could choose from - and believe me there is soooo much cool stuff in that store. And in the process I happened across one particular product which totally opened the flood gates to long dormant memories of my childhood. And I knew in that instant that it was going to be the winner this year.


(Cue "Wonder Years" theme tune here)...


Back in the really early 80's when I was all of 8 years old, I used to have a paper round each weekday after school at the local power station in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Australia. For an hour and a half each day I would sell "The Herald" newspaper - a big old afternoon broadsheet newspaper - for 30 cents a copy to the power station workers who would finish their shift around 4 in the afternoon, which was perfect timing so far as a paper round was concerned. I can't exactly remember how long I did this for - maybe a few months or so - but I distinctly remember enjoying it a great deal. My mother made for me a special pouch that I would tie around my waist to collect my money in and after a while, I would actually go into the workshops to sell the newspapers, rather than wait on the gate outside. The men in the workshops "issued" me with my own hard hat, upon which they wrote the nick name "Digger" and I was required to wear that hat each time I went into the workshops to sell my papers. I actually still own that hard hat to this very day. It hangs off a hook in my shed at home - memento of a long time ago. 


Anyway. The paper round would keep me occupied in the afternoon from the time I finished school 'til a little before 5PM when the newsagency manager would collect me in his van and return me back to the shop where he would sort out the takings and pay me. And then - like those times when you're literally busting to go to the toilet and can't wait a minute longer - I would be out the door of the newsagency, onto my bike and I would pedal like crazy to get home. Because, at 5PM each weekday afternoon on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Channel 2, Star Blazers would screen.



For a little while in the early 80's, this logo was almost as kick-ass as...


THIS logo!

For half an hour I would disappear into this kick arse future universe where the crew of the "Argo" - lead by the ubiquitous white bearded Captain Avatar - struggle in their battle against the evil Gamilon Empire as they desperately try to reach a distance planet called Iscandar. The reason being is that in the future, Earth has been bombarded by devastating bombs that have unleashed poisonous radiation, rendering the surface of the planet uninhabitable, and has forced Earth's population underground where they live in fragile cities. The entire premise is that the only hope for Earth lies with the people of Iscandar. If the "Argo" doesn't return to Earth within one year then their home will be gone and all life destroyed. High art indeed.


Star Blazers was the first TV series that I remembered following religiously. It had everything - action, adventure, ships and fighters, a totally hot chick that was my first animated crush (and plus it filled the gap in time between Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi so - what's not to love huh?). At the time that I first came to the series I managed to catch all of the first season and most of it's second season but I can't remember whether I saw anything more of it after that - I mean C'mon! I was like 9 and besides by the time 1983 rolled around, I was all Star Wars again so everything else had to take a back seat!! Sadly though, Star Blazers all but disappeared off of our screens and I never saw it on network television again...but I never really forgot it.




The Space Battleship Yamato (rebadged the Argo in the US redub).


Star Blazers actually predates Star Wars. Conceived in the early 70's in Japan, the series was actually born as The Space Battleship Yamato (TSBY) and it premiered on Japanese television in 1974. Considered perhaps one of the seminal works of Japanese anime, TSBY actually spawned three series for television and it went on to become a series of animated feature films which culminated in a 1983 feature entitled "Final Yamato" which still holds the record for the longest animated feature film ever made (it clocks in at something like 2 and 3/4 hours). Western audiences were awoken to the Yamato saga in 1979 when it was broadcast on American television and, of course, it trickled out to countries like Australia not long after. In the ensuing years the fan community around the whole Yamato/Star Blazers saga has enjoyed an ongoing love affair with the series and it is a staple of conventions world wide - especially of course Japan who hold the Yamato pretty sacred, understandably so. It has continued unabated into the present day where just this year there has been a newly released animated feature film with totally blow my mind visuals called Yamato: Resurrection which I have added to my must have DVD's - despite the fact that it is all in Japanese. And in yet another big deal for the community at large, December 2010 will see the release of an even more blow my mind live action Japanese production "Space Battleship Yamato"



Poster Art for the upcoming live action film Space Battleship Yamato.

In the meantime...


We cut forward a...few...decades. I'm now in my...mid 30's and around a year ago I happened across a store in Adelaide's City Center that specializes in all things anime. And of course the old memories of the series I loved so much bubbled to the surface and I just had to ask the girl behind the counter whether she knew of the series and whether it was available on DVD. Now this chick was totally Y-Gen, tricked out in a quasi geek/emo get up and chewing gum as she gazed blankly at a computer screen in front of her. This "older dude" comes in and is racking his brains trying to think of this show he watched as a kid. 


Well...I swear, the minute I said "Star Blazers" her bottom jaw slackened, her eyes went wide and her wad of chewing gum fell out. She actually gave me the broadest smile and cheerily lead me to a cabinet containing all sorts of DVDs - anime of course. And there, tucked away in the bottom was the complete collection of series one to three of "Star Blazers". Of course, I didn't buy it then - it was ridiculously priced - but we got into this brilliant discussion about all things "Star Blazers" - how cool, Derek Wildstar and Mark Venture were, how Nova was my first anime crush and how totally kick arse the "Argo" was (the purists will refer to it as the Yamato).


 
Gotta love my bro...


A parcel arrived in the post the other day, a nice big bulky one with "JB Hifi" marked on the address panel. I ripped it open in barely a second and held in my hands that which I had come to covet. 17 discs of unadulterated glory that is "Star Blazers" complete with a tonne of extra features and enough geeky goodness to sustain me for at least the next six months. Just this weekend, my son and I sat down to the opening three episodes of season one  and already - he's hooked and I'm tearing up with the campy beauty of it all - the cheesy dialogue, the even cheesier 70's boom-chicka-wow-wow music, the esoteric Japanese philosophy translated into semi brainless Americanism. It's just all so wonderful.


My serioso just shakes her head yet again...


DFA.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Moved Me Today.

'A Handed Down' Dream in Hambledown

Taken from the Borders Australia Website.


11/09/2010

I honestly cannot remember the last time I read a book that had such a profound affect on me emotionally and spiritually as The Hambledown Dream has. Deans flawless approach to recounting the most tragic and joyous of circumstances saw me sobbing by the first chapter and again through the scores of deeply moving moments in this intriguing tale.

Deans story takes place across two continents and centers on two very different men; one who really has managed to achieve the elusive everything and knows it could shortly be lost. The other could have everything too, if he could only get out of his own way. What occurs when these two lives fuse becomes a satisfying tale of salvation, second chances and will lead you to question what impact inheriting from others what they no longer use could have on your life.

Were all familiar with the concept of hand-me-downs, clothing in particular. So what if the same could apply to souls? What remnants of the previous owner would be handed on? What would be the emotional equivalent of pulled threads, a stubborn stain or torn pockets? Dean explores the concept that we could somehow inherit beliefs, perception and even a yearning love for someone completely unknown if opportunity met with a miracle.

Deans transitions between different times, people and places are seamless, but not one bit of the emotion or intensity of the novel is compromised as a result of the cross over style of writing. I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. Dean Mayes is a consummate storyteller who I hope has many more tales up his sleeve.

Maybe it's all worth it after all...

DFA.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On The Consideration Of Melancholy.

I'm in a funk right now.

For the past few weeks I have been trying, without much success to get Project Ruby off the ground but to date I haven't put more than about 500 words together. It's pathetic really. I have tonnes of notes, ideas that I have written down in my red leather journal, sketches of characters I wish to populate this new novel with...but I can't seem to make it happen. And it's getting me down - really down.


This past month, my life has been complicated by external factors. I have been under a lot of stress. My daughter has been ill, as I have recounted in previous posts, but she took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago when a boil that had emerged on her inner thigh became infected, then she became septic. In what seemed like an instant, she was in the hospital and all of a sudden both myself and my serioso found ourselves on that "other side" that we nurses often talk about but rarely experience...until we experience it.

My daughter's leg became inflamed with cellulitis, the boil became an abscess and she required days of IV antibiotics in order to knock over the infection before she was taken to OR to have the abscess drained. In a word, she was a sick little chooky and it was several weeks - actually only in recent days, that she is back to something like her lopsided little self once again. She has a scar on her leg now. A mark that will stay with her for life. It's a small price to pay to know that she's alright but still...

Anyway...the whole experience has knocked any creative spark out of me. Not only do I find myself worrying for my children, I worry about providing for them. Money has been somewhat tight lately and that has weighed down on me too. Although I recently cleared some pretty big debts, which has lightened the load somewhat.


I feel under an intense pressure to produce a second work. I get asked all the time 'So when are you going to write a follow up?' It's beginning to become an annoying question. I just respond by saying that 'I'm putting some notes together'. And the thing that gets me the most is that the question is usually asked by people who haven't taken the time to read my first book yet. Please excuse my language here but it fucking shits me. Don't even get me started on the whole lack of support thing...that could get ugly.

I did a ring around the other day, of the stores that are carrying my book on consignment right now. Most of them are reporting back with sales of one's and two's and are happy to keep the remaining copies on the shelves for me for the remainder of this year to give them a chance to move. But I received a rather nasty jolt from one store yesterday when I made my usual check up. They reported that they had only sold one copy and wanted me to come get the remaining ones "because your book is taking up precious shelf space that we need for better titles". 

Suffice to say, my silent response to that was...actually...no, I won't say it here. You get the idea.

So that's messed with my confidence as well, made it all the more harder for me to get some momentum to begin writing this second book in earnest. 

I'm starting to ask myself whether I've gone as far as I can go to sell "Hambledown". I mean it's been 9 months now, since it was first released in digital format, 7 months since it went to print. The fact is, I have a marketing budget of absolutely nothing. I can't afford to take out ad space in the newspaper, or put something on commercial radio. The online stuff has been good but, I fear that is getting to the end of it's useful life now too. 

But there's one other thing that really bothers me...

There's some individuals in my closest circle whose support for the novel I really hoped for - who have been ambivalent about it at best and, frankly, hostile towards it at worst. And you know...it hurts...it really hurts. I've deliberately avoided being pushy about it with them. Have not pushed them to read it. But it's like, whenever something comes up about the book - like an interview with a radio station or some sort of positive feedback I've received, I've been blown out of the water with an ambivalence bomb.

The most hurtful thing I've been told, just recently actually, was this:

"Isn't it time you just got over yourself about this book?"

What does one say to that? How do you respond to that...especially when it comes from someone whose support you'd hope for the most.

All of this contributes to the sense of barren-ness I feel towards the project I'm trying to get off the ground now.

I'm starting to wonder if it's all worth it anymore...

DFA.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Screwiness Of Obsession.


I have made this one observation of myself in the past that I am a person who finds it difficult to calm my mind. It is always working, always processing things and I have experienced many a restless night because of it.  


One of the things that really gets my cogs ticking over is an almost obsessive interest in the trivia of people. Like - I like to often drop the useless bit of trivia that Fletcher Christian - that infamous Bounty mutineer from long, long ago had syphilis. Why I know that, I don't know but I know it none-the-less. Also, I am the guy that stays behind in his seat in the cinema, after the movie has finished because I like to watch the credits to spot who the cinematographer on a particular picture was or who the girl in the back ground was in a particular scene because I know - I JUST KNOW - that I have seen her in some other film in an equally obscure background scene. 

I predicted a long time ago that Uma Thurman was going to be big...now that's freaky isn't it. I mean, why the F*** would I bother with that little freaky nugget???


And so it happens that I know just about every backing vocalist who has ever paired up with British rock icons Pink Floyd since the early 1970's. This particular piece of useless information is especially that...useless but I can't help myself. 

Such is that, which is my mind. 


And of all the backing vocalists who have ever graced the stage with this most favored bands of mine, one - in particular - has intrigued me to the point of being a little too screwy.


I speak of course of Rachel Fury.


I first sat up and took notice of the singer Rachel Fury as a 14/15 year old back in 1989 when my father came home from the video store armed with a VHS version of the world beating 'Delicate Sound Of Thunder' concert, complete with the girls wearing those totally HOT figure hugging dresses and the long gloves that were seriously sexy. From the moment I saw her, I was completely besotted by Rachel Fury and I have watched that concert over and over again in the proceeding years - countless times - just to indulge in the vision of her performance. I thought her contribution to "Great Gig In The Sky" and her duet with David Gilmour on "Comfortably Numb" were sublimely hypnotic and there was some footage of her during their performance of the song "Momentary Lapse Of Reason" that hooked me every time. I have to profess an unhealthy kind of love for this woman.





Rachel Fury performs "Great Gig In The Sky" on the Delicate Sound of Thunder Tour, 1988 which featured some of the most impressive visual art by Storm Thorgerson.


Why it was then, that I sort of forgot about her for 18 odd years after-wards is something only the universe can explain. I grew up, stepped out of my adolescent brain and became a cynical prick I guess. But my love for Pink Floyd has never waned over the years even though it has perhaps become somewhat dormant from time to time. 


A few short weeks ago, going through my impressive music collection here at home, I fished out David Gilmour's superb third solo album "On An Island". I was in the mood for the atmospherics of that album and I was - of course - not at all disappointed. Here you go - here's another piece of useless triva - David Crosby and Graham Nash performed backing vocals on that very album. Listening to the sounds of Gilmour and Wright, Carin and Pratt - and Crosby and Nash's contributions - something was suddenly touched off in my mind, an almost long forgotten memory of that beautiful woman from so long ago.



Cover art for David Gilmour's third solo album "On An Island" (2006).

For years I had (erroneously) deduced that her name was in fact Margaret Taylor. It seemed to fit with her - she looked like a Margaret to me. But once I jumped on the interweb a few weeks ago and began searching I around, I quickly realized that I was wrong. The information on her is sparse as to be almost non existent. But after a few hours of clicking around on Google and other search engines this is what I came up with...


Rachel Fury is (or was) a session singer who first appeared on the radar in the very early 1980's. The only evidence of this comes by way of a MySpace image (below) for the profile of British guitarist Alan St.Clair who was a noted musician in the punk and new wave movements at that time. One might surmise that Rachel Fury toured regularly with St.Clair and his colleague Howard Devoto (of Buzzcocks and Magazine fame) but this would need to be confirmed.



Rachel Fury poses with Alan St. Clair and Howard Devoto c. 1983

The next significant snippet of information comes from some information on the noted music producer, James Guthrie, who it appears, introduced Rachel Fury to Pink Floyd in or around the mid 1980's. She and Guthrie were in a relationship at the time. Fury's talent as a session singer must have impressed the band members significantly because she is credited as a singer on the reimagined Pink Floyd's 1987 album "Momentary Lapse Of Reason" and was contracted to tour with the band for the world beating "Delicate Sound Of Thunder" tour between 1987 and 1989.

From what I have read on various message boards, there is some suggestion that there may have been some sort of romantic "thing" between David Gilmour and Rachel Fury during the 87-89 tour. Various message board lurkers refer to concert footage suggesting an "innate" chemistry between the two on stage. I read this as drawing a very long bow and I prefer to think that it is more a case of there just being a good vibe between all the members of the mid 80's Pink Floyd line-up.



Video of Comfortably Numb from the "Delicate Sound Of Thunder" tour circa 1988.


It is after the successful DSOT tour that Rachel Fury all but drops of the precipice into a swirling black hole of ... well ... nothing. The only singer from that trio from the DSOT tour to continue with Pink Floyd is the equally fabulous and still prolific Durga McBroom (who is credited on "The Division Bell" album and appears in the "P*U*L*S*E" tour line-up. As a side note and yet another example of my love of trivia, Margaret Taylor - the third singer from the DSOT tour - is also still active in the music industry, though today she goes under the name Machan Taylor.


The last snippet of any significance that I can find is a mention that by 1995, Rachel Fury had given up singing altogether and had become involved in the animal rights movement. 


But this is not the last thing.


Drilling a little deeper, I have unearthed an additional snippet that confirms something I wondered about for a long time - that Rachel Fury was not actually her real name. Over this past weekend, I have some evidence that confirms this. Again, from some other message board sources I have found that her name is (or was)  actually Rachel Brannock. There is a Facebook page titled "All Things Brannock" - evidently a page dedicated to the Brannock family. Clearly visible on the Left hand sidebar of the page under pictures, a picture of the very Rachel (Fury) Brannock that has stuck like a claw in my thoughts these past fews weeks.



Rachel Fury, her enigma is both powerful and lovely...


Who knows if this is all true or not. But I would like to think that there is still some hope that Rachel might surface one day. Perhaps she is living on ... I dunno ... Guernsey perhaps? Happily married with a couple of kids, still looking pretty damned hot and running a successful vet practice ... perhaps. One morning she opens her laptop while sipping her coffee and indulges in that little thing that I'm sure we've all done in the recent past and Googled herself. She might see this and decide to respond? Either that or she's dead, a hippie who renounces all forms of modern technology or she's just not that into all this worship...


*sigh*


I take heart in the knowledge that I am not alone in wondering just what happened to this lovely lady Rachel Fury/Brannock. All over the internet, people just as (crack potted) dedicated as me are posing the same question. Where did she go? Does she still sing? Is she actually alive??


One can but live in hope...


DFA.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Hambledown Dream Goes Aural - Part Three.

I'm pleased to present Part Three of my audio book sampler of The Hambledown Dream.

In this week's episode, we continue the journey of Andy DeVries as he begins to sense something amiss following his near fatal overdose at a rave party in Chicago's urban fringe. He begins to view himself with revulsion and deals with the realization that his life is on shaky ground.

I would like to dedicate this episode to those citizens who lost their lives at World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville Pennsylvania 9/11/2001.

DFA.


DOWNLOAD MP3.

(Right Click on Download Link to save file to your computer).




Dean Mayes, Author of The Hambledown Dream reads part two of his novel.


The Hambledown Dream Audio Book Sampler is proudly hosted by


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dean Mayes to Guest on Radio Adelaide.

I've just finalized arrangements with Lauren Decesare of Radio Adelaide here down under and can confirm that I will be the in studio guest on Lauren's Sunday night program "The Final Say" this coming Sunday the 12th September from 10:30PM Australian Central Standard Time.

For those of you in North America, that equates to 9:00AM Eastern Time, 8:00AM Central and 6:00 Pacific.

"The Final Say" streams live over the web and you can find the link to the stream here

Lauren and I will be discussing my novel "The Hambledown Dream" and taking listeners on the musical journey that inspired the story. We will also be showcasing a sneak preview of the audio book sampler that I have been working on these past few weeks.

This is going to be a wonderful opportunity to show case my novel in a slightly different and off beat way and I would dearly love it if you could tune in, no matter where you are and perhaps even join in the discussion. You can call into the show on +61 8 8303 5000. For those of you O.S. - Skype is a great way to chime in for a really low cost. We are also hoping that one of you out there might consider recording the stream so that we can package it up as a download later on from my site. We will be recording the show locally but a back up would be cool - just in case...Also please spread the word as far and as wide as you can. This will be a great night.

"The Final Say" is an hour and half of media and culture for the i-generation. So join Lauren and myself, this coming Sunday 12th September and capture a really cool slice of the "Dream"


DFA.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Hambeldown Dream Goes Aural - Part Two.

Following on from a brilliant response to the release of Part One of my audio book sampler of The Hambledown Dream, I'm pleased to to present a freshly minted Part Two for your enjoyment.

In this week's episode, we are introduced to Andy DeVries, a troubled and destructive young man whose life seems dead end and aimless. He ekks out a meager existence in the inner northern suburbs of Chicago precariously balancing two lives - one characterized by a nefarious underworld and another that is more honest if a little aimless...

Oh!...and be prepared to experience a rather erotic facet of Andy's life in this episode.

DFA.

(warning - this episode, contains explicit content that should not be listened to by minors).





Dean Mayes, Author of The Hambledown Dream reads part two of his novel.


The Hambledown Dream Audio Book Sampler is proudly hosted by