(Cover art by Rachel Carrera)
I was going to give this book the title, ‘Things That Happen to Me When I Glaze Over’ or ‘Pieces of Me’. Both of those were more or less accurate but, in the end, I decided upon ‘The Words & Thoughts of a Dyslexic Musician’ because that is what it is; that’s what I am.
Not a novel nor a book of poetry, it’s a collection of stories about the odd things that seem to happen to me on any average day, and things I’ve thought of or noticed when I’m not asleep. Also, I wanted a home for some of my favourite lyrics for songs I’ve written – some from my back catalogue plus others in raw form waiting in the wings for a melody – as well as a place for a few of the photographs I’ve been taking since I got the camera bug.
The main reason I went for ‘The Words & Thoughts of a Dyslexic Musician’ is because that’s the simple truth. Maybe I should have added ‘Colour-blind’ to the title because that’s a truth as well. The problem was it made the title too long.
Anyway, here it is. My book. Dyslexia might be a nuisance I could do without, but ‘words’ come for free, and besides they don’t just belong to those who haven’t got trouble reading them, so basically nothing is impossible – well maybe me spelling without a spell-check, buttering toast, understanding road signs written in Walloon or spending a whole day in the body of say, a wildebeest just to get a feel for what it’s like being one. Those thing are impossible.
Rachel who did all the cover art and a whole lot more can be found – not that I’m saying she’s wandered off and got lost, or she’s in hiding or even kidnapped or anything like that – at Rachel Carrera
Here’s Zoolon’s links to Amazon UK for both the Kindle and Paperback versions of my book;
Also, the paperback and Kindle versions are available by typing in ZOOLON in Amazon worldwide.
Thanks for reading, Zoolon aka George and I’ll sign off with a piece of music I composed called, ‘Prohibition’. I hope you enjoy;
‘Magic Glue’ by Zoolon
I made quick pen and paper notes while I was in Belgium, hoping I could read back what I wrote. My handwriting is useless. The photo above I took from ground level in a wild garden in a town called Braine Le Chateau. Here’s a few of the random words I wrote down, unedited, just as they arrived in my head. I’m a songwriter, I’ve never claimed to be a poet or a regular writer.
The sky isn’t angry, it’s in love with itself. A new arrival. Humidity. Air so sticky. A fat bellied storm full of whiskers, waves and wonders.
Sunshine clouds and blue skies mating. Sweating. Together they don’t care who’s watching.
Old man’s beard on flint. Bonfire sparks morph into angry bolts, split trees in two, get pissed off with rubber soled shoes spoiling the show. Blinding light wants to be blind darkness. Then it blinks. Eyes shut easy. Succeeds, then vanishes. Safety. What they call blue still looks yellow to me.
In a hollowed out trunk of a dying willow tree the blue tits go feed from an unwritten menu of titchy insects. The dragonflies leave all well alone aside from other dragonflies. Territorial dogfights. Winner takes all.
Baby black moorhens paddle in the reeds in hidden corners of the lake. Safe? No water rats. A heron glides above. Doesn’t need binoculars. Just checking things out. For now.
Sound Art is a choir of multicultural birds jamming. They make it up as they go along. Sing whatever they fancy on the day. Best free dawn to dusk gig in town.
The forest of pine silhouettes blankets dead earth in nowhere land. I’m not lost, but feel lost there. The garden has its own secret history. Tries to share with me, but we’re on different wavelengths. There’s something dark about the decades empty stables. No idea why.
Mushrooms and magic until they come to mow the grass. A crime against something? Buttercups, most likely. Maybe daisies, but I don’t think they’re that bothered.
Outside the big black gates a two way lane no wider than an obese human. No place for a fast getaway. Not safe to put your foot down.
I saw my first eagle today.
In the big garden of that place I felt like it knew the meaning of magic. I wonder if I’ll ever get a lyric out of that.
For some unaccountable, maybe easily understood thinking about it, reason, the garden reminded me of a lyric from my song on the Dream Rescuer album, ‘Rexie Believes in Magic’. Time for a reprise. I hope you like it;
Lastly, the magical Aurora from Norway and her take on Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’.
Apart from the Bowie number, Copyright ©2017 Zoolon Audio. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.
‘Too Good to be True?’ – unknown sculptor
I’ve just returned from the Walloon region of Belgium where – at least I think I’m right – every word in the local dialect begins with a ‘Z’ and most words have at least 72 syllables and the letter ‘B’ is a rare inclusion. Odd and hardly dyslexic friendly. It doesn’t help that I’m a certified 100% dyslexic. However, I did learn one of the rare – seriously rare – shorter words. ‘Zeezult’. It means ‘sea salt’ in English. I know it’s definition is ‘sea salt’ because it was written on the side of a salt cellar and I worked it out for myself – 10 out of 10 for me for once! Sadly, I only got to learn just this one – not that useful on a day to day basis – word, unless I was (according to Wiki) ‘seeking to stabilize irregular heartbeats’. It would have helped if I could have read or spoken Walloon a bit. I got some – well at least I thought they were – anti-allergy tablets there but have since found out the hard (?) way that they were Walloon laxatives. The girl with a perma grin in the pharmacy didn’t speak English so I ordered using hand gestures. I guess I used the wrong ones, or maybe she was just having a laugh. Not good.
Anyhow, the reason I’m posting today is much more important than my lack of fluency in Walloon. Recently, the talented poet Vivian Zems commissioned me to put one of her poems to song per my ‘Your Poetry to Song’ product – see left of screen for the link.
Here’s her new song ‘Avidity’ I composed and put together using Vivian’s poem, followed by a reprise of another of Vivian’s poems I turned into song from a while back called, ‘Older & Wiser’. I hope you enjoy the both of them;
Vivian is a seriously accomplished poet and can be found at Smell The Coffee
‘One Day Soon’ by Zoolon
For once, body pong levels and smelly breath weren’t too bad in the queue at the post office yesterday even though it was a hot day. Maybe my own breath wasn’t too good as I’ve been adding a lot of garlic to my mushroom cooking. Worrying, as I’m addicted to mushrooms.
However, I messed up my envelopes putting my address as the recipients and theirs as the return address. No idea why that happened. But thankfully the unhinged woman at the counter wearing a constant perma frown that could make small children and grown men weep uncontrollably noticed my mistake. I think she’s getting used to me messing up. Anyway, she said, “It’s about time you got it right” adding, “I’ll do it just this once” then she made me new packages. Very kind of her. I thanked her and was about to leave then an instant random thought arrived. She’d said, “It’s about ‘time’” I, “…got it ‘right’”. I latched onto that – ‘Time’, time itself! So, what she was really telling me was that there was no error on my part and that it was all to do with ‘time’ being on my side. Big concept and at least, if she’s right – and I think she is – then it didn’t mess up at all. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Staying on the subject of mushrooms, that dimwit mate of mine I’ve written about recently came out with another weird statement the other day. He said, “I wouldn’t eat mushrooms if I were you.” I asked why he said that, all the time me getting worried that he might come out with some scary story of how they could damage my health. I was relieved when he answered, “Because if I were you it would be impossible for me to eat mushrooms because I don’t like them to start with.” Phew.
I’ll be away from the blog for a week or so any day now, so if I miss a few of your posts while travelling around I’m apologizing in advance.
In the meantime, a song. It’s from a while back and it’s called ‘Liquid Truth’. It’s a demo and below is the lyric. I hope you like it.
LIQUID TRUTH (the lyric)
Never nearly always means forever (x 6)
All my bridges burnt
No sparkle in the stars
No redness in the sunset
Just the sad song of guitars
You have a version of the truth I can’t believe
You’re all wrapped up in lies I’ve got to leave
You tell liquid truth from behind those eyes
You hide it well behind indifferent sighs
“How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’!”*
And never always nearly always means for ever (x 8)
Don’t expect to be loved If you hate yourself
You’ll find it’s no good for your health
All I seek is to live by the truth
If I do not move on I’ll surely lose
Never nearly always means forever (x 6)
When will all the pieces come together
And if I don’t like the picture am I stuck with it forever
*Martin Luther quote
A bit of video fun? Why not. Basically this is a more visually pleasing development of the sounds created in the Drum Sticks video I posted recently. Using a random ping pong ball and an ancient Indian brass dish. Once more, all the sounds in this video (synths and bass included) are directly manipulated from the hits you see me make with the ping pong ball upon the dish.
Copyright © 2012 Zoolon Audio. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.
‘A Chair’ by Someone Who Wanted a Chair
This is a 100% true. Just up from where I live there’s a road that I’m beginning to think is in another dimension in time and space. A big concept to take in. I’ll explain. The road in question leads out of town into the countryside behind the cliffs. It has an all-important bus stop there and I think the bus stop is somehow the key that unlocks the way in and out of this ‘other dimension’.
Take yesterday, I’m driving along and by that bus stop I see a young mother holding at her breast in a kind of cuddling, yet keeping safe maternal type pose, a small white Yorkshire terrier. Nothing particularly unusual in that? I guess not, yet all the while she’s carrying the mini dog she has a little kid, a girl who has no canine-like features, just a regular kid – about 2-3 years old I reckon – on a dog lead. True! A kid on a dog lead! How opposite to all we’ve come to know and understand is that. So, odd as it’s the other way around in my dimension. I got to wondering if when the kid gets a treat is it a normal biscuit or a dog biscuit? After that I had a flood of random thoughts hit me, too many to deal with in one go.
Anyhow, that got me thinking in a ‘putting 2 + 2 together’ way. You see, just last week at the same bus stop I saw this local, by all accounts, totally blind man who I hear is a really good bloke everyone likes and it’s a real a shame he’s got the eyesight of a bat – although I don’t personally know him – resting one hand on his white walking stick and with the other hand he’s got open an AA Map Book that he’s totally engrossed reading like he isn’t blind! Maybe, he gets to see things in that ‘other place’ the other side of the bus stop and just had a bit of a residual sight when he entered back into our world? Who knows.
Obviously, I need to investigate some more, but something is going on, I’m sure of that. I’m just glad I’ve got a car and don’t have to take the bus out of town.
I’m now wondering if it’s the bus itself I should be focusing on, more than the bus stop. If I go missing having risked a bus journey, you’ll all know where I am and hopefully you will send out a rescue party into time and space.
‘Zoolon Through the Bus Stop’ by Zoolon
Now for some music. An instrumental piece I composed called ‘Time Out’. It has that other dimension in time and space feel.
Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.
‘Empty Boxes’ by Zoolon
All along the coast I keep seeing empty boxes no one lives in or ever seems to use. All around the towns I keep seeing homeless people sleeping in shop doorways. A bit like the Jewish proverb, ‘A penny is a lot of money, if you haven’t got a penny’. In this case, ‘A box is somewhere to live, if you haven’t got a box’. I’m guessing the boxes will stay empty; the homeless will still sleep rough. Just a random thought.
The basic lyric I wrote for my song, ‘Red Mist’ back in 2013.
Red mist rising
I can’t think, I can’t think
Words I shouldn’t have spoken
Take me to the brink
What if nothing is real?
What if it’s all inside my head?
How do you think I would feel?
Knowing reality was dead
Red mist rising
Where do I belong?
Words I never meant to say
Words without a song
Grey clouds above
Storm brewing down below
Colours melt away
I don’t know friend from foe
Red mist rising,
I don’t know who I’ve become
But I’m going to stand my corner
Not trade the fiddle for the drum
Next my piece of sound art, ‘Leaving the City Behind’ composed for the Cosa Nostra album. Maybe the mood of the piece works for homeless who’ve left/lost everything behind?
Here’s an interesting song. She never does cover version usually, yet with her talent Tori Amos doesn’t disappoint with this one, ‘Losing my Religion’. She turns the song into a piece of pure art.
As of just now I have made a number of my songs that do not appear on my albums are available as singles to purchase and download on:
Also, my albums are still for sale on Bandcamp;
Apart from the Tori Amos number – Copyright © 2013 Zoolon Audio. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.
‘The Face of Summer’s Shadow’ photo by Zoolon
No idea who painted the graffiti
A while back, I’d gone into a Poundland store for a carton of milk. Not thinking, I asked the girl at the till how much she wanted for it. She sighed, looked at me like I was an idiot, raised her eyes, shook her head, then lifted up a carrier bag with ‘Poundland’ written on it, ran her finger over the bit that read ‘Pound’, curled a bit of her hair around the same finger, then sighed one last time before saying, “A pound”. She didn’t add ‘twat’ but I sensed she would have if she could have. I never went back to that branch in case I was the talk of the staff. Embarrassing.
However, just this week I’d forgotten to re-order padded envelopes. In a panic I rushed out to Poundland – not the same one as the incident with the milk carton. I got my envelopes then noticed the sign, ‘All Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted’. So confusing. It was the ‘ALL’ that threw me. The thought hit me that maybe in other stores the policy is that only ‘SOME’ shoplifters get nicked – a bit like shoplifting prosecutions work on a relaxed basis. I decided to research this some more then realized I was drifting toward ‘sado’ territory and gave up.
I guess it could be worse. I found this sign below on a Google images search. Maybe it’s for the best that dyslexics don’t take up shoplifting or signwriting.
I was asked to describe myself recently – in a good way as opposed to the usual ‘waste of space’ way. I’d never been asked that before. After a decent think and not wanting to gloss over my faults – loads – I came up with the opening verse to a song, ‘Ants’ I wrote when I was 16. I think these words still cover me. Part of the lyric went like this;
I’m blind to all that’s going on around me
Blind to all the secrets others share
Blind to all the politics of people
To me most things get lost into thin air
Also I would add the words of, – forced on me on most occasions as a kid sat in the back of my parent’s car, playing on a loop – Joni Mitchell’s line, ‘Give me spots on apples but leave me the birds and the bees’.
That just about sums me up. Maybe it would do me no favours on my CV.
Now for some music. My song ‘Hooked’ from the ‘Rainbows End’ album;
Below, my two albums for sale on Bandcamp;
Lastly, a brilliant new number from the weird – also in a good way – Aurora called ‘Queendom’. Here’s the official video. Enjoy.
Apart from Aurora’s song – Copyright © 2016/17 Zoolon Audio. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.
‘Where it Begins’ by Zoolon
A true story from yesterday. I was in the queue at the Post Office down town when the lady in front of me turned around to ask me if I had the time. It’s one of those loaded questions that can catch you out, so I played it safe and told her it was 3.24pm. She seemed good with that answer.
The problem was that she had bad breathe way beyond any bad breathe I’d ever smelt before. It was that bad I reckon she could strip paint. Really sickening bad breathe that made me urge – ‘urge’ being a word used a lot in Devon where I grew up. So uniquely horrible was her breathe that I figured she can’t be a regular human. Maybe an alien, or – a big ‘or’ I’ll admit – a superhero who’s special power was inflicting death by halitosis on enemies of the Universe. That was it, she’s a super hero called ‘Exhalation Girl’. Then it hit me. In my pocket I had some Mentos that might just help her cut back on the anti-social mouth pong. The random thought arrived that I should politely offer her one of my Mentos. Almost straight away, that random thought was overtaken by another. Was Mentos her equivalent of Kryptonite? Death of a superhero by mint? I never did find out. I bottled on the polite bit. There’s no polite way of telling a superhero her breathe chucks up. I’d hate to be Exhalation Girl’s dentist.
Anyway, words from a while back, still in verse form at the moment, now revisited for a new song I’m working on;
A song buzzing in my head
A melancholy ring
I know you’ll never listen out
For this pawn who would be king
I sense you couldn’t care less
But I’ll say it all the same
I’ll tell you what I’m thinking
‘Don’t hate the player; hate the game’
Lost and born again
Another tired refrain
I’ve seen the cat that got the cream
And the dogs who hunt in packs
Looks like you’ve got a Royal Flush
And me a pair of Jack’s
I don’t believe in miracles
I don’t believe in luck
Will stage fright grab a hold on me
Leaving me dumbstruck?
Things don’t look the same
There’s nothing to explain
I surrendered to a sleepless night
Waited for the dawn
A blackbird sung his first-light song
Told me you were gone
In the corridors of learning
I trod ancient cobblestones
My hiding place a shadow
You always knew I hunt alone
I count losses, you count gains
Today is not a great place
Today’s just what remains
Next an experimental sound manipulation I composed called ‘World of Shadows’ as a gentle (ish) conclusion to my ‘Liquid Truth’ album. I hope you enjoy;
I had always thought I had a seriously long name, but the master of ambient music beats me by miles. His name? Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI. You’re only going to do well in life or fail badly with a name like that – no in-betweens. It’s good he prefers to be known as just ‘Eno’ – a least he gave dyslexics like me a break.
A short, but excellent number from Eno called ‘By This River’.
Apart Eno’s song – Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.
‘The Exmoor Ponies of The White Cliffs’ by Zoolon
The other day I saw this Japanese tourist girl taking a selfie stood next to a petrol pump at the garage down the road. I thought, ‘why?’ She seemed happy enough though. There was no madness in her eyes. Maybe she thought it was a vintage English static robot?
The next day my mum gets wind that I’m off to Canterbury to get some guitar strings. She asks if she and dad can tag along for the ride on the promise they pay for my breakfast at the French bloke’s café. All I really wanted to do was buy the strings and get back to the studio but didn’t want to appear offhand.
When we’d finished at the café I get the strings. On the way back to the car park we pass the Ann Summers store. For the benefit of anyone who doesn’t know, Wiki says that, ‘Ann Summers is a British multinational retailer company specialising in sex toys and lingerie’. My mum wants to go inside the shop to get fitted for some underwear. Nothing deviant, but still a bit close to ‘too much information’.
Inside she gets whisked off to a fitting room by a girl with a haircut like Richard III except dyed blue (I think) and no hat.
Dad and me are left stood in the shop. I say, “I’m getting bad vibes. People are looking at us. They probably think you’re an old pervert and I’m the rent boy. We ought to wait for her outside.” He says, “Good plan.”
Outside, Dad wanders off to get a newspaper, so there I am, a 25-year-old bloke stuck standing outside a sex shop waiting for his mum. The random thought hit me that this was the lowest point in my life. This musician’s street cred, my entire cred in tatters for all of time.
It was 35 minutes later she came out of Ann Summers without buying anything. 35 long, tense minutes I’ll never get back.
Time for some music. A few months back I was commissioned by the wonderful poet, Vivian Zems to put one of her poems to song. I did just that. Vivian has very kindly agreed to allow me to showcase her number on ReverbNation. Here it is, ‘Older & Wiser’. She is a great writer.
If any of you poets out there fancy having your poems turned into song, then contact me via the link at the top of the blog.
Lastly, the opening track from my Rainbows End album, a song called ‘All Winter Long’.
Apart Vivian’s song – Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.
‘Tracey the Seagull’ by Zoolon
I met Tracey last week when I was crossing the Channel from Dover to Calais on the way to Dunkirk. When she posed for this photo I had no idea just what a freeloader seagull she was. After the photoshoot, outward bound, just outside of Dover Harbour, Tracey had a bit of a think then had a casual catwalk glide across to the sunny side of the ship and found a spot on the deck rail out of the way of, but still in sight of, human passengers on board. It was there she got herself sat down comfortably and didn’t move a muscle, taking in the rays, until we reached the Port of Calais where she joined Francois the Gull and his pals on a croissant hunt. What a life.
Anyway, I think a memory stick found in a drawer is the modern-day version of dusty old suitcase found in an attic. You take a look inside and find stuff you’d totally forgotten about. I found this, a thing I wrote in 2013 when I was living in a house close to a pebble beach in a road called Canada Road. I forgot I’d ever written it.
NO AUTUMN LEAVES
It’s a shame there’s no trees down on Canada Road
Got no autumn leaves down on Canada Road
You’ll hear the ghosts of Marines, in their infantry greens
Marching to a band down on Canada Road
A young mum pushes a pram down on Canada Road
Her mobile glued to her ear down on Canada Road
The bloke up the ladder, he couldn’t look sadder
Clearing out guttering’s on Canada Road
On Canada Road I see an old man
Outside the chemists, some pills in his hand
He’s swearing at a biker, he thinks Arsenal need a new striker
Down on Canada Road
You can’t be invisible down on Canada Road
Eyes peek from behind curtains on Canada Road
Sally Army and Mormons and some pissed up morons
Doing their thing down on Canada Road
Get salty storms down on Canada Road
You can’t beat the sea breeze down on Canada Road
Except when it blows from the East, it’s one mother of a beast
They say Julius Caesar invaded England down Canada Road
I’m down on my knees down on Canada Road
There’s just you and me down on Canada Road
And some blokes digging holes, stuffing ham and cheese rolls
Repairing a gas leak down Canada Road
It’s a shame there’s no trees down on Canada Road
Got no autumn leaves down on Canada Road
Time for some music. ‘Silent Films’ from my Rainbows End album. Hope you enjoy;
To liven things up a bit, here’s Marina & The Diamonds and their song, ‘Hollywood’. I understand she’s in the studio recording a new album right now.
My albums on sale at Bandcamp;
Apart from Marina – Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.