Life Without Amazon – a final update

It’s coming up to the end of month five of trying not to buy things from Amazon as a matter of course. I’ve been a good boy. Here’s the latest update with a bit more context and how it’s working out now the novelty has worn off.

Why Do this?

Since the last update, I’ve read up more widely and developed how I rationalise it. There are two reasons to choose from.

Here’s the ‘negative’ argument.

Amazon’s UK subsidiary paid £2.4m in corporation taxes despite making sales of £4.3bn and receiving Government subsidies in Scotland of £2.5m. Many multinational companies continue to operate perfectly legal tax avoidance schemes on a staggering scale. There has been lots of rhetoric and handwringing but there seems little sign of EU Governments doing anything practical to change tax laws.

The other question of course is how much tax should Amazon being paying? Tax is based on profit and there is little doubt that Amazon’s profit is an interesting subject.

In the meantime, Amazon continue to enjoy an unfair advantage over UK businesses, including small independent shops, which provide exactly the same goods and services. This means less tax revenue from them which in turn leads to the closure of libraries, cuts in education, welfare etc which disadvantage the poor and in particular children.

Again I would stress Amazon is not doing anything illegal. However, whilst companies can choose to arrange their tax affairs how they wish (providing it’s legal), consumers also have the right to judge companies on their arrangements and choose, if they so wish, to place their business with companies that make a fairer contribution to society.

It’s down to each of us to decide whether they are happy to fill their boots (Kindles) with cheap books and hope it’ll be alright in the end. I have come round to the view that whilst I may get a ‘cheap’ book quickly, someone else in the UK may not have access to books as a result (my local library is shut today as are so many).

Here’s a more ‘positive’ argument that I’m developing

I want to see books (and writing) continue to be part of a rich arts culture in the UK and not just be a form of retail. To do that, we need a culture that pays creatives properly for their work, provides genuine choice for readers and creates an environment that encourages writing and writers. I want to deal with people who are passionate about books and not the efficiency of their distribution systems. I want to walk into a bookshop, talk to the owner about what (s)he recommends (and not what (s)he is being paid to recommend) I want to find books on a shelf that I’d have never discovered otherwise and not based on an algorithm of previous history. I want to have conversations with writers who write ‘weird’ stuff as well as those who write bestsellers. Therefore I need to support those enterprises that want to do that too. Because if I don’t, they’re not going to be there, irrespective of how much tax anyone pays.

I’ve come to like the second argument more. Amazon can’t provide all that. They don’t really don’t need my money to survive and I can spend it more positively. It’s a much easier argument as I don’t really need to defend it. I can spend my money how I like!

Here’s how it’s working out in practice.

Physical Books

With experience, it becomes ever easier not to buy from Amazon and I haven’t! Independent bookshops can order books in for collection. Some offer free postage e.g. Big Green Books and others e.g. Belgravia Books will deliver free within the local area. If you don’t have a local bookshop, just adopt one! Find one you like in a nearby city or think about that lovely shop you discovered by the seaside. It might then be there the next time you go there. Talk to the owner, ring them up, email them, tweet them. The advantage of an independent bookstore is that the owner is not bound by any corporate rules so you can negotiate anything you like if they’re willing! The Hive website offers a hybrid scheme whereby you can have a book delivered or posted while supporting a local bookshop

For those who prefer the major stores, Foyles and Waterstones provide both retail and online channels which work well. I’ve also used the Book Depository online store. Another channel not to be neglected, for older books, is the public library. Here in Herts, I can have any book in the Herts system delivered to my local branch for 60p. If you want to read Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’ any time soon, it’ll be a long wait but a Flannery O’Connor book I’d been recommended arrived the next working day.

My own preference is to support bookshops that love books and put effort into supporting authors and readers. I went to an event at Big Green Books in Wood Green last night and bought three books. My hometown bookshop continues to stack shelves with books and hopes people will buy them. Independent bookshops still have to work for my custom.

In practice, I’ll probably use a mixture of all the above going forward but with a strong preference for independents. I am spending approximately the same amount of money on books as I used to but putting more money back overall into the UK economy through making more considered choices.

The really good news is that the demise of the bookshop is not inevitable. Where I live in Hertfordshire, two new shops selling children’s books have opened in recent weeks; one in Hertford (‘Leaf Café’) and one in Brookmans Park (‘Tuffets’, owned by Tim and Simon who run Big Green Bookshop).

E-Books

Since the last update, I haven’t bought any from Amazon. There was only one book not available in physical form I wanted and I’m pleased to say it was available on Kobo.

The main problem with ebooks continues to be digital rights management. If you buy a Kindle, it needs Kindle format books which inevitably lures you into the Amazon eco system. I used to have a Kindle paper e-reader but replaced it (it broke after just 18 months) with a iPad (other tablets are available). This means I can buy books from anywhere. I haven’t done a complete due diligence on Kobo yet, but I’ve heard an interview with the Kobo CEO and read this interview. It seems to have a reasonable business ethos which, at the moment, is probably good enough for me given the very limited number of ebooks I buy. Waterstones and Foyles also offer an extensive ebook range. According to the Waterstones website, ebooks in Kindle format will be available in 2013.

The upshot is that as long as you don’t tie yourself into a Kindle, the ease and convenience of buying ebooks is available from other retailers.

Photography and other non book stuff mainly cheap plastic crap from China

Again nothing bought, but the temptation to buy from Amazon rather than search for an alternative is strong, just for convenience. I’m getting better at using the right search terms now though so it’s getting easier. In reality, it takes about 5-10 mins to find something at a similar price. Amazon is not always the cheapest.

Authors & Publishers

Rather than listing Amazon as an alternative, authors, publishers and reviewers continue to link lazily and exclusively to Amazon on social media rather than giving alternatives. They also reduce their own royalties and profit margins in the process.  There are bound to be people who want to buy from Amazon but simply listing Amazon amongst 3 or 4 options, rather than exclusively, would make an enormous difference without limiting choice. It still staggers me that authors, publishers and bookshops fail to support each other then moan about the dominance of Amazon.

In terms of self published work, Amazon aren’t the only publishing platform so self published authors can and should provide an alternative if they’re thinking about their own long term interests. Otherwise they may find their royalties further reduced and have no alternative outlet.

Conclusions

To be honest, when I started this, I had the worry that this would be the literary equivalent of ‘The Good Life’ [look it up on Wikipedia, kids]. It’s taken a bit of time but now I’ve worked out what to do, there’s really not much to it so this is the last time I intend to blog on the subject unless circumstances change. I may add the odd update to the comments section.

I miss the cardboard packaging from Amazon which composted nicely but other than that, there’s not much else and I’m enjoying buying and reading books more. If you want to do the same, the process is really just figuring out which is best for you and trying them out until you find something that works for you. Hopefully this post and the previous one takes out a lot of time in finding possible alternatives but you’ll need to research your own local bookshops but let’s face, wandering around a bookshop isn’t really a chore, is it?

If, having read all this, you choose to buy from Amazon, it’s up to you. But if you see people losing their jobs or a bookshop replaced by Poundland in the future, don’t say it’s a shame and it was inevitable. The future’s not inevitable. There were good alternatives available and you just couldn’t be arsed.

The future of books rests in our hands (and buying fingers). Choose wisely.

A Twitter Manifesto

Here’s my Twitter Manifesto. This is how I run my Twitter account to meet my needs. It’s a work in progress so I’m going to amend it as time goes on, I learn new things or people tell me off. Some of it you’ll agree with and some of it you won’t. Some of this may seem plain wrong. I appreciate that.

Introduction
There are millions of people on Twitter and hundreds of them interested me. I couldn’t keep up with them all. Lots of other people just wanted to sell me something. It became stressful and I started not to enjoy Twitter. So I had a major rethink and cut it back to something manageable. Now I love Twitter again. Here’s my ‘strategy’ warts ’n’ all.
Topics
On this account @petedomican, I tweet mainly about the following (in no particular order):
1. Writing and books including my own work
2. Photography including my own work
3. Politics – Always a tricky one. I try to be fair and recognise that there are different sides to any argument but I feel there are some bad things going on in the world these days.  I’m not a member of any political party but I’d say I’m probably unlikely to be voting for the Tories or UKIP anytime soon. Others have described me as a ‘leftard’. I’d describe myself more as an ‘equalist’, interested in a ‘fair’ society and a committed European. I have a slight obsession with Denmark.
4. Football – I support Spurs and Benfica. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
5. Marketing, business and social media including my own work (although I’m setting up a separate account to tweet about this more).
6. Random stuff -TV, music, podcasts, creativity, F1, humour (slightly warped)
It’s likely you’re interested in some things and not in others – it’s a weird mix. I try to be aware when I’m overdoing a topic to death but if it’s the Budget or Benfica are playing Porto, it’s probably best just to ignore me for a few hours.
Agreeing / Disagreeing
Some people seem to go into a huff if someone disagrees with them and block/unfollow them. I tend to be fairly open minded about most things (or at least just rage silently). I’m happy to be corrected on a factual error or for you to disagree as long as you’re reasonably polite. I’ll stand my ground and argue my corner. If you cease being polite, I’ll just stop. Some people though can just never give up on an argument. At some point I’ll say we’ll just need to agree to disagree.
Dislikes on Twitter
People who ‘tell it like it is’ (it frequently isn’t), people who don’t get how fortunate they are in life e.g. thinking you’ve hard up just because you have a large mortgage and two kids at private school or generally nasty people e.g. racists, people who hate disabled people, foreigners etc. Oh and my particular Twitter pet hate – hashtag pun masturbation e.g. ‘Smack my witch up #medievalsongs’. It’s rarely funny and I instantly mute the hashtag. I’ll admit that last one is a bit random but I thought you ought to know.
Following Me
I’m always surprised and delighted when someone follows me. I tweet about particular topics (see above), some of which don’t tend to sit well together for some people. If you unfollow, I’ll notice and maybe I’ll be sad for a while but I’ll survive and I won’t be offended. ‘Live your life, be free’ as pop goddess Belinda Carlisle used to sing (and probably still does, somewhere).
I don’t automatically follow back so if you’re just looking for lots of followers then probably not best to bother. I live in Welwyn Garden City, UK so if you’re a tree specialist in Austin, Texas, you’re probably not to get much work out of it (that one’s true by the way).
I keep Facebook for friends I know from ‘real life’ or those I know very well from Twitter and wish I knew them in ‘real life’. Please don’t make it awkward. Let’s stick to Twitter and see how we get on first.
Following You
I follow people who I find interesting, funny, thoughtful, insightful or generally good eggs. I like to interact with them at some level and I like to read their tweets. I’m now following between 350-400 people and that feels roughly the right number I can cope with for the moment. The consequences of this are:
1. I don’t automatically follow back so if you think it’s being impolite or insulting, then sorry but now you know the reason.
2. I need to periodically review who I’m following to keep to a sensible number. Sometimes people who were great a while ago lose interest in Twitter (and it shows) or just start using Twitter to promote their wares. I wrote a whole blogpost about people who just use twitter to promote themselves. It’s worth reading because it seemed to strike a chord.
3. If I follow you and you send me a DM promoting your wares as your first interaction, I’ll automatically unfollow you. It’s a no no!
If I unfollow you, please don’t get too upset about it. Yes it’s personal in a way but it’s just Twitter for God’s sake! Chances are we’ll never meet and you’ll forget about me. People in real life grow apart too. Remember all those ex colleagues who never keep in touch
Favouriting
People tweet to say thanks for ‘favouriting’ my tweet. Please don’t, there’s no need. I favour a tweet to read it later or where it has some information I need. I’ll then ‘unfavourite’ it.
Lists
I add people to private lists. I don’t tend to use them a lot of the time but sometimes I want to look at Twitter and avoid seeing the results of a sports event or avoid politics so I’ll only look at a subset of people. I should use them more.
Reading your Tweets
I scan my timeline whenever I can but I don’t spend my life on Twitter. I pick a lot of things up but often I miss things. If you need to get my attention, mention me. If it’s really important DM me. Note that promoting your wares may or may not count as the most important part of my day especially if we’ve only just met.
Retweets
I retweet things that interest me, promote people and things I’m interested in or things that amuse me. However I’m aware I overdo retweets so sometimes I try not to RT things. Please don’t take it personally if I fail to retweet something you think is noteworthy. But just because I RT something doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with it. I tweet things that I violently disagree with just because it’s awful and needs to be shared. I usually preface these with a ‘coming up’ tweet.
Scheduling Tweets
99.5% of my tweets are live. I use scheduling for the following:
1. Scheduling tweets publicising my blog posts or an announcement so that there’s a reasonable chance people will see one mention over a few days
2. Where there are multiple tweets which need to be read together. Sometimes I need more than 140 characters and 20secs to make my point. Must try harder.

#ff (Follow Friday)

This is in theory a good idea as you come across new people but it has become a nightmare. I don’t normally do #ff but occasionally I’ll tweet one #ff and a reason why I think you should follow them. If you don’t that’s fine. If you do #ff as a regular thing, please don’t tweet lists of people. It’s pointless. I’m not going to wade through your lists and it’s more likely I’ll mute or even unfollow you. That’s really horrible I know, but scrolling through 230 names then seeing other people RTing their mentions and thanking a whole list of other people isn’t my idea of a Friday night.

Being Wrong

I try to be nice all of the time but sometimes I’m not. I get things wrong, quite a lot. I’m human and I’m sorry.

 

This article was updated 24/3/13 to include #ff and several edits.

The Night Rainbow – Claire King

I’m delighted that my friend Claire King has her first novel ‘The Night Rainbow’ published in the UK by Bloomsbury today. I’m delighted not just because getting a book published is such a big thing but because it is an extraordinary book. Here’s the marketing blurb:

During one long, hot summer, five-year-old Pea and her little sister Margot play alone in the meadow behind their house, on the edge of a small village in Southern France. Her mother is too sad to take care of them; she left her happiness in the hospital, along with the baby. Pea’s father has died in an accident and Maman, burdened by her double grief and isolated from the village by her Englishness, has retreated to a place where Pea cannot reach her – although she tries desperately to do so. Then Pea meets Claude, a man who seems to love the meadow as she does and who always has time to play. Pea believes that she and Margot have found a friend, and maybe even a new papa. But why do the villagers view Claude with suspicion? And what secret is he keeping in his strange, empty house? Elegantly written, haunting and gripping, The Night Rainbow is a novel about innocence and experience, grief and compassion and the dangers of an overactive imagination.

It’s a good summary but I think it struggles to capture the mood and language. Fortunately Bloomsbury produced this wonderful trailer which does exactly that. 

If you’re going to buy one book this year, make it this one. I don’t think you will regret it.

A New Year Resolution

Apart from the usual swim the English Channel, run a marathon, learn 37 languages stuff that we all say and never do, I’ve decided on one simple resolution. Before I buy anything, I’m going to think about what I’m buying and who I’m buying it from.

I’m going to think about whether a company treats their suppliers fairly. Do they pay them a fair price and pay them on time or do they screw them into the ground? Do they treat their customers fairly or do they treat them merely as a source of revenue? Do they compete fairly? Do they make a fair contribution to society or do they use tax avoidance schemes just because they can and soften the blow with a bit of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’? Do they pay their staff properly or do they use dodges such as ‘zero hour contracts’, ‘internships’, ‘workfare schemes’ or ‘apprenticeships’ under the pretext of helping people into work whilst doing it to save on the wage bill?

I suspect many of the companies we deal with will be found wanting in some respect but I’m determined to start dealing with companies that act responsibly not just in their own interests and stop dealing with those that put profit above everything else.

It won’t be easy and it will mean some tough decisions, some of which I’ll get wrong but it’s something I think we all ought to be doing. It will also hurt me financially.

My first task is to find sensible alternatives to Amazon who are incredibly handy for just about anything, are absolutely massive yet hardly pay any UK tax. Has anyone any suggestions?

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

2012 was a dark year in many respects. Today the sun shone for the first time in what seems like years. I’m hoping it’s an omen. Happy New Year to you and your families.

Your Comments

‘Send us your views.’ ‘Tell us what you think.’ ‘Your comments,’ ‘Text us, tweet us’ are all part of the modern world we live in. This blog post has a comments section underneath and some of you may be kind (or unkind) enough to give me your thoughts. So it’s somewhat ironic that I’m writing about comments, at least on major news sites and on phone ins.
Everyone has views on subjects in the news but some people’s views send me into rage and fury such that I now try to avoid reading newspaper comments at all. As an example, before comments were removed for legal reasons, some parents were quick to criticise the mother of an abducted five year old child. Why was a five year old out so late on her own?  And here’s an infuriating (to me) comment from an article in the Huffington Post on ATOS who stopped the disability benefits of a war veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan – ‘Time we stopped ALL benefits which of course would end all this contraversy (sic) about Atos. We can’t afford to pay benefits anymore anyway – just look at the size of the deficit and public debt. We have plenty of charities who can help disabled people.’
Why do these opinions bother me so much? After all, they’re just one of hundreds of comments. Why do they shout out at me on a page and make me despair for the human race?
It’s not that I disagree with an alternative view. I disagree with many friends on many subjects yet we’re still friends. It’s not that people can express an opinion without possession of facts or evidence with which to back up an opinion. I can cope with that. I don’t always have a folder of facts when I give my own opinions. Very few people do. It’s not even the abysmal spelling.
What kills me in each and every case is the total lack of empathy for their fellow human beings and the absolute certainty with which these views are expressed. A mother has had her child taken yet somehow it’s her fault. No thought that the mother may just have lost track of the time for a few minutes or perhaps a bit of fresh air at the end of the day was the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep. Whatever the circumstances and I don’t know, it’s no reason why someone should take a child. No thought for the mother’s anguish. No sympathy expressed for a young man serving his country and who paid a high price. No thought that disabled people might not be able to live on small charitable donations and food parcels. No thought that in different circumstances the writer of that comment may be in an accident or have a stroke and be unable to work, thus forcing him in poverty. Just no thought, no doubt, press send.
It’s not just anonymous people in comments sections who behave like this. Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins are two people who always seem to cast the first stone on any subject. On benefits, you’re a scrounger. Out of work,you’re just not trying hard enough. Poor, don’t have a mobile phone. Each opinion followed by a long story of how they made it in their own ‘successful’ careers.
Why am I different from them? Why, as I get older, do I appreciate more fully that life can be cruel as well as wonderful, that people and their loved ones can get sick, have accidents, make mistakes or simply take a wrong turn? That things are usually more complicated than they seem at first. Why do I put myself in other people’s shoes and think myself lucky? And what makes people like them? What things in their life shaped their thinking? How did they become as they are?
Yet as much as I dislike these people, I envy them. Why? I envy their ability to look at an issue and make up their mind there and then, to blame someone or something else then just move on. Never to have to rethink an opinion in the light of new evidence. To look at someone with a different opinion and just think ‘tosser’. To begrudge paying their taxes for things they don’t personally use without thinking about other people or the future, to just see everything in black and white.
Life would just be so much bloody easier wouldn’t it?

A Place to Write And Think

I’m having a 24 hr stay at Gladstone’s Library in N Wales. I must confess I’d never heard of it before but it has been recommended by Michael Nobbs of Sustainably Creative  so as I was coming up to the North West, I thought I would take a small diversion and check it out.

The library provides a great atmosphere in which to work surrounded by wonderful (real) books. Today I opened carefully a book from 1848 on the life of Saint Guthloc (no, I’d never heard of him either), and felt the texture of the paper, the jagged edges of the paper and a font I’m not sure I’ve seen before. And the smell. How can a Kindle offer something like that? Nothing can beat the sensation of being surrounded by books and the spirit of their authors.

I really need to lock myself away from the outside world for a few days without distractions and think things through. A lot of things have happened in the last three years, not many of them that great if we’re being honest, and I need to switch off from all the distractions, write and think. 24 hours can only be a taster.

I’ll have just about found the measure of the place by the time I leave, but I know it’s somewhere I want to come back to. It’s very conducive to quiet thought with good food and interesting people from very different walks of life to talk to over dinner if you want to mix. Oh yes and that library.

Sabotage Times

I’ve been struggling on the Flash Fiction recently. Sleepless nights and hayfever don’t make for a creative brain. So when Sabotage Times asked on Twitter today if anyone fancied writing an article on the Chloe Smith Newsnight article, I thought I’d have a go just to see what I could do. And here it is, published.

George Osborne Is a disgrace for feeding Chloe Smith to the Newsnight lions

Some of you will agree with the content and some won’t but for me, it was an exercise that reminds me I can still write something.

National Flash Fiction Day – Flash Slamming in Oxford

Yesterday, May 16th 2012, as I’m sure we all know by now, was the very first National Flash Fiction Day. Congratulations to Calum Kerr, who devised and organised the whole thing, and to all those who did something to contribute to its success. Articles in national newspapers (and a bit of debate too!), radio slots, live events, anthologies, you name it, it was there. Whether you were starting out in flash or were a seasoned writer, there was something for everyone but fundamentally NFFD has done three things.

Firstly, it’s brought flash fiction to a wider audience. Flash fiction isn’t new, as Tania Hershman pointed out last night in Oxford when she read a wonderful story from Richard Brautigan written in the 1970s, but the last few weeks Flash Fiction seem to have been launched to a wider audience. Yes, there’ll still be people who don’t regard flash fiction as ‘proper’ writing (possibly the same ones who don’t seem to think women can write properly either) but there’s a lot more people now aware that novels are not the be all and end all of fiction and that you don’t just have to write an 80k novel in order to be considered a writer.

Secondly, it’s encouraging people to have a go, either writing for the first time or doing something they might not have thought about before. As an example, Rachel Carter started something for South West writers and before long, it became Flash Fiction South West with a website and an anthology ‘Kissing Frankenstein and Other Stories’ featuring a mix of both experienced and new writers.

Finally, it’s brought the flash fiction community much closer together in both a virtual and real sense. I was very lucky to have found some great writers on Twitter early on when I got back into writing, mainly by chance it has to be said. However, over the last few months, I’ve discovered many more talented people through the site, either directly through things like Flashflood and the Jawbreaker anthology or indirectly through the many offshoots, magazines, events etc which seemed to have coalesced around NFFD. This means more opportunities for writers to show off their talent and more opportunities to read flash fiction.

National Flash-Fiction Day itself was a special day for a number of reasons. My story ‘Kite’ appeared on Flashflood whilst another story ’18’ was published in the very first issue of sixwords which I have to say looks great set against the photograph. In the evening I took part in a ‘Flash Slam’ organised by Dan Holloway along with a dozen other flash fiction writers at the wonderful Albion Beatnik Bookstore  (by the way, forget your Kindle, go and visit it, drink coffee and buy real books that feel and smell wonderful)

Dan and the JudgesI really wanted to meet some of the people I follow on Twitter and this seemed the perfect opportunity. I found it very strange (but equally great) to be greeted by name as I walked through the door. I had been a little nervous in signing up to read one of my stories, especially as the pre-event publicity kicked in but with such a warm welcome, I forgot about being nervous and just enjoyed it.

Listening and reading stories in a group setting was a new experience for me and I took a lot away from the evening to use in the future as well as some talented writers to follow.  Tania Hershman, the Queen of Flash, was as lovely and generous in real life as she is on Twitter and Dan did an amazing job as organiser, host, photographer, time and score keeper. The standard of writing was extremely high and Kevlin Henney took the honours of a competitive but friendly relaxed evening. But, above all, it was about meeting people (with sentences not constrained to 140 characters) and I was especially pleased to meet Rebecca Emin who was one of the very first people I ever followed on Twitter and has been kind to me ever since.

Writing is very much an individual pursuit but last night it felt good to be part of a wider community of writers – flash fiction writers – and, for that alone, National Flash Fiction Day has been a great success. Thank you Calum.

Top 10 Albums – Writing Prompts

I’ve not written for ages. Ironically the stories I wrote last year and early this year are doing well in terms of submissions but the cupboard has been getting emptier for some time now. Some writers can just seem to get down to it and produce something decent each day. Calum Kerr has recently completed a story a day for the last year but if I tried that without some kind of inspiration or half formed idea, I’d just burn out or write rubbish. However I do need to write more regularly. So what to do?

I’ve found that music and/or writing prompts help (Vanessa Gebbie’s Storygym for example) and one of my stories ‘Baker’s Shop’ (which will appear in 100RPM edited by Caroline Smailes) was prompted by ‘Baker, Baker’ by Tori Amos so I’ve hit on an idea. I’m going to pick 10 of my favourite albums and use each song as a writing prompt (either the feel of the music or the title depending on how I feel) for a flash, or heavens forbid,a short story. That gives me about 100 prompts to start with. I’ve chosen albums that hold up to a lot of repeat listening (which rules artists like The Fall or Bjork, much as I love them, or wrist slashing albums like Fiona Apple’s Tidal – brilliant though it is). I’ve also chosen albums that I think (hope) will give me inspiration:

The ten albums are (in no particular order)

Peter Gabriel – So

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes

OMD – Architecture & Morality

Lloyd Cole – Rattlesnakes

Pretenders – Loose Screw

Garbage – Garbage

Judie Tzuke – One Tree Less

Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker

As well as the stories, I intend to write about the albums themselves.  I’m finishing a piece of work on Tuesday and then I’m planning to have a few days writing. I’m hoping this will get me writing regularly again and make the process less tortured. Wish me luck.

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