Tuesday, 31 May 2011

House hunting, levelling up and Avalanche management

Hello friends,

An adventuring creative such as myself sometimes just needs to calm down and let life do it's thing without attempting to interfere and mix things up. The river continues to flow regardless of my actions.

The last week has been a very interesting one, lots has happened. At the beginning of the week, Beauty and I were still in the position of desperate house hunting. We had hooked up with another couple who had just come over from the UK. Joe and Jess. Joe was from Sheffield and Jess was from New Zealand. Much like Beauty and myself, they had decided to come and try living it up in Amsterdam for a while.

Joe and Jess during a internet house-hunting binge
The Ballad of Joe and Jess 

Beauty had found Joe and Jess by searching though wanted ads on the internet that were in someway connected to Amsterdam. We had extended our own search to include some more 'creative' thinking and this connected us up with Joe and Jess. We made contact with them just before they left the UK to come to Amsterdam.

We hooked up with them the following day and had a good time sharing stories, smoking in the Dolphin, laughing, drinking and general merriment. We also decided to give a try to finding a house that would be suitable for two couples rather then just focusing our search on single rooms for couples (as this was already proving to be difficult). We also set up a facebook group 'Help the travelling ones find a home in Amsterdam'. Using all our facebook skills we set about telling people how very nice we all were and how we would respect the hell out of any property that we should find ourselves in.

Days were passing and things were not advancing as hoped. Beauty and I were in free accommodation as we were staying with friends, but Joe and Jess were in youth hostels spending out every night for a bed. We felt really bad for them, and we kept trying to find them temporary free places to stay, but still time was ticking (as it always does, unless you are some kind of timelord, which I doubt you are).

Rembrandt Park in Amsterdam, amazing place.

We all went and looked at a lovely place right in the middle of Rembrandt Park. The flat was beautiful, but the rooms on offer were both very small and the friendly man renting them out said they were one person per room. It was well outside our budget and left me thinking that we were all hitting a bit out of our weight with what we were asking for. Borders needed to open and looking further afield became a necessity. But still Joe and Jess were stuck in the centre having their money drained out of them by the Amsterdam canal goblins. The next best thing to do was go and find somewhere nice to have a beer and smoke a big phat Amsterdam Lemon Haze wonder-stick.

House hunting can drive you a bit mad. Trust me, after five hours of staring at descriptions of rooms, pictures of alcoves and lists of facilities included, you start to think strange thoughts. You want to invent things, create better ways of living with the simple stroke of a gherkin, build mountains out of napkins and cocktail sticks, count the hairs on your left arm and see if it's more or less then your right arm, see if you can stare out your reflection in the window, organise your very overfull email inbox into subcategories, try and speak backwards for ten minutes...the list goes on. Madness takes hold. So you need a game.

Level 1
Jess invented it, and I don't think even she knows the ramifications of it. It doesn't have a name (at least, not one I can remember) and as far as we are aware there are only 100 levels, but there could be more.

The first level involves drawing a house. This can be done in one pen move without taking it off the paper and without going over any line twice. Jess set the task and we managed to waste quite some time working it out. Much laughter followed as we one by one completed the task, all on a single sheet of kitchen roll I might add.

The work of art had begun, now with all of the challengers having completed the first level, it was time to take this up a notch and invent a second level to rival this most challenging first one. It took all of our collective stoned brain power to invent something even more mind bending.
Level 2 - all with one pen stroke ;)
We sat back and admired our awesome creation. It would take humanity years to work out how to complete this level without taking the pen off the paper and without going over any line twice.
We may have not had anywhere to live, but by god we were at the cutting edge of creative thinking at that very moment.

From there, the levels spewed out of us like fans at the end of a thousand Elvis's concert (what is the collective name for Elvis's? err, a record of...na, a jumpsuit of...hmm,nope, a religion, yeah, a religion of Elvi). Some of the levels are riddles, some are jokes, some are simple musings on which one should ponder over a cup of tea. They are all located on the sacred napkin, which Jess has in her possession. They offer the key to enlightenment, and the chance to "Level Up" into a higher way of living. None of us completed it all, for even us the humble creators are not worthy of ascending.

See, madness. It set in, and we ran with it. It was the only way to cope.

Time continued to slip away, things were getting very desperate. We had created so many awesome things for the universe, yet our goal seemed out of reach. There was nowhere. Desperate times called for desperate measures, we sought out an estate agent, someone professional, to get some much needed advice. We very quickly discovered that what we were looking for didn't exist in Amsterdam. We had to go further afield, but even that didn't seem promising. Joe and Jess had hooked up with a Canadian traveller called Mark, he was an Avalanche manager who is travelling for the summer months until the big Avalanches come back and he can go and manage them. What a legend. How do you manage an Avalanche?! I've known managers that couldn't manage three highly educated people, let alone a flipping giant wall of tumbling snow that kills people. Mark had hash he wanted to smoke up before he left, so we agreed to assist in that task and headed to Funky Munky for some rest and relaxation away from the house-hunting nightmare.

It all unravelled and changed so fast. We didn't see it coming. Beauty and I picked up a lead for a lovely apartment share in Den Haag that was within our price range and looked amazing. We got excited about this and went to tell Joe and Jess online. We logged in to discover that they were packing up to go back to England right then! : (

They will be back though, soon I hope. With Level 101.

My adventure continues in Den Haag...but that's for another blog...

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Scammers in Amsterdam(ers)

Dear blog,

Our efforts to control the universe have been both fruitful and confusing. Adventuring creatives closed down their lives in one country (in this case the UK) to open up a new life in another country (in this case the Netherlands). The planning was all in the dream, very little concrete. Dreams aren't made of concrete, if they were we would need more heavy duty pillows and neck braces.

So far so good. We are here, that was the first step. So, the next step is the one that is proving to be a little allusive at the moment. For the last year Beauty and I have been discussing what we wanted when we got to Amsterdam. We had always spoken about finding a nice little place for ourselves (just ourselves, no housemates) and living on our own schedules as artists. Simple plan.
The house with a magical washing
machine from the future!

Not so simple when you get here though. Oh no.

First there are the scams, so many fricking scams!

"Hello, I have a flat to rent in the centre of Amsterdam, it has a huge bedroom with balcony, kitchen, living room and lift to the roof terrace, close to all shops and museums, super-fast mega internet, a washing machine from the future, three toilets (shared shower), free boot cleaning every Wednesday, fully furnished with extra furniture (5 sofas!), 400 euro a month, please email me for more details at scam@youidiots.com"

Oooo, now that looks nice, I especially like the sound of a washing machine that's from the future, imagine what technology has done to the washing process in the future! I bet you don't even need any detergent, the clothes are probably cleaned by just being in the presence of the magical washing machine. So I send off an email expressing interest in this nice flat and it's futuristic technologies.

Reply comes back quickly, with a sob story attached.
"My name is Georg and I am from the Ukraine. I had to leave Amsterdam very fast because my mother is sick in my home town and there is no one to take her care. My sister was taking her care but husband has been made no job and need to move for new work. I have key with me for house. The house is still available for rent, you like I send you key in mail, please transfer one months rent plus one months deposit (total £1000) into my Western Union account so I know I can trust you, thankyou bye"

Hmm, really? Right, so what assurances are you going to give me Georg?

"I send copy of passport for prove of my house. My lawyer will draw up contract and send you to sign. Please sign and send money via Western Union."

Well the passport check out, the person in the picture is called Georg. Now let's send him all our savings so we can go and live in his fictional house in the middle of Amsterdam. Oh, one last thing Georg, could we come and view the house before sending you all our savings?

"No, I am in Ukraine."

Oh, okay then. Well, how about any friends? Do you have any friends in Amsterdam that could show us around?

"No, I have the keys with me. You send the money and I send the keys. I promise, you can trust me, I have an email account, only trustworthy people have them."

...and so on, and so on until I tell Georg to go stick his scamming head into a bowl of animal guts and hold it there until he drowns.

These scammers come in many types, but they always use the same scam. You get a sob story about how hard their life is at the moment due to circumstances worthy of a hollywood script, then a lovely long description of the (imaginary) property, followed by a request for money as a show of good faith. We have even spoken to one of them on skype, via the text only, but still, that was one persistent scammer. Called themselves 'very friendly one' to hide the fact they were actually a bulging arse-bubble.

Our hunt continues...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

When in writing mode...

Friends, you are here, good.

So, this little adventuring creative has now been in Amsterdam for almost 4 weeks. Still trying to find somewhere to live, but otherwise having a great time. Adapting to new cultures is an interesting thing, I have been surprised by how quickly I have taken things in. When you are listening to different languages from your mother tongue on a regular basis you can't help but start to pick up little bits and bobs. I expect I will write about language quite a bit in this blog since it is a subject that fascinates me (even though I am English and therefor genetically predisposed to be terrible at learning other languages).

In writing mode anything can happen...even this!
But this blog is not about language, it is about writing. I have previously stated in this blog that I am a writer, an unpublished outside of the internet (ahh, thank you self publishing enabled interweb of love) and a couple of letters in magazines many years ago. I did write for my college magazine, and had a play put on when I took a year off before dropping out of a university writing course. I have written several film scripts (all un-filmed), sketch comedy skits (all un-recorded) and even a couple of musicals (all un-performed, un-polished and un-funded). I have also attempted novels (rubbish ones) but really my main writing skill is lyrics.

With credentials like that, you can be well assured that I have very little knowledge about what I am about to write about as if I were some kind of wise truth teller on the subject. I am not. I personally think this makes my opinion of some worth, as it is taken from experience.

I am currently in writing mode. It's this special place you take yourself when you are channeling creativity. Some people build these spaces for themselves in strange places. I am quite happy in a variety of locations now (not true in the past) and I happily sit here tapping this blog out with my laptop on my lap (literally), sitting on our mattress on the floor. Beauty is sat next to me looking for flats and listening to Gogol Bordello on her laptop. Oh technology, how easy things are made for us. It would have been hard to write like this in the past, ink stains bedsheets very quickly. Also, on a laptop (or desktop for that matter) it is so easy to edit. With a typewriter if you muck up a bit then the whole thing is effectively ruined. Not so with the laptop and the magical spell check. I love spellchecking, without it even I wouldn't know what I had written. (spellcheck does sometimes have trouble with the words I feed it, and on several occasions I have been forced to change for another word as I can't work out how to even get the word close enough to the right spelling for the almighty spell checker to be able to correct it!)

This is some of my art, just to make the page a little bit
more interesting to look at
My current writing assignments (given to me by myself of course, freelance, for free) are a new set of lyrics to make another album for my in the... series, and this blog. Other then that I might write out the address of somewhere I need to go, or the occasional shopping list or note on my hand. Most of this writing takes place on my laptop (except the last few things mentioned) and my eyes always end up feeling like they are trying to retreat into my skull to escape the constant glare of the screen. I don't blame them.

Deep in writing mode so many things can happen (hopefully though, writing will occur). For the inspiration to actually make something that might be at least a little bit new in structure or thought one requires stimulus. You can't write about nothing (although I appear to be doing a good job of that so far right here). For my current set of lyrics I have decided to write about things that interest me. For my last set (in the shed) I was leaving my job and preparing to move to Amsterdam, that had a big effect on the songs I ended up writing, there are themes of skin shedding, change, adventure, hateful office work, wants and desires and happiness. These were often directly linked to me so a lot of first person lyrics pepper the record (e.g Blank Hole Memory, Do it With You). For this next one I am currently writing, the themes are quite different so far, given that I am not living where I wanted to be and doing what I wanted to be doing, I can now cast my eyes out at the world and give some lyrical comment.

To give you a little sneak peek of the things that have tweaked my creative interests in the last week, here are the titles of a couple of the finished lyric sets : "Circles in the Crops", "Quiz Master" and "The Facebook Stalkers Guide to Love". I look forward to sharing them with you in song form :)

So, to get into writing mode you need something you want to write about.

Peace and infinite love


Saturday, 14 May 2011

La la la la la la busker (as in Labumba)

Hello carbon based life forms,

So now three weeks into the Amsterdam adventure and things have been moving forward. Yesterday I went busking for the first time in about seven years...

(Now for a quick Andy busking history lesson) - When I was just 19 years of tender age, I went busking around Europe with my good friend Ali Nicholls. We were fresh faced and eager to explore the world, so with that naivety we threw ourselves face first into the deep end. I had no money. Not a penny.
Me (Andy) and Ali with our mouths wide open in 2006
Really, none. I hadn't been working for a while and had spent anything I had saved up.
I went to the bank and arranged a new account so I could have an overdraft.
£400 overdraft which got spent on a train ticket that would get me around Europe.
No spending money, no rooms booked, nothing.
Just two teenagers and two guitars.
It was one of the best months of my entire life, I still fondly tell stories of our travels. We busked in the streets with varied levels of success in Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Italy and France.

Amsterdam :)
Lessons learnt from that experience : firstly, cover songs are a good idea. Ali and I had a whole bunch of our own songs (see previous blog entries for more details). We mainly played them to begin with. Our first stop off point was Amsterdam (where I am right now).  On our first day here we got up early and went to find a busking spot. We chose an underpass bit, with one little shop in, but otherwise it was just a walkway through the shopping district. We set up our stuff and then nervously began playing through our songs. We played for about an hour if I recall correctly, all our own material and managed to earn about 12 euro. Not bad for a first go. We celebrated by spending all our earnings on weed (like you do). From that time onwards we had varied success, sometimes we would play for an hour and only earn a couple of euro (which for a teenager desperate to get high was a real problem).

Some artwork from The Little Man days
[[ Rule 1 of busking : Play songs people might know. Now I am a musical snob in so many ways, I turn my nose up at covers, my main reason being that they never have the same gusto as the original versions (there are so many exceptions to this that I am ashamed of my music snobbery as I type this). I have never been in a covers band and only ever do my own sort of rendition of songs that I really like, which generally means they aren't all that well known. I need to sort this out about myself if I want to make big bank busking. ]]

Ali and I decided it would be a good idea to add some covers to our set to help increase our weed fund. We went in an internet cafe and quickly copied down the chords to a couple of tracks by The Beatles. Later on, when we had moved on to Rotterdam, we bought a cheap Beatles covers book and went about playing them.
Our most successful song was always 'All You Need Is Love', especially in Germany (we later found out that the song was being used on some German advert at the time so we were sucking people in with cheeky advertising tricks that we didn't even know about!).
We did still play mainly our own songs though, because we could only be bothered to play songs that were right in front of us, and we weren't going to be wasting any more valuable drink and drug money on songbooks!

[[ Rule 2 of busking : Pick a spot and work it. This one I also failed to follow on my new busking adventures. Staying in one spot and playing there for a period of time, returning to that spot and building up recognition is key to being successful. ]]

So Ali and I wandered around places, looking for spots to busk. This happened everywhere, but the funniest time it happened was in Salzburg, Austria. We were in need of some funds badly. We hadn't had a proper meal for a few days, surviving on a baguette with a pack of salami and cheese from the local supermarket, we needed some tasty tourist monies. There is a bridge in Salzburg that goes over the river and connects the new and old parts of the city. We were staying quite near that bridge in a youth hostel on the new side. We crossed the bridge into old town and straight away I stopped and turned to Ali, "Mate, this is perfect, let's stop here right by the entrance". Ali shook his head and asked that we continue walking about to find a better spot. So we did, we walked up the road, found another spot, same problem, not what Ali was looking for in a busking spot. We walked around the whole of old town, up and down, Ali turning down every spot I offered.  Eventually I got fed up and stopped, proclaiming that I was going to play regardless of Ali liking the spot or not, telling him that he could join me when he's ready. I sat down and started playing, Ali quickly joined me. We finished playing a song (one of our own) and were taken back by a big cheer and clapping. There was a semi circle of people standing around us applauding. We played for about half and hour and made loads of euros. When we left we discovered we had been playing at the place I had stopped right by the entrance to old town.

Now all these years later I am doing the same thing, spending too long looking for a good spot and then just playing my own songs. I need to change this if I am to be successful at this. Stay tuned for more updates on my progress :)

So, busking can be hard work, if you make mistakes like I do.

Peace and infinite love

Andy x
This is me in the shed

Thursday, 12 May 2011

No longer feels like a holiday

Hello friends,

Having now been in the beautiful Dam for almost three weeks now it is starting to dawn on me that this isn't just a little holiday from the office job, this is now my life. That is an exciting feeling, the first glance of which came on Monday morning when the people we are staying with had to get up and go to work! Not me and beauty, we stayed in bed and had another spliff :)

I have been playing my guitar lots, mainly because i have the time, but also because people like hearing it. I am preparing myself to once again enter the world of the busker. I think I'm ready, only time and tarmac will tell. I think I will probably be rather selfish and play mainly my own songs, since I know them and have a terrible habit of completely forgetting how to play covers about a third into them. Hopefully people will throw euro's in my hat as if it were a 'make a wish' fountain (i'll let them rub my belly for luck as well if they put a note in the hat).
Beauty had her first lesson on a bike yesterday, she really enjoyed it and was bombing around like a right little ninja. Once we are on bikes then we really will start to feel our inner Dutch-ness.

I have started working on some new lyrics ready to make another record. Following on from the shed and the apartment I am now planning to collect together another albums worth (probably 12 or 13 songs) and then pick somewhere nice in which to record it. More to follow on this I imagine.

The improv songs of the week continue, they can be seen on my youtube channel here

I am no longer on holiday, this is my life, and this is my blog. Thanks for reading :)

Peace and infinite love

Monday, 9 May 2011


So friends,

The adventure continues, I am a day late recording my improv song of the week, so that's what i should be doing right now, but instead I am procrastinating a bit. Facebook is one of the greatest procrastination tools, I have wasted many an hour just reading pointless rubbish, liking things, sharing things blah blah blah. The sad thing is that I used to think my face was quite interesting and maybe worthy of a word or two, but the book about it is just bloaty and full of fake farms.

So, I am now in the in-between...


Saturday, 7 May 2011

some things about songwriting that i've learnt

So friends,

Still weaving my away around Amsterdam, playing guitar in Vondelpark (pronounced Fondlepark...teh heh), smoking such lovely week that each time I take a drag I have to go 'yummmm' as if I were savouring the most delicious of meals (maybe a curry...yum, i love curry, with mango chutney!).

The creativity bug has grabbed me by the face sack, full of all the energy of moving to a new country I have been bursting at the seams (not literally, that would require a hospital visit and some extensive "seams" reconstruction surgery that would take hours to recover from rendering me unable to blog).
 In the apartment that we stayed at when we first got here I wrote 4 songs.
Products of Monkey Love in the Apartment - hear them here.

Sometimes I find that inspiration grabs me more readily then other times. For example, the rush of new information from being in a new environment seems to stimulate the creative juices quite considerably. I am almost starting to sound scientific when I say that change + songwriter = new songs. This equation has been peer reviewed and tested in labs all across the world, soundlabs they are known as.

In my lifetime, when things seem to be going rather regular, all normal and straight and stuff, I am lacking in creative lubrication, my gears seem a bit metal solid and edge rustic. Inspiration comes from stuff, things happening, moments of somethings followed by confusion and cake (yum, I love cake too). When I was preparing to leave my mundane office job I was hit with a flood of inspiration, and out of me poured songs about 'shedding', 'change', 'adventure', 'growth' etc.
Without any hint of irony (and only sort of realising it afterwards) I recorded this collection of songs as 'in the shed'.

I never used to write love songs, before I met beauty. Since then, I have written a few soppy numbers, often with some comedy thrown in to stop the cheese levels reaching moon size. The trick I have found to crafting songs is to say what you want in as short a time span as possible. If I 'love you baby', then I only really should be 'loving you baby' about eight times at the most, and even that is quite a lot. I need to find ways to express that baby lovin' vibe without just repeating myself (as say, Justin Beiber does). Having a hook in the chorus is always a good idea, it becomes like an earworm for people who hear the song (for example, a good earworm is 'All you need is Love' by The Beatles and a bad earworm is 'Baby' by Justin Baby-er). But still the main trick is to not make the songs toooo long. It's easy to slip an extra verse in here, a couple of choruses there, maybe a second bridge, middle 8, middle 9, extended solo section etc. but I find it best to keep it short. There are notable exceptions to this rule of thumb, if the song can hold up to five choruses and still be interesting then I will do it, but this is rare, not a common thing.

But, what do I know, I haven't had any hit singles like Justin Beiber, and I haven't had anywhere near the youtube hits. So I should probably just shut the hell up right?

Peace and infinite love


Thursday, 5 May 2011

in the... (brief history of a songwriter)

Hello again,

So, as previously mentioned, I like to write songs. I have done this since I was 12, my first offerings being rip offs of other people (truly awful rip offs as well). I used to write songs with my cousin, he would draw album covers and come up with song names, and then he tasked me with writing the songs. I think I managed a couple of lame efforts and we did one or two together...that quickly fizzled out.

I formed my first proper band when I was 14, we were called 'Frenzy' and consisted of myself on vocals (reluctantly) and guitar and a friend on drums and another friend on keyboard (I have not given their names to protect their identities...and my faulty memory). We trialled several bassists and vocalists, but none stuck. We were 14 for crying out loud, what the hell did we know about music?! Well teenage drama saw to the destruction of that dream rather quickly, drummer running off with singers girlfriend (yeah that usually does it). Cue several teenage angst songs about broken hearts and shattered dreams.

Anyway, after that I started working with James Uren, and we wrote shed loads of songs both separately and together. We formed a band called 'Purple Tadpoles' and later 'Gilboa'. James and I wrote far more songs then the band could possibly play, but we did at least do quite a few gigs and recordings before we were struck by teenage drama and split up.

Then I worked with Ali Nicholls, the guitar legend. We formed an acoustic duo called 'The Little Man' and we even got signed to a local label. We wrote bucket loads of songs as well, we busked them around Europe (which was my first visit to Amsterdam, my new home). We had fun, wrote funny songs, happy songs, silly songs, scary songs, dark songs, light songs, sing along songs, song along sings, ding-a-long a songs, cheese scone songs, deep thoughtful songs blah blah blah
We managed to put out two EP's and a fully finished album!
Find a link to our old last.fm page here - The Little Man on last fm

The Little Man split up as well, not teenage issues this time, 20 something issues, like marriage and moving to London and blah blah blah. I put down my guitar for a bit and focused on lyrics.

Products of Monkey Love was born then, based mainly around the silly improv songs I used to make in my kitchen with my brother Nick and friend Macey. I approached Martin Uren (producer for The Little Man) and we recorded 10 episodes of the fake radio improv silliness that is the Products of Monkey Love podcast. You can still download for free all the episodes we put out here

Half of the songs I completely improvised the vocals on (Crocodile, Internal Organs External, Leaving (Piano) etc.) and the other half I took away the improvised music and wrote lyrics to go over the top of it (Bestest Friends Forever, Creatures:Special Features, Cake etc.). This was challenging, but I really enjoyed coming up with loads of silly lyrics. I have always peppered my music with comedy songs, but poml was all about trying to be funny (don't know how often I succeeded with it...but, there you go).

I also did Vocalizer for a bit (I may do it again in the future), where I took electronic music made by my good friends Oxynucid and Mrs Jynx and wrote vocals over the top of them. I also got my first chance to perform in front of large crowds with Oxynucid in Germany and Belgium.

Which brings us up to the present...if you are still reading then well done, the story of some bloke who wrote loads of rubbish songs isn't that exciting, I applaud your reading abilities. I now am doing Products of Monkey Love phase 2. It's just me at the centre and then other musicians will help out and who knows what in the future.

POML phase 2 began with the improv song of the week. In preparation to move to Amsterdam, Beauty and I moved out of our house and in with some good friends. I recorded the first improvised song of the week in the shed. Gus and I sorted out the shed so it would be a space that music could be made in. Gus is a percussionist (an amazing one at that) so needed space to fit his vast array of instruments.

I had only one month left of my skull numbing office job and wanted a distraction from it. I said to Gus that we should record an album in the shed before I left, so that's what we did. I sat and wrote the lyrics out for 12 songs, then wrote all the music over a couple of weekends, and then recorded the whole thing in one afternoon with Gus and my brother Nick on bass.

So now I am back on the guitar, making guitar based music once more, for all the world probably not to hear. I have already recorded the follow up to 'in the shed' which is called 'in the apartment' on the first week that I was in Amsterdam (last week). Expect several more of them to follow...

Peace and infinite love


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

now where did I put my shark tank?


does anyone know?

the answer : it's joined the other fish tanks in the fish army.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

the beginning of the adventure

Hello internet friends,

I used to do lots of blogging, load and loads of it, on the old myspace (before it became some weird portal of facebook-rip-offiness). I used to write little ranty articles about sex, drugs, beliefs etc. Well, I am not quite the same hot headed rant machine that I use to be.

Let me introduce myself to anyone that has no idea who I am (so...all of you, right, okay) my name is Andy Jackson, I originate from Brighton in England, but now I am living in the Netherlands with my amazing partner (who shall be known hence as 'beauty'). We moved here, without much, just our creative skills and a bag full of stuff each. Beauty is a mosaic artist, and I am a musician/singer/writer blah blah blah. I do loads of stuff, nothing that has had much impact on the world, but still, I've produced whole bundles of maguffin.

For the last few years I have been working under the names Products of Monkey Love & Vocalizer. Products of Monkey Love (poml) was originally a podcast, but now it is in phase 2 and has been developing since. This blog will be punctuated with bits of poml I am sure. The first part of phase 2 of poml is the improv song for the week. I have already done this for 7 weeks now. Here is the first one recorded back in the shed.

The second phase of new poml is the 'in the ...' series. I used to write lots of guitar songs, but since my band The Little Man split up in 2007 I have been focusing much more on my vocals (hence Vocalizer). I have picked up the guitar again and started writing some new songs, quickly. These will be released in video and music form as and when they are ready. More on that in subsequent bloggings...
here is the link to the Products of Monkey Love youtube page should you want it now POML youtube page

So, now I am sitting in a Guesthouse with beauty in the centre of Amsterdam, an artist trying to work out what to do...it's exciting, and a bit scary as well.

This blog is to capture some of the interesting things that happen to me, in a more writey way. Also it will accompany my 'improv song of the week' thing that I have going on at the moment. I hope you enjoy it :)

Peace and infinite love

Andy x
Andy in the shed (April 2011)