Write Yer Ane Zine

Words about DIY punk; records, shows, interviews, whatever.

Month: April, 2016

Pink Elephants (Talking About Booze)

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I’m pretty nervous sitting here writing this blog; a ball of pent-up energy, frustration, passion, exasperation, exhilaration, tiredness, guilt, excitement, caffeine and god knows what else. I’m going to talk about alcohol. More specifically, I’m going to talk about not consuming alcohol. Beyond that, it’s a stream of consciousness and I’m not sure where it will lead. Somewhere positive I hope. If you don’t want to read about alcohol, please leave now and consider this your trigger warning.

I’ve been wary about writing about booze since I stopped drinking. I always think of the Bill Hicks “ex smokers” sketch and how I don’t want to become one of those preachy converts who thrive on judging people and their perceived bad habits as a means of stroking their own fevered egos and masking insecurities. There’s nothing worse than a born-again Christian that wants to save us all from eternal damnation, right? Fuck that, I have no interest whatsoever. I’m also in no position to give advice, I can only relate to you my own experience. I implore you to believe that this isn’t an easy essay to write but comes from a place of compassion and love.

To me, my sobriety is absolutely 100% my number one priority in life.

I will never walk away or ignore someone who wants to talk about recovery.

Without going into specific details, let me briefly summarise;

I think of myself as extremely lucky.

My “support network” is incredible and, whether they realise it or not, have played an absolutely vital role in my recovery. Truth is I probably don’t deserve such an amazing partner, family, friends and comrades. The ocean of utter shite I dragged them through during my “career” was beyond a nightmare. I can’t accurately express my gratitude to them and absolutely should try to do so more often. Words feel inadequate, the tightness in my stomach as I write this tells me so. I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for me. I’m grateful for every morning I wake up and I’m alive.

My problem drinking began when I drank for the first time. I am not a moderate person, I’m pretty much an all or nothing motherfucker. I knew I had a problem pretty early on; it exacerbated my extant feelings of “otherness”, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, and gave me what felt like a cloak of invincibility that insidiously ate away at the very core of my being. Alcohol to celebrate success, alcohol to commiserate the fails; you know how the story goes, it’s our culture, it’s “normal”. I put myself in harm’s way, in dangerous situations I was lucky to survive, countless times. Many friends were not so lucky.

I often joke around with Abbie that “if you cannae understand without an explanation then you’ll never understand with an explanation”. I’m usually messing around and just being silly. However, unless you know deep within yourself what the truth really is, then you’re never going to understand or believe it to be true when someone else points it out to you. Until you can admit it to yourself, you’ll never know.

I knew for years, I wasn’t even really in denial about it. I went to therapy when I was at uni but didn’t give a fuck. Many tried to help me and I threw it in their faces. My selfishness and arrogance were matched only by my self-loathing and antipathy. Alienation and nihilistic self-destruction was my path, death the ultimate destination. I thought I could handle it. I couldn’t. Drunkologies bore me. The punk scene revels in that shit.

Stopping drinking is the single best decision I’ve ever made.

Stopping drinking was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I have no problem with other people drinking.

I closed ranks to break the cycle; cancelled shows, got signed off work, went to my GP, upped my anti-depressants, called my closest comrades together and went to meetings. I wrote a fucking facebook status about it, to make myself accountable. I remember shaking on the floor calling AA for the first time. They had someone call me back and my guts just spilled; the damn broke and an ocean of shit came flooding out.

Many, myself at the time included, hold preconceptions about AA as being an overtly Christian practice. That wasn’t my experience, theism an irrelevance. You can fucking believe me when I tell you creationism isn’t on the menu. I can only encourage you to go and find out for yourself. I’d have taken some comfort in the words of Jesus to heal some of the lacerating self-analysis and bring some light. The greatest lesson I learned was don’t be an arrogant fuck and think your problems are the blackest. It’s no picnic, there are no mindless cheerleaders. It’s as real as it fucking gets.

Facing up the worst truths about yourself is hard. Looking in the mirror and accepting responsibility for your actions doesn’t always come easy, but don’t give up on yourself. I’ve been sober almost 900 days now and every day is a learning experience. It remains one of the key turning points in my life. I haven’t been to many meetings in the last year or so. Moving city helped and I love living by the river. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by so many positive and inspiring people, but even now it’s not easy. I still live with depression and probably always will, but I harbour fewer de/illusions about myself. Meditation helps but I’m slack at it.

I am humbled that people feel they can confide in me and ask for advice with their own drinking issues. As I said earlier, I will always listen to anyone who wants to talk about recovery, their path to and/or from it or whatever. From my best friends to people I don’t know, I will never ignore you. The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone and that by reaching out (fuck people who balk at that phrase) to someone, you’ve already taken that vital first step. Talking of steps; the twelve step program may work for you. How one interprets the steps is a personal matter, it’s not for one person to tell another what lies on their path or how navigate. If you focus on someone else’s, you lose sight of your own. I try not to be that person.

I respect everyone who lives with the struggle because it’s real. I’m grateful every day that I live with it because it means I haven’t fucked it, every day a little victory. As said, I will always listen and I’m more than happy to discuss any and all questions/queries that people may have on a personal basis, but my support is not entirely unconditional; please don’t swag up to me with a pint in your hand and ask “how did you stop drinking?” and expect anything other than “put the fucking pint down first”; please don’t send me messages then fill your FB with pictures and statuses about how much ye love getting burst. I fucking loved getting burst. That was exactly my problem (one of them anyways).

When people do that, it hurts my fucking feelings. Now, I’m a big boy and I’ll get over it, but it evokes in me great empathy with those people whose faces I threw shit in when they tried to help me throughout the years. It crosses my boundaries. To dismiss anything out of hand is folly but to blatantly ignore and, in some cases celebrate, exactly what you’ve reached out for support to endeavour to overcome is counter-productive at best. I wouldn’t accept that shit from my closest friends, let alone casual acquaintances or people I actively dislike. Have some respect for me but, and more importantly, have some respect for yourself.

I didn’t know where I was going when I started this blog but I knew I needed to get something off my chest. It’s something that’s been weighing on my mind recently. I’m still learning, developing my “coping mechanisms”, trying to keep my shit together. I know how lucky I am and am thankful every single day for all that I have. I know many, many people are not so lucky and that I’m in a position of massive privilege, but that doesn’t make things easier, everyone’s shite reeks. What sets you free can also be your burden. Ignorance may be bliss but it was the arrogance that nearly killed me. Even through the writing process, the act of sharing, I feel better.

When you try to give advice, you assume that you know better. Fuck that, I’m no preacher. I can only engage you if you’re willing to listen as well as talk. You are the answer to your own question, you just need to be willing to engage with yourself. Nobody can help you if you’re not at least willing to try to help yourself.

Don’t ever feel like talking about your problem(s) is a problem. The lack of talking about your problem is a problem. Without resorting to cliche, I’d encourage mindfulness and awareness. It’s amazing what you can see when your eyes are open.

There are many wonderful groups who can provide professional and peer support;

Alcoholics Anonymous

Tayside Council on Alcohol

Insight Counselling

Mindspace

Alcohol Focus Scotland

Addaction

Or speak to me, just put the fucking pint down first please.

To thine own self be true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Write Yer Ane Mini-Zine; Issue One

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Write Yer Ane Mini-Zine; Issue One

Click the link to devour. Please feel free to read and share.

I’ve uploaded the PDF in its original form, with no hyperlinks, etc. All the bands/records are easy to find so go have a swatch!

Make That A Take Records; Label FAQ

Preface; We are a small independent DIY label based on the east coast of Scotland. Our label formed at a house party show in 2006 and has evolved over the last decade into something we never anticipated. We are very grateful for the increased level of interest we’ve been receiving recently and are very excited about the possibilities that the future may hold.

However, the volume of emails and inquiries we are receiving has increased massively from even where we were a couple of years ago and we are getting to the point where it’s very difficult to reply to all messages in a constructive manner. Everyone in our collective works full-time jobs and have personal responsibilities and lives that need taking care of. We are not part of “the music industry” and we can’t do anything to “make you famous”. There are many other labels out there who may be able to do these things for you, however that label is not Make That A Take.

The absolute best way to get involved is to come down to a show and introduce yourself. Those who participate in the local music community and support the wider scene will always take precedence over bands/artists who merely see the DIY scene as a stepping stone to “better” things or to further their “career”. That’s not to say that we’re anti-career as such, many good friends of ours have gone onto great things in the music industry, but that has been as a result of years of hard work, not in spite of it. We are always keen to hear from more local bands and to grow our community. This is best achieved in person at shows.

This FAQ will be augmented, added to and expanded upon as required and is by no means exhaustive, although may be a little boring for some. As stated, this isn’t something that we’ve been desperate to put together but given their sheer volume of correspondence of late, it’s something that we feel is necessary. Apologies and thanks in advance for understanding.

We are a progressive secular anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homo/transphobic DIY punk collective. If you have any issue with any of these things, please do not contact us.

How do I get in touch?

For all enquiries pertaining MTAT bands, gigs, bookings, merch, distro, trades or antyhing else related to the label/collective, please email info@makethatatakerecords.com

For all enquries relating to Conroy’s Basement and the third party use thereof, please email kenny@makethatatakerecords.com

Please send all enquiries by email only.

Please DO NOT send messages to our Facebook page as these are very easy to miss and a response is by no means guaranteed. Also, please DO NOT message or add our personal FB profiles looking for shows. This is something that has become unmanageable recently and any breach of this request will be counter-productive. We realise this may seem harsh but you are far more likely to receive a reply in you contact us via email.

Can we get a show?

Possibly. Again, please email info@makethatatakerecords.com

Some general points; we get many gig enquiries and while we do our best to respond to each one, we cannot guarantee getting back to all bands at all times.

We DO NOT put on “showcase” gigs and are not particularly interested in “growing the audience” or “conquering new markets”. We have very little interest in demographics or creating rock stars and/or mainstream “successes”. There are plenty of avenues for this type of thing, we are not one of them.

If you are a small UK band, we think it’s highly unlikely that you actually need a booking agent. While some bands may feel that they do (to “lighten the load” or whatever), we much prefer to deal with bands directly. Your booking agent may want what’s best for your band but he/she also wants their 10/15%. Some of the “biggest” bands you know still book their own shows, you should too. However, that decision is yours alone.

International touring bands are different; we prefer to work with bookers/agents that we know and trust. However, we also like to keep an open mind so if you’re looking for a potential tour date, please do get in touch. We while do what we can but can make no promises.

Bands who support and contribute to the local music community will always be offered support slots with touring bands first. Don’t expect to be offered shows with “bigger” bands if you never come out to the “small” shows.

Do you accept demos?

Yes. We accept physical demos at shows and are happy to get them in the mail too. If you wish to send physical demos, please email us first (info@makethatatakerecords.com) and we’ll be happy to pass you an address.

We also accept LINKS to demos via email. We don’t need a thousand word biography of your band, just a short and simple introduction and a link to some recordings is fine.

Please DO NOT send mp3 or WAV files, videos, large attachments or promo photos as these take up huge amounts of space and will be discarded.

We love hearing new music of all kinds but are fundamentally a DIY punk rock label, so please take a moment to consider whether your band and our label are complimentary. Recently we’ve had enquries from everything from an American Christian pop-rock band to a Chilean right-wing black metal band. Safe to say that we’ll be working with neither so please be mindful of this before emailing so as not to waste your time or ours.

Will you put our record out?

Being honest, probably not. Most of the records we release are by bands/artists that we know and love, who we’ve worked with for years and who have been part of our wider musical community. We always have a variety of projects in the pipeline and are always keeping an eye out for what our next release may be.

While we are not restricted geographically, the artists from further afield with whom we work are those with whom we have already developed relationships in one form or another. While we do love hearing from new bands, the likelihood of us putting out a 7” EP for a French punk band we’ve never met or heard of before is very, very slim.

While not being overly harsh taskmasters, if we do put your record out, we’d expect you to do some touring and help spread the word. Putting a record together can be an expensive and time-consuming enterprise so if we were interested in vanity projects, we’d probably start with one of our own.

We’re a new band and have never toured before; can you give us all your contacts?

Yes and no. We are always keen to help support new bands, especially those who are getting out on the road for the first time, but there are many things that new bands can do for themselves. We are happy to try and provide guidance and assistance but many of our contacts are friends who may or may not appreciate bands getting in touch.

We’ve spent almost 20 years playing in bands and toured before the internet was as key a tool for tour booking as it is today; do some of the groundwork yourself and it’ll be far more rewarding. That said, if you’re a hard working and dedicated band, word gets around and people in the punk scene will know about you. We are happy to help where we can, especially for local bands, but there are limits to what we can do.

Your own hard graft will bring its own rewards!

Do you trade records? Can I carry your records in our distro?

Yes. Please email info@makethatatakerecords.com with your enquries and trade lists.

Will you carry our records in your distro?

Possibly. Please email info@makethatatakerecords.com with any/all trade suggestions and/or wholesale prices.

Can I have a promo copy of the (insert band) LP/7” for review purposes?

Highly unlikely. Records are very expensive to produce so I’m afraid we are unable to send vinyl records for promo purposes. If you’d like a digital promo copy of any release for review/blog/radio/whatever purposes, please email us and we can hook you up.

Anyone who would like added to our mailing list, please just email.

I work for XYZ major label/magazine/blog/radio station; can I get into your show for free?

No.

I work for XYZ music industry/web optimization/financial services/whatever; would you be interested in working with (being exploited by) us?

Highly unlikely but if you’re genuinely interested in working with us/something we do, feel free to fire us an email. A response cannot be guaranteed.

Who does your artwork?

Most gig posters are done by Jamie with the cut’n’paste jobs being done by Derrick. We are happy to help with artwork if we can, although by no means are we professionals or take commissions. That said, please fire us an email if you feel you need our services.

Can I get your music on iTunes/Spotify/etc?

Yes and no. All of our releases are available for streaming and download from our Bandcamp page. However, distribution to digital services are handled by the individual bands/artists as there is no uniform view on these matters, so we leave those decisions in the hands of the acts we work with. This may change in future but for now all releases can be found on Bandcamp.

Will the “Thick Letters To Friends” LP by Kaddish be re-pressed?

Possibly in future but not right now. There’s a new LP on the way.

Where can I buy your music/merch online?

All releases are available for streaming/download (the majority are free/pay-what-you-want) from http://makethatatakerecords.bandcamp.com/

All records/distro/merch/e-tickets are available from http://makethatatakerecords.bigcartel.com/

Why is Derrick so grumpy?

He’s getting long in the tooth, there aren’t enough hours in the day and he dislikes writing FAQs.