The End of Music – a new chapbook

My new chapbook, The End of Music, published by The Black Light Engine Room and the indomitable PA Morbid, is out now.

What’s it all about? It’s about playing in never-quite-famous indie bands “back in the day”, and also about loads of rock and pop stars who are no longer with us. Not exactly the ’27 club’, but that kind of thing. People gone too soon. And there’s plenty of them. And it’s about the joy of music, and how it makes you feel.

Who’s in the End of Music supergroup? Lemmy. Syd Barrett. Prince. Michael Hutchence. Sophie. Metallica’s Cliff Burton. Alice Coltrane. Stuart Adamson. Leonard Cohen. And there are other references to, to Mahler, Selena Gomez, more. There’s even one about Pavement that you can read to the rhythm of ‘Cut Your Hair’.

And so the poems in The End of Music include descriptions drawn from my own experiences of time as a singer and songwriter, and from performing as a musician in bands in the 80s, 90s, 2000s. And they also include a bricolage of mediated, cut-up and collaged words and phrases originally found in music reviews and critical retrospectives, online and in print, from a wide variety of sources including ‘below-the-line’ comments on sites such as YouTube.

Versions of a few of the poems have previously been published in The Broken Spine, DREICH 9, and Beir Bua’s journal.

Here are some notes on the text with irrelevant page numbers:

p8 Syd Barrett was the co-founder of the English psychedelic and progressive rock band, Pink Floyd.
p9 Oh Yeah is a song by Can, the German experimental rock band.
p10 Manuel Göttsching is a German musician and composer, and an influential experimental Krautrock/Kosmische Musik guitarist.
p11 Journey in Satchidananda, is an album by jazz keyboardist and harpist Alice Coltrane, featuring saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders and named for her spiritual adviser Swami Satchidananda.
p14 Ace of Spades is a song by UK heavy metal band Motörhead. Lemmy was the band’s singer and bass player.
p18 Leonard Cohen died in November 2016.
p20 The words “Our love was made to rule the world, you left me wanting what we were” are from the Selena Gomez song Forget Forever. ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’ is a poem by German poet Friedrich Rückert, which was set to music by Austro-Bohemian composer Gustav Mahler.
p21 “Bimm Bamm”, or “Bim Bam”, is a phrase sung by the boy’s choir in the fifth movement of Mahler’s third symphony.
p22 ‘Cut Your Hair’ was a 1994 single by US alternative band Pavement. Its lyric can be swapped for this poem.
p24 Taylor Swift’s album 1989 was released in 2014.
p25 Disintegration Loops is a suite of music by the American avant-garde composer William Basinski.
p26 Tchakrulo or Chakrulo is a Georgian folk song and was recorded for the Golden Record, which was carried into space aboard the Voyager space missions.
p27 Sophie Xeon was a Scottish musician, singer and producer. She died in January 2021.

If you’d like a copy of the chapbook they’re £6 and available almost exclusively from yours truly, so message me and we can arrange details.

It’s a fun little thing this. I hope anyone who loves or plays music will like it.

MWB x