Nov 21, 2015

Want some 2015 music recommendations?

Every six seconds, someone asks "recommend me some music, Fats" and I'm all like "get out of my treehouse" and they're all like "give us our trousers back then" and then we play Ludo for a bit and cry.

As a way of dealing with these music queries, I've been posting music on Facebook. Almost once a day for the past two weeks, I've plonked a great track from 2015. It started with a friend tagging me and I thought, hey, why not. You can see those posts by jumping onto the Facebook tag #Fats2015. I'll keep posting most days until I get bored or I forget.

By the way, I only accept Facebook friend requests if we have a decent number of mutual friends. My Facebook friendship is an exclusive club. Not like this blog, where I'll accept the company of anyone. Low standards, here. I'm like Jesus sitting with the tax collectors and riff raff. In fact, if you can call me "Jesus" from now on, I'd appreciate it.

"Recommend me some music, Fats."


"Sorry. Recommend me some music, Jesus."

[Throws Facebook tag in their stupid face.]

Glad to help.

Nov 13, 2015

Happy birthday, my blog

The Fat Roland blog is 11 years old today. It's finally in secondary school. It's wandering along endless corridors looking for double-maths. Happy birthday, my blog.

The three most popular subjects in the history of this site, whether it was called Fat Roland On Electronica or Netloafer or Fat Roland's Oozy Bleeps or whatever, are:

> Anything about Aphex Twin. Does he have a new album? Where's the new album? What is an album? Why do my trousers hurt? Click here to read more about Aphex Twin. Of the 900+ subjects listed in the menu below, this has been the biggie. Maybe not so much now he's deluging the net with material.

> The time an Autechre album got leaked on my blog. That was a bit weird. The whole internet came looking for it. "Hey, mate, you seen the new Ae album?" "Yeah, out the back, mate." [holds door open] Click here to see the leak (go to the comments) (please pay money for music, thanks).

> The best-album lists in the fag ends of each year. Click here for the best albums of 2014 - but there are others, going back to 2009. I'm already working on this year's list. I have a longlist of 104 albums. My ears are hanging off my face like wrong spittle.

I look at the internet and I think "if there was only a way to easily have a conversation online". Blogging allows this conversation to happen. Blogs, a word which is short for "web logs", are the future and-- wait, hold on, the phone's ringing.

Hello? Yes, speaking? Sorry, what? Twit-what? No I've not heard of a "Face book". Does it have actual faces? Hello? Hello? Are you there? Don't hang up. You're the first person I've spoken to for 11 years. It's so... quiet here. I'm cold. Hug me. Please. Just for a while. What? Yes, I'll hold.

Nov 5, 2015

My voice is all over a podcast and a radio show

I'm on the End Of All Things podcast talking about the literature scene in Manchester. We talked about some pretty good topics like diversity on open mic stages. We also talked about loads of boring stuff that got cut from the final edit. The other interviewee you hear is Nija Dalal-Small, radio producer and host of In The Dark and The Real Story (both excellent).

I'm kind of hoping Rob Cutforth, the apocalypse-minded writer host, got mixed up and kept all the boring stuff by mistake. There's only one way to find out. Have a listen here or on Soundcloud here.

Evidently, the renowned Salford poetry night, host their own radio show, and I popped up on that a few weeks ago as one half of Bad Language. Have a listen here. I can't remember what we talked about. Stuff. Things. I really enjoyed it, whatever it was.

Do check out the other podcasts / shows they've got. Lovely people, all of 'em.

I get dead serious in both of these broadcasts. I surprised myself. Apparently I have depths. I'd quite like to do something stupid now. If you want me to appear in something stupid, let me know.

Oct 31, 2015

Not much coming up (lie)

I've been flat out running events. I hosted a bunch of stuff for Manchester Science Festival, and for Bad Language. Oh and I did a really fun support slot for Zach Roddis (pictured) which was the closest I've got to an Edinburgh-type performance since the Fringe. Eight events in nine days. It does mean I've been off the radar a little this month.

I've not much coming up. November and December will feel like time off, despite at least four Bad Language events. Also, later this month, I compere a new spoken word night in Didsbury called The Word. I'm really looking forward to this: it'll be in an old stomping ground with a fairly new crowd for me. Then in December, I return to the Contact Theatre to perform with Mothers Ruin, alongside local poetry legend Gerry Potter, spectactular drag hero Cheddar Gorgeous and whole bunch of other talented alternative artists. This will sell out, so grab a ticket now. It'll be fun to play with queer identity in my usual idiotic style.

Someone asked me today if all this performance stuff is leading me in a direction I want. I dunno. I'm lucky enough to have spare time to trounce round Manchester stages building and knocking down weird word sandcastles. Other people my age have families and commitments and boring things like organised sock drawers: I get to splurge my idiocy over audiences in the name of art. I'm having immense fun.

Perhaps there are two things I'm neglecting. Partly my health: I definitely could do with shedding a pound or twenty. And mainly, my fiction writing: I have a file full of stories to polish, and new ones to write. Proper page stuff, not throwaway idiot open mic stuff.

Like I say, not much coming up. Ahem.

Oct 22, 2015

Fat Roland summer (er, what?!) playlist 2015

I knocked together a playlist over the summer then forgot about it. Here is that Fat Roland summer techno playlist.

Only thing is, you musn't listen to this in any other season than summer. The techno contained within might sound a little miserablist right from the start. but it was designed for the summer and only for the summer.

If you listen to the skittery madness of Jlin, the punchy rave of Blastto's Acid Light or the carefree house of Shana Halligan's Been Waiting in autumn or winter or spring, you disgust me. Why would you even do that? Why? Whhyy? WHHHYYYYY?!

Oct 16, 2015

Ghost written: podcasts, music, Buffy and emails

I'm going to blog more even if it kills me.

Dammit. It has killed me.

I am a ghost.

At the moment, Ghost Fat Roland is listening to a whole load of podcasts: Lore for its storytelling, Richard Herring's interview and snooker podcasts, Comedian's Comedian and, recently, the Black Tapes Podcast. Ghost Fat Roland got rid of his telly a few years ago, and podcasts somehow seem like a healthier way of consuming media.

Ghost Fat Roland has been listening to Call Super's compelling Migrant EP and the gentle strains of HVOB. Here Call Super and HVOB (suitably ghosty) to nuzzle right here right now:

Ghost Fat Roland watched Buffy for the first time ever. It's surprisingly good, despite being massively dated. Ghost Fat Roland loved a crucial plot point that pivoted around an inability to use a phone if someone's on the internet.

Ghost Fa-- wait, I'm going to stop this, it's annoying. I threw Tony Wilson's 24 Hour Party People across the room because he kept referring to himself in the third person: please don't fling this blog post across the room.

Finally, I'm trying to build up a mailing list for Bad Language, the spoken word night I co-run. Do join if you want: click here. I promise to make the emails entertaining for those interested in live literature in Manchester.

That's it for now. My next blog post will have loads of music in. Ghosts hate music. TRUE FACT.

Oct 3, 2015

I love acid and the acid loves me

I'm pretty sure acid is the best kind of music.

I go through phases. Recently it's been ambient dub centred around the Beyond label of the mid-90s. I went through a big house phase a few weeks ago. And sometimes I just want noisy techno (Objekt's pretty good for this: I keep hearing sounds on the street that sound like this album).

Acid, though, is the music I'll always go back to whatever my mood. Because of its technological restraints (imagine having a genre of music that can only be made on the banjo), acid barely changes. One Josh Wink record aside, it has never commercialised, nor has it ever faded to nothing.

I Love Acid are parping out some great records at the moment. And imagine my delight when I discovered this Twitter account.
And nothing will beat Hardfloor's sledgehammer acid build-ups.

Maybe the best thing about acid, whether it's acid techno, acid house, acid gabba or acid trousers, is it's never going to be a topic of conversation at a family dinner table. There may be spilled gravy over Ed Sheeran's performance on X Factor, but no-one's going to get into a humus fight over the best era of Lords Of Acid. Acid is somehow secret clubber's knowledge, forever shaded from the glare of the mainstream. Maybe it's the drug connotations, I dunno.

Not that I've ever done the drug. No seriously, I haven't. My mind's weird enough as it is.

Acid is totally the best kind of music. Delve into those links above. Because when it's good, it's proper good. Even acid trousers, which is definitely a thing, honest. Ahem.

> Further Fats: Painting 2010 beige: Eno, Orb, Hardfloor and Seefeel

Sep 27, 2015

Why can't I just invent Facebook like normal people?

It took me weeks to recover from Edinburgh. Not physically, because the Escher cobbles of that city give you biceps of steel. No, I'm thinking more of admin. I still have August emails blinking at me with sad eyes. "Why won't you read me? Whhhyyyy?"

My life is a torrent of activity. It's always been this way. The only thing is, it's weird activity. If I was a clever web bod like Mark Zuckerberg, with a few lucky breaks I'd be a millionaire by now. Easily. Y'know, because of my natural genius. What? Shut up.

But instead I produce exhibitions of strange broken words (my work with Art Works Manchester) or have a breakdown about balloons at a bunch of Indiana Jones fans (Flim Night) or shout the word "hat" continuously at a startled crowd (The Lowry's After Hours). Yes, all these things happened.

Why can't I just invent Facebook like normal people? Everyone else does that all the time and they become billionaires every day.

Anyhoo, in the free time I do have, I've been scouring Discogs for albums I used to own but had forgotten about. I stumbled across the Positiva Ambient Collection. I knew this album inside-out but forgot it after some scrote stole all my CDs in the mid-90s.

It triggered some memories on Twitter...

I love all the stuff I do, even if it won't make me rich. But I need to find time to focus my creative energies. Give myself some aims. Take the energy of Edinburgh and turn it into a bit of a masterplan. I may even make a list, although I guess that would be admin.

What this old Positiva album has given me is some slow-down music. A soundtrack for thinking. Watch this space as I come up with a kind-of Fat Roland strategy, all to the sound of The Irresistible Force's Sky High. And you never know, I may even get round to checking my emails.

Aug 29, 2015


I found this in my drafts. No, I've no idea either.




Dogs from my knees to the horizon.


Millions of dogs,

their stupid faces blank and

puddling wet.


I've never seen

so many dogs. They all

stand there on twenty-five centimetres of air,


bobbing as they pant.



Millions of dogs.

Aug 28, 2015

Slow Reader: an exhibition of broken words

Slow Reader is an exhibition of broken words created by me, and hinted at in this here blog post here, and brought to you by Art Works Manchester.

I created this work as a kind of escape from the intense writing process for my Fringe show (see posts passim). There are a bunch of themes at work in Slow Reader, namely:

> Good writing is about editing, about ditching everything superfluous. It’s likely, therefore, that a writer will have deleted many more words than will have ended up in their final draft. Slow Reader is about that creative process of cast-offs and half-ideas; the fuzzy fragments that live at the edges of the creative mind that either don’t coalesce into something solid, or are written and then destroyed.

> The text in the exhibition is taken from several years' worth of my short stories. Many phrases and feelings live on from that work as fragments in my mind, as half-memories. This is those fragments writ large on the walls of a Manchester pub.

> The title also plays my habit of losing my place in a book. I don't fold pages or use bookmarks. I am an idiot.

You can see Slow Reader on display at Sandbar, Grosvenor Street from now for a couple of months or so.


I'm holding a launch tonight (not really a launch, just some drinks and that) and there are examples of the exhibition pieces below.

Aug 22, 2015

I feel empty (a Slow Reader teaser)

I feel empty.

I feel like a Cadbury creme egg that's had its sweet gloop tongued out by an anteater.

I feel like a Stereophonics jewel case without its CD, just some pastry crumbs and a greasy fingerprint.

I feel like a room without a roof nor walls nor furniture nor that family of spectacle-wearing grouse that I swear I saw living here last week.

I feel like the innermost soul of a television talent show: a yearning, brown vacuum of lost intent and forgotten dreams.

I feel like the inside of a balloon.

I've barely gone a day this past couple of weeks without a deadline approaching in the next hour, whether that means show editing, or hitting a flyering spot, or meeting up with someone, or - indeed - sleeping. The fringe was like a hurricane, or at least, a very stern gale. I'm now untethered, flapping gently in a dull breeze, waiting for someone to blow me.

Jeez, I really fancy a creme egg.

Anyhoo, I need a new project. And that project is about to hit like a hurricane train full of creme eggs and grouse.

Watch this space for Slow Reader, coming to a Manchester near you (i.e. Manchester) (i.e. it's a new thing that's about to happen somewhere in Manchester and it's been months in the planning)...

Aug 21, 2015

#KraftwerkBS fringe diary 7: proper unlocked

I haven’t blogged for a few days because I made a point about going to see more shows. My last few Kraftwerk Badger Spaceships went well, and now I am at home in Manchester. My Fringe is over. No more performing. No more attending. No more flyering. Just a big, gassy bag of nothing.

All I have now are reflections of a remarkable time. Here are those reflections in no particular order:

> I wanted to put on 14 shows, stay healthy, and enjoy the experience. Achievement unlocked. My average audience was something like 14 people, which ain’t bad for an unknown. I saw big names getting just 5 more than me. Nearly 200 people chose to see my debut Fringe show above a squillion other possibilities. Lawks.

> Early in the run, I was editing for two hours a day. Then it was one hour, then it was single sentences, and then I had a lovely moment a few days ago when all I had to edit between shows was one word (from “horse” to “stallion” if you must know). This means those that saw KBS later in the month saw a better show. Sorry 'bout that.

> Throw in a couple of low audiences or a walk-out from a famous comedian, and the isolation of an Edinburgh show really hits you. Enthusiastic audience feedback tempered this, and two lovely hosts in the north of the city kept me grounded. And yes, the city itself is such an eye-hugger, it has a way of architecturing your spirits back to health.

> I’m being judged against stand-ups who do this most days of their life. So throw in a run of high audiences and the knowledge that I’m hitting all my performance marks, and there is no better feeling. I’ll always remember the beaming or bemused faces in front of me, or that one person in every show who Does Not Get It, thereby proving my artistic worth.

> I was so limited. Hundreds of flyers remained un-flyered, I was slow to put up posters, I didn’t chase press interest as much as I should have done, and I barely did any guest appearances. But if I’d spent more time on that, the show itself would have been worse. Next year’s to-do list has already started.

> I’ve still so much to learn. I think I will look back on this debut show as a rickety, loveable tin-pot contraption that worked perfectly well thank you very much. What an experience. Achievement massively unlocked.

Huge thanks to the Edinburgh Fringe, Laughing Horse and the Argyle Bar for giving me a stage.

Aug 15, 2015

#KraftwerkBS fringe diary 6: like a room without a roof

Flyering on the Royal Mile. In the rain. Oh my.

I was really miserable yesterday. I'm handing out flyers for two hours a day every day. When it's sunny on the Meadows, it's kind of fine. But the clouds spat their contempt when the heavens opened as I was flyering on the Royal Mile on Friday afternoon.

To make it worse, an jolly acapella group next to me blasted out the insipid plop of wedding-reception vomit that is Pharrell Williams' Happy. I cursed my life and I moved further down the Royal Mile for some peace and quiet. And lo and behold, God placed next to me another acapella group. And guess what they were singing. Yeah, you guessed it. In Edinburgh, you are never more than six feet away from the dried, brittle shell of Pharrell Williams' credibility.

I have five more Kraftwerk Badger Spaceships left before I skateboard back to Manchester. Rather than winding down, it feels the show is gaining momentum. Not necessarily in numbers (they're keeping quite healthy considering how weird the show is, and the audiences seem delighted), but creatively I'm treading new paths. Paths with increased momentum. On my skateboard. Basically, what I'm saying is I'm gaining momentum by treading a path on a skateboard. I'm confused. What was I saying again?

Some recent big-ticket Fringe highlights: Stewart Lee being angrily visceral, George Egg's unique and spectacular cookery comedy, Joseph Morpurgo's blistering inventiveness, and drinks with friends. Some great spoken word events too (Oh Standfast / Cassie Atkinson, Stand-Up Versus Slam, Luke Wright). I tried for tickets for Nina Conti and Bridget Christie, but failed. Paul Foot and Tony Law to come.

Aug 13, 2015

#KraftwerkBS fringe diary 5: seriously excellent and/or inane

I got a review. I got a flipping review.

After only ever performing a one hour show a handful of times in my life, a reviewer sat in my audience and scribbled this for Broadway Baby: "Badger Spaceship is a seriously excellent piece of music-based comedy, and is a delight to sit through." It reads like there's a star missing, and the reviewer says "inane" a lot, but consider this:

> The show starts with a dry reading off a page to test the audience's literary mettle and, it has to be said, stamina. I am fascinated with audience alienation as a comedy tool. What I do is not 'easy' comedy.

> I'm ridiculously inexperienced at this type of performance, and I'm being judged against comedians that have worked their material over hundreds of times.

> The show is in a deep level of flux. I'm tweaking Kraftwerk Badger Spaceship every day. Some new bits work, some new bits don't so they get chopped, but the new ending is landing the show beautifully.

So am I proper chuffed with that review? You betcha.

I'm now into the second half of the run. Today is my birthday show. So it's time to increase the risks. I've switched out a weaker element of the show, which will shift the whole structure, and instead I've added these little chaps (pictured above). Already grasping for that extra star...

I feel like I'm living on the streets, despite being put up by generous hosts north of the city centre. I'm still staggering around Edinburgh in my homemade sandwich-board. I'm slowly toasting in the sun. My trainers have fallen apart. Yesterday, I paid £6 for a microwaved quiche: apparently "some rocket" constitutes a salad these days. If only I was a normal stand-up comedian: I'd totally mine that for content. It'd be cheaper to buy a real rocket! Amiright? Whatever, shut up. I've got a REVIEW.

Aug 10, 2015

#KraftwerkBS fringe diary 4: the start of an ending (poetic that, innit)

I did something drastic. I rewrote the show's ending. Today's audience was the guinea pig and it worked beautifully. The new finish lands the show with a nice clunk, a bit like a hippo dropping into a wheelie bin. I'm more pleased than a buffalo in a model aircraft shop. The audience responded like a newt riding a toboggan. Basically, something-something animal in something-something humans use.

I went to see Sam Simmons' wondeful Spaghetti For Breakfast. Sam's one of those people who's trying to bring something unique to his shows, someone who's blazing a trail of creativity through a dying forest of 't-shirt-and-jeans' stand-up comedians. Not that you should set fire to trees. Sam saw me at a bus stop after the show, thanked me for coming and shook my hand. We embraced, pressed our cheeks together and both rasped in unison, "let's petrol-bomb a larch." Okay, that last sentence didn't happen, but the point is he's a nice bloke and what he's doing is weirdly important.

One chap to whom I handed a flyer told me he owned a Moog. "Robert Moog gets a mention in my show," I said. He seemed happy with that information. I also met a cartoonist for the Beano. Two dogs have asked for flyers. Someone told me to laminate my sandwich-board: I presume that was local speak for something. Tell you what: flyering's a trek but it works. I reckon it's adding a third onto my modest audience figures. Can't complain.

Do make noise about the show if you can, chums. I'm a third of the way through. It would be great to get standing-room-only: I think that's achievable - but my audience is the only publicity machine I have. Kraftwerk Badger Spaceship is 5pm every day here until August 19th. If you tweet, use the tag #KraftwerkBS: I may even make a cartoon from your tweet (see above). Clunk!