Archive for September, 2016

Pearls part 2 and a wee explanation!

Posted: 16/09/2016 by Alternate Celt in Pearls, writing

Part 2 of Pearls is now up at FTP magazine, mosey on over to see what mischief Keri and Ami are up to now. 

I feel that a little bit more background to the story could be good for folk, especially anyone who might find the language a wee bit challenging to get into. No, I’m not writing a glossary, I just think that a bit of explanation might just help you persevere. Sorry, Ah’m no that kind 😉
Pearls on the Road is a Rock n Roll adventure; a wild ride across America and a dedication to the spirit of Janis Joplin. It’s two wild Glasgow women, one psychedelic car and a life changing road trip. Beginning with the theft of Janis Joplin’s porsche from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, we follow our two main characters, Keri and Ami, as they meet a wide selection of colourful people, take a large amount of psychoactive substances and burn up thousands of miles of road, all while trying to stay ahead of the Law and not go out like Thelma and Louise. The book’s plot centres around Keri, who narrates and Ami, who is Keri’s best friend and partner in crime. After they steal Janis Joplin’s Porsche, they go on the run in the car headed south to New Orleans on a pilgrimage in honour of Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat. Although sceptical at first, Keri and Ami come to believe they are on a mission to free Janis’s spirit from the car. In New Orleans, a voodoo ritual sets them off on a car chase with the Devil and a race against time to get the porsche to Stinson Beach in California where Janis’s ashes.
Keri narrates in her own voice, which is definitely Glaswegian, and certainly outspoken and confident. She believes in herself, and even though she’s aware she’s not taking the moral high ground in much of the story, she follows her instincts and her heart. Ami is also outspoken and able to articulate her beliefs with passion and  eloquence. I put a great deal of myself and my own interests into Pearls, as it’s something of a personal homage to America and Americana. Like Keri, I’ve practiced Martial Arts, gone to Metal gigs, dreamed of visiting Lestat’s New Orleans and been a singer. I was a teen of the 90’s and the music of that decade is as important to me musically as the music of the 60’s. The story is littered with references to songs I both loved or simply found appropriate to the girls in that moment. It ranges from Guns n Roses through to Painters, back via Motley Crew and then deep down into Janis’s discography. It makes a rather tasty playlist, or at least, I reckon so.
I play a little locally down here in Galloway, which keeps music part of my lifeblood, and I currently work as the Librarian in the Library where I discovered Interview with a Vampire as a teen. Other literary influences for the story are from Hunter S Thompson and Jack Kerouac, as well as great Scottish writers like Irvine Welsh and Iain Banks. I am also rather aware of a lack female authors writing in Scots and a lack of non romance adventure stories with female protagonists, so my aim when I write is to fill a bit of that gap.
I really enjoyed writing Pearls. The characters are vivid to me, and their adventure really kept me rolling along quickly as they explained it to me. Although there is a lot of darkness in the story, my aim was to write something fun and uplifting, which I believe I achieved quite well. 

Open Stage and some practice recording

Posted: 15/09/2016 by Alternate Celt in music, Songs

Last night was Open Stage again, and it was another great night. Guitars, bouzouki, bass and lots of voice, we had a wide range of music and loads of talent to enjoy. I played, although I wasn’t really sure I was up for it. Many thanks to the wild water of life for changing my mind ;). I played Dead Flowers by the Stones and Blaze of Glory by Jon bon moving, then promptly forgot the words to Before the Dawn halfway through. Must get on top of that wee issue. 

Blaze of Glory (rough)

It’s my wonderful guitar teacher, Anne Chaurand’s classical guitar workshop and performance on Sunday, so today I’ve turned my focus on to the pieces I need for that. Among others, I’ve been polishing up Fandanguillo for that. Really looking forward to the day. Eva Popov will also be there, so it promises to be an excellent workshop. 

fandanguillo September

Courses, blogs and music, oh my!

Posted: 06/09/2016 by Alternate Celt in Extracts, Ghàidhlig, Life, music, musings, writing
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I’ve signed myself up for two very different courses to keep me busy and growing all winter long. In my thirst for self improvement I decided I need to revisit Creative Writing from a formal perspective, so I’m doing the first level course with the OU, starting next month. I’m also revisiting Scots Gaelic with an online course with the school in Skye. Between the two of them, they will probably tax my wee brain to it’s limit, so I will likely not be posting a great deal here for a while, although there are still a few exciting wee treats to come. 

I will be serialising Pearls on the Road for FTP (fuck the patriarchy) magazine, which is a new and exciting feminist mag covering the whole world of issues and culture with a bit of pith and passion. Once the Girls are go on the site, I will post links to the parts here!

The summer has been busy, largely with music and baking, but also with life. The winter will be busy with learning. As a sop, I’m posting a new wee snippet of Burn, since that’s been my main writing project over the summer. I will be sad to put it aside as Tighe has really grown on me as a character. Looking forward to checking back in with her and her boys next year.  Anyway, here’s their first gig!



I realise, just before the lights go up on the tiny stage we’re crammed into, that I have never been so fucking terrified in my life.  I have a dozen flashbacks; black and white freeze frame vignettes; the first time Dad put me in hospital, my first time as a hooker, my first cold turkey, my first beating from Shane.  It seems like just about fucking everything, including the crash that morning, all passing by my eyes as the stage lights spark into life and none quite measures up to the fear clutching my heart and squeezing my throat closed.  Oh shit.  We cannot afford to fail.  I cannot afford to fail, because I have to get out of the bullshit life that just flashed in front of my eyes.

Light floods the stage, my throat miraculously opens and I step up to the mic.

“How the fuck are you doing, people?” I yowl, wildcat like,  as Zack makes his guitar growl  behind me, echoing me.  I feel spikey, bitchy and dangerous and I am going to make these people pay attention to me.  The crowd, noisy and more concerned with drinking than music until then, goes suddenly hushed.

“That good, huh? I’ve had a shitty day too,” I chuckle darkly at them.  Zack makes his guitar snigger then howl like he can’t decide to laugh or cry.  I feel ears prick up all around the room.  Ché comes in then, on a low, soft chugging riff  under which Emilian creeps.  Zack gets pulled down into the growing  song by them and Jason snaps to, tumbling into the beat. I hear the song solidify and I know where I am.

“We are Tighe Blackheart and the Highwaymen.  Y’all oughta know this song,”

We’d argued all the way across the North District about the song we were going to open with.  Ché had been set on Welcome to the Jungle but after the shit we’d been through there was no fucking way I could start out singing that.  Ché had been busy arguing that Axl Rose had always sounded shit on his first song when Jason chipped in with For Those About To Rock. No fucking way I’d been about to exclaim when Zack and Ché both gasped “yes!”.  I suggested a dozen other songs, all pulled out of the air, and they were looking at me skeptically when Emilian suggested Crazy Train, which won the coin toss against some other song I don’t fucking remember now.  It doesn’t even matter, because we absolutely kill that fucker and the place is jumping.  

What can I say?  We’ve got Chémistry, and it doesn’t even matter that we haven’t had time to change out of our bloodied, ripped and filthy clothes, or that we’ve been to hell and back today, once we start playing together we play like we’re fucking possessed. It’s awesome, like the best drug you can buy and the only one you can really share.  

My voice warms up, the boys loosen up and the drinks start flowing our way.  We tear through our improvised set, playing by wire.  The stage is cramped, so I spend a lot of the night back to back with Zack, or wound round him, swinging my ass like a pole dancer while his fret board is smoking.  It must have been driving him crazy, because we had barely stepped off the stage before he was dragging me off to the toilets to fuck me against a wall.  Fuck it, I was more than ready for him.  All that grinding against those tight leather trousers of his had made me slick as a river and aching for him.  It gets me like that every fucking time.

When we stepped back into the walk in closet sized dressing room the party was already in full swing.  We’ve been around the world so many times now it makes my head spin, but we’re still living the same party that started after that first gig.  It had been a baptism of fire, which we’d survived and then kicked ass. Damn fucking right we wanted to party.