In 2013 I published online my first completed novel I am the Local Atheist set in Invercargill ("the arsehole of the world" according to either Mick Jagger or Keith Richards after visiting in 1965 on a tour). It tells the story of David, a young Christian man who was kicked out of his church and abandoned by his friends, and who proceeds to seek a new life with new experiences outside the comforting walls of a church community. In doing so, he meets Lucas, a young man of similar age who experiences life on his own terms with the goal of fulfilling his own ego - not those of anyone outside himself, or some imaginary higher being. This influence allows David to see himself in radical new terms beginning a transformation that breaks down the walls that were previously surrounding and inhibiting his actions.
This new edition began last year after publishing and distributing my first poetry book The Tasman Journey - a successful endeavour that planted it in independent and franchise book retailers all across the North Island, as well as Page & Blackmore in Nelson. This independent distribution being done by myself from my own car, travelling from city to city, stopped when I stopped in the Kapiti Coast last year for a winter retreat and working to earn some more financial backing (first on Transmission Gully Motorway drilling and delivering bitumen samples, and later as a Gardener at a Retirement Village). The idea for a new cover began as a pencil sketch in my sketchbook, but when passing a church I suddenly realised the front and the angle I was looking at it from both replicated with close similarity to the idea that was in my head, so quickly got out the cellphone and took some sample photos.
The final design:
Currently the final proofing is being done for the text file, and soon the book will be printed and available to purchase online from this website before seeking wider New Zealand Distribution.
Here I am on the Sign-in Gatehouse manning the Arrival Time-in/Time-out sheet. There I was about an hour ago having a deja vu. It felt like a premonition of being here and being asked to stay on this job. I was awoken at 4:40 by my alarm playing the Allegro from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 6, a light and fluffy rise to the morning, less brutally cold than other mornings, and time enough with 40 minutes of travelling to arrive at this destination before 6 o’clock.
I cannot pull out my laptop on the civil construction site like I can now. Even if it has taken four hours to catch up on all the names that need to be ticked off after the vans, utes and cars coming up and stopping for my window to slide open, me trying to scribble down their names with their time of arrival, and then to find on the Time-in sheet afterwards, it is still a welcome change from labouring around concrete and machinery. I brought books with me also. I have done one set of 21 press-ups, 9 pull-ups with my boots on (leg-ups combined). I cannot do these on the site, unless we are in a waiting mode (press-ups, yes, but chin-ups I’d have to find a scaffold area).
I have put on bulk. Weight is questionable, as I always seem to weigh around 65-68kg, but my stomach has definitely pushed out into a more rounded look opposed to the toned almost-abs I had last year. I keep buying shit food after work, ice creams while filling up with petrol (two in one night! (but to be fair on the ice creams - they were bloody nice!)), or takeaway hamburgers, fish and chips, and am not doing any exercise (of any consequence beyond some hard work on the site). For today, tomorrow and Monday’s stint here at the Gatehouse, I bought chocolate milk to have with my coffee, wine gums, a block of chocolate, gluten free bread with plum jam and "Everything Butter"; and I’m thinking WHY WHY WHY??? - this shouldn’t be any different from any other day. But it’s the old “eat to kill the time and boredom trap”. I won’t be bored. I have a laptop, I have books, I have vehicles consistently coming in and out needing to be registered. Truth is, I saw a toaster, a small oven, and a sandwich toaster in here when spending time with Ian on Tuesday and Wednesday to see how he did things and get a hang of the process, and my mind went crazy with thinking about the things I could eat and cook for myself while here. Yet all those things are not what I usually eat. And it would be okay to make an exception across these next few days IF I was exercising and eating better during the week. But after every dinner meal this week, I have continued eating: cheese and honey, salami, yoghurt, whatever I have that fills me beyond the point of satisfaction. Its been crazy. And I’ve had no self-control. I started bringing food to work, more to stop feeling left out while everyone around me ate than to try to curb the after-dinner eating by making me fuller through the day, but it hasn’t made much difference.
It’s cold, and I want to eat to keep myself warm.
If the premonition was never realised as such, was the premonition just a deja vu of the feeling of a premonition?
If time is static with no past or future and only exists as a present state within the three dimensions of space, what made my brain create a feeling of deja vu in the first place?
But we know that time is a fundamental property of space by the distortions created on it from gravity and speed, so how can deja vu not be a real interaction with the future? In what way has time been distorted by gravity to create this sense within myself? Because gravity is already exerting its influence on me? Would that not mean then, that I entered a time-frame that itself had remained static? Had gravity in some way stopped, or slowed time from this future state and I walked into it?
What happens after that interaction to that future state? Does it remain in a temporal stasis? Does it spring forward like a rubber band? Does it fade like it was the remnants of a quantum potentiality, an alternative path that I will never know because I either took it and it came to fruition, or I didn’t take it and it didn’t come to fruition?
Is that what deja vu is – a rubber band of potential futures stretching backwards and forwards as these biological brains of ours suddenly come into contact with them? It affects us because we recognise a memory, but that memory is of us living in the now. And we ask ourselves ‘how can that be?’ We do not memorise the now, we experience it, and what we remember is translated into the concept of a past.
Presto Classical, a website hosting Orchestral Music products and events based in the United Kingdom, has for a number of years now, perhaps 8-9, helped me to discover many new Classical composers I had not heard of before by offering samples from CDs to listen to and providing downloads from mp3@320kbps to Hi-Res CD Quality 24K Flac files for purchasing at very reasonable prices. On top of that, record labels frequently offer discount offers of 20-30% off advertised prices for a limited time. Presto Classical has been my absolute go-to for CDs and downloads since Amazon became an extremely overpriced market place with postage often doubling the cost of a CD alone. Postage to New Zealand is a nightmare of expensive costs, and with Bandcamp and Presto Classical giving the purchaser some control over what they buy and the quality of downloads (Bandcamp can offer mp3, flac, and wav. files, depending, I guess, on the artist's own preferences), these are currently the only two online services I can recommend and continue to purchase from. As far as I know, Amazon, Gooogle, iTunes, and other streaming services etc., do not provide anywhere near the same customer orientated quality.
Check out the full range of the Presto website: www.prestomusic.com/
Krommer is one such a composer who I discovered through the Presto Classical website. Born half a year after George Frideric Handel before the Baroque Period of music began waning and the new form of Classical music brought on by J.S. Bach's sons sought clearer musical textures with less "business", Krommer also died 4 years after Beethoven when the period of Romantic Music had caught the wind of change and was about to become a full blown course of musical exploration. Thus Krommer lived through the entire Classical Period in which he is associated with. Quite a feat when one considers that few people lived past 50 or 60 in those days: Bach and Handel both survived into their 70s as well, but Mozart passed at the early age of 35, Beethoven at 56, Schubert 31, Chopin 39, and many commoners did not have clean and healthy living environments that the wealthy could maintain to ward off disease.
Krommer has never been a composer as highly regarded as the previously mentioned, nor has he even been a composer worthy of noting by any publications - hence my never having heard of him before. But with J.S. Bach's sons leading the charge of the Classical Period, Haydn creating compositional masterclasses on how to compose in this new gallant style, Mozart capping it all off with his genius of prolific tune-making, orchestral colouring, and absolute mastery of every genre, and Beethoven pushing the Classical Period to breaking point and ushering in the heroic nature of the forthcoming Romantic Period, to be honest, any other composer of this period was hardly ever going to get a look-in. But while Krommer and his contemporaries, such as Franz Ignaz Beck, and Johann Baptist Vanhal, all live in the shadows of critical opinion, that does not mean they don't deserve to be listened to. Vanhal in particularly has many a tuneful sinfonia worth putting on your playlists.
What struck me about Krommer on first listening to his symphonies was how dramatic they were, how they seemed to evoke the same spirit of Beethoven without the suffering or heroism. On further listening I thought I even heard very similar Beethoven-type phrasing and I began wondering if this might have been a composer who Beethoven borrowed from. This remark seems sacrilegious, but it is well known that Beethoven took ideas from Mozart and reworked them considerably enough that they became completely his own:
Not only the 'Ode to Joy' tune can be found in a Mozart Sacred Work,
There is so much music out there going unheard, not just in the realm of orchestral music, but also in all forms of contemporary music, but if you find yourself becoming a little bit bored hearing the same Mozart and Beethoven works again and again, I can highly recommend Franz Krommer as an alternative: Not as charmingly tuneful as Mozart, and not as heroic or excessively weighty as Beethoven, the symphonies still manage to convey intensely dramatic episodes while also being tunefully appealing. I also listened to samples from his Oboe Concertos, and these few snippets were absolutely wonderful and went straight onto my wishlist for future purchasing.
Check out some samples on Presto Classical
Symphonies: Krommer - Symphony Nos 4, 5, & 7
Oboe Concertos: Mozart & Krommer - Oboe Concertos
Some updates to keep me updated.