2017 has been a slobberknocker so far! I’ve had to quit my teaching job for health reasons (chronic fatigue/epic arthritis) so next year is looking hela-tough.
I’ve met so many amazing people through my teaching, and while the schedules have often been obscenely intense, I have cherished meeting the kind-hearted people that I have and hopefully playing some small role in broadening their opportunities.
I’m trying to stay in Tokyo making music, streaming and writing manga so any help/projects/job I can do from home would be amazing. 💛
Thank you for your support.
So about two years ago I got arthritis and an accompanying dizziness/pain/chronic fatigue/join imflammation combo that makes stuff a bit challenging in my daily life. I’ve tried a lot of epic medicines all of which spaced me out too much to really function socially and mentally.
So this year I’ve mainly focused on fitness, interval running to trigger adrenaline and trying to ensure I don’t lose too much height due to rubbish posture! Unfortunately this year I haven’t had the mental energy to give my mixes the attention they deserve/need.
Fortunately, I think my fitness stuff has paid off a bit, as this week I was able to come off some pretty epic painkillers and despite being reminded of the true epic’ness of stubbing your toe, mentally I feel a lot better – I have more energy after work and literally feel like I can jump into Logic X and get stuck in to what I love doing. This has been going really well the last few consecutive days, and I wonder if by blocking off pain receptors in such a boss way – the electrical impulses that are my thoughts were also made harder to detect? I dunno – but I know that NSAID drugs are still new and aren’t fully understood yet – so it’s v.possible that the drug I was on was crampin my style!
I’ve also found a way of visualizing my energy levels – it’s like an RPG Where the game character has HP and MP only my MP is mental power!
So recently to boost my HP I’ve been interval running (unimpressively!) every 2 days, that attempting to t-Rex run relatively fast gives me adrenaline and sorts my mood and MP so I can cast awesome magic spells (make music n stuff!)
I’m trying to alternate that with just basic home workouts + Tai Chi + karaoke every other day – again, making sure the home workouts are intense enough to lift my heart rate and inspire a more alert conscious state.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at! It’s just me and money I get from Patreon supporting my music at the moment – without label support or a manager it’s been tough, but I’m doing my best and working more productively than I’ve been able to for the last 9 or so months.
I’ve aimed for a lot of collaborations this year, but almost all of them have fallen through sadly, and without label support or a manager I’m gonna have to work very hard to make some waves again, but I feel more equipped do so now than ever, and I have a lot of experience and expertise to fall back on – so while I’ve seemingly lost a lot of fans and support, I’m extra thankful for the love I’ve been shown by friends, fans and all who occupy both categories.
It’s been a v.rough year so far, but I’m not giving up, gonna try and get 4/5 tracks sounding dope and then get in the studio with a great collaborator (hopefully next month!). Fingers crossed I can get it all done 💪 (If I can’t, it won’t be for lack of tryin’!)
I released my debut album on August 20th, 2015. It was a big, life-changing moment for me, up there with completing my Master’s Degree in Music Performance. The album featured collaborations with the wonderfully talented Japanese composers Manami Matsumae, Saori Kobayashi and Takahiro Izutani, and was featured in RocketNews as well as Time Out magazine. It’s now half-price too! The CD is $7 and the download is $6.
Since then I’ve made several game soundtracks, podcast themes and managed to get back to making music regularly again (after a year of not being able to play due to health issues).
I have also started a Patreon (www.patreon.com/smokethief), which is my only regular source of income from music. It’s my hope that my hard work and determination will inspire more support for my music. The internet is a big place and it’s hard to get music heard these days, but I’m confident things are ‘on the up’ again (as we say in the UK!).
Thank you to all my fans and friends who’ve shown support for what I do over the last few years. There have been quite a few obstacles, but I really hope to bring you more music as soon as possible. Thanks again!
All the best.
George / Smoke Thief
Comiket is SUPER FUN! I thought I’d put together this little guide for visiting.
PASSMO/SUICA rail card charged with 2000 yen
A few soft drinks
Some lovely snacks (Big Sight’s restaurants and convenience stores can be crowded)
If you’re coming from Tokyo, it’s usually best to take the Rinkai Line (りんかい線,) from Osaki (大崎) station and then get off at Kokusai-Tenjijo station (国際展示場駅). I recommend buying a PASSMO or SUICA card first from one of the Metro or JR ticket machines, as if you don’t have one, expect to add another hour to your trip waiting to buy a ticket. If you’re coming from Tokyo, I’d put about 2000 yen on it, that should more than be enough to get there and back (if not quite enough, it will at least get you out of Kokusai-Tenjijo!!
This is Tokyo Big Sight – you just keep to the right after you exit Kokusai-Tenjijo station (follow the crowds).
Once you’re in, ask the staff where you can pick up a guide book. The event mainly takes place in the East Halls, so you’ll want to head in that direction. The crowd will all be walking that way anyway!
Sometimes the information areas are impossible the find and the different event areas really aren’t well signposted, so here’s a map, with that and the guide book, you’ll be invincible!
A few general hints –
• Things tend to shut down between 3 and 4ish (some tables even fold away about 2pm), so it’s best not to arrive too late. The event technically starts at 10am, but I usually arrive around 12pm to miss the morning queues. You may wish to try arriving around 11am if you want to see more stalls without the full ardour of queuing to get in.
• Just a word of warning to parents – The event is kinda unsuitable for kids, there is A LOT of XXX material and some very in-your-face posters. Comiket’s shown no signs of taming or quarantining this element of the festival, it is simply just the way it is – there is crazy nakedness in pretty much every hall. It is perhaps part of the events’ ethos, which states ‘Comiket places emphasis on community building that empowers individual creativity, initiative, freedom.‘
• The Cosplay Area –
This is super fun and the models are usually very patient and pleased to have their photos taken. It is polite to ask ‘sumimasen, shashin o tottemo ii desu ka? (すみません、写真を取ってもいいですか？) and it is impolite to ask the models for photos outside of the Cosplay Area.
• Manga pros will already know, but Comiket is famous for Doujinshi (同人誌) which are kind of fan-written comics, based on a popular franchise. A lot of these artists are incredible, but just beware that if it’s a big name, like Final Fantasy, it’s likely not the original product unless it says so.
• This year Hall 7 has a lot of new stuff including some incredible gadgets, games, tech, VR stuff and cosplayers’ shops.
• Because it’s August, the humidity is crazy. It might not feel that hot, but it somehow still makes you dehydrated, so keep your fluids up!
That’s really all there is to it! Go, have fun!