In 1998, I released a spoken word LP called Vinyl Words. The title came around because, at the time, I was incredibly pretentious, which is no real surprise; but I was also rather unimaginative, which might be.
The idea was Wendy Sol's. She thought that it would be interesting to start a small, limited run of vinyl records of authors reading their work. Since she was nineteen and didn't know any real authors that would give her project the financial security it needed, she asked me. Plus, we were sleeping together. It's true what they say about who you know and what you can get. Fortunately, she was sleeping with a Jamie Sand, a musician with more ability than either Wendy and myself, and who by that one connection, agreed to provide music to my readings. We would never have been able to pay her properly if she had been straight was the joke between the three of us.
However, from the outset, there were problems. The main one was that Wendy and Jamie believed my fiction at the time was absolutely worthless and that it should, under no circumstances, be recorded. I protested, because as already mentioned, I was filled with my own self importance, and busy writing a sequence of fiction inspired by the dockets that I found outside shopping centres. I thought we could make the jacket out of the dockets, soggy and faded and imprinted with dirty footprints though they were. Also, I protested because the two would burn copies of my stories right there in front of me, while shouting, 'No more! No more!' While it was difficult to deal with this rejection at the time, I suppose Wendy and Jamie were right.
In the end, it was Wendy who came up with the idea of doing an album of covers. An album of spoken word covers, that is.
As you can imagine, Vinyl Words didn't quite take off. We made fifty, sold them to friends, but record players were kind of out, and besides, it was shit. I suppose I'm not the best reader and Jaimie started to develop a new age, hippie angle to her music in the final stages of recording. There were lots of drums, and tambourines, and a preschool choir. It was a bit of a mess. A few years later, after Wendy and Jaimie had moved up the coast to follow that new mind set (now firmly established in both), I heard my cover of John Cheever's 'the Swimmer' mixed into the background of a dance track at Home. Made me laugh.