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Stories for Ears: Tapes & Tales and MacGuffin

In a first for me, one of my recent stories has been podcastted on the excellent Tapes & Tales. It's another outing for 'Broadcast of the Foxes' which was previously published in issue 13 of Structo Magazine, making it my most successful story evar I think. The lovely folk at Tapes & Tales have done a great job of bringing the story to life. It's me doing the reading, but the music is an original piece by the podcasters (by Dan Jagger, I think). It's a beautiful lilting, pulsating, tick-tock guitar and piano piece which lends my angry-angsty words a curiously fragile and yet relentless aura. It's got an off-kilter folksyness about it which fades and sweeps into new shapes in beautiful ripples with the story.

Interestingly, the very first outing of 'Broadcast of the Foxes' was a live reading in collaboration with my musician brother (murmur), which we performed at Montpelliers Cafe in Manchester last year. The music that Rick came up with back then was completely different - an atmospheric, glitchy electronica piece with fox bark samples and an almost club-track dancefloor ending, inspired by the ending of Bjork's 'Crystalline'. We should resurrect it I reckon. This is one of those tales that lends itself well to fusions with music - maybe there's a weird little EP in this somewhere...

Incidentally, Tapes & Tales are looking for story contributions so do get in touch with them if you fancy it. Dan's done a fabulous job of taking my stuttered recording and turning it into something seamless. The rest of this particular episode is well worth a listen too with a haunting story of urban encounter by Bridge Williams and an amusing (if somewhat unsettling) anecdote on loss of control in digital media as related by an anonymous voice. And if you like what they do, subscribe on itunes so they can keep on doing it.

Further adventures in audio stories have found me bunkering down into the wonderful self-publishing app MacGuffin, created by Comma Press. I've got three brief tales up there nestled among Shakespeare's sonnets and stories by some of my favourite contemporary short story writers including Fat Roland, Adam Marek and David Gaffney.

MacGuffin is wonderful. Very easy to use, refreshingly clean and simple, and free of pretension or overbearing connectivity. For a writer it is totally hassle-free, which is welcome relief in an age of an overly-complicated Goodreads (seriously, that is one of the ugliest places) and try-hard Google+s (which I've now completely given up on). MacGuffin has clear instructions and only asks you to do a handful of simple things: upload text, upload audio, publish. As a reader, all you need do is read, listen, and rate. Simple as.

MacGuffin feels like it's still very much in its experimental early stages so I do hope it continues to grow and find more users. My latest story on there is a brand new piece of insect-based crime called 'Trails' and the recording was taken live at last month's Bad Language event. The other two, 'The Haunter' and 'Spiderseed', I recorded myself in a makeshift duvet fort to reduce background noise. It was like being ten again.

So anyways. Stop reading these damn words. Give your eyes a well deserved rest and let your ears do some of the flippin work for once.

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