This last week was rather special. Every year around this time, the precession of the sun and my evening commute align so that beautifyl warm light streams through the glass facade of Schiphol Airport.
It’s a rare configuration; most of the rest of the year the sun is blocked by nearby buildings when it’s so low on the horizon, so when I noticed it for the first time, I was captivated. I took out my phone, kneeled down and took some pictures of silhouetted people crossing that incredible light, consciously thinking about contrast and tone and composition, and beginning my passionate love-affair with photography.
Last year I was regrettably too busy with work to exploit this rare alignment, so when it rolled around this year, I took ten minutes a day just to discretely catch some shots of anonymous, ethereal passers-by, capturing a vague and fleeting snapshot of a person in the limbo between A and B, and here are the best ones.
Back in the USSR! Last year, the organisers of RusFurrence invited me to snowy Russia in the middle of a (balmy) winter as Guest of Honor, and this year I accompanied their new GoH, Fox Amoore, since I just can’t get enough of Russian furries.
Laser tag. Awesome fursuit games. Endless, wonderful room parties, incredible hospitality… it took my breath away. Too many incredible memories and wonderful people to mention, so take a gander at the highlight gallery below and catch a glimpse.
(photos are annotated with descriptions, for those interested in the saucy details!)
I love you all!
Memories of #RusFurrence: during Fox Amoore’s charity concert (guest starring yours truly) this young man requested he play ‘something romantic’ for his girl. After some cajoling the couple agreed to dance on stage, to roaring applause.
Something tells me they won’t be forgetting that night any time soon.
Recording Fox Amoore’s new album at Abbey Road Studios!
With Colson, Amadhia, Lilipad, Shay, EZWolf, and more.
(full gallery here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexfvance/sets/72157640293640934)
Fox Amoore, pianist and composer, approached me last year with an interesting project. He’d crowd-funded the recording of his new album, Come Find Me, exceeding the amount he needed nearly fourfold, so he could afford to fly in vocalists he’d worked with in the past, and even the English Chamber Orchestra. Was I interested in documenting the event?
Why yes, Fox. I’m your huckleberry.
I flew in to London, staying with friends to save a bit of cash and take the opportunity to reconnect. Late flight, overnight nap, and early in the morning I signed in at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. These rooms and wires and people produced the sounds of lonely-hearted Sergeants, of riders in the Shire, of the soaring Falcon. And now we, a plucky band of independents, stood there too.
The world is small and creative people live large, so I’d actually previously met Amadhia and Alexander James Adams before, and Colson is a longtime friend. At conventions and concerts dotted across time and space I’d made their acquaintance, but you don’t really get to know someone until you sweat with them, labouring in the bilge of creation.
Fox, supported by his retinue, led the troupe with a light hand – all of them seasoned professionals. Every miscommunication was briskly resolved, everyone stepped in wherever they could to make the album happen.
Case in point: I busted my ankle on the first day and limped for the remainder (did I mention that Abbey Road is made entirely out of stairs?) until Colson tackled me to the couch and, having been a manual therapist in a previous life, subjected me to an agony I can’t describe but which had me light-footed a day after.
We gathered on the Studio 1 balcony when the orchestra filed in and started tuning, Fox giddily grasping at the gently floating strands of his compositions, until the hall fell to goal silence… and it began.
The music was beautiful, but it was more than that. All of us are independent artists cut from the old cloth – clawing and scrabbling forward, self-taught or self-funded and used to self-reliance, elevating our work and extending our reach and we sat in the rafters of one of the most famous studios in the world listening to the birthsong of something none of us could have dreamed of. The album was Fox’s baby, but we were aunts and uncles, all of us.
But labour is labour, and we earned our keep. Recording and engineering and waiting, scrambling for time to snag a portrait or a space to rehearse, supported by engineers of unbelievable taste and sensitivity. I was to narrate the opening voice-over, and with minutes to spare I think I may have had the shortest session the studio’s ever seen, nailing my part in 90 seconds, so there was still time for the bass player to lay down one more track.
Packing up and heading out, vigilantly guarding the flight case containing the digital recordings, it felt unreal, like leaving home.
Those few days in rainy London… none of us will ever forget them.
Look for Fox Amoore’s new album Come Find Me later this year (his digital catalogue can be found at Bandcamp); with contributions from Amadhia, Lily, Alexander James Adams and Colson of Polite Fiction (check out his 2013 EP Portrait).
The Bad Dog Book Club website archive is online:
Founded by Skip Ruddertail and Toonces, the podcast ran from 2011 to 2012, featuring stories submitted by furry authors, read by furry narrators, and discussed by Skip and Toonces and their occasional guests.
64 episodes in total, discussing 35 stories, including works by K. M. Hirosaki, Not Tube, Pyrostinger and Whyte Yoté, to name but a few, and featuring the voice talents of some fifteen readers including Sparf, Buck Hopper,
And including Yours F. Truly; turns out I contributed a baker’s dozen readings. How time doth fly.
Every episode is there represented, and there’s a menu that shows episodes by author or narrator as well.
If you contributed a story or a recording to the Book Club, please feel free to link to your page on the site; I’ll be keeping the archive up indefinitely if I can and otherwise I’ll find an alternative solution again. It took quite a bit of work to rebuild the archive (the original host, Posterous, shut down after being taken over by Twitter) but I think it was worth it.
I miss the Book Club. It was an exciting nexus between furry readers and writers who seldom get to commune over audio.
Please share and enjoy!
- Alex “Khaki” Vance
A little late for the Christmas charts, and of course I’m no singer, but here’s my a cappella contribution to the furry winter season. Happy solstice!
It’s the time of the year that I hold most dear…