Stream of Conscious Mess

Experimental Writing Workshop

I only know that to express this drama I sail very well among fragments, chance finds, the sudden recollection of books, lives, texts, or simply individual sentences that gradually enlarge the dimensions of the labyrinth without a centre
Bartleby and Co. Enrique Vila-Matas

Writing is about finding yourself and self-expression, yeah? Well it can be. But there are other routes and other options. Utilising a wide range of techniques drawn from modern art and avant-garde literature, (eg found-objects, cut-ups) the aim of the workshop is to apply these oblique strategies to the creative process. Participants can explore these techniques in whichever way they see fit. Some use the workshop purely for fun and diversion, others use it as a way of kick starting the narrative process, others still use it purely in terms of problem solving, addressing writers block, plot issues, etc. The workshop is very flexible, and can last from two hours to an entire day, depending on the requirements of the group. It has run very successfully at major events including the Huddersfield Literature Festival and Liverpool Chapter and Verse Festival, and various creative writing groups in colleges and universities.

Do get in touch if you would like me to bring my stream of conscious mess to your event.
See Contact for details.



Ad Lib Repeat To Fade

Mine is a three-act life marked off in distinct stages. Life changing events happened to me at 25 and 50 which helped shape the precise narrative of this book. The constant throughout that life is music. I was born in 1954, which means I am the same age as rock and roll, the same age as the pop culture I grew up with, and which grew up with me.

Ad Lib – As a kid you assimilate music piecemeal. Everything is governed by random impulses, chance encounters. There is no grand plan. When you’re young you make it up as you go along but that’s ok because pop is making it up as it goes along too. Everything you do is synchronised to and in sync with the contours of the culture. I heard my music on Children’s Favourites on the Light Programme, on offshore pirate radio, on Radio One in those years when the BBC had a monopoly and pop to a kid with little pocket money was strictly rationed. With so few outlets you learn to project. Imagination becomes paramount. You dream your pop dreams.

Repeat – As a kid I dreamed of being in a band. Then I got to be in a band. There were far less soundchecks in my dreams. By the time you reach the second half of your twenties you have been round the block a time or too. The past is being sold back to you as heritage, as golden oldies, as CD reissues, as myth. What began as impulse and ad lib has been invaded by conditioned response and cliché. The private joys and sorrows of fandom are confronted by received wisdom and the institutional construction of nostalgia. The mythical sixties, rather than the sixties you lived through, has been invented. The audio theme park of oldies radio regurgitates the Top 30 as selective tradition. DJs plays the pop charts of your youth, sometimes in sequences that are life-affirming, at other times in a way that is repellent to everything you cherish. You rarely recognise the pop past that they talk about as the one you lived through. Every time another famous person dies, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan, John Lennon, John Peel, there is further disconnect between the music you shared an intimate relationship with and the person they are discussing on your TV.

Fade – Staring down both barrels at your own mortality gives you fresh perspective. Once you’ve been diagnosed with and recovered from a life-threatening illness the music somehow sounds different. The words have different resonance now even though the same notes are playing. You realise there was a reason why you fell in love with the things you fell in love with and why the best of it stayed with you.

By this reckoning I should live till I'm 75. After that everything will be encores curtain calls and codas.

I grew up in a council house in a small town in rural Bedfordshire. I was a bright working- class kid who became a Grammar School reject. Music saved my life on more than one occasion. I've been a singer in a band, a radio broadcaster, an academic, a music journalist and a respected music biographer with a track record with major publishers. Despite this, no publisher was willing to option Ad Lib : Repeat To Fade so I decided it publish it myself as an Amazon Kindle and as a print on demand paperback.


Lyrics of Syd BarrettAd Lib to FadePsychedelia and Other ColoursSyd Barrett: A Very Irregular HeadVinyl junk yardSelling the sixties - Rob ChapmanDusk Music - Rob Chapman
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Rob ChapmanI thought the internet was looking a bit sparse and lacking in traffic. Writers in particular seem a bit under-represented, so welcome to my Website. I am a music biographer, novelist, and hackademic without portfolio. I used to be a music journalist. Here you will find news about me and my scribbler life and some other stuff too.


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