Here’s One More Missive…

Sounds Good!

This is Sounds Good! newsletter number one hundred. This is the 100th time your inbox has been hit with my thoughts. Or the 100th opportunity you’ve had to find this newsletter online. I know this because I write it, and I save each one as a number. Today’s is number 100.

Sounds Good! started in February of this year. Almost as a dare. My friend Emily – she writes this great Substack newsletter – had said, more than once, ‘what are you doing?’ And ‘join the revolution’. And ‘don’t be a dick’. And things like that. She had said that many of the cool-kids were doing it. And plenty of others besides. She urged me, once again, to think about it. She told me she’d read them. And that she’d subscribe. I believe she does. And I know she was the first to sign up.


I noticed how easy it was to sign up and get going. And decided, then, to sign up. And give it a go.

This has been my go, so far. I came up with the idea that I’d like to write three times a week. And that I didn’t want to just keep it about music – I’ve written about music a lot and over on my website – Off The Tracks – which I continue to update, I’ve slowed down somewhat on the album reviews but I still write a lot about music. There are some book reviews and music reviews, and poems and stories and all sorts of things – but people still think of it as a music site, and me as a music writer. So Substack would be a chance to create an equal-distribution mechanism. Monday would be about movies and TV; Wednesday would be for books and writing and Friday would be the music day.

Share Sounds Good!

That’s what I’ve stuck to.

And I like the format. And I hope you do too.

You have every opportunity to not only like and subscribe, but also to comment. This is a Troll-free environment. But for that to work it is not Toll-free. You pay your monthly or annual fee in support of the writing and you get to weigh in and make suggestions and add to conversations.

And I think it’s going okay.

I’m certainly enjoying doing it.

And this is really the first time I’ve sat back for a self-reflexive commentary.

These newsletters usually hit you early in the morning, a few minutes after they’ve been written. But sometimes they are hurried out just before cooking dinner, or later at night in place of some reading or watching a movie. Sometimes they’re done while watching a movie!

I long ago gave myself this type of homework. I’m a veteran of nine years of daily blogging for the Stuff website. That was a time. My own site, Off The Tracks, is now closing in on a decade of operation.

Currently, in these pandemic times, I worry that it is frivolous to be coming up with a topic about horror movie tropes or the music of Lindsey Buckingham or – bloody hell! – sharing some of my own poems let alone writing about someone else’s. But I also know that not everyone reads every newsletter. And also in these pandemic times a bit of frivolity might be what the doctor ordered eh. (As well as your vaccination – do it! If you haven’t already).

Give a gift subscription


So I soldier on with this – because as much as I love creating a topic and following it through for anyone reading, I am also doing this for me. I’m flexing the writing muscle. I’m trying to structure some thoughts and process something (pop-)cultural that has concerned me. And I’m hoping to fill a bit of time for us both.

That’s as much of a plan as there needs to be really. Well, it’s as much of a plan as I have.

So, by all means leave a comment telling me what you like or don’t like about this. What you’ve enjoyed reading and what you’re hoping I will cover. Make suggestions – for the format and content. If you’d like it switched up, then there are no wrong questions (or answers).

And you shouldn’t need today’s reminder – this space has always been available for you to interact. But if I don’t hear from you, I plough on. Because that’s what I am used to doing.
Mark Knopfler’s instructions have stayed with me.

My podcast is currently on hiatus. As with last year’s lockdown I decided to shelve it. And I’m just starting to really miss it. I’m also just starting to gather up a few conversations again. You might remember I was talking about Megan Dunn and how much I loved her book Things I Learned At Art School. I made some comment about hoping that Megan would come back for another podcast-chat. Well, she has. She did. We caught up over the weekend and I recorded our chat – another great one – and that will possibly be the first conversation back, when the podcast returns. But I’m still not sure when that will be. Hopefully soon. It might be time.

Share

Apart from that, it’s business as usual for me. And I’m lucky. And grateful. I do some work. I write when I can. I am still doing some radio features on RNZ – not as often as I might like but regular. And they seem pleased with it. And I’m now at peace with the fact that they will never hire me full-time despite me trying. Across many years.

My reading list grows mammoth. And I am back on audiobooks as well as physical books and the Kindle. And I’m loving audiobooks all over again. But my podcast-listening suffers as a result.

These are very small complaints of course.

So I continue to consider myself extremely lucky.


I am Covid-free and double-jabbed. And my little family is getting on well this year with no holidays and loads of time together. We have our groove. Some nights we’ve caught ourselves, each hunched over a computer, each with Bluetooth headphones on listening to a different thing, clacking away into the night to send our separate missives out to whoever.

And I love that.

Here’s one more from me to you. The one-hundredth in this ongoing series. I’m happy to be doing this. I’m grateful if you’re reading. I’m blown away by the support.

A reminder that it’s just $5 a month and I dropped the annual price as a pandemic-special to just $40 for a yearly sub. That’s the ugly-business side of things addressed.

As always, thanks!

Leave a comment

Share Sounds Good!