Chalk Circle

Chalk Circle by Subaqwa, released in 1999

The title of this post is also that of an album, or more rightly, a CD from 1999, by a band called Subaqwa, out of the UK.  I bring it up because it’s a fantastic record, but like so many fragments of life, destined to be swept away like post-it notes I no longer need.

Chalk Circle is just another record made by a band that broke up, musicians moving to other groups or jobs, but we have the CD, the songs play in my iTunes and on my husband’s music program.  As an indie novelist I believe this album is vital just because it exists; twelve songs were made in the late 1990s, five of which have sat within my digital music collection as if an EP.  But books aren’t just scattered chapters, and finally two nights ago my husband ripped the whole CD, neither of us certain why all these years less than half the album had graced our collections.  Since then I’ve been listening to the record as if it was an actual album, tunes in proper places, and it’s great, the ‘new’ songs merging perfectly with ones I’ve known for years.

But other than this post, an Amazon site, a couple of pictures found via Google images, and a Last.fm entry, almost nothing about this band can be found on the web.

How many indie novelists fill the internet, indie bands for that matter?  But in 1999, the web wasn’t what it is now, no smartphones to easily snap pictures, then upload onto sites.  All the shots on this post were taken with my phone, sent to my PC, then slapped on here.  In 1999, cells and mobiles weren’t that handy or versatile.  I don’t know anything about Subaqwa, maybe they were just destined for one album, and three EP’s.  Other obscure groups have caught my ears; Hurts To Purr, Hilsinger and Beatty, and are just meaningful, as important.  People got together, recorded songs, released those tunes in one form or another, making their ways into ears and minds, hearts and souls.

I so miss cool inserts, even if they fold into several layers.

I so miss cool inserts, even if they fold into several layers.

There doesn’t have to be loads of hype, just a cause, a reason, and an audience will emerge; in 1999, my husband bought some Subaqwa singles after reading about them in Record Collector magazine.  Then he went to the Borders in York, right across from Bettys Cafe.  He asked about ordering their CD, and a few weeks later we picked it up.  Probably had a cuppa at Bettys as well.  Then it became a part of our lives, in pieces.  Five songs were ripped onto the computer at the time, traveling for ages, even across an ocean.

Chalk Circle insert part 2

Then on 3 February, 2013, I asked my spouse if there were more Subaqwa songs.  He retrieved the CD, slapped it onto a machine, and the rest of the tunes were added to the collective.

Chalk Circle insert part 3

Uploading a novel into cyberspace is just as easy, although what comes first takes ages, like fashioning the tunes from lyrics and melody to guitars and drums.  But once the art has been polished, it takes so little effort to save it for eternity, or however long the web will last.  CDs are quaint now, although the insert is pretty cool.  The lyrics are hard to read, the Thank You’s a little more legible.  Liner Notes are a thing of the past in digital downloads, but a permanent fixture at the end of all my books.

Between albums and digital files was the CD, but at least inserts still survived.

Between albums and digital files was the CD, but at least inserts still survived.

I might be a bit of a Luddite, just coming to own a smartphone, but when it comes to other aspects of modern living, I am all over it.  More on my smartphone, and dying arts, soon…

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About Anna Scott Graham

I'm an independent poet and novelist in addition to sharing my life with a wonderful man, various kids, several hummingbirds, and a plethora of plants inside and out. View all posts by Anna Scott Graham

8 responses to “Chalk Circle

  • Melissa Marsh

    I don’t have a smart phone yet and it took me quite a long time to even get texting. While I enjoy the modern world – especially medical advances and the rest – I will go for days without watching the t.v. or listening to popular music.

    • Anna Scott Graham

      If there had been a non-smartphone with a great camera, I’d have been all over it. My mom did something clever though; she bought a pay-as-you-go phone with an adequate camera, but she doesn’t pony up for the web. Now if I had thought of that… :)

  • Jill Weatherholt

    Hey, we are all about muting commercials in our house. When making these commercials, I suppose little thought is given that often young boys and girls are watching the Superbowl.

    • Anna Scott Graham

      Jill, that is my thought exactly. So much suggestive material, and the violence; movie trailers that have no business being shown at that time give me the chills. You’re not alone in feeling this way. :(

  • diannegray

    I love the way you search for these things, Anna. With technology the way it is now we seem to have lost that inherent desire to ‘deep a little deeper’ to find things because we think everything ever done is easily available. Great post! :D

  • Jill Weatherholt

    Chalk Circle, interesting title. Is there a song in the CD that references Chalk Circle? I hope you have recovered from the game and the commercials. There were a few, one in particular, that made me sick to my stomach. :)

    • Anna Scott Graham

      No references to Chalk Circle I can find yet, although it might be in the ‘new’ songs I’m still learning. It’s a great record though, very atmospheric.

      As for that game, I’m getting there, and avoiding the news for it. As for the commercials, you might laugh; we mute them, no matter the programme. The only ones I caught, glancing up from my crocheting, were for milk and underwear; the latter was quite revealing!

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