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English Electric

English Electric

I have a love-hate relationship with a number of things. Technology. Grammar. And today’s adversary: research.

I love research because I get to learn new things (no, really, it’s that simple). I hate it because it’s a huge distraction, often dropping me down Internet rabbit-holes from which I only emerge hours later with a heap of semi-useless information and no actual writing accomplished.

In recent weeks I’ve taken to posting tidbits from my research forays over on the Believe in Me Facebook page (like it, won’t you?). For example: “Stolichnaya vodka comes in at least 21 different varieties, including white pomegranate, salted caramel, and jalapeno. I’m not sure why anyone other than a liquor distributor or a novelist would ever need this information, but that’s research for you.”

Every so often, though, fate smiles. A few weeks back I had the chance to conduct this interview with Greg Spawton, guitarist/co-founder of English progressive rock band Big Big Train. I went about it as I would any other, prepping ahead of time and probing for insights into the making of the group’s recent, thoroughly wonderful album English Electric Part One.

I’ve had a twinge or two of guilt since, though, because—true confessions time—there was perhaps the slightest bit of subterfuge involved. I would have asked to do the interview regardless—Big Big Train is an amazing band worthy of every bit of attention that anyone can draw their way—but it’s also true that I’m working on a new novel, in which a fairly significant character may or may not be, well, um… the guitarist/co-founder of an English progressive rock band.

Research conducted entirely within the confines of a pleasant and often fascinating conversation with a fellow music-lover. Now THAT’s a good day at the office.

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