Thursday, January 27, 2011
Saturday, December 18, 2010
200 YEARS OLD
Tbh, I wasn't planning on posting here any more - the blog felt like it had come to a logical end-point - along with a handful of other things in my life - how fickle am I to renege on a self-made 4am promise?...but, well, I couldn't not comment on Don van Vliet's passing.
Actually, I heard "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" before...before the, uh, the other one. I was in my mid-teens and...well, if I'm honest, hearing it really didn't change my life or nuffink - I'd be a liar if I said that it did - I think I was already well-and-truly doomed by that point. Hearing Beefheart just sort of, well, confirmed what I already suspected about...things. It was like someone sort of slapped me on the shoulder, really hard, and sent me staggering down the garden path slightly faster than I intended.
I was exactly, totally, absolutely...ready for it, y'know?
After that I could look certain people who were older than me - people like Rob Bacon - I could look them in the eye. I was in on the joke, I thought I knew what's-what (I didn't, of course; still don't...but...). They'd smile and nod slightly if they caught you checking out "Safe As Milk" in the rack. They wouldn't take the piss out of you.
Liking Beefheart or Nico or whatever in a small provincial town in the Mid-Seventies was, like...well, it wasn't like Punk; there was no gang - no mates to back you up - it was just one or two Others... then slowly, you meet another Other, then another...a couple mates get into it too and become Others...blahblahblah...
I'm still meeting Others.
I still define people by whether they're an Other, or not. I know I shouldn't, but that's engramm'd into me now...
Beefheart was a calling-card, a gentle nudge-down-the-garden-path, a nod-and-a-wink...
BY HIM WE SHALL RECOGNISE YOU.
WE SHALL KNOW YOU.
The music was pretty fucking good too.
Why, when Kid Kid Shirt was kneehigh to a grasshopper, I...I was pretty ill round that time, but when I was well enough I used to bottle-feed her in the early evening and sometimes I used to sing-talk this song to her:
Said the momma t’ the baby in the corn
You are my first born
You shall here on in be known as The Spotlight Kid
‘n the mornin’ cry of the rooster
The baby lay alone
‘n the old cow in the green grass
Shed white tears in the red hot sun
‘n The Spotlight Kid stood under the moon that evenin’.
Nobody knows that 'cept you. Ssssshhh
My choice of song is not 'classic', canonical Beefheart, but it's my choice, my song, so humour me, huh? Actually, I always liked "Upon The My Oh My" for reasons that I'm not - ever, never - gonna share with you. Somethings will always remain mine. So, no, it's not that, but...
Thank You and Goodnight.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
"YOU'RE A GHOST, LA LA LA"
"There is nowhere anything lasting, neither outside me, nor within me, but only incessant change. I nowhere know of any being, not even my own. There is no being. I myself know nothing and am nothing. There are only images: they are the only thing that exists, and they know of themselves in the manner of images...I myself am only one of these images." - J G Fichte.
I was reading these very words in a cafe when - in one of those moments of unexpected superimposition - John Cale suddenly started singing over the house sound-system: "You're a ghost, la la la / You're a ghost / I'm the bishop and I've come / To claim you with my iron drum / la la la la la la..."
I should explain (because this makes the moment doubly strange for me, okay?): they normally play noodly post Kenny G Jazz-FM type cack or bland US Indie/Singersonger fodder that was already pretty embarrassing even back in the era of Friends or Buffy...and the Cale microcast was, in fact, completely bookended by the usual reheated 8th-gen digi-Stan Getz drool. There was no warning, no indication, that reality had temporarily skipped a track. I immediately got goosebumps - I mean, reading those words as the soundtrack switched; woah! - and when normal service was resumed I actually sat there for a minute, looking round the room, thinking: fuck, did I just imagine that...?
Of course, I now have to ghostdump that moment out via HTML - via an image - a moving one, with sound, but an image nevertheless - to all you imaginary people - to all you...images that I have in my head that pretend to be people.
I made you all up, didn't I? It's okay: you can tell me; I don't mind.
You're not real. And I'm not really here anyway.
You imagined me; you made me up.
Projected me out onto your non-existent inner eyeballs.
We're all contingent.
If I was a real person, I'd almost certainly now tell you something comforting - something familiar and in keeping with my character - something real - like, errrm: "Paris 1919 is probably one of my favourite albums..." that it scores pretty much a straight 10, though "the title track isn't my favourite song on the LP."
Little details like that...plausibly-familiar character tics filtered through a writer's eye and squirted down a tangle of copper-wire; HTML / XML compressed into data-packets and reassembled as images - as wordtext...a couple sentences of needless detail designed to lure you into thinking that I actually exist, that I'm not a ghost, not an image.
La, la, la.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
NOCHEXXX: CONCEPTO MIX #15
Undownpitched / De-Afrojack'd "Moombah":
COMPANY FUCK (SLIGHT RETURN)
Our old friend Scott - aka Company Fuck - recently hit the UK for a few spontaneous happenings / shows, but since I've been away and, uh, otherwise occupied with various...things, I completely forgot to give his tour a shout-out.
Apologies, Scott! So, to try and make up for this, here's a montage of various CF, er, events...
CF - you'll be unsurprised to hear - will be appearing on the long-anticipated "Local Horse Artist" CD from 19F3.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
DRIVE BY TRUCKERS: "DANKO / MANUEL"
Had this song going through my head all day. Not sure why - it's five years old - but it's come back to haunt my memory today.
It feels oddly...Of-and-About-Now: an opaque wasteland of a song; an almost pitch-perfect soundtrack to a freshly Assangesised World.
The Anti-"Hotel California".
"Something else you can't believe."
Monday, December 06, 2010
ROCKETS FALL ON ROCKET FALLS
Awww, come on....
Who wouldn't want to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor three days in a row with three of the best people in the world?
(It's vaguely conceivable that there might even be two or three of you out there who are unfamiliar with their music, in which case I kinda envy you if you're hearing this for the first time.)
Three two-hour sets.
I am tired.
Me go to sleep now.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Improv cello, innit.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thanks to Dave 'Bolt-01' and Rich for sending over a comp. copy of Zarjaz #10:
Inside are some v. cool 2000AD-spin-off thrills, wrapped up in an awesome Flesh-themed Leigh Gallagher cover. Actually, I did a Future Shock type thing with Leigh some years back. He's good.
Yep, this is a pretty damn good ish. I particularly like the Flesh: Extinction story and Neil Roberts pulls off a niiice Redondo pastiche in a nano-sized Al Ewing thing.
As precogged a while back Z10 features "Unfinished Business" - a new Rose O'Rion short.story written by, uh, me and featuring some totally wunnerful illos by Dylan Teague, whose Thoroughly-Good-Eggishness goes waay beyond the call of duty.
It was a lot of fun to do.
You can snag yrself copies from comic-shops like Forbidden Planet or directly from the Futurequake Shop here.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
THE FRANK ZAPPA ADVENT CALENDAR INCIDENT
In a cafe today, with wife and eldest daughter Kid Kid Shirt (aged 10), talking about Advent Calendars.
Me (enthusiastically): "What I'd really like is a Frank Zappa Advent Calendar...you know, one with a little chocolate guitar under each window..."
Wife (mock grimace): "Yeah, I bet you would..."
Kid Kid Shirt starts playing air-guitar and sing-talks an atonal Zappaesque run of noises...
Encouraged, I also start playing air-guitar, attempting an off-key approximation of the start of "Black Napkins".
Kid Kid Shirt starts following me, playing imaginary air-guitar-licks and repeating my sounds 0.7 of a second after me, creating a weird echo-effect.
Wife begins talking about something else, but struggles to get our attention: "I saw so-and-so on wednesday and she...she...I, uuh..."
Wife (loudly, frustration boiling over): "Will you two please stop...jamming !!"
The cafe goes quiet.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
RUIS MAGAZINE (DECEMBER ISH)
The latest ish of RUIS is out.
Which reminds me: I'm falling behind in my Flemish lessons.
Monday, November 22, 2010
GALA DROP, er...DROPS
Sunday, November 21, 2010
LIL B: "BITCH, I'M BILL CLINTON"
#RARE! #BASED! #SWAG!
The Hardest-Tweetin'...er, I mean, Hardest-Workin' Man in Rap - The Based God, himself - dropped his #ULTRARARE! #BITCHSHAKETHATASSONMYDICKWOOWOOSWAG! #NEW! #MIXTAPE! #REDFLAME a week or two back.
Regulars will be aware that we're rather partial to bit o'Lil B out here in the storm-wracked wilds of South Somerset. Here's my favourite cut:
People in the street often confuse me for Dylan Ettinger. They stop and point, say "Hey. Ain't you - ?" A couple times I've signed autographs, just to get rid of irksome town-centre stalkers.
Nope, I'm not Dylan Ettinger. I'm a bit skinnier than him, but I understand why people sometimes get us mixed up.
It's flattering, of course, but a bit of a drag when you're out eating a meal with your wife.
Anyway, here's the real Dylan Ettinger. I doubt if anyone confuses him for me.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Ensemble Economique: Brian Pyle...blahblahblah....Starving Weirdos...blahblahblah....etc, etc...various reccids on Amish and Digitalis (which I really must stock up on)...blahblahblah...then the newish one on Not Not Fun...also: RV Paintings. And, uh, fire-walking.
All of which += the sound of many boxes being ticked for me right now.
THE MECHANICAL BRIDE (1951)
"The ordinary person senses the greatness of the odds against him even without thought or analysis, and he adapts his attitudes unconsciously. A huge passivity has settled on industrial society. For people carried about in mechanical vehicles, earning their living by waiting on machines, listening much of the waking day to canned music, watching packaged movie entertainment and capsulated news, for such people it would require an exceptional degree of awareness and an especial heroism of effort to be anything but supine consumers of processed goods." - M M.
Friday, November 19, 2010
SUN ARAW (AGAIN)
So, then, I don't suppose anyone would loan their helicopter to ferry The Remarkable Doctor Circle Brophy and myself to the Sun Araw show at The Croft in Bristol tonight? Mine's being serviced.
No...? Didn't think so.
He'll prob. never play the UK again. Ah, well, never mind.
My APB for local drivers willing to deliver us to the venue has fallen on stoney ground. The most encouraging answer I got was: "Sunn O))) are playing The Croft...???!!!"
"No. Sun Araw."
So I shall content myself with, uh, doing whatever thankless task it is that I do on a friday evening, punctuated by the occasional James Brown-on-his-knees style weep. Which is pretty much what I did when I found I couldn't make it to the Dolphins Into The Future show a few weeks back.
But enough! Self-pity doesn't suit me. Besides, you can't buy it in purple. Well, not in my size.
In other breaking Bad News, I found a Hudson-Ford single this afternoon that I didn't have. Oh much joy!
But it was scratched to fuck.
Bring on the dancing horses...the ones with people inside them.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
STARTLING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE #2
Yeah, what he said.
The second ish of Brazilian Pulp mag Startling Adventures rams the zeppelin mooring-mast at full speed. Contains an old short story of mine - "The South Will Rise Again" - which is actually part of a larger thing - a Zombie Western, fer sure - though this works as a standalone story in its own right. No zombies in this section, but instead there are...well, you'll have to read it and see.
Hail to the ever-excellent Mo Ali who supplied an illo for my story and a v. cool short story of his own. Some other pals of mine put in two-fisted prose appearances, incl. Fritz and the afore-mentioned Anthony Whuddafugger.
Kudos to Dan for his efforts - for pursuing his seemingly-endless dream-quest and finally getting this out, live-to-paper. But it was also a group-effort; folks coming together from all round the globe to make a mag that's both by the people and for the people. Everything is author-owned. Please support this endeavour by buying or, at least, spreading the word about it. Dan's wallet is on the line here.
Issue one of SA is still available here.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Had this song going through my head all day; don't know why. Haven't played it for yonks.
Always felt this somehow succeeded in reaching out towards some vague, ill-defined form of self-prophesised disappointment; auto-predictive unrequited something...
The Geography of Rejection. Destination recast as Kiss-Off.
The song's protagonist decides he's been spurned in the flimsiest way imaginable - and you sense he knew that it would happen along; that he was complicit in his own rejection by accepting the terms of the deal: "the equator"...how non-specific and nebulous, how curiously circular...now he's left chasing his own tail; caught in-the-round as the song - simultaneously an expression of both his half-arsed ardour and his own ill-focused disgruntlement - finally fades into gaseous exasperation and evaporates. Peeters out.
"But I thought we had an agreement. But you said..."
But, really, he knows that they never did. It's himself that he's angry at (though "angry" is too strong a word) for not being good enough...it's his own standards that he fails to meet - not hers - being dumped merely confirms what he always suspected and which he now knows. The world's not big enough - the equator not wide enough - for him to escape from himself.
She left, but he can't.
A weariness slowly envelops the song, settles over it and threatens to smother it; the vocals - initially a baroque, elongated sigh - a mild protest - eventually run out of steam along with the song. He's looking, looking...not for her, but for a way out. An exit.
To their credit the Mael Brothers never allow the song to sink into maudlin despair, so the feeling they've created persists - it hangs in the air, still cycling round and round - long after the last note has departed.
Yeah, it's a good song. A great one.
Let's push it out into the air - out into the world - and let that feeling finally dissipate.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
SHAKY KANE: "THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN" / BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL / ETC
Well, of course, you've ALL been reading Shaky's new comic The Bulletproof Coffin...
Of course you have...haven't you?
Best comic / floppy (or whatever we're calling them nowadays) of the year - or I'll tear up my collection of Jimmy Olsen 80-page Giants!
It's what every comic should be: FUN...engrossing, synapse-ticklin' good fun; fulla lurid candy-floss n freakshow colours, recognisable-yet-trickmirror-distorted archetypes and brain-bending retrofuturistic concepts that fold back in on themselves; if it's PoMo, then it's PoMo-by-default because Shaky's own peculiar obsessions (and the way he bends them to fit his own imagination) will always remain Shaky's obsessions and m.o., so any referentiality comes purely from the fact that he's constantly referring back to his own interests / reference-points / body-of-work, enhancing, updating, re-mutating it / them...the Shakyverse is a constantly-expanding, yet oddly hermetically-sealed Personal Event Horizon - a weird bending of light and logic that hints at fresh cosmic vistas while somehow - via some loophole in the laws of comic-book physics - looking at the back of its own head.
He's never - ever - stopped being Shaky Kane - has always remained true to his game - and that's what counts.
I could talk about meta-narratives that arc back across nearly 30 years of work, of themes and cross-associations and linkage; of how certain tropes or characters or situations re-emerge at points, bisect themselves, turn into something new; of how X and Y relate back to so-and-so or the fact that Scene Z in Bulletproof Coffin is, errrm, a reference to blahblahblah; that I've got paintings - paintings, goddammit - in my wardrobe of proto-incarnations of Red Wraith and Coffin Fly that date back 15 years; or tell you stories of him sending me sketches and finals of The Hateful Dead Bubblegum Card Series sooo long ago I can't bear to think about it...but I won't.
It makes it sound like the guy is just endlessly reworking old ideas from his sockdrawer or approaches his Art with some degree of contrivance, which I can assure you is certainly NOT the case. Shaky is just Shaky; he does what he has to do - usually with absolutely no thought whatsoever of who / what his audience might be...and that's why it's so fucking gratifying to see him (finally) get some serious kudos and exposure via this series. I know him well enough to be able to say he would still do the things he does - furiously drawing away in the small hours - even if they were to be never seen or read by another person. It would be heartbreaking if that were the case, but it's true nevertheless. I mean, those bubblegum cards...who in their right mind would've done that in a pre-Internet universe?
Well, he would.
That's why, if you've not bought this series, then you should.
Here's another five reasons:
Sorry, but I can't help pointing out that I (kinda) make an appearance in #4:
I've always wanted to appear in an Image Comic. Fourth Wall n all that. It's a reference to...ah, knickers - who cares. It's just v. cool. Screw Grant's "Fiction Suit" - I didn't even need to get out of bed and put me socks on for this. Thanks, Shaky.
Now I just want Rob Leifield to put me in the next reboot of Youngblood.
If there are any similarities between the Shakster and Kirby, then it's the fact that he (also) spits out more concepts-per-minute than just about anyone I know. So, so much for the self-referentiality / meta-narrative jag; just as well I didn't mention it, huh? I've been lucky enuff to hook up with him a couple times in recent weeks and, well, he spins more ideas in a casual conversation than most people do in a month, a year. That's why he's Shaky and we're not.
He's also one of the funniest / warmest / loveliest guys you could ever meet. He makes me laugh. A lot.
(Yes, yes, I know I promised Part Two of the Official Kid Shirt Shaky Kane Interview ages ago...I recorded an hour-long tape over the phone, but 80% of it was just the two of us messing-about, laughing, chucking silly shit around, in-joking, and the rest was, uh, salacious unprintable tales of bad behaviour by Comic-Book Pros that would put Bleeding Cool out of business. Sorry.)
A few weeks ago, Shaky introduced me to Dave Hine - the poor fellow who has to make sense of The Shakyverse - the Stan to S's Jack - and he's an extremely nice bloke too. Amazingly, our paths have never crossed before. Taunton boy, I think. He's writing some character called Batman that you might have heard of.
Hine and Kane: the best four-colour team-up available right now.
Friday, November 12, 2010
I expect many of you have already seen this, but it's incredibly cool.
Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.
It reminds me of - memory's a bit hazy here - a very old Bruce Sterling story in which stoner lo-tech balloonistnerds ascend to reclaim abandoned US and Soviet spacestations and create an off-surface society / network.
Monday, November 08, 2010
D HARLAN WILSON: "CODE NAME PRAGUE" EXCERPT / "THEY HAD GOAT HEADS"
"The Nowhere Incident": a chapter snippet from D. Harlan Wilson's filthcoming novel Codename Prague leaks out as part of Dream People #34.
Now this is weird: I can remember posting a picture of the book's cover-art ages ago, when it was first announced, but couldn't seem to find it anywhere in my blog archives. But then when I Googled on it, I found it.
Phew! Thought I'd imagined that for a second.
Also convinced myself I'd run something on D Harlan's recent collection of short stories - They Had Goat Heads - can remember downloading the cover n everything. Wondering now if I accidentally posted it on another blog...?
Now I'm wondering whether I'm just absent-minded or whether DHR's fiction auto-erases references to itself. Which sounds oddly feasible. Either way: here's a nice colourful picture for you to look at.
Now go n buy the words to go with it.
Saturday, November 06, 2010
THE ASSOCIATES: "WHITE CAR IN GERMANY"
Salvaged / restored footage; not seen this film before. This and "Q Quarters" were always my favourites...(this is Remodelled Bowie, I guess; and that one was Prefigured Scott, maybe. Always loved the coughing at the end, but not going to post it though; not tonight).
Re-edited for afterthoughts:
Can't leave this post alone for some reason - peripheral thoughts keep cycling around in my head, along w/ the song. I expect I've even posted about this before (it's a perennial fascination to me). At the time, it *ahem* felt like The Associates had picked up a ball that Bowie fumbled (or rather, refused to carry any further; a new manager, a New Career in a New Town beckoned...) and which Scott could've picked up after "Nite Flights", but instead continued to watch from the Subs Bench before ambling onto the pitch with "Climate of Hunter" and playing a different game altogether...
Those two songs in particular are beautifully hollowed-out, numb-yet-languid; an unlikely collision of minimalist precision and baroque swirl. The production's awesome in its sheer wrongness - press a button and see what happens - druggy and expansive, yet simultaneously claustrophobic, insular and hermetically sealed: a self-contained, self-referential soundworld, oblique but oddly emotional. It's all surface - hints and glimpses of some deeper interior, yet the listener feels trapped inside of something. A jewelled mirrorball of possibilities or frozen expectation? The fascination is in listening-to - witnessing - these seemingly oppositional tensions.
They were bonkers live.
I keep wondering: where's that ball now? Does it even exist anymore and - fuck it! - does it matter if it doesn't?