Sunday, 1 December 2019

I am not going to do a Xmas song this year cos I never get around to it but here's the script and it was gonna be boss

Xmas Song, 2019 - intro and outro to the song in the middle. Script follows:

FX: Ring, ring. (telephone, obv).
Ring ring.
Ring, rring.

MARY CHRISTMAS (in distance): Santa. Phone’s ringing.

Ring ring
Ring ring

MARY (louder and more exasperated): Santa sweetie. Phone!

Ring ring
Ring ring

MARY: Santa get the fucking phone!

SANTA: (sotto voce) For fuck’s sake woman can’t I take a shit in peace?

SANTA: (To MARY): Yes dear.

Ring ring

FX: Toilet flush, Santa muttering to himself etc. Santa’s steps toward the still-ringing phone get louder.

Ring ring
Ring ri…

SANTA: Ho ho ho. North Pole here. You have reached Santa.

JOE (is on the other end of the phone): Alright lad. How are ya lad.

SANTA: Oh hello Joseph. Ho ho ho. Always a pleasure.

JOE: SO, what it was yeah…

(FX in background interrupts: snuffling, excited panting noises)

MARY: Oh Rudolph that’s right, just there. (this sort of thing continues throughout the rest of the conversation.)

JOE: I was um

SANTA: I thought you Jews didn’t celebrate Christmas anyway. Shouldn’t you have rung the Hannikah hotline or something?

JOE: Um. I think that might be racist. Anyway you know full well I don’t believe any of that shit.

SANTA: Ho ho ho. Ho ho ho.

JOE: Anyway, I was thinking of doing a Christmas song again this year.

SANTA: Oh no. You may NOT. You have been a very, very bad boy.

JOE: What?

SANTA: Let me see now (FX: Papers rustling). Yes. You have had ten wanks to ladyboy porn this year. You spat on the floor. You cussed at the television… oh hang on that was when Eastenders was on. That’s alright then. But I cannot let the spitting and the spunking go by I am afraid.

JOE: I mean, ya know. They all seemed happy. I’ll text you a link to the mobile.

SANTA: Hmmm.

FX: text coming-in noises (ya know that digital beepy interference you get on the line when a mobile is nearby).

JOE: Got it?

SANTA: Ohhhh. Oh! Whoa! Ho! Ho! WHOA! (FX: Ladyboy porn noises, through a mobile)

SANTA: I will need more time to… study this.

JOE: So…

SANTA: Yes in the light of this information I think you may proceed. I have to go now and… lock these doors and be alone for no reason I can think of. I need to be alone for… a few minutes.

JOE: Enjoy yourself…  (FX: phone clicks, dialling tone)


EXTRAS to record and drop into the song’s middle eight: (feel free also to do some Santa-like noises and stuff. Ok.)

SANTA: Mary, Mary, where did you put my razors? Goddamnit woman I buy a new set every year and every year I can’t find them. This beard itches to buggery.
MARY: Oh Rudolph, it’s not just your nose that’s big and red.
SANTA (trying to start up his sleigh, unsuccessfully, so FX: car noises trying to engage): Come on you fucker. Goddamn it. I filled you up last millennium with gas. Should be half a tank. Come on, you piece of shit sleigh. You fucking piece of fucking aids.
MARY: Hey Santa, Bob Geldof’s on the phone. Something about feeding the world?
SANTA: Tell him to fuck off. Scruffy little prick.
MARY: Hey Santa let’s just go to Cayman this year and sit on the beach. Can’t you hire, like, Spiderman to do the presents?
MARY (singing to the tune of ‘Feed the World’ by Band Aid): Poooor Midge Ure… Geldof’s getting all the muff… (repeat a few times with gusto)

The Last Willy and Testicle

At one stage ya no
It’s gonna be yer final wank, piss, shit, fuck, sick, word, kiss, stroke, argument, stubbed toe, hangover, work, friend’s funeral, kids’ wedding, relative’s birth, news story, world cup, dog, cat, hamster, book, TV, movie, pint, whisky, water, portion.
And then a few people will be sad
Very sad

And then
Well. Someone else will have their final wank, piss, shit, fuck, sick, word, kiss, stroke, argument, stubbed toe, hangover, work, friend’s funeral, kids’ wedding, relative’s birth, news story, world cup, dog, cat, hamster, book, TV, movie, pint, whisky, water, portion.

And, we think, maybe, still, that
Somebody will have their first wank, piss, shit, fuck, sick, word, kiss, stroke, argument, stubbed toe, hangover, work, friend’s funeral, kids’ wedding, relative’s birth, news story, world cup, dog, cat, hamster, book, TV, movie, pint, whisky, water, portion.

It’s not really poetry is it.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

A Shy Way

I woke up with half a dream still there
A poem of sorts, or a list at least
All the regrets I'd ever had
Like girls and that and well that time nearly that boy but not
Like I would go running more and try harder
And maybe then be picked for footy but probably not
And maybe getting off the bus or going down those stairs or going up north more
For a few beers.

I'm sure I could think of more
But knowing this stuff is no release
From the regrets. They're not bad
Really. Just things, not to dwell on, clearly. Broken toys, the lot
Of em. I shouldn't fixate on 'em, I would rather
Just say to myself that these TV-movie memories ain't
Interesting to many. The echoes of sounds long-blared, waves crashing ashore
That no-one else hears.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

The beauty of music, no, really.

I walked into the sorting office, not really knowing what the package was. I collected it. I opened it.

I hadn't expected it. It was a year since I was sposed to get hold of it.

A vinyl album; a double album; a beautiful gatefold sleeve; heavy 180gm vinyl.

And I burst into tears.

It was the 28 Costumes record, Adventure Stories, which was originally meant to come out on Spank Records in 2006 or thereabouts. It didn't, and the tapes were hotly debated as to who owned them.

The band re-recorded it and self-released instead. It wasn't nice.

I didn't cry cause of that tho. It was that I was reminded of Jon, my friend, and record label boss, who loved the band and the people in it and died too young.

A reminder of some wonderful, and I mean wonderful, times at Spank Towers, his house-cum-office-cum-waifs-and-straysville.

And that awesome period in the early-mid 2000s when we all were right in amongst it. I mean, it is just incredible to think how embedded we all were in the music scene there. Every night really we could go out and see bands that we knew, or were on our label or a friend's label, and the unity and excitement and potential seemed endless.

Today, about a month after I picked up the record that was issued as a tribute to Jon - a beautiful tribute, in every way - I managed to bring myself to listen to it. It was too painful before today. There's a song called Hymn on it, which sounds like Beach Boys, and that is bringing me tears again. 

I don't mind the tears. It means that things mattered to me and us and that they still do.

Amidst all my angst and confusion at being alive this is a powerful reminder that we mattered, collectively. And, that I do too.

It is a privilege to be present in the company of this wonderful art. To be able to experience all these things, and to see in my mind's eye the people and hear the music and remember the first time I heard Inside/Outside at a gig in the Masque Theatre and how amazing a song it was and is. And somewhere, underneath the clutter of all the hours and days and months and years and decades I can still hear the buzz in the audience. The snippets of conversations. The cheers and claps. The clinking of glasses.

The look shared by me, and Jon, and Tracey who was managing them on that day, of sheer joy. These times, man, they're precious. There's no reason to ever know at the time that this is something you'll remember for your whole life. Music - art - doesn't exist in a vacuum. It exists only because there are humans that are moved to make it, and to share it, and humans to be moved by it in turn. Humans can do so many beautiful things. And sometimes transcendent things. It is often the only thing that keeps me optimistic. And easily-forgotten.

I won't let any politics, any dunderheaded bullshitters, any dogmatic intolerant wankers, ever obfuscate this laser truth. Because nobody can own it, and that's what makes it so precious and precarious.

I raise my glass to creation. The one thing that humanity can really be proud of, because it encapsulates all the empathy, wonder, potential, skill and love in the world, and because it is always different and new in its way. I raise my glass to my friends; when music exists, nobody really ever dies do they. I see my friend in my sleep often. We talk sometimes. It's real. It feels no different to that moment at that gig. Maybe that was a dream, too.

(I don't really do record reviews anymore - I've written probably 500 in my career, or more - but it strikes me that perhaps I've just written one.)

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Drab wor(l)ds

Don’t read all about it
Not in the newspapers
You can’t trust them anyway

Don’t read the reports
Or the fact checking sites
Really knows what’s going to happen

Don’t read any books
No history or analysis
That’s a waste of time isn’t it

I used to think that thinking
And considering
And trying
Was worth doing
But now I think I’m bleeding
And shivering
And dying
Cause what I am needing

Is not in the papers
Is not online
Is not in books

You know these days I prefer being asleep
Cause sometimes there I can fly
Like in the novels I used to read
About space adventurers and mad-haired inventors
And all those comics and magazines
Which had shiny robots and moon holidays
And talking animals and fun computers
That beeped and booped and said that the future
Would be

I shouldn’t have read about it
Those comical capers
Lead me far astray

And I wish I was back there
I spose I’m not alone
Don’t watch the vox-pops or the news

Because there are no books
To describe the paralysis
And perpetuated by fuckwits.

Don't read all about it.

Just don't read ever.

If I had my time again
I'd poke my fucking eyes out
Before the possibility of learning
Or trying
Even loomed in the distance.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Procrastinators’ Prayer

O hear my cry
In this hour of need
Of another cup of tea.
Lead me not to the washing-up
Or the toilet 
For I could poo again,
Although I don’t really need one
But there is an article I am halfway through
From the Arts section of last weekend’s Guardian.

In thine infinite wisdom, or whatever, if there is a god
Or not, I’m not sure. I did read I think
That there is in the apocrypha a gnostic gospel
Of Judas, and therein he mentions
Barbelo, a kind of queen god amongst gods
Of which God is only one, and a pretty crap one who keeps
Fucking things up.
I’ll google it, hang on.

Yeah, it’s pretty cool actually,
And also makes the kind of great point that in fact
Judas was not a traitor but the holiest of all
Because without his ‘betrayal’ the prophecies would be wrong
And there could be no second coming.
So he was like the hero really.
And God is like a gas or something.
Anyway, Rowan Williams, who is one of the chief vicars or whatever,
Said, like, “oh yeah this is a load of bullshit” as did the pope,
Based on the fact that it um wasn’t written officially or some shit.
And to be honest, I reckon there’s a shitload of this kind of stuff in the Vatican Library.
Which sounds like a cool sort of place, mostly cause it’s so secret and even though I think Dan Brown books are fucking shit I think I’ve seen one made into a film and it passed some time even though that was shit too, and nowhere near as good as Rat Scabies Looks for the Lost Ark or whatever that book is called
Hang on
Oh it was Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail. It’s really quite brilliant, and you should read it.

Ten to twelve now. I reckon a quick dump
And then to town to pick up some bits
Although it’s raining isn’t it
Ah sod it
Deadline’s not for a week anyway
And it’s Friday
Amen, and that.
Just in case.
Reminds me of Elvis, who used to wear a crucifix, a star of David, and probably some kind of Buddha round his neck all at the same time.
“I don’t want to miss out on heaven on a technicality,” was what he was quoted as saying.
That’s funny isn’t it.
And, well, I think rather perceptive.
What was that thing again? The deathbed conversion?
One mo.

Ah well I can’t really find that one, but it’s some kind of insurance policy in philosophy that is based on the fact that any conversion is an absolution, so basically live however the fuck you want and if you confess your sins and ask for grace you will receive it
So that’s handy isn’t it.
I’ve just seen that there’s a book about Christopher Hitchens that somehow manages to accuse him of converting to Christianity on his deathbed.
I mean, as if.
Mind you, it’s a good joke that isn’t it.
God bless Chris Hitchens
He’s in a better place now.
Well, I’m sure he’d appreciate that one, if he wasn’t too dead to notice.

I ate my lunch one time at 11am
Because I was bored
And working at home
And fucking why not
I’m 45.
If I want to have a cake for breakfast I will. I never do. But I could.

O graceful one
Let me consider this pile of steaming wank stream-of-idiocy
As ‘work’
For the wordcount approacheth 600
And that’s not a bad morning’s toil
Not really
And though the article I am not doing is only a couple of hundred words over that
And though my PhD essay is largely there and needs reorganising and a bit more than a few days’ work
And though the research for the other pieces is not even difficult
I bow to thy mercy

Amen, and stuff

To be continued


Some opening lines for unwritten books

I had been high for a month.

Lothar strode through the flames.

God’s mother was pissed out of her head again.

Her piss tasted of a stale nothingness.

I took the deal. I had to.

Once upon a time time stood outside itself for once.

Mikha’s stare was a smack.