Bonzos make an appearance on New Faces, of all things.............
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Greetings!Forgive my abscence, the past week has taken a fair old bit out of my rheummy old bones. I've also been busy with other little projects which have taken up a fair bit of my time.
I was reminded on Saturday night of two reasons why I don't go out much anymore.
1 - Wetherspoons seems to be the standard meetup joint for these escapades. Yes, the beer is cheap, but when you consider that the standard of service is pitiful and the food is disgusting, you sort of realise why they can afford to sell cut price booze. To top it off, the gorilla in the sta-prest suit that passed as their security actually made a beeline for me and asked that I remove the skip cap I had on. I know it's not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing look in the world, but my hair was in a state and needed to be hidden. I think he was itching to kick fuck out of someone to be honest......................
2- City centre venues can kiss my arse. Went to see some bands with my brother and his girlfriend at the Classic Grand, and to be honest, was bored rigid. Also got scammed at the bar. Twelve quid for three pints!!! It was only when I went to the bar later to find out if there was anything available that wasn't a fiver, that I realised that it was a flat rate of three quid per pint. My brother, never one to let these things lie, had it out with the bar staff and all but accused the girl who served him of ripping him off. Sadly, I think he had a point. How do you pour three pints and think it's four? The music is probably best not discussed. One mob sounded like the anaemic offspring of The Editors and Razorlight. The 2nd lot looked quite good and had a singer that looked like Nick Drake in drainpipes and winkle pickers, but their songs were distinctly unmemorable. The last lot were Arcade Fire without the stage prescence or tunes.
Is this what the kids want? It's certainly what they're given and they seem to lap it up like it was manna from heaven. Dreary, predictable and not worth paying to see. Give me Circle of Tyrants and their malformed thrash metal bretheren any day of the week. Live music should be fun, not a chore.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Clairwil needs a few helping hands with a little project she has going. No expertise is required, just enthusiasm. If you're in the Glasgow area and fancy a bit of 'secret gardening', then either get in touch with Clairwil or simply turn up on the night (tomorrow).
Final 'Songs Of Summer' Entry.
No 11: The Beach Boys - Cool Cool Water
Monday, August 18, 2008
Mallards rooting about in the shallows. ............or not, as the case may be. I don't know about other parks, but Kelvingrove have taken to putting up friendly little signs on the railings around the pond, requesting that people don't feed the ducks, providing a series of photos and illustrations to back uyp thewir reasoning. I don't think it's enforced that strictly, and it's certainly not stopped anyone from depositing stuff on the banks of the pond. This is part of the problem, to be honest. People will feed animals anything. I've seen yellow stuff that looked like a cross between ruskoline and cous cous ditched at the side of the pond and of course, left to rot away because even the ruddy pigeons who will make a meal of cigarette butts and dried up chewing gum didn't fancy it. If people fed the birds sensibly, it might not be a big deal. You know, a slice of bread broken down into crumbs and thrown into the water should be no problem at all. On the other hand, half a white loaf dumped on the bank and horsed down by gangs of pigeons, lurking seagulls and finally, the few ducks with the patience to pick up the scraps, just makes a right old fucking mess of the place and invites various species of vermin to hang about the place. For the past few years, they've had Moorhens breeding on the pond, with mixed results, as it seems their eggs are extremely succeptable to predation by larger birds and rats. They can be a little cack handed in their nesting, the old moorhen, though they attempt to make up for it by breeding multiple times in one year. I would love to see more of them about on the pond, they look great and have a rather distinctive call. It seems like there are a couple of adults and an adolescent floating about Kelvingrove, though I haven't seen their nesting efforts this year. I think they've probably got better at making their home less conspicuous. Of course, some may mutter about 'political correctness gone mad' or 'The Nanny State' when requested not to feed the ducks. Maybe so, but it's also a distinct possibility that it's about passing on information and relying on folk using their common sense. A heron watches for morsels in the emerald green water, at the quieter side of the pond.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I watched Richie blow smoke rings from the back seat of the burnt out car and into the warm evening air, his head tilted back on the semi-caramelised headrest, eyes staring impassively through the hole where the roof used to be. Flying with the birdies, walking the rooftops like an invincible tomcat. In his mind...... I turned my attentions to rifling through the pockets of the coat I had found. No money, but a few subway stubs and half full 'Fernando Frozen Yogurt' loyalty card hinting at some upward mobility in the previous owner. I went back to watching Richie again. He was a cocky little fucker, all wild visions and dangerous fantasy. There were days when I didn't want to know, just wanted to hug the street corners like a vertigo stricken child, but Richie had this way of making you walk tall, of making you forget who and what you were for a time. The reality never quite left you, but adventure was good for the soul and returning to the abandoned factory and the back alleys never seemed to trouble me any more. The hatch opened out and the light poured into the bare loft below. We both clambered up onto the roof top and set about the nightly ritual. Two bottles of cheap wine rested in a tank of cold water as we perched like feral pigeons on the buildings edge. The view was always the same, the gridded avenues stretching out to the horizon, the river glinting in the early evening sun, the world as it truly was...... An ant colony on a ball of dirt flying through the eternal void. It made you feel briefly content, easy on the order of things. Richie told stories between bouts of bronchial coughing and draws on countless cigarettes. Army tales, school tales, stories about his family, the religion he found and lost, then found again. Only to lose it once more in the rinse cycle of life. He felt sure that God would find him again at some point and quit lying to him, give it to him straight............ The light of the sun dipping was soon overtaken by the neon of downtown and it looked beautiful and sick in it's Liberace sequined sparkle. It always did to my eyes. Richie didn't start drinking until the sun was on it's way down. I had usually half drained my bottle by this time, my dusk-light reverie almost at a close, ready to pass the baton of battered dreams to my partner in crime.......
Richie's party trick was to walk along the ledge of the building to one of the corners and back. The first time he did it I flipped, couldn't believe what he was doing. He'd downed some wine, three beers and done a bunch of speed he'd stolen from a now deceased dealer. Still the fucker didn't fall. I barely looked now when he did it. Each time he returned from his stroll I'd look up at him and offer my bottle as a prize. He knew I had faith in him. He knew that I knew he was testing me and that I'd never doubt him. Fuck "parting the Red Sea", this was our own little miracle eight stories up and balancing on nothing more than the curvature of the Earth and a shit eating grin. Sitting at the edge of the building was enough for me, I felt like a cat losing one of it's lives every time I went up on the roof anyway...... Richie turned the old transistor on and hurtled around on the roof top for a bit, an urban Tarzan looking for a new vine to catch hold of and swing out of town. I just sang harmony on the Kinks and Beatles numbers that the oldies station belted out on a continuous hourly loop. It felt like God's word on a C60 mix tape, transmitted from a radio station somewhere in Forest Hills for the benefit of the chosen few. Richie was a little less romantic.
"My dad listened to this shit. I remember he once whipped me to 'Bye Bye Love' by The Everly Brothers after I took a dump on the living room floor. I must have been about three. Still, good shit when yr drunk............."
I lost sight of him for a while behind the old chimney stack and I went back to the remains of my bottle, already contemplating another run to the liquor store for more. Soon I sensed him behind me and turned my head up to see him looking unusually pensive. He looked at me and said he wouldn't be 'performing' tonight. I nodded and told him he'd have to come up with a new trick. He sat beside me and said nothing, just drinking long and lazy from his bottle, back in his trance world, re-living his existence and re-inventing the Universe.
"We're not long Gus" he said, staring me in the eyes in a way that I'd never known him to.
"Not Long........? For what?" I said, letting my confusion show.
"Not Long. You wanted a new trick kid? How's this..............Man Walks On Air"
By the time I had made a grab to stop him, he was about two stories down and fading into the black of the alley below. It was all I could do to stop myself going over too. I heard nothing, no yell, no landing, no groans of pain. There was just a vile sobering chill through my guts and up my spine that made me retch and gasp for air. The Fucker! The Cunt!
"Richie, You Fucking Shit Stain!!!!!!" I yelled into the black hole of the alley. The shock wouldn't go away and my conscious mind had to take over and make the effort to swing my numb legs back onto the roof and make them stumble towards the radio, now playing something by Dick Dale. That station never played anything by Dick Dale. It was almost as if a spell had been broken.
I regained my composure and looked one more time over the edge of the roof, breathing hard and through gritted teeth......
"I hope it hurt you Fucker!"
If anyone is interested in contributing to a fiction blog, can you get in touch with me at email@example.com and I'll add you to the author list. Cheers!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
.......................and you wasted every day (B. Janowitz) Get the covers on and all into the pavillion for tea and cake! Looks like it's going to chuck it down for the rest of the month. I simply can't wait until Autumn, when we can finally stop pretending to be appalled by the shitty weather, acting as if we've been short-changed by what the elements throw at us. You'll all be glad to know that I've decided to spare you my book reviews. They're as tedious to write as they must be to read. To this end, the final eight 'books that should have been in the BBC Big Read, but weren't' are; 6 - Ham On Rye by Charles Bukowski 7 - Focaults Pendulum by Umberto Eco 8 - Q by Luther Blissett 9 - The Gospel Singer by Harry Crews 10 - The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides 11 - Death and The Penguin by Andrey Kurkov 12 - The Quiet American by Graham Greene 13 - Death In The Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa Sorry, nothing hugely exciting in there. Some of them are utterly inspirational, books that I have become obsessed with. Others are what I'd simply term as 'darn good reads'. Songs Of Summer No10: Avenue - St Etienne
Monday, August 11, 2008
Continuing on from the weekends book list............ The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain - Twain isn't really my bag, but this story intrigued me. Believe it or not, it was seeing a spooky kids animation, which contained a sort of ultra condensed synopsis of the story, that made me investigate this odd piece. One of it's problems is that the posthumously released novella, The Mysterious Stranger, A Romance, is something of a literary 'cut 'n' shut', combining two very different drafts that Twain was working on, as well as a bit of bridging and some wholly unnecessary character/plot revision by Twain's biographer Albert Bigalow Paine. Allegedly, it was a desire not to offend the religious sensibilities of the time that was responsible for this vandalism. Essentially, what was released was not a Twain novel, but a 'beyond the grave' collaboration between Twain and Albert Bigalow Paine. It's a tale of cruelty, superstition, stupidity, venality and mankinds "damnable moral sense". A sinless nephew of Satan appears to a group of boys in a remote Austrian village in the middle ages. He is befriended by the boys, and enters the village with them as nothing more than a new playmate. In short order, his influence grows and he proceeds to demonstrate his supernatural powers, at first secretly and seemingly to the betterment of certain people in the village, but as he comes under further scrutiny, his actions begin to arouse the attentions of the religious authorities. In all, his presence brings havoc to the village, upsetting the order of things and putting into effect events that lead to terror, death and misery, though it's possible to argue that in each instance, 'Young Satan' has acted with mercy and 'in the interests' of the villagers he comes into contact with. I'd say that the released text is probably just about worth finding, if only for it's 'conclusiveness', but if you want the juicy stuff, then have a look out for the Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts. This volume presents the three working drafts that Twain had laboured over in the years up to his death. In chronological order; The Chronicle of Young Satan, Schoolhouse Hill, and No44, The Mysterious Stranger. If any of the drafts are complete, it's the third one, No44. It's somewhat phantasmagorical and very much worth reading, but it lacks the clear, withering satire and narrative drive of the 1st draft, which formed about 85% of the 'Romance' version that was published in 1916. It also has one of the most stunning endings ever written, almost too good to be left hanging in space, unsure of what draft it's meant to be a conclusion to................. Perfume by Patrick Suskind - If the Mysterious Stranger needed excessive explanation, this one needs only the bare minimum. Grenouille is an oddity and an outcast. He has the ability to define scents from each other, even at distance, but has himself no odour. He isn't so much born as deposited under a fish gutting table, in an 18th century Parisian street. Grenouille plies his trade as a perfumiers apprentice, but trouble is never far away from him and neither is murder as he becomes obsessed with possessing and extracting the true essence of scent, killing a number of young women in an attempt to do so. This is a storming read, a funny, tragic and murderous rampage across pre-revolutionary France, from Paris, through the mountains of the Massif Central, into the rural villages of Auvergne and back to the filth ridden streets of his birthplace.
I shall pick out a couple more later this week, then leave it at that. Dammit, these little reviews are a pig to write..........
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
I can honestly say that there is no greater joy in life than when I'm immersed in a damn fine book, be it Kafka, Kinky Friedman or a bit of Enid Blyton. So, quite why I've read less than a hundred novels in my lifetime is maybe a question that will remain unanswered, unless you know me personally, in which case you'll roll your eyes and yell "It's because you're a lazy twat with the attention span of a mayfly!!"
Jim Bliss over at The Quiet Road has a meme for us. It consists of taking the results of the BBC's 'Big Read' poll and marking off what you've read, what you intend to read, what you have no intention of reading and what you utterly despised. Big problem for me is that I've only read about ten of the fuckers, which is slightly less than twice what the poll compilers thought 'The Average Person' would have read. Nonetheless, it's a somewhat embarrassing figure, even for a troglodyte like me. I suppose I could bump it up to 15 if I were to include the books listed that I've started and not finished............................
I shan't re-print the list, it would be too depressing, but what I will do is provide a list of novels that weren't in the list. but ruddy well ought to have been.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess: Nadsat. That's all you need to know. That and some murder, mayhem, fantastic pacing, and two different endings, depending on what side of the Atlantic you lived on. The Brits got the upbeat 'man comes good with age and experience' ending, the Yanks got the 'Humanity is vile' ending. Cool!
The Scene by Clarence Cooper Jr: A gruelling merry-go-round of drug addicts, pimps, whores, cops and low-life's. That sounds like a put down but it's not. Quite the opposite actually. Cooper's writing is the key, grimly vivid, it grabs you by the fucking nuts and doesn't let go, slinging you from character to character without mercy. Some would argue that it's 'mere pulp'. I would argue that they are wankers. If you see it, buy it. At worst, you'll quite enjoy it.
The Castle by Franz Kafka: The logic defying world concocted by Kafka in The Castle will always remain with me. Every time I wake up from a bizarre dream or encounter bureaucratic insanity, the frustrations and trials (no pun intended) of 'K' always seem to come to mind. A lone Land Surveyor arrives in a remote village to find that he's wanted neither at the administrative centre (The Castle) nor in the village itself. He desperately hooks up with a barmaid and ends up as a brow-beaten school caretaker. It matters not, for he will seemingly stop at nothing to gain access to the impenetrable castle. A little tragi-comic relief comes in the shape of his appointed assistants who resemble a sort of retarded Rosencrantz & Guildenstern. Frustratingly, they seem to have more contact with the Castle than he does.
It's as dense as hell and the humour is pitch black.
No more so than at the bottom of the last page............ ;)
Three more tomorrow night.........
If you ever meet this man, plees give him a kick in the shins for me. He won't apresciate it, I'm sure, but I will.
I have no problem with language variations, both spoken and written, they evolve over time, often through isolation and written versions of local dialects. I do however draw the line at lazy fucktard lecturers who would rather indulge the shortcomings of people who can't be arsed looking up a dictionary, than actually taking issue with their inability to spell very simple words.
The fact I can't spel myself is niether here nor there, I shouldn't be indulged. ;)As a footnote to this nonsense............. My boss asked me how to spell 'International' today. He's older than I am, what's his fucking excuse? Bring back the spelling bee's and handwriting contests!