27 February 2011

{ interlude.01 } .. . i feel fine

distraction is nine-tenths of the law

Sometimes, a song sneaks up on me and whacks me from behind after years of amiable acquaintanceship. Like it’s finally showing me its true face. Or maybe, it’s more like a smack up the side of the head that I hadn’t been paying enough attention. I should have known where it was going. That initial feedback should have been the alarm behind the title. But I got suckered in by those three words. And now, when I hear Lennon starts to sing, he sure doesn’t sound fine at all. Where is the exuberance which the lads are famous for? All those yeah, yeah, yeahs and wooos that still sound so fresh, so innocent, and so optimistic?

Instead, Lennon’s tentativeness undercuts the declarations coming out of his mouth. He doesn’t really believe that his baby’s been good to him just because she says so. Even though she’s telling all the world. And his buddies are agreeing that she’s been good to him. It’s his moan that is the least convincing and the most revealing. I don’t hear joy, more like a discomfort, like wanting to get the hell away. And he hides behind the harmonies when he is singing that he loves her. all the enthusiasm coming from his mates.

The music has a jaunty riff, with great hooks on the guitars and the drums, like someone trying to convince himself that it’s all good. Yeah, you know, she’s really great. and she says she’s mine. And she’s telling everyone how glad she is that i buy her rings and everything. Jesus.

Sometimes the most obvious fact gets concealed because we’re willing to go along, get seduced by a sexy tune, believe what we need to believe. After all, it’s a love song.

Somehow, despite the about face, I dig this song even more.

spiral scratch
go down old hannah .. . { texas prison camp work gang }
funny face .. . { the muffs, blonder and blonder }
end of the night .. . { the smith westerns, dye it blonde }

01 February 2010

{ 04.01 } .. . medic

white noise

My brain feels like it’s being boiled. There is a faint odour of plastics and pork. I hear the murmurings of cloistered voices somewhere behind me, dissecting doctrine with textbook clarity. Or maybe it’s some low-key negotiations for a secret exchange. What could it be, I strain my hearing and hurt my neck instead. The blood bubbles grow bigger inside my head.

I have to stop these constant shots of espressos; I feel like I’ve been freebasing caffeine for the past three days. So far, I’ve kept the jitters at bay, but it’s like I’m chewing tinfoil and constantly forgetting to swallow.

spiral scratch
lost highway .. . { hank williams, the original singles collection }
devil’s haircut .. . { beck, odelay }
el matador .. . { los fabulosos cadillacs, vasos vacios }

09 January 2010

{ 03.07 } .. . amethyst

a charm to sobriety

Well, I could say that it was all worth it, this clumsy strip mining brought to bare. But haven’t I lied enough to you, already? I could serenade you once more with pretty, purply words. I could promise to take you away from yourself. Or to take back all your time I wasted.

What I can really do, though, what’s within my means, is to take this soiled ashtray and throw it all away – the lipsticked butts, the charred and tarred – even the cracked dish, too. Better a clean break, I say, than a dirty bruise.

So goodbye to you, I guess. I wish I was prepared to remember the right bits about you. I wish that I had treated you less like a figment of my feverish animal self.

I wish you’d been the answer in the questing spectrum between what I want and what I need. Instead I see the only answer, by a wide mile, is ‘so what?’

spiral scratch
poor joe .. . { dizzy gillespie, jazz ’round midnight }
i only said .. . { my bloody valentine, loveless }
sha-la-la-la-lee .. . { small faces, from the beginning }

08 January 2010

{ 03.06 } .. . anilic

drawing blanks is harder than it looks

‘Why are you being such a prick?’

Why are we having this conversation still? What more do you want? I don’t understand these questions. Can’t you just fuck off?

It’s not a reflection on you. In fact, you’re not a mirror at all, unless it’s the funhouse distorting kind, where my head always appear too big. Your faded beauty reminds me how easily we toss away our temporary advantages, and i can’t bring myself to see past that. Perhaps I’m worried that we bring out the worst in each other. It could be that it’s too hard to pretend I’m not sub-prime when you’re around.

Maybe it’s just time for a change.

spiral scratch
a milli .. . { lil wayne, tha carter iii }
ballerina .. . { van morrison, astral weeks }
this modern love .. . { bloc party, silent alarm }

30 December 2009

{ 03.05 } .. . lazuli

the girl in the thought balloon

The last time I held her, my arms felt heavier than this blank, draping sky. From lust to indifference within a handful of saturday nights, I squandered my opportunities like I would be a perpetual adolescent. I felt the clichés cling tight onto the ass hairs of my aspirations. I felt the boredom in her blueberry eyes.

‘What makes you think I still care?’ I don’t remember who asked first. ‘What made you think I had cared at all?’ came the retort. It was kind of sad how true those angry lies quickly became.

So we never did get past a certain stage, always tethered to the mundane rhythms of our ordinary days. Maybe we could never fully believe in each other. Perhaps I never believed in myself.

spiral scratch
no substitute love .. . { estelle, shine }
take this hammer .. . { leadbelly, tell me where did you sleep last night }
transmission .. . { joy division }

27 December 2009

{ 03.04 } .. . verdant

together we will corner languor

I’ve been told that I am making it up all the time. Whilst this is mostly true, it still seems a little peevish of her to point it out. At least, she isn’t calling me an out-and-out liar.

So, here is something that seems to be mostly true. When I look at her now, I see the woman she used to be. I see a face that had given men pause. I see a figure that shimmied and swayed like sultry, seductive jazz. And there is still something in her eyes that sometimes reveals the vixen in her heart, something that erases twenty years with a sidelong wink.

As we linger on a wide expanse of cotton and down, relishing this momentary eternity, I check to see that I’m not in dream after the tide of make-believe recedes.

spiral scratch
how sweet it is (to be loved by you) .. . { marvin gaye, hitsville, usa }
rodeo of fallen stars .. . { swank, pappy’s corn squeezin’s }
girlfriend .. . { matthew sweet, girlfriend }

18 December 2009

{ 03.03 } .. . jaundice

effective dopplering

Sometimes I hear a false echo, like an insincere agreement. Maybe, I’m just being morally lazy. It seems easier at the time. And the compromise appears negligible. Maybe, I’m fooling myself. But then, it wouldn’t be the first time. And it always seems to have worked before.

She’s smoking and I say, I don’t mind. And not that I really do. But I find that my intolerance for second-hand smoke is in inverse proportion to the attractiveness of the woman on fire. You may feel that I’m calculating. I think I’m merely weighing the possibilities between an emotional spark and emphysema.

And, really, isn’t the best kind of love just like cancer? Growing without limits, overtaking the body, an all-consuming passion that leaves you gasping?

spiral scratch
divinities du styx .. . { maria callas, the voice of the century }
such a twat .. . { the streets, a grand don’t come for free }
funny little frog .. . { belle and sebastian, the life pursuit }

12 December 2009

{ 03.02 } .. . mandarin

which escape to mount

She blinks. And looks away.

The winter sets with the madness of abandonment. How could I have left you, that question spreads across my mind like hoarfrost over glass. Prettily prismatic, she still moves me in her movement though she’s not in sight. The echo and sway of her transom hips pendulum my attention to and fro. Despite every fair from fair sometime declines, she still shines brightly in her ways. Each time I kissed her, I tasted the sweetness of her summer radiance, yet I had not known her in her youthful days.

Now, in the doldrums of this deadened season, the tartness of my recollections sharpens my sense of loss. And all I can look forward to is another change, from vernal to venal, whilst waiting for my darling buds of May.

spiral scratch
my wife and my dead wife .. . { robyn hithchcock and the egyptians, gotta let this hen out! }
hey! get out of my way .. . { the cardigans, life }
screaming hand .. . { jay reatard, matador singles ’08 }

05 December 2009

{ 03.01 } .. . carmine

hello, this must be haven

Red is the sound of my underworld, a gut-vibrating rumble that pins my arms and holds me tight. It’s the pressure of liquid rock that completely envelops me until I am dreadfully swaddled. This will be the last time, I swear. I will rip this cord, the vein of stagnation, my igneous placenta.

Yet, whilst I remain entangled in its sway, trapped within its magma-liminty, I feel fabulously fossil free. Is it a transition to transgression? A resistance to subsistence? A happy dance in smarty pants?

In this troggy cavern, inside this crimson haze, I’m searching for my private Persephone; I’m digging for a Eurydice to save.

spiral scratch
crooked head .. . { fucked up, the chemistry of common life }
last day of the year .. . { reid jamieson, the unavoidable truth }
hardly wait .. . { pj harvey, 4-track demo }

01 November 2009

{ 02.05 } .. . anemoi

ask not for whom the wind blows

The ghosts that whisper behind my eyes are echoes from some collective dream. Their constant urgings for contrary pursuits buffet my will to a stand still. I saw a Tenniel girl with a disembodied bunny. I saw a corseted puppet dangling from a cardboard cross. In the quiet haven of sentimentality that has replaced the tempest of clashing emotions, I sought refuge by refusing to age with trashy determination. Though I don’t believe in an inevitable fate, I give in to easy virtues, as if I were controlled by some invisible hand. Even though I stop myself from pursuing just any soft, fuzzy prey, I end up having the taste of game on my laboured breath.

Will you be my Liddell darling tonight?

spiral scratch
tempted .. . { squeeze, east side story }
fight the power .. . { public enemy, fear of a black planet }
hands of god .. . { mahalia jackson, for collectors only }

06 September 2009

{ 02.04 } .. . eurus

a woofer to re-joyce

in the spirit of certitude I disclaim all manners of incisive carousal for all that can be achieved through the thorough explications is a brief cessation of the relentless dissipation an end that is endless but with a piquant and loquacious delirium borne of the unseemly union between certainty and the sexy flux of instability for even if I were to endeavour attempt or otherwise contrive to unearth an unvarnished shellacking of one of the undeniable truths I would still fall short of such vertiginous ambition only by resigning myself to the uncaring vicissitudes of unmediated synaptic connections can I truly be funiculared to a higher state an unceasing emblem which marks my feeble declarations as a three-legged dog would in the leashed outing we laughingly termed free will for at the end of that very long and excruciating epoch of tawdry episodes there would not be the satisfaction of truly knowing that yes her perfume was worth the almost comically quick dispensation with any semblance of a moral
code because it was so so much easier to give into those baser instinctive predilections and let those feelings ride as long as we can stand the incontinence of my words the messy expulsion of unhinged thoughts the banality of my venal urges in the event that there is a slim chance that a sense of order should somehow reveal itself then it is more than obvious that it could only be yes yes yes

spiral scratch
the great speckled bird .. . { the monroe brothers, the essential bill monroe and the monroe brothers }
my lonely sad eyes .. . { them, featuring van morrison }
payback .. . { leeroy stagger, depression river }

05 September 2009

{ 02.03 } .. . notus

good morning judge

He walks through town with a wooden metre stick in his hand, leading a white-haired dog with a semi-shaved flank. He sings to himself in a tuneless tra-la-la. Today, he feels contained; today he is miming data, a soft pursuit of shapely patterns. There are matters to discuss, he thinks, accounts to be reconciled. Lies to entwine into a sturdier rope to dangle from.

Where should we go, how should we get there, very vexing. A tidal wave of questions that threatens to swamp his consciousness. Leaves him floundering with inaction. Verbs escape him. It is the perpetual now.

spiral scratch
oxford comma .. . { vampire weekend }
you’re pretty good looking (for a girl) .. . { the white stripes, de stijl }
i don’t know enough about you .. . { peggy lee }

27 July 2009

{ 02.02 } .. . zephyrus

is it live?

The morning is filled with fate, as someone once said, inevitably. I’m not sure if that is exactly true. Or perhaps, I had not notice the import of those brief hours when sleep has relinquished its sway. The borderlands of consciousness offer only ghosts and mirages, ethereal gilded traps that beguile me to tarry with little reward but wasted minutes that stretch to demolished hours.

Yet, I am loathed to have it any other way. I am keen to be caught asleep at this catherine wheel. My bones are no longer my own. Their breaking feels unreal, an illusion, a bad dream whilst i wait for my inevitable wake.

spiral scratch
concerto de aranjuez .. . { miles davis, sketches of spain }
tainted love .. . { soft cell, non-stop erotic cabaret }
nadine .. . { chuck berry }

23 May 2009

{ 02.01 } .. . boreas

more crap than sense

The leaky contact, the fool of wisdom – in the mad abandon of the silver stream, I hark a tailor soldiering forth. The dour duchess in silent running configures her duchy left side right while the awkward ampersand concatenates without duress.

Ah, such mild rebuke in mock pursuit of prayers in suspension. That knowing smile, that cloying need which gets my guitar riled. During these times of virtue, when advice devised in spontaneous atrophy has nothing to offer but its dry husk, I sit rigid upon these scattered shores and relive the imagined glory of victories petty and cruel.

Tip my hat to spinning top, slip that mickey a stinging slap – all fancy manners and worn attire – trim the tram to a topical drum, skim the scam to a shambolic strum. Your behaviour outweighs those ’rabian eyes. Yes, it may be too late. Yes, it will be forsaken.

There is a moment when she surmises that she’s tired of drama and mundane surprises. And she would give her peace to feel the calmness that holds less appeal than her lukewarm bling blang ding dong mien. How small it fits into that trap, a leg up that turns untrustworthy, and every day there seems little escape.

Blessed me the sunshine dappled oyster bugle. Yet, in its vast surrender, a past contender, into the fray he dukes one two. And ducks the duchess while pondering foul deeds, indeed.

spiral scratch
pussy galore .. . { the roots, phrenology }
i don’t care if the sun don’t shine .. . { patti page with d’artega orchestra }
garbage man .. . { the cramps, songs the lord taught us }

20 March 2009

{ 21 } .. . mundane

the end of the line

I thought that there would be some magic, an epiphanic seizure to ignite my imagination. After vomiting away in discrete installments, was it too much to ask for a pot of golden wisdom? Instead, I’m hovering precariously over some indifferent porcelain, divining the future staring at a descending whirl.

From the fool to the world is a short gap, a stack of flimsy excuses to fixate on myself. The cards read daft because I cheat. The future remains unknown and unknowable, just like it should be. And the tarot deck hides only the secrets you care to hide.

But in the end, the life you make is equal to the one you forsake. Whatever that means.

spiral scratch
sexy singer girl .. . { the embarrassment, heyday 1979-83 }
come on eileen .. . { dexy’s midnight runners, too-rye-ay }
up above my head there is music in the air .. . { sister rosetta tharpe, up above my head }

28 February 2009

{ 20 } .. . prejudice

a soft-headed parade of a hardy tirade

You know, there are times when I feel like a piece of jetsam in history’s wake, a discarded bauble adrift on agitated waves. That is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, Like a friend says, let’s get jiggy with it all and see what the hell happens, so what if we get a little wet.

So I dive deep into the wine dark sea, drunk on potential drowning, while the ship sails on.

spiral scratch
round and round .. . { new order, singles }
dolly dollar .. . { lilliput }
sweet adeline .. . { elliot smith, xo }

26 December 2008

{ 19 } .. . eye scorcher

For canker vice the sweetest buds do love

There’s nothing so vast as my self-absorption, like an endless ocean with no land in sight. The waves that mar its boundless surface cannot stir the depths of my narcissist delight. The winds that regale me are unprevailing and the rains merely offer facile respite. So toss away those expectations, fling aside those wrong and right. Sink into my fathomless indulgence, and drown in my dreams tonight.

Well, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on to more practical things.

Say what you will about those gathering clouds, but in the end, those words won’t change the weather, no matter how much I believe in the power of a fluttering butterfly. Or of one hand clapping. An irresistible force of nature, as it were, is difficult to negotiate with. Talking sense is hard. Especially when I don’t have any.

spiral scratch
treatment bound .. . { the replacement, hootenanny }
lolly, lolly, lolly get your adverbs here .. . { buffalo tom, schoolhouse rocks rocks! }
digging my potatoes .. . { big bill broonzy, trouble in mind }

20 July 2008

{ 18 } .. . lunacy

What does it mean if a matchbook is my sacred text?

Combustible words to live by, an auto da fé, a pyre of good intentions. At least, until the smoke fills our eyes and we drown in our loved ones’ tears. It’s a tragic laughter, a giddy cry – nothing to slow down for, no spectacle to gawk at, no accident at all, so please, move along.

We are the crocodiles of our denial, the salamanders of blind faith, the phoenix of perpetual regret. And someone accuses me of having no sense of humour. or was that no sense of decorum? aw, what the hell, it’s only my funeral.

spiral scratch
ashes to ashes .. . { david bowie, scary mosnters (and super creeps) }
desecration rag .. . { felix arndt, american pop: an audio history }
koko .. . { charlie parker }

28 December 2007

{ 17 } .. . asterisk

he comes across like a dusted romeo to her spinning juliet

what secrets will you share, my anglepoise darling? what crevice will you illuminate? In the dusty cockles of my antiquated heart, she tells me a thing or two about this and that. This, is getting us nowhere. This has been a mad mistake. Your eyeballs feel like pinballs, while your tongue feels like a fish. That, will have no bearing; that, cannot support the weight; the gravity of what she’s saying: the trivialities we debate.

Listen to the crap you’re spouting; the copro-corpus that you diseminate. Lost in the muddle of your id, the middle of your ud, the shitstorm of your god, the hidden gorm of your ode. Up comes the fool and down goes the stool!

Check it and see.

spiral scratch
letter from an occupant .. . { the new pornographers, mass romantic }
tears of a clown .. . { smokey robinson and the miracles }
banging in the nails .. . { the tiger lilies, the brothel to the cemetary }

02 December 2007

{ 16 } .. . babel

just get me to the airport or you’ll curse the day

The other night, on a quiet street in a cozy parlour, there was a gathering of musicos to celebrate one of their birthdays. In an informal circle surrounded by guitars, bass, snare and flute, songs and chords and harmony were freely exchanged, telling tales of sorrow and heartache, but mostly of joy, mixing decades and genres, weaving them all into one great story that embraced everyone.

It was a conversation that casually created community, not just among the people present, but with the artists and creators whose songs filled the evening. The almost random concatenations defied logic but somehow made sense, or begged for recognition of their, oh, kinship to each other: just what is the connection between ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ and ‘Lost Highway’? What does Joey Ramone have to say to Hank Williams?

Elation and regret, jugs of wine and narcotic shows, the need to keep moving, to run away and run toward, until the past was a figment, a shadow without substance, a mere bo(o)geyman behind the harmless veil of the night. And just in case there is more bite to the dark, well, the warmth of this magic circle would keep that monster at bay.

spiral scratch
you don’t miss your water .. . { the byrds, sweetheart of the rodeo }
sneeze .. . { andrea parker, kiss my arp }
friday i’m in love .. . { the cure, wish }

17 November 2007

{ 15 } .. . samael

fowl may be foul, but fish is still fishy

Used to be, all I had to do was open my mouth, and flocks of birds would fly out, twittering and fluttering madly, bouncing into each other, before scattering off with explosive energy. Now, except for the scratchy taste of some telltale feathers, I feel like a silent bone cage, waiting for a trill.

spiral scratch
parting of the sensory .. . { modest mouse, we were dead before the ship even sank }
hallelujah time .. . { the wailers, burnin’ }
minnie the moocher .. . { cab calloway }

27 October 2007

{ 14 } .. . repression

typing self-indulgent shite to keep warm

In this cold, cruel land of leisure, where everyone is either shiftless or shifty, I am constantly being reminded of my own sullied hands madly, lazily, helplessly piling on the useless words, adding to the incredible noise that overwhelms communication: the whirlpool antics of famewhores and the siren songs of buying stuff.

So shut up already.

Ah, well, there you go, because, for all the grousing about the blah blah blahs, it does help drown out those gnawing voices in my head. In between the drunken black outs.

spiral scratch
no depression in heaven .. . { the carter family }
hoover dam .. . { sugar, copper blue }
dirty knife .. . { neko case, fox confessor brings the blues }

24 June 2007

{ 13 } .. . big sleep

barbecued sardines make me holler, ya!

None will take us seriously, when all we can say is nonsense into a blustery wind. How great will be our thirst when finally we stop being idiots. But what fun is our idiocy. What catastrophe is our disheveled minds. Thoughts leaching booze, ideas bloated like overtaxed livers. And all we could summon are stuttering gurgles. Huh.

History says. Dont hope/On this side of the grave./But then, once in a lifetime/The longed-for tidal wave/Of justice can rise up./And hope and history rhyme .. . { seamus heaney, the cure at troy }

spiral scratch
born under punches .. . { talking heads, remain in light }
polyester bride .. . { liz phair, whitechocolatespaceegg }
gin and juice .. . { the gourds, shinebox }

03 June 2007

{ 12 } .. . condemned

lists are the bondo of personalities

Deep in the heart of darkest utopia, I heard the alarms clangity-clanging away at the coming doom. Man, they sure don’t make it easy to get some shut eye; they don’t make it easy to ignore their screams. I’m tightrope-dawdling along the broken sidewalk, trying not to draw attention in this tone-deaf neighbourhood. I feel like barking in a foreign tongue, vibrating my dangling uvula like a well-used punching bag. Oh yeah, baby, I’m ready to roundhouse some circus freakshow exhibit now, to show them who’s boss in this sprawling home of the knave.

Big top, screw top, mop top, they’re all the same to me.

But you know, I don’t really begrudge them their lucky privilege, I don’t hold their appalling lack of taste against them. Hell, someone has to keep wearing those goddamned white loafers, since all the salesmen got smart a couple of generations ago and started dressing like golf pros.

And in the end, really, the love they crave, is equal to the love they stave. Hehe, just what the world needs, salesmen making more salesmen – could really drive a houseclown to drink.

spiral scratch
bullshit .. . { the dishrags, vancouver complications }
fuck with dre day .. . { dr dre, the chronic }
na na na na naa .. . { kaiser chiefs, employment }

06 May 2007

{ 11 } .. . vengeance

plenty of blame to go around

There is a high-pitched hissing sound, a wheezing exhalation, like a deflating gasbag, calling attention to its own dissolution. My head is like that right now, ballooned to some crazy circumference, barely able to fit through a door, then leaking ego left, right, centre, stinking up the air with pent up flatulence. Slowly, out of that miasma of bad odour, dancing globes of burning gas appear, like some swampy will-o-wisps, all orange, yellow, and green, before fading into black and white. And I’m listening in to some venal line, taking down names that all seem to be variations of mine.

It’s a lexicon of sloth and envy, a pas de deux between those minor vices. It’s a stolen dance of escaped lunatics, a profane pas de Dieu of reckless profanities.

But when I see you walk in the room, gliding through the blurry air as if you were parting veils, my breath is caught short once again. And I’m humbled once more by something I can’t explain, something I willingly keep as a mystery. And in your wake the air gets cleared, as my restless slumber ends.

Great comedy albums, in no particular order:
Led Zeppelin, Untitled (IV), I never could keep a straight face while listening to ‘Misty Mountain Hop’.
NWA, Straight Outta Compton.
Anything by The Smiths, case in point, ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’.

spiral scratch
not big .. . { lily allen, alright, still }
an eye for an empty heart .. . { holly golightly, my first holly golightly album }
dear john .. . { the au pairs, equal but different }