Monday, 28 November 2011

Dav Crabes

What makes a man

A man bears the weight of a collapsing bridge on his shoulders.

A man cries, and his tears give life to the plants of the earth and the ghosts of the recently departed.

A man feels pain... AND HE LOVES IT.

A man's sorrow can bring down a helicopter.

A man builds a house with just bricks and no cement, because the love of a man is enough to keep that house together.

A man channels all the pain in the world and carries it alone on his journey through the cold, twilight wilderness of existence.

A man swallows a live baby, then passes it whole and unharmed.

A man emerges unscathed from the burning wreckage of a downed helicopter, then staggers over to the stump of an old tree to stroke the heads of a nest of baby dav crabes, before singing them softly to sleep.

A man punches a cockerel to pieces, then with the strength of his spirit, brings the pieces back to life as lots of little cockerels.

A man rescues a child from the rubble of an earthquake-hit school, then places his strong hands on her shoulders and tells her, gazing soulfully into her eyes: "when you're grown up, you'll wish you'd died."

Monday, 21 November 2011

Stanley Kubrick

The winter months are cold, dark, bleak, harsh, unforgiving. Your energy levels are low. In the dark you wake, in the dark you arrive home from work, and for three months or more you're crushed beneath the weight of an unknowable sadness.

You've stopped going out. Inertia breeds inertia. You walked hunched, your face blank, your eyes sightless orbs. The vivid neon lights of experience go out, just dull grey tubes now, dizzy promise extinguished, nothing more to attract you. You start drifting passively through your days, numbly riding life's current like a feather in the breeze.

You feel no pleasure, no pain. You stop looking both ways before crossing the road. You suspect your tired old boiler may be leaking carbon monoxide, but fuck it. At worst, you'll simply go to sleep and never wake up again. Just slip away, quietly, back into eternity...

So you need something in your wardrobe that's going to square those shoulders, bulk up that withered frame and sharpen your silhouette. Behold! the new military jacket from the Stanley Kubrick winter collection. Spotted with the real tears of the undertrodden grunts of the fashion industry, this jacket has an authentic cut that positively screams: "I'm a dashing, debonair, middle-ranking East India Company officer, freshly returned from slaughtering some bloody South Asian savages, and I'm in town looking to press into service some young waif, give her a ride on both my swords - HA! - then leave her to be eaten by stray dogs! No-one will notice she's gone." That's a powerful message to be sending out.

You can't wear a frown with this on your back. You'd look like a twat.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Ornette Coleman

Focus On Ornette Coleman

This week, we're focusing on a true giant of modern music, a man who, in his time, has both dominated and divided the world of jazz - like a brutal, multi-instrumentalist tyrant - for more than half a century. He's a genuine great - a description I take issue with, though I wrote it myself, because what on earth even is greatness, for Christ's sake?

It's an entirely artificial concept, a construct, a structurally unsound house made of hubris and bones, utterly meaningless beyond the human world. Do - oh, I don't know - cats speak in hushed tones about the feline stars of popular YouTube videos? No. They just get on with it. No cat was ever paralysed by ambition, or driven to self-loathing by its unrealistic demands of its own creative abilities.

The human is a species gone wrong. We, my friends, have forgotten the animal, and now we're hurtling - obliviously - head-first into a bubbling lake of our own gastric juices. We call our sickness consciousness, we mistake our malfunction for sophistication.

Greatness is the very nadir of this wrongness, a tag that denies not only the animal, but even the human. When we call someone great, we accuse them of being the sickest of all. We must pull them back, grab them by their ankles and drag them from their perches, put them below even ourselves. We should subvert greatness, reconfigure it so that it no longer implies transcendence over frail, filthy humanity, but rather emphasises that very frailty.

It is ridiculous to attribute such supernatural qualities to human beings. Humans are as foul and unpleasant as anything else in nature. Did you know, for example, that Plath shat? And Picasso, you can bet he wanked - perhaps on the toilet, hovering over mounds of his own filth. Chekhov will undoubtedly have been sick, maybe even on his own balls, how can we say for sure that he wasn't?

Is this your idea of greatness: Charles Darwin, rolling around on the floor in a dirty nappy, twitching glans protruding from the waistband, groaning like an wounded camel? Jesus.

Or Kierkegaard in the supermarket at 3am, studying the back of a packet of instant noodles. And you look down, and you realise that his penis is hanging out of his trousers. And as you're gawping at the flaccid, shrivelled cock of the father of existentialism, he sees you, freezes. And you both stare at each other in stunned silence for five long seconds before he blurts out: "I... I I... I was just trying something!"

Stockhausen applying lipstick to his anus and admiring it in a mirror. Debussy, semi-comatose on Frosty Jack's and quietly pissing himself at the back of a bus. Virginia Woolf vomiting on a baby. Frank Lloyd Wright, naked, smothered in WD-40 and masturbating over pictures of meat.

And you think these people are worthy of glorification? What on earth is wrong with you?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Nels Cline

Cycling with Waywo Bassey
This week, Holesgrow ~ Stabwater

Last week, I stopped over in the picturesque village of Holesgrow. You'll remember I was very taken with the place. Well, not so much today. I ride out into a glorious summer morning. Little bleary. Didn't sleep well. Must be the heat. Pass a bench on the way out of the village. Group of boys sitting on it. They get up, make gestures, shout things.

"Oi, gayboy! Been asking some questions, have you?" "Yeah, gonna find out the ultimate truth later, innit!"

Idiots. I don't ask questions. I ride. It's what I do. And hey - they'll probably be dead of heroin in a few years. But I'll still be here. Riding. That's all I need to know.

And that's what I'm doing today, snaking around the winding, undulating route between Holesgrow and Stabwater. Challenging going, but no problem to a serious cyclerider. Just a couple of miles shy of my destination the trees and hedgerows open up and the hills drop away, giving out on a delightful patchwork vista of meadows, lakes and factories - HMP Lobfoot over there, look - and right at the centre of it all, the gorgeous Stabwater. I stop for lunch at the famous Barrister's Fist, a charming little gastropub. World-class cheeseboard. World-class waitresses. I take a table out front, order Barry Barrister's Fistful of Meat Sandwich and a foaming pint of Nels Cline. She shoots me a look. I know what that look means.

Now, that sandwich might be from the kids' menu, but it's a man-sized serving, OK? And I'm stuffed. The waitress sashays over, picks up my plate. Dessert? Oh, I couldn't eat another morsel! Then she mentions the cheese. Little minx. I raise an eyebrow. She smiles, bites her lip.

The vibe is pure Campari advert, 1977. Ext.: ski lodge. Somewhere European and exclusive. Int.: sauna. Red-hot, sweating flesh. C.U.: eyes, meaningful looks. Their lips almost touching. You see it go in. He winces. Bad angle. Torn frenulum. Copious bleeding. UK sales of Campari shot up 80% that year.

But back to that cheese. And what a selection! Shropster Grand Unutterable, Cock Hamilton, quarter-wheel de Mini Babybel and Golden Booty Hits of Miami. I swear I've gone blind by the time it's finished. Head swimming. But I've got a schedule to keep. Time to get back in the saddle. Bad idea.

Less than a mile down the road. Stabwater in sight. Somewhere behind me, I hear the psychedelic rock stylings of Octave Mirbeau. An engine. Getting closer. My head's so clouded with cheese, I don't think to pull into the side. But that's OK. The driver will se...

Mucus Daniels, the man behind the 1977 Campari campaign, made his final public appearance in front of the Hotel d'Angleterre, Geneva, spring of '82, naked and screaming: "WHAT is it FOR???"

... Those words are tumbling in my skull like a cosmic tombola. I'm not riding anymore. I'm looking up at the sky, numb with shock. I hear the car somewhere further down the road. Slows down, idles for a second or two. Speeds off. I'm alone. Numbness gives way to sickening pain. Screaming silently in the dead-still summer afternoon. A cloud of midges descends, drawn by my gasping.

Minutes later, I hear footsteps. A thin, pale man leans over me, face locked into a scowl. Part of the back of his head is missing. He fixes me with his eyes. Scowling, sunken eyes. They soften. He puts his hand to my face, tear rolling down his cheek. There's kindness in this gesture, but I feel something leaving me. Something he knows I won't need any more. The pain subsides. We share a moment. Nothing wrong with two men sharing a moment. That's not always gay. He gets up and rummages in the hedgerow behind me, comes back for one last look, my mangled bike on his shoulders. Then he leaves. Leaves me here to wait, until someone else stops by and calls me an ambulance.

The ambulance takes me to Blankhead Royal Infirmary, where I will later die of complications.