Monday, 26 March 2012

Butterflies And Ribs

Aries
21 Mar - 20 Apr
K, you're going to be feeling a lot of negative emotions today, Aries. Lot of anger, lot of hate. Naughty Aries. These are the forbidden emotions. Hate is for bigots. Rapists. Murderers. Many of them feel love too, and joy, but that's not important now. We're talking about hate. There is never any justification for hate. Come on, just because you're an enlightened liberal, doesn't mean you should be afraid of blanket assumptions. Fear breeds hate, remember?

If hate weren't a bad thing, then why would people be all, like, "yeah... if you hate someone, then you're just no better than they are, man"? Think about it, yeah? If you hate, like, some bloke who got into your house one night when you were away and slaughtered your entire family in their beds, then you're just the same as him. You might as well have been there with him, hacking your own flesh and blood to pieces. Why would you do that? That's mental.

If you succumb to hate, then you lose your humanity. There's no room for hate in the spectrum of human experience because hate is ugly and humanity is beautiful, man, like a snowflake on a tiny black kitten. Like a troll in a ball gown made of spun glass. Like an amazing windmill that's taken off into the air, piloted by an eccentric professor with a menagerie of dead animals.

Helpful or harmful, your actions are unimportant, Aries. What matters is what's in your heart. Why don't you have complete control over your subconscious? The rest of us do, don't we, guys? What's wrong with you? Why can't you be more like us? You should probably just take all that hate that's inside you and direct it right back at yourself, because you're a piece of shit.

Better run, Aries. We're coming for you. We can't have people like you messing up our happy world, where negativity is denied expression, and misery is punished with huge, penis-shaped fists of love. Better remove yourself, Aries, steal yourself away, far from us, where you can't infect us, or I swear to God, when we catch up with you, we'll tear you limb from limb.

Go now! Your feelings are repugnant to us.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Sean Robots

Hi. I hope you don't mind, but I thought I'd try something different this week. I've been doing a lot of soul-searching over this, whether to share what I'm about to share with you, and it occurred to me that some of you have been reading this blog for a long time, I feel we've grown together, and in all honesty, I feel very close to you. So I think the time is right for me to step out into the spotlight and reveal something of myself to you, the reader, whom I cherish so dearly.

When the Artist makes a decision to drastically change direction, it's not done lightly. Over time, the audience rightly comes to expect certain things of him or her, and to suddenly break from these expectations could be seen as an abandonment, a betrayal of the sacred bond between the Artist and their audience. But if the audience truly loves the Artist, as I believe you love me, then surely it should be prepared to let them go free?

The Artist craves freedom. Artists are special people, with a unique and important role to play in society, and they mustn't be bound by the constraints to which the ordinary are subjected. The Artist's soul is as delicate and precious as the wing of the moth. Have you ever seen what happens when you try to hold a moth by its wing? Don't break the Artists' wings. They need them to transcend the petty concerns of ordinary people, to fly away and seek wisdom and beauty.

Take the example of Sam Peckinpah. Peckinpah initially conceived the ending to Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia as a punchline of sorts, in which it was to be revealed that El Jefe's compound was just 15 miles south of the titular Garcia's burial place. Realising that so much of the journey that had cost himself and so many others so dearly had been unnecessary, Warren Oates' protagonist Bennie was to burst into laughter in front of El Jefe's gates, finding at last the redemption he had been seeking. In fact, the redeeming power of laughter was originally intended to be the central message of Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia.

However, friends, associates and backers expressed doubts, reasoning that such a film would only further alienate Peckinpah's already dwindling audience. His vision crushed, his beautiful moth wings twisted, Peckinpah dutifully returned to the themes of misanthropy and nihilistic despair for which he had become known. Ten years later, he was dead.

- - - - -


What I want to share with you today is a poem. Poetry is a dangerous endeavour, and the Poet a courageous figure. In writing a poem and giving it to the world, the Poet is essentially making him or herself naked, to be pored over by the audience's eyes. Tiny, piggy, greedy eyes. Ugly, leering faces. The Poet undresses so that the world might be able to make sense of itself. There is no overstating the bravery of this sacrifice.

For 18 months now, I have given you laughter. And as the great Peckinpah himself would concede today, had he not been destroyed by people like you, laughter is a tremendous gift, one for which I'm sure you are grateful. But I feel now that the time is right for me to evolve as an Artist, to be taken seriously, to produce Important Work. And so I hope you too are ready to expand your horizons, to evolve with me and fully appreciate the breadth of my vision, the exciting new fruits of my creationspace.

Behold.

Song Of The Toilet

Guttural vocalisations
cut through the particles
of an air choked by the molecules
of your fragrant rejections.

Jesus, what have you been eating?
Arse-coughed germs of passed sins
into the lungs of the gathering,
reluctant witnesses to your heavings.

Not good enough for you,
but good enough for the rest of us,
we, the open mouth
that receives your morbid cargo.

I thank you.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Multi-Coloured Rimathon

Last Night's TV
reviewed by Jennel Croles

Okay, I hold my hands up! I was initially scathing about C4's new docusoap A Pirate's Life For Me..?, but three epsiodes in, I have to confess - I'm hooked!

After narrowly escaping capture last week, the Feared Pirate Moll Frichter has been giving some serious thought to a career change. A sensible move in any case, but with Transport for London's recent offer of an amnesty to all who promise to renounce piracy, now would be the time. For Moll, however, there are deeper reasons.

"My heart was never really in piracy. I just sort of fell into it after I left uni, thought it'd do until something better came along. But then I found I was quite good at it, kept getting promoted... Before you know it, years have gone by. A story familiar to many, I should suppose. Yea, daily the big, shitty net of comfort is dragged through the stagnant waters of our society, sweeping up and pacifying young, ambitious individuals whose talents would be better deployed elsewhere. And it's too late to do anything by the time they've come to their senses. They have Ko Phangan in October to save up for."

So what is it that she really wants to do?

"I always wanted to do abstract dance. Ever since I was a little girl, nothing has ever given me as much joy as the feeling of pure movement."

How well do you work with choreographers?

"I prefer not to. Choreography is an external influence which corrupts the purity of the process. I can't really move in a prescribed way. I have this kind of freestyle thing going on. I like to just close my eyes and allow my body to do as it will. I have an internal choreographer - innocent, primal, the choreographer of the aeons. I like to just feel the shit."

I'm sorry, but this company adheres to the very specific vision of its founder, Meat Philips: He's The Greatest Dancer. We have strict aesthetic principles. I'm afraid there's no room for freedom here.

Her next move, out of necessity more than choice, was to join the band Failstate, who have been praised by NME for "the intensity of their lyrics (I've got a problem in my head / So I'm just gonna lay in bed). Fuck Andrew Motion, this is the poetry of the modern youth. Failstate are made of WIN".

Their career ended just three weeks later when NME decided to throw its full weight behind a nascent grindcore revivalist scene emerging in the Bispham area of Blackpool ("Blackpool Rocks!"), proclaiming "feckless, unreconstructed indie-rock" (such as that made by Failstate) dead. Pitchfork, sadly, never took an interest.

What choice, then, has the Feared Pirate Moll Frichter? What choice but to return to piracy, with ever greater zeal, with a fire burning in her belly, with a rage that torments her waking hours and gnaws at the edges of those that should be spent sleeping?

O art world, what hast thou wrought? Now a darkness is laid upon this land. Now the air is thick with dread, from which there is no shelter, no sanctuary. Now heads hang low, trust and fellowship unaffordable luxuries. 20 miles tall stands Moll Frichter, and all live in her shadow.

O art world, your expectations, your whims, your arbitrary norms - these things are anathema to art's practitioners, who long for a freedom otherwise denied. Moll Frichter is your creation, art world. And she's your greatest yet, well done, I love it! So powerful.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Free Me From The Tyranny Of The Beat

Today we shall be talking about choices.

Theme tune
Choices for me, choices for you,
So many kinds of choices that we can do.
Do you choose evil, or do you choose good,
Or do you, like most people, tend to make your moral decisions on an ad hoc basis, balancing your desired outcome against whatever ethical concerns you may have, where conflicts occur? (eg, "I take a strong stance against vivisection. However, I also have a serious illness. Do I take these life-saving drugs, knowing that they've been tested on animals, or do I sacrifice my own life on a point of principle? Which option has the greater benefit
(I survive the illness/I die, albeit with a clean conscience) after accounting for its cost (I eventually kill myself in a fit of self-loathing/I die, albeit with a clean conscience)?")

Here is a famous example of a dilemma. A bus pulls into a station (not a major one, really just a concourse in a built-up commercial area, such as a city centre or suburban entertainment complex - a bowling alley, a multiplex cinema, an acceptable Tex-Mex restaurant).

The bus is driven by noted pirate hunter Rear Admiral Holpous Quigg, and waiting at the stop is the Feared Pirate Moll Frichter, who - presumably enjoying a day off - carelessly climbs aboard without first taking steps to identify the driver. Quigg promptly arrests her and has his clerk see to the administrative particulars.

As he is about to pull away, Quigg - a fastidious sort - takes a moment to check his wing mirror for approaching traffic. He sees another bus, driven - if you can believe this shit - by the Feared Pirate Moll Frichter, who sees him in turn and speeds away. What the actual fuck?

Thinking his prisoner has escaped, Quigg orders all hands on deck and is about to give chase when his first mate points to their charge, still in irons and sitting passively on the back seat.

At first baffled, Quigg soon reasons that he has inadvertently arrested a future iteration of Frichter, who exists just a few minutes ahead of her present self.

What should Quigg do? The future Frichter is guilty of the same crimes as her slightly younger counterpart, but as she is not of our time, she cannot technically be held culpable in the present. It is likely that only Quigg would ever be aware of the true nature of her capture, but he will have broken the laws of both man and physics, which would no doubt lead to some fucked-up shit. If, on the other hand, he seizes his moment and arrests the Frichter of his own dimension, he will be transgressing an unwritten but nonetheless sacred maritime code forbidding the arrest of more than one copy of any given pirate within a 24-hour period. You will have heard this type of dilemma referred to as Quigg's quandary.

Some clever dicks often point to a tacit third option: simply let both Frichters go. But they are, frankly, pissing into the wind, as this age-old conundrum is, in fact, a trick.

Attentive readers may recall that the paperwork has already been completed and faxed over to the nearest port authority. Quigg therefore has no choice but to drive back to the depot with his prisoner exactly as described in the report: "1 qty. Feared Pirate Moll Frichter, appearing very slightly older than expected."

But wait now, let us consider this in more detail. Because if the Frichter from the present managed to escape... then she is, at this very moment, a free woman... which effectively negates her future arrest, which is now in the past... meaning...

Our hero's shoulders droop as he looks forlornly to the empty back seat. Ah sorry, old Quigg, I fear that you are shit out of luck! No doubt there shall be a great many questions for you to answer upon your return to St. Kitts.

Hey, I don't make the rules. Don't have a go at me.