Thursday, June 30, 2011


Well, you know, contrary to certain misinformed rumblings - if there ever were any - I have yet to be abducted by malign forces; farces; filtered sprites. Lurking in the dim end of the spectrum.

Nor am I susceptible to summary, spontaneous levitations.

I mention this in passing, merely.

Not that I am immune to demons. Of the sort which howl and niggle in those grey hours between comatose reclining and startling. The ritual wrestling between id and ego.

Of course, the unabashed bohemian in me protests. Brought to heel presently by a snot-nosed brat in utility boots: Leery stomping Leary; hammered - choked - with garlands in turn.

Such is the duality. Of rodents. Rubes. A perfect interlocking cross to bear.

Well. Just what I might be trying to scrape off my chest escapes me, all gut intuition, the dry heaving over porcelain with the fuse to the morning sun not quite lit. It has taken more months than expected to settle.

As for chores, virtual house clearing evaded me. While routine chipping, and gouging, and filing has not.

I have resisted all sensible urge to update my profile, irritating as it is. That inaccurate barometer of fleeting curiosity. The earth snake coming out a hole: tumbling out the sky in shock.

We have been back, of course, to visit. To marvel at the rubble. To excavate neighbourly ties. To retrace footsteps.

"I have a suspicion that my writing smacks of Chintz curtains of late. Albeit stained - holed - but fidgety nonetheless. A scent of magnolia masking mothballs.

The lifts are often thick with that smell. Eastern Europeans arriving with tightly sprung suitcases, folded bed linen. Heirlooms."

"Looking down on the rose garden, I see the wrought iron waste bin standing alone on one corner.

It is still new enough that I often mistake it for an elderly person stooping to feed the pigeons. The sunlight gleams on yellow painted seams so they protrude like pencil sharpened elbows. Toothpicks. My vision is not what it once was, I have sometimes misidentified black refuse sacks peppering the grass. Even Merle Haggard seems a little distant.

When he steps out on the stage.

I made the dinner pouring gins. Not quite neat, but I know my kitchen like the back of my hand. I can sidle around it slicing mushrooms as well as any blind man.

I fry eggs as big and fat as cataracts.

I can shuffle like Lemon Jefferson, and pour them dry and mean."

The following - one of five wholly instrumental collaborations - was recorded and produced at Robert Quine's loft apartment in NYC between September 1979 and July 1980. Don't throw that knife. Or come unstuck, vibrating in the park.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

forecast remains unsubstantiated

Farther calibrating The Fall's stammering decline into the jaws of August. The last gasp of summer, before it has properly commenced.

Paper Cut by Hans Christian Andersen. Uncovered here.

THE FALL: WEATHER REPORT 2 from "Your Future Our Clutter" CD + LP (Domino Records) 2010 (UK)

Friday, June 24, 2011

jazz domino

Three Corners #1:
Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Tony Rice

Authentic Deep Pan #2:
Miles Davis

JERRY GARCIA, DAVID GRISMAN, TONY RICE: SHADY JAM from "The Pizza Tapes" CD (Acoustic Disc) 2000 (US)
JERRY GARCIA, DAVID GRISMAN, TONY RICE: SO WHAT from "The Pizza Tapes" CD (Acoustic Disc) 2000 (US)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

28 days later | never | redux

bagpipe |ˌbagpʌip |
noun (usu. bagpipes)

The bagpipe is a wind instrument used among the ancient Greeks but is known as a Scottish and Irish instrument.
Source: Foster, Ellsworth D. The American Educator (Chicago: Ralph Durham Company, 1921)

Had viral collagists, God Speed You! Black Emperor occupied a space somewhere in Europe between 1969 and 1975, they may well have been tarred with the ugly pointed stick underpinning Progressive Rock. The nomenclature. Compared, uncharitably, to Tangerene Dream, their incestuous tangle is - to my nose - an altogether more appealing blend.

Pardon me while I cough. Uncork the Coedine Linctus.

The bagpipe is a punctured lung. Impaled on congenitally stricken ventricles.

As it is, this Montreal collective make interesting music with an anaesthetic bent. Their "Dead Flag Blues" - to my own ears - reminds me vaguely of Sun City Girls. "Not In My League". Maybe it's the ancestral blood transfusion. A cellular migration. Newfoundland, free church lairs; ramshorn kirks.

The orphaned bone is pallid. Through and through.

Lightly freckled with moss.

Those bagpipes on "East Hastings" convince me just how much cloying sentimentality invades the shallows. The best piper I have listened to is Portuguese, hands down, but here evangelical moribundity prevails.

"East Hastings" is an east to westerly gael, anchored in three parts:

2.1: 'Nothing's Alrite in our Life / Dead Flag Blues (reprise)';
2.2: 'The Sad Mafioso';
2.3: 'Drugs in Tokyo / Black Helicopter'

1998 was the year my first born was conceived.

He is not so old as to be wholly mute in crisis. On top of his game. Just yesterday I bathed the wound on his shin; bandaged his ankle.

School nurses, it seems, have elected to embrace phage therapy. Dispensing with the iodine. The notion of untenable costs.

The puddle water smelled foul. Crawling with pathogens. Opportunistic infections.

"East Hastings" - after surgical intervention - appears fleetingly in Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later". Surrender to sleight of hand, you will almost certainly miss it.

Postscript: < infection detected: contained: antibiotics implemented >

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR: EAST HASTINGS from "F♯ A♯ ∞" LP (Constellation) 1998 (Canada)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

family guy

I picked up two books
from the 2nd hand store.

Kinky Friedman;
Early Dashiell Hammett.
A zippered jacket for Milo
with embroidered dogs.

It is much too big for him,

Of the two exercises in
Running to Seed,
I prefer the Hammett.

Hard Spined.
Hard Boiled.

Not quited there yet,
better between Sacramento
and Tijuana. The Hop.

My older son's hair
has grown way past
All but half way to
His ass.

I am itching to cut it,
to escort him to the barbers.

Such are those mundane
which prompt me to
Log in. Out.

I creak, and I cough, and I pace.
Quite the
Old School motherf@cker.

Monday, June 6, 2011


A couple of days ago, I was deliberating on the apparent demise of certain voices. Some articulate pockets of resistance. Querulous individuality.

"The curious vilage of Blog houses a fragile temple. Twatter made a dent on it. Bookface corroded its foundation," I wrote.

Of course, that is only part of it. The relief is that quite so many voices persist.

Well. I was cataloguing those both currently above and below the radar - outlining the beginning of a tentative line of enquiry - when I inadvertently hit the 'publish' button. A case of spastic finger, no less. My surety of touch is slowly failing; along with my once adequate vision. My gums. My teeth.

The error was quickly contained, I thought. I killed the wayward article and promptly set out to the park to feed some ducks. A ballet of swans, I am told. Dispersing stale bread with impunity.

I had not counted on the RSS feed, though. I was too embroiled with tagged birds. Beaks. The blanket tucked over my baby's feet.

In my own absence - again - my in-tray has become so coagulated, that I can no longer depend on automated devices. Bells and whistles. I scratch my head and dither this way and that. Sniffing my underarms. Following partial scents.

"Sometimes I have questioned its will to live - in and out of DMCA pogroms; snideful interjections - but mainly, I feel, it is the case that every voice is finite. I am not so fond of Social Networking sites, admittedly, I like to hang my own shit out like a flag. An upended bag of washing. If one rallies around it, fine and dandy, if not I'll still wring out the stain of it in the morning. Mark my last stand with (territorial) pissings."

You get the gist. Nothing substantial enough to warrant publication. The sort of inane rant I am often sadly prone to in unguarded comments, but generally try to avoid up front.

"Shall we gather at the river ?
Only should the washing machine fail. The tumble dryer fuse in the wall."

Still. I got back from the park to find my laundry had been snagged. The sole good thing in this was that it might have prompted the odd hippie bus driver to blow the dust off between the chickens; the hawks; the castrators of prose and poem. The ineffable attraction of cue and recoil.

I have missed the clarity.

Still unresolved is the stubborn silence - too many months now - from @eloh.

There. I have said it, finally.

I hope that you are well. In spite of your daughter's assurances, I have worried. Sometimes it is hard to begin from where one last left off. Chew on the rust.

I have no idea whether you might read this or not.

Don't let the @ssholes grind you down.

falun gong | falun dafa

As I mentioned by way of aside, our recently expanded family of six chanced upon some volunteers and practitioners of Falun Gong in the park.

Actually, there were seven of us. Less than magnificent. Enticed there by the spectacle of carnival atmosphere, our minor logistical nightmare was all but devoured by incipient rainbow of colour. A tattoo of voodoo drums. 

It is something of an annual event, the opening Mardi Gras parade. We do not always make it a date.

I plucked Milo out of his stroller and bundled him to my chest. The path was a scrum of knees and dubbined boots. I feared for his safety this close to the ground.

His stroller is not robust. I envisioned it disintegrating into so much kindling.

An older Chinese woman approached my wife. Three yellow robed devotees of Qigong were engaged in a conspicuously public sitting meditation just feet away from where we loitered.

"Hallo," the woman said to us. "Are you interested in Falun Dafa ? Chinese history ? The Buddha Showing a Thousand arms ?"

Her voice was naturally pitched for intimate conversation. There was a deal of noise in the air - Samba; a welter of Jazz - but in less than two minutes she cut through my Sunday hangover. In less than three, I concluded that I liked her.

She was born some decades before Mao's Year Zero. When the Kuomintang and the Communists were still embroiled in hostilities, quite possibly. 

When she was just six, some party officials took her mother from her and imprisoned her next to her school. She and her siblings made a daily pilgrimage to visit her and speak to her through the narrow windows of what was effectively her cell; to pass her what scraps of food they could gather. After several weeks of this, the party faithful boarded up those windows. Incarcerated and tortured her in the dark.

They kept her like this for several years. When they finally released her - this woman's young mother - she was quite broken. All light in her extinguished.

She told us this and stroked Milo's curious hand. He warmed to her immediately.

Falun Gong is the world's most popular expression of Quigong, an ancient practice flourishing only behind closed doors until recently. In 1992, Li Hongzhi brought it to the public in China. Similar in principle and visual expression to t'ai chi - yoga - by 1998, official reports estimated that between 70 - 100 million Chinese citizens had embraced the practice; a figure intolerable to the Party, not least because it eclipsed CCP membership.

I looked at those people exercising in our Glasgow park.

The practice has been outlawed in China since July, 1999. Relentless persecution since then has not altogether undermined its influence. Such a public display, however, would be unthinkable. Internationally corroborated reports attest to routine organ harvesting among those detained, in addition to wholesale torture and disappearance.

"They take both kidneys, then the heart and the skin and the corneas and the liver, and your body is then thrown into the incinerator"
- David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State.
 "More than 40,000 additional unexplained transplants have been recorded recently in China since 2001"
- Edward McMillan-Scott, European Parliament Vice-President.

We signed the petition.

We queued in front of a studious looking man bowed over a table with ink dipped brush. He translated Milo's name into Mandarin with painstaking precision. Impervious the older kids' awkward push and shove. Extraordinarily focused.

Later that same evening, I watched the first hour of a five part BBC documentary chronicling the rise of the megacity.

Shanghai featured prominently. 

Andrew Marr contends that it now boasts 7,000 billionaires. While those figures have been condemned as wildly innacurate - one report I have read claims there were 'merely' 66 documented billionaires in China in 2010 - it seems to me sadly incontrovertible that while human rights abuses persist on an epic scale, the wider political agenda appears to have been rewritten to accomodate China as economic superpower. 

Its unqualified rehabilitation as free market bedfellow.

Please give your attention to some of those very real case sudies as cited here. Reflect on the calamity in that.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

droogs of stonehenge

Now. It is my assumption that the following 2'57" is not some veiled reference to NASA fueled excesses over the plains of New Mexico. Or covert cold war dramas outrunning missiles over Soviet air space.

Tearing the back seat out of the sound barrier.

This, despite dandified drummer Steve Tindall's passing resemblance to Thunderclap Newman's Speedy Keene; offset, even more bizarrely, by a ludicrous calabash pipe of the type favoured by a cocaine addled Sherlock Holmes. On and off his game.

NYC based The Druids established their order in 1965. Sessions for Nola Records produced a fairly pedestrian concoction of standard garage fare heavily indebted to the 'British Invasion'. A crudely propelled biplane cobbled together with Cow Gum and string. 

Three years later, the appended Druids of Stonehenge upped sticks and promptly relocated to the patchouli scented intersection of Haight-Ashbury, settling into orbit around the UNI label. 

Their resulting stab at the big time, "Creation", proved more of a rudimentary feint than a well honed blow. Those druids. All dressed up in the height of summer and still no place to go. 

Almusic's Richie Unterberger rightly celebrates the strand of 'surliness' resistant to Susan on the west coast waiting. More so, his assertion that vocalist Dave Budge evinced a hint of cabaret at odds with any genuine attempt to break out of the room. The inclusion of covers - "I Put a Spell on You";  "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" - seems more desperately recalcitrant than righteously cynical. Minor league in spite of the original material showcased throughout. 

Their opting for Arthur Lee's "Signed D.C." is especially predictable. If altogether symptomatic of lovely winds of change.

Still. Nowhere have I stumbled upon any dedicated reference to the particular highlight here. Well. Swan Fungus got the jump on me with its inclusion in one of his Sunday Mix Tapes, infuriatingly. Rather, that would be case had I heard it there first.

Not for the first time, Fungus exhibits taste.

A proto switchblade jab of neanderthal punk, paced at a stumble, "Speed" ought to have been on jukeboxes everywhere in the dark corners of 1968. Luddite tub thumping on an overseas U.S. Air Force base. While the twelve-year-olds safely raid the medicine cabinet; the military policeman's wife irons his stripes.

Nobody was listening.

image: Mr. Natural Comix #2, R. Crumb.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

index SIN CD 9

Albrecht Dürer ices
Huffs of breath.
Bandanas shiver,
Pimple at 2:00 AM.

Between the kitchen and
this porch,
Refrigerator motors idle.

'The Knight, The Devil and Death'
Written and produced by
Craig Leon; Mark E. Smith; Simon Rogers.

Note: the version subsequently compiled on 'Sinister Waltz' is the
truncated backing track, shorn of Brix Smith's utterances.

Far from airless claustrophia, there is a sense of travel throughout,
or the urge to; astral projection and vending machines.
Electric fans whispering. Ceramic tiles. A long corridor. Clocks.

THE FALL: THE KNIGHT, THE DEVIL AND DEATH from "Ed's Babe" EP (Cog Sinister) 1992 (UK)