Thursday, January 20, 2011

bounce and rhyme

"Bounce and Rhyme,"
the handbill reads,
"FREE for
Babies under Three!"

So we bring ours.

We arrive at the library
ten minutes late,
The Reading Room
filled with noise,
Cleared of books,
An ocean of mothers
cross legged
on turquoise carpet,
Gurgling parcels
Dangled in velour lap.

Thank god, I am not
the only man in here.

There is one. Two.
I am possibly the oldest.
But freshly shaved.

We double park
the buggy under a
of grazing elephants,
and waste no time
in squatting down,

"Wind! the Bobbin in..."

a guerilla battalion of
well versed, armed
to the teeth,
with loaded gesture.

"Pull, Pull, Clap, Clap."

The rhymes are more
or less
Uncharted territory,
I might have been
in another country, a
Dialect modelled on
Quite the wrong note.

Our son leers up off my
knee with hobbled
optimism as we busk it,
Mincing over intricate
Drawn in the air,
an orchestrated handclap
or two
to startle
an eye gone over to sleep.

What's that ?
he might be thinking,
You stitched
me up,
What happened to those
of Sesame Street we've
been busy rehearsing ?
The Count.
The modal jazz.

It's not my fault, kid,
I covertly sign,
We have to work with
what we've got,
a clouded palette,
Don't hold it against
there's still a chance
we may
make it through.

"Wind! the Bobbin up..."

His mouth turned down.

And looks straight through
me, teary, crestfallen,
Lets go loudly in
his new corduroy suit.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

ensenada drive, woodland hills, 1969

The piano may not have been drinking, but I have; to a civilized degree. Purloined from the original German, here; the root and trace of it seeded from a sugarmegs microdot of a torrent sown, originally, in 2006. With supporting observations from John French.

A roll of the dime. As invited within the offices of the good doctor, Faust.

A sequence of eight annoted short pieces, recorded somewhere between the onset of winter, 1968 and the spring of 1969, none of it features on the official "Grow Fins" compilation of outakes from those Trout Mask Replica Sessions. I learned of the captain's passing, first, in a report from Casa Nada, sometime in Sacramento.

01-Untitled Piano Song (1:33)
02-Untitled Piano Instrumental #1 (1:53)
03-A Lot Of Money For You, A Lot Of Money For Me-Untitled Piano Instrumental #2 (1:19)
04-Short Whistling (0:10)
05-Untitled Piano Instrumental #3 (2:04)
06-Why Can't We Be Free? (0:50)
07-Untitled Piano Instrumental #4 (0:58)
08-Untitled Piano Instrumental #5 (0:31)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

a dose of vitamin e [reduced]

Gustave Doré, 1886. 

In a good mood, then, I leave my wife dawdling over the pram in the more sanitary side of town and duck into the supermarket.

Our sage bag of tricks has piled on one and a half lbs in the course of one spare week. Something less by metric alchemy.

I do not find what I am looking for. 

"DOYOUDOSUSHI?" I enquire. Karaoke out a Can. Barry Sheen, after a stroke.

We kick-start the pram and travel in caravan to the park at the top of the road. By the time we get there I could eat a horse. As it is, we prowl around in search of a dry bench and fall upon the sushi. Devouring every shard.

It is all right. 

I do not care for George Osbourne. I do not like him at all. An 18th century engraving of a man divested of powdered wig and rouge. Ankle breeches. Buckled shoe.

Give his coalition seven more months, and there will be a poor house back on every corner. Jacobins swinging in Tyburn.

We take a meandering route back home past vast Georgian houses hugging avenue and circus, a puzzle of lanes. This part of this city I am largely unfamiliar with. An adjunct to its commercial heart. Among the nursing homes and divided lets, an odour of squandered wealth persists, blackmail, sculduddery; under quarried flagstone and vans deploying fibre to the curb; out of rockery and reclaimed wind. 

When Gilmour's charge did dandle, Parliament Street did blush;
Should Lutyens' stone be littled, with swords brought forth be hushed.

We open the door on mail forwarded from our old place.

A solicitor's letter on behalf of the utility company demanding £154 on top of all we fed in to its niggardly prepayment meter in the course of this year past.

This, despite a credit carried over in that last quarter of some £56. Plus a £20 late payment surcharge; £30 court fees; £50 solicitors costs. Oh, and £1.14 statutory interest.

ust one more reason we are forever in debt. 

THE FALL: I AM DAMO SUZUKI from "This Nation's Saving Grace" LP (Beggars Banquet) 1985 (UK)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Christmas Trees
have taken over our
Creeping out under
cover of
Flood Warnings,
Dragged out out of 
bed to sober 
unwanted guests.

By morning they have
Succumbed to frostbite.
needles like so many
Fingers. Toes.

Walking back
from the brink of
we step behind a
Dislocated limb,
allow a woman to
move past us,

Thanks, she yawns,
Her breath a
Fog. Steaming like
Warm breakfasts.
Tea. Toast.

We nod and pretend
to examine the tree,
like Undertakers on
The Job,
Measuring a corpse
left out in the rain.

Monday, January 10, 2011

1010011010:~$sudo su

There was a time when all was word,
from font of crackling spindle
Searing Moses ear,
to Albert James Freed on the AM dial.

Before that too, the coiled copper wire
of the fallen, whispering for Adam.
Serpents. Rose seeds.
Unplumbed wormholes in the garden.

The nature of the word is virus.
Binary. Hyperlinked. Self-replicating.
It will not rest, in cave nor cache,
what began as babble is storm, torrent.

philip kindred got it nailed, the sepsis.
Dancing round hospital in wheelchair.
Denounced as hack, hacked in turn,
Warding off infection with icthys palm.

What began with an apple
Scrolled on the Mainframe, vavvavvav,
Scripted on the backs of eyelids,
Blessed, archived, embedded in host.

The voracious appetite to overwrite, 1.1

Saturday, January 8, 2011

all out to fink, inc.

La Fleur De Barbe" is not among those eight recordings of Dubuffet's reissued by İlhan Mimaroğlu on "Musical Experiences" (Finnadar SR 9002). Certainly, it hails from those original pieces recorded by Dubuffet - in collaboration with Danish painter and ally, Asger Jorn - between December, 1960 and March, 1961; twenty issued on six 10" LPs, with perhaps eleven additional pieces on a farther four 10" vinyls, each in a limited pressing of 50 copies individually numbered and signed by the artist. 

"The first tape produced in these circumstances is rather unusual as it is a poem, La fleur de barbe, which is declaimed, chanted and vaguely sung by several voices mixed together (which are all in fact mine) with occasional instrumental accompaniment."


JEAN DUBUFFET: LA FLEUR DE BARBE from "Experiences Musicales" 6 x 10" LP (Unknown Label) 1961 (France / Italy)

all out of ink, inc.

"Bowery Bum (May 1964) is the piece that occasioned my association with Dubuffet and opened the way to my discovery of his own extraordinary music (of which I eventually made a first commercial edition on Finnadar SR 9002). The visual impetus of the Dubuffet drawing, one of his Bowery Bums, suggested the form, the content, and even the sound source - the sound of a sole rubber band used as a counterpart to the India ink of the drawing. The outer formal character of the piece corresponds to that of the drawing - a seemingly random maze of lines through which appears a human figure, pathetic and droll."

- İlhan Mimaroğlu, sleevenotes:
"Face The Windmills, Turn Left" (Finnadar SR 9012).

The trail which led - for me - ultimately to İlhan Mimaroğlu begins with a stark one colour caricature of Mingus by Greg Condon. "
Changes One" and "Two" - recorded in NYC in December, 1974, with Don Pullen on piano; George Adams on tenor sax; Jack Walruth on the horn - are variously celebrated as a high, or derided as elevator music climbing only so far as a wedding planner schmoozing in the honeymoon suite of an uptown hotel. The last position is thoroughly strange when one considers that much of the content from these two sessions was informed by the Attica Prison Riots of 1971, mitigated only marginally by allowing that both albums were produced by Turkish electronic avant-gardist, İlhan Mimaroğlu.

For some, the blame lies not with the featured composition or performance, but the veneer and polish of the final Atlantic release. In short, those essential qualities Mimaroğlu brings to bear in consenting to channel the muscular Mingus at the top of his game.

Born in Istanbul in 1926 and educated at Lycée of Galatasaray, Mimaroğlu "studied in the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Center under Vladimir Ussachevsky" after his move to the US in the 60s. In 1971 he collaborated with Freddie Hubbard on the critically acclaimed "Sing Me a Song of Songmy: a Fantasy for Electromagnetic Tape". For his part, Mimaroğlu was rewarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. One assumes Mingus was himself impressed; there is no record that the decision to draft Mimaroğlu into service on "One" and "Two" was anything bar consensual.

Beginning in earnest in 1964 - with "Bowery Bum" (after an ink drawing by Jean Dubuffet, executed 12 years earlier) - Mimaroğlu's experimental compositions are simultaneously linear; collaged; perplexing. Founding the Finnadar label in 1973 as a conduit for both acoustic arrangements and his continuing experiments in stereo and quadraphonic sound, Atlantic bought over distribution of his back catalogue in 1981.

"Musique Noires", released in 1983, compiles - so far as I can gather - earlier "tape parts realized in the studios of Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center" overdubbed with traditional instrumentation and voice. In the following instance, with cello by Charles McCracken.

There. I just thought I'd hurl out a curved ball.

İLHAN MIMAROĞLU: BOWERY BUM from "Face The Windmills, Turn Left" LP (Finnadar) 1976 (US)
İLHAN MIMAROĞLU: STILL LIFE 1980 from "Musique Noires" LP (Finnadar) 1983 (US)


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

behind the nib of sleep

This post has been amended, pending investigation into possible po-facedness.

Sleep. No, not the recumbent John Giorno from Warhol's 321 minute anti-film - premiering to nine people in total in a Manhattan loft on January 17th, 1964, two of whom fled within its first hour - but the absence of it. The dessication of self as bodily fluids coagulate. And major organs fail.

Tim Sullivan got me started thinking on it in an afterthought to his piece on horses; horseshit; bridles and bits. A trail of "secret creepo rays beaming out from Disneyland". This is not an attempt to distil his original meditation. More precisely, it was not so much sleep deprivation which was mentioned, as insight. Looming up through a tangible fog on wings which beat and dazzle. I sat down to brood over it, got up to pour a cup of instant coffee, and realized one cigarette was not about to get me through the night. My wife offered to set out for the shop, but I could not allow it.

Of the two of us, she has had less sleep by far. Her breasts are tender, her nipples chafed from our child's feeding, the whites of her eyes veined like cracked porcelain. Besides, it was I who made it first to the end of the pack.

I put on my shoes and walked up the street to the shop on the corner with my older son. Really, the shoes are no use at all in this weather. The snow melted some time between Christmas and the approach of a new year, but it has been raining constantly - a freezing drizzle - and the pavements are carpeted with municipal grit. A poor man's salt of the earth. And the road we must cross rises quite steeply, steeply enough that I have seen rivers washing over it. And the green light over the shop's canopy dispelling any kind of welcome as we near it. As dismal, maybe, as the bar in Venice Beach. Its proprietor seemingly despising all who purchase tobacco products or alcohol.

Glasgow is littered with this type of convenience store. Jaundiced shopkeepers irrately dispensing forbidden fruits to the infidel. And his children. In the event that we all succumb to a sudden rash of cancer, there is an alcohol dependency unit situated conveniently nearby; just to keep the cash register chirping.

So. I bought the cigarettes, my son paid for a bottle of chocolate milk, and we trudged back home to pick up where we left off.

Back to sleep, then. Or the rationing out of it through these lean times.

It is not a taxable commodity, I don't believe. Not yet. The rising tide of the clinically depressed may yet tip the scales in favour of a referendum on it, even chronic alcoholics habitually embrace it. Junkies, of course, are perpetually on the nod. And when the urge to hit at the keys is on the wane, I even put my monitor to bed.

It is an untapped market of huge potential. Only the FTSE never sleeps, now the tiger is awake.

Well. There is no Bill's Bar to bring one's woes to.

Even the best of them will chew you up and spit you out just as soon as the eyelids flutter; the fingers grope for pennies to shield the retina from the cold soaking glare. I cannot pretend to have amassed an ounce of advice worth a button. Not that anyone is asking. There is no respite. That's the truth of it. The soft tissues brittle over like crystallized syrup; the arteries harden and the blood becomes like ice. A redundant muscle with too much heavy traffic wheezing in and out.

The biggest sleep we've all been chasing.

Leaning in to it like skittles, squandering the passing of days as we suck it in and shit it out. Contorted monkies, finally, racing to the finish.

I forgot to mention.

An advertisment dropped through my letterbox today. Four figures in washed out black, the ink laid on sparingly as a mafioso's kiss, and not - as you have every right to second guess - the four horsemen of the apocalypse. "SINGING RESERVOIR DOGS WANTED" - looking just like the Walker Brothers, what are the odds ?

"FOR 1950s DOO WOP GROUP. WILL BE EXPECTED TO BUSK IN TOWN, SO AS TO LEARN TO ENTERTAIN FROM THE GROUND UP." No specific reference to burial, or promise of resurrection, but the allusion to it nonetheless. "YOU WILL RECEIVE AN EQUAL SHARE OF THE MONEY AND I WILL PAY EACH OF YOU £10 ON TOP OF THAT."

I could be tempted.

image by Pablo, 1933.

A nod, too, to Nathan Nothin's procurement of jam and "Jerusalem" as the veneer of democracy starts to fade, and to jonderneathica for supplying an invitation to the quietus.

SLEEP: EVIL GYPSY / SOLOMON'S THEME from "Sleep's Holy Mountain" CD (Earache) 1992 (US)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

fingers in the pies

Antonio Prohías, 1961.

"A Ha to Doctor Johnson
Said Scipio Africanus
Lift up my Roman Petticoat
and kiss my *@!$! Anus"

- William Blake, Complete.

The following (quoted) piece first appeared the day preceding Hogmanay; under a different badge. I promptly reset it to draft, given my alarmism seemed a tad overblown.

In hindsight, I'm not so sure.

There exists a spate of reports out there documenting persons being locked out of their Google or Facebook accounts. Contact lists violated; emails circulating in the wild. The repercussions, when one pauses to reflect on it, are potentially grave enough to raise a code red. After months of plunging into the surf without a seatbelt, internet security is very much back on my agenda.

Legitimate concerns after the careless activation of a Java Applet.

Not content, then, on promoting catalepsy with my waxing lyrical on parenthood, I reinstate it now as a means of further cudgeling the casual wanderer onto the Bleachers. Or to merely propogate unwarranted dread.

"A curious thing happened on the way to the forum, today, to paraphrase Zero Mostel as Pseudolus.

Or Frankie Howerd. Chose your poison.

I was sitting in front of my portal to the world with the sound turned way down low and my browser open. My fly zippered. Out of sheer laziness, I left the tab logged into my Google account. Staring absentmindedly at the baby in my lap; daydreaming myself into a coma.

Well. An hour or two might have idled by. I did not notice whether the monitor drifted off to sleep. The grey afternoon licking at the window petered into twilight; the lamps up and down the close across the street stuttered awake like drunken fireflies. I could have leaned out to start a cigarette. I could have leaned out to start an argument, but nobody was listening.

I am still getting used to the change of water. A different sort of fishbowl entirely. If I ever move again it will be to a croft parked on the edge of a sheer cliff - a broken lighthouse - with nothing but glowering skies between me and the sea.

So. Mildly irrated at this slipping into genteel dotage without so much as a properly diagnosed seizure, I sidled my son into the crook of one arm and lunged at the keyboard for a timely interruption. I punched the volume up as far as it would go. And that's when I heard it. That's when I became aware of some kind of terrible intrusion.

At first I was tempted to dismiss it as a bad rip.

A sloppy stab at binary encoding.

I quit the file and the sound persisted. Keystrokes. F@ckin' keystrokes. Jamming away like a trio of ambidextrous Ukranian crooks. Or the Yellow Magic Orchestra.

Dear lord.

Now, I am not so quick as to dismiss myself as wholly cretinous when it comes to desktop security. I have a modest grasp of the internet; those pitfalls to avoid. I laid my son in his crib and opened up my system preferences, navigated to sharing. Firewall on ? Check. No exceptions ? Check. Internet sharing off ? Check. Back to security. A cursory search to make sure passwords are enabled, then on to accounts.

The devious hacking of remote keys upped a gear and appeared to be reaching its crescendo.

I logged out of everything I could - force quit what I couldn't - restarted and ran a standard Symantec test for vulnerable ports; everything clean and stealthy. The keystroke noise, of course, had disippated. I logged into my router's firewall and closed down anything which did not seem essential. I did this, and I did that. Oh, yeah. So what.

Last, but by no means least, I logged back in to my Google account, changed the password, deleted an obsolete default email address, and made sure port forwarding was not enabled. Everything appeared to be as it should, bar the one lamentable oversight, which lay with the integrity of the original password itself, perhaps. A glaring error. Possibly.

Like Mr. Kurtz, at the atrophied epicentre of his heart of darkness, I have gotten lazy. Prone to infection and possession.

Like Marlon Brando in his precarious temple, I have gotten fat and routinely neglectful; complacent in the face of complexities. But not an inch too paranoid.

Apocalypse now ? Last tango in Partick, motherf@ckers."


I habitually monitor downloads with Clam Xav; a freeware program. I monitor, too, inbound and outbound connections via the indispensable Little Snitch. As an added precaution, I installed Sophos Home Edition and scanned the entire volume for evidence of Trojans or Worms; in particular any DNS Changer which might have embedded itself somewhere in the directory. Nada. I also ran a subsequent fully authorised scan through a separate program to check for any Malware Sophos might have missed; specifically Keystroke Loggers. Nothing. Theories ? Spurious observations or informed conjecture ? Hit me with it. I'm all ears. Let me begin the new year with cigarette burns peppering the hood on my sweatshirt; a glass tumbler to bottle up the smoke.

Monday, January 3, 2011

the wrestler

Of all those odd jumbles of vowels
my son brings with him to the world -
the gurgles; yelps; indian war whoops -
broken consonants, riddles, squawks,
the strangest by far is that piercing
screech; a squeal of brakes on a
dodge scraping the corner, hubcap
flapping, all this accompanied by tiny
fists flung out over each shoulder,
as he comes to in his crib, half drunk
on milk, one expression after another,
mouth yawning; lips smacking in
a perfect 'o'; forehead furrowed with
all that effort required just to break
wind, squeeze out a fart: a pistol shot.

It is an undecipherable conundrum.

The letting go of past lives, the
slipping of an old soul into a new shoe.
The lacing and interlacing of self,
eyelash and fingernail, an epic struggle.

There was a free thinker named Boehme,
much admired by the engraver, Blake.

"Man must be at war with himself,"
he wrote, "fighting must be the watch
word, not with tongue and sword,
but with mind and spirit, and not to

give over."

Peaceful soldier. Wrestling with tigers.

image from the comic book,

"Fiasco Bombasco", by Ive Sorocuk.