Thursday, 24 February 2011

Badges - Fridayflash

His mum and dad were very loyal to their country. They unfailingly heeded the Tourist Board's entreaties to visit the delightful countryside and the history-laden towns up and down the nation, rather than jet off to foreign climes. They bunked down in boarding and guest houses. In people's spare rooms let out for the summer. On camp and caravan sites. And from each place they were sure to invest in a tiny metallic memory to remind them and mark their progress through the landscape. They bought an enamel badge with the name of the county etched on it, or the coat of arms of the town. And his father unerringly pinned it to the outside of his rucksack so that in time it took on the appearance of a swarm of multi-coloured bees at the honeycomb of his canvas.

His own birth didn't halt their wanderings up and down the kingdom. They purchased a papoose thus conferring on him a frontal view of his land, his heritage. If his father was in front, he had an untrammelled view of the badges on the rucksack in all their dazzling glory. He would stare entranced for all the hours on the hoof.

A tad older and someone bought him an enamelling kit. He could make his very own badges and assiduously he applied himself to the task, tongue poking out the corner of his mouth with concentration. Being young and stubby fingered, the enamelling was far from perfect, but in time he had a green metal frog, a pink iron butterfly, a cobalt blue fish and a steel black dog. As rightly proud as he was, he couldn't bring himself to wear them as badges. Somehow they seemed to have no context, no meaning personal to him other than the satisfaction of rendering them. But they just didn't, to his mind, symbolise anything. He put them back in their box and placed it in a drawer.

For one of his birthdays, he dressed up in a newly acquired cowboy outfit, together with cap gun. He was so elated by the ensemble. He refused to swap the outfit for everyday clothes day after day after day. Eventually a mixture of his growth and the wear and tear on the faux leather meant he had to shuck them eventually. But he rescued the tin Sheriff's badge and pinned it proudly to whatever attire he was wearing each day. God how he loved that badge and partly inhabited some of the authority it dared to suggest was due. But one day he neglected to unclip it from his sports sweatshirt and it ended up going through a wash cycle in the machine. Its five points were all curled up towards its heart like a crab. The tin battered and abraded so that the legend 'Sheriff' was no longer discernible. He was heartbroken.

He enlisted in the cub scouts and even though several of the activities did not come naturally to him, he strived his utmost to secure the proficiency badges. He earned every single one of the brightly coloured triangles and circles and sowed them on his jumper with immense pride. When he had completed the last one, he left the troop, though he kept his bedecked jumper in his drawer.

Then came his rebellious phase. He got into rock and roll. Drinking and necking and boozy fights. He collected badges from every band he saw and fastened them to his graffitied school knapsack. He even took an outsized safety pin and stuck it in his nose, in an echo of the very anatomy of the badge itself. Unfortunately the pin wasn't sterile and he infected his nasal tissue, so that was the end of that. When he left school, the knapsack went into the artifact drawer.

His first job was in a fast food restaurant. He sported a clunky, rectangular laminated badge with his name, photo and five places for gold stars to be appended for his customer service. After quickly securing the first, he resolved to have nothing further to do with the incentive system, as he had uncovered several things that were to his dislike. Firstly there was the issue of the meat he was being asked to serve. Some online research into the journey from living beast to slab of gristle oozing bloodied juice, quickly had him foaming at the mouth not in savour but in outrage. Then there was the terrible conditions for him and his work colleague. In no time at all he advanced himself as an agitator for better treatment of staff, while by night he engaged in a parallel but secret campaign against the inequitable treatment of the animals. He lost job after job with his trouble-making, but figured it best to work from inside the industry. In the end he secured a post with the Trade Union and went round visiting every fast-food establishment in the country. In each he had a special visitors pass made for him when he flashed his Union pin badge nestling in his lapel.

And came the time gathered behind the barbed wire and overseen by the guntowers. When his country had reached back into history and plumped for a radical solution to its economic woes. That same country so beloved of his parents, who by dint of their ethnicity now found themselves also in such a camp, though at the other end of the country, in a new town that they themselves had visited but now found unrecognisable. For his part, the son was adorned with three badges. A yellow star like his parents. A pink triangle. And a red one for his Trade Union activities. And the stripy pjyamas that he found himself wearing? They were undoubtedly fabricated at one of the child-labour sweat shops, where children wore badges with the cameo of five gold stars awaiting appendages that never came.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Dreams Are Better

Dreams.... Fantasies... Imaginings... Aspirations... Here's 10 songs on the theme of dreams. Because of the varying musical styles and genres, some may well be dreamy. Some may represent altered states. Some may be nightmarish. Let me know your faves.

1) New Order - "Dreams Never End"

2) Ozzy Osbourne - "Dreamer"

3) Supertramp - "Dreamer"

4) The Bug - "Thief Of Dreams"

5) Jay-Z - "A Dream"

6) Pauline Murray - "Dream Sequence 1"

7) Sonic Youth - "I Dreamed I dream"

8) Suicide - "Keep Your Dreams"

9) Jimi Hendrix - "Still Raining, Still Dreaming"

10) Gang Of Four - "We Live as We Dream Alone"

Let's face it, it wouldn't be a Sulci Collective chart without at least one Gang Of Four track included.

Sweet Dreams


Friday, 18 February 2011

Drying Out - for Shackleton Scotch Competition

Isaiah 3:1: "For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water."

I stare into my compact mirror. Staunch chaperone, with tarnished verdigris islands in its vitreous sea. The glass itself corrugated by its own fluidity over many years. I find this is the only embodiment of me I can face these days. Shrunken and in miniature.

I stare at my thinning hair. The pigmentation having long given up the ghost, fating me to resemble one in life. Silver-blue strands making my deathly pale face appear spectral. Arrayed beneath the hairbrush, the wiredrawn silver gild serves only to frame a permanently fissured brow. Wrinkled topography suggesting dried up fluvial streams. Scooped out trenches from an abandoned archeological dig for self. Colour aside, I sardonically regard there is no lack of follicle vigour. To judge by the hair sprouting from every pore on my cheeks. I am endowed with the whiskers of a cat. But none of the sinuous liquidity in my stiff old bones, for them to navigate me by.

I breathe on my image in an effort to efface it behind a wall of fog. But as is increasingly the case these days, my internal water table is too low to condense sufficient droplets for forming a spume. Perhaps that accounts for the myth of vampires. Dried up desiccated old sticks that they were. They had no vapour left to mist up a mirror either.

I avert my gaze to fall by chance on my hands. The dermis there is particularly cracked and gnarled. Ligneous like twisted tree bark. Too many years of renewal, so the skin has dried out and lost its elasticity. The moisturisers ranged across my dresser achieved nothing then. The barren scrub of my body now utterly rendered a desert wasteland. The glacial smoothness may have been replaced by ugly ridged moraines of skin, but my permafrost beneath remains unthawed.

Not that I didn't have forewarning of this. All those carefree years under the hot Holy Land sun. Barefoot across the burning coals of the arid earth. The soles of my feet shredded and infected and horny scaled hard. Dead skin that never could heal. Deadened feeling against the ground when back here in carpeted and concrete Britain. Time has merely permitted the rest of my body to catch up.

That one possibility. Before the creeping drought. My Coptic lover who desired me to give him the most intimate of foot massages. He liked the rasping, sandpaper feel I could impart his parochial flesh. A serendipitous discovery like the best of them; my bulk proved too heavy for the oriental massage walking upon his back as he had initially requested. But if only he could have stayed with me, then the bird-like waif I have shrivelled to, would likely have sent him into the all-over body ecstasy. But our guilt riddled relationship couldn't hold water.

I drain my tumbler. I no longer bother to water down my scotch through the day. It has less and less affect dissolving my pain. Insoluble and unsolvable. The alcohol stings my cracked lips. Must be the tart me. My acidity becoming more and more concentrated as I lack for aqueousness. At a hundred percent purity, I will become fully unreactive, that inexorable glacial trajectory of my life. Must be close by now.

I am slowly being desiccated. More raisin and wrinkled prune than fine vintage pressed grape. Yet they have prescribed me water tablets for my swollen ankles. To make me piss more. To get the flow going throughout my body. But I am all silted and dammed up. My body greedily hoards its ever-dwindling reservoirs. I am wanting for the meltwater, but the glacier is impermeable.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Memory (Non-Linear Flash Fiction)


The dusty mote of memory. Bombinating around the waning waxy taper. Icarian fusion with the flame, fizz, fizz phufft. Shot down in conflagration as one dimly gropes for recall. Recurring memory of occurrings not ready for recollection at collection point 'C'.

Memory is thinned. Emulsion paint-stripped. Colloidal suspension of a happening in bite-sized gobbets. Mucilaginous globules, preserved surface tension until they go pop at being summoned to retrospection. It would never pass a retroinspection as to the detail. Everything is abbreviated.

For memory foreshortens. Foregrounded synaptic associations. Memory is not laminated ply. Is not the random accessed memory of hardware. It is non-locatable and barely locutable.

Memory is prompted by cues. A word, a smell, the clothes one was wearing. The refrain of a song, an emotion. It is the cues which are pickled and preserved. It has the feel of a stage production, wheeled out night after night after matinee after night. And then the set is struck as the theatre goes dark until the next production.

The first night adrenalin carrying the original performance through, the second night flatness, the grooved, mindless repetition for the length of the run. The happening was that first night, the reminiscence that of the ill-differentiated versions thereafter. Memory as the encore's empty bow.

Recalling the settings for the memory, how they have all the solidity of stage flats. Words replayed nightly according to the script, now largely forgotten, though the actor might remember a snatch, or a summoned-up feeling. If one tries to recall now, there will be improvisation, extemporisation, embellishment of the tale, because the dialogue cannot be reproduced whole. All is monologued, he said, she said.

The greasepaint no longer adorns, heightened, hyperbolic under the spotlights as the live happening itself would be picked out as memorable. Yet the actual fascia of memory equates to when the theatre is dark, barring all but the exit and safety lights. When the actor has removed the greasepaint, his features pale and bleached out by the glare. There might be an oleaginous greasepaint stain on the cuff or collar of his real world clothes when changing in a rush to leave the backstage and grab a bite to eat or a drink with a leading lady. The smell of the cosmetic lingering on the tissue of the fabric. Jolts one back. The impossibility of remembering the director's choreographed blocking of one's precise position in the tableau. The thespian has left the theatre. The memory has slipped away in the same manner.

Yet what perturbs is not the umbral nature of memory shadowing the event itself. It is that the actuality of the event itself is little more 'real' in how it is constructed and plays out in live time. If memory can only capture and embalm a soupçon of a happening, the happening itself fares little better in terms of apprehension.


click on image to enlarge

THE ALGID RIDDIM OF MEMORY (Google translator into German & back again)

Das staubige Stäubchen des Gedächtnisses. Bombinating um die abnehmende wächserne Wachskerze. Die Icarian-Fusion mit der Flamme, Zischen, zischt phufft. Niedergeschossen in der Feuersbrunst wie tastet man dunkel nach dem Rückruf. Das wiederkehrende Gedächtnis von Auftreten nicht bereit zur Erinnerung an der Sammlung spitzt 'C' an.

Gedächtnis wird dünn gemacht. Von Farbe abgezogene Emulsion. Gallertartige Suspendierung eines Ereignisses in bissen-großen Brocken. Mucilaginous-Kügelchen, bewahrte Oberflächenspannung, bis sie Knall gehen, zum Rückblick aufgefordert. Es würde einen retroinspection betreffs des Details nie passieren. Alles wird abgekürzt.

Weil Gedächtnis perspektivisch zeichnet. Foregrounded synaptic Vereinigungen. Gedächtnis ist nicht ausgewalzte Falte. Ist nicht das zufällige zugegriffene Gedächtnis der Hardware. Es ist non-locatable und kaum locutable.

Gedächtnis wird durch Stichwörter veranlasst. Ein Wort, ein Geruch, die Kleidung hielt man. Der Refrain eines Liedes...

The dusty mote of the memory. Bombinating around the decreasing waxy wax candle. The Icarian coalescence with the flame, hiss, hisses phufft. Shot down in the blaze like one feels darkly for the recall. The returning memory of appearance ready in memory of the collection does not sharpen 'C'.

Memory is made thin. From color Drawn off emulsion. Gallertartige suspension of an event in bite-size lump. Mucilaginous globules, preserved surface tension, until they go for bang, requested to the review. It would never happen retroinspection concerning the detail. Everything is shortened.

Because memory signs in perspective. Foregrounded synaptic unions. Memory is not a rolled out fold. If is not the accidental accessed memory of the hardware. It is non-locatable and barely locutable.

Memory becomes by headwords arrange. One held a word, a smell, the clothes. The refrain of a song, a feeling. These are the headwords which are marinated and are preserved. It has the feeling of a stage production, turned night after the night according to the afternoon image after the night. And then the sentence is hit as the theater goes darkly up to the following production.

The première adrenalin which carries out the original achievement, the second night flatness, gerillte, unconcerned repetition for the length of the run. The event was that a première, the recollection this of the bad-distinguished versions afterwards. Memory as the empty curve of the repetition.

Recalling the settings for the memory, as they have the whole solidity of stage apartments. Words played every night according to the writing, now mainly forget again, although the actor could remember snapping, or a requested feeling. If one tries to recall now, there is improvisation, extemporisation, decoration of the fairy tale because the dialog cannot be completely produced again. Everything is monologued, he said, she said.

The greasepaint decorates no more, raises, hyperbolisch under the floodlights, as the living event would be selected even as unforgettable. And, nevertheless, the real Faszie of the memory corresponds in addition if the theater is dark, everything except the exit and security lights bolting. As the actor the greasepaint, his qualities pale has removed and has bleached by the garish light. There could be oleaginous Schminke-Fleck on the cuff or collar of his real world clothes to leave in a hurry changing, in order the Hinterbühne and to seize a bite to eat, or a drink with a principal character. The smell after the cosmetic which stays on the fabric of the material. Shakes a back. To remember the impossibility, to choreographed blocking of the manager of somebody of precise position in the painting. The Thespisjünger has left the theater. The memory has escaped in the same way.

And nevertheless what interferes, the umbral nature of the memory shadowing the event is not. That is it the actuality of the event is a little more real in it as it is built and exhausts in the living time. If memory only can win and embalm a track of an event, the event even driving money a little better in relation on the arrest.

with many thanks to Dan Holloway for the idea of a word cloud and Matthew Temple for the re-translation idea, without both of whom this piece would not have been possible.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Capital City Carousing

I'm a Londoner by birth and berth. As proud as I am of my City, I have to acknowledge that while most UK rock and roll ends up residing here, very little of it actually derives from the Capital. Paul Du Noyer has written an excellent book In The City detailing the London music scene from the time of music broadsheet sellers attending public executions, through Tin Pan Alley to the Libertines, but most are migrants from the provinces and the Home Counties.

Here is a chart of ten songs referencing the Capital, but from bands actually hailing from London.

1) "London's Burning" - The Clash
The obvious choice would be their single "London Calling", but this song defined the punk rock emerging from West London. "London's burning with boredom now". Indeed we were and turned it on its head in a fantastic flourishing of creative energy.

2) "LDN" - Lily Allen
Filmed at my alma mater Rough Trade Record Shop with a couple of my former work colleagues having non-speaking, non-paying roles, Lily's sweet tones overlay a song extolling the capital and dominated the City for the Summer that it was released, but made us all feel good about ourselves for all its double-edged mood.

3) "THe Greatest Cockney Rip Off" - Cockney Rejects
East Enders Cockney Rejects display good old class chips on the shoulder. There were plenty of candidates for this slot, check out Sham 69's "Hersham Boys" for more of the same, but with maybe a tad less paranoia.

4) "GLC" - Menace
Punk rockers Menace pen a criticial ode to the Greater London Council, London's local government body which Mrs Thatcher disbanded as soon as she could. Could be said to be one hit wonders, though maybe this wasn't even what one could call a hit.

5) "Cockney Translation" - Smiley Culture

6) "Galang" - MIA
If Smiley Culture merged Jamaican patois with Cockney, MIA took it on to a whole new mash up level of slang with this song.

7) "Hold Tight London" - Chemical Brothers
Manchester may have had the Roses & The Mondays, but one thing London does usually lead on is dance music. Kids from the provinces may return home from Ibiza and other resorts with the club music played there, but London is more cosmopolitan in its crossover influences.

8) "Rainy Night In Soho" - The Pogues
Amongst all the drinking songs and paeans to Irish culture, Shane MacGowan was also a really rather wonderful poet of London life.

9) "Down In The Tubestation At Midnight" - The Jam
There is some debate as to where London's boundaries actually begin and end. I would argue that it extends to Brighton in the South, Tilbury in the East, Oxford in the West and Luton in the North. That would make Woking part of the metropolis and that's where the Mod obsessed Jam hailed from, so it counts in my book.

10) "London City" - Devlin
Grime, jungle and dub step are definitive London sounds unique to our culture, building on reggae, rave and hip hop. Much of the output namechecks the city, as location is crucial to the scene.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Drinking Songs

Rock Music has always been soaked in stale beer and cider as groups start off their gigging in dive bars and pubs. Here is a list of ten songs and artists who celebrate the hop and a drop of the harder stuff.

1) "Waxie's Dargle" - The Pogues
The obvious place to start a drinking chart lies with the Pogues. "Waxie's Dargle" is the ultimate song about getting served yet more drinks. Like a junky scoping his next fix.

2) "Whiskey In The Jar" - Thin Lizzy
For Gary Moore RIP

3) "Milk And Alcohol" - Dr Feelgood

4) "Gin 'N' Juice" - Snoop Dogg

5) "Brass Monkey" - Beastie Boys
Rum, vodka & orange juice mixed over ice (apparently)

6) "Alcohol" - The Kinks

7) "Alabama Song" - The Doors
Have you noticed how most of these songs one way and another are cover versions? Probably too pi**ed to come up with new material.

8) "Jesus And Tequila" - The Minutemen
By one of my favourite bands and yes another dead pop star, but D.Boon died in a car accident, not alcohol related...

9) "Pass The Courvoisier" - Busta Rhymes and Friends
There was a trend in rap to measure success as much by name checking spirit brands as the weight of bling. If I get famous as an author & go on telly, I'm going to name check smoothie brands to get me free crates sent.

10) "Hangover" - Serious Drinking

11) (one for the road) "Streams Of Whiskey" - The Pogues
We end where we began, with The Pogues, a paean to whiskey, but strangely enough not a cover version.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Story Of Us Is About Us As Storytellers

In the BBC programme "Birth Of The British Novel" (for limited time on I-Player) Tom McCarthy (Man Booker shortlisted for "C") discusses Laurence Sterne's "Tristram Shandy". Asked what defines a novel, McCarthy says "Shandy's" constant subverting of its own story, the digressions and discursiveness of the narrative, sly references to its own creation, suggests that the key is that any novel contains its own antithesis, it's own anti-novel.

I take this to mean that the novel constantly tugs the reader's attention to the fact that this is just a work of fiction. It is not real life, even if it has things to say about real life. It undermines itself so that the reader is returned to the fact that it is a book with a life and a world of its own between the covers, different and removed from actual life. It is not dissimilar to Bertolt Brecht's approach to theatre, to break down the imaginary fourth wall separating the audience from the staged action. Brecht doesn't want his audience to suspend their disbelief in order to enter the world of the play in its terms; at every turn he is reminding them that they are an audience, sat in a theatre watching actors enact a drama in all its artifice and remove.

In a rather wonderful debut novel by Ida Hattemer-Higgins which I'm currently reading, she gets to the very heart of fiction: "What is the difference between having a knife thrown at your head and reading a story about having a knife thrown at your head?" She goes on to list how in the story there is sentence after sentence of description, contextualising the room, the entry of the girl, the type of knife, the surface in which the blade lodges, its resonating judder. Pretty much a linear list in order of the sense experience as conceived by the author putting herself inside the scene. But the reality of actually having a knife unexpectedly launched at one, she reveals to only conjure up two things, confusion and fear.

Two emotions, almost instantaneous responses to the sense perception that a knife is winging its way towards you. Emotions that overlay, inform, catalyse and subvert one another, in most non-linear fashion. If as my contention is, that the novel must, must get to grips with emotions in an intelligent way, then how do we match the plodding, linear, sentence after sentence approach of the first, prosaic representation, with the actuality of complex, layered and trigger sped emotions?

Story-telling, plot, whatever you want to call it, is the prime artifice of human experience. Because it takes our human experiences and events and arranges them into patterns (the narrative) and groups things together that may not in fact bear true relationship to one another. It distorts cause and effect and consequence, when again things may not be the direct outcomes of what precedes them. (Quantum physics challenges all such notions of cause,effect and material reality itself). Even the human eye uses such short cuts and abbreviations. The rods and cones of the eye wrangle externalities into boundaried shapes, colours and depths and the brain's retinal template overlays its recognition patterns upon them to render them recognisable. But the brain is slightly cheating, rounding off the rough edges of things that don't quite measure up, in order to make them fit its templates. Language is the same with its naming and classification of everything; if you eat food off a slave's back, is the slave not performing the function of a dining table? But no one would ever think to call a human being a table.

So on the one hand is this artifice of ordering, arranging and patterning, without which we probably couldn't function in our lives. And on the other non-linear hand, is our emotions which at least colour everything we as humans do, if not actually determine them wholesale. So again, in order for a novelist to deal in emotional intelligence, to represent their complexity and dimensionality, he might just have to cut against his ordering and plotting of story. Or, as with "Tristram Shandy" and Brecht and others, tug the reader's sleeve periodically to remind them that this is fiction, though what is 24-carat reliable is the emotions being depicted.

So I write novels that are about storytelling, our relationship to it, our need for it, the function which it fulfils in us. Along the way I happen also to tell stories, but I make damn sure to investigate why I'm telling them.

Linear representation of emotions

Representation of non-linear.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Music And Literature

As well as contributing two short stories to the anthology, I wrote the introduction to Pop Fiction - Stories Inspired By Songs In it I linked musicians who had been inspired by books and certain novelists and poets who set their words to music.

I wanted to extend this and give you a top ten of songs which either quote famous lines from fiction or the titles of books. many of them come from the post-punk new wave era, both from Britain and America.

1) "Killing An Arab" - The Cure
Robert Smith allegedly penned the song while studying the book for his French O-Level. I owe a similar debt to Albert Camus as "L'Etranger" and "La Peste" delivered me into reading when I was a late starter. Dunno what Meursault would have made of Smith's make up and goth clobber mind. Actually, he probably wouldn't care would he?

2) "Heart Of Darkness" - Pere Ubu
The band took their name from Alfred Jarry's great precursor to the Theatre of the Absurd in his three Ubu plays. The song shares the title of Joseph Conrad's great work and which has inspired so much art including "Apocalypse Now" and being name checked by TS Eliot in the epigraph to "The Hollow Men". This song oozes and bleeds with paranoia and tension which is so apt.

3) "Venus In Furs" - Velvet Underground
Hardly surprising that Lou Reed might be attracted to a work written by the man who gave his name to the word 'masochism' - Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The first video is so chaotic you can't hear the lyrics, but gives a sense of the New York Factory scene. The second video gives the song more of an airing.

4) "Bug Powder Dust" - Bomb The Bass
Tim Simenon's homage to William Burroughs and "Naked Lunch" sampling from the 'unfilmmable' film of the same name. The song is also a cut-up in its own way as it references Burroughs work while also holding an imaginary conversation/interview with him.

5) "We Live As We Dream Alone" - Gang of Four
Back to Conrad's "Heart Of Darkness" and a quote directly from it that sums up the isolation and thwarted dreams of the novel's main protagonists.

6) "Song From Under The Floorboards" - Magazine
Howard Devoto lead singer of Magazine may claim the title of most literary song lyricist. This song references Dostoevsky's "Notes From The Underground" in its stunning opening lines. In another song he namechecks Raskolnikov from "Crime And Punishment".

7) "Jack and Neal/ California Here I Come" - Tom Waits
His tribute to Kerouac's "On The Road". A book that did little for me, but then I can't drive, have no particular yen to cross my tiny island of Britain let alone the continent of America. I'll settle more for Camus' alienation, even if we don't get the sun on our heads.

8) "The Stranger" - Tuxedomoon
Another adolescent namecheck for Camus' classic, bearing out my theory that in the UK, any teenage boy who dares pick up a book to help articulate his feelings, is likely to come by one or all of "L'Etranger", "The Magus" and "Catcher In The Rye". Two of these 3 are very fine books.

9) "Death And Night And Blood (Yukio)" - The Stranglers
The Stranglers overtly acknowledge Yukio Mishima's inspiration by including him in the title. "Death and night and blood" is a quote from the semi-autobiographical "Confessions of a Mask", describing his "heart's leaning toward".

10) "Xanadu" - Rush
There's a bit of the Spinal Tap portentousness about this, but once they lyrics kick in they keep pretty close to Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" which of course itself rather infamously was penned while under the influence of narcotics, how very rock and roll - and of course that he was disturbed by a visitor and forgot the last lines as he had originally envisioned them and had to settle for a finale while no longer under the inspiration of the opiate muse.

11) Bonus Track "Lorca's Novena" - The Pogues
Not actually referencing a work, but the fate of Spanish poet Lorca who was killed by Franco's Fascists. This song underlines Shane Macgowan's own claims to be a poet of stature.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Fairy Tale

I have contributed a story to Eight Cuts Gallery latest curation

The story is called The Eighteenth Brumaire Of Peter Sclemihl and is a dialectical materialist deconstruction of the fairy tale. Hopefully its funny, challenging and excoriating.

The Eight Cuts Gallery concept is a fascinating one, offering a new way to showcase fiction online, in that like an art gallery you can wander through in many different paths, not having to plod in linear fashion. There are also visual art and music tie ins with the literature.

Some of my favourite writers are part of the same exhibition, so check out

and to discover some writers new to me.

Go pay a visit and let me know what you think.