... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

334: Coffee morning

Ohhhkay, it's stupid o'clock in the morning – perhaps the earliest I will ever blog, certainly the earliest so far – the mythical morn-time of six twenty A-to the-M. I'm doing overtime yet am still so skint that I will have to walk to work instead of catching the bus like a normal person (joining the ranks of sleepy workers with their faces pressed against the windows, gently snoring to themselves).

The only bread we have is that toastie stuff which makes awful sandwiches and I can't remember if the staff canteen has a sandwich toaster. Being awake and able to move around this early is entirely thanks my housemate's arsenal of strong coffees, and my silly late-night/early-morning indulgence on the stuff; which is closer to hard drugs than soft drink. Who knew people were up this morning; I've already seen two people in matching blue t-shirts drive away from outside the flat.

Now Ive mentioned the early hour, the walk to work and the coffee I seem to have run out of steam ; what else is there to talk about? I can't think of a thing to say about the two blue t-shirt people. Presumably they know what's going on, where they are going, what they are doing, and why they must match one another in two blue t-shirts. As far as I can tell they would be better off not matching, and staying in bed to a more reasonable hour. Perhaps if it was middle of winter with all the wintery accoutrements (pretentious wrong word alert) they would have done the proper honest decent thing and snooze-buttoned it all the way to late for work. I would.

Just time to read the facebook comments on a wrestling video I linked to – just the important stuff. Forget about all that shaving and showering (and other s-word) morning ish ; I'm just going to stumble through town and into work in boxers and a t-shirt ; yeah this is the new uniform bitches, y'all better step back and recognise. It's breakfast time, innit!

But enough about me; would you like coffee, tea, a biscuit? Well give me a couple of weeks and I can probably work out something you'll be satisfied ; a teabag stapled to a postcard with your name and address on it ; that sort of thing. That should keep you quiet for some time. Give me a chance to think, despite the fact the alarm downstairs is still doing some pointless beeping. It's not too loud to be an actual alarm, but it's just loud enough to be annoying; jeggy on the ears. Why I oughta. Right that's enough; best stop messing and get ready for work. We've had our fun, now let's get serious.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

333: Three three three

Just checked the calendar to see how far behind I am ; today the schedule tells me I should be on post number three hundred and forty one. Three three three – sixteen score, ten and three- a mystical significance – woowoo half of six six six the number of the beast. Father, son and holy spirit. CCCXXXIII has a certain aesthetic appeal. And thus ends whatever it was I was trying to do. See I search for the number/year on wikipedia and then basically copy what I see – it's not really writing, or knowledge, or creativity, it's just a lazy way of giving my fingers some direction in their key-tapping exercise.

Approaching is my Spanish holiday during which there is (as yet) undetermined internet connection. I haven't had a holiday since starting this blog so that's another test of my dedication coming up. Just a simple house move has totally thrown me out of whack. There was a time when I almost became good at blogging, now here I am writing a self-analysing diary entry about not being able to write anymore. It's one of those rough patches that this whole project is supposed to help me weather. I'll still be writing when the spark is back ; I'll be right on top of it when it's time to write write write.

According to wikipedia nothing much happened in 333AD (although it's possible that one or two things happened unknown to wiki-writers), but in 333BC Alexander conquered Asia Minor ; a great and defining moment in history retold in the epic ballad Alexander the Great by Iron Maiden. Three three three was all about Alexander. Weird how one person is all that is remembered from that time – all I need do to be remembered is subdue those pesky Persians. Not sure I can manage that.

I just said to myself one more paragraph and then it's bedtime, as if that is a good way to write. If fiction or a decent article was filling the page that might be a good thing, but as it is just blah blah blah this that the other. I heard a joke that made me laugh today : What's the difference between a bulldozer and a giraffe? One has hydraulics and the other has high bollocks. Truly I did fall on the floor. I attempted to retell it later and couldn't even draw a smile from my unwilling victim. It's the way I tell 'em. How do comedians do it? Who would win in a fight between Dara O'Briain and Alexander the Great. Eighteen words until the count is fulfilled and I can relax, recoup, take a step back and actually spend some time thinking about what to write. Word count finished now. Shame about number 333. Lets hope 365 will be on time and of extremely high quality. Maybe I should start planning it now.

332: Bring beer.

Public park like a large private garden twenty seconds walk from my front door – getting the hang of flip-flops, flip-flopping it to a patch of grass to sit and read – try to write, scribbling crap in a girly little note book. Attempting literature and science-fiction and slowly failing at both- chin up son, you'll get there in the end. Start a story, write for a bit, and then finish it – woohoo a finished story. A family punt, putt and pot golf balls at one another across the uneven green. Little girl-little dog jumps on our blanket yip yip yip, clouds swirl before and behind the sun, raising goosbumps and shivers, smoothing them out with soothing sunbeams.

Bicycles, joggers, an idiot on a motorbike, footballs. If there were tennis courts they would surely be in use right about now, as Wimbledon brings about pretensions of tennis-love in all who are easily persuaded. Future generations of Brits will be world class participants at playing on the swings and pushing about little sisters. Or lying on a blanket eating crisps and reading Asimov – gold medal.

drawing by kate at bejeweled

The sun goes down and who knows what goes down in the park once the sun has gone down. The robot rats and the hobbling pigeons take over, pecking the eyes and knawing the toes of all who impinge upon their land. They man and mouse the border and flick sticks when they see the whites of your eyes. Invisible rainbows rise over the secret paddy fields and potato patches. The moles parade in tophats and tails, as the gnomes snicker to themselves. I cannot confirm the truth or otherwise of these claims – those pesky rats are keeping me well at bay. Plus, you know, I've got my shoes off and it's sort of bedtime, so perhaps I'll give all that stuff a miss. Its not important anyway.

These blogs don't write themselves you know, but on days like this I wish they would. It's backbreaking labour ; much worse than being a pit pony or drug mule. Those marathon runners with bloody nipples know nothing about hard work or pain compared to what I'm going through. Those guys can turn their brains off and just keep putting one foot in front of the other, whereas when my brain is turned off and there seems to be no on switch.

There is a constant beeping coming from the security system downstairs. It's not the alarm, just a meaningless beep-beep-beep that will not stop. Come around and sort it out ; bring wire cutters and a blow torch. And beer.

331: Support our smut, troops and book-sellers

Saturday's foray into town with my new house mate – a man who is just as bookish as I am, and therefore not as inclined to make me resist my book-buying temptations as my fiancee is – provided ample opportunity to add weight to my groaning shelves. I couldn't possibly afford all the lovely wads of bound paper I desired, and if I could I couldn't carry them. But if I could afford them I could probably afford a taxi, or a wheelbarrow – but definately not a kindle, blurgh, no way.

Manchester city centre isn't that great for bookshops, although it does have tiny little pockets of quality. For instance I couldn't find a single good old paperback sci-fi, and everywhere is seriously overpriced. On top of that, most of them seem to be fronts for massive collections of vintage porn ; books, magazines, comics – I want to have a proper look but it's too embarrassing, especially when my eyes fell upon a glass display cabinet containing a unisex anal douche... in a second-hand/collectables shop, erk!
collected HERE by Robot vs Badger
How many collectors of vintage smut does Manchester house? Have these people never heard of the internet. Yes they have, just like I have heard of the kindle, yet still want the piles of books. Screw kindle and all you stand for! A quick aside while it is still in my mind – it popped in so may just pop out again:

In Manchester Piccadilly Gardens on Saturday were celebrations for Armed Forces Day (show your support, they do a good job). I celebrated by eating a spicy vegetable pasty. One man celebrated by standing at the base of the statue of Victoria waving a sign saying bombing for peace is like f***ing for virginity (his fucking asterisks, not mine). There was the usual small bunch of protesters with ill-defined and confused points to make; bless 'em. On a small stage were a rock/soul type band all decked out in their camoflage playing Don't Stop Believing and other embarrassing cheese ; they were called Voice of the Guns. I made my excuses and headed back to book land (stopping to look at the fish in the market).
American Primitive front coverAmerican Primitive back cover

First I picked up American Primitive for two quid ; it's all masks and rugs – it's fantastic. Then for four pound I got Lost Berlin by Susanne Everett which is incredible. Full of pictures of Berlin before the Allied bombing, and mainly before the Nazis proper ruined it – so lots of Cabaret / Goodbye to Berlin / Berlin Alexanderplatz evoking imagery. The shopkeeper (of the otherwise totally overpriced 2nd-hand shop) didn't seem to want to let it go. He said I bet I could have got a tenner out of you for this. I said no. He was chargin £4.50 for Peanuts paperpacks, and £2.95 for Michael Moorcock pulp ; I'm not made of money, damn you.
Lost Berlin front coverLost Berlin back cover

Monday, June 27, 2011

330: black shirt, black coffee, blue sky, black sky

Wow – it's Monday morning and I'm wide awake, fully slept, sitting at my desk, getting some jolly writing done before I have to get ready for work. I start at 12.30 leaving plenty of time to get ready leisurely and walk to work in my black trousers and shirt in the sweaty sun. My work uniform is just all black, which is fine by me ; it's almost as though it is intended to make one feel good about oneself, as opposed to most retail uniforms (e.g. The garish crap they stick McDonald's workers in).

There was a fire drill at work the other day which resulted in us all having to down tools and head to the nearest escape. Hundreds of black-shirted workers stood around in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens. I attempted to mentally write something about it while I waited to go back in. The best I could come up with was the following: I haven't seen so many blackshirts in Manchester since the last time those cocksuckers at the EDL held one of their idiot parades. Not too bad, is it? Yeah, I know it's shit, but ho-hum.

Now it's Monday afternoon and I'm desperate for a cup of tea and can barely hold my weary head up. Fuck tea ; I live with a hardcore coffee drinker so I sat the moka percolator pot on the hob and now have thick gloopy hot caffeine in a cup. And hot dang is it delicious. A storm is coming; the blue sky has passed and heavy grey hangs low below us : high above us – rain comes sweeping in prepping the ground for the storm to come. The heatwave sneaked in for a short time – I expect it will continue tomorrow – the moth on the window senses the forthcoming deluge, and panics against the glass. Anyway, where was I - ~am I, where am I? Today started with such promise. The blog was almost about something, but now who knows what I'm going on about.

I have fixed up the tiny little spare room in this weird shaped flat. The long rectangle has become half tv/living room (with the amazing ability to morph into the most cramped bedroom this side of Tokyo) and half office/library. I have to climb over the futon to get into my little study space and in here I am completely surrounded by my books and boxes full of paper ephemera – it's my comfortable little nest from where I can squark and eat the worms vomited into my mouth by the large feathered one.

The window is perfectly placed to gaze out of – all whistful and arty like, as though I think I'm one of those romantic poet types or a professional philosopher looking at the world and cautiously exclaiming why? It perfectly reflects the TV behind me which is currently showing the third or fourth Buffy of the night. It's pretty destracting, hence my lack of focus.
Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog,1818

Sunday, June 26, 2011

329: in which I start a story and dream a dream

"Sunday morning, bloody sunday morning" was the first sentence in what was going to be today's blog post. As it turned out it somehow lead me into a short story about interpersonal relations between two people confined together for an unimaginably long period of time set against the background of high-concept hard-SF. Because it seems like it might be pretty bloody good I can't post it here; that will immediately make it inadmissable for the competition I am preparing entries for.

I wrote a good portion of the hard-SF intro (hard meaning attempting to base it on the fundamentals of real science, as opposed to the space-operas of soft sci-fi), before realising I had made a fundamental mistake. The entire story rested on the concept of relative time speeding up to an observer travelling close to the speed of light then, just as I tried to expand the concept in my mind by yammering about it to my fiancee, I realised my mistake. Of course time would appear normal to the traveller at the speed of light, but relative to him stationery observers would be moving extremely slowly. If I travelled out to the stars and back again at the speed of light only a year or two would pass for me, but millions of years would pass on earth. This realisation resulting in me spitting damnation and the desperately trying to fix my mess ; and more importantly fix my story. It's done now. The seams need hiding somewhat but it's getting there – trust me.

We sat in the park in the beautiful sunshine, read Asimov and made notes in my girlie little pad. She made a daisy chain and I scratched the little fleaflies off my knees. In my notebook I wrote I dreamed of a different world where all was the same except that the word 'plunger' had been replaced with the word 'plumb' and only I was aware of the disparity. I'm not sure 'disparity' is the right word here, but that was a real dream I had. I was entirely bemused that not only were people saying plumb to mean plunger, there seemed to be a higher than normal number of reasons to use the word. How often do you have cause to use a plunger, let alone actually see one or think about them. The fact is there is one in our bathroom, but it's not something I thought I was particularly interested in.

Science fiction is more interesting and exciting than I ever could have imagined ; now in retrospect I think my whole life might have been contrived in order to arrive me at this point. I am reading a huge amount, planning a wedding and a future, being happy and creative, and my belly is full. I've also just sorted out the majority of my tiny little office space and am actually sat at my desk writing this. Until now that was impossible due to the insane amount of crap I have accumulated and the boxes they live in. There is a bug on my laptop screen. It's gone now.

328: the man in the suit stood up quickly and walked away.

Let's brainstorm : together we can write a story or at least strain some bare bones out of the offaly slop of ideas. It can be done, I seem to remember doing it before once or twice, only this time there may be money in it. There is some competition and when I win it those fools who splash the cash will gift me with their thousands. With a crack of knuckles, a clutch of the crotch and a reshift of the pantaloons let us proceed : Once upon a time there was a great detective called Tom Sawyer who said goodbye to Berlin and felt fear and loathing on the campaign trail ; so long and thanks for all the fish he said . And other stories. Hmm, something is not quite right there ; can't put my finger on it.

Once upon a time has gone beyond cliché to post-modern joke, and beyond post-modern joke to just crap ; so that's out. 'In' is... - how would I know what is in ? Sarcasm, nihilism, arse-licking, goose-stepping, thoughtless nodding, knee-jerk disagreeing? It's a lucky dip really. What would Dan Brown do? Write something about something like : the man in the suit stood up quickly and walked away. She was surprised. She tried to look natural as she too stood up and followed stealthily behind. Her shoes were not designed for hunting as they made a noise like shoes walking on a floor as she walked on the floor in her shoes and worried that he might hear the noise of her shoes walking on the floor as she walked after him in her shoes attempting to walk quietly without being noticed by the man in the suit as he walked quickly and she tried to walk quietly but struggled because of her noisy shoes. If only she had worn her sneakers this morning, but her damn stupid vanity had lead her by the nose once more.

He stopped to look in the window of a shop and she noted the address and any other important or seemingly unimportant detail. She noticed the number plate on the car outside the shop – rearranged and with the letters omitted the number plate was 263. Her training as a cryptologist for the Iraqi Imperial Guard allowed her to recognise this as a reference to the year 263AD; the Year of the Consulship of Albinus and Dexter – the year King Odenathus of Palmyra declared himself ruler of the area west of the River Euphrates and is declared Dux Orientalis by the Roman Emperor Gallienus. The color of the car was green which she immediately associated with Islam; the year 613AD is the year Mohammed began preaching his revelations from God. 613-263=350. At that moment she knew that something clandestine and Earth-shattering linked the numbers 350, 263 and 613 and she knew the man in the suit held an important clue.

Well, that's one idea – god, I want to know what happens! but unfortunately I'm just not convinced by it for the same reason that Dan Brown is as clearly shit as mud is unclear and the metaphor is shit like a Dan Brown book. I saw someone reading one of them on the bus; not the Da Vinci one, it was one of the indistinguishable mush of others. I have a feeling the key lies in the number 350, she thought. Over the coming days she began to see the number more and more, with increasing regularity and at a higher frequency. I'm just jealous – I want to write a book and have it made into a movie – the only difference is I want my book to be good; that's why I'm not writing it now. At the moment it exists only as a perfect abstract. If I try to capture that abstract it breaks apart and the more I try to recreate it the further it gets from perfection.

Next idea: A man walks into a bar, I wrote instinctively with no forethought as to what to write next. Without saying a word he unbuckled the straps of his wooden leg, lifted it on to the bar and opened a small hatch on the thigh. From within he pulled out a telephone and a box of ploughman's lunch. Then he did something, someone else said something funny, and the one-legged man retorted with a superior response.

Later a man with a laptop wrote some stuff and stuck it here, only you can't see what he wrote cos I am in the way. Woohoo, look at me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

327: "It's ages since I last had caviar."

"It's ages since I last had caviar." : the most pretentious thing I said today – let's see if we can beat it. Well to begin with I've been copying the punctuation style used in James Joyce's Ulysses for the last few blogs : its all colons and semi colons, hyphens spaces and incredibly long sentences – except the difference being that Joyce was a fan of cricket, whereas I prefer fencing anc classical dressage; most pretentious of all the sports 'likess' is Wimbledon, so serve me up some strawberry's and cream, pat me on the arse and send me in after whoever is the current British star.

I get this beard wax specially imported from Guatamala – it's made using organic hair and the carapaces of a local giant crab louse – I know it sounds disgusting, but there's nothing like it – my handle bar mustache is strong and long, glossy and happy. It contains no E numbers and neither does this speciality loaf, which is baked by Bakers Against the Iraq War Co-Operative – I've hollowed the loaf out and filled it with steamed asparagus and quails eggs. It's a sandwich and a lunch box all in one – I have recycled some hemp rope into a handle for my loaf.

When I walk I hold myself to get maximum exposure : I've got something to say , but people get the measure of me the moment they see me – I use a shallow exterior to lure people in ; before they know it they are swimming in my depth. There goes the guy with a loaf on a rope people say ; other's reply I know him, he is very knowledgeble on Gothic architecture, rides a unicycle and has some interesting words to say on the real story behind 9/11 – and the people will say to me you should write poetry, I bet you'd be really good at it. And I say well.

I collect name tags from shops and fast-food restaurants and wear them together like medals on my chest and lapels – I view it as an art piece and a statement about modern man's downfall from warrior to wage slave, the disposable nature of modern culture and the temporary nature of unskilled work. I am a blogger. People think being pretentious is a bad thing , but I see it from another angle – to me being pretentious is a positive – I want to be pretentious.

I call my mum mama and my daddy Frank and I have a pet salamander called George A Romero and a complete collection of De Agostini magazines – my favourite series are British Steam Railways, Hannah Montana, and Elvis. I sit in coffee shops with my Apple computer, but that's normal ; everyone I know does that – sometimes I go along without my Apple and just sit their eating an apple, you know just people-watching waiting for that one woman (or guy, you know I'm down with that) who gets what I'm doing.

One day I'm going to wear my hair in ringlets and wear a woggle instead of tying my tie in the post-colonial way you do. You all think Heinz baked beans are the best but I actually prefer Netto own brand. I'm awesome ; you can tell just by looking at me.

Apart from the details, and the fact I made it all up; it's all true.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

326: Sweethearts and Sisters (it's an in-joke, that)

Ever since moving house I've been all out of sorts – pretty much settled now in terms of kitchen and bedroom, but the office space/living room area is all higgledy piggledy and squiggly wiggly, that will not do- i must dive head first into a boxy pit to find blu-tac and medicines. Still can't find the printer ink; and now my books are all in disarray – it's a modern day Tempest and shit. The previous residents (you know who you are) have left an iron burn on the bedroom carpet, and a spattered selection of wall-mounted mould and mildew in the corners and above the window. There are crumbs in the kitchen draws and sticky shelves in the refridge'. On the plus there is all the chilli powders, flakes and peppers a boy could ever hope for.

Nearby Chorlton seems to be a haven for second-hand book geeks like me, and it has a top-notch fishmonger that even stretches to octopus and sashimi-grade tuna. I'm a get me some crabs and pop them in the pot for me dinner. Still have loads of second-hand shops to trawl for glossy art books and tatty ol' pulp sci-fi before sucking the jerked chicken from its bones. Visited the hippy haven (Excuse me, where is the cheese, the honey, the meat!??) Unicorn Grocery for the first time, where I thoroughly enjoyed sniffing the fresh, yeasty odour of fresh yeast. It reminds me of being a little boy on a Saturday morning, visiting the old Lancaster market with my mum and dad ; buying fresh yeast , a living breathing life , in a little white paper bag. We would walk up the aisle lined up and down either side with fishmongers, and stare with our cold wet dead eyes at the shiny piscine-optics behind the glass. Where are they now -?- the fishmongers, not the fish.

So, er; oh yeah, books. Here's the books wot i did bought – sci fi with pretty covers, mmm:
Also found in Chortlton of interest to many is the Wetherspoon's pub The Sedge Lynn, a former billiard hall built by the Temperance Movement (specifically the Temperance Hall Billiard Company) as a safe haven where gentlemen could play a spot of pool free from the temptations of the demon alcohol. Happily we at the un-Temperance Movement have triumphed and drunkardlyness has trumped sober-snooker : Huzzah!
The least rubbish of the two shitty photos of The Sedge Lynn on the Wetherspoon's website.
They both manage to hide all of the buildings interesting features ; the bar itself has a large art deco
style sort-of proscenium arch behind it, completely ignored by the crappy photographer.

Last note of interest in Chorlton that eye spied with all four of my eyes, is a community allotment where one can go for a bit of fresh air and health stooping, weeding and shovelling in exchange for a pile of vegetables, tubers and fruits, and the pleasant ache of a hard days work. Grow-for-it by clicking here. For a little BBC-style balance, and so as not to risk triggering the fifth Chorlton inter-community allotment riot of the year, there is also a community allotment around the corner: The Lost Plot. I'm sure they are both jolly.
Grow for it: Community Allotment, Scott Avenue, Chorlton
Good night :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

325: Stuff and Nonsense

It's stupendously hot in here; the window glass has pooled on the ledge and sypupy-gloops down the wall – magma on the carpet ; the heavens poised to errupt electricity blasts from fallen sky to scorched earth. Bedroom walls clamp me with clammy weight and paint blisters as paper coils curls and reduces to smoke. Laptop emits hot breathe and hideous whirring of futile little fan. My glass of water is hot to the touch – a confused fly attempts to land on the edge of the glass – earlier I took a sip, burning my face, leaving torn chunks of semi-cooked flesh clinging to the firey glass rim. The fly attempts to eat meat matter, but once it lands it can never leave help me, help me, I'm melting I'm melting oh what a world, what a world...

Try to step away from the baking burning fire and it bites your heels 'til steps become stumbles and then crawls . You drip drip a droptrail of cooked meatjuice and the fire-dwelling salamanders and two-headed dogs of Hades sniff their way ever closer. There are memories of ice cubes that evaporate as grey matter pressure cooks in the skull and bubbles through the holes it forces. See, the thing is it's hot – and painfully stretched poorly-composed metaphors are the result of my excuse. A tedious lesson is ignored – when it is time to blog it's best not to start writing until I've had an idea and thought a little about it first. I'm writing, it's hot, how many words have I done now is not enough of a thought process.

Then night turns to day as it is want to do , and night, she takes her heat with the moon ; and the sun brings light and that. It's pathetic really isn't it : inane warblings about night and the moon in a pseudo-poetic tone ; it clearly doesn't mean anything, I'm not reading it and you're not writing it and together we can have a big ignoring party.

Speaking of people things stuff that needs ignoring ; there are riots in Belfast – stupid, vicious sects are attacking each other and shooting. I will write about this on a day when I can string a sentence together – it is not something to be glib, or incoherent about – but I will say this to the so-called loyalists and so-called republicans, protestants/catholics (devide it how you will) who are attacking each other, teaching their children to hate, perpetuating a percieved difference – you are all scum. Belfast could be a decent place, and would be if you shut the fuck up, stayed indoors and and maybe took a long dip face-down in the bath. Masked loyalists, republican paramilitary – you are pathetic; shitty little children playing the big man ; race-hate against your neighbour and violence against children, no more no less – your cause is not noble, your means are not justified, you are hooligans – ignorant pieces of shit, the human race does not need you or want you. Go fuck yourselves. People bring up your children as catholic or protestant – this is your fault.

See why I'm better of leaving discussing the subject to another time and day? However I fear that any attempt to talk about it will quickly decend into such vitriol. The news keeps remind us that only a minority of people were involved – perhaps 700 at the largest count. But just because the number on the streets, clad in balaclavers and armed with bricks, was 700 doesn't mean that a minority is to blame. Every parent who ever taught their child about the "difference" between catholic and protestant is to blame; every parent who forced their religion or sectarian mistrust on their child is to blame – no matter how moderate they are they continue to perpetuate, to excuse an environment where riots are the norm. Until children are spared the abuse that is religious indoctrination the mindless violence will continue to happen.

End of lecture : blog post finishes how it started, ooh dear me its hot, trivial shit, badly written, blah blah blah oh what a world we live in...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

324: Who will survive...

A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss has sent me straight for Misfits on spotify ; Return of the Fly, Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight, Where Eagles Dare, Die Die My Darling, Hollywood Babylon, Hybrid Moments, Night of the Living Dead, Braineaters, etcetera etc &c. Doubtful that was the lovely Mark's intent, but as far as I can see it's as good as any. Every new one-minute blast of Evil Elvis's evil warbling, quitely screeeching in the poorly mix, would make me scream chooon if I was anybody else. Certainly is a match for the melodious tones of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack ; the film with the best tagline ever (don't be a spazz, I'm talking about the original) Who will survive and what will be left of them?

Ed Gein and Charles Manson ; Leatherface and Damien .... Albert Fish liked nails and pins. Glen Danzig likes wolves and muscles. Kevin Bradshaw likes YouTube and Spotify. Erm, where was I? I don't know, something about eagles or reel-to-reels, craniophagy or mixology. No that wasn't it; I think I hadn't started yet, not yet penned-to-paper, clean sheet clean slate clean underwear. Under the sea, baby/darling it's better, down where it's wetter, under the sea. He stopped to look at the wall then the bookshelf then the sleeping person in the room and decided that stream-of-consiousness is more trouble than it's worth, more effort than it looks, more trouble with tribbles, more than meets the eye.

I missed episode one of A History of Horror ; where can I watch it ? – BBC iPlayer has no adverts that crash and waste time like ITVplayer or 4oD, but it rarely keeps programmes on display for more than a week. To the people of BBC: stop deleting stuff, have you not learnt your lesson from the days of deleting Dr. Who ; wiping tapes and starting afresh? Get a gigawigamegamintahyperbyte drive and archive that shit muther fucker. Archive that shit like a bitch. Drop it like it's hot. They don't make horror like they used too : They don't want the classic horror films anymore. Today it's all giant bugs. Giant spiders, giant grasshoppers – who will believe such nonsense?

The Man of a Thousand Faces – Lon Chaney – Laugh Clown Laugh ha ha he he deformed mutilated made-up dead ; he did all his own make-up head in a box, plastic eyes and wire (not sellotape) to pin back the nose. But he's dead now so he can't be all that smart can he. The Book of Imaginary Beings by Georgy Borgy cannot draw me in ; I pick it up and huff and puff and put it down again. I long for people; then again I loathe them. End of Autumn. End of Spring – Summer begins Murakami celebrates – I epalpebrate. Not really ; I've got mad eyebrows. Lon Chaney wouldn't know what to do with them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine

323: Stats to the max with Hans

Dr Hans Rosling, medical doctor, statistician ans sword swallower
Let's look at something amazing : watch this video before reading the rest of the blog – in fact, just watch the video; I haven't decided what I am about to write, but I can guarantee it can't possibly be as interesting, exciting or optimistic as this video:

Hans Rosling is someone I know nothing about, so here is a link to his wikipedia page (edit it with whatever made up facts you feel are appropriate), and here is a link to his website Gapminder Univeiling the beauty of statistics for a fact based world : lastly here is his twitter where you can read such world changing nuggets as Lunch with EU com.for dev. A. Piebalgs Thursday. Now I've finished being flippant about his tweets I'm going to have a proper look at Gapminder ; whatever it is it looks fascinating.

I'm educated formally in the in the Arts/Humanities, and that makes me by definition a lazy, twattish dreamer with a distorted view of reality. It is exactly for that reason that books like The Ancestor's Tale Dawkins, Why Does E=MC2 Cox/Forshaw, What's Left Cohen, Cosmos Sagan, etcetera etc &c are among my favourites ; they help to keep me grounded reminding me of the way the world really works free from conspiracy, biased interpretation, assumption and personal preference. That is science : the systematic accumulation of facts using experimental data and that to strip away the nonsense from the actual ; scientific method. In other words it's the important stuff, whereas arts and humanities are trivial (however all the above are lots of fun fun fun).

Gapminder for a fact-based view of the world Рwhat more could anyone ask for (oh yeah, ghosts and gods and celebrities and conspiracies)? Rosling's raison d'être is to present statistics using cutting edge visual tools and provide unique insights into the works of the world. He turns quintuplillions and squillions of tedious factual numbers into beautiful dancing displays and clearly exposes the meaning behind them.

My internet is going funny at the moment so I can't get onto gapminder.org and explore it properly – is omeone leeching my internet or is the housemate rinsing the downloads – but later I'll get my geek on to the max with stat' stats and all that. I recommend you do the same ; then maybe we'll have something to talk about.

OK, got gapminder desktop now and it's a little package of graphs - incredible living graphs showing the last 200 years of history.  I'm just going to publish this post and go back to playing with my toy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

322: I Blog Every Day dot co dot uk

Right. I want to move my blog to a better domain. kevin-bradshaw.blogspot.com is both a mouthful and a boring name of interest only to myself, my mum and dad, and possibly this guy, this guy, these guys, and this guy. I've grabbed the domain name iblogeveryday.co.uk cos it's nice and cheap and surprisingly available; set it up to forward here with a frame so it looks like a real domain, not just a forwarding site. I've even got a little favicon.ico set up using the B for 'blog' out of the banner designed by Michael Thorp. The only problem with having the forwarding framed is that even if you click a link out of my blog, the address bar will still read http://iblogeveryday.co.uk; this could be annoying and may need changing.

I looked into changing the Blogger domain from kevin-bradshaw to iblogeveryday, but some liar has already taken that. He/she/it/they only posted 10 times in total over the months on April and May way back in 2007 before my blog was even an itch in my finger tips. I don't get it; please go to iblogeveryday.blogspot.com and see if you can make sense of it : Russian Social and Cultural Developments/Innovation ; yo this is the headiest tic tac situation with mad dank threads : Birds usually symbolise freedom, but ravens symbolise knowledge and watchfulness ; skket skat for that heady A+ : What about the proverbial midnight snack?
Buyan by Ivan Bilibin
I might one day in a galaxy far far away have to go the whole WordPress.org hog, hosting my own blog and shaping it into a unique user experience >coughtwat< : Then at least I can redirect kevin-bradshaw.blogspot.com and iblogeveryday.co.uk to some other third place where i can haz my blog. I hate the internet. You do it for me ; I can pay you ten links and one name drop.

So, someone is squatting in my iblogeveryday.blogspot.com – squatter's rights and all that – but they have aparantly been dead for four years. What is the statute of limitation on dead blogger's rights? Can I force them out ; destroy history and build my micro-empire on the flattened remains of a failed civilisation. It turns out you can't. So if you happen upon this, author of iblogeveryday.blogspot.com, and feel in your heart that you have finished with the demain, please let me know and we can do a swap. I have some crayons, rubber gloves, 2nd class Christmas stamps, a jar of pulpo, and an unused roll of toilet paper, to use as leverage in our negotiations. An offer you can't refuse.

Rosta Windows agitprop by Vladimir Mayakovsky

Friday, June 17, 2011

321: Bloom

Leopold Bloom, by James Joyce
Happy Bloomsday. Today is 16th June, the day in 1904 the action took place in James Joyce's epic Ulysses. A guy or two wander around Dublin; eats a kidney, teases the cat, has a shit, thinks about tits, does some latin, history, puns, wordplay, fuck, cunt, I've made it to about page 200. Another 532 pages to go until the final 22-page sentence. I've tried to read it a couple of times, and it doesn't seem as impossible as people like to make out; it's just so long. At least it has a narrative, characters, location, plot; unlike Joyce's later work Finnegans Wake. Someone once told me Finnegans Wake was their favourite book. It is impossible to think highly of the kind of mind who would claim that. Anyway today is about Ulysses; celebrate good times.
Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liver slices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods' roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.

Along the way, out to buy his breakfast offal, his mind changes to pork kidneys however we stuck with lamb due to my housemate (a fellow Joyce-curious offal-eater) being a muslim. I'm sure Mr Leopold Bloom would have eaten with relish the spicey dish we concocted, served with chicken and lamb sausages and champ with lots of butter. It was the best meal I have had in weeks. While Mr Leopold Bloom wanders to the butchers his inner monologue wanders further afield and takes us to a place where:

Turbaned faces go by. Dark caves of carpet shops, big man, Turko the terrible, seated crosslegged smoking a coiled pipe. Cries of sellers in the streets. Drink water scented with fennel, sherbet. Wander along all day. Might meet a robber or two. Well, meet him. Getting on to sundown. The shadows of the mosques along the pillars : priest with a scroll rolled up. A shiver of trees, signal, the evening wind. I pass on. Fading gold sky. A mother watches from her doorway. She calls the children home in their dark language. High wall: beyond strings twanged. Night sky moon, violet, colour of Molly's new garters. Strings. Listen. A girl playing one of those instruments what do you call them : dulcimers. I pass.

Whereas we, one hundred years later, can stroll around the corner to cheaply purchase delightful food and drink from across the world : hallal from the butchers and the Asian grocers ; haraam from the Polski Sklep and Bottle Top. A four pack of Guinness still not three quarters down, the last pissfilters in the shop – chopped, soaked, fried and flavoured – served in a rich creamy sauce of spices, peppers and onions. The champ of champions made by lovely Irish hands. Sweetcorn decanted from the tin and microwaved in butter. The unbalance of expectation caused in chicken sausages and reactions range from delighted to disappointed.

He fitted the book roughly into his inner pocket and, stubbing his toes against the broken commode, hurried out towards the smell, stepping hastily down the stairs with a flurried stork's legs. Pungent smoke shot up in an angry jet from a side of the pan. By prodding a prong of the fork under the kidney he detatched it and turned it turtle on its back. Only a little burned. He tossed it off the pan on to a plate and let the scanty brown gravy trickle over it.

I stubbed my toe, my tiny little dweeziltoe – the one with the two seperate nails, permastained a yellow pang – my teeny little leftytoe as I ran to the kitchen with food excitement in my eyes. I fell to the floor in painful-beyond-pain unable to communicate the sudden shatter : I need a slipper on each foot, but where in the boxes are they. The toe forgets itself and conversation turns to oysters, yellowman, Dublin and all. Plates are refilled again and again, but stomaches only get fuller. A bowl of leftovers remains for flouring and frying for wellstocked mornfeast. Bloomsday closes.


320: given up

exact lookalike of the 'woman' on the bus, by Pieter Bruegal the Elder
She got on the bus and immediately confronted the driver. From the back of the bus I saw her arms waving, her hands banging on the driver's protective bubble. (Welcome to I Blog about buses Everyday.) I picture her babbling Ah ant go' ahny moneh, but leh us on ahnyweh and the driver slumps a shrug, hangdog, not interested, no confrontation, just get in, sit down, shut up and don't pester me. She – I say she, but she... it was of such low status, such sunken face, prematurely wrinkled, dead eyes, missing teeth... I presume it was a she, and with 'she' I will stick. She walked down the bus to the back; as she passed by I couldn't stop staring into that hollow, empty deathmask. She saw me looking and I followed the driver's example, cowardly kowtowing my eyes.

The uncomfortable moment passed until began a mysterious pumping sound, like compressed air being released through a valve; pfffffffff pffffff etcetera etc &c... Not wanting to turn and stare at the gollum behind me I glanced to the normals sat directly behind me to see if they were staring. They did stare, but conspicuoulsy in the wrong direction; unblinking and out the window, I'm not getting involved... Right that's it I want to know what that mysterious pffffffff sound is. I turned and stared. She held tight onto a massive container of lighter fluid and pfffff'd it into her mouth. I turned back forward and staring. I turned again and she punched herself in the face whilst ranting under her breath. The pffffft continued over and over; she couldn't get enough.

What would you do? I had a strong feeling I should do something. There were kids on the bus; it was only 5pm; broad daylight. I thought I would say something to the driver as I got off at my stop, but I was revealed as a coward. As I approached the driver I looked back and the vacuous pits in the shrunken skull of the wastrel were pointed right at me. I felt their poison and I bottled it. If she is dead on a bus somewhere, it is her fault not mine. Maybe I'll head down the needle exchange on Stretford Road and see how she is.

A couple of months ago someone turned around to me on the bus and said do you mind if I smoke. I said yes I mind and he said ok well I won't bother then. Despite all the signs on the windows, and the well known law forbidding smoking in all public interior spaces, he still felt that with the casual permission of a stranger with no authority, he would be allowed to break the law and social norms. Perhaps had there been signs expressedly forbidding huffing aerosols she may have thought twice. There is a pub called The Sea Hawk which is placed sort of on the boundary between Hulme, Moss Side and Old Trafford that has a sign reading No Drugs or Weapons on the exterior door, and then a repeat warning No Drugs on the interior. We should all go there.