Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Now We Are Loads (My mate's name is Legion.)

(originally posted on myspace here)

On hitting thirty I had a dream in which I met myself and was very polite, an entirely believable reaction but not at all what I would have expected, so I consider myself quite lucky to have found this out. I really wanted to make a good impression, as I might upon a friend of a friend, but was probably a bit too formal as a result and it was my other self who finally broke the ice by bringing our foreheads together and vigorously rubbing the back of my shaved head.
"Now you have a go," he said.
I did. It felt odd.
I didn't have this dream again and we haven't stayed in touch.

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On Sunday morning, two years after this dream, I found my doppelganger (see "General Interests" on the homepage) still bald and lying on his front in the corner of that area of the Shunt Lounge known as "The Penthouse". Having spent two years gathering mould (and, oddly, dolls) in one of the presentation rooms now used for storage, he'd been cleaned up and borrowed for a show. The people in the show had dismembered him, hollowed him out a bit so he looked baggier like Brando and given him spongy joints. I no longer looked much like him, but he also looked a lot less like me. Fortunately the cameras were there to capture the moment.

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And I dreamt of this double again that night, not the other self, just the husk. More than one. I was curled up at Michael Palin's feet but could still see out of the train window a line of them standing on the horizon, like Gormley's Angel of North if you look east at the right moment out of a train going to Edinburgh. They were standing shoulder to shoulder and the line never stopped. And some were hanging from pylons, and some in fields, all dressed differently, hundreds and thousands of them. And the train was going round in a circle. I think it must have been a ride. A very arty ride.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Free Hugs

(originally posted on myspace here)

Quite a long day at the Dungeons now Summer's here, but with evidence of coolant. Then popping home to pick up a video of "Jonah Non Grata" to lend to Superthriller's Roland. He was performing in the Lounge tonight and had suggested that we collaborate in the future on "just something". I thought Jonah might be it. So I'll see if he "gets" it and if he does: Great, and if he doesn't: Great, we should probably be working on something new anyway. So I handed him the tape and watched Superthriller play. And saw old friends in vests. And we all danced. That was fun. I'm glad I came. I was tired. There was Greco-Roman wrestling too, which ended at about three in the morning:

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I'd never seen live wrestling before, and the first fight just seemed to be a kind of karaoke for hecklers, serving as a background to our baying rather than as a form of entertainment in itself. But then 2am came round, the MC bawled "Let's get rrrrready to watch weird people!" And on came the Juggernaut and the Electric Eel (pictured) and then the porn pro, and then the clearly misunderstood Grim Reaper (bellowing his hidden pain) and then the tiny topless Hitler, and yeah it was good. Lots more dancing. Also good. All good. I must sleep. It's past five. Sorry. Pretend I told you a joke.

Saturday, 21 July 2007


(originally posted on myspace here)

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It's a while back now, but I caught Stephen Fry on "Shrink Wrap" being - I don't know, interviewed? analysed? - about his Issues... or rather about interviewer Dr. Pamela Connolly (ie Stephenson!)'s issues with his issues, which according to her, were the wrong ones. What I found so interesting was how little she believed him, and how undamaged he finally appeared. Yes, it's possible that Stephen Fry has been living in total denial of a condition which only a protacted series of television gigs can diagnose. It is also possible that nobody in television really wants to hear anything he has to say anymore and, rather than giving him a pen and paper, have given him a panel show and let him relegate himself from creative comic force to - pretty literally - the much drearier and much more passive position of Icon. At no point was he asked about his work, which regardless of the nature of the interview would seems to me both interesting and crucial (especially as he kept referring to fears that he was a workshy fop getting away with murder). He just kept getting asked about the bumming.

But this is really about the internet, and a pretty chilling thought I had at the bus-stop, which is why it's in today's post: Stephen Fry claims to be the second person ever to get online. Douglas Adams, he claims, was the first (I think that's it). Both thoroughly embraced this new technology in all its forms. Both are heroes to me and to many. What struck me waiting for the 35 however... what dropped my jaw... was this:

Come the invention of the internet, neither got much bloody writing done did they?

The "Whoozit Activity Spiral" by the way comes highly recommended by friend and collaborator Viv. It keeps Sofia quiet. That's Sofia below, not above, that's someone else's baby, from the internet. And that's not the Whoozit Activity Spiral that they're lying on either, it's the Whoozit Gym to Go, but I found the image and I thought: Ah, bright colours, spirals, hangy things... that's sort of what I'm trying to do with my room.

Boxes still unpacked. I spent most of today finally and exhaustively catching up with Mond's European adventures. On the internet. (I love him.) Not writing my synopsis for Puffin. Not writing songs for the Wambam Club. Not catching the Swiss Pole-Vaulter in the Shunt Lounge. Activity Spiral, my eye! I did finish "His Dark Materials" though (which it could be argued is more than Philip Pullman did.) Look, I'll shut up now. Shh. Here:

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Thursday, 19 July 2007

Light and Portable

Light and Portable

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So the Lounge has reopened. Excellent.

Now: At two in the morning I finally considered the possibility that the accumulation of books and coats and scraps and dice and educational stickers from Kuwait and stocking-fillers (thirty-two years' worth) left to me by my emigrating parents nine months back may never in fact see the outside of a stacked box again... that having holed myself up in a rattling room with enough wallspace or, failing that, floorspace to postpone indefinitely the fate of every single object I have ever owned or made I may now, in fact, in short, be stuck... in a big and cheap room in a loved house, but still stuck. Then again, this is how inventions happen, isn't it? But it's also how "The Italian Job" ends... And I'm not sure I should spend the rest of my thirties on my knees in a teetering coach.

Ned Mond's traveling around Europe right now, calling himself Ian Jones and clutching his dearest possessions to his chest in a tin of Bisto, enviably. It's a fiction, of course (an internet campaign for Ford as it happens) but a fiction that Ned will both script and act out in his own clothes and facial hair for the next three months, which by my calculations makes for a pretty hefty fact-fiction intersection:

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"We are what we pretend to be," says Mother Night, "so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Well Ned has gone for a more socially backward and protectable persona than his non-internet self. And who doesn't?


One of the most interesting aspect of all this is the option of joining him out there, fictionally. You go to wherearethejoneses.com, write up your own character, send in the audition tape and wait for the call. It's a bit like the site Second Life, I assume, but real. Oh, speaking of which... Here I was going to post a youtube link to a fat avatar walking naked and soulfully around Second Life holding a big sign up saying "Free Hugs" and sporting a very unruly, six-foot phallus, but they've taken it off.

And "Big Nick" is hitting the road too, leaving the Dungeons after nine years service to be by the sea with the woman he loves in his sixty-second year. And we all met up in the Shipwright's, colleagues past and present, reunited to say goodbye. And there I bumped into the woman who three years back said "If I kiss you I think I'll see another side to you. A sweeter side, a more tender. And that's not a side to you I want to see." And I bumped into M. Berry, who's just put up a poster on F*c*book for a film he's starring in. It's called "The Devil's Chair." There's no tagline, but I suggested: "Oh sorry, yes sometimes it does that."

Monday, 16 July 2007

Dongly things and Dont's

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I found the above panorama on my phone when I woke. I have no idea when I took it or why. I was in Ellis' guest nest surrounded by computers, box files and what Douglas Adams called "dongly things". I got to my feet (smelling, I have to say, great) and a small, dark cube on a shelf suddenly went click... and then hummed. My immediate reaction was to freeze, but I trust Ellis implicitly and realized that any cybernetic sequence I may have set off by standing must be there for my own welfare. So I pulled myself together and headed downstairs, to be treated to a plate of tabbouleh followed by a bacon roll.

When I first knew Ellis he wasn't in IT, he was a director from the much under-rated "Do that again, only less shit" school and he passed on two rules to me that I have never forgotten:

1. "Never put on a play you're in love with. Every play has bits that are pants."

2. "If anything in a production is shit and the director says it's not his fault, he's lying."

He is also the most fictionalized man I know. He's just appeared in a novel and back in 2000 there was this (for the broadbanders):

Which is also a pretty fair picture of how he approached theatre. Which I appreciated.

I decided to head home via Abbey Road, which I've never been down before and I'm glad I did. It turns out it's a very long road but also, architecturally, the maddest in London. Take Rowley Way for example: I came across it in a sudden downpour. It comes out of nowhere like a dystopian Hanging Gardens of Babylon (a good thing) offering neither shelter nor, once you're walking down it, any clue as to what might exist outside of Rowley Way. There's no horizon to Rowley Way, just this strangely maternal arrangement into sloping concrete rows and columns of potted palms and security cameras and chrysanthemums and tiny plastic garden features all apparently thriving on neglect. Those inhabitants of Rowley Way who are wearing anything at all wear the usual no-fit gangster fashions. They're supposed to look stupid though, aren't they? These clothes, they're meant to be annoying, yes? Regardless, when the weather cleared up I headed down Regent's Canal into Camden Market and that family-friendly rave emporium "Cyberdog".

I love Cyberdog. They have live dancing on the counter there now. It's better than Hamleys. I didn't go there to buy clothes - obviously... I don't buy clothes, anywhere - I just wanted to slip into that loud, daft, comfy nineties bubble again, with it's wide-of-the-mark utopian vision of twenty-first century living. Actually there was a t-shirt there I quite liked once as well. It had a little red computer display that counted down from 50 to 0 in the chest and I thought, if you're going to have a screen in your chest then that's the one to have. It would make you seem more dangerous... provide a useful air of suspense if you meet someone at a party. They would stick around talking to you at least until your t-shirt reached zero, I'm sure of it, just to see what would happen. But it wasn't in yesterday. Not that I asked. Not sure how I'd wash it anyway.

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Saturday, 14 July 2007

SETTLEMENTS (time excellently spent)

(originally posted on myspace here)

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To my right (your left) is Ms Meikle. We met arbitrarily (pictured) at a Superthriller gig, when I was in the mood to be met. That was last year. Her veterinary training has come on quite a bit since then, and now they let her inside cows.

She's been staying in a caravan in Dorset, training on a farm, birthing calves, visiting the abbatoirs, waiting for the cows to die, inspecting meat, considering the waste of such finely evolved teeth in the head of an animal that once bled to death has only about a fifty per cent chance of ever being eaten, going for runs and getting shat on a lot. And as mentioned in the previous post I invited myself over. We're both mumblers, but she seemed fine with it over the phone I checked.

My God I learnt so much. The amount of roadkill on the 12 mile stretch from Salisbury to Sixpenny Handley alone was an education. She looked like a millionaire when she picked me up from the station in her bauble-coloured Clio, and it was a red sky at night. And the caravan was family-sized and quiet and stuttered with valances but with everything, like Japan, in its right place. And she'd never heard Miles Davis so I flipped open my powerbook and I put that right and then, as requested (since she'd played me Hot Chip) cradling bulgarian red and amaretto and orange we moved onto Arvo Part, King Oliver and O Superman. "You have a lot of stuff that's good for... if you don't want to think about anything, but you don't want to think about nothing either," I made out, and nodded. And she told me about the local walks and the abbatoir and the time it takes to die from a bullet wound and the great times she had at Matt and Fred's in Manchester just sitting by the music and smoking roll-ups - Ah! - Laurie Anderson pronounced "Smoking? Or Non Smoking" and neither of us are "smokers", but it hits home. And tipsy enough not to mumble, we basked. Like Michael Caine and Clive Owen in the film "Children Of Men" if you've seen that. Exactly like that.

And so it went on for two days: dropped off by Salisbury Cathedral while Ms Meikle went to work... Magna Carter, Second Hand Books, checking out Scope for board games and finding a bag of South American Lying Dice, free tea in the town hall while I sat at a bank of laptops being market-researched... yes, a dip had been reached, I wasn't feeling very much like Ferris Bueller. But: Then: a call from Mia Sara Meikle to say she'd been given the afternoon off. So: Back into the Clio and off to the settlements. Stone Henge, wangling free entrance by impersonating Egon Ronay (both of us! in a big coat! No! Fences are fine. Neither of us have an issue with fences), and then the Roman Villa, four-hundred years in the making, sixteen-hundred years hiding in a hill, mosaics, pins, bones, sun and unburied treasure. And time.

And another day. And a big walk. And an idea for something formenting. Farms and flies around a horse's eyes, which is normal apparently, and a light drizzle so I don't get burnt. And pizza and packing and a lift to the station. And forty-eight hours in which I haven't been rotten to anyone. I am a passenger. I naturally passenge. Thankyou for that, Ms Meikle.

No, I didn't want to come back. Every single paper on the midnight train to Waterloo (I know it's not called that) carried as their main story an event gleaned from a television trailer for a show about the Queen which was unresearched, unimportant and, unlike the weather or the Magna Carter, never even happened in the first place. Where's the facts? Where's the stuff? What did I learn in London today? What corner in what track did I turn to be delighted?

Actually, when I left work at six today, I found, lying in the middle of Joiner Street, pretty dusty and passed on either side by the six o'clock rush, a bra.

I just haven't found a name for it yet.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

La Cabeza De Pez Y La Sibila

(originally posted on myspace here)

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It means "Fish-head and the Sibyl". I have received some tales of mine translated into Spanish. I am in no way blase about this. I feel like Brian Eno. Finally.

And tomorrow I'm off to spend a couple of days in a caravan with one of this country's most up-and-coming young veterinary students/castrators. She is staying in a village called Sixpenny Handley and I have a very long anecdote prepared about a swan to while away the evenings.

This was Sunday. It was blocking our path out of an uncharacteristically disreputable corner of the otherwise Ayckbourne-Arcadian (with a dash of frontiersman) island of Cleve Aits, just by the weir. On a tour of the island we had clambered through to an unlit shack with its untended garden of rusty motor fragments and purposelessly sawn-off plank corners - hundreds of them - and this inscrutable swan with its bulldog underside standing chest-high in our way as though it owned the place... which I found a very entertaining idea... and one that would account for the evidence of bad carpentry.

Tom of our number - clearly more up to speed than anyone else on which part of the swan it was exactly that could break which part of a person again (the neck, the arm? the wing, the neck?) - finally faced the creature off if that's a verb, and it waddled on to let us pass unhissingly... and I presume get back to work on the extension, clumsily sawing off more bits of uselessly short wood with its unevolved clipped wings...

Actually that's not much of an anecdote, is it.


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"Here". Or "Ta-daa". The New Royal Festival Hall is, it turns out, the old one with more wood and a dirtier carpet and a terrible bunch of soap-boxes in that squeaking exhibition plateau down the steps behind the bar. A waist-high maze (so not a maze then) of soap-boxes with paper provided for you to contribute something... "Here." Where? ... What? If you find yourself there do pop in and have a read at what passers-by have written, or alternatively guess, or alternatively read any of the "This sucks! - You suck! - cheese bees cheese bees" comment strands on any website ever. It did suck, to be fair. They might have got a better response if they'd ditched the disappointing crate maze and just left the paper... The little Red Gate Gallery opposite Loughborough Junction once tried something similar: "Here's some paper and a pen. Here's some blue-tak" and actually got some very entertaining results (maybe because it used the word "draw" instead of "write"): a happy ostrich in jail, a group of "pairs of things beginning with S", a cat with a wispy speech bubble that read "you will die soon"... all of which I took photos of at the time. None of which I can upload. Oh. Erm. Here:

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An earlier contribution of my own to the seminal seventies "Anti-Colouring Book". A similar exercise. As in my Willow Bible the protagonist is ginger. Did I actually think God looked like that? Probably. There were options. My childhood church education was full of illustrations of deities. Here:

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Now, that I found behind the bar at the Shunt Lounge - a hardback volume of Roman Myths once stocked in our school library. And yes, I remember Gods were big and see-through. When representing the figure of the Angel of Death visiting the Egyptian firstborn, however, there was less of a consensus... Below is an illustration of which I was reminded by a posting on Chris Goode's blog about a recurring nightmare involving Windsor Davies (on whom I clearly remember this angel being based). Here:

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I also clearly remember my mother saying "Windsor Davies? Oh, it looks like Wille Rushton."

So eat your heart out, Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

(originally posted on myspace here)

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Busy busy busy (with jokes)

Not me. I haven't been busy. But events... No, I've been more uselessly desk-bound when mapped against time than well perhaps ever. 


But leave your desk and pop into the West End and: 


You can no longer smoke indoors, but on the plus side you might get blown up... You don't have Blair to kick around any more (a phrase that seemed unpardonably whimsical when Nixon first coined it, but perfectly suits present-day realpolitik - like when Channel 4 cancelled "The Word", not as it turned out because it was poisonously demeaning - and for all the bright colours and live sets from the Vees, the programme did consider the secret filming of an alcoholic left in a dressing room full of complimentary spirits to be telly myrhh - but because its shock-value was by then redundant)... You're surrounded by stacks of newspapers pretty much going "AAAARGH-AAHHH-AHHH!" and pushing the kind of frightened, fight-happy, snivelling, peripheral man-rant that makes you change train compartments (or else famous teenagers snogging or getting drunk at a party) except the train's perpetually delayed due to "earlier signalling problems" which is the only excuse you ever hear apart from "a person under a train" (And why on earth tell us that? Why ever tell us that? Dear God, if you're going to lie about the signals why be so candid about the suicides?)...

And then yesterday - for viewers in the South - the sky suddenly shits ice-balls for ten deafening minutes outside your window while you're signing up to the welcomingly sarcastic F*c*book group "I survived the failed tiger tiger bomb attack of 7/29/07" (sample post: 'I am going to Tiger Tiger this evening to leave a bunch of flowers and a child's toy to commemorate the possible bomb which didn't go off') and this whole Scared-New-World trip finally slips over into the picturesque...

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I mean I don't know whether it was the heat or the hail or both (or all three) but St. James' Park never looked liked that before this morning surely? Sitting on a bench to try and take it all in I attracted so many insects (the dainty Versailles types, not the rubbery scuttlers) that after ten minutes I looked like the video to Sledgehammer against a double-page spread of "Where the Wild Things Are".

And thence to Victoria Station this afternoon, where Bruce and Keifer were pointing guns at my head from the newsstands (I'm a fucker) and I stand stock still in the middle of the concourse and look around at our lost boys in yellow and at absolutely everyone else and I just think: "Well the plants were nice but shall I sort of go out less now? Give in? Not to the terrorists but to the supplements. Only interact with the outside world through F*c*book? Yes? No?"

You see, 24 hours ago I also joined the F*c*book group "Hilaracles" dedicated to the invention of jokes that don't actually work, and in penning my contributions a door has opened in my head. Not a big door, but as this gibberish leaves my fingers it feels like Zen Koan. I may have found my metier. Listen:

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road half-way?
A: To get half-way!

Q: What's a ghost's favourite chocolate?
A: Malt-Oooooooooo!-sers.

Two nuns in a bath. One says to the other "Do you know how to drive this thing?"

Scotsman: "Where's your kilt?"
Englishman: "It's worn."

What's a ghost's favourite musical?
Billy Ooooooooo!-lliott

"Pack your bags, wife! I've just won a million pounds in the lottery!"
"Oo! Should I pack for somewhere hot?"
"Yes... Jamaica!"

How do you get to practice at Carnegie Hall?

A woman walks into a bar and asks for a double entendre. So the barman gives her two.

How many zoo-keepers can you get in a mini?
Six zoo-keepers.
(Try saying it aloud)

What did the Indian brave watch at three in the afternoon?
Watercolour Chall-Ooooooooooo!-nge

Doctor doctor.'
'Who's there?'
'Doctor Who.'

... See? And I think to myself what a wonderful world etc. 


If there was a "Fridaday", like Comic Relief or that day where loads of strangers dress up as Santa, bump into each other and finally converge upon Trafalgar Square, except that on Fridaday you would go about your day dressed as the world famous, injured Mexican self-portraitist Frida Kahlo, looking out for other Kahlos, maybe approaching one of them and sitting down somewhere for a pastry... would that work? Might you be up for it?

Details of the day could be posted on a website, along with photographs and costume suggestions: Frida Kahlo biting a necklace, - with two birds, - leaving the church, - with a blue satin blouse in a hospital bed holding a mirror, - with a rabbit, - holding a baby goat in Chinese pyjamas, - with flowers in her hair, - with a doily on her head, - on her death bed. You could meet, be beautiful and compare injuries. A dad might be seen dragging his six-year-old son to school in a plaster cast dressed with a hammer and sickle... or Rugger playing Kahlos with smeared lipstick and joke shop boobies tearing down Charing Cross Road... Monobrows could be given away free with copies of the Radio Times.

Self-portraits are paintings of mirrors. That's what really interests me about dressing up as Frida Kahlo. That and love and damage. I am not Mexican, do not paint, have never had an affair with Trotsky, and have known neither great pain nor poverty. But like Frida I can't give birth, and I seem to spend quite a lot of time in bed.

Here's the homunculus from the Natural History Museum whose job it is to show "what a man's body would look like if each part grew in proportion to the area of the cortex of the brain concerned with its sensory perception" covering his nakedness and having a bash:

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"Neon Trotsky?... Oh yeah. I met him at a party. The theme of the party was communism. I was sitting in a wheelchair. He said, 'Is it alright if I come over to talk to you?' and looked about. I said, 'Sure,' and budged up. 'Cheers. Actually I'm hiding from someone.' 'Who?' 'Stalin' 'Hang on,' I said, 'You're neon Trotsky!' 'Shh. Listen, your eyes are weary magnets, Do you want to go for a ride on my bike?' he asked. 'YES.'...

"And he lifted my shitty, wooden body onto the back of his ceramic, double-rotor, 2-wheel-drive, 12,000 rpm Citizen and off we thraped into the night, startling the brown horses, doing wheelies and endoes up an Olmec Ziggurat. And everything we touched turned into a toy...

"And I felt so at home with him as we lay together, making colours, explaining light...

"I barely needed to breathe...

"But I had to explain to him that I was just on the rebound from Josephine Baker with the bananas, and that otherwise Paris was a total nightmare, everyone telling me what a gift my body was to the surrealists. Well THANKS...

"I mean, I know we age and die. I read Doonesbury."

Monday, 2 July 2007

Happiness: An Apology

It turns out that contrary to my twitchy, unproofed posting last night there may indeed be such a thing as tender sadness... So behold (and in memoriam) the "Smokers' Corridor" at 6:00pm, June 30th, 2006:

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Now this passage through which I pass into work each morning must be known simply as "the Corridor". And that's that. The end.

At work today they put me in the "Bubble."
It is a closet-like, triangular room with a two-way mirror that enables you - by the depression of a foot-pedal accompanied by shrill, pre-recorded screaming - to superimpose your own face onto the reflected faces of punters lost in the Mirror Maze adjacent. Scarily. Like a film by David Lynch in fact, if you found the right face. The Bubble's a little claustrophobic though, I think because of the shape more than the size. Rooms shouldn't be triangular.

If prison cells were triangular... spacious but still triangular, still a shape that no room in which you are to spend a great deal of time normally comes in... would it be more difficult to become institutionalized? - I just thought: You can't smoke in prison anymore. Or was that the case anyway?

And so much for the Smoking Ban deadline I had set myself. I was meant to have finished my radio play about Frida Kahlo. I haven't even started it. Nobody knows who she is.

And so much for setting fire to myself in Parliament Square in protest... I could probably have managed the dousing, but would never have struck the match. Imagine standing there, defeated and stinking of fuel. And imagine the journey home, desperately trying to remember the least flammable route.

Here's that picture closer up:

Sunday, 1 July 2007

good grief

Here, for all broadbanders, is a clue to the subject of today's post:

Yes, it is of course David Lynch's "Inland Empire", which I saw last night at the new NFT Studio, a screen in a large box in the middle of a bar that had once served as a mock-up of a Hollywood Sound Stage for the now extinct Museum Of the Moving Image. Apt.
When watching something very bad and long (like the Star Wars Christmas Special, say, or Ray Dennis Steckler's "Rat Pfink a Boo Boo") there will, if you are lucky, come a point where the part of your brain entrusted with its host-being's self-preservation effectively gets its coat and crawls out of your ear, leaving you all of a sudden blissfully unsusceptible to such hectoring priorities as consequence, intention or the passage of time (to feel its full effects therefore, it is vital to abstain from popcorn, or indeed anything that might run out and recall you rudely to your place in time and space.) It is this euphoric state that is the true attraction of "Trash". Not the kick of finding something cheap to laugh at. And thankfully, there are now boffins like Lynch (well, one boffin like Lynch: Lynch) who have managed to distill and refine this so-bad-it's-good high into something far more - like the critics are saying - "pure".

Now I don't like that word - I think purity in art is a pretty spurious notion. But it's the first word that comes to mind when describing the attraction of something done badly but with heart (which is absolutely not what "Inland Empire" is… It is peerlessly surefooted. It is magnificent. That is my point. I'm just saying it evolved out of Trash, it didn't Adam and Eve itself.) Maybe when critics talk about "purity" they actually mean novelty. They are simply seeing something untainted by any resemblance to anything seen previously. And while "Inland Empire" is strung with all the old Lynch favourites - the sudden appearance of a scary face... the inexplicably happy prostitutes... the confused and terrified witness to something confusing and terrifying... the brutal, arbitrary shifts in Hollywood lifestyle... the phobia of having a stranger strike up a conversation with you - all these old tropes are executed more convincingly, and indeed less camply, than Lynch has ever managed before. And so the film is a novelty. A sublime novelty. A sublime novelty with, I'd like to note, a candid understanding of sadness. And a sadness that manages to be pervasive without ever lapsing into tenderness.

Sadness isn't tender. It is a polluter. Sadness is madness. It is absolutely the same thing as madness. Sadness is madness.

So here, finally, is the beautiful and talented Danny Schlesinger (Homer Simpson in the most seen of the many real-life Simpsons virals) who I saw the three nights ago in The Lounge, taming wild balloons.