Monday, 31 January 2011

Bestias Excelente Ocho Y Nueve

The mountain goatelope isn't keen on those who take the piss out of its very rectangular head, fortunately its chief method of retaliation is to look shocked in an exceedingly camp manner.

I have no idea what this tapir is doing. I can only surmise that it's just seen Alien for the first time and is practising its xenomorph impersonation. Breaks the ice at tapir parties.

Bola Ocho, Esquina De Bolsillo

I'm so fucking bored. I'm stuck in the fucking office today, I have absolutely fuck-all to do, but for office-political reasons I have to be seen around today, even though it's a massive fucking waste of my time. Oh well, such is life. I wouldn't mind so much if I could have a fucking fag, or even better, a really fucking big spliff, but I can't and I'm beginning to get the arse. Two more hours of solid tedium then I can go home, get stoned, go out and have some fucking fun instead of staring at this poxy screen.

It's not that I dislike doing nothing, and I'm certainly not averse to a little skiving, but on my own fucking terms people, my own fucking terms. I've got fuckloads I could be doing right now, useful shit too, not just cocking around and getting high, at times I've even been known to be a productive member of society*, but not at the moment. No, I'm hunting down obscure 12"s and looking for photos of excellent beasts and unusual curry recipes and that's as close as I'm going to get to fucking work today. Fuck I need some coffee. Then I may even manage to write something sensible. Although to be honest I doubt it. See you a bit later when the boredom-as-altered-state-of-consciousness has passed and I no longer want to gnaw on my own leg, tasty as it is...

*I know, shocking isn't it?

Thursday, 20 January 2011

La Vuelta De Hombre Plástico

Polyrhythmic acid* techno clusterfuck is the term that springs to mind when listening to the title cut of Richie Hawtin's latest Plastikman 12", Slinky (m_nus). Which, if yr inclinations lean even remotely in the same directions as mine, is a description which should have you at least slavering, if not in a state of total arousal. This is most definitely not the more introspective Plastikman of Consumed or Closer. Oh no, because as you can see, this has a white cover, the old stretchy geezer on the cover and the wibbly red and black lettering of his earlier, more lysergically inclined slabs of plastik, and that sort of cover on a Plastikman record promises one thing. Squelch. And fuck me does it deliver. The 303s on this record are just sopping. Protracted dripping sawtooth ooze liberally slathered (all in completely different time signatures) over the best goddam drum programming I've heard in a fair while, rhythm and leads entwining and disentangling simultaneously like evolving organic knotwork, nothing staying still, hats and snares and 303s slipping and sliding round the loping flickering groove the whole thing pivots on. It's essentially the sound of machines fucking, and by far my favourite fucking track of 2010.

The b-side's pretty good too.

And that's about as close to a 2010 music roundup y're going to get from me.

*House, in this case. Although...

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Prensil Dedos (Del Pie)

Thursday night fucking ruled. I can't believe I've waited this long to start playing solo gigs, but I'm extremely fucking glad I have. I don't think I've ever known the time on stage to pass so fucking quickly, forty or so minutes felt more like five, and I could easily have carried on*. But enough about me (for a bit anyway), because I'd like to say a very big thankyou to Joe for asking me to play, and putting on such a fucking excellent night**, to Jade for the fantastic visuals which just nailed the atmosphere I wanted to create and inspired me to go way further out than I expected, to Mirna for the fastest soundcheck ever, the brilliant sound and for not batting an eyelid even though my amp volume had quadrupled by the end of the set***, and to all the Brighton/Hove contingent (you know who you are, you lovely people) who turned up despite the foul weather. Haxan Cloak played a blinder, and the film (I Can See You) was fucking amazing, but I'll write more about them next time when I'm a bit less frazzled. In the meantime, here's some rather good photos of The Larsen Effect in full flow§, and I apologise in advance to anyone who feels vaguely nauseous at the sight of my prehensile toes in the bottom picture...

*Then I could have played two tracks...

**I'll treasure the sound of almost the entire venue muttering "it's only a movie..., it's only a movie..." for a long time to come. Fellow gorehounds will know exactly what I'm referring to here. For those who chose not to spend their time watching lurid 70s/80s trash, an explanation will be forthcoming later...

***This is not an uncommon occurrence. I like it loud, but I love it louder.

§Cheers Sarah!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Por Una Sola Noche...

Damn, first solo gig today. I am somewhat excited. Especially now I've seen some of Jade's visuals for this evening, which look a bit good to say the least. All I have to do is to buy about 400 batteries for mission control and I'm all fucking set. And have a fucking enormous fry-up. That's important. I'm vaguely nervous, purely because this is the first time I've played totally solo in front of an audience, but fuck it, a little adrenaline never hurt anyone and at times I find playing the guitar to be slightly easier than walking, and I'm quite good at that after years of practice, so I think tonight (the whole night, not just me) should be rather fine. And AC, Ønsker mig lykke, and if someone remembers to record it*, I promise I'll send you a copy, because I would have loved you to be here for this.

*I can't. I'm not allowed near portable digital recorders, they die.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bestia Excelente Siete

A very, very small, but extremely irate Burrowing Owl. Look at it's face. Not happy. In fact it's so fucking angry spacetime has begun to warp in it's presence. That's no stone it's hiding behind, it's a bubble of tormented universe stuff. Back away. Slowly. Do not antagonise the tiny owl.

Desde Copenhagen A Greenwich Via Mongolia Y Pub

I will be posting part 2 of the literary rant on Friday or Saturday I suspect. I would have done it yesterday, but to be honest, after last weekend* I wasn't really capable of stringing a legible sentence together and I accidentally ended up in the pub and then listening to (Tuvan? Mongolian?) throat singing at three in the morning whilst very, very stoned in lovely Croydon. Still, these things happen. At least I'm home now. Still can't write properly but I don't care because I'm grinning like a cheshire cat and I feel vaguely strange after viewing some horrifyingly compelling prog synth-sax-kettledrum outrage the Morgen sent me** and which I unwittingly watched after smoking the day away (to quote May Blitz) and failing to heed the hippie warning bells that should have been going off. Any band with an ultra-parp sax synth thing have to be experienced at least once tho, and watching them reminded me of this, the worlds most stupid musical instrument fucking ever, and the reason I piss myself laughing every time a certain mascara advert comes on. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the Millioniser 2000:

I should probably go back to bed. Or have tea. Tea. Yeah. Strong tea is what my brain requires.

*Which was fucking fantastic thank you very much...

**Cybotron, in case you were wondering. Not to be confused with other Cybotron.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Espacio Es Profundo

One more thing before I bugger off. Feast yr eyes upon this beautiful image of the International Space Station transiting the Sun during the recent partial eclipse.

Just flat-out awe-inspiring. The original, along with all the technical details can be found here.

¿Dónde Está El Invierno?

Where the fuck has winter gone? It's not even bloody cold out, and I need some freezing air to cut through my fuzzy wine head. It's January for fucks sake. Oh well, it's nicely chilly in Copenhagen so I can get my icy jollies there*.

And yes, I did find my passport. Otherwise I'd be really, really fucking pissed off. See you next week lovely people.

*Yes I am aware exactly how that reads. It's meant to.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Escribir Borracho

I haven't really written about books on this blog, which given that if I'm not eating or drinking, fucking or sleeping, working or musicking or talking bollocks in pubs, then I've probably got my nose buried in a book. Possibly because so many of my friends are writers, proper ones that is, I've tended to steer clear. But I've got a bit of a cob on about certain aspects of literature at the moment, I'm onto my second bottle of Arrogant Frog Tutti Frutti Rouge (stupid name, great wine, he also makes one called Ribet and another called Croak...) and I feel like shouting my mouth off...

Science fiction vs speculative fiction is probably the second* most boring literary debate I can think of, especially as the distinction tends often to be drawn by authors worried that their "highbrow" audience will run a fucking mile from the talking squids in space** because of the massive snobbery displayed by much of their audience and severely blinkered critics towards the geek ghetto in the dark corner of the bookshop, an attitude which, as any regular here will know, I have no fucking truck with in any sphere of endeavour (creative or otherwise). I couldn't give a flying fuck where the book gets filed, what matters is; is it any fucking good?

SF is the heavy metal of the literary world, in that it contains some of the most stunning, original creations you could wish for, but like metal, lots of people steer clear because of the sweaty-palmed loner image surrounding it. And that bugs the fuck out of me, because it's a crying shame that books like Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren or John Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar*** are titles that most people haven't encountered, purely because they are consigned to the SF dunce's corner. Dhalgren has more in common with William Burroughs at his peak than Star Wars, and prose-wise, knocks El Hombre Invisible into a cocked hat, and Stand On Zanzibar should be mandatory reading in any English lit course as far as I'm concerned, an example of a genuinely successful experimental novel with a heart and a level of insight rarely encountered in the most feted "literary" masterpiece.

And it's not just the New Wave lot, SF has I think, contrary to what many seem to believe at the moment, entered another golden age. I can't remember a previous time where half of what I read comes from one single area, because there's so much fucking goodness out there at the moment to be devoured. Writers like Charles Stross, Peter Watts, Justina Robson, Ted Chiang, Tricia Sullivan, Ken McLeod, Liz Williams, John Clute, Alastair Reynolds and Philip Palmer (among others, I'll be writing about them and more in part two), all of whom can write rings around pretty much all of the authors on the Booker longlists of the past ten years, but don't get their due because of the sphere in which they choose to write.

More on Monday. I'm now a little inebriated and will become completely incoherent quite soon, plus I need to find my passport otherwise I'll have to do a fucking panic tomorrow, and I can't face that and a hangover.

*The first has to be genre fiction vs literary fiction. Witness this astoundingly one-sided piece of lit-crit wank (and some of the astonishingly misinformed comments from both sides that follow) for a typical example of the crap spouted by self-important arseholes in the ongoing and massively pointless debate. Docx's targeting of lowest common denominator genre fiction (crime/thriller in this case) speaks volumes I think. I don't deny that Dan Brown is an appalling writer, but using Steig Larsson as an example is unfair in this case as he's talking about writing in translation, as I very much doubt he's read the books in the original Swedish, because, judging by his tone in the article, there is no way he wouldn't have made a point of telling us all that he'd done that very thing. Raymond Chandler vs (one of Docx's favourites) Martin Amis? No contest, whether you compare them on the merits of their prose or psychological insight. I don't really need to tell you who I think wins that one do I?§

**Margaret Atwood has (somewhat) distanced herself from that particular standpoint now, I only use it because, as a phrase, it sums up the attitude of an awful lot of authors, critics and readers towards a genre which they probably have very little, if any, deep knowledge or experience of. Doris Lessing has never given a shit either way and just gets on with writing beautifully in whatever genre (or non-genre) she feels like.

***To name but two. See also Hothouse by Brian Aldiss, The Death Of Grass by John Christopher, The Heat Death Of The Universe & Other Stories by Pamela Zoline, anything by Octavia Butler or John Varley, A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller. I could go on. For hours.

§Just in case I do, I'd rather eat a bowl of my own fucking snot that read one more turgid fucking paragraph by Amis.

Monday, 3 January 2011


The book above is the reason several people in a very quiet secondhand bookshop glowered at me when I cracked up laughing upon seeing its title. It had been a fairly ridiculous day*, and consequently I was in a somewhat skewed good humour, but to be honest I'd probably have ended up giggling like a fool even if I'd been depressed because it's such a beautifully silly example of the old adage that Britain and the US are two countries divided by a common language. Now try reading the wikipedia entry (especially the plot summary) on this book without pissing yrself. I especially like the fact it took 30 years for someone to tell Jack Vance what it meant in Britain and elsewhere, upon which all Wankh references were changed to Wannek.

*For reasons I'm not going into here, except to say that if you believe in synchronicity, or don't believe in random coincidence, it was the sort of day that would have made yr head spin.