Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Notes from End of the Road 2009 #1: David Thomas Broughton

David Thomas Broughton = Malcolm Middleton gone completely fucking mental.

David Thomas Broughton = Sprinting back and forth over the line that seperates “disturbing” and “hilarious”

David Thomas Broughton = never going to be Paolo Nutini and not just because he has a song that features a refrain of “Is it balls”

David Thomas Broughton appears, to the naked eye, to be a mild mannered acoustic singer/songwriter. Oh and he’s got a looper pedal, how nice, he’ll probably use that to build up some super complex guitar parts. Oh wow, his voice is a bit interesting isn’t it? Wh… What did he just sing? Well this is all just noise now! It was a song a second ago I swear. Oh and now he’s got a drummer and a double bass player and it’s still just noise and hey, woah, now it’s a new song! And now he’s sung the chorus of a Florence and the Machine song over another section of noise. And now another song. Now he’s peeling a banana. Now he’s eating it. Now he’s throwing his shoes across the stage. Now he’s got four kids on playing drums in a totally unrhythmic way. Now he’s put the banana peel on his head.

And all the while he is singing about death, about relationships breaking down, about deciding to commit suicide by drowning.

Now he’s flicking Vs at the audience and saying “Now you can go and see some real music” then SPRINTING off stage.

David Thomas Broughton = baffling

David Thomas Broughton = better live than on record

David Thomas Broughton = an actual, honest-to-god, straight up genius.


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Love, Barely

Being A List of Bands, Songs, Artists and Albums (Real and Fictional) Referenced in the "Barely" Chapter of Daniel Handler's Excellent Novel "Adverbs"
  1. The Clientele
  2. “I Am Here” by The Unsuspecting Motorists
  3. Katydids
  4. “Andrea Says” by Waltzing Pneumonia
  5. Give Up the Ghost by Fallen Airlines
  6. “I Wasn’t Meant To Live My Life Alone (with Vince Gill)” by Tammy Wynette
  7. “Where Were You When They Crucified Our Lord (with The Carter Family)” by Johnny Cash
  8. “My Way” by Frank Sinatra
  9. Salad Forks
  10. Tish Brothers
  11. Phil Spector
  12. The Spinanes
  13. “A compilation from Don’t You Love Me Records”
  14. Brad Wooly
  15. Burt Bacharach
  16. Ruins In the Country
  17. The Asking Prices
  18. The Stone Roses
  19. Perfect Teeth (possibly by Unrest)
  20. Ev’rything’s Coming Up Dusty by Dusty Springfield
  21. Bob Dylan
  22. Barrelhopper
  23. Elvis Costello
  24. “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” by The Beatles
  25. “I’ve Been Wrong Before” by Dusty Springfield
  26. “How Good Are You” by The Magpies
  27. Prince
  28. “Manic Monday” by The Bangles
  29. “Gota Whole Lota Shakin’ Going On” by The Bangles and Prince
  30. How Can You Believe by The Cottontails
  31. “Girl Hurricane” by The Cottontails (sample lyric: It was dark all day and getting darker all the time/I was sitting in a rocking chair, drinking gin and lime”)
  32. Nick Drake
  33. “Talk Show Host” by Radiohead
  34. (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan by Dntel (with Ben Gibbard)
  35. Sandinista! by The Clash
  36. “Somebody Got Murdered” by The Clash
  37. Katydids
  38. The Marvelettes

A) And this is all in 19 pages. I love this chapter so much in part because of how the charachter’s lives are so accuratley soaked in music.

B) Here’s a Spotify playlist: http://open.spotify.com/user/sleepssundays/playlist/1ppJDsmdqK14kE5vYZ5Yru

C) You can work out which of the above aren’t real with a few quick Googles. Some notes though - “Talk Show Host” is not named (neither are Radiohead) but a lyric is quoted and it is suggested that they didn’t want their name included, but you can’t trust that Daniel Handler. He could well be joking. “The Dream of Evan and Chan” is referenced earlier in the book without mentioning the title. Magpies are a recurring theme. The Bangles and Prince are (obviously) both real but the collaborative cover is fictional.

D) Daniel Handler wrote a wonderful short story in the liner notes of the album In Our Bedroom After the War by the band Stars (featuring the excellently titled “Life 2: The Unhappy Ending”) which I really aught to type up sometimes. [Use this paragraph to work out what is what in The List]

E) I love fictional music.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Bring Out the Real Fun #2: Curse Songs of Great Beauty

(In which our hero continues to have a worryingly personal relationship with a comic book about music and magic)

Let's call it a review. This blog post is a review of "Phonogram: The Singles Club" Issue 2, which is entitled "Wine and Bed and More and Again". It is written by Kieron "Amazin" Gillen with art by Jamie "Awesome" McKelvie and colouring by Matthew "Brilliant" Wilson. If you recall, the first issue was about dancing. This one's about memory. It's about one pretty indie boy's fight with a pop song which throws him, against his will, into the memory of a dead relationship. There, now, go read it. Spoilers follow, see.

On account of how Phonogram is my favourite comic book series ever (note: Scott Pilgrim comes so close that arguing the point between the two is stupid. They're both the best thing ever, at the same time. It's a qauntum-awesome thing), I got up early on Thursday (the 30th) to go find me a copy in the wastelands of Birmingham. My usual friendly independent comics place didn't have it so I ended up in Forbidden Planet (EVERYBODY MAKE A DISSAPROVING NOISE RIGHT NOW. THANK YOU) and then went to read it in Starbucks (EVERYBODY MAKE A etc. etc. I had a light mocha frappacino thing, it was "well good") with a pre-prepared mp3 player playlist of Sad Danceable Pop, because I sort of knew what I was getting into here. Sort of.

By the time I finished reading, the cute indie couples who had been sat outside the window directly in front of me had all dissapeared. I think I may actually have immediatley reread it. I don't know. More so than the first issue, "Wine and Bed and More..." will emotionally beat the shit out of you if you love music. As is right and just. It centers on the idea of "curse songs" which shouldn't need explaining. Either you're already going "Ah, yeah" or after reading it you'd go "Well OF COURSE" or you're thinking "That's silly, it's just pop music" and if you're the third type of person you can fuck right off. Our heros cursed song in question is the CSS track which the title quotes, "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above" which, unfortunatley for dear Marc, is A Hit. A sizeable one, borderline inavoidable in indie clubs which is of course where the action takes place. There are three different levels of story for most of the issue - The Present (the timeframe of the previous issue, Christmas Eve), Marc's Head (featuring a mental spectre of The Girl who joins him on his journey) and The Past (where Marc is forced by The Song). Present Marc hears the song and in Marc's Head, Head Marc and Head Girl (she's nameless) venture into The Past. It's a bit like a really depressing MST3K episode except not that depressing because The Girl is really funny ("You are Emperor of Whine. Are you MCR fan now? Tell me Marc, what was your favourite time you ever cry?" seems the most qoutable line, other than a callback joke to the first series. I fuckin' love intertextuality)

Anyay [We should perhaps note that I came back to this review over a week later to write this second bit] it's a great, great issue and what makes it even better is if you then reread the first issue there is one page of it that will now have an emotional impact a good five times greater than it did the first time. We also get some hints at elements of the situation we still don't know about. Next issue is, I think, The Emily Aster One. I'm quite excited about this.

It also got me thinking about my curse songs - Oh if I must: Songs that you pretty much cannot hear without being forced into some painful memory. I was discussing this idea with a friend recently and she named a few of hers which she just cannot listen to. I put forward one of my own, or at least, I thought I had. In retrospect, I was lying, because I actually CAN hear Chicago by Sufjan Stevens without thinking about the time I listened to it for two hours on repeat after a uniquely unpleasant break up. Sometimes I recall that, sometimes I don't and just love the hell out of the song. I do, however, have a curse band. Well. No, I heard their most recent single a few weeks back and it didn't do anything to me but everything they released up to a certain point is Cursed and I'm not telling you any more than that because, as Gillen says when discussing his own in the backmatter of the comic - "That would give you power over me. That would be bad."

Luckily for me I rarely encounter them in public, but did recently have the misfortune to hear one of the Most Definitely Cursed songs in a pub. I don't think my companions noticed me wincing for 3 minutes. I'm just glad none of mine are indie dance club staples.

(God, why did this take so long? By this point said comic has probably sold out in your local emporium of sequential art narratives, but if not go and buy it already. Do feel free to discuss your own Curse Song experiences in the comments, it seems they stop working after a certain length of time so maybe one day (a few series of Phonogram down the line) we can come back to mine)

[Oh and the title is a reference to a really good Clem Snide song. Out.]

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

What happened here?

Essays and university and being in a band all got in the way.

Tomorrow: Some writing about a comic. Maybe a gig. Maybe some stuff about the band I am in.

"Lord knows I've been trying" - Your Blues, Destroyer

Sunday, 26 April 2009

APAD #26: On Returning Home To What Was Previously A Barren Wasteland To Find It Has Become A Verdant Paradise

It's not unlike the feeling you would experience
if after several years of solitude,
having accepted and fully grasped the ramifications
of being ugly and unloveable,
a highly desirable member of the opposite sex
casually wandered into your cave and declared you to be "cute"
and then exitsed, leaving you feeling a desperate need to vomit.

[End. DEADLINEPANICSHORTONE. Written whilst listening to Johnny Foreigner]

Saturday, 25 April 2009

APAD #25: Young Cryptology

The poetboy keeps passing her notes.
"Your eyes are Marxist children,
Dressed in rags the colour of patience,
playing amongst the ruins of a bakery"
"I want you to deflate my apathy,
and digest my indifference,
and step on my intolerance"
"Skin is the least perfect tool
but yours comes closest to fulfilling it's purpose"

She looks at the ceiling,
wishing there was a God she could have a quick workd with.

(Extract - T: "Seriously?" God: "I blame the parents")

She turns the last note over and writes in perfect cursive:
"I'm more than willing to fuck you, Gerald
But no more of this nonsense, yeah?

Gerald is, after all, somewhat attractive
(in a slightly sickly educational-film way)
And how else is a girl going to pass time in a town like this?
Sex and chess, she declares silently, sex and chess.

She passes the note back to him
(And wonders about "data bleed"
as it moves between the hands of teenage cattle)

Gerald's eyebrows rise up as his hands clutch the folded paper,
his fingers explore it's contours for a moment
(After all, She folded this paper)
His eyes close and he appears to mumble something
(He is, he will later claim, singing along with the Halelujah chorus in his head)
then reads it and runs out of the classroom crying and screaming something about

T sighs and applies more eyeshadow.
The rest of the class
(AS European History, with a heavy World War 1 focus and a heavy Frace/Italy bias)
is staring and one should always look one's best for one's public.
After a silence that Mr Johnston should really have broken
were he not lost in thought -

(Extract: "Of course it was. You haven't told the kids the wrong date have you? You haven't, you really haven't. That won't happen again. It won't. It mustn't. Shit I think I gave them the wrong date. If I admit it they'll rise up and destroy me, if I don't admit it there's a chance one of them might notice and that always ends badly but... At least I have some hope this way. Oh god I can't wait to be dead.")

-T adresses the people:
"What did I do?"
(Her "I" lasts what seems like a long, long time)

[End. Not really sure, but I think I like T here. She may join forces or do battle with the Young Poet today. This started as a Young Poet number, actually, with him screaming at a girlfriend for writing incomprehensible verse about their relationship, but the whole thing was a bit meanspirited and blunt. So, um, instead you get aimless... this. Written whilst listening to: My Own Face Inside the Trees by The Clientele and Capo (South of Caspian) by Ganger. Though I imagine that T listens to a lot of Ladytron (the band, not the song) and Peaches. Five more of these to go then. I think at least one probably should be a Young Poet poem. I'll see if I can come up with anything for him. Oh, I am DEAD certain I've stolen "I can't wait to be dead" from somewhere but can't work out where.]

Friday, 24 April 2009

APAD #24: Gloss

I want nothing more than to rest the head
of my finger upon your cushion lips,
to lay there as we watch daytime sitcom reruns on TV

Neither of us laughing,
Neither of us minding that

And my finger so comfortable
that there is no way in hell it's getting up to change the channel.

[End. Short because I suddenly realised I had one minute until the deadline. Britains, go see "In the Loop". I laughed so much it hurt. GOODNIGHT]

Songs Every Indie Club Should Play Once A Week By Law Until I Get Tired Of Dancing To Them Which Would Probably Never Happen


Salt, Pepa and Spinderella by Johnny Foreigner

3.1901 by Phoenix (Free mp3 from the band's site)


An LCD Soundsystem song, of your choosing.

Do this, and I'll forgive all the boring ladrock. (Although really, if I were in a position to dictate global indie club playrules, I'd ban Rage Against the Machine and Pendulum. Seriously, guys, stop that) And then less enforced but wildly appreciated: M83, Spoon, Metric, Kenickie, Cut Copy, Art Brut and THOMAS TANTRUM.

Wouldn't all this make the world a better place? Yes it would.
[This post broke my blog about 8 times. Video embedding got scaled back a lot to save the post]

Thursday, 23 April 2009

APAD #23: Life and How to Relive It

I like to think we write a new manifesto
Every time we leave the house
Every time we ditch work to play in snow
Every time we declared "Fuck tomorrow morning"
Every time we decided to do a second encore

- but really, all we ever did
was reiterate the rules of reverie and abandon
that we'd learned from midbudget movies
(So they could afford to have your favourite band's
dumbest song soundtrack the emotional climax,
But not so they couldn't afford not to desperately appeal
to my one man demographic)

Susan doesn't care for my philosophy.
"Why give a shit about being 'original' so long as you're having fun?"
I would wonder about this,
but a smile like that is near impossible to disagree with.
If she never takes up any dangerous philosophies,
we're all fucked.

[End. Written whilst listening to The Microphones and The Weakerthans. Title in reference to the not-as-good-as-it's-title (but then, could it possibly be?) R.E.M. song "Life and How to Live It"]

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

APAD #22: She Said She Needed A Murderer

We off roaded until we couldn't see a single thing
except fields and fields and fields and fields.
The sky here is so painfully empty and colourless -
We are the Europe of American art student fantasy.

We'd packed putty inside the seats,
coated everything in gasoline
and were told the remote would work from several miles away
(as if we wouldn't want to witness this).

So we open the doors (it sounds like a gun being loaded,
I'd preffer something less pertinent)
And take a few steps back, then a few more.
The cold, cold spring air grips our skin
and instructs us to hug each other.
So we do.

You ask (with your eyes) if this is really going to work and by way of reply
I hit the litte red cliche.

The roof blows open
and suddenly the sky is flooded
(just for a second)
and we are so so warm,
if we'd had our eyes closed
we would almost believe we were home
(as if we wouldn't want to witness it).

You turn to me as if to say:
"This is the most beautiful thing any man has ever done for me"
Except what you actually say is:
"How are we going to get home?"

[End. You're on your own with this one. I think it's my favourite of these so far but don't let that colour your judgement. Written whilst listening to: Girl Talk.]

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

APAD #21: Infinity, One Night Only

There seems to be a shop on every corner
Selling trackers and rockets
And an open freezer waiting
For a teenage girl -
(You wish she was tagged and easy to follow)
And when you look to the skies
and see another smoke trail,
You wonder how anyone could possibly be alseep.

There seems to be a bar on every corner
Full of boys with bass guitars,
A teenage girl waiting
For something to fall in love
to or with
You wish someone would sing your song
And make you feel warm inside
And when you get a little breathless
When the music we love
starts to test us
You wonder how anyone could not
want to scream (and scream joyfully)

A club on one particular corner
Full of kids with half spilled drinks,
An open floor lit up and waiting
For us to hit our targets.
Wish they'd play something you know
Make it easier to move
And then they do

And it's seismic and it's satsifying
And it's such a good feeling.
We lock eyes and we both wonder
How could anyone not be dancing

[End. Totally cheated, this is rewrite/reedit of a poem I wrote months ago. I'm sorry. I've got absolutely nothing right now. I've failed you, NaPoWriMo. Maybe tomorrow. On the other hand this is (for entirely personal reasons I suspect rather than anything to do with the quality of the poem) one of my favourite things that I've written, so. Bleh.]

Monday, 20 April 2009

APAD #20: One Worries About These Things

I no longer have bad dreams
about giant spiders
dead children
and nuclear armaggedon.

Instead I have nightmares
where I have gone mad
and am halucinating all of the above.*

But mainly?
Mainly I have bad dreams
where I cannot work out the plural form of
And resultingly have to rewrite large sections of poetry
with only 15 mintues to go before my self imposed
NaPoWriMo midnight deadline.

*Full disclosure:
I was also halucinating giant statues of Disney charachters
And fast food items.
But that doesn't sound scary, horrible or cliched
does it?

[End. One can only hope that tomorrow something interesting will happen for me to poem about. Alternatively, maybe I'll grow an imagination.]

Sunday, 19 April 2009

APAD #19: The Sound of No Strings Swelling

Your heart keeps beating at the same speed it always has,
The rain falls as fast and as heavy as it ever did.
There's a vile little popping sound as your lips part
And an even worse wet whack when they re-engage.

No strings swell, no soft focus, no camera spin.
You let your eyes open and look up
at the triangular window, high above the door
hoping for the moon but all you see is grey
so you close them again.
And keep kissing and keep wishing
you could stop thinking about the phrase "bacteria transfer".

Hollywood has lied to us again:
Slow mo never kicks in when you need it.

[End. Written whilst listening to Saint Etienne.]

Saturday, 18 April 2009

APAD#18: Some Silent Prophet Taking Comfort

When everyone I know and/or love is dead and/or gone
At least I will never have to wait outside Topshop again
Cursing the disgusting young beauties in my head
Whilst a sister or friend buys shoes.

When everyone I know and/or love is dead and/or gone
At least I will be able to stop pretending I tolerated
The bastards they hung out with when I wasn't there
The funerals will be spectacular, I assure you.
No one will walk away unscathed.
Except me: Still cussing inaudibly,
Some silent prophet, taking comfort where I can
Now that everyone I know and/or love is dead and/or gone.

[End. Written whilst listening to Destroyer's Watercolours Into the Ocean. Written in a single 4 minute burst except for the first two lines which I drafted in my head about eight hours ago. Not edited.]

Friday, 17 April 2009

APAD #17: Things That Need Naming #23

The feeling where you are:

(watching/listening to/reading/seeing)
art that you are certain you enjoyed
(loved/adored/lived for/took as your personal Bible)
just a few years ago when you were basically* the same person you are now
And finding, much to your horror
That you no longer like it all that much.

It's disorientating, is what it is.
*And you and I know both know that THAT
is total bullshit.

[End. First person to guess which film I should never have rewatched wins something.]

Thursday, 16 April 2009

APAD #16: All Those Front Row Girls Got Nothing On the Blondestreaks of My Back Up Singer

Your hideous dyejob
is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen
And I try not to think about it when our set
really hits its stride
(when your voice mixing with mine sounds like nothing I can describe)
But inevitably I remember the look you gave me
after the first London show
when we stumbled off stage and all collapsed onto each other in the van
And then I want to turn around,
turn down all these screaming teen girls
And sing to you and you alone.

[End. Being a love poem from an indierock frontman to the female vocalist in his band. Written whilst listening to Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer by AC Newman, edited whilst learning to No Turning Back by Gui Borrato. :)]

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

APAD #15: We Join Events Already In Progress

"... And what's more, no one else had the courage to do (eat) what I have done (eaten bread) today, nobody else stood up (ate) and did what was necessary (ate bread) for us to carry on doing what we have been doing (eating bread) since as long ago as we can remember. I did not undertake this task (eating bread) lightly, and only after serious consideration and consultation with experts in the field (bread eating)"

///Hannah is awesome and Miles love h/e/r/////++-11Dogbarking,thunderrrrr[[[
"Either eat the biscuit or put it on your crotch, those are your options" "Can I have a... One Up?" "BOO-DOOP!".///"It's a shaver"What?""You could move it around".----+Herhairchangescolour.--"Look at her crazy face"--- Probably something about herbreasts (magnificent). Annie'scrazy. Probably.


"... This nation (kitchen) would not be what it is today (Wednesday) without the hard work (bread eating) of me (the bread eater) and people like me (people who eat bread). What we do (bread eating) is not pleasant, is not fun, is done without thought of reward. We do it (eat bread) because we must."

[End. Written at a party whilst eating pizza. Thanks to Cai and Hannah for providing some/most of the dialogue. Normal service resumes tomorrow, no more of this abstract bollocks]

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

APAD #14: All Systems Red (Man as Thermometer as Man)

(Notes from Poetcountry #2)

Michael wakes up and stumbles downstairs,
Somewhat (but only somewhat) surprised
to see The Young Poet
and their mutual friend Samantha interlocked -
But not, he thinks, intertwined.
(Although is that right? The Poet would probably know. And then use some weird similies:

"The two of them looked like a pair of sibling puppies
with no concept of incest, cuddling away a Sunday morning.
Samantha's sleeping breaths were the sound of a child creating the universe
and cooing in surprise when mankind turned out alright."

His eyebrows reach skyward as he catches his reflection on the microwave.
He should try this poetry business.)

Michael walks into his kitchen
and cannot help but notice the wooden
(mountain ash, he had been assured) floor
is splattered with a smattering of sick
and there are empty or nearly empty glasses on every available surface,
All accusing him of something awful.
"Well look now" he says to them "You aren't directly my FAULT,
just the end product of my IDEA"
(He's lying, he stole it)

He hears a stirring from the sitting room
As he himself stirs sugar into coffee
So he cusses at the kettle.
"Goddamnit that motherfucker knows I like Samantha.
I'll kill him if the hangover doesn't. Oh god
I hope they didn't do it on my sofa"
(Priorities come slowly to a man in the state that Michael is in)
((And don't come at all to a man in the state the Poet is in))
"I hope they didn't do it at all"

He hears laughter and he burns his tounge
and he hates, and he seethes -

Michael leans forward and opens a window.
10am Winter Morning Air (TM) rushes in
and knocks a sigh out of him.
He feels not entirely unlike a man who has just realised
that his credit card has been stolen
and then the theif has gone and ordered that
big white Talking Heads boxset that he'd been looking at
and lusting after
but decided he could not afford this month.

Michael does not think about Samntha's eyes as he drinks his coffee.
Not even a bit.
Not even for a second.

Well. Maybe a little.

He turns around to see Samantha looking all
standing like a statue to his favourite kind of beauty
that someone kindly erected in his kitchen whilst he wasn't looking.

(She doesn't mean to but) she purrs:
"Coffee too hot?"

[End. You might want to go back and reread Boxticking before this (espescially as Boxticking has been edited a bit to fit with this one). I'm less sure about these now but I expect I'll come back to it again next time I've nothing real-world to write about. Written whilst listening to: Wilco. Edited whilst listening to: 2007 - The Year Punk Broke (My Heart) by Los Campesinos!]

Monday, 13 April 2009

APAD #13: Reduced Gravity

Every night we die at midnight,
So we all died ten thousand times
And for each night we slept alone
We lost a little of what makes us whole.

We sought comfort in sitcoms,
Sought comfort in books
about sensitive young men
confused by their cute female friends,

Screamed songs into the silence
about how much we were in love,
Whispered sweet nothings to sweet no one
And wondered why and how
(Wondered what Those Who Had Lost knew that we didn't)

Until we realised that the prickly heat in our chests is not shame
Until we realised that our bodies are ours and ours alone
Until we realised that we are less hopeless than we thought
We can stay up all night
And we can get by -
We can be weightless
for three seconds at a time.

[End. I got nothing]

Sunday, 12 April 2009

APAD #12: Ten Possible Titles For My Poetry Collection (Lazy List Poem #7)

1. More Poems About Girls and Alcohol
2. Adventures in the Post-Teenage Wasteland: A Memoir in Poems*
4. These Are Not Poems*
5. All Of These Poems Are About You Yes You Yes You*
6. How I Survived The Pokemon Years
7. You and Me and What Facebook Did To Our Relationship
8. Everyone Dies At the End*
9. Nobody Dies At the End*
10. A Rope Of Sand - An Epic Historical Novel In The Form of 45 Pieces of Short Prose Poetry*

*I figure if I obviously lie in the title
People will have a good idea of exactly what it is they're getting into.
Writers owe the reader nothing.

[End. I'm too tired to be anything other than mildly amusing. Normal service resumes tomorrow, with a poem about girls or alcohol or maybe a sequel to yesterday's look into the world of the Young Poet. Who knows? I may actually use any/all of these as titles for things at some point. Written whilst listening to: Yet more Okkervil River, and some Art Brut.]

Quick Notes

1. You can get the new Dirty Projector's single for free here: http://www.dominorecordco.us/usa/news/09-04-09/dirty-projectors--free-track/ for the price of an e-mail adress and it's absolutely amazing. I listened to about 9 times in a row after I downloaded it. This is what your summer is going to sound like. [Well, this and Phoenix]

2. I now have that Google Follower box thing going on (I know one of you was having trouble Following me) so scroll way down on the right for that.

If you're looking for Saturday's NaPoWriMo Poem, it's beneath this.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

APAD #11: Boxticking

(Notes from Poetcountry #1)

You asked if I remembered that time you caught salmonella
from the eggwhite in those homemade Chicken McNuggets
that Polly brought to my Election Results Watching Party in '04

I am pretty sure none of that ever happened so I don't say anything,
and continue poking random butons on the broken toy keyboard
my older brother got me for my birthday last week,
until I happen upon a particularly abrasive series of "notes".

"It sounds like your ex-girlfriend's band" I laugh.
"It wasn't a band" you snap "It was a perfomance project"
I stick my tounge as far into my left cheek as it'll go
and stare you straight in the eyes.

You correct yourself:
"Not that I care anymore..." A long pause.
"Anyway, I'm bored. What are we doing this evening?"
I pass on the information that Michael has invited us to his fictional cocktail party.

"... So it's not a real party?"
I explain that all the cocktails sered will be taken from fictional sources.
Resultingly some of them are incredibly dangerous and, more importantly, digusting.
"Much like some of the people drinking them" you add.


Dangeroulsy drunk on the Inverse Terrorism they'd shared,
They stumbled home through the snow
and had satisfactory-if-slightly-dull sex on the sofa
in front of CNN.

"The economy's still fucked then" Cath said.
"Did you REALLYget salmonella?" Jeff asked.
"Yes. I forgot that you didn't know me then." she replied.
"I did. We'd been friends for two years at that point."

[End. God knows, just some nonsense. TOMORROW's will be good. Her ex-girlfriend is the girl from The Young Poet Meets a Fan, obvs. (Lookitme, building a universe) Oh, the Terrorism is my favourite fictional cocktail and comes from Pictures for Sad Children. The Inverse Terrorism then is a drop of tequila in a pint of Bailey's. It does not need pointing out that a Fictional-Cocktails party would be a TERRIBLE idea. Written whilst watching Persepolis. Not edited.]

Friday, 10 April 2009

APAD #10: Supporting Cast

[I am so, so sorry. There's rhyming in this one. No idea what came over, hope it won't happen again]

My favourite TV show ends

and I soon come to feel like I've lost a best friend.
I miss the overly long intro,
that awful music at the end;
All the annoying little things on which I had
come to depend -

And look I know that my very own
supporting cast
Is devastatingly attractive and constantly entertaining,
but when I'm all the way out in my hometown
and it's dark
and it's raining

(Like some Danish movie's end)
I can't help but frown
and wish I lived closer to them.
So I think this, and then:
That feeling once again
Like I've lost a best friend,
But this time only
for the length

of the
long weekend.

[End. Written whilst listening to: Yet more Okkervil River. Plus Ones and On Tour with Zykos.
Edited whilst listening to: I Need Some Sleep by Eels. I'm home from university for the holidays and am rather missing both the usual ensemble cast of the Miles at Uni Show and the other supporting cast that I try to see when home but who mostly live in a big city a tiny bit too far away. Ho hum. Reading Jonathan Coe's book about BS Johnson, eating chocolate pie pudding from M&S and listening to the new Dirty Projectors' single way too much - These are all good ways to spend days at home with the family.]

Thursday, 9 April 2009

APAD #9: Don't Start Sleeping with Nihilists

You ask how I knew your boyfriend
would turn out to be a bastard.
It's very simple,
He once said to me:
"All suffering is optional
All unhappiness is voluntary."

Which is bullshit
Which is idiotic
Which is moronic -

You and I know there's always 3 or more good reasons
To lay under our beds screaming
At the sheer horror of being alive.
There's always 3 or more good reasons to cry
And if you're happy all the time...

"Then something's seriously wrong with you?"
I'd say so. I mean,
Don't start sleeping with nihilists
But remember that there's a spectrum
and sitting right at one end or the other is all wrong.

It wouldn't hurt to ask about
criminal records.

[End. Well, you're only 18 once. Written whilst listening to: Lost Coastlines by Okkervil River. Not edited]

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

APAD #8: Yoshi

We thank god (just in case)
for shorts, as your skirt fights with the wind.
(Second dress, you said)
And the weather's not great but it's good enough
for us and we always have spent the better part of the day indoors
(so long since you've seen a human being
that you've developed your own way of eating, you said)
Then you beat me repeatedly at Mario Kart
(Except for steering and aiming,
you're amazing, you said)
I hum "Same as it ever was, same as it ever was"
Safe in the knowledge
That some things will always be good.

"You're going to write today's poem about this,
aren't you?" you said.

[End. Written 5 minutes before midnight whilst watching the Wire (DEADLINE PANIC), but influenced inevitably by the fact that I listened to Okkervil River's "Calling and Not Calling My Ex" at least five times in the last day or so. "God (just in case)" is quoted from "You'll Need Those Fingers For Crossing" by Los Campesinos! (from my favourite record ever). "Same as it ever was" is the best five-word-pop-lyric ever, from "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads. Thanks to my good friend Hannah for giving all my material by hanging out with me this afternoon]

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

APAD #7: Some Days Are Better Than Others (Given Time)

All these goddamn poets and songwriters
And screenwriters and rappers and bloggers
Keep beating to me to every single punch.
Everything I have to say has been written by twenty men and women
who wield and weld words better than I ever could.

[In one caffeine powered burst, I stand up (ill advised) and shout: And even if I had, who would listen? You’ve got your goddamn acoustic guitar and think that gives you instant credibility. But me? Just one white kid shouting words against the walls? Not so much, no, no one wants to listen to that. Well, hell, I went and GOT a backing band, so I will break into your headspace someday soon then you'll fucking swoon when I tell you to and you will hate and hurt and heal over and thank me for it]

/And breathe/Eyesclosedeyesopen +++++
What follows is a list of things can instantly turn a(ny) day around:

Or at the very least, seriously improve a mood -
Pizza. Long talks with good friends. Short arguments with bad friends which you clearly win (and others witness). Loved songs (loud ones played quietly, quiet ones played painfully loud).Lists. Unexpected e-mails or invitations from long lost much missed companions and comrades. Good poems. Dancing. Warm weather (with intermittent breezes). Sugar. Noise. You.
Did I mention the pizza? Trust me about the pizza.
\Andbreathe\Eyesclosedeyesopen +++++

We wake late
(Having been up until godknowshwhathour
Working on songs about poems and poems about songs)
And, after dislodging the dust from our eyes,
We just lay there for a long, long time.
We digest the crumbling remains of dreams
But we will rise, given time
And then do great things -
So stand back and shut up. Open a window, let in some sun,
Fetch us some water and gather your friends.

And they do. Then -

Someone raises a placard saying “FUCK LIFE, LET’S ART!”
The girl to my left pulls a face.
“Isn’t it all the same thing?”
The boy to my right leans in front of me. I move my head forward. He leans behind me. I move my head back. He leans in front of me.
“It depends on how you live, surely?”
“And more importantly” I add “what your art is like”
The crowd knows the answer to this one and answer in unison:
I grin. There is hope yet.

We rise, given time.

[End. Written whilst listening to: Wale, The Thermals. Edited whilst listening to: I Need A Life (Four Tet Remix) by Born Ruffians, which doesn't really sound much like Four Tet or Born Ruffians but does sound a lot like learning how to fly and taking off for the first time. The Eyesclosed/Eeyesopen stuff is a reference to my favourite BARR song, Half of Two Times Two. The title is partially a reference to one of my least favourite Smiths songs. "Sugar and Noise" is the name of an ol' blog of mine and generally a good description of The Best Things in Life. Thanks to Caitlin for help editing this one. Good. Night.]

Monday, 6 April 2009

APAD #6: Generic Angry Small Town Teenage Heart Break Poem 12 (Co-Habitation)


Back in the hometown for a religious holiday of no signifigance
I lapse back into a teenage fantasy where I can play guitar
And begin to wonder what songs I would have performed
at my first ever show with the express aim of pissing off
my least favourite ex-girlfriend.
The sun sets on a patch of grass splattered with dog shit
and I wonder where she is...


It turns out that where she is
is getting Chinese food at the same place I am
ten minutes later.
(And still dresses exactly as she used to,
which I find a little unsettling)
These small towns are minefield;
All the people you went to secondary school with who you
now never want to see again
(which is all of them, obviously)
are primed for conversastions you never want to have
are loaded with information you wish you could forget
are waiting in the long grass which you have to cross
to get home/to get to the bus stop/to get food.

I sprint home and
(not at all thinking of your skinny current boyfriend)
eat a mountain of rice and chicken
to ensure I feel bad all over.

Dear sweet jesus I hope somebody paves over this county.

(Soon I will be back in a big glowing city
With girls who've only ever been needlessly cruel
to other boys
(Not me, because I'm Just A Friend who they
Love Like A Brother)
And easy access to A) Alcohol
and B) 4am milkshake.)

There's no question of broken hearts here -
(failing bodies, maybe)
That part of me long ago moved on
and made a decision;

I will no longer mask my contempt for you:
Let the hatred stand naked
Let me live with it awhile and learn to see it's good points.
If nothing else, it's (a little) inspirational.

Bloody hell. Bad evening. This one got a bit ranty, huh? I'll try to be less of an Angsty Teen Poet tomorrow. Written whilst listening to: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. Not edited, which shows rather doesn't it?]

Sunday, 5 April 2009

APAD #5: If It Were Shared

If it were shared
the unending opressive warmth (even with windows open)
the blinding white hot sunlight (even with eyes shut)
the gravity that stops me lifting my legs (even with hours of effort)
the impossibly heavy duvet that I cannot shift...

If it were shared,
the sum of this could be a damn good sunday.

As is though:
It's hell.

[End. Written and Edited whilst listening to Superchunk]

Saturday, 4 April 2009

APAD #4: A Worthwhile Study (We Will Dance Yet)

I say I don't believe in it
but the drinking games undeniably
build up a certain momentum after midnight,
when all you know is that you don't want to know
who you are anymore
(not that you want to lose your identity
to be clear, you just want to forget certain parts -
forget that you are timid
and quiet and afraid of sex.
You want to (just for the night)
forget about that and accidentally fill the space
with something confident)

wake up on spare matressess,
As always.
Staring at white ceilings

with microscopic black holes all over - this
is the night sky in reverse,
which makes sense because right now your head feels like it's just been turned the right way around for the first time in twelve hours.

Lessons learned: I will always catch up with myself.
I can throw my arms around anyone
but whiskey never made me something holy
and gin never made me someone lustable.
(Maybe someone laughable)
I love and I love and I love
and all I ever get is drunk -

I laugh quietly to nobody in particular
(the girls on the stairs?)
and say "Well,
you can't grope a memory"

I'm sorry but I'm not sad.
Turn down the bright lights and we can try again;
I am learning (slowly) to feel good,
I think it's a wortwhile study.

So, cue the strings -
I will swoon at the streams of moonlight that punch through the window
and dance in your kitchen
(barefoot, of course, because some cliches
... well, they work, don't they?)
And be happy and fuzzy and floaty and light and...

Maybe I should save this for another night.
The point is:
You may think I'm a serial miserablist
But I do alright, so -
Give me a hug and another shot
And I will be well on my way to enjoying this.

I do not regret my straight-edge years
But I am glad they are over.

Another poem about girls and drinking. The "something holy" line is a reference to the incredible song "Patriot's Heart" by American Music Club. "You can't grope a memory" is an obvious nod to "You can't put your arm around a memory". The rest is all me (though I worry I may have subconciously stolen the "all I ever get is drunk" bit?).
Written whilst listening to: The National (Ada, Gospel, Karen and All the Wine)
Edited whilst listening to: Explosions in the Sky (The Rescue EP), Death Cab for Cutie (their cover of Superchunk's Kicked In)]

Friday, 3 April 2009

APAD #3: The Young Poet Meets A Fan

Dear teenage girls:
Leave yr boyfriends.
Just because he's nice to you
doesn't mean he's nice;
You should have heard
what he was saying last night -

I was lying on my back in the dark
Listening to the popular consensus conversation outside
Drinking and getting as comfortable as a carpet allows -
Then he stumbles in, falls down and says...
" "
some things that really don't need repeating,
then he laughs into the black.
I shift so I don't have to face him.

So the girl - Blonde
Blue eyes (enough shadow to cloak a small town in darkness
for long enough that people start to ask questions)
says she took my advice
leaves a casette tape on my desk

(so I walk home wondering
if I still own a working tape player.
Turns out I do, it was one I had as a small child
all big red, white, yellow buttons, chunky plastic
seemed... inapropriate...)

I hit play, and her words slide out the speakers
they sound like they're trying to stay as
close to the ground as possible
And what she says is:
"I took your advice, after he came into the bedroom
and said: If you don't love me by sunrise
I will make you pregnant.
I still don't know if he was joking
But I knew it was time to leave"

Next time I saw her she was fronting some post-post-punk post-rock post-feminist post-irony musical perfomance project, reciting those same words whilst three girls in orange bikinis spat white noise out of their broken guitars through broken guitar amps.

I didn't really "get it" as a piece.
One tall guy stood next to me sighed
(mistaking my curiosity for wonder)
and said "She only dates girls now you know"
And I suddenly feel bad...
"I said some stupid things to her I just...
I just wanted her to take me seriously."
And I feel worse abo...
And I don't feel so bad about what we did
when she came back to ask if I enjoyed the tape.

I wrote some of this, then realise it should OBVIOUSLY be a poem by my Young Poet charachter (star of Teenage Poetry Blues Remix and Twenty Something Poetry Blues Edit, so far). I imagine the girl visits him after seeing him at an open mic event and mistaking him for a sensitive soul, or at least an artsy type. Dear fictional girls - Always remember, the Young Poet is (above all things) a total bastard. I mean, I am a bit for writing him I suppose...
Written whilst listening to: Parenthetical Girls.
Edited whilst listening to: Imperial Teen.]

Thursday, 2 April 2009

APAD #2: McNulty and Me

I love The Wire
(really as good as everyone says)
but have developed an unfortunate habit
of making and eating one sandwhich per episode.
The BBC are showing one every night.

You can understand my concerns then.
TV is killing me.

If my body gets much worse
then being me will become a job nobody wants
and if
(and understand, you only took it because you
absolutely had to goddamnit you needed the money)
you do take it, you quit
as soon as you fucking can
and it's not just that all your friends
have heard the stories of how awful it was,
it's that you've reached the point now
where anyone in the same building as you
just needs to reffer vaguely to the line of work
and everyone will look at you laugh

and you laugh too,
but only because you sat down one day
and let yourself breathe in the memory,
let your lungs somehow suck all the suffering
all the unrelenting horror out of those two/four/six weeks
(eighteen years)
and return the thought to your lips,
now in third person
so now you can smile at how vile the whole affair was

just so long as you don't think about it when you're alone
when it's dark
when you're trying to sleep.

Written whilst watching: The Wire
Edited whilst listening to: Yo La Tengo (specifically Last Days of Disco and Let's Save Tony Orlando's House)]

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

APAD #1: The Importance of Indie Rock to the British Suburban Teenager

We float above our beds
Alone, held up by sheets of sound
And the white noise does cause goosebumps
but only at the very best of times
Mostly we just lay there
Glad we're not touching the ground
Thankful for the force we feel beneath us
(but cannot understand)
And always always wishing we could share the feeling
Wishing we could fly
(hands touching)

Eventually, the stars come out,
So we rememember where we are.
We turn out the lights
And in the total black that follows the curtain's fall
Our legs hang off the edges of our beds.

There could be nothing there.
If we slipped off we could just


But we never do.

Written whilst listening to: Wilco.
Edited whilst listening to: Phoenix.
Pretty sure there are at least two references to lyrics of songs I like in this one. This will be a recurring theme. I like to think there's a fine line between intertextuality and plagiarism.]

Who blogs the party that blogs the body that blogs?

Me. Hello, the blog is back. At least temporarily. Sorry for being gone so long.

1. It's the Easter Holidays, after this I have Exams and then we're done with the education business til September. Assuming I pass and am allowed to progress to the next year. I'm... I'm less confident about this than I should be.

2. Currently listening to a lot of: Afghan Whigs, this, Destroyer, Kenickie, Ra Ra Riot and (as ever) Los Campesinos!. (And right now as I write this post: Outkast)

3. Just finished reading Tom Perrota's The Abstinence Teacher. Have just begun reading Tom Perrota's Election. Appear to have lost my DVD of the film of Tom Perrota's Election. [Might review Abstinence Teacher later/soon]

4. It's National Poetry Month in America and seeing as both my brilliant poetry teacher Luke Kennard and my brilliant poet friend Charlotte are doing it, I thought I'd join in with this Write A Poem Every Day For The Month of April business. First one up later.

More soon. Follow me on Twitter (over to the right in the sidebar there) for constant updates on my life and times.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

I wrote about Emmy the Great

for "Letters in Multicolour".


Includes me saying silly things like: "She is cutting out hearts and taking names for embiterred ex-girlfriends everywhere, except, not everywhere because these songs are defiantly, definitely HERS and if you happen to empathise then so be it"

Anyway, go, read, comment over there.

[And then to see how it should be done, http://sweepingthenation.blogspot.com/2009/01/great-expectations.html the ever excellent Sweeping the Nation have a post up about the album which they have heard what with them being PROPER bloggers]

Sunday, 4 January 2009

This Year

Are you feeling fine in 09?
You will be. You will.

[Best of 08 stuff? Yeah, maybe. Maybe.]