Sunday, 2 December 2012

A List.

Being of brawn and brain in competing quantities, I have resigned myself to a safe coziness, not far from the edge of the pool.  A place where threat and security are within a percent point or two of flooding my day.

To accommodate my two headed dog, I sometimes have to make lists.  Generally, to remind me to complete the most boring of tasks associated with money.  That way the dreamy channel swimmer in me doesn’t get too lost in projects that could be in the works.  I made a list the other night.  This is what it read:

2.Apply for citizenship

I stared at this while a dreary rain fell inside my head, soaking my mind with a briny mediocrity.  I crumpled up the paper and put it in the bin.  It landed on a bunch of pages torn out and discarded from my notebook- the embarrassed expressions of brawn beating the shit out of brain.

After a nice cup tea and little loud music, I let the brawn out to cut stencils that the brain had figured out earlier.

Friday, 2 November 2012


I was born in 1973.  That made me four at the silver jubilee and the release of Never mind the Bollocks.   Eight when I bought Swords of a Thousand Men and Kids in America on seven inch single. Nine during the Falklands War.  Eleven buying When Doves Cry, by Prince.  Fifteen when Ben Johnson was my mum’s favourite athlete for a very short time.

During my secondary school years (the demarcation in my life that my mother reminds me, ‘You were ok, until you went to that school’) I was landed in the playground- the yard, much bigger and more complex than that of my earlier school.  It was 1984.  I think the Prince purchase reflected the priming lust that I began to feel for Miss Beedham.

The playground was a desolate ashphalty expanse that had many, shadowy and unusual smelling corners, nooks and passages.  I felt like a goldfish knowing the universality of clean underpants everyday, being poured out onto a coral reef.  The darkness and protocols of yard life became quickly apparent. 

I had not yet had my head flushed in the toilet, like my brother had warned.  But, on snacking innocently into a bag of Monster Munch during what may have been my first day at school, I was made aware by a bigger, older boy at the apex of a formation of boys- some stern, some cowed and that he was, ‘having the nick on that’.

‘Dimp’, said a boy obscured behind him.  A square headed boy with a very short haircut and a faint odour of fags combined with the vague funk that emanates from a fake Ben Sherman coat not washed since his mum bought it from the market in Rhyl a year previous.

‘OK’, I offered, nervously.  Squarehead peered into my bag of Munster Munch, as you might, looking over the edge of a building to the street below.  ‘That’s a nick’, he said swiping the bag from me.  He turned, walked through the formation- they, parting like cattle.  I watched, electricity gossiping in my head as an albino kid pestered Squarehead with tongue flapping pleas for the dimp, the dimp.

Squarehead contemptuously stuffed the remaining contents of the bag into his mouth, dropped it, licked the essence of deep fried snack from his fingers and ignored the protestations from the albino.  No dimp for him.

I learnt quickly the protocols of scavenging snacks and smokes.  The Nick probably evolved from the last part of a smoke.  Fidgety, spermy teens with creamy eyes, hungry since a breakfast of white bread, margarine and jam were hyena quick to say, ‘gis ya nick on that’ as their partner in loitering drew a match to a fresh, straight Benson.  It was always Bensons in our school.  The Dimp, even lower in desperation was the nick of the nick-  the last few tar filled draws ‘till the filter. 

This lore of the smokers somehow spread like a cancerous culture to the rest of the yard and hundreds of children ceased to savour their Monster Munch and crammed that shit in before anyone could pounce from the shadows to cast a contract: NICK!  That kid, in turn would hop about as if they needed to urinate, stressed that a lower scavenger would appear to bark, DIMP!

One clause did exist however.  If no one around you was harder than yourself, you could, as soon as you pulled the crisps from your bag announce, ‘No nicks.  No dimps’.  And as long as Markie Rowlands didn’t swagger up and say, ‘Nick on ‘at’, you would be free to go to the bottom of the bag.

Next week in Vernacular of 1980’s north Wales:
You used to be alright.
Sly (meaning cruel).
Fuck spelt fock
Going With as opposed to Going Out

Monday, 15 October 2012


Chaa…Don’ tek me fer nah foool.

My favourite part of the movie, Rockers is when the two Rastas, Horsemouth and Robbie go to a club playing disco and they takeover of the DJ booth, righteously occupying the clienteles ears with some reel cul-chah. 

I and I come to change the mood, Robbie tells the DJ as he shoves him out the booth and locks the door behind him.  The dance floor clears out to leave a grinning Horsemouth waving his arms and gangling rocksteady.

How many times have I been in an establishment and wished myself to do a takeover?  When the DJ is spinning, nodding, an ear to his headphones, being dope, dude and not a single fucker in the house is listening.  Or, everyone is dancing, and the DJ selections are just shite to my ears.  But really no one is listening, because like the disco dancers in Rockers, they are not going home after to live the culture.  They are going home.

Today I worked at my ‘job’.  The movies are in town.  This industry of people, like soy latte drinking, rental vehicle driving carnies come through town and local people are both dazzled and inconvenienced by some kind of magical fairy-dust left over from the wonderment of the celluloid moving image.  What’s the movie?  Who’s in it? Oh look, fake snow in summer. 

I had a small job to prune back some foliage so a certain camera angle could be shot.  Took me half an hour.  Called over the lady to look.  She had to send a picture to her boss.  Waited around.  Small talk.  Not enough trimming.  More trimming. Photo. Waiting.  No.  More trimming.  Waiting.  Hey look, I’ve got to run, other jobs.  Picked up the rest of the crew.  Phone call, back to trimming.  Done.  Ok, see ya.  Phone call while at next job.  Can you come back?  More trimming.  Waiting.  OK? OK!  Done. 

This is one of the causes for shit culture.  That lady would not make the call on one simple decision and stand by it.  She was not taking control.  That industry is so bloated and slow moving, while it turns its head to see what’s going on and scratch itself, its parasites scuttle somewhere else on it’s body and push their heads into the folds of it’s Cali-tanned skin, drink its blood, while passing waste fluids back through the leathery hide.  Eventually a huge turd is pushed out, to be polished and prepared for consumption.  And one day you find yourself sitting in front of a movie, realizing you will die soon and there will be no recollection of this film in your conscious, but you just want to see the end.  The end comes. 

Yesterday, I saw a sticker on a car reading, Kill Your Television.  (These were not Ned’s Atomic Dustbin fans).  What the fuck relevance is this?  It’s not the TV anymore, it’s the internet.  Kill The Internet, is what it should say.  Because the internet is the new TV chloroform.  The screen and the world, (rapidly being depleted of its mystery) are there in front of you right now.  You can go anywhere, but you don’t.  Your eyes glaze over, pleasure sensors cough, die, open, work, fade like a badly maintained generator.  Bad disco fills your ears and shit movies flicker in front of your eyes while out there somewhere, real culture is happening.  Making paths to the end, aspiring to a satisfactory end.  Do a takeover.  I and I come to change the mood. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


There are many and frequent times in a day when I’m left with an assaulted mind.  When my calm meditated ego, secure in its choice of clothes and therefore cool with being cool, is disturbed by the belligerence of bad style and bad culture.   When my vision for good taste is choked by the fumes of a lecherous red ogre, four wheel drive turbo diesel toy truck, accelerating at bucking speed to the next stop sign a hundred metres away, my soul lets out another long sigh, further deflating its drafty fortifications.

Today I picked up my daughters from their day care.  While loading them into the bike trailer, a father I had not met before picked up his kid- her: typical mall dressed four year old.  Him: cage fighting chic with a long goatee beard that aged thrash metal men grow in place of their balding barnets.  Christ, I thought.  He probably braids that shit.  And somewhere deep inside of me a single solitary strand of microscopic compassion peeled away, exfoliating from my soul.  I wheeled my bike and trailer passed his accountant grey 2012 Kia sports utility vehicle and stood up to weight the right pedal.  I got going and took a look behind me to check the kids and then a slab of my humanitarian faith came carving away like a solemn collapsing serac.  On the rear window of this guy’s realtor/yoga mom/lawyer/by-law officer, mediocrity styled vehicle, taking up one quarter of the whole thing, was a decal of a skull wearing a wehrmacht helmet, a nazi helmet.  And when that automatic transmission, driven with an ineffectual dream-punch anger, throttled with the gusto of a man hug passed me by, it sang a song of a crashing culture and a confused people.

I have been (for most of my life) entertaining the jeering inclination to write a novel.  Lately, I’ve thought of writing a book about pure happiness.  I’m led to believe this has not been done.  The pursuit of happiness, yes.  But pure beginning to end bliss, apparently not.  I think in my novel the protagonist will exercise something like a militant dada scourge on the world.  He will take branches from felled trees, cleared to let the passing motorist see the new chain hotel off the highway and attempt to trash vehicles sitting at stop lights that assault his sense of style.  I’m guessing goatee guy will be giving my protagonist, a right fucking shit-kicking.  At least that’s what he’ll tell the boys over the barbecue.   Is this what art is increasingly for?  Is art now more than ever, a battle cry against the cultural rot that has set in?  Who the fuck knows.  But it might well be the case for me.  And others.  Perhaps, Robedoor.

So, I play records.  I’m no DJ (although I would be into it).  But, I buy and play vinyl.  Often DJ’ing to myself when the kids are in bed, some red wine, or chilled tequila (like now), sometimes a spliff.  We are living in a golden age for music.  The record companies are done dictating what we can get.  The world is open for business and with the torrents of shite coating us, come tiny sparkling flecks of beauty and purity. 

Robedoor!  Enter the fucking saviour that all ye cannot yet tell tis thy golden balled medium to universal openings in yer miiiinds.  Robedoor exist, framed for me by the north american grotesque gullet.  They are an antidote (for a few) to the poison that drips in rivulets of pollution down the walls of our cheaply constructed homes, in through the architecture of turn-around profits, the brightly coloured litter on the streets and the dog owners, faithfully picking up their pet’s shit, to surreptitiously leave the bagged and nasally silent crap in a blackberry bush.  Fuckers.

Hey, I’m on board with goatee guy about Slayer circa 1986.  That shit sound-tracked my affected teenage fight for anything that cleared up my zits.  And I revisit those sounds on occasion.  I can even plot a course between Slayer and Robedoor.  But as I approach the not quite reality of being forty (I am my parents), and my musical consumption becomes constant, I have discovered in Robedoor a band that I cannot claim to be the best that you or I have ever heard.  But what Robedoor have done, is made some music that has shot glowing, radiant tendrils of noise through my ears and into my spinal core.

Parallel Wanderer off their Too Down to Die record is a single side of tar that eviscerates my person and brings me along (when the kids are in bed) into their quest for flight.  There are so many non essential things to say about this record because it JUST IS.  Robedoor for me are a commitment.  When I flick through the records, sometimes I often skip the Robedoor, because once I start, like good Welsh mushrooms, I know I’m in for a little while.
And, when you take Welsh mushrooms, you see the world as it should be seen-  On an ancient coastal hill, with the Irish Sea drawn out below, blustering and foaming, staring at the green of the early autumn grass thinking, that you’ve never seen something so beautiful as that pulsing emerald life force.  As you know it should be seen everyday that you walk.