Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I so jealous of a friend. He looks just like Nero, and has the marble busts to prove it. I'm too much of an American mutt to have any distinctive ethnic features. Except my eyebrows. I got doosies. Groucho Marx eat your heart out. And, there is one European ethnic group who also have their trumps in eyebrows. The Greeks. And recently one Greek I know suggested that I will look like Constantine P. Cavafy when I get older. 'Who is he?', I ask google. A Greek Homosexual Poet as it turns out. A devient and an artist. Two great tastes that go together! So folks, what do you think? It's not quite the mad fiddler of Rome, but it's not bad. Is this me at fifty?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Great writing is great writing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Being Foreign Suits Me

Having just gotten back from the US I have been asked one question the most: What is the biggest change since I left? Lo-flo toilets. Never mind the hulking beasts of SUVs still stalking every fucking road in the country, but that is a different complaint. The greatest changes have happened within myself. Nationalism is a 19th century idea and it is one to which I do not subscribe. However, I am and will always be identified as an American and I feel regret to know that I view the country of my birth with the eyes of a foreigner. I enjoy its pleasures and am amused by its peccadilloes in equal measure. Although I am more at home in Europe, I know it will never be my home. So, I my identity must drift somewhere off shore between the two. So be it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A legacy inherited? God Bless you Mr. Washington.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I have been amazed at the Europeans around me and their the level of interest in the American elections and its results. Good news, my friends. You too can become American. We have our own shahadah. Repeat this phrase sincerely before an American and you will come into grace. Then, in four years you can vote for his re-election.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: One nation, indivisible, With liberty and justice for all."

Friday, October 31, 2008

There are few things more abhorrent in our little isolated bubble of privilege and excess as advertising industry. But they have money and I want some. So, here are a couple pitches.

Pitch number one. We do a photo series inspired by the corpse piles from the photographs of the liberation of Dachau using only the best and most vacuous of today's super models. Because, let's face it if those girls weren't murdered by racist Nazi fucks, they would have been fabulous. I mean, just look at those figures. Ribs and sex appeal. Curves are for the fat girl catalogues.
We can pay homage to those fabulous but forgotten by recreating those images as a photo shot for Manolo Blahnik. Picture the bodies of models like Kate, Agyness, Giselle, etc. Their emaciated but perfectly groomed bodies cast upon each other, limbs akimbo, like a pile of human kindling, wearing only the finest examples of fall season oh eight. We can do a Spielberg and have it shot on grainy black and white stock except for the shoes are full super saturated colour. Gorgeous. Maybe a nice tag line like 'they died so that Manolo might live' or 'I'd rather die than leave my Blahniks'. I don't know; I am open to suggestions.

Pitch number two. This one is pretty versatile. It'll sell anything. And sex sells anything, so I hear. You flip through any kind of magazine and you have pre-pubescent girls pouting their lips and arching their backs to sell anything from clothes to bacon. It always confuses me why the seconds-long exposure of a grown woman's areola is taboo but it is okay to have a 17 year-old pop star grind her spangled clad groin against a pole for three minutes. But, rules are rules and, by god, I know if you want to flog some crap you can't be breaking rules. So, my original idea of having a 29 second close up of the coitus of two white heterosexual and married couple followed by one second black back-grounded logo shot and a deep-voiced reading of the company's tag line. But, imagine how the cases of Budweiser would fly off the shelves after the unwashed masses got a load of fuck fuck fuck then bam - "Budweiser. King of Beers" read by the guy who does the "ready to rumble" spiel. So, yes that one is out. Instead we get all Hitchcock on the people. I'm talking visual allegory baby! We film a tight shot of the business ends of pigs humping like the mad mammals they are, cleaned up and sparkling pink, mind you. 28 seconds of that. 1 second of a zoom out to reveal it's pigs rather than people and so we can say to the censors 'it's just nature, man, taking its course', then before the blood rushes away from the viewers' genitals – "Budweiser. King of Beers".

Please make checks payable to, wickedtomocktheafflicted marketing consultancy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I learned a new word at work the other day. Monetize. Then I realized that I already had a word to describe that action. Whoring.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I promise I practice every day but cynicism doesn't come naturally to me. This is obvious when I watch a video like this and it thrills me with its possibilities and its hopefulness.

Let it be true.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mana Mana

With their mother, two beautiful children, brother and sister, dressed in their school uniforms, were sat beside me on the tube. They made it the best commute I ever had when they broke into this song.

The girl doing the 'do do do'. The boy doing the 'mana mana' part.

Then on the commute home I had the thought, "wouldn't it be nice to ride the bus home and not have to smell businessmen's farts."

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I went to see Seasick Steve last night. He's one of the few living blues players I can stomach, never mind enjoy. He absolves the sins of SRV.

It's been a long time since I've been to a show that wasn't in the back room of a bar. I forgot you should never show up early. It's a lot of waiting and doing nothing. It was even worse because it was at the Royal Albert hall. Great venue, but not for this kind of music. No drinking? It's the blues, goddamnit. Plus, it looked like many seats went to corporations who filled the seats with suited cultural philistines.

However I was glad I caught the opening act, Amy LaVere. Think bluesy-honkeytonk Mazzy Star.

Now removed from musicians and arty-fartys, I tend to find new music in a random and uncontextual manner. This is good because I listen to the music rather than the hype. A consequence is I have no idea how popular a musician is or their demographic of listeners. I sometimes think I found a little treasure of all my own only to find out he's been on the tele. Oh well, nevermind.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fail out 2008 (in pictures)

I don't have your money; it's in his golden parachute and hers.

Looks like I picked the wrong day to fund my 401k pension scheme.

It's raining suits, hallelujah.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In my ongoing sociological investigations of this island's native inhabitants, I attended what is known in the local dialect as a banger race. See figure 1 for an example.

Figure 1: A video demonstrating the subgenre of banger races called caravan racing.

It was a pleasurable experience and my inner 10 year smiled with glee as transmission fluid and tire rubber flew into my face. Above the simple pleasure of crashing metal and speeding vehicles, I loved watching the woman counting the laps, waving the flags and directing the race. As the leading cars sped past her she would point and signal their position: first, second, third etc. She did it with flicks and twists of the wrist as eloquent as a belly dancer's. Every movement she made as she juggled the thousand tasks of her position was done with a grace that seemed out of place amongst the raw growling power of the cars zipping past.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shhh! Pay attention. Brother Holden is going to preach some truth.

--copied from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger--

Somebody'd written "Fuck you" on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they'd wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them--all cockeyed, naturally--what it meant, and how they'd all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever'd written it.

I went down by a different staircase, and I saw another "Fuck you" on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or
something. It wouldn't come off. It's hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the "Fuck you" signs in the world. It's impossible.

Then, all of a sudden, you'd never guess what I saw on the wall. Another "Fuck you." It was written with a red crayon or something, right under the glass part of the wall, under the stones.
That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "Fuck you" right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it'll say "Holden Caulfield" on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it'll say "Fuck you." I'm positive, in fact.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

At work, I was chatting with a Yorkshire man that pronounced project as in 'the software project' like the Wu-tang, PRO-ject. If he had said sword and pronounced the 'W', I would have been the happiest man in the IT department.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This pleases my soul in many ways. It is just pure, unadulterated joy. See two other humans enjoying the pleasure of living. Every detail is amusing: the two kids, their kitchen in the background and the one on the right's little belly folds and half shirt. Watch it and not grin and you are dead on the inside.

P.S. Their 'Volere' is worth the price of admission as well. It includes fake mustaches and a dancing mom in the background.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We drove past the Cernas Abbas Giant.

We stood in front of the tourist information board reading about the history of this chalk figure. A man and his toddling daughter stood beside us. He pointed out the giant on the opposite hill and the little girl cheered, "I see him".
He pointed again and said, "Do you see his big--"
S_ and I turned expectantly.
"--stick", he continued.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Waiting for S_ at Waterloo, I overheard a no-neck American fratboy cum businessman tell his British colleagues, "Cheers, dude". His awkward attempt at assimilation was simultaneously obnoxious and endearing.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I had thought that the didgeridoo was invented for hippies to annoy others at parties. Then I heard a professional perform a song about a dingo chasing an emu.

The instrument's music/anti-musical sound moved me beyond any piece of avant-garde piano banging.

I never fathomed that a tube of bark that usually rests in the corner of a co-op beside unused guitars and cobwebbed dream catchers could simultaneously produce the depth and complexity of sound I experienced. The song itself communicated a simple narrative of dog versus bird. Amazing.

Here's something close but still not sufficient.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I worry about a lot of things. I worry how I will handle fame and wealth. This might seem arrogant or presumptuous, but I also worry about zombie attack and have contingency plans for that eventuality as well. Most of all, I worry whether I am a good man.

Recently I attended a wedding for two of the good'uns, beautiful people in every sense. I also had a birthday around the same time. Both events made me take notice of the people with whom I have surrounded myself and call friends.

If a man's friends are any mark to the quality of his soul, then I can worry a little less about whether I am a good person. Cheers to you all.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Shh. Just look. A thousand words isn't enough to tell this photo's story.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Here's how I resigned from my job.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I just listened to a world service interview with Canon Andrew White. He is the definition of a righteous man. It heartens my heathen heart to know there are men like that in a world like this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I haven't had much to say lately, because I am finding others who have already said it so much better.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Time again to show the vines of the galleries have withered in the darkness, poisoned by cash, and those in the open, free spaces are bearing the fruit."

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I am starting to enjoy this May fayre tradition. I was taking a walk and stumbled upon it this year. The hot, hazy day convinced me that I should seek out the beer tombola stand I enjoyed last year. With my two pounds I won a bottle of export and a bottle of lime cordial. Near the May pole I found the same group of shirtless bikers that I blogged about. At least I think it was the same group. One sunburned and tattooed cockney biker looks very much the same as the next one, with the exception of the one with Downs syndrome. He was something unique. I don’t know why I was surprised to see a disabled man with a tattoo on his shoulder. A mental handicap should not exclude one from having the words 'strike furious' beneath a hissing cobra inked upon your flesh. He and his buddies slammed down their tombola winnings and enthused about the May pole dancers. Mr. Strike-Furious eyes crinkled with mirth as he marvelled at the intricate braids the girls were making as they skipped in their twisting circles. At the end of each song, the bikers clapped and cheered. Everyone in the crowd smiled at their unabashed, albeit intoxicated, joy. They repeated this for every song the girls danced. The laughed, made appreciative comments on the dancers' abilities and clapped in time with the music, to which others joined in.

It was one of those moments of perfection we all seek, some knowingly, most not, where everything is right and good in that moment and place you happen to be occupying.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm not nationalistic in any sense. Nationalism was a 19th century bad idea thought up by Kings and Prime Ministers to convince the poor and lesser nobility to die for the pointless, unending wars they needed to maintain an erection long enough to spew their syphilitic seed onto the widows and daughters of men with more honour than themselves.1

Despite my abhorrence for flag waving nonsense, I have found an exception. I have found something that makes a little red, white and blue tear gently fall across my heavenward gazing face. It's BBQ sauce. God bless, America! I haven't given my old country a thought until a fellow ex-pat (thanks, Sam) brought back a bottle of "Sweet Baby Ray's", the dark red, smoky-flavoured blood of Christ himself.

S_ and I have been drowning everything in this stuff. We've had burgers three times this week for the excuse of dipping the already slathered burgers into the extra dollop on our plates. As soon as that furtive English sun reappears, there will be a sacrifice of fatten hen anointed in this liquor from west Chicago. Now if it was only possible to get the old style Shiner Bock, we could make proper libations to the gods of grilled meats.

1 Too much?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I feel like a winner today!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Any time you find yourself a 'them' amongst their 'us', a curious side effect is their presumption that you are an expert on what it is that makes you not one of them. So no, I don't know who is going to win the election.

"I still do(love America), though that feeling has changed in the face of it. I think that it is a spiritual disaster to pretend that one doesn't love one's country. You may disapprove of it, you may be forced to leave it, you may live your whole life as a battle, yet I don't think you can escape it. There isn't any other place to go--you don't pull up your roots and put them down someplace else. At least not in a single life-time, or, if you do, you'll be aware of precisely what it means, knowing that your real roots are always elsewhere. If you try to pretend you don't see the immediate reality that formed you I think you'll go blind." --James Baldwin

Friday, April 11, 2008

Let's talk about why it is impossible to be down when listening to 2tone records.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

'That's not my Pirate' has to be the greatest book title I have seen in awhile. Four words that promise so much. So much story packed in four words. Amazing.
1) It's about Pirates. Outlaws and pirates are always interesting subject material.
2) The story is about someone who owns a pirate. That's an interesting idea. What do you mean your pirate?
3) This person who owns a pirate has lost him. Holy shit! How do you lose a pirate!? That's drama. You already had me when I thought the story was just about having a pirate but now you tell me you've lost him. Double holy shit! Do tell!
4) The plot thickens. Someone has proffered a pirate and it turns out that it is not the pirate being sought. That's narrative.

All that for the price of four words. This is why I adore writing and language. Imagine what could be achieved in a 100 word poem or an 85,000 word novel. Fucking dynamite baby.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

This quote should be shared

Art should be approached with the care and respect due dynamite and if you don’t the last thing you should see before you die amongst fiery violence is your dick flying past your face.

quotes are like buses

"Philosophers -- except the few who are my friends -- drink beer and watch football games and defeat their wives and children by the fraudulent tyranny of logic." -John Gardner

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

There is something pathetic about people with coffees to go. I don't know if it is my irrational intolerance for my fellow middle-class honkies or just an understanding that a coffee to go is a metaphor for that sad state of almost-living that could easily be my fate.
When I was a teenager and had made a firm plan to do nothing with my life, I cleaned banks. I reconsidered this non-plan of mine, when my boss told me to go to the fourth floor toilets and bring gloves. My non-plan had kept me firmly fucked-up, happy and sated until this point. The ominous suggestion 'to bring gloves' cut straight through the haze of my irresponsible bliss.
Someone on the fourth floor had shit themselves and hid the crap filled drawers in the cistern. Each flush refilled the bowl with ominous weak-tea colored water. During the execution of this crime, the perpetrator managed to flick specks of poo-goo and make shit constellations all over the stall's walls. After that shift, I determined to do something with my life.

The day I am too busy to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee I will reconsider just what that something has become.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

project #294 (making the war on terror more fun)

Place suspicious looking packages filled with confetti all over London. So, when the authorities do the controlled explosion, it's much more fun for everyone. Maybe the confetti can be glittery stars and crescent moons.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"all I heard--mañana, a lovely word and one that probably means heaven." --jack kerouac from 'on the road'

Today is his birthday. Go drink some wine and experience the beauty that has been scattered around for those who know where to look.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It's the day after the 4th of March 2008.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Is it stranger to be homesick for a port town in Scotland in which you only lived two years or to ameliorate the condition with a puerile, but entertaining, book about junkies? I do miss my Saturday morning full Scottish at the community centre.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The likeness is uncanny and I do happen to have jars of pickled cabbage and vitriol near my desk.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My three rules of life:

1) Whatever it is, don't put it up your ass1. You'd be surprised how many people do not follow this simple rule. I guarantee if you do a search in Google news for the word rectum, you will see someone dealing with the consequences of not respecting this simple rule.

2) It is always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. This rule guides most of my professional activities and is most helpful when dealing with jobworths2.

3) You should always have three rules.

1I got this one from S_ who is an endless fount of wisdom.

2Most useful British-English word ever.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Liao Yiwu

Read him.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Observations of pets as I went to the vet

I took my cat to the vet the other day. I happily strolled beneath the clear blue sky of a London winter day carrying Cat in his plastic grey carrier. He silently watched and sniffed at the new surroundings beyond its wire door.

I became very excited to see a Border Collie driving a car, but then remembered the steering wheel is on the starboard side in this country.

I also noticed that there is one street corner where someone leaves their dog's bags of shit. That's the 'burbs for you. They don't want to be seen not picking up the shit of their animals—keeping up appearances and all that. So, they scoop that little hot turd into their plastic baggied hand and carry it off, but they still don't give a fuck about anyone. So, they look over both shoulders and drop it on the pavement to squelch beneath the £300 shoes of a jogger or wheel of a Bugaboo pram.

I get to the vet. Cat gets his check up. Cat is mellow. He's not fussed by much. Then it's thermometer time. The vet holds him. Cat is not amused but is abiding. Then temperature is taken. The cats eyes go wide. The ears go up. Then, I swear, he gets a beaten, humiliated look on his face. He looks disgusted. He can't believe his little cat ass and cat dignity had been violated. I apologised profusely when we left, but I fear his cat retribution will be swift and smell of ammonia.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

The devil is here to stay. So says the tramp who smells of piss and eats our neighbour's lavender plants. I agree and leave him to investigate our bins and give their contents value again. The A316 is a parking lot full of fat men in pink shirts driving important cars. Zooming past them on the pavement are children on scooters flanked by gossiping mothers pushing prams laden like caravan camels. A church bell rings to call the faithful but no one seems to notice.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I pine for the salt mines of Canada, because I heard a reporter on the radio describe its beauty. Cathedrals of salt carved for decades upon decades below the great lakes. I pine for Missoula, Montana because there's a good pub there and it's in a state I know nothing about. I pine for the Muslim Hajj to make the circumambulations of the Kaaba, because I want to know that sense of universal brotherhood. I want to speak a thousand languages and I want to meet a thousand people who speak those languages. I want wring from heaven and that Stingy creator at least as many lives a cat has been given. There is too much to do, to see, to be, to feel, to know, to understand, to express, to experience, to love, to have and I don't want to miss a thing. That is why life is suffering because it is never enough. We are limited to one experience and that measly but infinite gift is pinned to a single point in time. We only have the experience of now and fading ribbons of memory. To waste one tiny speck of allotted time panics my soul and I frantically search for some experience to devour.