haters gonna hate – even the shit i be proud of, yeah?


November 2013

complete control – the clash

That’s it finished. Another year of NaNo under my belt and another novel first-drafted.
I’m so glad it’s over, too. Much as I enjoy the adrenaline, the sheer up-against-it-ness of my month in a parallel universe, I’m looking forward to coming back to earth and catching up on all that sleep, food and personal hygiene I’ve been cutting corners with for so long.
Feels great (so far) being finished. I haven’t yet hit that yawning pit of darkness when my soul realises that all the reasons for getting out of bed are now no more. I’m expecting that over the next few days, though.
Next up: I’m working on an idea for another fictional blog, based loosely on a running gag that I tweet about occasionally.
Oh yeah. And I’m going to spend some time with She-Who-Reckons-i’d-be-as-well-Obeying-Her.


second honeymoon – deaf school

I’m well over forty thousand words now, hurtling downhill, using my face and balls as brakes. This novel’s really coming together now (it’s a plus, when you can see yourself fixing what’s wrong with this draft in the next one, right?)
Instead of writing profiles for my characters, this time I downloaded photographs and I’ve used them. I know what each of these looks like, which is carrying me just now – also, it’s hard to remember where the convicted murderers end and the politicians begin!
This was just a way of keeping the experience fresh for me. If I ever got bored – or found myself writing the same book twice, I’d probably give up.
Everything I write has to be a first for me. Has to be a brand-new challenge. Much as I love the adrenaline rush of crashing towards a deadline, it’s got to be more than just a sequel.
Which is odd, because I’ve always found that, when I’m roughly three-quarters of the way through a first draft, I start coming up with ideas that don’t quite fit what I’m writing. I used to file them and somewhere in the back of my head, start planning the sequel.
Which I’ve never written. Even back-in-the-day when I used to arrange all the cutting-room floor ideas into a narrative, I never sat down and wrote a single sequel.
I believe this conservation of ideas has more to do with clinginess towards characters and less to do with great (or even average) literature.

in every dream home, a heartache – roxy music

The first time I heard Roxy Music, I was at school camp. I’d have been about eleven and ‘Pyjamarama’ came on someone’s radio. I was blown away.
Looking back now, forty-plus years later, listening to one of those ‘alternative/rare/rejected compilations, they really were brilliant, weren’t they?
For me though, there’s a hole in the middle of Roxy Music like one of those live recordings where the microphones were set too far apart. An ugly, ragged dent in an otherwise unblemished career.
First two LPs: perfect. Then, after Ferry managed to drive Eno out of the band in the war-of-the-Brians, that dead zone: ‘Country life’ and ‘Stranded’. A few good tracks scattered amongst these albums, but by then, without Eno, Roxy were, at best, a Sinatra wannabe backed by some arties – and with very few ideas.
The band rallied with ‘Siren’ and followed that up with ‘Viva’, most of which comes from the Eno period, anyway. Their roots were showing. And they gave up.
Unlike Eno or Mananera, Ferry’s solo work went from dreadful through ludicrous to dadaist. Competitions at Virgin stores for staff members to meet OMG! Bryan Ferry! Photocopied lists of dos and don’ts for the lucky staff who did meet him (no make-up, no jewelery, no skin, hair or sexual organs, etc)
That early nineties’ performance on Jools Holland’s freakshow, (“and now, here’s a blind-drunk Bryan Ferry impersonator. What are you going to do for us tonight?” “Tonight, with god’s help, I’m going to stay on this piano stool, Jools.” “Bloody hell! Upright, Bri?” “We’ll see, shall we, Jools?”
Apparently Roxy reformed in 1979 for some reason. I blame Thatcher myself. And that turgid self-parody they’d become? ‘Angel eyes’, ‘More than this’, ‘Avalon’… Soporific songs to soundtrack holding hands with someone who doesn’t matter. Valium for the ears. Can this really be the same band who birthed “Both ends burning’?
I read in the Eno autobiography, ‘On some faraway beach’, that the original Roxy Music line-up have been trying to make another LP. Sessions have ended in nothing or worse.
It’s almost as if they had their time, spent it and are now gone.

big sky – lou reed

Lou Reed’s death came as a complete surprise. I was at work last night when d texted me with the information.
It’s the following day now. I awoke, feeling numb and wrung out. As if Diana or Jade Goody had perished all over again. Which is ironic. I’ve laughed at imbeciles on both those occasions, pointing at cretins mourning someone who they’d never met and who had never heard of them. It’s strange finding myself in that position and experiencing something similar to a bereavement.
Lou’s been there since I was fourteen, I think, when someone gave me a copy of ‘Sally can’t dance’. I still have a soft spot – even now – for tracks on it. ‘Animal language’, ‘Kill your sons”, ‘NY stars, ach – all of it.
The next of his LPs I laid hands on was ‘Rock ‘n’ roll animal’. Now. By this point, I’d heard tell of – but never actually heard -the Velvet Underground.
Remember those ‘rock flashbacks’ compilations Polydor used to do, back in the seventies? There was a Zappa one, a Velvets one, a Pink Fairies one – Hendrix had two. I think I’ve owned all of these except, for some reason, either of the Hendrix.
Lewis Alan Reed’s work was the bedrock for glam, punk and industrial. Arguably, without him, these would never have happened – or at least, would have been very different. And a damn sight literate.

Why not read the novel that started it all? 1919 (inside)

A love story – on home-made acid – narrated by someone first used romatically, then set on fire, by the blue peter team, capering around the pyre like wrinkled vikings.

are you ready – rollins band

I’m getting ready for NaNoWriMo. (So yeah, these are written in advance, but the message is the same, right?)
I’m writing this at the home of my Superior Half, waiting until it’s time for the train back to the wilderness I call home-and-work-and-shit. I’ve got the house to myself, even the cat has headed off upstairs to crash out – after a *very* cursory goodbye.
I’m trying to balance work, physical intimacy and wringing out another novel. It’s a precarious juggling act – any one of these could take over my life completely. November’s when I try to ram all my eggs into the one (NaNo) basket.
I’m trying a new method of characterisation this time, too. Downloading photographs of complete strangers and sketching my creations from there.

Why not read the novel that started it all? 1919 (inside)

A love story – on home-made acid – narrated by someone first used romatically, then set on fire, by the blue peter team, capering around the pyre like wrinkled vikings.

i crawled – swans

The bairn has neglected to pay the internet again, making it impossible to back this month’s novel up to the cloud. So I’m having to leave two hours early for work – to use in-town wi-fi – and I haven’t a fucking clue what my word count is.
I’m praying the bus station has free wi-fi – otherwise I’m going to be frequenting starbucks, which I personally regard as desertion and treachery. Those who follow me on twitter (@white_cell) will no doubt be aware of my opinion of the dread arsefucks – from shitty coffee to the wholesale financial rape of communities worldwide, I hate them like I hate racism.
So here’s hoping I can back up my tablet to the cloud.
In other news (whatever my word count is) the novel’s taking shape nicely. This morning, I wrote a section about the mmc and mfc’s wedding reception that I’m particularly proud of. Dredging up memories of wedding receptions I’ve attended, as well as the time I followed swans around the uk leg of their 1986 tour, I think I’ve nailed that scene.
Managed to back it all up to the cloud – at 22:20, in Kirkcaldy bus station. And my word count’s lying at a respectable 12007 as of this morning.

Why not read the novel that started it all? 1919 (inside)

A love story – on home-made acid – narrated by someone first used romatically, then set on fire, by the blue peter team, capering around the pyre like wrinkled vikings.

she throws me to the dogs – navicon torture technologies

Classic albums – NTT: your suffering will be legendary

These two disks came free, apparently, with the initial-however-many of NTT’s farewell salvo, ‘Gospels of the Gash’. ‘Gospels’ always felt like a damp squib to me. Okay, but wheezing like a pensioner that’d once been a sex-goddess.
It felt like Leech, facing the end of all things Navicon, had swept up the off-cuts and shavings from his slaughterhouse floor and crammed the resultant mess into a pornographic happy meal container. Post-industrial reconstituted meat products.
It’s not even a shit album. Just that wee bit blander than what had gone before. Still, that’s enough kicking around of that particular corpse.
‘Your suffering…’ is a whole different kettle of pish. Sombre, moody and tragic by turns, with the flashes of expansive anger we’ve come to love, this brace of disks positively reek of the highlights of NTT – for me, it’s up there with ‘Church of Dead Girls’.
I’m presuming Leech, winding up a project that’d run its course, his splintery mind’s eye already formulating his Theologian project, had developed aesthetically away from what we all loved about NTT. For us bloodthirsty spectators, NTT was still a fascinating explosion. But for the guy forced to actually make this stuff – and clean it out from under his fingernails afterwards – it probably felt boring, tired and limp. Not half as exciting ‘n’ inspiring as his project-to-come.

Why not read the novel that started it all? 1919 (inside)

A love story – on home-made acid – narrated by someone first used romatically, then set on fire, by the blue peter team, capering around the pyre like wrinkled vikings.

people are strange – the doors

Walking around Edinburgh, experiencing what Robert Sheckley called ‘metaphoric deformation’. Basically, when we go somewhere unfamilliar, we see people we think we recognise. Then we do a double-take and realise it’s a complete stranger.
The first time I remember experiencing this was in Leeds, September of 1979. I was seventeen as I drifted around the city for the first time, I kept spotting faces of people I knew, looking again and it wasn’t them. This happened repeatedly, surprising me every time.
To be fair, the weekend before, half the pub I’d been in were all hitching down to Leeds for the Futurama festival, but on the day, I was the only one nutty enough to actually attempt the journey.
Fast-forward to 2006, when I moved to Liverpool. Strange town? Check. Spotting familiar faces? Check. Not who I though they were? Every single time.
The following year, visiting Edinburgh, I began mis-seeing the familiar among all the strangers in what was once my home town.
I realised a couple of years ago, that since I left Edinburgh, I haven’t put any roots down anywhere. Liverpool never felt like ‘home’ and, in the couple of months I spent back in Edinburgh, neither did that.
I drifted over the bridge to Fife in 2010 – for no great reason, really – and just sort of remained there. I live there, I work there and because the two are so far apart, I spend a lot of time on buses going through countryside and small towns. The Person I’m terribly fond of lives at the opposite side of the country which necessitates three trains and a long-ish journey from my place to Hers. I feel no more or less ‘at home’ in the wee town I live in than I do in Hers.
Maybe none of us really ‘need’ the familiar. Deprived of it, our minds fill in the gaps and give us – albeit fleetingly – split seconds of that sense of the ordinary and comforting. It’s entirely possible I won’t ever put any more roots down as long as I live.
And, strangely, it’s not a glaring absence in my life. Just something that I remember from time to time and makes me nod my head a bit before I file it away under ‘vaguely interesting things’.

Why not read the novel that started it all? 1919 (inside)

A love story – on home-made acid – narrated by someone first used romatically, then set on fire, by the blue peter team, capering around the pyre like wrinkled vikings.

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