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


February 2014

death of an electric citizen – edgar broughton band

We seem to be in the throes of some kind of weird-ass, stop-start spring. Has anybody else noticed the bird’s nests appearing in trees that haven’t even grown leaves yet? We’re going to lose a lot of birds this year, I fear. And, meteorologists have predicted that this coming summer will be a savage, brutal, heat-death-of-the-universe, the hottest summer since records began.
On Christmas Eve, a colleague told me they had an infestation of wasps in the office she’s attached to. Last month I found a butterfly in my bedroom. I’d originally thought it was a moth, but no. On closer inspection, brown and orange markings covered its wings. It hung around the place for a couple of days and then disappeared. Of course, climate change deniers will tell us there’s always been Yuletide wasps and butterflies – and we have always been at war with Oceania, I suppose!
Flowers have started coming up – before the end of January. This isn’t normal, but you know what the weirdest thing has been for me?
In springtime, I noticed around 25 years ago, loads of really good records start getting in the charts and played on radio. Either we all start grabbing at new things that aren’t quite as stupid as the crap that fills the charts at Christmas, or mibby I get enthusiastic or the warmer weather makes me more positive about pop music. Either way, it’s started. In February. The other day, I downloaded Betty Boo’s ‘Boomania’ and just this afternoon, it was Golden Earring’s ‘Moontan’. Traditionally, these are the sort of thing I get into when spring kicks in.
But – and it’s a big but – when I load them onto my phone and start listening to them, somehow it’s not enough. Like the basic idea’s a good ‘un, but when I get there it’s a disappointment. Odd and bizarre. It’s as if part of me’s responding to the near springtime-ness of it all and another part of me’s still dragging itself through the winter.
The weather’s still cold, but we’re getting periods of brittle sunshine and I think that’s what’s triggering me, the birds, and the bees to act this way. Our inner clocks are being stimulated on-and-off-again by the brief patches of springtime and we’re behaving as if it’s already here. Which doesn’t bode well for the flora and fauna (and myself) of this isle. Spring’s coming and going, we’re coming out of hibernation and then being switched back off again. If it’s messing with my head (I’m a complex mammal, by the way) then what’s it like for the rest of the area’s inhabitants? They’re getting confused – and I reckon we’re going to lose a lot of them.
I’ve been reading John Gray’s ‘Straw dogs’, a post humanist philosophical work. In it, he argues that humanism (like Christianity) grows from the erroneous idea that homo sapiens is somehow outside of – and superior to – all the other life-forms on earth.
I’m enjoying this. It’s challenging and it’s turning me onto other writers who are still yets for me. But the fact remains. We’re made of the same stuff as all the planet’s other inhabitants. What gives us the sheer hubris to think we’re better or even appreciably different?
I’m looking at the world around me in a whole new light. Gray reckons that by 2150, the human race will have shrunk back to a level the planet can actually accommodate. Half a billion to one billion. At the moment we number six billion and we’re squabbling over resources, led by idiot leaders that reckon the best way to survive is to consign everything that isn’t them to exploitation, starvation or extinction. That’s not going to work. But it will keep the men who would be king out of trouble for a while, chasing their tails over, let’s face it, the best way to screw everybody else and advocate the best misunderstanding of what’s really happening.


holiday in cambodia – dead kennedys

#scotland has been trending on twitter non-stop for about two weeks now – with all sort of freaks and weirdos (and one or two sensible voices)  all throwing up their tuppenceworth onto the pile of steaming outpourings that passes for discussion  in this here and now.
I just read that Gordon Brown’s threatening that if Scotland leaves the UK, we won’t be able to afford  pensions. Deal, Gogs. Since the the last labore government got rid of the age of retitement and Kim Jong Cameron hasn’t exactly rushed to reinstate it, what’re you threatening us with, exactly?  That we might lose the opportunity to slave until we perish of exhaustion and malnutrition? That we might no longer have the right to our heads skewered on a stake? I’ll take my chances with a country that resembles ‘holiday in Cambodia’ a wee bit less, ta.
The hand-wringing over us poor Scots and how we’ll perish like rats has all but ended now.  The main thrust of George Arseborn’s argument seems to be, ‘it’s my pound and it’s burst and it’s raining’. Since we don’t as a nation, seem to have the common stupidity to believe that the coalition who’ve attacked the most vulnerable people in the country – after demonising the bastards, of course – just want the best for Scotland, the velvet gloves are off and we’re staring into the iron fist. Of Gideon. Who, let’s face it, when you slot him in amongst the bullies at your school,  resembles, not the hard men that could actually take you, but the fat specky kid who, after the IDS hard men have leathered you, decides to try to prove something for himself. The same kid whose bitch as you kick for his cheek before throwing his glasses onto the roof of the school by way of reminding him not to be so bloody silly in future.
China Mieville’s ‘the city and the city’ should be compulsory reading in Scotland just now. Especially the bits about economics. We’re already the poor relation and threatening to strip us of our debts really isn’t going to make much of a difference.
Basically, Tories-R-Us have given it their best shot and if that’s the best the anglo-saxons can do, when we all stop laughing, it’ll be a resounding ‘AYE’ vote.
We’re a celtic people, given to passion and coarse language and hitting things that seem unfair to us. Sometimes we get it wrong, but a lot of the time we get it right, too.
And in the red white and blue corner, the mongrel, multiply invaded and ethnicly cleansed by anyone who fancied invading over the centuries. Just remember, when the Romans were making David Cameron’s granny their bitch, they had to build a wall to keep us out. Such is the respect with which the Scots have been treated since we first came over from Ireland and ethnically cleansed the shit out of the indigenous Pictish folk back-in-the-day.
I’m not sure where it goes next. First, bullies give out dominance signals, “I’ll kick your cunt in” or the politicallty correct equivalent. If that doesn’t work , (and I’ve found a smack in the mouth often changes their approach for them) then they give submission signals. The fists disappear, the be replaced by tears. “oh, you big bad man, how can you give me such a hard time?”
The ones I met at school were wankers and Cameron’s junta are no different, believe me.
One problem is, salmond seems to be being built up into a messianic figure – not by us but by the ‘naw’ lot. And as a politician, he’s a cunt until proven otherwise. Common sense should tell you that.

i travel – simple minds

It was a quarter to eight when I checked the weekly staffing rota and noticed that the next member of staff would be coming in at eight-thirty, not nine. I busied myself getting ready half an hour faster than I would ordinarily and lo and behold! My opposite number, a young woman I’d never clapped eyes on before, arrived at 08:20. I asked whether she needed a long handover or anything and when she said no, I explained that there was only one bus per hour from work-to-home and it was at half-past the hour. I was at the bus stop – with all the detritus from a sleepover in a foreign town – for half-past and on the bus by 08:35.
I whiled away the time, watching the countryside speed by, yittering on twitter and listening to the Nocturnal Emissions’ ‘Dyskinesia’ LP. I was at home for 09:05. It was only when I stuck my hand in my pocket for my keys, I thought, “Christ, these have put on a bit of weight.”
I’d not only come home with the work keys, but my own would have been hanging on the wee hook where these should’ve been.
I climbed the three flights to HQ, only to discover #3 offspring wasn’t in. so began the trudge – still carrying all my bags – all the way back to the coalface.
At the bus stop, I was surprised and delighted to learn that the next bus back to work wasn’t until 09:50 (sigh) there was a bus as far as Kirkcaldy in about five minutes. A text. My new colleague, asking shyly if I knew where all the keys for the house were as – silly her – she couldn’t find them. I was composing a suitably contrite reply when the phone rang. It was her.
I explained the situation – while welcoming her to the wonderful and terrifying world of my career-stupidity – and that I was on my way back, telling her I’d be there by half-ten at the latest. She seemed pleased with this, my bus came and I watched all the same countryside pour past in reverse order this time.
I got out at Kirkcaldy bus station and ten minutes later I was on another bus, texting my colleague and waiting for the driver to smoke up and start driving.
I was back at the coalface for 10:15, did the John Le Carre thing with the keys and stopped my colleague, who was apologising for ‘being so much trouble’. I explained that I was looking forward to the day when my senility reached the heights of incontinence, when it would become someone else’s problem. I headed back to the bus stop.
I caught a bus back to the bus station, where I self-medicated with coffee and a massive apple turnover in the hopes I’d be violently sick as that was one of the few mishaps I hadn’t so far experienced today.
I caught what would have been the 10:33 from work, home. It was much like the 08:33, except two hours later and with the countryside going the right way round again. My phone was almost dead, what with all the use it’d had since I originally tried to leave work, all those hours ago. I started reading Sara Gruen’s ‘Water for elephants’ and had to stop as my eyes were filling with tears and my nose was clogging up. Nothing to do with my day-from-hell, more because it was bringing back the film – and this was just the prologue and the first couple of pages of the first chapter.
I stared out the window like a dying time-traveller, unsure by now whether I was watching the countryside unfurl in reverse order or not.
When I got home – at 11:15, I was surprised to find #3 offspring, still festering in his pit. Apparently, he hadn’t noticed me banging the door and shrieking his name like a damned soul, two hours previously.
Oh, if only we’d had safe and reliable contraceptives available in the 1980s. Or, as my own parents used to say, in the 1960s.

there isn’t anything else – wreckless eric

The situation whilst I’m on holiday with my Partner: generally, I’m exhausted when I arrive. Too knackered for anything more than Radio Six and unconsciousness. We blobbed about half-nine, caught some of the Wreckless Eric session on Gideon Coe before everything went black. She goes out to work, leaving me a list of jobs to do before she gets back. I come round sometime after nine, intersperse the work with the writing, before taking a drift into town for some shopping. I’m writing this in a noisy boozer, surrounded by shouting occasional singing and horse-racing. Lots of horse-racing.
I’ve gone through the whole of Scat’s Excretainment this morning. Two solid hours of decaffeinated coffee and mind-mapping, a whole year of fiction-blogging, ground down into half a dozen or so sheets of gaily coloured paper. I have to say, I’m feeling pretty damn positive about it right now. Knitting together all the characters and disparate sub-plots can do that to a guy!
It’s been a pretty productive day. I’m on top of what I set out to do (both on a mundane level and a creative one) and tonight Mistress has said she wants to be fed, bathed and pampered. The beer’s almost finished and Farmfoods beckons.

paper roses – marie osmond

I’m finishing work for a well-deserved break away from my work and all the day-to-day bullshit that clutters me. It’s also a time for reflection and planning – as of today, I’ve been in my present relationship for a whole year. Twelve months ago today, I first met my present owner in a coffee shop in Glasgow. This afternoon, we texted, discussing all the things each of us had done for the first time this last year.
It’s funny, year milestones are how I measure distance in life. Today I look back over the last twelve months and together, we make plans for the next twelve.
In the last year, we’ve both done things we’d never done before, broken new ground in so many areas. We counted them up on the phone the other night. Music we’d never have heard if it wasn’t for the other. Sayings we’d never have heard – or used – if the other hadn’t used then in front of us. Experiences that couldn’t have happened if we’d never met.
And, on top of everything else, the last year has flown in. Okay, time will seem to speed up as one gets older, but these twelve months seem to have taken three, mibby four.
I wonder where we’ll be in another year? I’ve been told we’re having *that* discussion at some point this week, so I wonder where that’ll lead?

let’s dance – david bowie

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death has stunned me. I’ve long regarded him as the finest supporting actor in the world, like George C Scott or Gary Oldman (before he made ‘Leon’, obviously). I wasn’t aware Hoffman was battling an addiction – why would I be? He was Lester Bangs in ‘almost famous’, The Count in ‘The boat that rocked’ and Phil Parma in ‘Magnolia’. This guy must’ve been great if he can make me defend a Tom Cruise movie AND one by Richard Curtis.
Like George C Scott, watching Hoffman was like never having seen him before in anything. He looked like he was born to play *that* part, like no other. Every single time.
He was a massive presence (remember ‘The talented Mr Ripley’?’)
I heard he was dead on twitter this morning. I haven’t pored over all the ‘best of’ video clips, nor have I settled down to watch ‘The boat that rocked’ or ‘Magnolia’. I don’t even know much more of his recent history than “forty-six and a drug overdose”.
Acting’s one of the jobs that burns people out if they’re any good at it and it’s now sounding like Hoffman had his fair share of demons. Harvey Keitel once said that if he hadn’t been able to externalise all his demons in front of the camera, he’d probably have ended up killing someone. And now those demons have taken away the finest supporting actor in all of Christendom.

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