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

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die when you die – gg allin

genetLemmy wasn’t that much of a shocker, was it? He’s been deteriorating for the last few years and it’s a tribute to his cast iron constitution that he made it to his seventieth birthday, beating Mick Farren, who ‘only’ made it to sixty-nine, in the process.
Bowie, though? I always kind of thought he’d go on forever, a law unto himself. ‘The next day’ saw him make a superlative comeback, as spot on as he ever was (and a hundred times what he was in the eighties, his nadir, for my money).
And after that astonishing comeback LP, he finds out he’s got the big C – so he plans and executes the ultimate ‘see ya’ note.
I got ‘Blackstar’ the day it came out and on first play, it really wasn’t much good. Proggy noodlings, vague lyrics and yeah, that voice. It took maybe four plays before I groked it – realised it was brilliant and every time I went back to it over the weekend, it grew on me a little more.
I was just about to leave for work on the Monday morning when She-Who-Reckons-She-Should-be-Obeyed told me he’d died. I couldny believe it. It was wrNog information, in a language I couldn’t compute.
Turned out she was right, though. He had perished. I hopped on the train to work and put ‘Blackstar’ on. Again. Suddenly the album, the sombre sense of it, the stark lyrics, it all pointed to someone making their last goodbyes. I started welling up.
After Hendrix died, people started to look for premonitions of his mortality in his lyrics, particularly those of ‘Electric ladyland’, which are so open ended, you could probably find mentions of personal computers,  mobile phones and Internet porn in there if you looked hard enough.  ‘Blackstar’, though?
Bowie had known of his cancer for eighteen months. The entire planning and execution of this LP must have been done with the great dark cloud hanging over him. And he still went out, every inch the showman. He primed us with the the single (all ten minutes of it) gave us the LP for a weekend and then let go, leaving without an encore, the LP in its entirety, his last word on the subject.
Even Cecil Parkinson’s death wasn’t enough to cheer me up after the loss of Lemmy, Bowie, Boulez and Buffin. Why oh why, is Death harvesting my record collection instead of panelists on ‘Question time’?

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pop will eat itself – eat me drink me love me kill me

Sorry about the break in transmission. I’ve not posted on here in a while. I’ve never really got on top of last year’s raging sickness. And last month’s NaNo damn near killed me!

I’ve never really got back on my feet since November, when I was sucker-punched by a couple of opportunistic viruses and drop-kicked back into Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome. Basically, it’s an unearned hangover, one that lasts for months. The first time I had it, it took about a year to get my mojo back.

I didn’t understand what was happening to me. Weird symptoms that failed to fit together logically. I found it hard to listen to music, is generally a sign that I’m clinically dead.

Listening to rap or drum n bass felt like a particularly savage five-man mugging. Orchestral music felt like I was being gang-fucked by savages. The only thing that worked was film soundtracks – rudimentary themes, repeated often with slightly altered arrangements. I didn’t have the strength of mind to read or watch any kind of drama. That was on my own.

Outside, I found it almost impossible to communicate. Someone would address a comment at me and I’d struggle to dredge my memory banks for something to reply. Seconds would drag, my opponent’s eyes narrowing, trying to decide whether I was a victimless crime or not. Finally, I’d squeeze something out, feeling for all the world like a toddler, trying to formulate sentences and articulate something with zero vocabulary to back it up.

I spent about three months, dragging myself back into work for a couple of days, collapsing and then calling off sick again, unable to move or think. After that, I spent the next four months, flat on my back, staring at the ceiling and bored shitless, without sufficient strength to even top myself.

Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome. I don’t recommend it to anyone.

Ramones scent not really selling that well

Following on from the massive success chainstores have had in selling clothing emblazoned with the cover of the first Ramones’ album, an imaginative new Scottish start up has released a matching scent.

Although the predominant smell is industrial adhesive, there is also a strong undercurrent of stale sweat and a lingering afterburn of rectal mucous that some who’ve tried it say catches the throat slightly.

Raymond Pimms, whose Spirit of ’76 company hopes to get this scent into ‘as many shops as there are selling t-shirts with the cover’, has plans to release scents redolent of the first Clash album, Led Zeppelin’s ‘four symbols’ and ‘Mannilow moods’.

holidays in the sun – sex pistols

Ah well, that’s another NaNo ‘finished’ (if any book can ever be considered to be finished!) More correctly, that’s another first draft squeezed and grunted and screamed out, bloody and violent and shit-smeared but, by God, beautiful. It’s not perfect, but it’ll lie fallow for a few months or years, before I get down to the filthy business of gutting it, polishing it and making it fit to be shown to real live people.

This is the first time I’ve taken a week off work to write like this and I have to say, it went well. Two thousand words a day for the first week, then nine days of about four thousand a day, so when I went back to work, I had 47k under my belt and around a fortnight left to coast, easing out the last 8k of afterbirth, slowly and languidly, at two thousand per day.

While I was off, I hit five thousand once or twice, another day it took all day to force out a mere two thousand.

And I didn’t use Scrivener this time, which is the first time in maybe a year. This was all done in Evernote and Libre Office (at home) and MS Word at anywhere else I stayed. There were no religious reasons for this, just that I was still finding my feet with my new Linux box, so I didn’t have access to all the Windows products I’ve come to rely on. Which helps keep it fresh, so win-win.

This is also the first book in many moons that hasn’t been soundtracked (at least at first) by Miles Davis. I almost always start a new project with ‘The complete ‘In a silent way’ sessions, or once in a while, ‘Get up with it’. This time, I used Simply Rain, Simply Noise and (more usually) Coffitivity. Ambiances, that purport to enhance creativity (and most definitely, blot out this accursed tinnitus).

In my down moments, I began outlining July’s NaNo, which occurs in the same universe as this recently completed work. I’ve got a few plot ideas, which I’m knitting together and a list of character dossiers I’ll need to fill in, which is my next job.

Due to it being set in the same universe as the just finished one, the process of cobbling together a ‘sequel’, should no doubt pull together some of the strands of the first one when the time comes to revise that.

a little rain – tom waits

After last month’s read through of ‘Person Hair’ on my tablet (thank you Calibre!) I’ve been able to get started on editing it. Again, I’m using Aldiko on my tablet and forcing in notes where I need to make changes, anything from a wrNog word to an entire section that needs gutted and rewritten from scratch. I reckon I can complete the revision in about four weeks, give or take.
I was between units at work the other day. I had a three hour break and went to a cafe I know to eat solids and work on this. It was crowded and I found myself under the television, vomiting quiz shows over me. If anything, I was distracted and probably missed a few bits of the scenes I was reading through.
So I moved to a nearby boozer and was able to concentrate a bit better there.
This morning, I read that there’s a perfect level of ambiance that fosters creativity. Seventy decibels is the perfect level.
Too loud and it’s distracting, too quiet and it allows the mind to wander.
I’m writing this to the sound of an app that simulates rainfall – at user-defined intensity and with an ebb and flow of volume and a setting for how often the listener wants thunder to rumble.there’s also one that simulates the sounds of a cafe.
Traditionally, I write to music. Old school industrial, power romance, orchestral, anything without audible vocals. I find voices spewing words distracts from the words I’m wringing out of my own head. Distorted beyond all recognition’s fine, though. Which brings us back to that fucking quiz show the other afternoon – try as I might, I just couldn’t stop myself answering their damned questions!
I haven’t bothered naming this product. I’m probably going to write the whole of April’s NaNo to it – or something very like it – and after they’ve had that particular road test, I’ll let you know how they bear up. Certainly, I’ve written the first – and second – drafts of this entry to the rainfall and it’s coming pretty quickly.

sweet gene vincent – ian dury and the blockheads

The death of Alvin Stardust is like another bent nail in the coffin of my youth. He might not be remembered for much, but when I was growing big-boy hair, he was a glam rock Gene Vincent, a Leo Sayer who looked like he could fight.
In other news, vast, morbid crowds of keyboard hooligans are starting to gather in warlike formations on the edges of the NaNoWriMo site, especially on the forums/genres/other on the bizarro, new weird, gritty surrealism thread. They are a peaceable people, for the most part, although given to these annual outbursts of ritualistic prose savagery. Its what separates us from the skinheads, yeah?
Me, Ive completed all but one of my character dossiers, outlined the thing and I’m batch cooking. Every time I make something to eat, I make enough to fill a small car over and above what I need right at that moment. My freezer’s slowly filling up with meals I can just hurl into the microwave and have done with. No slaving over a hot stove for me next month!
No, I’ll be squeezing out two thousand words per day, much like Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’. I have a couple of birthdays in November, as well as a sabre-toothed partner whos already insisting I communicate in more than just grunts and sighs this time. For some reason.
And, I’ve completed the final revision of ‘Ladies and gentleman’, which should be out in December, just in time for it to be lost in the ex-mess rush. Im just waiting for the cover now – and that horrible, horrible afternoon when I nuke the book and finalise the formatting.
So, hit me up (kreibebe) over on nanowrimo.org. Youll find me being unusual on the forums/genres/other/bizarro, gritty surrealism and the new weird (or whatever its called this year) thread. Something like that, anyhoo. That and the Fife forum.

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.

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)

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/bunnied

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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