Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hard times in the smoked glass aquarium

Well, so much for the regime of almost-daily updates. Course I hadn't considered the Z-factor, the frequent bouts of indolence by which I am mysteriously and often beset. If there was ever any possibility of me posting most days, I'd have been doing it long before now. Heigh ho, tant pis, pass the alfalfa jerky.

Actually you'll note -- if you're a frequent flyer, that is, a member as it were of Thompson's Advantage Gold -- that I've being doing a little springcleaning, it being merely July and, in fact, only February in meteorology months. (It's like dog years for global warming, you'll get the hang of it.) The links list is finally updated, with a separate blogroll. Enjoy, my pretties! Don't waste your time on my mechanically reclaimed aper├žus when you could be out keying cars with the very much cooler kids to the right of your picture.

Even more exciting, not least in that it'll save me eight quid a month, is that I've finally chucked in the towel with the Gevorts Box radio stream over at, partly because they've started running adverts every twelve minutes unless you pay them not to. Also because no one was listening. Instead, please enjoy the snazzy little Gevorts Box widget over there at the top of the links heap. It has in it, and I guess will usually have, about ten mp3s which you can play while you're reading -- or, for your added comfort and safety, you can download the files to your own hard drive and make hay / playlists / whoopee. For that reason I'm going to refresh the content fairly regularly, but even so, if you're here because you want me to take down an mp3 you don't like me making available (and you own copyright in the track -- this doesn't work if you just don't like the song) then please email me or leave me a comment here and I'll comply like the weak-kneed bitch that I am.

The first ten tracks in the Gevorts-O-Tron are almost all from recent or brand new or even still-officially-imminent releases that I've been very particularly enjoying these past few days, with a couple from a little while back that I still can't shake. The track names get a bit squished in the widget (as do we all from time to time, Lord knows) so here's the full skinny:

1. Astrobrite, 'Dragonfly Pinkfuzz'
-- from whitenoisesuperstar (Vinyl Junkie)

2. Black Moth Super Rainbow, 'Drippy Eye'
-- from Dandelion Gum (Graveface)

3. Seabear, 'Good Morning Scarecrow'
-- from The Ghost That Carried Us Away (Morr Music)

4. The Go! Team, 'Grip Like A Vice'
-- new single (Memphis Industries)

5. Dan Deacon, 'Okie Dokie'
-- from Spiderman of the Rings (Carpark Records)

6. Opsvik & Jennings, 'Silverlake'
-- from Commuter Anthems (Rune Grammofon)

7. Tetui Akiyama & Jozef van Wissem, 'The Road of Excess Leads to the Palace of Wisdom'
-- from Hymn for a Fallen Angel (Incunabulum)

8. Loney, Dear, 'The Warm Dark Comforting Night'
-- from The Year of River Fontana (self-issued CD-R)

9. Wobbly, 'Vingt Regards'
-- from Regards (Alku Records)

10. Throw Me The Statue, 'Young Sensualists'
-- from Moonbeams (Baskerville Hill)

Expect to see most of the above albums accounted for in this year's Furtive 50 (if I can be bothered to go through all that again).

If that's not enough ear-candy for yr voracious lug'oles, you can find here an interview with -- well, not to put too fine a point on it -- me. That nice young Andrew Haydon invited me to plonk myself in a chair opposite and blah on about theatre for 46 mins: and that's just what I did. Up to you really: if I come across like a pontificating twit in these pages, I don't suppose there's much to be gained from the experience of hearing the same order of stuff given open and apparent vox. But it was a pleasure for me, at least, to have a serious conversation in a relatively serious time-frame; doubly so because Andrew listens as sensitively as he writes, which made it all pretty easy. (He has a new blog too, linked at right, though it's early days so be nice; also, be careful where you click, there aren't many links yet and one of them will take you straight to an interview with Roger Scruton. Cover your children's eyes.)

The rest of the archive at TheatreVoice is worth a trawl, too: over the past few years it has unostentatiously amassed a pretty remarkable cellar-full of recordings. Most of the expected headliners are present and correct, Peter Brook, Mark Rylance, Simon McBurney, David Eldridge, Martin Crimp, Anthony Neilson, Tom Morris, Ken Campbell, Howard Barker, and so on (mostly, slightly annoyingly, filed under 'I' for 'interview', which is only one mark up from the way the late tacitly-lamented download site filed band-names starting with 'The' under 'T'...). But range a little wider and there are some more unexpected pleasures too: Adriano Shaplin, Hayley Carmichael, Tim Crouch, Lemn Sissay, some of Shunt; a really interesting discussion on Forced Entertainment, with Lyn Gardner and Andy Lavender among the contributors; most gripping of all, a white-knuckle interview with the radiantly unique Blanche Marvin. (If you've never met Blanche... well, go listen.)

More words by me, coming out of a totally different mouth, over at Meshworks (the Miami University Archive of Writing in Performance -- yup, it's the world's most inscrutable acronym) -- viz., a clip of the heroic Peter Manson reading my poem "Virtual drive capacity in the problem bird", as the Chicago Review British Poets tour passed a-jangling through Miami University on the yellowbrick road of whatever. As I couldn't in the end make the tour, Peter read a piece of mine at each of the gigs they did, and if this reading (of a pretty wacked-out poem) is anything to go by I have surely made some new friends without knowing it. -- Oh, do trawl the rest of the menu while you're there. Keston Sutherland's 'Hot White Andy' is, just, y'know, something else entirely.

Enough of that. Except, not much else. It's been a sort of extravagantly miserable week, as is so often the case in those odd periods between super-busy spells. I should have been scripting Henry & Elizabeth, the new Edinburgh home performance, this week; but I got nuthin. Tiredness and rain and a sudden slump of anxiety about the near future and whether I'm ever going to work again (at the moment the dirt says hot but the diary says not) and where the rent's going to come from and yadda yadda yadda, all meeting in the middle and expressing itself as high-gravity inertia. I think I may have finally watched all of YouTube this week. And I stupidly re-installed the tv card in my computer so that when my eyes began to bleed from watching the hand-holding otters I could have a complete change of experience by watching Deal Or No Deal instead. And then there was the day I remembered I had a ZX Spectrum emulator on my PC and lost several hours to rediscovering the barely-sensible pleasures of 'Daley Thompson's Decathlon' and DK'Tronics' 'Dictator'. ("Press any key to become the dictator of the Ritimban Republic.") Which whole miserable sodding farrago was prompted by watching this engrossing, nostalgia-packed1984 BBC documentary about the competition between two of the great Spectrum software houses, Imagine and Ocean. Which was in turn a consequence of learning from the Popbitch board one morning that Barry Bulsara was at one time a programmer for Imagine. (Sounds to me like it might well rank up there with Bob Holness having played the sax solo on 'Baker Street': but, as Tim Miller says, credulity is much more fun.) I'm going to stop recounting the chain of suggestion at that point, as I realize I'm basically just copying out the whole internet in longhand. Anyway, kids, that's my week right there. Plus a lot of Frosties and an awful lot of chocolate chip cookies. And extraordinary, gross, Heliogabaline amounts of porn. No wonder I'm sleepy.

And then you know it all comes out while I'm sleeping. I've had this curious run of dreams about minor celebrities. (Yes, yes, I know; in fact one of the characters in Speed Death of the Radiant Child says exactly what you're thinking: "Other people's dreams are so boring and... shit." But I'm just recounting these for safe-keeping. Feel free to go out and do something less boring instead.) Last night I became -- I think it's safe to assume -- the only person ever to dream at the same moment about the folksinger June Tabor and the popular entertainer Brian Conley. I dreamt my late mother and I were on tour in South Wales with the latter, and running late for a meeting with the former, and the bus-ride was bumpy and slow and my mum was suffering from travel sickness. As you would be, I'm sure.

We'll not spend too long on the dream where Dennis Cooper (dressed like William S. Burroughs and physically resembling the dreary Australian poet Peter Porter) shot Loudon Wainwright III, causing his blood and guts to be action-painted all over his candy-pink-striped hotel suite. I was there to meet Wainwright, who was cheerily packing a suitcase despite being, you know, dead. We'll also gloss over my dreamtime encounter with Cannon & Ball, who were teaching me to tango; we won't even go there, despite the arresting moment when Tommy C. put his hands under Bobby B.'s arms to lift him up, and upon executing the lift caused BB's torso to come cleanly away from his waist, which remained, with his legs, just where they were. That happens all the time, the hallucinated lateral bisection of Bobby Ball, we won't speak of it.

But pardon me this one, will you, because it has a tiny section missing, and if any of my kind readers can supply the requisite narrative junction I should be very profoundly grateful. The scenario was that I was having lunch, outside, at a picnic table, with an old boyfriend (whom I am secretly still kind of in love with, despite not seeing him often these days and it all being a very long time ago and etc etc: but there you are, just in case it's not completely beside the point). He was being sort of a dick and I was increasingly frustrated that he wouldn't listen to what I was saying about us being together again. I had a slight sensation of there being other people there, not at the table with us but close by, because I certainly knew there was a reaction of disapproval when I took out my anger on my iPod, which was lying on the table, by beating it and smashing it repeatedly with my fist over and over again until it was pretty much destroyed. And then comes the blank few seconds that I no longer recall. And then when we rejoin the action, the DJ and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini is lying on the grass, and I am holding him by his right leg and dragging him round and round the picnic table, and he is protesting, and I know everyone thinks I should stop, but I'm too angry. I'm just too angry. *

Of course now I relate it here in black-and-white and the cold light of, er, three in the morning, it's so obviously about my deep dismay at the mendacious narratives of true and eternal love of which pop music is the carrier, the witless fucking mule, that there's literally no point continuing.

Why don't I dream about monkeys any more? I never used to dream of famous people as a kid. I dreamt about monkeys. Little tiny monkeys running over the ceiling. A giant monkey that squatted outside Spar in the village precinct, mutilating itself with a dagger: and every cut that it inflicted on itself appeared simultaneously, stigmatically, on my body. And a vast space-monkey made completely out of poo, that hung like a constellation in the sky and would pull lumps of poo off its own body and throw them at me through my bedroom window. Perhaps tonight I could have a night off from the C-list and dream of shit-slinging monkeys.

Though, now I come to think of it, I did have a dream when I was pretty young in which I gave Windsor Davies some broken glass to eat and blood came out of his mouth. And another one in which a bomb went off inside Bill Owen from Last of the Summer Wine.

O, well, Mister Sandman, you decide. Will it be (a) old boyfriend yet again, or (b) scary monkeys, or (c) Windsor Davies bleeding from the mouth? ...Or maybe I'll just eat another couple of bowls of Frosties and stay awake until I die.

...Yeah, I'll write about something else next time, I promise. In the meantime: imagine, if you will, everything foregoing in this post, gathered together, put in a blender, blitzed for fifteen seconds, poured (I imagine it's thick and puce, somehow) into a tall glass, and garnished with extravagant candyfloss and a tiny disgruntled sardine. Take a sip. Go on. Just a sip. What does it remind you of?

That's right. That's where all this has been leading, all along. Ladies and gentlemen: the late, the beautiful, George Melly.

Night night, all.

* vide "the ever irascible Chris Goode" -- David Eldridge


Anonymous said...

Morning. Personally I love all this. Delicious and I believe nutritious. Thankyou for keeping the doors open. Belated thanks also on the noun duck-rabbit. And Windsor Davies, yes, he was a fact like conkers. Should you ever wish to see a seven-year-old's drawing of him as the angel of death visiting the Egyptian firstborn (which bearing in mind your account actually is unlikely, isn't it) I have started a blog, and it is now on it... Hippo World continues to sound from your interview one of the best ideas had this century. Please continue to write. That is all,

Chris Goode said...

Thanks for staying tuned, Simon. Will turn a little reciprocal eye to your Myspace blog. Power out x

james said...

hey chris...

i came to this site through a comment you left on d. coop's blog. you made a post about going to edinburgh.

anyway, i'm going to edinburgh this year...i'd never heard of the windsor group before, it sounds awesome. i'm going to pick up tickets soon.

i'd be interested to know what other stuff you're looking forward to. navigating all the programmes is pretty daunting.

here is what i've booked so far:

future of libraries w/ margaret atwood
dissidence and cyberspace w/ hari kunzru
richard ford
paul merton
daniel kitson
bela tarr's man from london
jessica yu's protagonist

i leave to go back to manchester the day of the new gus van sant film...devastating!