Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keepin' em coming.

Descent
Flying in from Glasgow on the eighteen-fifty
To Aldergrove; out through the thick-glassed window
The frayed knuckles of coastline, reaching out with gnarled hands
Beyond the fallow piebald farms, swooping and diving
A thousand feet below. The sun touches the horizon
With a feathered fingertip, hissing as it meets
The waves, settling in for the night under a blanket of
Flourescent algae, the unfathomable sea-dreams of fish.
An hour earlier, on the crystalline waves of cumulae
Propelled by the eerie thrumming of astral turbines,
I wait to be informed of our descent, patient angel
Entranced by the rolling breakers, snow-white foam,
Trying to feel something. Awe. My grandfather flew
Once a month to his work in Scotland, leaving his
Son and wife in the capital, watching the sky.
My feathers melt as the black cliffs drift into view.
Thanks,
Dave.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Shalechet
Leaves had started falling outside
In a late summer gloom of fledgling rainclouds
Reflected in foggy puddles underfoot
We trooped on through, out of step,
Packs on our back and foreign coins
In our pockets. The first discarded leaves;
Big five-fingered horse chestnuts, face down,
Showing waterlogged veins in the inch-deep pool.

Jackdaws fluttered outside the gates,
Hoking at dirt, pecking at apple-cores,
Flitting off as we arrived. We ventured in,
Catching the moment in digital memory:
An irregular holding cell, walls towering
At the end of a hallway that withered and shrank,
Though a door that led into sky-scraping judgement,
And the window that spoke of Saint Daniel;

There was silence in that room, space for silence
That loomed and condensed three stories overhead,
That rained ash-snow, staining the railway lines,
Unholy blend of hair and ground thigh-bone,
Snow on a mountain of odd shoes and lost luggage,
Marked in fading chalk with its last destination,
Deep darkened snow, overwhelming, drawing
The air from the room that had space for more silence.

I managed to open the door. Disorientated,
I took a breath to regain my bearings. Upstairs,
An exhibit that asked to be walked upon. Gently
Stepping between grotesque iron faces, frozen in
Wordless death-masks, turned to iron and concrete;
I lost my footing, and the faces, disturbed, screamed,
Awakened, echoing off high walls, reverberating;
As I left I heard iron crunch and cry out.

A jackdaw flew home as we escaped to the surface,
Apple-heart in mouth, into the sunshine.
I put the camera away, resting easily between
Victuals, tour maps and a handful of foreign coins.
I couldn't help looking back. It was still there,
A multi-story building under receding rainclouds.
We walked home, out of step, in uncomfortable silence.

Thanks,
Dave.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


So I wrote one about God and how I was kinda pissed off at him. I don't usually write angry, or what have you, but I just felt this one flowed better for it. It's one of the more personal ones. Here goes.

God Must Be Lonely

God must be lonely; his only love
Proved temperamental,
Unfaithful, distracted by bright lights
And wet dreams that turned to sacks
Of yellow flowers at dawn, penniless,
Eating pigswill for brunch, down and out
In Sodom and Gomorrah. His love told
Lies to friends, abused his intimacy,
Hurling curses at enemies who
Didn't know what pawns were,
All the while wrapped round the body
Of the fella with bigger muscles.
God must be funny; only a real joker
With brass balls could make a world -
A whole world! - either deny him or else
Fight about denying him or else
Fight about defining him or else, or else!
A world where his name is on a bomb
Or in the mind of a bomber as he unveils
Hell for his love. God must be beautiful;
Inconceivably beautiful, blindingly, hypnotically -
To create something so magically vital,
And not bottle it up, frame it, bind it,
Publish it online - to set it to the wind,
With his blessing, to strap a satchel
To its back and send it down a road
With demons and angels who dress the same
And never make their intentions known.
God was my love; I insulted him,
Blamed him, wept in confusion, in bitter
And speechless frustration - everything
People had told me about him was wrong,
How could he... I will write him a note,
A postcard, or a letter, if I'm feeling
Old-fashioned, just to say 'hello,
I understand now, I think, and at any rate
I'm sorry.' I'll leave the end blank,
Because he knows my handwriting,
How I cross my 't's; and if I don't
Hear back I'll write again. And if
I don't hear then I'll know why,
And understand why God must be lonely.

So there you go. A little pretentious, I think, but it's a start, and I don't imagine this is how it will look in the end.
Thanks,
Dave.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hello Again!


Three months on, things are rolling once more. Back in York, doing stuff. That's Amsterdam, up above there. It was the coolest place. And that was by no means the only bicycle in town. I'll talk about that more later. For now, content yourself with the knowledge that it was class. Here's a couple of poems for some reason!
The Island House

A cricket rubs his legs, wild percussion
Close to the house; close to the house
Are the open valleys with crazy-form mountains –
Slieve More - big mountain; Knockmore - big hill.

Hives on the arms are tattoos of honour,
Though the midgey convicts’ days are numbered.
They emerged, days later, from behind the curtain,
Overdosing on the quiet peace of the living room.

Over the fence, a donkey tears the grass free
With blunted teeth. There is space to hear breathing,
A steady brush of air between the lips,
The tips of the leaves twitter in the breeze.

She Held a Daisy in Her Fingertips, the Bitch

She had a camera, capturing the coast though a daisy
Held up to the lens. Her friends sounded German
Or Swedish, she looked French, or at least like
The ones I’d seen in the movies.

There she was, standing at the edge of the world,
Taking photos, though the tint of her travels;
Maybe the reality of Ireland clashed with her dreams,
Maybe it didn’t. Either way,

A month later, I was wandering through Amsterdam,
And met her in the red light district, taking photos
Of the girls in the windows, selling wet dreams.
But I hadn’t the nerve to say hi.

Three Nights In Belfast – A Villanelle

An angel, like an angel, clothed in white
Strides across the field on the attack
His antagonist stands quaking at the sight.

October’s dress, embroidered in delight
Heaven-witnessed observance of a pact,
An angel, like an angel, clothed in white.

One drizzling evening, nothing but polite
In her appraisal of all the things I lacked,
Her antagonist stands quaking at the sight.

A desperate prayer, the forlorn hope I might
Restore to you a life made whole, intact;
An angel, like an angel, clothed in white

Should patrol above your headboard, shine its light
To ward away the demons at your back,
Its antagonists stand quaking at the sight.

A man sits by the bedside, tries to fight,
And, pleading for a gem that sickness cracked,
An angel, like an angel, clothed in white,
Your antagonist stands quaking at the sight.
Thanks for reading,
Dave.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

My First Revisions, How Exciting!


Having looked back on the septet of poems I've posted up here in the past wee while, I've come to the understanding that they are in need of work. So I've rewritten them to an extent, tried to make them more honest, because I reckon the more honest they are, the better they read. So, that in mind, here are - for now - the definitive versions of the work I've produced thus far. Plus one new one. We'll see how they last.

Achill

I will probably reduce your life to pithy verse,
Wailing, chest-beating, drunk despair,
Breathless hyperbole, unctious crap,
Which I’ve accepted. Just as fair.
I know nothing truly dies, though all things change,
As wind will alter course, lead the lost astray.
Though the truth of the matter may fade,
I remember in my own way.
I will look to sea, every coastal bound,
In stubborn dumbness, most hope gone;
Take what I need and to hell with the rest,
And with heart in hand, march on.

Birthmarks

They tell their own story,
Angry, red-ribboned, fraying,
Black-edged, a more sober
Reminder of nocturnal passions
That grow green and pale
In the cold haze of morning
Or the warm breeze of spring.

A Sorrow Burns

A vesperal flare in the reddening night,
Curled on the floor, half-naked, we lie
To each other, beautiful half-truths, delight
Daubed freely across the northern sky.
Drifting for now, asking nothing but the world
Leave us, all fingertips and tales,
Sun-fled and tight-lipped, too fleetingly held
To the warm, dull thud, too livid and pale.

And down, as needs must, as rainfall returns
Us to respective lives. Frail memory concedes,
And sentiment directs a crowd-pleasing reprise
Where our parts are played, sensationalised
By our favourite actors, the starring leads
In their picture. Somewhere, unheeded, a sorrow burns.

Revelation

Standing by a clearing, unassuming,
Awaiting discovery, a stone
Behemoth shading the wood. There sits
A fallen trunk worn smooth by time,
A wizened great thing, skinned by curious walkers,
Curiously slumped, wide-eyed
Transfixed by terrible earth-woven beauty
On root-woven soil. But none the wiser,
For once seen, my native landscape,
The drumlins and cliffs, like so much
Ham-fisted doggerel, stands
Unassuming, all noise of myth fallen silent.
Waiting, dirty-eared, pulse-conscious,
The great stone bastard holds his breath.

Giants' Causeway

Back on the path, its gravelled lustre
A reminder, overwhelming, that I hid
Skillfully, pretending the rough sea
Wind had blown dust under an eyelid,
And walked on, a few steps behind.
I made jokes about the cliff face, and
You pointed out primroses, designated
Them spots in the garden, and I feigned
Interest, and pointed out Fairhead.
It emerged we'd walked the wrong way,
And shuffling past the anoraked yankees
We giggled like kids, knowing no fear to allay,
Being locals, proprietors, and far more
Rightful to shuffle down the stairwell
In half-hidden mirth. By a crumbling
Hand-rail with a red-rusted warning fell
Any palm-sized rock we found,
And after all these years I shouldn't've been
Surprised that you still had the better arm.
They stirred the spray. The ocean
Refused all entry, the cluttered sky gone grey,
We retired for the day for a stout meal
At one of the pubs you knew. And then, I thought

I knew what you felt in your blood.

A Good Year

A good year it's been now. Coarse and brittle,
A rainless year, without memory of rain,
Without a prayer for a squall,
Or the lousy grump of October.
A full year now, since the pang of thirst
Was settled, and reminders of that
Something I felt first, cast to the roadside on
That cruel April evening, driven out.
A bloody year it's been, with blood-torn nights
And bone days, where no bitterness
Lies, for the senses have crumbled, no scent of

Summer lingers, no words lie in the throat.

Going Home

It was a strange thing to hear,
Like a student-fantasy play
At the end of the Ireland crisis; "We're
Imagining that one day
The two of them'll meet in a room
And, y'know, get on like normal folks.
Not to say they'll sing the same tune,
But they'll laugh at them'uns' jokes,
And get on like the whole thing
Was just a misunderstanding."

A Patch of Daffodils

These could be my last words.
This could be the last feeling I manage to recall,
Bearing in mind that the feeling cannot be retrieved in full,
Only represented in poor rhyme, or not even that.
I would you could step in my skin for that brief moment,
To know how I felt when I looked at you
And saw everything I wasn't.

Thanks for reading,

Dave.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Edge of the World


It's not every day you find yourself part of someone else's family. So when I found myself in Stirling at the start of this week a full-fledged member of a social group I hadn't seen since St Patrick's, I was somewhat taken aback. It was an incredible experience, and to my new relations north of Edinburgh, a big "'sup?" is more than due.
In other news, it turns out each new heartbreak hurts less than the one that went before, to the point where it barely seems like heartbreak at all. World, bring it on. Things are looking rosier than you like them to.
In that vein, I'd like to continue the theme that has been running through recent posts, and stick some more poetry up. It's hard to know straight away how good they actually are, but time and revision will play a definite role. After all, being 21, time is only on my side. Here goes:


Birthmarks

They tell their own story,
Angry, red-ribboned, fraying,
Black-edged, a more sober
Reminder of nocturnal passions
That grow green and pale
In the cold light of morning
Or the warm breeze of spring;
The bitter solace taken
In the fact you came back.

A Sorrow Burns

A vesperal flare in the reddening night
Curled on the floor, half-naked, we lie
To each other, beautiful half-truths, delight
Daubed freely across the northern sky.
The kinetic meander slides flowingly past,
Leaving us, all fingertips and tales,
Sun-fled and tight-lipped, too fleetingly grasped
To the warm, dull thud, too livid and pale.

And down, as needs must, as rainfall returns
Us to respective lives. Frail memory recedes,
And sentiment directs a crowd-pleasing reprise
Where our parts are played, sensationalised
By our favourite actors, the starring leads
In this picture. Somewhere, unheeded, a sorrow burns.

Achill

I will not reduce your life to pithy verse,
No wailing, no chest-beating, drunk despair,
Nor breathless hyperbole, nor unctious chaff,
Just acceptance, as just as fair.
For nothing truly dies, though all things change,
As wind will alter course, lead the lost astray.
For nothing's truly lost, the destination knows
To come along the way.
I will look now to sea, every coastal bound,
And defy, though every hope be gone;
Take all I need and to hell with the rest,
And with heart in hand, sail on.

Thanks,
Dave.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Talking About It


So I've heard that talking about it helps. Since I can't quite bring myself to talk about it, I'm going to write about it, since that helps not as much, but enough. So there's a gap. There's a little bit of time every day that I don't spend talking to my mum. Like today, I had a great game of cricket, and I haven't really told anyone about it. And I'm fine with that, because now I'm learning to enjoy it for myself, and that anything else is just a bonus. But I know she would've loved to have heard about it, and it would've made her happy. It didn't have to. She chose to. Not everyone has parents like that. I don't know. I'd just have liked to have shared today with someone.
The cricket was amazing, of course! It was epic, in a way I didn't think I could play. The bowling was a little substandard, pickin up a few tailenders, 4-0-24-3. pretty happy. Happy enough that I could go in relaxed for the last half-a-dozen overs, and score 41! Holy shit, I can't even believe it now. I just swung at anything that came my way, and ran like my life depended on it. It's a personal best for me, and I think I lost about a stone in sweat. Asides from that, I got everything sorted out for the Nouse film page, and this edition's lookin a cracker.
Here's a couple of poems I wrote a few days ago.

A Good Year

A good year it's been now. Coarse and brittle,
A rainless year, without memory of rain,
Without a prayer for a squall,
Or the lousy grump of October.
A full year now, since the pang of thirst
Was settled, and reminders of that
Love I felt first, cast to the roadside on
That cruel April evening, driven out.
A bloody year it's been, with blood-torn nights
And arse-dry days, where no bitterness
Lies, for the senses have crumbled, no scent of
Summer looms, no words lie in the throat,
For want of you.

Revelation

Standing by a clearing, unassuming,
Awaiting discovery, great rock
Behemoths shading the wood. There sits
A fallen trunk worn smooth by time,
A wizened oak skinned by curious walkers,
Curiously slumped, wide-eyed
Transfixed by terrible earth-woven beauty
On stony earth. But none the wiser,
For once seen, the western landscape,
The drumlins and cliffs, like so much
Ham-fisted doggerel, stands
Unassuming, the noise of myth fallen silent.
Waiting, cloth-eared, pulse-shocked,
The great stone bastards hold their breath.


Pirates of the Caribbean tomorrow. Wheeeeeeee

Thanks for reading,
Dave.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Poetry of Sorts.

Oh, it's party time.

So it's been something of a while since I put any ol ramblings up here. Between having nothing to write about over Easter, and the general business of self-actualisation and gathering of confidence - both deserved and otherwise - and the tragedy of the love-life that never was, I just haven't dragged myself to look at a blank page or screen in the way I used to. However, things are good in my little world, what with a cool party the other week, and the terrific experience of bein a cricket correspondent at Roses, and the interesting prospect of my first acting audition on Sunday, and the Modern Irish Poetry seminars in which I kick ass and take names, things are as rosy as the weather by all rights ought to be.

First things first, the Cinco de Mayo party barely alluded to in the above paragraph. It was brilliant craic, I met a few American folks, most of whom I was able to impress with my passing knowledge of geography and professional sports teams (go Giants/Chargers/Pacers/what have you), and some rather impressive hostessing work. Needless to say, should I ever need advice on how to be a successful hostess at any point in my academic/professional writing career, I'll know which corner of the globe turning toward would be judicious. Plus! I now have a name and an entire backstory to the girl who last term filled the role of irrational crush previously held by a number of illustrious names too illustrious to mention in these tawdry screeds. She was lovely, too, daughter of a university professor in upstate New York, livin on an old farmhouse. Sounds too perfect. So Hannah, if you're readin, I had a bit of a crush on you last term. But I'm happier now that you are a real person.


The cricket was an eye-opener. Like how long a match can seem when it ends as a contest two hours before the conclusion. Or how much sunburn plays a role. Or how much work it is to document every last bloody ball from morning to evening. Or how tetchy the opposition can get if you wait untile they're 2-2 before asking for a quote. Whoops. Still, t'was good craic, and if all else fails, I've got a pretty sturdy safety net in sports journalism. The world will always need sports journalists. The article ran in the Nouse Roses pullout, which made me happy. What made me happier still was bumping into Raf and Niamh at the Vanbrugh cafeteria and hearing that not only had they read my article on 300, they enjoyed it, and mentioned it on the NOuse podcast! Yessssssssss.

So! The whole point of this post is really as a means to rationalise the past few weeks, put some things in order, and generally feel better about things. But! As I have nothing but admiration for you, dear reader, I feel that now is the time to take the first steps on my journey as a Modern Irish Poet, and give y'all a tentative free sample of my poetic tenor. One for my Dad, one for the news of Peace In Our Time on the home front.

Giants' Causeway

Back on the path, its gravelled lustre
A reminder, overwhelming, that I hid
Most skillfully, pretending the rough sea
Wind had blown dust under my eyelid,
And walked on, a few steps behind.
I made jokes about the cliff face, and
You pointed out primroses, decided where
In the garden they'd go, and I feigned
Interest, and pointed out Fairhead.
It emerged we'd walked the wrong way,
And shuffling skillfully past the anoraked yankees
We giggled for knowing no fear to allay,
Being locals, proprietors, and far more
Rightful to shuffle down the stairwell
In mirth half-hidden. By a crumbling
Hand-rail with a red-rusted warning fell
Any palm-sized rock we found,
And after all these years I shouldn't've been
Surprised that you still had the better arm.
They stirred the spray. The ocean
Refused all entry, the cluttered sky gone grey,
We retired for the day for a stout meal
At one of the pubs you knew. And then, I thought
I knew what you felt in your blood.

Going Home

It was a strange thing to hear,
Like a student-fantasy play
At the end of the Ireland crisis; "We're
Imagining that one day
The two of them'll meet in a room
And, y'know, get on like normal folks.
Not to say they'll sing the same tune,
But they'll laugh at them'uns' jokes,
And get on like the whole thing
Was just a misunderstanding."

So there you go.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Under Northern Skies Etc

So a weekend in Stirling then. Over Saint Patrick's, no less, with a big old rumble in the six nations for company. Never have I felt so heartbroken as when the French shunted their way over the tryline for the last time, and me halfway through eatin a lovely burger. Well, the remainder was bitter as all hell, let me tell you. No amounta cheese an bacon could cover the raw stench o undeserved defeat. That said, we've still a crackin team, an while I'm by no means expectin the Irish to go all the way, they could still give the best in the world a decent game of it.

Anyway. Stirling. My good pal Aaron, who recently turned 22 (see below), had largesse enough to provide a crackin weekend fulla drunken hilarity an pensive philosophising. That is, prank calls an talkin shite. It's always a revelation to take a look into the stage play o someone else's day to day life; to meet the characters, to warm to the drama and tensions between the players, and, for a while, to be a novelty in a few people's lives. They're crackin folks up there, I miss em already. Wee things like that make life worth gettin up for.

So Modest Mouse have released another belter. "They've got someone ridiculously famous now, haven't they?" says someone, possibly Amy. And yes, yes they have, the one and only Johnny Marr, once the guitarist of The Smiths. And their new single (above), is a sweepin symphony of a track, rockin and rollin with the best of them, with a nifty video and Isaac Brock's usual vocal spasmodia addin to the fun. Nice to see a band achieving popularity of a degree, but keepin their standards, even if they're much better produced these days than back in what some fans would call the band's heyday of Moon and Antarctica. They've certainly changed their style somewhat, but to me it seems more like a maturing process than selling out.

Even wholesale change is possible without compromising one's principles, or even without changing one's major motivations in life. Sometimes the goalposts move, and the choice is to change or atrophy. I like to think that that's never going to be much of a choice.

Thanks,
Dave.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Self-Congratulating Shite. No, Really.


So the end of term draws close, and the time for appraisals, summations and the like is damn' nigh upon us. A tough job it is to nail down what to draw from the last ten weeks, or whether anything should be drawn; maybe a greater achievement would be to look at this semester as nothing unusual, as a job done, rather than well done. There certainly won't be any victory parades, nor celebratory nights out: the lesson to learn is that the greatest victories, the satisfying ones, come from a sense of completion that no-one but yourself can generate. No amounta back-slappin nor congratulatin - though well appreciated, mind - can replace a self-constructed feelin of accomplishment. I think I'm feelin it.

Perspective is vital. Knowing when to exert oneself, and when such investment is unnecessary, is probably the soundest discovery o the term; much as I've delighted in the pure theatre of Old English word-paintin, it all seemed like an exercise in education, rather than education itself. I'm braced for tougher challenges to come. Note to self: it's just a game.
Besides that, the journey, bein by far the worthier part, has been nothin shorta blissful. I've made friends along the way, lost touch with a few old ones, which o course wrenches at the heart like nothin imaginable; lettin go is often the hardest part, but rarely does one thing end without some kinda new thing beginning in its place. Moving on.

Moving on, next term, my second Yorkshire summer, is shapin up very nicely. Modern Irish Poetry is the soup o the day, wi Yeats an Muldoon for the aul main course, an wi only eight folks in the seminar group, includin myself, I reckon I can cook up somethin spectacular.So that was a great example of what can be done wi shitty metaphors, abstract nouns and generalisation alone.
Thanks for readin this term! See you in April.
Dave.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Election Time, There's No Need To Be Afraid.

Pre Script: listen, if it be within your faculties, to "Radiation" by the Epoxies. Fo. Shizzle.


So the Assembly elections have come and gone. Bein on the wrong side o the Irish sea, I haven't heard from the emerald/tangerine isle in manys a moon. Not much has changed, but we've secured self-determination. "A farce," says my dad, "the UUP have bought it". And so they have. The only poor buggers who know how to run a country have gone and lost nine assembly seats to go with the all-but-one they lost in the election to the grown-up Parliament in Westminster. The final score was DUP 36, Shinners 28, UUP 18, SDLP 16, wi the Alliance gettin a respectable 7 an the Green Party, did you ever, pickin up a sly one in North Down, most likely down to the fact the candidates name is Brian Wilson, for let's face it, who wouldn't vote for him? If'n I could think of a decent Beach Boys pun, you could bet your bottom dollar I'd stick it right here, an by Jove you'd be fallin off your chair for the hilarity of it all.


But spare a thought for those who weren't so lucky. Those who didn't find themselves on the right side of the party lines. Those who were caught receiving a 'sports massage' in a Belfast hotel in the middle of an election campaign for the most socially conservative political party since Ian Paisley could sit in place for more than a half hour without urinating uncontrollably. Nevertheless, Paul Berry's valiant effort to convince the nation that ability to govern and sexual preferences were unconnected fell some way short, though picking up over 2000 first-preference votes in Newry and Armagh district is not to be sniffed at. Northern Ireland: We're Getting There!

So that's it! Another election under the belt - the Northern Irish have more politicians and elections per head than any country on the earth - and things have more or less panned out as expected. Trimble and Hume retired to international diplomacy, Paisley can only eat soup, his son's a bollickin fool; it won't be long til Gerry's the only piece left on the board since '97. Strange how these things pan out.



And as if that weren't enough! Today the Langwith College Volleyball legends, nay, ubermensch ass-kickin allgunsblazin KINGS AMONGST FRIGGIN SERFS kicked all manner of posterior cross the aul court in a stunnin three-set thriller wi more twists than a book wi a lotta twists in. FUCK YES. Every man (and woman) jack o us played out their gorram skins the day, all wi Albi's Napoleonic leaderships skillz teachin them there clowns exactly what time it is. Hammer Time, is what. We Hammered Yez Time, is more specific. A bloody marvellous end to the term was had by all. Albi, Steve, Dan, Naomi, Simon, Raph, Lou, Lucy, Phlip, Lou's fella, Naomi's mate, Joelle (we miss you!), we gave 'em a helluva fight, an never stopped believin. And that makes us goddamn mighty. Like ducks. Like mighty ducks. All our ancestors are lookin down an goin 'here, they've got some mad skillz, this lot.' An then drinkin an debauchin an discussin fine arts an whatever else they do in the great beyond. More power to em. But you take your victories where you can, and hold em close, for there's few things warmer than a win well won. Except maybe a fine lookin lass lyin next t'you. Hard to quantify, in concrete terms, though. Certain assumptions must be made. Certain posts must be ended.

Thanks,
Dave.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pitch 'n' Putt, Human Kindness, and a very special birthday greeting

Two great writers out on a Sunday afternoon in bloody terrible weather, playin the most infuriating game on the planet. Are there literary possibilities in the game of golf? The purity of a dash to the finish, where only strength of mind and clarity of thought count? Massive forearms help, I guess, an $3000 drivers, an havin the free time to turn professional... nevermind. Golf is the closest thing to chess you can do standin up. Nothin like three pairsa waterproofs, a wooly hat an a bout o hypothermia to take y'away from the world for a bit.

Beckett ain't all that bad, either. Havin actually seen his work performed, it suddenly makes sense. Studyin the text is pointless, an it takes a certain kind of genius to pull off such a seamless transition from written word to performed art, maybe performed reality. Endgame an Waiting For Godot in the right hands make for some transfixin viewing, that strikes its mark wi the greatest force when you recognise the players as aspects o yourself. Not only that, but it manages to keep a sensea humour about itself, somethin Joyce alternately struggled with an captured perfectly, dependin on whether he was composin for that intolerable bastard Stephen Dedalus or not. Ulysses is a crackin book, no matter what mantle o greatness might be thrust upon it, just because it gets the point so perfectly, inhabits the character o Leopold Bloom so entirely, like no one has done before or since. 1922. Unreal. An o course, seein him fuck up a drive on the pitch 'n' putt is comedy gold. Jimmy woulda approved.


So Fusion was on last night, a show o highs an lows. There's some extremely talented folks out there. Woulda liked to have seen more of em. But it turned out to be when we got home that the best story emerged. After orderin Efe's (lovely pizza), we told the delivery guy that Amy said hi, all of us bein slightly tripped out by hunger. He remembered seein Amy a couple weeks previous, huddled in the corner in a similar fashion. The conclusion was obvious.

"You are pregnant!!"

Before rushin back to the van. He reappeared seconds later with a handful of strawberry flavoured lollies for the newly expectant mother. People are wonderful.

But not as wonderful as this dude here, who recently celebrated his twenty-second birthday. Here we see him in earlier times (on the left), recoverin from a nasty bouta sunburn, as was his wont. Happy Birthday Aaron! You are the wind beneath my wings.

Thanks,
Dave.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ireland Crush England, Croke Park and Sylvia Plath


So, today Ireland kicked all shiny shades o shit outta England at the rugby, which, I'll be honest, brough me no end of satisfaction. Mostly because of two folks in particular: Brian Ashton, the England coach, who is one of those wankers who thinks he's the bee's knees but is - in fact - tosser-in-chief, a highly respected position in the tosser community; and Brian Moore.
Moore is the twattiest of commentators, practically without peer across the sporting diaspora, in terms of being opinionated, biased, and for the most part, wrong. He made the critical error of writing off the Irish, a move that - if we are to assume it had any effect on the Irish squad - could only be a motivator, one that was condemned by critics an fans alike. There's not much to be added, except to praise Eddie Butler for remaining calm an professional throughout. He's a better man than I. Moore made phantom calls all over the pitch, steadfastly refusin to grant Ireland even the slightest of leeway for skillful backplay an fierce defence.
Which is a shame, for I haven't seen Ireland so good in manys a long while. England simply weren't in the same league. Farrell looked like a Union wannabe, Wilkinson missed a kick, did you ever, and Ireland were sublime. O'Connell was an absolute machine, bustin heads like Cuchullain reborn, Horgan munched through anyone thick enough to get in his way, and from nine to fifteen, they gave a performance that'd remind you of nothin less than the way Arsenal can pass a football, but with more violence an less dancin. An our very own wee Isaac Boss took a try for himself to make it 43-13, which makes for a nicer scoreline, all in all.


Better, by far, than the 19-16 bloody stupid scoreline some o the lunatic fringe were hopin for. I couldn't believe the hack o some folks in the build-up to the game. Of course it was awful, no-one wanted for folks to get killed back in the day, but it happened. And life went on. There's no point in arrguin that the RA started it by killin British agents, there's no point in playin 'who's the victim'. The fact is that the Black and Tans were ordinary fellas put in extraordinary circumstances beyond their trainin, in a hostile environment. What they did was inexcusable, and - of course - the lessons learned from that day should never be forgotten. But just as inexcusable is playin stupid bastards an demandin an apology eighty-six years later. From who? The men with the guns are long dead. The politics that motivated them have passed on. The government that occupied an repressed no longer hold sway. It's just the Irish now, an there's a minority that can't let go of the victim status. It's time to move on, give the fuckin B&Ts a break. And don't pin stupid political banners on a little game o egg chasin.


The Bell Jar is fascinatin stuff. I'd always seen it as a kind of scenester book - one that you read just to say you'd read. An true enough, she's a pretty tragic figure, wi more than her fair share o stories to tell. First time I saw it was in the hands of a fella - I assume he was a student, he looked like one - the copy all dog-eared an outta print, readin it on the subway in Boston, Plath's hometown. Back then, it suggested to me everythin my bias needed to hear, that this was a novel for the myspace crowd, of bad fringes, tight jeans an expensive tastes. But Plath herself is a narrator - while not free o pretense, fair enough - who's at the very least an engagin figure, one you root for in the end. But there lies in the book a tenderness, a willingness to understand, an a wish to be understood, that's often absent in fellas like Burroughs or Huxley. There's a definite desire to see the best in life, a cravin for the thing that makes everyone else seem so happy, so normal, that sits agonisinly, infuriatinly outta reach. both for reader an writer. Watchin the novel unfold, sittin in pretty fuckin awful comparison to the actual end to Plath's life, leaves a bitter taste. I can see why the myspace crowd took her on: she's a genius no-one got, but for me, it seems more a case o her failin to 'get' anyone else. The fact o the bell jar is that everyone can see you, scrutinise you, judge you, but you're helpless to do anythin about it. Myspace man could get anyone he wanted wi his hipster fringe an desginer scruffy jeans, but Plath wouldn't a got him. Maybe I'm missin the point, but the book is jus so much more than a handbook for non-convention. It's more like a cry for help that no-one got.

Thanks for readin,
Dave.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

In Which Dave Figures Out How To Work Imbedded Youtube Videos

Another beltin track an video from New York coupleband Matt and Kim. It's an odd video, but sweet in its own way. There's not many bands out there that I'm excited about, but these guys have just captured my imagination in a way that no other act has done in a long time. Maybe it's an acquired taste, or maybe they'll turn out to be a flash in the pan, but man, it feels good to be excited again.

Thanks,
Dave.
PS. Kim is hot. That is all.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Solitude versus Lonliness; aka How I'm not an emo.

It's that kinda night, lads. It's pissin it down outside, there's no reason to get up particularly early in the mornin, an I feel great about the world at large. It might only ha' been the friendly look of a coupla girls I've never met before an shall surely never meet again, but hey! No better reason to take an alcohol-founded trip o optimism. For to be honest, I haven't felt so good in weeks. A wee quiet night out wi some folks to whom I owe nothin but respect, an possibly a drink or two next time we find ourselves between a bar an a hard place; a couple drinks in Montey's, wherein reside the finest lookin lasses afore they go to Toffs, honestly the classy standards in that place, you'd need to be Sean Connery t'score in there. Seriously like.



So optimism is the order o the day! Far as I can tell, the other folks in our motley crew are happy as larry in their relationships, be they long or extremely short distance, and I see no reason to refrain from their jollities. For I have long since figured out that I am simply better alone. I don't always enjoy it, an for the longest time I've tried to fight against it, but it just seems like solitude is the path that I am predestined to take. I'm fine with that. Because solitude is a state best enjoyed wi company. It is entirely possible to be completely alone in a room fulla people; equally it is possible to be absolutely communal and sociable on one's own. The most intimately human a fella or lass can be is when said couple folks, be they or be they not of a differin gender, are alone together. That's the overarchin goal, folks. That's the holy grail. And by god it's been too long. So here's to solitude, in all its realisin glory.


Thanks,
Dave.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Homeland, Clubbing, xkcd


Yeah, so it's been a while since my last post. All honesty, things have been goin smoothly enough, no drama to speak of, which I gotta say is most vexin for an artist of my calibre to go through such a dry patch in terms o subject matter. There is the excitin news that Northern Ireland has officially been named the hate capital of Europe, with 36% of respondents to a survey stating that they just don't like gays (19% European average), while a whompin 46% simply would not live beside a black, jewish, muslim or gay person. Decent people leave Ulster.

It was cool goin out an seein everyone again on Tuesday. I'll be honest, I enjoyed it pretty much right up until we headed to Toffs. There's just somethin that makes it impossible for me to enjoy myself when I cannot hear anyone and have no real interest in the music that is causing my aural mischance. These things I cannot deny. On the other hand, where is it writ that I should feel that so inclined? Some people love clubs, can't get enough of them, the dirty bastards. That's fine, they are for the most part, decent, clean-livin folks with whom I have no beef. However, I am simply not categorised under the variety of folk that find it easy to let go in a crowd wi'out fear of lookin a dick. Nor, in fact, do I feel like I know the folks who do enjoy clubbin well enough for to hang out wi'them, thus aggravatin my discothequal misery. So what to conclude? Clubs simply aren't for the likesa me. Which is a shitter, t'be honest, as that's where what gangsta rappas call 'tha honeys' is at, so to speak. And it is in precisely that category of lifestyle accesorisation that I am unfelicitously lackin. Damn and blast. Anywho, I'm under the belief that given the right circumstance, an a fair bita good fortune, some finelookin lass wi low standards shall surely come my way. An I'll probly fuck it up, but she might have a mate who's got a good sensea humour, and perhaps enjoys all variety o chinwaggery bout Kerouac an such. A fella can dream.

Might I direct you t'ord the fine site www.xkcd.com? Tis a marvellous thrice-weekly updated comic site, wi more revelations bout the geek-psyche that I can handle alone. In this, I need the assistance only you can grant. Do this...for me.

Thanks,
Dave.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Football Focus, 31/01/07, The Shape of Art to Come, Relax With Dave to "Sing Sing Death House"


Another week gone, another week wi'out any movement pon the upmost peaks o English football, which some smarmy Italian bastards might tell you ain't all that formidable, but this midweek evenin showcased a couple o the best damn footballers from Newcastle to Naples. I'm talkin o'course about Rooney an Ronaldo (the thinner, better lookin one).

O course, no calcionista is worth much wi'out a fine supportin cast, one which a greater man might yak on bout for days, but not I. Watchin Wayne an Christiano turn from petulant adolescents into model professionals over the course of a year has been a joy to behold, an though Watford are by no means Barcelona, the fellas tore them asunder wi effortless grace. Rooney's finish here, added to his heart-rendingly beautiful strike gainst Portsmouth, invite all variety o temptin comparisons t'Eric Cantona himself. The difference bein, course, that it took a ninemonth ban for Cantona to control his temper, Rooney seems t'have figured that one out already. And say what y'want bout Ronaldo's simulatin shenanigans, he's the best diver out there. An his footwork is simply the best in the world, a glorious combo o individual finesse, and, new out this season, an instinctive team ethic. I don't see this fella sheddin many more tears in his day.

An honorable mention goes to Peter Crouch, who looks more like a real footballer every day. He's put on weight, picked up a yard o pace, an is bangin them in like nobody's business. I talk lightly of him, but he could surprise a lot o folks yet. Another crackin goal today, an his work wi Dirk Kuyt, surely the most talented grafter ever to hassle a Premiership defence, puts him in great shape to hold his England place.

So, wi Chelsea winnin again, even wi Ashley Cole out wi ligament damage, there's no great power shift at the top. But damned if it isn't good to see four quality teams at the top again.

This here's some sample artwork by a young lass by the namea Maureen Twist, who's been scribblin away at sketches for a comic book bein written by myself an my good friend Adam Hanley, himself a greatly talented artiste. We've thrown down two outta the five planned chapters of our wee book already, wi more to come, once I get the gumption to go do it.

This fantastic four are a rock group known as The Distillers, bout whom I've previously ranted more than is healthy for a fella. But they are just that good. Were that good, I should say, for they went their separate ways over three years ago now. Still, the fact remains that their second album, Sing Sing Death House, is one a the best rock albums I've had the pleasurea listenin to. It's freea as much pretention as it's possible t'be free of for a rock band, and lordy but it woulda been splendid for to while away the dusky hours o a summer night in their screamin hysterical presence. The whole shebang opens wi "Desperate" onea a number o tracks lastin slightly below the 1:30 mark. But where a lotta bands fall down on tryin to squeeze every last dropa rock out a track, the Distillers beat it out, move on, an start over. The next few tracks, "I Am A Revenant", "Seneca Falls" an the unmatchable "The Young Crazed Peeling" are, simply put, fuckin awesome. Brody's aforementioned vocal stylins, put over the top of a crashin rhythm section wi more melody than a balls-out (proverbially, in this case) punk rock band should be capable of retainin. The message in mosta the tracks is, admittedly, pretty simple; "It hit me / I got everything I need /... When the birds have been freed from their cages / I got freedom and my youth." But the honesty wi which these lines're delivered charms the everlastin socks off me, an considerin the wealtha clever bands peddlin all manner a cynicism an smarm, Sing Sing Death House is still, five years on, fresh as the first time.

Thanks,

Dave.

Post Script: We got the bloody bungalow in Vanbrugh Drive!!!!! Thanks, God.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dave on Brave New World, Cricketing Lamentations and What Have You.


I've been takin no enda hassle wi regards to the writin of this bloody essay. It's procedural, doesn't count, and is concerned wi probably the most educational (least inspirin) morsel encountered thus far in the English Lit smorgasbord. To paradoxically relieve pressure from, and speed Icarusly t'ward thon deadline, I've taken to readin a bit o Aldous Huxley, a beltin scribe if ever one were to be found.

Brave New World is - like the other brochures for dystopian future that followed, but never emulated - both terrifyin an captivatin, promptin the discernin reader into a mania o 'God no's and 'so that's where The Matrix nabbed that off's and so such. There's little more to be said bout the cautionary tales an the prophetic genius - save that they're both in resources plentiful - so here's m'thoughts. 'Pon puttin yon book through the colour-coded letterbox 'neath the automatic book-return (God, puts the cold sweats on jus thinkin about it), then steppin out into the glazed, fragile, glarin sunlight, Brave New World makes its profoundest impact once it's over. Makes a fella want nothin more than to go flyin, to put all he needs in a bag, get on a bike an jus go. Anywhere, doesn't matter, just in celebration o the fact that he can. That's the big deal bout it, that the sufferin inside the book need never find realisation outside. No embryos in jars, no unified identity, no predestination, no fuckin soma, jus the freedom o God's green earth. It's a proper good read. Whips the arse off o The Song O Tittin Roland anyday, that's for sure.


Speakin of arse-whippings, England are in some pretty fuckin incredible dire straits at the minute. Hard to see where you go from successive steam-rollerins from New Zealand an Australia 'B'. 110 all out, 111-1 in 24 overs.
Things are pretty rosy at the mo. It's all quiet on the girl front, alas, which obviously is a wee bit shite, but 'ey, what can a fella do? Wi reference to the aul post regardin Patch House, Amelie etc, I reckon I'm in some way ready for the aul relationship malarkey now, though even the fact that I have to soften the word 'relationship' by surroundin it wi all kinds o bull-words an blather shows more'n I care to think about. But who the fuck knows! Nobody, is who. Alls I know, there could be some delightful young lass wi all sortsa questionable thoughts o a filthy nature regardin myself, an I'm jus waitin for to meet her! Who can tell what tomorrow may bring. Perhaps she'd even be up for a bit o the aul literary banter pon the subject o individuality an Huxley an allsorts. P'raps she's readin this now an takin notes. Who the fuck knows. Sir Huxley certainly has little for to add to the topic. High 24/7 that boyo was.
Thanks,
Dave

Monday, January 22, 2007

Liebeskummer

Liebeskummer is a fantastic concept, created by none other than our German brothers, referrin to that most misunderstood of ailments, heart-sickness. It's taken very seriously as a disease in them parts, allowin time off work for to recover, an even so much as utterin the phrase'll surely secure you a decent 6-12 months to get back to normal.
Fuck.
Thanks,
Dave.

Regarding the Words of Dawkins, Some Dukely Scribblins.





I've recently been in contact wi the proprietor o the top-quality blatherin website www.mondoirlando.com, the Duke de Mondo himself, regardin the touchy issue o God, the universe an all things in betwixt. He kindly gave permission for to publish his thoughts on the matter, which follow:



Anyroad, with regards Mr Dawkins, i'm conflicted no end. I don't believe in creation as told in Genesis, i believe that to be a purely metaphorical story, and in The God Delusion Dawkins makes a fine point indeed about how in whoever's name can modern-day theologians openly announce that they believe the story also to be metaphorical, and yet accept the doctrine of original sin? It's all very bizarre. And Dawkins book IS very very good. I've read it and listened to him read it, and both times i've enjoyed it immensely. But whilst everything he says in there pretty much makes sense, i still have belief in some manner of God. whether or not it does what various religious folks say it can do is neither here nor there far as i'm concerned, i know that for ME, personally, it has been an enormous help. But in saying that i'm not religious in the sense that i believe any one dogma or doctrine. I have my own faith which is nothing to do with christianity or islam or buddha or whatever. But i still love Catholicism for it's iconography, i will say that. maybe cause i was raised Protestant, the sights you mind find in a chapel just seem incredibly alluring and strange and beautiful to me. I don't BELIEVE any of it, but that doesn't make it any less affecting, least where i'm concerned.

So the answer to your question is that i agree with Dawkins that religion can be harmful, and i think his suggestion that moderate religious types do as much harm as anyone by paving the way for the extremists is very well made. But in saying that, i know people who are much, much happier and content since coming to believe in one or other religion, and i would find it deeply unpleasant if anyone were to pluck that from them, or to mock them for having it (one thing i DO find very unpleasant about Richard Dawkins is the occasional, although only occasional, tone of deep smugness that creeps in when discussing these things).



i find it fucking incredible, to be honest, that Darwinism is SERIOUSLY bein contested in science classes on account of manuevering by the religious right, and the fact that probably near as many people are harmed by religion as are helped is obviously something to worry about. but i know i felt a lot better in myself and treated others a lot better when i came to consider the idea that there was some sort of God character (not because i feared punishment if i WASN'T nice, which Dawkins, and many others, Neitzche bein one off the top of my head, suggests to be reason why Christians are 'good', and that in fact it's not moral at all, that behaviour. Choosing not to do something because you think you're being watched is no morality worth considering. i don't beleive in hell, as it happens.) to derive some strength from. And maybe it's just me i'm deriving strength from, but it's done me more good to carry on as i'm doing than it did when i was doing the opposite, and at the end of the day that's all i can go on.

aaron
duke de mondo



Hope that sheds some light on things, certainly did for me.
Thanks,
Dave.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Reflections On Wes Anderson, Mix Tape Shenanigans


I figure that the only thing this blog still needs is the propietor's opinion on movies. Alas, my taste in the aul cinematic arts is just abut as bad as my taste in music. But there is one flick in particular that needs mentionin, if I'm never to mention one again. That flick is The Royal Tenenbaums, and it's a work of absolute fuckin genius.
I'm a massive fan of all Wes Anderson's movies. Rushmore appealed to me at a time when I was a massively anti-social geek, though why I refer to that period of my life in the past tense is somethin of a mystery. It struck a nerve, as the critical folks say when they chance upon somethin so perfect, somethin so built-in to the dark alleyways o the consciousness that all a fella can do is say 'Yes! Fuckin...yes!' That's the experience I had wi Rushmore. And, perhaps unique amongst all your blatherin hero's favourite flicks, it doesn't star a girl the likesa which very heaven itself would be rather embarrassed to accomodate. 'Ms Tautou!' stutters Saint bloody Peter, 'Fuck.' No, it's just got that somethin that gets to a fella.



Then there's the newer one, The Life Aquatic, which got Bill Murray somewhat towards the end of his near-legendary long-haul Odyssey as the fella who dun't emote less he absolutely must get off wi Scarlett Johanssen. Between Lost in Translation, that most agreeable o date flicks, the dementedly frustratin Broken Flowers, and this here gem of an ensemble, your man has all his most melancholy guns blazin in an apocalyptically spectacular volley of nothin very much. Murray had the damn good fortune to work wi a buncha supremely talented bastards. The Life Aquatic is probly the best example o Anderson's work encapsulated: the unashamedly grand dreams o the story, the bastard's impeccable discovery o humour even in the most fuck-wrenchingly goddamned gash through your soul destroyin breakdown an weep moments in cinema history, also findin Owen Wilson is actually talented in some way.



The heart-stabbin moments are mostly found in Tenenbaums, truth be told. It's one o the few flicks that made me open the lacrymal ducts an blub for all the hell I'm worth. The man has not only an unrivalled mastery of gettin unfeelin autism-bastards like myself carin deeply bout essentially, basely, at the base a the skull-ly flawed folks, but then had the utter cheek, the sheer gall to take them away for ever in front my very eyes. It wasn't a fella in fiction, then, twas a part a me. The bastard got me to open up, led me the whole damn way through a story so chock fulla wonderful, tear-dragginly beautiful folks that it near drove me wild thinkn about lettin go, then made me. An no-one's been able to do it since. Tenenbaums stars the peerless Gene Hackman, an a supportin cast to remember. On paper, it doesn't inspire confidence, I'll grant you. But watch, I implore, see for yourself, innumerable actors in the best damn parts they'd ever play. Murray, Luke Wilson (best attempted suicide in cinema?), Gwenneth Paltrow (she's fuckin gorgeous, I challenge any livin man to a duel isn't captivated by that glacially detached artist-soul), Danny Glover (!), Ben Stiller, Anjelica Houston, Owen Wilson, hell it melts the heart to think how much cinema has to do to raise the bar to such phenomenal heights. Plus it has undoubtably the best voiceover-soundtrack-sheerfuckintragicohlordmyemotionalgutsarehanginoutmey'bastardAnderson combo ever dedicated to celluloid. I'm sure it sounds to the layman like fan-driven hyperbole, but trust me, if you never trust man again, trust me, that it is the closest a film has come to drivin a fella batshit than any before or since. Check out Nick Drake's 'Fly' off the soundtrack. Brings a fella to his bloodied, emotional knees every time.



Bit a music comin up: A mixtape bonanza! A chance for anyone hardy enough to pay attention to this nonsense to buck up their ideas bout the art a music an start listenin t'what I tell you.
1. The Young Crazed Peeling - The Distillers
'Are you ready to be liberated?' brawls the lovely Brody Dalle in the first fuckin line, did y'ever. Too fuckin right I am, Brody, you who were foretold by the prophet: 'an there shall be a hot as fuck girl in a punk band, an lo! her voice shall be unto a fuckin car wreck, but wi more soul than any livin man could possibly handle in person. Thusly, buy her second album 'Sing Sing Death House', for truly, to abide her furious wailin wi'out the intermediary o digital recordin technology, is surely to die.' So, aye, beltin track.
2. Yea Yeah - Matt and Kim
I've covered this before, way back in post #2. It still makes me pine for to be 17 again, at which tender age twas perfectly acceptable to go see a punk band an 'dance' (for to call a fella's spasmodia 'dance' is t'stretch the term fairly fuckin thin) to a wee heart's glorious delight. Forget talent, forget style, forget everything. Put this track on full volume an freak the fuck out.
3. In Other Words - Ben Kweller
I'll tell it straight. I bought Kweller's On My Way, a recent album, a while back, whilst on a trip to the states, an didn't care for it. I found it hollow in places, an lackin somethin I couldn't nail down. His first record, upon which this track features so perfectly, is a worka glorious genius. Wi lyrics like 'butterflies are passive-agressive/and put their problems one the shelf/but they're beautiful,' it's more than a wee bit indulgent, but dear god does that suit a fella down to the ground. Kweller nails the head for so many wee would-be artists it's not even fair. Check out the instrumental rock-out two-thirds through. If that dun't get you dancin, I don't wanna hear it. It's got banjos, for fuck's sakes.
4. Casmir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens
If y'haven't hearda this chap, it's about time y'did. He's for the most part another indie kid wi pretensions an the like, but dear sweet golly, he puts tragedy in a key so everyday that it makes ya wonder how he gets up in the mornin. How anyone has the nerve to fit a tender, gentle song bout love an shame an grief o death in the same six minutes is an affront to anyone ever tried to write lyrics for guitar an bass.
5 The Funeral - Band of Horses
Lyrically simple, I can't think of another track better wraps up a feelin o loss and pure cryin ragin railin frustration at the cruel fragility o life an everythin that fades.
6. Bukowski - Modest Mouse
Of particular interest t'anyone's actually read the worka Charles himself, but still a crackin tribute to one o literature's most miserable bastards performed by one whose own wallowin skills are unmatched in popular music. In an interestin aside, I once used my at best peripheral knowledge of Modest Mouse to impress a young American girl I once went a-courtin. It worked, as it happens, and with her I enjoyed the best night of my life, includin the ones that actually ended in physical contact wi a member a the opposite sex. Raeanne, if you're readin, you're still an indescribable joy. Bukowski is for those in a bad mood. Ventin vicariously is th'only way to go.


7 I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie
'If heaven and hell decide / that they both are satisfied; / illuminate the 'no's in their 'vacancy' signs / if there's no-one beside you / when your soul embarks / then I'll follow you into the dark.' Christ.
8 Swing Life Away - Rise Against
The punks take a break from Risin Against all sortsa political/social scullduggery for to give us this wonderful tribute to youth an friends lost. Though it sounds a lot like when a punk band goes overboard wi the emotional balladry, it retains a sincerity that's just touchin, makes y'wanna spout shit like sic transit gloria an find someone knows how t'play Time of Your Life on acoustic guitar. It unfairly picks on my weakness for 3/4 time.
9 Formed A Band - Art Brut
Just a relaxin screamer bout formin a band, an all the grandiose dreams what come with it.
10 No Children - The Mountain Goats
An in contrast, this is an unbelievable song to hate bound by fear a loneliness, told wi brutal truth.
11 Everybody Wants A Little Something - Duke Special
Just to end at a happier pitch, as I've come to realise how much I get hooked on the melancholy an cruelty o life an fiction, this is a beltin wee track from a fellow countryman, off his crackin album Songs from the Deep Forest. Just bounces along, carefree an sweet as fuck.
12 The First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
Mr Conor Oberst hangs up his morose bastard boots forever, an embarks on a round-the-globe odyssey wi his sweetheart, fillin the hearts o those he meets wi unbridled joy at the sheer sound o his joyous warblins. Or possibly he just felt good the day he wrote it. Either way, there's no tune to send you on your way quite like it. Except perhaps 'Send Me on my Way' by Rusted Root, or possibly 'The Power of Love' by Huey Lewis and the News. Take your pick, I guess.

SO! That was right an blowhardy. If y'got to here wi'out scrollin down first, fair play, you're a better man than I. Unless y'happen to actually be the aforementioned Raeanne, in which case, give us a e-letter or two, would you ever.

Thanks for readin,
Dave.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Richard Dawkins v God.

First, watch him in action. There's a bit in the middle where conceited members of the audience talk about how amazin they are, but once that starts, skip to about 24 minutes in. Here's the link:



Richard Dawkins has fairly made his opinions clear. God is a purely fictional character, invented by man as a surrogate mother/father figure, to variously soothe/protect/motivate/forgive us as we require, and as such, everyone who believes in divinity is deluded, puttin faith in somethin that cannot be enumerated, quantified, or even proved to exist. Worse, this delusion leads to extremist views by logical progression from the original dogma.



I don't feel Dawkins engages fully with the concept of religion. He instead leans heavily on the stereotypes of the religious man: one who teaches his children ‘to believe without evidence’, which, he argues, leads logically on to the phenomenon of suicide bombing and religious extremism, this time showing a lack of interest in understanding the mentality and social factors required for such a fanatic to practise freely.



His theories hinge on the issue of God’s purpose, which, while a fascinatin topic of discussion, by its definition – if we are to conduct such a discussion with the presuppositions of religion in play – cannot be answered.


He often sounds rather frustrated at the fact that his views are even questioned. If you skip ahead to about 24 minutes in, he is confronted by one of the declarations in his own book, the belief that there is ‘very probably alien civilisation somewhere in the universe that is superhuman, even godlike, beyond anything any theologian might imagine.’ He appears insulted to be even questioned on this belief. The UCD Professor, Gerard Casey, performs brilliantly, and in a way perfectly suited to the discussion; he is composed, relaxed, and open to every suggestion Dawkins makes. Kudos.


I'm not havin a go at atheism. I reckon its as legitimate a belief system as any other. What I am havin a go at is someone who is so unashamedly close-minded, to the point of bigotry, on a concept so philosophically open to debate as the existence of God. To take a scientific approach to a matter so intimately connected to the human condition seems like folly, dangerously so. It's noticeable too how Dawkins says nothing on the other Abrahamic spiritual text.


It's easy to be indignant and self-righteous on religion, but it accomplishes nothing, and is really what Dawkins wants. Nor am I sayin there's any way of resolvin the argument to a satisfactory degree; a fella could spend the rest of his days splittin hairs an makin enemies and still be no nearer a conclusion. There are a lot of ideas, and no reason why they can't all be correct. In the end, it's down to the individual to educate his/herself to a degree where doubt can no longer be a factor. So good luck.


Thanks for readin,
Dave.

So then, Joyce, you right bastard.


There walked a man 'pon Erin's shore,
Saw Erin was shite, walked there no more,
Walked instead 'neath Alpine peaks,
By alpine woods and alpine creeks,
But a voice said clear, a voice said true:
'You'll always be Irish,' o this Joyce knew!
And he was rightly fucked off about it.

So I handed in the aul Joyce essay on Monday, blessedly. I didn't think much of it. It ended suddenly, it was fairly unfocused, if a fella cam up to you an said 'show us a run o the mill English Literature essay, or the bunny gets it' (he has a bunny, and an anti-bunny weapon of some description), you'd have to do no more than usher him toward 'Names and Narrators: the Power of Perspective in "Cyclops"'. God, it's painful rememberin even that much. Even the title's drippin wi convention, like a stripey jumper, or anythin on channel 4. I can only hope that its middling qualities soothe the markers into such a state of incapacitation that they forget what essay they're readin an give it a good mark. These things I hope against hope.

Talkin shite? Borin my beatnik friend utterly shitless? This you may never know.


Joyce wasn't a terribly fascinatin chap, as far as conventional critical opinion goes; the author himself is represented in the book by Stephen Dedalus, an introspective, morose little bastard if ever there was one. Quite a hero o mine, so he is. The most interestin characters, e.g. Stephen's dad, his roommate Mulligan, an the Citizen, are the ones the author paints in the worst possible light. In a strange way, the author has been left thoroughly behind by the sheer brilliance of the text: Ulysses is now so much more than a mere novel with a writer an protags an plot: the fact that anythin like it exists is unbelievable. Some clever chap, I can't remember who, defined art as somethin that makes you proud to be human. I can't thank JJ enough for bustin the borders o literature so wide it made me proud again.



So then, Joyce, you put me through hell, and I'm not even sure what I gained from the experience. But by God, I loved every minute I spent in your company, engaged in a work of fiction that made you sorry to leave. Every man jack floatin bout Dublin that day in June was a sonnuva bitch one way or another, but its the full realisation of that shitty sidea folks makes a fella so happy to spend time with them. Finally, says the wee voice that'd rather be playin Baldur's Gate, finally a writer who knows what people are like.



In other news, I was out second in a field o seven at poker the night. Scundered I was. I was gunna buy a coppy o The Riverside Friggin Chaucer (Pointless Expenditure Edition) wi the winnings. Bastard Middle English.


Tomorrow: Dave on Richard Dawkins and 'The God Delusion.'

Thanks for readin,
Dave

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dave's Football Focus, 14/01/07


Another weekend of football that didn't hold much movement at the top or bottom o the table, but by jove I'm gonna write about it anyway. And I'm gunna say it right out, right up front. I like Man United. They may only be the better of two evils in terms of 'who do you support what doesn't threaten the ideals we had about football until reality reared it's ugly head and we realised folks actually made money out of this whole malarkey', but hey, they just play better football than Chelsea. The fact that Arsenal play the kinda football that'd make you want to take up poetry written solely bout the subject of twenty two fellas and a ball is another matter altogether.



Which brings me to my next port of call on our magical journey round Premiershipland, teams I like cuz I feel a bit sorry for them. First, Newcastle, undoubtably the best team ever to play the majority of a campaign in the bottom half. The hell does that work? I'll tell you. An injury list readin like the who's who of Uefa Cup football is the hell that works. Newcastle have had shockin luck, but goals like what Obafemi Martins scored 'gainst Spurs in a spectacular display of grit and other hard-working-team clichés won't do a licka harm.


Which brings me neatly to Tottenham. Never has a team lived so profoundly in the shadow of its local rival. Spurs are the untalented wee brother of l'Arsénale, the one who'd look pretty good and probly attract its fair share of womenfolk if it wasn't so unavoidably contrasted by its gorgeous older brother, who has a tattoo and took a gap year to Venezuela. I like how Spurs play; I like Aaron Lennon, who will always kick Theo Walcott's ass for best twelve year old North London midget winger; between Berbatov, Defoe, Keane and Mido they've got a strike corps to be feared; they've even got a capable defence wi the likesa Ledley King and that keeper who's shite but still the best in England somehow. Where's David James when you need him.


Which brings me neatly to Liverpool, though maybe they don't belong here. I can't remember a club as big as Liverpool being such (league) under-achievers, and approaching every match in that framea mind. They've world-class players: Gerrard, Hyypia, Kuyt, Alonso, Luis Garcia, the list goes on. Yet they retain a number of players it's impossible to see as heroes in any sense but that they're punchin above their weight, sometimes literally: Carragher, Finnan, Bellamy, Kewell, Dudek, and of course, la tube de la tube, Peter Crouch. How that man continues to be an international-quality striker is beyond my comprehension. He's a puddin. I cannot make that clear enough. But neither can I make clear enough how much I love that man. I want to meet him in the street, shake his hand, give him a knowing look and start pissin myself laughin. I think he'd know what I meant.


So now the good stuff. Manchester United will take the title this year, unless Christiano Ronaldo gets injured. The transformation of that wee fella has been nothin shorta incredible. Last year: crybaby whingin bastard. This time round: team player par excellence, a mature, controlled, master of the pitch who's made Rooney look like he's had a quiet season. And now, far more than last year, they've the squad to carry it off. Chelsea don't look like a team up for a fight. 4-0 against Wigan is one thing, but they did it in such a ho-hum manner, with three o the goals comin from rotten defensive slips. A Ferguson team woulda been more disciplined, woulda torn a strugglin side limb from limb; they would never have had to answer to idle talk bout the boss leavin (at least not til the enda the season). Whether it's a ploy by Mourinho to bait the board into givin him more cash - would you believe Chelsea's pockets are closed, now? - there's no way something like this can be good for the team. This week: A tie on points, but United win by split decision.


Post Scripts: How good is Thierry Henry. How good is that gorgeous French bastard. Right bloody good, is how. Not a bad dancer, neither.
David Beckham is now on $1m per week, playin for the LA Galaxy. Good luck to him, I say. Bout time the Americans learned how to play proper football.
Sylvester Stallone. Did you ever.

Thanks,
Dave.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Patch House, Amelie, and Forlorn Realisations



The party was awesome. I had great craic, saw a buncha people I hadn't seen in a while, got dressed up like a hobo, marvellous. Now to the interesting part, the part where I start thinking about myself, for I think of nothing else. I'm an artist, y'know.



Aye, so there's a beltin lookin girl there, beknownst only to me as 'white hat girl'. She had a white hat. She was pretty as hell. And Amy had a great scheme for me to go talk to her. She would occupy her friend wi idle banter, while I smoothed in and engaged white hat girl in all kindsa witty talk and charmin word-flirtin. The very idea terrified me, and it was no small relief when the scheme, Wile E. Coyotean though it was, din't work. Turns out she had more than one friend at the party, which is really where the operation fell down at a conceptual level. Point is, I was scared shitless. Not only at the thought of puttin myself in a situation where some demands might be made of my personality, not only at the possibility of rejection, but at the very idea of turnin somethin from an idle fancy into reality. This problem is only too easy to see: Even on this page alone there are pictures of women I've got all sortsa romantic childish notions about. Look at Audrey Tautou, there, would you ever. Gorgeous, she is. And just the kinda woman about whom I could imagine all kindsa romantic shite, like she only ever bathes in a bathtub fulla finest silk, an her day job is bein a muse for poets an artists across the land, who bask in the soothin glow of her beatific visage.


The fuck that's what she's like. She probably enjoys gettin wankered like anyone else, and laughs her arse off at fart jokes. The fuck I know what she's like. And alas, I've a tendency to do the same for real people. Too many, in fact. It's fucked up, and I'm not sure from where it stems, but it's somethin to be dealt with. Hopefully from this day forth.


The essay's progressin, though it ain't terribly good. Shite, you might say.

Thanks for readin,
Dave.