Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

THIS is a Christmas jumper folks. It looks horrible. The pattern can only have been designed by a badly acid-damaged amputee on a bus. Presumably it has been made of materials so crap they had to be put into a the jumper equivalent of a concentration camp to preserve the purity of fashion.

These days you can get these other jumpers (shown to the left). Look at the colours. Completely sanitized. Red and white? Where's the gaudiness in that?

To all those tossers lined up at the bar in Wetherspoons across the country, wearing these and thinking 'ooh, look how cool I am. I'm wearing something uncool, but making it cool because I'm such an awesome, arrogant tit who really wants another Corona with a wedge of lime and a Jagerbomb and maybe some Sourz and maybe throwing up and hating anyone who's different to me (thank God all my friends are wearing the same stuff as me or I'd have to hate them), and if I don't objectify every woman I see tonight then I'm gay (urgh)', to them I say fuck off.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Scenes: Number 7

A lot's been said about chavs and their playing of loud music on public transport. The other day at Preston train station, however, things happened a little differently...

There were a couple of guys in the cafe watching a 50s B-movie on their laptop. It was really loud. The cliched tension music would have been audible all the way over the other side of the room, over all the chatter of coffee-drinking commuters and beverage machine steam-jets. Also, one of the men watching it was 'offering' a commentary. Very loudly. Just inane stuff, pointing out obvious crap like 'ooh he looks scared' or whatver.

I think I'd have preferred a chav...


Sunday, 9 December 2012


Has been a very olfactory day in Morecambe. Take a look at these aromas:
  • Perfume
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Unsafe-to-eat blue cheese with sweaty-gritty note to start, with rotten fish-and-egg to finish
  • Intense hot chocolate, with an absence of fresh bread
  • Smoker
  • Tobacco
  • Stale cider and smoke
  • Aftershave
  • Crap coffee
  • Bubblegum and smoker
  • My own personal farts
  • Motor oil mint
  • Money
  • Red wine
Does sleep smell? I'll find out soon...

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Edge Hill has raised the bar yet again with the latest author to come read and talk about his work. David Vann came to the new (and improved) Arts Centre on campus last night and I felt genuinely inspired by the man. For someone whose polite, unassuming and softly-spoken manner might lead folk to believe a puff of wind would blow him away, he sure writes like a tornado.

He read from Legends of a Suicide, Dirt and even some unpublished material of his, and it was a very valuable experience. He was as open as a river mouth, and the knowledge that flowed forth, the links between his life and his writing etc was very illuminating. I felt again, if only for a few hours, that it's okay to be a writer. I'd say he has big cojones to write about what he does, let alone talk so openly to an audience about such personal things (five suicides, one murder and a very slippery head, for example).

His poetics were really meaty as well, particularly how his relationship with Greek tragedies has given his work a universal flavour. The way he got to the bare bones of his process of writing reminded of the talk Jeremy Dyson gave after The Cranes that Build the Cranes was published. They were similar in that they don't find redrafting as rewarding a process as many make it out to be, with respect to short stories at least. They were both writers who were unafraid to say what they felt and they were both FREE events set up by Edge Hill.

The self-revision and humility of his performance was just so real, it was beautiful really. No offence to other readers at Edge Hill (at least in terms of fiction), not only was he the best but I don't see how he's gonna be topped. Still, with the amount of events open to students and non-students alike, it's probably just a matter of time. Watch this space, then.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Deliver This From Evil

Post Office, by Charles Bukowski, is kind of rough. If we were talking about resistant materials ('woodwork' if you prefer), it would be 'unfinished', that is to say 'not sanded down/polished' etc. Make no mistake, the book's a diamond - just not cut in the usual way ('usual' being a synonym for 'stale'). Take some of the non-standard spelling etc, the sort of 'satire' of conversation, the flitting nature and sometimes random elements with little coherence within the novel (Dave Janko's book, for example) This somehow gives a purity, a rawness and, above all, an energy to the writing.

The main character, Henry Chinaski, is awesome. I say that 'awesome' in the correct way - 'inspiring awe'. I stopped to wonder: is he a decent bloke? Do I hate him because of his sexism/disrespect? Is he a hero for not backing down against another wave of life's mundane tidal wave of crap? Is he a coward for relying too much on the bottle? Well, for those of you who like bland, general understatements, he's a flawed genius (much like the author).

And just to resolve the above 'conflict' a bit further, I think I do like HC. I sympathise with the 'underdog vs life' scenario. I 'get' his use of alcohol as a coping mechanism and somewhat admire his skills as a postman. The gambling and the sexism I mentally sweep under the carpet, as we all do with people we know.

So I really enjoyed the book overall. It was a really quick, easy read, but a lot 'went on' in the narrative. What's more the potency of the writing (like at the end of chapter ten, the summary of Betty's funeral - despite repeating a lot of detail - has this haiku-like punch to it), along with it's clever form (the variation in size of the paragraphs makes the reading, I dunno, more living. Like sometimes a short paragraph reflects a busy period for HC, so it mirrors the fact he doesn't have time to go into more detail), makes it something I'd recommend to almost anyone. For some people it'd be because I like them and appreciate that they like a good, entertaining read. For others, it'd be because they're Lilly-livered, vacuous, moronic, comfort-driven, mother-loving, nice-hot-water-bottle-on-a-mild-day-ing, innocent, modern-music-adoring, rom-com-watching (Sean of the Dead obviously excepted), baby-cuddling, unaware, greeting-card-faced, bubble-bath-drinking, salad-humping, button-nosed, vitamin-taking, tea-sniffing, nipple-grating, sock-washing, trend-following amoeba who need to be shaken up violently like the proverbial bird in its cage.

Oh how I love to shake caged birds... The thought of it gets me all... Ooh...