Saturday, 4 August 2007

Rude Awakening


The telephonic shrill
urgents me
blearily into dawn.

Discomfited I roll
myself across
a seeming endless


set foot
on an insecure floor,
retrieve the handset

and receive
a droning earful.

Bliss was it in that dawn
to be asleep,
to be awakened serves

to remind oneself
they’re far from heaven.

Malcolm Evison
4 August 2007

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Go Team "Stalkers" (the full story!)

The past few months of my life, I have been working towards the mini-tour that Brooklyn "Gutter Rockers" (As "Time Out" described them) made of The UK, the first time they visited Fair Albion this April.

It has been an extremely interesting period of my life, and has been oddly emotional at times. This is largely to do with the fact that I am a total pessimist and have managed to cry
"Oh fuck, this thing is about to go tits up at any minute" at least once a week about the project, but also owing to the more enjoyable aspects of this, some of which fulfilling a number of adolescent Rock & Roll fantasies, I have harboured, like going into NME Head Offices for the first time to talk about "Stalkers" or just the sheer kick of hanging out with a rock band from New York whilst wearing Converse All Stars.
You see, I grew up in Southport in Merseyside, which isn't exactly the hippest of towns, (See the Morrissey Video for "Every Day Is Like Sunday" for a reasonably accurate representation of my formative years) so you can imagine how all this might have been quite awe inspiring for a Woolyback like me.

Anyways. the whole "Stalkers" Project started when their manager Dave Allen, (a rather interesting chap, who I had been conversing with over Myspace , for quite a while about his theories about Art and Music) was in London for a visit last November, so I offered to give him a tour of the recently re-launched Tate Modern where I work. Characteristically, (and excessive whisky consumption will prove to be a bit of a theme during this story), he and myself wound up drinking several glasses of Jack Daniels and Coke in the Tate Members Room whilst I drunkenly confessed to a slightly embarrassing fondness for his fellow New Yorkers "The Strokes" (I have a crush on Albert Hammond Jr, this is rather sad, but at least its not Brad Pitt or someone! ) and he replied (or something to this effect) "Well I know of a New York Indie Band that you might like then, called "Stalkers"" at this point, I believe I started giggling uncontrollably about the bands name (clever/tasteless band names do make me laugh, I am also friends with a band called "The $hit", this name never tires me!) I then exclaimed "They SO need to come to London! I'll get 'em gigs!"

You see, at the time, I had just enjoyed a brief stint as the manager of a Psychedelic Band called "They Came From the Stars, I Saw Them" and I had also recently dated a couple of guys in two London Indie bands (not at the same time, and I feel I must state here, that for the record, I am NOT A GROUPIE, I just happened to go out with a couple of musicians, I mean I am by trade and qualification, A Conceptual Video Artist,so who do you expect me to date, an investment banker???) and I had quite a vast knowledge of the London Toilet Circuit, so this wasn't just the drink talking, my offer was genuine, and I was already making mental notes about what venues I would approach over this.

However, from this point, strange machinations seem to occur. Over in New York, Dave met Pat Long, the sub editor of NME, they got on, and he urged me to go into the NME Offices with some "Stalkers" press pre-release EPs.

This was now January, and I had yet to properly listen to "Stalkers" (I am Electro Girl, after all) but I spent a day or so, listening to one of these EPs, in order to familiarise myself with it, then the next day, what do you know? but I found myself humming "Lets Get It Together" on the bus! This filled me with hope, because it brought to mind some advice given to me, by my mum's friend about music; this was

"If people can whistle it, you have got yourself a hit!" So into NME I went, feeling confident about the band I was plugging and believed myself, when I told Pat Long, (rather succinctly)"Yes, "Stalkers" are very very good indeed".

Anyways, from this point "Project Stalkers" entered the public domain, they got a fair bit of mainstream press coverage, they started being heard on the radio, and if you, dear reader, wish to check any of this, it can be Googled very easily, so I don't need to bore you with all of this on here, but I will carry on with my personal reflections on the "Stalkers" Tour itself.

If we fast-forward to April 10th 2007 (the day "Stalkers" arrive in the UK AND MY 27th BIRTHDAY!) Myself and Adam BRUT (my friend, and the chap who helped organise, along with his colleagues; Warren and Kim BRUT, the last gig of the "Stalkers" Tour, "TURBOFEST") went to collect a very tired but nontheless, highly strung band and their manager from Heathrow Airport.
However I don't remember too much about this day, as I was presented with a bottle of Jack Daniels by Adam (it being my birthday and all) which we all (The band, Dave Allen and Adam) proceeded to drink at 10am on the tube back to London, and after we had settled all the band in round at Adam's house, him and myself (having got the taste for it) continued drinking, well into the afternoon, and what with me being a size 8, and not having eaten anything all day, this probably wasn't my best move! My last coherent memory of that day, was of my ordering an Aftershock at some bar in Hackney, then after that, nothing, it's just a vaguelly recalled black hole, until the next morning.

Mind you, I don't beat myself up too much about this, I mean it was my 27th Birthday! This being the ROCK STAR YEAR OF DEATH, it was bound to take me in a rather odd way!

Memories of Alcoholic Blackouts aside; The next day, "Stalkers" played their debut UK Gig at "The Buffalo Bar" Islington. I was there in attendance, though feeling rather worse for wear. I recall giving "evils" to the guy from "Towers Of London" who was also there and I dislike (I didn't "get" "The Darkness and I don't "get" them!) other than that, it wasn't massively eventful. The place was full of industry types, so I had to behave, and it wasn't much fun, although I did take this rather fetching photo.

April 12th was The "Stalkers" support slot with "The Horrors" in Southend, which I decided not to attend. I felt really drained by the whole experience that day, plus I had recently learned that "The Horrors" themselves had been students at Rugby Public School, so every left wing fibre in my body, couldn't let me go there and be nice to "The Horrors" despite their amazing haircuts. I am notorious for being shallowly obsessed with people's hair, so I found it reassuring to realise I had some standards that can over-ride this!

April (Friday!) 13th was "Stalkers" Gig at KOKO at Club NME in Camden. This was a very strange one, indeed. I decided that I didn't want to go backstage at all, I wanted to watch the band in the company of the crowd, them being the potential audience of "Stalkers" after all. I felt weird, though. All those kids reminded me of teenage versions of myself, it made me feel old, but in a good way, like I was relieved that my past life as an Indie Kid was behind me. Plus, it was fun seeing "Stalkers" play on such a big stage. I had watched MCR play a gig at KOKO on TV the night before (When I should have been at "The Horrors" show) so i felt a strange rush of almost maternal pride to see "my boys" (how I have affectionately come to think of them) playing there too. I also took some good photos, one of which you can see here. The "Stalkers" are (from left to right) Ryan, Andy, Danny, Josh (the drummer) and Tristan. At some point, Danny waved at me, I gave a peace sign in return, it felt nice.

Here, we move onto April 14th, which was the "Stalkers" final gig and the one I was mainly looking forward to. You see, it was organised with my friend Adam Smith/BRUT and his Art Project/Entertainments Company "TURBOBRUT", plus it was in Shoreditch, my preferred stomping ground (yes, I am Nathan Barley!) and there was a photo of me and Adam on the flyer, the concept of which, (devised by Adam) is a "lady being stalked" yeah I know its a crappy pun, but we thought it was funny, so here it is.
The whole thing panned out like some sort of unofficial Tate Employees Party; so many of my friends were there (which is quite an unusual occurrence in London, where there seems to be so many things to do, that you never find yourself in the same place as loads of people you know) A strange combination of my old supervisor from Tate Britain and my housemates were managing the door, it was like a fun "Stalkers" based cottage industry!
I didn't get any photos of the last "Stalkers" Gig, with good reason (which I will go into later). Although my friend Stephen Hoffman, did manage to take a bunch of photos of me with each of the members of "Stalkers" my favourite being this one of myself and Tristan Stalker as we are both actually SMILING on it! At the "Stalkers" Gig, we all ended up (amongst other similarly Grungy things) moshing. pogoing (I was wearing heels! I am Courtney Love!) and throwing/spitting (!) the free beer that TURBOBRUT kindly provided for the event over each other! Adam was even STAGE DIVING! This was the first mosh pit I have been involved in, for at least 10 years, and after the fierce bruises I found on myself, the next day, i daresay it will be the last, but it was loads of fun, nonetheless (interestingly enough, the most violent members of this mosh pit, were myself and my fellow Gallery Assistants! We are normally such a sedate bunch, next time you are in an art gallery check out the idiot in uniform sleeping in the corner, s/he may look comatose, but you don't know what they have been up to the night before!)

Anyways, after this, in dribs and drabs "Stalkers" and their manager gradually went home to Brooklyn, it was a funny old time alright, and I have mixed feelings about it being over, (part sadness and part relief, that it didnt, in fact "all go tits up") However they are all coming back to The UK in August, so who knows what strange events we have ahead of us!

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Friday, 13 April 2007

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Stalkers UK Debut Gig

At the moment, my life is quite interesting because I am involved in the centre of a media circus that is revolving around the New York Rock Band "Stalkers". Last night, they played their first ever gig in the UK at The Buffalo Bar in Islington, London. It was one of the strangest gigs I have ever attended, as there was more A&R types there than actual "real" people, all of whom were either sucking up to one and other or eyeing each other up nervously. I was happy to see NME sub editor, Pat Long there, who i now know pretty well and appears to be one of the good blokes, but other than this, myself and all the Stalkers boys seemed rather bemused by the whole thing. One of the strangest events of the night, was some photographer chap, who has worked for Italian Vogue and has photographed supermodel Lilly Cole, really sucking up to me, in the hope of doing a shoot with me. For fucks sake, I am not a proper model, I haven't even been made a Suicide Girl officially yet, this was really weird! Anyways Stalkers are playing a few more gigs this week, and I am mainly looking forward to TURBOFEST as it is being organised by some close friends of mine, so it should be keeping it real, a bit more than the shenanigans of last night, that said it is in Shoreditch and is being organised by a tribe of conceptual artist, so I wonder just how disassociated with the "real" world I have become of late!

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Book Review - 'Life and How To Live it' by Daniel Mayhew

Writing successful novels about music or bands is a notoriously difficult thing to do, and something that rarely succeeds. Step forward Daniel Mayhew to prove the exception to the rule with his debut, which tells the tale of Serpico, the band formed by flatmates, Reilly and Jacob, and the adventure that ensues when Reilly takes a week off work sick, and binging on cheap alcohol, writes what could just turn out to be the best album of all time.

Giving the demo cassette of recordings to Jacob, the scene is set for a wild ride. Reilly is an often angry, often hilarious, musical snob who wants no part in the music industry. Modestly, Reilly wants to do nothing more than write the perfect record. Jacob is more pragmatic and the flip side to Reilly, offering organisation and leadership to the pervading madness, not least when trying to keep the increasingly erratic Reilly in line. At its heart, this is book is a black comedy and a worthy examination of male friendship. Mayhew certainly knows how to mix humour and angst as the band embark on their mission to raise enough money to record the album properly and daydream about escaping the day to day drudgery of their regular jobs. Throw in Jacob’s ex-girlfriend and a Liam Gallagher wannabe capable of pressing both Reilly and Jacob’s buttons, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a fast-paced read that has you rooting for the good guys as their hour of reckoning approaches.

The highest praise that can be paid to Mayhew is that it would have been easy to simply write a book that would only satisfy music fans with its myriad of cool references, and while it will certainly resonate with anybody who’s been in or close to a band, the humour and the well drawn characters neatly help to side step any suggestion of musical snobbery. White Horse Publications is a new York-based enterprise and if this, their second release, is anything to go by, we’ll be hearing a lot more from both them and Daniel Mayhew in the future. A triumphant start.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Perfection Is The Helium

Fiction - 'Punishment'

We pull up outside of his shop. I look around. We’re sat in the bowels of Hull; a run-down area, full of cheap clear-out stores. I’m told that this used to be a bustling street; the heart of the city’s fishing industry. I say, who cares? That was a long time ago. We’re here to collect Wayne Glenton. We’ve been instructed to take him for a long drive. The two lads with me, John and Dobba, go into the shop to collect the unfortunate Wayne. They’re a bit of pair. Dobba’s a bodybuilder and looks pretty much like your identikit rent-a-thug. John, on the other hand, is a little more unusual. It took me a while to figure him out, but he just doesn’t enjoy inflicting violence, which is strange for someone in this line of business. John is more of a family man and sees the job as just that, a job. Even if you have qualifications in this city, opportunities are close to nothing. He’s just doing what he has to do to pay the bills.

I’m staring out of the window at a gang of surly teenagers. Dobba bundles Glenton into the back of the car.
‘Now then, Wayne’ I say. There’s no need for me to be rude.
‘I’m not interested’ he says flatly.
I slap him playfully on the cheek.
‘No need to be like that, is there mate?’ I reply, laughing.
The car doors slam shut as the boys get back in. I wink at Dobba. John looks over his shoulder, signals and pulls back out into the traffic.

We start to move out of the city, I turn towards to Glenton. ‘So, what have you done then?’
He ignores me and continues to stare out of the window.
‘Go on, you can tell me’ I prompt.
I don’t get a reply, but we’re not asked to do a job like this for no reason.
The car goes quiet as we cross Myton Bridge. We can’t help ourselves. We all turn to admire the city’s major tourist attraction, The Deep.
‘I took my youngest there once’ says John. Nobody comments on this, nobody cares.

We begin to pick up speed once we’re onto the new bypass, heading towards the coast to the pre-arranged spot. Dobba turns his heaving bulk towards me.
‘I heard you got into a spot of bother with the police recently?’
I play it dumb. Not that you have to play it too dumb with Dobba.
‘No more hassle than usual, mate.’
‘That’s not what I’ve been told’ says John. ‘We heard that you killed the girl that was in all the newspapers.’
Word gets around fast, I thought. I was a little surprised by this. I sold her the ecstasy tablet, but so what? That hardly made it my fault, did it? I’m not responsible for her death.
I consider my reply. ‘I wouldn’t say that was true, John. I might have dealt to her occasionally, but nobody was forcing her to buy anything, were they? It was her choice. If she can’t take it, that’s not my problem’
‘I’ve got kids. The eldest has just started going out at night into town. I wouldn’t want to be in that family’s position.’
Unbelievable. John, a bleeding heart liberal. Next thing, he’ll be telling me he’s into flower arranging and collects on Whitefriargate for the Socialist Worker.
‘Come on, John’ I say, leaning forward. ‘You play the game, you take your chances. You know what I mean?’
‘Watch your mouth’ says Dobba, pointing at me. ‘John’s got a point. What you did was out of order. You’re lucky that the police can’t prove a link between you and the boss…’
‘That’s because they can’t. I’m clever, me. I don’t get caught.’ I didn’t like the look on Dobba’s face, so I thought that I had best change the subject. We weren’t far from our destination now. Once you’re outside of the city it becomes much quieter. The buildings become more isolated. It’s desolate.

The place stinks, absolutely reeks. I look around. The barn was how we had set it up earlier. We’d placed the table in the middle of the room, leaving a couple of nasty looking saws on its edge; just to build up a bit of atmosphere. It was freezing, we might well need the petrol that we’d thoughtfully placed at the foot of the table. Jesus…I wouldn’t want to be Glenton at this moment in time. Me and John moved to where Dobba was holding Glenton. John had produced a cosh. I swallowed. I closed my eyes. The quicker this was started, the quicker it would be over with. For all my bravado, I wasn’t going to enjoy this. We closed in.
I smiled at Glenton. ‘It has to be done.’
He stares back at me. ‘I suppose it has.’

I’m sent flying forwards into the arms of Dobba and Glenton. John had brought the cosh up and hit me on the back of the head. It wasn’t enough to knock me out, but it caught me off-guard. It was enough to send me to the floor.
Glenton pulls me roughly up as Dobba hits me, square on the jaw. My body goes limp as I’m picked up and thrown onto the table. Before I have chance to react, Glenton has a knife at my throat and my arms and legs are being tied to the table. I could see the saw and the petrol as a rag is forced into my mouth…I can taste my own blood...I can taste my own fear.’
‘You didn’t think that you would be allowed to walk away from killing that girl did you?’ asks John.
‘You’ve become a liability’ says Dobba gleefully, as he picks up a saw and a hammer.
‘It wasn’t my fault’ I try to scream through the rag. My eyes bulge as they close in on me.Now I understood…they’d lured me here…I’d fallen for it…nobody would me hear me scream…punishment.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Rush hour on Bodmin Moor 28/2/2007

A busy morning on Bodmin Moor. Music, Klaxons - Atlantis to Interzone

Friday, 30 March 2007

the way my fantasies go

Invariably, someone
wants me a great deal.
They also love me
and have loved me for years.
I’m not called upon
to emote much
but reciprocate.
This is often enough:
just imagining being wanted.

Sexual contact is complicated
because I don’t allow myself
to break my husband’s heart
even in a dream.
With hard-earned permission,
I’m allowed to kiss
a person in the dark.
She caresses my hair,
touches my lower back

until regular life distracts
and impulse dissolves into where
unfulfilled need lies,
though my heart is aching.
The sacrifices we make
to have safe families.
It’s a shame
to be an animal
means all this longing.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Front Man

Photo taken by Rachel at The Old White Swan on Goodramgate in York on Tuesday. It's the arm and guitar of Chris Helme, ex-frontman of John Squire's post Stone Roses band The Seahorses. He was performing for one night only with his old band Chutzpah!


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Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Grampian Eye

I took this picture, on 30th December 2006 at about 3.30 pm. as I was walking towards the beach.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Life among the factory hands

It’s not very often you get the privilege of your own private screening of a new film. Particularly when you’re a low-rank no-mark like my nearly good self. It wasn’t meant to be this way of course. I’m sure the financial backers of Factory Girl, the latest depiction of Andy Warhol’s speed-fuelled 60s New York boho set didn’t imagine that their baby would be being watched by just two people in a empty soulless garage of a cinema one cold March Sunday in Old York City. But it was, and we were the two.
Maybe the people who were conspicuous by their absence had read some of the reviews. These were nearly enough to put us off as well, in which case it would have been playing to itself. So expectations on our part were not that high. Broadsheet reviewers by and large wanted to hate the film. Warhol and the Factory set are so much part of the alternative cultural narrative of the last forty years that any attempt to put them on the big screen is going to run up against territorial resistance. Particularly when that film features a Warhol played by a man who used to be in Neighbours and an Edie Sedgwick who is a regular in Heat Magazine. Which may be slightly missing the point. Sedgwick was an IT girl, if she were around today she’d be in Heat Magazine on a weekly basis. I would also lay a bet that Warhol would have quite liked the fact that he was being depicted by a man who used to go out with ‘Plain Jane The Superbrain.’
The story is of course tragic. Sedgwick came from a wealthy family that was dominated by a controlling, obsessive and abusive father. Edie was routinely sexually assaulted by him from the age of 8 onwards. Her gay brother was driven to suicide by their father’s violent disapproval. Sedgwick senior put his kids into a private psychiatric hospital and pumped them full of tranquillisers as almost a rite of passage. Edie was drug dependent at the instigation of her father long before she arrived in New York or met Warhol. The true villain of the piece is primarily not Andy, but Fuzzy, the family’s pet name for their monster of a father. How did he get away with it ? Wealth, status, standing. All those things which still give some men all the permission they feel they need to take exactly what they want and stuff the consequences. People around them turn a blind-eye, just because the Alpha-Male can do what the hell he likes. Complicit in the fact was Edie’s mother who decided that the comforts of a wealthy lifestyle were more important than the well-being of her children .That men like Fuzzy Sedgwick are mourned when they die is the greatest travesty. The demise of a monster should be accompanied by fireworks. It was the conventional world, not the freaks which first fucked with Edie’s head.
Warhol always retained a child-like quality, something which Guy Pearce managed to convey throughout. The sense of emotional retardation, the desire not to get involved, the need to keep himself distant, seeing the world from behind a camera lens was cleverly captured. During a time of civil rights riots, body bags being shipped back from Vietnam and the world on the edge of massive political change, Warhol preferred to watch ‘ I Dream Of Jeannie’ than news reports. He always put pleasure before politics. It’s easy to forget however that Warhol was older than the people with whom he associated. He was a child of the 1920s, not the 40s or early 50s. He was old enough to have experienced the grim atrocities of the second world war. He was defined by a period of massive conflagration. The world he wanted to create was colourful, pleasure-loving and accessible. He had little time for the dour realities of life. In that he was not that different from his contemporaries, many of whom would have looked on the coming generation with horror and disgust. Warhol befriended and encouraged them, always one step removed from the madness which he prompted.
Sienna Miller as Sedgwick was a serendipitous piece of casting. Throughout the movie there is little to suggest that she is really playing outside of herself. The comparisons are there to be made. Beautiful media darling with a troubled and temperamental past, a tendency to put her foot in her mouth and the ever-present suspicion that someone that perfect must surely one day have to painfully pay it all back. The fragility, innocence and accepting nature of Edie is never far away keeping check on any negative feelings you might have towards aspects of her behaviour. That she was used, abused and manipulated goes without saying, but it’s hard to point the finger at any one of the parasitical men who leeched off her beauty. Warhol was certainly culpable. He failed to intervene, failed to step out from behind his sunglasses to see what was happening. He lived up to the myth of the passive voyeur, the idea more important than the person. Edie represented an ideal of beauty that fascinated Warhol, when the sheen fell from that beauty he lost interest.
In the film Hayden Christensen plays ‘Billy Quinn’ a poorly disguised portrayal of Bob Dylan. He is vitriolic in his distaste for the Factory set, seeing himself as the knight on a white charger who will rip the veil from Edie’s eyes and rescue her from herself. He is the polar opposite of Warhol. A fiercely self-possessed and strident man obsessed with ideas of authenticity where Warhol sought out frippery. Edie is torn between the two. Quinn/Dylan hides behind the conceit of the big I am. He doesn’t want to adore Sedgwick, he wants her to adore him, not Warhol. That Dylan’s lawyers sought an injunction on the film speaks volumes of his own feelings towards that period in his life. The Dylan character only enters the narrative towards the end and is shown, like everyone as mixed-bag of motivations. That the gravel-voiced one should attempt to pre-empt the story maybe suggests that his own conscience is not quite as clean as he would wish it to be. Film critics have attacked Hickenlooper for his decision to portray everyone around Sedgwick as being somehow culpable in her eventual demise. You sense they would have liked a neat tidy villain, and a clear missed escape route. That Dylan is still deified and seen as beyond criticism in some quarters doesn’t help matters. At no point does the film suggest that his musical canon is somehow less than what it is, just that maybe he didn’t act entirely in line with his own publicity. Dylan is as much a myth as Warhol and Sedgwick. His later relationship record if anything serves to highlight his own deficiencies in that area of his life.
Sedgwick relentlessly descends into substance abuse and mental illness, a pattern of life that was maybe cast the first time her father climbed into her bed. The emotional and personal failings of successful men is as much a theme of the film as that of female self-destruction. The world still requires its little baby nothings. Edie was just one in a long list stretching right back through history.
The last word should perhaps go to Valerie Solanos, another Factory girl rejected by Warhol who later attempted to claim her revenge by trying to assassinate their master of ceremonies. She famously wrote in her SCUM manifesto that to be male is to be “a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.” Read coldly it is nothing but hate-filled misandry. Set against the backdrop of life amongst the cold, calculating and emotionally crippled men with which she and Sedgwick once mixed, you begin to feel that she might have had a point.

Friday, 16 March 2007

St. Patrick's Day Races

Late for the crèche, she’s pushing hard -
baby strapped into the buggy,
toddler whooping at the rear
riding shotgun for Wells Fargo.

This splash of brilliant Caribbean
forges through a dull grey morning,
chasing sunshine that falls just short
of burning through the North Sea mist -
red scarves swirling in the slipstream
rainbow-mittens dance on strings
flashing over granite cobbles.

At the corner, these energies collide
with old men babbling in black suits,
shocks of white hair tousled in the breeze.

Spilling out of Morning Mass,
they're making for the nearest ale-house
to continue their saintly celebrations

for all the world like pints of Guinness,
glasses poured and left to settle
on a long and well-worn bar.

Tiny fingers wave in passing -
writing a message of innocent joy
upon their frothy heads.

It Must Get There Before Sunday

Flustered gents in a post office queue
trying so hard to look important -
feverish glances at wrist-watches,
straightening of ties.

Hyper-confident movers and shakers
reduced to schoolboy awkwardness -
laptops clamped under their arms,
white-knuckled grip on Jiffy Bags

contents mummified in bubble-wrap,
trussed up with crumpled Jumbo Tape,
addressed in strangely child-like writing.

Their mobiles ring - setting nerves on edge
shifting from foot to foot, they mutter
hushed excuses

about working-lunches that over-ran -
contractual obligations pending - tricky stages
of negotiations.

This is the one they won’t palm off
on a personal secretary.
That's OK for buying those 'special' gifts
for their wives - and mistresses -

they still believe it isn’t obvious.

But this is far too close to home,
and you can see they’re starting to sweat -
offering up some silly money

when told there is an outside chance
that their fragrant gifts for Mother
might not arrive on time.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Spring has arrived.

Hello, I am Carole from Aberdeen. I am semi-retired so I have plenty of time to tinker about with my various interests. I love taking digital photographs and then editing them to death. I am interested in philosophy, religion, and logic to mention but a few. I have difficulty focussing on one thing at a time, although I can spend enormous amounts of time messing about on the computer. We have had a relatively mild winter this year, with the promise of a pleasant spring. Here is one picture which has escaped being transformed or deformed, although I admit that I did crop it.

Introduction and Poem

Hi - I am David Henry - a poet based in Aberdeen, North-East Scotland. Thanks Martyn for inviting me to post on 'Garbled Noise'. This is a poem I completed this week. It was inspired after a particularly impenetrable poem was read at my local writers group. It set me on trains of thought about the processes involved in writing a poem, and the perils of straying too far from intelligibility in the process!

On Devils and Prairie Dogs (for Keith)

His voice was spluttering onwards through them
like a dodgey outboard-motor
forging past the white-capped waves
of invented words, non sequiteurs.

He was giggling fit to croak -
only taking time to catch a breath
and mutter some hasty apologies.

Sitting tight on the sidelines,
we wondered just how much politeness
could be stretched
to say we knew what was so funny.

Someone had read it and said he was 'barking' -
he told them it was probably the sound
of their discomfort
at, for once, being the tail that was wagged
by a prairie-dog tearing at a carcass.

I guess you would have had to be there,
inside of his skull right where he wrote it,
to really get close to the vibes,

and yet, this business
of sparking dry language into flame
must allow for the occasional forest-fire
that consumes all sense in its path.

It's always an edgy high-wire act
with toes curled round the dancing cable -
flickers of Earth in peripheral vision
somewhere away down there.

It can be hard to strike a balance
between seeing the joke - and carrying on
when the Devil with a feather-duster
is tickling under your arms!

what you need to know

This is what you need to know.
When your printer runs out of paper
and you put more in,
what button do you push
to tell the printer to try again?
What does your partner really believe
constitutes adultery?
When it comes down to it,
will he spank your children?
Will he understand post-partum depression
after a hard day’s work?
What’s a good food to make
with the cast-off ingredients given to you?
Zucchini bread and zucchini cake
could be helpful.
What’s the phone number
for the police
and the nearest hospital?
What color of clothing
makes you feel most comfortable?
How do you take care of an orchid?
Just a regular orchid.
How do you tell someone
convincingly that you need more time
before you’re certain of something?
Without it sounding like no, basically.
When should you do the things
you’ve been avoiding?
Should you do them at all, really?
Say, the things you’ve been meaning to say
to the neglected parishioners.
Where’s the circuit breaker,
the manual can opener,
and the gas switch
are three good questions for an emergency
like an earthquake,
but not an emergency like someone
dying before you were ready.
Where’s the right counselor?
Where’s the flower shop
and funeral shoes?
Will the salesperson push you down?
Does prayer help?
And why, if so?
Will you forgive me if I suggest
it’s the power of positive thinking?
Why not look in the mirror
with a confused expression,
remembering childhood?
Will you offer yourself one yes
to crown the collection of no?
Will the light of God
give mercy to absolutely everyone?
I’m sorry it’s not possible to know.
I’ve faltered more than usual,
and the poem ends
with the usual apology.

first post should be a brief introduction

I used to have a brick collection and eat chalk, but nowadays, I make a lot of zines and score standardized tests for a living. Please see my blog dangerous compassions.

Two Watercolours

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Incidental Figures (15" x 11 ½")

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Flitter By (15" x 11 ½")

Gilbert And George

This is a photo that I took of the British Contemporary Artists, Gilbert and George at the recent press view for their exhibition at Tate Modern. It was strange seeing them being filmed, photographed and scrutinised by so many people. They looked oddly vulnerable, like animals in a wildlife documentary.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Todays Photoshoot at Chelsea School Of Art

At the moment, my whole life seems to be dominated by NYC Band "Stalkers" and their visit to London which will take place in April. the whole project started when their manager Dave Allen, was over here on a visit last November, and he and myself got ridiculously pissed in the Members Room at Tate Modern Gallery where i work.

At this point, no-one in The UK, other than me, knew who "Stalkers" were from a hole in the ground, so theri visit to The UK, would have largely involved them playing such quality venues as "The Pleausure Unit" in Bethnal Green and "The Good Ship" in Kilburn, ie places where any half decent band could get a gig.

However, since that spanner-mission in November, the "Stalkers" Machine has gone into fucking overdrive. I will not name drop the people and organisations I have met recently over this, partially as I cant be arsed, and partially because I am unsure about what I am allowed to openly talk about, but from the looks of things, they are about to become fucking huge.

So, this brings me back to what I was doing today. One of my closest freinds is a guy called Adam who runs an Arts Collective/Entertainments Organiser called TURBOBRUT, and it is at his TURBOFEST (amongst other dates in an extremely heavilly scheduled visit) in April that "Stalkers" are playing. The other week , he showed me a picture he had drawn, just after I had mentioned "Stalkers" for the first time to him. It featured a woman looking scared, hiding round a corner, whilst 5 shadowy figures lurked menacingly behind. The woman looked like me, and the picture made me laugh, so I decided to re-create it for the TURBOFEST Flyers.

So I found myself today, outside Chelsea School Of Art, wearing a fetching collection of PVC and lace, (BUT NOT IN A GOTH WAY)being photgraphed whilst "hiding" from Adam and Warren BRUT and assorted Art Students, drafted in for the photo.

It looked pretty good, and I daresay if you have a Myspace Account, or live in the East London Area, you will see it very very soon. As for me though, I feel tired, very very tired, so I think I shall sign off to sleep. I guess you will hear from me soon though.

Fifi x

Splash Into Spring

During the past few years, as a person with ME/CFS, the garden pond proved a real haven, away from the restraints imposed by the domiciles four walls. Having been invited to contribute to this new blog, this poem (which emerged as I sat by the pond this afternoon) seemed an appropriate introduction.


A sprinkling splash,

a sudden flash

of ruddy gold -

the first spring stirrings.

A long, slow, turgid rest


by these vital chimes.


they share the sunshine's joy -

and ripple wilfully.

Last seasons debris

stirred and shaken,

the fish escape

their sedimentary rest,

herald the promise

of brighter days to come.

Like me, they must have felt

they'd plumbed the depths

for far too long.

Malcolm Evison

14 March 2007


Early September Sunset 2

I took this photo back in September at my apartment.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Welcome to Garbled Noise

Welcome to what I hope will develop into an eclectic mash-up of good writing, art and photography from a wide range of different contributors. This will be an open access blog for registered contributors to post their work as little or as often as they like. Every six months the best of the blog content, plus new specially commissioned material will be published in the Garbled Noise journal. This will be available to buy online and hopefully from a number of outlets locally.

We're looking for different viewpoints, high culture, low culture and everything else in between. You can be as pretentious or as populist as you like.

You'll need a blogger account to be able to contribute and your first post should be a brief introduction. If you've got your own corner of the web somewhere do link to it and tell your friends and online contacts all about your contributions on here. The idea is that collectively we can build up a decent sized readership and showcase some emerging talent. We are aiming for eclecticism and variety.

So if you think you can contribute in any of the following areas then please get in touch :

*Cultural commentary
* Gig Reviews
* Poetry
* Short Stories / Novel excerpts