Thursday, 15 September 2016

Song Review: John Leyton - Wild Wind

On a soundstage made up to look like the American prairie, an actor made up to look like an elderly gold prospector is tugging hairs out of his nostrils. They resemble eyelashes, those hairs, but you can tell they grew up in a more sordid and unwholesome environment than an eyelid, namely the one that's up the actor's nose, and the one that's up your nose, too.
     The actor's eyes are watering as he pulls at hairs. Someone is trying to give him directions about his role as an elderly gold prospector out on the american prairie. He has gotten four hairs out of his nose and lined them up on the palm of his hand. When he looks down on them, he feels like a buzzard flying over the american prairie, and what he is looking down on is really a scene. And the hairs feel like four cowboys out on the american prairie being looked down upon by a buzzard. No, they are bandits, not cowboys, because cowboys would be eyelashes from an eyelid, not hairs from a nostril. The actor goes back into his nostril for more bandits and his eyes well up with tears.
     All the words of direction are coming at him in a busy shower, but few of them make it through because he is tugging hairs from his nostrils and not only can this spark your imagination in a distracting way, it will necessarily always create a kind of forcefield of sensation through which detailed instructions cannot easily pass. Incidentally, the person giving the directions is not the director, he is a man on an errand from the director, passing on what the director told him practically verbatim.
     But what all this amounts to is that the man playing the elderly gold prospector out on the American prairie hasn't assimilated the important instructions given to him from, but not by, the director of the cowboy film, which is what this production aims to be.
     'Do you understand?' Asks the man on an errand.
     'Yes, I understand, I understand, I understand.' replies the actor, but a dark shadow passes across his face and he feels like he just met the eyes of Dracula. And also unprofessional.
     'Good, you're on in 30 minutes.'
     'Good, good, good.'
     On one of the walls there is a large matte painting of a American prairie. The actor gazes out across the American prairie, even though it's an illusion and his eyes are focused on a spot roughly 12ft away from the tip of his nose. He gazes out across the illusion of an American prairie, not thinking about how to circumvent the awkward situation coming his way. Strangely that hadn't occurred to him. He is resigned to its certainty like we are resigned to the certainty of a bad memory. And he even takes a bit of pleasure from the feeling, like we can take a bit of pleasure from certain varieties of toothache.
     William Shattner is playing the role of lead cowboy. William Shatner introduces himself to the actor made up to look like a gold prospector out on the American prairie. They have a scene together.
'Hello, I am William Shatner,' says William Shatner. He knows everyone knows who he is because he was in star trek, but he is being polite. The two shake hands and some of the nose hairs are transferred onto William Shatner's palm. He doesn't notice them, and later they fall off.


And now for a review of the song: it's dead good. Obviously.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Album Review: Bobby Callender - The Way (first book of experiences)

Some hidden person plucks a sitar string. For a moment you think your underwear elastic has gone again, but then a buzz from a tambura and you're aware you're having a religious experience. 'Urgh,' you think and lay down on the floor. There is a severe, sour look on your face.
     Bobby Callender steps through the kitchen wall just like a ghost, raises an amused eyebrow at you down there on the floor. You can see right up his fucking hemp poncho. His balls look like two Buddhas and the willy pipe bit looks like Jesus Christ, our lord and saviour, complete with beard and stigmata. An angel runs her fingers across a golden harp up in heaven. God gives her a look. Callender helps himself to a seat on the floor. He sits cross-legged at your head. His poncho smells of stale sweat, your Nan's belongings, marijuana.
     'My child,' he says, looking down into your eyes.
     'Yeah, what?'
     At length Callender establishes a link between the pineal gland, all earthly religion, and the constellation of Sirius. His voice is soft and sweet and you can tell he's had a lot of orgasms in his life. You feel peaceful looking up at the kitchen ceiling listening to him speak, and your expression softens. Now the plain magnolia artex takes on oil film colours, pleasantly muted and swirling slightly. You can almost make out the forms of angels up there, naked, dancing in beautiful gardens. You sigh and heavy smoke spills out of your mouth. 'Was I smoking something?' You think. No, it is your soul, golden, undulating, rising up to the ceiling to be with the angels in their dance.
     An indeterminate amount of time later, you wake up with a start. It's dark outside. On the kitchen counter is a receipt: 24 months subscription to The Way magazine.  

Note: I like this album very much.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A review of Ed Sheeran

Imposing factory edifice with frightening gargoyles. Ed Sheeran has been given five years on the production line for sniveling in a public area. They couldn't get the emotional blackmail rap to stick, would have gone straight downstairs to the foundry.
     Sheeran, dressed in his worker overalls, is conducted through the front door by a guard. He has an insipid and obvious thought, decides to speak it out loud: 'Well, at least we're out of the rain.' 
     In an instant the guard has Sheeran in a half-nelson, pushed up against the wall.
     'You listen here, you son of a bitch, this is the end of the goddam world! There ain't no forests left no more, no fish in the sea. The midlands is a sandstorm, gettit?'
     'I'm sorry...din't mean t--' Pressure is applied to his back.
     'And don't you dare try that goddam being nice bullshit with me either. Least of all the virtues – that's what my old man used to say; sure as shit useless in here. This is the end of the goddam world!'
     A row of workers lined up along a conveyor belt. They are sitting on plastic stools. A guard with a nightstick patrols up and down at their backs. Sheeran is taken down the line to find an unoccupied place. Suddenly one of the workers falls back, flops at his feet. It is Newton Faulkner.
     'Water... I just want water... oh, hi Ed.'
     'Newton! What are you in for?'
     'They caught me performing a sort of rap on my acoustic guitar. It references Deal or No Deal and Sainsbury's three-bean tortilla wrap. “Diminishing and demoralising the collective human soul” the judge said.'
     The guard pushes Ed Sheeran in the back. 'Move along!' Faulkner takes one, then two in the kisser from the guard with the nightstick.
     Sheeran finds his place. Slices of ham move quickly past him on a conveyor belt. He isn't sure what is expected of him. The slices of ham blur into one another so that soon there is just an endless strip of ham passing before his eyes, left to right in perpetuity.
     Five years later he is released, relatively unchanged.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Lady Review: Connie Converse

It is a nice enough night and the moon is out. A woman (it's Connie Converse) turns her face to the sky and moonlight comes down like a cross between a little ringing bell and a light mist. She closes her eyes and listens to the night insects flying about and buzzing and rattling. The moonlight is cool on her face as the sunlight is warm in the day. It is the 1950's. She sighs. Once again, only more so this time, it is the 1950's.
     A 1950's man is staggering home. Kicks a dog, braces himself against a tree and pisses into a bush. The urine hits the ground with a lot of weight. The man coughs and grunts and big fart bubble the shape of an American football forces its way past two opposing bum cheeks. Sort of empty wet popping sound.
     'Well, yeah,' says the man, as though the fart had been a question to himself. And it had been.
     He notices Connie Converse sitting out on her porch. Up until now she had been ignoring him. But here his thoughts become audible, impossible to ignore. He would like to touch her naked breasts with his naked hands in the back of his car; he'll pick her up tomorrow at say 8:30.
     'Oh jeez,' thinks Connie Converse. The night air is pregnant with man thoughts. He is deciding what to say. She can sort of hear his mouth dithering on the point between speech and non speech, 1950's platitude and non 1950's platitude. Then she hears a sound like a twig snapping. That was the man deciding to definitely go for it, why not.
     'Well hey there, Connie. How's things going? Fine night, ain't it? You bet, you bet... Say, what is this you're doing out here all alone? Moon bathing, I suppose? Need some company?'
     'Fuck off, Ted.'
     Ted stands awkwardly on the spot for a few moments, slaps his thigh, spits on the ground. He is thinking right now, Connie Converse is able to divine – even right now after I just told him to fuck off in the 1950's - about putting his hands on me.
     'No,' she says.
     'But why not?' Asks Ted.
     'Because, you fucker, I am the moon.'
     'You...' Ted blinks and Connie Converse is gone. He looks up at the moon. It is wearing glasses.