20.4.05

Naked Lunch.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs is one of those legendary books that has inspired practically everyone, including Will Self, one of my favorite contemporary writers. It's nightmarish, paranoid, and if Burroughs ever achieved the rebellion against media-controlled-words in one text, it's this one. I haven't actually managed to finish it, instead, it's a book I'll dip into, read a few paragraphs, and then shove back under the sofa, back onto the shelf, or in the gigantic pile of books and paper beside my bed.

I'm not in the habit of overanalysing literature, I like to take what I can see and run with it. With Burroughs, there's almost too much text to even start analysing anyway - and there's not much point in trying to dissect a dissected corpse in the first place. But I'm currently on page 92, and when I flip open a page I've not flipped open for oh...months...I'm immediately immersed in a mirror world, where things are similar but not quite as I know it. Perhaps the world that can only exist in a single perception: vivid, multicoloured, faggy and loud. I like Burroughs. I like him a lot.

"They are escorted by a drunken cop to register in a vast public lavatory. The data taken down is put on pegs to be used as toilet paper."

For someone who was always known as a gentleman, Burroughs had the ability to walk anywhere, and do and say exactly as he please without too many repercussions. And so, through this freedom, he was able to write words like those, live out in Tangiers, have friends push him forward, buy sex and heroin on the streets and live in piles of paper for his entire life. Naked Lunch is a testament to freedom - a manual, a memory. It's a dictionary, a cultural experience. I have absolutely no idea how to recommend it to anyone or irrigate inspiration from it, but I know that I must.

Link Dump 20/04/05

  • - Sega Fantasy VI. The old consoles battle the evil Sony in an attempt to save gaming as we know it.
  • - Google is suing froogles.com for trademark infringement...even though the site existed before froogle.com came into being.
  • - Headph0ne Phet1sh. Hot girls in headphones. Enough said.

19.4.05

Tramadol.

I'm currently taking tramadol to relieve the pain caused by my rebellious gallbladder. I'm not wholly sure whether it's the co-codamol (codeine + paracetamol) that I'm taking with it (double doses baby!), but I keep tearing up over the tiniest things. I have this huge pile of white boxes on my desk right now, two of which contain habit forming drugs. Being that I'm spending a lot of time working on the Hotline right now, it's more than a little ironic.

18.4.05

Carré Callaway

The NIN Hotline has the first exclusive interview with Carre Callaway, the young lady who supported Nine Inch Nails at the California warm-up gigs at the end of April. She talks about how she started in music, the support she's received from Trent Reznor and her thoughts on the shows that she played - including some of the assholisms she was exposed to. Take that Rolling Stone!

17.4.05

Fox's Rocky bars.

Fox's Rocky bars are without doubt, the best chocolate bar in the whole wide world. I rediscovered them in a sweet-laden Asda-Walmart aisle a few weeks ago, and since then, I've been addicted. I used to eat a ton of them when I was a kid, but those were the days of buying the broken biscuit boxes from the milkman (instead of real chocolate from the supermarket in non-biodegradable boxes).

They are "crunchy biscuits covered in thick milk chocolate", which sounds simple enough, but oh what biscuit. And oh, what thick milk chocolate. It's like biting down on pure tasty heaven. I have two left in the fridge, but I can't eat them due to my untrustworthy gallbladder. Thus, I make a blog post.

Pause.

I've been attempting to write an interesting, revolutionary blog post for the last two hours. I rummaged through the links that I collect on a daily basis. I used the BlogNav (that silver bar up top) to it's full extent, skipping through Malaysian, Indian, teenage, Alaskan, baby, family, Swedish blogs until I got sick and tired of not finding any content outside of people's personal lives (not that it's not interesting, but when looking for inspiration is your main prerogative, the humdrum of a Christian teen's life grates somewhat).

And then I find myself in nothing. Absolutely nothing. I've turned my music off, and all I can hear are my fingers on keys and the breath of my laptop. Darkness crept in over my shoulder, my curtain's closed, my glass is empty. My cable modem clicks green lights and my gut churns a little in memory of last night's excursion to casualty. I've been working for so long and so hard on everything, that it's been a long time since I've managed to sit and do absolutely nothing. It's almost sinister.

13.4.05

Those Crazy Kids.

"One day, I was asked to give a talk to a class of sannensei about my winter vacation. They were supposed to listen, and afterwards we'd give them a fun quiz to test their listening comprehension. I talked about traveling. I said I liked to travel, especially on the trains. I get stared at a lot by old grandmothers, and sometimes they talk about me too.

After my talk, we gave the quiz...I asked "What do I often like to do?" One boy raised his hand and in earnest, answered "Grandmothers."

I think we really need to work on their listening comprehension more."

Azrael is an English Language teacher in Japan. His stories just about kill me.

12.4.05

Cut Up

"The irony is that it takes a writer to kick us from the habit of the word. By juxtaposing words into sentences, strings of words not represented in our brains, the words become meaningless and its control over us is rendered harmless. The cut-up is a method for direct action against mind control."

~ On the Cut-Up

The majority of people, including myself, have set rules in their heads and when they are broken, they flip out. Say, for example, modern art. Perhaps one of the most panned art forms, people can't quite understand what is creative about an unmade bed. I figure that if you can't work that one out, you've got no business being in an art gallery in the first place.

The cut up technique, for me as a writer, goes down that path. Not because I think it's an invalid form of writing - to the contrary, I use it myself in between bouts of serious writer's block. Some of my most satisfying crap comes out of picking, arranging, throwing together newspaper clippings to find a short piece of poetry. No, it's the feeling it gives me: that I'm somehow cheating because I'm taking other people's words and using them for my own meaning. Even though I have thousands upon thousands of words, definitions, quotes, phrases - and so does everyone else. And we reuse speech every single day of our lives. It makes absolutely no sense, not logically anyway.

But if you move onto the idea that the cut-up is a movement against mind control - that we've been subconsciously implanted with this idea that once a word is committed to someone else's paper, that it's theirs, and thus marketed and commodified; then the discomfort and illogicality makes sense. I'm feeling uncomfortable because I've been made to feel that way so that other people can profit.

Much like the sampling debate, it's not about stealing ideas, but taking inspiration and content and remixing it. The results could be that kids walk around thinking your work was made by some pop star who just happened to turn up to the studio at the right time to lay down the vocals...or the results could be much more daring, original and inventive. If taking old content and turning it into new content brings forth other new things, be it good or bad, then why the discomfort? Because both influence - to be better that the worst, to be as good as the best.

11.4.05

Wave.


"He beat her with a table leg and a metal belt buckle...after punching [her] in the face and hitting her over the head with a vacuum cleaner, [he] dragged her into the kitchen and pushed her head into a microwave.

'Although he couldn't shut the door he tried to start it by pushing the safety catch with a pencil.'

After being beaten and whipped by [him] for nearly 18 hours, [she] began to vomit blood. [He] refused to allow her to leave their flat. Twenty-four hours later, [she] started to bleed from her ear at which point [he] released her."

[From BBC News]

10.4.05

Attention.

I would talk about Om Malik's article about Internet Anxiety Disorder but I've spent all day building a Nine Inch Nails tour archive site from scratch. Well, OK, I started from scratch yesterday, but recently, the days have been blending into each other, so I count this weekend as one long continuous day of staring at bad HTML. Not to mention all the other things: keeping up to date with email, news, eating, transcribing two hours of Trent Reznor on the radio, checking my RSS feed etc.

I think you get my point. I'll be coming back..."soon"...see you on the other side.

8.4.05

Beating Me Down.


"Torture, they say, is the fastest and most reliable means of forcing prisoners to divulge information. During the apartheid era in South Africa, Gideon Nieuwoudt, one of South Africa's most notorious torturers, used a range of techniques on his ANC victims and retains a philosophical perspective. 'It's like a piano: you make use of the black notes and the white notes to make a sweet melody,' he says. He has no doubt the beatings he inflicted on detainees forced them to talk: 'The people will never give you anything without torture, that I can assure you.'

Former colleague Paul Van Vuuren lost count of the number of people he tortured under apartheid, but is still proud of his skills. 'There are all these movies about Rambo and stuff where they put electricity on his bodies and he's not talking. That's bullshit. There is no-one in the world; I haven't yet seen one guy that don't talk. I can take anyone on and make them talk, that's no problem.'"


~ The truth about torture by Kate Townsend.

Storyteller Extraordinaire.

Joe has written a 4 part story that you just have to read.

Start with the beginning, continue here, then here and then go straight to the end.

I agree with Vasco's sentiments: someone send this man an agent, and get these stories put on bookshelves - where they belong.

7.4.05

NIN Kerrang interview 30/3/05


"The guy who re-assembled it at Alan’s studio made an interesting discovery though. These huge circuit boards are usually constructed by one guy, and the guy who originally built this was an obsessive/compulsive, which isn’t good in life but is apparently great if you have to wire up 96 channels of sound for a recording studio. Anyways, one day this guy goes into the woods and kills his girlfriend with a circuit board tool. And the guy who was re-assembling this desk discovered the word 'CUNT' etched into one of the chips."

~ To Hell and Back, by Stevie Chick.

(I was checking my referral logs last night and I found someone had hit my blog looking for this interview. So, just to make it easier, if you were looking for this interview, here it is.)

Dress Code.

"Marquee is no fashion free-for-all. Wass, a slickly dressed doorman, has rules. "For men, no warm-up suits, sweat pants or gold chains unless you are a chart-topping rap star," he said. "For women I like to call it the Rule of Three: never show more than two of your areas. You can tastefully show some midriff and some leg, but hide your chest."

Frankie Pino, a 22-year-old Rutgers student who made the cut, said: "I try not to be too trendy. Just mature and fashionable. Nothing too over the top." He looked swell in a vintage velvet blazer, white shirt, Diesel jeans and Converse sneakers. Of course, there can be something exhausting about a club full of people trying really hard to look as if they're not trying really hard."

~ "The Clubgoer's Guide to Looking the Look" by Josh Patner.

6.4.05

Amazon.co.uk NIN pre-orders.

With Teeth (audio cd) - includes bonus tracks "Home" and "Right Where it Belongs (alternate version 2)", for £8.49.

With Teeth (Japanese Import) - for £18.99.

With Teeth (US Import) - for £12.99.

The Hand That Feeds (audio CD) - including two Photek remixes (Straight and Dub), for £3.99.

The Hand That Feeds (DVD single) - including the Photek Straight remix and The Hand That Feeds music video, for £3.99.

Convenience.

"In modern Japan, the convenience store is taken to be the spiritual home of the boys in hip-hop shorts and the girls with shocking yellow hair and artificial tans, who try with their every move -- eating in the street, squatting on the sidewalk -- to show that they take their cues from 50 Cent and not Mrs. Suzuki.

The door of my local Lawson has badges to denote police surveillance, and where the great 20th-century novelist Junichiro Tanizaki praised shadows (nuance, ambiguity, the lure of the half-seen) as the essence of the Japan he loved, Lawson speaks for a new fluorescent, posthuman -- even anti-Japanese -- future.

And yet, in the 12 years I've lived on and off in my mock-California suburb, the one person who has come to embody for me all the care for detail and solicitude I love in Japan is, in fact, the lady at the cash register in Lawson. Small, short-haired and perpetually harried, Hirata-san races to the back of the store to fetch coupons for me that will give me 10 cents off my ''Moisture Dessert.'' She bows to the local gangster who leaves his Bentley running and comes in the store with his high-heeled moll to claim some litchi-flavored strangeness. When occasionally I don't show up for six or seven hours, she sends, through my housemates, a bag of French fries to revive me."

~ Our Lady of Lawson by Pico Iyer.

5.4.05

Bucks.

The Starbucks Delocator is perfect for all the left-wing vegan hippies I seem to pick up along the road of life, as well as regular lil' me, because I dislike Starbucks just as much as the lefties do. I can embrace the ideal of corporate identity and mass employment as much as the next culture-perve, but when they pop up three-per-corner, thus eradicating small businesses (hello Microsoft!), well, I don't like that and neither should you. Diversity keeps life interesting.

Anyway, the Starbucks Delocator is a helpful pointer to all those non-corporate coffee houses that you might have in your area. As of now, this only works for my friends in the US, but I would imagine they have plans to branch out worldwide (or at least to Canada and the UK). As well as searching, you can also add any stores you know of that aren't on the site, and buy merchandise from CafePress.

(The reason the site isn't actually called the Starbucks Delocator, is because they are afraid of legal repercussions from the company. So I'm taking cues from BoingBoing and helping to perpetuate a moral GoogleBomb.)

4.4.05

Charlotte.

"Charlotte was not only randy; she was rude. She was sent a copy of Jane Austen's Emma and spouted bile all over it. '[Austen] ruffles her reader with nothing vehement, disturbs him by nothing profound,' she bitches. 'The passions are perfectly unknown to her ... the unseen seat of life and the sentient target of death - this Miss Austen ignores.' Later she smacks her more firmly over the bonnet. 'Miss Austen is not a poetess. Can there ever be a great artist without poetry?'"

~ Reader, I shagged him, a defence of Charlotte Brontë's sexuality, by Tanya Gold.

3.4.05

Nine Inch Nails at the Astoria.

I was in London for 4 days (getting back yesterday evening as I missed my Friday afternoon bus and had to stay overnight with relatives) hanging out with friends and seeing Nine Inch Nails at the London Astoria (capacity 1500 people). This afternoon was spent writing a rather long review of the two days which totals just under 2500 words. It's a pretty good analysis of what happens at British gigs if you're involved in a fanbase of a well known band, if I do say so myself.

2.4.05

Where?

Aside from the unpaid internet bill, here's why I've been absent for the past week and a half.

I'll be returning with my own review sometime tomorrow.