March 2002. "Dearest
The rain. It poureth.
And I am angered to read that the only people who are worried you
might be going senile are 'white, middle-class southerners'. So
slammeth top telly taste-czar Gavyn Davies in the papers dunnit.
Everyone can spot the shod. Everyone is perfectly aware when something
is being tickle-stick over Oscar Wilde with a laser-knife and some
folks even enjoy a bit of the other. Run away from those focus-group
head-benders Auntie, run!, and strive for old-fashioned quality
and innovation. You sat me on your knee, educated and entertained
me. When we rubbed brows, you with your dead clever one and me with
ickle bickle dribbly oik mouth, the sparks were pure Swiftian magic.
The monobrow, monolith demograph man is coming Auntie. Hide!
Don't let him in! Love always. DPS"
March 2002. Today
I was walking round Nan Goldin: Devil's Playground at the Whitechapel
Art Gallery thinking - I'm not sure if I particularly enjoy Nan Goldin
photographs but it feels like good art. Why? Her waterscapes were
mesmerising but there is something about the very transcient images
of sex with all it's bruises and bad makeup and stitches and sore
parts that I didn't warm to. It's important to see alternative views
of the sex act that don't hail from an idealist pornographer's eye
but by leaving out all the romance that the couple feel is
taking place Goldin had me confused as to what she actually held dear
in her own chosen subject matter. Even the desire going on while two
people screw seemed missing. She took all the politics and background
away from sex and left it looking like an act only fit for second-rate
hedonists. Which got me wondering if the photographs were about sex
at all - the subjects all seemed to have chosen sex as their favourite
way to commune with one another, but we wonder if they've made the
right choice. Just as I started asking myself too many questions about
Goldin herself, and started wondering if our old friend the juxtaposition
of the sacred and the profane was a radical enough statement these
days, I started thinking about the other visitors to the gallery and
the people on Brick Lane. I somehow saw them in a slightly clearer
light. Whether that was Goldin's beautifully scaled but abherrant
funk-anthropologist methods or my own response to them I wasn't sure.
How to become a virgin. Move to America or take regular lessons
in naivety -
know why you're all here?" the lecturer questioned the class.
looked at one another. "No."
"Splendid!" He moved to leave. "Class dismissed.
Oh - by the by - give me a thousand words next Monday. On.. My Lovely
Cock." We stared at one another again. "Jim Goad's collection
of pro-Bush haikus?" he sighed. "Oh!"
tad confused, I made my way through the rain-soaked streets to the
Apollo Theatre where journalistic powerhouse and professional antagoniste
Christopher Hitchens was holding court. My intention - to bring
up My Lovely Cock during the Q&A. I felt sure that Whitehouse-scanner
Chip would be happy to explain, after pinballing 24 carat snippets
from the pages of Emile Zola and Karl Marx through
a gob-stopped audience. Imagine
my disgust when the open floor climax was immediately hijacked by
an almost incomprehensible Beatlemania of verbal funk, the normally
erudite rabble seemingly determined on this occasion to yelp utter
balls for a laugh. "How can you live in a country which condones
THIS?" - an irate counter-contrarian behind me shook what looked
to be a thirty page thesis in the air. Sharp as the Hitch might
be, no amount of squinting to the seventeenth row could produce
a winning answer from the stage.
the lobby afterwards, I tried to join a mosh-pit of contrarians
smoking under the No Smoking sign, swarmed about the celebrity pensman.
"Are you aware of My Lovely Cock?" I grunted over someone's
shoulder, louder every time. Desperate not to repeat the scene where
Eminem (whose instincts toward women seem positively Betty Freidan-ian
under the shadow of the sinister Goad) snubs Stan and Matthew for
a hastily planted heiroglyph, I elbowed forward - only to watch
the Hitch being bourne away by a whoop of grumpy monkeys. I made
my final, desperate plunge. "Name?" he asked, pausing
to dedicate a book. "Mr Hitchens. Hell. Chip. Are you aware.."
But he had gone.
the tube home I suckled aural comfort from bad babysitter Princess
Superstar. Her sleevenotes to 'CEO'
inspired one of the first
shots I fired at the Transparent Zone, having dug the cut of Concetta's
jib since her walking-Manhattan-naked-painted-gold phase stood out
in the much-missed mag 'Ben Is Dead' - an organ which almost levitated
off the shelves with creativity, thanks to the female touch of ed
Darby. Compare and contrast Jim Goad's distasteful 'underground'
God," I began in my notebook, "A mass walking of London
naked might answer two problems. First up - voguish Nokia-jacking.
Secondly - the insane and dangerous Public Private Partnership of
the Underground. In my darkest hours I doubt the true independence
of the Ernst and Young report. Give me clarity, God. Give me some
vision - to big up Ken Livingstone's war against all things nuts
- and give me the sheer style to destroy Satan-people like Jim Goad
who can't treat women and men as all equally just the same. And
help me fight policemen, who are all secretly anarchists."
God said ..Balistique.
A break from fiction. I've been listening back to the third selection
of DPS songs - Battle Royale - writing up sleevenotes and a running
order, seeing to a sleeve proper. I'm pleased with it. It's taken
longer than the first two through a mixture of technical hitches,
personal goings-on and, well, a reluctance to come to a conclusion,
song-wise. Whether they are freshly written or culled from some
phantom back catalogue - every one of these songs is dear to my
heart and deserved an airing. The engineering is homespun because,
well, it is - but load for free or purchase as triptych in all
it's glory. Bass players and remix-a-lots welcome, I fancy some
live stage slaughter. A word about the contentious content of
one or two of these songs - why have we grown to actively enjoy
grittier films and books but never pop? Pop is usually seen as
a celebration of it's subject matter, blues a lament. The twain
might meet, and I try to ensure that even songs with darker themes
stand on their own two allegorical feet.
Been looking at
the PSNI website. It's innocuous, blatantly so - all Bike Safe and
Bobby Friendly. There's no reference to the Royal Ulster Constabulary,
no Confidential Telephone numbers or suspicious package advice.
It's almost as if a quango is going over every syllable to make
sure the past thirty three years plus are officially History. Knowing
Northern Ireland, I doubt that anyone will allow much to slip away
but maybe they should. As every Japanese schoolchild will tell you,
Japan has always been sinned against and never once considered even
expleting aloud without prolonged, foreign provocation. Rewriting
history is one the many things they seem to have made into an artform;
the good lie being better than a less-than-honourable truth, and
the eternal here-and-now an instrument to their proud success. If
rebranding doesn't work in NI, why not try secular schools? I'm
sure that education boss Martin McGuiness realises it's a way forward
but the proposition has traditionally been more feared by the Catholic
community, his voters, than the Protestant. One problem I have with
Zen and meditation is the clearing of the mind, and that intellectual
ponderings or discourse might not be the key to but actually stand
in the way of happiness - but a problem I've never had with whiskey.