I’ve wanted to blog a lot recently, and either haven’t had the time – the previous post being good example – or haven’t been near enough to a computer to do it. Because I’ve been in Bristol – with the Concubine in my first-Chrimble-with-Girlfriend-Ever – or up in Stafford, doing the yearly routine of nostalgia and port, except with doubled-up nostalgia as I don’t drink port.
(And before I hear the regular readers in the house already moaning: Not another Gillen rants about bloody Nostalgia episode. They used to be so much better than they are now, for once I’m not complaining. I find nostalgia just as seductive as the next man – I’m just aware that it’s useless and… oh, I’ll deal with this later as I don’t want to break the structure I’ve been planning to put into place in this post).
I gave my brother a copy of Fortune and Glory, as he’s devoted to cinema more than anything else (Except: See later note). He bought me a copy of John Gray’s Straw Dogs, as he knows I’m an argumentative cunt.
(Great nepotism by the way. Ballard and Lovelock like it, but he’s clearly Ballard’s and Lovelock’s mate, having referenced them constantly throughout and thanked them on the intro page. Not that *that* matters at all).
He says lots of stuff, and looking at the Amazon reviews, it appears to be worth saying just to get on people’s tits. As a good little Neitzche Poster Boy, I’m a big fan of pulling your own boystring on life’s arrow, but playing around with submission and futility is… oh, read it yourself, you bastards.
Anyway – at one point he returns to the idea, supported by modern neuroscience, that consciousness is bunk and that this magic idea of a coherent string flying through us is just delusional myth which we never experience. He notes that life, both retroactively and in the moment, seems more like unconnected vigenettes, elements framed without real context and so on and so forth.
Hence, here’s some fragments of Christmas, pine-needles falling on the plush carpet of my mind (Shut up, Pseud – Ed).
1) Hammering out the third of the essays in my series for Ninth Art (Go read) in a desperate final rush (I haven’t written anything for publication as quickly since the Everything is Wrong essays. It reminds me how much I like pressure and deadlines and death and glory and all the other stuff which people think I’m mad for loving) as well as doing everything I needed to do before leaving the house (Wrapping presents, replying to e-mails that needed to be done before everything, other assorted stuff I can’t talk about) to a pounding sountrack downloaded tracks by the KLF and…
2) “He was a boy/I was a girl/Can I make it any more obvious” – Late entry for my favourite lyric of the year, perhaps made even better by following it with the utter shit “He was a punk/She did Ballet/What more can I say?”. The first works because it is the perfect statement to a song of broken love, pride and arrogance. Can I make it any more obvious? No, clearly not. Boy/Girl=ETERNAL SEX WAR. The second fails totally, as it’s a clear lie. I think of the two punk girls of my closest aquaintence and they did ballet. Equally, the song fails to even grasp that punk/prep is dual way hatred. Sk8er Boi would have been just have felt social pressure against them getting together (Cross reference: Grease is the best film ever (Except: See later))
3) Standing in a queue outside moles trying to get into a Cheese night. David McCarthy shamelessly singing random songs at the top of his voice, not caring what anyone cares. He starts up on “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. Everyone looks embarassed… and then, for no apparent reason, two of us stride up and join in. Ends with 20 assorted videogame personages singing the “DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS!?!?!?!?!?!!!?!?!” bit with a passion and anger that’s frightening.
4) Just before throwing my bag into my Brother’s car, listening to the aforementioned single and having to fight back tears for no good reason at all. I think it’s just crossed over the magic boundary for me – songs go from being great, to being over-exposed… and then, at a certain point of overexposure, become transcedent things of pure beauty.
5) PHONOGRAM. It’s almost the right name, but not quite. Bastard world.
6) Explaining at great length to Michael’s friends that they were better people than my own friends that evening – despite me having an equally fab time with both. While my evening was spent with friends having shits and giggles over the memories of things we did together, they were having a great time making new memories. Doing something cool today makes your nostalgia better – that’s my real problem with it. Nostalgia now kills future nostalgia. Perhaps my problem is that I love it too much…
7) Vodka Kerplunk.
8) Chess gaining a crowd of beered up peeps. Marvelous.
9) In the same way that The Big Lebowski is the new Withnail and I for Student Stoners, Tenacious D being the new Monty Pyhton for idiot Middle Class kidz.
10) Holmes telling me how much his shirt cost. Holmes telling me about how he’s learnt the secret of Sharking and now prowls north London bars. Me thinking of Holmes as a Kohl-eyed Nirvana fan hiding from the world, and thinking how far he’s come and how glad I was there for him when it was needed. I’ve fucked up a lot, but that was one where everyone concerned did right. It’s a rare feeling.
11) Reading LIGHT and realising how long it’s been since I’ve actually read anything approaching traditional Sci-fi (Burroughs/Ballard/Shelley/Self/Rossignol don’t count). Not objecting or missing it – just noting it. Excellent work too. Pah.
12) Just about to slide into a bath when when I open a cupboard and find my old diaries staring back at me. I fail to resist, and grab a volume. Not the bound one which chronicles my misadventures in the USA, as I know opening that’s going to be cripling, but one of the loose-bound leafs. Particularly, circa Emily, Initial deliciously bad sex, my first Festival and those other primary events of the summer that turned me into the human being I am now. I might as well have walked around in a Chrysalis the changes were that prononuced. And… well, reading this I was struck with something – some lines I knew I was lying to myself as I wrote them. Some lines now seem to be lying to myself, but I can no longer recall whether I was telling the truth or not. And there’s the nagging horror at the level of prose, the banality of the insight and… God knows I’m a slow thinker about the largest matters (My strength is the ability to think *constantly* and reach conclusions eventually in evolutionary steps. There’s a direct timeline you can place against my teenage years where I recapitulate most of Western Philosophy by myself). I personally blame the diaries being shit – this was circa when I was writing for Amiga Power, and that material, while juvenalia and entirely owing in style to Nash, Campbell and Winstanley, was coherent and fairly entertaining – on it being written longhand. Fuck pens. Pens are rubbish.
13) One gran’s front-room with the chair’s moved so one seat’s in the corner. That ramned things home even as much as her proud, angry words about the Nurses of Today.
14) The other… actually, I’ll save that.
15) RED CHINO! GAY CHINO!
16) My Brother knows stuff about music. This is a new thing. My Brother, while having as many albums as most people, couldn’t share a proper conversation with me about the pop form, because he simply doesn’t care enough. It’s just pop music. This year, he’s changed. I blame his last girlfriend, who clearly has introduced him to the buzz of pop-culture, the joy of live gigs and festivals and all the usual shit. It’s late, but since it’s never to late, it’s not too late. I can now talk about the B-Line Disaster Stupid Long Title with him. This is a good thing.
17) Christmas Day being better than I’d ever hoped. Now *that* is what you’re meant to be nostalgic about.
And on and on and on, but I’ll stop now as – well – that’s what stopping means. Stopping.
I doubt I’ll get a chance to write anything tomorrow – I want to do a Drill-cock! new year message, but even that’s unlikely – so I’ll wish you all a Happy New Year now. Download “Electric Dreams” now and join my sentimental mood.