Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recent Acquisitions in the Arena of the Printed Page

Eddie Campbell is a certifiable comics genius. Possibly best known for his insanely well researched and rendered graphic depiction of Victorian London in From Hell (written by another comics Master Alan Moore) Campbell's graphic style can be deceptively off-putting at first glance, but I assure you the man is a visual tour de force and a born storyteller. Alec, a tome of over 600 pages, is an autobiographical epic that has had my eye on the book shelf for some time.

Though first of course I have to finish:

And Interspersed throughout, some light holiday short stories:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Still Raining, Still Dreaming...

It's been raining in Southern California for days. I LOVE it.

For the first time in years I've fallen into a heavy sway with The Verve. Their music... it's as if I'm standing on a dock in the rain watching the distant lights of a boat getting farther and farther away, a season of my life moving away from me without cruelty or judgment and Richard Ashcroft's voice is the voice that's been sent to let me know that even though the channel's fading the transmission is still strong.

I'm reading Dan Delillo's White Noise and it's one of those books that within two pages you know it's important. You know it's going to change you, and that's as rare as it is magnificent.

I'm falling in love with my wife all over again and she doesn't suspect a thing...

The Verve

Soooo awesome. We're having storms galore in southern California – more rain here in a week than probably the entire going-on five years we've lived here. And The Verve... well, they are perfect for stormy weather.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grant Morrison's Batman Returns/Incoportated - SPOILERS!!!

Recently I made a HUGE mistake.

In August I re-read all of Grant Morrison's Batman, Batman and Robin and The Return of Bruce Wayne – re-read up to that point anyway. So, you see the mistake of course was that I didn't wait the extra three or so months and re-read it after the arc arrived at its conclusion – a conclusion Morrison had been building to, in the Batman books, for close to five years (and arguably a lot longer if you take into account that all of his DC stuff since his JLA run in the mid-90's* has all been intertwined). So now the page has turned, Bruce Wayne is back and the "new era" has begun; one where apparently many people will wear a Batman or related suit, and I've realized I have most definitely missed something.


So I guess I'm just going to have to read it again. But not for a bit.

First – I am extremely happy to see that Dick Greyson and Damian Wayne are going to continue to be the Batman and Robin of Gotham. I'm not too happy that Morrison is leaving that title for Batman, Inc. but I'll stay on for a while**. Grant's Batman and Robin has been one of my favorite books each month – he's arguably redesigned and added to Batman's Rogues Gallery in such a way as to make it a little bit more modern and perhaps even usable for those great, dark and realistic Christopher Nolan films***, because really, other than those Nolan has already mined for the films, whose left that won't come across completely Schumacher-ish?

But I digress, whereas Batman and Robin has been lighting up my comics life every month Morrison's The Return of Bruce Wayne has been a bit of an 'Ohhhhhkkkaaaayyyy... I'll read this out of the obligation to the overall story arc but... I don't know. Each issue has felt a bit... unfulfilling? First of all, I have to believe that DC pushed Morrison into a storyline similar to the mega-successful Captain America death-time-travel-return storyline**** that was so successful for Marvel (because the big two just have to imitate each other still, in this day and age). And really, Morrison's doing a decent job with it, it's just that, well, every issue feels rushed and too concerned with showcasing a Batman re-imagining in key time eras (Prehistoric, Colonial, Pirate, Cowboy, etc). When I performed my marathon re-read ROBW was only up to issue three and since then I've let the next three collect in a pile. I guess I figured if I waited until the series had reached it's conclusion it would read better in one sitting.

Did it?

Yeah, a little bit.

The forced trappings of the storyline are still there, but Morrison exhibits some almost bafflingly esoteric and profound moments of exposition on what may indeed prove to be an even bigger, grander concept for The Dark Knight in the years to come. That's why I'm such a Morrison fan – it's not just the big picture that can take years of seeding and development, it's also his ability to transcend the actual pages he's writing on and turn over-used archetypes such as Golden Age superheroes into avenues by which the reader can access bigger, almost occult ideas from the wider, realer world around them. This was true of The Invisible, which Morrison has talked extensively about being not just a story or work of incredibly clever Meta-fiction but a "Spell" by which he Willed the world to grant him access and influence to certain things.

Batman is one of those things and, I think, a continuation of a modern wordsmith/philosopher/cultural engineer's Oath of Ipsissimis through his work.

And maybe more important, that work is DAMN entertaining to boot!!!


* Yeah, he's that good.

** In the realm of comics I follow a few key writers, not characters or titles.

*** Which I suppose I'm still interested in even though Mr. Nolan has stated he is not going to recast Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Joker in the wake of Heath Ledger's unfortunate death. I understand this decision, but as I've posted about somewhere before I really feel as though Nolan's first two films were both set-ups to a much more important concept to be played out in the third and any subsequent films – the idea that once Rachel Dawes died, the only person who could complete Bruce Wayne, so did he. What would have been left of course was Batman and the only person who could complete him, and that would of course be The Joker.

Plus Levitt is freakin' awesome and apparently an uncanny mimic.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Twilight Singers album

2010 proved to be an AMAZING year for new music and if this is any inclination 2011 is starting off on a damn good foot. Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers have proven to be one of the most influential groups in my life in recent years (if there was ever a soundtrack to my life from 2001-2006 it was their MASTERPIECE Powder Burns). Just from reading a little bit about the forthcoming Dynamite Steps (Feb 11th; Sub Pop) I'm expecting another epic of 2AM proportions*.

Follow below and hear the new single:


2AM is, loosely put, a 'genre' I am attempting to create or 'coin' for the kind of atmosphere that abounds in the post-bar hours of the night. Encapsulating it in words is my current project and something I feel Dulli did perfectly on Powder Burns, an album that was recorded, in many cases, via generators in post-Katrina New Orleans. 2AM's denizens are booze, drugs, sex and danger – all for no reason other than if you're up that late and out on the town, those are the waters you're going to eventually find yourself swimming in. 2AM is also a verb, i.e.: 2AM too long and you'll eventually find yourself fighting to keep your head above water.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let's Try This Again... Douglas Copeland's Pessimists Guide to the Next 10 Years

Apparently I'm having technical difficulties. However, although I've not read any of Copeland's novels (our friend Vanessa's copy of The Gum Thief has been sitting on our shelves for a while now - I'm working my way 'round to it) this right here makes me think he is an important mind in our day and age. Please follow and digest (if the link works this time that is).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Liars - Scissors

In reviewing my favorite albums of the year, this came back up. Such a FANTASTIC music video (I say that a lot on this blog, but not a lot in general).

Friday, December 10, 2010


If you haven't heard about this let me break it down: These two guys made a fake trailer for a movie that doesn't exist and wasn't in anyone's production schedule (except their own). The trailer is masterful; they hug new age horror movie trailer conventions beautifully. Then, the cherry on the sunday, they attached Eli Roth's name to it and put it online. Roth saw it and is now producing it for them.

"That's not funny daddy..." Awesome.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

One Of My Favorite Breweries

Fuck what Old Milwaukee's saying – it doesn't get any better than this!!!

La Fin Du Monde is probably my favorite of the Unibroue beers, although any of the four of these is absolute heaven on the taste buds. Also of note is Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly and Blanche de Noir, light and dark opposites of similar style. Ah, and the elusive Raftsman which can currently be found in their taster pack but doesn't seem to exist in an individual bottle.
Points of note: any bar serving any Unibroue beers on tap is your friend and you should frequent it often, tipping the wait staff generously and remembering that not everyone is as lucky as you are to have a place like that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kylie Minogue Love At First Sight official video HQ


I cannot stop listening to this album. I'll be posting a full review on my Chud blog soon, but Yppah's They Know What Ghost Know is on fire in my head and driving my fingers across the keys like break dancers across lily pads.

The music is mostly instrumental and possessed with a great vibe; exuberant, cheerful, triumphant and melodic even in it's oft break-beat breakdowns and traipsing sampledelia. They Know What Ghost Know is a perfect ying to another electro-ish album I've been courting for the better part of a year now's yang, Crystal Castles II. However where Yppah is happy Crystal Castles 2nd album is dark and brooding, almost terrifying at times (and I do not use that word loosely to describe music). There is an element of repressed fear and explosive release – as if an exorcist was called forth to bring the Poltergeist-like depths of singer Alice Glass' soul so that she could release critical inner tension, finally vomiting it out in garbled, often muffled screams and incoherent proclamation. I know that doesn't necessarily sound like what one would call 'Pop' music, but trust me, it is.

Then again I have a pretty different definition of what constitutes pop than many people. Although we all seem to agree on Kylie Minogue.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grinderman & Faith No More Live!!!

This was a tough but glorious week. Working 6 days a week, long hours to boot, and two concert experiences with perhaps two of my most beloved musical influences/heroes on two consecutive days.

My love of Nick Cave is a more recent thing; I didn't 'get it' until a friend of my wife, then girlfriend, burned me a double whammy of 'And No More Shall We Part' & 'Let Love In' about seven years ago. But Faith No More... they are primordial for Shawn. And although I've seen Mike Patton in almost every other project he's had since I'd missed every opportunity to see Faith back in the day. Well this week I saw both (well, not The Bad Seeds, but Cave's new offshoot band Grinderman) and reviews for both amazing shows on my Chud blog. Links follow.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Latest Show - Mario Cotto on KCRW

Latest Show - Mario Cotto on KCRW

Best DJ around. He is the definition of eclectic in a country where, to quote Cassidy, "All you have to do is own a chili peppers album to be eclectic". I've heard him go Black Moth Super Rainbow to Throbbing Gristle to Cage & Avairy to The Stooges. Check him out.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Johnny Greenwood - Bodysong

I broke this album back out recently. Track 6, "Convergence" was the track PT Anderson used for the oil derrick scene in his masterpiece "There Will Be Blood". Greenwood is obviously a huge Krzysztof Penderecki fan and it shows in his ability to utilize space and dissonance in his music. I can only imagine that we have years of great stuff coming from Mr. Greenwood, with or without Radiohead.*


* Not that I have anything against Radiohead – I do not, although I much prefer Kid A and afterward in terms of their oeuvre. The stranger they are the more I like them

Neill Blomkamp's Hidden Teaser???

Apparently hidden on the new iPad.

Some Thoughts About Thoughts

One of the recurring themes I prattle on about on this blog is one of consciousness. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say the fringe elements of consciousness. This is interesting to me because when you stop to think about it, none of really understand all that much about the everyday operating systems we 'are'* to begin with, yet so many of us feel compelled to root around in dreams, the subconscious (are they the same thing?) and altered states when there's a whole mess of stuff we don't really comprehend about ourselves in the waking hours, while we're at work, or running, talking with friends (or enemies), driving, what have you.

So maybe we should stop to think about some of this, eh?

A number of years ago I can remember sitting shotgun in my car as my wife (then girlfriend) piloted us from Chicago to her home state Ohio. I'd been driving for a time and I was still lost in that slightly exhausted, hypnogogic state that accompanies long term driving zone-out mind. As I sat there, in and out of what may have been sleep or may have been something... different (ie trance-like). And all I could think about was where in the hell these things currently occupying my consciousness were really located.

Okay, that may be a bit... these lines of thought are often difficult if not impossible to convert into language so let me try this a bit different.

Think about your head. Now turn your focus to those thoughts you just had at my suggestion. And so on, down the line until there is an entire trail of thoughts you can trace back to their source, the screen in front of you. What you should have is a probably slightly wavering bridge of thoughts, concepts, ideas that bring you to the present. So thoughts occur over time, and you can go backward in time, so to speak, using them. But where are those thoughts, exactly? If you're like me you picture them somehow encased within the walls of your head, but there's also a lot of other stuff in there. Do they take up space? If they occur in time then theoretically one might expect them to be somehow physical, but then how small are they all to fit inside the ol' dome? And where do they go when they're not in use? I can recall a bunch of stuff about, say, junior high school, because that just sprung to mind, but then that probably won't be there for much longer after I finish this post. So where is this in-between space where the thoughts are stored? Try to imagine, if you will, a height, width or depth to the space between your ears. Can't really, right? Kind of like trying to fathom what's in every single room on that skyscraper you see in the photos of a major metropolitan area.

So the question is, why do we spend so much time distracting ourselves with the fringe areas of our psyche when there's all these grand questions about how we actually operate everyday? Essentially, as I understand it, meditation is the exploration of our real time phenomenon of consciousness, the problem of course is in order to analyze thinking you kinda have to stop yourself from thinking, and that, especially in this era of internet-induced ADHD, isn't the easiest thing to do.

Just saying.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

N'yarlahotep* wants YOU!!! (or wait, maybe it's me it wants...)

As I recently wrote about on my blog, I'm experiencing a return to the works of H.P. Lovecraft lately. It's been a while since I've been able to 'get into' his writing, even though it has long been a MAJOR influence on me, insofar as writing, music, visually, atmosphere, etc. I walk around every day and conduct my life to constant music, always obsessing about atmosphere; this is due, I believe, to my Synesthesia, as I've talked about many times here before. The music produces a kind of adhesive that holds me slightly outside everything going on around me. In one way this can be a drawback, as 'shoegazing' can most definitely interfere with tasks or goals more grounded in the real world. However, it also leads to many late night and early morning 'jam sessions' wherein I find myself traipsing down the odd corridors in my head and, when I'm quick, pulling some of that stuff back for my writing, music, now video, etc. Somewhere in that adhesive there is a whole mess of H.P. Lovecraft – reading his mostly (entirely?) first-person accounts of the weird and macabre at such a developmental age I often find myself even now thinking in the tone of his protagonists. It's been that way for close to two decades now, to the point that I believe the day I was stabbed senior year in high school ('94) and whisked away in an ambulance I was thinking something to the effect of, 'Be it not for me to believe, but this account I give you today does indeed end with a blade in my chest.'

Having such a massive predilection for Lovecraft, not just his tone and atmosphere but the far-reaching and frankly not-completely-unplausible concepts the man built and worked with, it really should not come as a surprise that my first attempt at writing a novel was a play on his works. Being that while he was alive Lovecraft appreciated and encouraged his literary friends to write within his mythos the influx over the last ten or fifteen years of new Lovecraft-related work is, in a sense, a natural and exponential extension of what he himself began and fostered. Still, the more I've written and read the more I've moved away from Lovecraft, to the point that even though I believe my take on his mythos is different enough to be far, far away from plagaristic or disingenuous, I've actually 'finished' the book, titled "Thee Subtle War", at least three different times only to scrape it and begin again because... well because it's not really my own.

But goddamn it, I still really want to give the world my take on it!!!

As I've moved more into other authors (Bret Easton Ellis, David Foster Wallace and Alex Garland have all become HUGE influences on me for their haunting, real world grit and slightly ego-centric pontifications on the way we move through the world around us) I feel I found my own voice and in looking back and trying to re-start Thee Subtle War I've just not figured out how to integrate the story with that voice. In the interim I've written two novels and four screenplay I am quite proud of. Only one of those, a screenplay titled "Wonderland's End" I co-wrote with German screenwriter Marc Mrosk, was ever optioned, but still, I can shop these works with pride because they feel 'whole' to me, in a way that first novel, no matter how many times I write it, never has.

However now that I am reading Lovecraft again, and feel really tapped into the pulse of his work, I can't help feeling as though it may be time to work on my first love once again... even though it may just turn out to be another abortive attempt.

Only time, and of course He Who Is Not To Be Named, will tell.


The incredible picture I used for this post is from this website and unfortunately I cannot find a credit therein for the artist. Too bad, because this is incredible stuff.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Forest Children - Cold Blooded

This is my band. Dennis Hellmann is the other half of the group, really moreso when you consider he writes the music and I just add the guitar. The man is the best songwriter I've ever met, and his output is not to be taken lightly. Each album, each song, they all have a story that works on an individual level and as part of a dark and amazing whole. This video is the first step in our trying to visually realize those stories. One day...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

One of the strangest things I've ever heard. Thanks to the Whitechapelian who posted this:

I remember this band as having that 'everybody walk the dinosaur' song in the late 80's. What happened?

Sunday, October 31, 2010




The only reason I know its not night is the sun is out, otherwise who knows.

Hard to get the old brain working right now, I'm really just writing because I've found if I write first thing when I wake up I have an easier time doing it throughout the day. I know thats the kind of thing you always read in writing technique books, or teachers tell you and it seems like, well not necessarily like a falsohood, but it seems like it doesn't really add up. At least it always did to me. But yeah, either its become true as I've gotten older and matured as a writer (after all, writing is now my main source of artistic expression, being 3k miles away from all the people I used to make music with) or, more likely is that it has been true all along and I've just been too stubborn to see it.

I'm listening to Cypress Hill III: Temples of Boom. After I added the icon below and looked at the release date I was struck by a strange synchronicity. Released Halloween, '95. I got off work at 4AM last night/this morning and spent the following 4 hours working on one of my scripts and drinking Sierra Nevada, all the while listening to Alice In Chains eponymous final album, reveling in its dark and twisted glory. Guess what? Also released in 1995. That was a rich time creatively for the music industry in general. Grunge as a buzz word was dying, but the truly great bands that had gotten umbrella-ed under the term had evolved anyway. Alice was, in my opinion, the best of them. Alot of people didn't like the '3-legged dog album' but from the first time I heard it I was in love. I mean, Dirt is an undisputed masterpiece, but on that final album, the next album proper after Dirt, things had worsened for Layne Staley and you could hear the dark and twisted rings of his soul come through in the music. People I knew complained of his lack of effort with the lyrical content of the album (case in point always being 'Nothin' Song') but I have always thought they were great, really showing how his own path had gotten so disembodied and frightening, right down to the horrors of the simplest tasks of everyday life (and here I'll use others' bane, the aforementioned 'Nothin' Song' to illustrate. Fear of interacting with his cat to the point that he may kill it, whether maliciously or out of dazed neglect I don't know, but its fucking disturbing regardless).

Now, Temples of Boom is, to me, the Hill's Masterpiece. Fuck what the world calls goth, this is potentially more goth than what is grouped beneath that for the most part misleading label. Released on Halloween no less! What hip-hop artist does that? I mean, and this album was made to freak people out. And it works. At the time it came out I was smoking pot all the time and I remember the first time I listened to this it virtually left me physically ill. Disturbed. The tones and timbres are all dark and ethereal; haunting organs hang in the air like blood red velvet curtains, low end bass creeps like goblins stalking you in a rain-soaked alley, disonate piano chords strike and ebb, strike and ebb, like a knife brandished for murder. And then there's B-Real's stark, raw vocal attack. Intense, violent and frankly, unnerving. When he sings about having illusions and then goes into the violence of Boom Biddy Bye Bye you get the very real impression that this guy is living in a very different place then most others who rap about partyin' and violence - everyone else seems a bit too boisterous and outlined to be real. But B-Real, well, it sounds like the demons he exorcises and infects his listeners' world view with are indeed real, and just possibly waiting around the next corner...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"In a world where new genres unfold like the labrythine corridors of dreams...'

Really, I am losing my ability to even process the 'genre' aggregate machine that now inhabits most of our brains. New finds:

Cuddle Core? Sounds like Bjork singing for a Sesame Street-sponsored version of DDR:

Witch House, aka Ghost Wave, aka Chill Wave, aka Drag, aka whatever; I like some of this and am not completely against the idea of 'genre-izing' it with an atmosphere setting term like Witch House, but this proliferation of names is a bit hoighty-toighty for something that is essentially a bedroom-version of what My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult did before they took the suck pill (ie just after Confessions of a Knife, which is their masterpiece. I'll use a Salem track here because they seem to be the progenitors, even if all their stuff is starting to sound the same to me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Burial & Kode9 Throw a Farewell Mix For Radio 1 Mainstay

Mary Anne Hobbs, BBC Radio 1 herald of many of the experimental music we enjoy today as music rats broadcast for the final on Thursday, September 9th. For the broadcast Hobbs had the enigmatic Burial, enigma of the electronic world, and Scottish maestro Kode9 mix/remix tracks for about 35 minutes. Link above. Great stuff.

Cheers to a fellow music explorer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peter V. Brett's The Warded Man

What can I say, I'm a gluttonous reader. I read constantly, and while I am always looking for new authors to love (and when I find them I love the hell out of them and espouse their virtues to everyone that will listen) I do not woo easily. Since starting work at the bookstore I have become what I commonly refer to as a Fiction/Lit snob.

I love fiction, but mostly the kind of stuff that does not end up in a genre section.

I didn't mean for this to happen. Quite the contrary. I've always loved the idea of Science Fiction, Fantasy and especially Horror. Unfortunately though a lot of the stuff that ends up in those sections is written specifically to be in those sections. Target Market. So over the last couple years I've augmented my bouts of quantum physics and the Occult with David Foster Wallace, Alex Garland, Irvine Welsh, Chuck Palahniuk and more and more what I find in the Fiction/Lit section. I always buy the new China Mieville the day it comes out, and some customers have introduced me to authors such as Glenn Cook, but SciFi/Fantasy always seems so far away. And I was just about to begin re-reading Martin Amis' brilliant London Fields (for the first time in 10 years) the other day when into my store walked Peter V. Brett and his agent.

I didn't know Mr. Brett's work. When he came in and asked to sign copies of his new book I had no idea what The Desert Spear was at first. Then he asked the magic question and a conversation began between us.

Mr. Brett: "Do you read fantasy?"

Me: "Actually, I hate most fantasy."

Now, this is my knee-jerk response. I wasn't doing it to wind the man up, I just cannot mask the intolerance I hold for all of those wannabe Tolkiens that fill that damn section with all manner of the derivations of Tolkien's frankly over-rated formula. What formula, you ask?

1 Part dragons
1 Part Knights
1 Part Orcs/Giants/Elves
1 Part Chivalry

You get the idea.

No fucking thank you. And the whole Medieval thing... it's fine if it's sincere but somehow it always just feels like what is expected. And maybe that's my biggest beef with these genres - a lot of the authors working within them seem to write to the expectations of the genre fans. Like metal heads afraid to lose the double-bass kick drum or actually sing instead of screech and howl, genre writers can follow a formula and be safe because there's enough people who can't stop trying to relive the way they felt when they first read Tolkien.

Well, I am happy to say that as much of an arsehead as I may have come off as to Mr. Brett and his agent, he didn't give up on me. He told me his stuff was fantasy, apocalyptic to an end, but also not what I would call Tolkien-esque.

"In my books the end of the world is caused by demons."

Demons... I have to admit, he had me. This seemed like such a good idea. It has horrific potential, yet also a flair of the genre pomp. The struggles of the remaining few in a world otherwise dead, fighting to survive, forced back into the old ways, not remembering the age of science and progress. Sort of like Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which I read growing up and LOVE.

Mr. Brett and his agent were in a hurry, on their way to a con out of the states, but something about him really piqued my interest. Number one both were damn nice guys, and number two, as readers of this blog and more specifically my Opinionated Bastard blog will no doubt know, despite appearances I am not a pessimist. I'm always looking to Love something new. On their way out Mr. Brett handed me a copy of his first novel, The Warded Man (turns out once I saw the cover I remembered I'd sold all three of the HC's of The Desert Spear several days before and was waiting for a replenishment shipment) and as soon as I went to lunch I cracked that fucker open and you know what?

It's really, really good. Really.

Mr. Brett's world is dark and dangerous; feudal and tainted by humanity's desperate attempts to survive. It's hardworking and occasionally joyful but most of all it is difficult. Difficult because every night when the sun goes down demons rise from the bowels of the land and massacre every living thing they can get their talons on. And this isn't just a scenic setting. Nope. Mr. Brett uses the harsh realities of this world to shape some really well-written and memorable characters (Arlen!!!) and 160 pages in I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!

Sorry Martin Amis, Keith Talent and the boys will have to wait...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Something Trying To Tell You Someone..."

I'd been meaning to do it for quite some time, I even began several quickly-aborted attempts. However after burning through Grant Morrison's mind-bending run on the Batman titles recently I found myself in an interesting synesthetic-crossroads: my aural leanings coalesced with my thirst for more comics, more old school Vertigo comics and I found myself popping in Meat Is Murder by The Smiths and opening the first issue of Grant Morrison's Gothic storyline that ran waaay back in 1990 in then third monthly bat-book Legends of the Dark Knight. I had only recently begun to expect that these two works, both on the surface intended for different senses, would work together in a very symbiotic relationship. The Headmaster's Ritual a perfect audio-accompaniment to following a young Bruce Wayne into the hellish inner-workings of an upstate New York British-style private school, the echoes of Morrissey's musings on life and loss the perfect condiment for the unraveling of an ancient, heretical plot that would, in retrospect, seem far more Vertigo than regular DCU. After Gothic I needed more. Naturally I moved toward the place on my shelf where Morrison's award-winning Arkham Asylum sat. Then I stopped myself. I changed discs to The Queen Is Dead and cracked the spine of Neil Gaiman's Preludes and Nocturnes and vowed I wasn't coming up for air until I'd finally re-read the entire Sandman series, something I'd never done before. I wasn't sure what to expect exactly, this time through with The Smiths as my guide, but I knew I was bound to unearth even more fleeting associations and hidden messages, as I realized Sandman is most definitely the work of a Smiths fan.


I'm relatively new to Smiths-obsession land. Not quite a year ago I tumbled head over heels into addiction after flirting with fandom for the better part of a decade but never quite moving beyond the admittedly lame, 'yeah, How Soon Is Now is great and everything else I've heard is pretty cool too...' Then I got it. I don't really know what exactly happened to cause me to 'get it', but I did. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that I suddenly found myself around their music a lot more because new co-workers played them obsessively. But through repetition the tunes began to work their magick on me. I asked to rip a disc or two*. I received Meat Is Murder. I began to explore...

Also around this time a good friend of mine who had taken a leave of absence from work to deal with 'health issues' resurfaced – on his death bed. I clung to Morrissey and the boys for bitter support as my friend withered away, drifting in and out of contact with those who would eventually inform me of his death. I'd lost a lot of friends before, but something about this one... it was very difficult in what felt like a decidedly more profound way. I can remember the symbiotic relationship the lyrics to The Joke Isn't Funny Anymore's refrain developed to my own interaction with and interpretation of Death. The shimmering guitars and lilting bass drifted over the entrancing drums as Morrissey's voice echoed the perfect arrangement of langual dress for an archetypal human experience/fear/event. And somewhere in it all I thought of Neil Gaiman's Sandman and realized that I had heard this music before. That I had seen, as a third person voyeur, this magnificent sorrow somewhere else.

This was because Neil Gaiman had no doubt heard it too; been a massive fan most likely, as had Grant Morrison, maybe Jamie Delano – the old Vertigo crew. I realized that just as I had experienced a synesthetic-rush with The Cure and Joy Division when reading Sandman back in high school, or James O'Barr's The Crow, or Hellblazer, or Swamp Thing, the same was happening now with The Smiths as a new lens to reveal hidden facets to these stories from the post-Reagan/Thatcher era - the time of AIDS and Looming Nuclear Obliteration and MDMA. I was a kid in the 80's so I didn't quite get what was going on – for many years afterward the 80's was a decade best left in the past. This was because as a kid my associations with it were hyper color clothes and dana carvey, lisa lisa & cult jam and other such atrocities that I was exposed to as a pre-teen without an older sibling, left to establish my tastes on my own, sifting through the garbage spoon-fed to the masses on the radio and tv, until I was first able to pick up the trail that led me to any kind of an 'underground'. I didn't find The Smiths, or The Cure or any thing else like them until high school. My earliest underground was metallica and the satan-streaked roads of heavy metal, long since sullied and exposed for the douche baggery that it was (for the most part). But I eventually found this stuff and realistically it was because of its influence on comics and comics influence on me.

Because I had grown up with comics it was there that I did my first experimenting. Even while still imbibing the music of the masses I was slowly breaking away from the GIJOE and X-men components of my comic book taste, my mom often waiting outside Heroland comics in Worth, Illinois where some days I would spend over an hour browsing – looking for something new, something I'd not yet experienced. Vertigo as a housing apparatus for the darker tales was still a few years off and I remember titles like Watchman and Stray Toasters teasing me with dark, jagged art the likes of which I was not yet experienced enough to appreciate (fuck you rob liefield) but nonetheless still endlessly enthralled with. Not enthralled enough to fork out the $3.50 or whatever cover price the 'Prestige Format' books commanded then ($10 allowance? $5? I don't remember but it had to be stretched in that comic shop and as such risks were rarely taken in those days). In retrospect I believe it was a few years later when the Batman books first brought me into my appreciation of that darker, more urban tone that I am still obsessed with today. Around the release of that first Tim Burton Batman film DC really ramped up the output, leading up to the hullabaloo of the film with many one-shots and Prestige releases, many portraying an increasingly darker atmosphere for the character. You can say this began in 1986 with Frank Miller's classic Dark Knight Returns, but from there we received Batman: The Cult, Gotham By Gaslight, Morrison's Arkham Asylum and soon after (and to tie this back around to the beginning of the post) Morrison's Gothic, originally published in Legends of the Dark Knight issues 6-10.

This was a story I read monthly, and re-read over and over again for years. To this day I believe it is the best Batman story in existence as well as the template, in my own personality, that flipped the switch and suddenly made me understand something about the potential of comic books as a medium, not just superhero exploits or serialized adventures. Gothic is every bit the epic Gothic Romance it shadows; a literary work of visual art that takes one of the most iconic American superhero characters and transmutes him into an occult figure worthy of Marlowe, Blackwood, Chandler or William Hope Hodgson. Whats more, Klaus Janson's art was the perfect template for me to perceive comic art as something more than explosive, rippling perfection. There is a scratchiness to Janson's art, especially in Gothic, that serves to create a darker, more urban and horrific sense of ambiguity that allows the reader's own nightmarish associations of fear to creep in and finish the pictures for them. You don't need everything blue-lined and outlined and rendered shiny and perfect. Leave that to traditional comic narratives. Janson's art, like that of The Sandman's Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and later Kelley Jones, is rough and dark because to a degree it carries with it that unfinished nature that helps it haunt you.

And that's what I found, last Autumn as my friend was dying and my own mortality seemed ever-so-much more impending, that The Smiths music does.

It haunts.

And suddenly I understood all of those Smiths and Morrissey obsessives - the people who only listened to The Smiths in High School (because a lot of them were probably exposed to it at developmentally difficult times by older siblings); the folks at the Morrissey conventions; the punks in 1989 that I just didn't understand as they popped Naked Raygun out of the cassette deck and fired up Louder Than Bombs. They were haunted.

And now I am too. And I have a lot of wonderfully creative people to thank for it. Thank You Neil Gaiman. Thank You Steven Patrick Morrissey. Thank you Robert Smith, Ian Curtis, Simon and Klaus Janson, John Ridgway and Jamie Delano and all of the other creators that established that beautifully dark world I can still evoke with the right combination of your music and pictures, words and melodies.

Most of all I am moved to say thank you to my mom and dad, for waiting so patiently all those evenings I spent hours investigating what else the comic shop had to offer besides Adamantium claws and Cobra Officers**.


* I only had The Queen is Dead and Rank, which I'd purchased in the earlier part of the previous decade during the period of two ro three years where I worked an ongoing and fairly elaborate Magickal Ritual that entailed my buying two records a week as an offering to the Music Industry as a God, Egregore, whatever. The end result of that ritual is still, to some degree, in question.

** Not that there's anything wrong with Cobra.


A little something lighter in tone. Funny, often appropriate, but soulful as all hell.

Although I've loved that first Gnarls Barkley album the 2nd one, 'The Odd Couple' has taken some getting used to. It's good, great even, but it hasn't quite grabbed me as totally as St. Elsewhere. That began to change when I became obsessed with Breaking Bad last year and they used the second track on the album in the season finale for season one. Admittedly I've not given 'The Odd Couple' the amount of time I gave the first – that's all time and place for me. Depends on what atmosphere I'm into at the moment. Before spiraling into my current Smiths/Joy Division jag to accompany a re-reading of the entire Sandman series by Neil Gaiman I was kinda hot on a soul kick and Gnarls fit perfectly. However that was interrupted by the dour British factory rock...

I know next to nothing about Cee-lo. This is a pretty good place to start. However further investigation will have to wait, as I'm back off to the Dreaming.


* Read an older interview with Thomas Golubic, the music supervisor on Breaking Bad, where he talks about the selection of Gnarls Barkley's 'Who's Gonna Save My Soul' here:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dear Nick Cave

I love you. This is the greatest music video in the history of music videos.

Thank You


Untitled Post

(The post below was something I found in my unpublished drafts. I have absolutely no idea what it is, was supposed to be or even any memory of writing it. It's kind of interesting though...)


We don't go near the bug wall

All kinds of craziness right there, man

Bees and giant moths and shit

and something in a cocoon that my brother was planning on using for an art project

Until it hatched

until it hatched

until it hatched.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alice Russell on The Cosmic Lounge

Damn shame I missed her at Angel's Piano Bar (courtesy of LA's KCRW, Anthony Valadez and Miss Russell's bad self). Dig this track. The seventies are a state of mine my friends...

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Music Monday: Krowne

Fairtilizer is such a wonderful way to find new music. Case in point: I had never heard of Krowne, an electronic musician hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, before today. This is some great stuff from the city I love and you can bet when I eventually get back there this will be one of the guys I am looking to see live. The E.P. is free for download from Black Lantern, but as I always I encourage any who do to donate. Download the big guys' stuff for free, but independents require our support to thrive and survive.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Richard Kadrey

This is what I am currently reading. Great book. I'm pretty hard on anything Sci fi or horror and this is definitely a cross-breeding of the two. However, its more of that Clive Barker horror, or maybe even old Vertigo. There is a certain logic that pervades the elements of supernatural that make it more than what we call sci fi these days* and because it deals with the Infernal Realms and demons and such (although in a less Christian more hierarchical sort of way) it automatically makes me think horror. So far though, not horrific per se, and that is not a dis. Kadrey is a very descriptive writer, and his dialogue is magnetic, even if I get the impression sometimes his characters are being just a skosh too cute for their own good (which is not a failing on Kadrey's part – main character Spyder sometimes just talks too much, which Butcher Bird even spends a great deal of time telling him. Character development on this level is excellent and fun to read, even if you occasionally want to smack the character.


* Which if we're being honest is a completely different animal than Science Fiction, but that's a discussion for another day

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Making Dreams with Mugwort Smoke

(Originally written on 7/20/10)
Interesting experience last night. Mugwort is a plant that I have possessed a dried quantity of for some time. Back in the Chicago Ridge days, while I was recording the bulk of the Forest Children albums with Dennis and Chooch we would mix the stuff with our pot and smoke it all night long. I'd found out about it from some guy in some occult shop in some city, probably while looking for Salvia or DMT. Mugwort is legal as it is a mild substance when ingested, usually as a tea or smoke tincture. During my initial research period with it, and now subsequently as I've begun ingesting it again, I have seen it often mentioned as being particularly effective as a catalyst for strong or even lucid dreams. I'm not sure if I could ever corroborate this claim before last night*, but yeah, that does indeed seem to be the case.

I've smoked two or three times in the last week, the most recent of which was last night. I sat down to watch El Topo for the first time despite being tired to the point where I knew I would probably have to fight to make it through the entire film. I smoked a bit of a mixture and settled in for the film, which I quickly realized I hated. However, as I sat struggling through the movie I began to nod off. What occurred next I am still unsure whether was in sleep or waking.

I began to feel very conscious of my heart rate. My vision flickered and my head spun a bit. I'd open my eyes knowing I'd been out but unsure how long. I The film playing out on screen is nonsensical to a degree anyway, so there was no way to use the perceived rhythm of its story to tell how long I was going out for, or whether or not the film was insinuating itself into my dreams. Had I been sitting here only a moment ago and feeling as though my heart was ramping up, threatening me, or had that been a part of the dream? As I was thinking this I even became aware that to some degree I was dreaming.

But then I wasn't.

It is as I have described here before, that when the REM pattern breaks up so does the dream. But the dreams can often hold on, like a rider bucked by a horse who may slip from side to side but ultimately manages to stay mounted.

My dream was telling me something. Or trying to at least.

The room and its accoutrements became a hazy dimension suspended in the twilight between wakefulness and REM. Even when I was finally certain that I was awake everything had the soft halo glow we associate with dreams or mild hallucinogens. I was burrowed into the N.O.W.** but something seemed as though it was moving around me, just outside my veiled consciousness. And my heart was beating.


Maybe fast is the wrong word. And maybe this wasn't the reality of the situation at all. Everyone who has taken acid knows that feeling where the drug suddenly seems as though it is about to climb on top of you and batter your senses to its own twisted-reality whim. I tried to recognize this and utilize it as an antidote to the encroaching panic but to no avail; of course thinking about needing to slow my heart down implies there is a problem, implies there is a danger in how fast it is beating. This is the ridiculous sing-song drug logic that, for the most part, made me stop doing them a loooong time ago. But this is Mugwort. I mean, come on, really?

Eventually I was able to out fix my paranoid android and get everything under control. My mind is stronger than this and again, the mixture in question is nothing that has ever reacted with me like this before. I ended up crawling into bed and falling asleep pretty much immediately. My dreams were long and vivid, I think, and I've since found literature reporting it is possible to die from prolonged ingesting of Mugwort, if taken over enough consecutive days.

Where the hell was that information before, when we were ingesting it daily and recording? Or, how much of those recordings possible contain messages from that plant, using the musicians harbored in those late night recording sessions at Dennis' as their vehicle to try and impart some subtle, archetypal knowledge to the world through our hands and voices, ideas and melody?


* Well, that's not true, but let's just say it's been so long and if I wrote anything down I'd have to unearth it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

T. Rex

Fuck yeah!!!

Pygmy Shrews - Your Party Fucking Sucks

Wow. I laughed so fucking hard at this I had tears in my eyes. Definitely kindred spirits with my old bands Wink Lombardi and the Constellations and Schlitz Family Robinson.

I found Pygmy Shrews after reading about another band, Drunks With Guns. I looked those guys up on Last.FM and found an entire slew of similar acts, Shrews included. I'll post some Drunks With Guns next, and I'm sure I will be posting more grimy basement punk soon enough.

Thank You to Aaron Dilloway who chose Drunks With Guns eponymous album as his 'Inner Sleeve' pick for the August issue of Wire Magazine*.


* The only music magazine that truly matters. Although Ghetto Blaster has a couple killer writers working for them now...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Melvins, Hand Puppets and Kareoke

No, this isn't some bizarre new fetish, it's a clip from something called Pancake Mountain. Awesome.

The Melvins have a new album out called The Bride Screamed Murder. I know without having heard it yet that it's good, for it is The Melvins.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Thee Oh Sees

I know nothing about this band. Just found them today.

That will change.

A Classic...

God Is LSD. Go all the way back to 1993. Waaay before the internet, before music file proliferation/sharing brought a globe of music, major and independent to every home with a computer and a modem, I used to get info on new music wherever I could. A hell of a lot of it came from the enigmatic Mr. Brown*, but we were always looking for new avenues to discover bands by.

We were thirsty. Still are, but it was harder to be back then so I guess mixed with nostalgia that makes the thirst seem more important now or something.

There was a independent record store in Orland Park, IL named Red Tower. A very local B&W music mag called 'Subculture' stacked copies in their lobby for free. Great magazine. One of the record reviews that caught my eye the hardest was Spirit of Suicide by God Is LSD. I don't remember if I had to special order it or not (most likely yes. Red Tower had a pretty damn good selection, but I don't know if it was that good) but that is definitely the store where I acquired the album that I immediately fell in love with. The above is a video for my favorite song on the album**. I had never seen it before today (only just now starting to utilize this youtube thing for its full potential)


* A regular star in the stories I tell on my Chud blog.

** Their only one, however main guy Thomas Luedke still plays in his other group, Invincible Spirit.

The Heir To The Throbbing Throne

I have not experienced something so brimming with Magickal energy since Throbbing Gristle. The video I've linked below is not for the squeamish – it contains such a strong undercurrent of energy that it is disturbing, even if when broken down most of the images are fairly simple. This isn't youtubesnuff or anything like that – there is no place in my life or this world for that brand of sick exhibitionism. However, when music and image come together in an alchemical marriage of Magickal Will, well, things can become very strong.

This actually brings to mind a video I had worked on back in 2003. I was renting a house with two other guys and spent a lot of time in various altered states, playing around with different ideas for ritual and exercising of the Will. One of those ideas centered around constructing a video to eventually distribute to various outlets (before Youtube) and influence the world, or at least the segment of the world amping up on media consumption as a way of determining direction in life. The collection of tracks and videos, never finished, were loosely referred to as 'tulpas' and have been since misplaced in the aeythers of the lost dimension of computer storage.

In Dreams You're Mine, For All Of Time...

Interesting the things that transpire in our heads when our consciousness turns off for a while. Moments ago I awoke from a morning filled with a strange effluvium of events that has me a bit paranoid and dare I say it, buzzed as I sit here drinking my fourth cup of coffee in ten minutes. I've been re-reading Grant Morrison's Batman run, from the beginning, and as with everything else the man writes it has most definitely been affecting my nervous system. The Invisibles rolled into one caped-crusading icon. Here's what's collating within the residue...

In my place, making coffee but unable to turn the coffee pot off. Surprised that I had never tried to do this before (a subliminal message that I imbibe too much java? Doubtful, I've waned in quantity lately and feel somewhat guilty about it) Comic Scribe Warren Ellis talks me through trying to turn it off. He is not in the room, nor on the phone. In the dream I seem to interact/communicate with Mr. Ellis as I do in normal life, one of many who occasionally participate in discussion threads on his Whitechapel forum. However, in the dream there is that strange and ever-endearing dream logic that works so well when weaving around physics as we now it, so that the communication takes place without either one of us sitting at a computer, typing. It is almost as if a word balloon appears next to me in the dream (do I become 2D?) and Warren floats inside it, a psychic apparition scoffing and surprised that I've never tried to turn off an appliance I use everyday.

From the coffee pot incident it is somewhat unclear what transpires next. I believe I was folding in and out of sleep's various stages, losing that gloriously technicolor REM where dreaming occurs, and as such the 'plot' of the dream becomes jagged and unclear in its continuity. This happens often, where the movement that connects the juicer points of the dream becomes blurred (as in, "How did I get from Mom and Dad's to Siberia wearing a chicken suit?") and I truly believe it is this interruption in the dream state that does it. Imagine having a hand of cards during a game that every few minutes or so requires you to have to toss them back in, reshuffle, re-deal and then re-acclimate? Static pictures reprocessed or remixed every so often. Interesting idea for a card game, eh? Makes it very attractive to want to assign a quasi-human persona to our architect, no?*

Anyway, the next thing that happens is a malevolence begins to pepper the house (still my house) In the dream I seem to identify it alternately as a 'presence' and an 'unknown agent' – as if one moment it's an exorcism I require and the next a gas mask. I know the word 'Nerve Gas' flits through my dream-avatar's consciousness at some point. Nerve Gas possessed of a malevolent, undead personality? A Gas Ghost, or a Ghost who has learned to manifest itself in a particularly desired atomic makeup? All this is unclear, what is clear however is that Mr. Ellis is now apparently my neighbor (I don't care how loud you play your stereo sir, just turn the sub-woofer down so it doesn't rattle the pictures off my wall thanyouverymuch. I'd hate to get Gravel on your ass) and I run outside to save my cats from the encroaching danger. Only Tom and Lily, two full grown felines, are more akin to tiny newborn kittens. I gather them up into an open-topped cardboard box and rush them outside only to find Mr. Ellis walking by. I ask him to watch my cats as I run back in and suddenly, at some point I am calling the police (or did they call me?) and setting the cash register drawers out for opening at the store where I work.


There' that trans-location logic again, this time remixed in a manner so that my location doesn't change, it simply acquires attributes of another, inexplicably so.**

So now the front door is open, Warren Ellis is outside watching my cats and the police are arriving, asking me questions that pretty openly say both A) they think I'm either crazy or high on goofballs (am I sweating at this point? Yeah, I probably look high.) and B) they realize that something is indeed wrong with the very air or atmosphere in the room we currently occupy. As I speak to the officers (two of them, one a early-forties caucasian woman wearing her brown hair in a braided ponytail, the other a mid-to-late thirties black man with short-sheered hair and a reassuring air of calm about him) I feel as though I am trying to explain something I most assuredly know but somehow just cannot express. The room continues to swell with toxic environment and I glance to my right, over my shoulder and see the front door, propped open. A moment later I do the same and it is closed. Still speaking ineffectually I move over to the door, pushing it open and see the two money-filled tills sitting on the stoop just to the right of the threshold. A woman goes by on the sidewalk two steps down, calling for her child. I lean down and assess the tills, suspicious that someone (the woman?) gently pushed the door closed and took money. In the top till there appears to be a lesser amount of change than there should be and the slots for most bills are empty. Then I see a fifty dollar bill, no two fifty dollar bills where the five's should be. Warren is still watching my cats, the police are still speaking to me (are their guns drawn all of a sudden?) and I find myself wondering if I am being purposely distracted...


* Unfortunately though, that is not a good enough reason for me to do so.

** How can you not become resentful of work when you spend so much of your waking life there that it often follows you into your unconscious? Bastard!!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Killing Mr. Vegas

Stumbling around the check in and registration area of the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada I reach into my pocket and feel the thin, crumpled plastic baggie that contains the homegrown magic mushrooms a friend of mine at work recently gave me.

It's going to be a good night.

Not even twenty minutes ago I was so tired I thought for sure we'd be checking in and I'd be curling up in bed, but clearly I have forgotten the pulse of Vegas. The city itself is the anti-sleep; a mecca of artificial environment designed specifically to combat the human mind's insistence – after so much time spent awake and engaged – to shut down and recharge itself. With such a cluster of Will and agenda all shared by so many powerful ideas out in the middle of nowhere (read: no ideas) the City of light that floats in the middle of the Mojave Desert is itself something of an entity; a sentient being that beckons people in and then consumes of them what it can. Some it gets worse than others, just as some drugs or people can become parasitic to people, and bit by bit, year by year the vast and hungry egregore* that is Las Vegas, Nevada grows more and more powerful and is able to feed itself better, much like a person starting a job at entry level and slowly working up the ladder of position and pay rate, until it's no longer required they 'dine within their budget'.

Think about i: Las Vegas is such a powerful entity that the laws we know in the United States of America breakdown and do not completely apply within the city limits. What other person or place can sidestep such tried and true societal guidelines such as 'No prostitution' or 'no public imbibing of alcohol' (We're talking in the U.S.)?

So we checked into the Luxor and before we'd even made it up to the 6th floor of the West Tower I'd consumed most of my bag of party favors. Sleep still skirted around the peripheral of my consciousness but now it spoke to me in a manner that promised to return when called upon.

After the night's adventure had run its course.

Adventure here may be a bit of a misleading word. There was no wham bam excitement. No after hours parties, high speed chases or fist fights. The adventure I had in Las Vegas boiled down to a conversation. A conversation I had with an ancient, mystical being whose conscious body on Earth is a tiny fungus known by, among other names, Amanita Muscaria.

There are plenty of cultures, all quite older than our own, that consider the psilocibin an old and wise citizen of the Universe, one who beckons interaction with us. You see, Muscaria is a teacher, and it is always looking for new students to hear its stories. Why wouldn't we want to?

Why wouldn't we want to learn? To challenge the, frankly, pedestrian view of the Universe we as human beings on Earth in the twenty-first century have? Because it challenges the status quo? Let me remind you again that Mr. Vegas gets to challenge the status quo, and he wins.

Every time.

He wins.

So that's it; the jumping off point. Mr. Vegas might seem an affectionate, embellished moniker from a fiction writer, but he's real (or she – I'm lazy, not sexist), and I challenge anyone to try to kill him. You can't. Thing is though, it might be really interesting to study him as a hit man studies his kill. Day in, day out. Then who knows what might happen one day?


* Which for simplicity's sake I will quote Wikipedia's definition here: an occult concept representing a "thoughtform" or "collective group mind", an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people. ...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Remember Where You are now so You can Get Back Here Later.

So I am currently shopping my second completed novel. Technically I've completed three, but that third one (or actually it's the first one, Thee Subtle War) I've 'completed' about three times. It was the first novel I attempted to write and as such it is the one I've had the most trouble reconciling with my 'voice' since I have honed it. Although there are many parts of Thee Subtle War I like from those earlier versions as a whole I could never quite stand the book. Perhaps this has a lot to do with the lack of follow-through on the plot, which was originally a fanboy's attempt at imitating Grant Morrison's The Invisibles. Over time my fixation on all things Morrison has waned enough for me to find my own voice (although that will hopefully evolve with time) – I still love The Invisibles and everything else the man writes, but I've gotten over my starstruck period of intense influence at the hands of his art. With this evolution Thee Subtle War has evolved as well, but through it all one main idea has remained consistent. The theme of the book shoots off of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, combining it with science in a way I do not believe anyone else has ever attempted. So these more recent versions now too are 'influenced' by another author's work, but with each new winnowing of Thee Subtle War I feel I pull Lovecraft's ideas more and more into my own world, instead of vice versa.

I have no problem with this, realizing now that ultimately Thee Subtle War will be something that I will publish down the road, after I have a name and fan base (which I Will have).

The book I'm currently shopping is 100% me and a direct result of many of the experiences I've had in my own life. I tend to write a lot about fucked up people, drugs, alcohol and a certain longing that I keep with me for lonely, intoxicated nights when I can almost smell the south suburban Chicago rain in the air and realize that the past is not a when but a where, and something I can easily invoke with the right combination of music, substances and lighting.

The Ghost of Violence Past
is my attempt at an imaginary confrontation with a very real demon from my own past, a boy I once called friend who went on to murder several people I knew for no reason other than, I suppose, he felt he could.

What do you say to someone who has done those things? I don't know, and never will, as although my avatar in the story is both willing and able to confront the killer from his childhood, I most certainly never will.

I would never want that person to know that I even still remember him.

After finishing The Ghost of Violence Past I recently began a new story, tentatively titled '2 A.M. Corridors'. Corridors is built around my experiences as a drug-taking, alcohol-swilling bartender in the South Suburbs of Chicago. It is an exercise in merging the time travel I experience with drugs and music with the world where I lived and worked, fucked drank and snorted for five years until I met the love of my life and turned the page (and what a heavy page it was to turn, moving 3000 miles away). One of the main influences on the aforementioned period of my life (as with all periods of my life) was music,and it is to help set and maintain the mood that I have utilized very particular playlists for this particular project. Below is a widget containing the main throng of songs that compliment the atmosphere and motivation of 2 A.M. Corridor's characters and story. As the story evolves I will most likely assemble and post more of these, perhaps even with excerpts from the book. My hopes in sharing these is that so that when people eventually read the story they can let me know whether or not the story and music contain/convey one another.

Life is a series of stories, culled together in a pantomime of chapters arranged in, apparently, no particular order. As a writer I attempt to impose my Will, my 'Order' on it so that when I am gone, my life will remain.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who Built The Road by Isobel Campbell

I was just listening to Mark Lanegan's Bubblegum a couple of days ago and it occurred to me that the man may have a new project coming up. Gutter Twins (new album soon, please) was something like two years ago now and I've found myself having a hankering for the gravel-throated journey man we all love so much. Well, without further delay:

Who Built The Road by Isobel Campbell

follow the link down the whiskey hole and listen with stretchy, intoxicated glee. So far Back Burner is my favorite and a prime example why I love this man. Isobel Campbell also appears to deserve special attention. I'm unfamiliar, but this is awesome and she's a Scot, so you know, I'm down.

Buy it and support independent music.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Interrupting or coming up for air???

There's a suit I wear over another suit, which is really just dress for this tangle of knobs and ideas that makes up the complex series of Algorithms that happen to have all decided (for the moment at least) to vibrate at the particular frequency-set that manifests itself to your observer's senses as this slightly long-winded cunt named Shawn. The suit above the suit – the clothes on top of the clothes – has been a major undertaking; what we used to call a 'fiction suit' back at the end of the last Millennium (okay, truthfully I guess I didn't get 'turned on' to calling it that until early the next, but the more miles on time's highway you put behind you the more they all kind of collapse and congeal into life's perpetually gnawing horizon) is not so much a disguise as it is an apparatus for burrowing into a tunnel, an unknown lair home to all manner of beings that are of alien interest to me. The act, ritual, construct, whatever language I choose to dress it in is an attempt to transmogrify myself into what I have stated with my Will that I want to 'become' – the new set of frequencies I want to oscillate at in order to best facilitate further understanding of this enormous cavern we all find ourselves lost in; this labrynthine, multi-level scaffolding that holds our sway for the better part (hopefully) of one hundred years and eventually quaffs us down into a further perhaps more direct (perhaps not) existence of interest.

Reward? Punishment? These are children's ideas for those who cannot look themselves in the mirror and feel excited to go on just for the sake of having the opportunity to do so.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Naw, you can jog, please work 2 have bst-r d m.

Is not what this blog is about even though they are a DAMN good band. I was just trolling and saw that I posted last week (or was that two weeks ago?) and decided that I would try to write a blog here at least twice a month from here on out, regardless of whether I have anything to talk about or not (not sure if this is a good thing).

Phases I've been drifting between:

Listening to:...................|||........................Reading:

Talking Heads................|||............Less Than Zero
Tears For Fears...............|||............Imperial Bedrooms
Huey Lewis……............|||............American Psycho

Grinderman......................|||…….China Mieville’s Kraken
Danzig 9
Tones on Tail

I was in the middle of a big lit kick that had me working on a new piece of writing, the loosely referred to 'Two A.M. Corridors' but now that I'm knee deep in Kraken I'm slightly paralyzed writing wise.

Watched Harmony Korine's Mister lonely and Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer. Been slow getting into movies lately, too much reading.

Thinking about the absolute ridiculous amount the Universe must like me to have me meet the woman of my dreams so young in life.

Hanging out on Whitechapel a bit more lately, finding some interesting web sites there. Weaponizer, polpus, zazzle, et al.

Kinda getting into the D&D thing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

confluence of events

My cat Lily yowling constantly on a cool Tuesday evening... I'm about to go nuts when my other cat Thompson starts yowling too, from downstairs. Outside the wind is mellow and pushing a lovely Ocean calm into my second story bedroom. I'm trying to work on this new writing project, high on Vicadin, Fat Tire and now I've switched to my trusty Sierra Nevada. Intermittently I'm chewing chunks of Bret Easton Ellis's brilliant new novel Imperial Bedrooms into the mess within me and ringing his paranoic style for all the inspiration it's worth (no small amount). There is a gaping hole in my mouth where blood has clotted over but occasionally surprises me with a stringy, iron-tasting dribble down the back of my throat.

Downstairs A Place To Bury Strangers is jamming at max volume. Fuck my neighbors (nothing personal).

I tip my beer but not before thinking that something urgent is transpiring somewhere in the forest of neural pathways etched into the meat between my ears.

The sun is down, it's 8:05 PM and although the chemicals and cool air are causing my fingers to lag a bit my mind is racing. I've got to get this down, got to get this down...

Two A.M. Corridor is the story of a bartender and the people he surrounds himself in an attempt to make the easy buck, get the girl who is already been explained to him is off limits and somehow avoid the frenzy of supernatural chaos that may or may not be the power behind one of the world's biggest hotel chains. Good luck Ray, you're gonna need it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The big fish

I stepped out of the shower this afternoon and while doing some deep breathing exercises I usually try to step into my day with for the first time I think ever I felt something behind the mask of the ego scaffold I so adamantly stick to.

I felt a quiet. Not an introspective quiet but a vast ocean of calm underneath the clothes I dress myself in when I step out of my mind and onto the stage where I interact with all of these other marvelous souls. It felt raw and primal and... powerful.

I'm going back in, after it, and suddenly I understand what David Lynch called the 'big fish'.