Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Great British Novel

In the wake of what might be a new contender for the Great American Novel, ‘The Art of Fielding’ by Chad Harbach, I rather suppose that it’s natural for us secret Atlantophiles to wonder what our response should be. What great tome, what powerful epic can we summon to conjure up, in the wake of Thomas Hardy and Dickens who came before, what Britain really is
Well there shouldn’t be one. Not ever. I am immediately distrustful of anything that begins with the phrase ‘The Great British...’. To be quite honest I’d be afraid that ‘The Great British Novel’ would be somewhat akin to lauded cultural masterwork, ‘The Great British Bake-off’: hunger inducing, but ultimately sickly and mainly consumed by the unemployed or mentally ill. Also messy. Oh so messy. 

My heart swells with love for my country. 

By the way, this absolutely isn’t one of those “isn’t Britain rubbish ho ho ho” articles. Bugger them. I love this place and hate the endless insufferable misery that gets churned out to us in opinion pieces everywhere. 
When I was a kid one of my favourite books was called “Scribbler”. It’s about having a dreadfully grey old life until a Banksy-esque colour vigilante brightens up everybody’s day. It’s Shane Meadows without the harrowing bits. Maybe. 

I haven’t got a clue whether ‘Scribbler’ is by a British writer and I can’t find it anywhere, but if there is one contender for The Great British Novel then ‘Scribbler’ should be it. Look, I’m not saying all art should be Tiny Tim: a broad smile and an upbeat attitude despite the fact that Timmy’s most likely destiny is death by malnourishment and tuberculosis. What I am saying is that art should be there to uplift us. And, like the Scribbler’s graffiti, it should be everywhere. 
There is an ongoing narrative right now about whether ‘the arts’ should be state funded or not and, brushing that aside I am often aghast at the examples that are dragged out as ‘our art’. Sure, we have incredible theatre, scores of opera houses and free galleries, but where are the mentions of the cranks, the crack-pots, the joyful amateurs? Where are the women who rush home after work to build forests from their 2 year old’s yoghurt pots? Because that’s how I see us- a nation of amateur nut-bars. A nationality defined by weirdness just waiting to be shown to the world.
And this year is the perfect time to do it! It’s 2012- the olympics. Everyone’s going to be here watching perfectly choreographed, big-stage arena shows that have been tested, rehearsed and rendered spectacular and just a little insipid. Let’s give them a show they’ll never forget. 2012, The year where 65 million people collectively air out their crazy, because what kind of ridiculous nation has a ‘great central dream’ anyway? Not us, we think baked beans and blood sausage are appropriate for breakfast. Forget the Great British Novel. Long live Great British Eccentricity, or baking, whichever gets your goat. 
Eccentric does not however equate to being a massive tool, like this Robin Williams-alike. Although I would genuinely prefer him to be our head of state when Lizzie dies, but that's another story entirely...

It’s 2012. Happy New Year.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Leonard Cohen

I caught the darkness
It was drinking from your cup
I caught the darkness
from your little cup
I said, Is this contagious?
You said, Just drink it up.
I’ve got no future
I know my days are few
Ah, the present’s not that pleasant
just a lot of things to do
I thought the past would last me
but the darkness got that too
I should have seen it coming
It was right behind your eyes
You were young and it was summer
I just had to take a dive
Winning you was easy, baby,
but the darkness was the prize
I don’t smoke no cigarettes
I don’t use the alcohol
I ain’t had much lovin’ yet
but that’s always been your call.
Hey, I don’t miss it baby
I got no taste for anything at all
I used to love the rainbow
and I used to love the view (ahh)
I loved the early morning
and I pretended it was new
But I caught the darkness, baby,
And I got it worse than you
I caught the darkness,
it was drinking from your cup
I caught the darkness
from your little cup
I said, Is this contagious?
You said, Just drink it up.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

My Resolution

Man alive.

I just re-read my blog.

For a man who supposedly reads and writes a lot and has actually edited other people's articles, my grammar is atrocious.

Here is my resolution.

Edit before you post.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Get into Programming

Hey so I know absolutely jack shit about programming but seriously I have learned the basics of javascript in about 2 days flat. If you can do any maths which you definitely can because you've got a brain and you have to add up to do things like buy stuff then feel free to use this.

Then take your degree and shove it because stuff like this is probably more useful. Oh well.

Friday, 6 January 2012

A Memory of Liverpool.

Just a big NB. That anecdote at the end. It's not really mine. I nicked it like that British fella nicked Homer's sugar. If you are the one who told me it TOM, well it's my story now and I'm more handsome and stuff anyway so people will prefer it when it comes from my mouth.

Anywhere here's some things I have to say about my beloved Liverpool.

Oh hell yeah. Liverpool.

Liverpool is a place. An actual real life-place. You can go there on the train and everything. There are a few of you, presumably scousers who've never know any different. There are outsiders who've never been and are probably wondering why I'm bothering to highlight the bleedin' obvious and that's fine because you will never understand without going, the sheer what-the-fuckery of that city. 

The experience starts with the taxi drivers. Like most scousers, Liverpool cabbies are easy to talk to and like most cabbies they'll spin a few yarns whilst doing so. Thing is that everywhere else, the stories tend to revolve around, "That foreign fella what runs the corner shop." Here, they're a little bit more Lewis Carroll. 
"That grave there mate, you know why it's a spike. Because Gamblin' Eddie sold his soul to the devil for luck at the cards and when he was about to die he had himself entombed alive standing up so Satan couldn't catch him." 
You're in a city that isn't quite. A city teetering close to the edge of the world of dreams. 

Here, you can take a civilised picnic to a David Lynch film strung out across the wall of a church torn apart by bombings, before quickly strolling to FACT and lying underneath a Laser Cone where you will, there is no other phrase, quite literally trip balls. From here you can go to a gig in an old gym and flex your muscles whilst listening to Liverpool's burgeoning hardcore scene before costuming up and taking the 'world of dreams' theme literally in an explosion of light, music and colour in The Kazimer. 

Sure, you can visit the Tate and feel free to do so, there are some fantastic exhibitions, but Liverpool's real strength is the boldness with which it sticks its big fat artistic middle finger at anything that makes any sense at all. 
Liverpool changed my life once. I heard from a friend of mine who, whilst relieving himself in the Asda toilets saw a young-ish red faced man wander in. He dropped his trousers and small-clothes before shuffling towards the urinals. Naturally he tripped and as he fell, thousands of empty shopping bags cascaded from his coat. Pants round his ankles and tears in his eyes he begged my friend not to tell security and that "His heist wasn't over yet."

To some this would be an indication of the tragedy that narcotics and perhaps even poverty and abuse can have on the mind. But for me I was just confused and ponding this, I began my walk home past a shop selling 'Sunbeds and English Lessons', a Hairdresser that moonlights as a carpentry place and thought to myself that if I understood a single jot of the nutty stuff that happens there on a daily basis I would be infinitely wiser. 
This place exists.
What artist could live there and not raise his game?

Here's something that actually happened in Liverpool.

I was going to end this with a thought about how our government is robbing a recently revitalised Merseyside of her dignity, but I will not. Instead I implore you all to do one thing. Visit and immerse yourself. You will not regret it.