Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas

From (for the next month) your Southern Hemisphere correspondent. Yes, I'm aware that this is a day late, but I feel that I can be given some leeway in this respect, because I spent Christmas Day on a plane. Not that that particular day has a huge amount of signifcance for me so fuck off. Anyway, I hope everyone got nice presents or food or something I don't fucking know I'm tired. I trust you will all have a good New Year as well; I doubt mine is going to be of any particular greatness so have a few drinks on my behalf.

Cheers,

Thadds.

I did have Dim Sum for Xmas Dinner though. Which was nice.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

"No, look at ME, stop looking at the space around me"

I said, but he wasn't listening to anything coming from the space within the space around me. His eyes were middle-England-blue and awash with two pints of bitter and five-or-six glasses of mulled wine. "Yes, thank you, I'm not celebrating this year." More gin bites my heart and soul, which, frankly, they deserve for all the cosmic sexual arousal and aloneness that they have been forcing the sane that I surround me with to unrequite. "I had to be bloody reminded that it's Chrissmusseev five times today, and I'm in panto. THAT is precisely how much Christ's Mess means to me, and if you don't look at me, I shall- why won't you look at me? Can you see my aura or something? What colour is it? No, sorry, 'Mer' Chrissmusseev' is not a- what spirit of things? You mean getting wankered, eating too much, spending days of your valuable-and-underpaid-time writing out Chrissmusscars to people that you haven't spoken to in years- no, I bet you can't even remember who the Banals are, let alone the Distantsons- buying expensive things for people who probably don't need them and believing that this means that people mean more to you than money- one of your demographics just fell off, it's just over- no, no, best leave it in that pool of- er- arguing with your family who moved out specifically because they don't like spending time with you, and- no, in fact, I'm not a Chrishun, and nor, I suspect, are- LOOK AT ME- well, atheism is better than your brand of Christ's Mess and Eastertide reli- no, you aren't a Chrishun, you're just keeping up appearances, you bigo- lawks, man, pull your worldview back up, I can see your census peeking ou- WILL YOU LOOK AT- fine, yes, I'll have some free wine, but as for- and YE GODS MAN, the MUSIC- no, you don't actuall- I'M OVER HERE- you don't actually like it, you're just told you do because it's Christ's Mess so it must be good and therefore it is good, but in fact it is ALMOST ALL UNFUCKINGLISTENABLE, so- I- OVER- can you even- you can't, can- can you? You're just transmitting, aren't you? You can't receive, can you?"

I walked off into the night, smoking in silent despondency. He just stooped there, screaming goodwill and caring at the planet.

Of course he couldn't see me. I wandered back.

I sighed, and, opening my trousers, expelled some mulled cheer into his face. It rolled off, of course. He didn't even feel it.

"MER' CHRISSMUSS!" I belted, my words intermingled with smoke, my eyes wide with untraditional righteousness, my lips twisted into a barbed rictus, my fists clenched into iron baubles of correction.

He looked at me. "AN' TH' SAME T'YOU!"

By the time I landed the left hook he wasn't paying attention again. Didn't feel it. Bloody hurt me, though.

I stalked off toward the nearest accidental decoration. Best to leave the poor chap alone. Clearly quite mad.

I heard another demographic drop leprously from his obese right wing, and smiled humourlessly into the diffuse light of the mist-gauzed streetlamp. Dropping my cigarette into a puddle of brandy, inadvertently creating my own briefly impressive Chrissmuss Pudding, I disappeared into the mist in a swirl of freshly-lit autodestructive pleasure-smoke, clicking my heels darkly and bouncing to the broken remnants of unconscionably repugnant songs that escaped the man's lips as he screamed his message at no-one in particular.

Mer' Chrissmuss, everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

You must be FUCKING KIDDING ME

http://www.usafis.org/_sys/EN/frg_en2.asp

I am FUCKING SPEECHLESS.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Chalk One Up for the Interweb!

Ever since forever, music industry execs have formed the parasitic half of the perversely dysfunxional not-quite-symbiotic relationship between artist and record label. Musicians need someone to market, produce (editorially), and produce (manufactorially*) their art. Music executives, on the other hand, need money. Lots and lots of money. Because, you see, they suffer from hypodenaria, and must crush literally hundreds of thousands of high-value banknotes and credit cards into an unpalattable paste, and inject same into their recta, every day, lest they fall into a coma of only-just-more-than-enough-money shock.

Unfortunately, as we all well know, when the music industry is run by - er - the music industry, the result is hundreds of hump-'em-and-dump-'em clone-artists picked up by execs because when all music sounds the same, it must therefore all be great, and ergo make me much more money. I listened to a few "XTREME" radio stations whilst I was in the States, and the only way that I was able to discern one song from the next was the ten-minute commercial break between them. As far as I can tell, labels had latched onto the success of Queens of the Stone Age in the metal department, and Green Day in the pop-punk department, and were trying to force bands with literally fractions as much lyrical inspiration and musical innovation (perhaps excluding Greenday from the latter) as these two groups into their already-overflowing molds.

Then, one day, the interweb came along. Word-of-mouth and popular opinion were suddenly promoted from merely The Most Trustworthy Method of Publicity to The Most Effective Method of Publicity. Mass panic ensued, and music executives sued everyone ever in order to stockpile emergency supplies of arse-money. The world as we knew it began to crumble before our very eyes! Small labels produced mighty chart-topping bands! Regional, unassuming indy artists scored Numbers One without even signing a record deal! Dogs were born with superfluous pseudopodia, and the People of the West started chasing each other with frying pans and eating their own young!

Let's make the most of it before somebody works out how to recommercialise music, shall we?

/Veins

*It's a word. Fuck you.

Veins versus Societal Preconceptions #5,742(b)

Sable X. Veins re-educates the misled. Feel free to think for yourself.

Please find below - edited for netslang and carriage-return legibility, but not for content - a brief transcript of a conversation between myself (SXV) and a young lady (A). My later notes in [square brackets].

A ...Take what drugs?
SXV Mainly cannabis - although hallucinogens interest me.
A Well don't let them.
SXV They're a lot safer than they're made out to be, so long as you use them responsibly.
A No they are not. Don't be stupid.
SXV Don't you be stupid. What, precisely, is dangerous about them?
A They make you do dumb-ass things without realising. You can't find your own fucking feet.
SXV That's not true: it depends on the drug, on the dosage, on the person taking... The only genuinely dangerous narcotics - to people who are fairly mentally stable and responsible - are cocaine and opiate derivatives. Acid can be dangerous, because it stays in your system - but you can control the trip, and as long as you have someone to hold your hand you're safe. Most hallucinogens are fairly mild.
A No.
SXV Yes.
A The person there to hold your hand will probably be pretty out of it.
SXV Only if they're taking the drug too.
A And you don't ever know exactly what you are taking.
SXV Not true. It depends on your supplier. Don't even try and pretend that you understand mind-altering substances simply because you've read the sheets your school gave you. Yes, they can be dangerous, but as long as you're careful, you're at no more risk - and often less - than drinking alcohol. Of course, don't ever take anything given to you by someone you don't know and trust, and never do hallucinogens alone, or with people who are not in a fit state to look after you. Most pyschedelics produce short, often controllable trips, or simple alterations of visual perception.
A Don't patronise me. I don't just know by what they tell me at school.
SXV Then what, precisely, is your experience?
A [Long pause.]
SXV Pray tell.
A No, it isn't your business, and you are being rude and patronising.
SXV You've made it my business by saying - and I quote - "I don't just know by what they tell me at school" - as part of your counterargument. You can't advance that without supporting it. If you don't want to talk about it, fair enough - that's your prerogative - but you can't use as part of a coherent argument.
A I'm saying you don't know what you are talking about. [Oh don't I?] And I don't have to do anything.
SXV Of course not. I'm not being "rude", I'm being perfectly reasonable. I apologise [grudgingly - in order that the debate be allowed to move on] for the school comment, but you did sound exactly like a PSE lesson - and you know how skewed those can be.
A Yes I do. That is why I don't listen.
SXV I don't mean to patronise. [Well, I did, but I was making a point. Besides, I think A is creatively misunderstanding me here.]
A OK then. But it isn't my buisness what you do.
SXV Well then, if that's what you think, then don't ask me what I do.
A I was curious as to what you meant by "taking drugs". And in answer I don't have any experience. I just have a view that drugs are dumb.
SXV That's rather blanket, don't you think? "Drugs are dumb"? Where do you draw the line?
A I'm not sure.
SXV Precisely.
A Don't be arrogant.
SXV I'm not being arrogant. Coke is too damaging, smack is too damaging; ecstasy and speed are close - but cannabis and most pyschedelics are safe* as long as they are used in moderation and come from a good source. But then, alcohol in large quantities isn't safe either. It's addictive, severely damaging to internal organs, and impairs responses and reasoning.
A Yeah.
SXV Do you see? Can it genuinely be argued that an addictive, internally destructive, reflex- and reasoning-impairing drug is safer than a mild psychedelic that gives you a short waking dream or causes you to see colours differently simply because society has legally declared it to be so?
A I suppose. But the drugs can more easily go wrong in a small dose whereas alchohol cannot.
SXV Again, it depends on the source and the user. [Also, "small dose" is far too relative.]
A Perhaps.
SXV Definitely. Someone who's already unhinged could clearly be pushed over the edge by (even a small) trip.
A True.
SXV And - this is backed by scientific and anecdotal evidence - most (mild) illegal narcotics only cause negative effects when a) taken in badly measured (i.e. too large) doses - such as too much in one dose, or an overdose in an incautious user (but too much alcohol in one go can kill you too); b) mixed or cut with another drug which reacts badly in conjunction with first; or c) cut with rat posion etcetera. I'm not saying that anyone should use them - I'm just saying that people shouldn't overreact to these things. Of course a risk is involved-
A Yeah.
SXV -but, there's a risk involved in - er - everything you do. Ever.
A Yeah.
SXV You see my point?
A I do.

/Sable

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Music will save the world, you bastards

The City (By Night)

So I might have slightly made an ambient/jazz track with artistic noise and little atonalities and things. It doesn't make me a Bad Person, though.


Does it?


(However, this does. And will placate those who like head-kicky music rather than noodling. Yes.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Patriotism

-‘Are you proud to be an American?'
_‘Um, I don’t know, I didn’t have a lot to do with it. You know, my parents fucked there, that’s about all." ~ Bill Hicks

"If you don't like it here, you can leave" ~ Binky the Dog-Faced Daily Mail Apologist.

I love my country. This is the truth.
I have a genuine affection for the British Isles, both for its landscape and political system, for its hills and for the Houses of Parliament*. However, this is not purely a function of my being brought up here. This is because I have an aesthetic and political sympathy with the elements I mentioned previously. Listen.
There's no consent involved in where you're brought up. By the time you're old enough and (if you're lucky) affluent enough to leave, you're already deeply involved with the Welfare State, taxation, are protected** by the police, and so are considered by many to owe something to Society. But you had no choice to be involved with these things. They were all imposed on you as a child whether you liked them or not. Furthermore, if the "debt to society" argument is refuted, then we're left with the idea that you should Love Your Country because it is, er, Your Country. Or rather, I should say, Support Your Society. This does not make any logical sense. The only reason to support and otherwise buy into a society is because you consider it a morally admirable society. Equally, if you live in a bad society, the only logical response is to leave or find a way to change it until it's better. This is why I get so annoyed at Binky's insistence that "Them immigrants shouldn't come here if they don't like Our Way Of Life (tm) so much": the whole point of a democracy is that it's got room for more than one point of view - if people who don't like aspects of the established order shouldn't move in from elsewhere, (and assuming Binky isn't just racist scum) where does that leave dissenters who live here already? I'll reiterate: The only way to react to a bad society is to seek to change it by whatever means you consider moral.
An example: If you believe that lethal force is an acceptable means of political change AND you live in a society you perceive to be morally reprehensible AND you consider said violent change proportionate, then you're morally obliged to become a terrorist. You're also a repulsive throwback to the Middle Ages who is ruining the century for all the good children. And your initials are quite possibly "G.W.B", but that's a different post. However, equally, if you believe in democracy, then you should either Vote for a party that you believe in or Stand Yourself, You Bastard. My Point: Patriotic duty is an irrational concept when based on where you happened to be born, but extremely valid if based on the Good Society (real or possible) of your own choice. To Make It More Clear: "Don't like it here? Then Revolution Is Your Moral Duty".

~w'05


*Well, one of them, anyway. I'll let you guess which one I mean.
**Read: "Occasionally shot in the head if you're a bit dusky".

Saturday, December 10, 2005

THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS

“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world, and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work” ~ Woody Guthrie.

"There is a reality against which velocity must constantly be assayed" ~ China Miéville.

"It is the business of the future to be dangerous" ~ Michael Moorcock.

Your music is dead and stale. Last night I heard the Popular Beat Combo known as the "Sugababes" attempting to sing "Come Together". I won't attempt to describe it, but I think it suffices to say that I kicked over my speakers and hid on the roof for an hour until the urge to run to London and bite out their vocal chords before they could harm anyone else had subsided. No-one appears to be trying to make anything new anymore - almost everything I hear on the radio that has energy and verve to it turns out to be from twenty years ago, or rips off something from twenty years ago. Franz Ferdinand, I am looking at you. Enough whinging.

This post is here to introduce a new musical project featuring myself, Veins, Garth Wintergreen and Special Guests. And it's called Pontius Pilot. And the idea is that we play a live set that's continuous, contains no covers, entirely musical, and is full of energy and innovation. The words, ladies and gentlemen, are RIOT and POP. Because there needs to be a new revolutionary music to shock, intimidate and politicise the Youth of Today into something. Because what we've got at the moment really isn't bastard cutting it. What we're looking for is something with the manic, rhythmic energy and attention to impressive dress that you see in black metal, except with more emphasis on harmonic development, vocal harmonies taken from traditional folktunes without clinging desperately to traditional structures, and modernist atonality without the loss of something you can dance to.

Samples of what I'm talking about are here, here, and here.

It is very late now, and I am filled with IDEAS. I will return when they have emerged, Athena-like, from my brow.


[The Rhexis sincerely apologises for its editor's Music Will Save the World rhetoric, and will send his curriculum vitae to the NME. The post will be left in place, however, because it links to various new musical projects, and is, after all, quite exciting. -SXV]

Saturday, December 03, 2005

AVE, COMRADES

If you were to hypothetically head over to the [rhexisMUSIC] page, you'd be able to download Satellite B's latest R!ot p0p opus, "making history", for your listening pleasure, you know.

Also, what features do you filthy lot reckon should be added to the Rhexis functionality over the next few weeks? I've got a bit of time on my hands, and want to get the "All-media" aspect a little closer to not violating the Trades Descriptions Act. Content-wise, I'm going to attempt to write more politics and philosophy related posts, and increase the amount of discussion per post in the comments. Also, I think a policy of questioning high-profile Scum On The Interwebnet until they Bleed and then writing about it should have been implemented a while ago.
I'm also making an embargo on link-posts: if there's an interesting news article, there should really be at least a few lines discussion its import.

"Notes from the End of the World": #2

"How the World Was Made"

In the hut it was warm, and everything was suffused with a yellow light. The thick iron walls almost obscured the whining of the wind, and the coarse, brightly-coloured curtains were shut tight in front of the single window. In the corner, a man put his child to bed.
“Daddy, tell me a story?” keens the infant, wriggling amongst its meagre blankets.
“Of course, little one. What is it tonight? Yes. Tonight I’ll tell you all about how the world was made”
The child blinked and smiled, looking forward to the tale.

“Once, a long time ago, there were a lot of States and Principalities (even more than there are now), and they were all joined together in a great big round ball. The people who lived on the ball could walk to wherever they wanted to go, or if they had to go over one of the enormous pools of water that were all over the place, they got in a boat or swam. Everyone who lived on the ball had enough air to breathe and land to live on, but they didn’t all get on very well. There were two very big States that didn’t get on at all. In fact, they hated each other. They were always at war, and had been for an awfully long time (nearly as long as your Daddy has been around, you know), but they didn’t fight each other at all, except in secret, in small countries far away.”

“Why was that, Daddy?”

“Well, they had special weapons. These were called New Clear weapons, because they were all shiny and clean. But they were very dangerous, and if even one of the big States attacked the other, everyone on the big ball would have been very poorly indeed.”

“So what did they do?”

“They waited, and tried to sort things out, but they just didn’t get on very well, so they didn’t get very far. Then, one day, a terrible thing happened. One of the men looking after the New Clear weapons fell asleep, and one of them escaped from the field were they had been put out to graze. It escaped and flew into the sky, but then it got tired and fell down on a city called Leads. Then both the leaders of both the big States got very cross with each other, and decided that the other one had done it deliberately. So they both went down to the pens where they kept all the other New Clear weapons, took a big pair of scissors each, and cut the leashes that held them to the ground. They all flew into the air, and were all ready to fall down on everyone and squash them flat.”

“Then what happened, Daddy?” The child was wide-eyed.

“Well, darling, at that time there was a big man who lived in the sky and looked after people-“

“A bit like you, Daddy?”

The man smiled “Just a little bit, yes. And his name was Jehovah. He had made the round world and all the people on it, and he had said a long time ago that when the end of the world came, he would take all the people who had believed in him, and carry them up to live with him where they wouldn’t be hurt. So just as all the New Clear weapons were falling, he gathered up all the people who had been especially good and listened to what he had said. All over the ball, people rose into the air, and started floating towards the sky, where a big beardy face (A bit like mine, yes) had appeared in a lovely yellow light. Unfortunately for Jehovah, the New Clear weapons got caught up too, and they were carried up to be with Jehovah as well. Now, all the people who hadn’t been lifted up were very relieved, not only that some of their more irritating neighbours had disappeared, but that they also weren’t going to be squashed flat or blown into little bits”

“Like toes!” exclaimed the child, and bounced up and down on the bed.

“Much like toes, yes.” replied her father. “Now, everything was quiet for a week or so, and the people went back to their lives, but a bit more cheerfully now they knew there were no more New Clear weapons left to squish them. After a week, though, the sky went red, and a big beardy face appeared again, only to disappear into lots of little bits. Then a huge crack appeared in the clouds (don’t worry about those, my love, they were only things we had in the old days) and a nasty light shone out. Then there was a deafening boom, and the earth broke.”

“Now, you’ve heard the old folk songs Daddy sometimes sings about how all the hills in Old Europe were just giants that had fallen asleep for so long that the grass had grown over them, and the people who had forgotten all about them walked around on their backs? (The child nodded vigourously) Well, that turned out to be true! Almost all the earth and stones the big ball was made of got washed away into space by Jehovah exploding –don’t worry too much about him, dear, he wasn’t a very nice man after all – and so all that was left were the old, magic things that were buried in the ground. All the cauldrons and pots and giants and dragons left over from the Olden Days, all floating about. Now, for some reason, quite a lot of the people were all right (although quite a lot of them drifted away into space, or went stark raving bonkers, too), and because some of the giants and things were very big, and all the air that had been around the big ball tended to stick to them, they were able to live on top of them and build their houses out of the bits of rubbish they found floating about. After a while, the people got more organised and started roping together some of the larger relics to make States, and building around some of the smaller ones to make Principalities. And that was how the world was made.”

The child was already asleep. The man stood up, tucked his daughter more snugly into her little wooden bed, and padded over to the little window in the opposite wall. He looked out at the huge floating human figures outside, peppered with little huts and towers of wood and metal and found stone, and at the stars above, and beneath, and all around, and at the blackness behind them. His thoughts were predictable, and concentrated on the past. Behind his back and his clasped hands, the infant slept undisturbed.

(This may be one of the first chapters of a possible project in which I attempt to syncretise everything I find interesting in a coherent imaginary cosmo-political entity. Or not, depending)

"Notes from End of the World": #1

"Everyone's here, sitting in their deck-chairs and talking in low voices.
There's Edward and Rhiannon, and they're holding hands even though their divorce came through a week ago.
Their spoiled children are silent, watching the skies as they sit cross-legged on the grass.
There's John, the vicar, and the imam whose name I don't remember,
and they're sitting together, afraid,
and they're holding each other because there's no-one else with the time left to hold them.

And all the thugs and bullies are sat down with their mothers,
and the common is so quiet now and on my cheeks are tears.

And I hold my pale tired children, and as we watch the new dawn rises.
And the light is green and purple and my eyes are turning in.

And the people of the villages hide their heads and end their quarrels, because our futile interactions are as fleeting as our skin.

The dawn is rising higher and a bitter smell encroaches.
We're all molten now like honey
and the tide is drawing in.
"

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

Support World AIDS Day

Given the nature of this journal and of Veins' latest post, I feel that it's worth mentioning here that today is World AIDS Day.

Charity and Artistic Integrity

If I let you shit on my face for charity, I have still let you shit on my face.


[And now, genitals and ladymen, a brief example of what a real post on a politico-artistic journal looks like.]


I have just sat through the worst piece of theatre ever produced. (Yes, worse than Lloyd-Webber.)

"But it was for Charity!"

Stop squealing.

Let me just straighten this out for you: just because you are selling something "for a good cause", does not mean that it is acceptable for it to be shite. Providing a substandard service or product in the name of charity demeans the person selling, the person buying, and the charity itself.

The act of donation not only precludes this debasement of all parties, but is an act of actual charity - that is, giving something with no expectation in return. Don't get me wrong - I understand the necessity of, and applaude the creativity behind, selling goods and services to fund charity, but buying substandard tosh is effectively the same as making a donation and then being slapped for your goodwill.

Allow me to elaborate. I have just been to see a local amateur pantomime in aid of local charities. This is where the problems begin - I don't know which charities. However, as my brother's friend's parents produced the show, I am willing to apply a generous helping of the benfit of my doubt as to the merit of these charities (I'm not an evil right-wing bastard - the plain fact of the matter is that a number of charities are, in fact, counterproductive, due to poor management, misappropriation, and spurious causes).

The trouble continues with the word "amateur". I fully understand that it is unjust as well as unrealistic to critique nonprofit local drama to the same exacting standards as genuine theatre; however, there are some very, very basic levels of artistic ability and integrity that apply to even the most rustic* of theatre companies. The production was lacklustre, sluggish, and half-arsed in every department (musicians excluded) and at every step. The script was dreadful, and NOT ON PURPOSE (pantomime, remember); the director was clearly under the impression that it is good luck to block every scene as a triangle; the cast was, well, mis-cast; acting? what acting?; lighting plot and rigging were unimaginative and messy. The band was rather good, but alas! for not one person on stage could sing! The band did have a good singer, but he was poorly mixed by the audio tech and underused in general.


"Anyway, at least they tried - not very hard, mind. To sum it all up, for a company that clearly has no idea how theatre works, it's not bad as an attempt at their first show."

At this point I was informed that the "entertainers" in question had been producing for several years.

Just remember, my children: "If you let someone shit on your face for charity, you have still let someone shit on your face."


/Veins


*I apologise for using this word - I mean no offence to the peasantry.**
** This is A JOKE about SNOBBERY. DO YOU SEE? NO complaints allowed.