Monday, January 31, 2005

celebrity bowel sprayer

mood: Les paul
music: me playing a Les Paul really loud through an amplifier the size of a cigarette packet

Super fun link of the day:

Critical reappraisal time

I tell you what, right? Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is an overrated crock of shit. If bad artwork, a dearth of sympathetic characters and an unconvincing script filled with irritating street-lingo makes a seminal work of comic art, constantly referred to in the same breath as Alan Moore's peerless Watchmen, then I'm Lionel fucking Ritchie.

I got his Ronin for Xmas (Miller's, not Richie's, though I suspect Richie's is the superior work). It had better be good.

My friend Andrew actually sat through the Punisher movie. Here is his review:

Punisher the movie. A review by Andrew Barkham.
"Beautifully paced by director Jon Hensleigh and his editing team, storylines from various Punisher incarnations are skilfully weaved into a comprehensive whole. The dialogue crackles with wit and intelligence and each revelatory plot twist draws you deeper into the action. Thomas Jane is Frank Castle incarnate and must surely be destined for greatness. Best of all, John Travolta displays his true professionalism by attacking his role with the same enthusiasm and intensity he brought to Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty. Marvel can rest assured that the integrity of one of its most popular characters has been upheld."

I'm sure you can detect the sarcasm.

Critical reappraisal time part II
I tell you what, right? Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America is an overrated crock of shit. The contrived plot revolves around an unlikeable group of mysoginist thugs, with the odd woman portrayed as a either a whore or a pricktease. The pace is Lucio Fulci porridge without the recurring scenes of ocular trauma to reward one's patience. In the bathroom I found an interesting stain on the wall and didn't come out for twenty minutes, by which time the film was over. Apparently James Woods throws himself into a furnace in the end, so it sounds like I missed the consolation prize.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

shrinkwrapped limbs

Mood: Moody
Music: Midnight Movies

Heard 'Just to Play' by this band Midnight Movies

Superb. Velvets, Joy Division, Nico. Album out in UK end of January.


Album mastered. Sleep now. Bye.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Old Gods

Mood: Shaving the dead
Music: Geisha - new album demos

On the subject of delusion, last night I took a new drug, called Kratom. It has a physical, opiate-like euphoria, rather like codeine. It also gives you the power of flight, but it doesn't work if you try to take off from the ground; you have to hurl yourself off the top of a building, and you have to have FAITH. As I can already fly, I sat in darkness listening to Aphex Twin's Collected Ambient Works Volume II. I'm sure it will be made illegal soon.

Today I listened to Shed Seven and cleaned the bathroom.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Let's Talk About the Lake

Mood: Ultra Skull
Music: Interpol - A Time to be Small

Eurosonic was good. My show was okay but I wish I'd had the band with me. It seemed to go down well though. Shame I didn’t have my head screwed on and taken all my merch because Aberfeldy who played after me cleaned up; they sold loads of albums and t-shirts. They were good fun; twee indie pop with immaculately arranged songs. It’s not everyday you meet your exact opposite. I forwent my lift to the hotel to stick around with them and get fucked up. So we all went back in the van together, listening to Tago Mago at full blast.

They had already checked in and went to their rooms whilst I made my way to the reception. This was at 4am, it was freezing cold and the air was saturated in face-level lowlands fog. At this point it became horrifyingly apparent that I wasn’t booked into that hotel; mine was on the other side of town, about 15 miles away. Bad. Very Bad indeed. Fortunately I managed to get through to the festival organiser who arranged for someone to come and get me. In the meantime I had to say goodbye to the guys, but I couldn’t get into the hotel building as I didn’t have a card… because I wasn’t booked into that hotel. So, pissed and stoned, I wandered around the perimeter listening in at windows, trying to hear drunk Scottish people. I think I disturbed some families who thought they had rumbled a duffel coated pervert trying to spy on them. I eventually found their room only because they hadn’t pulled the curtain properly, alerted their attention and explained everything to them. Had I not been so hammered I would have been panicking. So I got taken to the other hotel by an enormously gracious transport manager and got four hours sleep before I was picked up and taken to the station. I had to bin 3 grams of White Widow before boarding the plane, which was an emotional moment.

Friday, January 14, 2005

wacky bearded american folky eccentric dude

Music: 'Balaklava' Pearls Before Swine
Mood: plastic surgery disaster

Same internet cafe again. After eating in an Italian restaurant that played Cuban music, I spent the evening in the hotel room, watching television, partaking in a pleasant strain know as 'White Widow'and a few 'relaxation remedies'to help me with my 'fear of flying'. The Bravo channel had three FBI Files shows back to back. I can't remember much apart from lots of people getting shot. In the dark I listened to Sugar's Beaster'and Çopper Blue'on random shuffle. I was awoken by a church bell ringing constantly for about four minutes. Wake up tourists! Time to get up and buy more pot! They Told Me I Went tO Amsterdam But I Can't Remember!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh hold on, that's not right. I left out the bit where I rescued the 14 year old girl from pimp gangsters, took out their yacht with C4 and an M16, burned the heroin, saved the two very, very blonde kids from drowning and exposed the corrupt officials. I politely turned down the cash reward, because it was reward enough that justice had been served.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

canal dreams

mood: bored
music: bad euro house whether I like it or not, that's all they play in Amsterdam

So I'm in Amsterdam, and I'm bored. I'm here for one night before going to play Eurosonic in Groeningen, and it's not a great deal of fun on your own. There's not much point tripping on mushrooms if you only have the hotel television to keep you company.
I found a comic shop but everything was about twice the price of UK stores. I've read all the Punisher MAX comics now. Come on Garth Ennis, write some more, I need that violent misanthropy in my life right now.

If you are wondering who Garth Ennis is, here is some information:

It's not particularly informative though. He became famous (as far as comics go) for his 'Preacher' series, which somehow broke through into the realm of popular culture, probably because it's violent and perverted.

It's a funny mindstate, having been recording intensively for the last month, only to finish the album and immediately go abroad to play a show consisting of old material. The new album only has one track with an acoustic guitar on it, so it's pretty hard to pull off solo.

Best random mp3 player mix of the day: Dead Meadow into Vashti Bunyan.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Nederlandse Omroep Stichting

Mood: Tudor Hardcore
Music: The Birthday Party Live 81-82

Keep a blog, lose your fucking job:,14024,1388466,00.html
His blog is here:

If I had a job, I would have been fired ages ago. But I get to say whatever I like because I'm self- employed, which, as stories like this make me increasingly aware, is an enormous privilege. It's a terrible indictment of our society that a man has to keep his satirical musings to himself in order to ensure his own wage-slavery.

Fuck Waterstones, man. Buy your books from that old guy who's only open two days a week and only has rotting maps and large print detective fiction. Order something, he might be able to get it for you, if he can remember where he put his glasses.

Watched Hellboy - pretty damn good. The director definitely seemed committed to the comic book atmosphere. There is hope for the Watchmen movie yet.

Oh, hang on, Paul Greengrass is directing it, a man with The Bourne Supremacy as his towering cinematic achievement. First Terry Gilliam picks up the project, then Daron Aronofsky, and now... Paul Greengrass. If Greengrass walks out, I can confidently predict we'll be saddled with Michael Winner. Rorschach will be played by Lionel Blair, Dr. Manhattan by Chris Rea, The Comedian by Bernard Breslaw, and Adrian Veidt by Nigel Havers. And I know for a fucking FACT it will shit all over Greengrass's effort.


The new Gravenhurst album is mixed, being mastered next week, out in May.

I'm playing solo at Eurosonic on friday so off to the City of Sin tomorrow. Heh heh heh.

Heh heh.



Writing a novel? Random Plot generator.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

thought crusts

Mood: Brain pirates of the open road
Music: 'This Year's Model' - Elvis Costello

Aside from mixing the album, I'm reading 'Pocket Money', a book about the '80's snooker boom, with engaging profiles of all the bad boys, geezers and bullshitters surrounding it. Whilst snooker is the only sport i've ever shown even a passing interest in, and the only sport where i've watched a whole game, I wouldn't normally have a desire to read about it. However, 'Pocket Money' is written by Gordon Burn. Burn has always written about snooker, but his first book, 'Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son' was about the serial murderer Peter Sutcliffe, aka the Yorkshire Ripper. Such is his dedication, Burn went to live in Bingley in Yorkshire for three years, in order to understand the Ripper's origins. This book changed the face of true crime writing, utilising a writing style akin to prose fiction. Then he wrote the book about snooker. In the '90's he wrote 'Happy Like Murderers', the definitive book on Fred and Rose West. Upping the intensity of enquiry to an almost intolerable level, again, Burn's contribution to this notoriously tawdry genre is unmatched in sophistication. His attempt to get inside the mind of a murderer - a claim pasted on the blurb of every tatty true crime book - succeeds by describing things no-one but the victims could have witnessed. He switches from the rich but detached cataloguing of background details into suffocatingly informal passages written in the casual language of the perpetrator. The reader is tricked into thinking this is fiction, and then it comes flooding back; this actually happened.

In scientific theories, where there is a lack of empirical evidence, one makes what is called an 'inference to the best explanation'. X is the best explanation for Y in that it fits in with our surrounding assumptions about the world, so we tentatively plump for X.
Are Burn's inferences correct? We can't know, but they make sense. They provide answers that fit with what we do know. And it's hell of a read.

Reading about Burn's other writing I was led to this:,11710,1309985,00.html

Seems I've missed out on this exhibition now.


Two nights ago I watched 'Open Water', a film about a couple who get stranded in the middle of the ocean when their diving boat drives off without them. Shot on DV Cam with unknown actors, it's been likened to the Blair Witch Project. Or 'Blair Witch Meets Jaws!!' as one tabloid put it.

The similarities are clear. Low budget, strong performances, with a first-half mundanity to settle the viewer in, only to jolt them out. But it's not immediately obvious whether the film is successful. The Blair Witch Project exploits our primal fear of the unknown, providing us with 90 minutes of American Gothic escapism. Most people don't really believe in witches, so the entertainment relies on the power of the performances and the intensity of the direction. Like most horror films, we are offered a safe subtitute for real world evil; we can be pretty sure where the picture ends and the frame enclosing it begins. Our fears are placed into a neat box we can hide under the bed, and retrieve when the world gets too much.

Most people, however, do believe in sharks, and the possibility of being stranded in the ocean. Where 'Blair Witch' seduces us into a world we don't believe in, Open Water dumps us in an ocean that covers the majority of the planet, populated by animals that eat people. It isn't so much frightening as depressing. One could make a film where an intruder breaks into a young couple's house, accidentally wakes their young child and then strangles it to death, burgles the property then escapes. The couple wake to find a ransacked home and a dead child. The film gets marks for realism, but really, what is the point? These things happen. We already know that.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Annus Crappus

Current mood: Dresden pilot
Current music: none

Please take some time out to check this link:

This is an interesting site detailing dodgy sectarian groups posing as charities:


So 2004 was a pretty good year for me, and a bloody awful one for pretty much all of the world, with a real kicker right at the end there.

Not that most of the 'Christian' Right could care, they are too busy campaigning for 'family values'.

Here are some major Evangelical 'Christian' Right organisations, who at time of writing haven't bothered to feature the tsunami disaster on their websites:

I'm surprised that I'm still surprised by these people. How do we tolerate intolerance? I want to cry.


This cheered me up though:

I've just finished
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright by Brian Talbot. I highly recommend it.

On New Year's Eve I chose to go to the supermarket. Unfortunately the world and his wife had the same idea. It was a distilled form of hell. I only coped because I had my new mp3 player programmed with a randomly rotating mix of Kate Bush, The Lemonheads, Pet Shop Boys and Whitehouse.