Sunday, August 21, 2005

acrid folk

mood: hah hah hah hah hah
music: Sons and Daughters - the Repulsion Box

Today’s post fulfills this blog’s subtitle, being a sour-grapes folk darling anecdote I got from a friend in the USA who is in a band called Baltic Knot. All names and locations have been changed to protect the guilty.

“Last summer James and I played a show in Boston with the Beltane Yews and Snakedial. When we got there this guy came up to James and was like "James?!? What are you doing here? Did you move to Boston?" (I can't remember the dude's name so let's call him Mo. I think his stage name is like Gandalf Pendragon or some shit) and James’s like "no, Mo. I'm playing a show here with my band. What are you doing here?" and he's like "oh, I'm in the Beltane Yews".

”So it turns out that this guy and his band used to all live in Portland and when they were in high school they would come in to the record store where James worked and made fun of him for listening to "pussy-ass-shit" like Pearls Before Swine and Vashti Bunyan. At the time, they were in a band called "Backdraft" that apparantly sounded like Fugazi. But then they moved to
Brooklyn and bought some folk albums and you know the rest.

“So the capper of the evening was when I wandered down to the greenroom and smoked a joint with these a-holes and overheard the following conversation:

Snakedial guy #1: "so what's with this Baltic Knot?"
Snakedial guy #2: "oh, you know... just another one of those psych folk bands"
Beltane guy # 1: "ugh. I'm so sick of that shit."
Beltane guy # 2: "no man, they're the real deal. their guitarist James, he used to follow the Dead and sell acid in the 80's."
Snakedial guy # 1: "huh. whatever."


Guy Bartell phoned me up the other week to tell me he had been suffering a recurring dream that he had died, and in the film of his life he was played by Judge Rheinhold.


Simplistic peaceniks churn out Ghandi quotes at times like this.
Here Guy and I offer some alternatives:

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world seeing eye to eye”

“An eye for an eye means the innocent have nothing to fear”

“An eye for an eye leaves me feeling a lot better about the little f*cker that broke into my car”

“An eye for an eye ensures equal rights for the visually impaired”

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Proposed solution to dwindling US Army recruits

Godwin's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (i.e. certainty).

There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.


I propose a new, normative, rather than purely empirical law, the "Law of Orwellian Flourish", which urges that anyone who quotes Orwell in order to indicate the sagacity of their position should be forced to join the US Army and fight for a war I believe is morally and legally justified as long as I don't personally have to fight for it myself.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

homage to my kitchen

Christopher Hitchens said in his review of Farenheit 9/11, "In general, it's highly unwise to quote Orwell if you are already way out of your depth on the question of moral equivalence." On that note, allow me to offer my two pennies worth.
Hasn't anyone read Orwell's essay on the correct way to make a cup of tea? Let there be no relativism here. If people just followed his instructions and fucking well got it right, the world would be a better place. You know what I mean? Charity begins at home, in the kitchen, making me a cup of tea.

Friday, August 05, 2005

New Dark Age

Music: The Sound 'From the Lion's Mouth' (1981)

"Directionless so plain to see/a loaded gun won't set you free" sang Joy Division's Ian Curtis, and
self-consciously earned himself a place in the historic pantheon of romantic suicides. Adrian
Borland sang "I was gonna drown/but then I started swimming/I was going down/but then I started winning" whilst he evidently wasn't winning. The Sound struggled commercially whilst Borland struggled with his sanity, but his suicide in 1999 came way too late for the kids to care. No romance here, just bravery, and startling music.

You can buy the album at

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

aliens: leave my ass alone

Mood: hoping that an emotionally and intellectually advanced, benign alien species will come and transport us all to their arcadian cyber-utopia and gently teach us all to be a bit less violent and stupid, but not, like in alien abduction cases, put things in our asses.

Music: a random series of spiritless 4 bit tones from a C64 emulator

Current reading:

Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
Dissent Magazine

Hmm. Concerned that this blog may have become impenetrable and alienating. If you came here to find out about my favourite colour or what I did last night whilst hanging tough with my homies, I apologise. Lighten up Talbot!


The carnival of culture

Multiculturalism has to be a robust exchange of ideas, rather than of festivals and food

Hanif Kureishi
Thursday August 4, 2005,2763,1542252,00.html

"...I found these sessions so intellectually stultifying and claustrophobic that at the end I'd rush into the nearest pub and drink rapidly, wanting to reassure myself I was still in England. It is not only in the mosques but also in so-called "faith" schools that such ideas are propagated. The Blair government, while attempting to rid us of radical clerics, has pledged to set up more of these schools, as though a "moderate" closed system is completely different to an "extreme" one. This might suit Blair and Bush. A benighted, ignorant enemy, incapable of independent thought, and terrified of criticism, is easily patronised."

Monday, August 01, 2005


mood: three hour tailback on the M4
music: whatever is playing on the Irish radio station which is the sole thing our car stereo can receive

Bob Mould has a new album out. Pitchfork seem to like it, in their way. It's often hard to penetrate the snake-eating-its-own-tail rhetoric deep enough to decipher exactly what Pitchfork thinks about anything.