Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Albums I've Liked in 2013

So to continue a strange tradition, here is the music I discovered and/or enjoyed this year

With further ado [sic]:

America - Dan Deacon

Probably my favourite album out of the three FANTASTIC albums I've discovered from him this year. Symphonic electronica (srsly) that makes me want to jump up and down like a child in bouncy castle; instead, I sit and appreciate the beauty of the textures, melodies, beats, and crazy-ass ideas. If you like the Chemical Brothers with a splash of Lemon Jelly, savour this work - especially the final 'suite' at the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IADHZcdc0Ik

Anastasis - Dead Can Dance

Not particularly memorable, but the fact that DCD have even done any new work recently makes me happy - again I feel like each time I discover some artist, they release an album after an Aion (hate how you'll never get that pun). Not a bad album at all - enjoyable.

The Best of Focus - Hocus Pocus

Focus: a band I like, and I've only heard this album once. Extremely inventive and original. Should give them more of a go.

Black Earth - Bohren and der Club of Gore

I find their music absolutely perfect for 3 AM. Sounds like Lynch jazz - cool and menacing. One of those bands who I find it a shame you haven't heard yet because I think you'd like their stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bm9F3GFnik

Blue Velvet Soundtrack

Obviously good

Bromst - Dan Deacon

Fucking bananas but I love it to bits. This video is strangely canonical. If I could describe this album as a whole, it would be cartoon dance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1dOovoMlRs

The Colourful World - Ashok Pathak

Indian classical - improvised sitar playing. Shame it's sort of cliched and Beatles-raped because it's a really soothing, mind-opening sound.

Conatus - Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus is one of my favourite discoveries this year. Out of her albums I own this is her newest, and possibly my least favourite. Her voice can render most songs palatable, however. I enjoy the album but don't go mad over it. I hope she makes it because she's extremely talented.

Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra - Ravi Shankar

More nice Indian classical (obviously)

Constellations - Balmorhea

Cool ambient stuff.

The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack - Hans Zimmer

Enjoyable - the highlight for me being 'Imagine the Fire'. Interesting and spectacular sounds - it's just a shame that he spares the more avant-garde aspects of the scoring that he did for the Joker in the Dark Knight.

Days are Gone - Haim

One of the hipster bands at the start of 2013 who everyone tipped for worldwide stardom. I enjoy this whole album. It's pop, but with a sophistication to it that makes it stand out from other pop records. I can't pin down why I like it so much, but I do. I think it's nostalgia - they deliberately use a mid-nineties sound, echoing that of En Vogue, whilst retaining a more contemporary feel, eschewing gimmick (ok now I'm talking shite) and yet the fact it's three females in the band isn't particularly of interest - compare that to the sexualisation of most female pop singers these days. It's fucking sad tbh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUshy3OSDCA

Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts - M83

Disappointing album made before one of my favourite albums ever, Hurry Up We're Dreaming.

The Happiness Project - Charles Spearin

Was pretty sure I discovered this in 2012 but evidently not. To me, this is one of the most original albums ever made. It also inspired by own Shitler, Fuck's Sake piece, an important work in my own canon. I can't recommend the album enough: it seems to show humanity in all its beauty. The way he makes melody out of voices is somehow profound to me, suggesting even in our banal exchanges we create music. One that always amuses me is the track with a little girl whining to her dad about having butter on her bread. It's called Ondine. Weird name.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9o3GWWYNh4

Hesitation Marks - Nine Inch Nails

Same thing with Dead Can Dance: glad he's doing it, but mostly mediocre imo. I like how happy he sounds, but I prefer his darker and ambient stuff. I really do think his work with Atticus Ross counts among his best, so to write him off as irrelevant is ignorant, and possibly quite dangerous.

I Started Out With Nothin and I Still Got Most of It Left - Seasick Steve

He's a bit like parmesan - probably smells bad, good with spaghetti, but after a while it starts to grate (yeah I couldn't be arsed to do this one properly). Cool if you like blues and old men going on about their amazing life.

If You Leave - Daughter

Ice-cold pop. Probably one of the best albums actually released this year. That said, I tend to only listen to one track, which I find both depressing and beautiful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEpMj-tqixs

If You Wait - London Grammar

Strangely enough, the other album from 2013 comes straight after If You Leave on my iPod. Again, I like it, but I only listen regularly to one original song, and the other track I like is a cover of Nightcall from the Drive soundtrack.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6drfp_3823I

Legend of Zelda

Pretty epic stuff, a few fan-made albums of their own approximation from Zelda music. Not your thing I know, but if you're vaguely interested this is a sample.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzqAT2qVFRs

The Lion's Roar - First Aid Kit

Peaceful kind of stuff, akin to Fleet Foxes - the problem is they're two 18-year old girls in thrall to Fleet Foxes, plus because they're kids their lyrics aren't the best. However, their harmonies are almost flawless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBdl6NxIK8w

Maggot Brain - Funkadelic

I like this album if only for one of the greatest pieces of guitar work I know. The guy was asked 'just imagine your mother died and play :)' and he did. The rest of the album is pretty cool funk, which I realise I do quite like - might try some more funk bands. The opening track, however, is a cut above the rest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOKn33-q4Ao

Marquee Moon - Television

A pretty cool post-punk album, without which most of the bands from the early eighties who were any good wouldn't have been good, if that makes sense. One of the things I'm discovering right now is how often I just listen to one song from the albums I like which also happen to be ten minutes long. The track itself is called Marquee Moon. Cba to link.

MBV - My Bloody Valentine

Wtf man, yet another album from an old band released a million years after their last. The only track I really like is nothing but a pumping mass of sound, within which are discreet layers that come and go. I know they're a noise band, but most of the time I can only tolerate their noise for so long. Fortunately this track doesn't go on for too long. Overall an OK album but somehow defeats the mystique of My Bloody Valentine after the masterpiece of Loveless. Regarding this track, I think the top youtube comment nails it:

I kept waiting for it to build into something but it was just a troll.. still pretty cool sound

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHlVpADx_jk

what he doesn't realise is that the track is already at its peak and can only add and take away layers. There is method behind the madness. Damn I've written far too much over this album.

The Money Store - Death Grips

I really, really don't get why this album was so popular. It's pretty much the worst album in my whole collection.

Music for Egon Schiele - Rachel's

Rather lovely neo-classical. Allmusic does a better job than I do:

Music for Egon Schiele is a welcome change of pace for anyone bored with popular music forms, transporting the listener's mood entirely. Rachel's weaves a delicate but highly moving musical fabric that wraps itself around you tightly and pulls you in, simultaneously cradling you lovingly while haunting you with its melancholy ambiance.

New Amsterdam - Zola Jesus

Raw, Siouxsie-like wailings and screams. I like it.

Oblivion Soundtrack - M83

Having not seen the film, the music is just abstract and I like it that way. Sounds like the Tron soundtrack, which isn't a bad thing. I like the title track - the woman's voice is wonderful imo, and I'm going to download some of her stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=forkuNNZ-Vw

An Omen EP - How to Destroy Angels

Listened once; didn't inhale.

Once I Was An Eagle - Laura Marling

Right, so... something happened to me having heard this album countless times. I actually went to see her live, I loved this album that much. And she trolled me: having played the first five songs, she hardly played any more from the album. I find this album a thing of wonder. Lydian strummings, voice like Karen Carpenter and Joni Mitchell combined: lyrics pouring forth with sophistication far beyond her years - guitar ability astonishing, a backing band augmenting the modality and mood: a warmth on the record that sounds like nothing else. I wouldn't go so far as to say she's a genius, but if she is able to produce three albums as good as this, I would call her that. I cannot believe a twenty year old kid from England can make music like this and not be famous. Once more, Youtube does a better job describing than I can:

Song #2 of my year end daily most influential music I've listened to the last few years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIQjLrffIq0

Only Revolutions - Biffy Clyro

Bangin'. Rock music you can't fuck with. And yet these are incredibly catchy pop songs. Pretty cohesive album too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHeNTmfJHOs

Dat ending



Also I wish I could get away with looking like that

Pale Blue Dot - Benn Jordan

Wonderful ambient. An album named after Carl Sagan, therefore it earns intellectual points.

Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain - Mono and World's End Girlfriend

Excellent neo-classical doom-laden work. Much better from World's End after the shit that was their last album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=217FdIZUmHc

Just discovered this was made in 2005. Thought I was hip and keeping up with the latest stuff. Shit.

Poo - Me

My attempt to make a concept album about poo. Only one track I like: and that's Shitler.

Queen of Siam - Lydia Lunch

Early eighties new wave. Thought I might have found a new Siouxsie, but no. It's just blah.

Relish - Joan Osborne

What if God was one of us? Weirdly that's not actually the best song from the album, and weirder still, none of the others have much to do with religion. I really like her bluesy style here, and was pleasantly surprised. Still feel weird listening to her though - feels like I'm going to be sucked back into the 90s.

Requiem for My Friend - Preisner

Pretty classical piece that was used in the Three Colours trilogy. Yes, that's how much of a ponce I am.

Scheherazade - Rimsky-Korsakov

Album I bought out of annoyance that I couldn't identify a piece of music in University Challenge. I love the story about a guy who had a toddler who called music 'nuu' and when he put this piece on, the kid swayed side to side, closed his eyes, and said blissfully, "nuuuu....."

School Album - Me

It's a great album. Hangs together well. Somehow my mono-voice contrasts with the guitar to create a strange mix of drama and musicality. Since quitting as a teacher, this album has a strange thing for me - especially one track I recorded when I was breaking down during the teaching course. Opening lines include "God, you're a mean condescending cow" aimed at one of the teachers trying to make me less shit. I still feel bad for sucking so much at that job. In a way 2013 was the first year where I pretty much gave up on career ambition, and as a result I feel like I'm half the man I was about fourteen months ago. Damn.

Album available on request. :P

The Secret Eye of L.A.Y.L.A.H. - ZERO KAMA

Possibly my weirdest album: an album played entirely with bones. I'm tired now but read the review if you're interested

http://www.discogs.com/Zero-Kama-The-Secret-Eye-Of-LAYLAH/release/245564

Shaking the Habitual - The Knife

A band I love and will always love. This album is incredibly difficult at times to listen to: it's a mess, but a beautiful mess. Steve loves it, and that's cool - I happen to have picked out certain tracks I really like. They're fast becoming an industrial band, a noise band, a I-haven't-really-got-a-fucking-clue-anymore band, and I'm enjoying the journey, but am afraid they're going to go somewhere I can no longer follow. To quote Youtube once again:

 I think she's trying to create a reality where she can morph herself into different personas (including a male one), to play with the concept of gender relations. She's been doing this all over the show

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXV-rAOKqe4

Spiderman of the Rings - Dan Deacon

Seems like a long time since I first heard his work. This album was an excellent starting point. Cartoon dance, electronica-wank, I don't know anymore. I just know it makes me happy and I love it. Wham City is the highlight for me. Cba to youtube link anymore because there's no reason why you should click on any links - it's me being forceful like a knob.

The Spoils - Zola Jesus

Recorded in her lounge and sounds like it - however, it works. Sounds like a maiden shrieking from Hell. That, or it just sounds like a singer being cool.

Stormcock - Roy Harper

Not bad... for a paedophile.

Stridulum II - Zola Jesus

Fucking love this album. Seems like a classic to me already, even though it's fairly recent. Every track is a potential single. Channels Siouxsie to the nth degree, refining her sound to expand into a new Gothic - one tinged with the mark of technology, alienation and modern loneliness. A sound markedly improved from that of The Spoils era. Synths and her go together perfectly. If you don't fall in love with her a little after listening to this album, then I don't know anything anymore.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM8fEP8FOqE

Symphonies of the Planets 1 and 2 - NASA Voyager Recordings

It's space. The sound of space. So many times I've used this to get to sleep. Really weird to hear space. If you like music that's about as far out of music as you can get, I recommend this. It's eerie.

Tactical Neural Implant - Front Line Assembly

I have their discography and this is the only album I've listened to. I recall liking it on first listen but not enough to return to. A bit too discoey for me. Apparently it's a classic. Sounds like Pretty Hate Machine but a bit shitter to me.

Technology is a Dead Bird - Mars Argo

Every time I hear this album, a part of me wants to say "awww, have the little hipsters discovered Baudrillard?" but refrain from doing so because, after all, they're pretty talented and who am I to be a cunt? My favourite track is the final one, ending with the automated voice that runs through the album deciding it just wants to go to sleep. It's all rather Radiohead, but with the irresistible female vocal compensating for over-earnest naval gazing, it works as Radiohead chic. Plus it has the phrase "selfish chin" in it for some reason.

I think I shall just put myself to sleep
sleep
sleep

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbZzfWEqZ7o

Tempel - Colour Haze

Fucking awesome stoner rock. Highly recommended. This is one of my favourite tracks of the year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7QNffGb86I

Tempest - Bob Dylan

It's alright that he's just making new stuff. It's not shit, at least.

The Very Best of Grateful Dead - The Grateful Dead

I tried. I don't get it.

Vespertine - Bjork

Pretty good but Bjork just annoys me and I don't know why. I know she's great but I can't get over the fact that she's Bjork. Does that make any sense?

Welcome to the Pleasuredome - Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Really poor album - the reason why the singles were so fantastic is because of the remixing work of Trevor Horn: sadly the versions even on the album aren't as remixed as they were when released as singles. I was honestly taken aback by how shit the album was, with one single track excepting, which was 'Welcome to the Pleasuredome', a pretty cool ten minute thing. Apart from that, this band should have been called Trevor Horn and The Scouse Cunts.

Wonderful, Glorious - Eels

Another good album from E. I'm pleased that he's happy. I kind of want him to be sad again though, because... he makes better music that way.

Zen Arcade - Husker Du

Tried it - nah.


This year I'll give The Birthday Party and Neil Young more of a go I think.


My Top Five Albums Discovered This Year:

1. Once I Was An Eagle - Laura Marling
2. America - Dan Deacon
3. Bromst - Dan Deacon
4. The Happiness Project - Charles Spearin
5. Days are Gone - Haim

Playlist That I've Played Too Much:

Aquamaria - Colour Haze
Get Up, My Daughter - BRST Female Choir
Youth - Daughter
Prettyboy - Dan Deacon
In the Yard, Behind the Church - Eels
Sunset - Kate Bush
Ice-Pulse - Cocteau Twins
Panoramic - Atticus Ross
The Leaves are Gone - Secret Machines
Oblivion (ft. Susanne Sundfor) - M83
Frozen - Madonna
Just Couldn't Tie Me Down - The Black Keys
Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac
Symphony No 3. Finale - Saint-Saens
Finale from Salome - Richard Strauss
Reaching Out - Kate Bush
Persephone (The Gathering of Flowers) - Dead Can Dance
Kids Are Little People - Luthor and the Hand People
Tired Today - Mars Argo
The Legend of Zelda Main Theme - Nintendo
Pur ti miro - Monteverdi
In Search of Peter Pan - Kate Bush
The Man Who Sold the World - David Bowie
Wally, Egon, and Models in the Studio - Rachel's
Andy - Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
Bubbles - Biffy Clyro
Ulysses - Dead Can Dance


EDIT

Fuck it - Time's End by Theophany is one of the above-mentioned Zelda albums, but is a fantastic record in itself, regardless of whether you've played the game.

Review:

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/59242/Theophany-Times-End%3A-Majoras-Mask-Remixed/

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Geekgasm

Two Balrogs just hanging out in Utumno* playing chess.

- Alright mate.
- How's it going?
- Not bad. They reckon Morgoth's made off with that big spider thing.
- Made off with?
- You know. Him and her are like...
- Seriously?
- Yeah.
- But she's a spider.
- Yeah.
- A really big spider.
- I know. He's kinky like that.
- Don't be stupid. Ungoliant is a terrifying monster.
- I think she's lovely.
- Whatever floats your boat.
- What do you think they're doing together? You think he's gonna bang her?
- Going after the Silmarils, the most important life essence in all of Arda.
- Them again?
- I know.
- I hope he know's what he's doing. She's got a reputation.
- Man-eater I bet.
- Destroyer of reality. Light-eater more like. She both hates the light and devours it to satiate the void within herself.
- I'll fill her void anytime.
- She's fucked up, mate. He'll give her the slip when necessary.
- I'd slip her one.
- Give her the one... silip.
- Silip?
- As in Silmaril... nah, that doesn't work.

A scream is heard.

- That was a fucking loud scream.
- That sounded like the boss.
- Shit, you're right. Must be having a whale of a time.
- Shut up.
- Fine. Remember where we were. Let's go.

They arrive at the site of the scream.

- A hundred leagues to get here. That scream was really fucking loud.
- Yeah, you already said that.
- I'm going to name this place 'Lammoth' after that scream. Sounds pretty metal.
- She... what the fuck? She's trying to eat him. Then, she's going to eat us!
- We have to do something. My god, she's gigantic.
- A BBS, they call that. Big, beautiful spider.
- We need to intervene.
- He's got it under control. Getting used to handling the big black booty, that's all.
- Mate, he just screamed so loudly we heard it a hundred leagues away and you actually named this site after it. Fuck is wrong with you?
- I dunno. I'm entranced. Why, what do you want to do?
- The usual! Get your flames and whips out.
- You think she's into that?
- Fuck's sake. Oh look, she's gone. You scared her off.
- Oh man, she looked at me and everything with those big brown eyes.
- Black eyes. As black as the Void itself. So black that it even scared the boss.
- Nah, he's fine, aren't you boss?

Morgoth: Well, fuck me.

- Oh.





Plus! Fun Bonus Tolkien Geek Facts:

1. Utumno is also known as Udûn (as in when Gandalf refers to the Balrog's 'flame of Udûn' in Moria)
2. Udûn is a Sindarin word meaning 'Hell'.



pretty cool yt comment about sauron scene in DoS

 
NERD ALERT. This scene is great and really shows us the power difference between Maiar (lesser spirits...Sauron's master Melkor, later Morgoth, was a Vala, a much more powerful level of spirit). The istari (aka wizards, all maiar) were sent to Middle Earth not to fight Sauron through force of arms but to guide the free peoples of middle earth to defeat him through cunning as regarding military might Sauron was much too strong, especially by the time of the Lord of the Rings (some 60-70 years after the Hobbit). Power for power Olorin (Gandalf) is way below the level of Sauron, one of the mightiest of the Maiar alongside Eonwe. In the Silmarillion we even read that Gandalf was afraid of Sauron. In this scene we see he really doesnt stand much of a chance, not alone, even against a weakened Sauron. I cant wait for the next movie...they better make good of the White Council's attack on Dol Guldur! Potential for so much epicness!

Friday, 27 December 2013

4,000 words

i wrote the title and the story ended up being something else

might continue if you like it

beginning few paragraphs are a bit difficult i suspect but its ok by the end

Fake Geek Girl

"I recall one time I was playing a game with a friend and my then-girlfriend sat on Skype waiting for me to come back so she could moan about this or that. I recall how much more fun it was to argue with my friend than it was to argue with her."

So began my boyfriend Adam, describing to me in the most earnest, rational, down-to-earth way he could why he liked computer games instead of the things normal people like. Me, I just don't get it. In high school I was pretty much friends with everyone; and, whilst aware that there were geeks in the school, I assumed they were happy enough being the way they were - I didn't have much in common with them, and they had a habit of looking me up down in a bit of a creepy way - so basically I didn't talk to them that much. When I did though, I always felt a sense of taking pity, or talking to an alien, or something.

Like that guy Ian who was in my Science class in Year 11 - he'd always insist on putting his hand up and giving the answers - he was never wrong, and always looked satisfied when did it, as if he knew he was smarter than the rest of us. The problem for him was - we let him get away with doing that because we all knew that this class was the only place where he was happy. He had no friends. He wasn't even a geek - he was a loner. And, really, he was also a loser. What he needed was someone to kick him up the arse and explain why he had no friends. I mean, his hair. Big and curly. No one has had big and curly hair since Justin Timberlake back when he was in N-Sync. And Ian had this helper person sitting next to him who was quite good with him, but who you could tell sort of was quite similar and probably wondered why he was in the job he was.

So that was as far as my opinion was of the geeks at school: a mixture of revulsion and pity. I knew they were clever, but I also knew there was something missing. That humanity we all shared, they didn't seem to share. When we had big dos on like at Christmas, they would be the ones standing in the corner, looking scared or sulky or sneery. I wanted to grab them, shake them, and demand that they take part, because we all wanted to get to know the real them, but I didn't because I was too busy trying to make sure I was having a good time. Which I did. I know you're looking for a punchline here - something along the lines of 'all the while I was actually cutting myself'. I wasn't. I understood why people did, but I figured it was a thing that mental people did when they couldn't cope with this or that. I made my friends, and still have those friends. I wanted nothing more than to be me, and to be happy, and I was, and I still am.

But my boyfriend Adam is different. He was a geek at school. And not the cool geeks who swanned around displaying their weirdness and intelligence confidently - no, he was the one who walks around with his head in his shoes and his hands in his pockets. He went to the same school as me, and to be perfectly honest, I didn't remember his name until we met up two years online. To me, the man I saw on the profile picture was a stranger; the name wasn't anything familiar to me. He has told me he knew my name, and always fancied me, but never had the confidence to talk to me because he figured I wouldn't be interested. Because I know he's more confident now, I made the joke "yeah, you were probably right", but he laughed sadly, so I felt bad and kissed him hard to make up for it.

Because I don't really understand it. I'm a woman, and the way I live is a mixture of morbid introspection, self-loathing over my body, mixed media messages always how I should be - sometimes I feel guilty just for wanting nothing more than kids - and monthly knocks on my door from Satan. When I look in the mirror and haven't got my make-up on, I wonder how anyone can possibly find me attractive. But then I hear a voice telling me that I shouldn't define by what others think - particularly what men think - and so I proudly display my face as it is, and he seems fine with it. But then if we're going out, he might ask if I need to get ready, and I realise he's politely asking me to put make-up on, and it's weirdly oppressive, even though maybe it isn't really oppressive, because after all he's right - if I go out, I do put make-up on, but that's my choice. That's my thing. Then the pendulum swings again and it occurs to me he's simply another puppet in the work of the patriarchy.

Then I wonder if talking about a patriarchy is just insane paranoia. Because every feminist I read seems to be perpetually unhappy. Ever read a feminist who writes "things are getting better" and leaves it at that? Well. That's just me, and I don't know whether I'm repressing myself via unintended self-hatred or just being normal. Because I do think of myself as normal. Perhaps to a geek like Adam me saying I'm normal is oppressive. What do I think normal is?

Normal is having friends.
Normal is going out.
Normal is going out with friends.
Normal is having hobbies that are fulfilling and satisfying.
Normal is having a job.
Normal is having kids, or at least a family you keep in contact with.
Normal is watching television, or reading.
Normal is not sitting inside a house by yourself for hours on end, playing the same computer game again and again, and only talking to friends through instant messaging. I'm right, right? Adam does that, and I just worry for him sometimes.

He tells me he's happier now than he's ever been, and whilst he doesn't say it, he thinks I'm so stupid that the final part of that sentence should be "because I've found you." I know he's trying so hard to be a nice person - he's certainly a lot more social and happy than he was at school - but I think inside, that same cold, hard veneer that was once part of his personality hasn't been taken away, but simply buried. Truth is, he needs me far more than I need him.

Oh, maybe that's just me being arrogant.

What maybe I mean to say is that I don't really know if he sees me and knows me as I am. I think, despite all his appearances to the contrary, he still thinks of himself as that geek from school who now is dating the prom queen (well, we had a dance, but I left early because I felt sick), and that actually I'm no more than a prop for his dreams and delusions. Like, I want kids, but he really doesn't want them. I can tell. He says in a sort of 'casual' way "sure, I'd like to have kids" but I don't think he really wants anything that means he can't satisfy himself and his own cravings and desires.

In short, he was a geek because he was selfish, morbidly introverted, and narcissistic. He still is, but he's managed to keep it under control. And sadly, I wonder whether the problem isn't with him, but rather with me. I don't love him, even though I've said I do. Instead, the feeling I have towards him is still the same feelings I've always had for geeks - a mixture of revulsion, pity... and, well, admiration I suppose. I admire his ability to be so knowledgeable. I admire how he's managed to at least make himself look more 'normal' - actually fuck the quotation marks - NORMAL than he used to. I admire how he's got a decent job - although secretly I don't know why he hasn't got a better-paid one. I admire his ability to hold me, comfort me, and say the right things. But again, there's the rub: he seems to be saying it by-rote, as if he's read a manual on how to treat a woman and is following it by the letter. He's trying so hard to do things right, and that's admirable, but... it's dishonest, and sadly it's creepy. I know - it's terrible - he's trying so hard to escape from the creepiness of his old days, but somehow he's making it even creepier. It's like seeing an ultra-realistic robot: you know it's trying its best to resemble a human, but the fact that it's getting so close to it makes it even creepier than a plain, simple robot.

So that's why I decided to try and unravel him. Because, truth be told, he fascinates me. He's my little project, my curiosity. Like I said before, I don't love him, but I'm very fond of him. Those first few months where we were a mixture of friends and lovers were the best. You know how it is. Getting to know someone is always exciting, especially when you get on so well. He was perfect, and I felt lucky that he seemed to like me as well. But now I don't know if I still feel so lucky. I wonder whether he would notice if someone picked me up and swapped me with another woman. A similar brand, but a brand he likes. Or stoically accepts. Like, I think sometimes he would react if I died. It's weird I know - but that's how the mind works sometimes. I can see him almost enjoying the funeral, enjoying the attention from everyone (particularly other women) and crying his tears just the right amount to illicit sympathy without coming across as repellent and melodramatic. Then, when it was logically right to do so, he would shut off his emotions and continue with his life, feeling like he'd profited from having managed to sustain a loving relationship.

I am disgusted by these thoughts, and yet I can't shake them. Perhaps he's a sociopath. The doctors he went to told him he was schizoid, which I suppose was the first sign I got that all was not right in his world. He told me this quite early on, and was very honest about it, but I didn't really understand, and just wanted him to feel reassured that I loved him whatever he had, and then I put it to bed. I wish I hadn't. I looked it up and it was him down to a tee. But that wasn't enough. I didn't want to just put up with this - I wanted to make him better, to save him from the path he was going down.

So I decided to embrace the geek culture. I let him show me all his episodes of Doctor Who, all the Star Wars films, and I nodded along when he told me how bad they were. I listened when he explained to me at length how his prequels would have gone, and I tried my best to be enthused but I just wasn't ready to hear it. I wanted to grab him like I wanted to grab Ian at school, and just say "What the hell are you telling me this for? I don't care!" but I didn't. I understood that Adam didn't know how little I cared. I suppose he trusted me when I said I was interested. So, taking that trust on board, I keep showing enthusiasm.

I watched Babylon 5. I read his fan-fiction. I watched Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings, and Battlestar Galactica - you name it, I watched it. I listened as he relayed stories of his childhood spent doing fantastical drawings and stories, and how he still wished to be an author. I had read some of his stories, but they seemed pretty weird. Of course, seeing as he was intelligent, I could appreciate the depth of the vocabulary, but sadly the quality just wasn't there. And, me being me, I didn't have the heart to tell him. How could I? What did I know? Perhaps I was afraid he would get angry and ask that exact question to me, making me feel pathetic and unnecessary.

Unnecessary was the word that sprang to mind when he continued to show me into his world. He could have been showing this stuff to anyone. Not once did he seem to even look at me, or ask me any questions, or how I was feeling, or whether I was bored (even then I would have had to lie). No - he continued jabbering on and on. Over the course of a month I started to feel a measure of disassociation from the situation around me; anxiety for the first time in years infiltrated my senses.

That was the moment I made the connection.

This was exactly how Adam had felt in high school.

Those moments where I'd glimpse him looking sullen, pale and listless were, for him, moments of terror and severe alienation. The world - the normal world - did not make sense to him. Feelings, the heightened feelings of schoolchildren - and more notably schoolgirls - were for him the alien force. A world made up entirely of enemies. The hostility of ignorance. And me, sitting there feeling uncomfortable and irrelevant, escaping into my own thoughts - that was exactly how the real world made and perhaps still makes Adam feel. I knew it was correct, but still thought: how could this be? How does his brain work that he cannot find pleasure in the things that not only I do, but most people do?

Who could tell. Either way, I began to see the world from Adam's perspective. Sure, it seemed like he was ignoring me by not asking much about my feelings, but perhaps that was to him as much of a tiresome task as me asking him about who the fifth Doctor was or whatever. In other words: who cares? Emotions, for him and perhaps others, were not important, because emotions were part of that hostile environment that very early on in life he must have felt the need to escape from. Why he needed to escape from it, who knew. Biology, nature versus nurture... the usual arguments. This wasn't about science, but about the person right here, telling me about his passions, his interests - and the happiness that was shining through his face was worth the tedium.

So what came about of it? Well, I'll be honest, I ended up enjoying most of what he showed me. And I know the feeling when you like something and nobody around you does. Must have been horrible being the only kid in school who liked geeky stuff. Or maybe he wasn't, and unfortunately the nature of the geek is such that when they do find someone who is actually on their level, they're so used to introversion and escape that the sheer idea of belonging with and to someone else is incompatible with their instincts. Adam's instinct, I could tell, was to be alone. He liked me, as far as his adaptations to reality allowed him to. He had done well. Was it well enough? It didn't matter - I was still interested in my project, and so didn't take my time up trying to think about the future. That's probably how he liked it. Live for the moment. Enjoy sensory experience. Kiss two times a day. Withdraw when needed.

So, because my project was proving an amusing and enjoyable pastime from the mundanity of my day, I threw myself into it. I bought him geeky presents, and he bought me geeky presents. I watched films by myself and recommended them to him, and if he agreed, we'd watch them together. Part of our shared experience. I saw my friends when I wanted to, and left him on his own, and it was refreshing to know that he didn't mind that one bit. Sure, that part of me always wondered how he could be so cold and detached, but that was just how he was, and is.
"Okay, going out now, gonna be back in a couple of days!"
"Alright, see ya," he said. from his computer.
"I said days!"
"That's fine!"
I came into the room, hands on hips, trying to disguise my absolute fury.
"What is it?" The look of terror on his face made me feel like a monster. At the same time I was still mad so I had to continue.
"Don't you care that I said couple of days?"
"Yeah I noticed you said that, but I presumed you knew what you were doing or whatever..."
"People living together don't react that way when someone says a couple of days."
"Okay."
"I'm going to be back in the morning."
"Oh, right. So why did you say..."
"I was testing to see how you'd react."
"Why would you do that?"
Then of course, because he was steering it back to me, I responded, "It's not about me! It's about you and... whatever it is!"
"Right," he said, and got back to his game. "Well, see ya."
"Aren't you even going to..." I began, and then never got the chance to finish, because he stood up and gave me a frankly terrific kiss. "Well," I said, looking at his stubble, "I'm getting ready to forgive you."
"Cool," he said, taking his place once more on the chair, "so I'm forgiven?"
"I said... getting ready to." Irritation threatened once more, and it took a concerted effort to wipe it away. "I'll probably forgive you when I get back."
"Okay."
"Fine," I said.
"Are you still mad?"
"I am when you don't look at me."
"Sorry." He looked at me, smiled, and I smiled back at him, all the while thinking why I was still with this guy.

But, nonetheless, we continued, and I got geekier, until I was able to hold forth discourse on the role of the Ewoks in Jedi, and he was even delighted when I told him something he didn't know: that the Ewoks were only named in the credits. Of course he watched the whole thing again 'just to make sure'. The people I talked to at work didn't understand most of my references. It was like they had never used the Internet or anything. When someone told me to take a seat over there for a meeting, the entire room looked baffled as to why I burst into laughter. But never mind. It was nice to feel that superiority - of knowing there was a whole world of in-jokes and strange fascination unknown to common people.

My friends began to bore me a little with their constant talk of men, and babies, and babies, and men... I wanted to talk about the intricacies of My Little Pony's approach towards world issues but I knew I would be laughed at. I started to feel somewhat ashamed of my yawns when nine o' clock hit.
"You never used to go home," said Monica. "You've changed. Are you and your man trying for a baby or something?" which prompted the table to erupt into laughter, and blushes.
"How's that going, anyway?" said Bell.
"'That' is going fine, thanks," I said.
"Do you luuuurrrve each other?" said Dhjokdfodskcosdfjcim.
"It's... well, it's different. I don't know what to call it. We're companions in a shared experience. Our feelings are those of sponges: we absorb, and are glad of it. There are commonalities, and fantasies, and a shared quest for something sacred to share in once and for all. Sometimes when I read a story or watch a film, I want to feel part of that place, to experience something real - I say real, even though I know dragons and wizards and such are fake - what I mean is, to experience a story, where good and evil are clear, and you get to... to use swords." The lameness of the ending did not do justice to my original intention, but I guess it sufficed, because the table went quiet.
"You've become a geek!" said Lady Manganda III, raising her glass. "To geeks!"
The table gave a toast, and I could have cried. I was accepted. I was actually a geek, because they told me I was. I finally felt welcome. But at the same time...
I didn't feel oppressed.
I wanted to be rejected, or I wanted to have to explain myself, to justify my superiority with my words and knowledge. I didn't want to be loved - I wanted to be appreciated and intimidating. Normal people are so nice sometimes. That's the confusing thing. When can you tell whether someone is a good or bad normal person?

At this point I had to stop myself because I knew I didn't really believe these thoughts. These were the thoughts of Adam, and I had completely - well, almost completely - let myself assimilate him, and destroy my own identity.
"I'm not really a geek," I said quietly to Bella an hour and three glasses of wine later. "I'm just pretending in order to get along better with Adam."
"Why," she said, taking a drag.
"I don't know."
"Is he worth it?"
"Not really."
"What do you want from your husband?"
"I thought I knew. I don't know anymore."
"He's not the man for you."
"If not me, then who?"
"That's a question he needs to be asking, not you. Listen. You are not here to be his mother. From what you've told me, I know the type. Mothered too much, you see. Thinks the world owes him a favour. You aren't that favour. I'm sure right now he's all sweetness and light but just wait. Soon will come the dominance and the coldness."
"I know the coldness. I know the attempts at dominance. He doesn't mean it that way. It's just his nature. I'm trying to change myself to adapt."
"Why should you? You were perfectly fine before. Look at you now - not even drunk. You barely talk to me anymore. When was the last time you called?"
I couldn't remember.
"Too long," she said. "I don't get it. He's not that great, and you've admitted that. So why bother? Find a man who appreciates you, and won't take you for granted. I'm not saying your boyfriend's a bad person necessarily, it's just he's that type of bloke who'll treat you like shit without meaning to."
"Maybe."
I took a cigarette from her extended box and contemplated.

Probably best just to be friends. He is a bit shit in the sack.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Diary of Óláfr Margaðrsen, 943 AD

August 31

On boat with crew. Nothing doing. We have sailed the seven seas, and there is nothing left to destroy. Time, it seems, wants nothing more to do with us. I petitioned a return to our homes, where our fortunes might at last correspond with that of our loved ones. The lands afar have promised little and delivered only material goods.
I have seen brown-skinned men flaying goats alive.
I have seen wondrous stalls selling exotic essences.
I have seen beautiful women with no limbs.
I have seen bears trapped in cages.
I have seen decadence. That is enough.
My home calls for me - my village. That is all. There is nothing more to be gained from this journey.

September 13

Shit.
My wife, Úrsúla, is dead. My village has been destroyed. Nothing left but crumbs and ruin. Valdís, what did this to you? I cannot bear this suffering. Children lie burned and charred in the fields - those fields where I lay as a child watching the clouds. Those fields where I conquered my first woman. Those fields where I slayed my first sheep. Those fields where I felt the pangs of love, and saw the point of life. Now these fields are burned, and my people are either in exile or slain in their beds.
My children's heads stuck up on poles let me know this was a vendetta against me, and me alone.
They know I will take revenge.
They are expecting it.
It is a trap, but one I must fall into.

September 21


I have wandered far and wide, looking for allies. The Dead Mountain housed nothing but a holy man, who gibbered. First I headbutted him, then I took his necklace. Its bright colours pleased me. Inside the necklace hung a locket. Strange runes adorned its surface.
Up in the blue sky, the Skin Burner shone its screaming rays onto the surface and it pierced through my skull and I screamed.
I awoke, and saw the necklace's locket had opened, revealing a miniscule container. Opening this container yielded a black powder, as black as dragon's blood. A strange music seemed to fill the air, hinting at possibility. I took a tiny proportion of the powder and applied it to my tongue.
At once there came a great shaking in the Throat of the World. And another, taller, new peak arose from the mountain's gut. My horse, that I thought had died ten years before, appeared at my side and nudged me into riding it once more.
I rode my horse up the mountain diagonally until I reached the peak. Then I realised I had no horse and fell.
And I fell.
Through fire, and water, until I had no more name left.

September 30

This black powder is a toxic substance that gives rise to fantasy and wild swings in mood, as well as axe. I awoke after five days to find myself inside the mountain. There had been no new peak. There was only a hole, and I had fallen into it, and had lived inside this cave for five days. To my astonishment, during these blank five days, I had achieved feats beyond mortal understanding. Upon the walls were beautiful drawings, adorned from the chalk that lay scattered in and about the bone-ridden floor.
I gazed in wonder at the black powder. Then I re-housed it inside its locket prison and made my way towards an exit.

October 15

I am free. Free to find those who destroyed my village and slayed my family.
Also I need to remember to find some oxen. I like oxen.

October 25

I sit with the heads of twenty dead men scattered at my feet, and twenty women ready to satisfy my every need. My revenge is complete. How did I accomplish this? you ask.

I approached the camp at the dawn of the day, where only five or so men sat around eating chicken around a fire.
"Hail," said I, dropping my axe upon the floor and holding up my arms in surrender.
"Halt!" said the men, grabbing me and taking me to the leader of the camp - Þjóðbjörg, the enemy I had sworn vengeance against. The enemy who I had once called brother. Admittedly I was drunk at the time, but still.
He sat and cackled at my bedraggled appearance.
"You have no power here, Óláfr son of Margaðr! You look like you've raggled completely by a bed, and your hair is rubbish!"
I bowed, despite the voice in my head telling me to destroy his face.
"I cede to your wisdom, sire. You win all the battles we've ever had," I said. "You swim better than I did. You were right to slay my people, for they were inferior."
"Really?" he said, raising an eyebrow - that of his lackey, Þórmundr the Twat.
"Yarp," replied I, bowing so lowly that my head smacked onto the floor and I passed out.

I awoke to see myself atop a cauldron, and where the cauldron lay was a fire. In other words, they had me up on a stick and were prepared to eat me.

"We did not believe you," said Þórmundr the Twat. "So the King ordered us to cook you over a cauldron of water." He then ran his axe down my leg, producing a thin cut that bled. I watched as the blood poured from my leg into the cauldron. I told myself this was all part of the plan, then it occurred to me my plan hadn't involved being put up on a stick.
"I have seasoning," I blurted. "Inside this locket."
The man took it out.
"Sire?" he asked the king, my foe.
My foe, the king, nodded.
Fortunately, whilst coming down from the mountain, I had crushed and then mixed some Tangleroot I had found into the locket.
Þórmundr the Twat took a taste, then held aloft the locket, grinning. "Ah! Tangleroot! The man wishes to render unto us what is ours! Let's make it so!"
"What does that actually mean?" someone said.
"Not sure, but it makes me sound evil."
He poured the contents of the locket into the cauldron.

Ten minutes later, it occurred to me that I was going to die. My plan, which had been to mess everyone up with drugs, grew less possible to carry out as I could feel my feet beginning to boil. But then something happened.

Possibility One:

Fortunately, Þjóðbjörg was evil, and consequently went too far in his evilness and sowed the seeds of his own downfall. 
"I want a soup starter!" he said. "Soup for everyone!"
And everyone ate the soup.

Possibility Two:


Fortunately, Þjóðbjörg was evil, and consequently went too far in his evilness and sowed the seeds of his own downfall. He wanted to mock me, and made me eat a ladle of the soup in readiness for my own doom. 

Either way, this happened.


The men, who ten minutes before had been sitting at ease, suddenly began to look at me with a strange gaze.

"Why are your teeth chattering so much?" one man said, eyes wide.
"I d-d-don't know," I said. "It's the cold."
"But you're over a fire!"
"I don't kn-kn-kn-know then, sorry."
Several men dropped their jaws and were silent. Some pointed at me as though I were one of the caged bears I had seen in Scotland, back when life meant something and I was a man with feelings.
"What is it?" I said.
"Your head... it's growing!"
"Oh," was all I could say.
"He roars!" shouted a man, backing away.
I laughed. At this point, I found myself emblazoned with a new strength: the strength of my fathers. The strength of my family. The strength of my pet goat, Friðþjófr. The strength and the fire that ran through my history. Hundreds of men had died in order to keep me alive, and it was my duty to avenge them. The looks of fear on the men's faces spurred me on, and I felt as though the stars themselves had come down from the heavens and filled me up with the wrath of the gods.
I gnawed the ropes, kicked over the cauldron, and dropped into a crouching position - right onto the flaming hot coals.
But the fire did not burn me.
The coals did not singe me.
The ashes did not choke me.
Those few men who had not begun to run could only stare, trembling, as I took hold of a fiery coal and let it crash between the biting waves of my shining teeth, letting the heat pass into my gut. Stepping forth naked from the flames, I grabbed the nearest item to hand (the cauldron) and threw it at a man.
"That's impossible," said the figure, before the cauldron smashed his body like a snail under a boot.

Nearby, Þórmundr the Twat lay on the floor, pleading for his life. I took out his eyeballs with my toes, then sliced his head away from his body using my cock.


My memory fails me at this point, but I know the next ten minutes passed in slaughter. The men ran, but I was able to catch them all, even though I was walking the whole time. That's how much power I wielded. I could find them all just and I didn't even have to run.

Þjóðbjörg was the last. He had chosen to sit slouched against The Rock of The Abyss, praying to his new god.
"Forgive me?" he said, as I approached.
His face, jelly-like in its pathetic, needy terror, glistened with cold sweat. My fire burned inside; snow melted before me as I strode. I had seen my family slain. I had watched my houses burn. For the last month my dreams had left me waking up screaming.
And all he could do was smile weakly at me. Couldn't even show me the full depth of his terror. No matter what I did to him, it would never be able to fill the gap left by my dead family. That was the nightmare in which I now strode.
Þjóðbjörg's face now filled my sight. Nothing else was necessary. My goal had arrived: and it was pissing itself.
"Join my nightmare," I said.
"May the Lord watch over me," he replied.
I filled his mouth with my blade.

As I strode to a new future, a vacant numbness filling my soul, there came a sobbing sound from behind me. With no more bloodlust in my body, I was become merely curious. 

A man lay cowering inside a ditch.
"Mercy," he cried.
"I am done with killing," I said.
His eyes told me that he no longer believed a word I said and would never believe anything rational in his life ever again. 
"What is your name?" he said.
I had lost my name whilst inside the mountain, so could only shrug.
"I... christen you."
"Christen me?" I laughed. "I want nothing to do with your new religion."
"No, you do not understand. I am only giving you a name. You are far beyond conversion."
"Oh right," I said, cheering. "What do you christen me then?"
"I christen you... Berserker."
"So be it."
He made the sign of the cross. "May children and women never see you again."
"Shit," I said, making to destroy him with my little finger, but he had scarpered and I cba to run after him.

For a while I was terrified of his curse. Fortunately, it didn't come true.


October 26


Found an inn. Had a wank. Prozzer came along: had to work harder than usual. Managed.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Me, Generated.

Just saw your post called What Would I Say? and I used it. And I couldn't stop using it. For ten minutes I kept copying and pasting its results. I could have kept pressing 'generate' forever. Oddly difficult in this ordered age where you realise pure chaos exists and you can never get it back. I find it hard: I'm used to loops. It is usually a closed system these days in whatever situation. As I write this I am aware that I am going to tidy up the punctuation and maybe snip out a few words here and there, so that the words that were generated by the app and the words I'm arranging become almost interchangable to you because you will never be able to know the process of the arranging of the data. Already the chaos is being snipped away and yet that in itself creates a chaos in your own lack of knowledge. I have left some punctuation uncorrected. But then perhaps that's my deliberate trick making you think it's not been altered. Perhaps you might choose not to believe me when I say I copied and pasted the whole thing. Ultimately it doesn't matter: the text is practically of no purpose other than being mildly interesting. The odd phrase appears. If the cut-up was digital then perhaps it is automatically ordered. All life is digital now: all life is chaos. The Game of Life.
I like how one of the phrases that emerged from the ten minute generation was 'cut him up'. What are the odds?

Below is the sequence of ten minutes' generation.




Yeah, as a concentration camp for each other policeman like misery lipstick draped on the end. I love my nearest and banana sometime. And I choked on it. A BBC Panorama investigation has highlighted that I like the Chuckle Brothers but I like misery lipstick draped on a bored forty something wife. I had a particular section of consumer society that Fruit Gums are the original blend together with somehow, because it vomited up my ear. Then I remember having a photobucket Rose and Reuben met with the fake, the wave of the part of capitalism for, despite its appearances to American audiences and going mainstream. I hope so. I'm so yeah you're right on University Challenge and should feel bad... thanks for being Jewish. Kid looks depressed. Those Nazi guys cba, but good to know. Or maybe I felt better. Bricking it a tad. Don't want to say it, but then the lines if anyone notice? No. People How fun the smudged harshness of England. Oh man the window? Is an Irishwoman. Thanks for the hell of total submission to The hall. I passed by the speed of delivery. Whoever plasters over it, and realising that Question my student asked the results. Focus on some reason realising I now where's that the number of those outside, but also i need to have a wank. Perhaps read up spraining my left eyebrow was clearly evident for you. And I just implied I was watching tv, purred a black wall upon us ate a nutella and that. How's that peak. Glad at a representation, a promise of enthusiasm? will try to cut him up.

Hope the moving goes apeshit over there.” I turned around, and bemuses those outside, but write *,1 bottles, ' bottle of nausea that Made a mountain of a good steve? at GCSE level? In that so yes game of words ending in a play which the loft extension upstairs vomiting profusely for about to the same image. Maintenance of waste. A long time Managed the meat known to the floor. There is it drink time The man to the most scintillating cheeses known to the second part is a dog is going on Only a logical leap forward to google that going to be drinking some discomfort.” For indeed he did. Poor John! Also not really ok, I choked on it. That's speculative fiction for its products is the final moments of dear John’s life. aaaand it's just assumed had to shit myself a smoke, and adequate exercise. Spend time app that remotely stops your basket, and through the Great Hall of superhero.

It's been to him. Right, yeah. Easier to collapse from oxygen deprivation and how serious we will be more heroic and stopped. We passed him, and his pronouncement. It Thanks for a moment, invoking the feeling of a friendly way, blowing ‘em then. i like to me, pulling alongside. At least he was evidently looking for. It was obviously shocked. The doctor was out all dads rock, in their way, blowing ‘em into a brilliant turn of phrase but flitting in time. Adam Curtis made me realise that hope his testicles be realistic expectations and beautiful film... Just sat in anonymous factories anyway. And there that was going to win.



.... yeah.

I probably ought to just go to bed now. In 2004 I might have pretended this was something useful and creative. Now it's sadly just a way to waste what would have been a good hour of sleeping :\

Monday, 9 December 2013

fuck. i can't write anymore because i don't think i'm very good at it and don't see the point :(

Red Pissed

A sunrise behind the grey facade of St. Helier Avenue illuminates the surroundings in a red tint. The Dawn of the Third Day has nothing on this. Primal anger streams through sewer pipes, sucked up into taps, glugged by parched mouths and soaked up by grimy hands. Prickles of cortisol-based goosebumps scurry up the flesh and hairs rack against one another like anonymous soldiers bustling for attention. Corporal Adrenaline kickstarts the fight against intertia by propelling the flesh towards an intended target. Eyes sidle back and forth, establishing in milliseconds the potential risks, hazards, and imperatives of the situation. No time for hesitation. The decision has been made. He approaches and his mouth is open before his brain can override it.

"Miss, I need the toilet."

Monday, 2 December 2013

high-brow 'joke'

- I was diagnosed with alexithymia last week.
- Oh right, how do you feel about that?
- Dunno.