Wednesday, October 26, 2005


George crouched, pushing himself into the corner. His heart was hammering, trying to escape from his chest. The voices in the street below had stopped moving, there were several men, more than four. A car idled, its engine popping and echoing in the square.

George was scared. If he was discovered then it really would be the end, an ignoble death. An unnamed corpse in an unmarked grave. Maybe torture first? Certainly there would be tormenting, a beating. He would be used for sport and then killed. He knew that.

Past decisions lined up in his mind. Now he wasn’t sure what he was doing here. He wasn’t really political, of course the fascists were bad but… he was young, and wanted to be an idealist. He wanted to be romantic, to do something meaningful. He wanted to live a life like he’d read about in books. George wanted to believe in believing.

It had only taken him three months to fall in love with this country. Lulled by the warm weather, inspired by the peoples’ passion. In this country the ground seemed to sigh at his touch. When he woke the hills stretched and yawned with the rising sun, as he lay down at night the soft sounds and smells of woodland curled around his sleeping body

This wasn’t just a taste of greener grass. Being from a middle class family he had been allowed the time and money to travel. He’d toured from Mexico to Canada. He’d attended art class in Paris. He had drunk in these experiences and grown as a man because of them, but returning home had never been in doubt until Spain. Spain consumed him; she put her hands on his chest and whispered in his ear. Spain kissed his eyelids and stroked the base of his spine. There were endless depths beyond this bloody civil war that he wanted to explore.

He was English though, perhaps he wasn’t a flag waving patriot but he was definitely English. England was where his friends and family were. Grey skies, wet ground and wool coats. He had history there. There were places where he grew up, where his parents grew up. He used to walk past one of his old schools on the way to work, the train to Leeds took him past the steel mill in which his grandfather had worked. There was a snug George-shaped hole in England.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Captain and the Clown

Actually, Don¹ seemed to be around quite a bit over the three months or so we took to record Hot Rats. Him and Frank had been peers and then friends for a while. There weren’t many people swimming in their pond at the time so I guess it was inevitable that they would be drawn to one another.

Don had a reputation for being this mystic recluse character, Frank was typically portrayed as an extrovert jester. There’s no smoke without fire I guess, but in reality they were a lot more similar than their public personas suggest. They were both fiercely intelligent, educated, well spoken. They were both charming. Not in a smart-ass way but, well I guess they didn’t feel like they had anything to prove. Don was quieter, or Frank was louder, depending on how you looked at it but they weren’t that far apart and man did they talk. I had my family with me at the time we were recording the album so I wasn’t partying as much as they were but whenever they were out together, as part of the same group, invariably they’d be together, heads down, oblivious to the drink, the music, the girls around them. Well, that's how it seemed to me.

Like everyone at the time, Zappa carried his scene round on his back. There was always this circus around him. Some were equals, various musicians, friends, people like Don. Then there was always this crowd of hangers on, groupies, journalists, wannabes. Man, it felt like there were hundreds of them. And Frank loved them all, he didn’t care. They stayed in his hotels, he bought them drinks, he got stoned with them. It was an instant party, just add Zappa and it was all good, so long as they stayed outside the studio.

Frank didn’t have his own band² but there was this kind of travelling troupe of musicians with him. Not only musicians, but technicians too. He brought his own keyboards and homemade effects pedals. He had this kind of musical paintbox which he could pick and choose colours, people from. He was like, let’s try this tune with that guitarist there, and the same keyboard player but with this keyboard instead. Man, we’d try the same tune a thousand times, jamming it through until it was unrecognisable and then Frank would say stop and it’d go in the trash and that was that. I guess the process was as important as the finished record, no matter how often I told them that process won’t make a dime and some of us hoped to feed our kids when the record was finished.

So at some point Don made the move from one side of the soundproof glass to the other. It wasn’t obvious when. You see, everyone spent as much time on one side as they did the other, even Frank. The drummer would be in the booth, I’d be on the desk, then there’d be half a dozen musicians loitering behind me humming and tapping and figuring stuff out. Then we’d record the bass, the guitars. Keyboards, percussion. Vocals. Then we’d record a new drum track. Then Frank would want to re-record his solo. Round and round and so on. Things grew, it was much more like some kind of science project than musical endeavour. Don probably contributed to half a dozen different tracks, but there was just Willie the Pimp that ended up on the album. Go figure.

¹ Don Van Vliet, more commonly known as Captain Beefheart
² The Mothers Of Invention were disbanded a year before serious work began on Hot Rats.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Jacob was a philanderer. He was a skunk, a low-down dirty cunt.

So God punished Jacob by giving him shark lips. As he kissed his lips quickly wore away leaving exposed, fleshy strips. Given time a new set of lips would push forward, replacing the worn out pair. At any one time Jacob had at least fourteen sets of lips in various stages of growth.

While receiving oral sex from a man with fourteen lips sounded great on the internet, the reality was somewhat more grotesque.

Jacob now had to take care who he kissed, which pained him. You see, Jacob liked few things more than kissing girls. Naked girls were nice, and like many men he enjoying the various combinations a girl and his penis afforded. But kissing was what he really liked. The sensual proximity of the act, all lips and tongues and breath. The way different girls were fast or slow, vigorous, forceful or submissive. Jacob liked kissing.

Whores didn’t count. Jacob kind of looked on those affairs as luxurious masturbation. And anyway, he rarely kissed whores. Not with meaning anyway. God kind of agreed, or at least left him to his own devices on this one.

Now when he returned home late from work his wife Felicity, a strong women with a fine mind, could tell whether her husband had strayed. She could even judge how passionately he had strayed and what kind of kisser he had strayed with. Jacob’s tattered skin and bloody smears revealed everything to his discerning wife.

However, Felicity was proud and soon grew weary of discovering her husband’s infidelities only after they had been committed. She was tired of both him and his presumptuous arrogance. Now, as he finishes tying his shoes she leaps upon him, grabs his hair, pulls his face toward hers. She kisses him, not with love, but with a blood lust. She kisses until his lips are shredded, his teeth exposed, until red drops drip upon his shirt. Then she sends him out the door, his mouth a jagged hole.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Sleeper

Now would be the ideal time. Mark had long been trying to cultivate a form of selective narcolepsy, he remembered reading about car crash victims, and how you’re more likely to survive if you’re asleep. Not being tense, being unprepared was apparently the best preparation. Face your problems while unconscious, it sounded great.

A long time ago, while he was still at junior school, a doctor had said his behavioural problems exhibited what could be a mild form of autism. Mark often reminded himself of this, that his lack of empathy might be why he struggled to laugh as loud as the others in the pub, why the kettle took hours to boil while there was somebody else in the kitchen. Those awkward moments when he passed his boss by the toilet door. Secretly however, he thought he actually had a pretty good grasp of people. If you say X to person A then, depending on their mood they will do either J or K. If they do K and you say Y they will… and so on. An ever expanding web of possibilities that with careful consideration can be navigated to the required conclusion.

He looked up from his knotted fingers. Mr Crowle was still talking. Mark forced his eyelids to droop slightly, his shoulders relaxed, a warm wave ran up his neck.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Two Brians

Brian number one, small, slim, snake-hipped. “Just do it” he says. Your father wouldn’t like him, your mother would think he is utterly charming but needs feeding up. He smokes dope in bed. He likes bathing as a sensual experience but isn’t really bothered about being clean. Brian number two claims to have caught him shadow boxing while listening to gangster rap.

Brian number two, wears a suit to work. Sometimes he wears the same suit to the pub. He does something obscure in accounting which even he admits is boring. However, “work is a means to an end right? So long as I can pay for this round and have the time to enjoy a drink then it’s all good, right? Right?” He has a savings account, he has a rough plan to get onto the property ladder. He would rather stay silent than risk being wrong.

If they weren't housemates and best friends I couldn't really imagine them in the same room let alone talking to one another.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


The greying light of a stolen afternoon, curled up together reading comics and yesterday’s papers. Reading books we won’t finish. The sheets twisted around us, she is a warm mass against me. A leg is resettled… sensation! Her body as a structure, the bones of her hips, the soft flesh of her belly, the coarse hair between her legs. A twist in her shoulders as she stretches her neck. As this weight moves I can feel toast crumbs stuck to my back.

We have been here for a hundred years. Kings have come and gone, cities risen, empires fallen. There are beer bottles by the alarm clock. Coffee stains and spilt wine. Tobacco and pot. The smell of sex. Soft slept in skin. Messy hair.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A note from the author

I am deeply embarrassed by almost everything posted on this site so far. I can offer only my sincerest apologies for the wear on your retina, the wasted rods and cones, for the never-to-be-recovered burnt synapses. You should have done something more interesting instead. You should have washed those dishes. Bought those flowers. You should have started your own blog.


I’m trying to get better. I will get better. Come back in a year.

Maybe come back in two years

A Wasted Youth

As a youth he spent too much time thinking and too little not giving a fuck. More time should have been dedicated to putting his cock in stuff, rather than worrying about how said decision reflected on him as a person.

The urge to criticise small things went back to the playground. There was no desire there to preserve culture, to uphold obscure etymological ideals, to better his fellow man. This was childish pointing and laughing at the less fortunate, less experienced, less educated. Of course this was tempered by his repressed adult eyes. Grammar, taste in music, news channel of choice were all fair game. Dead parents and tumours were off limits. Because someone was gay, straight, physically unsuited to contact sports, these all changed depending on context and company. He laughed at the beautiful and the vain, but only behind their backs.

Psychology buffs will be pleased to note this propensity to snideness was one of the more unpleasant traits shared with his father.

Bob Dylan Sez

If you ain't busy being born, then you're busy dying.

Or something like that. He still has a funny voice though (so does Joanna Newsom) and I've yet to be convinced by his suck-blow faux-naive harmonica tooting.

He Said / She Said II

SHE: the truth doesn’t really interest me.
HE: The Trurh is for pusies
SHE: like spelling?
HE: yeah, like that
HE: spelling is for pussies

He Said / She Said

SHE: you realise this is doomed
SHE: that I will never leave him
HE: god yeah. I know. I don’t want you to.
SHE: but
SHE: but I’m here.
SHE: that what I feel for you is confusing, contradictory and fucking brilliant.
SHE: I’m not really thinking as hard as I should be maybe.
SHE: just doing
HE: it’s all good :)