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Showing posts from November, 2011

The Ordinary Madness of Charles Bukowski - Part 1

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Library Fines: You Must Be Kidding Me

I heard the other day that the library fines at Northampton Uni are £1 for every hour your book is overdue. That means I owe them £24 on a really stupid critical book attributing Esther Greenwood's behaviour in The Bell Jar to penis envy. I took it out and then effaced it from my memory for a day because it was so ridiculous.

Well, so are the library changes, ladies and gents. I'm not paying. You can email me; you can call me; you can send the bailiffs round; but I'm not supporting your middle class comforts and crap university architecture with my hard-borrowed cash. Lower it to a £1 a week and we'll talk.

Blake

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I'd completely forgotten, may the Gods of Poetry shame me, that yesterday was William Blake's birthday. All bow down at the feet of the Bard of Albion.

Paris, Midlands

I have two essays to write in the next two weeks for this degree I've managed to get myself jammed into sideways, and the computers at the university today are refusing to open any file that might help me research them. Fine. Just another one of the cute little frustrations of electronically-dominated twenty-first century academic life. (I don't have a computer at home, you see, so I can't go there and do the work instead.)

But who gives a crap. I have a few days yet. And I have so much reading to do, that should keep me busy (ie: away from anything important) until whatever's wrong with these computers is made right.

I was watching Paris, Texas last night. It's one of my favourite films. I first saw it in '84 or '85, the first time it was shown on tv; and as I watched it - does anybody remember the beautiful haunted loneliness of Harry Dean Stanton's Travis? - I thought how nice it would be, if only for a while, to go back to the way things were then.…

The Sorrows of Old Hoddther

I've noticed my eyes have started streaming whenever the wind blows or the temperature drops. I should go and see a doctor probably, but I like the way it makes me look like a melancholy German Romantic weeping at the sadness of the world.

(HQ) Allen Ginsberg Sings Hare Krishna to William Buckley

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Mop-Tops in Manc

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While I'm in Beatles mode, here's a fabulous old Pathe News report on a Beatles concert in Manchester in 1963. It looks like it comes from another world, but I was only a year away from making my own grand appearance. Small wonder I feel like an alien from the other side of Mars when I sit in a lecture room full of teenagers at the University.

Hammell on Trial

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I've always thought this was the best statement about any of the Beatles.

Back in London: Spectres of the Fantastic In and Out of Class

I went to the Big City yesterday with Northampton University to take part in a symposium called "The Fantastic Imagination" with Richmond, the uni for American students in London. I did a presentation with my friend Martyna on "The Female Gothic" - a subject I know very little about, I hasten to add; it was just the first thing that popped into my head when the Head of English at Northampton asked what we were going to talk about. It seemed to go well. One of the American lecturers there said we looked like we were presenting the Oscars. Really? A portly, grey-bearded middle-aged man and a 23-year-old Polish Goth?

Unusually for me I had very little to contribute for the rest of the day - other than when we were freezing our arses (or perhaps I should say asses)off in the courtyard smoking area at lunchtime - because I know absolutely nothing about fantasy literature, almost nothing about Gothic literature, and the only science fiction author I've ever read is …

The Return of the Egregious Angel

You'll be delighted to hear I'll be posting more regularly on here from now on. I've become a bit soured with Facebook, its ephemerality, and the way it has of sucking you into the consensual world by exposing you continually to hundreds of other lives. Perhaps to anybody other than a writer it would be a good, healthy thing to be able to plug into the public brain every day at a moment's notice. But a writer needs a more arrogant, solipsistic relationship to what is presumed mistakenly to be the real, inevitable world. Well, I do. My isolation from what I see as the lies and the bullshit of ordinary life has always been my power. So from now on there'll be less Facebooking - less discovering who went out last night, who's watching the X-Factor this weekend, who thinks we should stand up and weep before a Union Jack every morning for Our Boys In Afghanistan - and more writing my own stuff, more creating a picture of my own fabulously uninteresting world for any…

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

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I watched the Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World last night. The wondrousness of George's best songs is not something you ever forget, but it's nice to revisit them, especially on a guided tour hosted by a great director. The movie lacks a little of the cohesion of Scorsese's Bob Dylan: No Direction Home, which was structured around Dylan's conversion to electricity and the "Judas!" heckle at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, but it's still a marvellous trip for anybody who remembers those times, has a feel for those times or who's interested in general ideas of counter-culture, and new/old alternatives to Capitalism. If you can afford the £10.99 most shops are charging for it, maybe you should give it a whirl.