Monday, 19 December 2016

Contingency - Drabble

The terminally ill child bears her fate with far greater acceptance and equanimity than her mother, who after all, has spent her longer lifespan neglecting the import of her own attendant mortality. The child has had less time to become beholden to the reasons for life, or make the deals with herself as to why it might be held to be valuable. Her thread is not as extended as that of adults. Her sense of permanence less entrenched. Her mother had calculated to plug the void of meaning, by rearing a child. And now that stratagem was collapsing around her.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Songs About Heaven And Hell

You'd figure that heavy rock and metal would dominate songs from the Abyss, but not a bit of it. As for songs about fluffy clouds, would that be the province of fey indie bands? A few surprises possibly on the way between halos and horns.

1) Husker Du - "The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill"
Husker Du were the powerhouse band they were because all three members were songwriters. Not too often these days you see the drummer is the lead singer. Not the greatest sound quality, but you can see the energy of this genuine power trio.

2) Mobb Deep - "Hell On Earth"
Well if it's not Heavy Metal singing about Satan & Hell, obviously it was going to be Hip Hop and Rap decrying the hell on earth that are the urban ghettos. As here.

3) The Cure - "Just Like Heaven"
Did someone say fey indie band? Of course the Cure's Gothic look might have them pegged in the camp of devils and demons, but no, here's a jaunty ditty devoted to more Elysian Fields.

4) The Fall - "New Face In Hell"
Shame there's no footage of this being performed live, but it's just one of the tracks off the Fall's best of their 30+ albums "Grotesque After The Gramme". Divine stuff.

5) Stone Roses - "Breaking Into Heaven"
Songs with 'Resurrection", "Heaven", "I Wanna Be Adored" suggest a passing interest in religion and divinity, or maybe just Ian brown's god complex. This is not one of their better songs imo

6) White Stripes - "Catch Hell Blues"
The clue perhaps is that they always wore red and black, Satan's home colours. And the other clue being The Blues, Satan's own in house music.

7) MC 900Ft Jesus - "I'm Going Straight To Heaven"
Taken from his album "Hell With The Lid Off", again another with a god complex seeing himself as a 900ft tall Messiah!

8) Gang Of Four - "To Hell With Poverty"
and don't they make a glorious infernal racket in this song, even if their concerns were always very much grounded in the temporal and political rather than esoteric.

9) Bob Dylan - "Knocking On Heaven's Door"
Did they let you in Bob? Is that why you changed religion?

10) Killing Joke - "This World Hell"
Beginning to see a theme develop here, Hell is very much located on Earth, while Heaven is the wistfully viewed place to escape our tribulations.

11) Led Zeppelin - "Stairway To Heaven"
Severely doubt that the road to Heaven is paved with twelve string guitar solos. The Butthole Surfers released a wonderful homage/spoof album called "Hairway to Steven".

12) The Pogues - "Boys From The County Hell"
Doesn't Shane MacGowan look fit and well back in 1985? One of the best live bands ever, this was definitely one of their stomping dancefloor tunes.

13) Tricky - "Hell Is Round The Corner"
The music for this sounds just like a Portishead track. In fact the Tricky/ Massive Attack/ Portishead symbiosis suggests that Bristol trip-hop bands were all very incestuous, musically I mean.

14) ACDC - "Highway To Hell"
Run out of Heavenly songs, it's all Hellish from here. Well I did promise you some heavy metal...

15)  Three Wize Men - "Urban Hell"
British hip-hop was really really sad wasn't it, trying to ape Old School US stylee.

16) The Clash - "Straight To Hell"
As sampled by MIA for her song "Paper Planes"

17) The Streets - "Heaven For The Weather"
This song name checks both Heaven & Hell, so seems the perfect song to conclude with.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Pica - Flash Fiction

The man was lying asleep on his side, his handd tucked under his facee for a pillowwww, when he was shakennn awake. His whole bed was aquiverrr and he sufferedd that shooting vvertigoo as hiss block mattress was hhoistedd vvertically. The tetherss bound himm in place. Hee knew what was to ffollow. 

The mmetal probe projected horizontallyy towards hhim. Its stylus started ccutting into his sskinn. His wwounded fflesh responded by ppatching the cavities with bloodd, but thee duct mounted beneathh the stylus ssquirtedd some sort of aanti-coagulantt to sluice the blooddd away as ssoon as it tried to dockk with the sskinn. 

He shuttered his eyesss and gave into to the llapping swish of the cchemicall reagent jjets. He had eendured the ssensation so many times, his nnnerves had ceased to firee at the trespassss of the sspike. It was ggougingg out characters on his sskinn, some of wwhich he could flick his eyes to rreadd, others which remained bblockedd from his purvieww. Because of the iiirregularr cccontours of fleshhh, the words speltt thereon were not arranged in ssentencess. He was not a flatt pplanee like the lleavess of a bbookk. And that seemedd to be the veryy pppurposee.

When the sstyluss had finished its ccalligraphicc ffurrows, there was the ccustomary ppopp as the lliquidd stream was shut offff and replaced by a more vviscouss fluidd. Here it comes, as a blackkk inkkk was ssprayed into the sscoress in his sskinn, until the ffurrowss were ffullll to the bbrimm. The pprobee pperformedd its shuffling rretreatt as it was wwinchedd back. He leaned his hhead back against the mmetalll blockkk and turned to one sside. He saw the aaarrayedd ranks of others ttrussedd and ccoloured exactly the sssame as him, though he could not make out the iiinscriptionss on their ffleshh. A pprinting bblockk aarmy. A typeset ttextual host. And then it bbegan.

In rrrapid ffire, the ttypebars were llaunchedd fforward headlong, pppressingg the composed hhhuman mmmonotypes against a giant wwhitee ccanvass of indeterminate ffabricationn, to createe the iimpressionn of tthreee-dimensionalll llletteringg. For this was the jjusticee ssystem’s's rrecordd—kkeepingg of its ppproceedings, or at least the fffootnote aaannotationss thereoff. SSince it was important tto have the sssentencess pproducedd with dddifferinggg dddepths and aalignmentss and not just necessarilyyy llegible in a linearrr fffashionn. This rrace’s's jjusticee rrresonatedd with ggreaterrr and moree intricate pprofundityy in that wway

The iimpact at rrapidd vvvelocityy against the ccanvass always kknockedd the human printtt stampss immediately ssparkk out. They came to when a ssprinklee of waterr wwashedd over their ffacee. An alertt that the cleansingg and mmaintenance pproceduress were upon tthem. Now their bblockss were ppositionedd to the hhorizontall and they ppassed through a vverticall pplanee of some mmuslin like mmmateriall ingrainedd with ann aastringentt tthat sservedd to flush out any vvestigess of inkk ssquattingg in sskinn recessesss. A blast of hheatt was quickly aaappliedd to evaporateee any surface lliquidd and scourrr the fflesh prior to silkyyy ssspurts of an aqueous ppolymerr ccoatedd the ddegradedd ffleshh and qquicklyy flowed to seal it ssmoothh. The ffusible sskinn would hhharden and set within an hhourr and the hhhuman composite stickk would be gggood to go once again the fffollowing day to rrecord the jjudgements hhandedd ddown. 

Except, only he possessed the secret delight of knowing that his typebar was uniquely warped. That the presence of his conjoined twin, albeit dead though largely shrivelled, distorted the output of their impressed script. Clearly the clerks and notaries of this giant race didn’t set much store in proofreading their verdicts.