books


Had a productive night despite “not feeling it” in any sort of sense. By the end of that process, managed to have actually achieved something, even though I didn’t really feel like I had, but I had.

O mind, what slipp’ry fuckery is this
with which thou dost my daily chores attend?
Surely thou couldst thy chunterings abate,
if only for a bless’d second’s respite;
turn from thy dull and prating rattle
to modes melodious, soothing and becalmed,
not these inconstant-yet-constant alarms,
that squeak, and chide, and taunt, and offer nought
but discord and doubt, when thou couldst assure
with but one word of self-love, cheer or praise?

– Anon., At the Sign of The Doubtful Salmon, c.1609

 

 

Several rivers round Yorkshire in spate. It’s pretty wild out, been lashing wi’rain all day, closing off a six day week of work and some heavy, heavy shit impacting the hive mind. Been mooching around considering various reference points. So many little signals from people everywhere, justifying their bigotries and confirming biases… those looking for the light, those shutting it out.  Found this in the notebooks. It’s from a while back, I should add… but it seemed apposite.

 

mental associations on opening this – backing tracks – thunderous music to chant it all down. lee scratch, dusty studio alchemy occurring in palpable subtropical heat. crazed vibrations… woodwork, analogue synths, hand made and placed on to racks with knowing smiles. speaker hum. knotty fingers turn dials. fade up swoosh tape sounds. rumbling.

channeling through the feelings i have… when i sit and let things flow, there’re messages beaming in from i know not where. the voices of the interior. can we call them exterior? they are flowing through my fingers. they may be only from within but that too is without something.

perspective is shifted and squint.

aiwass thin kingggg… these sounds, even in the haze

chaneling voices from other dimensions

when i was younger I had these sorts of thoughts and was overwhelmed. they were too real. they were the sounds of other people, though people I knew. i thought it was telepathy. the voices of others manifesting in my head. they weren’t telling me what i wanted to hear, or telling me malign shit. if i can be honest, all i recall is that one night in particular when it kept me up til 6am it was one of my mate’s voices, and though we conversed all night, i forget what it was.

i think i was seeking reassurance about all the catastrophic mistakes i thought i was making

astral projecting? fixing something? i lack the technical vocabulary to discuss this accurately.

holding those thoughts in check now. writing it down makes it less. the thought of inking it out seemed likely to bring it to reality, but it didn’t, it trapped it there on the page and revealed it for what it was (semi-coherent, clutching at straws). strings of word theory, strung out and round and round, yarns unravelled. maybe there’s an analogue with what circles and pentagrams are about, for those chalking them down to experience. people playing with magic, or the ones claiming they’re doing something real with it. maybe they are. maybe so are the people sitting at their notepads and keypads. we are creating the frameworks within which the mad things we think can take on some kind of meaning. but reading it back, that truth proves elusive.

In intoxication, falling into chairs, against walls, and onto friends, a person enters a realm of free experience. Liquor unlocks the innocent belief that the way you feel about anyone else should be the way he feels about you. Drugs make perception the subject of experience, by slight derangement, tuning you to the colors, outlines, and movements we take for granted.

…they create experiences that push past the little you can learn about other people from social interactions and conversation, into immediacies it seems you couldn’t know in any other way. They point to a world a lot looser and more liberal than this one.

You can suffer hangovers in more shades of misery than the merely physical, and vow never to touch the stuff again. But somehow the experience seems definitive, for better and for worse. What was learned is not unlearned. Once you discover these earliest means to experience, of course, the question becomes how often you have to, or even can, discover them again, rather than repeating them with diminishing returns. So these forms of experience may or may not have a time limit to them, associated with the feeling of youth.

From Against Everything by Mark Greif

[FX: vinyl crackle]
[GRAMS: Heart of Gold – Neil Young]

Xenophon examined the xiphoid markings left by xylophagous insects that had been at the xoana lining the xystus.

Inspired by this exotic dust-gatherer from the shelves:

… soon to be Ex Libris: another volume for the charity box.

Today I did behold a lemon and upon its label were there inscribed the names of Imazalil and Thiabendazole. Purchasing this cursèd fruit and spiriting it from the market, I was able swiftly to neutralize it within an admixture of quinine and a reduction of juniper water. Then I did betake to my study to further examine this phenomenon.

I have begun these, my Notes Towards a Grimoire of Contemporary Spirits Whose Powers May or May Not Be Trusted.

1. Imazalil

2. Thiabendazole

3. Triticonazole

4. Tebuconazole

5. Glyphosate

6. Thiacloprid

7. Metaldehyde

8. Cypermethrin

9. Abamex

10. Isomek

11. Kunshi

12. Sokol

13. Tropotox

Let it be known then that their ranks do extend yet further, and while capable each of great boon even so do they offer a bane for their unintended actions upon the other plants and creatures of the air, water, and earth.

Next:

On the Rites of the Summoning of the Mouthdaemon, M.S.G.

Having just gone back to work after two weeks off, the mood is positive. This is despite the continuing attempts of the weather systems bothering the UK to impose a pathetic fallacy of doom and angst. Every time it seems to be clearing up some fresh annoyance sweeps in. The reason then, for this upbeat demeanour, in the face of our shit northern climate? It is due to a feeling, actively nurtured, of letting go of some things.

Holidays are a good time to take stock, and Easter holidays are traditionally a good time for Spring cleaning. With a succession of weather fronts Setting In, we were less able than usual to throw open the windows, air the sheets, give walls a lick of paint, then pop down the river to visit a rodent pal.

However, we (me and The Best Belovèd) did spend a good deal of time looking at the shelves, as detailed in the Books post (2nd April just then), and the cupboards, making plans to shed a ton of baggage. This is a fact moonlighting as a metaphor; we have a weight of stuff accumulated, between us. I’m not sure if it’s worse or better that we keep a bunch of extra stuff in an attic space (another dual function phrase).

The precise purpose of holding on to most of it is unclear. I mean – sure, that’s 14 boxes of books… But, that’s 14 boxes of books!

Hoarding is something one tends to associate with those sad cases who are found dead under 50 years’ worth of Daily Mirror back issues, knocked out by a collapsed stack of Dolmio jars, stifled in the dust of a lifetime’s unemptied ashtrays. Not parsimony, not Scrooge McMean avarice… just an inability to shed? Yet here we are, with a bunch of consumer goods, that escape uselessness by the narrowest of annotated margins. Or that vault effortlessly over boundaries of taste and meaning from a realm of slightly boss-eyed whimsy. Exhibit K: a 7″ single of Kylie Minogue’s I Should Be So Lucky, which I am fairly confident I have kept for the sole reason that if you play it at 33 rpm it sounds a teensy bit like Rick Astley:

How we passed the time in 1987.

Happily, there are remedies for this kind of low-level symptom of late capitalism. A few years back I wrote something about psychological benefits found in setting fire to old notebooks. Clearly my sentiment is not so incorrigible that it can’t be combatted with a well-timed radical gesture. …I’m not going to burn all the books! Not that radical. But as the holidays drew to a close, a moment of clarity enveloped the house, and various schemes – and, crucially, motivated enthusiasm – for riddance took hold.

Here’s to the enduring joys of bibliophilia, of record collecting, whatever the little indulgences in items that foster joy and devotion… but here’s also to being able to see and accept when something could quite easily be got rid of, never seen again, and remain unmourned.

“…my god, it’s full of tat.”

One benefit of a more attentive approach to time and media management is the sudden release of seemingly days of spare time. Using an app to block other apps has been helping to create a habit of putting down the phone and starting something else instead. Pens, paper, making music, and a return to reading.

Earlier this year I started making space on shelves, thinning a book collection. Most of the volumes were already in a stack of boxes in an attic space, with the remainder in piles two deep on the upper shelves. The lower reaches have been annexed, now a junkyard jumble of jigsaws, card games, noisemaking toys, pebble collections.

The aesthetic improvement of the remaining rows of double-stacked books took the form of boxing to donate – mostly to St Michael’s Hospice shop – and boxing to keep, until some ill-defined event horizon beyond which the Book Collection might be returned to the shelves in all its glory.

The process culminated in a kind of at least half-engineered Damascene instance, where I was sat looking round the room at the books now on shelves, knowing that it was all the ones I hadn’t read… Some of which have been with me round the block at least twice.

It prompted a reforming bibliophile’s reevaluation of the amount of rubbish one carries around (metaphorical interpretation also available, in fact I think I have the hardback version of that as well…)

I also commenced a reading programme. So far this year I’ve gone through:

I Will Never Write My Memoirs – Grace Jones

Nina Simone:The Biography – David Brun-Lambert

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (on ereader)

Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd

The Atrocity Archive – Charles Stross

Lord of Light – Roger Zelazny

The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin

Neuromancer – William Gibson

All Tomorrow’s Parties -William Gibson

The Rum Diary – Hunter S. Thompson

Make Room! Make Room! – Harry Harrison

Some of these have been well worth the wait. No doubt some will not. Still, y’know… the books all represent something that resonated, at least once, on some frequency or other. There’s a connection, I mean, although with what is perhaps another matter. It feels like a relationship I understand a bit better, anyway.

Now, better post this before the app block comes on…

Tomorrow: Current Affairs.

Next Page »