January 21, 2012

December 27th

I’m sat, half lotus, in the sun
with christmas gone, new year to come,
still smoking, drinking, eating bread,
forgetting all of last years dread.

Forgetting You and who I was.
As yet untouched by winter’s frost,
with christmas gone, new year to come,
I’m sat, half lotus, in the sun.


On my way from in that club
I see a myriad of drunks
and idle ladies with their drinks
on their way into that club

now sat upon the sodden curb
my ears now bleeding out with dread
and sweat from dancing long-since dried
I sit upon a sodden curb

and trying hard I must not feel
that all the world is in decline
but, god, that's tough when you're unclean
and trying hard with naught to feel

but in they go in single-file
with sticky feet and bloodied toes
all clustered round like broken toys
and in they go in single-file

with lipstick smeared upon their face
they're dressed "like mommy does those days
when she and daddy come home dazed"
with lipstick smeared upon their faces,

but not my parents, they don't fuss
sat stoic in our little house
until the coming of the hearse
for my sad parents, they won't fuss,

but here I am, still sat outside
sat waiting for the coming tide
of sick and bile and christmas pride.
Envelop me, I'm sat outside.

The Director – first draft

The Director was once again becoming restless. With each passing moment, each slow, mechanical tick of his watch, both time and his film seemed to slip away from him. His actors, hung-over from both the mid-day sun and last evening’s ‘acclimatisation’ to their new, European location, were not so much losing interest but becoming bereft of it altogether. His Italian crew understood him as much as he understood them, which seemed to be less by the minute. The film was a disaster. He had taken the job to get away from it all, to work in that crackling Mediterranean sun rather than the insouciant grey mists of London, giving little notice to the (lack of) quality of the script or the studio-assigned actors. But instead of filling him with new life, instead of mobilizing each cell of blood and each release of adrenaline to invigorate his every sip of wine or sandaled footstep, the whole project, from the moment the lead actress had thrown a fit on the plane demanding better champagne and a cashmere blanket, had just lead to him becoming even more mired within the labyrinths of his own mind.

Regardless, there was only one more scene planned for this afternoon, and his sheer desire to evade talking to anyone for much longer drove him on to get it all over with. The film was at best a throwback to some 50’s noir, at worst a calamitous pastiche confirming the utter lack of imagination of a faltering industry. The scene saw the main character, a poorly fleshed-out American detective encountering his inevitable European femme fatale who, for some poorly thought out reason, knew his dark secret: he was implicit in the murders he was investigating.

And so it began, under that wondrous sunlight now tainted by the ugly idiocy of the film, with a tracking shot. Walking along the glorious ancient walls of Lucca, decorated with trees whose leaves, as in Montale, when blown free of their worldly attachments offered ‘The faint and pulsing motion of the sea’ of the Tuscan coast to the west, was the sweating, concrete brow of the director’s leading man, clogging the shot with caffeinated American bravado. Pulling out, behind him slunk the femme, like a flea-ridden cat following an obese, unsuspecting rat with a white straw hat and beige coat. Unable to properly give the impression that his character was intelligent enough to know he was being followed, a vile, licentious smile arose on the detective’s face, as he pulled up under the bough of a grand old tree, now desecrated by the inanity of the man’s visage, to turn and encounter his pursuer.

“Who are you?” Rumbled out the imposter of a script, as the detective clumsily pulled out a prop gun whilst the director felt a now all-too-familiar cringe.

“Zat iz of little import. For you zee, Ah know what you ‘av done.”

The director was now suffering from what can only be described of a hernia of disgust at the truly pathetic abilities on display before him.

“You know nothing.”

“You are wrong, Ah know everyzing.”

There was no point calling ‘cut’ by this point, this was the best they could do. Sat in his chair the director wondered if he would have to direct some made-for-TV films again before he got near a studio film once more. Maybe he could do a nice BBC adaptation of Dostoevsky or Turgenev, but even a Bronte would do at this point.

“And what’s everything?”

“Everyzing. Zat you are involved in zat which you solve. Zat you ‘av taken money from criminals. Zat you cannot go ‘ome wizout putting ze wrong man in jail.”

The director wasn’t sure if she was going for French or Austrian now. In reality, neither did she.

More poorly written and performed dialogue followed this, each decrepit word violating the beauty of the scenery with its crude and bludgeoning pacing. Eventually, as the sun began to set over the Lucchese hills the scene stumbled to its end, and the director, finally, was able to leave it all, and drown his sorrows at the nearest bar with the cheapest birra he could order.


January 20, 2012

Book Reccomendation

Cities & Signs 1

"You walk for days among trees and among stones. Rarely does the eye light on a thing, and then only when it has recognized that thing as the sign of another thing: a print in the sand indicates the tiger’s passage; a marsh announces a vein of water; the hibiscus flower, the end of winter. All the rest is silent and interchangeable; trees and stones are only what they are.

Finally the journey leads to the city of Tamara. You penetrate it along streets thick with signboards jutting from the walls. The eye does not see things but images of things that mean other things: pincers point out the tooth-drawer’s house; a tankard, the tavern; halberds, the barracks; scales, the grocer’s. Statues and shields depict lions, dolphins, towers, stars: a sign that something—who knows what?—has as its sign a lion or a dolphin or a tower or a star. Other signals warn of what is forbidden in a given place (to enter the alley with wagons, to urinate behind the kiosk, to fish with your pole from the bridge) and what is allowed (watering zebras, playing bowls, burning relatives’ corpses).

From the doors of the temples the gods’ statues are seen, each portrayed with his attributes—the cornucopia, the hourglass, the medusa—so that the worshiper can recognize them and address his prayers correctly. If a building has no signboard or figure, its very form and the position it occupies in the city’s order suffice to indicate its function: the palace, the prison, the mint, the Pythagorean school, the brothel. The wares, too, which the vendors display on their stalls are valuable not in themselves but as signs of other things: the embroidered headband stands for elegance; the gilded palanquin, power; the volumes of Averroes, learning; the ankle bracelet, voluptuousness. Your gaze scans the streets as if they were written pages: the city says everything you must think, makes you repeat her discourse, and while you believe you are visiting Tamara you are only recording the names with which she defines herself and all her parts.However the city may really be, beneath this thick coating of signs, whatever it may contain or conceal, you leave Tamara without having discovered it.

Outside, the land stretches, empty, to the horizon; the sky opens, with speeding clouds. In the shape that chance and wind give the clouds, you are already intent on recognizing figures: a sailing ship, a hand, an elephant…"

from Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities

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