An intro to an abandoned project that I got bored with. Liked this bit of writing though, so sticking it here for prosperity.

Magic works, the lot, tarot cards, spells, funny hats, all of it.

It probably doesn’t work in the way you think. But it does.

If you don’t think abstract symbols have power then you’re missing the irony of you reading this sentence.

Since the cultural imprinting that we call ‘school’ our brain is not only loaded with symbols and their explicit meaning – like the alphabet, the squiggle ‘A’ correlate to a definite sound. But were also taught the inferred meaning of many others. Colours are a great example of this, even a very small child will recognise red as ‘danger’ or ‘anger’ this seems instinctual as an adult in the west, but if we had grown up in China we would instinctively ‘know’ that red is the colour of good luck or joy.

This is an example of our brains main advantage, we can process meaning on many different levels at the same time. We seem to recognise stimuli and process it in all its syntax of context at the same damn time while our consciousness picks the most relevant to the narrative we need to survive.

In this analogy I find it handy to think of skills as sub-routines of that take up varying levels of your CPU. These sub-routines have conscious or unconscious triggers. Ritual magic, where the user gets dressed up and chants and all that, is just keying certain effects and mental sub-routines to contrived, outside stimuli. When Daisy, a character in TV show Spaced, writes she wears a pair of think rimmed lense-less glasses, an activity tied to a piece of costume or theatre. When I’m trying to beat writers block I paint my face completely – which has the added bonus of making leaving the house more of a hassle. These are inherently symbolic acts that trigger ‘real’* consequences.

Symbols can be buttons in our brain that WE get to programme.

Now our whole lives are guided by the decisions we make, the big ones are obvious, which jobs we apply for, who you marry that sort of thing. But were also riding a wave of tiny and seemingly inconsequential decisions. Each tiny ‘Cornflakes or toast’ ‘bus or walk’, nail varnish colour, and TV channel flick are the butterfly flapping causing a tornado that blow us closer to the only goals encoded right into our unconscious, the lizard brain basics, food, air, and fucking.

Sigil’s are an attempt to add goals to the subconscious that are little more sophisticated, so every little thing we do makes us take a step towards a premeditated result.

Also anyone who has ever got stoned and met someone who is colour blind has realised that reality is based purely on perception. I personally think that sigils, when imprinted on the subconscious can colour our reality.
It’s a fact of our human mind gubbins that we only ever pay attention to evidence that supports our beliefs, so it stands to reason if we can change these beliefs at a subconscious level the way we perceive the world will be fundamentally changed.

If it helps try not to think of magic (or ‘magik’ as the less playful of the chaos magicians of the nineties would have you describe it) as other worldly, just think of it as hacking – using symbols to find short cuts for the wet meat computer we keep in our bone skull.

*yes, quotes. Shut up.

I’ve climbed out on the roof again, the neighbours are getting as full of a dose of a change is gonna come as my ancient Sony speakers can kick out. I’ve drank a few beers and the sun is doing that thing it does at the end of the day where it doesn’t so much shine on you, as shine through you. Turning stress into light and the dark corners of your brain into just corners.

And I need it, the job I’ve chosen, at least for a while, is tough.

I work with kids that have emotional and behavioural problems. And that’s all I have to say about that.

I refuse to write about them, despite the wealth of material and emotional currency I spend daily. I don’t have many rules but I find the thought of exploiting them for ‘content’ ikky.

So specifics aside, I will talk about my job in the most general terms, and in general it is, as I mentioned before, tough. A degree of professionalism stops me from being as upfront as I’d like to be with them. Sometimes there are things you’d like to tell them that not only it would be wildly inappropriate to share but mostly they’re the sort of mines you can only learn not to tread on once you’ve put your foot down and heard the ‘click’.

But I will share them here, advice is nostalgia yadda yadda yadda. Sometimes you’ve got to take your keyboard for a walk and see what happens. Here are

3 lessons I I Wish I Was Allowed To Teach My Kids Using Songs

1. Guns & Roses Paradise City

Being Skilled Is Better Then Being Cool

For a while Guns & Roses where the coolest band in the world – they sang about sleaze, drugs, and fights. But also about pain, loss and hope. W. Axel Rose (his initials spell ‘war’ Coooooool – Axel rose is kinda of an anagram of oral sex, double Coooooool.) would explode onto stage screaming, shouting, and spinning like a violent five year old. He looked like a cross between a red neck rent boy and the wrestler Hulk Hogan but he was Cool. He was King Swag back when ‘swag’ was just known as arrogance or mild personality disorder.

Everybody had an opinion on Axel, he couldn’t open his mouth without picking a fight or offending half the music press.

Slash on the other hand would walk on stage with a stiff legged stride, hair covering his face, play his guitar and leave. A man of few words, not ignorantly so, you just got the impression he wanted to let his music do his talking for him. Things you know Slash after being a fan for five years.
1. He wears a top hat.
2. He plays the guitar like he once finger banged an angel.

Slash is cool because he is skilled – he’s spent years practising his craft and never stopped. Axel’s skill was being cool, he effortlessly got people to admire him and practised very hard at not caring what people thought of him.

Now Axel is a bloated joke trying to wring whatever worth he can out of his past glories, and Slash works with the best artists in his genre being cited as an influence to a generation of guitar players.

Cool by its very nature is as ephemeral as fairy magic, a glamour that dies at the next sunrise. If you want to be cool, be cool for being great. Find something you love at do it until you’re magnificent. Because when cool fades, you’ll still shine. Or you can try to be cool by aggressively cultivating a ‘I don’t care’ attitude, and it may even work, for a while. Or can care about something, works towards something – and by doing that you’ll find that you genuinely don’t care what people think. And by doing that, be truly cool.

2. Janis Joplin Mercedes Benz

The person it will be hardest to get to fall in love with you is actually the most important.

This is Janis Joplin, her gorgeous distinctive voice is real – no tricks, tune ups, or machine bunkery. The way her voice goes up and down is actual emotion. The up and down vibrato in talent show contestants are a shadow of this, they don’t know this but actually feeling a song makes the performance transcend the simple performer /audience relationship and forms a connection with those that hear it.

The rasp in her voice is damage from whiskey, she drank, a lot. She never thought she was pretty enough to deserve her success and made her desperately unhappy, so she drank until she wasn’t. But this sadness came out in her singing.

But if her unhappiness made her a better singer, then it wasn’t a total waste right? Well I don’t think so. I said emotion makes people sing better – when you can know sadness and use that long after it leaves as a resource to draw from.

This song, is the one song where she sounds truly happy. It’s beautiful and haunting and breaks my heart got to show us what an album with joy in her voice would have sounded like.

Being a teenager is hard, your skin doesn’t hang right on your bones and bits start growing in weird ways. Your brain too is pushing into the unknown, growing into something strange, flooding you with emotions and feelings that feel like somebody is pressing blindly on the keyboard of your heart. It sucks, but ride it out – it settles down after a bit I promise. Then its up to you. The struggle that a moth has to shed its cocoon is the only thing that can build its muscles strong enough to be able to fly.

The lesson here is to forgive yourself – think, flirt, and really get to know this amazing person you’re becoming. It’s really hard for anyone else to fall in love with you if you don’t agree with them.

3. Rudimental Not Giving In

Dance

This is to the one boy out of the whole hall who allowed himself to dance in his seat when this song kicked in. The one person in the hall that allowed himself to smile a big puppy grin that denied the Monday morning slump while ignoring the confused and sneering looks around you.

If you keep that up, you my friend, you, are going to have so much fun.

This is from Dirty Bristow, a now dormant magazine I was co-editor and publisher of. The articles are slowly making their way online. I can’t find the name of the artist that did the gorgeous picture to illustrate it but when I do I’ll stick the credit with a link at the bottom of the post.

Wolfeye

Break the word disease up and you get dis-ease: that is to say something making you feel bad or ‘ill at ease’, or just ‘ill’ if you will. The term applies to everything – not just infections or genetic hiccups. Loneliness is a disease and one of its best cures has been with us for about 20 years. The internet is about connections, placing people together that would normally have lived their lives apart, separated by social norms or peer expectations. Not only does the internet allow us to connect, but it opens up the mind of people who use it right, and exposes us to the ideas and lifestyles of others.

Recently a spate of teenage suicides in America has shown us how lethal and life shattering loneliness can be. When a person feels alone sometimes they would rather end their life than carry the weight of being themselves, which is a terrible shame, not least of all because carrying the weight of who you are is a hell of a lot easier when there is a lot of you. Some of us find the thought of homophobia ridiculous, outdated, and as strange as people who are homophobic find the concept of homosexuality.

The difference? I don’t know. Time, exposure to the idea, lack of preconceptions? At the moment there are fringe communities finding each other. Using the internet to connect and cure the terrible disease that is loneliness. They can seem ridiculous, risible or even scary, but given exposure, time and an openness of mind that is a result of access to the internet, who knows?

I found Luke at a message board for people that identify themselves as Otherkin, one of the many enclaves of community which make the internet the place where the next steps of our evolution are being mapped. Where we as a species explore our possibilities and the mainstream of tomorrow is born.

What are Otherkin?

The Otherkin are human-bodied individuals who feel themselves to be, in an essential sense, non-human. Their Innate Species Persona (ISP) might be a mundane, familiar animal, such as a wolf, a cat, or penguin – even a highly unfamiliar being like an elf/faerye, demon, or angel not recognised as having even existed by narrow-minded scientists like Stephen Hawkins. ISP’s are named as elfkin, demonkin, felinekin, and so on. Some misinterpret their ISP, so they might during the course of their lives appear to change their ISP; I knew one Otherkin who changed from a wolfkin to a jackalkin; this does not represent an actual change of their ISP, but instead a change of their interpretation to something that better suits them.

Our mission is to gain acceptance in the same way the transgendered community are slowly gaining acceptance amongst the SWM (straight white male) establishment. This analogy is strengthened by the fact that some ‘kinned-individuals actually resort to surgery to become physically closer to their ISP; this could be as simple as teeth-filing or ear modifications. Some are more extreme; I have spoken online to one Californian Felinekin who is actually attempting to surgically alter his penis to closer resemble that of a tom-cat, by enlarging the base (giving a tapering shape) and adding sharp ‘spikes’ that shoot out.

Yow! I’m hoping the lucky lady will appreciate it. Do Otherkin tend to date within the community? And their own ISP?

Sadly the life of the Otherkin is often lonely because our different natures often make it hard for us to connect with ‘normal’ people. Once a ‘kinsperson has started to get involved in the community relationships do start; sometimes an ‘outerkin’ relationship will be frowned on by certain ‘kin, for example a dark-elfkin going out with a light-elfkin would raise some eyebrows. We’re a tolerant bunch, though, so we try to let the healing power of love take its course.

How did you become involved with the Otherkin?

I have always felt myself to be different, non-human. At the age of five I started dreaming about being an elf in some ancient forest. I used to mark myself with crayons in strange, Celtic patterns. I told few of my secret, but at the age of 10 one of my ‘friends’ started spreading it around, leading to all sorts of horrible taunts: ‘freak’, ‘nutter’, ‘pixie wanker,’ the usual school yard bullying. I felt incredibly ashamed, and found adolescence really hard. When I was 17, I stumbled across a mention of the Otherkin in a magazine; I can’t quite remember which one, it was probably Bizarre or Fortean Times or something of that ilk. What they said seemed to match up so perfectly with my experiences, so I started browsing a few Otherkin websites (of which there weren’t many back then), and tentatively started networking with the ‘kin. Using certain meditation techniques only known by members of the ‘kin, I have been able to regress to my previously lost memories of being a Daonine-Sithe (pron. ‘thenena shee’ in the original Gaelic) elf, hence why I presently call myself a Sithekin.

How does this affect you day-to-day, do you have, say, an aversion to cold iron? (digging around my head for Fey lore, so that may be wrong). Does it interfere with your job, and so on?

I did take iron supplements once which made me break out in a prolonged rash. Overall though, it doesn’t really affect my daily life. As long as I can be around oak trees and remember the old forests of Criathinell, I’m a happy camper.

What would you change about your body if you could?

I would feel more comfortable in my true form, which from memory is about 6’3 and with a blonde ponytail. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

What is ‘shifting’? and do you ‘shift’?

Shifting is when one relaxes completely, empties the mind of all thoughts, and feel one’s form changing to a prior shape. It’s a kind of psycho-spiritual shape-shifting, although maybe one day with nanotechnology we will be able to physically shift also? It’s an interesting thought.

Do you feel like you gain any benefits in your spirit shape? Healing, connection to nature or animals? Is it all bad?

Yes, I certainly feel a greater connection to the natural world. There is some woodland near my house which is very quiet and isolated, so sometimes I’ll strip off and make a bed of leaves there if it’s a nice day. I sometimes sing prayers to the Elven god Corellon too, accompanying myself with an oud (Moroccan ancestor of the lute).

How connected is this to past lives, do you have memories that are separate to your own or is this just a physical form thing?

I have had dreams that would suggest memories, although some of these are actually traumatic as they are memories of a war between the Sithe and a horde of orcish invaders. I know it sounds absolutely insane, but I get flashbacks like I’m a veteran with PTSD from Lord of the Rings or something! It’s bizarre, when I think about it, but that’s the kind of thing that I’ve lived with all my life.

Do you ever meet others? Online or IRL

The Internet has been the single most important development in the recent history of the Otherkin. In the Middle Ages, groups of us who dared to be true to our inner souls would risk being burned as witches. In the Age of ‘Enlightenment’ we would be sent away to insane asylums. The Internet has freed us. Through the internet, I have managed to meet up in person with a few fellow ‘kin in the south-east; I have even been talking with a few of them about forming a symphonic-darkmetal project, with lyrics relevant to the issues facing Otherkin through the ages. I have also got in touch with ‘kin from around the world; I’ve noticed a real concentration in South Africa, for some reason. Other places with a high proportion of Otherkin include California, and Alaska.

Do you think otherkin have existed for as long as the middle ages? Why are we only learning about you now?

Of course, people like us have always existed. The barriers between different worlds have been thinner in the past than they are now. In this country Otherkin children were labelled as changelings, and beaten or even murdered by their parents; in some areas, as recently as the 19th century. Of course this all got much worse with the spread of Christianity, which labelled all Extra-Physical Entities (EPEs) as servants of Satan, who was actually a demonetisation of the fae god Pan. With the rise of a more tolerant society, people who are different are feeling more comfortable about being honest and open than before. If we work to open people’s minds, maybe we can get an ‘Otherkin’ box on the Census? I have actually been networking with some people who are just starting a public awareness group called PIXI (Political Inclusiveness for Xenontic Individuals).

How fractured is the community? Do some ISP clash? Are there some community members you don’t trust, less committed perhaps?

The Draconics (dragonkin) and Saurians (reptilekin) tend to segregate themselves to a slightly higher degree than humanoid ‘kin. Within the Draconics, you get some arrogant bastards, who think they’re still sitting in a mountain guarding a massive pile of gold from some guy with a sword. Other Draconics tend to hate them, because they’re completely individualistic. The vampires are sometimes regarded as Otherkin, or at least Otherkin-kin, but they have their own culture and practices, so there’s an overlap – but it’s only an overlap. As I’ve said, the Dark-elfkin might identify with the ‘dark’ (though not necessarily evil) side of their race, so they may have some tensions with Light-elfkin (of which I am technically a member), but we usually get on OK.

There are a lot of Otherkin-wannabes, naturally; they tend to be sad, lonely people who are just looking for attention. You can’t blame them, really. You can tell because they try a *little* too hard to fit in. There are a fair number of trolls (in the internet sense of the word, of course), who pretend to be Otherkin for their own puerile sense of humour, but they tend to get bored and leave sooner or later.

Have you ‘come out’ to your family and friends? How did they react?

I have quite a few friends who know, but I tend to only hang out with very accepting and different people. All the rest I’ve moved away from, like a flower turning to the sun My family history is as weird as me, my father is a Methodist minister and my mother is a traveller. I rarely have contact with my father, so I doubt he knows, but my mother knows, and it’s one of the few things she agrees with me on.

****

When I was ten or eleven I suffered from what a psychologist at a party – I never sought professional help – would later describe as ‘severe paranoid delusions with obsessive compulsive tendencies’. I genuinely thought that the most people in the world had been replaced by a race of ‘Bug People’. These Bug People masqueraded as human and would continue to do so until all humans and been converted or consumed (I was a little fuzzy on the actual process). It was crippling. I rejected my friends and my family and even believed that once my parents had gone to bed they took off their masks and communicated with their home planet. I could never ask for help or reach out to friends. I was just a little boy going through the motions of his life, crying himself to sleep, and scared of even his parents. The thing that I remember most is the loneliness, the sheer isolation of not even being able to warn people for fear of discovery.

I grew out of it. Apparently sometimes that just happens. But this echo of loneliness still resonates. I don’t believe in Otherkin. I believe they believe it and that’s all that is and should be important. And because of the connections made possible by current technology their beliefs need not be as debilitating and crippling as mine were. In fact they can be as unifying and empowering as any community.

The artist is Mark Murphy and I’ve only got an email address which I’m not putting up for the web-spiders to crawl over, leave a comment if you want it – or if you know a web-site I can link too.

Jimmy Savillie and Margret Thatcher were friends. They had a bet to see who could fuck more kids. Savillie was the kind one and chose the pedeo path.

The dead don’t deserve respect, hell, they don’t even want it. They don’t care, they’re dead. They don’t want pity, piousness, or pretense.

The only thing we have to offer the dead that means even half a shit is honesty. The dead can no longer protest, permiss or persuade you with their reaction only silently consent with your opinion.

I’m not going to write about growing up, under her hateful shadow, in the shadow of the bomb, or in an area that was riddled with racism, unemployment and crime like ivy through the mortar between the bricks of a crumbling wall. I’m not going to write about that partly because It’s been written better and with more of an even hand elsewhere. And partly because I make no apologise for this and frankly don’t care for any explanation you offer if you feel otherwise.

I’m grieving the death of an old woman – my grief is a celebration of the suffering of someone who caused ten times more than she received. Nailing that ghost to the wall and toasting to the coming death of the army of smug school chums still under her spell. Anyone that can’t see the vicious irony in spending 10 million in the same month we said the weakest among us were not worth the money is either a fool or a bastard of the highest order.

I’m not on my own either. If they really want to solve the economic crisis they should turn the room in the Ritz where she died into a 24 hour disco and urinal and charge £1 entry.

But its not about the dead, as I said, the dead don’t care. It’s what the living deserve, and the living deserve to grieve. And by ‘grieve’ I mean react in way that allows that person to move on.

‘There is no right way to grieve’ is a go-to maxim of councillors and head doctors all over. It just so happens that mine, and over half the country’s grief, involves grim joy, defiance, and the venting of thirty odd years of hate – whatever the narrative portrayed in the media today.

Being best man at Jon Bounds wedding has been eating a whole bunch of time recently so not a lot of time spent writing – I got something coming in May’s Area Magazine that I will plug on my twitter account. In the meantime you guys can have a look at the text for my speech. Its not a particularly great bit of writing, and to be honest I made up a bunch of stuff when I came to deliver it, but most of the bones are here, and yes, it IS cynical to put in a pause where you intend to emulate an emotion.

First of all I’d like to thank Adam, my co-best man who has covered my inadequacies from the very start. Although Both me and Adam know that the only reason we we’re asked for this job is because Poppy can’t give a speech.

For those that don’t know me my name is Danny or as I’m known on the internet ‘probablydrunk’ and to answer the inherent question in that name, ‘not yet’. But I hope you’ll all join me in sorting that out later on.

I’ve never been a best man before and naturally was honoured to be asked. – actually this isn’t true. I received a text. The text read ‘what do you know about being a best man?’ I text back ‘nothing why?’ and he texted back ‘you best buy a book then’. And didn’t call me for two weeks.

I can see Jon’s naturally nervous, you see I do have a bit of a reputation for salty language. But I’ve promised him not to f….

[changes to the next card]

…orget there may be children in the room, so errrm [throwing away cards from my speech ]I suppose that ones out, and that one, definitely those, and the whole section about the petting zoo cant stay in.

First of all a big thank you to all the bridesmaids who I think we will all agree look amazing on this {weather} day, and the ushers who Jon trusted the important job of showing people how to sit down.

[cheers]

Its traditional to relay embarrassing stories about the groom in this situation, but when I came to writing this speech I realised how savvy Jon had been picking me. You every truly embarrassing stories I have about him, I’m was there with him being equally if not more so embarrassing or I was there so drunk only he remembers.

I mean I could talk about the stag do. But the first rule of Jons stag do is…

I know Jon from the internets, and we got to know each other well on the various creative projects we’ve done. Drinking in all the independent pubs in Birmingham in a day, the magazine we published and travelling to all the working piers in England and Wales in 10 days. When you share a car and tent with someone for 10 days straight you get to know some one pretty well. Here’s the things I learnt about Jon.

He’s not very practical – the first night we stopped in the tent on the trip, it was pitch black when we arrived at the campsite, it was high on a hill near the coast so very windy, and I’d never put the tent up before. Now seeing as a tent is essentially a large sail and I was tired, a little drunk and being lit by our driver midge this wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. And how do you think Jon helped?

Yes, by looking out to sea and reciting war poetry at us until we swore at him.

I also learnt his memory isn’t the best, he lost his towel at the first campsite, his wash kit at the second and on the Isle of Wight I found a bag,

‘Is this your bag Jon’

‘Nope, ask midge’

‘Midge is this your bag?

Midge says no but it looks like Jons

‘Jon are you sure its not your bag?’

‘Yes’

‘Really?’

‘Its not mine’

So we left it there.

It was somewhere around Bogner Regis when Jon stops dead in his tracks, turns to me and says

‘That was my bag, we cant go back can we?’

We didn’t go back.

And the third thing I learnt is that despite these superficial faults, he’s a kind, generous and incredibly smart human being. And lets face it – he must be, because Libby is a wonderful, equally smart and, I think we’ll all agree, stunning lady.

Being someone who likes to describe themselves as a ‘writer’ you wouldn’t believe how much I struggled with this speech. How do you articulate happiness, how do you put stock phrase like ‘best wishes’ and ‘long and happy future’ in stupid words? You can’t. Wittgenstein said ‘What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.‘ so allow me a couple of seconds to not speak and try and let you both know the way I feel.

[pause, with tears in my eyes]

I’d like to thank everyone for putting up with this speech and for making it here, I know it means a lot to the couple and if you’ll all be upstanding I’d like you all to join me in a toast to the bride, the groom and the Dog.

[cheers]

Being Best Man I was entrusted with Jon and Libby’s wedding certificate, being me and because I HATE public speaking, I burnt it.

really

 

Image

(pic not at all related)

To talk about Wolverhampton and inbreeding is a hack’s joke, a big town gag on smaller nearby towns the world over. But as I sit here there is no escaping that everybody around me looks oddly related.

It’s disconcerting, but I have taken a decent amount of painkillers and drank more than a safe level of beer on top – I was hoping to mitigate the normally brain wobbling effects by eating but I’ve come to one of the few places still left open in Wolverhampton and as an upshot, an hour after ordering, the food has yet to arrive.

Drinking on these painkillers has a curious effect, I feel pretty sloppy drunk even after only my second (third?) pint. But also a numbness blurs the edges of my peripheral vision and makes my brain lag behind my perception like playing X-box on a dial up connection, even if that game is a dull one where you have to hold down a reasonable conversation with another adult and extra points if you make it to the bar with falling over a table and keeping your trousers on.

The pain in my back is dulled to a sharp throb as I hobble up the stairs, I’m grateful for the medicinal barrier between the pain and my head.

“Oh YA BASTARD” a goblin jumps out from behind the top of a stairwell, all bugged out eyeballs and spindly fingers.

“Jesus Christ why?” I manage as I try to keep from tumbling backwards down the stairs. His arm reaches out and in Slo-Mo panic mode time I take in that he is, in fact, human and developing a look of shock on his face that I imagine, if arranged normally, would match my own.

Dancing around him for the toilet trying to shake the Muppet eyed lunatic from my memory.

“I thought you were someone else” he shouts from behind. No fucker deserves that, even if they do fuck their own sister. I think, but don’t say, because Wolverhampton is a different world and definitely not mine.

 

 

 

 

(this was a reveiw I did in november that never found a home – I dont think, correct me if you’ve seen it before)

Fucked-Up

 

Anything short of stunning and the name ‘Fucked Up’ would be a spindly teenage middle finger of pathetic unfocused rage. Fortunately the band that has that particular name bring the stunning with aplomb.

A wet Thursday night in Birmingham is a dispiriting as it sounds, and walking the far end of Digbeth in the rain had better be worth the trip.

It was almost a religious experience. Allow me too explain.

The first band Them Wolves, made a promising start, I mean you know you’re in for a good gig when the drummer starts limbering up with the focus intensity of a Korean Weightlifter. The guitars kicked in with squelching guitar noises and the strong back line drove the music forward and exploded into the chorus’s. The guitars would pitch and roll, building to these crescendos. The drums laying a solid foundation for the fuzz riffs that emerge out of the noise like the demon faces in TV static.

At its loudest, Them Wolves seem like unrelenting juggernaut metal done right, loud enough to cause the singer to throw his earplugs out with disdain before launching into his vocals that sound like the familiar screams of someone being tortured in the next corridor of hell. At their most reflective they can have the distorted landscape quality of Kruatrock bands like Einstellung.

At this point I went to the bar to drink over-priced rum, so I missed most of the Fair-os so it would be unfair-o to say I didn’t enjoy them. They both wore hats in a way that annoyed me and performed with a self satisfied smile to their mouths. Maybe its because they sounded like a heavier Vampire Weekend that made me dislike them. The music improved many-fold when they decided to let their balls swing a bit and play something with sack but this wasn’t often.

‘Go fuck yourselves’ they said as they walked off stage, which would have been a quite rock and roll thing to do if everyone in the place wasn’t thinking exactly the same thing of them.

The members of Fucked up took the stage and in a line started to play a building guitar refrain, but some guy wandered on stage after a minute or so, picking up a mic and winding the lead around. Of course because he had a hat on I presumed he was a member of the Fair-os being a complete tool-end and picking up his shit while the next band were playing. Little did I know this was Pink Eyes, one of the most charismatic front men I have ever seen on stage. With his hat and full beard he kinda looks like a character in the game Guess Who? except almost instantly he took his top off, which would add an interesting element to the game not least of all the chance to ask the question ‘Does your person look like a friendly but inexplicably hairy dolphin?’.

The music was fierce and loud, in some places quite poppy but better for it, and shades of The Pixies when Sandy Miranda added backing vocals to Pink eyes hardcore growl. The crowd, starting off with some light jostling, but soon degenerating into a tiny but ferocious mosh. The crowd were bringing it, so I was surprised when Pink Eye screamed ‘Bring It’ and even more surprised when the crowd embrungend it more.

The tempo of the songs increased, looking over at the drummer the sticks were strobing and Pink Eye waded into the crowd, as he passed people wanted to hug him, which he was happy to do, and some people wanted just to touch him. A tiny odd part of my brain thought about how his skin must be really well exfoliated with all the sweating and rubbing before another speed metal-esqe freakout kicked in and blasted all thoughts out of my head.

The crowd loved it, and him. He was screaming with and for the crowd for the most part, not at or despite of, which can be the case. There was a real feeling of warmth, a sense of community. If old classic metal is the Church Of Satan, theatrics, costume, a deference to the classic texts of Iron Maiden and Slayer. Then this is something new, a friendlier more relaxed but no less passionate Anglican version of the same faith albeit delivered by a man who looks like Zangief from Street-fighter 2 with five metres of microphone cord wrapped around his head while his flock slam dance in front of him.

A group of football Casuals sit in the corner of the rock pub I’m in, they’re giving off a concealed menace and bigger boy vibe that has regressed most of the customers back to their school defaults, and the rock crowd were definitely not on the top of the food chain at any school. The Casuals are subdued but everyone casts an eye over every no and again to check their mood.

It’s clear that they’re different, an aberration to the safe space. The differences are subtle but in an environment of outsider conformity they’re jarring. They buy an excess of drinks, looking back to the table and estimating roughly who wants one, doubling that figure, and getting a couple extra just in case. Their table is a small glass forest of green bottles.

They’re a mass of quilted jackets, Burberry scarves and fitted winter jackets all done up to the neck. As a left over from our ‘scruffy’ reputation or perhaps Grunge’s lasting legacy, are the layers of clothes we wear, nothing fastened, tucked or buckled.

The act of fastening all the buttons on a jacket is some sort of sartorial shibboleth.

They look like delinquent game keepers. I don’t know if appropriating the clothing of the upper classes is a conscious act of aspiration or a muted angry subversion of class hierarchy. I don’t want to ask either. It’s jarring that the clothing doesn’t really reflect football at all, no-ones wearing a replica kit or even a scarf – yet everyone knows they’re football fans. I suppose the closest logical connection is that the clothes look warm which is useful when attending an outdoor event in winter.

Somebody receives a call, they all leave together.

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I hate the personification of the earth as a weak and delicate person being attacked by us, desperately pleading to be ‘saved’. The earth is neither weak nor delicate. If the earth is a person then weather are her moods, and its us that gets smashed on the bad days. Which boils down to the real truth that I think even the most ardent green knit your own yogurt wing ding knows – The earth doesn’t need any ‘friends’. What ever we do the earth is fine. Its US that need to be saved and, honestly, I don’t think we’re worth the effort.

Yes, we could probably squeeze out another three or four generations if we eat mud, shower once a month and power our mobiles with hand cranks. But why bother?

OR we could go out in a blaze of glorious consumption.

Lets find a way of drinking pure oil smoothies, light our cities in a dazzling display of permanent summer and make rare animal pelts the must have headgear for the season ‘ albino snow tiger is soo last season daaaarling, I only wear panda shoes now.’

Lets not only fiddle while our civilisation burns, let’s stand on the highest mountain and shred solid platinum guitars through 157,000 watts of amplification while the super volcanoes rain fire and sulphur. Mother nature may be fine after we gone, but lets kick that bitch on the womb before we go.

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…I don’t think that I completely came back from the beach. Part of my soul is still sitting there, watching the sun set.

Old Shit

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