Archive for April, 2012

Fat and Fucked Up in Daly City

April 15, 2012

It was sad to see the old boy. First thing I noticed when he got out o the pick-up truck was he looked like he’d just swallowed John Travolta. My God. He was frankly gigantic and the T-shirt he wore, emblazoned with an exploding kitten’s head, didn’t disguise things much.

They say you can never go home again and I guess what’s meant by that is that things change irrevocably and if you retrace your steps hoping to relive a fond memory on the rebound, well you a big fuckin’ sucka. End of.

Nevertheless, as my pendulum swings between exultation and extreme bad luck so does the sweep of memory’s gaze mean that blurred out bits of detail often will give a person license to raise up a frayed ole banner of yesterday’s hope like it’s the emblem of a new tomorrow.

And so it was having donned such denial-tinted spectacles that I chose to reconsider once again entering the creative lab with two ex-collaborateurs of different but equally doom-laden pedigree, location being the link.

In other words, I went back to San Francisco thinking maybe I could “get the old band back together” to use the ouch-ey words of a hack screenwriter.

Not really, because they were each just one person and not whole bands, but anyway you get the idea.

Yuck and yikes. I left screaming.

One was so far up his own ass-myth of legendariness that he couldn’t even recognize that he was living in a pile of vomit, the other, who was also living in a pile of vomit, was too wasted on opiate derivatives to notice his stench of rotting failure.

I have to admit to also being a little overweight at the time, having just endured a year of sedentary living occasioned by a furiously decaying splinter that was trying hard to rid me of a foot.

I started drinking bottles of wine in the morning, when it was still dark, and going on long walks around sections of outer San Francisco I’d never had a single good goddamn reason to fucking bother with before. Mostly boring.

But one morning, the day I later told old Bats-in-his-Belfry that he was a shameful waste of food and ought to just die as soon as possible, I found the funniest little park in all the world (so far). It’s called the Dorothy Erskine Park and I guess there might be more to it down below than what I saw, but I only found the very toppermost bit of it.

It was literally a steep mound, with trees on top, surrounded by a fence, maybe 200 feet square in terms of area? It was as if the builders and city planners and everybody had gone as far as they could, and there was just this one weird pimple of a protrusion that couldn’t exactly be built on as it was. Somebody would have had to do massive re-shaping on this mound in order to make it flat enough to put foundations down.

Well they didn’t. Instead it was just a “park”. But what kind of park was this?! You couldn’t play ball there, there were no swings. There was nothing but a few trees and a pimple of grass, a sheer bank dropping down to a chicken-wire fence on either side.

But what a view in the early morning! A clear shot over houses and rooftops all the way to a sliver of blue water, from a totally different angle than I was used to.

After walking for miles and miles I sat on the very tip of it watching the sun come up over a part of the Bay that never makes it into the movies. I worked on a song I’d first thought of about 10 years previously: roads in blue / lead straight to you/ across the town/ and up and down / the hills and avenues / like a melancholy tune…

Then I went back to the pretty but gloomy cottage where the junkie snored, his over-fed cat licking grease from his chin.

We had a big fight later that evening. I’d found the syringes in the trash. He pretended not to know what I was on about and screamed at me for making noise while I cleaned his filthy kitchen.

I left the country soon afterwards and started to lose weight immediately.

Sign # 5: A Plea for Christian Bestiality

April 15, 2012

Don’t skip to the bottom and see the sign first – you MUST let me introduce it, PLEASE!

I hold special fondness for a hand-made sign. There’s the trouble that’s gone into it for one thing. Some of the time you see one that’s obviously taken a lot of work and craftsmanship. Impressive. But on the other hand, some rough ones that were clearly the result of great haste are made especially poignant by the very urgency of the scrawl. The placement of the hand-made sign is also going to have a different logic to it than the commercial or regulatory sign and that can be a fun thing to notice.

But what of those certain hand-made signs, a category unto themselves really, the motivation to create which must surely remain forever unresolved?

For example: what probing could ever reveal what possessed the unknown author of the specimen of cardboard-fragment poetry I present below to compose his (or her, I guess) gross ode to shitty pizza? None. And an even greater mystery must surely be why, having captured this odious flight of fancy, its creator felt irresistibly compelled to display it within the glass window of a newspaper dispenser on a San Francisco street corner, like some rare specimen? Thus making it harder for others to remove without effort while maximizing its visibility to all passersby.

Was it a message for a particular person, known to frequent that corner?

Or had the tunnel vision of some self-absorbed artiste led to a magnanimous and egoistic urge to share his proudest stanza of doggerel, by intrusion if necessary?

I hesitated to post this or write about it because it’s so crude and not really funny. Or rather, it is funny, but not in the way it thinks it is. It doesn’t even scan properly and the rhyme isn’t good. It’s funny because it’s not right and then you just go “what the fuck?” And then you laugh.


Adios a la Ciudad de Los Angeles

April 13, 2012

If you look closely you can see a tiny Hollywood sign in the distance.

I reckoned I’d do my recollections in reverse as it’s kind of easier to piece together that way.

These pictures are from my last day in Los Angeles when, with a few hours to kill, I went on a 4 hour wander up and down the hills of the Silverlake district. It was an outrageously gorgeous sunny day, February 28th. (I thought the 28th was a good day to fly in a leap year as you essentially get the 29th to recover for free – a day out of time as it were.)

People diss on LA all the time but on my visits there in January and February of this year, I was mainly struck by how beautiful it is. In certain parts. Walking around Silverlake in what would be the dead of Winter in the UK, was like being in a Hawaiian botanical garden.

The abundance of lush, colourful vegetation was mind-blowing. I guess I took it for granted when I lived there!

Check out this enormous fluffy plant. It was taller than I am (about 5’8”).

Or this crazy cacti-cluster, many of which were to be found cascading down the hillsides.

I watched this little green bird (below) for a long time but I never could get a great picture of it. That’s because, as you can see, it kept stuffing its head inside this big pod from which it would yank out some chunks of what looked like cotton wool, which it would then hurl to the ground.

                   Even the junked cars were extremely beautiful.

And at the end of the walk, having only taken what could be spared, I was able to make a lush flower arrangement which I left in my friend’s kitchen by way of thanks. Being completely skint at the time, with barely enough cash to make it to Brighton once my plane landed, it was amazing to be able to produce this for free! I felt bad not being able to afford leaving a bottle of wine or something on the table but my friend really, really, really appreciated it. I think he thanked me about 5 times in different emails so I was well chuffed!

See you tomorrow!

Resurrection Slightly Behind Schedule!

April 12, 2012


What with Easter just behind us and the Spring Equinox just before that, it seemed like a good moment to kick my own ass and get this blog back up and running. To my 7 loyal readers who have pined for my words during this lengthy silence I can only apologize and make the excuse that I was out of the country for two months at the beginning of the year and had to have foot surgery in Mexico. That saga will soon be forthcoming, complete with bloody pictures! But, nitpicks the inner critic, that excuse only takes us back to the beginning of the year. The last blog post was for the Knox-Sollecito acquittal of last October. Well, um, I got busy and then a few days became a couple weeks and then I didn’t know where to begin and then there was that whole Christmas thing and, well, after that we’re into January, Mexico and the foot. There, satisfied! Like you care anyway!

I have lots of stories and pictures to share of my somewhat disaster-prone adventures of the last few months and will be doing so in coming days! In all truthfulness, many terrible things have occurred but I find that when I tell others of all the awful things that happen to me, in hopes of receiving sympathy or cash donations, these friends are frequently to be glimpsed stuffing rags into their mouths in efforts to suppress the apparent hilarity that my tribulations induce in the listener. So perhaps hearing about my rotten luck can brighten your day and put a smile on your face. If so, it’s well worth it.

I had to start somewhere and although this is not really a proper post at all, it is at least dated April 12, 2012. Thus, tomorrow, I will feel less pressured to close the enormous 4+ month gap (I just couldn’t bring myself to type “5 month gap”) and this will have the perverse effect of inducing me to make another post. And then the day after that, another one!

I was never a daily blogger (I know, that’s supposed to be the point, shut up) but now I WILL BE.

For at least one week anyway. So that someone just looking at my bog, I mean blog, will see several recent entries close together and not think I’m the sort of person who just lets their blog sit there corroding for 4+ months, like some kind of electronic barnacle.

Also, I think it is apt that this is the first entry since the righteous acquittal of Knox and Sollecito because they’ve been back in the news again, due to both of them signing book deals.

Naturally, some haters out there begrudge this maliciously wronged pair the right to profit from their ordeal, conveniently overlooking the enormous financial costs their families endured and the emotional hardship for which they’ve not been compensated.

What is wrong with some people?

A couple of days ago some total cretin of a guy wrote me an abusive email in which he called me a silly bitch and then stuck in at the end that Knox was definitely guilty and it was a travesty of justice that she got out. As if he thought this would get my goat; as if his uninformed opinion would bother me!

Actually, it did bother me.

But not for the reason he obviously hoped; I did not feel personally attacked or insulted and had absolutely no inclination to bother to set him straight. No, what bothered me was that he (a yobbish English guy, guessing from the one time we spoke on the phone) felt justified in even having an opinion on the matter, when that opinion had doubtless been formed by the types of newspapers that used to be more suitably employed as ad hoc packaging for fishmongers (before Health & Safety put a stop to the ancient practice).

To be falsely accused is horrible. I know because it’s happened to me. To be falsely convicted and imprisoned for years for a horrific act one is completely incapable of performing must be one of the most agonizing of all human experiences. The injustice of having to read the nastified depiction of one’s character by sleazy tabloid hacks; the distortion of one’s life and thoughts into something hideously unrecognizable; one’s personal and private actions and holiday photos turned into condemnations by the black arts of gutter journalism…it’s almost unthinkable how a person could stay strong through something like that.

Yet Amanda and Rafaele were both model prisoners by all accounts. Amanda never got into a single argument with guards or fellow prisoners in 4 years and when she left, the 600 inmates crowded the tiny windows of the prison waving banners for her and shouting with joy that someone who deserved to be free was going free. Witnesses said it was like seeing a football star walk out onto the pitch only with 10 times the emotion. To win the love of 600 people in a prison one should never have been in is an impressive testament to the fundamentally good nature of this accidental cover-girl.

With all that in mind, it makes me sad that guys like Arsepus (sorry, I know that’s childish but I can’t put his real name and that is close enough), guys like Arsepus – who probably devoted 40 minutes of his entire life reading about the case in one of those rags that have topless chicks on page 3 – can feel so confident in voicing their stupid conviction that the guilty have been freed.

It made me wonder if other creeps out there were still banging on in that vein so I looked on the web and was disheartened to see that the sick and pathetic websites insisting on Knox and Sollecito’s guilt are still up and running with plenty of new entries. Plenty of idiots here in the UK, including (sorry to have to say it) the victim’s family are still refusing to accept the truth: that Kercher’s murder was mundane.

It wasn’t the sensational stuff of best-selling crime novels. There was no satanic orgy, no threesome, no pretty American student hiding homicidal urges behind a winning smile, no shy Italian student with a secret knife-fetish, nothing but an embarrasingly politically incorrect scenario of a robbery/rape/murder committed by a guy of African descent. Those stories don’t grab headlines for long.

Sorry, but that’s the truth. Move along people. Nothing to see here.

To me it seems like the Kercher’s oft-expressed desire “not to let Meredith be forgotten” has gotten the better of their judgment and they’ve decided to keep her name alive by any means necessary. Even if that means ignoring the boring facts and backing the salacious fantasy that kept the story on the front page.

I don’t know what’s in it for the trolls who have jumped on their bandwagon though; I guess the same thing that motivates all trolls – increasing pain for people already in it.

Some say I shouldn’t criticize the Kercher family, that their loss puts them above reproach. To that I say bullshit. All it would take to shut up the trolls would be a statement from them that they accept the acquittal was correct, that they know Knox and Sollecito had nothing to do with it, that they were misled by an insane prosecutor.

But they haven’t. They were clearly hoping for Knox and Sollecito to lose their appeal and have backed the deranged Mignini from the beginning.

As someone who spent hundreds of hours wading through the published evidence, I am really looking forward to both forthcoming books. In particular it will be fascinating to finally learn more about Sollecito, whose wrongful conviction and ordeal were practically overlooked, even though his possible connection to the crime was even more wispily tenuous than Knox’s. His was a quiet but strong presence throughout and I for one can’t wait to finally get to read his side of the story. Amanda’s prison diaries will also be a fascinating read.

They both deserve their multi-million dollar book deals and only a troll would deny them a compensation that goes nowhere to restoring the 4 years they already lost and the lifetime of compromised privacy which faces them now.

See you tomorrow!