Tuesday, 18 November 2014

23 Lovecraftian Stories

  1. The DIY Lovecraftian Story
I like making slotted angles, but they don’t align quite the way they’re supposed to. Now I need to choose between a non-Euclidian plane and a regular hand plane.
  1. The Fill-In-The-Blanks Lovecraftian Story
Par s of m are miss ng. I haven t los  them. They’ e just dimens onal y anomal us. Th s  s wha hap ens wh n you mes  w th transdim nsion l creat res.
  1. The Erotic Lovecraftian Story
A shoggoth blossomed and was penetrated by tentacles. Now you know why the beast had a thousand young.
  1. The Missing Lovecraftian Story

  1. The Androgynous Lovecraftian Story
There was once a little girl and her name was Howard Philips.
  1. The Foodie’s Lovecraftian Story
In Dunwich, Soilent Green is fish. Want a side-order of ice cream with that?
  1. The Dead-End Job Lovecraftian Story
‘My name is Howie. I’m delighted to be selling you your tickets to this vapid cinematic production. I fear it will include the sounds of Negroid minstrelsy and was produced by an individual of Semitic ancestry. Even the popcorn is Native American.’
  1. The Missing Lovecraftian Story (For Real This Time)
The missing Lovecraftian was never found. But he kept copious notes right up until the moment he went missing, so we have a pretty good idea of what happened to him. Or we would, if he had the words to describe it.
  1. The Racially Integrated Lovecraftian Story
In Red Hook, a number of people from different cultures got together and decided to make a new religion cobbled together from bits and pieces of all their faiths. They were beats before the beats, hippies before the hippies, New Agers before the New Agers. And they threw the best parties ever.
  1. The Evolutionarily Accurate Lovecraftian Story
I realised to my horror that chimpanzees and humans last had common ancestors four to six million years ago, so my grandmother probably could not have been one of them.
  1. The Theological Lovecraftian Story
To what extent did Wilbur and his brother partake of the diabolical nature of their father? Was Wilbur two parts human and one part demon? Was Lavinia a vessel or was she diabolical too? We should hold a council and decide.
  1. The Cyberpunk Lovecraftian Story
When you jack into Cthulhuspace, you’ll never make it back sane.
  1. The Hard-Bitten Lovecraftian Story
Never mind the tentacles. That thing had teeth like pneumatic drills. Call me the perforated dick. I blame it all on the client, but what a dame.
  1. The Romantic Lovecraftian Story
I wandered the hills around Dunwich in a frock coat, my hair billowing in the winds, one with the elements, my emotions in turmoil, my tentacles awry. Would anyone ever understand the things that lurked in the depths of my soul?
  1. The Other Kind Of Romantic Lovecraftian Story
‘Oh, Asenath!’
‘Oh Edward!’
‘Who’s your daddy, Asenath?’
‘I am!’
  1. The Surreal Lovecraftian Story
I took up rooms in a house. It was a nice new house and all the lines met at right angles.
  1. Another Missing Lovecraftian Story
No, wait, it was actually written by August Derleth.
  1. The Forgotten Lovecraftian Story
Also known as Sweet Ermengarde. Best left forgotten.
  1. The Splatterpunk Lovecraftian Story
The shoggoth buried its tentacles in his eyes, pulling them out of their sockets in a welter of gore and brain-stuff while elsewhere it clawed at his belly, letting loose the gases and acids and half-digested food within.
  1. The Kim Harrison Lovecraftian Story
‘Have we been tentacled again?’ ‘Pop culture reference.’ ‘Sequel hook.’
  1. The Richard Laymon Lovecraftian Story
Things really started getting wild when the shoggoths found their way to the sorority house.
  1. The 1990s Paperback Horror Anthology Lovecraftian Story
Man, a lot of rock stars are dead. I’m going to quote some of their lyrics. Hey, groupies. Oh, Yog-Sothoth!
  1. The Last Lovecraftian Story
Even as I scribble these words crawling chaos is consuming the last few remnants of the physical univer


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Ten Indian Metal Songs

This is a sort of taster of some of the better things to come out of the Indian metal scene.

1. First, a lesser known song from the pioneers of Indian metal, Millennium. The first Indian metal band to have a video on MTV and torchbearers for the whole Indian scene as well as the still-thriving Bangalore underground. There are more famous songs like Only Be One and Peace Just In Heaven, so for people who've only heard those big hits, here's something else, one of the most hard-hitting tracks from their self-titled album. I apologise for the sound quality.




2. Another Bangalore band, Dying Embrace brought the extreme metal ethos into the scene. Rude, crude and unafraid, they took it further than anyone else I'd heard at the time dared to. Extremity in Indian metal begins with this doom death band. Again, the sound quality is not the best, although there are better recordings by them on youtube.



3. Myndsnare was India's first and still finest tech death band, that's all there is to it. Yet another Bangalore band, they started out with a fearsome mission to take metal to new realms of precision and complexity. Along the way, they developed the songwriting chops their earliest material lacked. Here is a good example of their style:



4. Threinody stood head and shoulders above the late-90s, early-00s thrash scene in Bangalore with their tight, catchy compositions, musical prowess and hard hitting lyrics. Back after a long hiatus, they could have been titans of what passes for the local scene if they'd stuck it out, but will hopefully make up for lost time.




5. Finally, a Mumbai band! I make no apologies for my parochialism - but YMMV. In any case, this band's King Diamond-inspired horror-tale songs and the mix of thrashy aggression and classic metal in their music, along with a healthy helping of lead guitar glory, make them one of my favourite live and studio acts.




6. Another Mumbai band, Solar Deity has released three EPs of some of the finest black metal from India. They sound truly dark and massive, with a moody, melancholy edge, but without slipping into the lachrymose realms of out and out DSBM.




7. Mumbai's Dormant Inferno play intensely melodic and haunting death-tinged doom. A formidable, all-enveloping experience live, they are currently working on a new batch of recordings. In the meantime here's one of their best songs from their old EP.



8. This isn't the kind of metal I usually fancy but Amogh Symphony's absolutely insane level of technical prowess and compositional maturity make them impossible to ignore.




9. If stoner and doom metal are here to stay in India, Bevar Sea are probably responsible. Here's one of their best songs.



10. And finally, here's some battle-themed death metal in the tradition of Bolt Thrower:



Friday, 12 September 2014

    brief images seen
                in dark places
        penile fish in calm water
                an albino fawn sleeping
brief words flicker
                in a darkened mind
 sad, naïve words
                must not forget
 salt coats the trail of
                these brief things
 these fleet things that would not slow
                or swing low
                      or let me ride
a dark room with windows open wide
                to dark sunlight a darkened
  mind
open wide to receive
                these fleet things
                             a decaying bear’s hide
                                a teeming sky
open wide to remember
                until memory flees

leaving a salted trail

Monday, 8 September 2014

the bit about life is wrong

I should build a still
Like the one in Hawkeye’s swamp
My daily round of death
And life. Hard to forget the
Death easy to
Undervalue the life. Life’s
Only a novelty, like a freeze frame
Snapshot, drop of milk turning
Into a tiara
A gimmick. Gim-crack. Gew-gaw.

I should build a still
Distill oblivion for my convenience
But just one drink goes to my head
Coursing sensations of empty
Bonhomie, flint-spark love and
Joy, then ten minutes later morose and heavy-
-headed, peering into darkness in lit
Rooms until I drink another and another
And only flashes of oblivion
Like glimpses of darkness at noon
And never the night sky at last

I should build a still
Safe place somewhere high in a tree
Or deep underneath a city
I should write my will
But I have nothing to leave
And anyway I leave it all to you

I should build a still
Living beast, a magnificent monster, be
A postmodern Prometheus,
Steal the gods’ secret
Recipe, brew up a new race
Giants. Immortal. Benign.
I should.
I really should.





Sunday, 7 September 2014

a poem about my father's death

A room at the end.
Tubes, machines. Mechanical sounds.
My father’s wife sings a religious song.
Faith, tears.
I found tears too.
Faith is over. A stranger from the first.
A room at the end.
Not large. Well lit.
His hair still dark. Dyed?
Still thick. Features?
Used to be handsome. Maybe still is.
Dwarfed by the bed, by all the appliances.
A room at the end.
I look at the room he lived in while
he was dying.
Wheelchair. Respirator.
Vodka bottle.
Books: westerns, history, crime, travel.
A smart brown blazer hanging by the bed.
A room at the end.
I shower in the attached bathroom.
Change into dhoti, don the sacred thread.
Gooseflesh. Shivering. First time.
Conduct the last rites.
Hypnotic. Befuddling.
Fire and water and milk and leaves.
A room at the end.
He slides along the ramp.
Into the chamber.
I go away for lunch.
Come back and am given an earthen pot.
Ashes. Bones. More rituals.
I have no connection to this.
This is not my father. This is not my ritual.
A room at the end.
I dream him into it.
A quiet place. Maybe some Debussy.
Modigliani nudes. Degas.
An easel on which waits a landscape in progress.
A bottle of vodka.
Books. I suppose that would do for him.
A room at the end.
There is always a room. And the end. We are not intrepid. Or immortal.
No mountainsides, battlefields, ocean deeps, daring sports gone wrong.
We are not intrepid in that way. In this
we are alike.

This is 
not my tribute.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

scrutiny and long acquaintance

death has more details
to take in
more to say
more to remember
for me life is a series of banal
snapshots
a film school dropout’s montage
of cookie-cutter
characterisation and context
for me life is like wallpaper
i disagree with and
will lose the argument
death is so much more
compelling. consider:
none who ever lived resisted its
compulsion ignored its
call
or evaded its coming
i have seen enough of death to
know
it is never just death
it is never just a number
never just another
death is always fraught
always rife with detail
always unique
death stands out
even in a pack
even in a massacre or epidemic
and the only ones to whom death
can be held at a remove
can be anaesthetised
and dismissed
are neither dead nor alive
but far worse

Friday, 22 August 2014

people send me pictures

Copies of my books are being spotted in the wild. Here are some pictures I have seen:






Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Metal culture has a serious 'good German' problem. Virtually every metalhead I know has posted something in the last few months about how some group of elitists or n00bs or old schoolers or core kids or backbiters or backscratchers is fucking up the scene, but hardly anyone ever thinks they might be part of the problem. The people I can relate to most are the chronic malcontents, the ones who have always critiqued the 'culture' while remaining true to their own personal journeys as listeners.

And really, the problem isn't that different people have different tastes or that they're not accepting of other people's tastes. The problems are: that we're content to be a bunch of marketing-driven consumers, no matter how niche a market we constitute, but we think we're some sort of gritty, independent underground subculture. That we settle too often for bands that make all the right noises and punch all the generic buttons, but have little to offer beyond that. That we think most metal radio and magazines are not as much a marketing tool as their mainstream counterparts.

A lot of these people forget that dissent is not aggression; disagreeing with you is not the same attacking you (although one can shade into the other) and not liking your favourite band doesn't really add up to being narrow minded and hate-filled (except when it does). The beer and buddies and 'bangers vibe, which is valid as far as it goes, is not the be-all of the genre. It's more important to form your own tastes. And remember what Peter Steele said: don't mistake lack of talent for genius. 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

What we can learn from Richard Dawkins

One odd explanation offered for Dawkins' latest faux pas, claiming that date rape is bad and rape by a stranger is worse, is that he was busy making a logical point (x can be bad, y can be worse, and both are still bad) and forgetting a rhetorical technique that undermines his point (when we say x is bad, y is worse we are often implying that x is not really that bad after all). This doesn't wash - the effectiveness of applied logic is only as good as its underlying assumptions and Dawkins' assumption here is flawed. Add to that the fact that a large majority of reported rapes are perpetrated by people known to the victim.

Dawkins is knowledgeable within his field. He is also widely read and has a degree of awareness of the cultural heritage of the West. What he does not have is a clear awareness of the nuances of gender issues or the realities of sexual abuse. Added to this, he is unwilling to learn, generalising the attacks he sees on Twitter and comments threads to claim that all opposition to his magisterial pronouncements is offered by weak-brained, combative people who do not have valid points. Dawkins, someone whom I once respected (and I still think his books on evolution, like Unweaving The Rainbow, are marvellous), has fallen into the trap of turning an unexamined and poorly-informed opinion into dogma. He is so committed to upholding his own image of infallibility that he has shut down the possibility of productive dialogue and learning. He is a useful object lesson to us of how people can claim to follow a certain philosophy but in reality apply it when it suits them and are actually driven by more emotional compulsions and obsessions.

Perhaps what we should learn from Dawkins' poor performance on issues of gender and race is to always examine our own opinions and be aware of their basis, and ready to discuss them with others and try to learn from differing opinions. We should also learn that our backgrounds shape us more than we like to admit - my online friend Derick has pointed out that Dawkins is at heart a British Protestant philistine for instance - and understand the values and limitations imposed by that background.

Most of all, we should always be prepared to change our minds and admit we were wrong. Growing as a human being is more important than preserving some image of ideological commitment or personal infallibility

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Some deep god

Some deep god
That we've buried underground
That we've buried underground
That we've buried underground
Some deep god from ancestral minds
From ancestors in the ground
From ancestors in the ground
From ancestors in the ground
Some deep god
In the glades of a green world
In the glades of a green world
In the glades of a green world
Some deep time
Some ancestor deep in the mind
Some ancestor deep in the mind
Some ancestor deep in the mind
Some god, deep in the mind
Buried. Sleeps. Dreams
Us

It seems, looking over this blog, one of my recurring sources of frustration is the niche nature of my creative work, more so of its audience. Does this mean a bigger audience would make me happy? I think so, yes. Probably, especially if it meant good money and a regular ego massage. But looking for that is kind of soul destroying. I I have been happier making music now that I don't consider being part of the scene or winning an audience beyond ourselves in a room, making music. I will write more, and better, now that I am rejecting the pursuit of publication and finding readers. This is hermetic, but not altogether. There will still be stories people can read, still be songs they can hear.

Siege Mentality

These trenches stretch out
Frown lines to the horizon
They make it easier
To go to ground
Easier to glower
Coal black eyes rejection
Subterranean fortress
These things make
It easier to go to ground
To be besieged
They have nothing to do
With the memory
That sits on a shelf in a
Museum
Smothered under glass
As a form of kindness
For those of us who did not
Have to die and did not
Want to wait
And who still remain
Entrenched, governed by the buried god
The one believers reject
Often considered dead
But horribly alive.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no 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there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words there are no words 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Werewolf bites cat. Cat turns into tiger.
Weretiger bites squirrel. Squirrel turns into giant rat.
Giant wererat bites man. Man turns into bulldozer.
Werebulldozer bites crane. Crane flies away.


Yeah, sorry about that. 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My band, live

Djinn and Miskatonic - Bones Of My Brothers: http://youtu.be/lpmWDQXz4Bs

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

straight to the point


i want to die everyday
a whole life of death, from here to eternity
i want to die in every way possible
day after day after day
murder, suicide, burning, beating
poison, heart attack
old age, choking, drowning
decapitation, suffocation, sorrow
pandemic, starvation, neglect, excess
every possible way
i want to die daily, without fail
i have no time at all for living, you see
and i would like to get straight to the point
every single day, in every single way

i would like to get straight to the point

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A few thoughts sparked by a discussion of the new Cosmos series:

What I find is, personally, nearly 3 decades after watching and loving the original, I just don't have the same conception of science's value anymore. I appreciate the aggregate gains in knowledge about how our world works, but science is no more than that endeavour: objective knowledge discovery. It is a tool and many other things set the context for how it is used. Rather than being our one great Rosetta stone, science is only one component in the range of mental disciplines we need to function and grow as individuals and a species; ethical engagement and something amounting to philosophy being two others (I know ethics is considered a subset of philosophy but I highlight it because science in itself does not prescribe an ethical dimension). Science cannot help us with social justice and it can only help with things like hunger and disease and sustainability in the right ethical and political climate. So for me the new Cosmos is an interesting look at one vital scientific endeavour, but not the single most important undertaking for us as a species. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Yellow Light


Yellow light     
frightened young mother
Post natal depression            
a year late
Naked bulb hangs on     
twist of green and yellow
Yes babies remember 

Where is he?
Visit to the inky office
clatter of typewriters
fingers running
Smell of typewriter ribbons
squeezing out the news
like nothing in nature

‘Pickled aubergine’
‘Too scrawny’
dismisses my friend’s fathers
Doesn’t like fathers
avoids being one
Yellow light
house of darkness
remembered

I don’t like fathers
avoid being one