Monday, 25 October 2010

This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That

So this blog has been quiet for the best part of the year, but it anyone's still interested in following my writing I'll be posting about comics as Illogical Volume at the Mindless Ones site from now on.

My first post went up last night - it's called Etched Headplate, and it's a Vibrational Match style mega-essay on The Bulletproof Coffin, and on what it is that we comic fans want from this thing of ours. The title comes from a song on Burial's excellent second album Untrue, which you should really make yourself familiar with if you haven't already. It's great, spooky dance music, just like dad used to listen to on the last nightbus home...

I've also had essays in a couple of zines this year:

The Function of the Filth is sort of an Ultimate Filth post, and is probably the piece of writing I'm most proud of right now. It was published in issue #1 of Andrew Hickey's PEP! magazine, which you can read for free here or spend a whole heap of money on it here.

Toy Stories is all about Transformers, comic books, and some of Richard Herring's recent stand-up work. It's probably the most open essay I've put out there, and it's all about the way my childish fascinations have permanently damaged the way I think about commercialism and mortality. It was in the second issue of PEP!, which you can read here.

Illogical Volume is a full-blast, all caps noise-fest which spawned my new Mindless Ones name (it's a Marnie Stern riff, natch). This piece is mostly about Brian Chippendale's comics, but it sprawls out to cover all sorts of noisy rock shit in the Lightning Bolt/Marnie Stern/Fugazi axis too. The overarching question is how loud do you need to be to be heard through the illogical volume of society, or some other such high minded pish! This essay was collected in The Prism #1, the debut zine by the Mindless Ones, who I might have mentioned I'm writing for now? You can download the zine here, if you're interested, and believe me - you really should be!

All three of these zines include great work from writers like Sean Witzke, Andrew Hickey, Plok and my fellow Mindless Ones, but I'm being selfish here so I'll leave you to discover their contributions for yourself.

So, how to finish this? Well, I think I'll write one more post to close this place down. You see, I wouldn't have come back to blogging if it wasn't for Marnie's music, which gave me a massive kick up the arse in 2007. I decided to start this blog after reading the following paragraph in Plan B magazine, which seemed to me more of a mission statement than a live review:
I want to tell you something. Until she put her lyrics online I was labouring under the misapprehension that when Marnie Stern sang the chorus of ‘Vibrational Match’ she was singing, “I near it! I near it!”, using ‘near’ as a verb. To say you ‘near’ something feels archaic or scientific and certainly not part of spoken speech, whether that’s ‘nearing’ the Celestial City or ‘nearing’ orgasm or germination or maturity. No one would really ever say that, I thought, apart from Marnie Stern. I saw her going at something, something gleaming in the distance, and saying to herself in her high-pitched voice, “I near it!” I liked how weird that would sound in the context of a modern pop song, even if that modern pop song was an insane melange of vintage prog-isms, math rock, self-help art theory cheerleader chants and Van Halen riffs. Especially if. Even when I read that the line was actually “I’m near it”, it still tickled me. “Look up now,” she says. “There’s the diamond ceiling.” I look up and there’s a low roof patchy with condensation. I near it. I’m near it.

(Frances Morgan, 'Onwards and Upwards', Plan B #25)
But that was then and this is now, and I think it's finally time to shut this place down -- what better way to do that than to write a review of Stern's latest album? About which, more soon!

Thankfully (and unexpectedly) my decision to stop blogging here has precious little to do with my parents' health. My mum is now cancer-free and back up to full strength, and my dad is back to his eccentric best - both of them are far tougher and more dignified than I could ever be, and I genuinely don't know how they do what they do on a day-to-day basis.

I want to thank you all for your kind words, which really did help me out back in December, January and the other hard months at the front end of this year. My sister gets married at the end of the week, and my family will all be meeting up in Blackpool to celebrate this together - the simple pleasure this sentence gives me is beyond my ability to convey right now, if I'm honest.

In the end, the real reason I want to shut this place down is because I can no longer pretend that the story this blog exists to tell works for me. And if it doesn't work for me, what are the chances of it working for anyone else? Most of the narratives I'd built up to romanticise and justify my life have burned away during the last few years, and I don't have the heart to keep plugging away here in denial of this fact. All of which sounds both pretentious and cryptic, I'm sure, but as a jumped up dickhead called Groucho Marx once said:
If you write about yourself, the slightest deviation makes you realize instantly that there may be honor among thieves, but you are just a dirty liar.
Well ain't that the truth!

I want to keep writing and thinking and living and getting better at all of these things, and to be honest I reckon that if I kept this blog running I'd be tempted to fall back on the same old tricks over and over again, with diminishing returns and an ever-lowering post count. There's every chance that I'll do the same thing wherever I take my writing, but I hope not.

Still, if nothing else, we'll always have The Filth, eh?
“Look up now,” she says. “There’s the diamond ceiling.” I look up and there’s a low roof patchy with condensation. I near it. I’m near it.
Yeah, that's more fucking like it! Thanks for reading!