Part four! Getting into the dirty pieces, the ones you wouldn’t pick up if you saw them on the street. This is soundtrack to a teen prom movie, and it’s a mix of words and music based around brothers Mouth and Throat’s adventures at the prom. Mouth makes a bet that not only can he transform geek dream Alexis Cobweb into Prom Queen in one week, he can keep her from setting anything on fire during prom night!
mouth: I bet I can! I bet she won’t strike a single match all prom night, from the time I pick her up to the time I drop her home! throat: Deal. But if she sets fire to anything, whether it’s the school or a cigarette, I get your braces. mouth: I need them for my defective mouth. throat: Are you a chicken? mouth: All right, deal. But if she doesn’t light a fire all night, I get your name. I’ll be Throat and you can be Mouth.
jesus I found this by typing ‘prom brothers’ into Google Image search. Bad times.
Now this is important: I have several other mixes up my sleeve (including Music for an epidemic and Music to hit animals to), but I really want to start building some new pieces out of sampled material. Obviously I can harvest the Enid Blyton novels I have lying around (see Trench becomes supermarket) or hijack existing work by writers I know without asking (see Be the assassin), but it would be ten thousand times cooler for any sound artists, musicians, poets or writers to throw me some stuff to sample. I’d like that. How would you feel about it? DO IT.
Boards of Canada – 1969 (live at the Lighthouse)
Maker – Elephant strut
Ice Cube – Really doe
Doves – Darker
Mouse on Mars – Wipe that sound
!!! – Heart of hearts
Gorillaz – New genius (brother)
Yasushi Ishii – Logos Naki World (Hellsing OST)
Las Ketchup – The Ketchup Song
This isn’t anything new to anyone in Sydney, but if you’ll forgive me for getting on the bandwagon 15 months late: Penguin Plays Rough is really cool.
Third Monday of every month, in a studio loft in Newtown, an assortment of writers, poets and playwrights deliver short readings of their work to an audience of fifty or so punters. There’s sangria, cushions, body heat, electric fans blowing through the crowd and a lamplit couch with a microphone where the writer reads their work. It’s so peaceful. Last night it was raining prior to the event and it was humid and sweaty and lovely.
I could yammer on about the atmosphere for basically ever. It’s a nice bonus that PPR also has a cool and eclectic selection of readers/speakers. Last night it was Vanessa Berry reading fragmentary tales from garage sales, Michael Sala with an autobiographical meandering through childhood days in Holland, Tommy Murphy reading from his new script (which will see stagelight at Belvoir next August) and several others I missed (dinner needed stir frying) and a smattering of wildcards. I did a wildcard spot reading When I was 6 I decided I didn’t believe in God which is a bleary trip through heaven and hell with segments of Borges‘ A Theologian in Death mixed in.
After a year of relatively frequent spoken word performances in Sydney, Canberra, Katoomba, Cairns, the Gold Coast, I think I can safely say that a good spoken word evening is a hard balancing act. Poetry Slams go to one extreme – short, choppy, highly performative and vigorous, but also (for me) somewhat tense and stressful. I missed the NSW Heat of the National Poetry Slam last week, which on reflection I’m happy about.* Judges, scores, tie-breakers, time limits – all have their place, but were definitely not what I needed this week. Other readings go to the other extreme – long, interminably dull masturbatory prose read to an audience of people who are waiting for their turn to get up and read. Penguin Plays Rough skips carefully in the Goldilocks zones between these two fucked poles.
So I read, and it was lovely, and I’m really grateful to the crowd for being lovely, to the other readers for being fascinating, and especially to Pip and Elly for making it happen.
Now for completion’s sake, I’m going to post a little bit of When I was 6 I decided I didn’t believe in God – see beloe:
*To be clear, I didn’t skip the Slam due to some kind of moral compunction, I just forgot it was on. I think I went grocery shopping instead – which was also rad.
I can’t completely disregard the Christian god, because I’ve seen him.
It was after I was bitten by a monkey. It was not a good time for me. I should have called for an ambulance. I was not all right to drive. I was kicking myself because normally I’m so careful – I wear full protection, gloves, facemask, long sleeves, and the monkeys are fine. Then the one day I go in naked – RAAR! But anyway, I was driving along holding my belly and the angels came down and grabbed me by the arms and showed me what it will be like when I die.
The first place they showed me was paradise, where all the people who’ve been good get to live. It’s all green fields and rolling hills and sunshine every day. All the good people lie on the grass together and we all touch each other. All the black and white people, yellow and red, all the lions and crocodiles and replicants and octupuses lie on the grass together and everyone touches everyone else all over their body because there is no racism in heaven, not even against scorpions. You can touch another person anywhere you want because there is no sexual congress or desire for sexual congress, because all of everyone’s sex organs have been transformed in the twinkling of an eye, into triangles. Alluring bosoms – the deadly cockviper – the moist pleasure-grotto – all triangles. All we do all day day is hold each other and laugh even when there’s no reason to laugh, and when we start laughing we can’t stop until someone comes over and closes our mouth. And there sits in the middle of the field a huge pot of stew that never runs out, and if you don’t like stew you just close your eyes and say “I don’t like stew!” and it turns into ice-cream and if you don’t like stew or ice-cream you have to deal with it.
Once I had seen the fields of Elysium the angels took me higher and deeper into heaven and they took me to the city of angels where it is always winter and never christmas. The angel’s city is built on wires up in the sky and there are no streets, you must walk along wires, and if you’re walking along a wire and an angel is walking towards you along the same wire, you have to go back and find another way around because if you block an angel they’ll fuck your shit up. I saw this guy Odilla who was one of the early christian saints – this guy was genuinely tortured to death by the Romans. I mean he’s a fucking celebrity to most of the souls in heaven. But he gets in the way of this angel named Tony. Tony’s got this big Mario-moustache and he’s luck “Get the fuck outta my way,” and Saint Odilla squares up to him with a Dangling Crane technique, because in heaven everyone is an expert in karate, and Tony just spreads his wings and he’s packing like a million grenades, and Odilla just wets his pants and backs away.
And the angels took me deeper still into the city of angels and they took me into the presence of God. How you get to see God is they take you into what looks like a plastic surgery clinic somewhere in the heavenly city and they lay you on your back and then they put headphones on. The first thing I heard when they put the headphones on was the first few notes of “Since I Left You” by the Avalanches, “dum dum dum DUM DUM,” but then suddenly it all hit at once, you see they don’t play you the whole album in sequence, they play you each individual second of the album at the same time, all at once, but instead of hearing a blast of noise you are able to separate out and appreciate every single second of the whole album “Since I Left You” and in your mind you can arrange each second in any order, experiencing in that one second each song and every possible remix of that song at the same time, and that is God.
My third mix of words and music is up online and it is entitled be the assassin. This time the pieces have been stirred together a little more thoroughly than previously. That’s not to say it makes any sense, but it certainly feels like a more coherent total (to me) –
This one ties together Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf (including a little of Heaney reading aloud) with Ira Gamerman‘s Play by Play and Timo Kocielnik’s allUcanEAT. In the midst of that narrative swamp is some words by Max Barker (from the latest issue of Goofbang) and sounds by Nickamc (as Transmissions), Finnigan and Brother and some famous musicians who you may have heard of.
And it’s called be the assassin and it’s about someone who tries to get over a relationship gone sour by immersing hisself in computer games. Download it. Like/hate it. Let me know. I’m determined to get good at this somehow, someday. Your advice would be appreciated. Word.
Sampled: Finnigan and Brother – Guitar lead and headphones
Timo Kocielnik – allUcanEAT
Religious Knives – Downstairs
Ira Gamerman – Play by Play
Joker – Digidesign
Anonymous – Beowulf (Seamus Heaney translation)
Dan Deacon – Snake mistakes
Transmissions – Have you heard about the upside to misery?
Max Barker – Cacophonies and Monoliths
Betty Davis – Don’t call her no tramp
The second of what I hope will be a regular series of words + music available here for your pleasure.* This one is called samples from the riot, and it mixes words by Hadley, Chris Finnigan and myself amongst music by Paul Heslin, Kid 606, Reuben Ingall, Chris Finnigan, Gang Gang Dance and someone else I’ve forgotten.
image by jay christian
The key here is I’m still trying to figure this out. What is working? What is lame and awful? What about the experience of listening to this makes you physically ill and what moves you to heights of delirium and ecstasy that you hitherto thought were mere suppositions? I would be utterly indebted to you if you could download this, have a listen and tell me what you reckon.
Contains traces of: Paul Heslin – Swampy 2-step dinosaur love
Erase Errata – Retreat, the most familiar (Kid 606 remix)
Chris Finnigan – Fun bassline
Chris Finnigan – Robespierre
Gang Gang Dance – Before my voice fails
Chris Clark – Holiday as brutality
The Foals – Electric Bloom (Reuben Ingall remelt)
Hadley – Summer