I lay in bed for an hour and a half, doing nothing but staring at the ceiling above my head. I decided to stay there until the flat mass of concrete covering me from all known weather conditions slowly descended, shuddering and grinding like some industrial plunger, and thus allowed me to kiss and suckle the small white nipple that appeared to be forming in the plaster and paint. A nipple, yes. How it is managing to grow out of the years old, dried out ceiling covering, I don’t know. But I’m sure it’s not just my eyes playing tricks on me. No, definitely not.
“Meanwhile, the fastest-changing words are projected to die out and be replaced by other words much sooner. For example, ‘dirty’ is a rapidly changing word; currently there are 46 different ways of saying it in the Indo-European languages, all words that are unrelated to each other. As a result, it is likely to die out soon in English, along with ‘stick’ and ‘guts’. Verbs also tend to change quite quickly, so ‘push’, ‘turn’, ‘wipe’ and ‘stab’ appear to be heading for the lexicographer’s chopping block.”—BBC News: ‘Oldest English words’ identified
“When I was at college, my friend’s landlord was our drinking partner for a while. A furniture restorer by trade, he would often stop in the middle of one of his sentences to comment on the structure of a particular word. I can imagine wondering out loud to him whether I’m a clutterer or a punner and waiting for his clipped, military response: ‘Double letters, u’s and e’s, both ending in r’.”—Hydragenic | Worm Blindness
After this morning’s Gmail service outage (thanks for your concern, but I managed to survive - just), this will surely be the next event to send the worldwide community of geeks into some kind of gibbering, hyperventilating meltdown.
“Social network sites risk infantilising the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist.”—Facebook et al risk ‘infantilising’ the human mind
This morning, I feel a little like I’m starring in one of those grim and grainy government information advertisements of the 1980s, warning against the dangers of heroin:
"Gmail? Yeah, I can ‘andle it. I’m not an addict or nuffink. I mean, y’know, if I can’t get ‘old of my Gmail supply, I’ll cope."
And then the camera moves in for the tell-tale close-up: my fists clenched, my body shivering, with droplets of cold sweat trickling down my forehead. The implication is that I’ll be a physical and emotional wreck very soon, if I don’t get my hit.
Gmail has been down for two hours. But I’m fine. Really. I’m fine. (Oh God. Help me someone. Help me.)
I am in awe. This is the post of the week, without question. And I am not being sarcastic, either. In honour of Ty Bluesmith’s entry, I have decided to spend the next seven days speaking only The American. cough Yo, dude. Check it.
Strange cover version of the day: Oasis’ Wonderwall is asong that everybody loves. Even your father, who will perform it in club singer style at a family wedding, if offered the slightest provovation. Unfortunately, it’s more often heard being belted out by lager-swilling louts on their way home from the pub on a Saturday night. The way it has entered into the British popular imagination is tragic, and hearing its familiar chords frequently makes me want to slit my wrists. I loathe and despise Oasis with a passion.
So here is a cover version by Cat Power, recorded some years ago as part of a John Peel session (and you can hear the great man himself at the start and finish), back when the singer’s style was still one of gloriously enervating depression. This is how Wonderwall should be interpreted: spare, skeletal and with a overwhelming sense of numbing, draining horror, as if it’s being performed at the side of a windswept road mere moments after the singer’s entire family has been wiped out in a gruesome vehicle pile-up. True enough, this version still makes me want to slit my wrists, but at least it’s in a poetic, artistic, sunken-eyed way. It’s all wonderfully tragic. And it works. Sort of. Despite the fact that it absolutely shouldn’t.
Strange cover version of the day: seminal guitars-turned-up-to-13-with-lashings-of-distortion shoegazers My Bloody Valentine seemingly leave the effects pedals at home as they smother Louis Armstrong’s We Have All The Time In The World in cotton wool and breathy vocals. And it works. Sort of. Despite the fact that it absolutely shouldn’t.
Today. Today is when I look at yesterday and drag my heels across the ground, seeking to gather the dust and the dirt beneath my feet. Then, just maybe, I can kick over the traces of all that was done in the name of communication, in the name of my obsessive need to constantly submit to the word.
But everything here and there and everywhere is pristine white. And I don’t have the detergents to scrub these surfaces chemically clean.
I am swaying through my own sickening slo-mo, falling out of wakeful dreaming into shivering and palpitating. This is my nauseous freefall into even more awake. I am numb, stupefied, staring: watching the silvery slither break through the washed-out blue of my window, whilst wondering what I did, why I did it, and whether I can take it all back. I seep ugliness onto the clean sheets, then feed on these few words as sustenance.
Guidance for promoting good business relationships: do not react to the phrase “let’s sanity check this idea” by sticking a rusty fork in the offender’s forehead. That might give the impression that you need your sanity checked, too.
I have been thinking about the phrase ‘fingernail grip on reality’. I have been thinking that my fingernails hurt from all that gripping. I have been thinking that I might just leave them on the edge of this precipice, digging in for dear life, and plunge. If anybody would like my fingernails, you will find them at the top of the cliff.
Strange cover version of the day: US country-ish band with mumbling singer, Lambchop, cover The Sisters of Mercy’s 1980’s none-more-pomp-goth hit This Corrosion. And it works. Sort of. Despite the fact that it absolutely shouldn’t.
For the past three weeks, I feel like I have been living in my own Draft Items folder. I could just delete everything, of course. Or I could press Send. But no, I think I’ll just keep everything here. Why change the habit of a lifetime?
Strange cover version of the day: American chamber rock band Pale Young Gentlemen, who feature a cello, violin, viola and, erm, bells amongst their instrumentation decide to interpret M.I.A’s gloriously sample-heavy Paper Planes. And it works. Sort of. Despite the fact that it absolutely shouldn’t.
I am. I know that much. I may not know much else. But I know that much. I am trying not to exist. I have slipped into the gaps between living and breathing, where there is only silence. I need repetition, repetitive tasks. I have, as I often do at such moments, immersed myself in mindless coding. I love the smell of the scientific rationale on my fingers. Open tag, close tag. PHP and CSS and JPG and PNG and OMG and PDQ and FTP and FU2, oh FU2, oh really truly FU2. So yes. I am under here. But don’t come looking. I haven’t finished yet. I’m not done. I should be thinking about rabbits. I want to think about rabbits. But I am thinking about head space, outer space, head block and writer’s block. I am not thinking about the hoovering. I am not thinking about the. I am not thinking about. I am not thinking. I am not. I am.
Gang of Four: Anthrax - “Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about, ‘cause most groups make most of their songs about falling in love, or how happy they are to be in love. And you occasionally wonder why these groups do sing about it all the time. It’s because these groups think there’s something very special about it; either that or else it’s because everybody else sings about it and always has. You know, to burst into song you have to be inspired, and nothing inspires quite like love. These groups and singers think that they appeal to everyone by singing about love, because apparently everyone has or can love. Or so they would have you believe, anyway. But these groups seem to go along with the belief that love is deep in everyone’s personality. I don’t think we’re saying there’s anything wrong with love; we just don’t think that what goes on between two people should be shrouded with mystery.”
"Get yourself the breast of your dream via Quick Bust." Presumably called ‘quick’ because, judging from the subject line, you only get the one breast. Coming soon, ‘Slightly Slower Bust’ in a special two-for-one offer.