Goings on

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An update or two, and a story. I know it's been a while since I've posted a baby update, and that's mainly as I did not want to flood you with baby-related tales as that's more than likely all that I'll be posting about when she's born. But just to let you know, she's due officially on Monday, but may arrive at any stage. It has been a frustrating few weeks as we both long to hold her, but as a good friend reminded me, she's "entering the world like so many good piano concertos -- long and slow." You'll all know as soon as I do! In other happenings, Jason is running another short fiction competition (here are the rules if you still want to enter). I've mailed my entry and will update this post as soon as he lists it, but I thought you may find it interesting to read the first draft, which was way over the word limitation, and compare it with the final version. I'd be interested in your feedback. **UPDATE** Here's the link to the story - Heads or Tales ********************** Heads or Tales It began, as these things often do, with the toss of a coin. Which led to the flow of drink. Which would normally be the scapegoat for a story like this, but in truth, the coin really is to blame. Not just any coin however, but a silver dollar that hung for what seemed an age at it's arc, and lit by the lanterned streets glistened as big as the moon in a moonless sky. Still, at some point all things revert to their true nature, and so the silver dollar tumbled back into the palm of it's owner. Strangely delicate fingers closed over it, a flick of the wrist, and an etched face leered up from the back of his left hand. "Heads." It should be impossible to guess as to the decision just made, but the lilting voice and roguish appearance suggested tomfoolery was the essence of it. Two hours later, Hellion Winters stood in the alley behind the hotel bar, pleasantly warmed by three recently consumed brandies, none of which seemed to take the edge off. A few paces away, the barrel of a gun was supported in midair by the arm of an anonymous man. Anonymous purely because his name has no relevance to this tale, only that his ears still rang with the laughter of his fellow dipsomaniacs, his embarrassment still flushed pale cheeks. He'd feel much improved as soon as he lodged a bullet in the forehead of this trickster. Trigger clicked, physics and chemistry performed their roles with aplomb, yet the satisfying trickle of blood he was hoping for was somehow, disastrously, missing. It never got old, that look of utter confusion. Hellion stepped over the crumpled figure with it's head at an impossible angle, and felt a slight tingle as his body broke down and absorbed the lead embedded in his skull. He really should remember that humans had not had 7000 years to formulate a sense of humour. If they'd told him that after millennia, immortality was only useful for the occasional cheap thrill, he may not have been so eager. He drew his coat tighter around him, whilst in its pocket, two silver faces broke into grins.


If I Were A Weapon

8 comments

It can take a lifetime to find love, joy, contentment. But it takes a heartbeat to feel beaten, disconsolate or without hope. These days we've been seeing the disfigured face of injustice and malfeasance so often, that it's difficult not to think of him as part of the family. We operate on standby, on autopilot; each day our lung capacity pushed to the limit as we struggle to breathe beneath the deluge. Sometimes the only thing giving us strength is the man saying "God will never place on your shoulders a burden you can't carry", and the many ways we imagine torturing the smug bastard with a bottle cap and an elastic band. Yes, there are good days. And some of us, for reasons we'll never understand, have more of them than we deserve. But for the most part, it's as if those days have been wandering in the desert, and by the time they finally reach their destination, they barely have the energy to hang around for longer than a few days. And whether it's the fallout of a relationship ended, the difficulties of being a single parent or the indentation in your forehead from a door that is constantly being slammed shut in your face, there is an endless supply of sage advice. Everyone who has never had to endure the same, has an answer. In the avalanche of self-help books and talk-show hosts, we lift our hands in supplication and cry out "Alright, alright! I'm cured! Whoopdedo!", not because we are, but because no one likes to fail and maybe it will get them to shut up for a few hours. Universal Truths and Spiritual Awakenings and Catchy Slogans. We're quick to point out that we are all individuals, yet our problems are generalized and dissected into neat little segments. It's our abusive fathers or our absent mothers; as soon as we can box the problem, we can then apply our neatly packaged answers. PYSCH101, if patient reveals having witnessed mother kill father after father hit mother, refer to Chapter 23, Subsection 2.3, Paragraph 4. Thank you, have a nice day. Universal Truths. Anyone able to give me an example of one not based in cynicism? How about Love Conquers All? Funny, all I seem to remember is that love hurts worse than a thousand fires from hell. But who the hell am I? What right do I have to disagree with doctors and psychiatrists and, well, let's throw Oprah in that list (we all know she's dying to be there) too? We are all unique, and so are the thousands of issues that we all have to deal with on a daily basis. And we all deserve to have our problems recognised on an individual basis. And perhaps, just maybe, if we take the time to deal with each other on a personal level, without expectations or ulterior motives, and above all things with compassion, we may find that the idiot going on about God and his burdens has left out one important piece of information. God will never place on your shoulders a burden that we can't carry, together. If you feel helpless in the travesty that is a Minister of Health engaged in a blind campaign that can only lead to the deaths of thousands. If you feel exasperated in the absurdity of governments and presidents insistent on bathing in the blood of their people. If you woke up this morning and the shadow of the day to come had its fingers around your throat. If you are facing anything that seems so much larger than you, I offer this as encouragement. Excuse me If I may Turn your attention My way One moment I won't plead It isn't much It's what I need And what's so small to you Is so large to me If it's the last thing I do I'll make you see If you turn from me You darken my sun You snap that thin thread I call my horizon And I'd like to remind you Of something small That the rock in this pocket Could cause your fall And what's so small to you Is so large to me If it's the last thing I do I'll make you see I might be out like a light Extinguished in the throw But I'll hit my mark And you'll know Because I'm really well acquainted With the span of your brow And if you didn't know me then You'll know me now You'll know me now So small to you And so large to me If it's the last thing I do I'll make you see Make you see Make you see Here's hoping your rock flies true. Suzanne Vega - Rock In This Pocket (Song of David)


Ping of death......

6 comments

So, Apple have directed their bottomless resources to trademark the word 'pod'. Or at least, that seems a reasonable deduction to make from various articles doing the rounds, such as this and this. There is even.......wait for it.....a letter! But I suggest, for reasons of maintaining acceptable levels of sanity, you don't read it. I'm guessing opposing forces are at this moment meeting in a secret location to discuss a retaliation. Heading up the rebellion I'm sure will be the Prince of Darkness, although he'll have to earn the respect of other members as his track record when it comes to uprisings is not too complimentary. I hear he's keen on using proper orthogonal decomposition as a basis for the attack, but the others prefer Plain Old Documentation. There have also been suggestions for the usage of Protective Oceanic Devices, since Apple do seem to have grown fins and razor sharp teeth. So now I'm wondering, how quickly will Branson follow suit and look to trademark 'virgin'? And when he does, because we all know if he does he'll succeed, what are we now to sacrifice to dragons and giants?


Algorhythms

7 comments

Tagged by Nome, feel free to tag yourselves. The rules are as follows: Post your top ten artists, the first song you heard by them, the one that made you fall in love with them, and your current favorite. This is an almost impossible meme to answer, so I'll change the criteria slightly by limiting the selection to say, favourite bands of the 90's of whom I own more than one album, with one or two contemporary bands thrown into the mix. So expect to see nothing out of the ordinary, and for those who know me, not many surprises. In no particular order: 1) Radiohead First song: Creep (kinda hard to miss at the time, don't you think?) Made me fall in love: Nice Dream (from The Bends. It's not the obvious choice, but there's something about the flow and the intro, something beyond magical) Current favourite: Harrowdown Hill (from Thom Yorke's sole album, but don't get technical, okay?) 2) Oceansize First song: Catalyst (It was playing on the radio as the house caught fire and burnt down around me, and I didn't even notice. Okay, that's not quite true, but it made me sit up and take note in a way that few songs have) Made me fall in love: Catalyst Current favourite: You Can't Keep A Bad Man Down (the best album closer ever. Except that it's not even the last song on the album) 3) Cocteau Twins First song: Wax & Wane Made me fall in love: Amelia (from the album Treasure. Bought in a small cd store in Port Elizabeth many years ago, and seems to have become imbued with the strange timelessness that, for anyone who's ever lived there, hangs over the town like a thick mist.) Current favourite: Anything from Victorialand. (I've gone on and on about this album before, but it really is a collection of the most exquisite music you will ever hear) 4) Curve First song: Missing Link (First track off the Cuckoo album. But probably my least favourite track on the album) Made me fall in love: Crystal (I remember listening to the album at the cd store, on a whim. The first track was interesting, but nothing special. Then the bassline in Crystal drilled through my head and that was it.) Current favourite: The Colour Hurts (Toni Halliday broods like no one else on earth) 5) Bauhaus First song: Hair of the Dog Made me fall in love: Bela Lugosi's Dead (yes, yes, I know. But I was young, so give me a break) Current favourite: Mask (although as I'm sure with other Bauhaus fans, this changes more often than for most other bands) 6) The Digable Planets First song: Rebirth of Slick Made me fall in love: Agent 7 Creamy Spy Theme: Dial 7 (Axioms Of Creamy Spies) Current favourite: None (since both my Planets albums were stolen, along with almost half of my cd collection, in the Great Lung Heist of 1996. I say 'Lung', because they may as well have stolen one.) 7) My Bloody Valentine First song: You Never Should Made me fall in love: Only Shallow Current favourite: Soon (my Loveless album was also nabbed in the '96 Heist, but I have sinced reclaimed it. MBV's music always affects me in a way that nothing else does, almost as if there is some hidden and undiscovered organ within me that only responds to that particular sound. Like Joy Division or Slowdive, and more recently Serena Maneesh or The Meeting Places) 8) Soundgarden First song: Rusty Cage Made me fall in love: Searching With My Good Eye Closed Current favourite: Fresh Tendrils (from Superunknown. As good as Badmotorfinger was, Superunknown changed the rules. I know Luke will slaughter me for passing over Bleach, although technically it was released in 1989, but Superunknown was for me THE album of the 90's. There were perhaps better songs, better bands, more original music; but nothing came together as well as that album did. It was like sending probes to Mars for years, and then suddenly within a month Mars is colonized and thriving.) 9) Suzanne Vega First song: Marlene on the Wall Made me fall in love: 99.9 Degrees Fahrenheit (from the album 99.9 F°, which is probably my favourite. There are few records whose cover art are perfect representations of what's inside., but this is one. Slightly cynical, experimental, smart and unpretentious) Current favourite: Tombstone 10) Future Sound of London/The Orb First song: first FSOL was Cascade , and first Orb song was Little Fluffy Clouds Made me fall in love: as above. Despite the fact that I tend to loathe the songs that make bands famous, as they tend to be the only songs that people will remember and in most instances have been played to death. Especially Little Fluffy Clouds. I could listen to that on endless repeat and never get bored.) Current favourite: FSOL - Her Face Forms In Summertime (from the album Dead Cities. If you are even just a smidge curious about electronica and the explosive potential it has, you MUST either own Dead Cities or Lifeforms. Besides, anyone smart enough to sample Diamanda Galas must be investigated ) The Orb - Oxbow Lakes (from the album Orbus Terrarum. Trippy. No, really.)


Weather with you.

5 comments

Had a particularly weird dream last night. You were in it. We were talking about S, and you said something that struck me at the time as being tragically honest. You said, "You know what? It's like we're living in different weather systems."
And I said, "That sounds like a story." And I wrote down three lines before the alarm woke me up. It was like listening to dying in reverse, a faint tinkling noise that hurried to a cacophony, and the light rushing in.
So anyway, here's the rest of the story.
********
Habit is folly's messenger boy. I wake up, stammer across the carpet to the window and part the curtains. It's raining. It has been for as long as I can remember, for so long that sunshine is only a myth. Like a golden fleece, or a fountain of youth. No one I know has seen it, no one alive, no one dead for a hundred years. So why do I look? Perhaps it is not so much habit as it is hope. And where hope arrives, madness is sure to follow. A loss of sanity seems the only explanation for my dreams, for the image of you. Could that truly be what it looks like? A light that catches your hair on fire, that makes your pale skin glimmer. I'm never sure if it's this light that warms me, of if it's your presence. You cannot be an invention, a delusion of my own mind. I lack the depths to conjure such a soul, such life and laughter and such fierce, bright love. I've asked a thousand times why you visit me, but the merest glimpse of sadness in your eyes is enough to make the question dissipate in the sunlight.
At least, I think it's sunlight. How would I know? As I make my way down the stairs of the apartment block, all I can see is this liquid tapestry, beating a tattoo against the dark asphalt that is my heart. ~~~~~~~~~
Why do dreams breach the bounds of time? Someone explained it to me once, but it's one of those explanations you forget as soon as you have heard it. We spoke again last night, though speaking is at once a miserable descriptive and a joy that seems not meant for us. Are words spoken in a dream spoken at all? Whatever it is or was, it consumed us and our chimeric days, and made me fear waking more than death. But I do wake, the fabric of the curtains finally acceding to an always victorious sun. There is a quiet rumble from outside as thousands of air conditioners kick into life; the noise seeps through concrete and steel and whispers relief. But nothing will cool me like your touch, the sun could never spread itself inside of me, like you do. I stare at myself in the bathroom mirror, trying to recall where you kissed me, and how and was it the roughness of your hands or the rain that made my skin prickle and blaze. I see in the mirror, behind me and through the window, already the haze makes the city look nervous. The last vestiges or your visit wash away in the basin with the sleep from my eyes, replaced by questions of breakfast and traffic and paperwork. Habit is survival's forgotten lover.


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