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The Sniffer - Issue No. Eleven

The Sniffer - Issue No. Eleven

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Published by The Sniffer
Issue Number Eleven of The Sniffer, the biweekly newsletter that accompanies The Ballad of Cocky the Fox.
Issue Number Eleven of The Sniffer, the biweekly newsletter that accompanies The Ballad of Cocky the Fox.

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Published by: The Sniffer on Oct 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Like a fighty fox lunging at a little shit of arat, we pounce at the second half of our Snifferly oeuvre with eyes gleaming, teethshining and tongue drooling. Ten down, tento go and this is the eleventh. To see usthrough the return leg of our woodlandramble, I am neutrally disposed to announcea new inmate in this prison of mediocrepenmanship:
His Master’s Choice 
.When Parker comes to compose a fit of 
The Ballad 
, he arranges himself in a Starbucksarmchair, with laptop burning thigh and bollock, and dons a giant pair of cans tosilence the nutty natter and brewy brouhahain which his brain could drown. Throughthese cans he pipes a keynote album,metallic or at least guitarish in timbre,specially chosen for each fit, and lets thrum,chug and scream stain his foxy thoughts.Here are his picks for the first ten fits:Fit the First: “Paranoid” by Black SabbathFit the Second: “What’s This For” by KillingJokeFit the Third: “Songs From The Wood” by Jethro TullFit the Fourth: “Wavering Radiant” by IsisFit the Fifth: “Animals” by Pink FloydFit the Sixth: “The Unkindness Of Ravens” by Eagle TwinFit the Seventh: “Snakes For The Divine” by High On FireFit the Eighth: “Matador” by Zoroaster Fit the Ninth: “Focus Level” by EndlessBoogieFit the Tenth: “Dog Of Two Head” by StatusQuoIn each of the ten
His Master’s Choice 
in-stallments, one of these albums will be hu-manely slaughtered, splayed out on a marbleslap, and then dissected quickly and sloppily with a rusty scalpel.
He arranges himself in a Starbucks armchair, with laptop burning thigh and bollock.
Will we chance on any hidden truths whenwe come to parse this aural layer of Parker’s bonce? Perhaps.
Each installment of 
His Master’s Choice 
 considers a single album that has graced thegramophone of Cocky’s creator and master,James Parker. There is nothing formalabout this consideration; it is simply awrinkled flab of opinions, facts and looseattempts at tying music to muse. In thisinaugural outing, we turn our cockular cochleas to Black Sabbath’s 1970 album,
.The uninterested layman who hears the titletrack of 
playing in whichever shitty roadhouse he happens to be gettingdrunk, will instantly recognize Tony Iommi’s chugging riff and Ozzy Osbourne’swhining hymn to his own bat-headmunching nuttiness. He may, on another night, hear Ozzy’s laughable, hihat-punctuated intonation about generals,witches and black masses on
War Pigs 
, or the silly, trudging, sci-fi fable told in
Iron Man 
, and recognize them as also issuingfrom the four Brummie long-hairs. But hisknowledge of 
will probably endhere. And it’s only once you skip these threeoverplayed hits that the masterful,metaphysical moodiness of this metallandmark begins to creep around you like apre-dawn churchyard fog.Sabbath were the architects of the edificethat is modern underground metal. So many sub-genres stem from the down-tuned Iommisludge, the devilish Butler-Ward groove andthe reverbed Ozzy wail: doom metal, black metal, stoner metal, drone metal. Discometal, even. Just turn your ear to
Electric Funeral 
, the mournfully slow and leadendirge that, for a minute in the middle, getsdistracted and becomes an amphetamineswing tune. Or 
Hand of Doom 
, the laid-back toe-tapper that jumps into metal marchinganthem and back. These schizoid creationsare the blueprints for so much that themodern fan of heavy music hears.And it’s the schizoid-ness of these timelesstunes that unlocks the interpretative door tothe Parker story mind. There we were in
Fit the First 
and we needed to know somethingabout foxes. Like all animals roughing itand living paw to mouth, foxes are Jekylland foxes are Hyde. One minute there ischeery chit-chat about Quavers; the nextthere is the frantic and frenetic gouge of eyeand tear of fur. By the end of the fit, we getthe idea. Animals are rudderless vesselsthrown about on the stormy sea of need andimpulse. And I can’t help wondering how much the Sabbath song structure, flitting asit does between doom funk and metal chops,influenced Parker when he laid out these beastly fundamentals back at the beginningof the
The author of 
The Ballad of Cocky the Fox 
 and the editor of 
The Sniffer 
are known to
enjoy a chinwag over a pint. In each edition,
The Sniffer 
eavesdrops on their beery  blathering and presents a randomly chosenchunk of it to the readership.
 The Author:
I love how we sounded in theninth
. You know, the one we wereall maudlin and self-reflective. Thatlethargic lull where we stared at each other for long periods.
The Editor:
Yes. It was a barometer of thetimes. And related to the long, lazy summer where we did bugger all.[They pause, furrow their brows inself-reflection and take contemporaneousglugs.]
The Editor:
So how have you found itgetting back on the horse after the long lay-off?
The Author:
It was very difficult at first.Very difficult. I thought I was having ideasall through the summer as I wandered thehedgerows of East Anglia. But I wasn’t,really. I was just in this bucolic fuckingdaze sucking up sense impressions from thecountryside. Sponging up the pollen, thechaff and all that shit. Now, this is useful,don’t get me wrong. But it doesn’t helpadvance the story at all. I came back from England with literally four lines. They weregood lines, sure. But they were all about thewheat, the sky, the trees and so on.
The Editor:
So, basically, you turned intoan impressionist painter.
The Author:
Exactly. And I was utterly lost for two weeks when I got back. Which iswhy I had to bend the deadline.
The Editor:
Thank you. It worked outwell for me. I got the extra week I sorely needed but it looked like you were the lazy  bastard.[Contemporaneous glugs again, autumnalglugs; brisk and enthusiastic.]
The Editor:
But you seem to be back intothe routine again now.
The Author:
Oh yes. I’m right back into it.I’ve got a subplot on the go that fits in nicely to the main plot. There is a problem, though.I’ve now split into two different people.There’s the noble Parker who juggles all theideas and suckles greedily at the muse’s tit.And then there’s the poor peasant Parker who has to hobble along behind and writethe fucking thing.
The Editor:
So you are your own creativetwinhood. You are twin ravens in one.
The Author:
Yes. It’s awful. Imaginetrying to contain those two energies in onemind. In Starbucks.
The Editor:
While not getting ejected for foaming at the mouth.
The Author:
Exactly.[The Author locks his gaze on the empty glass in front of him; begins foaming at themouth.]

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